Thursday, May 31, 2018

Join Linda and I for Our Favorite Conference Ever!

Holy Spirit Renewal Conference JUNE 2018 from HSRM on Vimeo.

THIS is our FAVORITE CONFERENCE EVER! 

Linda and I have been attending for twenty-six years. 

This is more than another conference, it's a family. It has given us life-long friendships. 

We experience God's presence and power. Linda and I know our lives have been forever changed because of this five-day experience. 

Much of what we have learned about the Holy Spirit has been mediated to us through this conference. 

And, it is situated in a stunning, vast, beautiful Wisconsin setting. 

IT'S COMING - YAY! 

Why not join us and many others? Watch the video for contact details. 

Blessings!



Click here for Green Lake Conference Center website

10 REASONS TO GO TO THE HOLY SPIRIT RENEWAL CONFERENCE:

1.  God's presence is there
2.  God's power is at work 
3.  Faith gets enlarged
4.  Strongholds are broken
5.  Worship is anointed
6.  Healings happen
7.  Deeper understanding of the Spirit-filled life is gained 
8.  Revival, Renewal, Restoration, Refreshment, Rest, Recreation
9.  Kids love it, teens love it, adults love it, pastors love it

10. It's a family...!
HOLY SPIRIT RENEWAL MINISTRIES

Why I Pray

Downtown Monroe

This morning I received two e-mails from friends who have been desperately praying for answers from God. Today, they received those answers, and were blown away by this. One person wrote, “Why do I not expect this to happen?” Now, for the moment at least, they are motivated to pray more. God’s loving responses to them motivate me to pray more. 

In a few minutes I will walk to the back of our property, by the river, where there is an old table, and my praying chair. I’ll bring my journal, Bible, and a cup of coffee… to meet with God for a while, and pray. I will pray for others, and I will listen to God speak to me. At this point in my life, I rarely leave these prayer times without feeling encouraged and strengthened. 

Why do I do this? Why do I pray? The basic reason is: because Jesus did. Here’s my reasoning. 

1. Jesus is my Great Shepherd. 
2. My Great Shepherd spent much time praying. 
3. Therefore, I spend much time praying. 

How do we know Jesus spent much time praying? Because “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.” (Luke 22:29) What Jesus did there was: 

1) instruct his disciples to watch and pray. 
2) pray, himself. 

“As usual,” Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, and prayed. “As was his custom.” Praying was Jesus’ customary way of doing life. If Jesus habitually did this, who am I, one of his followers, not to? 

I read of a sign, supposedly on the Alaskan Highway, where the road turned from pavement to dirt. It read: “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next hundred miles.” Choose praying. Over time, it will become the habitual rut in which you live your life.

- From John Piippo, Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (Kindle Locations 3636-3652). 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Prayer and Potato Chips


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Monroe, MI

There was a man in our church named Floyd. Floyd died several years ago. It was my privilege to do his funeral. When I met with Floyd’s wife, Grace, she shared something I had never heard before. 

“Floyd,” she said, “was a thankful person who was always thanking God for what he had been given.” 

Floyd had not come from a wealthy family. As I heard about him and his thankful heart, it reminded me of my mother who, as a young girl, sometimes received only an orange for a Christmas present, and cherished and savored it, and was thankful. 

How deep did Floyd’s heart of thanks run? “Whenever we had snacks, like potato chips,” said Grace, “Floyd would stop, bow his head, and thank God as the bag of chips was passed to him.” 

“You’re kidding me, right?” I said. “Floyd would give thanks, in front of everyone, for potato chips?!!” 

“Yes. He was grateful to God for anything that came his way.” 

I thought: I’m not that thankful. I take too many things for granted. “For granted” - to expect someone, or something, to be always available to serve you in some way without thanks or recognition; to value someone, or something, too lightly. 

To “take something for granted” - to expect something to be available all the time, and forget that you have not earned it. 

A “for granted” attitude presumes. A “for granted” attitude has a sense of entitlement. Like: “I am entitled to these potato chips.” 

“For granted” - to fail to appreciate the value of something. 

“Entitlement” - the belief that one is deserving of certain privileges. Like: “I deserve these potato chips.” 

Floyd, it seems, had no sense of entitlement, as if God owed him something. He didn’t take provision, in any form, for granted. From that framework, giving thanks logically follows. And, in yet another “great reversal,” God is deserving of, and entitled to, our praise and thanksgiving. God, for Floyd, was not some cosmic butler whose task was to wait on him, and make sure he was satisfied with the service. 

The apostle Paul instructed us to “always give thanks for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”418 “For everything” is all-inclusive. Nothing exists outside the realm of “for everything.” Everything is a gift from God, even my very life, even my eyes as I read this, and my breath as I inhale. If I gave thanks for everything, my gratitude would be unceasing. 

If I realized how God-dependent I actually am, I would stop now and say, “Thank you.” And then, in my next breath, I would say it again.

- John Piippo, Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (Kindle Locations 3589-3612). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Moving From Self-Hatred to Self-Forgiveness

My backyard - a light at the end of the tree tunnel

There are things in my past that I wish I would have done differently, words I wish I would have spoken, and words I wish I would not have said. I'm thinking of one of my past failures right now. The good news is that I am not hating myself for it. 

If you struggle with self-hatred I recommend Everett Worthington's - Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free From the Past. Worthington is Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a follower of Jesus.

I can never hear enough about forgiveness. I need it for myself. And I need more wisdom in dispensing it to others.

I meet many who cannot forgive themselves from past failures, whether real or imagined. Un-self-forgiveness is a mental and spiritual assassin. Self-forgiveness rooted in God's great act of forgiveness in Christ is liberating.

Self-forgiveness will free you from guilt. "Sometimes guilt arises over unrealistic expectations and standards of perfection that none of us can achieve. When you are able to forgive yourself, that weight is lifted." (Worthington, p. 45)

Self-forgiveness will free you from self-blame. "Self-forgiveness frees you from the chattering, accusing voice in your head." (Ib., 46)

Self-forgiveness will free you from stress-related illness. "Self-forgiveness can improve your health, and here’s why. Holding on to self-condemnation elevates your stress, which has been associated with a long list of physical and psychological harm." (Ib.)

Self-forgiveness can liberate you from alcohol misuse. "Forgiveness of the self might be, for alcoholics, the most difficult type of forgiveness to achieve. But if they were able to do so, it could help control their drinking." (Ib., p. 47)

Self-forgiveness can liberate you from accusation. "By bringing our sins to God and receiving God’s forgiveness, we can then forgive ourselves and we can rest in the knowledge that the accusations of Satan are groundless. If we forgive ourselves, we can silence the oppressive voice of the enemy." (Ib., 47)

Self-forgiveness provides freedom for flourishing. "By not being so wrapped up in self-condemnation, you can enjoy more pleasurable and positive experiences." (Ib.)

Self-forgiveness provides freedom for focusing on God. "Instead of being wrapped up in condemning yourself for past failures, you can seek God and enjoy that relationship." (Ib.)

Self-forgiveness provides freedom for focusing on others. "Self-forgiveness allows you to focus on others, with the goal of helping to meet their needs." (Ib., p. 48)

Self-forgiveness provides freedom for health. "Self-forgiveness provides energy and vitality. It supplies both a freedom from the past and a forward-thinking orientation that helps you seek the benefits of exercise, a healthy diet, and energetic work." (Ib.)

Self-forgiveness provides freedom for a better quality of life. "Self-forgiveness can matter greatly in enhancing one’s quality of life." (Ib., 50)

Self-forgiveness provides freedom for peace. "People who continue to wrestle with self-blame are unsettled. They find it difficult to exhale and relax. Forgiving yourself will help you live at peace." (Ib.)

Worthington cites empirical studies supporting these conclusions. Why, given the great benefits of self-forgiveness, would anyone choose to wallow in self-condemnation? 
Why is forgiving ourselves so hard? 

Worthington says there are two kinds of self-forgiveness: decisional, and emotional. 


In the first you no longer seek retaliation against yourself. You choose to not punish yourself for past failings. Instead, you choose to value yourself. 

In emotional self-forgiveness you replace negative, unforgiving emotions with positive emotions toward yourself. "It is emotional self-forgiveness that cools the heat of anger in your heart; it’s what Corrie ten Boom referred to as “the temperature of the heart.” The emotions we use to replace negative, unforgiving emotions are empathy, sympathy, compassion, and love for ourselves." (Worthington, p. 52) 

Why are these things so difficult to do?

Worthington cites studies showing that forgiving yourself is different from forgiving others. It is harder to forgive yourself than to forgive others. He writes:

"When you attempt to forgive someone else for an offense, you are adopting the viewpoint of the forgiver. The wrongdoer, of course, is someone other than yourself. However, when you try to forgive yourself, you have to operate from two points of view— both forgiver and wrongdoer. Holding contrasting points of view at the same time is a strain. It is hard to bounce back and forth from one perspective to the other." (Ib., p. 54)

In forgiving someone else we are not with them (for the most part) 24/7. But we are with our own selves  and thoughts all the time. We can't get away from ourselves. This can make forgiving ourselves harder than forgiving others.

Worthington says self-forgiveness is harder because we have "insider information"; i.e., we have information about who we really are. "The fact is, we know too much about ourselves. We know that we are capable of repeating the same wrong even when we know how hurtful it is. We also know that, as much as we profess love for God, we are like Paul who wrote: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7: 15). That is, we know the weakness of our will to do the right thing." (Ib., 55)

Self-forgiveness is different and in some ways harder than other-forgiveness because:

1. We live with ourselves 24/7. That is, we live constantly with the one who has hurt us, which is us.

2. We have insider information about our own self that we cannot have when it comes to others.


How, then, can we forgive ourselves? Worthington gives Six Steps to Self-forgiveness. They are: 

STEP 1 - Receive God's Forgiveness

  • Go to God for understanding (the task is too big to handle alone)
  • Go to God with regret, remorse, and repentance

STEP 2 - Repair Relationships

  • Take responsibility (you are not the model citizen you'd like to be)
  • Confess to any you have hurt (admitting you're in the wrong goes far in turning things around)
  • Make amends through responsible compassion (thinking of others can help you make things right)

STEP 3 - Rethink Ruminations

  • It's not necessarily helpful to wrestle with the Almighty
  • Adjust perfectionistic standards and unrealistic expectations (Worthington shows how to do this. Getting real about yourself moves the process forward.)
STEP 4 - REACH Emotional Self-forgiveness

  • Worthington shows how to move from saying it to feeling it, using the acronym REACH:

1. Recall the hurt. 
2. Empathize with yourself by considering the reasons that you disappointed yourself. 
3. Give yourself the same Altruistic gift you would give other people— understanding and forgiving. 
4. Commit to the emotional self-forgiveness that you experience in order to … 
5. Hold on to self-forgiveness if you ever doubt that you have forgiven yourself. (207)

STEP 5 - Rebuild Self-acceptance

  • Live in the truth that you are deeply flawed and also valuable beyond belief
STEP 6 - Resolve to Live Virtuously
  • Live virtuously, but give yourself room to fail
And through it all, remember Galatians 5:1 - "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."

Pastors Do Not Minister to Human Changing Desires


Chicago

As a pastor....

I am not the minister of peoples' changing desires,

or time-conditioned understanding of our needs, 

or secularized hopes for something thing better. 

I am lashed tight to the mast of word and sacrament so I will  be unable to respond to the siren voices of relevance. 

I deal with foundational realities - God, kingdom, gospel. 

If I give in to the ever-shifting sands of populism I'll end up living a futile, fantasy life. 

My task is to keep telling the basic story, representing the presence of the Spirit, insisting on the priority of God, speaking the biblical words of command and promise and invitation."

- Adapted from Eugene H. Peterson. Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity (Kindle Locations 244-249). 

Thirty Day Declaration Experiment - June 2018




For the month of June at Redeemer we are doing Steve and Wendy Backlund's Thirty Day Declaration Experiment

June 1- June 30. 

Go here to sign up - http://ignitinghope.com/30-day-declarations-experiment/.

AND... I'll preach and teach on this, this coming Sunday at Redeemer. Philippians 4:8-9:


...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things. 
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, 
or seen in me—put it into practice. 
And the God of peace will be with you.

Monday, May 28, 2018

In Praying, Remember

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Tiger Swallowtail, Yellow springs, Ohio
(From John Piippo, Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God, Chapter 13, "Praying and Remembering.")

I was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My parents moved to Rockford, Illinois, when I was a year old. That’s where I lived for the next twenty years. The streets of Rockford were my holy ground. Whenever I return to Rockford I like to walk in my old neighborhood. I’ve done this many times, carrying my journal and camera with me. 

We lived on a cul de sac. The address was 3012 20th Avenue. Our phone number was 399-7931. These particulars, minä muistan. ("I remember," in Finnish)

Adjacent to our house was 25th Street Park. I loved that park! I spent countless hours playing there with my friends. That was the late 1950s and 1960s. I have not forgotten. 

I am thankful for my childhood. I could not wait for school to end and summer to begin! I had fun, adventure, and growth in a world without the Web. We had TV, but only three stations. Reception depended on which way the antenna on the roof was pointing. My father had to climb on the roof to adjust the picture. 

I played from sun-up to sundown. I hear my mother’s voice calling me in the dark - “John, it’s time to come in!” 

As I walk down 20th Avenue, my five senses recall. My parents are dead, but I smell my mother’s cooking. We rarely ate out. For me that was no loss, since I’ll eat from my parents’ table any time. 

Mom loved to cook, and loved to watch us enjoy her creations. Her esteem came from providing and home-making. She taught me how to make mashed potatoes. I’ve never met a mashed potato that measured up to my mother’s. In her cooking I encountered Platonic Forms, by which all shadowy, insubstantial culinary efforts were judged. 

I walk to Rolling Green School, where I attended kindergarten through fourth grade. Then to Whitehead Elementary School, Jefferson Junior High School, and finally, to Rockford East High School. Whitehead and Jefferson were brand new when I was there. Now, they have aged. Everything here is older. I see the same trees, but they are bigger. My parents are buried in a cemetery a few miles from here. I am older.

One year my father brought home a small pine tree he dug up from the family farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He planted it at 3012 20th Avenue. It was so small I could jump over it. Now, sixty years later, it’s tall. I walk past, pluck a pine cone, and take it with me back to Michigan. One of these cones made it to my office. I left it there for years. On occasion I held it, and thought of my father and mother and family. It is good to do this. I will never forget where I have come from. 

Remembering is sweet for me. I know that’s not so for everyone, but it is for me. Therefore, I remember. 

I remember loving, hard-working parents. I remember how they looked after me, and fed me, and clothed me. I remember my mother taking me to a store named Goldblatt’s to buy a madras shirt and a pair of Levi’s jeans. I remember my father, every winter, making an ice rink in our back yard. I remember every square inch of that small yard that I mowed and played in. I remember my mother making “pasties” and fruit pies. 

I remember my father hitting baseballs to me in the park. I remember my neighborhood friends, and every crack in the sidewalk on 20th Avenue. I remember going to our Lutheran Church, and having my father as a Sunday School teacher. I remember the smell of the brand new ‘55 Chevy dad bought - two-toned green. I remember our pet dog “Candy.” I remember sharing a bedroom with my brother Mike. 

I do not forget. 

Spiritually, “remembering” is foundational. Remembering is core Judeo-Christian activity. This is not about “nostalgia.” I don’t dwell in the past, or long for a return to it. My many returns to walk in the old neighborhood are sacred. They are holy. “Holy” means: “set apart.” A tiny, mundane piece of earth becomes the center of the universe, the place where God manifests his glory and presence. 

Remembering, as essential covenant activity, is not really about the past. My memory-walk is a full-bodied eschatological event. To understand the future and to have hope, I must remember the past and where I came from. I am a hopeful person today because of my past, a childhood filled with days of expectancy. As I walk these earthly streets I think of the new heaven and new earth that is to come. It will be a safe, loving, playful, and adventurous place. My entire family will be there. I rejoice. 

I remember Christ, and what God, in Jesus, has given me. I remember the “rescue.” I remember what the Lord has done. The Lord has done great things for me, and I am filled with joy. 

Remembering creates expectation. Expectation concerns hope. Hope is future-oriented. 

As I pray, I remember the deeds of the Lord, in my life.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Prayer as Re-membering

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I took this photo of a woman praying i Jerusalem

Remembering is a spiritual discipline. When we give thanks, it's an act of prayer often associated with something God has done for us. 

Prayer-remembering is about the past. When that past is positive, it is accompanied with thanksgiving. We remember how God re-membered us, how God put us back together when we were falling apart.

To re-member something, literally, would be to "member again" that which has become dismembered. Parts that were once together because they were meant to be together, got separated, but now are rejoined.

When I pray I am often re-minded (I am mindful again) of something that has "left my mind." God brings something to mind, and I am re-membered. 

This is good. It is clarifying and focusing when this happens. In prayer, in the God-appointment, God puts pieces of life back together again. God's Spirit achieves, in the act of praying, a great unifying.

I don't think you have to try or strive to re-member. Rather, as you consistently meet with God, conversing together in the slow-cooked prayer exchange, a re-membering will take place, by the Spirit. This has been, and remains, my ongoing experience.

This is good news, and provides an incentive to pray. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put you back together again, but God can. As you pray God will put the pieces of your life and life in the kingdom back together again. (As some have said, to pray is to change.)


***

My Two Books (and Two More to Come)


Image result for john piippo books

My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God (May 2016)

Leading the Presence-Driven Church (January 2018)

I am now writing:

How God Changes the Human Heart

Technology and Spiritual Formation

Image result for john piippo books

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ireland Votes to Kill Babies

In America I, like you, have rights. For example, I have certain "unalienable rights," three of which are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I have the right to "pursue happiness" as long as it is not illegal, and I do not violate the rights of other persons.

I do not have the right to kill persons who pose no threat to my existence. I do have "rights," but they do not include killing people. In this sense persons come before my rights.

Ireland, apparently, sees this differently. In Ireland, "my rights" come before persons. See "Ireland Votes to legalize Abortion in Blow to Catholic Conservatism." Or: "Ireland Votes to Kill Babies."

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said:

“This has been a great exercise in democracy...  We want a modern constitution for a modern country, and that we trust women and that we respect them to make the right decisions and the rights choices about their own health care.”

Yes, women have the right to make good decisions about their own health care. But women do not have the right to kill babies, not if the babies are persons. Just as I do not have the right to kill my neighbors, them being persons.

Pay attention please: THAT IS THE ISSUE

The issue is not "my rights" or "women's rights." It's this: is the inborn life a "person?" If it is, then case closed, because abortion is murder. And if it is not, then, following Peter Singer, not only should killing inborn life be allowable, it even follows rationally that in some cases euthanizing newborn babies is nonproblematic. (See "Peter Singer's Argument for Infanticide.") 

This has nothing to do with being "modern." What has modernity to do with moral values? Nothing, according to Plato, who argued for philosopher-kings instead of unenlightened majority rule.

This is a philosophical and religious issue, not a scientific one. (Because from science one cannot derive moral values.)

On this check out "Abortion: A Logical Argument." 



Irish women rejoicing because now they can kill their inborn children

Remembering as a Cure for Fear

Dandelion seeds in my front yard


Linda’s mother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for many years. This horrible illness caused her to slowly lose her memory. One result of her memory loss was an increase of fear. 

One afternoon Linda, her mother Martha, her father Del, and I were shopping in a mall. At one point Linda and Del left for an hour to shop together, while I stayed with Martha. We sat together for a minute, and then she looked at me, her eyes filled with panic, and asked, “Where’s Del?!” 

“He’s shopping with Linda. He’ll be right back,” I responded. 

This put Martha at ease. But only for a few minutes. Forgetting what I had just said, Martha looked at me again, and asked, “Where’s Del?” 

“He’s with Linda. He’ll be right back.” 

This happened several times in an hour, with Martha forgetting, me reminding her, she calming down, then forgetting and filled with fear, asking “Where’s Del?”, and me reminding her again. Martha not only had forgotten what I said to her, she had forgotten a more basic truth, which was: in Del, she had a husband who would never, ever, leave her or forsake her. He was always by her side, Alzheimer’s or not.  

There is a “spiritual Alzheimer’s disease” which results in forgetting the many times God has rescued and delivered us, provided for us, and been with us. Such forgetting breeds fear. The more one forgets the deeds of God in one’s own life, the more one becomes fearful in the present moment. 

The antidote to this is: remembering

“Remembering” is huge in the Old Testament. The post-Exodus experience of Israel is grounded in remembrance. The Jewish festivals are remember-events, such as Passover, when the head of the household sits with his family and asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” In response, the past is recounted, and we hear again how God delivered their people out of bondage in Egypt. This remembering, reminding them of God’s past faithfulness, brings fresh hope. 

My spiritual journal functions as the written memory of the voice and deeds of God, in my life. I take time every year to re-ponder my journals. In doing so, I remember what God has done for me, how he has delivered me from bondage, and how he has answered many of my prayers. I re-read of past times when I was afraid, or worried, and then re-read how God came through, and my worry dissipated. 

I do not, I will not, forget the deeds of the Lord in my life. The spiritual discipline of remembering brings renewed hope in the present, defeating the onset of spiritual Alzheimer’s disease.

- From my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God, Chapter 13, "Praying and Remembering" 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pastors are Facilitators of Transcendence

I took this picture of the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul

People need the Lord. Therefore, introduce people to the Lord. How can this happen?

1. Know the Lord yourself. Cultivate the God-relationship. Abide in Christ, hourly.


2. Teach people how to enter into the presence of God. Show them how to abide in Christ.


3. Tend the garden. The abiding person's life will bear much fruit.


That's it. 


That's all a pastor-shepherd needs to do. 

This is about the Presence-Driven Church, which is the only church worth living for. (During Jesus' time the Temple fell because the religious leaders shut the door to the presence of God.) 

Pastors facilitate this. Pastors facilitate transcendence.


I like how Jame MacDonald writes about this.



"Transcendence is the best single word I have found to describe the attributes of God that are found only in Him and what is missing too often from our churches. We are facilitators of transcendence. Our main job is to usher in the Almighty— God forgive us when we have settled for less. When transcendence is welcomed and unveiled, no one even notices the program, the preacher, or other people. Anything resembling performance seems out of place. Because all that is visible is eclipsed by what is not: God Himself moving through the church in power and meeting with His people in manifest ways.  (MacDonald, Vertical Church: What Every Heart Longs for, What Every Church Can Be, Kindle Locations 498-502)

***
My two books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

You Need to Change if Things Are Going to Get Better

Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya

J. Doe (not their real name) contacted me. J said they wanted help. Their marriage was failing.

But J did not really want help. To be helped, J would have to change. In J's eyes, their spouse, K. Doe, was the problem. K needed to change, not J. J wanted me to affirm their ways of doing marriage, and join them in blame-heaping their significant other.

I told J, "If you want your marriage to be rescued and upgraded, you will need to change some things. You will need to do things differently." 

I gave J this assignment: Make a list of things you have done wrong in your marriage. A list of things you have done to hurt K. Then, confess them one by one, asking for forgiveness for each one. 

I told K to do the same thing.

I gave J and K a few additional instructions.

The underlying idea here is: If J and K keep doing marriage the way they have been, the results will be the same. J and K both need to learn new skills if their marriage is to come together.

J refused to follow my counsel. 

J contacted me and asked to meet again. I explained that J had not followed through on our first session. I am not J's counselor if J refuses to follow my counsel. We would not meet again.

J was a hammer, K was a nail. This was their marriage. 

Both needed to change. 

Change is hard. 

Life without ongoing change in the right direction is harder.


***
For further reading see - 

The First Two Steps In Relationship Restoration


Community Is Where Humility and Glory Touch

Image result for john piippo community
With Al Willingham in Eldoret, Kenya

The Real Jesus called forth a community to dwell in and work through, not a bunch of isolated, detached individuals. Call this “church.” Ekklesia

Ek + kaleo. The called-out-by-Christ people of God. 

Effective, Jesus-indwelt community requires individual and corporate humility. Every single person in the totality abandons themselves to the will, and ways, of God. This is Real Church. It’s a Communal Movement. 

I have met community-rejecting Christians who refuse to assemble with other believers. In this, they are biblical and theological apostates, no matter how bad they were treated. They have chosen pride over humility, bitterness over forgiveness, division over reconciliation, and fear over faith. 

If community-despising is in you and you don’t want to let it go, I suggest you not get a praying life. Because if you commit to praying, God will break your heart about this. This will be the initial thing God does for you. This is crucial, because his glory refuses to descend on a proud heart. Rather, God’s glory graces the humble heart. 

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”(James 4:6) God graces and blesses the humble. This is community language. 


How very good and pleasant it is 
when kindred live together in unity! 
It is like the precious oil on the head, 
running down upon the beard, 
on the beard of Aaron, 
running down over the collar of his robes. 
It is like the dew of Hermon, 
which falls on the mountains of Zion. 
For there the LORD ordained his blessing,     
life forevermore. 

Psalm 133:1-3

The humble, unified Jesus Community can expect to experience God’s… 
• blessing 
• grace 
• glory 
• presence 
• leading 
• power 
• love 

Fellowship is where a lot of the action happens. Community is where humility and glory touch. Be praying for your Jesus Community, and your place in it.

(From John Piippo, Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God, Kindle Locations 3145-3171)