Experience Jesus live!

If your life keeps going from gags to glitches, perhaps you need God. There’s no time like when you’re aware of Christ’s presence. Experience Jesus live!

To bow before God is to rise above self. Pride is an “I” full of self-focus — pr”I”de. For inner peace–minimize self & maximize Jesus! Christianity is to turn away from self and follow the risen Christ instead. Although human nature prefers self-defense, Jesus calls us to self-denial. Like a soldier setting aside self-concern to obey his commander, humility obeys Jesus!

I lost my religion when Jesus became my best friend & made the Bible come alive.

Hanging out with the risen Jesus is adventurous, astonishing & addicting. When I met Jesus, He led me to the Bible & made it come alive in my soul ever since. Now I’m addicted to Bible reading because it’s one place I meet with the risen Jesus. When Jesus in my heart connects with Jesus as revealed in the Bible, my spirit soars.

I’ve never used Bible commentaries. I prefer to listen to Jesus as I read it. If you let Him, Christ in you will interpret the Bible & it will teach you to stay close to Christ. The Bible helps you know if a thought is from God, self, or the devil.

So many things that I read about in the Bible, have happened in my life, that I’m convinced it’s true. The Bible’s not fantasy. It works amazing things both in my heart & in daily life. Scripture shows that Christianity is so much more than what we commonly experience. The book of Acts shows the 1st Christians experiencing God’s fire, power & miracles. We can, too!

To be sure you’re hearing the voice of Jesus, check it out with the Bible. Jesus tells us to stop doing wrong. We prefer to justify our wrongdoing.

Need a heart-mend alignment? Take your heart to the risen Jesus. Too often we humans focus on hardware (physical existence) & ignore the software our soul. A comfort zone is a place to hide from God.

Without moral virtue, love’s on shaky ground. The more we love Jesus, the more we will act like Him. You don’t have to approve of people’s opinions/behavior to show them love & kindness. Christians are called to be captured by Christ, not by their contemporary culture.

Church = people looking at a podium. Ekklesia = people ministering to one another. Ekklesia (Greek city council) is a forgotten word Jesus used to describe His body. Jesus said: “I will build My ekklesia (ancient Greek town hall meeting).” The Christ-follower’s heart is the house of God (not a religious building).

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Hey Millennials: Check out the book of millennia

Hey Millennials: Read the book that has brought hope for two millennia — the Bible. Pages for the ages! Don’t miss out on the Bible’s witness to the living Jesus! As a textbook it can be dry; but as a love letter it’s invigorating. Knowing God’s great love for me is undeserved, fills me with humility, awe, & joy.

If you could listen to the first Christ-followers, would you? You can in the Bible. To ignore the words of the first century Christians is to miss out on spiritual fire. To divorce Christianity from the Bible is to censor the first Christ-followers. Reacting to legalism by ignoring the Bible is overreacting.

The lifestyle and beliefs of the first Christians are demonstrated in the Bible. They claimed that they were writing facts about God, not opinions. Biblical Christianity is phenomenal. It’s sad that so many generations have made it nominal. Thomas Jefferson published a Bible that only had verses he liked. (Sound familiar?) To make Christianity as you like it, denies Bible teachings you don’t like. It’s easier to change Christ to match you than to change yourself to match Christ.

The Bible is God-breathed revelation written down by real people moved by the Holy Spirit. It’s a lighthouse in the fog of life that directs people to the risen Jesus. When hopes, heroes, dreams & even nations crumble, the risen Jesus stands secure.

Jesus trained His fist followers so they can train you. Read their words & learn of Him. Let the writings of those who first followed Jesus keep you close to Him. The Bible is a handbook for learning to hear & obey the risen Jesus. Hanging out with the risen Jesus is adventurous, astonishing & addicting.

I insert the Bible
Into my soul.
It takes me to Jesus
And He makes me whole!

A red-hot relationship with Jesus can wane into routine religion. The Bible helps keep Christ’s fire burning within.

Sometimes I’m unusually prompted to open the Bible & God meets me with fresh insight. I’m addicted to Bible reading because it’s one place I meet with the risen Jesus.

Here’s the NT5/21 Challenge: Read the New Testament (the last third of the Bible) at least 5 minutes a day for 21 days.

Discover the lost word of the Bible @ this link.

Bible overacting to leagalism

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Thinkin’ ‘Bout the Bible

Unlike human history books, the Bible tells the unflattering truth about its heroes. The Bible’s not a mild, coffee table book. It’s a coffee-book full of spiritual caffeine. However, I didn’t believe the Bible was from God until I read it. I didn’t read the Bible until I met Jesus & found that it fed my passion for Him. In most books I hear the author speaking to me; in the Bible I hear God.

People who walked with God have an amazing perspective. Read the Bible and see. Many who say critical things about the Bible have never even read through it once. Freedom to read the Bible is a privilege. It has often been forbidden & persecuted. Many people avoid (or attack) the Bible because it has the power to change them.

No book has ever inspired me & transformed me like the Bible. I’ve read many hundreds of books, but only one Book over & over again for 47 years. If the Bible puts you to sleep, you’re not paying attention. It’s electric! If you will read through the Bible; soon the Bible will begin to get through to you. My favorite library is the Bible–a collection of 66 life-changing books.

No matter how much you read it, the Bible always has something more to say. The Bible is a key that unlocks insight & transformation, if you humbly and frequently read it. Read the Bible like you breathe, filling your inner self with its life-giving wisdom. Read the Bible with an open heart & it will work inside you, even if you forget the details of what you read.

The Bible’s like an icebreaker ship. It will break up the frozen sea inside you. The Bible applied to self, is much more powerful than the Bible on a shelf. The Bible will introduce you to a supernatural place where you can find peace & joy. The habit of daily Bible reading with an open heart will brighten up your life.

The Bible is a gift from God that you can open over and over again. Reading the Bible is like having conversation with the most godly people in history. Read the Bible to listen, receive, ponder, consider, and be changed. The context of the Bible is supernatural revelation from God. Read it for light.

Many of my best friends are in the Bible. I open the pages and hang out with them. Regular Bible reading awakens in me a longing to be more spiritually alive. Not to read the Bible is to miss out on 66 books that have led millions to the living God. They have learned to experience a new way of life by reading the Bible. You can find God’s presence & timeless truths in the pages of the Bible.

Too many Bibles have dusty covers. An unread Bible is like an unused gift card from your favorite restaurant. The Bible’s like a hospital bed; between its covers it will resuscitate your soul. As you read the Bible, it reads the secrets of your heart back to you. A broken heart needs the Bible like a broken engine needs a mechanic.

The Bible’s endured the test of time. Why not take the time to read it? The Bible needs a warning label: “Reading this will change you.” The Bible greatly rewards those who muster up the courage to read it all. The Holy Spirit takes words from the Bible & makes them come alive in your soul. To open the Bible with an open heart is to open God’s treasure chest.

Give up on trying to find yourself. The Bible will help you find God instead! Addiction to Bible reading produces long-term recovery from other addictions. The Bible calls the dry bones in me to come alive & stirs me up to follow Jesus.

It’s easy to drift into deception without the anchor of the Bible’s discernment. Truth has boundaries. Be careful not to wander outside of truth. Find a Bible, sit down, start reading it, & see what happens in your heart. The Bible never needs a battery charger; just read it and it will charge you. Words in the Bible connect with Jesus in my heart & burst forth in spiritual life. The Bible, like a spiritual match, can light (or rekindle) God’s fire in your heart.

The Bible focuses me on Jesus & challenges my opinions so I can follow Him not self. The Bible is a library of words from God, ready to come alive in your heart. We become like what we read, watch, talk about, & think about. Read something daily that will not just entertain you but will make your life better. Why not begin to regularly read the Bible today? Regularly reading the Bible will decrease the darkness you feel in your soul.

“Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” –Two early Christ-followers who had just spent time with the risen Jesus. Twenty-one centuries later, the risen Jesus still opens the Scriptures to burn in the hearts of those who read them and spend time with Him. If the risen Jesus felt the need to explain Scripture. How can we ignore it? (Luke 24:27)

There is a “lost word of the Bible.” The Greek New Testament word “ekklesia” was mistranslated into English as “church.” Learn more in my book, “Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia.”

Let’s put the Bible into action and “rebuild the ancient ruins” of the Greek New Testament ekklesia. Let’s meet together like an orchestra and let the living Jesus be our conductor. (1 Cor. 14:26) Ekklesia is an arch where every member works together to help people cross a chasm.

steve & the Bible

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Why I’ve read hundreds of dead writers . . .

Reading writings by Christ-loving men & women who lived in the past has helped me to know truth, not just as doctrines, but also as fire in my bones. Those authors have been my mentors, helping me continually connect with Jesus and keeping me from straying from His presence and His truth. I started at 19 with the writers of the Bible, reading them almost daily until the present. Along the way I’ve read many other Christ-seeking writers who knew how to share their love for Jesus in light-bearing words that filled my heart with passion for Him — mystics, monks, nuns, reformers, revivalists, missionaries, journal writers, prophets, hermits, martyrs, saints, founders of movements, evangelists, preachers, and even a few theologians — who for the past two millennia have shared their amazing experiences with the living Jesus with whosoever wants to pick up one of their books and read.

Posted in Catholic mystics, Christian mysticism, Dominican nuns, evangelists, hermits, martyrs, Methodist revivalists, missionaries, missionary, monks, mysticism, mystics, Orthodox monks, prophets, Protestant Reformers, Reformers, revivalists, the Reformers, theologians, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some things make more happy-sense . . .

People talk about common sense — basic wisdom for living well. But people also need happy-sense — the insight to live happy.

Much unhappiness is self-made. Everyday decisions are determining your destiny: joy, mediocrity, or misery. To stop doing, thinking, and saying things that hurt/harm us and/or others makes more sense than to keep it up. Ramifications are reaped in life (good or bad) based on how you choose to behave and they will create happiness or misery for you and others.

lantern

Self-denial makes more sense than seeking satisfaction through self-destructive behaviors. Doing right makes more sense that doing wrong and suffering negative consequences. Being set free from self-destructive behaviors makes more sense than bragging on them. Repentance makes more sense than continuing to do what’s making you unhappy.

Knowing God’s will is easier and than people think. Obeying it makes more sense than ignoring it.

Being kind to people makes more sense than being mean to them. Praying for others makes more sense than having bad feelings about them. Forgiving others makes more sense than holding on to bitterness toward them. Honest humility makes more sense than struggling to keep up appearances.

Admitting you’re wrong makes more sense than trying to change the truth. Letting the Bible show me where I’m wrong, is wiser than using it to prove I’m right. Conforming my beliefs to the Bible makes more sense than conforming the Bible to your beliefs. I read the Bible like a love letter from God calling me to surrender my life and will to His care.

Joy comes when we put self on the shelf and follow the risen Jesus instead. The joy of following the risen Jesus makes more sense than despair. Trusting in Jesus makes more sense than giving in to hopelessness. Jesus fills me with inner riches of peace & joy, that money could never buy. If your heart ever gets even one glimpse of Jesus, you’ll be forever changed. Then you will know that self-forgetting makes more sense than self-focus does.

Beyond both low self-esteem & pride is a Christ-focus that leads to self-forgetting. Surrendering your life to God’s care makes more sense than our weak attempts at self-care. So here’s the key to real happiness: Take your selfie & surrender it to Jesus.

It’s popular to say “Love yourself,” but Jesus taught “Deny yourself.” Christ calls us to bring self under subjection to Him. When we put self up front, it blocks out the Son shine! When Christ and self conflict; always choose Christ. “No Lord” is an oxymoron. Lord means “absolute Master,” but saying “no” denies it.

Self-love & self-hatred are both stuck in self-focus. Self-forgetting surrenders self. To forget about yourself & focus on others is to become untangled from unhappiness. To forgive yourself, while turning away from God’s forgiveness, is futile. To get beyond guilt, we need God’s forgiveness; not denial or self-justification. Stealth-self takes self off your radar & lets you give your all to the risen Jesus.

To stay stuck in self is to miss true wealth. To ignore God’s wisdom is to embrace unhappiness.

The Gospels show Jesus teaching people by interactive facilitation not just lecture. Ekklesia is a group appointment with Jesus, not a religious program. Ekklesia is a town meeting in the kingdom of God. It’s a great place to learn wisdom.

Posted in decision-making, Glee, happy, inner joy, inner peace, joy of the Lord, joy unspeakable, Joyous, making decisions, peace, peace of mind, right to choose, stress, stress management, stress relief, Uncategorized, unhappiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s stable in this crazy world?

What’s stable in a crazy world? The living Jesus. A red-hot book blazes in my heart & sets my soul on fire! What is it? The Bible testimony about the living Jesus. Be cautious that you don’t stray away from the risen Jesus and His truth. Jesus and the Bible will help you not to repeat yesterday’s mistakes today.

If you mold your mind to mediocrity, you’ll miss out on the marvelous. Christ’s not satisfied with complacency. He calls you to carefully walk in His healing and wholeness!

stable

To call caution & discernment “fear” is to move carelessly toward deception. There’s a huge difference between fear and caution. Caution is to look both ways before you step into a road. Fear is to sit paralyzed on the side of the road, unwilling to walk across the street. Many believers today are setting aside the caution of Scripture and jumping into spiritual traffic without it.

Caution is important because I am not wise enough to correctly identify Jesus and His leadings all by myself 100% of the time. I need the wisdom of the ekklesia written in the New Testament and the wisdom of the body of Christ today; otherwise I’m at the mercy of my own feelings about and perceptions of God (and they are sometimes off base).

Any human being can be tricked or deceived. Paul said that evil is sometimes disguised as a messenger of light. I hear God, but I check what I hear with the Bible, with mature believers who are solid in their trust in Christ, and also with reason and logic. That’s caution, because there are many deceiving spirits active in us humans. Also our own self-interests can deceive us.

Stay spiritually safe. Hang out with the first Christians. Get into the New Testament every day. Then go and boldly do what it says! It takes hopeful people to spread hope.

Let the risen Jesus get your hopes up. Being friends with the risen Jesus isn’t a new thing; it’s been going on 2,000 years. Read the Bible listening to the Holy Spirit who guided those who wrote it. There’s no need for an interpreter to explain the Bible. Read it for yourself and be amazed.

Experience the body of Christ in the Greek New Testament concept of ekklesia. Ekklesia is the greatest team activity because it’s coached by the risen Jesus.

The Bible has several letters written to ekklesias. They can help us live it out. The Bible helps us identify & reject fake news about who Jesus is. Renew your faith in the risen Jesus, don’t renege on it. Read & reread the Bible. Here’s some wisdom that the first ekklesias relied on to protect them from deception:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching…” 2 Timothy 3:16

Knowing the Bible helps you “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God.”

Hebrews says the mature “have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

Jesus quoted Scripture to overcome temptation. Shouldn’t we? (Matthew 4)

1 John was written “so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Do you know?

WWJD? Know the Bible! (In Matthew Jesus quotes the Old Testament 30+ times.)

Joshua said we should meditate on the book of the law, day and night. (Joshua 1:8)

Doubting what God had said led Eve into deception. (Genesis 3)

Learn more about bold caution and the body of Christ at this link!

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The Bible’s like a roto rooter

The first Christians opened up the faucet on their spiritual plumbing and let the risen Jesus flow. They experienced supernatural revelation & passed it on in the Bible. What Jesus reveals today won’t contradict what He’s revealed in Scripture. Don’t hear God speaking? Read the New Testament & you will. Today, the Bible’s like a roto rooter. Reading it with an open heart cleans out your spiritual plumbing.

Connect to God media: written–in the Bible; wireless–in your heart. To not want to know the Bible is like not wanting a smartphone — you miss so much. Most people don’t notice their breathing or God; however, both are vital. Listen to God’s Spirit & explore the Bible with an open heart.

The Bible’s a miracle. It opens the blinds & lets God’s light in. Powerful words from God’s Spirit were written down & collected in the Bible. The Bible will transform your life if you read it for what it says, not for what others say it says. The Bible will show you the risen Jesus if you read it like a love letter from God. “The message I proclaim about Jesus Christ…now revealed & made known through the prophetic writings.” -Paul of Tarsus

I was an agnostic college student, totally lost and confused about life. Then one day I picked up an old Bible I had been given as a kid and begin to read the New Testament every day. Soon the words began to come alive and burn in my heart. I’ve read the Bible almost every day since then and it still releases hope, encouragement, & fire in my heart. Much of the Bible fits my heart as a key & unlocks treasures of insight, peace & joy.

Neglecting the Bible neglects the spiritual life & power shared by its authors. It’s dangerous to ignore the testimonies & teachings of the first Christians — the New Testament. God won’t contradict today what He revealed to the first Christ-followers. Find the fire & faith of the first Christians. Explore the Bible daily.

It used to be that unbelievers rejected the Bible. Unfortunately, now many, who say they believe, also reject the Bible.

It’s important to test the smorgasbord of beliefs about God by His menu–the Bible–before you swallow. Don’t try to make God match your beliefs; make your beliefs match God’s biblical revelation. Our culture has swapped moral discernment with mindless self-expression. We need to lead self to God and His holiness. For too long we’ve allowed self to lead us to selfishness and ego. Christians are alive to be ambassadors of Christ’s light, to the here & now.

Here are three ways to recognize the people who have the risen Jesus working in and through them. You can recognize Jesus by the Holy Spirit revealing Him to your heart; by seeing His character and nature in people (the fruit of the Spirit); and by checking out what people say and teach and making sure that it conforms to the Bible.

Love is caring, concern, & compassion; not approval or acceptance. Blind approval of sin & rebellion is apathetic, not loving. God doesn’t approve of our rebellion against His will; but calls us to turn back to Him. To rebel against love is to break the heart of the ones who love you.

“Hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you.” –Paul of Tarsus

“Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instructions in this letter.” -Paul

“Anyone who rejects this instruction doesn’t reject a human being but God.” -Paul

“Have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.” –Paul of Tarsus

“Ah ha.” “Now I see!” Humble people + Holy Spirit + faithfulness to the Bible + freedom to speak = God surprises and the Greek New Testament experience of ekklesia. The Bible, along with ekklesia, releases supernatural revelation from God. Ekklesia is everyday people sharing Spirit inspired insight, heart to heart. Be undone by the presence of God in ordinary people.

Ekklesia consistently aligns with the Bible both in beliefs & behavior. To avoid chaos, any meeting needs ground rules. For ekklesia it’s the Bible. New Testament ekklesias were powerful. Then they slowly morphed into churches.

Experience ellkesia and open spiritual plumbing every Sunday morning in Nashville, Tennessee at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., 37207. Learn more about it in my book Beyond Church.

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