A Simple Theology

A Simple Theology

I believe God is always saying one thing: “I love you.” And He always follows up with a question, “do you believe me?” What would our lives look like if we could answer this one question that God is always asking?

Doubting Thomas?

Years ago, I overheard my mom in the kitchen telling my sister, Aimee, how Thomas was her favorite disciple of Jesus.

I was a little surprised by her choice and thought I’d be clever.

“Mom, I don’t want to be a doubting Thomas, but I’m pretty sure your favorite disciple was the fella with the underwhelming moniker.” I yelled into the kitchen sarcastically.

 My mom came out of the kitchen and gave me a fiery look. One I saw too many times in my youth; a look that releases the awe-inspiring fear of God, “Jason, it’s just horrible we call him that! Think about the scripture we have because Thomas was bold enough to ask when the others weren’t?”

And just like that, my whole thought about Thomas changed. Thanks, mom! I am so grateful for your wisdom!

Jesus, attempting to prepare His disciples for the coming dark days of His death, tells them, You know the way to the place where I am going.” (1)

And John leans over to Peter and whispers. “Hey Pete?”

“What?” Peter responds in a whisper yell. Peter was a horrible whisperer.

“Do you know the way to the place Jesus is going?” John asks with sincerity.

Peter furrows his brow, “Of course!”

John raises an eyebrow, “So you have no idea then.”

Peter waves John off brusquely. John is a little concerned but then he remembers and smiles, “No worries, Thomas will ask Him.”

And Thomas did. And we are all infinitely glad he did.

“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (2)

“We don’t know…” It was nice Thomas included the other disciples, but because of his question we all have an answer, and it’s one of our all-time favorites!

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’” (2)

Thomas’ “we don’t know” makes room for Jesus to highlight the tension of mystery and revelation, “You will know” and “From now on, you do know...” Jesus’ answer is the beautiful invitation to live in the tension of not knowing with a promise of knowing.

Like always, Jesus is speaking in the infinite language of sovereign love…

John and Peter looked at each other after Jesus was finished. They still didn’t understand, but that wasn’t unusual. Jesus was always saying stuff that was not only confusing, but also often seriously controversial.

The fact is, most of the time, most of the people listening to Jesus had little to no idea what He was talking about.

One time Jesus told His followers that the only way they could experience eternal life was if they ate His flesh and drank His blood. A lot of people stopped following Jesus that day. When Jesus asked the twelve disciples if they would leave Him also, Peter famously said, “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.” (3)

Interpretation, “I don’t know… but God is good” and that’s enough.

Peter, John, Thomas and many others have revealed that to truly follow Jesus, we must be willing to live in the tension of not knowing and the invitation to know; to “get wisdom. Though it cost all (we) have, get understanding.” 

We must embrace mystery if we are to gain revelation.

Jesus is the way to where we are going; He is the lens by which to discover wisdom, the key by which to unlock understanding.

I don’t call Thomas “doubting” anymore. He was a man of faith willing to live in the tension of the question so he might discover the whole story, the greater revelation. Thomas gave everything up to follow Jesus and after He ascended to heaven, Thomas is believed to have shared the gospel of sovereign love, planting churches in Syria, Babylon (Iraq), Persia (Iran) and even into India before dying by a spear, martyred for his profound faith in the way the truth and the life.

**This is an excerpt from Jason’s new book on the sovereignty of love entitled, God Is (Not) In Control

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Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

If God Is Good...

If I type into Google’s search bar, “If God is good…” Google will finish my search with the following suggestions:

...Why is there suffering? 
...why do bad things happen? 
...why is there evil?

These questions reveal something sad and devastating— most Google users, which means pretty much everyone, believe a lie about the nature of God. The lie? God is in control.

In my early twenties, I had a conversation with a co-worker friend who wanted to know about my faith. This girl didn’t know Jesus; she didn’t know about his always-good love. So I told her about him. I spoke with passion and power. She listened raptly, wanting and needing to believe me. I could see it in her eyes.

But then she asked me the question. It’s the question Google gets all the time: “If God is good, why do bad things happen?”

She wasn’t asking to be confrontational. She was sincere. It was clearly a question she had agonized over. It seemed to me she was desperate for an answer. She wanted to believe that a good God loved her.

I had no answer. In fact, if I’d been truly honest, I was conflicted with the same question. But I responded the same way many well-meaning Christians have when faced with the question. 
“God is in control,” I said.

Then I continued with the sledgehammer of misunderstood scripture, saying, “and He works all things for good” (Rom. 8:8).

It was meant to be comforting. It wasn’t. My answer was anemic at best, destructive at worst. And I knew it. Something wasn’t lining up.

She looked utterly disappointed, a heavy weight crushing her soul. I watched her shift from hope to sorrow and then anger.

“I can’t follow a God who allows child abuse!” She said with force. She described the darkest evil this world knows, and I felt her confused and angry grief like a fist to the jaw.

I think somewhere along the way she experienced the devastating horror of a broken fallen world, and I had just told her a good and loving God was responsible for it. My attempt to share God’s good love had only cemented her resistance to Him.

Even though I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, I instinctively knew my answer contradicted my premise. There was disparity in the idea that God is in control and God is good.

At the time, I had a misunderstanding regarding God’s nature, his sovereignty. I believed God was in control.

The premise that God is in control can’t help but raise the Google questions—then why does He allow evil, suffering, and bad things?

That premise forced me to bend scripture to redefine his “working all things to good.” A good God who wants control of our lives and will partner with evil to get it; a good God who will compromise our freedom by manipulating evil circumstances to gain our affections; a good God who will allow love to be distorted and perverted to capitalize on our needs; a good God who is an accessory to murder, starvation, sickness, and poverty so that we would know He loves us...

Or in the case of my friend, a good God who would allow child abuse so He can work it all for good.

This contradiction to His nature is of epic proportions. It can’t be further from the truth. God is either good or He is in control; it can’t be both.

God is not in control. God is Love.

The premise that God is in control manipulates his nature into something contrary to love. There are no manipulations, no ulterior motives, no compromises; He is always good, He loves us and wants us to live powerfully free and in all the authority He won for us through his death and resurrection.

For centuries, much of the church has defined God’s sovereignty through the premise of control. I want to define it the way Jesus revealed it—as Love. Jesus revealed that Love has all authority and that every control of need was answered in the authority of Love.

God is love, and that’s what makes Him sovereign.

Love redeems, restores, heals, empowers, and transforms. Love trumps every controlling need this fallen world and the enemy of our souls throw at us. Love is the answer to disappointment, devastation, and abuse. Love empowers freedom to choose to be loved, to trust love, and to become love.

If I could talk to my co-worker friend today, I would apologize for how I misrepresented God’s nature. I would challenge the premise. I would tell her that God is not in control; Love doesn’t operate that way. I would tell her that God has nothing to do with the evils of this world or the devastation of sin. I would tell her He plays no part in the destruction of humanity.

I would tell her God is love and His love is always good. Always.

Then, I would tell her of the wonder of Jesus’ love, a Love that “works all things to good.” Not because Love controls, but because Love has all authority, relentlessly redeems, always restores, and powerfully resurrects.

I would tell her that Love can be trusted because Love is revealed perfectly in Jesus. I would tell her how Love trumps every disappointment, every evil, and every controlling need.

It is my heart’s desire that someday Google will have a new answer. When asked about the goodness of God, I hope Google will report stories of the church revealing the authority of Love--a love that redeems and restores and miraculously meets every controlling need. May we, the church, discover and live out this love that does not control, that is not against, that does not condemn and works all things for good.

This article is excerpted from Jason's book, God Is (Not) In Control


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Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

Imagine with Jason Clark - Episode Three // Mahesh Chavda

I am so excited to release a new episode of Imagine in which I had the incredible privilege to talk about miracles and the powerful love of God with Pastor Mahesh Chavda.

For over thirty-five years, the Chavdas (Mahesh and Bonnie) have been reaching the nations with the gospel accompanied by signs and wonders. Hundreds of thousands have come to salvation and thousands have received healing from critical diseases like AIDS and cancer through their ministry.

Many of these miracles have been medically documented, including healings of Stage IV cancer, the lame, deaf and blind as well as the resurrection from the dead of a six-year-old boy.

In this episode, Pastor Mahesh tells the story of how God raised that 6-year-old boy to life. It was so amazing spending time with him.

Imagine with Jason Clark - Episode Three // Mahesh Chavda

Imagine with Jason Clark is an interview-based web series. The guiding purpose is to reveal the always-good transforming love of God.

With over three miracle-packed decades of experience, Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda lead Chavda Ministries International, a worldwide apostolic ministry. The vision of CMI is to proclaim Christ’s kingdom with power, equip believers for ministry and usher in revival, preparing for the return of the Lord.

For over thirty-five years, the Chavdas have been reaching the nations with the gospel accompanied by signs and wonders. Hundreds of thousands have come to salvation and thousands have received healing from critical diseases like AIDS and cancer through their ministry. Many of these miracles have been medically documented, including healings of Stage IV cancer, the lame, deaf and blind as well as the resurrection from the dead of a six-year-old boy.

In addition, Mahesh and Bonnie have produced many useful tools for believers including their books, Only Love Can Make a Miracle, The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, The Hidden Power of a Woman, Storm Warrior and their latest books, The Power of the Cross: Epicenter of Glory and Getting to Know the Holy Spirit.

Together, the Chavdas pastor All Nations Church in Charlotte, NC. They also spearhead a global prayer movement, The Watch of the Lord®, where they have been leading their congregation in weekly corporate prayer for more than a decade.

For more information on Mahesh Chavda go to chavdaministries.org

Thanks to Seth Snider for the use of his song My Angel in the title sequence - from the album Pitch Black Pines - sethsnider.bandcamp.com

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Jason Clark is a writer, producer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers,  to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

The Earth Was Never Flat - The Devastation of Sovereign Control

chapter three

The Earth Was Never Flat

 

Once Upon a Time…

At the end of the 19th century the German pharmaceutical company, Bayer, prescribed “non-addictive” heroin for coughs. Around the same time, you could purchase Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup to help ease your teething child’s discomfort – it only contained 65 mgs of pure morphine.

Once upon a time there was a commonly held belief on the earth that heroin was good for coughs and morphine good for teething babies…

Circa. 570-495 B.C the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras proved the earth was a sphere, thus challenging a common misconception at the time that the earth was flat.

In 1543 Nicholas Copernicus debunked the commonly held belief that the earth was at the center of the universe. And in 1609 Galileo used the invention of the telescope to prove Copernicus correct, the earth revolved around the sun.

In 1917 Einstein’s theory of a static universe was debunked by Edwin Hubble, inventor of the Hubble telescope. Edwin discovered the earth is actually ever expanding.

Once upon a time there was a commonly held belief that the earth was flat, at the center of the universe, and finite…

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The Earth Isn’t Flat

Imagine you’ve traveled back in time in your DeLorean time machine. You know, the car from the movie, Back to The Future.

There was Doc Brown, and terrorists, and plutonium and it was all very exciting. But you didn’t go back to November 5, 1955…no, you traveled much further, way before the early breakthroughs in medicinal heroin and morphine, way before telescopes and Greek philosophers, all the way back to when the earth was flat.

You arrived in a field and, after sufficiently hiding your time machine, you began to explore your new surroundings. You came across two fellas at the edge of the sea in passionate debate. They were surrounded by a large crowd of people.

You joined the crowd just as the first guy points to the vast expanse of sea and beyond and says with great conviction, “10,000 miles, that’s where the earth ends!” The other guy is adamant it’s at least twice that distance. There seems to be support for both arguments from those in the crowd, heads nodding and fingers wagging.

Back and forth, the men debate with genuine spirit and intellect, each argument more impassioned than the last. And with each assertion, those listening became more convinced.

You whisper playfully to a young man standing next to you, “What keeps us from falling off the edge?” The young man responds excitedly, “Elephants!” That makes you laugh so loud that one of the fellas takes notice.

He sees you standing there, in your Marty McFly vest, looking amused. You didn’t mean to look amused, it’s just, well, you have both pieced together the premise behind their debate, and, elephants?

 “You! Yes, I am talking to you my strangely dressed newcomer friend. What do you believe; does the world end in 10,000 miles or 20?”

It’s a tricky thing to be asked to settle a conflict in which both participants are arguing from a flawed premise; especially if it’s a premise that all have agreed upon, a premise upon which, to some extent, their daily lives have been constructed.

But you, being a person who values truth, and, having actually seen photos of the earth in all its roundness, decide to tell them what you know. In a respectful tone, you say, “Ladies and gentlemen, you don’t have the whole story, you’re operating on a flawed assumption. You see, the earth isn’t flat, it never has been, it just seems that way…”

 

It Just Seems That Way

Jesus found Himself in this figurative position.

Actually, many still believed the earth was flat when Jesus walked upon it, so, Jesus found Himself in this literal position as well. But He decided to leave the revelation of a round earth to Galileo and his friends. He had bigger fish to fry.

Sovereign control was introduced to humanity when it slithered into the Garden of Eden ages ago. It was the story told by Satan to the first Adam. And Adam bought it. He ate from the wrong tree. It distorted Adam’s perspective on God, it imprisoned him to an inferior reality, a narrative of control; suddenly he was naked, ashamed and desperately afraid.

The lie of sovereign control birthed a world confined to human understanding; a world defined by human reasoning, “a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (1) And it produced a world ruled by fear, a perspective that led to finite flat earth conclusions.

The devastating reality of this control narrative forced the first Adam out of the garden and into the wilderness where he passed the lie down the generations. It became intrinsic in every human experience, a violent reality on earth, a fractured lens through which humanity perceived, a mindset that dominated humankind, a paradigm of brokenness, a wilderness of human reasoning; the earth was flat and everyone agreed.

 Except, as we know, the earth isn’t flat, and it never has been. It just seems that way.

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The first 125 to join The Book Launch Team get the eBook for FREE- CLICK HERE

Then Jesus was born into this broken narrative, a world ruled completely by an ideology of sovereign control. And He revealed and redeemed a truer narrative. God was never about control. The earth was never flat, not even once.

Jesus, the second Adam, revealed powerfully the whole story, sovereign love. And in so doing, He exposed and declared war on the devastation of sovereign control.

 

The Devastation of Sovereign Control

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5  

The ideology behind the lie Satan presented to Eve, and later Adam, was God is in control. And they bought it. They believed God was withholding some part of Himself. They believed some aspect of His nature was controlling. And by agreeing with this perversion of love, they enslaved humanity to the devastation of the control narrative.

Every horror in history, every fruit of sin, every sickness, every groaning of the earth, every insecurity, desperation and shame, every struggle against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, (2) can be traced back to the moment Adam and Eve bought into the lie that the sovereignty of God had something to do with control.

Control… it’s the very first lie the snake used to describe God. It exposed Adam and Eve’s nakedness. It was the introduction of fear, condemnation, and shame, the origin of sin and death, the birthplace of every religious thought and action thereafter.

Control…it masquerades in the religious rhetoric of holiness. Its wars are holy, its politics, its inquisitions, its crusades, its genocide, its prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, its abuse – all painted with the brush of fanatic righteousness.

Control…it’s ego dressed up in virtue. It demands compliance; women must know their place, children must know their place, slaves, everyone must know their place.

Control…it’s a bully who’s been bullied. It’s a vicious cycle of condemnation masquerading as justice. Its victims become disciples.

Control…it’s the preacher frothing at the mouth about hell, and gays and gun rights. It’s hate speech framed as pious obedience. It’s the church standing up for what it’s against while marginalizing all who Jesus embraced.

Control…it’s the voice of social media mouthing off about tolerance while normalizing depravity. It’s the doctrine of whatever feels good. It sexualizes everyone for its own amusement. It saves the whales while rationalizing abortion.

Control…it’s the ethos of a fallen world, the lens through which most see, the context by which multitudes measure success, value, respect, and significance. It promises we don’t have to live afraid, desperate, helpless, exposed; that we don’t have to be its victims. Except…

Control makes everyone its victim.

Deep down we know control is a mirage. We know it’s a perversion of the truth; it’s counterfeit to the life we were designed for – to experience love and to become love. But to the extent we don’t recognize or understand the power and authority of sovereign Love, is the extent to which we find ourselves clamoring for it: control of our God, control of our destinies, our jobs, our finances, our relationships, the line at Starbucks, the House, the Senate, the Mexican border, Russia.

Control is the lie driving a wedge into our relationship with God. It’s a lie about God and a lie about us. If believed, it will demand to own our every breath, our every thought, our every moment. But it always leads to the same place – shame, condemnation, fear, death and slavery.

Control… it makes fearful slaves, and it never empowers sons or daughters.

Control… it’s ugly, unkind and selfish. It’s counter to all God is and yet it is still the word most often used to describe Him.

Control… we box God into a broken paradigm, a fallen narrative, a flawed premise, a lie spawned by the enemy of our soul, and then, when everything goes to hell, we, in our human reasoning, call it sovereignty and either blame Him for the brokenness or conclude He isn’t as good or powerful as we thought.

This control narrative is an institution unto itself, a ruler by which human understanding has measured everything since the fall of the first Adam. The control narrative has dominated our thinking; it’s become the pursuit of every religious, political and social institution on the planet, including the institution of Christianity.

A god in sovereign control is the devil’s kingdom, and believing his lie leads us into the wilderness of our existence.

But it was never true; the earth was never flat, it just seems that way. Then, some two thousand years ago, the second Adam, Jesus, walked into this wilderness and declared war on the lie of sovereign control.

 

The Wilderness

Just before Jesus “was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil,” (3) His Father publically introduced the whole story.

 “This is my Son, whom I love. With Him I am well pleased.” (4)

“This is my son” - He is fully God and fully man. He is perfect.

“Whom I love” - He is living as the measureless revelation of sovereign love. He has all authority, the power of heaven at His back. He has come to destroy the control narrative.

“With Him I am well pleased” - He has all my pleasure; He is sure in my affection and He will establish my redeemed narrative on earth as it is in Heaven.

Then, Jesus, in the Father, led by and filled with the Holy Spirit, went into the wilderness to throw down the gauntlet.

You’ve seen the movie… two vast armies gathered, a valley between them. They are faced off against each other, ready to crush their enemy. But before a drop of blood spills, the leaders of both armies ride their horses into the valley to meet. Under a white flag, they look each other in the eye and make their demands. “Surrender now and I will give you a position in my kingdom.”

We’ve all seen that movie. But this showdown in the Judean desert was different in two very significant ways. First, it took 40 days for Satan to get the nerve to show his face. Second, Jesus wasn’t offering surrender. 

Finally, punch-drunk by arrogance, Satan tries to capitalize on Jesus’ physically weakened state. He attempts to persuade sovereign Love to submit to the devastating narrative of sovereign control.

Three times Satan essentially pleads, “Acknowledge my control narrative and I’ll put you in control of it. Endorse the devastation of my control paradigm and I’ll give you my perversion of freedom by making you its dictator. Agree the earth is flat and I’ll seat you over every pointless finite argument regarding where it ends.”

Control, is Satan’s blindness. Control is the only narrative the devil knows, it’s his theology, the only context by which he interacts with God and humanity. Therefore, he doesn’t have the ability to comprehend the truth that sets free. You see, Satan’s perversion of freedom is to be in control of others.

The fact is, that perverse perspective of freedom seeks to infiltrate every institution on the planet…

Because control is the only narrative Satan knows, he assumed Jesus came to earth to gain it. That’s why, in the wilderness, he attempts to manipulate Jesus with promises of control. What he can’t see is that Jesus came to expose the broken paradigm of control and reveal true freedom, the power, and authority of sovereign love.

Jesus was fully man. He experienced all the emotions we feel. Physically weak and emotionally vulnerable, He was truly tempted in the wilderness. But Jesus was also fully God, and He knew the whole story.

Three times, Jesus essentially says, “I am my Father’s Son and there will be no quarter given, no clemency, no opportunity for surrender! I have come to destroy you and, along with you, the damning devastation of the control narrative!”

Jesus made it clear, there would be no opportunity for retreat; the end of Satan’s reign of fear through control was upon him.

At no time had the earth been flat!

 

Time Travel Continued…

Meanwhile, back to our time-travel voyage…

The fella that had asked for your thoughts seems intrigued. “What do you mean the earth isn’t flat?”

Suddenly you’re a little overwhelmed. You’re not a scientist; you have no idea how to explain it (note - if you are a scientist, just ignore that last sentence… come to think on it, go ahead and ignore the next few as well).

“So, imagine the earth is like a big ball spinning on an axis, oh and it’s in outer space.” You pull out your smartphone so Google can help you make your point, but of course you have Sprint and there’s no signal. You’re forced to use your words like you’re a Baby-Boomer.

“So, this spinning ball, in outer space? Well, it’s also orbiting around a bigger ball, the sun!” You point with confidence to the sun, hoping its existence will help prove your point.

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“What keeps us from falling off?” One of the fellas asks quizzically. He seems uncomfortably intrigued.

The young man next to you asks hopefully, “Elephants?”

You are about to attempt an explanation of gravity when you are struck with two very valid concerns. First, you don’t know how gravity works; second, you suddenly remember Doc’s words, something about not “unraveling the very fabric of the space-time continuum.”

The whole crowd is still waiting for an answer and it dawns on you that it’s going to take way more than a vague memory of your 7th-grade science class to convince them the earth isn’t flat. It will require something of grand proportions, a greater revelation, to change their flat-earth thinking.

 

Sovereign Love

Having won the desert showdown, Jesus left the wilderness on a mission, His face set like flint. (5) He lived in our finite world controlled by measurements; a world dominated by fear, and He revealed a measureless, infinite perfect love that casts out all fear. (6)

He walked among the flat-earthers and revealed the whole story, sovereign love! Everywhere sovereign love walked, the ugly lie of sovereign control was exposed and its power destroyed!

Sovereign Love destroyed every control; He healed blind eyes, cleansed lepers, fed the hungry, clothed the poor, raises the dead!

Sovereign Love decimated the destruction of a theology of control by setting captives free. He transformed, sinners to saints, and slaves to sons and daughters. He restored and redeemed the worst of life’s tragedies and He healed the most broken of life's sorrows.

Then sovereign Love experienced the ultimate control, death. And He revealed sovereign love was more powerful than death by rising from the grave.

And upon His resurrection, He won our freedom, redeemed our narrative and gave us access to a His perspective - the earth wasn’t flat.

Not only was a battle won, the war was won. Sovereign love was victorious!

 

How Do We Win in The End?

“If God is not in control, how does He win in the end? He has to be in control to win.” My friend said with a force that bordered panic. He was uncomfortable by what I had just suggested.

 The first 125 to join The Book Launch Team get the eBook for FREE-  CLICK HERE

The first 125 to join The Book Launch Team get the eBook for FREE- CLICK HERE

We sat in a local bakery, my coffee was cold; I hadn’t taken a sip for fifteen minutes. I’d been sharing both about the devastation of sovereign control and the goodness of sovereign love. I concluded by suggesting that maybe control wasn’t the best way to describe God.

“How do we win in the end?” I repeated, “What if that’s the wrong question? What if the earth was never flat, it just seems that way?”

“What do you mean?” he asked understandably confused. I hadn’t told him about our time travel adventures and the two fellas on the beach. 

“What if the premise behind your question is wrong? What if believing God is in control is like believing the earth is flat? It seems right from our perspective. It seems a necessity if God is to win in the end. But what if there is another way to win, a better way. A way that doesn’t complicate God’s goodness or compromise His love?”

I could see my friend was still very uncomfortable. I shrugged and smiled, “It’s just a thought.”

I let it go. But I could have kept on.

What if the sovereignty of God wasn’t about control, but was defined truly and perfectly through love? What if sovereign Love has already won because that’s the nature of love? What if sovereign Love never loses, He simply redeems the past and transforms the future?

What if God was never in control; it just seems that way.

Then, what if Jesus did something of such grand proportions, something so powerful, that our flat-earth perception and thinking could be forever changed? What if He lived, died and rose so we could be free and empowered, so we could see and experience a truer paradigm, the whole story, sovereign love?

What if the very real war we are waging, a war that is evident in so many aspects of daily life, a war marked by disappointment and sorrow, sin and death, sickness, doubt and shame, is a war against the devastating lie of sovereign control.

And what if this war has already been won?

I would like to suggest that sovereign control is flat earth thinking, it’s an institution unto itself, a broken paradigm, a ruler by which so many have measured everything since the fall of Adam. This devastating narrative has dominated humanities thoughts and perceptions for far too long!

Jesus redeemed our true narrative, He redefined His sovereignty as perfect Love. He restored us to our original relationship before the fall, and He empowered trust and set us free so we could live confidently victorious.

The earth is not flat, it just seems that way.

This article was excerpted from Jason's new book, God Is (Not) In Control.  


Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers,  to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

The Great Sledding Adventure - By Aimee Clark

The Great Sledding Adventure

By Aimee Perry

“Tell us a story mom, about when you were little.” Both girls sat on the bed, wanting to hear something wild. The problem was, I’d already told them all the wild stories I could remember. I looked around the room and spotted the October calendar. It was featuring a beautiful Alaskan wolf, running through the snow–and there it was…a memory, a story of my childhood, they hadn’t heard yet. Little did I know that this night, this story, would birth something in me that would change the course of my life forever.

And so the story began….

It was freezing that winter in Ontario. There was much snow, much more than a typical winter for Canada. The plows would come through and push it to the side of the road making snow walls. It was piled so high, even higher than my dad, who led the way. We were heading to “The Hill”, dragging our sled behind us. Mom was at home making hot chocolate for our return, after the great adventure of flying. That’s what it felt like anyway. The power of gravity is no match for a human. But going down that hill, you almost forgot you were grounded. In my mind, we were Kings who conquered “The Hill” flying through blizzards and dragons, and we wouldn’t be stopped.

When we got to the hill, we slowly tread upward. It was my least favorite part, but the reward was coming. Other kids were to our left and right, all climbing for the same purpose…to fly. Without fail, friendships that would bud on the way up, would be sealed by the time we reached the bottom. Something about the journey down the hill together, bonded us. We were “The Kings of the Castle.” And everyone else were “The Dirty Rascals”.

The second and third time down, we all started getting creative. What if we all piled on one sled and rode to victory together? We were onto something you know? What if…what if we could all stay on the sled all the way down. We had to try. After all, we were Kings.

latham-jenkins-circ-biz-sledding.jpg

Jason, my oldest brother would want the front, of course. He was a natural leader. He wanted to feel that death-defying view from upfront. Behind him, Joel (my younger brother) would jump in. Joel was the co-captain, by default. Jason wasn’t going to give up that spot unless Dad made him. 🙂 I might have thought I wanted a turn at the front, if I hadn’t of seen Jason’s face at the bottom of hill. His chapped cheeks, and blistered lips looked unattractive, painful even. No, I liked being somewhere in the middle. It was fun, and if felt safer.

(That says a lot about me eh?  To be honest, I don’t like what it says. At this moment, I will not digress on a tangent though. I’ll save that for another day and continue…)

It didn’t matter how many times Jason and Joel would lead us down the hill on our little sled, piled-high with kids, we could never all make it down together. Inevitably,  when you looked back at hill from the bottom, you’d see bodies strung all over it. It looked like a crime scene with sounds of groaning. If it weren’t for the break-out of laughter and some brave child saying, “Let’s try again,” there may have been a few more tears in my memories. It hurt getting thrown off that sled. Snow isn’t as soft as you might think.

Jason would always get the blame. The leader always does. Isn’t that harsh? Could he have taken a turn more carefully? Should he have slowed down in that one part of the hill, instead of whizzing through it? May be he should have, but he had a vision you know? Vision is a powerful motivator. He wanted to reach the bottom. That was the point right? Did he care that the others couldn’t hold on through the chaos-filled ride? I’m guessing the thrill of gravity along with the vision of reaching the destination, was compelling enough to temporarily forget about the others. After all, he was a young leader at that time. Today, He is my hero, and l would follow him down any ol’ hill! ...

I left the girls room feeling my Father-God continuing to press me with this story. I was sitting alone, thumbing through the memory again, when I heard an audible voice.  It startled me and I immediately looked up thinking I would see someone talking to me. I didn’t see Him, but I felt His presence so tangibly. I grabbed my pen to write down His words, word for word.

“Don’t ever sacrifice my beloved for the sake of a cause.”

There it was… He was teaching me something vital.  He wanted me to grasp this so I would be able to lead thousands upon thousands of people into His presence, without losing even one child. I saw the people. Tears sprung to my eyes. With the words He gave, came so many pictures, I couldn’t possibly recount them all.

The Revelation– If I get to the bottom of the hill, and half my friends are gone, I better never justify it. I can come up with stories that validate pushing one-off with blame or justify the loss of another for the sake of the destination, but reaching the destination isn’t worth it if we don't steward what God brings as He would steward it. 

The “cause” of cleaning my house or writing this blog isn’t justifiable if I tell my kids harshly to leave me alone, so I can get “more important” work done. Even salvation, which is so important to God, is not more-so than the hearts of those already saved. Isn’t that crazy?  

I’ve seen people justify terrible behavior, abusive behavior toward family, friends and fellow helpers, because of a move of God. Let me say this: the reasons to do so won’t hold up inside His Love, not when I do it and not when you do it. His purity will burn those excuses all up. Thank God for that. He is good and He is also fiercely protective over His beloved.

God was telling me something vital for my life. He was giving me wings to steady me through a “fear-of-man” turbulent time. He was honoring me to hold a sacred piece of His heart, and encouraging me to speak on behalf of that piece.

That’s scary. Remember, I liked the middle of the sled, but He was calling me up, into a greater level of stewardship, and thus leadership. Here, I couldn’t be afraid. I might get blistered, bloody and chapped, but it was worth it…for the sake of His heart. I saw the piece and it scars me still with beauty.

He desires me to stay connected with those on my sled, every single one. He desires for me to slow down on turns, and even stop on the hill, defy the power and thrill of gravity itself, if needed.  He desires me to provide the kind of care that supersedes the cause. He is telling me even now, “THIS IS the cause.”

He wants me to see the Kingdom on earth in its fullness, while I’m alive. I do believe, if I heed this council, and become this word, I will be able to look back on my life and see we all have arrived together,  safe and sound. We would then get to celebrate together. I can’t even imagine the beauty and joy, the unity and holiness of such a moment.

Have you ever went on a roller coaster with someone, or traveled the world with a friend? I have had these opportunities. Remember the joy of the shared experience? Remember reliving every twist and turn of the adventure? It grows more fun with every telling.

The greatest sound in my home, is my two girls staying up late laughing and talking in their beds, or the life on the intimacy between my husband and I. The most painful sound in my home are times of disunity, arguing and connection loss.

I’m pretty sure, the Father feels the same way. May we never justify the loss of His beloved, (loss of connection) for any cause. It just isn’t worth it! In the end, Love is the only thing that remains.

 

 Aimee Perry is a children's author and song-writer. She and her husband, along with their two daughters, reside in Birmingham AL. There, they create original composition and scores for film and TV, with their company, Tradewind Studios. To learn more about Aimee Perry and her books, visit www.aimeeperry.com. To learn more about Tradewind Studios, visit www.tradewindstudios.com 

 

The Zebra - Sovereignty and the Old Testament

chapter six

THE ZEBRA
 

The Zebra

I was recently at a service where the speaker told a fable. It went something like this.

There were four fellas; they each wore different-colored glasses, red, blue, yellow and green. They stood at the edge of a field; in the distance was a zebra. They were each asked to describe the color of the zebra.

As one would expect, the guy with the red glasses saw a red and black zebra; the guy with the blue glasses, blue and black. So, it went, yellow, and green, each seeing the zebra through their lenses, in their respective colors.

The speaker then presented a question to us, “Who is correct regarding the true color of the zebra?” He paused long enough for me to have the thought, “Zebras are white and black.”

But that wasn’t the question.

“Who knows the true color of the zebra?” the speaker asked again and then he answered.

“The zebra.”

What the Hell?

I remember the first time I read about how David won a battle against the Moabites and after the battle he made them (the Moabites) lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought him tribute.” Samuel 81:2

When I finished reading this I literally said out loud, “What the hell?”

Seriously, what the hell?

This story is just a paragraph in the many chapters of David’s incredible life. It’s a seemingly insignificant footnote, unless you were a Moabite, then it’s a story of horrifying slaughter. And oddly, the author apparently didn’t feel the need to enlighten us as to how David came to this seemingly random approach to flirting with genocide.

This cold-blooded brutality, this almost casual annihilation of entire people groups; it’s everywhere in the Old Testament. And what’s most disconcerting, as often as not, God seems to be credited as the primary instigator.

Moses writes about it a good deal. In fact, he’s the guy who “penned” the famous story of Noah. You know, the story where God seems keen on killing everyone.

“The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” Genesis 5:6-8

What the hell?

The Old Testament is littered with stories like this one. Stories where humanity is depraved, and God is angry, and destruction is imminent, and then often realized.

Then, to the wonder and eternal gratitude of all of us, Jesus is introduced into the narrative. And with His arrival, God’s thoughts about us suddenly seem to change.

In the Old Testament, "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die." (1) And yet, in the New Testament, when a woman, caught in adultery, is thrown at Jesus feet, He says, “neither do I condemn you” (2) and He forgives her.

In the Old Testament, God “hates all who do wrong.” (3) In the New Testament, He fellowshipped with sinners. He dined with them, laughed and cried with them, He delivered, healed and saved them. I can’t think of any stories where He killed them. I don’t think it happened even once.

So yeah, I’m not the first person to notice that the God of the Old Testament seems to be very different from the God Jesus revealed in the New. The disparity is enough to make one think God was either seriously manic for a long time, or He is fickle, changing like the wind. But then we read Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change…”

And so, we’re left with the question, “if God didn’t change, what did?”

Perspective

2000 years ago, Jesus walked the earth and for the first time we saw God as He truly was. And God was way different than we thought. He wasn’t a controlling deity disappointed by our stumbling. He didn’t seem outraged by our brokenness, by our sin. He wasn’t in a bad mood. He wasn’t angry, at least not in the vengeful way the writers of the Old Testament seemed to portray Him. He didn’t smite anyone, didn’t even seem to want to.

Yes, He strongly addressed lack of faith. Yes, He challenged all humanity to wholehearted surrender. And yes, one time He even used a whip to drive the money lenders out of the temple grounds. But there were no deaths, not even a report of injury - just hurt pride.

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus did get angry.

But when Jesus was angry, it was with the religious leaders; the self-righteous who sought control like the drug it is; the self-serving who used the theology of control to oppress others; those who shamed and condemned in His name; those who wielded control like a sword. Yet, while He used some strong language when confronting or describing them, “brood of vipers,” “blind guides,” “fools” and “hypocrites,” (4) even then, He never once followed it up with a killing spree.

Jesus never once had people put down in the dirt, divided into thirds, and then had two out of every three slaughtered where they lay.

The stories of God and mass killings seem to be missing from the four Gospels; the four books in which God is most clearly revealed. Oddly, the clearest revelation of God, the perfect picture of sovereignty, seems to be missing the angry, murderous, destructive bent.

And no one seemed to understand.

Jesus lived absolutely counter to religious culture, He turned the world upside down. The last were first, the poor were rich, the meek inherited the earth, the weak became strong, sinners were loved, prostitutes forgiven, and willful prodigals greeted with a kiss – none of it made sense.

Jesus, revealing God for who He truly is, walked as the perfect expression of sovereign love. And everyone was baffled by it.

I would like to propose that the reason no one could truly comprehend was because all humanity wore colored glasses.

They saw everything, including Jesus, through the lens of sovereign control. It’s not surprising - control had been the prevailing perspective since the fall.

Even Jesus disciples, those who had never once witnessed Jesus do anything that smacks remotely of genocide, were wearing shades.

 “When the days were approaching for His ascension, He (Jesus) was determined to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.

When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But He turned and said…

“What the hell?”

I’m not being trite, nor trying to offend. I believe hell is a pretty accurate word to expose the spirit behind the disciple’s thinking…

“…But He turned and said, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’” (5)

If you want the clearest understanding regarding God’s heart for humanity, this scripture is a good place to start. In fact, it’s the point of this entire chapter.

Long ago, I made Jesus, sovereign love, my hermeneutic, my “methodology of interpretation,” (6) the lens through which my entire theology is defined. But the disciples hadn’t gotten there yet…

Jesus essentially says to his hell fire disciples, “Fellas, your theology is really messed up, your lenses are colored, your perspective of who I am is horribly flawed! For nearly three years you have witnessed me save, heal, deliver, forgive, redeem, restore and empower. Never once did I use fire and brimstone. Guys, the spirit behind your desire to see destruction reigned down is in direct opposition to everything I have been revealing. Seriously, the control lens through which you perceive me is from the pit of hell.”

Then Jesus continued to perfectly reveal sovereign Love and His dealings with humanity by journeying on to the cross and to resurrection life.

And He completely changed the way we could know what God looked and acted like. No longer did we have to interpret Him through a theology of control, now we could know Him through the revelation of love.

Jesus is the lens.

He revealed a truer narrative and with it humanity gained access to the whole story. We can truly see God, from Old Testament through the New. We can truly discover sovereignty, we can truly trust Him, we can truly be free.

My point, it wasn’t God that changed from Old Testament to New, it was our perspective. Or more accurately, our perspective can change, if we chose to make Jesus, sovereign love, the lens, “the author and perfecter of our faith.” (7)

You see, until Jesus, we had bits and pieces of the story, God inspired fragments. The Old Testament writers revealed God like the zebra in a field. Some said, “He is red with black stripes.” Some said, “He is blue; still others said yellow and green.” Then God walked among us in the flesh and revealed Himself perfectly.

“Who knows the true color of the zebra?”

Jesus.

I believe Jesus is the whole story. He is the lens through which I can truly know God. And He is the lens through which I read the Old Testament.

For me, interpreting the Old Testament outside the revelation of Jesus is to completely miss the point. It’s foolish. It would be like watching the first pre-season game of the Buffalo Bills and then buying tickets to watch them play in the Super Bowl.

I am convinced that Jesus is the lens by which we interpret the Old Testament and the New. And I have discovered that when I read through the lens of sovereign love, suddenly a story about a flood that wipes out nearly all of humanity doesn’t make me desperate or insecure.

It has always been God’s heart that none would perish. (8)

Always...

God Inspired and Moses Interpreted

Moses is the fella credited to have most likely written what would have already been the age-old story of Noah; a story that had been orally passed down from generation to generation.

Moses was one hundred percent inspired of God when he wrote the first five books regarding the relationship between God and man. And what Moses wrote was an absolutely true story. But I would like to suggest it was not the whole story. Moses didn’t have the whole story yet; he wasn’t looking at God and man through the perfect lens of sovereign love; the lens revealed in Jesus life, death and resurrection. 

Therefore, while Moses’ perspective was fully inspired of God, was powerful and good, I would like to propose it was not definitive; it was not complete.

When it comes to Noah’s story, God inspired and Moses interpreted the inspiration. And I would like to suggest that Moses had a theology, a context, a paradigm, a narrative, a lens – sovereign control.

In the sovereign control narrative of Moses’ day, it was determined that if you touched a leper you were made unclean. (9) In the sovereign love narrative, Jesus revealed the whole story. When He touched a leper, the leper was made clean. (10)

In the control perspective of Moses’ day, punishment was the language of God. Moses captured this well when He wrote on God’s behalf “…I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created.”

However, Jesus revealed the whole story, a truer perspective, the language of forgiveness and redemption, when He said, “…for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

Here’s what I am trying to convey, Moses saw the zebra in a field, he described it truly through the lens he had, sovereign control. He described it truly but not definitively, not completely. He captured the problem but not the solution, he wrote down the story, but it wasn’t the whole story. 

Then Jesus came and gave us perfect 20/20 vision regarding what God was like, sovereign love. And Jesus also made it clear how to read the whole Bible.

“You study the scriptures because you think in them is eternal life but they testify of me.” (11)

Jesus wasn’t talking about the New Testament; it hadn’t been written yet. He was specifically addressing how to interpret the Old Testament. His point was that scripture wasn’t the answer, it pointed to the answer. And He was also making it clear, He was that answer.

Jesus is “the word made flesh” (12) He is the interpretation.

Scripture tells a story, scripture paints a picture of a zebra in a field, it describes what the zebra is like.

But who truly knows the color of a zebra?

The Zebra.

I believe every word of the Bible is inspired of God. God inspired and men wrote it down.  But the Bible is not a part of the Trinity. The Bible isn’t God, it reveals Him. And we all have a God lens. And that lens determines everything.

What If…

What if we read the story of Noah through the interpretation of Jesus? What if we applied God’s heart not “to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” to that epic tale? Is it possible we might see it differently?

What if the depravity of sin was so devastating in Noah’s day that humanity and innocence was being consumed? What if every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (13) What if the earth “was corrupt” and “full of violence?” (14) What if, like Paul notes in Romans 8, “all creation” groaned under the weight of sin and death? (15)

What if this groaning of a broken and fallen earth erupted in the form of an all-consuming flood? What if God, in His saving mercy, gave humanity a 120-year warning by sending a message to the one man on the planet who was living in such a way that he could hear it.

What if, for the next 120 years, Noah built an ark by God’s instruction, grace and provision? What if the feat was an act of faith like none seen before on the planet? What if the construction was supernaturally ahead of its time in design and engineering?

What if the people lived in the shadow of this magnificent testimony of God’s desire to save them for 120 years and yet not one person repented, not one heart softened?

And what if the people would have humbled themselves and prayed, and sought His face, and turned from their wicked ways? Is it possible He would have forgiven their sin and healed their land? (16)

What if God, who was perfectly revealed in Jesus, does not change? What if it has never been His heart “to destroy men’s lives,” and it has always been His heart “to save them,” even during the time of Noah’s flood?

Floods

Noah’s story is incredible. He lived faithfully obedient in the context of sovereign control. But I want to highlight the difference between Noah’s navigation of a flood and how we have been set free to navigate a flood today.

I want to suggest that the clarity of our perception determines everything.

Noah’s lens on God was not definitive, He did not have the revelation of Christ, a redeemed perspective, the whole story. For Noah, God was sovereignly in control and in a control narrative, the flood was perceived as God’s wrathful punishment of a horrendously sinful people. It was something to be survived.

            What does a man of faith in a control narrative do when an angry God desires to destroy everything with a flood? He faithfully and obediently works night and day on his salvation with one fearful eye always searching the sky; he builds a boat and prays he survives the coming destruction.

I know many believers who serve a God in control; a God they perceive as angry and wrathful; a God who seeks to punish sin with destruction. They work day and night on their salvation. They live fearfully, one eye always searching the sky for signs of humanities impending doom. Their prayer life consists of desperate pleas for a stay of execution. They seek to survive.

Please understand, I am not suggesting Noah got it wrong, in the narrative of his day, he knocked it out of the park! But I am suggesting that if we, today, perceive God through the same control lens Noah did, we will live in the same narrative.

Have you ever wondered why we have a Christian sub-culture in America?

I would like to suggest it’s because much of the church still interprets God and man through the lens of sovereign control. Therefore, when it gets darker in the world, Christians don’t get brighter; no, they build a sub-culture; they become survivors, looking for a way to navigate the coming flood.

But I would like to suggest that if a flood where prophesied today, building an ark to survive it would be counter to the gospel of Jesus.

We have the whole story! “…for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

Christians aren’t called to fear floods; we aren’t even called to survive them. We are called to live like Jesus; to release His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We are called to overcome, to break through, to live as expressions of sovereign love.

We have the whole story and in Christ, we can live in such a powerfully surrendered way that floods must bend the knee.

In the revelation of sovereign love, we have been commissioned to reveal salvation to all we encounter, to bring light to every dark place. We are called to release hope to the hopeless, redemption to the prodigal, salvation, transformation and life to every dead, broken and hurting place. We are invited to live confident and sure as powerful expressions of His sovereign love that none would perish.

We are living in the whole story. If we are willing to walk away from the ideology of sovereign control and make Jesus, sovereign love, our lens, our hermeneutic, our methodology for interpretation, we will become a church that doesn’t fear floods. Instead, floods will fear us.

Please get this, we aren’t here to call down fire! Nor are we here to build a Christian sub-culture in which we might survive – a boat for the world-ending flood. “On earth as it is in heaven,” (17) that’s why we are here. “Even greater works shall you do.” (18) That’s what Jesus revealed and promised.

A Greater Revelation

Noah couldn’t do something outside his theology. But more to the point, neither can we.

Sovereign control is the narrowest lens through which to know God. It’s salvation through works. It takes the least amount of faith and doesn’t take into account God’s eternal and sovereign love.

To describe God as sovereignly in control is an earthbound perspective; it doesn’t include heaven’s perspective. It is finite thinking dictated by the fear of coming floods. A God in control is human reasoning. While it may seem to be an accurate assessment of our experience, while it may appear true from where we are standing, it’s not the truth that sets us free.

Sovereign control is not in God’s nature; it’s in man’s perception. It only works outside the revelation of perfect love and the context of eternity.

We need a better perspective, a greater revelation.

Who Knows the True Color of the Zebra?

There are some profound similarities between Noah and Jesus. Both were righteous men. Both walked in radical obedience. Both lived a powerful faith. Both were mocked and persecuted for their trust in God, and both lived in such a powerful way as to establish a future, a new world for the generations to come.

But their approach to life and ministry and the world around them couldn’t have been more different. Why? Because their theology was vastly different.

Noah’s theology was control. Noah faithfully obeyed and he and his family survived. It’s a good story, a true story.

Jesus’ theology was love. Jesus faithfully obeyed and he laid down His life, He died. And then Jesus rose and in His resurrection purchased salvation for all. It’s a better story, the whole story.

In Noah’s narrative, a handful of people survived. In Jesus narrative, all men can be saved.

Which narrative do you want to live in?

Survival is what we get with a theology of control; resurrection life is what we get with a theology of love.

I am not suggesting the Bible lessons learned from Noah’s faith aren’t truly life changing. It’s the word of God; it’s true.

I am suggesting Noah’s lens was not definitive or complete regarding the nature of God.

And I’m suggesting there is one way by which to truly read the whole Bible and one way to truly know God…

The speaker then presented the question to us, “Who is correct regarding the true color of the zebra?” He paused long enough for me to have the thought, “Zebras are white and black.”

But that wasn’t the question.

“Who knows the true color of the zebra,” the speaker asked again and then he answered. “The zebra.”

Jesus is the Zebra.

He is sovereign love. He is the whole story. When the Bible is interpreted through Jesus, when our perspective comes into alignment with His, we join in the whole story and we begin to live sure in the power of our salvation, in the power of resurrection life!


Jason Clark is an author, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers,  to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

Perspective for the Sake of Relationship - Authors Note

God Is (Not) In Control
The Whole Story Is Better Than You Think

AUTHOR’S NOTE

This book is about perspective for the sake of relationship.

While the subject is the sovereignty of God, this is not a theological textbook written to prove or defend some thought about God. I have simply written to reveal what I am discovering in my personal relationship with God.

Yes, like all of us, I am a theologian. But I am not a systematic theologian with letters in front of his name, I am a relational theologian; a son, a husband, a father, a brother, a friend - I am loved and I love.

In this book, I have not written about Gods sovereignty through a rigid systematic lens. I have written through the lens of relationship. I don’t approach God through disciplines, ethics and the dogma of religious thought; I approach God as an adored son of my Father, a beloved brother of Jesus, an intimate friend of Holy Spirit.

And it’s all about family.

I am convinced family is the Kingdom Jesus talked about, the Kingdom He lived from, the Kingdom He revealed, the Kingdom He taught us to pray for and instructed us to establish here on earth as it is in heaven.

And you are a part of that family.

While I understand this books premise may cause many to feel tension, please know it’s my great desire that every word reveals my love affair with Father, Son and Holy Spirit so that you might be encouraged in your own love affair. It’s my great hope that you might grow deeper in a trusting intimate relationship with God.

Last, the sovereignty of God is an infinite revelation. I am but a child with a finite tongue. There is nothing I submit as absolutely definitive in this book except, God is love, His love is always good, and we exist to grow sure.

I pray this book encourages you to grow sure.

God Bless
Jason Clark

Jason's book, God Is (Not) In Control, The whole Story Is Better Than You Think, releases May 1st.


Jason Clark is an author, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers,  to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.

A Measureless Invitation

This article is taken from Jason's forthcoming book,

GOD IS (NOT) IN CONTROL, The Whole Story Is Better Than You Think

"…Control is a word that defines a great deal in the finite understanding of earth. It is a word that can be used for good. It can make us feel safe and secure.

Jason is in control of the car,” is a good thing.

Of course, truly, Jason is not in control of the car unless he is first in control of himself. But more on that later.

The concept of control makes sense on earth. But I am not writing about the math of earth. This book is about the measureless revelation of heaven. While control is the vocabulary of our finite physical story, this book is an invitation to the whole story – sovereign love.

You see, control is a finite word in a finite language among thousands of finite languages. But Love is a Person, an infinite revelation.

Control will end, but Love has no beginning and no end, Love has always been and will always be. 

Control is a perspective, it articulates measurement. It can’t be applied to a measureless revelation. God is love. Love is immeasurable.

Jesus was the unraveling revelation of another way of thinking and perceiving. He was a re-introduction to our native tongue. He made it possible for us to be re-born so we might re-discover. When Jesus walked the earth, He redeemed our narrative so we could once again live in the finite from the infinite. At this exact moment, we are actually seated in Christ at the right hand of the Father.

So please understand, when I write, “God is not in control,” I am addressing a finite perspective with an infinite revelation. And the good news is, in Christ, it’s possible for us to discover this revelation. You see, the infinite lives inside of us!

While God placed us in a world defined by measurements, He breathed His Spirit, the measureless revelation of love, into us. So, while we live in the insecurities of this earth, we have been invited to live from the confidence of heaven.

I understand that the idea of a God in control can make us feel secure when we live in a fallen world defined by measurements. But it’s just not true. God is not in control, it’s infinitely better than that, God is love. And He is continually inviting us into this measureless revelation so we might live like Jesus, secure, on earth as it is in heaven.

At the end of the day, I am not trying to convince you that the concept of control doesn’t hold some merit here on earth. But this book isn’t about math, it’s about love, it’s about trust and intimacy. It's an invitation into a measureless revelation...


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Jason Clark is an author, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters, fathers and mothers,  to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.