Coming soon! Under one Umbrella.
We are Streamlining! Look for new ways to dialogue with IRR - I Ride Rogue here!
Coming Soon! Focal Point.
Photographic Narratives by John Fairrington through the Lens of Jesus.
Narrative: The practice or art of telling stories.
Expand the following photo's to read the excerpts of a Boondocker's Journal.
Man Up! Wrangle Tension with a Lantern!
Every entry deals with the tensions and questions we wrestle with as men. They are then work through with the Lantern Light of the Word. Thy Word is a Lamp unto my Feet!
Not just a Journal, or a Devotional, but a Heirloom!
We are praying for you and hope that the writings herein, compiled by men who have been on this journey already, will stir something in every one of its readers. If you will commit to work through your own tensions in the way we have worked through ours, then this may be the start of a renewed man and the very thing your Posse needs to see and hear about. Use it to become a man after the heart of God and then let someone else see the tensions that you have worked though as you journey with him. When you are finished you will have more than just a journal and devotional. You will have made an Heirloom!
Contact us for more information and to pre-order a Mansize Table Top Journal at 541-621-8814.
The purpose of The Redeemed Adventure Project is to reclaim a story and bring simplicity and focus back to the walk of men, women and couples who are having a hard time seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. We focus on what a walk of simple faith looks like, helping people get traction in the good things that God has planned for us. If you have ever had your faith shaken to the core, if you have ever been depressed or confused about how God feels about you. Then you know that our enemy seeks to render us ineffective and isolated to the point that we give up hope. It happens to all of us and all too often, it even affects people who are serving others while the rest of us never know how troubled they are.
Our methods are unique and natural because they are simply the outflows of what God has done in our personal lives and stories. When you find yourself paralyzed or plagued by the shame of your past, or the pain you have personally caused, the Gospel is there to remind you that there is a deeper work that has been done. For believers there is a perpetual under tone of the Gospel present. When the enemy reminds and accuses us by saying “Look at what you have done” Jesus shouts in return a resounding “Look at what I have done!” You may never get over the guilt and shame, the wounds and hurts you have either caused or experienced but, Jesus provided everything you need to move on in your story and send the enemy packing! “It is Finished” means It is finished. Your sins are remembered no more! Even though I have to visit this work done on my behalf every day, I am mindful to apply it to my life and realize that it is also applicable to those I have sinned against and those who sin against me! Grace always wins so, it is ok to get on with things! We want to share that experience with folks who need to see redemption and reconciliation in their story.
Because we are an Adventure Company, we rub shoulders with just about every kind of person, background, and unique story that you could ever imagine. Some folks feel stuck, frustrated, tired, and have lost hope. We identify how God is at work in our personal stories while getting on an adventure with God. He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. So we invite folks to come along on the adventure of discovery, an expedition with God to learn His purpose, His plan, and just what He has been doing in our stories.
When Stories Collide
11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
Happy stories collide with sad stories for a reason
Jesus had traveled with the disciples and many others with him about 25 miles from Capernium, where he had previously healed a centurion's servant. He then travelled to a town called Nain. The name Nain means lovely or pleasant and Jesus is now making this 25 mile journey in a processional or with a parade of people with him. There is no doubt in my mind that this procession was one of celebration and anticipation of what the Lord might do in Nain that next day. Smiles on faces, songs perhaps being sung. It truly was a joyous storyline that had been unfolding. But when He got to the gate of the city and there was another procession of people. It was a different Story line altogether where they were carrying a dead body wrapped up in a basket, a basket for the purpose of transporting a person to their place of burial. It was the son of a widow and that procession was that of a funeral procession. Not a procession of rejoicing, celebration and anticipation but a procession of tension, distress, anxiety, desperation and death. Ring any bells in your story?Here in this story, I see a divine collision happening as the procession of Jesus and many people with him are traveling into the city when at the same time there is also a simultaneous procession of many people going out of the city. This collision of story if you look closely demonstrates that there are always two or more unique and very different story lines happening at any given moment.
There are many with stories of celebration and anticipation and at the same time there are many with stories of death, consternation, loss and desperation going on at the same time. Jesus sees this precision along with this Mother who had lost her husband and now only living son and it says in this passage that Jesus not only saw her but he had compassion on her. He had compassion on her in the way that he has always had compassion on everyone of us in that he took her pain in his heart. This was a realization for Jesus because it wouldn’t be very long before his mother Mary who was a widow at that point, Joseph having died when Jesus was yet a teenager Mary would encounter her own son, the only begotten son being led out of the city, as she wept. He could see no doubt that this was the desperation and consternation of this woman's situation. He sees the anguish, confusion, depression, and realizes prophetically no doubt that this is the same thing that his very own mother will be experiencing in the not so distant future.
Now watch what Jesus does coming from a story of anticipation and celebration as he collides with a story of pain and tension here in Nain. It says that He had compassion on her and tells her “weep not.” How is that compassionate you ask? It sounds crazy! How is what you are asking compassionate the mother might say. We are burying my son, there is loss, I have nothing left! We are carrying him to the tomb where He will be laid to rest and you say weep not! But Jesus knew what he was about to do not just in this circumstance but on behalf of you and me. It was in anticipation and celebration of the Joy that was set before him. It was for us who have been ravished by sin and death that he proclaims weep not and resurrects this young man in the same way that after having been laid to rest himself, He would provide life for all of us who have been sentenced to death, ravished by sin, experienced loss, despair, disdain and the inane.
The story of our life is short! We can simultaneously experience joy and celebration in one moment and at the same time experience loss, and despair. The real key to seeing the plot of our story have a glorious ending is by having our stories collide in a place that is altogether lovely and pleasant. His name is Jesus and he is the reason that our stories collide simultaneously! Weep not! Let not your heart be troubled!
The Divine collision of scripture
I would like to give you just a couple of examples of how stories, types, and names collide across the span of scripture and then leave you to your own discoveries of how they unfold throughout the bible and even in your own story.
The Name Game
These guys were important not merely for who they were but by what their stories tell and what there names meant.
Peter - His name means "Rock". Not The Rock, as in Petra. That is in reference to God but Peter’s name references a small stone. You remember how dogmatic Peter had a tendency to be. Oft remembered for lopping off the ear of the centurion in the presence of Jesus. Peter is a picture of the Stone tablets that the Law of God or Ten Commandments were written on.
James - His name is Jacob in the Hebrew. In both cases, James or Jacob both mean “Supplanter" or “Replace”.
John - His name means "Jehovah has Grace" in both Greek and Hebrew.
Combine the stories of these three guys together and you will realize why that when they were called apart by Jesus from the other twelve that it is always in the order of Peter, James, and John. No exception!
The “Stone” or Law has been “Replaced” by “Grace”.
The Law has been superseded by grace and these three men knew it more than anyone else!
Propitiation and the Mercy Seat
One of my favorite collisions in scripture is the correlation of the Mercy Seat of Exodus 26:34 and the work of Propitiation that is mentioned in Romans 3:25. If you are not one who goes deep into the stories of the Bible then this is a huge collision that is frequently missed in our churches unless you are in a place of fellowship that meets frequently for the purpose of the exegetical study of God's Word. I say this because I firmly believe that this kind of study is of the highest priority in the day and age we live in. I went through much of my life and most of my ministerial training without ever hearing about the connections that cover the whole span of scripture so, allow me to explain to the best of my ability the story of how Jesus put a lid on it!
Jesus Put a Lid On It!
As you may very well may know, God Himself became a Man and absorbed the wrath of His own indignation. The mystery of the Trinity, the mystery of propitiation is
that God actually inflicted death on a cross upon Himself.
Now we won’t go into the deep theological perspectives of grace, justification, and propitiation here. Let’s not forget, I too am a commoner, and a sinner. That being said, the custom of many is to dissect Romans in such a way that we will get bogged down in theological debate rather than simple application. So, allow me at this point to throw out this one big word for a moment and define propitiation so it is simple to apply to a common pinhead such as myself.
The word Hilasterion, or “propitiation”—A word we don’t hear much today—is used only five times in the entire New Testament: Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:1–2; 1 John 4:10; and Hebrews 9 are four of them. The Hebrews reference is really cool because it gives us insight and understanding. You see, in describing the mercy seat, the author of Hebrews uses the word hilasterion. The mercy seat, or hilasterion, covered the ark of the covenant. It was like a lid. The ark of the covenant contained the law. Now, this is where it gets interesting because, through the mercy seat, God says, I know you’ve broken the law. I know you deserve to be consumed because of it. But I’m going to put a lid on it through the sacrifice of My Son. He is the helasmos, the mercy seat, the propitiation. It’s not something He gives. It’s who He is!
Whoa!… This is Melting My Brain!
If you are getting what I’m laying down then you now understand that Jesus has come between you and the broken law. The wrath that the Father should have vented on me and you was instead placed upon His Son, who died in your place.
The fifth use of the word “propitiation” is found in Luke 18:10–14. It is a brief illustration, concerning the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector. If you look at verse 13: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It begins with “God” and ends with “sinner.” The middle phrase, “be merciful”—the verb form of hilasterion stands between God and sin. Every one of us is in one of two categories. You’re either the self-righteous Pharisee, or you’re the tax collector, grateful that Jesus is standing between God and your sin.
When I first began to understand the work of propitiation I finally gave in and gave up on the idea that something I was doing would appease the wrath of a Righteous Judge. Wow! Talk about a game changer and major impact on how my personal story plays out!
Propitiation adds an entirely different dimension to what Paul calls “so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3). It’s not just the Father saying, “I’m going to settle mankind’s problem judicially.” No, He deals with it personally. That God would love me so much He would actually become the object of His own wrath frees me up in a profound way. Not only did He put a lid on it, He became the lid!
I know I’m a sinner. But because He absorbed the anger that should have been poured out upon me, I can walk throughout the rest of my days, weeks, and years because the story of God is being perfectly planned and played out in my life personally and for the first time in my life I can recognize the divine collision of God’s Story with my story and the Old Testament Pictures with their New Testament Truths and counterparts. Furthermore! I recognize that the tensions and difficulties that come into my story are there by divine providence!
LET'ER BUCK! THE ROGUE HEART.
Discovering Your Heart
A Rogue Heart serves for great purpose!
We had a horse growing up. His name was Thunder. Thunder was a Mustang that came out of an adopt a horse program through the BLM. He was not what you would consider to be your typical equine flesh. In fact, this horse was unique from every horse my father ever owned in that he had a what I would describe as a rogue heart. He didn’t do anything in the ways that a normal horse did. At 14 hands, Thunder was short, he had a passion for eating purple thistles and poison oak, he did not fancy a bit in his mouth so was hackamore trained… (A hackamore is a type of headgear which does not have a bit). This horse that nobody really wanted not only came full of heart, but he would not be out walked by horses that were of fairer breed or longer legs. Even on a bad day when other things might interest him, he could outpace a horse 17 hands tall, and always wanted the lead. My brother and I rode him bareback most everywhere we went and he would pull us up the most difficult terrain just by grabbing him by the tail and saying “Lets go!’ Thunder was afraid of his shadow and would always stop to analyze water crossings. In my hometown, he would often stop on the bridge that spans the Rogue River at every structural expansion joint to view the river below through the crack, reassuring himself that he wouldn’t fall through!. He was inquisitive, gentle, always allowed to respond to his own rare, rogue style of doing things. As long as Thunder was allowed to do life outside of the box and in his own way, he served for more fun and purpose than any other horse you would expect to rival him. Once he was jumped by a Mountain Lion while being ridden in the backcountry. The death of the said cougar ensued as it was shot from the little horses saddle. Once the cat was latched to the rear of Thunder’s saddle, this little rogue mustang packed the feline out of the wilderness on his own back. Very rare for a horse!
I have shared all of this to establish that anything with a heart can be used for God’s purposes, but the ones with a heart and tendency to be a little rogue can do mighty things! This kind of heart is a diamond in the ruff! It can and should be cultivated in relationship and likeness to the way it was created to be. It is the same with a human heart and that heart should be cultivated in a relationship with the very one who created it to begin with. If you are a person who has been described as “a little rogue” throughout your life, It’s okay to not like the bit, it’s okay to go bareback, it’s okay to think a little differently than the other horses, and most importantly it’s okay to out walk, out ride, and out run, the other horses. Find your heart, give it to God, and discover the great purpose of a rogue heart! You may just be a Mustang!
God Doesn't Call The Qualified, He Qualifies The Called
“Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Abraham was old,… and Lazarus was dead. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!”
No matter where you are in your life with God, HE is qualifying you for his service because you are called. He can help you overcome the mistakes you have made, and even use them to help others. Just allow Him to use you.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
Eliminate the Disqualifications
And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
Why couldn’t Judah drive out the inhabitants of the valley? Because their eyes were fixed on the iron chariots rather than on Almighty God. If your eyes are fixed on the Lord, I care not how formidable your foe might be, it can be overcome. But if your eyes are on the obstacle - if you’re focused on the problem, if you’re in bondage to your past - you will not drive out your enemy no matter how small it is. You’ve got to lift your eyes higher and fix them on the Father. Yes, the enemies of Judah had chariots of iron, but if Judah had lifted their eyes higher and focused upon the One who has twenty thousand chariots at His command (Psalm 68:17), they would have been victorious.
Judah had successful campaigns when they were high up on the mountain tops, but they got their tail whipped in the valley. We have tendencies to live on in the story of our past. This is most prevalent when the message of grace we teach, lacks the components of mercy that was also provided with the new covenant. Unfortunately, this allows grace to be doled out on the terms of others and has cultivated a false perception that leads God’s loved ones to think that because we’ve had problems with iron chariots previously, we need always be fearful whenever we see them on the horizon. This perception is just not true! We need to be a people who put the past behind us - past defeats, past discouragements, past wounds, past failures, past sins have all been covered by Christ our mercy seat and propitiation.
“This one thing I do,” said our brother, Paul, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). We need to put the past away and lift our eyes higher - beyond the failure of the past, beyond the chariots of the present - to the high calling of God Who enables us to do all that He asks of us. SO... LET'ER BUCK!
A Heart After God
“David was a real pinhead! How could David be considered a man after God’s own heart?"
To understand why David was a man after God’s own heart, we need to see what characteristics he had to qualify for such what seems to be a rather lofty description. In the book of Acts, the apostle Paul speaks of God’s feelings about King David:
“After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
My observation as to why David was considered to be a man after God’s own heart is found right in the verse: David did whatever God wanted him to do. But an even more obvious question is how could God still call David a man after His own heart when David committed such terrible sins, including adultery and murder?
A Pointed Heart
We learn much of David’s character in the book of Psalms as he opened up his life for all to examine. David’s life was both a portrait of success and failure, and the biblical record highlights the fact that David was far from perfect. But what made David a cut above the rest was that his heart was pointed toward God. He had a deep desire to follow God’s will and do “everything” God wanted him to do. He was a man after God’s own heart. Let’s look at some characteristics of David’s life to discover what that entails:
Part of why David is called a man after God’s own heart is that he had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 Samuel 17 where David as a young shepherd boy fearlessly slew the Philistine, Goliath. Shortly before the duel, we see direct evidence of David’s faith when David says, “‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’” (verse 37). David was fully aware that God was in control of his life, and he had faith that God would deliver him from impending danger. How else would one venture into a potentially fatal situation with such calm and confidence? David knew early on in life that God was to be trusted and obeyed. As we see in the Word, David’s simple faith pleased God, and God rewards David for his faithfulness.
He Loved the Word
Another reason David was a man after God’s own heart is that he absolutely loved God’s Law. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David is credited for writing over half of them. It seems to me that David wrote mostly while in various and often troubling times in his life, David repeatedly mentioned how much he loved God’s perfect Word. We find a beautiful example of this in Psalm 119:47–48: “For I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.” It is not hard to see his complete adoration for God’s Word. Also notice how David “meditates” on God’s statutes. God granted David understanding and wisdom through daily meditation. We would do well to not only read God’s Word but also think about it throughout the day, for God loves us to think about Him. “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways” (Psalm 119:2–3).
David was a man after God’s own heart in that he was truly thankful. “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 26:6–7). David’s life was marked by seasons of great peace and prosperity as well as times of fear and despair. But through all of the seasons in his life, he never forgot to thank the Lord for everything that he had. It is truly one of David’s finest characteristics. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4, ESV). As followers of Jesus Christ, we would do well to follow David’s lead of offering praise through thanksgiving to our Lord. After he sinned, David was truly repentant. David’s sin with Bathsheba is recorded in 2 Samuel 11:2–5.
The mighty fall hard, and David’s fall included adultery, lying, and murder. He had sinned against God, and he admits it in 2 Samuel 12:13: “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’” But admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is only half of the equation. The other half is repentance, and David did that as well. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance to God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" (Psalm 51:1–2).
David was a man after God’s own heart because he demonstrated his faith and was committed to following the Lord. Yes, his faith was tested on a grand scale, and he failed at times. But after his sin he sought and received the Lord’s forgiveness. In the final analysis, David loved God’s Law and sought to follow it exactly. As a man after God’s own heart, David is a role model for all of us.
Rogue Love for The Rogue Heart
This passage stands alone and on its own merit concerning the wild, passionate, unbridled, rogue love that the Lord has for you. And you thought you were unlovable!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand When I awake, I am still with You. O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed. For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
Rogue Heart/New heart Same thing!
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
This passage of Scripture has come up over and over again and it is often used by those who are fatally Calvinistic in their interpretation of scripture. It is most often used to characterize the depravity of the believer and in my opinion has kept believers all over the world stuck in their story, stuck in their sin and unable to enjoy the new heart, nature, spirit, along with the new creation that we have become. Scripture is very clear that the issues of the depraved heart are directed to the heart condition of the unbeliever. It has been my personal and humbling experience that any heart that is not submitted to God is a depraved heart. This type of heart can reside in the worst of us in the same way that it can in the self-righteous, or religious. Depravity is an equal offender in the hearts of those who will not access The Work of Grace under the New Covenant through Christ.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
That deceitful and incurable heart is that stony heart that is taken away and is replaced by a heart of flesh! The Holy Spirit gives His people a new heart and causes them to walk in obedience! And not only is the heart new, everything is made is new. The regenerated person is a new creation and no longer possesses a lifeless heart of stone.
2 Corinthians 5:17
So that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
When this verse talks about old things, it includes the old heart. It is gone! The Holy Spirit makes a person new again! There is a total metamorphosis that has taken place and to say that the heart of a believer remains deceitful and incurably wicked is to deny the transforming work of the Holy Spirit!
Does the Christian still sin? Yep! He most certainly does. The presence of sin is still constantly with him. It will harass him, make him do what he does not want to do, to the point of making him cry out that he is afflicted, distressed, grieved, and even vexed (Rom. 7:14-24). But there is a stark contrast between the depraved unbelieving heart and what I call a new rogue heart. You see, the sin of the old, unbelieving heart is cultivated by not allowing God to do His work in the heart. This type of heart does not understand the Story of God nor is it allowed to be impacted by the plan of redemption. In contrast, the sin of believers, or the new rogue heart understands that sin is still very much with them but believers hate their sin (Rom. 7:15). They have died to sin, don’t want to live in sin, purpose to no longer serve sin, they are no longer under the dominion of sin, have been set free from sin, do not walk according to the flesh, they are free from the law of sin, and are not in the flesh (Rom. 6:2, 6:6, 6:11, 6:14, 6:22; 8:1-9).
Which do you believe? Has God worked a great change in you by making you a new creation with a new heart, or is your heart still vile and deceitful? One thing is for sure: if you believe that your heart is vile and deceitful, then it most certainly is. Why would God write His will on the heart that is deceitful and desperately wicked?
It is time to click your heels Dorothy! Burn the script on this horror story, because the witch is dead, you are not the Tin-man, and you are not in Oz, Ding-Dong! If you have been stuck in this kind of story, If you have been held hostage by an old heart, If you want a new story and a new heart. Consider what the lord can do with a Rogue Heart!
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it ton their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
The old covenant failed because it depended upon man's faithfulness to God. The new covenant cannot fail because it depends upon God's faithfulness to man. Without going into all of the theological detail, under the new covenant, we are now hidden in Christ. I know that many would try to derail this line of thinking but for you who are students of the Work of Propitiation that Romans speaks about, if we are hidden in Christ… What heart is being looked at? Whose faithfulness is being looked at? I hope that you will take time to discover more as it relates to your story and LET'ER BUCK!
Ooops! I forgave the wrong person.
I have been hovering on the meaning of this powerful verse and had the opportunity to sit down with someone who really is becoming a good, trustworthy friend, and someone who I really enjoy being transparent with. This morning we began to hash through some of the dynamics and tension that comes from this line of thinking.
Galatians 6:1-2 KJV  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
I think there is more to bearing one another's burdens then has traditionally met the eye!
Would you be free from the burden of sin? We sing it In our churches regularly. Is there a link though? Is there a part for us to play in the bearing of the burdens of one another? We all know that the provisions for the forgiveness of sins is only accomplished through the work of Christ Jesus on the Cross and the power in His blood but was the model we were given through this glorious work intended to be lived out practically through us? Was the example by Christ set so that we would forgive, bear, forget, restore, and do life with one another without the expectation of any consequences that could come culturally on the chance that we were to forgive the wrong person? (Can that even happen?) Did it include bearing the burdens of the sins of those who have wounded us! Finally, does this fulfill the law of Christ?
I would venture to say that we all believe that the list of our sins, shortcomings, and stupidity are blotted out in totality by the blood of the Son of God. But I also think that many Christians aren’t healthy because they fail to understand this foundational and profoundly simple truth in its totality.
For example, many know they’re forgiven—but they have a hard time believing the one who hurt them is. “You can’t ignore the abuse, the trauma, and the anxiety that has been inflicted upon you,” they are told. “It must be dealt with.” But wait a minute! It has been dealt with by Jesus’ blood on the Cross. He hung on the Cross of Calvary dying for the very sin that bugs us in others. Therefore, for us to say, “We must dig it up and talk it through,” or, to not allow forgiveness and bear the weight and burdens for those who have offended us the most, makes a mockery of what Christ did on Calvary. It basically diminishes a work that was done for all and now becomes selective in scope. We all hurt Him, and we all have offended Him! He cried, “It is finished,” It’s done! It’s paid for. And that means for those who are offenders and also for those who have been offended. So be forgiven and forgive one another. Fact of the matter is, I was the person in the wrong and He bore my burdens anyway and without any regret or even saying Ooops!
Is this too dangerous to teach in today’s church? I know it may sound risky to some but to me, there is only one question of any importance and that is... Did Christ take that kind of risk on me? If the answer for you is yes then, it may just radically reform your perspectives on grace therefore fulfilling the Law of Christ.
Food for thought! When we are under the load and the heavy burden of sin, my prayer is that as believers we would carry one another though, even when we’ve been hurt, even when it is an inconvenience, or an imposition. Even when our reputation is at risk, or those around us think it abuses the some law of grace. With grace the laws have been done away with! By bearing one another’s burdens in this way we fulfill the law of Christ.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
So many Questions to ask ourselves...
I'm just saying!
I know these are hard questions but, I have been contemplating them and I think they are all important to ask if I am to see the law of Christ fulfilled in the way it was intended for me. Let this challenge your thinking and root out any signs of religion, legalism, or hurts that we place on one another. And more than anything may it change the way we respond to one another, causing us to see each other through the lens of Jesus who lavished us with His love and compassion while we were the biggest risk He could have ever taken.
Food for thought!
Chapter 3 "A Rogue Story"
Hero’s, Villain’s, or Both?
As you take a look at some of these random characters, notice that there is a plot that has been designed by God and that each story has one or sometimes all of the characteristics and roll’s that play out in the story of God, some stories have characters that played multiple roles. Most had both Hero and Villain characteristics while a few had just one, or the other. They all were randomly chosen for the purpose of showing that all of their lives and stories demonstrate that God see’s the big picture, He knows the plot from beginning to end and that in most cases there is a plan being worked out in their story that encourages us in our walk with God or illustrates the consequences of not following Him as was the case with Saul. Suffice it to say, everything is being played our to an expected end and for the pleasure of our Creator.
King Saul - Bad Apple, Nemesis, unknowingly fosters a Noble hero and a giant killer.
The very first king of Israel, a head taller than any of his contemporaries, the predecessor, mentor and nemesis of King David, the father of Jonathan. His son, Jonathan, was a noble hero, but Saul was not.
Saul started off okay, but his relationship with God was so thin that God didn’t have any room to work with him and so he kind of let himself go and went downhill fast. He was the fraidy-cat of the Philistines, Goliath in particular, and became a deranged mad man who slaughtered God’s priests. He attempted to kill his own son twice, and hounded his best follower, David, for years until Saul finally met his death after consulting with a witch because he was so out of touch with God.
Read about him in 1 Samuel 8-31. It is one of the richest portions of the Bible in terms of story, character and lessons for real life.
Job - A Story about When you’ve been good but now you have it bad!
Job is the original good guy in the age-old question: Why do bad things happen to good people? Job was about as close to perfect as you could get and still be human. He loved God. He loved people. He used his great wealth and wisdom to help people. Then disaster struck. His wealth, his ten children and his health were all taken away. Left with nothing but suffering, his friends come to comfort him. But, instead of encouraging him, they start accusing him, and add insult to injury. Finally, he has a “face-to-face” meeting with God. God answers with a set of unexpected questions of His own. Job’s story is told in the Biblical book bearing his name.
Abel - and His Brother and Murderer Cain. A Story of Sibling Rivalry
Abel found favor with God and Cain did not. Read about it in the book of Genesis. Abel is listed as a hero of the faith here. first child born to the human race,
Cain, grows up to become a murderer, killing his own brother in a fit of jealousy. Made bad decisions and even worse sacrifices.
I am drawn to this story because it Correlates well with my own failure in that if I believe that my works, sacrifice, and self-righteousness are sufficient offerings to the Lord that it will ultimately be my demise. Only the Lamb of God should ever be my offering.
Samuel - A Story of What God does when we give everything to Him.
The great prophet, son of Hannah, the childless woman who prayed for a son and promised to give that child to God. She did after he was weaned; she dropped him off at the temple where Eli the priest and his evil sons were the religious leaders of the day. Samuel was still a boy when God started talking to him. Eli and his sons were killed, but Samuel grew up to be the leader of Israel, and the one who selected both Saul and David to become Israel’s future kings. Samuel’s story is told in 1 Samuel and he was a guy who often performed the hard tasks that Saul was not able to perform. For instance He hewed Ahaz, an enemy king, into a 1000 pieces. He was able to do this because He frequented the Altar of the Lord in Gilgal.
He appointed his sons to judge over Israel but they were deemed unfit and God Appointed a King. Sammy didn’t make an issue of it, I think he just had a fleeting moment where his radio got all staticy! The main theme throughout Samuel’s life is that God alone should receive the glory and honor. Read about him In 1 Samuel.
Esther - From Harem to Queen and saving a Nation.
A number of women come to mind as important Bible personalities including Eve, Mary, Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Miriam, Mary Magdelene, Deborah, Ruth and so on. But Esther stands alone in the category of saving an entire nation by her courage. Chosen to join the harem of Persian King Xerxes, she rises to the position of queen in time to uncover a plot to destroy the Jewish people. She might have the power and influence to stop the plot, but only if she risks her own life to do so. The book that bears her name is unique in that God is not mentioned once in the book, but His fingerprints are all over the events.
Although God is never mentioned in the book of Esther we can see His acts in the background. Nothing gets past God! His timing is always best but we need to wait for Him before we act and realize that it’s dangerous to jump out before it’s time Your background does not hinder your future with God. Esther was an orphan. God still exalted her and used her. Some of Jesus’s disciples where fishermen, tax collectors, and one was a Doctor. Your background does not determine what God can do with you but your simple faith does! A powerful story!
Samson - Buff guy with a thing for bad girls. Ends up blind guy with bad haircut but finishes well!
This guy very well may have been bipolar! He could go from Hero to Villain in 3 seconds flat. Famous for his great strength, he was an individual fighter rather than a leader of men. Dedicated at birth as a Nazirite, he never had his hair cut. He believed this was the reason for his prowess in harassing his enemies, particularly the Philistines.
Not good at interpersonal relationships, he picked the wrong women and had a propensity for making many enemies. This long-haired strong man once picked up the jaw bone of a donkey and killed a thousand Philistine soldiers on the battlefield. He is still the UFC Belt holder of all time in my book! If Samson were alive today, he would probably spend some of his life in jail–let’s just say he was no choir boy. But he had a job to do, and he did it well, that is until his woman friend, Delilah gave him a bad hair-cut and sold him out to the Philistines for 140 pounds of silver. Now Samson wasn’t opposed to getting back in the ring even though the Philistines had blinded him and put him in prison. He had one last appearance on stage where he finally retrieved his honor, and got back his belt, by killing thousands of Philistines before the curtain fell. Samson’s story is told in Judges 13-16. He was both a Hero and a Villain in the plot and his story warrants exploration and comparison of our own!
Keep your vows and stay away from bad girls. When you feel like you are blind to what God is doing in your story, realize that even though you are a pinhead, God is not finished with you yet!
Jonah - God can use a person even though there is something fishy about them!
Famous for being swallowed by a “great fish,” he had a knack for going the wrong direction. Ring any bells? Ever felt like you’ve thrown overboard? Jonah’s real contribution is presiding over the greatest mass conversion of all time meanwhile learning a few things about human prejudice, what complaining gets you, how storms in life can move you, and how God’s love is at work in you at the same time.
Elijah - Prophet, Part Rain Man, Part Trash Talker and Disposer of False Prophets. Good with fire too!
The great prophet who stared down an entire nation and didn’t blink. After King David, Israel split into two nations. The northern kingdom went from bad to worse until they were ruled by a truly depraved couple, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Elijah walks onto the scene and announces that rain won’t fall without his own personal okay. Then he disappears. For the next three years a bone-dry nation searches for Elijah, but he’s nowhere to be found, until one day he shows up again and offers a showdown on Mount Carmel: your god vs. my God. Elijah was a Prophet on Steroids. His successor Elisha was noted for receiving a double portion of the Elijah stuff and didn’t like having his bald head made fun of! Elijah got a little whiny at the Brook of Cherith when it ran dry and briefly thought God’s provision was for the birds!
Peter - A smart fisherman with a propensity to cause trouble! Freaks out around Little Girls!
Originally known as Simon, his name was changed to Peter by Jesus, and he became a leader of the early church. Hanging out with Jesus will make a smart man out of anyone! Peter had listened to, eaten with, and traveled alongside Jesus for three years. The result was obvious. He was also noted as being impetuous, bull headed, a fisherman, a sword wielding ear lopper, and I’m afraid little girls around burn barrels put him right into a state of denial. Still He stuck with Jesus and that is important because as we spend time hanging out with with Jesus, we will take on His characteristics just as noticeably, as readily, as wonderfully as did the fisherman-turned-scholar: the apostle Peter.
John the Apostle - Can’t you hear that Thunder?
Among Jesus’ twelve disciples, Peter, James and John formed an inner circle. Out of them, John appeared to be Jesus’ closest friend here on earth. He wrote one of the Gospels, three important letters (which are recorded in the Bible) and the powerful book of Revelation. John mentioned himself as the one Jesus loved.
John was initially a walking powder keg whom Jesus called a “son of thunder” (Mark 3:17). John was upset because someone outside the circle of disciples was using the name of Jesus to see people released from demons. “We told him to stop because he’s not part of our denomination,” he said. “He doesn’t share our doctrinal understandings. He’s not one of us.” We do this as well. People can be saved, blessed, helped, and strengthened—but because we might not have doctrinal agreement, we put them down. Because they might worship differently from us, we find fault. Such is not the way of love.
John went through an incredible transformation himself. You see, John is known as the “apostle of love” because more than anyone else in Scripture, John both preaches and personifies love. Another result of being impacted by the work of Jesus.
Paul - Once a poacher of Christians, Goes to work for The Save the Christian’s Foundation!
He was originally Saul (not the king, but the persecutor of Christians who lived a thousand years later). This guy started out as a orange vested, one-man, hunting machine, with a no bag limit tag fresh out of a Sportsman's Warehouse. He became Paul the Apostle after having a powerful encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. First Barnabas, and then Silas were his ministry partners. Most of the books of the New Testament were written by Paul who became a powerhouse leader in the early church. go figure! He is responsible for much of our understanding of Christianity. Paul first bridged the gap between Jews and Gentiles by demonstrating that the way of Jesus was open to anyone, regardless of ancestry. Such a stark contrast in his story! There is hope for you and me!
David - Shepherd, Giant Killer, Worship leader, Womanizer, Murderer, King, Huh?
Best known for facing the giant Goliath and beating him with a sling and a stone, David was the most famous king of Israel, one of the greatest men who ever lived. Author of most of the Psalms, his story is told in 1 & 2 Samuel. He was a shepherd, a worshiper, He had a heart after God and sadly, he is also often remembered for his greatest failure, his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, who later became the mother of wise and wealthy King Solomon. There is much we can relate to in the life of David.
Abraham - Father of many generations, Simple faith, accounted unto Righteousness! Gets ahead of things!
The father of faith and ancestor of nations. In reality, If it were not for some of his major mistakes, Israel would have deign in a great famine! God made His promise to make Abraham the Father of many generations while Abe was still worshiping idols like a Moon goddess. He had a propensity for taking things into his own hands and got ahead of things with his handmaiden because he and Sarah thought that they were too old to cut the mustard! His son Isaac was born to him at age 100 when his wife, Sarah, was 90. Isaac became the father of Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and his descendants became the nation of Israel. One of Jacob’s sons was Joseph (not the husband of Mary mother of Jesus) who was sold into slavery by his brothers, but, in a great turn of events, he was delivered to Egypt by Ishmaelite's or the direct descendants of Ishmael. (Ishmael was the byproduct of Abraham's sexual relations with Hagar who was Sarah’s handmaiden). Joseph ended up becoming second-in-command in Egypt, and in that position he saved his family, providing food for them during a terrible famine. Abraham trusted God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness!
Jabez - The Lord hears you!
Jabez is only mentioned in a few verses of scripture and is known for his famous “Prayer of Jabez” mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:10: Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!’ And God granted what he asked.
It is a simple prayer prayed in faith and serves as a powerful example of answered prayer and receiving blessing from the Lord.
The Thief - On the Cross, Saved by the Bell!
We do not know much more about the thief on the cross other than he was: A criminal, crucified next to Jesus, and brought into paradise at his death. His powerful story is told in Luke 23:32-43, that describes the conversation between Christ and the two criminals crucified alongside of him.
The first criminal mentioned mocked Christ, “Save yourself and us!” (23:29). The other criminal, of whom we are writing, defended Jesus in a humble manner, acknowledging the justice of God and the innocence of Christ. His response to the mocker was, Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. Then in verses 40-41 he pleaded with Jesus to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This desperate and humble cry for mercy is all that God needed to welcome him into the family of God. Jesus answered, vs 43. “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
What an incredible story! A man who presumably led his entire life in opposition to God, by the great mercies of God, was able to be saved in his dying moments. This demonstrates that a humble heart that cries out to God for salvation will be heard!
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Ehud - An uncouth lefty Gets used by God!
The story of Ehud comes right out of Judges 3, but would fit in nicely into the plot of a James Bond movie.
Israel was under the oppressive rule of Eglon the king of Moab so they cried out to the Lord for deliverance. The Moabites were idol worshipers who did evil in the sight of the Lord. God sent Ehud a left handed man who would have been considered unfit along with his cubit-long (about a foot and a half) sword to assassinate the king and liberate God’s people from his rule.
Ehud must have been a smooth talker, because when he told the servants of the king that he had a “secret message” for him (Judges 3:19), they left Ehud all alone with the king who was built like Jabba the Hutt. Ehud’s “secret message” was the sword that he brought and a stab to the belly Eglon as he was sitting on the pot, which killed him!
Then Ehud quietly locked the doors to the roof to keep the guards out and made a quick getaway. When Ehud returned to the people of Israel, he led Israel in conquering their enemies the Moabites.
It is a great picture and story of how when the Word of God (the Sword) is thrust to the core of our lives, how that the Dirt comes out!
Jesus - Author, Savior, Super Hero, and oh let’s not forget God!
The whole Bible is centered around Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, Savior, the God Man, the solution to the problems caused by our own waywardness and the only Way to living a great Story! Jesus is the center of it all! If you place Him as Lord of all in your life, you will be able to see your story through the lens of The Creator of the Universe, Author and Finisher of our Faith!
The Long Shots and Making the Bad Bets.
Chapter 2: from "A Rogue Story."
I’ve always been a long-shot. For most of my life I have tried to be a leader and the Hero of my story but for the most part, I always felt like I might be the guy who was the last one to be picked on the playground so I would always seek to promote my own character or abilities. I was a man with many gifting’s but trapped like a prisoner in my own self fashioned perspectives of self. Spiritual pride first puffed me up, then it subtly lied to me, and then it left me spiritually bankrupt. I had become stuck there in my own story, un-touchable, un-reachable by the walls that I had erected through spiritual prowess, while devoid of an understanding of my own depravity and need for Jesus to be the Lord of all in my story. I had become a Villain!
What could the Lord possibly do with a man like that? As someone who had become so centered on themselves, I had lost hope, living in fear of the exposure that would ensue if the depth of my depravity were discovered. I was now convinced that I was alone and that everything that I had strived for would soon be lost. There on the edge of my bed, influenced by lies, depression and medication for chronic pain, I had decided that it wasn’t worth it so, with a gun in my hand and in what could have been the last few minutes of my story, I cried out… “Why can’t You pick me for once?” I will never forget the immediate answer — “I did.” “What are you waiting for?” As if being awakened from a childhood dream of playing Red-Rover on the playground, it was if the Lord was standing directly across from me yelling “Send Johnny on over!” Motioning me to run with everything I could muster, I sat my pistol in the dirt of that playground story and dream, but I had no strength to move or stand beyond that. When I looked up, the Heavenly Father had ran across that gap with open arms and with a warm embrace that instantly brought justification. Not self-justification but His Justification. He had not only elected to have me but He had come the full distance that was seemingly so impossible for me to make and was inadequate to travel. He did a work at my core that day and I have not been the same since!
Pick Me, pick Me!!!
1 Peter 1:2…
…Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…
To often we worry more about being the Elect of the people around us than we do being the Elect of God. We perpetually strive for the “People's Choice Award” rather than resting in the knowledge that we are already chosen as God’s glorified one’s! You see, because God elected us before the world began, He sees us as already glorified. People often look at us and they say, “Glorified? Them?” The Father, however, knows better than those around you!
Suppose you could suddenly travel back in time and you wind up in a place where you realize that you haven’t made any of the mistakes of your past yet. There you are and nobody has seen you mess up or make the mistakes that will eventually become part of your story. So, you think to yourself; “Hey, my approval rating is much better now with folks than it will ever be in the future. So with the new found members of your incredible posse and a new approval rating, you find a bookie, and against unbelievably high odds, and even the marvelous expectations that your peeps have for you in life, you place a bet that you are going to have some major shortcomings and that you will fail along the way. Or, maybe you bet against yourself, that you’re going to get beat in some way. Now stay with me!Because, you would walk away rich from your winnings because you would have made these bets with foreknowledge. You would have put your money down not as a gamble, but with certainty because you would have known the outcome despite the fact that you failed, despite the fact that it looked like a bad bet!
Here is the kicker! You see, the Father knows a good bet even before it looks like a bad bet. He sees the end from the beginning. He understands what no other person can comprehend. He knows we are going to struggle and mess up but He also knows that we’re going to make it. As bad a bet as we might seem to ourselves or to others, as steep as the odds against us may be, He calls us already glorified. Therefore, we can approach Him boldly. We can enjoy Him intimately. We can ask of Him expectantly because we have been elected eternally.
Our Father takes an incredible chance on us even when people don’t, even when other christians, family, friends and the crowd around us won’t. Quit seeing yourselves as the good bet, gone bad and start seeing yourself as the bad bet, gone good!
So what, if you are a long shot! The word of God is chucked full of stories about the Long-Shot. Jesus Himself was viewed by His own disciples as a long-shot. This next part of A Rogue Story takes a brief look at the bad bets, the longshot, and the real characters, who were all heroes and villains alike!