Rob Bell – Death by Paper Cuts – Poets/Prophets/Preachers #5

I received a letter recently from a young man who was very very encouraging and supportive he went on at great length to tell me how much he appreciates the work that I do and he said let me tell you just how much I appreciate it the other day some people on Facebook were saying that you are nothing but fluff and irrelevance but I slammed them and defended you got your back dude first off I don't know how you slam someone on Facebook maybe I virtually slammed them now I put the letter down and my most sort of fundamental impulse was not gratitude for the fact that he has my back dude two words were like burning at the front of my brain and heart fluff and irrelevance his attempt was honest and kind an appreciative and full of gratitude and love he just wanted to let me know he's on the team this letter is what I call a chocolate-covered turd [Applause] at first glance it appears attractive and maybe even pleasing to the palate and then you take a bite of the chewy Center the intent of the encounter was support appreciation and love but the problem is what I extracted from it and took away was a bit of a mixed blessing now the fluff and the irrelevance got under my skin and bothered me but it wasn't just the fluff and irrelevance what was more insidious was my frustration that the fluff and irrelevance comment was hard to just kind of slough off so it worked at one level and yet at the same time it had a sort of sandpaper grating on the nerves kind of compressing the heart it worked on two levels and I think actually it was the frustration that I couldn't just blow it off instantly that was actually more painful than the actual content of the accusation and so my experience has been that that it is difficult to shake these sorts of things that come your way they sometimes even come with the noblest of intentions and yet you walk away limping you're it's not just that you're carrying around like that hurt but there is this I'm bigger than that and that should bounce off and so we have sometimes there sits an inflated sense of our own you know I'm a spiritual authority I'm a leader on the pastor this church I should be able to sometimes we have a sort of inflated ego in which we're we're we're so shocked that we are better than this and yet it's right there or how many of you have had this I would call this one the nine and the one ten bits of feedback about something and nine of them are not since Moses came down the mountain it's uh it's the Easter service and something happens on Resurrection Sunday and man liftoff transcendence oh man blew the roof off the joint and one person I brought my aunt and she's allergic to the flowers she stormed out I spend the rest of it and so you got the nine and the one and yet you walk away and what's the what's the one you remember it's the ratio killer it's the Wow there's 99 great things happen today I heard 999 amazing stories about the kingdom that is advancing the new creation bursting forth right in the midst but then that one person sent that email and that's the thing I can't shake and it isn't just the content of it it's I'm supposed to be able to shake this stuff or how about this how many of you have heard a rumor about yourself how many of you have ever heard a rumor about yourself that was true correct because then you wouldn't call it a rumor you would call it news I have heard things such unbelievable things there's a part of me sometimes it just wants to say mm-hmm it is true I I do have secret dreams of opening a shoe repair shop in Ohio and in fact I'm moving there next week to do that with the money I made from Betty non ostrich racing yes that's actually true and I've been able to cover it up this whole time there is this strangely comforting moment for me when one of the I believe it's a Roman city official says to Paul in acts aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led 4000 terrorists out into the wilderness sometime ago yeah yeah cuz 4,000 revolting Egyptians the death can't be wrong that there is this pain and here's what happens your friends hear the rumor at the same time you do and they laugh and they say okay that is so crazy that is you've got to laugh about that you've got to blow that one off yeah yeah yeah yeah but it's not about you it's about me and there's a difference your friends are very helpful and they're like oh come on that stuff that's just crazy yes but it's out there and it's about me and it isn't just the content of the rumor I'm what I'm going waiter I have that's my secret agenda it is I was gonna have a secret agenda I hope it'll be better than that but I hope it be like truly devious and and clever and devious you know with not just that anybody could come up with that it's not just the content it's that thing of I know I guess I am supposed to blow it off and sometimes our friends can actually in a strange sort of way we can it be in environments that that caused the inner dialogue to rev even faster because yeah you're right I guess I should be able to blow that off so it's an hour later you're driving home it's that evening it's the next morning and for some strange reason it's still kind of lingering there and you don't actually want to share it sometimes and actually what's the beautiful thing is when you can share but sometimes it's just the inner dialogue that plays it's the it's the it's the comment that somebody makes ah yeah see you got a new car pastor yeah I I did my donkey broke [Applause] I mean I have heard last a week ago last Sunday my goodness are you eating you look gone you've really lost a lot of weight hey thanks right and it's not like this is a conversation like well apparently now you are free to comment on my weight so you're in this awkward situation I think we're having a conversation but like we aren't and my experience has been that when you are in a community and you have some sort of leadership role is you open yourself up to all of these things and there are they're really really helpful sayings like most of the criticism you receive is less about you and more about the person who gave it and at the same time most of the praise that you receive is more about the person you get and those are all very very helpful but my experience has been is that it's very easy to have an internal dialogue that is a bit split divided and wobbly at times it's like a tape that plays a voice a conversation and a segment I'd really I'd really love not to have that particular voice playing or maybe you have one of these in your life the official committee for doctrinal purity Orthodox rhetoric in general theological correctness self-appointed of course it is that individual or contingent and however well-meaning and however studied and learned and well-intentioned they are they have this ability to speak and give their feedback at the exact moments when you don't need it and it's not that they well sometimes they do have other things going on but it's just you know what after what just happened there what I'm meeting right now is just a little space my energetic body bit tapped out right now and so I have learned in managing that energy that right now I just need a few moments to let what was poured out be poured back in and the timing is a bit off on having that discussion about that issue about that nuanced word and how I could have said it that way and so my experience has been that over the years you get beaten down and it's sometimes from big heavy awful things that happened that you're a part of relationships fall apart serious moments like a moment a few years ago when a whole group of people in our church set out to have my ordination revoked because I wasn't fit to preach the gospel so it's like wow that's that's something I guess because if I don't have that piece of paper what would I do and there is my experience so there are the big things and yet there is a way in which the comments and it's just good people just sometimes it's people who just have a relationship with you because they listen to you and you don't and so they have their first maybe encounter with you one-on-one in the hallway and it's they're not at their most articulate or relaxed or at ease or whatever and so things are said and and and you have a sort of embracing ocean of love and compassion for them and yet it somehow that little thing got in there and it's stuck I call this over time it's a sort of death by paper cuts and my experience has been with leaders is it's easy to name exhaustion burnout pain from the big things I went through that well of course I feel a little bruised and beaten up and wounded by that well of course I'm limping because of that thing I got knee capped with a baseball bat in that situation but but what I would argue is even more painful and wounding are all of these little tiny things that we absorb over time but we are so convinced for all sorts of reasons that this shouldn't affect me that we don't really know what to do with it because like what am I gonna go seriously go to a therapist for that comment and the truth is they start to build up and they can you're really bleeding by now but it's from a thousand of those little moments and what I have learned is that what this can do to you in almost like deep recesses of your bones is it begins to affect us sometimes because it's over a period of years and because all of they can all at the time seem so trivial absurd and superficial is it adds up in ways but you can't really identify it or see it coming or even know when it's exerting tremendous power over you and so there's a couple things in my experience that can start to happen we hold back we in the early days we went for it we had that idea and we were like let's do it let's organize the whole Sunday service around it let's see and if it fails if it doesn't work if people have a sort of IIIi refer to them as Radiohead sermons I know I'm supposed to get it but I'm I don't it's and and what happens is we took a few shots because of it we took a bit of critic a bit of like was that what we're gonna come to expect kind of this sort of it what about the Bible or so or whatever whatever whatever and so what happens is the next time we have one of those impulses hey let's do this it's that feeling before whatever it is you were gonna do when you're like hey you know what and other people who are who are with it you're in it together you have this sense like hey this thing could this thing could really bomb I know it's that Holy Terror of we got something here we got to share and the reason line I know the experience is what we're supposed to do is there's a chance that could really fail you know that feeling do you not its whatever I'm doing I'm not just well I guess it's time to say something whatever this is at least I'm fully alive at least we're trying something at least in some sort of humble sort of stumbling way at least we're listening to what looks like the spirit we're chasing the wind man and better at least to fail doing that or whatever that means because then you realize that's not failure that's just well now we know what we won't do in the future there's no failure it's just another opportunity to learn and grow and evolve and change and transform and so what happens over time is it's like wait if I went if I put myself out there like that and I receive those things the next time you get one of those it's like you back off you hold back if they trampled on those pearls no way am i handing this one over and so the prophetic man the last time I talked about the suffering in our city a bunch of people said stop making me feel guilty well hide that was never my intent I was just saying that one of the things Jesus teaches us is to see okay then I guess that's you backed off on the prophetic back off on the creative you are working on something and you realize with this particular content in this particular situation I need to tell that story of that thing to happen to me that time you share it with a couple friends I'm thinking about sharing this too I don't want to be exploitive I don't want to unnecessarily manipulate people's emotions but there's this thing that happened to me and it's pretty personal and you wrestle through it because once you share something personal you can't get it back I think that story is going to be a sort of door through which a bunch of people can come into this Cathedral I'm trying to build and you do that and you take a shot you take a hit somebody says why and then the next time you have one of those you think no way no way am i bringing that out after what happened last time and maybe don't even realize it maybe what happens our time as a sort of callus builds up where we aren't even able to go to some of those places because it's just like shut I like nope shut off other times lists and labels those people are bad dangerous mean nasty too theologically smart for their own good and so those people are just just keep them there and a labeling system develops or a list of that group Oh so-and-so I know what they said and I just realized that they are in a small group with those folks so clearly they've infected them so if we're gonna head this way just just and so we develop these to protect ourselves so and so and sometimes what it is is it's not even rooted in reality it's a perception we have because of something that happens and you and and it may not even be true we're talking about perceptions sometimes it's our own inflated sense of ego you either for me or with me but nevertheless what happens it's very easy to develop lists and labels and sometimes and we're talking about a minute when that's totally legit and yet other times the real truth is somewhere back there we got a paper cut and we didn't call it that and now we're trying to protect ourselves and then there's just flat-out revenge sometimes there's passive revenge which is I don't feel like giving my best today how'd I give you my best I've been here for three years five years 20 years that's just it's for though for you it's just one more Sunday but for me it's but oh and we just sometimes I'm punishing them in a sort of passive way because they hurt me and so no way are they getting my best no way I'm I got to put the hours in on that particular sermon that's what they do with my stuff that's what they do I expect that I had assumptions about this and it wasn't Matt and now sometimes we're not even aware of it but what we're really doing is were withdrawing or holding back and it is a passive form of revenge sometimes it's just active for friends we do want to harm somebody we do want to slander somebody we do want to oh yes so and so and this one you can always use Oh so-and-so hmm yes I've yes I've it's all confidential but I've had some constant points at them not that I'm saying anything but let me tell you so that I can you can pray for them more effectively um no there is there is this thing that develops wow these people have just sucked my energy dry and now I'm supposed to just pretend like none of that happened I'm supposed to get up and do my best I don't know so my experience has been it is very easy for these forces to be working on us sometimes that sort of subterranean level of the soul the guts and it begins to deeply affect the way we interact my central premise is that to stay in this game and not just to have something to say but to actually have more and more and more to say to be more and more filled with Wonder and awe about resurrection about the wonder of the mystery of God about church about the Kingdom my experience has been that the one thing I wasn't told but the one thing that we must become not just students but masters of is you have to learn to forgive and you sometimes have to learn to forgive the actual people in your actual church now it's dangerous to just forgive a mass of people because it's it's it's sort of faceless mad hard to forgive a faceless mass but nevertheless there is a degree to which you have to get really really good at forgiving people for that comment for that email for that offhanded thing that was said in the parking lot at the end of the Sunday when you were exhausted and just wanted to get in your car and go home and lay down on the couch and it was like okay that was the one time when I didn't need to know about that don't you know about that and it was like the one thing that just put your man can I even go on my central premise and the one thing that has changed everything for me is as a leader we don't just get to be students of forgiving we have to get really really good at forgiving we have to learn how to do it we have to learn how to name the wound we have to learn how to call it what it is those people didn't understand what I said and so now they are spreading their misunderstanding well what is that why does that bother me because I want to control people's responses to what I say I don't just want the ability to control the actual words that come out of my mouth and the work that I put into this I also once I've given it I'd like more God I'd also like to control how people respond and I don't get that I said it and people took it one way and it was not intended to be taken that way and some people were not ready no matter how much work I hopefully did to present it they were not ready for that and that's just where they are and this is just where I am and that is just what happened and I don't get more control than that and there is a tension there and I cannot resolve it and I want to and I can't and so I keep buddy up against it and that is what needs to be named and called what it is and so we call things what they are that hurt and central to this is that trivial odd strange thing the person said about your new trousers the very things were like I should just blow that off whatever get to the heart mind that thing and get down to what it really is their comment made me feel very vulnerable studied examined and analyzed and that is a feeling of great exposure anybody relate to that I don't like being exposed I don't like being studied I don't like being analyzed I don't like people trying to figure out the motivations don't like that okay then that's what it is apparently I don't like something mmm and so forgiveness becomes letting them go now when you talk about forgiving what if you're like me comes up right away is yeah yeah but but you you don't know some of the people in my church okay sheep have teeth and they use them so so let me say that when I talk about forgiveness there's a couple things I'm not talking about and I actually in this is where where it's very easy to get into lots and lots of confusion in trouble a couple things next proverbs 26 11 one of my favorite verses in scripture as a dog returns to its vomit so fools repeat their folly by the way there's this thing I've bumped into time and time where people say what's your life verse and I'm like Mary I swear I have like 3000 of them let me pick if anybody ever does that just be like oh yeah proverbs 26 11 write it down later and then they go back they like what would you sign my Bible and put your life verse in it you better believe I will sorry that's a pencil you have a sharpie I I think this wisdom of Proverbs is very helpful one of the things the Scriptures continually respond to is some people are toxic and they're going to return to their vomit as does a dog again and again and again and you don't have to be there when they do you don't have to be there when they do it is okay to have appropriate boundaries with people who are toxic especially if you are a leader because what can happen is we have this I guess Jesus is just kind of a giant warm soggy embrace that just whatever they want to whatever they want to bring my way I guess the loving leadership thing to do is I guess I'm just supposed to give them the time and everything that they need and what they do is they walk up to you they plug in and they are just extracting energy and you cannot figure out what just happened but you're a bit tired that day well you ran into several people who just plugged in and took and took and took and took and guess what this happened three weeks ago and it happened two months ago with the same person you can be an ocean of compassion and love and grace and at the very same time have very strong boundaries about exactly how much you can interact and engage with certain people are you with me so okay notice things like this notice what Paul says at one point Warren divisive people once and then warned them a second time Paul is absolutely firm first off that some people are divisive like he just calls it what it is and sometimes there's a sort of no no I'm supposed to love everybody and everybody is a minister and a disciple of Paul's okay some people are divisive it's it's not their opinions in their desire for theological correctness and their passion for the church they're divisive and there's a posture of the heart and sometimes my experience is that sometimes the divisive Ness that's like almost the root masquerades with language like prayer and unity and fellowship is it's it's like a Trojan horse I guess I'm supposed to be like all about all of this but how come it feels like there's something else going on just below the surface but you know exactly what I'm talking about like wait wait wait what is that because it says it's that but I don't think that's what's going on here you are not an ecclesiastical punching bag hired by the masses to just take the blows you're better than that you are a precious resource and you are a gift to your community and sometimes what happens is congregations take all of their collective unhealth and there's this person who it gets placed on and that we pay you what are we paying you to do I mean you get a paycheck to put up with our insanity and toxicity isn't that the agreement it's like page to your description no no no notice this I love this Luke 1213 someone in the crowd said to him teacher tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me and jesus replied man oh man who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you just just quote this and ones in the words of Jesus man can you just feel it I'm so tired of people like you believable by the way the whole idea behind a judge in an arbiter is you would never go to a rabbi with Jesus particular calling in place in Jewish culture for one of these things is not my job you you're coming to me for like a legal dispute everybody knows that you don't come to someone like me for something like that and then secondly the dividing the heritance issue whoa wait wait wait wait wait what is going on what kind of messed-up family are you and your brother the the the levels of unhealth and the family for them the brothers to have this issue and have not resolved it in this particular place but have dragged it into this particular place it's like layer upon layer of familial dysfunction out of whack with the way the culture does things and and come on here it's do something and Jesus the divine embodiment of patience love grace healing and forgiveness says man that ain't my job it is not that at that moment he has a schizophrenic moment of non Jesus Ness I don't know if you have heard this enough but you need to know that it is okay to guard that resource so that it can be used most effectively to point people to a resurrection it is okay to guard that resource and to steward it well and you should never apologize for that and what can easily happen is a stunningly disproportionate amount of the hours in a leaders life can be spent taking care of the arbitration needs of toxic divisive people who don't have any intent of following Jesus in the first place and then the real work is crammed in to a few table scrap hours in which you're exhausted spent and feel like this isn't what I signed up for it's okay I love what Jesus says at one point we like the first part love your neighbor as yourself sometimes I meet preachers teachers leaders pastors and you start hearing about their workweek and the stuff that they're involved in and it's just like man you gotta love yourself because this isn't I think you know II just need someone to give you permission to say come on come on come on there's got to be a better way so when we talk about forgiveness we are not talking about having no boundaries we are not talking about ignoring toxic behavior and divisive actions we are not talking about being honest about listen here at our church we embrace you and we love you and we are thrilled that you're here and I'm honored that you would come to me with this but the way I'm going to serve you is I'm going to say no and I'm gonna point you in a better direction to somebody who actually can walk with you on this one sometimes it is I appreciate your passion for the truth but we have now had X number of email exchanges about this issue I know where you stand you know where I stand and we will have no more emails about this particular issue there are moments when it's okay to say I understand that you have a vested interest in this and would love for us to have continuing relationship and coffee and talks and discussion about this but this community has entrusted me with a couple of tasks and because I've said yes to these tasks and because I want to serve you to the very best of the ability God has given me then there are some other things that I have to say no to so I'm gonna have to frame it for you in terms of yes and no because I said yes I have to say no but underneath it all is an awareness that this thing has been painful and I need to forgive this person or else it's going to be in there somewhere forgiveness is being free from it Jesus next slide on the cross just Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing my experience has been that forgiveness has a cost and involves a pattern I believe it is built into the fabric of the universe its how the cosmos operates and the Christ pattern of forgiveness involves death into resurrection it is a pattern it is a practice it is a discipline a rhythm a ritual and this pattern of death into resurrection is painful and costly and hard like all deaths are but because it is a Jesus pattern built into the cosmos it leads to resurrection and so what happens in order to forgive is I suffer the agony of that wound and I name it and I own it and I embrace it and I call it what it is and I say i journal I speak I write it out this hurts because they said that and the reason why I'm still playing that around is because fluff and irrelevance is really really painful to hear about hours of your life's work hurts and so I'm gonna go into that and it's going to hurt like a death would hurt but if I can go all the way to the bottom of it and I'm still alive what that death is going to lead to is a resurrection in which I will be a different person if I stay true to it there's no way to experience a death without coming out the other side a new person Tim Keller in his absolutely stunning book the reason for God says there is another option however you can forgive forgiveness means refusing to make them pay for what they did however to refrain from lashing out at someone when you want to do so with all your being is agony it is a form of suffering let me read that again forgiveness means refusing to make them pay for what they did and we've explored some of the passive quiet ways in which we actually if we're honest are making them pay for what they did however to refrain from lashing out at someone when you want to do so with all your being is agony it is a form of suffering next you are absorbing the debt taking the cost of it completely on yourself instead of taking it out on the other person or the church or the congregation it hurts terribly many people would say it feels like a kind of death next yes but it is a death that leads to resurrection instead of the life long living death of bitterness and cynicism the Christ pattern is a death that leads to life when you can work through that stuff and you can stand in front of these people having forgiven a thousand little slights that that some you are free in ways you were not free before they wounded you because now your love isn't just hey this is new hey these people are perfect these people aren't like other churches and they're part of the new thing oh yeah it's gonna be different it is these people are human and humans do things and Jesus invites us to a new humanity and in the new humanity that's happening to me I'm alive and I hold nothing against them and so I got some stuff to share please turn in your Bibles there is a vitality a life a sort of I died but man I'm still here so let's go as far as I know the tomb is empty people pick that stuff up I swear to you they pick it up they smell it they feel it it's in the air they know what's going on that's why people say to you sometimes I don't know what it is but man it was humming today they used all sorts of language they know where you're at they know when you're beaten down and they know when something else is going on they know this notice what Parker Palmer says he's this amazing book on paradox because the Cross says the pain stops here the Quai of the Cross is a way of absorbing pain not passing it on a way that transforms pain from destructive impulse into creative power and Lolly to read that again the way of the Cross is a way of absorbing pain not passing it on you all hurt me I will now and all sorts of very subliminal sorts of ways pass it back and so then people are feeling kind of deluded and so it comes back and it just loops and what happens when you forgive is all of a sudden stops there's no more feedback loop and when that stops you know it they know it and things start to happen the way of the Cross is a way of absorbing pain not passing it on a way that transforms pain from destructive impulse into creative power next when Jesus accepted the cross his death opened up a channel for the redeeming power of love this pattern unleashes unbelievable things in the world and my central premise is that to preach to teach to sermonize to speak to lead we don't just need to become students of it you have to get really good at it you have to practice it and it's like a muscle let the more you use it the stronger it gets the Christ pattern of death into resurrection I want to invite you if you have taken us let's just go to a blank sheet of paper is there anybody that you need to forgive is there any encounter that you are carrying around with you is there any church that you used to work at that you need to set free is there any contingent committee house Church small group perhaps you may need to write their name down and perhaps right now you're like no it's too painful pay attention to that because underneath the surprised and the rhetoric and the arranging and the storyboarding and the exegesis is the love we have the people that we are preaching to and it's hard and it's difficult and it feels like a death but it leads to life you you

36 thoughts on “Rob Bell – Death by Paper Cuts – Poets/Prophets/Preachers #5

  1. Don't be received and be a deceiver!
    2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
    that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
    and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
    For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
    in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

  2. "And now I say unto you, refrain from Rob Bell and leave him alone: for if his counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; in that case, you'd be fighting against God." —paraphrase of Acts 5:38–39

  3. No matter how ya 'slice' the Gospel, the only way to receive eternal life is to turn and believe in Jesus Christ (Heb. Y'shua HaMachiach) There is nothing in the world we can do to earn it since we're guilty of participating in the sins of a fallen world. God is the Source of all goodness and we need Him. It's not a matter of our good deeds outnumbering our bad deeds even if it sounds right to us since God knows everything about you and I. The Father then made the impossible a glorious reality when He let His Son be sacrificed on a Roman cross and He will accept the one who has faith in that sacrifice and give him or her the eternal life that is in Jesus and open up the mysteries of His Kingdom, along with a changed mind and a changed heart. Simply trust Father. He will never disappoint anyone who humbly calls on Him! Okay, will you do it today?

    This is how cults start, with a narcissistic charismatic speaker who
    lulls in the naive. The Emergent 'church' is cultic, and all about
    unreliable feelings, adopting Romish 'smells and bells' and candles The ROCK of
    Christ Incarnate is missing.

  5. The Bible is consistent through both Old and New Testaments in confirming that homosexuality is sin (Genesis 19:1–13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Jude 1:7). In this matter, the New Testament reinforces what the Old Testament had declared since the Law was given to Moses (Leviticus 20:13).
    The difference between the Old and New Testaments is that the New
    Testament offers hope and restoration to those caught up in the sin of homosexuality through the redeeming power of Jesus. It is the same hope that is offered to anyone who chooses to accept it (John 1:12; 3:16–18).

    God’s standards of holiness did not change with the coming of Jesus, because God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). The New Testament is a continuing revelation of God’s interaction with humanity. God hated idolatry in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 5:8), and He still hates it in the New (1 John 5:21). What was immoral in the Old Testament is still immoral in the New.

    The New Testament says that homosexuality is a “shameful lust” (Romans 1:26), a “shameful act,” an abandonment of “natural relations” (Romans 1:27), a “wrongdoing” (1 Corinthians 6:9), and “sexual immorality and perversion” (Jude 1:7). Homosexuality carries a “due penalty” (Romans 1:27), “is contrary to the sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:10),

  6. 11:30 Bell makes the point about the week-meaning members of the committee of Doctrinal purity,etc, complaining about him. I wonder if Paul, Peter, John, Jesus, would complain about the well-meaning, post-modern committee of political correctness, always co-opting the Disciples and Jesus's original meaning and signing their accounts with their own blood to make sure people took it seriously? Bell seem to be quite the hypocrite here.

    Where is the content here? It's one long rant. Problem is we don't get to misrepresent the Bible to make it politically correct, and then call ourselves Christians.

    If he started his own religion, say Bellian Politically Correct Followers of a Fictitious Jesus, no one would complain. It is when you misrepresent the core, not peripheral, aspects of Christianity, and call yourself a Christian (although Mormans and Jehovah's Witnesses call themselves Christians as well), that causes people to object to Bell's false premises.

  7. It seems that we are all invited into a mutual and equal 'conversation' by emergent thinkers like Rob Bell, until you realise that it does not seem quite mutual once  the exchange of ideas begins – they are gurus to us as acolytes perhaps?

  8. Best place to go if you want to get hurt is Church , Its a struggle for me right now but i'll continue to attend for JESUS Sake forgiving is easy but to forget is hard however it molds together in time . I like Rob Bell .

  9. As a new Christian sometimes, The Bible can be a little hard for me to understand, Well truth be known Johns big red ball can be too, But anyway all i can say is Rob Bell is inspiring in his preaching. ( LOVE FROM THE UK )

  10. Thanks for posting! This collection of videos has been extremely helpful in my preparation of preaching. 

  11. Wow. I feel like those who don't really know the church from behind the scenes just got a real taste of what it's like. And it is freakin messy. But man, that's so freakin awesome. What humility it takes to admit the things he admitted. And that, to me at least, feels like the resurrection. 

  12. All these comments about who is right and who is wrong.  Wait until your own that hospital bed with a Stroke or Cancer or a Heart Attach.  In the end and there is one you better Hope there is a God, a Heaven.  Because all you have in the end is Hope and maybe a litte faith in Jesus. 

  13. We have a simple God whom we in our minds have made complex. It is because of our own arrogance that we cannot fathom Him. This why Christ says we must approach Him as children. Sin is a necessary lesson in the perfection of free will. We must learn its workings and ends by direct experience. Sin cannot exist in our Father's house. Death and pain have no place there and so we have here. The world is our classroom and Satan is our instructor of sin.

  14. God is the Creator who seeks our adoption now being children of Adam. His grace is his unmerited acceptance of us all. We cannot fathom its depths because we see others as worse than ourselves and undeserving, yet God made all pots for His purpose. His mercy is found in His equitable and corrective discipline that burns our chaff leaving our wheat.

  15. God’s love is manifest by His stepping into our classroom and subjecting Himself to all we must endure even to physical death. He did this in the form of The Son both of God and of Adam. In Christ we fathom the pure simplicity of God, His grace, His mercy and His refining discipline. In Him we see our graduation day, our deliverance from class. Not as gods but adopted children who love their new Father and understand the depths of His ways, rejecting evil for love

  16. I second the motion.. this is God's Unfathomable Wisdom…

    "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." – Romans 11:32 KJV

    If everything was right up from the beginning. How do we know the depths of God's Love? what is Grace? what is mercy?

    What kind of God is this God?

  17. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." – I Timothy 2:3-4 KJV

    Some bible versions have "will have all men" to "desires that all men"…

    One of the hundred verses that supports Universal Restitution..

    Please I don't want to debate… I just want to share.. and I'm so happy with the idea and belief that God loves all, He saves all… 😀 I have no problem with anyone.. God loves us all!

  18. I agee. I think if people really thought about why God alowed Satan into the Garden of Eden rather than immediately destroying him but let the deceiver live knowing he would bring death to his creation. If they thought about why God allows the sin of one man to infect us all from birth, they would see a wider view of God's workings with humanity. What is the real mystery of life and salvation? We need to quit focusing totally on now and look back and outside of our own experiance

  19. "Do not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind". "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,". " Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus""And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

  20. I took this message and applied it to the disfunctional nature of the department in which I work and make a living. I see every aspect of what he is saying here being played out in my life as well as the lives of others on a daily basis. Unfortunately I work with tradesmen who are not believers and see the whole forgiveness thing as being a sign of weakness and so they remain in revenge mode as the cutting is performed by their bosses. If forgiveness is psychobable, shelf your Bible.

  21. The Master Jesus was falsely accused by the Pharasees. Did He just take it or did He call them "children of Satan, hypocrites, liars, white washed tombs,murderers, decievers"? In short "toxic people". Read into it what you will but the truth is that these small cuts are often held onto even though we try to sluff them off. This is part of the human condition and it is overcome by forgiveness, This is what Rob is teaching and Christ made reality when He forgave His accusers on the cross

  22. by just as much scripture. Furthermore it takes nothing away from Christ's work on the cross. To say that Rob avoids defending his accusers is untrue. He has done so on national TV several times as well as other forums. You can find this here on YouTube. His opponents do not need to be refuted as he is not saying their positions are wrong. I came to God overcome by His infinite love not out of fear of eternal torment and I try my best to live rightly in return. I am a Universalist.

  23. Have you read Love Wins? There really is no definitive declaration of universalism but rather a raising of the question. Questions are encouraged by God "come let us reason together". The early Church was an open forum for discussion on these matters, read Acts. The "narrow gate" referance is similiar to the rich man and the eye of the needle and Christ's teachings are often taken to literal when the message is deeper and spiritual. Universalism is older than eternal torment and is supported

  24. Totally agree. The biggest evil in the Church is the division of denominationalism where everyone thinks their "brand" holds the totallity of truth leading them to condemn others rather than civilly debate. It is a form of self righteousness. I personally disagree with Rob on gay marriage as I believe it sanctifies immorality but that to me takes nothing away from the larger body of his work in which I have found new truths, inspiration and questions.

  25. There is nothing said here about relying on feelings. Rather the message is to acknowlege that we all have them and a times they can be destructive, This applies to the one who disregards the feelings of others as well as the one being disregarded. Once we acknowlege the power of negative feelings we can overcome them by forgiving, and some need to be mindful of their actions in provoking them. THE central work and message of Christ is the power of forgivness as His defeated sin and death.

  26. Don't know how much this message resonates with most Christians, but as a preacher it was truly freeing. Thank you Rob.

  27. it is not safe to rely on feelings. The Bible says in Proverbs "there is a way that seems right to a man, that leads to destruction". By rejecting the clear teaching of scripture, Rob Bell makes himself a higher authority than God. He is a dangerous , false teacher. The bible warns us about wolves in sheeps clothing,,notice they LOOK like a sheep. But they will not teach the truth. Jesus said "you will know the truth and the truth will set you free". God bless you Angie

  28. The verse is in part 2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
    "The Lord ….. not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Repentance means to change once thinking and believe the Gospel.. search in youtube for "Gospel Faith and Works" if you would like to hear an excellent message on how the three all fit together.

  29. I guess you're one of those blessed ones who has never had toxic people in your life who drained you of everything over time. He appreciates people, just not when they drain the good out of life. Even Jesus had to take breaks alone, and even told Peter off saying that Satan was speaking through him. How's that for disappointing psychobabble.

  30. Um, nope. Correcting an error isn't being toxic. Maybe a bit more understanding and better judgment will make him appreciate people more. He just comes off as whiny here, and I generally "get" and like what he says, so this was disappointing psychobabble.

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