Following Jesus is rarely an easy endeavor. He calls us to do some mighty difficult things at times. However, when the day is done we always have to ask ourselves the question… did I follow His will today or my own? Far too often, in my life, I have to admit that I actually chose my own will over His. At those difficult times He still always reminds me that His grace is sufficient for me.
Some of the most difficult things that Jesus said are found in Luke chapter 9. In this chapter Jesus says to a man “Follow me” and the man’s response is “first let me go bury my father.” Then Jesus says to him “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” Still another said “I will follow you Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” To that Jesus replied “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is worthy of me.” This passage makes it very clear to me that Jesus calls us to go to extremes for Him. The path He often places before us is neither comfortable or easy.
Just what did Jesus mean when He said that if we put our hand to the plow and look back we are not worthy of Him? In my studies and with extra guidance from The Holy Spirit. I have come to this conclusion… that Jesus desires that we put the plow to work on the hardness of our very own hearts. Hosea 10:12 says “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your (fallow & hardened) unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes..” And while we are at work plowing our own hearts we are to keep looking forward directly at Jesus and not to the left or right or at our past. Because He is much more concerned about where we are going than where we have been.
Jesus wants us to keep plowing and breaking up the hardness of our hearts. He wants the soil of our hearts to be soft, pliable and broken up so that He can freely sow seeds of love, truth, mercy, grace and righteousness within us. This is our mission and everyday task if we really want to reap the fruit of His unfailing love.
No one else can do this for you! It is your heart and your very own responsibility. No sister, brother, Pastor or anyone else can complete this task for you. But always remember this is not done with your own strength or will. This is done by His strength within you and by His will. All we have to do is surrender and cooperate with Him. If we truly surrender He will equip and empower us even better than the energizer bunny ever could ever imagine. Jesus is a power plant of immense boundless proportions.
Life in this world can hit us pretty hard at times and many things can occur to us each day that tend to help us to harden our hearts towards Him and others. But if we cooperate with Jesus and keep our hand to the plow of our own heart..He will see us through each and every time. Remember “The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Kirk Out !
I just want to take time today to thank all of you who visit or follow my blog. Blogging has been far more excellent and rewarding than I ever had imagined it would be. There are now some days that over 3000 people visit this simple blog page. Pouring out my heart and mind and receiving excellent valuable feedback here has brought much freedom and healing to me in many ways; especially where it comes to my struggles with PTSD and related depression. Thank you for allowing me to open up and share all that is on my heart and mind with all of you here.
I deeply appreciate those of you who have taken the time to comment on my blogs too. I totally value dialogue over monologue in every way imaginable. I just love it when iron is sharpening iron and the sparks are flying all over the place. We all have different ideas and experiences of who Jesus is and what following Him is all about, and when we come together and simply share our portion of the truth in love with one another Jesus is then glorified and exalted.
I love how He brings light and balance to us when we are free to openly discuss the different facets of Him that we may see from our very different angles, perspectives and points of view. This way we are much more likely to get a true revelation of who He really is and a better more balanced perspective of what He wants to reveal to and in all of us. As it is written, “speaking the truth in love WE will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head.” (Ephesians 4:15)
Fact is we need to hear from one another in the Body of Christ. Each part must share its portion and do its work in order for us to be exactly what He desires us to be. Which is whole, complete and mature in Him. We all desperately need to be part of His ongoing conversation with us. Where it comes to being fully equipped full fledged members of His Church we need to hear from one another because sermons and monologues never really get close to getting the job of equipping and releasing us successfully done. We all need to be true disciples and the best way to learn and grow is by being part of the ongoing wide open conversation with Jesus and one another. Yes, we do really need each other in the Body of Christ. If we totally embrace that fact we will then voluntarily surrender ourselves and open our hearts and minds to cooperative learning as guided by Christ alone.
We NEED revelation from Him! The book says that “Wisdom is found through a multitude of counselors.” So please open yourself up to all your sibling peers in the Church and stop looking up front at that one “man” sermon show for all your answers. Remember that EVERYONE has a very valuable contribution to share when we gather together in HIs name. (1 Corinthians 14:31) So please step forward and speak your part when Jesus leads you and it is your turn? We need you! More truth and love happen when we gather in makeshift circles rather than rows. Christ is in the center of our circles and is the focus of our passion, affection and attention. Whereas rows focus on the mere man or woman up front. Circles reveal our passion well. Rows fit the program well. Which do you choose today….passion or program?
Kirk Out !
This question has been raised… Why the hell do I write what I write? And why do I write so much about the need to be Holy Spirit led rather than bible led? The answer is really easy…. I just write what I feel inspired to write. I write what comes to heart and mind. I seriously try not to have an agenda, but I am human so I am certain that at times I still do. Intense planning ahead is not something I do very often unless extreme detail is required. I am much more of the … just let The Holy Spirit fly me by the seat of my pants kind of guy.
I really don’t have a target audience. To me, all things are much more a matter of whosoever will, than whosoever won’t. So I try not to waste much of my time on the whosoever won’ts like the Pharisees, the legalistic and the overly religious. Those folks make it quite clear early on that they don’t want anything to do with me or the type of things I share. I don’t try to convince others of much. I just put the truth in love out there for others to see and consider. However, I do love the simple give and take of a lively, active discussion. Like Paul, an apostle, I just pray that whenever I open my mouth, “words may be given to me so that I may fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Eph. 6:19
However, I am certain that my sharing of the truth in love is always colored by my time with Jesus and my life’s experiences. No one is 100% pure gospel when they share. Yet I make it my goal to be as true and pure as humanly possible in all my sharing both verbally and in print.
My passions are relationship with Jesus and those who claim to know and seek HIM. I also have a deep desire to reach those who do not yet know Him in His fullness. All I really want to do is to speak and live the truth in love in such a manner that blesses The ONE who sent me and also those who I live and speak before and with.
I do believe that the Traditional/Institutional “church” system has gotten a ton of things extremely wrong and damaged a whole shit load of people. It is my sincere hope that I am able to bring restoration and healing to those who have gotten caught up in that evil religious machine. Better yet I hope to reach those who have not yet been tainted and injured by that damn machine.
What my heart cries out is FREEDOM!….. Just like William Wallace in the movie Braveheart. I am willing to live and die for the freedom of my siblings in Christ. It is my heart’s deep desire that all of God’s children be set free to be fully empowered and led by the Spirit of Christ in all matters. Pastors, programs and politics only hinder the pure Gospel and need to be done away with in Christ’s true Church. Religion Kills, but Relationship gives life!
Love and ……
Kirk Out !
P.s. To be clear I mean the Church has no need for capital P Pastors who get paid and dominate and control times of gathering and fellowship. I am all for sisters and brothers who flow in simple pastoral gifts that actually benefit the Body of Christ.
What follows is yet another part of an ongoing conversation I had with a friend who I shall continue to call Spock here….
“Christopher – perhaps you can tell us of your experiences with the Bible and the Spirit and what causes you to bring this issue front/center as often as you do? I am not able to relate to what you speak, because I value the Bible, but I read that you value the Bible also. Somewhere, there is a disconnect in my understanding of your writings. Maybe if you explain specific experiences a bit, if you can, we can begin to relate / commune with you on this.”
Alright Spock I will give this a shot. The issue to me is why do we elevate the bible to place that is equal or higher than The Holy Spirit in our lives? To me it is quite clear that we receive primary revelation from The Spirit and secondary revelation from the bible. After all it was The Spirit who inspired the writers of the bible to write what they did in the first place. It seems to me that many Christians get it backwards in practice where they use the bible to try and interpret and set the ground rules for The Spirit, when they should be using The Holy Spirit to interpret the bible and lead them in their everyday lives. Because there are some things in life that the bible just does not address or give guidance to us about.
Way back when I was in college I was also a concert promoter. After a big Resurrection Band concert I was drove the artists back to their motel. On the way back home I had to stop by the late night drive thru at Burger King to get some food for me and 5 other students who had helped me set up and tear down the sound and lights equipment for the concert. So I was going to order 6 whopper meals when I heard Jesus or The Spirit tell me to order 7 meals. It felt right and harmless so I ordered 7 meals. When I got the food back to my roadies dorm room I distributed the meals to the 6 of us and I left the 7th meal in a bag up on a loft. In the midst of eating and fellowshipping Tim stuck his head in the door and asked where his whopper meal was. I immediately pointed to the sack on the loft and told him his whopper meal was right up there. I also told him that God had specifically told me to buy that meal for him. About a half an hour later we were able to lead Tim to Jesus all because I was told to buy that extra meal. I am still in contact with Tim to this day. He remains strong in The Lord and often gives his testimony about how God used an extra whopper meal to bring him into the fullness of Christ.
The bible had no way of communicating to me the need for an extra meal, but The Spirit was fully capable of leading me in such a manner. It is just like in Acts chapter 9 where The Lord tells Ananias to go to a street called straight and find Saul and heal his vision. Ananias could have read scripture from cover to cover and still not be moved to act in such a manner. It takes more than biblical knowledge to be guided in the best ways of surrendering to and serving HIM and others.
The fact is that the bible is just not enough to lead us in our walk of faith in Christ. Jesus Himself said that He was sending us The Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. The bible was never meant to be our guide. That is The Spirit’s role. Always has been and always will be. Jesus also said that “His sheep hear His voice and obey”. Note He NEVER once said that we read His book and obey.
We NEED to hear directly from HIM my friends! The Spirit is our guide and often times He leads us to the bible for reference and understanding. But it is HE who sits on the throne and not a book about Him. Who sits on the throne of your heart? If we are really honest about this most of the time it is WE that sit there, even as sincere followers of Christ. But we need to surrender that place DAILY to Him and The Spirit. The book should never be in the position of preeminence in our lives. The bible is a great gift and tool when used as led by The Spirit, but without The Spirit’s illumination it can be just plain old dead letter ink on paper and never forget that the Letter kills and the Spirit gives life.
Kirk Out !