Thursday, March 7, 2013

Life, Rest, and The Gospel

Greetings Family and Friends,

       I have been thinking quit a bit lately about life, rest, and the gospel.  My thoughts stem from a recent surge in the culture of religiosity that there are more than one gospel.  As a christian, I believe in only one gospel and one God.  I am not a defender of religion or a sect of religious people or groups.  I study the Bible because I believe in its words contain the answer to life and rest.  I do not defend the Bible because the Bible does not need to be defended.  I do not defend it because it defends itself.  Spurgeon states, "The Bible is like a lion, you don't defend a lion, you let it loose and it defends itself."  Today's writing is not about defending anything, it is about describing to you the freedom I found in my wretched life, at the end of my control, to rely on another for the answer to life, rest, and the gospel.


        Externally, I never imagined that relying on another would play a big role in my life.  I do not like the fact that I have to loose control of anything.  Loosing control is like biting into soggy bread after it has settled, it literally makes my skin crawl.  In trying to identify what life is about, I found that I was a huge failure at living life.  A few examples derive from what my control looks like, such as:  The day I removed the brakes from my bike, that ended with my skin removed from most of my right leg, arm, and face, a definite situation I tried to control.  Also, the day I decided I was going to be a legalist again, that lasted about 30 minutes, in which time I berated a christian bookstore owner for being the reason I hated other Christians, I think I heard God laugh at me that day.  Then there was the day I lost control, I could not escape my depravity.  Throughout life I hid, ran, and spoke against my depravity; however, realizing I could not escape it left me helpless.  I realized that there was no christian who could save me, no buddhist who could help me find my way, no muslim could make me find peace.  I was in dire straits, dead spiritually.  All the times I tried to give way to a program or self cleansing action, none could I correct in my control.  Life truly met me in my helpless uncontrollable state, I was unable to save myself.  Like Paul said in Romans 7...wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death?... thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord... I gave up control to gain life which led to the greatest discovery I have made...


        Internally, I did not understand the concept of rest until it was applied spiritually.  Physically, I can rest with the best.  I consider myself well educated in the art of lazy.  Physical rest is not as important as spiritual rest.  Spiritually, I was screaming on the inside for help because all spirituality I had experienced until the age of 22 was an external act to be seen, to be loved, and to be accepted.  It is a scary place to live in when you know that you are fake.  Externally, you would have never known that I was fake because I played the game really well.  I had no rest on the inside.  I tried to control rest by telling myself that I was o.k., all the while knowing that I was not.  Resting spiritually is giving up the idea that I have anything to do with saving myself.  That because of the finished work of the cross, I can rest just as Christ has rested from that work.  Once I realized that I was a wretch, dead, and had no control, I rested.  Total and complete dependency of another.  a good example of this is Team Hoyt, the father son duo who participates in iron man triathlon's:   The son has no ability to swim, bike, or run; the son has no ability to put on his clothes, feed himself, or bathe himself; complete nothingness unless his dad swims for him, bikes for him, and runs for him.  The son knows he cannot complete these task, yet in every aspect of the race, he is smiling and taking it all in.  Completely dependent, completely resting in the fathers ability to finish.  Bazinga! As my good Epps would say!  That is it.  Christ said in Matthew 11, come all who are weary and heavy you can find rest for your souls.  Once you realize your depravity, your nothingness, it is easier to rest in God's finished work of the cross in Christ Jesus, and it is through rest that the gospel is made clear...

The Gospel

        My words are finite when it comes to writing about God, there is no way I will ever begin to explain the depths of God, and again I am o.k. with not trying.  God is not in need of my defense, God is the Lion who is good, yet wild.  I have seen lions fight and it is incredibly violent, the rage and energy exhibited in a lion fight.  I equate God to a lion because again, it is my finite words that cannot match His infinitude.  The gospel is God or it can be said that God is the gospel.   The gospel seeks, draws, and chooses its prey.  We used the verse in the Baptist world for years John 3:16 as a choice for the person.  But look at the verses content again, for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.  The key is believe, whoever believes.  Believing has a prerequisite of being sought out and drawn in.  Just like the angel appearing and wrestling Jacob, we are set apart and ambushed by God.  The good news is that God before he spoke the world into existence knew that you would believe.  Believing is the prerequisite to life and rest, and it is in life and rest where the Gospel, the good news that is God becomes the very part of your breathe and his life and rest are lived in you through a relationship in Christ Jesus. 

These three I will never try to defend, because they are of God and I am dependent upon him for all three.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012


    The question today is not, do you have a servant heart, kind heart, forgiving heart, worshipful heart or a loving heart etc. etc. etc. The question is, do you have His heart. Don't get me wrong, His heart can be manifest in some or all of the ways named above. So let me answer the question for you. Yes, if you are His child then you have His heart. The problem we have is that we desire and pursue many of the hearts that I named rather than trusting the heart we have. If we quit pursuing our own kindness, servant-hood, being a worshiper or being a loving person and simply rest in His heart that we already posses, then it will be sufficient for all those things when we need them. It will not be a matter of hunting them down or making them happen, they just will be. Only His heart can serve unselfishly. Only His has kindness that can heal. Only His can truly forgive. Only His can offer up worship worthy of the Father and only His can Agape love others. Next time the thought comes to mind “only if I was” or “only if I had” stop and replace it with, “Only His”. We are here to seek only His heart and not the fake ones we want for our own.

Love the way this verse reads. “that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2Co 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Colorado: Cottonwood Lake

Coffee and Conversations

        This picture does do justice to the amount of Cottonwood in the city of Buena Vista, CO.   This is at the famous K's Restaurant as seen on T.V.'s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  K's is famous for their old fashioned burgers, Shakes, and Fries and oh I forgot to mention the cottonwood.
        It literally looked like it was snowing as the cotton wood slowly fell to the earth.  The third bite into my burger, I ate a piece of cottonwood and suffered as a result.  The term dive does not do this place justice, there is a park just on the back side of the building were everyone ate their meal.  
        I tried to take a picture of the cottonwood floating in the air from above, so as you can see there is no solid proof.  I did not take a picture of the phlegm I was yacking  up last night as a result and by the way, YOUR WELCOME!
        So, I am not a fan of cottonwood, I am allergic to it.  One of the main stops on our trip yesterday was going to be at Cottonwood Lake, you can just imagine that I was not terribly excited about the prospects of visiting anything with cottonwood involved until we saw this to your right.  We are at 10,000+ ft, and it is in the middle of the mountains and it appears out of the middle of nowhere.  One of the most peaceful places I have ever been.  Yesterday, I wrote about being noisy on the inside, that my soul was in quite a fit; however, today was much different.  Today, I saw the glory of God pass by me, it was a cool 71 degrees and the wind was mild.  The mountains surrounding this lake were the epitome of peace.  Shalom was the word that came to mind, a simple principal of a gift of God, not just a greeting, put a gift of the Spirit.  You can see why this was one of my Dad's favorite places to visit.  My sister, April, says that Dad last year just sat in his truck and stared at this view all day long.
        I am not a fan of Cottonwood, but I am a huge fan of Cottonwood Lake, one of the main reasons why Cottonwood Lake is my favorite spot is because NO COTTONWOOD WAS FLYING AROUND!  And it was a place my Dad love to visit.  God showed up and again reminded me of His peace and His grace.  I have been extremely quiet the last few days while being out.  I believe it is because I want to hear the voice of God, See the face of God, and enjoy His presence while on vacation in the midst of the noise of my family, children, and activities.
       The Shalom of God be on you today!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In Colorado: Sitting in the River

        Greetings Friends and Family:  I thought this picture was appropriate for our current circumstances.  This week we are on vacation in Howard, CO, right off the Arkansas River in the valley between two separate swaths of mountains.  As I said in my previous post, my father died on March 1st.  He found this place last year and visited twice between the months of June and August.
        As far as vacations go, this place was his favorite.  Dad loved the mountains and He loved his family.  His intention was to be here with us this summer, he wanted one last trip with his family to Colorado.  We grew up coming to Colorado, but rarely did we appreciate the grandeur of the state until we were able to grow older and see the significance of the glory of God in His creation.  Last Fall, Dad booked a home for us to stay in, which leads us to our current circumstances.  We are here in Colorado without Dad physically, but in our hearts he is ever present.
       I really feel like this trip as been well worth the time to just come to the house and have a family retreat.

Coffee and Conversations:

        The coffee mug is the mug I've been drinking from for the past few days.  I love coffee and I love conversations.  I am not a fan of drama.  If you know me, you know that is true.  I live with 5 women, and each of them are the most significant women in my life.  I have a son, he is a gift from God, and constant reminder of the legacy my father left on this earth.  Tripp is his name, really named after my father, Lee Roy Goodson III.
         I've been waiting for God to just speak to me on this trip, but it has been a quiet few days.  I used to think that God was upset at me during days of silence; however, I have grown up to know that it is simply not true.  So in my questioning of the presence of God in this trip, I realized yesterday that I am the one that was noisy.  I walked to down to the river's edge yesterday afternoon after a somewhat disappointing day, because selfishly it did not work out the way I expected.  My expectations are usually blown out of the water anyway!  Nonetheless, I needed to get away.  I sat down on the rivers edge and shut up.  I shut up not on the outside but on the inside, my soul was noisy, fighting the calming call of the spirit.  So I shut up.  God proceeded to tell me to get into the river.  The Arkansas river this year is down.  I walked into the river with my crocs and my cloths and just sat down in the river.   The significance of that moment was huge, the grandeur of listening to the voice of God speak over me caused me to be quiet and rest.  Why was this such a huge moment?  It was a huge moment because I simply did what God told me to do.  He told me to get into the river, so I did.  It is the most relaxed I have been yet on this trip in the midst of the noise in my soul.
         I was just as calmed and satisfied in my soul at this point as I would have been in the most crowded worship experience ever.  I worshiped God.  He spoke over me the joy of Zephaniah 3:14-17, He gave me in that moment the most important thing, Himself.  A Hearer became a doer, and the joy of the Lord was present.  In that moment my niece and oldest daughter came walking down the steps, my nephew walked out of the cattails and rocks in the river, my nephew by marriage and brother in law had been fishing and saw a calmed, satisfied, enriched, and wealthy soul.  The Gospel was made known and I did not speak a word.  I acted on the voice of God which spoke from the beginning and sat in the river.
Monday, March 19, 2012

The New Normal

         Normally, I'm writing article about the culture of the Christian, the body, or just life in general.  I am going to take a different direction today and settle in to write a quick little ditty about something that has changed.  I am not talking in the aspect of change concerning God, God doesn't change, if He did than He would not be much of a God.  However, there is a change in my daily life a "new normal" that I am adjusting too.
         The past few weeks have been both heart wrenching and the most peaceful I have had in my life up to this point.  I have experienced heart wrenching moments in the past, but none that have affected my life as the loss of my Father, Lee Roy Goodson, Jr.   In the past, I left my heart on a plate for a young lady and she sliced and diced it put it back on the plate and my heart healed.   I once had a friend of mine in high school who made me look like a fool in front of my peers, my heart ached, but it healed.  I have lost friends to death, I have lost acquaintances to death, in both situations my heart ached, but it healed.
        On March 1, 2012 my heart hit an irreparable state.  Do not get me wrong, my heart is not severed to the point that I cannot recover it, but it will never be the same.  Physically I am o.k., my heart is still beating; however the emotional heart is run a muck.  I often think about the process of my condition and thank God that He walked with me through this whole process.  I am adjusting to my new normal, normally I looked forward to seeing my Dad on the weekends and hanging out with him, asking advice and working on some project that he had going.  For example, the other night, I am walking through the kitchen and my wife tells me that our rug underneath the sink is wet.  J.T. is there and he opens up the cabinet and we find a leak on our fresh water sink system that my dad installed.  I "normally" would call him and ask his advice and "normally" he would just show up and fixed it.  That will never happen again.  The new normal is difficult.  The new normal has left a void.  Oh I can fill you all with the crap that I will be ok and I will be alright, but that is crap.  
       I can also fill you with what I call the God crap as well, that I am suffering through a valley of doubt, and that I am wondering if God is real... but that is all crap.  The one thing I have held onto through this whole thing is that God is real.  I can tell you what I "know", not what I "think."  I know that God supplanted within me a peace through the mess that I cannot explain to you.  No void, No doubt, but peace.  This is not a heart wrenching faith problem, but it is a knowing.  If I can say one thing about experiencing God, is that He is "Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control."  That is what I know, that is what is truth, that is grace, That is God.  My new normal is not physically different as my heart goes, but the new normal is different in that I miss my dad, I miss seeing him, I miss our conversations, I miss his sense of humor, but asked if I could change this new normal  "I would say no!"  
      I would say no because although pop is not physically here and I'm adjusting to this new normal, God is right.  "He is in the Heavens and He does all that He pleases (Psalms 115:3)."  That is my new normal, that is my o.k., and that is my I am alright.   

Monday, January 30, 2012

Comfort Food

I think most of us have heard the term “comfort food” you know the food we eat not because we need it but just because it makes us feel good. We don't really care what the food does for us internally, we just want that good feeling. Sometimes I think we look at scripture the same way. We read a verse and get this warm fuzzy feeling then go our way with out really thinking about what that scripture can do for us internally. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy feeling good as much as the next person. Nothing wrong with feeling good but many times we walk away with the temporary good feeling and never see the eternal depths of what the scripture says. The funny thing is that a lot of the time those depths are not hidden in some profound theological mystery but the words are right there as plain as day. This happened to me today. A friend posted a verse on Facebook, I stopped to read it and there it was that good feeling. Okay, feeling good, time to move on to the next thing on Facebook. Not sure what stopped me, maybe it was this verse that I had read many times before in a different version that I usually read. Could be my over active mind that likes to analyze everything. Most likely God saying slow down and listen for a minute. It was interesting that I didn't stop and meditate on the verse for a long period of time. I didn't beg God to open my eyes to see what it said. I simply stopped for a couple of minutes maybe three and I looked at what the words right there in front of me said. Here's the verse in the NIV.:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

My first thought as I was about to walk on with this good feeling was, did I hear what these words say? Not what is the deeper meaning here but what do the words right here say.

These are the things that I took a few minutes to consider.

  1. Am I convinced? Not much profound or deep about that, just a simple question.
  2. Nothing in death and nothing in life. Pretty much includes everything.
  3. Neither angels nor demons. No holy and good spiritual being or evil ones.
  4. Neither the present nor the future. My present and my future, already taken care of. Nothing that is happening and nothing that will happen.
  5. Neither height nor depth. Nothing that can be measured.
  6. Nor anything else in all creation. And if all the rest didn't cover it then it says nothing in creation which is everything besides God.
  7. Will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. What was that? Did it just say that after all these things that it named, which covered everything in the spiritual and physical worlds. None of them can separate us from the love of God. And God is love so it's saying that from the moment I was in Christ nothing could separate me from God because He can not be separate from His love.

I don't know about you but those thoughts give me much more than a good feeling. If I'm “convinced” then they bring peace on the inside deep in my soul. Even if I'm not “convinced” they still bring great hope in the midst of my doubt because my believing or doubting does not change the truth of the scripture. These verses do not cease to be true if I don't believe them.

It doesn't take a great mind or a “dizzying intellect” to see what these words say, only a few minutes and a listening ear.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Magic Johnson, Tim Tebow, and Legalism

Greetings friends, 

Today, my heart is turned to an interesting topic in our religious world realm.  That much of what we call grace is really just another form of legalism.  Grace boasters boast in how graceful they are, Legalist boast in what they can do for God.  Both are just legalism. Today as you read Magic Johnson, Tim Tebow, and Legalism think about the rise and fall of Legalism in our society and how it affects even the most graceful people on earth.  The point is this, that grace does not mean much unless there is life driving it.

Magic Johnson

       In the 80's I love watching Magic Johnson play basketball.  I have never seen a presence on the basketball court like him.  He was not the fastest, most talented, and athletic player in the NBA that distinction went to the likes of Michael Jordan and Isaiah Thomas.  Why does Magic Johnson stand out amongst these players in the 80's?  I believe he stands out amongst this crowd due to one thing, AIDS.  During the 1980's AIDS became a prevalent as one of the worst diseases man has ever known.  I remember what I was doing the moment I heard about Magic Johnson having AIDS.  I was a young budding P.A. Announcer calling the 8th grade football game as a Senior in High School.  My buddy walks in and says, "I just heard on the radio that Magic has AIDS."  I remember turning to him and saying, "What? Magic?  AIDS?"  My first thought was, "Magic is a Homosexual?" No, he just could not say no to women.  It affected me, that news ruined my evening, why?  My hope that Magic was perfect was diminished by a lifestyle that he lived as a professional NBA player on the road.  During those days, I lived a Christian lifestyle (or should I say, "what i thought was a christian lifestyle.") in the eyes of most, I was a good kid.  I still had hope and belief that I could be better, that the gospel was going to be spread through me because I was going to go out and make a difference.  I believed I was going to do God's work and make Him better (I actually believed that!).  
        Magic Johnson, what is he doing today?  Magic has been the most successful AIDS survivor in history up to this point.   Magic today is in a group bidding for the right to own the Dodgers, Magic is featured on ESPN and other Sports network as a NBA Analyst.  Society has forgiven Magic Johnson for being an adulterer.  How graceful of a society to forgive Magic for screwing his neighbors wife.  How wonderful is it that Magic has been let off the hook?  I hated Magic Johnson, why?  How could he be so stupid for screwing it up so badly?  Magic was married with kids.  For a young teenager, that impacted me.  "I'll never be like that!"  Boasting that I would never be a sinner like that.  Little did I know that I was no different than Magic Johnson, no I have not slept with over 900 women, but my porn addiction was no different.  The following years after graduating High School and working on being a better Christian i.e., trying to perfect what God has already perfected through Christ.  The following system of belief existed in me, that it was my job to meet God half way, that I had to quit sinning, and that I had to read, pray, and evangelize to be accepted by God.
       Magic Johnson after making his AIDS announcement was forced to retire due to the fact that he might somehow transfer his AIDS to someone else if cut.  Magic then begin his tour of apologies hoping that society would somehow receive him back.  Eventually Magic would return but not without caution from other players, you see, Magic had to earn his way back in.  It was a legalist view of stepping back onto the hardwood.  The realization that Christians faced in those days was having to earn their way to heaven, sure, Christ death on the cross was for us but it was not the final cure.  I still have friends today who believe that we have to rid ourselves of sin.  Magic could not rid himself of AIDS, by the way America, he still has AIDS.  What has changed?

Tim Tebow

        America is in love with Tim Tebow today.  Why is America and ESPN so enamored with Tim?  Tim is a winner.  Tim has a comercial for an energy drink company where he tells the viewing audience that the critics said he would never win in high school, that he would never win in college, and that he would never be drafted in the first round.  Tim's response to that in the comercial is, "Thanks."  Tim a few years back creates a comercial for the superbowl that talks about how his mother made a decision to raise little Timmy against the doctors advice.  His mother chose life and look at him now.  Tim Tebow as a result has become a polarizing figure.  Tim in a Christian view point is the poster boy for being a role model, a christian, and living out faith.   Tim in a world view point is dangerous because he does not support abortion, he is a virgin, and has given his life over to a deity.
        Tim is starting to be mimicked by other young athletes and conservatives have taken Tim and boasted how good God is and his grace for sparing Tim.  Tim has become a god to young men who suite up on friday nights and saturday afternoons, a reason for young men to boast in their faith, and a reason for people to boast in Grace.  Tim is often questioned about this high responsibility in the eyes of America.  He understands his role and knows that he is on everyone's radar.
        The first time I heard about Tim Tebow was while I was leading worship for a baptist church in the Everglade community of Weston, FL.  A gator quarterback and a over all good kid.  I followed him because my wife's former boss is a huge gator fan and loved Tim Tebow.  During this time in my life, I was learning that the grace of God can also be abused as a means of legalism.  A book by Jerry Bridges named "The Discipline of Grace" was used as a means of talking about the grace of God.  Yes grace was free, but not without discipline.  We had to be discipline graceful Christians, thus, creating a mutated version of the legalist I already thought I had overcome.  God met me in those years while Tim Tebow was in college and reminded me that even grace pharisees exist.
        Did Tim Tebow ask for all of this attention?  Does Tim Tebow understand God's grace?  What is the difference between Tim Tebow and Magic Johnson? What is the difference between legalism and grace?  I tend to lean towards Tim not asking for all of this attention, but others would say if you are on the stage that he is on and he boast in his faith then he deserves this attention.  I believe that Tim at this point is knocking the ball out of the park when it comes to him being himself.  I believe that what you see is what you get.  His former coach, spoke of Tebow on an ESPN interview about Tim being authentic and morally good.  His former coach said, "What you see is what you get with Tim, He is a good looking guy, has many offers from girls, yet when it comes down to his lifestyle and what he believes, he is the genuine article."  Personally, whether or not Tim Tebow is the genuine article is not important, it is what he believes about himself when he goes to bed at night.   The re is no difference between Tim Tebow and Magic Johnson, both are Heroes in eyes of America and Tim has flaws just like Magic, and both are winners.  Tim's flaws are not on the evening news besides his inability to be a great pocket quarterback.  Grace boasters will use Tim Tebow as a means for us to be just like him.  I got news for you grace boasters in america, Tim Tebow is a terrible god, I am a terrible god, and you are a terrible god.


        Legalism is an excessive view of law or formulas.  Legalism is created from legalist, these are people who make the law excessive and their relationship with God a bunch of formulas.  Tim Tebow may be a legalist, Magic Johnson may be a legalist, I may be a legalist, and you may be a legalist.  I have friends who have in recent times taken grace and have poured it into the pot of legalism and have disciplined themselves for the glory of God.  These friends are giving up their homes, jobs, and lives to fulfill the Un-American dream of spreading the gospel all over the world.  Can a legalist spread the gospel all over the world?  The answer to this question is one hundred percent yes.  Will a legalist feel better about themselves after spreading the gospel?  Yes.  Will a legalist still have problems after spreading the gospel all over the world?  Yes.  In the same tone, can a grace boaster spread the gospel all over the world?  Yes.  Will a grace boaster feel better about themselves after spreading the gospel all over the world?  Yes.  Will a grace boaster still have problems after spreading the gospel all over the world?  Yes.   What's the difference?  Both are legalist.  Both feel better about self.  Both still carry the flesh.  What then keeps us from being grace boasters and Legalist?  not being just hearers of the word, but doers of the word.  The difference between hearers and doers:  Magic Johnson is a hearer.  Magic heard about AIDS but did nothing to stop himself from contracting it, thinking I can do it and not get in trouble.  Tim Tebow is a doer of the Word.  Tim Tebow knows that he could have any girl on the face of planet earth and achieve the great accomplishment of sleeping with 900 women, the difference is that he has heard the devastating truths of HIV AIDS and is walking the path saying I cannot do it, I have to rely on someone else. Can a person who lives out of life spread the gospel?  Yes. Will a person who spreads the gospel out of life want the attention?  No.  Will a person who spreads the gospel out of life still have problems afterwards? Yes.  Living out of life is not based on hearing alone, it is based around doing what you hear God calling you too. It doesn't matter where you go to spread the gospel, it matters if you spread the gospel out of life.  You may boast about spreading the gospel in a foreign country for 6 weeks, but unless there is life behind what you are doing, then it is no different than being a legalist or a grace boaster spreading the gospel.
       Magic Johnson, Tim Tebow, and Legalism all point to the something, how you choose to live is not my business.  I can only hope in one thing, Christ crucified, the finished work of the cross, and I cannot meet that standard alone I have to live out of his life.  Magic is a victim of hearing and not doing, Tebow is a victim of hearing and doing (which is why he defies the odds, it is living out of life saying I can't do this.), and I just want to live out of life as I'm sure you do, as I'm sure Magic does, and as I'm sure Tim does.  How you view life will answer that question.

- Jason

My Blog List

Powered by Blogger.