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There are many myths we live by that God never intended for us to believe. They’re just things that we pick up on and never really think about. Things that perhaps, you learned from the people who unknowingly taught them to you, by how they lived and how they talked. It’s those off-the-cuff and untested nuggets of “truth” that sometimes make the biggest impact on our theology and faith.

I recently wrote about one of these myths here: The Perfect Before Presence Myth.

In the spirit of the Christmas, today’s myth has to do with the idea of Immanuel.

The Immanuel Means Easy Myth

Here’s the basic idea.

  • Jesus demonstrated his love for us by coming down in human form, Immanuel (God with us).
  • Jesus died for us and then rose again, and provided a way for reconciliation with God.
  • Since we know God is With Us (Immanuel) and God is For Us (He died and rose again for us),
  • We trust Jesus with our lives and everything is easy and clear after that.

Ok, maybe I’m oversimplifying it, but isn’t that how we think? I mean, in fact we tend to believe that if God isn’t answering my prayers in the way that I want, maybe He’s not there at all. Right? Isn’t that our logic?

Here’s the deal though, if God were small enough for you to control with your will, meaning He always did what you asked for, He’d be less-powerful than you and that’s not the God I want to worship, and not the God I’d trust with my life. I want to follow, I want to worship a God that doesn’t do everything I want Him to do, but does what is best for me. Isn’t that what you want? You don’t really want someone to cater to your every emotional whim, do you?

  • You want a Rock.
  • You want Steady.
  • You want Trustworthy.
  • You want All-Powerful, All-Knowing and Everywhere-All-The-Time, not conjured upon your requests and slips out when you’re done with Him.

At least, that’s how I feel. Take for example how Jesus prays right before he’s arrested…

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 NIV

Jesus, talking to the Father, asks for another way… and the Father doesn’t do it. Since when does Jesus ask for something and it not happen?!

Ever get a “no” for an answer to your prayers? It’s not fun, trust me… truuuuuuuust me, I know this one well. But I don’t want a God who changes all his glorious plans because I want Him to.

So here’s the truth…

  • Jesus demonstrated his love for us by coming down in human form, Immanuel (God with us).
  • Jesus died for us and then rose again, and provided a way for reconciliation with God.
  • Since we know God is With Us (Immanuel) and God is For Us (He died and rose again for us),
  • We trust Jesus and follow Him.
  • He acts on behalf of His purposes with our best interest in mind. But His our best interest has more to do with eternity, than the here and now. He’s playing the long-game. He’s knows how everything works out… and it’s glorious.

Following Jesus is like walking in a cloud. You can only see a few feet in front of you and He doesn’t clear the next few feet until you take a couple of steps.

It’s not all smooth-sailing after you take the plunge to trust Jesus and anyone who tells you it is, is either very fortunate or lying. Take a look at all of the major characters of faith, they all experienced darkness and confusion, even after God revealed Himself to them.

I think it’s time we stop, inadvertently, teaching, whether in word or deed, that Immanuel Means Easy. We know better than that, don’t we?

If you’d like to digest these kinds of ideas more, I suggest binge watching these message series:

What myths do you accidentally live by? Are those myths holding you back from truly living a life of freedom?

Have you ever, because of what you see in the world or as a result of your own experience asked, “How can there be a God?” I have and so has Mauro. If you haven’t, it’s probably either because you’ve never really given much thought to the existence of God or you’re too scared to face the conclusions you might draw from asking such a question. I’ve asked it and so has Mauro.

Everybody man has a “Father Wound.” It’s because we’re imperfect fathers. It’s because our fathers and their fathers were imperfect. It’s part of the broken-sinful nature of the world we live in, but the story doesn’t have to end there. Everyone can find a perfect father in God and my prayer is that Mauro’s story helps you comes to terms with God’s perfect nature.

Mauro’s story starts with Catholic High School and his relationship with his own father. He had a difficult time and didn’t feel like it was possible for God to be a father, because he was comparing God to how he felt about his relationship with his dad. But then something changed.

On November 22, 2013 I had the pleasure of baptizing Mauro at the first ever baptism gathering with Two Cities Church.

Interested in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ?
We’re interested in leading you into that relationship.
Interested in getting baptized?
We’re interested in baptizing you.
Contact me for details.

Interested in knowing more about Two Cities Church?
You can find us Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 5pm at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building in Old Town Clovis.
808 4th St., Clovis, Ca 93611

Come catch a glimpse.

You can also see more about Mauro and Chelsea in this video.
Mauro & Chelsea [WeAreTwoCities Video]

Watch Cady Hurtado’s story here.
You may also like An Atheist Prayer.

Lost.
Depressed.

Almost everyone can relate to those two words. I’ve felt it and chances are you have felt it, do feel it now or will feel it at some point in the future.

Cady’s story starts like this, “I was lost and depressed…”, but it doesn’t stop there. She has an incredible story of redemption. And there’s something incredibly redeeming about telling the world where you’ve been and how Jesus has rescued you from that. You may even share her experience and I pray that this story somehow, creates renewal in you, creates a sense that freedom is possible and Jesus loves you too!

On November 22, 2013 I had the pleasure of baptizing Cady at the first ever baptism gathering with Two Cities Church.

Cady is a child of God. She is redeemed. She is forgiven and she is forgiving. She loves Jesus and has recently started volunteering at Two Cities. She is no longer lost and depressed. She is no longer defining herself by those words. She is now a daughter of the creator God! She serves Jesus because he first loved her.

I love the part where she talks about not intending to, but finding herself in a church talking to a pastor. That’s the divine direction we all need, a guide, a nudge, an intuition to do something out of the ordinary in order to find an extraordinary relationship with Jesus Christ.

Interested in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ?
We’re interested in leading you into that relationship.
Interested in getting baptized?
We’re interested in baptizing you.
Contact me for details.

Interested in knowing more about Two Cities Church?
You can find us this Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 5pm at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building in Old Town Clovis.
808 4th St., Clovis, Ca 93611

Come catch a glimpse.

glimpse cover fb

There’s a myth amongst Christians that says, “I can be a Christian all by myself. I don’t need anyone. I don’t need a church. I don’t need a community. I can do it, just me and God.”

While I appreciate the romanticism that you and God can be your own little community and be just fine, I do believe God designed us to live in community. Sure, there’s an exception out there somewhere. A man in a foreign jail who can’t speak the same language as everyone else. He’s literally alone, except for him and God. But most of us aren’t in that situation. Most of us don’t live in that situation. We have opportunity.

I’m willing to bet that anyone reading this blog has a church right down the street from you. Maybe it’s not a church that’d you’d love or stay at, but it’s there. Maybe you’ve never walked in the doors or met anyone from there. But there it stands.

It’s Sunday morning. Get out of bed and find yourself a good local church. If you don’t know where to start, let me know where you are and I’ll try to find one for you. You need to be in Christian Community with other Christians. You need community. God designed it that way. So don’t sit this out. It’s part of the divine design.

Stop being a lone ranger. You can’t do it alone.

18 Months.

October 14, 2010 — Leave a comment

For the last 18 months my dad has been out of work. He owned his own construction company for years called Don Foster Construction. He specialized in building church buildings up and down the west coast. I don’t know the exact amount, but I think he’s built somewhere about 65 church buildings of all denominations (I’m guessing). But when the economy tanked, churches stopped building and remodeling. He closed his business and joined a larger construction firm in the Vancouver, Wa area. After a few months they downsized and he got the axe. He’s applied for hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs in the last 18 months.

In November his unemployment was going to stop. In November, my parents would be able to make their last house payment. And in December…the collectors were gearing up to come knocking. But in God’s grace and in His perfect timing I got a call saying that my dad was hired. He was hired in the industry he knows, helping a construction company grow their business AND it is for the salary that my parents need to be able to pay their bills.

Through the last 18 months I’ve seen him:

  • Ask for prayer
  • Wait on God
  • Actively seeking employment (of ANY kind)
  • Volunteer his time (like crazy) at his church
  • Consistently say, “I know God will take care of it”
  • And more.

So things are looking up for my parents. And my dad will finally get to work.

If you’re struggling. If you’re jobless. If you are running out of time…trust in Jesus. He will pull you through. Be productive. Volunteer. Give away even when it’s your last crumb. He will pull you through.

The Kitchen Table

September 2, 2009 — Leave a comment

photoI saw this artwork in the restroom of a restaurant and thought it was really interesting. If I were going to title it, I would call it, “God’s kitchen table.” What about you?

Where's the Love?

July 22, 2009 — Leave a comment

Have you ever been greeted by this kind of a scene? This is what I saw walking into the Coldplay concert last week. What do you think the BEST way to show the love of Christ is?