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Hello, hope you are well!

If you could get this message out as many people as you feel comfortable forwarding to, that would be greatly appreciated. It has to be done soon though.

Praise the lord that God has freed us and chosen us to bring forth his word and love through his son Jesus Christ.

In January I made a video for an authors book release. It was a competition between six filmmakers and their interpretation of a single page from the authors book.

When I was picked I saw this opportunity to continue in the path the Lord has set before me to become move involved with the world of filmmaking.  Though this competition does have a prize, I see this as an opportunity to push faith based films in a creative way to inspire faith and encourage conversation about Jesus. The book is called Dug Down Deep by Josh Harris and the intention for my film was to do just that, cause you to search for the meaning and to not only not give you answer but leave you in question.

The winner is chosen by how many comments the video has.  Please go to http://www.joshharris.com/2010/01/film_6_stephen_mcgee.php#comments

and leave a comment under my video if it moves you. Thank you.

The movie is about one Christian who sees that his church is focused more on going through the motions of religion. I chose a Ukrainian actor to play the lead and an Ukrainian man to be the voice. Read why in the blog post below.

Harris testifies in his book that until recently his life was built on sand even though he read and believed the word of god. A Sand based foundation was a theme throughout the film. I had the narrator whisper some key lines in the script to emphasize how God speaks to us; in whispers. Like Elijah and God’s still quiet voice at the mouth of the cave I wanted the audience to lean in and truly listen to what was being said. There are elements throughout this film that mirror what Harris wrote about Doctrine and Theology as well as instances in my life where God was revealed to me.

I love the shadow scene in the dark church.  I chose this sequence to represent a few different things. Maybe I’ll write more about that later.

Harris also wrote “I kissed dating goodbye”.  In one section in this, his most recent book, “dug down deep”, he talks about meeting the holy spirit in what he called ‘the bubble church’. The bubble church he thought was great but focused too much on performance based faith.  I represented the bubble church as a ballerina with bubbles.

So often Christians name themselves specific parts of the body of christ, giving themselves opportunity not to serve in other ways than their “role”. As The pastor is preaching from blueprints representing many Christians today who have ministry goals based on what works in other parts of the world and in other churches the congregation goes through what looks like a workout routine.

The main character sees one group who are focused only on prayer, the next group on action and a third, the ballerina, on performance based faith. His search for truth brings him to the front of the church where he sees the ballerina. Beliving he needs also to take off his shoes to do the right dance to meet the holy spirit and become like her faith he takes off his shoes and sees that he had been walking on sand the entire time.  The main character walls over and takes the sword out of the sand and walks it out of the church which stops everyone.

The main actor is a Ukrainian and so is the voice. Because of this film both got to see the love of chirst and were ministered to.

If you could send it to everyone you know and have them do the same if they are moved that would be great. Comment on the video to cast your vote.

May God reveal himself to you and create in you a clean heart built on the solid foundation of his son Jesus.

Thanks.
Stephen

Sorry for the typos, my computer died so I typed this on my phone.

God is light in him there is no darkness. God revealed to me today that I had yet another systematic approach to seeking him that I needed to die to. My reasoning was this, If I deny the world for long enough, God will eventually give me the status I want in this life because then I will have the right motives to handle that status. It was awesome to see God open up a new part of my heart that I didn’t know needed working on as I was praying. When that thought came into my head I knew it was something God was working on in my heart.
I am taking today mostly off to seek God. Also known as a day of rest aka sabbath. It is mostly off.
I claim to have fellowship with God and continually ask him if I still walk in darkness.
In this segment of my day I am writing to encourage the saints and those seeking.
The more I am seeking the more I am finding that the bible tells us what God has done and is not about great people in history that have done something for God.
Taking more of the opportunities given to me to talk to people.
God gives us responsibilities to finish, not just to start.
“Rest for your soul does not come after the economic crisis is over, after the dollar turns around, or after your support is raised, rest for your soul can be given to you by Jesus… at anytime. He is not limited by any of our circumstances. His rest is never in short supply. He never runs out. It is not a false, temporary rest like a weekend off, then by Tuesday you are slammed again. It is a rest that can find its way into the deepest fears and worries of your soul. His rest is not simply for the shallow places. His rest can invade the hardest struggles and heaviest burdens. His rest does not arrive after the fact, but can be experienced right in the midst of it all.”

For the believer whom knows and acts as though the time is near is wise. For the believer whom does not care that the time is near will not act accordingly. The time is now to do what has been said to you.

My first thoughts when two competitions came across my mind is that I could have two free cameras soon and if by chance I won I would have a lot of money. Well “by chance” is not how God works and if I am not allowed to win or to even enter then praise God for teaching me to test my motives, thoughts and responses.
“If you claim to be without sin you deceive yourself, and the truth is not in you.” Well believe there are areas of our hearts that we don’t know contain walls, locks that hide away pride or unbelief. IF you don’t think you have them then you have not asked God to reveal them. If he hasn’t revealed them then I would encourage you to sit longer next time you are listening being open for his answer and work.
The light is bright and in chaos God still is working.

I just came across Hebrews 5:8-9. This just leveled me.

Although Jesus was a  son (God’s), he learned obedience from he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

I run from the suffering I don’t want. I run from it trying everything I can to fix it or just not deal with it. I even curse my suffering in my mind, indirectly in my words and creatively in my works.

God however, even taught his own physical son through the suffering in his life. What did he teach Jesus? Obedience. The ability of discernment and recognition of God’s voice. I want that but show mercy on me lord. Through that suffering which Jesus did endure and ultimately died from, Jesus was made perfect.

So in my suffering, should I long for something else I can compare myself to or run? No. I should consider every trial in the will of God from which he allowed and from which he will deliver me if it glorifies him. Each trial can teach me to be more like Christ. How stubborn I am when faced with the work of the perfection my spirit desires to become.

It is hard to understand but a continental shift in faith is occurring in my life. The form of it can not be presented in well crafted words or works and revolves around the same words I have been reading in my life for as long as I have been able to read. The shift isn’t measured in locational standards or by distance of thought but by a centering of existence in and around Jesus.

When the early church was teaching about Jesus, I have just read/researched, they taught about what Jesus did more than his teaching. What he did for us by dieing on the cross.
Using the common sunday school model of a wheel spoke; the center hub being Jesus and the spokes being various parts of life, I now see that instead of being with jesus in the center, my life is lived accordingly hanging on along the outside wheel. When opportunity approached, aka a spoke, for example a film, I, with the film am outside of Jesus, looking at Jesus, looking at where Jesus is, from me and the film’s perspective. I can not say that I have changed until Jesus reveals to me that he has changed me.

Jesus Centered faith is walking with Jesus, next to Jesus, focusing on what God has done for us and not what we are doing for God. I prayed a few weeks ago that I would stop hiding Jesus in God, stop hiding my faith in Jesus by just telling those I was ministering about God in my life without mentioning Jesus.

A lifetime of recalling what one person did for God will never equal a lifetime pointing to the one thing Jesus did for us.

If you support a missionary please don’t gauge whether or not to give to them or to continue giving to them by the number of people that have been saved because of their ministry.

Pray for this man who just emailed me and know the He who began a good works in you will complete those works. Meaning God is moving in your ministry while you believe it or not.

…I just visited your site and I am touched by your love and faith for Christ.  Recently and over a period of several years, my family and I have gone through some pretty amazing trials, two of our children had serious problems with depression and drugs, we had to have our teenage son locked up for 18 months, my wife had cancer, I had to close my business of over 20 years, and we lost our home.  All I can say is that it has only been through my faith in Christ and my surrendering continually to Him that He has sustained my family and myself, and has kept me sane as I nearly lost that too.

In 1992, while I was taking a shower I had a powerful vision of ‘who’ Jesus is that forever changed my relationship and walk with him…..

My Response

…. Nothing I have is my own. Praise the lord for your faith and testimony. Thank you for your email. If the crediting of my video leads people to the lord then place it on the site. Your email came at a great time in my life as the lord is moving and you are witness to that. You have felt great pain as life unfolded un-according to your plans. Job lost it all and praised god but that isn’t to say how strong job was but how strong god is. Later as you know job received twice as much or even more. Although you might not receive your reward for your faith in this life you will receive it in heaven. We soon shall join him at the throne. The devil has no power though there is darkness in my skin. The grace of god has freed us from the law of sin and the mosaic law through Jesus. The lord does not work in our understanding of time and saves our spirit for his kingdom while we are here. I don’t understand heaven but I believe it is there. I would be humbled to the point of death if I glimpsed at what is to come (for us who love Jesus). In my struggles I have begun praising god for those struggles I’m in. Like serving and loving our enemies I have, under the lords strength, begun to do so when considering my trials. All things can be used for the greater good for those who love Jesus. (Romans 8:28) Surrender to him like you told me about and I will do the same, encouraged by your faith. I have not been through what you have. I consider you in a place where you, like Paul, can boast in what you’ve been through because you have the ability through gods strength to claim Christ as your victory. Rescue is coming. We have already won. Don’t try and make sense of it all like there is an equation to be figured out. Christ is moving and it will look different. Again thank you for your email. I’m not sure what site you visited, my blog? All I have written you I pray for the same in my life and the lives of all the saints. Stephen

Christ is the good that is found in me, not my attempts to do right, correct what I find wrong or even correct what I think Jesus finds wrong.
Incomplete with trials in my life revolving around simply feeling inadequate to serve God, I began to study the scriptures, sometimes standing up and sometimes sitting down, to find the symbiotic relationship between Faith and Works. In doing so I became impatient by the scriptures I read and hastened my need to look for work for my faith as I felt I was not doing enough. I asked my wise friend Amos, whom God works constantly through in love and service, “What must I work in to show my faith”.

“IF you have true faith then you will have works” he replied and we discussed further about trusting God.
I thought longer about a works based faith and how it differed than faith based works. While on assignment for the Wall Street Journal I listened to a pastor ask members of his community while he handed out a turkey meal to them why they think God was going to let them into heaven.

Each person answered “because I am a good person and I believe in Jesus”. Some said I am mostly a good person, some stated I used to be worse. The pastor at Mack Ave and I discussed how we were surprised that so many people had a faith that did not declare that we were fallen and Christ was the good, which is what the bible preaches. The correct answer we both believe Jesus was preaching was that you can not be good enough to get into heaven, but believe in me and you will enter.

Jesus also clearly says that we will have to give an account of what we have done on this world when we die and come to him. It also clearly says in the bible that anything we do apart from God will fade away. Lastly the Bible clearly states that God has work for us to do. So, putting that together, the only offering we will be able to show Jesus are to see if the works he had planned for us were done by us. That to me takes a lot of pressure off of my insane drive to succeed, commonly fueled when not thinking in the Spirit by impatience and comparison, and become the best that I can become for my self.

For long now I can relate less with the fact that Jesus makes us white as snow as he separates us from our sins and more to the separation I have from God because of the natural filth and distance that comes with guilt and making everything right until you are always the reason things anything goes wrong.

I am not one for study books, however, Amos gave me a book called Gospel Transformation. It has blown my mind as it has equipped me. I was on a daily self examination for about 4 months when I left for Ukraine and did not bring the book with me. In Ukraine my fellow voyagers called me Pastor as the words and love of the Lord flowed from me by his strength. Three months later I have barely done a page but tonight I got back into it. The page was on evaluating the meanings of Flesh in key scriptures.

In this brief study I found my answer to the relationship between works and faith. In the Mosaic Law a list of what was good was constantly studied but due to mans fallen status, simply living in the flesh caused the Law not to carry the power to free a man from sin. What the Law could not do, God sent his son Jesus to be an offering so that through his death we, sinners, can have life and life, freedom, in the truest sense.

My freedom is Christ at work in me. I can not go by my personal list or conscience of what is good for me or others OR my personal list or conscience of what is good for my faith. I must rely totally on the Spirit, whom Jesus sent as a counselor, to reveal to us what God wants us to do. IT is a popular Christianese term to say something like, “Well I don’t believe that God is going to say to you each step you take and when to take it.”  In defense to our, my, fallen nature, I agree and I believe God does in the way of the Spirit guiding us which most of all of us take for granted as our own sightless barely guided “but in faith” steps. Which actually are very guided and very planned, if you are one whom God calls Righteous.

Don’t push people away because of their uninvolved life with Christ for it is most likely your impatience that fuels your disgusted, seemingly betrayed notion and feeling that you should be at a distance. Any righteousness in your life is not because of you so lower yourself and serve your out of the faith by choice friends just as much or more than your in the faith friends alike. Doing so will prove to yourself and to God that you don’t serve according to whom you favor but you serve according to whom Jesus died for; sinners. It is not you that searches but the Spirit in you.

A huge cargo ship is silently creeping down the Detroit river. It looks like a hotel just drifting by with the 5 stories of lights.