Flying Blind?

I thought the following response to Information Overload was insightful.

I am an airline pilot and also work in our standards and training departments. I have watched literally thousands of crews go through the motions in our simulators while I am training or checking them. Over the years our airplanes have become much more complicated and our procedures as well. The procedures must keep up with technology. While working with new hires I often feel sorry for them as they spend countless hours trying to understand the computers and precious few hours thinking about flying. A funny thing can, and does, happen. The procedures become the goal and system knowledge the mark of a good pilot. If you can answer the questions well and type pretty fast you can remain in good stead and be respected. The problem is… Can you fly?

Statistically, the answer is yes. In America we are enjoying a very safe airline industry. However, what I am seeing is a deterioration of basic flying ability. It’s always interesting to see a mature pilot working with a new one. The new one is usually headstrong and book smart. The older one is a little tired of all the change and is maybe not up on the latest buzz. Sometimes the younger pilot will even begin to think he is better than the older one because he can answer quicker and knows the page numbers. Invariably this will go on for a few days until the younger pilot pushes up against his limited experience and loses the big picture. Then the older pilot will make a simple statement like “would you like to climb now? I think there is a big rock in front of us!” It gets real quiet, and sometimes the younger pilot is so overloaded in procedures that he can’t even speak, and the older one will take over and save the day. That’s when we have “the talk”.

I explain that being a good pilot is not in knowing the procedures. Sure, this knowledge is important and you need a certain amount of it, but it is not the goal. You learn these as a foundation so you have the ability to grow. The goal is to rise above the procedures with understanding so you can be free to engage the act of flying. This is a real eye opener for a young pilot and the beginning of the road to maturity. In my walk with Father, the knowledge is important and welcome, but in no way the goal. It is part of the foundation so I can focus on being with him. When I meet truly mature believers I often find that they are not up on the latest buzz or book and might not have every address for every scripture memorized, but when real life happens, they are able to move forward with a grace and ease (without much fanfare) and not run into the big rock in front of them.  __ Marv

David Fredrickson

 

 

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Information Overload

I love watching old westerns. Even cheesy serials like Bonanza and The Big Valley keep me interested. Part of the reason must be the fact that I grew up in an area where the “Old West” was still alive and when my favorite past time was riding the range with cowboys who played as hard as they worked.

But there was another characteristic about that time and place that is completely absent today. The age of technology was still so young that you could live well with a tiny fraction of the information you need to survive in today’s culture. One actually enjoyed the luxury of focusing on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking would be smoking a cigarette while roping a steer. If someone said something thoughtful, or you read something profound, you might chew on it for a long time without much else entering your brain. One could actually remember what they did yesterday…or the day before…or last week.

A UC Berkeley study claimed (later contested as not being entirely accurate) that every word ever spoken by a human being could be contained in 5 exabytes. By 2011 we were creating 5 exabytes of data every two days! Over 10 billion messages are sent daily on Face Book alone.

Today we’ve been programmed to believe that information is the most valuable asset we have. In business and science, that may be true. It works for religion as well. But relationship with God and one another functions on an entirely different level.
Treating the Bible as an informational resource may promote one’s ego, but will not lead to spiritual growth. Christians are far more informed in spiritual principles today than ever before, yet, as a whole, are more spiritually dead than ever. Every piece of information without revelation may add to one’s spiritual paralysis. Sermons, books, bible studies and conferences given merely intellectual assent can bury one under a mountain of deception.

We think we know what we’ve never learned. We don’t learn what hasn’t been revealed by the Spirit and lived out by his power through relationship with Christ. In fact, only one thing is necessary. Brother Lawrence wrote: I have read many accounts in different books on how to go to God and how to practice the spiritual life. It seems these methods serve more to puzzle me than to help, for what I sought after was simply how to become wholly God’s

What if you knew nothing else but the reality of the cross of Christ and lived by his love in and through you? Would you really need to know any other doctrine? What if you had no Bible, Christian books or blogs? Would Jesus be enough? Living in his love this moment and the next is really all we’re called to do; everything else flows out of a life submitted to his love. Love moves us to lay down our lives for one another. We are moved by compassion to feed the poor or reach out to those who don’t know the One we love. We love him because he first loved us. All else is information overload.

David Fredrickson

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Listen to Their Heart

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In today’s podcast Loren shares about a trip he made back to Virginia to attend his Grandmother’s funeral.  He came away with the some interesting lessons that he learned while being immersed in the Bible belt culture there. Hearing the heart of what people are saying before jumping to add our $0.02 to the conversation was one of them.  Podcast Link

Also, Johnny and Kate Brooks are having another campaign to raise money for the completion of their barn/housing project.  We have been joined with them since 2007. They are a couple of Gen Xers that are rewriting the book on caring for orphans.  Here’s the link to their Indiegogo campaign for more info.

Isn’t springtime a wonderful reminder of new life?  We appreciate each of you who have followed us as we’ve shared thoughts from our journey.

bob humphrey

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Unshakable Kingdom*

“Once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens. The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken will remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Keep on loving each other as brothers.” (Hebrews 12:26-13:1)

It could be argued that the world is undergoing a shaking unparalleled in scope to any other period of human history. Governments, economies, social orders, religious systems and nature itself is in a state of upheaval that grows more intense year by year. Yet God’s rule and reign remains unchallenged and his kingdom will be established on earth according to his eternal plan and purpose.

But many, even among those of us who profess Christ, have based our identity in the very world systems that are headed for destruction. If so, we are becoming fearful and angry in response to the feeling that “our world” is coming undone. Financial security and social status has figured strongly into our sense of wellbeing. Perhaps we’ve connected “who we are” with a political party, American citizenship, religious denomination or church affiliation. Others of us have allowed ministry position or notoriety to define our sense of self worth. These and other areas non-essential to a believer’s standing in Christ have served to fracture the true identity of many Christians today.

Yet if our confidence rests in the knowledge that we are the treasured sons and daughters of the One who’s shaking, we’ll remain as secure and confident as a baby resting in her mother’s arms. Well, almost, allowing for a whimper now and then. With our hope anchored in Christ alone we will be convinced that God is in absolute control. We will be content if our needs are supplied while our wants may not be. We will rejoice to see his unshakeable kingdom come in and around us as we yield to his will.

But what should be our objective response to the confusion, fear and turmoil surrounding us? A person’s identity is attached to that which he loves. John the apostle reminds us that if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. But with our identity based completely in the Object of our love and devotion, our response to the exhortation above comes naturally: keep on loving one another. According to John that means laying down our life for one another, sharing our possessions as the need arises. He writes that “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” The kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of love and those who are losing what can be shaken will see that those who are rooted and grounded in love have a firm foundation. It will become evident that the foundation is Christ, for as John goes on to say of those in whom love has been made complete, “..as he is , so are we in this world.”

One can participate in tea parties, protests and petitions and miss his/her greatest potential to make a difference. The sphere of influence beginning with our household and extending to portions of our neighborhood, school, workplace, etc. is assigned to each one of us as a kingdom in which we have the privilege of extending God’s rule. It is our land to possess in partnership with the Landowner. Those who are no longer attached to world systems by false identification have the freedom to move within those systems in the life transforming power of love. They are threatened neither by the systems or the shaking and their Father can trust them with authority that is able to bring peace in the midst of chaos.

God is preparing weak and scarred human vessels for his purposes in the coming days. He’s calling out those who’ve tried on Saul’s armor and discovered it is no more effective against the enemy than a religious t-shirt. He’s moving in men and women who’ve tried in their own strength and failed again and again until they’ve finally given up to God. Those who’ve found there’s nothing left to hang onto but his hand will be instruments through which Father will reveal his glory in the midst of fear, hate, turmoil and disaster. Their lives will be expressions of worship and places of refuge and their love will reveal the Source of all that is good, life giving and eternal.

David Fredrickson

*reposted

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Principle Failure

I was reading an article called 10 Principles for New Christians a few minutes ago, but had enough by the time I read the first three. Principle number 1 addressed daily Bible reading as nutrition and stated that the more you eat, the more you grow, and that one should speed up the process and save themselves some pain by vowing to read every day without fail and refuse breakfast if you failed. It may sometimes be like eating vegetables you don’t like, it said, but just discipline yourself.

The second one focused on faith and began with the story of a young man who told the writer that he found it hard to believe some of the things in the Bible. So he asked the young man what his name was twice, and where he lived, and to each answer replied, “I don’t believe you.” He used the young man’s angry response as an illustration of how insulting it was to call Almighty God a liar by questioning the Bible.

Evangelism was principle number three. Here the story was about five sleeping children who burned to death when a heater in their room suddenly bust into flames. The father tried to rescue them, but was too late. The question posed by the article: If you were there peering at the peaceful sight of the five sleeping children and knew that any moment the room would burst into flames, could you in good conscience walk away?

The sad truth is that most Christians reading the above would heartily agree with the points made. The religion of Christianity has brought people into a relationship with principles rather than with the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible is treated like something between freeze dried Holy Spirit and a legal contract, so that the more you eat the more your spirit grows while your mind is informed of cause and effect. Rather than the scriptures pointing to Christ, you would expect Jesus to be pointing to the scriptures. Faith is taught as intellectual confidence in the accuracy of the written word rather than trust in God’s character that grows gradually in concert with a deepening relationship with him as he is revealed in Christ. If having doubts about certain things in the Bible makes you feel guilty, try to estimate the number of sinners you passed by in the last week without telling them about Christ and their eternal destiny in hell if they reject him.

Jaques Ellul wrote:

“We must be convinced that there are no such things as ‘Christian principles.’ There is the Person of Christ, who is the principle of everything. But if we wish to be faithful to Him, we cannot dream of reducing Christianity to it certain number of principles (though this is often done), the consequences of which can be logically deduced. This tendency to transform the work of the Living God into a philosophical doctrine is the constant temptation of theologians, and also of the faithful, and their greatest disloyalty when they transform the action of the Spirit which brings forth fruit in themselves into an ethic, a new law, into ‘principles’ which only have to be ‘applied.”

David Fredrickson

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Gays at Your Gatherings?

cell_groupsSomeone asked our friend Steve Crosby if they should allow people who are gay to attend their Christian gatherings. After reading Steve’s reply, we asked him to share it with us on today’s podcast.  (The Skype sound quality is a bit lower than normal)

Podcast Link

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Misplaced Loyalty

“Nothing displeases or revolts us more than New Testament Christianity when it is properly proclaimed. It can neither win millions of Christians, nor bring revenues and earthly profits.”
“In the depths of our hearts, Christianity has always been a mortal enemy. History bears witness that in generation after generation there has been a highly respected social class (that of priests/professionals) whose task is to make Christianity the opposite of what it really means.” S. Kierkegaard

It’s not difficult for those of us who’ve abandoned the system of religious obligation to see how it deceives by turning truth upside down while keeping its adherents on a treadmill of striving to be good enough. Unfortunately, many escapees are still living in reaction to what they left. They seem to think that freedom means strict avoidance of any activity that might impose on their own personal agenda.

But being free from obligation to serve man’s agenda does not translate into freedom to serve ourselves. Leaving the institution doesn’t prove my loyalty to Christ or demonstrate my passion to live in his life at the cost of losing my own. It’s true that misplaced loyalty to leaders must die before we can become loyal to one leader. But if that loyalty is transferred to self, the nature of Christ is still our enemy. There is no prison as unrelenting as the prison of selfishness.

After first throwing off the binding yoke of religious obligation we are wary, and rightly so, of any influence that would threaten our new found freedom in Christ. But we’ve been set free to serve Christ, not ourselves. Being reluctant to give of our time, money and hard work toward building the kingdom indicates that we are still not free, nor do we understand the nature of love. Selfishness is the opposite of love. We are set free from the obligation to please man AND our own flesh so that we can freely and joyfully serve God by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus

David Fredrickson

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Our Conversation with Wayne Jacobsen

WayneHere’s a replay of a conversation we had with Wayne Jacobsen who joined us  in our podcast. We catch up with him on the recent book that he collaborated on called “A Man Like No Other” and the recent video series “The Jesus Lens“. Wayne also discusses some of his future projects. We explore some of the myths of meetings and ministry.

Podcast Link

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Discipleship & Commitment

There’s much being said today about commitment. Commitment to prayer, to reading the word, to fellowship, to service, to evangelism and whatever else is deemed important to spiritual growth and productivity. Back when I was running an institution and managing people I developed an ambitious program for making disciples that covered all of the elements above including commitment to the discipleship class. Since then I’ve learned that my commitment to anyone or anything has absolutely no value of itself. In fact it would prove my arrogance to think that I had the power to guarantee follow-through on any commitment.

Jesus never asked us to commit. He did say if we loved him we would keep his commandments, and that we love him because he first loved us. I used to understand that by principle, but still depended on my will power to keep commitments. Years of learning the hard way has taught me that whatever I attempt that does not flow out of love for him will certainly fail. Jesus said “If any man will be my disciple…” He never commands us to do what’s impossible. In short, commitment is a response to love.

If we strive to keep a commitment to follow him, it’s certain that we’ve not become integrated with the Vine. Our response to his unfathomable love and grace is to run after and yield to the one who has become our life. In the process we lose our life in him, which is the goal of every true disciple.

David Fredrickson

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A New Testament Gathering of The Church

Holding-Hands

A New Testament Gathering of The Church

Our latest podcast. For a few years now, David has traveled to gather with a variety of leaders to encourage, strengthen relationships, and to hear about the journeys of other leaders in different parts of the world. He just returned from a visit in Florida, so we get to hear a little about what were some of the discussions were about.

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