What's depicted in the picture above is NOT THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS!
Here's how I see it: God Loved us so much that He became one of us to show us what humanity was created to look like (Love). We rejected Him and killed Him. Nevertheless, The Power of Love and forgiveness triumphed over the power of hate, sin, and death. This forever incarnate, glorified, risen, and ascended representative of all mankind shall forever be one of us. God Himself formed this union to totally identify with us so that we could forever totally identify with Him. His Life is now our Life through His Spirit. We are now free to receive Love, be Love, and give Love! The message of the cross is one of pure Love...not anger, bloodlust, vengeance, and appeasement.
God is Love. Love/God can't be humanly manufactured. Our union with Love, through Christ, is the only way that we can Love Love and enjoy Love Loving through us. We discover the highest expressions of Love when we reckon ourselves dead and our lives hid with Christ in Love! The key to Loving God, Neighbor, and Enemy is to stop trying to Love and to just let Love in us and all around us Love through us!
A few reasons why this diagram is deeply flawed:
1. The Godhead is the pattern for ALL relationships.
2. The Trinity's Inter-Dependent relationship and function is best described through the Perichoresis (A Circle Dance) example, not pyramids or umbrellas.
3. Unless Jesus' Umbrella LEAKS, why would anyone need the others? Our lives are hid WITH Christ IN God.
4. God's Pattern emphasizes FUNCTIONING IN UNION vs. A Boss Dominating a Subject down the inverted, misogynistic, Patriarchal pyramid.
5. The Law came by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ. Moses could tell you what to do ("top down"), but he couldn't indwell and empower you to do anything! Jesus does! Therefore, umbrellas and inverted pyramids are horrible ways of relating to God and each other. While some of the "principles" may be correct, the implied dualism and multiplicity (vs. union) are glaring misrepresentations of the Christ Life. A man who views himself as ONE with God, His Wife, and His Children will be much more successful than one whose prominent perspective is from a "Husband Down" position.
6. It seriously devalues the Christ in women and children, and is an unnecessary stumbling block for Non-Believers.
7. Some diagrams include "Pastor" (Mentioned only once in the entire N.T., where it is plural and listed 4th among 5 functions), which makes the "LEAKY UMBRELLA/INVERTED PYRAMID" picture even worse.
8. Notice the only place where "LOVE" is listed.
9. What does it speak to broken families, widows, orphans, or women and children who have been abandoned?
10. According to the diagram, Who is closest to Christ (but not even IN HIM)?
Ephesians 3:21 "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
-An absolute impossibility if a revived, "National Israel" takes the place of the ONE NEW MAN/The Israel of God (The expansion of Israel if you will)...made up of Jew (first) and Gentile. What part of "all ages" and "without end" don't you understand?
It's strange that "The Fruit of the Spirit" is seldom mentioned when "Great moves of the Holy Spirit" are being discussed.
Imagine a MOVE of Love, Joy, Peace, Perseverance, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, & Self Control!
I'm no Cessationist, but if our "Charismatic Moves" haven't greatly impacted the world with these beautiful expressions of the Nature of Christ, then perhaps we've missed something really BIG.
It might also be a great idea to focus more on the Beatitudes than "Who's Who in the Five-Fold Zoo", and our "Special Meeting" goose bumps which had no lasting impact beyond the "church" parking lot.
Peace & Love!
Grace, while remaining ever-present, functions through sweet, experiential, loving communion in and with the Godhead, not presumptive acts of human will and whim.
Being IN Christ doesn't automatically mean that our words and works are OF Christ.
His Finished Work brought us into a very special relationship with Himself...one which requires reciprocal Love (which is freely given by God and never humanly manufactured), appreciation and cultivation in order for His Glory to truly emanate from us.
Grace is all about ROMANCE, not presumption or legal transaction!
For those Christians who are all for "Freedom of Religion" AND mandatory, audible prayer in public schools... What happens if the prayer is being led by a Satanist?, a Buddhist?, a Hindu?, a Muslim?, someone who claims to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? or another Christian whose beliefs don't line up exactly with yours? Do you expect people who don't believe in Jesus to pray in His Name? Should that be forced? Does God punish schools that don't adhere to your philosophy by ordaining mass shootings?
Fearful people quite often treat prayer as a superstitious, good luck charm that must be imposed on others in order to fend off a Zeus-like god who is longing to wreak havoc, pain, and death on those who don't yet know him. Others believe that it is in His nature to be passive-aggressively "absent" in the midst of human pain and suffering. Nothing could be further from the Truth! God isn't a school shooter, nor does He ordain such actions. God is LOVE!
The Truth is: We can't literally TAKE GOD OUT OF anything, and unceasing prayer can't be stopped by anyone or anything!
I agree that our influence must be stronger, but that should be facilitated through Jesus' Love flowing through us...not by us imposing religion on others. Our delegated authority must function through Love and Servanthood, not legislation and imposition.
Spiritual Gifts are some of Love's greatest "weapons" for advancing God's Kingdom (on earth as it is in heaven),"conquering" the world with kindness and bringing Peace. They were Weapons of Mass Salvation in the ministries of Jesus and the Apostles, and they are still available to us today! If Jesus and the original Apostles relied so heavily on Father confirming His Word with signs following, shouldn't we?
It is, however, of utmost importance that such "weapons" are not used to build personality cults and towers of Babel. Instead, they must be used to point all people to Father's Love..and to encourage ALL to exercise their right to "bear arms" (Lovingly function in Spiritual Gifts as the Spirit of Love instructs and enables).
The Word, Good Doctrine, and Impeccable Theology will never demonstrate His Love and Beauty on a grand scale if they are not accompanied by the Gifts of Power which dispel the myth that the love of power is greater than the Power of Love.
Men have, unfortunately, tried to replace the Supernatural Gold of His Manifest Presence and Power with the brass of self-help monologues, programs, and entertainment which scream, "The Emperor has no clothes!"
My prayer for the Body of Christ is that we all awaken to deeper realities of Who Jesus is, who we are in Him, all that is available to us because of Him, and what He would have us to do with all that He has freely given and instructed us to freely receive.
While I have seen many wonderful signs accompany God's Word in His ministry through me (to include medically verified miracles and healings), there is a strong, yet gentle cry within me saying..."There is much, much more!"
Let us earnestly covet Spiritual Gifts for the benefit of others and the betterment of the world!
1 Corinthians 12
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Jesus' crucifixion was the result of us taking our wrath out on our Loving, heavenly Father...in the person of Christ (and Him allowing us to do it)...from a twisted, political and religious mindset. It had nothing to do with God desperately wanting to kill us, while Jesus talked Him out of it...after deciding to be the substitutionary victim of His Father's cruel and deadly torture. Every Old Covenant sacrifice was a shadow of God's LOVE for us...which would be perfectly revealed in and through Christ! The only blood that our Loving, heavenly Father was ever thirsty for was His own! He has always LOVED us!
1. Both of my parents died before I was 13 years of age.
2. My Dad died attempting to set a Guinness Book record.
3. Along with my Dad's attempted record came stories and photos of us
in People Magazine and video footage on all of the major news networks.
4. My Mom died around 4 months after I told her that I wished
she was dead. (Note: I Love & appreciate my Mom & Dad.)
5. I was bullied something fierce during my childhood and
adolescent years, until I went psycho & started fighting back.
6. I struggled with suicidal thoughts and tendencies...and
would have ended it...had it not been for a supernatural encounter with Jesus.
7. I suffered with what many would call "addictions".
8. I grew up with the horrible misconception that Jesus was
angry, temperamental, and out to get me.
9. A most precious family took me & my brother in after
my parents died. They treat us as their very own to this day.
10. I have some terrible memories, to include some horrible
experiences with church people and leaders.
11. My past could have been much, much, much worse.
12. The Goodness of God in my life exponentially outweighs
all of the bad things on this list...and more than can be
written in this lifetime.
13. My great experiences with my brothers, sisters, fathers, & mothers
in Christ have exponentially outweighed the bad.
14. I'm not a religious nut job. My experience is very real.
15. I really love people. ALL people.
16. I'm 51 years old and full of JOY!
17. I think YOU'RE precious!