It’s time for the real you!

6 05 2022

Spring is the time to exchange the old drab clothes of winter for something bright and cool. It’s time for the shorts and polos that have been hidden in the closet and drawers for months to again be worn in the sun and warmth.

It is also time for me to discard those winter clothes that are worn out and not me anymore. But since I am a keeper, this is hard. Thankfully, my wife pushes me to thin out my old clothes, because I have some I have not worn for years. She says, when I get something new, “Now what are you getting rid of?”

For all of us, now is the time to let go of the old garments of our tired self-story and put on the new Jesus story as our life. It is time to let go of the false image you have been trying to portray for years. It’s time to let go of the fears, the private lies you have held onto since a child, and the envy of not getting to be who you wanted to be. You can let all these things and others go because you do not need them anymore. They are false and are not the true you.

Paul teaches us in his Evangel that who we really are is Jesus. Before Jesus came, humanity lived with a false image of itself. Jesus corrected that by becoming our failed humanity, dying to the falsehood, and then raising us together with Him to live in the new humanity, as Him. Paul said…put off from you as regards your former behavior, the old humanity, which is corrupted…and to put on the new humanity which, in accord with God, is being created in righteousness and benignity of the truth. (Eph.4.22-24 CLNT). The new humanity is Christ. He is the new creation that Paul says we have become in Him (2 Cor.5.17).

This new set of clothes, our new humanity, is not strange or unrealistic to us. They are who we have been all along, we just did not know it. Many of us have not realized that we are created to be someone different than who we thought. Hidden under the falsehood of our pretending is the real us, waiting for us to discover in Jesus. Paul said it is as simple as putting off and putting on. Notice again the order. We first put off something that is not true. We realize what we thought was the real us is false. But modern Christianity has taught us the other way around, put on so we can put off. It has taught us to try to be like Jesus, as an exchange for our old life. But we cannot become someone we are not already. We can only be who God created us to be, a son of God in Jesus. This is why we have said in this ministry, be who you already are. Be Jesus because that is the best you there is.

The springtime of your life is here. It is time to shed the drab clothes of falsehood. It is time to always think and speak of yourself as living, walking, and seated with Jesus. See life through His eyes and heart, without any thought or concern for the things of this world. Likewise, realize He lives in you, just as you are with all the frailties of your humanity. You do not have to change a thing. Let Him be your life and transform you as He sees fit.  This is true, authentic life.

Be the real you, be Jesus

Dennis





Resurrected together

16 04 2022

Many Christians believe, as do most Jews, that there will be a resurrection in the last days. Martha stated this belief in her dialogue with Jesus after the death of Lazarus. But Jesus responded to her, I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who is believing in Me, even if he should be dying, shall be living (Jn.11:24-26 CLNT). Jesus changed the focus from resurrection being an event in history to Himself as the embodiment of resurrected life. In Him, we are dying yet living.

Like the first man Adam, whatever Jesus did as the second Man affected all humanity after Him. Adam’s actions brought death to all, but Jesus brought Life. When He died, God says He did not die alone, we died together in Him. When He arose from the grave, we arose with Him. We have been “vivified”, “roused” from death to life together in Him for the ages (Eph. 1:5,6; Col.2:13; 3:1).

This is the wonderful truth the original Greek calls the “evangel”. God gave it to Paul by revelation and charged him to dispense it to the world. Sadly, this evangel has disappeared through the years of theological revisions since the days of Constantine. Now Christian teachers tell us to await this life in Jesus. They tell us to be faithful until we die, so that we can obtain this age abiding life. But God says we have it now. Even while living in these decaying bodies, we have the power and exceeding abundance of resurrected life in Jesus. We just do not realize it!

But don’t we still die? Yes, even resurrected Lazarus did not live forever. Even while being raised together with Christ, we are still dying. But this death is not the end, but simply leaving our earthly bodies, the temporary tent for our earthly existence. We still live on, existing always in Jesus. Our real life goes on, never ceasing. One day Jesus will give us a new body that will never decay or perish. I am looking forward to that new “super body”.

Roused together in Jesus should be the clarion message of Easter. I do not want to hear that I need to wait for life for the ages. I do not need a message of hope in a coming resurrection. I have it now! I have the Life of Jesus in me now by faith in Him. He is my life forever. Even in this temporary house I live in, I realize more everyday His life in me, as me. I live raised together with Him.

Live on together in Him





What does God see?

20 03 2022

I grew up in a Christian denomination that focused heavily on the dangers of sin. It was the central focus of our meetings and teaching. It felt like our only mission as a community was to combat sin in our lives and the world. To overcome this problem, my teachers taught me to strive for holiness by abstaining and separating myself from any hint of evil.

My Bible teachers also taught me that God hated sin and could not look at it. He must turn away from it like He did His Son on the cross. Likewise, if I sinned, God had to turn His back on me until I repented and asked for His forgiveness.

But something happened – I saw the truth. God does not see sin at all. He has zero knowledge of sin in our lives. Why? Because my sinful body was “done away with” through the death of Jesus on the cross (Rom. 6:6). God through Jesus even “erased” the decrees (laws) that pointed out sin in our lives! (Col. 2:14). Now there is nothing that says we are sinners. Instead, in God’s eyes we are flawless, unimpeachable in His sight (Col.1:23 CLNT).

But, you say, don’t we still “sin”? I would respond, is it sin or the result of pretending – acting contrary to who God says we are? God does not see sin but grieves that we are acting contrary to who we are to Him. We hurt ourselves through our choices, behaving as though we are still living like our old self.

As a pastor all I saw was sin in people. I preached to my congregations as though they were still flawed and needed correction. That is what I thought was my job, to teach, expose, and correct with Scripture. Is it any wonder that my listeners became discouraged with the Bible or did not want to attend church? Why would even a stranger want to be subjected to this “guilting”?

Blake Shelton, the popular country music singer, says it well in his new hit song called “Bible Verses.”

But Lord knows, I ain’t measured
Up to what’s inside
And they say that that’s okay
But I keep praying for the day

That I can open up that good book
And Heaven don’t look
Like it’s out of reach
When it feels like those apostles
Are giving me the gospel
And not the third degree
I just want it to read
Like Bible verses
And not the Bible versus me
(1)

What should have been the heart of my preaching and teaching? We are perfect in Jesus. God sees you and I as completely flawless in Jesus. We need to accept Him as our life and recognize who we really are. That means stop condemning yourself and others. Start seeing yourself as God sees you – flawless in Jesus.

The Bible is not a measuring stick but the revelation of God’s mercy and grace in restoring us to who we really are as an image of Jesus. The Scriptures are a reminder of what it looks to live in and as Him. My message now is not condemnation but restoration – restoring, and encouraging, presenting every man mature in Christ Jesus (Col. 1:29).

And this is how we need to see each other. Paul says from now on we are acquainted with no one according to flesh, we only see Jesus (2 Cor. 5:16 CLNT). If someone is still acting like their old selves, we restore with gentleness their image of themselves as Jesus. What would church be like if we did not see the flaws in each other – or that we felt self-conscious around each other? What would it be like to not have to pretend to be with each other? What if it was a safe place? (2)

More on that in the posts to come.

Dennis D

  1. Blake Shelton, with Joe Fox, Andrew Pebbles, Brett, Sheroky, April 2021, AZLyrics.
  2. Cf. This is a Safe place., Jesus as Us, 3/6/22.




February News

22 02 2022

News from our Knowing Jesus community





“You will get through this!”

23 01 2022

Listen or watch as Dennis interviews his friends and new JAU (Jesus as Us) community members Andy and Chrissy Koontz. Hear them talk about their journey of recovery from Andy’s brain cancer and their own spiritual quest to know Jesus. With their new revelation of Jesus living in them, a whole new outreach is unfolding, not only to other cancer survivors, but also friends across the globe searching for authentic knowledge of Jesus. 

Video – https://youtu.be/pilg_Mb-rfk

Podcast – https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-cxs9q-1188ed6

Check out their website www.andykoontz.com, and especially the song Andy wrote during his recovery called “You will get through this”. 

Andy and Chrissy can also be reached through email akoontz2003@hotmail.com





Hold your New Year’s plans lightly

7 01 2022

What if everything you plan to do this next year suddenly changed? It is devastating enough to suffer from a major health or natural disaster, which many have. But what if something were to change inside of you, in your heart? What if your identity and self-story collapse into a whole different perspective?  

The apostle Paul had such an experience. While on the way to conduct his plan to arrest defectors from their traditional, Jewish religion, his life was altered in an instant. He thought he was a righteous defender of his religious heritage. But everything he thought was his identity, and the will of God for his life disappeared in a flash. In that binding light, he saw who he really was and into his life as the will of God. He was made to see into a deeper reality of his being.   

Most of us are taught to search for God’s will for our lives. But like Paul, God’s will finds us. It isn’t in the something that we plan to do with our life for God, but in the Someone who is our life. Paul saw who that Someone was – His Son (Jesus) unveiled in me (Gal.1:16). When Paul saw Jesus, and that He was actually existing in his life, everything changed. All his plans and passions were blown away in Jesus’ brilliant glory. Paul saw the secret of his true identity – Christ among (in me), the expectation of glory (Col.1:27). 

When you see Christ in you, everything does change. You realize that you no longer need to search for God or for what He wants you to do with your life. Your focus isn’t even on yourself anymore because your old self doesn’t exist (Gal.2:20). Instead, all is about Him. He lives in your heart and speaks to your mind. You find yourself tuned to your/His heart and listening for His thoughts and words forming in your mind and mouth. You are poised for the adventure of seeing His will unfold in you each new day. Your plans are His plans and goals. 

Jesus is your real life, the self that is actually you (Col. 3:3). Having realized this truth, Paul now introduced himself not as a zealot for Judaism, but as an apostle of Christ Jesus, through the will of God (Col.1:1). This was his true identity, and it took a dramatic revelation for him to see it. All of us, like Paul, live in and as Jesus, but just don’t know it. With that new revelation of His life, Paul affirms, there is no Greek and Jew, Circumcision and Uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, freeman, but all and in all is Christ (3:11). Let’s discover who it is that wants to live our lives and perform His plans through us in 2022. 

(All scripture quotations from the Concordant Literal New Testament, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1983.) 





What’s in a Name?

17 12 2021

As Joseph was agonizing about what he should do concerning his fiancée, Mary’s illegitimate pregnancy, he slipped into a trance where he heard an angel speak to him. Contrary to his own conclusion, the messenger told him her child was conceived by the supernatural work of God Himself. He even told him the child’s gender and ordered him to name the boy Jehoshua, which in Hebrew is an abridged form of Jehovah-Saviour (the English form is Jesus). This boy was the Savior provided by Jehovah to save His people, not necessarily from political or natural enemies, but from their sins (Mt 1:21). 

The greatest destroyer and plague on humanity is sin. Again, from the Hebrew, we learn that the word sin means to miss the mark or the path. Its meaning comes from the ancient picture of a nomadic shepherd losing his way to the next oasis in the desert. As wandering nomads, people have lost their way in life for centuries. They have missed the path to the life-giving oasis. 

The world is confusing, there are many ways to get lost. God gave His people directions on how to stay on the path, but they thought they were hard and refused to follow them. Even with direction signs like clouds or fire in the sky, they still lost their way. As a result, the greatest problem in our world is that people do not know where they are going or where they are. They are lost in the wilderness, and the result is a devastating void in their lives. 

Jesus was sent to save people from being lost, trying to find their own way, or pretending they know where they are going. They are striving to be productive and happy, but in reality, their lives are aimless, uncertain, and full of fear. That is why Jesus said, “I am the way” (Jn 14:6). He is the Savior that puts us back on the path, saving us from our “lostness”. But He doesn’t just show us the way, He IS the path. He puts us in Him so that we get back to who and where we are intended to be as children of God. In Him, we find direction, meaning, fullness of life, and basic identity. He is our life that is on track, on purpose, focused, and centered. 

We don’t need to be searching for the next oasis, Jesus is the only spring we need to drink from (Jn 4:13-15; 7:37). He is the well that His ancestors looked for. He is the water that satisfies our thirst and spiritually flows from our lives as the expression of Himself. We need to continually drink Him in, stay in Him, where we belong. He is our Way in life, the Truth of who we are, and the Life God has intended us to have. His name is our name, the one in which we are “bowing”, giving adoration, expressing the intention of the Father to be His people on the right path (Phil. 2:9-11, paraphrased from the Concordant Literal New Testament). 

This Christmas, enjoy celebrating the name of Jesus, the name that brings true joy. “Once I was lost, but now I am found.” (John Newton, “Amazing Grace”,1772)  





Thanks for Father’s Keeping

26 11 2021

There is a phrase that has become popular in modern society, and it is often said about someone with a hint of jealousy, “He/she is kept”. The meaning of course is that a rich relative, usually an affluent spouse, is totally caring for the person. As we grow in the knowledge that Jesus lives in, and as us, we also realize how “kept” we are. We live inside of God, and He lives in us, and that union has enormous benefits. We can live our lives with the confidence that we are treasured and cared for.  

One of the things Jesus asked the Father in His famous prayer, recorded in John 17, is that we would be kept in the Father’s name (Jn. 17:11). One of the most profound revelations Jesus brought to His disciples is the personal and relational name for God. He was not the unspeakable Yahweh, or even the almighty Jehovah. His name is Father, the one from whom every living thing gets its name. Jesus asks the Father to continue keeping His namesakes in close union with Himself, guarding them from the evil one. 

Exactly what does being kept by the Father mean in practical terms? Let’s start by suggesting what it doesn’t mean. We know from history that being kept does not mean the disciples, and all of us never face death or suffering. The disciples were persecuted and eventually died, many through martyrdom. Many of us want to believe that God’s job is to come to our aid whenever we face hardship. We expect Him to follow His promise in Ps. 91:11,12, but Jesus showed us that this is the enemy’s tactic in making God seem unfaithful. Jesus didn’t fall for it in the wilderness, and we shouldn’t either. Is God faithful, yes, absolutely! Then what is the problem? The problem is our lens with which we approach Father. We are prone to regard Him as separate from ourselves. The enemy wanted Jesus to see through that lens, but Jesus would not allow Himself to look at the Father, but with Him. God is not a “parachute parent”, but He is always with us and in us, supplying the strength and grace we need for every situation. No father insulates his children from the world, but stands with them, helping them grow in the knowledge of his love. 

Read the rest of this entry »




Is eternal life what we need? 

15 10 2021

Most of us believed that the reward for our trust and faithfulness in following Jesus is everlasting life in heaven. To eventually live free from all the problems of this life in the endless bliss of the next has been the goal for believers for centuries. Knowing we have this reward “someday soon” is supposed to help us endure the trials of today. 

You might be surprised to learn that Jesus never promised us “eternal life”, rather, life eonion. He said, He who is believing in the Son has life eonion..and he who is hearing My word and believing Him who sends Me, has life eonion and is not coming into judging, but has proceeded out of death into life. (John 3:36; 5:24 CLNT*) The word eonion in the original Greek has been poorly translated as eternal life in our English Bibles. It comes from the word eon, meaning an indefinite period or an age. And because there is no direct English equivalent for this adjective form of the word, the best definitions are life that spans ages, life of the ages, or age abiding life. 

Jesus was not promising a better, everlasting life someday in heaven. He was talking about knowing and living inside of heaven and eternity NOW! He said heaven was now and spoke about living in the reality of God’s eternal presence in this present age. Eonion life has all the qualities of eternal God in finite bodies. He said, I came that they may have life eonion, and have it superabundantly (John 10:10 CLNT). Looking forward to a better day “beyond the sunset” doesn’t help us now. The world we live in is full of turmoil, Covid 19, economic uncertainty, suffering, pain, and death. We don’t need everlasting life someday, but life that sustains us now. That is exactly what Jesus was talking about. 

Jesus spoke about knowing who you are as God’s child forever (Jn 17:3, Rom. 8:15,16). It is exactly for these times when we are prone to fear our future. God is not waiting for us to come to heaven and then enjoy life without hassle. He is in us now as Jesus, overcoming the world we live in. All of God lives in all of us. It is knowing that we live in complete unity with Him through Jesus (John 14:20,23;17:21). There is no safer, more peaceful existence.

Jesus is eonion LIFE. He is the LIFE for this age and the ones to come. I pray you know His LIFE in you now as you face the uncertainty of this age. 

(*CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1983.) 





My Peace

25 08 2021

Among our network of men and women, I find the conversation these days inevitably ends up on how to cope with the stressful time we live in. Just when we thought Covid was under control, a new set of problems have sprung up, like whether to vax or not, new virus variants, and economic disruption. There is much to be anxious about. We could all use a little extra peace, but where and how do we find it?

As Jesus was about to depart from His disciples, He said, Peace I am leaving with you. It was not just any peace He was leaving, but My peace, I am giving to you (Jn. 14:27 CLNT*). Jesus does not give us some peace, but His own peace. What He gives us is nothing other than Himself. Peace is not a state or condition, it is the character of Jesus Himself. If you feel truly at peace, it is evidence of Jesus in you.

The dictionary defines peace as the absence of hostility and violence, freedom from disturbance. But, where in this world does such a thing exist? If a civilization or government in the world says it can offer such a thing, it’s a lie. There is only one true peace – it’s the One who has overcome the world and lives in perfect tranquility (Jn.16:33). “My peace” is a man who exists without fear, worry or pressure from any circumstance or environment. This is the man Christ Jesus. 

Jesus said earlier in this same passage, I shall be asking the Father, and He will be giving you another consoler. Not a counselor, as the English puts it, but a comforter or entreater (literally: called alongside). The word “another” establishes the disciples already had been with someone who was a consoler for their times of trouble. Now they would have another person who would not only be remaining with [them] [but] will also be in [them] (14:16,17 CLNT emphasis mine). This was none other than Jesus, because the Father would send Him again out from Himself, and this time in spirit form to dwell in them (14:26; 15:26). By living in their hearts, they would live in complete unity with He and the Father and could easily remember and express His teaching and character (14:20; 16:13-15). 

This is the peace Paul said is beyond understanding. It is the person of Jesus living in us as the divine mystery guarding our hearts against panic, fear, or disturbance (Col. 1:27; Phil. 4:7). Come to know “My peace” residing in your heart. Come to Him with your petitions and speak thanks for His abiding tranquility. He is there, waiting to be called on. Let the Man of peace reign in your life.

*CLNT =Concordant Literal New Testament, Concordant Publishing Concern, 1983. 








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