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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Apple

This is going to be a weird post, but I'm weird and I live in a weird area of town.


For those of you who don't know, I live in the ghetto.  I'm not exaggerating here at all.  Most of the customers at the Taco Bell that I work at are strung out, homeless, or prostitutes.  Many times they are all three.   I'm seeing a different side of life than one I grew up in, and I'm exposed to much more than I've ever been.   I'm a country boy in the "big city" of Charlotte.

  One of our normal customers is a cross dresser named Apple.  Apple dresses like a woman, but is a man, and sells himself every night.  Apple is banned from most of the restaurants down the street, so he find himself in Taco Bell a lot.   We are always having to wake Apple up because he works all night and has no place to live.  Apple is the sweetest customer we have, which is why we tolerate him sleeping in the lobby on slow mornings.  Apple has some crazy friends that hang out with him, including his boyfriend and another crossdresser.

  I see this crowd all hours of the night as I'm going to and from work, and it's quite obvious how they get their money.  They stay in a hotel when they get enough, but it's nothing for them to go a few days with any sleep.

I'm sure Apple is not Apples real name, but that's all I know him by so that's what we'll call him.  Anyways, now that all the background information is out of the way, I wanted to start sharing my experience today.    Apple was the first customer of the day, and had just left when I left at 4:30.  He slept for a few hours on and off and kept ordering food.   When I was cleaning the lobby I asked him how he was. He told me he was worn out.  

 He had a crazy night the night before.  (I'm pretty sure all of his nights are crazy.)  Her exact words were  "Der was dis main shooten paaple urp n da hertells round her, so i hadda find ma bayfrand and get ma monay safe!  I was runna far ma life and this white man was chassen after me.  I was like ohhh naw, not tonight mathaf***er.  I turn round and show em urp.  I aint got no d@^^m sleep last night"

If you need a translation : There was a man shooting people in the hotel last night around here, so I found my boy friend and I gave him my money to keep it safe.  I was running for my life but then I turned and fought back, but I did not get any sleep at all.

  This was the first time we talked other than "May I take your order, please."   I take hundreds of orders a day, and everyone blurs together and I just see them as an order to fill and get out the window and to the front counter.   After this conversation with Apple, I realized that Justin and I are the only light shining in the darkness.  The people around here are hopeless, but it's been changing in our apartment complex.  My next door neighbor, who also sells drugs, told me that she never saw kids playing till this year.  Now the kids are all over the place because it's safer.  All that's happened is two crazy white people moved in and started keeping the place clean. I got tired of seeing condoms all over the place, so I started keeping the parking lots clean and the children came out.  There is something spiritual about children being out the brings light and the presence of the Father down.  This apartment complex is a huge untouched mission field that no one is trying to reach.  I mean at all.  There are literally kids here that have never heard the name of Jesus! Talking to Apple today broke my heart because Apple is better than the life he is choosing to live.  I could never live that lifestyle, and I know it takes it toll on him.   It also breaks the heart of our Father.  Abba LOVES and ADORES Apple.  He wants to hold Apple in His arms and be the father that Apple never had.  So in my journey right now, I am in a place where I can and I have to make a difference.   I'm excited because I'm making July the start of the mission minded living, and I'm going to start pouring my money, energy and time into the people around us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A new vision.

One thing has been highlighted in my life over the past few months, and really it's been the underlying theme in this blog,  is newness,  fresh starts, a new journey,  and adventure.  A new vision has been something my spirit has been craving and gaining a new vision has become my vision for the time.

   I have felt the need for a fresh start since the move to Charlotte.   We arrived Easter weekend. It was so amazing, we packed everything in the truck Friday and we had everything out of the boxes Sunday morning just before church.  It was new day at a new church in a new city, and having it happen on Resurrection Sunday was without a doubt a prophetic picture of what is happening in my life.   The irony of packing our stuff into the U-Haul Friday night and having it emerge from the boxes Sunday morning is also obviously something that I pay attention to.  It was like our lives were being buried and and resurrected that Sunday, and the feeling of new life as we rode down 77 on the way to Morningstar was so strong in my heart. It was that morning that I knew I was in the center of God's will and that a new life had started.

     This has been something that has driven my relationship with Him to new levels.  I'm seeing more of Him, knowing more of Him, feeling more of Him.  My relationship with Him has evolved to to a place of rest and security I had never known.  His presence and life have been breathed into me in a new way.   I've taken so many steps forward, but I must be honest and say that for the most part they are baby steps.  A lot of the same junk is in my face, but it's less and less.  I'm awakening to the true me more and more, and as I do that, the fake me that the world created is dying.

Newnes.  Rebirthing.  Birthing.   Those are not just words that describe God's heart for just my life alone, but for the whole body.  The whole body needs a place of restoration and awakening.  Religion has molested us.  It has killed us.  It has violated our hearts and our relationship with God.  Yet the most dangerous thing it as done as been offending us.  Or caused us to be offended.   We are a generation marked by offence.  Not just the young, but all who live in this time have struggled with offence in deep ways.   The church has hurt us all.  We have been hurt, and many times it's been a deep hurt that was very painful and real. The bible tells us clearly that this is a time that offence will run rampid.  The bible says that offence will cause our hearts to grow cold.   This is the ultimate end of religion.  A cold, dead, offended heart.   Religion not only points you in the right direction for offence, it walks you to the door of that molester and helps in you ease in.  Our hearts our growing cold.  Our love is growing weak. and it's because we are so easily offended.

   It's crazy how easily I have seen people leave a church, leave a family, and drop a relationship over minor issues.  If something is clear in scripture, sure it's worth fighting for, but I've seen people battle tooth and nail over non-issue things scar the body in the process.

There is a cure.   The cure is to wake up.  Wake up to our wrongness.  Wake up to His being right.  Waking up is the only option.   Or I should say, allow ourselves to wake up.  The Father is already calling and stirring, all we need to do is stop resisting. Coming to Christ was not an action, it was a surrender.  I stopped existing to sin. Before I resisted Christ, now I just give in.   We need to surrender to the alarm clocks that God is waking this nation with.

  I really believe God is about to do something BRAND NEW.   Bob Jones had a word at church this Sunday about new fruit that has never been in the world before, and then Tom Hardiman preached a word that was right in line with that, and both were confirmation to what I have been feeling in my heart.  Newness.

I'm going to stop rambling with this.  God is doing something new.  We need to catch hold of it.  Letting go of the old wineskin is important.   It's crucial.  We have to be willing to be adventurous and bold. This is not a time for cowards but for lions.  It's time to wake up.  It's time to surrender to new life.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quitting

If you're working for Jesus, than it's about time you quit.   I mean that in a very liberal way that I'm sure people as soon as they read it are going to assume one thing and not read what I actually wrote, but hey, this is my blog and it's about my journey so I'm saying things the way I want to.

     If you are laboring under a hard yoke or burden, that's demonic.  If you are feeling the "burden of the Lord"  That's demonic.  In fact, Jeremiah 23:28 says so point blank, saying "You SHALL not say you are under the burden of the Lord."

   I'm all about works. Love them.  But I'm more about God.  I'm more about love.  And I enjoy the works that my love for God produces.   I understand that works are a part of my walk with God, but they are the fruit of the relationship, not the roots.  I don't work for Jesus, I love Jesus.  I'm not a slave, I'm a friend.  Jesus point blank at the Last Supper said.  "You are not my slaves, but my friends."  Point blank.  Out of the mouth of Christ.  No escaping it.  I don't mind repenting of sin, I don't mind turning my life around for Jesus. I don't mind giving to the poor, or volunteering at the church.   I don't mind these works.  I love my devotional life where I read the Word daily and I take notes and I spend time with Him everyday.  I'm not escaping works.  I'm embracing them the way they were intended to be embraced.  As a wonderful delicious fruit of a healthy relationship with Christ.

  However, we are raised to look at those fruit.  We are indeed suppose to judge the roots of our brothers by the fruit.  But we have taken our attention so off the roots that many of don't put them into the equation.  We are producing worse and worse fruit.  We think picking off the bad will make more good.  But any farmer will tell you, if the problem is the root, don't mess with the fruit.   We need to really readjust our thinking about works and how they play out in our lives.  They are never a way into a deeper glory.  They are never a key to another whelm.  They are always the product of healthy roots. I have dozens of garden analogies that I'm not going to bore you with, but I'm going to say the church should really think about growing some gardens and we might learn a thing or two about God.  I honestly know my view of works is wrong.  It's broken, and it messed up.  But it's better than it was yesterday, and maybe oneday I'll be able to understand and share what works are.  I just know we've got it wrong.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This is not the post I meant to write.

I was going to right a different blog tonight, but this is on my heart and this is suppose to be more about my journey, so this is where I am at right now and this is what's on my mind.


ABC.   When I was young, I was taught the ABC's of becoming a Christian.  Admit.  Believe.  Confess.  Of course I've grown and realize a lot of things now, even about this formula. This is taught in every church I had ever went to, and is works based.  It was taught to me at VBS, and I was given pamphlets to share with my friends and school.  But this is wrong. It's death and religion.  The ABC formula about getting to Heaven states three simple things

1. You have to admit.
2. You have to believe.
3. You have to confess.

Read it again.  This is a formula about what YOU have to do.  It's a man centered formula about getting into Heaven on what YOU do.  These things are part of the Kingdom, but they are not how you enter it.  These things are religion. Religion is a man based system of reaching something that is already available for us all. I would have never thought that these things were demonic, but now that I am older, having put childish things away, I see now that this is bondage. It uproots hidden theology in our own hearts. It exposes the fact that we are unaware of what has already been given to us and are still trying to earn it.  I am not saying that those who taught me this are demonic.  They were all amazing people that I love and cherish and will see in Heaven.  But this is misguided to say the least.

   The "formula" to entering into Heaven, if there were to be such a thing, is by God.  It's not by doing anything.  Works will not at all change your salvation.  I'm not saying that you never have to admit, believe, or confess, I'm just saying those things are not our entry way into Heaven, which I think most people who read this blog would agree with me.  I believe that those things are a product of a relationship, and not the foundation of it.

The way the "ABC formula" is laid out is that our efforts are the foundation, but it's not at all.  To form a relationship with God, our works of admitting, believing and confessing are the tools that form our bond. But God's love is the foundation.  Anyone who knows me knows this is a soap box of mine, and I could talk about the light and love of God for hours and days even, but that's not the point of what I'm saying here. What  I'm saying here is that the foundation is not by our own works of admitting, believing, or confessing.  If we believe, it's only because He is known, and if we admit, it's only because He has drawn is to, and if we confess, it's only because He has shined His light in our darkness so that we may see.

I posted about how demonic so many of the things I grew up being taught were, and a woman asked, "what things are demonic"  I replied that the works based message  was one of the main issues, which has worked it's way into every area of my life, including my relationship with this particular woman. What's ironic is that this person, who claimed that there was no works based mentality, did not want to be a part of my life due to my works.  How she viewed me was based on my actions. Works based theology is poison.  It poisons our view of God, and it overflows into every area of our lives.  We hold others up to same strict standard that we apply to ourselves. We feel the need the work and perform in church, in hopes of a better reward.

This propaganda traps people into unhealthy relationships in churches that need to leave, but are in a co dependent state with the congregation where they need each other in unhealthy ways that we were not meant to need each other.  We begin to fill voids that we can't.

This is just a little post about a much bigger issue, which I plan on dissecting and throwing out into this blog into smaller portions.   The place where I am at right now is un rooting all of this.  I have spent my whole life earning a reward that is already mine.  I have labored in my brothers vineyard and Papa is calling me to a place of rest.  Rest.  I really don't know what that looks like, but I look forward to finding out.