No Ordinary Treasure

You need to read Tozer. A.W. Tozer, in his book The Pursuit Of God, says:

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.

I'm realizing how much my circumstances determine my enjoyment and satisfaction. If the things I love or enjoy are taken away, I am affected. O Father, make me a man who pursues you every moment of my life. Make my life and joy dependent on you -- not on health, food, money, people, or items.

How shallow are the thoughts of a man consumed with this world. How deep are the desires and passions of a man pursuing God.

Sustaining Power

I just started reading 1 Corinthians today. Paul begins the letter with this:

" are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Everyday I try to find other things to sustain me when what actually sustains me is the Lord Jesus Christ. I don't have to worry about how I'm going to physically or spiritually make it each day because God is faithful to sustain me in Jesus Christ our Lord. That's such a freeing thought that I can't do anything to sustain myself until the Lord returns. Sustaining happens because of the work of Jesus -- and God is the one who is faithful to bring me to the Lord on that glorious day.

Wide and Easy

I don't want to admit this, but over the course of my life, I've tended to take the easy way -- all the way down to small, insignificant matters like cutting corners on chores.

This is a character trait of mine that I don't want. You might say, "boy, I wish that was my main struggle." Well, before you get too far with wishing you could trade places, let me tell you that this character flaw really damages a lot of areas in my life. See, I take the easy way. My tendency is to relax and let sin enter my life. Sometimes I don't even care. I don't care enough to fight it -- to take every thought captive... I can fall into the same sin over and over again and just become calloused. It's easier this way.

What would be hard is to actually fight. It'd be hard to seek the Lord each and every day and ask him to fill me up so that I didn't need all the sin in my life. See, it's difficult to ask God to fill us up for a couple reasons. First, we're so used to getting all our needs from other sources. It's easier. Second, if we're honest, we think we like the fulfillment we get from those other sources more than we like it coming from God.

It's far easier to walk down this road where we wake up every day and begin to plan on how we're going to meet all our needs apart from God. O that I should ever start my day not thinking about the utter dependency I have upon God for every need!

But no one does that! Everyone plans on meeting their needs themselves. (Hence the worry, stress, fear, lust... sin!)

Then I read this: "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matthew 7:13-14)

Father, thank you for forgiving me for my sin -- for the blatant sin that I committed today and everyday in my life. It is nearly unbelievable that you would send your Son to die so that I could be forgiven. You amaze me so much. I love you. I don't want to continue to sin against you, Lord. My heart knows you are the only place my needs will truly and eternally be met, but my head forgets each day and I slip and fall. Teach my mind to understand you more. Not from a book or a teacher, but from experiencing you everyday in my life.

May my prayer truly be as it says it Proverbs 30: "Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" Make the circumstances in my life such that I cannot forget you -- take what you need.

O that I would begin each day by looking to you for my needs. O that I would believe that the majority of people are walking a broad, easy road to destruction. Father, I do not deserve to be on this narrow road. It goes to prove your greatness and your worthiness when people look at my weakness and unworthiness. How great you truly are.

Are you a Christian, or do you follow Christ?

I've always struggled with the fact that, when Jesus talked about the cost of following himself, most people weighed it and decided it was too great. Just a couple people followed. What I struggle with isn't that... That seems right when you consider Jesus calling people give everything up to follow him. What is confusing is the fact that churches today are packed with tons of people. Now that I live in Southern California, I see some pretty crazy-big churches.

Why are a lot of people today weighing the cost of following Jesus and then following him? Sadly, it's because we've created a new cost of following that most "Christian" churches have agreed upon as being O.K. to get you into heaven someday. It's preached in churches, taught at many of the big "Christian" organizations, magazines, and radio stations. So, instead of trading away our lives and taking up crosses, we can have our normal life (except, add on going to church and trying not to swear) and go to heaven. Almost all churches have signed off on this being O.K., so we think it's fine. How is this any better than the Catholic's indulgences in the 1500s? We're making an easier way to follow Christ.

Newsflash: God never changes. To truly follow Christ, you still need to treat him like a treasure in a field where you actually give up everything to follow him. You need to do what the rich young ruler could not do -- physically trade in this life for the next one. You need to do what Jesus told many crowds of people to do -- take up your cross and die with him. Our churches don't like to talk about these ones, though. With our technological advances now, and life insurance, and ways to save for retirement... We now tell "Christians" that they need to be "responsible" and "a good steward of the life God gave you." Do you think that's what Jesus would be saying to the churches today?

If Jesus were calling people to follow himself at your church, we both know that only a few people from your church would actually follow him. That's what bothers me. Why is following Christ so easy now? Because we are being led to believe that Jesus isn't requiring as much as he used to. Millions of people are going to be very shocked one day. "But, Lord, I went to church, gave 12%, served in the nursery, and prayed to accept Jesus?!"

We follow other people in the church, we follow Christian media, we follow pastors... There is this huge wave of "Christians" who are called followers of Christ by the church but wouldn't be called followers of Christ by Jesus. We follow this wave and then get upset when someone (like myself) tells us that you might as well not be calling yourself a "follower of Christ"... Because Jesus sure wouldn't call you that. I just don't want you to be shocked on that day. Don't be expecting a "well done" unless you're actually and physically following him. That, my friends, is the clearest thing in scripture. Don't listen to the church... Listen to Jesus.

I'm Bringing WWJD Back, Yeah!

Following Christ means actually following the way he lived. I'm bringing W.W.J.D. bracelets back because I can't think of a better filter to make decisions through than asking myself, what would Jesus actually do in this situation? Here's the problem, though. Too often we ask that question when we don't even have our lives setup to ask that question. We're living our safe, comfortable lifestyle and then we ask "W.W.J.D.?" about where to send our children to school... or if we should buy a second house... or should I major in counseling or finance?

People will then tell me, "But, God cares about all aspects of our lives, though."

My point is, I don't think you'd be thinking about those things if you truly had the mind of Christ. Your life has to be setup like Christ in order for you to ask what he'd do in a situation. That's why it sounds so silly to ask "W.W.J.D.?" about so many things... Because Jesus wouldn't even be in that situation!

What is the mind of Christ, then? Unfortunately, it's not as pretty as getting to live a safe, comfortable life. In order to be able to filer things through W.W.J.D., you need to be seeking the same mind as Christ -- otherwise you're just asking W.W.J.D. in situations Jesus wouldn't be in. How do you seek the same mind as Christ?

Philippians 2:1-11
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That's how. You become a servant, you sell what you have, you are willing to die for this thing. I'm not talking about perfection here. I'm saying that there are two different paths you can be seeking. If you're on the broad path, it doesn't make sense to ask "W.W.J.D.?" because you're interacting with situations that Jesus didn't interact with because his life wasn't setup to have the safety and comfort yours has. If you're on the narrow path, that's where "W.W.J.D.?" makes sense and is actually usable.

Final point: If you're on the broad path, the only answer you should be getting to "what would Jesus do?" is: "Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

The Sand is Running Out

I don't have much time left on this earth. I'm starting to really consider how I want to use that time. The only thing I know is that I have to hear "well done..." when I stand before the Lord. In order to hear that, I must believe. Unfortunately, the American church has taken one or two verses in scripture to make it sound like you can pray a prayer and hear "well done..." If you read the whole bible, however, you'll see fairly clearly that what you're believing is that Jesus Christ is worth trading in your whole life for.

Your judgment isn't based on having correct thoughts about Jesus and God. What is it based on then? I think the whole theme of the New Testament is pretty clear about this. No verse is clearer than Matthew 25:34-35.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

Do you believe that Christ is worth trading in your whole life for? Imagine you've read the bible on an island your whole life -- what would you think was required of you as a "believer"? You'd understand what few in churches today do: that you must give up your life, sell everything you have, take up your cross... Trade in your life.

Not only is your final judgment based on this, but your blessing now is based on this. I'm not talking about being blessed with "the good life" (I think it's a molestation of the gospel when we say that the Lord blessed us with a huge house, nice car, great income, and then we live the safe life. The Lord isn't blessing you with those things--he's trying to see if you're going to chose Him over all your junk... and you're failing the test.) I'm talking about being blessed by getting to live everyday waiting to see how the Lord is going to provide and lead you. You get to live every day waking up and going to bed saying, "Wow... there better be a heaven. If not, then I am living the stupidest life imaginable." It is so beautiful and I don't want to live any other way.

I didn't really know you...

Thank you, Clayton McDonald, even though I didn't really know you. An 18-year-old kid who viewed the world the most like Christ I've ever seen. You loved people like you wouldn't see them again and you lived every minute like you would never have it back.

I hope I never forget that you made death so real. To those who are more concerned about having a good family, good job, good house, good car... Good everything -- you told them not to get distracted. You didn't balance the good life and the life with Jesus. You jumped in with both feet. You said we wouldn't be disappointed if we jumped all the way in.

How could I possibly live for the Christian American dream after your lesson? I will not make a wife, kids, good job, good house, good car, good everything what I strive after. That'd be molesting the Gospel. No... I'll love everyone like I won't see them again and live every minute like I'll never get it back. Thank you.

I think I heard the echo on Monday morning around 8:30 a.m. when our Lord said the words...

Well done, good and faithful servant.


I heard from a dear brother named Tim Shontere tonight who is back for a few months while his wife has their third child. He is in his late 20s and at 19 he decided that, though he did not feel a "call," that the Lord had already called everyone to go. He stopped pursuing the many dreams he could have pursued as a skilled young man and took his wife to the YembiYembi tribe in Papua New Guinea where he has been for the last 9 years. He has let the harsh conditions take 15 to 20 years off his life expectancy and probably his childrens' too.

He said that when he returned to the States he was handed 17 letters from other tribes in New Guinea with their own languages that no one speaks. They are begging for someone to come to them. Tim said he's heartbroken because he responds to them that there is no one to send. He said their reply was, "Then this message must not be as important as you say it is."

Is my car, house, job, and family my end? Or, are they a means to an end: the Gospel. Does the place I live... the car I drive... the dreams I chase... Do they make the Gospel look important?


You have been dancing in my dreams
For so long it seems
You've been dancing in my dreams

You have been singing me to sleep
Melodies I'll keep
You've been sing me to sleep

I never wanna say goodbye
I never wanna say goodbye
I never wanna say goodbye to you

You have been all my eyes could bear
You're causing me to stare
You're all my eyes could bear

Your face is all my heart can stand
You do not understand
It's all my heart can stand

You have been capturing my smile
Oh, for quite a while   
You've been capturing my smile

Words & Music (C) 2008 / Nate Hanson

Dead Flies

This whole week there has been a fly beating its head against the big, sunny window in my bathroom.  I left the door of the bathroom open everyday so he could get out if he wanted to, since that is the way to the trees and sun that he so eagerly desires.  But, he keeps beating his head against the glass thinking that he will get to happiness that way.

I found him dead on the floor today -- he literally tried his whole life to find happiness outdoors, but could not see the big door that was open right there for him.  He had access to the trees, sun, plants, dog poop -- He just could not take his eyes off the window for a minute to see how to really live.

Do not be like my dead, winged friend.