The Art of Offending God

SinfulInside1

“Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
    and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.”

Psalm 78:40, NLT

“For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
    They refuse to do what I tell them.’”

Psalm 95:10, NLT

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).”

Ephesians 4:30, AMP

I must say, we instinctively know how to offend God.  No one has to teach us how it’s done, we just know how to do it. We have the amazing ability to sadden God. Our sins, and our rebellion causes God to tremble and weep. Disobedience, in any form affects the very essence of God’s well-being.

As a believer in Jesus, I know that sin is never permanent. It is not like getting a spiritual tattoo on our hearts. Our faith prevents sin from completely attaching itself to our hearts. But my sorrow or grief over my sin, must drill itself directly into my heart. I should come to the point where I can not sin against Him who loves me hysterically.

To turn back to Him involves “contrition.” To be contrite is to imply a very simple acknowledgment of our sin– and the rebellion that is often seen within. Somehow this is possible. I do not understand the mechanics of it all. But I am very glad it is there. God loves a heart that is contrite.

God is very offended by our sin. But somehow we do not grasp this. More or less this is a bit intangible. In our mind, we go don’t ever stop sinning against Him. We feel that we are getting away of something, which isn’t true at all.

As a closet-Lutheran, I propose the Lutheran Church which also has its own act  of contrition, which is said during Holy Absolution. The following version, taken from the Lutheran Service Book (2006), says:

    O Almighty God, merciful Father, I a poor, miserable sinner, confess to you all my sins and iniquities, with which I have ever offended you and justly deserved your punishment now and forever. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray you of your boundless mercy, and for the sake of the holy, innocent through many bitter sufferings and death of your beloved son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor sinful being.

I can say nothing more than this. I will simply rest in this kindness that isn’t me at all. He loves each of us, as if we were the only ones. Thank you Father.

Y

ybic, Bryan

*

Hail, Hail the Gangs All Here!

“One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.”

Luke 9:1-3, NLT

The first step these men took is to come to Jesus.  His closeness is essential and critical.  The very next step involves our relationship with 12 others.  We never work alone, but with others who have also come to Jesus.

Jesus intends to impart vast power to His disciples.  He might of sold this “power” and funded His ministry.  (That is certainly what I would have done in His place.)  But Jesus has no intentions of setting up ‘franchises.’ He has come to make disciples.

The terrible enemies are in control, both demons and diseases.  They have inflicted the human race with strange forms of darkness for centuries.  The seriousness of what is at stake can be understood by Jesus’ response of giving out, “complete” power.  I believe that this is what it is going to take.

This disciples are not just messengers, but healers.  They fully intend to intervene into the lives of those who are not healthy.  They transmit Jesus’ touch to heal everyone who is needy.  The implications are clear; Jesus is touching, even if His disciples are the ones’ reaching out.

He reaches us in our weakness

There are specific instructions which Jesus commands, and we see in subsequent verses, that there is a basic structure to the disciples life.  We do things that must align to a standard that Jesus established.  We must do it, before we can make it.

The idea of taking with us money or food isn’t permitted.  Leave your comfortable clothes at home in your closet.  This seems to be time for us to “strip” our minds, and desires from those things that might snag us.  The athlete of ancient Greece would strip himself of clothing, to run an exceptional race, with no hindrances and nothing to trip him up.

At Brokenbelievers, I would like to think that we are hungry for Him.  Remember that He who feeds us has drawn really close is to us.  There are many readers of this blog who are well educated and competent to succeed on whatever level they choose.  But they must first and foremost be disciples of the Lord Jesus.  That means we are those who chose to be under His direction.

^

ybic, Bryan

Check out my other sites: http://www.psalmslife.com and http://www.crossquotes.org. Thanks!

I Almost Killed a Man

Clarion Alley, very much cleaned and renovated
Clarion Alley, very much cleaned and renovated

In 1987 I was serving the Lord with S.O.S. Ministries in San Francisco, California. I was living in community with other team members in the Mission District on Sycamore St. Everything was rather gritty. (Some would say it was ‘loathsome or gross,’ but that seems unkind.) Wine bottles, mixed with the decor of fresh graffiti  and was then blended with the acrid smell of urine. When it got hot, it got really bad. It could make your eyes water.

“Amelia’s”, the biggest lesbian “rock-n-roll” bar west of the Mississippi was a few doors down. A gay thrift store was next to it. Right next to us were heroin addicts; when they overdosed they would start retching in the common “light-well” that we shared with them. The “puking” could get pretty violent, and you had to turn up the radio just to block it out. And we prayed for them.

I had the misfortune (?) of having the front room on the first floor overlooking the street. Nights would bring out all the crazies, the junkies, the girls fighting and throwing bottles at each other. I heard everything. Cursing and yelling and screaming. I had a front row seat to all the nastiness and pain these folks had. Every now and then a police car ventured into this circus, and things got normal– for about five minutes.

I once saw a couple, completely nude and having sex in the middle of the street. And it was only 12 noon. Hmmm. The house we lived in was smack in the middle of what the San Francisco Chronicle called “San Francisco’s Mean Street.” I think there were some close runners-up to us though. But living on Sycamore had its share of memorable moments.

I was driving the ministry truck back from an outreach at Powell and Market (the “cable car turn around.”) We had had a great outreach, almost four hours. It’s a perfect locale, with the subway and the tourists and the street performers. The truck was loaded with sound equipment, and I was taking it back to the S.O.S. house, where we stored it (under lock and key, of course.)

There was an alley directly behind our house. Clarion Alley was the classic inner-city alley. It was very rough and nasty, and if you did venture out you needed to be “prayed up.” It is also the city’s largest bathroom. It seemed the urine smell tried very hard to cancel out the stench of the feces. It was very ripe. (I had also gotten stabbed with a used heroin needle while I was cleaning– but that is another story.)

I was driving along, very happy to be headed home. It had been a very long day, and I was tired. I turned from Mission St. into Clarion Alley. It was dark and pretty chilly. I was thinking about a cup of hot tea. Now Clarion is only a block long. The street was filled with garbage, and as I tooled along there was a big roll of carpeting laying pretty much crossways on the pavement.

I was tired. My first thought was just to drive over it. I think I might even accelerated the truck. All of a sudden I had the strong urge to stop. I slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the cab. Cautiously, I knelt down for a closer look. Rolled up inside was a wino trying to sleep. I’m sure in his mind, the carpeting was a cozy “godsend,” a safe place that was warm and dry place hidden from “bad people.” And I came just inches from killing him.

God intervenes to protect our lives probably much more then we realize. Each person has been created in His image. He loves everyone– as if we were the only one.

“We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.”

Psalm 33:20, NLT

ybic, Bryan

SOS Ministries has reorganized but still is true to the vision it had when I served with them. Website: http://sosmin.com/wordpress/. It is the premier place to develop a gift of evangelism and worship. 

SOS Ministries is an inter-denominational, evangelical, street ministry in San Francisco.  Their special mission is to reach the people of the San Francisco Bay Area and to train Christians and churches in evangelism helping them reach their own communities for Jesus. Come help share the love of Jesus Christ with the people of San Francisco.

SOS organizes three “Church on the Street” outreaches each month in San Francisco or Berkeley on Saturday afternoon. Local churches bring their worship group and conduct a church service in a downtown park. They also witness three times a month in San Francisco on Friday night.

Outreaches are subject to change. Call (510) 282-5629 to confirm outreaches or for more information. E-Mail: mail@sosmin.com,

Website: http://sosmin.com/wordpress/.

Mailing Address:
SOS Ministries
P.O. Box 27358
Oakland, CA, 94602

 

Keeping God on Track

God’s Quality Management Questionnaire

Help Us Regulate the Almighty– Keeping Him Accountable is Our Purpose

God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In order to better serve your needs, He asks that you take a few moments to answer the following questions. Please keep in mind that your responses will be kept completely confidential, and that you need not disclose your name or address unless you prefer a direct response to comments or suggestions.

1. How did you find out about God?

___ Newspaper
___ Bible
___ Torah
___ Book of Mormon
___ Koran
___ Other Book
___ Television
___ Divine Inspiration
___ Word of mouth
___ Dead Sea scrolls
___ My mama done tol’ me
___ Near Death Experience
___ Near-life experience
___ National Public Radio
___ Tabloid
___ Burning Shrubbery
___ Who?
___ Other (specify): _____________

2. Which model God did you acquire?

___ Yahweh
___ Jehovah
___ Allah
___ Just plain God
___ Krishna
___ Father, Son & Holy Ghost (Trinity Pak)
___ Zeus and entourage (Olympus Pak)
___ Odin and entourage (Valhalla Pak)
___ Gaia/Mother Earth/Mother Nature
___ None of the above; I was taken in by a false god

3. Did your God come to you undamaged, with all parts in good working order and with no obvious breakage or missing attributes? __ Yes __ No

If not, please describe here the problems you initially encountered. Please indicate all that apply:
___ Not eternal
___ Not omniscient
___ Not omnipotent
___ Finite in space/Does not occupy or inhabit the entire universe
___ Permits sex outside of marriage
___ Prohibits sex outside of marriage
___ Makes mistakes (Michael Vick, Tiger Woods)
___ When beseeched, doesn’t stay beseeched
___ Requires burnt offerings
___ Requires virgin sacrifices
___ Plays dice with the universe

4. What factors were relevant in your decision to acquire a God? Please check all that apply.

___ Indoctrinated by parents
___ Needed a reason to live
___ Indoctrinated by society
___ Needed target for rage
___ Imaginary friend grew up
___ Hate to think for myself
___ Wanted to meet girls/boys
___ Fear of death
___ To piss off parents
___ Needed a day away from work
___ Enjoy organ music
___ Needed focus on whom to despise
___ Needed to feel morally superior
___ Graduated from the tooth fairy
___ My shrubbery caught fire and told me to do it

5. Are you currently using any other source of inspiration in addition to God? Please check all that apply.

__ Self-help books
__ Tarot, Astrology
__ Star Trek re-runs
__ Fortune cookies
__ Ann Landers
__ Psychic Friends Network
__ Dianetics
__ Playboy and/or Playgirl
__ Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll
__ Biorhythms
__ EST
__ Television
__ Mantras
__ Ted Haggard
__ Crystals (not including Crystal Gayle)
__ Human Sacrifice
__ Wandering around in desert
__ Burning shrubbery
__ Other:_____________________

6. Have you ever worshiped a false God before? If so, which false God were you fooled by? Please check all that apply.

___ Odin
___ Lottery
___ Baal
___ Beelzebub
___ The Almighty Dollar
___ The Conservative Right
___ Mick Jagger
___ Bill Gates
___ The Great Pumpkin
___ Pro Football
___mushrooms                                                                                                                                ___sex, drugs and rock/roll

___ Other: ________________

7. God employs a limited degree of Divine Intervention to preserve the balanced level of felt presence and blind faith. Which would you prefer. (circle one)?

a. More Divine Intervention
b. Less Divine Intervention
c. Current level of Divine Intervention is just right

8. God also attempts to maintain a balanced level of disasters and miracles.

Please rate on a scale of 1 to 5 God’s handling of the following: (1 = unsatisfactory, 5 = excellent):

Disaster:
1 2 3 4 5 flood
1 2 3 4 5 famine
1 2 3 4 5 earthquake
1 2 3 4 5 war
1 2 3 4 5 pestilence
1 2 3 4 5 plague
1 2 3 4 5 my last relationship

Miracles:

1 2 3 4 5 present relationship
1 2 3 4 5 rescues
1 2 3 4 5 spontaneous remissions
1 2 3 4 5 crying statues
1 2 3 4 5 water changing to wine
1 2 3 4 5 walking on water                                                                                                                     1 2 3 4 5 stars hovering over towns
1 2 3 4 5 VCRs that set their own clocks
1 2 3 4 5 clear and competent statements by the President

9. Please rate the following on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 =unsatisfactory, 5 = excellent):

1 2 3 4 5 God’s Courtesy
1 2 3 4 5 answers to your prayers
1 2 3 4 5 Are your spiritual needs being met?
1 2 3 4 5 How are your shrubs doing?

10. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for improving the quality of God’s services? (Attach additional sheet(s) if necessary.)

-Writer unknown

Disclaimer– This is supposed to be funny/satire. If this post offends you in any way, forgive me. God (the real one) is at work in my heart. If you enjoyed this post, praise the Lord, I am happy!

cropped-851.jpg

%d bloggers like this: