The “Wonderful-Plan-For-Your-Life” Lunch Box

The “Wonderful-Plan-For-Your-Life” Lunch Box

If any post generates a lot of “Unfollows,” it might just be this one. The “Wonderful Plan For Your Life” Lunch Box Special is not one that I would recommend. It is the first “Jesus-In-A-Box” I ever bought. I took a number of years to realize it didn’t agree with me, but perhaps not for the reasons you might think.

Just like the old “Things Go Better With Coke” advertisements, there is a tremendous promise to satisfy all of our longings…

…only if a person is not spiritually minded, it can come across as a promise to satisfy our material longings.

That is perhaps the biggest concern I have with what is titled “The Four Spiritual Laws,” a tract published by The Navigators.

So before you click “Unfollow,” I want to say that it was that same “Four Spiritual Laws” tract which a friend shared with me between my junior and senior years of high school that started me on a path of serious discipleship. In fact, during my college years I was a member of the campus chapter of The Navigators and led Bible studies.

So why am I knocking the “First Spiritual Law”?

Mostly it is because if someone is not spiritually-minded, has not been regenerated spiritually, they will hear “wonderful plan for your life” and imagine fame, fortune, material things, a happy family life, and a place in Heaven where you get to do all of your favorite things.

That is not the experience of the early Christian martyrs or modern Christian martyrs. They were and still are treated as criminals, stripped of their possessions, disowned by their families, imprisoned, and tormented. For them, choosing Jesus is choosing the possible loss of life in one of many brutal ways. I would have a difficult time telling someone living in this type of culture, “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”

You may be thinking “Well, buddy, the wonderful life that you’re knocking is really about spending eternity with Jesus in Heaven!” And although spending eternity with Jesus is a truly powerful motivator for those of us who are in Christ, I’m unsure that the average spiritually blind person will experience that same motivation when they hear “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”

I was that way. I thought a great deal about the “wonderful plan for your life” part, and not so much about the “Jesus part.” Quite honestly, when I was most preoccupied with myself, the “Jesus part” did not agree with me very well.

Whatever The Gospel is…it has to be the same for everyone and everywhere. It can not be an extension of The American Dream. It is not just about selfish me and my selfish life.

The Gospel must be about more than me and the wonderful life I imagine for myself.

Thanks for reading!

John

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“Jesus-In-A-Box” Is Ripping Us Off!

 

"Jesus-In-A-Box" Is Ripping Us Off!

Last year, I created a “Laura’s Essential Life Lists” comic strip titled “What All Of This Has Gotten Me.”

It was about how we can treat God like a vending machine and obedience like coins.

Recently I read an insightful post from one of my favorite sites about “The Marketing Of Jesus.”

This post gives several different marketing “brands” for Jesus which are designed to appeal to religious consumers.

Both of those ideas have been bumping around in my mind for a while, and prompted this series. I’m honestly not sure where this little series will go, and it may need to bump around in my mind a little more. Still, if this sparks any ideas or suggestions that you’d like to share, I’d enjoy hearing from you!

Thanks for reading!

John

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Killing God In Five Comic Strips

One of the challenges I’ve found has been trying to present comic strips in sequential order. They naturally post with most recent first at the top, and that works great for single topic posts. It just gets tough when there is a sequence. If you are a new or first-time reader, you won’t easily know what has led up the present comic strip. It’s not always easy to find the first in the series. This is an attempt to make that easier.

Select the thumbnail image or link to go to the comic strip where you’d like to start reading, then you can advance through the series.

We Have Finally Killed God!

Savage (Salvaged) Comics #001 “We Have Finally Killed God!” The main point of this comic strip is that some people may try to remove God from our minds and hearts and other people may try to warp God’s image in our minds and hearts. Both an atheist and a theist might agree that the latter is the worst. Maybe there are a few false ideas about God rattling around in my mind that need to be “Killed”?

The Power Of Words!

Savage (Salvaged) Comics #002 “The Power Of Words!” The main point here is words have the power to create and to destroy. It points to the irony of how the same things God used to create all we see (and don’t see) can also be used to kill God…words.

How To Kill God In Three Easy Steps!

Savage Salvaged Comics #003 “How To Kill God In Three Easy Steps!” This comic strip points out that science and religion are not necessarily enemies by looking at the work of three important scientific thinkers and how some people might try to use their work to kill God. We can kill God, but it is not done with words from science, it is done with words from man’s heart. The words in man’s heart made Jesus homeless, unemployed, and unrecognizable. The words in man’s heart killed Jesus.

The Ultimate Showdown!

Savage (Salvaged) Comics #004  “The Ultimate Showdown!” This comic post launched a sidetrip to a series of five Laser Eyes Jesus comic strips which explores faith and fear. To take that sidetrip now, here’s a post for that!

I Am In Charge Of God! I Am In Charge Of Me!

Savage (Salvaged) Comics #005  “I Am In Charge Of God! I Am In Charge Of Me!” This final comic strip in the series explores how the real tyrant in our lives can be the god we create within ourselves, My-God-Me. Only Real Life Jesus, I believe, can rescue me from the tyranny of My-God-Me.

Thanks for reading!

John

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I Am In Charge Of God! I Am In Charge Of Me!

I Am In Charge Of God! I Am In Charge Of Me!

The writing style for this post is different from the others in this series. To me, it reads both as a closing post and an opening post, perhaps for the next series in this journey. Anyway, I hope this conclusion is not a disappointment.

Of course I wouldn’t say that out loud. Who would actually say that out loud? People get put away for saying things like that. But if I look deep down into my heart, beyond the part that I don’t want anyone else to see, deeper down beyond the part that even I don’t want myself to see…isn’t that what resides there?

My God is Me. My-God-Me.

He is the one who yelled triumphantly, “We have Finally Killed God! We are free from His tyranny!”

He is the one who is so demanding of me I can’t have a moment of peace until I have fulfilled his every single capricious want and need. My-God-Me is the true cruel tyrant.

To please My-God-Me, I have given up everything, and I find now that My-God-Me has given me nothing in return, only failed promises and a trail of broken relationships and disappointments. My years of faithful devotion and believing have given me not a single lasting treasure promised by My-God-Me.

He is the one who continues to yell, “I am in charge of God! I am in charge of me!” He will not give up. He will not admit how hollow and empty he is.

So I can call you “Brother” and I can call you “Sister,” but behind your back I’m telling myself what a fool you are and how in My Kingdom, the Kingdom of My-God-Me, you have no place. Yes, I will smile at you with my rehearsed smile, and you will think I am enthralled by you…until you give me what I want from you.

I can find dozens of reasons not to help you, not to give to you. This proves how much better I am than you. I am exalted.

What you call my hatred is really my form of holiness. You stay away from me, don’t you? So you have proven my holiness, my set-apartness. I’m the only one who knows the truth, just me and the ones who think and believe like me. Aren’t you glad I’m willing to share my time and my words with you?

That’s me. Right there. My-God-Me.

Let me impress you even more. I can bend God’s Written Word to make it mean anything I want it to mean and to justify anything I want it to justify. Aren’t you impressed? You should be. I am resplendent, shining brilliantly in my glowing splendor.

But I can’t bend God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ. That One bends me. I don’t like that, and so I stay just at arm’s length away.

I can win any argument about God’s Written Word because I know all there is to know, at least more than you, but you won’t hear me saying much about God’s Living Word, God’s Word Made Flesh.

I stay at arm’s length because I don’t want to see those two loving arms stretched out, nailed down, beckoning me to join Him in the only way out of this religion I have made of myself and by myself and for myself, my worship of My-God-Me.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:24-25 KJV)

The only God I need to kill is the one that I have created within myself. Only Real Life Jesus, I believe, can rescue me from the tyranny of My-God-Me.

Thanks for reading!

John

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Faith and Fear (In Five Short Comic Strips)

One of the challenges I’ve found has been trying to present comic strips in sequential order. They naturally post with most recent first at the top, and that works great for single topic posts. It just gets tough when there is a sequence. If you are a new or first-time reader, you won’t easily know what has led up the present comic strip. It’s not always easy to find the first in the series. This is an attempt to make that easier.

Select the thumbnail image or link to go to the comic strip where you’d like to start reading, then you can advance through the series.

The Volcano-Stomping Robot vs. The Robot-Melting Volcano!

Laser Eyes Jesus #044 “The Volcano-Stomping Robot vs. The Robot-Melting Volcano!” The main point of this comic strip is we are all naturally most concerned with ourselves and getting things that will ensure our happiness and pleasure. It’s all about survival, even if our own getting blocks our neighbor’s getting.

Are We All More Alike Than We Realize?

Laser Eyes Jesus #045 “Are Things More Alike Than We Realize?” The main point here is we create justifications for our actions to get what we want. We can sometimes treat God as if He doesn’t exist (killing God) because we want Him to do something that He isn’t doing. We can sometimes treat God as if He is what He is not (warping God’s image) because we can threaten others with what He might do.

Two More For The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects!

Laser Eyes Jesus #046 “Two More For The Museum Of Abandoned Science Fair Projects!” This comic strip points out that we are going to run into dead ends, particularly when we aren’t waiting on God in faith and trust. When we hit a dead end, our natural inclination is to try to take over and exert our own power in a situation to manipulate the outcome any way that we can. Instead we need to humble ourselves and hold fast to Jesus.

First Epilogue: Whatever Happened To Larry And Brenda?

Laser Eyes Jesus #047 “First Epilogue: Whatever Happened To Larry And Brenda?” Here is a happy ending comic strip, just because one seemed to be needed. It also points out that sometimes opposite positions can sometimes produce pleasant compromises, even in the form of baby multi-purpose appliances!

Second Epilogue: A Night Of Wrestling With Fear

Laser Eyes Jesus #048 “Second Epilogue: A Night Of Wrestling With Fear” This final comic strip in the series shows a different side to the character Laser Eyes Jesus, and for regular readers, you know this happens mostly at night when the only two children left. This comic strip series has been about overcoming fear and dead ends by following the example of Jesus. It is not a step-by-step process. There really is only one step: know Real Life Jesus.

Thanks for reading!

John

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