Archives For dwell

I had read and enjoyed Jefferson Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough.

When I was given a chance to review his new book, It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die, I jumped at the chance.

I was not disappointed.

Bethke takes on many aspects of Christianity in which we have some misunderstandings. Included in this are:

  • Christianity is more than going to heaven
  • The Temple is not a building
  • The Sabbath is not an outdated set of rules
  • The kingdom is not in the sky
    and much, much more.

Bethke hit on so many things I’ve been pondering in my own life. This book became a conversation for me with a fellow traveler.

Dwell

June 24, 2015

I am often asked, “If God knew how things were going to turn out, why did He create the world?”

There are lots of token answers. But the most satisfying answer I am settling on more and more is profound in its simplicity.

God wanted to dwell with us.

When God created the world and it was perfectly good, He placed himself in proximity to Adam and Eve; dwelling in the Garden with them.

We know this utopia did not last long. Adam and Eve broke the one commandment they were given. Sin, death, and separation from God entered the picture. They broke the planet. Things were no longer how God created them to be.

But this did not change the heart of God to pursue His people.

Fast forward hundreds of years to the time of the Exodus. God wanted to deliver his people out of slavery to dwell with Him in the wilderness.

God is Not Like WalMart

April 2, 2014

We live in a consumer driven culture today and can easily allow this influence to creep into our walk with God.

At our very core, we want to feel happy and get whatever we desire, more than glorifying God, learning obedience, or serving others.

In this view, it is not long before God exists to satisfy our consumer desires.

God is not like WalMart.

It is true that God is the “Father of Lights” who gives good gifts to his children. He says, “Come, seek, knock, and ask

But when receiving God’s gifts becomes the single aspect of our relationship with God, we treat Him like a department store.

A consumer mindset is very destructive. Everything’s value is determined by it’s usefulness to me.

  • We buy, but when it’s no longer useful, we throw it away.
  • We marry, but when our spouse no longer satisfies our emotional desires, we divorce.

The most common view of life with God today is a picture of us living under divine rules in order to avoid calamity.

Follow the rules, live right, and God will bless us. Right?

We want God on our side. In simple terms, we want to move his hand or manipulate him.

A God who controls everything gives us rules, so we try to exert control over him in order to reduce uncertainty.

We do this by:
1. Rituals (religious practices which appease God)
2. Morality (certain behaviours to be done or avoided)

Its like the great exchange.  I give you worship and righteous behavior, you give me __________.

It’s a formula: I give you this, you give me that.

We motivate people towards sexual abstinence telling them, “If you don’t have sex you will have better grades, sports success, and have amazing sex when married.”