We live in a media mad world, and this is especially true of social media.

In all it’s rapidly evolving forms social media has created a generation of people with very short attention spans. People don’t know how to connect in meaningful ways; reinforcing low EQ’s.

We are told through culture that because people have shorter attention spans, we have to change the way we teach, speak, relate, literally scream and be ridiculously outrageous to get peoples attention. This is hurting people.

In recent years, I keep hearing people say, the church is competing for peoples attentions, so we better make sure we are competive and relative and keep up with all the technology and creative design, etc, etc, etc…

And YES this is somewhat true. But it’s more true to say:

Accepting the shortening of attention spans is very damaging and we are losing our abilities to meaningfully engage and attend to the more important things in life.

So instead of accepting and going along with culturally dictated norms that only serve to dumb down culture–and therefore dumb down the church–we should be continually teaching and training and helping others to grow and use all of our incredible God-given capacities to engage and think and use our brilliant minds!! 

God made us in His own image: Brilliant! Amazing! Creative! Strong! Smart! And with incredible abilities and capacities to meaningfully engage our world–God’s world!

He has given everyone of us genius in some area. Everyone of us. Our genius is to be used to serve others. This requires incredible attention.

God has given us incredible capacity for attention so that we can serve others. But if we allow culture to dictate to us, we will become lazy and inattentive to peoples needs; impotent in loving and spreading the gospel; and so will our children because we will not recognize the vital need to teach them God has so much more and better…

So, NO! I absolutely do not accept what culture dictates as normal. I will be aware of what is happening in culture, but I will not accept it; nor live at a lower standard than God intends.

God has given people incredible gifts and talents. If we learn to be wise in stewarding and developing them, honorably serving God with them, we will be light years ahead of culture–prophetic people. This is what God intends for the church.

We have a responsibility to give the best of our attentions and energies to God, allowing Him to stretch and grow us, so we can serve Him well, so He is glorified on the earth.

There is no intimacy without honesty.

In every relationship, there is a trust level. It always depends on how open or honest we have been with the each other.

Intimacy is not sex; although it makes for great sex in marriage because it deepens the trust bond between husband and wife.

Intimacy is not just for the marriage relationship. Intimacy can be found in any relationship.

Intimacy is trust. Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. It’s having confidence and assurance in someone.

Trust requires honesty. Intimacy hinges on our being honest with the other person.

A lack of honesty will ensure a relationship stays at a surface level. 

Intimacy requires us to be brutally honest, not a physical brutality, obviously, but being brutal with ourself: A willingness to tell the truth, the whole truth, holding nothing back. A willingness to be so honest about ourself, we risk having the other person thinking less of us because now they know us; really know our secret intimate thoughts, this is vulnerability.

Honesty forces vulnerability. When we are brutally honest, we put ourselves out there, on a limb, we are vulnerable. We find out if the other person is going to treat us rightly; treat the information they now have about us, rightly; hold our heart securely. Will they, with all confidentially, hold our heart safe and not judge us, and not talk about us behind our back, using our honesty against us?

Being vulnerable is very risky. We don’t really know how people will treat our heart, muchness what they will do with the information we are arming them with. Relationships are risky. Loving is risky. If in the past we’ve been mistreated and hurt by others, gossiped about, it can cause us to give less of ourselves in relationships because we want to safeguard ourselves. We stop being open and honest. This keeps relationships at a surface level.

Vulnerability brings the opportunity to build trust. Trust is only built between people when there is honesty and confidentiality and the confidence to know there will be no knee-jerk reactions, misjudgments, harsh judgements, or wrong interpretations of what we have shared from our heart. 

How we carry a person’s heart says a lot about who we are. Do we quickly judge? Do we judge wrongly? Do we minimize? Do we marginalize? Do we keep confidences? Is that information now safe with us? Is that person feeling awkward around us? Does it feel like there is an elephant in the room?

Trust builds intimacy. Intimacy can be said IN-TO-ME-SEE. When we trust someone we can let them see what’s in our heart, safely and with confidence. We are not minding our P’s and Q’s. We are not trying to filter what we say incase they take it the wrong way. We can simply show them our heart; we can be honest. We drop the usual formalities that are normally used to keep people at a safe distance.

Intimacy is required for discipleship. Very little discipleship happens outside of a close relationship. We don’t create disciples by preaching messages week after week in our churches. Preaching is communication that is one directional. There is a speaker and hearer, only. Relationships have two-way communication. Surface relationships will produce surface disciples, surface followers. No depth. To truly disciple someone, there has to be close proximity and honesty. Openness and honesty is required every time.

Intimacy is a two-way street. It requires both people to be communicating, honestly, openly, knowing both parties are valued; this communicates sincerity of love.

Jesus wants us to have a deep and intimate relationship with him that is two-way. Not just us praying prayers every now and then, but allowing Him to communicate back to us. It’s called commune. Commune means to share life together, and to communicate or share intense and profound things and feelings with each other.

Its good to know we can trust Jesus. We can trust Him with out innermost thoughts. We should confess some of them, because we need help to overcome some of our wrong thinking. This renews our mind, and it brings everything out into the open before Jesus. It is how we start to live in His light. When we keep things hidden or unconfessed before Jesus, we are limiting our relationship with Him, John 3:19-21. But we can trust Him. He knows everything anyway. It does our heart good to talk freely and openly with Jesus. He desires intimacy with us. It deepens our relationship with Him.

Jesus heals, restores, and builds up that essential and deepest part of who we are when we willingly open ourselves to Him. He desires Truth in the inner most parts, Psalm 51:6. But we have to first bring Him into the inner most part of who we are, by allowing Him full access, being completely honest with Him.

God doesn’t do sloppy!

March 17, 2014

We love because Jesus loves us. And, He commands us to love each other. Commands!

But lets not make the mistake of thinking love is the same as having no boundaries.

Love with no boundaries is sloppy love. 

When we love, we are accepting of people. Graceful. Warm. Engaging. Instantly forgiving. Welcoming to everyone. People need to know they are loved and accepted by God, no matter what.

However this crosses a line when we are not only accepting of people, but we are also accepting of behaviors that are hurtful, or abusive, and willfully tolerant of sin. God accepts us the way we are, but He wants life transformation. God wants Jesus to be fully formed in us. That is having Jesus’ nature and character being fully formed in us.

Our Christian life is a life lived by process: God’s process of building love, integrity, character, faithfulness, peace, loyalty, obedience, self-discipline, self-control, submissiveness, patience, and joy in us.

If God’s love and forgiveness are emphasized over and above–or in place of–God wanting life transformation, it’s sloppy grace. God has love, grace and incredible life change in mind for us.

Sloppy grace slaps Jesus in the face. Sloppy love is a boundary-less broken-down-walls life.

A sloppy life is a spiritually reckless and careless life–excessively casual about the things of God. This leads to chaos and disorder and confusion for the Christian. It’s powerless Christianity.

We will never change the world, neither bring God’s message of hope and life and love to people, if we live sloppy broken down lives. A sloppy broken down life is not attractive to people who need to see the authentic life of Jesus being lived out daily in the lives of God’s people.

God’s great love and grace in our life brings incredible power and ability–and stability–to our life when we are allowing God to transform us. His process brings incredible life change. Allow Him to do His work!

God doesn’t do sloppy. Neither should we.