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The Osteens and Me, A Case Against Me

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I have referenced my faith in previous posts, but have not been entirely explicit about it.  Its not that I have been hiding anything, its just that I have not directly addressed the issue.  However, I did want to go ahead and put out there where I am on things as this is a personal blog and it seems like I ought to do that.  I checked with the CEO of Unprecedented Mediocrity and he is good with that as well.  There have been a lot of posts and videos going around about the Joel and Victoria Osteen comments, which comments you say, perhaps everyone ever made by them I say, but specifically the comments that we attend church, worship God, and pray not for God, but for our own happiness.  She even gave a command, Don’t do it for God.  But I am not here to talk about the Osteens, I don’t know them at all. I am just here to testify about me. So consider me a monkey test subject.

Mediocre Obedience

I didn’t comment originally on the matter because I didn’t too much think anyone would care to hear what I have to say on the matter.  I am not a famous Christian, nor do I even consider myself far down the road of sanctification.  However, I do believe in Jesus Christ as my redeemer and he has been growing me more and more in this new identity as the years go by.  Granted, I seem to be on God’s 20 year dunce plan, but I’ll take what I can get.

I don’t know, there is so much in the Bible that is yet to be understood by me, although in recent years I have read it all the way through twice.  I have lots of spiritual and intellectual questions that bounce back in forth in my head.  However, there are 2 versus that generate the core of my believe as both nature and my own being seem to cry out towards these truths.

The first would be Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  That part right there.  So many people debate creation and some of the other old Genesis stories, but I hang my hat, my life, and existence on that first one.  The existence part is beyond dispute.  We are here.  If you are reading this blog and are somehow not here, then I appreciate your viewership of this blog from another dimension.  However, with said existence, I believe that God made it happen, and God subsequently chose to reveal himself in a manner of his choosing.

Mediocre Me

Before I get to the second verse that forms the core of my faith, let me take this opportunity to tackle my biggest problem with the Osteen’s comments.  Do it for “you” they say? To which I reply, ” Have you met me?”  Are you sure you want me to be doing this eternal existence stuff for the purpose of my happiness as I determine it?  Let’s talk a walk into the flesh that is me.

I don’t need to look at a fallen world to know that human nature is flawed.  I am a walking case example myself.  Now, I know you have met those Christians who confess theirs sins by saying things like, I wish I wasn’t so prideful, and one time I told a lie, and I didn’t spend enough time praying today and all that.  Meanwhile, I’m all like, Man I wish Bourbon wasn’t so tasty.  Seriously, God has done a great work on me and my salvation is sustained by him, but my sins are pretty fleshly.

Nothing has convinced me of my fallen nature as much as the sins I regularly commit since I have become a new creation in Christ.  For if this is what I do now having been saved, I was totally screwed before. It doesn’t take much for my fleshly nature to come out.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with alcohol, but the manner in which my flesh likes to embrace it is hardly helpful.  The same is true for so many things be lust of the flesh or anything really.

So I believe that God wants me to be happy and joyful, but he smartly set the game up to ensure that it doesn’t come from the pursuit of me.  Because me doesn’t make good decisions, and me has a poor value of what is really important in the universe.  Praise be to God for his mercy and salvation and praise be to God for not letting this thing be about me.

Oh yeah, the 2nd Verse

I would hate to get this far and not address the second verse that creates the core of my faith.  That would be the famous John 3:16, For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Sorry me second verse is not some unheard special revelation, but that’s it.  John 3:16.  For I believe that I am created by a God, fully convinced that I am fallen, and John 3:16 comes in and saves the day.

What powerful, awesome, big, and righteous God he is for this to be true.  When I really let that sink in, my grasp on me, and what I think is important, and what I think I need, is ripped clean and I just surrender to this God.  But again, I struggle with keeping this on my mind in today’s busy world, and this flesh stuff keeps in front of me at all times.  My appeal for you to accept and follow  Christ is not that I am better than you, but rather I am pretty messed up and your not looking so hot either.  So welcome to the need a savior club.

Again, I am describing to you more of where I am at.  God wrecked my world by impressing upon me the truths of these two verses.  I keep telling myself as I seem to  stumble along in this walk of Faith that I should be further along, but again, Praise be to God that he saved me.  You could list all my sins before me and God, to which God would say, what of it.  John 3:16 means my sins are purchased and paid for by a savior.  And yet, I am supposed to be doing all this for me and not the one that saved me?  I really really hope not.  If God is who He says He is and He does what He says He will do, its about him.  Period, case closed.

The Rest of It

Now, I do believe the rest of the bible, while acknowledging I have all sorts of intellectual questions about translations, how somethings were passed down, interpretation of this, interpretation of that, but my two versus above give me an unshakable foundation. God created me and saved me before I was ever born.   I actually spent time over the past several years reading the bible cover to cover a couple of times. All I can do is testify as to what that did to me.  What it did to my soul and what satisfaction it brought me.  Imagine that, when I pursued God and his word for his sake, because He is Who He says He is, I actually had more joy than any of my selfish pursuits of me.

When you really encounter God, you and your desires become awfully small.  I am not an Osteen basher, I really am not.  Personally, I don’t think we should outsource our growth in God to anyone.  I don’t like famous Christians in general, because between me and this famous Christian, one of us is bound to mess this thing up.  However, when its about me and God, God becomes the unshakable source of my truth and I can pursue teaching from my local pastor or others with the knowledge, that while that pastor may have some stewardship over me, I belong to God and not him.  Just be sure its actually God you belong to and God you are pursuing.

My guess is that many of you are like me and you have found the exploits of “me” and “me happiness” to taste a little like dry sand.  God is good that way.  You think I would be much more obedient at this point in the game, but like I said, somedays I struggle to hold it together only to realize its been God holding it together all along.  This is just where I am with things.  So if you see things in the future on Unprecedented Mediocrity that seem incongruent with my Faith, I will respond with, yeah probably, I told you on this day something like that may happen.  But God’s mercies are new each day.  This is where I am at.  You can say am wrong, but that doesn’t change its where I am at.  So if you are as flawed as me, don’t run from God, I say cozy up to this God fellow and see what happens next.  You might just be happy to find out its not all about you.

 

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Jeff Edwards

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