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God's Unsurpassable Love

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(adapted form Gregory Boyd's Repenting of Religion)
1.  God has 'unsurpassable love'--there is NO greater love known in the universe
2.  God ascribes 'unsurpassable love' to people  People are the objects of God's love--not things, ideas, organizations, positions--God loves PEOPLE!
3.  God ascribes 'unsurpassable love' to people because God ascribes 'unsurpassable worth' and value to people.  People matter to God.  People are valuable to God



















Definitions:
Unsurpassable:  not able to be exceeded in quality or degree (Oxford Dictionary)
Love:  Agape love--based on choice and decision not emotion or feeling.  Agape is a self-sacrificing kind of love.
People:  Good ones, bad ones, mean ones, nice ones, murderers, adulterers, Sunday school teachers... EVERYONE

God's 'unsurpassable love' is demonstrated in the person and ministry of Jesus.  "Here is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiat…

Measuring one's spirituality

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I have been asking some of my clients, what is their definition of spirituality?  Or, who is the most spiritual person they know? It's interesting to hear the answers that come forth.
Then more--how do they measure their spirituality?  How do they know they are progressing?  Having grown up in a classical pentecostal culture, too often maturity was consisted of about four or five things---which took 5 or more years to work through.


Believing faith.  Surrendering to Christ.  Confession of sin.  Acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.Public water baptism--signalling you passed # 1.Spirit baptism--signalling you passed # 1 and # 2.  These three things could take 5 plus years.  Interesting--as a side note--Luke in his narrative Acts--seems to teach these things happen in one afternoon.Some dimension of Bible knowledge. Some dimension of holiness --used to described 'what you stopped doing'--or need to stop. 

So, the plan was--work through those five steps and boom! …

Well or Spring?

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My favourite recollection of working on farms as a kid, was going to the well. Every farm had a well--with a hand pump. You would pump the handle of the well--and fresh well water would come spewing out of the pump. You would drink and drink. Then take turns pumping the handle while your buddy puts his head under the spout.  It was so refreshing.  But, then--back to work--and the heat.

Jesus makes an interesting comment to the woman at the well in John 4.  In verse 13 and 14 Jesus says:“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

This is how I read this:

1.  The well--becomes a spring.
2.  Eternal life--God's presence--the Holy Spirit--the abundant life of the believer--eternal righteousness, peace and joy---etc...


are initially like a trip to a well--as in an eventbut are more like a spring--because a spring represent proc…

Be empty--then you can be full!

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Creative detachment to things.  Letting them go!

1. I am not the centre of anything or anyone--God is.
2.  If I let go of all things--and become empty--then and only then can I become full of God.  "...because God's life and grace flow so much more fully and freely through empty hands."  (Margaret Silf:  Inner Compass)


Come on! You can be honest with God!

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Several years ago—when people did this more often—a mother was hanging the family laundry out to dry on a clothes line hung between two trees in her backyard.  This mother’s family had suffered the loss of a family member in a tragic accident.  She was particularly mournful that day and stopped in her task, looked heavenward, and prayed: “Lord, why did you take my son?”  As soon as the words slipped from her lips she recanted, “Sorry Lord.”  Her theology did not allow that kind of dialogue. It sounded wrong in her theological mind.  She wanted to make sure things didn’t get out of kilter—so she immediately apologized to God.
What her theology did not allow is relationship.  Her theology was a set of beliefs and proper actions—but seemingly a little light on relationship.  You see relationship is best defined as a journey of divulging.  Take dating as a simple illustration.  When you begin to date, you start to slowly give out information.  You talk about the weather, jobs, likes,…

Boy that’s aggravating—the essence of prayer

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I called a government office the other day to ask about a situation on something which I needed direction and advice.  I punched in the right numbers to get the appropriate person and the phone started ringing.  I let it ring thinking it would eventually bounce over to an answering line—but it did not.  I let it ring for a few minutes—but eventually gave up.  I hung up and decided to try later.




Jesus taught that prayer has a certain kind of tenacity about it that refused to hang up—or give up
Luke 11:9-13 “9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for {Some manuscripts for bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for} a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give g…

Read this! It can save your life!

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1.  Salvation is NOT a reward:
Ephesians 2:8-10 “8 God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

2.  Salvation is a gift for ‘law breakers’
James 2:10, 11 “10 And the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as the person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” {Ex 20:13-14; De 5:17-18.} So if you murder someone, you have broken the entire law, even if you do not commit adultery.”

a)  Take the Righteousness Test:

Goal for passing: 
i-  GOD is perfect:   De 32:4 He is the Rock; his work is perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!
ii-  …

Down the Via Dolorosa

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Last Wednesday, as part of a class assignment for a course I am taking, we participated in a time of meditation around the “Stations of the Cross.”  This ancient worship practice surrounds viewing artistic pieces that depict 14 places of significance on Jesus’ road to Calvary (the Via Dolorosa—the Way of Suffering).  The particular Stations I was viewing are displayed in the Tyndale Chapel in Toronto.  The artistic pieces are sculptures created by Donald de Lue.  




It was at Station number three that my heart and spirit were cemented.  The Station—called ‘Jesus Falls for the First Time’—depicts as noted, Jesus falling.  There are three others in the sculpture.  A Roman solider with a whip driving Jesus back onto his feet—and two others.  Lue, known for his ability sculpting hands and feet had depicted these two as follows.  One man, in the top corner—had his hand held out flat as if to say ‘stop!’ The woman is reaching towards the solider who had his hand raised to whip Jesus.  She looks…

People of the 'Way'

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Ac 9:2 “…and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
I recall having to write a paper, many years ago, as I was studying to finish my Bachelor’s degree in theology.  That paper was to answer a need in my then congregation.  The paper was to introduce some new ministry that would propel my congregation—and conversely me—to greatness.  Well, the new idea didn’t work—LOL—and I’m still not great!
Oh, the idea you ask?  I took the Acts 9:2 passage and used the concept of the Way.  ‘The Way’ would be a newly launch ministry that was to be spectacular.  Well, it didn’t actually ever get off the ground.   
However, ‘people of the way,’ struck me today as the read that phrase in Margaret Silf’s book Inner Compass. Here’s the entire sentence: “This kind of journey is not for ‘pillars of the Church.’  It is for ‘people of the way.’  That resonated in my spirit—let…

Whoa! Where am I?

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John 14:19 “ In just a little while the world will not see me again, but you will. For I will live again, and you will, too.”

Ephesians 2:6 “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms--all because we are one with Christ Jesus.”






Lord I am ALIVE in you!
Lord I am SEATED with you!

Alive NOW!  This day!  This moment!  This Season!
Seated now with you.  Not tomorrow—not next year—now!  I am seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms!


I can see Jesus now….because I am alive…
LORD may my spiritual eyes ALWAYS see you!
See where I am (seated with you in heavenly places)
•Giving Divine enablement to live above the hum drum of life
•Giving Divine enablement to live above the pains of life
•Giving Divine enablement to live above
⁃disappointments
⁃struggles
⁃depressions
⁃anxieties
⁃unanswered questions
⁃ego
⁃pride
⁃selfishness

These things —life, circumstances, and evil forces rob me of
•seeing You
•hearing You
•listening to You
•realizing who I am and whe…

Self-Emptying Prayer Exercise

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Self Emptying If I empty myself out—there is room for God, Grace and Mercy (Richard Rohr)




Philippians 2:5* Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6* who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7* but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8* he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross. (NRSV)
Jesus emptied Himself—it is an incarnational life of self emptying.  Jesus came to do the will of the Father.  He emptied Himself.  (Surrendered the independent use of His Divine attributes. ) There needs to be a practice of self-emptying.  Emptying ourselves of our agenda—our ego—our desires—our pride. What am I full of?  (If I am pricked by a pin—what comes out?)

What do I need to empty-myself of?  (Or Better—what do I pray that the Spirit would empty me of?)

Lord I am too full of me. I am full of pride. I am full of my ego. I am …

Receive the Word of God

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Whenever the Word of God is read, seen, or heard in any manner---we have all four possibilities of responding to that "Word."

This has NOTHING to do with the "Word" itself.  The issue lies in the condition of our hearts.  Jesus' parable in Mark 4 talks about four heart conditions.  We--in western culture--critique the preachers and presenters of the Word that we hear.  We make the mistake of thinking "Oh, that person is really anointed---I got a lot out that sermon---etc."  When Jesus tells us that the issue is NOT related to the speaker of the WORD but the condition of the heart of the one who listens!  Yikes!


Every time we read the Word--our heart ---has the possibilities--of being in one of these four conditionsIf you are not a follower of Jesus--not one of His disciples--every time you are expose to the Word of God--these four possibilities exist
Mark 4:14-20 “The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sow…