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Prone To Wander Myth

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 What if your heart is no longer 'prone to wander?'  What if God is more interested in releasing a noble goodness He's already placed within you, rather than pressuring you to be more 'holy?'  Discover the book by Jim Robbins.

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Monday
Dec312012

Grace and royalty have the right to you claim you: A lesson from "Kingdom of Heaven."

 


"I'm your priest, Balian; and I tell you, God has abandoned you...The village does not want you."  - village priest

 

Balian [Orlando Bloom] and Godfrey, Baron of Ibelin [Liam Neeson]

 
"Murder.  I've done murder.
"  - Balian the Blacksmith

Balian [Orlando Bloom] is a blacksmith, whose wife has died of suicide.  Unbeknownst to Balian, she was beheaded post-humously [for being a suicide] by the wicked village priest  who, rather than consoling the grieving Balian, assures him that God has abandoned him and the village has rejected him. 

Balian's true father [Liam Neeson], a man he's never met, is Godfrey, Baron of Ibelin; and has just come to the village to reach out to Balian and to invite him to follow him into the Crusades, joining the baron's small band of warriors.  Balian refuses to go.  He has no desire to know his father, Baron of Ibelin; nor to move beyond the world he knows.  After all, he's just buried his wife.

 

The crime

The scene escalates as Balian discovers that the wicked town priest has cut off his wife's head just before burial, claiming it was punishment for the sin of suicide and that his wife would certainly be in hell for it.  In a fit of striken horror, Balian runs a sword through the priest, killing him.  After murdering the priest, leaving his blacksmith shop to burn, Balian flees town to see if he can catch up with his father, Baron of Ibelin, on the road.

The Law would claim him

Balian catches up with his father, Baron of Ibelin, on the road, and confesses the murder to him. But the law has sent a hunting party for Balian.  The law has come for him so that he may face charges for murdering the priest.  Even knowing his son's sin, his father still won't give him over to the Law; and they quickly discover themselves ambushed by the hunting party. 

Half of the baron's warrior band is slain.  When the dust settles, Balian reminds his father,

"They had the right to take me."


His father replies,

"And so do I."

 


Notice three things:

  1. Balian the blacksmith doesn't realize there is royalty in his blood.

  2. The Law will always try to claim you.

  3. Grace, his true Father, also has the right to claim him. 

 

 

 

Thursday
Dec202012

Why NewTown Is More Important Than We Think

The following is reprinted from a recent blog from author John Eldredge.  It articulates what's been on my own heart in these days following the Newtown tragedy:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

        (Yeats, The Second Coming)

 

Evil struck again.

And while I would prefer a solemn silence—the only good thing Job’s counselors offered him—so many unhelpful things are being said and suggested around the Newtown massacre I found myself compelled to write. Because the question of evil may be the greatest question the world faces today. How do we deal with evil? How do we prevent such tragedy?

It all depends on what you think is causing this.

I hope you will forgive my honesty, but I do not understand the shock. The grief I understand. The speechlessness, the staggering, the profound sorrow, the overwhelming sense of violation—these I understand. We are reeling from yet another assault of darkness. But our shock reveals something else altogether, something even more dangerous than armed violence.

I am describing a naiveté about the world that Christians, at least, should not be toying with.

In his brilliant essay The Wind in the Trees, GK Chesterton explains our misunderstanding by means of a great storm he experienced:

“I am sitting under tall trees, with a great wind boiling like surf about the tops of them, so that their living load of leaves rocks and roars....The wind tugs at the trees as if it might pluck them root and all out of the earth like tufts of grass. Or, to try yet another desperate figure of speech for this unspeakable energy, the trees are straining and tearing and lashing as if they were a tribe of dragons each tied by the tail.

As I look at these top-heavy giants tortured by an invisible and violent witchcraft, a phrase comes back into my mind. I remember a little boy of my acquaintance who was once walking in Battersea Park under just such torn skies and tossing trees...he said at last to his mother, ‘Well, why don’t you take away the trees, and then it wouldn’t wind.’ Nothing could be more intelligent or natural than this mistake. Any one looking for the first time at the trees might fancy that they were indeed vast and titanic fans, which by their mere waving agitated the air around them for miles. Nothing, I say, could be more human and excusable than the belief that it is the trees which make the wind. Indeed, it is a belief so human and excusable that it is, as a matter of fact, the belief of about ninety-nine out of a hundred of the philosophers, reformers, sociologists, and politicians of the great age in which we live. My small friend was, in fact, very like the principal modern thinkers; only much nicer.”

Chesterton was describing the naiveté that has since paralyzed the world, a naiveté revealed by our shock. What do you really believe about the cause of the "storm?"

You would think that after a century which included the Holocaust, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, and the rise of terrorism to name but a few, we would have been cured from our childish ideas about evil. You would think that after any one of the hundreds of atrocities of the past few years, we would have been cured. Rwanda, 9/11, human trafficking—what is it going to take?

I was heartened at first by the early words of Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy when he said, “Evil visited this community today.” That is exactly right; that is precisely what happened. But the clarity—he may have only been using a metaphor—was quickly lost in the subsequent media barrage. Our leaders are reacting to the Newtown massacre by calling for gun control; how unspeakably foolish. Now, this is not an essay on gun control; I am speaking to our understanding of our situation and the forces we are dealing with. But the cries for gun control reveal the naiveté—they are crying for the trees to be cut down while they ignore the wind.

It is this naiveté regarding evil that is the crisis of our age. And it is most dangerous.

For the Christian knows certain things about the world, things we must never ever lose hold of. We know from whence evil comes; we know what to do about it. We know—or we are supposed to know—that we live in a world at war; we are living in the midst of a very real and extremely brutal battle with the kingdom of darkness. While most Christians are still playing at happy little life (and angry at God for “allowing” terrible things to happen), the Scriptures continually warn us of a great evil power, who rules the world, whom we must contend with. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). In other words, with the demonic.

But, apparently T.S. Eliot was right: “Humankind cannot bear too much reality.”

We seem utterly devoted to avoiding the question of evil, to misdiagnosing it, completely committed to a childish view of the world. And our foolishness is proving very costly. For as Chesterton went on to say, “The great human heresy is that the trees move the wind.” By this he means the heresy that it is economics, race, poverty, a political party or doctrine that are the real causes of evil in the world; in this case, that it is the lack of gun control that causes evil in the world. Is the evil therefore located in the gun? Far more people are killed by automobile accidents each year in the U.S.—is the evil located in those vehicles?

How long will we continue to ignore the actual wind that tortures this world “by an invisible and violent witchcraft?”

Chesterton concluded his essay with a warning: “When people begin to say that the material circumstances have alone created the moral circumstances, then they have prevented all possibility of serious change....And nothing will ever be reformed in this age or country unless we realize that the moral fact comes first.” Good and evil come first.

We prevent all possibility of serious change when we hold childish views regarding evil, regarding the Great War in which we find ourselves. I suppose for the world the naiveté is understandable. For the Christian, it is inexcusable. We cannot toy with sociological, psychological or political explanations for the evil now ravaging the planet. Because we have answers.

There are answers both to the evil in the world, and the evil in the human heart. God moved long ago to deal with both, and triumphantly. What greater hope could possibly be spoken? This is what the world longs to know—"Why doesn't God do something?" God has acted; he has intervened, at the cost of his own life. There are answers, there are solutions, there is a way out. But we will not seek them while we take a four-year-old view of the world; while we blame the the "trees" for the raging storm.

How differently would the church pray if we really believed we are at war with the kingdom of darkness? How differently would we live and act in this world?

That “difference,” my brothers and sisters, would make an enormous difference.

 


My response:

Some of you may read Eldredge's view and see it as a calloused, unempathetic response.  Instead, I think that the most compassionate thing we can do is to take Jesus' view of evil, and his resources for disarming it, more seriously.  To dismiss what Eldredge, Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Tolkein, and many others have voiced is to dis-engage from the world's pain.

Most of us Christ-followers act as if we have no resources [other than well-meant prayers and heartbreak] to offer the world in times like this.  We offer those desperate prayers and heartache out of our good hearts but in reality, we have been equipped with resources more powerful and effective than our Churchianity past has told us.


What got in the way of our seeing this?

I think what prevents many good Christians from perceiving evil's true breadth, and from knowing how to fight against it, to defeat it, is a reactionary posture to distorted views of "spiritual warfare." Because the category of "warfare" has often been mishandled in our past by well-meaning leaders, or represented in sensationalist categories, we've adopted a reactive posture: "I simply will ignore the whole thing;" rather than asking Jesus to reveal the truth of the matter.

Note:  It's never helpful to build a theology based on a reaction to something. Let's ask Jesus to teach us what he knows about evil, and how he disarms it [and therefore, how we can disarm it]; and the surprising ways in which He brings unimaginable restoration from it - wringing good from wickedness' own foulest intent.


Finding Hope:
John Eldredge invites readers to download two free sessions of a recent teaching series, "Hope In the Coming Kingdom." I highly recommend it. It will be a gift for your heart. You can find it at the bottom of his own blog post here.  [He will email the download link to you.]

Tuesday
Dec042012

Don't create a theology based upon your disappointments.

 

Too many times, we build a theology around our lack of something we hoped we should have by now; or our disappointments:

1.  Example One:  "That just doesn't happen in my life:  God just doesn't work that way."
You were hoping to be further along in your prayer life, but aren't where you expected to be after all these years.  You hoped you could experience more of the supernatural rescue of God, but wonder why it seems so fleeting and so seldom.  So you create a theology that says, "God just doesn't work that way anymore.  Or at least not in my life."

 

2.  Example Two:  "The Christian life is not about me becoming stronger."

You were hoping to see more growth in your life, a developing and maturing strength that others seem to have but seems meager and dwindling in your own journey.  So you create a theology that says, "God doesn't expect us to grow, or us to become more capable and stronger over time.  It's all Jesus' work anyway:  He'll act in and through us, but we aren't doing the growing.

But wait.  Why wouldn't you expect to see an increasing love for your enemy, or discernment, or  an unpressured "one another" kind of love developing over time?  The assumption that "Christian life is not about you doing all the right things"  is true; but if overstated, can turn you into a marionette puppet, where Jesus pulls all the strings and bypasses your will, your heart, and your mind; robotically moving you wherever he wants to.

This idea that "God doesn't expect you to grow" usually comes from the legitimate claim that we shouldn't be striving to live from the arrogant and self-aggrandizing energies of the "flesh."  Depending upon the flesh for the victorious Christian life is directly counter to walking in the Spirit.  However, the suggestion that "the Christian life is not about you becoming stronger" overstates it.  We should expect to grow, but how?   The answer is by cooperating with the Holy Spirit as he does the work of releasing our new appetites, desires and tendencies - those new cravings he placed within our new and noble hearts.

Otherwise, it would seem inconceivable that Jesus would live in you, yet leave you unchanged, without any sign of unpressured, yet increasing growth.   There may be pain, wounds and assumptions in the way of that growth; but you can expect to grow.  Your heart may be pinned down in places; but it's still noble and true. Yes, it's all radically dependent upon his work; but it still causes you to grow.  It's an unpressured growth...over time; but a maturing life where your new heart's appetites get released, your mind is increasingly renewed, and your body is more lead by your heart's new nature rather than by the movements of the "flesh."

 

Caution:  Don't turn a disappointment in your journey into a theology about how God works.  Be careful not to assume that a lack of something is a sign that what you hoped for doesn't exist.  It will lead you to resignation or short-change God's surprising work in you, rather than lead you to a more full-hearted life.

 

 


Wednesday
Nov282012

The Good and Noble Heart Mug is here!

I have a few "go-to" mugs in my kitchen cupboard

  • There's the one I bought in Acadia National Park in Maine because it reminds me of our family's roots there that go back to the 1700's. 

  • Then there's the mug that I bought in the mountains of Colorado where I attended a men's retreat that taught me that the heart is central to life.

  • Then there's the mug with signatures of friends I had coffee with daily at a coffee bar in Florida, who wrote their names in black marker around the sides of that mug, just before I moved a thousand miles away.

 

THE GOOD AND NOBLE HEART MUG: 
"Your heart is your ally, not your enemy."

I designed this mug [ stein, and water bottle] for the GOOD AND NOBLE HEART community so that when you fill it with your favorite tea or morning coffee, or take the water bottle to the gym, you'll remember  that Jesus did clean the inside of your cup; and that because of your new and noble goodness, your heart is no longer your enemy, but your ally.

A friend of mine once invited his friends to celebrate Communion by bringing in their favorite mug instead of those plastic juice thimbles so often used, and that changed Communion for that group forever.

 

Which mugs in your kitchen cupboard are your "go-to" mugs and why do they mean something to you? 

 


Ordering the GOOD & NOBLE HEART mug [or stein, or stainless water bottle]:

You can order the mug or stein or water bottle at my storefront in Cafe Press [- a well-known printing company that will handle payment and shipping to you.  After they factor-in their production costs, I receive a $2 to $3 royalty per item.] 

 

 


 

 

 

Tuesday
Nov272012

Reacting to a threat that no longer exists. 

My good friend,  Joel Brueseke of Graceroots Podcast, invited me to guest-podcast on his series.  [Thanks, Joel!]

What can we learn from the mistakes of a tribe in the Sudan of Africa about letting go of threats that no longer exist? 

Too many Christians believe that a threatening sickness lies in their heart and needs to be extracted - much like the Dinka tribe of the Sudan painfully extracts their children's adult teeth with a crude fishhook in order to remove a threat that no longer exists.

You can read an earlier post I've written on this curious practice of the Dinka tribe here.

 


LISTEN:  Here's my guest podcast on GraceRoots/  "Treating a threat that no longer exists."

 

 

Thursday
Nov082012

Wounded By Accusation

 


Here are some posts I've written that speak to those who find themselves particularly wounded by accusation:  



"Generalized Accusation Disorder:"  My Story

 

 

 
"You're Getting Hit With Accusation - The Warning Signs"

 

 

 
"Conviction is Different Than Accusation"

 

 


 

Especially for introverts:


"Why Accusation Is So Debilitating for Sensitive Hearts"



 

 
"Were You a 'High-Reactive/High-Sensitive" Introverted Kid?"




 
"Introverts and the Church:  The Pain of Performance and Perceptions"

 

 


 

 


Monday
Nov052012

Lesson from The Horse Whisperer: You don't "break a horse."  

The Horse Whisperer
"Buck," the  documentary, is about the man behind the legendary cowboy in "The Horse Whisperer."  His name is Buck Brannaman.

 

You don't 'break' a horse:

You don't break a horse.  You don't force them into compliance.  You don't enforce your will upon them by violating their will.  Neither do you do this to a person.  Another term for "breaking a person" is compliance:

  • Compliance breeds fear, and uses intimidation to its advantage: 
    "Do this or we will threaten you with 'consequences' until you meet our expectations."

  • Compliance is impatient: 
    "Do this now:  We're more interested in outcomes than in hearts."

  • Compliance violates the will of the other: 
    "I have the right [and power] to bend you to my will.  What you want isn't important."

 

You don't break a child.

Neither do you "break" a child; and this doesn't always imply a physical domination over a child.  Yet common parenting techniques that enforce "consequences" and varieties of disciplinary punishment; as well as "classroom management" techniques that get kids to shut up and be quiet "break the child" to gain compliance over their will. 

I once observed a substitute teacher scream across a cafeteria at a young girl for dropping food on the floor.  The adult's voice shattered the din and the room went silent.  The young girl shook with fear.  Tears streamed down her cheeks for the next 10 minutes.  He broke her.

The children, our spouses, or whomever we jerk around with bit and bridle, are the mirror to our souls.

 


"In this particular discipline, you have to be a sensitive person.  That vulnerability makes you great."  - from Buck, the film

 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct302012

Podcast: Part 2- "Revolution Within" - Jim interviews best-selling author Dwight Edwards

PODCAST:  "REVOLUTION WITHIN" -  Part 2, with guest author Dwight Edwards

As Dwight Edwards suggested in Part One of our podcast, the un-pressured Christian life is about releasing the good God has placed within us rather than trying to get something fixed.

Then what are the new resources of powerful goodness awaiting release within our new Christ-given nature?

 

 

 

In Part Two of our converstion, Dwight and I talk about four resources of our new -hearted nature:

A new purity

A new identity

A new disposition

A new power

....................................................................................................................

Podcast:  "REVOLUTION WITHIN" -Part 2-  Jim interviews best-selling author, Dwight Edwards, about his book, "Revolution Within."  [Part 2]

 

 

[For Dwight's books and resources, go to his website:  Kindling for the Fire.]

*Listen to Part One here, if you missed it.

....................................................................................................................


 
LISTEN ON iTunes

Tuesday
Oct232012

New Podcast: "Revolution Within" Part One -Jim interviews best-selling author Dwight Edwards

This is Part One of my interview with special guest, Dwight Edwards, author or Revolution Within.  Dwight is lead pastor at Water’s Edge Church in Houston.  He also publishes a regular update called, "Kindling for the Fire." 

Dwight has also served as a friend and advisor to Larry Crabb.

Dwight's work was foundational to my understanding of our good and noble heart.  It's a message largely missing in modern Christianity; but one that God is restoring in order to see his friends released from the tyranny of "never enough."

 

"That’s why the great issue in Christian living is not how to get ourselves fixed but how to get our new nature released."  
- Revolution Within

............................................................................................................


Podcast:  Jim Robbins interviews Dwight Edwards about his book, "Revolution Within." 

*This is Part One of our interview.   "It's not about fixing, but releasing the good."  

[Note:  There are a few pops and clicks here and there.  We didn't hear them 'live,' yet they somehow found their way into the recording.  I think the message will come through loud and clear anyway.] 

............................................................................................................



LISTEN ON iTunes

 

Monday
Oct222012

Disarming shame: Will 'naming it' alone really help?

 

Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.  That's why it loves perfectionists - it's so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we've basically cut it off at the knees.  Shame hates having words wrapped around it.  If we speak shame, it begins to whither.  - from "Daring Greatly," by Brene' Brown

Do you agree with this? What is true about Brene's claim?  What might be missing?

I have a great deal of respect for Brene' Brown, the quote's author.  I think her analysis of shame - what it is and how is disables us - is dead-on.  And I agree that we need to be talking about shame more, bringing its debilitating deception into the light.

Yet, I wonder if merely exposing shame by talking about it, "wrapping words around it," really heals it.  Yes, putting words to shame and how it hurts might makes us feel less alone because we've realized that shame is a universal kind of brokeness.  "Speaking to shame" might even help us gain more clarity around:

  • the underlying causes of our husband's distance and anger, 

  • or the sense that I'm never enough for anyone; despite my best efforts,

  • or why we end up believing that God's heart is set against us, rather than believing his intent is always deliverance, as mysterious as that deliverance often is. 

"Wrapping words around shame" may help us realize, "Oh, so that's why I feel so afraid of showing up with my full heart; or taking risks; of entering in." 

But does this mean the shame is healed?  - As in, that it no longer has power over us; and something more redemptive and glorious has taken its place?  I don't think so.  Only healing heals.

Think how often over the last ten years you've talked about that betrayal that haunts you; or the time that you were fired for no reason; or the years that the church leadership abused your trust.  How many different conversations have you had about it....yet the wound seems so unhealed, despite you naming it and understanding its effect more clearly?

My prayer for us is this: 
Father, heal the wounds of shame that have lied to us for too long.  Heal them with your affection.  And as you do this, we invite your Spirit to release the noble goodness of our new-hearted, Christ-given identity - knowing that we are now more worthy and valuable than we could possible imagine.

 

 

Thursday
Oct112012

"I'm not enough to make you happy."

 

Our fundamental problem as humans is shame.  That's what cripples us. And shame's message to us is: 

"I'm not enough to make you happy, or prevent you from being disappointed with me." 

 

Here are two common misunderstandings:

  1. Feeling forgiven, in and of itself, won't heal shame.  It's a wonderful thing to no longer have your sin held against you.  But forgiveness alone won't help you conquer that addiction that's lasted for years; or heal the anger that rushes in every time your children interrupt your work with silly questions.  Or the fear that no one will ever come for you because you're not worth the time.

  2. Telling yourself that you are "worthy", while believing that your heart is still a shameful mess, won't heal you.  It's like trying to believe it will be a sunny day as you notice the rain clouds gather in the distance.  It does you no good to try and convince yourself of something you don't believe is really true.  You can't believe you are worthy and acceptable while holding that your heart is "prone to wander."  There's too much dissonance between what you're trying to believe and what you really believe about your true self.

 

Then what will heal our shame; and dispel the lie that "I'm not enough to please God or anyone else?"

Answer:  Discovering that you have been given a good and noble heart by Christ when you said 'yes' to him;   then doing the hard work of trusting that new heart when shame hits you out of nowhere:

  • When you get rejected three times for three different job positions.

  • When your husband fails to see your heart and seems too disengaged to care.

  • When you feel sidelined by God, shelved - while others seem "successful"  in their calling.

Bottom line:  God has removed the nagging fear that we are worthy or acceptable by making us so.  He did that by changing our core tendencies and desires.    The fact that you possess a new heart means you are always pleasing to him.  Yes, you may and can still sin.  But the sin is no longer you.  Sin is no longer at the core of your identity: it's is no longer in your heart.

God looks at your noble heart and knows you are genuinely good and pleasing to him.  You are enough to make him happy.  Exceedingly happy. 

 

 

Wednesday
Sep192012

Why giving children [or anyone else] "consequences" doesn't work.

Mother to young son: 

"If you don't pick up your toys, you'll lose a privelege.  I warned you that there would be consequences."

Translate

"If you don't meet my expectations, pain will follow:  I will either remove something from you, or do something to you." 

Most of us were brought up under a compliance model:  "Just get kids to behave.  Give them 'consequences' if they don't meet your expectations."

 

Natural consequences:
Yes, there are natural outcomes to our choices:  Relationships don't do well where there isn't mutual respect, including from child to parent.  However, the carrot and stick [reward and punishment] model doesn't work.  [Note:  rewarding a child, in order to get good behavior, has also shown to short-change genuine transformation in the long-run.]  In fact, research indicates that if you insist on punishing [or rewarding] kids for their behavior, you'll end up with a worse kid in the long run.  Remember, true transformation is measured in years, not minutes.


Giving "warnings" and "consequences" didn't even work for God:

"If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins..."  [Leviticus 26:18]

"...as your sins deserve."  [Leviticus 26: 21]

"They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws..."  [Leviticus 26:43]


Did God's warnings that consequences would follow produce heart-change in his people?  No.  They still went ahead and did what he warned them not to. Why?  Pressure to comply - and the threat of consequences that accompany that - will never produce the actual change we really want for our kids.  Being intrinsically [self-motivated] to love well is far superior to being threatened into acting like you care about others.


So what's the alternative?

Connection.  Put the heart first.  Here's another post I wrote that gives you some concrete suggestions:  "Parenting Where the Heart Comes First."

 

Friday
Sep142012

"Don't apply that to your life."

If you don't know you have a new-hearted identity in Christ, the following passage from the Old Testament will be understandably troubling for you:

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  [Deut. 8:2]

If I had read that passage ten years ago, I would have drawn some horrible conclusions about my heart - wrongly assuming that:

"There is possibly something in my heart that I shouldn't trust - something that could prevent me from following his commands."


God's audience at that time was not new-hearted, Spirit-indwelled:

Why did God need to "test" something he already knew?  His omniscience would have told him what was already in their hearts.  They were not yet new hearted, Spirit-changed people.  Jesus had not come to bring them that yet.  That would be later in history.

Perhaps it was the people themselves that needed to know what was in their hearts, and experience the futility of living under a broken [ill-functioning] heart?  People often need to feel the crushing burden of living as a self-indulgent corpse before they are ready to live as a free-hearted and alive son or daughter.


What we need to know today:

Secondly, the primary point of Jesus' rescue of us is to give us a heart that loves God and leaves no room for doubt as to its allegiance.  And, being an in-Christ person, that faithful heart is already in you.  When you enter friendship with Jesus, he surgically removes the wandering heart and replaces it with a heart that is aligned and allied with God.

You can trust the faithfulness of your new heart.

 

Wednesday
Sep052012

You are not at war with yourself.

 

You are not at war with yourself.

The Bible does not teach that the Christian has two natures battling it out, one evil and one good.  You do not have both a sinful self and a good self; nor a wicked heart alongside a good heart. 

Most Christians have been taught that our war within is a civil war, that you fight against yourself. - Bill Gillham

The old man, or ruined heart, or “sinful nature” is literally gone:  “I will remove your heart of stone…” [Ezek. 36:26]    In its place, your new Christ-given heart has a natural tendency to love God and to love others.  Your new-hearted nature is prone to kindness, forgiveness, and trust. 

You've been given the heart you've always wanted.

The source of sin no longer lies in the self:
We know that we can still sin, so what causes you to sin if your “old man” or sin-heart is gone?  Scripture teaches that sin [the noun] is a personified force that lives in your body -  like an infection,   “Personified” means it acts like a person or intelligence with a will of its own, with a cunning ability to deceive and accuse:  "You're an angry and violent man." Or, "You never trust God."  Or, "Your heart can't be noble - look at the evidence."

 

The infection isn’t you.
When sick with the flu, you would say, “I have the flu,” not “I am the flu.”   The symptoms you're experiencing come from the presence of the flu virus.  Likewise, you are at war with an invading contaminant called "sin," not with yourself.  Similarly, if you were bitten by a Brown Recluse spider, you wouldn't assume that the venum now in your body was coming from you - You would know that it came from the spider's bite. 

Fortunately, the healing anti-venum resides in your new heart.  The good news is,  your good and noble heart is your ally in the fight, not your enemy.

 

Wednesday
Aug292012

Why avoiding sin's consequences isn't the point.

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A family member said to me that he never wanted to find himself in the situation David got into with Bathsheba.  My relative would do all he could to avoid the consequences of sin, rather than risk falling into temptation and it's aftermath.  As we talked, I sensed this was how he lived his life:  "Avoid sin and the judgement that follows." Stay clear of sin's allure because you don't want to pay the piper. 

While there is the command to flee from sin, and to be self-controlled [Which is to say, be "Spirit-led"], I think there's a better alternative to the "stay out of trouble, avoiding the consequences" model: 

God's unhindered affection is a much better reason not to sin than the fear of consequences or judgement is.

  • It's better to avoid sin because you're well-loved and have the real thing, not needing sin's false promise. 

  • It's better to be obsessed with how well regarded you are by our Father, than to become preoccupied with consequences and outcomes. 

Love covers a multitude of sins.

  • It's better to indulge the striking goodness of your new and noble heart; than to allow fear to overshadow your God-hearted nature.

Delight is stronger than judgement:  Affection reassures where fear accuses.

Monday
Aug272012

Why compliance and control work against transformation...

There's a world of difference between compliance [getting adults/kids to act like you want them to] vs. transformation:  One happens through control and pressure; the other happens through connection. 

Anyone who has care or charge over someone:  church leaders, authors, teachers, parents will end up using one or the other, or a combination of both.   Spouses end up using one or the other model as well.  However, God uses transformation.

Note that the 'Compliance" approach to relationships leads to regressive, worse behavior over the long-run.  Don't be fooled:  compliance often looks like change; but it's really a yielding out of fear.

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Helpful resources:

  • "Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us," by Daniel Pink
  • "Unconditional Parenting," by Alfie Kohn
  • "Connecting," by Larry Crabb
Thursday
Aug162012

Video: Jim Robbins' speaking events.

One attendee of a group I spoke to came up to be afterwards and said, "I'm not sure if I believe you yet, but if what you're saying is true, it changes everything." 

The message of RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART isn't new.  It isn't a fad.  Rather, it's the message of "regeneration" that many of us have passed over or never heard.  Martin Luther affirmed it, and so did J.I. Packer, one of the most influential Christian leader of our time:

J.I. Packer, whom Time magazine listed as one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals in America, describes our regeneration as, “the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in which his/her inherently sinful nature is changed so that he/she can respond to God in Faith, and live in accordance with His will (Matt. 19:28; John 3:3,5,7; Titus 3:5). It extends to the whole nature of man, altering his governing disposition, illuminating his mind, freeing his will, and renewing his nature.”

In other words, your heart is now your ally, not your enemy.

GET MORE DETAILS HERE.

Thursday
Aug092012

Form a new-hearted group study - Including Skype call with Jim.

As many of you have already figured out, allies on the good and noble heart journey are important.  Do you have a small group of friends who want to learn more about their good hearts? Why not form a short-term group study with a few friends.  In your home or online, using either my book, RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART, or the book's STUDY GUIDE.  I know of folks who have already done this.

Skype call with Jim, free:
If you do either Option One [Study Guide Group] or Option Two  [Book Group] below, I'll include one 45 minute Skype call [voice or video] with your group, at no cost.  It doesn't matter if one member is in Anckorage and another in Allagash.  [Up to ten people.]

What you'll need

  • For Skype conference [voice-only] group calls, each member will need a Skype account.

  • For Skype video group calls, each member of your group needs to have a webcam and be signed up with Skype. [At least two people, plus me.  Up to ten people max.]

The Skype call would allow the group to ask me follow-up questions or get further clarity on living from your new heart.  It will also be a great time to connect with each other.

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Option One:  If you have already read my book, "RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART" then why not form an online study with a few friends, using the STUDY GUIDE. 

 

 

Option Two:  If you have not read the book first, use that.  It makes sense to read the book, RECOVER YOUR GOOD HEART first, unless you're already pretty familiar with my blogs and the Good and Noble Heart message.

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*You can email me if your interested. 

 

Tuesday
Jul312012

Piety is not what God is after.

 

The following excerpts come from a newsletter I received from Dwight Edwards, author of "Revolution Within. His book was essential for shaping my understanding of the good and noble heart several years ago.  Here's what Dwight says:

 

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D.L. Moody was exactly right when he noted, “Some men have just enough religion to be miserable”.  

True, vital Christianity was never intended to be a grim resolve to imitate the example of Christ.

Oswald Chambers puts it so well,

There is no room in the New Testament for sickly piety, but room only for the robust, vigorous, open-air life that Jesus lived – in the world but not of it, the whole life guided and transfigured by God. Beware of the piety that is not stamped by the life of God…Be absolutely and fiercely godly, but never pious.”

I love that thought. Vibrant spirituality goes far beyond mere piety; it specializes in becoming “absolutely and fiercely godly”.

It is not enough to concentrate on “in nothing I shall be ashamed” [avoiding sin] That is only a very preliminary start. The true goal is not labored suppression of the wrong but robust expression of the right. Lewis Sperry Chafer writes,

“True spirituality is a seven-fold manifestation of the Spirit in and through the one whom He fills. It is a divine output of the life, rather than a mere cessation of things which are called "worldly." True spirituality does not consist in what one does not do, it is rather what one does. It is not suppression: it is expression. It is not holding in self: it is living out Christ.”

[End.]

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After reading this, the obvious question is, "How does this happen?" 

Answer:   The indwelling Spirit ignites and enflames our new, God-given good and noble heart so that our new righteousness radiates outwards into the lives of others.

Monday
Jul232012

New podcast: "If I really do have a good and noble heart, then why does the evidence seem to suggest otherwise?" -Guest Joel Brueske joins Jim.

Joel Brueseke [see his insightful GraceRoots podcast] joins me as we try to offer encouragement for Christians who do want to believe that their heart is now good and noble because of Christ's redeeming work for them, but who continue to struggle to live from that new-hearted goodness.


Podcast:  "If I really do have a good and noble heart, then why does the evidence seem to suggest otherwise?"  [Special guest, Joel Brueseke of GraceRoots.com]

 

 

In the podcast, Joel and I address:

  • Why does my experience seem to suggest my heart really isn't good, noble and true?

  • Why truth must drive experience and not the other way around.

  • What about us is "finished" and what is still "unfinished?"

  • What happened to the "Accuser" in our worldview?  "Warfare" has been grossly abused in the Church, but for the sake of our hearts, the idea is worth revisiting.

  • Why multiple exposures to the truth is necessary so that our minds, emotions and bodies can catch up to the truth about our new and noble hearts.

  • Should you leave a church that preaches a performance-based, "bad-heart" message?

  • Resources for finding new-hearted community and messages. 

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You can find new-hearted community - people who want to live from their good and noble heart - on the "COMMUNITY" page on my website.  The focus is simple:

1.  Where are you finding it difficult to live from your good and noble heart?

2.  Where are you finding encouragement to live from your good and noble heart?