Fear. It is a gripping force. It comes in degrees, and the stronger the fear the more intensely it controls us. Fear can bring a physiological change to our organs and our musculature. It can literally change our respiratory processes. Read more…
God is so committed to fulfilling His plans on Earth through humans, that He became one in order to rescue us all from ourselves. His Journey from the realm of Heaven to a rough-hewn cross on earth passed through the womb of a fourteen year-old girl who had never known a man. A few thousand years ago she joined with her new husband and mounted a donkey to travel south from Nazareth towards Bethlehem. Read more…
Adam was a theologian in the same way a man falling in love is a girlogian. He did not study the object of his affection, he was wholly immersed in Him. When he breathed in, God circulated through his lungs, and when he pondered his condition and situation his thoughts were endued with Godness. Read more…
“What was your mission?” He asked me last night. It was a great question, but the answer would not even begin to describe the events of our five day Guatemala extravaganza. Much of what “happened” on the trip were the events along the way. I think the phrase in the Bible is, “…and as they went…” So were the beautiful moments in the land of Volcanoes. Read more…
The stage is set. Everything is in place. God has this knack for telling stories and being in them at the same time. He has a propensity to unfold a story that is about now and later at the same time. He’s really good at this. In fact all of reality is the telling and re-telling of The Story Read more…
He begins to speak and everything changes. The Story begins and nothing will ever be the same. HisStory is set in motion. Not everyone can unfold a new reality simply by opening their mouth. But He is not like anyone who exists…in fact He is…pre-existent. Read more…
Next, to really adequately set the stage for the story, it is of great importance to establish the answer to this question. Where was God when it all began? This is actually not quite the right question, since “Where?” is a question of geography, and God had not yet invented geography in the opening chapters. However, for us to grasp this idea we must start with ideas that our minds, in their current state, can grasp. We cannot really envision reality before geography.
So the actual answer to the question, “Where was God?” when He began to unfold the story is that, He Was. In the same way that the answer to the question “Who is He?” is that He Am. Our minds come to the end of their circuits while trying to apprehend this, but isn’t it fun to try?
One way to say “He Was” is to say He Was Everywhere. Again because our mind automatically applies geography to this image, the statement is not wholly accurate. It might be just as accurate to say, “Everywhere Was Him”. We could almost minimize Him by thinking of Him as being everywhere, because we might see Him as being a really good multi-tasker, but perhaps spread a little thin. Too busy to really engage in some aspects of the Universe. However, keep in mind, in the preface to The Story the universe Was Him.
(as a reference point, the points of light in this Nebulae are new stars being created, and this Nebulae is one of thousands upon thousands exploding outward in every direction as our universe expands)
Scientists try to explain these ideas with limited minds as well, as if we would try to explain an elephant only using a microscope. They would say that prior to the “Big Bang”, which is their explanation for the genesis of matter and reality, that all the matter of the universe was a supercharged dense mass, roughly the size of the head of a pin. They would say that this mass then exploded outwardly to begin to emit everything that we now see as our constantly expanding universe.
What none of us can picture or conceptualize, or even adequately describe is a reality altogether different from the one we now inhabit. But won’t it be fun to try to describe it.
First, it is essential to recognize that this reality is a Spiritual one. Because we so often think of “Spiritual Things” relative to our existence, we don’t image in our minds, that entire dimensions, or realms exist which our spiritual in make-up. Science cannot describe a type of real, or reality that it cannot measure, envision, or…well…describe.
We picture space as a vast, emptiness, however, images from space do not show this at all. Space is filled with Stuff. Visit the Hubble Telescope site to see what this looks like. In this same way, the Place-That-God-Inhabited, also known as The-Place-That-Was-God is a raging inferno filled with everything that is/was/will-be true about God. Picture a forest fire consuming large chunks of land, and the fire as the essence of such a place. Heat everywhere, smoke everywhere, bright flames, everywhere. This is the atmosphere in a realm in which God IS. (or, which IS God).
Heat, light, smoke….OK, these things are destructive, not such a great picture right!? Except again, our current perceptual mechanisms limit us. These things are desturctive TO ANYTHING THAT IS NOT LIKE THEM. However they strengthen anything that IS LIKE THEM. Add heat, it gets stronger, add smoke it increases and is increased,
The Consuming Fire that is our God, would be destructive to anything that enters this inferno which might be UNLIKE the nature of this inferno. This pulsating mass of LIFE and LOVE and POWER, and PEACE welcomes and strengthens anything that is Like Him in nature. It’s a good thing isn’t it that we are created in His Image. It would be risky for us to be in His presence if we were no longer like Him in Nature.
Where God was as He set out to unfold the story, was in a realm that was Wholly Himself, and Entirely Consumed with His Nature. The Beginning and the End. Like a furnace burning with the source of all that IS.
Perhaps this pinhead idea that scientists describe is simply the place in the Fabric of the Material Realm where God first broke through, and through that pin hole He Exploded a visual, material expression of His nature from this Spiritual realm, which was Filled with Him-Ness, into a material realm, which is still continually being filled, expanded outward in every direction with a material image of a Limitless God.
In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.
But before that He Was.
The most difficult part about beginning “The Story” is accurately setting the stage. In describing the Kingdom of God, I talk about the “Place” where it all started. To set the stage adequately,we must begin with the Person, more than the place. Having said that, let me first say I have set out to do the impossible; to describe God.
For The Story to really make any sense we must begin with the Author.
Paul gives us a warning in the book of Romans that we must not assume that God is “such a one as ourselves…” Sometimes, because it is so difficult to describe the Infinite, it helps to at least acknowledge the limitations we face in trying to describe the The Eternal One, with words and syllables.
Whenever someone tries to describe something you have not seen or experienced, it is our natural tendency to pull up files of our experience and try to find a comparison. “I’ve never been to Montana, but it must be like…(Colorado…Idaho…Switzerland…our file search begins, so we an categorize the thing we are hearing about…)” Our mind instinctively compares what we DO NOT know to what WE DO KNOW.
So Paul says, do not let God be compared to man as you try to comprehend Him. We begin to think of HIm as like a man, but…really really strong…really really smart…really really…well, you fill in the blank. We have never encountered an Eternal Creator face to face, so we bring up comparisons and turn up the volume on them.
If you saw the movie “Independence Day” you may remember the scene where the spaceships moved in. Over multiple major metropolitan areas, the sky suddenly went dark, and everyone stopped and looked up. The movie succeeded at showing what happens when the human scale of size is suddenly exceeded. These were not big spaceships, they were horizon dominating, sky darkening, perspective changing ships. And along with this game changing visual came the implications. What must this mean? Are they good, or evil? If the ships are this big, what about the creatures inside? Is this the end of the world as we know it?
So if our eyes could see…
And if our ears could hear…
We might begin to have that perspective changing view of THE ONE Who Was and Is and Is To Come. THE ONE who with a word brings solar systems into existence. THE ONE who never began and never will cease. The Beginning and The End. THE ONE who if our eyes could see, would more than dominate the horizon, He would fill every corner of anywhere you could turn. Why do I feel like quoting Veggie Tales at this moment?
God is bigger than the boogie man.
He’s bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV.
Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man,
And he’s watching out for you and me.
Perhaps the urge to quote Tomatoes named Bob is because they now turn our attention to the implications. We must first comprehend His incomprehensability. After we settle this, we at least try to understand Him.
We have at least tried to say He is BIG. But if He is that BIG what is He like?
Since we are on the front end of trying to tell His Story, it is important to try to say something about why the story unfolds, and this is directly tied to the answer to the question, “What is God like?”
In God’s ultimate moment of declaring His most favorite (glorious) attribute, He shows Moses His GOODNESS. (Exodus 33:19) Once again we must be careful because all of us know good people. This is not the same.
Everything good that exists issued forth from the Internal Nature of God, and because of HIS VERY GOODNESS, this Internal Goodness, must also be expressed as External Creation. One as GOOD as He, could not withhold outwardly the Goodness that is true Inwardly. If HE did, It would be selfish, and that is NOT GOOD. God’s very goodness lead Him to take every next step, and led Him to every aspect of the story. Every chapter, every paragraph in the unfolding story is both and explanation and an expression of His Goodness.
Sky’s are vast and blue because it is an expression of some attribute of God. Oceans are endless and filled with life because it is some expression of the goodness of God. DNA functions to replicate complex human characteristics generation after generation because it is an expression of some attribute of God. And the Giant Story of Redemption exists because it is an expression of an attribute of God and His Goodness.
Do you see why it is so important to begin here? The Whole Story exists and is expressed because of the Unending Goodness of the Author and Finisher of the story. Your personal story and the global, universal story, every aspect of it is a demonstration of the Fundamental, Raw, Explosive Goodness of God.
For many of us, and in many circumstances this does not make sense. But as the readers, listeners and participants in the STORY, we must begin and end with this assurance.
God is simply being His Ultimate Good Self. And out of that flows the rest of the story.
The air smells like leaves, and enters my lungs differently than the humid Texas air. The leaves remaining on the trees look like flames, with their bright orange, yellow and red hues. This is also different than Texas. I have been in Texas more than twenty-five years. My life is anchored there. Right now I am in the land of my childhood, southeastern Michigan. I just had a fresh donut (well…Ok…three), and hot cider at a local Cider Mill. I haven’t done that in decades.
So while I am here, I notice something that is more visceral than conscious. These experiences are memories that I have not been remembering. Something in me is connected to them, though it is faint. The air, the leaves, the smell. it more than familiar, it is embedded.
I am not so much longing for something, or reminiscing. I am really just noticing how much is stored in me that I am unaware of while I walk around. Friends names and faces, familiar experiences, or locations, seasons in life that leave their mark on my soul. All those things seem to be stored somewhere in me.
It makes me think of one of my favorite stories. True or not, I am uncertain, but the story is re-told of the three-year-old boy who stands over his baby brothers crib. Looking at the serene face of his infant brother, he says, “As soon as you can talk, you will have to tell me about God. I am already starting to forget…”.
I think that certain places. moments and experiences remind us of the things that are stored in us. Some of these things are memories of childhood experiences, some I believe are deeper than that. Some of the things stored inside us have to do with the Image of God in us, whether we have consciously experienced it or not. Certainly these are things we are made for, like the Lion born in captivity, that still has an innate awareness of the jungle he was made to rule.
Why do we desire to stand on top of mountains? Why do we have appetites for solving dilemmas? Why do we enjoy speed, or weightlessness, or increased strength? I am convinced all of these things are stored in us. However foggy they may be because of wear and tear, I am certain they are in there.
We are made to stand along side the Ruler of the Universe, and do our part. Being made in His image is about much more than thumbs and noses, it is about nature and capacity. It is about love and about influence. It is about the ongoing desire to right wrongs and to enjoy beauty.
Buried in us, deeper than a childhood memory of autumn and cider mills, is a code. A design. A nature which will find expression. I hope it is sooner and not later.
I am pretty sure that our thinking has something to do with how we lose sight of this. Thinking the same day after day, we start to assume that we are made for day-after-day. Our mind builds a much smaller world than we were made for, because of the limitations of our mind. Thinking “the same” seems to shrink our world, and ironically our shrinking world seems to makes us think “the same” even more.
You have to choose on purpose to think differently.