Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little Devotional for the day...

It's been a while since I've written anything. In my own defense during the last 10 days it has been my birthday, Thanksgiving and I've been sick. Anyway, because I'm not feeling too great I haven't had the energy, strength or inspiration to write. However, that doesn't mean I don't have the ability to read and think. Therefore, I read a devotional this morning at (yes I typed that correctly), and thought that I needed to re-post it on my blog.

The devotional is based off an excerpt from Frank Viola's book "From Eternity to Here" and is a strong reminder of who God is, where he dwells and why need to get over ourselves enough to trust Him. In reading it I was also able to discern that in the body of Christ, it is of the utmost importance that the sum of the parts in the is always greater than the parts. Too often we are only edified individually due to the way Western Christianity operates ("me first" individualism) as opposed to strengthening the body as a whole . Regardless of how good a "christian" you may be, how many church services you show up at, bible studies you're a part of, or how well you've "got it together"; we always need to be aware of who we are in God's grand scheme of things. I hope this message blesses you like it did me...

A Homeless God
by Frank Viola

"As you come to Him, the living Stone -- rejected by men but
chosen by God and precious to Him -- you also, like living
stones, are being built into a spiritual house." (1 Peter 2:4-5a)

From Eternity To Here

This week's devotional comes from Frank Viola's book From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God .

Part of my roots are in the Charismatic movement. In that experience, I was repeatedly encouraged to seek God for a "visitation" from heaven. As a result, I harbored the illusion that if God visited our church, He was pleased with it. I later discovered that God is not looking for a place to visit. He is looking for a place to dwell.

The pages of history are littered with the sobering fact that God is no longer present in the places He once visited. Go to the landmarks of past revivals, and you'll quickly discover that the crowds have diminished. The joy is gone. The life has evaporated. In many cases, those places are but hollow shells today.

For me the intriguing question is: Why does the Lord leave? The answer is telling: because he was not completely welcomed.

He was allowed to visit, but He was not permitted to be head. That is, He was not granted the right to make the decisions.

Visitations bless us for a short season. But a dwelling place for God is something for His interest and His desire. Blessing is merely a byproduct. It's not the prime product.

Contemplate this thought: If God "visits" a church, it betrays the fact that it doesn't belong to Him. A homeowner doesn't visit his own home. He lives in it. In a divine visitation, God will bless His people. But He will eventually move on and search for a home that He can call his own. Thus if the headship of Jesus Christ is not fully yielded to any given place, the best the Lord can do is visit. He cannot take up residency.

Our Lord is in a quest for a place to lay His head, a place where His headship is operative, a place where He does what He wishes, a place where he can feel comfortable and find rest. This is the indelible mark that a particular church is in fact His house. Anything else is but a layover for Him.

Like any homeowner, God builds His house in His own way. If the home is His, He arranges the furniture the way He wishes, for He is the master of His own home.

In this connection, I want you to imagine countless living stones scattered all over the earth. I want you to see innumerable living stones living their own individual Christian lives. I want you to see scores of living stones who loved God, but who are isolated and independent of other living stones. Many attend religious services, but there is little to no "building together" among the members.

That is precisely the situation we find ourselves in today. And what is the net effect? God is still homeless.

The burning intent of your God is that all of His living stones be built together with other living stones to form His house. Not for themselves, but for their Lord. To be the house of God, by God and for God.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127:1)"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Ephesians 4:16)

Jesus Christ did not die and rise again just to forgive you of your sins. He died in order that His father could obtain a home. The Lord saved you and me for a high and holy purpose.

Without people who are being assembled together, God is a wandering, homeless God. And we are wandering, homeless Christians. Your Lord wishes to build Himself into a people, and He wishes to build a people into Himself. He is after a building, not a rock quarry. He wants a house, not a heap of stones nor group of scattered rocks. The Lord Jesus Christ is looking for willing vessels who will abandon their Western-style individualism and live a shared life with others under His exclusive headship. This is our high calling.

This Week
Make a home for the Lord in your life. Each day, give Him complete headship to arrange your life as He wishes. Then begin to connect with other "living stones" by building relationships with fully committed believers.

"Lord, take complete control of my life. Dwell with me so that I can be yours. Be with me and be my God. Amen"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Amazing" Biscuits and Gravy...

About two months ago I was having lunch with a friend who wanted me to try out, in his opinion, the best biscuits and gravy in Orange County at a little place called the "Snooty Fox". Because I was not counting calories or grams of fat at the time I accepted without hesitation. As I was shoving the food down my throat with the excuse that I wanted to finish these little teasers of heaven before my actual meal came, he asked me, "Aren't these biscuits....AMAZING?".

There it was. That boring, overused word that has become the adjective of choice within my inner circle. Even with my dislike for the way we use the word so shallowly, I still find myself using it at times even if it has been my pet peeve over the past six months. "No", I replied to his question, but I'd say they are "Ama" (pronounced 'amay'), you know... about half way to 'amazing'." With a confused look on his face, one that clearly showed his inability to decide whether to laugh or be insulted, he quickly asked what I meant. I responded that I didn't mean to offend him, but that I've grown tired of our lack of creativity when it comes to words within our "Christian" culture.

The importance of our words in Scripture is seen numerous times. Their importance, power and influence (see Proverbs 18:21, James 3, and Luke 6:45 along with so many others) have the ability to give life or give death. I went on to say that when we pay no attention to what we say, letting our mouths run on auto-pilot we take God's word lightly. If there is importance in every word that rolls off of our tongue, then why do we pay such little attention to the detail of our words. Then, being the brat that I can be, I defined the word "amazing" for him according to It means, "causing great surprise or sudden wonder." In my opinion, if biscuits and gravy can give us the same response as having a baby (clearly amazing) or accepting God's grace (which we sing is "amazing") then we have lost our sense of awe and wonder. A sense that young children have, and Jesus encourages us to mimic.

The conversation then blossomed into a discussion about what truly is "amazing". We came up with things like our ability to create (which in my opinion is what makes us most like God) through mediums like art, architecture, music, poetry. We also brought back the discussion of how a newborn and God's grace are truly "amazing". Knowing that I like to share my life in Christ on this blog, he then asked if this topic of discussion would become an entry. I answered with a resounding, "I hope so" expecting to write it about it within a few days. However, because of the busyness of life, I failed at that attempt. When asked why I hadn't written, I told him the truth, I hadn't been inspired to write about it yet, letting him know that once God gives me a reason, I will put my fingers to the keyboard without question.

Fast forward to this past weekend when God would inspire me to write about my biscuits and gravy. The inspiration came from my trip to "The Garden" in Long Beach. As I mentioned in a previous entry, one of the most beautiful aspects of my visit to this community of believers was that the Gospel, The Kingdom of God, was being preached unashamedly. The message being taught was taken from the "Sermon on the Mount" and dealt with making vows. It wasn't fluffy. It wasn't geared towards making a better individual in Christ, but instead was being taught in a way that would greatly increase the power of the body (which is another reason that I know the Spirit was leading that service). In a nutshell, the message, which was thoroughly researched and prayed over, dealt with the importance of our words. It dealt with followers of Jesus, not needing to "swear" by anything because a word coming from a person who has the Spirit of God in them has nothing to prove. Ironically, the message touched on how we use words to impress others and even more frequently impress ourselves. Many times we feel the need to "swear" by something because we cannot be trusted. In the same way, we use words like "amazing" and "awesome" in order to describe something we want others to see the same way we do.

If you are offended by this, then I'm missing my mark. In no way am I trying to tell people to never use the word "amazing". But I am saying that we need to pay more attention to what we say and why we say it. Are we using these words because they are truly how we feel or are we saying these words to make us feel better about our experiences? Are we trying to make others like the things we like by puffing up an experience, or are we possibly trying to make others think "highly" of us for finding something that is actually "amazing"?

I believe these are all valid questions for a person who follows Jesus. Too often we want people to see things how we see them, or to find us cooler than somebody else because we know where to find the most "amazing" food or clothes for example. When we are doing this, we are finding our worth outside of God. The way we use our words always speaks to something rooted deeper within us. Instead of using our words to allow the authenticity of our lives in Christ to flow out of our mouth, we many times, use words to create a fake excitement, make others jealous, make us feel better about what we're doing and actually reveal a strange insecurity about own life. I'm not urging you to drop words from your vocabulary but I am asking you to check the deepest parts of your Spirit to see why you feel the urge to market your life by using words that should be saved for the greatest gifts and delights from God. When we are able to allow the Spirit of God to take over our life, we come to find out what the word "amazing" truly means.

P.S- To my friend I had lunch with, I hope to have some REALLY REALLY good biscuits and gravy with you soon. This is also a disclaimer that I in no way thought you were insecure about how good these biscuits of gravy were. Instead, as creatures and habit, as well as being tired and lacking creativity, we used the word "amazing" for something that was truly "ama".

P.S.S- I am not blind to the fact that God's hand is in everything. His gifts and delights can be in things both big and small which makes Him (not the gifts) "amazing". But quite often, instead of thinking about what God's gift really means to us, we instead call it "amazing" to our friends and run off like that's a thank you note to God. Instead of taking the easy way out, knowing that he is the giver of every good gift, do Him a "solid" and use the blessing He's given you, to bless someone else without using words that may make somebody feel below you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trusting Truth-40 Days of Psalm 37 (Day 39)

"The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble." Psalm 37:39

For all I've talked about trusting God over the past four months, I still struggle with a lack of obedience to Christ in all things. I find myself striving, sprinting and struggling to provide my family all they need, as if I'm responsible to clothe them, feed them, and keep a roof over their heads (Matthew 6). Like most who claim to be a Christian, a Disciple or whatever us followers of Christ are now being referred to, my actions reveal a hidden belief that I can continue on in a life of stress even while I claim to be coming to the end of "me" for the sake of Christ. In other words, I constantly live in a lie because it's easier than trusting the truth. Of course, my own best thinking has only caused friction between my family and my friends, as well as causing an all out war between my flesh and my Spirit. As I ponder the reason that I've chosen to live in this ugly paradox of confessing Jesus with my lips, and trusting my heart to little "g" gods such as money, power, comfort, and good health; I came across today's passage of Scripture in Psalm 37 (fitting considering it's the second to last one in this series).

Psalm 37:39 is a blatant reminder to those who follow Christ and have accepted his gift of eternal salvation. What is the reminder you ask if it's supposed to be so blatant? It's that ALL of "the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord". Get that? ALL! So often we get wrapped up in God's grace only when we are feeling grateful for our gift of heaven (a good thing). But how many times have we received his salvation in the mundane things of life and have forgotten that "every good and perfect gift if from above"? (James 1:17)

The word salvation defined is: "the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc." Do you see where God is taking us with this passage? Every bill we make, every breath you take, He'll be saving you (tacky but couldn't help it, plus Sting and Puff Daddy gave me permission). But seriously, every breath is a part of His salvation for us. The gift that allowed you to pay your bills is part of his salvation. The love you receive from a complete stranger, or better yet your ability to show the love of Christ to one of your enemies is a part of your gift of salvation. Salvation is not just a one time thing when we die; salvation is an all the time thing we receive when we allow God's Spirit to live in us. Anything that is received in this life, is part of our salvation and a picture of God's amazing grace. The beauty of this salvation of course is that He gives it to us because of Jesus, we don't and can't earn it ourselves.

Can you trust God and his salvation for you? It's easy to freely give (especially when we refuse to be honest with ourselves that many times we give to feel better about ourselves or look good to others) but are you able to freely receive his saving grace. The end of the Psalm 37:39 says, "...he is their stronghold in the time of trouble". Do we really believe that the one who saves us, is the one who will keep on saving us? Do we believe that his love for us is unconditional? Do we believe that our God is all knowing, and knows what's best for us?

Freedom is not found in what we can do to get "more saved". Freedom is not found in being in the right Life Group, attending the right "church", having the right friends, taking the right trips, having the perfect job or "running a ministry". What I'm trying to say is that true freedom in this life is only found in coming to the end of ourselves, getting over our fears, our aspirations, and our shallow hopes in favor of trusting a God who gives salvation to those who ask and obey. A God who saves us in the biggest of things as well as the small ones. Quit treating God like He's just a "saving fairy" who gives you a cloud and a harp when you die. Just to be clear, he doesn't currently live where the Care Bears live or tickle you constantly so that you giggle your way through your toughest circumstances. He isn't a stork dropping off babies and He doesn't take you out to get ice cream while you walk your puppy together. God doesn't meet you at certain places more than others because you heard they are "holy". (hence the tearing of the veil) God is a God who is always with you, who desires to fill you and guide you, as well as love and protect you. Whether in the good times or in bad you have permanent access to God's salvation through Jesus. Sound a bit like wedding vows? Maybe that's why he offered us his hand in marriage.

The next time you use a debit card instead of a credit card be thankful that God has given you enough to pay your bills. The next time you are depressed, be thankful that God allows you to have feelings. The next time you question whether or not God loves you, envision Jesus dying on a cross. The next time you wonder if death is defeated, study the facts of the empty tomb and those eyewitnesses who saw our Lord. The next time you think you must save yourself, remember that without God you are walking dead. The next time you feel like you've "gotta make it happen", remember that there is another option, and that option is to trust and obey God with everything that he has already gracefully given you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Night at "The Garden"

It's been a while since I've had the chance to write. After a trip to Northern California, I spent all of last week getting caught up on the work I'd left behind. I also, took advantage of a little down time to do some reading, praying and more than anything, I aimed at giving as much attention as I could to my wife and daughter after I spent so much time working "remotely" while on our trip. During my week of playing "catch up" I did have the oppurtunity to have lunch with one my favorite people. His name is Darren and he's guiding (by the grace and wisdom of the Holy Spirit) a new church in the city of Long Beach called "The Garden". My time with Darren is usually one of deep thought and conversation, as well as a time of sharpening and encouraging one another to keep persevering a life transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. I'm so excited to see what the Holy Spirit is doing at The Garden and because of all the great stories of answered prayer, and the lost being found I couldn't help but make a promise to Darren I'd visit him on the coming Sunday night (last night).

Showing up in Long Beach for "church" was new to me. It's the most diverse city in all of America and the community of believers (and those searching for truth and freedom) that showed up for the 6pm meeting undoubtedly reflected that statistic. From an 85 year old man in the front row, to numerous "hipster" or "scenester" 20 somethings, as well as Latino gang members and young women that resembled the girl from the reality show "L.A Ink", I quickly realized that the only thing in common for most of the people showing up to worship was that they loved Jesus Christ. Though it was my first time showing up to be with this community of believers, it felt like home. Sure, I knew quite a few people as they had attended Rock Harbor Church for years before The Garden was planted; but the love from those I didn't know, the authenticity of their brokenness and worship is what bound me to this group of "Ragamuffins" as Brennan Manning would call them.

If you are living in the Long Beach area, are interested in what it looks like to follow Jesus, have questions about God, desire a close knit community, need prayer, and/or wish to share in worshiping the Creator as opposed to a Pastor, staff, tradition, buildings or a "special message" used to market Jesus, then I'd recommend that you check out and hopefully serve with The Garden. I can truly say that it is a community that wholeheartedly yearns to worship Jesus, to become like him in the way they walk, talk, pray and love those who are members as well as those who sit outside the building begging for change. Knowing the humility that is in Darren, and having a personal relationship with so many that call The Garden home, I can assure you that their mission and vision of making disciples in the city of Long Beach while being led by the Holy Spirit will be realized.

If you want to know more about The Garden in Long Beach please check out their website at I've yet to attend a gathering of believers that unashamedly desires Jesus to be the center of their meeting like this group does. Their hope of transformation and reformation is something that can only be done by the Holy Spirit. If you live in or around the city of Long Beach and hope to see the Spirit of God move without the interference of programs, institutionalization, celebrity Pastors and a class system between the so-called "clergy" and "laity" this is the place for you. It's a true authentic, organic attempt to keep Jesus as the head of His church, and humbly accept the role of being his moving parts that show his love for a broken world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thought of the day...

I came across a great quotation from Howard Snyder about the way we "do" church. As I'm sure you all have seen from recent posts, I've been spending much of my time studying what it means to be the church and bride of Christ. By no means am I intending to bash anybody for the way they have worshiped over the years (who am I to do that? I've done the same things and my goal is unity and humility. Not being "right").

The questions I'm posing are not whether we need to be worshiping together (we are commanded to by our King)? Or where we are able to worship (everywhere)? I'm also not asking whether or not the local community of Disciples meet at a building, house, coffee shop, etc (God dwells in us everywhere equally. No more in a Worship Center than a House or a Chapel than a Starbucks)?

The question is whether we have given up the truth of God's word in exchange for the comfort, novelty and nostalgia of our man made tradition and liturgy. By no means do I believe we (the body) have purposely defined church differently than Scripture. Instead, we have allowed the cultures of both the past and present define it for us. In the past, the importance of class and the traditions of previous religious beliefs helped to shape the gathering of the body. Today, being "relevant", "entertaining", as well as the business aspect of the church (along with previous issues) have taken our eyes and hearts away from what we are to represent as His body. Instead of allowing God to own every part of us, the loan on our Church buildings now own the congregation. Messages are crafted by man (1 Cor 2-3) in order to drive up attendance or make people feel good so that there is a reason to keep a "staff" (aka Clergy). Neither of these are Biblical and they take away from the beauty of the marriage between Christ and His bride.

I don't have the answers to this problem, and I'm having a tough time defining what my problem within the Church actually is. In a nutshell, I'm just feeling as though we've exchanged the truth of Church for the tradition of church and settled for it much in the same way that culture has settled for sex in exchange for true love. In our hurry to be able to define things, we put a box on God that makes him say what we want to hear and look a lot more like our Homeboy, Aunt, or Donut Shop owner than our Savior, Redeemer and King. All I know is those who love Christ always yearn for more love, more truth, and a more abundant life. Unfortunately we are settling for less when accept the status-quo, live a life out of Fear of the future and man versus the Fear of God, and aim to please our senses instead of pleasing His Spirit in us.

Below is that quote I read. I know I'm all over the place in today's post but I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on what Mr. Snyder wrote. I'm not looking for those to agree, just to ponder whether or not we live for the truth that is in Christ, or the comforts that come from adding Him onto the life we are "making" for ourselves.

"The New Testament simply does not speak in terms of two classes of Christians -- "minister" and "laymen" -- as we do today. According to the Bible, the people (laos, "laity") of God comprise all Christians, and all Christians through the exercise of spiritual gifts have some "work of ministry." So if we wish to be biblical, we will have to say that all Christians are laymen (God's people) and all are ministers. The clergy-laity dichotomy is unbiblical and therefore invalid. It grew up as an accident of church history and actually marked a drift away from biblical faithfulness.... It is one of the principal obstacles to the Church effectively being God's agent of the Kingdom today because it creates the false idea that only "holy men," namely, ordained ministers, are really qualified and responsible for leadership and significant ministry"- From "The Community of the King" (pp 94-95)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trusting Truth-40 Days of Psalm 37 (Day 38)

"But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.."- Psalm 37:38

Just yesterday, I was listening to an evangelist named Paul Washer as I was doing some work. He is a man from the South with a heart for Christ and His message on YouTube has now been sent to me by numerous people meaning that it was time for me to finally listen to it in its entirety. This particular video has had an astronomical amount of viewers and it's clear why, this guy, with all his heart aims to teach the gospel of Jesus and nothing else. There is no fluff, no "Sports Center" style humor, no Seminarian structure, no watering down of what Jesus said, and no compromising of God's word. Sure there were some things that were tough to hear, offensive to the follower and non-follower of Christ who haven't died to their "self" for His sake, and even downright scary, but I could not help but be influenced by the truth being spoken through the mouth of this man by the Spirit of God to an approximate crowd of 5,000 teenagers.

The message was based on Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7:15-23 which says,

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs 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. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"

As I considered these words, I couldn't help but line them up to today's passage in Psalm 37 and what God has in store for those considered to be evil in His sight (not mine or yours). So often as American Christian's we believe that saying the "Jesus prayer" is enough to get us "in", that showing up on Sunday means being a "church member", and that if we give ten percent we've pretty much punched our ticket to paradise (in the NT there is no call that you must give 10%, it was mosaic law, and there was also no paid "clergy" in the early church). Yet the passage above says that unless "good fruit" is being produced in us, like all "bad fruit" we will be thrown into the fire. Scary thought, but if you've ever wondered if you're "saved", you only need to look at the "good fruit" being produced in your life. If what you or others see is "bad fruit" according to Scripture, you can consider yourself the "transgressor" in the Psalm above. This isn't meant to scare you, it's mean to remind you that just saying something isn't enough, and just doing the Christian thing isn't enough, what's enough is getting over yourself enough to let the Spirit work in you, producing the very fruit that Christ himself produced when we walked in Berkenstock's (right?) 2000 years ago.

Unfortunately, as humans, we've made being a Christian so much more difficult than God ever intended it to be. Heck, according to His word, we don't even see Jesus telling people to go make "Christians" of all the nations in the sense that we use the word "Christian" today (this does not mean I believe that being anything other than a disciple of Christ in which He is our Savior, King and Lord is enough to not be thrown into the fire according to Scripture). Even worse, is we've begun worshiping teachers as if they're closer to God than we are, we've created a hierarchy within the body, and we pick and choose who we love based on their agreement of how we believe Scripture should be interpreted. Because we have held on so tightly to being Christian, it's difficult to see Christ in much of what us "Christians" are doing anymore unless it's a big sticker on our car, a fish symbol on our business card or speaking Christianese at a Starbucks with somebody else who loves how great their messages are at "church" and don't live out the gospel in which they have the ability as a "royal priest" to share.

The more I contemplate and compare the message of Jesus in Matthew 7 and today's Psalm, I can't help but think that many "Christians" have continued to strive in their lives (guilty), aiming to complete their "Christian" check list and have never really walked WITH Christ. They have chosen to keep the goals of this life and try adding Jesus into that mix all while wondering how a life in Christ could be so uncomfortable. (Ironically, according to George Barna 65-70% of Americans call themselves evangelical Christians. If that was true, wouldn't the "fruit" look much different here?). Maybe the lack of comfort comes from your own will, refusing to lay down so that the Spirit of God may have all of you? Just a thought.

Like God's word says, a life without Christ is a life leading to eternal destruction and though we can become a "better Adam" here on Earth when we, in our own power, do some things like Jesus, we never become the new creation that produces the "good fruit" that reminds us of our salvation if we don't let the Spirit of God have full authority in our few years on Earth. If only we would believe that God through Christ wants to make us into the loving creatures He created us to be, we could truly be born again (emptied out) and made to be the hands, feet, mouth, ears, and heart of Christ that he intended when He called the church His body.

If you are creating a Jesus that makes you comfortable, that makes you want to make yourself a better person, and that gives you an insurance policy in case the Bible is right, then you are missing out on the true Jesus who gives an abundant life. Jesus never wants you to have the job of making yourself a Christian, what he wants is His permission to change you by His Spirit as you come to the end of your "self". The book of Hebrews states that, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being. "(Heb 1:3). According to God's word, this very Jesus, the one who is the exact representation of God's being, the one who came to forgive sins, and the one who has left His Spirit to lead and change us, is the only person or thing that gives this life meaning because He is the one who created life in the first place.

If you are striving to be like Jesus, to be a better Christian, to pride in being a "member" of a hip building because you consider that community or to be anything other than a new creation in Him in which "good fruit" is produced you are missing out. By Jesus alone, who is the head of the Church are you considered a "royal priest" (1 Pet. 2) and nobody can take that away. This being a "royal priest" however, by no means, gives you permission to do your "own" thing skipping out on living a life in Christ with other members of the body regardless of the building or day of the week. Even Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us against that very notion to go it alone when it states, "let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." If you are a new creation in Christ we are a family that will never taste destruction as nothing can separate us from Him."

As followers of Christ, a new creation, we need not worry about death and destruction because it has been defeated for those who are producing "good fruit". We need not concern ourselves with hierarchy because we are all a "royal priesthood", we need not worry about where we'll live, what we'll eat, or our health because Jesus calls us to total abandonment of self in order to completely trust in Him. Stop the striving, stop the trying, stop trying to be "relevant" and just follow Christ. It is the only thing that guarantees a life worth living, it is the only commitment that reconciles you to the one true God, and it is the only thing that promises an eternal life in the Kingdom of God in which your 401k cannot be destroyed, your investments never go away, and perfect Love surrounds all those who accept it.