Follower of Christ, Author, Musician
Though I have been a "Christian" for so many years, in many ways I feel life with Christ is a quest in with many troubles and dangers. It is frightfully more dangerous than anyone ever told me at the outset. Any "true" adventure would be, wouldn't it?
This blog is about the adventure of discovery in this quest to follow the one who forged the path to life and true love so many years ago. I have found that the epic rescuing story of Jesus is far more relevant to you and I than we give it credit.
“God is love… There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…”
– 1 John 4
I recently sat down with Wm Paul Young and though we were two time zones and 2000 miles apart we were together in heart and mind. We talked about many things but the main point I was going after in this interview was simply this: “God is Love”
Since this is true than it must follow that what we call God’s “wrath” must be an expression of God’s love!
Download this talk and read all the amazing show notes for this Sozo Talk Radio Episode over at the Sozo Talk Radio Website!
Love is at the heart of the character and essence of God. He could NEVER act in a way contrary to love. Love is other centered self sacrificing love. His love is that of a perfect parent. For just as Jesus taught us, he is our Father, our Abba, our Papa.
ps. Wm Paul Young often mentions his friend Brad Jersak who has written a book called Her Gates Will Never Be Shut about the real hope we can have regarding God’s wrath, judgement, and eternal matters. Brad discovered that the Greek words for God’s judgement are always restorative in nature. What does this mean as it relates to hell?
I will be interviewing Brad Jersak about this very soon so stay tuned and connect with me at my Sozo Talk Radio FB page.
Greetings people of the universe! Enjoy this song, Just For Now by Imogen Heap as you read. I was recommending it to someone in my dream last night and looked it up first thing this morning.
I had Imogen’s album Speak For Yourself playing in my car for at least three months straight and never tired of it. I bought the album based on one song: Hide and Seek. It was one of those songs that helped me get through hell.
I bonded to a playlist of amazing songs that I found at Jeremy Cowart’s website. I ended up buying many of the albums. Teitur, Denison Witmer, Iron and Wine, Imogen Heap were among the artists in the selection.
Jeremy Cowart is a photographer that had a certain reputation for being in the “cool and beautiful” club. To associate with him increased your chances and mojo for being in the club yourself. So everyone thought. He rode that wave and did his artsy alternative thing quite successfully.
I’ve never been able to do that. I suppose it’s because I refuse to play that game even though I sense there is a part of me trying to play that game. I don’t want to be a con artist or a hypocrite – the meaning of which literaly means “wearing a mask”. I’m going to be myself and yet I have this drive to be a person of influence.
Man’s search for significance, right? You wouldn’t believe how many times I have heard Victor Frankel’s book Man’s Search For Meaning come up recently. He teaches logo-therapy which is to attach significance and meaning to your circumstances and suffering. This was how Donald Miller seemed to explain it in a talk he gave at Bethel Church in Redding at a leaders conference November 1st 2018. You go after your dream or goal and upon completing one you go after another immediately lest you fall into the abyss of hopelessness and depression thinking that life is all pointless and meaningless.
And yet, didn’t The Teacher in Ecclesiastes have something to say on that? The one who had it all, learned it all, accomplished every goal, and tried every pleasure? Solomon used his wisdom and position to become the subject of a grand experiment for the benefit of humanity. At the end of it all, he has this to say: It’s all meaningless. A chasing after the wind.
Of course that wasn’t all he said. I do gain a great deal of insight when he sums it all up and says here is the end of the matter:
“That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 NLT
For me I break this down to it’s deeper and more relational meaning. Fear God = reverentially trust God. Obey his commands = love one another.
I love that word trust. That’s something that makes sense to me. We trust our parents spouse and friends. Trust is the basis of relationship. And relationship with the One who is Love means it will have some natural consequences. That Perfect Love that you are now bonded to because of that trust will infuse you and you will love others. If you don’t love, you don’t know God. If you don’t love you don’t trust the real Jesus.
I’ve often wondered if I am cursed or something. I think it is probably all in my head, but I’m convinced that people seem to reject and avoid me. I am one of the shunned and I can’t quite figure out why. Maybe I intimidate them? I don’t always know until it’s too late how I’m being perceived by others. If I were to guess it’s because I embrace the fringe Christianity that doesn’t seem to have a place in most churches everywhere?
I embrace the signs and wonders kind of Christian. I love watching the Sid Roth show It’s Supernatural on Youtube (everything except the ads which I skip). I love that all the gifts of the Spirit are available to us today and would like to grow in that. I don’t shy away from the likes of Joshua Mills who apparently often gets covered in gold dust when he preaches, experiences creative and unusual miracles like having a woman’s eyes grow back into their sockets, and teleports to China to pray with some saints there.
I want that. I have asked Joshua Mills to be on my show Sozo Talk Radio. I imagine that he might be the kind of Christian that God has in mind for how all true believers will operate when the Next Great Awakening comes to the church. I want to be ready to receive all that God has for us. To be the new wineskin for the new wine.
Is this why I get shunned? Seriously, someone please tell me, is all this just going on in my head? Do you all really love me and I’m just freaking out over nothing? Is the devil just messing with me?
“And he increased in favor with both God and man.”
This phrase is spoken in Scripture about two people: Samuel and Jesus. I’ve always wondered what that would be like to have both God’s blessing and people’s blessing. To experience your favor dear reader.
Am I at war with myself? Have I somehow declared war on the world?
I was just thinking about that movie War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise. That was an awesome flick wasn’t it? The opening scene shows him working on a crane at the loading dock. This scene was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina. I know that because I visited there on vacation once and swam in the ocean. The current was strong and moving sideways along the beach. There were manna rays in the water. I have a photo with my wife under the dock pictured below.
I love swimming. In fact, it was my policy on road trips of the past to stop at every available swimming hole along the way to jump in. By the way there is a really nasty murky one in Oklahoma on the way to Texas that made my swimsuit rot and my skin crawl. Not completely sure it wasn’t a sewage treatment pond.
Back to topic… Aliens.
So what’s your view on aliens? Have you ever seen one? Been abducted and experimented upon? Do you think they might have ships hidden underground ready for deployment and hostile takeover?
Yes, the typical response I get from most Christians is that aliens are demons. Of course I prefer the term extra-terrestrial and I would say the difference between an angel and a demon is determined by one question and one question alone. “Where does their loyalty lie?”
As most of you know this universe and the seemingly infinite other universes are teaming with life. Most exist on, for lack of a better word, other astral planes. (Is there a more “Christian” word for astral planes?) God is super fun and creative isn’t he?
So why don’t people like me? Or am I being deceived by a nefarious extra-terrestrial and in fact you all love me?
Why do I have this cloud of rejection hanging over me? Would you pray for me?
The other day at discipleship class we were supposed to pray about one lie we believe about ourselves that God wants to correct. After 15 minutes of prayer I had nothing but I volunteered to go first anyway. I named some of my familiar lies of the past but after awhile of talking the truth came out.
I believe I am dangerous.
The leader asked me to ask God if I really was dangerous. It’s always best to hear straight from God to set the record straight and root out the lies.
I told them that I wouldn’t want anyone to lose faith because of me. I don’t want to export unhealthy spirituality. I would sooner crawl back into my Gollum cave and spare the world my existence if I was dangerous to anyone.
Questions I ask myself:
Do you have something worth exporting? Would the world be better off having the spirituality you have? Do you want everyone to know and relate to God the same way you do? Can you say with Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ”?
For the most part I can answer with a “Yes”. I really can. But I do have my flaws. I wonder if I am a hireling sometimes. How real is my love? I’m not entirely engaged when it comes to relationships. I think it’s because I can’t quite accept myself. I seem to be under the cloud of self-rejection and self-sabotage and self-centeredness… I’m sensing a theme.
I was surprised to read that Brian Simmons radically altered (drew out the true) meaning of the text of John 15:2 to something quite more positive. Do you remember how this verse goes in most translations? “(God the Father) cuts off every branch that bears no fruit”? Well this was how he rendered it:
“He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruningevery fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest.” John 15:2 The Passion Translation
Brian has this explanation: John 15:2 The Greek phrase can also be translated “he takes up [to himself] every fruitless branch.” He doesn’t remove these branches, but he takes them to himself. As the wise and loving farmer, he lifts them up off the ground to enhance their growth. In the context, Christ’s endless love for his disciples on the last night of his life on earth seems to emphasize God’s love even for those who fail and disappoint him. Peter’s denial didn’t bring rejection from Jesus.
BTW… I interviewed Brian Simmons on my Sozo Talk Radio show. I suppose the reason I just took a sharp turn there was because when we reject ourselves, we are contradicting the truth that we are accepted in the Beloved.
I believe this: I am beloved. I’m not going back into my cave though a few might want me to. I’m a city set on a hill. I am a light on its stand for all to see. I will not hide it under a bushel, NO! I’m gonna let it shine.
I once wrote a blog called Shine On. It featured a quote from a suspected New Ager. Don’t you just love those dear and beautiful souls who identify with the New Age? Yea, me too.
Of course that’s what Jesus is all about, ushering in a New Age of His Kingdom of Love. I am SO delighted it is a kingdom of love! Aren’t you?
I haven’t always loved too well. Please forgive me for that. I want to love better.
In this interview with translator Brian Simmons we cover these questions and topics:
Is the Bible’s trustworthy? Brians Testimony and Encounter with Jesus! What does it mean that God is Love? What is the meaning of the Revealing of the Sons of God in Romans 8? End times and Prophecy perspectives? How important is it to marinate our minds in the Word of God?
I am currently working on a book about Encounters With Jesus and His Love and so it is a real treat to hear about Brians Divine visitation. I am delighted that he agreed to allow me to publish his story in my book!
Brian came to trust in Jesus in 1971. Brian then married and he and his wife became career missionaries. He planted churches and worked alongside Wycliffe translators serving the Piacuna people group. God directed them through an audible voice back to the United States just prior to a hostile takeover of the village. Sadly, the men Brian had put in place to lead the church were murdered.
Brian and his wife moved to New England where they pastored a church for eighteen years. When the Lord eventually led them to hand over leadership of the church, Brian then asked the Lord, “What do you want me to do next?”
God answered his request with a Divine visitation. Jesus appeared to Brian and commissioned him for the work of making the Passion Translation. He told him he would help him and share secrets with him (we talk more about this in the interview) and that persecution would come.
Watch the Youtube interview or download the podcast and enjoy this powerful testimony for yourself!
It was so fun to learn this jazz song written by eden ahbez. It has become an indispensable addition to my repertoire at my concerts in Nursing Homes. The last phrase of the song is SO true and sums up the primary message I wish to convey in all my concerts.
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
eden (who insisted on never capitalizing his name but only believed “God” and “Infinity” and the like should be capitalized) was dressing and living like a hippie twenty years before it was fashionable to do so.
In fact, he was living on vegetables, fruits, and nuts and on less than three dollars a week playing piano and flutes at The Health Hut, a raw food restaurant in L.A. It was rumored that he was camping out right below the “L” in the Hollywood sign when the song hit the airwaves and became a hit.
It is rumored that eden was inspired or heavily influenced by a couple of sources including the music of Antonin Dvorak though he claims to have heard the tune being sung by angels.
After he wrote the song he sought to get it into the hands of Nat King Cole at a concert but only succeeded in getting it to his valet driver. Once Nat became familiar with the song he performed it and received such acclaim that he recorded it in 1947 and it became a big hit for him. Eight weeks at the top of the charts.
What do we mean when we say, Jesus Christ is Perfect Theology?
Jesus Christ as Perfect Theology means that we can’t come to know what God is truly like without Jesus. That God can only be known, and the whole of Scripture can only be interpreted, through Jesus alone. Jesus becomes the lens through which we view ALL of Scripture. (Download this at: www.sozotalkradio.com)
Whereas Job and ALL the Old covenant prophets are posing the question:
“God, who are You?”
Jesus is the answer:
“I AM what God is like.”
God is Like Jesus
The book of Hebrews begins with this:
“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God.” Hebrews 1
“If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” (John 14 NLT)
Jesus never said anything that the Father wasn’t giving him to say. Everything Jesus was given to say was carefully chosen by the Father to lead people into eternal life which Jesus defines for us as restored relationship! Also, Jesus never did anything on his own. He always partnered with what the Father was already doing. The Father was expressing “Himself” perfectly through Jesus Christ leading his lost children back home.
First of all, both Ryan and I begin in this talk by relating our understanding of God growing up in the church. He believed God would only love him if he remained faithful. Ryan talks about how so many of us partner with a cycle of shame and a performance mentality that we allow to define our relationship with God. We make it about us and not about the marvelous beauty and wonder of who God is and enjoying fellowship with Mr. Joy Himself.
Jesus Christ is Perfect Theology in You
A couple of Scriptures that Ryan Kibbe shared in this interview were:
“…as He is, so also are we in this world.” – 1 John 4:17
Ryan emphasized how Christ didn’t die for a doctrinal statement but to live in you and me to re-present the Father to an orphan minded world of what the Father is truly like.
I love that! When Ryan said that we re-present the Father to an orphan minded world I couldn’t help but think of the interview I just did with Mel Wild! We talked in that episode about how the Father’s embrace is healing the orphan minded in both the church and the world. As one poet once said, “Jesus wants to save Christians too.”
Listen to what John writes in the beginning of his Gospel:
“No one has ever yet seen God. The only begotten God, the One being in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.” John 1:18 Berean Literal Bible
It seems that all the other prophets prior to Jesus have only have ever caught the faintest whispers of what God was truly like until Jesus revealed him. If we want to know what God is like, we look to Jesus.
All true prophets since Christ’s coming have Christ living in them. They can truly know the Good Shepherd and “see God” which is something Jesus said would be true for the pure in heart (or fully surrendered).
We, as Christ followers, are now displaying what God is like. Jesus in us is still putting God on display to the world saying through us, “this is what God is like.”
The apostle Paul writes in one of his letters to the Corinthians about beholding the glory of God and reflecting him to this orphan hearted world like Ryan mentions in this talk.
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
What About all our Carefully Crafted Doctrinal Statements of Theology?
While it may seem like a cop-out to simply say, “Jesus Christ is Perfect Theology”, I actually see this perspective as the most brilliant way to live in unity and harmony with other believers. Personally, I refuse to even play the game of defining theology as hammering out a doctrinal statement anymore.
Theology is a Person.
If we are in relationship with Truth Himself (Yeshua, aka Jesus) then we know that all errors in our understanding of this Perfect Theology will be straightened out in time as we grow in relationship.