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I often chuckle when I read Paul’s words, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay…” (2 Cor. 4:7). I laugh because jars of clay sounds so elegant, but are actually the cheapest clay pots made in Paul’s day! Now he isn’t saying that human beings are cheap; but he is acknowledging that we really aren’t all that impressive on the outside. In fact, our outsides might even be ugly! The amazing thing is that God has chosen to contain His transcendent glory (God Himself) in fragile, unimpressive, even flawed and cracked human earthenware containers.

We could say that God (though omnipresent) has chosen to contain Himself and set up His address inside of fragile human beings. This is the truth about what we carry inside of us—it’s just easy to miss because our outsides are just so…distracting! In many ways we could say that the looks of a Christian are quite deceiving—what we see on the outside is not a fair representation of what we really are—we carry the transcendent glory of God Himself within us! We are just simply not what we appear to be. So how do we get past the distraction of the clay pot to see the glory within? It is really a matter of getting heaven’s perspective of things!

While most of us pray for heaven to invade earth, many don’t pray for a revelation of what heaven has already deposited within us. When heaven invades the earth, it brings three things: God’s presence, God’s power, and God’s perspective. At the core of heaven’s perspective is the revelation to see what God is doing and has already done in the lives of His precious people. Heaven’s perspective is that, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me (Gal. 2:20). Heaven’s perspective is that the great mystery now revealed is, “Christ in me, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Heaven’s perspective is that we are individual carriers of Jesus Christ Himself within (see 1 Cor. 6:19). The ‘big’ perspective of heaven is that the fullness of Jesus Christ is already present and resident in His Church. It takes heaven’s perspective to actually believe that and see that, and it takes heaven’s revelation to release that in the now!

My problem is that I get stumbled and distracted by the clay pot humanity I see—human weakness, ugliness, imperfection, and commonness. But as Paul says, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:16a). From now on we must learn to only look at and consider people from a heavenly or spiritual perspective. We must intentionally look past the fleshly clay pot to see the brilliant deposit of Christ that is the real person—after all, they no longer live, but Christ lives within them! We must pray for the “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:1) to see the real inheritance of Christ that each person carries. Then, we must be courageously willing to say yes to what we see in people and do everything we can to fully empower what Christ has designed them to be.

Let’s all pray for more of heaven’s perspective and look past each other’s cracked pots to heaven’s contents within. Only then will we see people and a glorious Church that reflects His already present fullness on the earth!

As imperfect as it may be, the local church really is God’s best plan for reaching this planet for Christ!  In fact, planting New Testament communities of faith in new places is the most effective form of evangelism that exists.  The church exists as God’s chosen instrument for fulfilling His purposes on the earth and  is the center of His redemptive purposes on earth.  Christ calls us out of our sinful independence and isolation in order to baptize us into His Body, the Church (1 Cor. 12:13).  His plan is to transplant us from being alone, to being immersed into the people of God (Acts 2:42 & 47).  It is within the context of committed meaningful relationships in a local church that the fullness of Christ is revealed and we are brought to a place of maturity and service.  Thus, when it comes right down to it, there is no Christianity apart from life in the local church. What do you think about that statement?  Can you have Christ without His Community and His Cause?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Circumstances are a lot like the mattress on your bed:  if you are under the mattress, you will suffocate; but if you can get on top of the mattress, you can enjoy some rest! And one of the key things that helps us get on top of the mattress of difficult life-circumstances is our attitude in life!

Airplanes have something called an attitude indicator or artificial horizon which is an instrument used to tell the pilot the orientation of the aircraft in relationship to the earth.  Attitude is the term that refers to the relative position of the nose of the aircraft to the horizon. If the horizon is straight out in front of you and you pull back on the yoke of the plane slightly one degree up angle, you have an upward attitude. And with continued forward movement, you will gain altitude, and continue to go higher and higher until you change the attitude. The opposite holds just as true. With the nose of the plane pointed even slightly down, you lose altitude. You will continue to descend until you have a change of attitude.  A downward attitude lowers your altitude; and an upward attitude raises your altitude.  And so, your attitude determines your altitude!

In a similar way in your life and my life, our attitude really determines our altitude—if we have an upward attitude, as we keep moving forward, our altitude in life will climb.  If we have a downward attitude, our altitude will go down to crash and burn! In life, attitude determines our altitude!  So where you are right now in life is largely determined on whether you are nose up or nose down!

The Bible lets us which way our nose in life needs to be directed on the attitude indicator…in Colossians 3:1-2, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek  the things that are above, where Christ is,  seated at the right hand of God.  2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (ESV)

Nose up and attitude up, directed toward Christ at all times, seeking that direction—minds on the things that are above—not on the junk of earth! And here’s the deal:  when you direct your mind and your life on  the things that are above and set your minds on those things, it will raise you right out the downward tailspin of this world!

Ron’s first blog!

Hi world!  It is my full intention to make this blog both substantive and meaningful to anyone who might bother to read it.  I’m not going to bla-bla-bla on about nothing in this thing; I intend to share Biblical insights, Scriptural truths, and practical applications to help everyone in their real-life journey of following Jesus Christ!  I hope to interact frequently, and respond quickly to your thoughts.  It is my prayer that this whole experience will be one of “iron sharpening iron”!  Thanks for enjoying the journey together with me!  Ron