Wednesday, June 3

Choosing LIFE

"The command that I am giving you today is not too difficult or beyond your reach. It is not up in the sky. You do not have to ask, 'Who will go up and bring it down for us, so that we can hear it and obey it?' Nor is it on the other side of the ocean. You do not have to ask, 'Who will go across the ocean and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and obey it?' No, it is here with you. You know it and can quote it, so now obey it. "Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death. If you obey the commands of the LORD your God, which I give you today, if you love him, obey him, and keep all his laws, then you will prosper and become a nation of many people. The LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are about to occupy. But if you disobey and refuse to listen, and are led away to worship other gods, you will be destroyed---I warn you here and now. You will not live long in that land across the Jordan that you are about to occupy. I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life." (Deuteronomy 30:11-19 GNB)

I have signed up and receive daily emails from a variety of ministries and usually God entices me into a place where He would show me what He is doing around me this day, in the places where I journey. One, entitled "You Make Me Laugh" from, contained such enticement and I've reposted the 'Clean laugh for the day' portion of it. If you desire the free email, you can sign up for it at .

Have you ever had a resume rejected? Don't ever let it happen again. The next time that nasty old rejection letter comes your way, respond with your own:
Dear [Interviewer's Name]:

Thank you for your letter of [Date]. After careful consideration I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment with your firm. This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite [company name]'s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet with my needs at this time. Therefore, I will initiate employment with your firm beginning on [Date]. I look forward to seeing you then.

Best of luck in rejecting future candidates.


[Your Name]

Rejection is a big part of my story; rejection as a beloved son, rejection from the world, rejection from loved ones and even rejection within the vaunted halls of the postmodern Christian community that silently and effectively has invaded the sacrosanct halls of the Church. This has fueled my struggle to understand and accept that Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father will never reject me despite the many times in the pre-salvation life I did, boldly and in a 'in His face' way, that has me wondering at the foolishness of my ignorance and the overwhelming mercy that the Righteous One has for even a fool like me.

To step out into God's will means that each and every person who wants to find a reason to reject me and the testimony that God has shaped over the forty-one years of my life will have more than ample enough material to do so with......I am far from perfect, I am far from righteous and I am far from a valium-induced pleasingly happy 'christian' that seems to be the 'ideal candidate' for the job of preaching the Word of God in a 'emerging' church world. I'd be crucified no matter the truthfulness of the sermon, maybe even more so BECAUSE of the truthfulness of the sermon.

And yet it entices me, burdens my waking thoughts and brings me disruption each and every time I get that 'rejection' notice in the 'mail.' And there are brothers that God has brought into my life that stand against even my own 'self' rejection....a dear brother in Christ, struggling mightily in the face of things that I quail at thinking of having to deal with, called me an inspiration...and said my life brings tears to his eyes and sorrow to his heart. The fact, he said, that I am still standing (great song by Elton the way...when you listen, think of it in context of Lucifer, the fallen one) has to be a God-thing and is amazing. Another brother, facing his own problems physically, told me point-blank, "You have been uniquely shaped to offer something for God's purpose. Don't compare yourself to anyone else."

I've been looking back upon my life...facing that demonic period of childhood, where the beloved was killed, the enemy versed in his p.o.a. (plan of attack) for me even before I was aware of the battle, my own destructive agreements with ungodly things and the burden of wounds that have bled freely throughout my life causing me to react out of those piercing, deep wounds into the broken world that surrounds me. Whether rejection came from my father, my birth mother, my siblings (realized or not, imagined or not), others or even myself.....I would have to agree with that rejection (which I have) to make it an effective dismissal.

God didn't give anyone else an ear to His voice that February day in 2004 back in the 'cheap' seats of Chris Cramer's Orchard Grove Church when He spoke to me of 'coming home', nor again on the October day that followed when He spoke of 'this is what you shall do for Me' in that massive worship hall at Bill Hybel's Willow Creek Church. And yet, I let whoever chooses to 'reject' that purposing God has placed upon my heart and infused into my bones. For they must know better...and I must've heard wrong.

I agree with the 'rejection' and slip silently away back into the wilderness, the desert and the valleys from whence I've come. And, in that act of disobedience, reject God's purposed call for me. For, when we have truly surrendered our lives, our wills and ourselves to God, doing anything less than what God calls to us to do is a form rejection letter that we throw 'in His face.' And God keeps sending us this 'rejection of our rejection' letter back to us and keeps on doing what He has already planned and created to be done. Our participation is desired more than our will to step into God's world.

I wonder what life would be like to have things BECOME difficult. It would be interesting to see it happen, and to realize such an event was taking place. But in the world I live in, both through my own foolish sin or through the 'rejection' of others of my foolish movement, difficult is commonplace and stress a familiar friend. It is a marvel to me as I journey back into the desert places of my story and look at the wounds that have cut deep into the sinew of my soul that I have never succeeded in my suicide attempts, my self-destructive use of 'recreational' drugs or have become a victim of my sexual promiscuities. If I look at it through the eyes of my own ability, my own strength and my own desires that is.

But when I look at it through the context of the larger story of God, whom has walked alongside me even in the blinding darkness of those times in my life when I denied Him the most, I can see His hand of stay, His grace of compassion and His love for a soul in torment. It isn't a marvel that I've come as far as I have, survived what I have and become so much more than I ever was God shaping and molding me to be the instrument He would use to do His work.

As I read another email from S. Michael Craven that was geared towards the graduating Seniors throughout the land from the 'higher educational' institutions, God wrapped the last few days up quite neatly with His ever effective method and issued His challenge for me to join Him in His work;

It is not only at that moment when the Savior speaks through the Spirit to our hearts that we are faced with the challenge to accept God in His entirety. From the moment of our grateful and heartfelt acceptance of the salvation gift, God invites us to allow Him to be a farmer, plowing the soil of our hearts and planting within us deep and solid the seeds of which He plans to grow the fruits of our obedience, our faith and our service to Him with. Each and every day, He comes out to the fields of our lives, where the seeds of faith are watered with the everlasting blood of the Savior's sacrifice and nurtured by the minerals of the Spirit and whispers to us to grow, challenges us to endure the shaping and promises us a work mightier than the world has ever experienced.

"Love Me as I love you, Jim," He whispered through the tears as the secular song written by a secular artist for a secular purpose showed that love to me. "Endure these times with Me, Jim," He challenged as visions of the highest cost of what being a servant could be shaped in my head during another trip home on another day that was the same as before except for the number on a calendar. "Trust in Me, Jim" He simply stated, knowing the worry and turmoil of the times I am facing, the deadlines and the uncomfortable places I have travelled. "Believe in what I have created, Jim" He points in the words of a brother who lovingly spoke God's message to me a Saturday past.

Each and every day, the host of Heaven gathers around our beds and bear silent witness to the decision we have to make from the moment we wake up and place our feet firmly upon the floorboards of our bedrooms. Each day, with silent pleas, the gathered assembly of God's Army urge us to choose the right thing...the only choice that is worth venturing forth for, worth dying for and worth hoping for.

"Choose Life," they whisper, knowing the glory of the story God is writing within your life that is incorporated into the larger tome of His-story....
As you wake up tomorrow and set your feet upon the floor...reaching over to shut off that alarm clock, smelling the brewed coffee that entices you into the actual act of movement....stop for a moment and think about the verses from Deuteronomy....

"Today......................a choice between good and evil, between life and death."

For Heaven's sake...........choose LIFE!

And send a letter of rejection to the rejection of the world who considers us foolish, letting them know that we will venture out into the world with the light, speaking the Truth and wandering in the darkness for the souls of the Harvest.

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