The watering hole...


If you’ve spent any time in the southeast corner of Oregon, you know that water is the defining characteristic of the landscape.  Survival for plants and animals depends on access to enough moisture to meet their daily needs.  Without water, plants turn brown, and animals look for new areas to forage.  You really notice this when you're out hiking and come across a dried-up stock pond or water hole.  There’s no reason for animals to visit the bare, sun-baked earth anymore, and the only sign of their past visits is the deep footprints left as the pond turned to muck before the water dried up completely.  There may be some water when the snow melts in spring, but otherwise these dry beds seem to mock the intelligence of their builder as they lie there, dry and forsaken, with no water or animals in sight.

On the other hand, when you find a source of water, the change is remarkable.  Driving south from Burns toward Frenchglen, you can’t help but notice the contrast between the sage and rimrock on the dry slopes to the right, and the thick, green grasses, willows, and sprawling marshes along the Blitzen River on the left.  This oasis holds far more nesting waterfowl, marsh birds, and mosquitoes than most places here in western Oregon where water is abundant, and more than a few deer, including some enormous bucks found in that valley.  Even in a desert (or especially in a desert), adding a little water multiplies the abundance of life in amazing ways.

With this contrast in mind, I was impressed the other day with the words I read in Jeremiah 2:13.

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

God was warning His people that straying from His ways was really two mistakes in one.  First, they were abandoning the Source of their life, walking away from the cool water, lush green, and teeming life of a fountain in the middle of the desert.  On top of that, they were trying to fashion their own way through life, something that would prove to be as frustrating and ineffective as hoping for water from a dry cistern or stock pond.

It’s easy to think that we wouldn’t make the same mistakes as those people long ago, but human nature really hasn’t changed much.  We don’t bow down in front of idols, but we often put our plans and pursuits in first place and hope God will fit in somewhere along the way.  We would do well to remember that what God said applies to us just as well as to those people back there.  God’s way is a way of life, but we are asking for a double dose of frustration and failure if we think we can find a better way on our own.  Don’t trade the abundant life around the water for the hardened clay of a dried-up stock pond.

God’s life and blessings to you,



A Rant...Kind Of...


It strikes me how some people can think they know it all.  There are a lot of people that just sort of think that they are the end all, know all, discussion closed.

I wonder what Jesus thinks of these kind of people?  I mean, it is good to know where you stand.  It is good to know what is right and what is wrong and where the line is.  There are non-negotiables.  But some people are just unreal in their arrogance.

Maybe I should let you in on what I'm upset about.  Three days ago a book came out called "Beautiful Outlaw".  It is a book and a ministry that I have been praying specifically about for a long time now.  The aim of the book is to cut through the "religious" fog surrounding Jesus and to begin to experience Him as He really is.  To discover His personality, for to know Jesus is to love Him.

Already, there is a host of blogs and facebook messages shooting down this book and calling the author a heretic.  The book is only three days old!  To me this is evidence that satan is trying to discredit this work of God right from the get go.  And it is sad that there are many "christians" standing in line willing to be satan's voice on this.

And they think they know everything.  They think that if, in their "superior" experience, they have never personally understood or met Jesus in the same way the author of the book has, well then their must be something wrong with the author.  He must be a heretic.  This doesn't line up with my theology so it must be blasphemy.

Friends, theology is man made.  I used to get a kick out of my theology professors in college.  You couldn't get three of them to totally agree on any of the doctrines they were teaching.  And they just loved to throw other denominations of christianity under the bus and say that we are better because we believe in such and such.  I never understood how that lined up to Jesus' prayer in John 17 where over and over he prays for the unity of his people.

Here is the couple of points I want to make.
1.  None of us are the know all end all when it comes to Jesus.  There is so much more that Jesus has in store for us.  You cannot master Jesus or the christian life.  You never arrive until you are home.  What I am trying to say is that THERE IS ALWAYS MORE.  Jesus will reveal himself differently to me as I continue to grow in Him and walk with Him.  That should be exciting!  It is an adventure.  Just as I discover more about my wife as our relationship continues.  How boring it would be if we just knew Jesus and that was it.  There is so much more!

2.  Matthew 7:15-17 Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheeps clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

You will know them by their fruit.  I can't see how a book aimed at turning people on to the playful, disruptive, extravagant, and very real personality of Jesus is producing bad fruit.  I'm reading the book and discovering that Jesus was even better than I had originally thought.  I am falling in love Him more and more.  The fruit of my reading has been a closer walk with Jesus.

A bad tree cannot produce good fruit, right?

However, discrediting such a work and turning people away from it based on your staunch, religious ideals and arrogance could be seen as producing bad fruit...couldn't it?

The biggest enemy of Jesus has always been religion by the way.  This is not new news.

Here is what we need whether you read the book or not.  We all need Jesus.  Jesus, we ask for you.  For the real you.  Lead us to discover you as you really are.