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gain

Howdy. I realize that I haven’t posted in a long time, but since this COVID thing hit, I’ve spent most of my words on my people in the two churches I pastor. I haven’t on purpose tried to ignore this blog. It’s just been crazy.  I don’t mind sharing the stuff with you that I share with my people… not at all.  If you want on that email list… just ask… you shall receive (mike@mikepaschall.com).  I’ll try to do better.

Here’s a thing… (yeah, just a thing) I was processing with a couple friends.  I wasn’t trying to take it anywhere, but it honestly burped out, and I’ve been told it was worth reading… so here.  Love you all—MDP

I’m writing in an effort to think through something I was reading earlier this morning in I CORINTHIANS 9.  (Sorry, I process sometimes with ink.) Fairly familiar verses for people who read the Bible:

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
 
Evidently, Paul felt it his duty, responsibility, privilege to be a witness.  He called himself a slave.  He uses the word “win” in my NASB translation.  An unfortunate translation of the word.  “Gain for another’s benefit” is a more accurate understanding.  “Winning” is power-over verbiage that is more about “me”.  I’m so over our culture’s love of “me” AND “winning.”
 
Paul basically says that he’ll pimp out to be whatever is necessary to “gain” followers of Christ.  In other words, if the Jewish boys want to play Flys and Skinners… I’ll play Flys and Skinners, etc.  I get it.  For a recovering Pharisee… this is good progress for Paul.
 
Then he says, “but those who are without the law” (pagan/Gentiles/dirtbags/losers) he points to the key in relating to them … “I have to come with a different influence… a different kind of juice.”  Again, good progress for Paul (recovering religionist himself). He mentions the influence has to come from the Law of Christ.  There is NO LAW of Christ…. not technically or doctrinally anyway.  What we have here is something that I think the church is grossly short of… the real influence of Jesus’ personality, character, and life skills.  The best explanation that I have is that Jesus did confront the religious i.e. power establishment, but he didn’t try to topple them… he only expose their shallow impotence….”smells and bells” or “nickles and noses” religious infatuation. It wasn’t real, because God wasn’t in it.  The system in Jesus day was a business that exploited and robbed the poor of what little it had.  Some days I’m not sure that we’ve progressed much further. (I need to be drinking in order to enter that conversation any deeper).
 
Here’s my bottom-line: We have to be ruthlessly forceful to examine ourselves by this so called “Law of Christ”.  Can we assume that religious activity is in compliance at some level?  I think not.  We have to look at the human Jesus, and tap into his kind of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, second chances, restorative justice and long-suffering. His humanness perfectly revealed the real heart of God.  So much of who Jesus was was in direct opposition to what we’d call God worshipers.  Jews at the time, were the planet’s best… and Jesus looked NOTHING like them.
 
Back to Paul… the key to pushing to ball forward in our lives has to be the true character of Christ transforming us.  Not law, not doctrine, not religion… none of that.  There is only one savior in this world.  One.  We have to put all our chips on HIM.  Everything else. Everyone else…. is sinking sand. Do we look like, act like, think like Jesus?  There was nothing in the Beatitudes that was normal thinking for them. It’s an indicator of how far off track God worshipers had gotten in their modes of operation.  Quite frankly, I think the Church has lost its way too.  I know what little bit I see… makes it me feel like a salmon swimming up stream sometimes.  Jesus actually fillets the Pharisees with:  “You polish the outside of the dish and bowl… but inside you’re full of robbery and deceit… you’ve totally ignored the weightier provisions of the Law: Justice, Mercy, and Faithfulness” (Matt 23:23).  Yup… He took them to the woodshed.  Needed.  It’s still needed. How many times did Jesus say… “You’ve heard it said… [       ] BUT, I say to you… [        ].”  Quite often actually.  God with skin exposing the rampant blindness of religious activity.
 
For me my brother… I’ve got to measure things by Jesus.  That was/is the true divine voice. That’s our source.  He’s our head.  Period.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Gary Winegar
    July 11, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Mike
    Really great thoughts. Thank you!

  2. July 13, 2020 at 10:08 am

    Really good stuff, Mike. And if you need someone to drink with and discuss more, I’m your Man. 😊 I’ll be chewing in this for some time and so far I haven’t found the slightest sliver of gristle.

    • July 13, 2020 at 10:24 am

      Two or three fingers?

      Love you my brother!

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