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what I owe myself
03/26/2008 06:47 p.m.
http://www.bloglines.com/blog/Bigroof?id=47 So what will I do with my existential crisis? I f you don't know what I'm talking about go read the previous three of four posts before the last one (March 21).

I have struggled with a lack of a sense that prayer will do any good. I have had a sort of general bad mood. I feel my life lacks direction and meaning (besides that, I'm doing great).

Oh crap, then there is the memory of what I've told so many others. There are some things we owe to ourselves just because we owe it to ourselves.

It seems like there are a lot of things I'm told I ought to do by others (or myself) because I owe it to God or the church. "You ought not look at pornography (I don't, but sometimes the want to comes up in my heart) because somehow that would be unfair to God." Or you ought to tithe because the church needs it and you ought to support the church (this works surprisingly well in some circles)"

There are cultural imperatives, "you ought to set the table with the knife to the right (blade facing in) because that's the way it ought to be done." "You ought not to eat with your mouth open."

But something we/I (big I) owe to ourselves is to take the time to figure out what, exactly, it is we/I owe to ourselves.

I find the urge to view pornography a lot more manageable when I examine it in terms of what I owe to myself. (a little side note of honesty here, I think even the best among us has, at times, had pornographic thoughts while going through the motions of worship, surrounded by Christians --if you enjoy much of that; it will lead you to other, more tangible, actions. Which, I think, you/I owe it to ourselves to avoid.)

What I'm trying to say is this: everyone needs to work out in their own heart and mind exactly what it is that they owe to themselves. It defines life. It is the answer to my existential struggle. Some people fancy me as a counselor, I do enjoy serving people into a greater blessing. What I enjoy is serving people into a deeper understanding of what they owe to themselves and how to attain it.

I owe it to myself to take some time and do some deep thinking about why these negatives have come up in my soul. They weren't so obvious four months ago.

I covet your prayers for me and I would like to know how to pray for you.

A little note here, I have labored with a friend of mine for years. Helping him into treatment centers, sheltering him in my home, getting warrants on him when he stole from me out of my home, etc. He is off drugs (maybe not pot) but not getting the life of joy that God passionately desires for him. I am wrung dry with serving him. He can't come to my house much because of numerous past betrayals, I could give him money if I choose but I cannot loan him money because of previous unpaid loans. I am wrung dry, ---but--- I can pray for him. I am praying that God will break off him the bitterness and unforgiveness he carries. I am starting to see a little crack in his facade. Aslan is on the move, it seems.

When all else fails, we/I owe it to ourselves to discover the power of prayer.

............or maybe even before all else fails.

I am currently Brooding
I am listening to nada

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faith vs freecell --winning
03/16/2008 01:12 p.m.
So, what do you (as in YOU) say to someone who is puny in faith? Maybe someone who complains, or just expresses a sense of non-connection with God.

Here's a mistake I've made and I resented it when people did this to me (another mistake) --the solution to your problem is to pray, read the Bible and go to church (or fellowship with believers). Well, that is true and not helpful at the same time --the perfect platitude; making the "counselee" feel worse and the "counselor" feel smug at the same time.

Why is it not helpful? I can only really speak with authority about myself --but since I'm arrogant enough to believe that everyone else's reactions (if they are the RIGHT reactions) are exactly like mine --I'll pontificate.

If the root problem were a lack of knowledge, the above wonderful answer would be a, well, wonderful answer. I think the problem is either one of faith or belief. If it is a faith issue, that comes down to belief too. Either I don't know what I'm talking about or I'm on to something, hmmm, I'm trying to figure out which is it.

If I'm having a problem praying, then telling me the answer is to pray is not going to work for me. If I'm not having a problem praying --that is feeling connected with God through prayer -- then I'm not having a problem --because --duh -- I'd just pray through it without your help. I wouldn't be talking to you about it, I'd be talking to God --AND getting the answer.

So, how do I want to be served when I have a belief issue? First, I want to be listened to and not given short, unworkable (to me) answers or advice. Then I'd like a little empathy please. My feelings may not be "legit" but, damnit, they are real to me. Sometimes, even often, that right there does the trick. Sometimes, that's all I need to feel you are the counseling savant. Careers have been based on this.

This post is starting to run long (for me). But I do want to share some really powerful (really!) methods for ministry to me (cause I'm the only one that matters anyway) when I'm having a crisis or faith or belief.

So maybe later today, or tomorrow, or next month. Come back for the sequel

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faith vs freecell --loosing "read this first"
03/16/2008 01:11 p.m.
Yeah, my spirit's kinda puny. I want to withdraw from the arena and forget about the fight.

so I guess I'll go pray about that. what I need is a faith that can turn to Christ when I feel like this and be honest with Him about what I need. I can ask Him for a different feeling or for a faith that can press on through this feeling.

What I observe so often is that when people don't feel a connection with God or a disconnection with prayer that they do what they feel. They withdraw, I do too --too much.

One time I was whining to God about all this --there were some things I wanted to pray about and I just couldn't seem to get it together to pray --I just felt no oompa in prayer, just flat,

"God, I just don't have any faith to pray. I just don't have any faith to pray about my need for faith, or my need to feel a connection with you".

being a bapterian-ist, I don't generally hear audible answers (never have yet) but I do get distinct impressions

"Michael, you just don't have any faith?"

"No, Sir"

"None at all?"

"no, Sir"

"you're talking to me"

"Well, yeah, that is some faith"

"How much faith did I tell you that you had to have?"

I'm starting to feel excited, "just a wittle, wittle bit"

"You bring your little bit of faith, you keep talking to me and we'll work this out together"

and He does

So that is some days and I'm trying to get on board with that today

pray for me

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peace and gaining spiritual authority
12/15/2004 03:02 p.m.
I believe this is a key that is setting me free as a person. If anyone could help me describe this any better it would be such an aid to me.

Last night I lost my ability to be a servant to my wife (it was her fault, honest) relative to keeping the kitchen clean. sometimes she makes the biggest freaking deals out of the smallest considerations (note: don't worry about needing her side, I will give you all the truth you'll ever need, honest. No one knows it better than me).

I think when I loose the capacity to be her servant I usually loose god's help in the situation. Why, because it is serving the idol of my heart that blocks me from serving, first her; but, ultimately, god. I cared more about the way I get treated than being her servant. So I cared more about the way I get treated than I care about god. This seems to take a lot of work --to recognize I have put something (the way I'm treated) before god.

I cannot change without god's help. This is what Im trying to do --when I see I've lost my capacity to be a servant, I take it to god. I confess to him I have an idol of my heart that I love more than him and ask him to help me repent (that, in itself, takes a lot of effort sometimes). I seek to make an offering to him of the very thing I desperately want (to be treated "nice"). I ask him to form in me a faith and a connection with him that would make it easy to turn loose of my standard for how king self should be treated and not loose my capacity to serve others no matter how I'm treated.

This does mean death to self but NOT death to self --I know, I know you're thinking, "huh". Well, it does mean letting completly go of my standard of how other people treat me in not loosing my capacity to serve them. It does NOT mean loosing my capacity to serve them by making them mad, or loosing my capacity to disagree with or oppose people; or even to stand up for myself in a context of serving them.

Stay with me, I know this is difficult but I'm almost done. This is what I'm finding (pray for me please that I presevere). That when god grants me an ability to not loose my capacity to serve him by serving others when they are hard to deal with --it gives me such peace and joy. Even when others don't change (often they won't) I still find a fulfilling connection with god and experience his power in other areas of my life.

When we loose ourselves in making it our business to serve god (letting go of how we are treated and continue to serve others from a heart of love), god makes it his business to promote our blessings.

please, please pray for me in pursuing a heart to offer to god when patricia buys millstone coffee for me when I told her starbucks (you see how hard it is for me)

does this make sense. I would do anything I know for people to have such a compelling peace from god that they could sacrifice all they are and have to know him. I'm working on it myself and I covet your prayers.

this is also posted on my blog "faith vs religion" http://www.bloglines.com/blog/Bigroof

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on being attacked
12/12/2004 10:20 p.m.

I have learned a lot and appreciate the opportuniy.

here's a story with a moral for T.A. on being attacked.  A man came to see me with a complaint about his treatment by another church member.  Having a great faith in the power of listening, I listened at great length, empathetically.  After a bit when I felt his emotions had calmed and he might be ready to listen in return; I tried to share something that I hoped would help him.

I shared with him that I felt he was sacrificing his spiritual authority.

Predictably he said, "HUH??!"

"Yeah", I shared again, "you are sacrificing your spiritual authority."

I believe God wants to get involved in our conflicts for our higher good.  My friend was aproaching his difficulty with another person from the approach of what he wanted, not from what God wanted.  God wants us to consider the interests of others as more important than our own.  (I don't believe this means to be a pacifist or to ignore that there are fundamentally evil people in the world to be resisted with all energy).  I am sure that when people attack me or my interests I need God's help in loving them (isn't that what I need if I am to consider their interests above my own).  When I am willing (through God's grace) to sacrifice my human interests in order to consider another's interests above my own; well friend that is a good bargain.  Because when we make it our business to put God's interests first, He makes it His business to promote ours.

If we want spiritual authority...  or to put it another way, if we want to be great in kingdom, we must be the slave of all.

It is the joy of my life to serve people in encouraging their spiritual authority; but it means I must convince them to die to self.  This approach to life is not only stupid if God will not get involved but also impossible.

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dealing with difficult people/groups
11/30/2004 02:06 a.m.

difficulties with people seem to be unavoidable in this life.  I find it helpful, in a difficulty with someone, to try to state what the problem is in a sentence or at least a paragraph.  the more concise the more cogent I think.

I also find this helpful with groups  --like churches.

I've often been in churches or groups where I "sense" something akilter, something off base or negative.  rather than ignoring it, I find I get several benefits from this exercise.

1) it helps me consider what blessing, what opportunity to sow to the spirit, what way God grants me to respond in a way to receive grace peace and power from Him.  In other words, God cares for me deeply and wants to draw me into a sense of His reality, a sense of connection with Him --through this difficulty.
2)maybe tangentially --it helps me keep a positive and joyful perspective --which is reality if God is real --I need a faith that can abound in joy in Christ no matter my circumstances
3) also tangentially --it helps me craft a response that is in my best interests

that said
one of the key problems I see in the Bible believing churches of our western culture

see if you agree with this

Our churches are not doing a good job of drawing her members into mission.  I don't mean a trip to some foreign land once in a while, I mean a mission that taps our energy and we could loose our lives in the serving of it.  I believe God wants to give to us such a mission.

What will happen to believers who have little sense of giving their lives away in mission to gain a greater measure of Christ.  Won't their sense of meaning in life revert to building and maintaining their own kingdom??

Is it not one of the highest callings of the Church of Jesus Christ to save believers from the dead end of building and maintaining their own kingdoms??

there are two aspects , the inward and outward.  I'm not suggesting that a sense of mission alone is what is needed in our fellowships.  Part of our sense of mission must include growing in the inward, growing closer to Christ.  If our labors or service do not flow from a connection with God it will in the end be unfulfilling.

What do you think of that?

The next thought is how to draw people into mission.  Take a look at II Corinthians 13:5  it appears to be a command to me but it doesn't explain how to do it.  The Bible gives 6 or 7 categorical, objective, differences between a believer and an unbeliever.  I wonder if you've ever had the opportunity to examine, for yourselves, from the Word the 6 or 7 differences between a believer and an unbeliever.  that would be, I think, how to obey II Cor 13:5.

I'b be delighted, if you are interested, to share with you what I think, from the Word, what those 6 or 7 differences are.  It's important to say, that you  wouldn't have to agree with me.  what I want to do is to conform myself to the word, so if we looked at it differently you'd be doing me a favor to tell me.  I know I'm wrong somewhere, just don't know where it is yet.

I am currently Happy
I am listening to hum of air purifier and tv in next room

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letter about loving the guy who stole my speakers
02/04/2004 03:52 p.m.



the grace and peace of God to you. I always enjoy talking with you, your honesty and questions challenge me to think through things.

I don't think I've sent this to you already, I'm not sure, so I'm sending it now.

So many people languish their lives away seeking happiness when what really satisfies is fulfillment. Fulfillment comes from, rather than seeking things FROM people and circumstances, seeking things FOR people and circumstances; and that takes effort and sacrifice. I am finding a wonderful liberty from expecting others to gratify me but rather when I serve (I'm not talking about being stupid, or "soft love" just trying to give everyone what they think they want) seeking something for people but expecting very little in retrun (i do expect a promise of fruit, which is giving from others that they want to give, expecting little in return).

I'm sure you've heard about all the things Pete has stolen from me. Well, he's calling me from jail. Consider this, when I set aside my desire to receive from Pete enough respect that he doesn't rob me, when I set aside my desire to be gratified in some way by Pete and I pursue loving Pete jsut as he is even if he never changes. Well to love Pete (for me) means getting God involved. When God gives me a love for Pete it gives me wonderful peace. I no longer have a lot invested in not being robbed or the loss I've suffered. I can rest in God to give me what I need. It also makes me connected with God, I feel a wonderful sense of His presence for I know I cannot give up my idols of self love without His help. When I love Pete, according to the Bible, when I give my life away expecting nothing I recieve everything. I recieve a power from on high to minister and see people freed from bondage. It brings me emotionally and spiritually into a place where I can relate to my world in a way that give fulfillment. I can love Patricia and my granddaughter, etc. in ways that sets them free. I couldn't buy that but I can participate, and when I see my sacrifice bear fruit in the lives of others it fulfills me and brings me into a circle of love with others that is incomparable.

By releasing people from my demands and expectations it brings me into a circle where people love me (sometimes maybe, but it is not required) and give with an incomparable freedom and grace. But first I must die to self.

that is where this stuff I'm sending you leads me, I'd be interested to know what you think of it.

my mood is wondreously liberated

I am listening to --

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I have friends that don't like me, and I love it
01/16/2004 11:17 a.m.

yeah, that's really true.  I like them and they think (I think???) they like me.  so what makes me think they don't like me, you ask.  Is this just paranoid rantings?

they don't like me number one, because when I speak they don't listen.  If I share a burden with them (and this is a group that shares burdens) they are quick to seek to "fix" me but not quick to listen to me.  If I tell them, no I don't think that's my problem, they argue with me.  I've even been told I'm resisting God.

Sometimes if I share some of the deep things of my heart it is interpreted in the MOST obnoxious way.  Like, trying to express that there is power in prayer, and being caracatured as a TV evangelist. (I know I sound like a whine-y teen age girl [no one loves me, boo hoo] stick with me there is something good at the end.  But it does get worse.

so why do I love it, here's the good part.  It has been the resource of peace and spiritual power for me.

may I ask you a question: what standard do you put on people who you can allow to teach you anything?  Are the possibly people in your orbit who could teach you something if you would just listen?  I learn from these people directly and wonderful (if you are reading this you know who you are but may not agree with me about the dislike thing, its my journal and I can assert what I want).  I am learning how to minister to people in wonderful and powerful ways and I see it bearing fruit in my life and service to others.  So I'm learing from people who don't like me but I am not learning by example.  These people have wonderful gifts of healing of souls but have been greatly offened by "the church" (join the freaking crowd) and they identify me (i'm supposing) with the chruch.  and they don't like the crutch, and so I am an offense to them.  but I don't mind, anymore.

It was real tough to deal with for a while.  but why did it bother me?  the truth is there is a part of my heart that wants to find meaning or validation or "life" in having people like me.  but no one could ever fully meet that need.  so when I'm not listened to or caracatured I ask God for a faith that can have peace being squelched by people that I love but cannot love me because of their history.  and God has given me wonderful peace, more than I've ever had before.  what would it do for you if people disliked you and treated you with disrespect and it proved to be no barrier in your heart to loving and serving them-- it would be a huge source of spiritual power, and that is what I've found and I find that I'm able to serve people to the breaking down of strongholds and seeing people set free.  And I LOVE seeing people set free.

how could I not love the friends who have brought about this blessing in my life.

and I also love religious prigs in the church.  my son asked me what was the difference between a church and a porqupine?  a porqupine has the pricks on the outside.  but what does that mean????


my mood is serene

I am listening to the HVAC hummmmmmmm

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what does love mean
12/10/2003 03:35 p.m.

thank you for your friendship, I wish time and distance would allow us to linger over strong coffee and laughter today

I'm sorta bummed today, God is showing me some things and asking me some questions.

My wife visits the ladies at the jail and prison, and she labors with a house for women getting out of jail and off drugs.  She doesn't expect much from these ladies, just that they reward her time by showing a hope of fruit.  When the hope of fruit in their lives is gone, so is Patricia.  Just a few will, after much labor, stand.

So if she labors with a woman, hoping for fruit, and the woman has a relapse or becomes willfully in sin then P doesn't get mad and usually not very sad; she turns to the next one.  and if that one that relapsed turns up again and again seems to exidence a possibility of fruit, Patricia will do anything she can for them to get this message.

so she doesn't expect much, they don't feed her ego or give her money, or much appreciation.  But when there is fruit, it is GLORIOUS.  and for that she labors.

I need to get to the same place about the church and my wife.  I think God is challenging me today about my commitment to Clemson Vineyard, (the church I attend but am not a member).  Can I serve CV and not expect anything but a place to search for and labor for a hope of fruit (of course the answer is an emphatic no; but if I yeild to God and allow Him to form in me a capacity to labor without any hope but a hope for fruit in others lives; then I can serve better, with more faith.  It is a process that transforms me into a bondservant and is a precussor for me, through faith, to still the storm and multiply the loves and fishes). 

And the same is true of my service tomy wife, to love my wife as Christ loved the church, not expecting anything but an opportunity to serve.  and when I die to my idols of self, and serve out of that death, and when I see the fruit that sacrifice bears in Patricia, the reward is GLORIOUS.

I'm seeking some roof repair today, if you feel like it you might pray that God will prosper my efforts.

God bless you

I am currently Better
I am listening to silence

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I've been bad
12/10/2003 03:50 a.m.

I confess I've been bad, real bad. I've been negative about the church. Negative in unproductive ways. It didn't bear good fruit and it wasn't what pleased the Lord. I am sorry for the way I have hurt others and I hope you'll forgive me. please pray for me.

what I needed to do then I seek to do now. Col. 1:28 " We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 for this purpose I labor...."

I wanted other people to get it right and I wanted to make them DO IT. I was wrong. I see an emphasis in this passage that was lacking in me and, I believe, is lacking in the church today. An emphasis on seeking "to present every man complete in Christ".

an emphasis on the individual.

Let me say emphatically; it is easy for me to state a need without assisting the church or you in how to do it. I have a strategy for performing this task, reaching the individual; it might not be the best strategy, but it is a starting place. I welcome your help in improving it. Please ask God right now if He would have you and I work together in improving our capacity to serve Him in "seeking to present every man complete in Christ".

trusting that people (IE: individuals) are going to "get it" or get what they need from the public proclimation of the word or the public ministry of the church is a false hope. The apostle Paul earnestly and diligently sought to relate to persons, one on one, and sometimes one on thousands. but he sought to relate in a way to each individual so that he could present that person to God as complete in Christ. This is an emphasis that is lacking in the church today, and that is tragically lacking in church leadership, and has been tragically lacking in me. It is certainly not my place to judge or blame.

May I remind you of John 6:28 "Therefore they said to Him, 'What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.' "

Do you feel an inability to be aggresively involved in "presenting one man complete in Christ". Do you feel like it's not your place, and even if it was you can't do it? The truth is neither you nor I can "do it" without Christ. But to attempt to minister to an individual in such a way as to build him or her up, that will take a growth in faith in Christ. When we feel like we can't accomplish something that God wants us to do where are we putting our faith? Aren't we putting more faith in our own inability than in God's power to accomplish through us? So what we need is faith, the very thing that is God's primary work for us to do --have faith. Grow in faith.

I submit that God does not need your help or my help to change the world, well He does and He doesn't. God wants, primarily, to form faith in us: as opposed for us to accomplish some work. Some good works people do take no faith, I've done this. I've neglected the things that took a greater faith and performed things that had greater visabilty and congratulated myself on my holiness. And God was nausous.

Personally I think this is the point of Luke 17:3 where the disciples pleaded with Jesus to "increase our faith". They were responding to His demand that they forgive and they knew they couldn't do it. They couldn't do it and they needed more faith. That's the way I am when I try to forgive others or love others just as they are, I need more faith. And if I want to do the works of God I can't neglect to forgive one single person no matter how they've hurt me. I digress

I sent this letter to a lot of people, many of which won't read this far. I'm afraid of bugging people so I won't include anyone who doesn't respond in the subsequent mailings. Which will begin to deal with the how to start establishing a relationship with another person that is condusive to "presenting every man complete in Christ". a one, two, three, of how to approach a person without offending them, content and how to present it in an unteachy unpreachy way, using just the Bible, without giving homework, without much preparation on your part. come on it'll be fun, you'll grow in Chirst and increase your capacity to serve others

I believe I've made a biblical base for emphasis on the individual, and I believe this is a lack in the church today.

if you know anyone who might like to be added to this list, please let me know

I'd love to talk about it

and please let me know how to pray for you

in the battle



so far, I got one comment about something unrelated in the church, makes me sad


I am currently Sad
I am listening to other people in distant parts of the house moving around

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