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Living Fully Satisfied

Together | BobbyShirley.com

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Together | BobbyShirley.com

Together or How to Get With the Popular Crowd

You dissolved all definition of division
Rendered useless, the system of the Law
You removed hostility by crucifixion
You redeemed our separation from the fall

You brought us in

We are…
Fully represented
Fully reconciled
We are beautifully included
In You

Tim Wright, Beautifully Included

I love these song lyrics.

These lyrics are the poetic interpretation of what Paul tells us in Ephesians 2. No longer just a corpse, but a person. No longer an outcast, but an insider. No longer a slave, but a prince!

2:5 This is how grace rescued us: sin left us dead towards God, like spiritual corpses; yet in that state of deadness and indifference, God co-quickened us together with Christ. Sin proved how dead we were (the law confirmed it!) Grace reveals how alive we now are (the gospel announces it!) Before anyone but God believed it, he made us alive together with him and raised us up together with him. (We had no contribution to our salvation! God’s master-plan unfolded in the mystery of the gospel declaring our joint inclusion in Christ’s death and resurrection; God found us in Christ before he lost us in Adam! [Eph 1:4] In the economy of God, when Jesus died we died. God saw us in Christ, in his death and resurrection before we saw ourselves there! He declared our co-resurrection with Christ 800 BC [Hos 6:2]!)

2:6  (As much as we were co-included in his death,) we are co-included in his resurrection. We are also elevated in his ascension to be equally present in the throne room of the heavenly realm where we are co-seated with him in his executive authority. We are fully represented in Christ Jesus. (Our joint position in Christ defines us; this can never again be a distant goal to reach through religious devotion or striving, but our immediate reference. Col 3:1-3)

Ephesians 2:5-6 Mirror

We no longer have to feel separated and segregated. We are fully known and completely included.

Christ chose us to included in His life! What an amazing revelation! How sweet of Jesus to allow former dead men and women to be welcomed into His life and His life is abundant. Let’s start today to live from this truth.

When Jesus died, I died. When Jesus was resurrected, I was resurrected. When Jesus ascended to His seat beside God, I did too. I am forever together with Jesus.

Much | BobbyShirley.com

Much or How To Offer Something People Really Want

What does the church have for every man, woman, and child other than Christ and his work on their behalf?

Not much.

Rod Rosenbladt

The only thing that the church has to offer the world is Christ. The best thing that the church can offer the world is Christ.
Not lights.
Not music.
Not services.
Not sermons.
Not leadership.
Not activities.
Not fellowship.

Simply Christ.

The best way for us to reach the world is to know nothing of them except Christ. He has to be the aroma we wear. He has to be the smile we show. He has to be the laughter we set free.

You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 Message

Paul, who is the architect of our faith, chose to know nothing and to preach nothing but Christ. The simplicity of Christ was his only message that he gave to the church in its infancy. The pure milk of the gospel of Christ is the nourishment that we crave. The meat of the death and resurrection of Christ is the sustenance that compels us to tell others.

Sink | BobbyShirley.com

Sink or How To Unlock Your True Identity

The New Testament phrase translated “put on” comes from the Greek root word enduo, which means “to sink into.” Putting on Christ does not mean that we must work and strive in human efforts to be like Christ. Putting on Christ means to sink into Christ, to lean back and rest in our identity in Christ.

Dr. Jonathan Welton

Sinking into His identity expressed in me.

It doesn’t take much effort to fall into water. There’s not a lot of striving in sitting on a couch. Such is our life of  identity in Christ.

By being fully 1clothed in Christ makes it impossible for the flesh to even imagine to find any further expression or fulfillment in lust. Jesus is Lord of your life.
(1enduo, fully immersed in the consciousness of the Christ-life, as defining you.)

Romans 13:14 Mirror

If we are sunk into Christ and His identity has become ours, we can’t find fulfillment in the pleasures of sin. Wow!

We stand fully identified in the new creation renewed in knowledge according to the pattern of the exact image of our Creator.

Colossians 3:10 Mirror

In Christ, we are fully identified by Him, through Him, and with Him as an exact image of God.

Smile | BobbyShirley.com

Smile or How to Make Friends and Influence People

The mission of the church is not to be humanity’s bad cook, pushing at it the lumpy mashed potatoes of morality or the thin gruel of spiritual uplift; the mission of the church is to be the Lord’s own conspirator, sneaking to the world the delectability of grace, the solid chocolate Good News that God, in the end, has a sweet tooth. Our joy as the stewards of the mystery is to have been in on the joke that God is just a big, bad boy. He doesn’t really care a fig for teaching the world lessons about what’s good for it; he only wants to make it smile.

Robert Farrar Capon

Reconciliation.
Restoration.

5:18 To now see everything as new is to simply see what God has always known in Christ; we are not debating man’s experience, opinion, or his contribution; this is 100% God’s belief and his doing. In Jesus Christ, God 1exchanged equivalent value to redeem us to himself. This act of reconciliation is the mandate of our ministry. (The word, 1katalasso, translates as reconciliation; a mutual exchange of equal value.)
5:19  Our ministry declares that Jesus did not act independent of God. Christ is proof that God reconciled the total kosmos to himself. Deity and humanity embraced in Christ; the fallen state of mankind was deleted; their trespasses would no longer count against them! God has placed this message within us. He now announces his friendship with every individual from within us!
5:20  The voice God has in Christ he now has in us; we are God’s ambassadors. Our lives exhibit the urgency of God to persuade everyone to realize the reconciliation of their redeemed identity.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Mirror

Our message to the world is called “Good News” for a reason!

Rare | BobbyShirley.com

Rare or How to Make People Doubt Your Sanity

Joy is the rarest and most infrequent thing in the world. We already have enough fanatical seriousness, enthusiasm, and humorless zeal in the world. But joy? This shows us that the perception of the living God is rare. When we have found God our Saviour – or when he has found us – we will rejoice in him.

Karl Barth

Rare.
Scarce.
Limited.
Original.
Unique.
Uncommon.

Joy is peculiar. Joy is the characteristic that makes people look at you weird. Joy is the attribute that causes others to be uncomfortable around you.

Read More

Party | BobbyShirley.com

Party or How to Make People Jealous

Church should be so full of laughter & joy that outsiders press their noses against our windows longing to get into the party.

Ray Cortese

Is church a party? Absolutely.

Church should be foremost a celebration. If angels in heaven celebrate over one soul, we should celebrate over God saving our own souls. We usually start out strong with the party! So excited over the revelation of what Christ has done for us. But, sometimes we start to lose sight of it. It starts to slip from our hands. That’s when we ask for the remembrance of the salvation joy to be restored.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:12 (emphasis mine)

If we are deficient or lacking in joy, we are lacking in the kingdom.

Joy is a command.

16 Always be full of joy.
17 Never stop praying.
18 Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ERV

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 NLT

Joy is provided.

Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
Romans 15:13 Message

Joy isn’t easy when we are depending on ourselves to produce it. We can’t produce joy. We choose joy. We choose to receive the joy that is outside of us. It’s source is Jesus. It’s fruit is salvation.

Everlasting | BobbyShirley.com

Everlasting or How to See the Face of God

Come with me
Where chains will never bind you
(Oh, I’m ready, Fantine.)
All your grief
At last, at last behind you
Lord in Heaven
Look down on him in mercy.

Forgive me all my trespasses
And take me to your glory.

Take my hand
I’ll lead you to salvation
Take my love
For love is everlasting
And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.

Les Misérables

There is a lot that been happening leading up to this line in the song at the end of Les Misérables. I’ll let you catch up.

I absolutely love this scene and song.  This portion of the song is between Fantine and Jean Valjean.

This last line “to love another person is to see the face of God” is a beautiful sentiment. I believe it comes from what John teaches us.

No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us!

1 John 4:12 AMP

If we really want to see God we must love one another. Not the trite sayings of love, but the real thing. We must love and be loved. Love is a two-way street.

Journey | BobbyShirley.com

Journey or How to Make Your Life Awesome

Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!”
Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God

Today is the tenth anniversary of my marriage to Anna. Well, not actually today while I’m writing this, but when you read it.

Middle School Sweethearts

I first met Anna at band camp. I was pumped about band camp. We had just moved to a new town the year before. Anna played flute and I played drums, so there wasn’t much interaction at first. But, there she was: sandy-blonde hair, braces, and natural beauty. And there I was: brown hair, knobby knees, and 8th-grade awkwardness. But to make a long story short, we eventually started dating.

High School Sweethearts

We dated throughout high school. Our relationship was fraught with the occasional breakups over nothing, jealousy, and sappy high school love. We dated “undercover” for awhile meaning if anyone asked if we were together, the standard answer was “We’re just friends.” But, eventually that wore off and we came clean with our relationship.

Sweethearts

Our relationship continued after I graduated high school. It was hard to stay together after we weren’t together every day. But we managed. Anna graduated the year after me. She came to school at the same place I as attending. Shortly, after she started school, we broke up. I was devastated yet continued to show her love. Not in the super creepy way but in the “waiting for her” kind of way. It was quite a while and a lot of learning on my part before we got back together.

Serious Relationship

We eventually moved to Hamilton to be a part of the Ramp. We dated the whole time we were both there. We eventually moved back to our hometown. Shortly, thereafter we got engaged.

Marriage

We got married in August of  2005. I would have thought that knowing each other as long as we did our first couple of years of marriage would’ve been awesome, but they were rough. We were able to work through our issues because we gave ourselves no other options. I eventually learned that over-communication was the recipe to help keep our relationship healthy.

Since 2010, we’ve had 3 children and one is coming in September of 2015.  This journey has been full of ups and downs. More “ups” I’d say. There’s no one else on earth that I’d rather spend the journey called life with than Anna.

Here’s to many, many more years!

Comprehend | BobbyShirley.com

Comprehend or How to Receive a Wild Kind of Love

I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a tea cup that I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.

Brennan Manning

I love this description of God’s love. The mental picture I get is someone whose actions are erratic almost to the point of chaos. But still has the presence of mind to be completely focused. That to me is how much God is in love with us. Erratic focus. Let’s take a little closer look a couple of terms.

Wild

A definition of wild is “uncontrolled or unrestrained, especially in pursuit of pleasure“. That pretty much speaks for itself. We are God’s pleasure. It’s true. Check this out.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, the Holy One, to receive the glory, the honor, and the power, for you created all things, and because of your desire they existed, and were created!”
Revelation 4:11 WEB

It’s because He desired us that He created us. The ultimate picture of His desire and love for us is the act of sending Jesus. Jesus came to show us the Father and what He showed us was love. Love for the individual and love for the world.

Uncontainable

The definition of uncontainable is “unrestricted or not able to be contained“. Think of that in context. His love is unrestrictable and not able to be contained. You can’t close doors or build walls to keep his love out. You can’t build a box or try to throw a net over it to contain it.

This is my conviction, no threat whether it be in death or life; be it angelic beings, demon powers or political principalities, nothing known to us at this time, or even in the unknown future; no dimension of any calculation in time or space, nor any device yet to be invented, has what it takes to separate us from the love of God demonstrated in Christ. Jesus is our ultimate authority.

Romans 8:38-39 Mirror

Nothing can contain it nor stop it. Nothing can hinder it nor delay it. Nothing can control not contain it.

Application

You may be thinking, “Ok, so now what?” Well, that’s a good and honest question. I put together this list to give you 4 steps to receive God’s love. Please keep in mind that I do not think we will ever comprehend God’s love. But I do think we can do a better job of grasping at it and displaying it to others.

4 ways to receive the love of God:

1. Renew your mind.
We must rework the way our mind thinks about His love.

2. Renew your speech.
We have to change the way we talk about His love.

3. Renew your actions.
We have to change our actions to begin to reflect our growing belief of His love.

4. Renew your life.
We must give permission to ourselves to live like we believe God loves us.

GOODNESS | BobbyShirley.com

Goodness or How to Turn the Tables on Bad Stuff

God is so good at turning the negatives into positives that people have created theologies that say that God sent the negatives in the first place.

Steve Backlund

I absolutely love this quote from Mr. Backlund. I don’t know of a better way to say what he said.

But What About Bad Stuff?

Bad stuff. It happens.

Jesus even talked to us about the bad stuff that happens in our lives.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace andconfidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

John 16:33 Amplified

Make sure you note that Jesus is not ignorant of troubles in this life, but He offers the truth of triumph! The truth of triumph is not a distant hope, though there is the hope of perfected triumph. We have this truth for here and now. He HAS overcome.

But What About Sickness?

This is a big question. Does God send sickness?

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”

John 9:1-3 Message

This is so easy to read and miss a major paradigm shift for the culture of the day. Most people believed that illness was the direct consequence of sin. However, Jesus shifted this concept of understanding in the people of that day by healing a blind man who had been sick since birth. He declared this sickness was not related to the blind man or his father, but was for His Glory. This shifted the paradigm of punishment related to sin.

Jesus shows us that God doesn’t send sickness, He heals the sick.

But What About Death?

Death. The ultimate “bad” thing.

It was a really bad day for those who followed Jesus on the day of his death. It was really bad for everything, but for now let’s focus on the disciples. Some were there, some were hiding,  but all knew.

Devastating loss. Shock. Confusion. Fear.

Imagine the relief, awe, and astonishment they felt when he was resurrected! Paul would later let us know that not only did Jesus overcome death but he gave us the victory as well!

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 Message

So, look at the instance of death. God used the death of His Son to rescue all mankind and give us the same power!

But What Do We Do Now?

Now comes the tricky part. We must rest in and resolve ourselves to God’s goodness. We have to stop thinking of God’s goodness as an aspect of His nature instead of the totality of His nature.

As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

Matthew 7:11 Message

Like David, we must remind ourselves that God is good. Especially, when bad stuff happens. Like Paul, we must remind ourselves that all things work together for good for us. Especially, when bad stuff happens.

God is good. He does good. He wants good for us. He works good for us.

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