Belonging 1.0

Psalm 100:3 – Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

John 10:27-28 – My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Romans 14:8 – If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 6:19 – Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

1 John 3.1 – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 4:4 – You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.


THINK acronym:
Is True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?

What is the definition of gossip according to the Bible?

Proverbs 20:19 & Proverbs 11:13(NIV), “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much…a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Both scriptures define gossip as a betrayal of a confidence. When people spread secrets (whether true or false), they are engaging in gossip and are to be avoided. Whereas, a trustworthy person will keep the matter to himself. She will not tell others.

Romans 1:29-32 (NIV) includes gossipers with the degenerate: “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, under, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent…Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they …continue…but also approve of those who practice them.” This passage teaches how much God hates gossip. The practice of gossip is considered wicked, worthy of death.

So if gossiping is forbidden, how should we behave? Jesus gives us the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12 (NIV), “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” We should always seek peace and love with our fellow man for this is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

What Gossip Says About God


What we say reveals what we believe. We can’t hide it. Fresh water, salt water, and the like (James 3:11–12). Some forms of speech reveal in a more straightforward manner: “I believe the sun will rise tomorrow.” Thanks. Others are more complex, like gossip. “Can you believe that about Laurie and John? What she said? How he reacted? You know Amber overheard them, right? And she knows Laurie, and she said that. . . .” What does that reveal?

It’s juicy. It feels so good to sink our teeth into fresh secrets (Proverbs 26:22). But with our self-involved search for the knowledge of good and evil happenings in our community, we reveal an entire theology under our indulgence in such things — a dark, hidden, embedded, implied theology, spoken in whisper and innuendo.

When Scripture warns against gossip (Romans 1:292 Corinthians 12:201 Timothy 5:13), it is applying an entire understanding of God, Jesus, his word, his image, his plan, his salvation, and his people. To refrain from gossip is an on-the-ground practice of Christian theology. Likewise, to share in gossip is to practice a distinctly non-Christian theology.

For the sake of those who indulge in gossip, and for the sanity of those who have heard gossip about themselves, we will articulate the theology insinuated by gossip — we will speak out loud the things we would elsewhere only whisper. We will make known hidden and unspoken and even undesired allegiances and indulgences woven in the words “Well, don’t tell anyone, but I heard. . . .”


1. God

Gossip contains speech that would never occur in heaven — moreover, that would never occur among the members of the Trinity. To be gossiped about is a bitter suffering, because it spills into almost every other relationship — even one’s relationship with God. We would never say it out loud (why?), but it’s easy to slip into the belief that God is laughing at us with everyone else. Indeed, this is the implicit theology of gossip. The one who gossips finds ways for God to endorse their evil, and the one who is gossiped about is naturally inclined to believe that endorsement.

But Jesus does not speak words of judgment or accusation about you to the Father. In fact, the Trinity doesn’t even speak neutral words about you. All speech between Father, Son, and Spirit about the Christian is overflowing with active love (1 John 4:16). The Spirit is praying for you (Romans 8:26). The Son is your priest (Hebrews 8:1), cleanser (Hebrews 10:22), advocate (Hebrews 10:20), and the one who subdues your true enemies (Hebrews 10:13). The Father loves you with the same love with which he loves the Son (John 17:23).

Gossip is the opposite of how the Son speaks to the Father about you. The Trinity talks about you behind your back. And it would be really encouraging if you heard what they said. When they talk about your sin, there is hope and a plan (1 Corinthians 1:21Philippians 1:6). When they talk about your suffering, there is help and a purpose (James 1:3).

2. Christ

Gossip is built on the attitude “We are different — you are different. You are not normal.” Christology is built on the attitude, “We were different, but now we are the same. I am the same as you.” The Son says, in taking on a human nature, “I will dwell in the mud with you” (John 1:14), “I will become nothing and die with you” (Philippians 2:7–8), “I can totally sympathize with you” (Hebrews 4:15).

Of course, Christ is not sinful. But that is what makes the incarnation glorious — that God created commonality between us and him “while we were enemies” (Romans 5:10) — not only becoming man, but in taking the humiliation and mockery of his fellow man (Luke 22:63), even his closest friend trades Jesus’s dignity to warm himself with an in-crowd around a fire (John 18:17–18). Gossip is a dismissal of the decisions, experiences, and love of Jesus.

3. Revelation

First of all, Scripture forbids gossip (Proverbs 17:4–5). Second, when God speaks to us, it is always direct, and for our good (Psalm 119:9–11Psalm 119:129–133). He is never passive-aggressive or holding back (Job 40:1-7) — he intimately pulls us into his thoughts even about our great sins and shortcomings (Isaiah 62:5Hosea 14:4) for our good, for our salvation, and for our peace (Zephaniah 3:17). He says, “I’m not hiding my thoughts from you. Some of them will be hard to hear, but for every difficult word I have, I have a plan, power, and grace for you specifically” (cf. Psalm 18:31–32).

Gossip is the exact opposite of this sort of speech. It is behind closed doors, whispered under breath, and is a sinful response to human insecurity. When God speaks, he offers security and wisdom out of his self-sufficiency. God judges gossip to be arrogant (Proverbs 21:24) and foolish (Proverbs 9:8) because it is so unlike and in contradiction with the character of his own speech.

4. Image of God

Gossip reflects the image of a spiritual, celestial being. But it is not God. Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires” (John 8:44). It is not a stretch to say that Satan’s name is “Gossip” — he is the accuser (Revelation 12:10). In John 8:44, Jesus links evil speech with reflecting the image of Satan, “When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Gossip is so easy to justify, because it’s working with the material of truth. Often, people really are sinful and stupid, and gossip is a response to those real events. The lie of gossip isn’t, “I’m going to falsify a story about this person,” but the unspoken and assumed, “I have the right to talk about anything I want with whomever I want in whatever way I want.” And it comes from one’s character. It comes from one’s father.

Those who love God respect the dignity of his image. That is why love of God and neighbor are inseparable (Luke 10:27). That is also why gossip about other humans, who bear God’s image, is taken as a personal offense by God himself (Psalm 101:5).

5. Eschatology

To gossip is to damn. Judgment and declaration is reserved, not only for God, but for “the last day” (John 6:54John 12:28). To gossip is not only to presume the place of God in the world, but also in history. Gandalf wisely said, “Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.” To thus banish someone from hope — to give them over to the realm of despair through judgment — is to open the scroll that only the slain Lamb can open (Revelation 5:3–5). Gossip says, “If only they knew how bad they really are, they would despair.”

To speak gossip is to feign knowledge of the Book of Life written before the foundation of the world. Interestingly, people of God are identified in terms of the Son writing about them in the Book of Life in response to the Beast gossiping about the saints, who “was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words … against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:5–6). Eschatological salvation and judgment occurs against the unfiltered character of Satan, which takes the form of gossip in the final battle.

6. Union with Christ

Our shortcomings and sufferings are our portion in being made one with Christ (2 Corinthians 1:51 Peter 4:13). Our sin is not outside of God’s sovereign timing either, or the sanctifying timing of Christ (2 Peter 3:15). To stigmatize a sinner for their sin or their suffering is to stigmatize Christ himself. To roll one’s eyes at a person’s failures and sufferings is to roll one’s eyes at their share in the person of Christ (Malachi 3:171 Corinthians 6:17).

7. Ecclesiology

If some random person gossips about us, it can hurt, but it is flat and carries no credentials in our heart. Secular gossip is just another mode of discourse in our culture. But when a believer gossips, it takes on another category, since it amounts to a brother throwing a sister under the bus for his own ego – gossip becomes betrayal (Proverbs 11:12–13Proverbs 16:28). Gossip within the church is a special kind of iniquity. When Christians gossip, they participate in an act of betrayal. “My friend (Psalm 41:9), my brother (Proverbs 17:17), my body (1 Corinthians 12:12–27) has hurt me.”

Paul Tripp helpfully puts it this way:

“Judgment is easier than mercy. It’s easier to stand apart from somebody and point a finger than it is to patiently walk alongside of them, to love them, to forgive them, to get your hands dirty as you help them bear the burden of change.”

Indeed, what else is the church’s job but to do these things? Mercy and judgment are mutually exclusive, and mercy is a mission of the church. It is not random that church discipline requires face-to-face interaction — to avoid embodying the character of the devil, and to embody God’s own relational and intimate character (Matthew 18:15). Gossip foregoes intimacy for a false sense of self-built security. Biblical discipline should always be in the context of mutual intimacy, not the secretive and dismissive qualities of gossip.

Who’s at the Center of Your Theology?

The difference between a practical theology that refrains from gossip, and one that endorses indulgence in gossip, is which person is at the center of the theology. One is Christ. The other is Satan. One is the scarred, slain, risen Lamb. One is the accuser. One is “Our Father, who is in heaven.” One is “the father of lies.” Life-giving speech and gossip are the respective languages of the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Let us embody “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) by becoming vulnerable and merciful with our neighbors and ourselves in consistency with the theology of Scripture, and for the sake of Christ (John 13:35).

It only matters how we respond.

It does not matter who or what caused the problem.  People, weather, disease, God (it was the Lord that ALLOWED it to happen… so you have to blame him for allowing it before you blame other people)

It only matters how we respond.   This is how we normally respond when left to our own devices.  (out of sinful self centered heart)

1) respond in pride
2) blame – may the wrong done to me be on you
3) neutrality – wash our hands of the whole mess.  Adam and Eve … Adam was held responsible.

God meets us in hard places.

Gods grace is more about changing us that making us rich.





You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.

He is free to make the wrong choice, but not free to succeed with it. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see. Knowledge, for any conscious organism, is the means of survival; to a living consciousness, every “is” implies an “ought.” Man is free to choose not to be conscious, but not free to escape the penalty of unconsciousness: destruction. – Ayn Rand The Virtue of Selfishness 1964

People can choose to not respect and recognize and glorify God.  However, the consequence is “For the wages of sin is death,”   eventually you hit rock bottom…………. “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Sin Has Serious Consequences

To begin with, this statement is telling us that sin has serious consequences. Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death…” He figuratively uses the word “wages” to imply that this is something you are getting because you deserve it – you have, as it were, worked for it (6:20–21). Paul opens the salary bag of a sinner, and all he finds in there is death. Our first parents were warned about this in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:16–17). They did not listen and the payment they got, which has become ours also by inheritance, was death (Romans 5:12). Yet, we do not only inherit this, but we also get paid when we “work” as we yield to temptation (James 1:15). This death, we must emphasise, is not just physical death but also eternal death – the second death (Revelation 21:8). That is what you ask for when you live a life of sin!


God Regards the Lowly

“The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

You may be going through things right now that are painfully preparing you for some precious service to Jesus and to his people. When a person strikes rock bottom with a sense of nothingness or helplessness, he may find that he has struck the Rock of Ages.

I remember a delicious sentence from Psalm 138:6 that our family read at our breakfast devotions: “Though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly.”

You cannot sink so low in despairing of your own resources that God does not see and care. In fact, he is at the bottom waiting to catch you. As Moses says, “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Yes, he sees you trembling and slipping. He could (and often did) grab you before you hit bottom. But this time he has some new lessons to teach.

The psalmist said in Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” He does not say it was easy or fun or pleasant. In retrospect, he simply says, “It was good for me.”

Last week I was reading a book by a Scottish minister named James Stewart. He said, “In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can serve.” That’s why I believe some of you are being prepared right now for some precious service of love. Because you are being wounded.

Do not think that your wound has come to you apart from God’s gracious design. Remember his word: “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me . . . I wound and I heal” (Deuteronomy 32:39).

May God grant a special grace to you who are groaning under some burden. Look eagerly for the new tenderness of love that God is imparting to you even now.


As men we are called to be leaders.

Leaders in our relationship with our wives, kids, family, extended family, work, friends, community and etc.

What if we as leaders prioritize fostering a sense of belonging within the group?

I also, has never thought about belonging.  But once reading the following, I can see it as HUGE importance and a major source of suffering (hurt) in the day to day lives of my wife (not feeling a sense of belonging in my family (with my parents)  – and my parents not feeling “belonging” in my family with my kids.  I see it with my daughter feeling different and not belonging in her class at school.   I see it with certain people at my work not feeling like they belong.   It is actually everywhere.   Look at the lives of people around you – notice what did they do when they did not feel like they belonged in a certain community.

Stay curious, be kind, and, listen with the exact same amount of passion that you want to be heard.

From here:

Ms. Tippett: ………………..And also, your parents’ divorce and the not belonging in your family, and how that — one thing you say is that — you do, you name that as a spiritual crisis. And you said, “Not belonging in our families” … “is one of the most dangerous hurts.”

Ms. Brown: Yeah, I’d never thought about it, really; I had never thought about the concept of not belonging, even though I lived it. I never thought about the concept of not belonging at home as being such a universal experience of pain until … I was doing some research, and I was in a middle school, and I was doing focus groups with middle schoolers. And I was asking these middle schoolers what the difference was — what they thought the difference was between fitting in and belonging. And they just had these incredibly simple and profound answers: “Fitting in is when you want to be a part of something. Belonging is when others want you.”

They just rattled one off after the other, and I was so taken aback, and then a young girl raised her hand and said, “You know, miss, it’s really hard not to fit in or belong at school, but not belonging at home is the worst.” And when she said that, probably half the kids either burst into tears or just put their heads down, unable to speak. Other kids gave examples: “My parents were really athletic and popular. I’m not athletic. I’m not popular. I don’t fit in with my family. I don’t belong there.” And just this thing washed over me, of …. for a middle schooler to say, “Not belonging here is tough, but there’s nothing worse than not belonging at home” — you understood. I felt the magnitude of it in my bones.

Ms. Brown: ……..John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago, who does this incredible work on loneliness, says that the only real biological advantage we have over most other species is our connection, our belonging; our ability to collaborate, plan, be in relationship with in special ways. And so that desperate need to belong is not a neurosis; or it’s not an ego-driven thing. That need to belong and be a part of something greater than us is who we are in our DNA.

Ms. Tippett: So you use this language of “true belonging.” So talk about what are the qualities of true belonging, as opposed to those many things we do that feel like belonging but, as you say, are a hollow substitute for true belonging. What is that?


Ms. Brown: …………….It’s not “conflict resolution.” It’s “conflict transformation,” which I think is great…………… we’ve got to stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that we do not belong, because we will always find it. It’s the confirmation bias. If you are looking for confirmation you don’t belong, you’re gonna find it. We don’t negotiate our belonging externally. It’s not something that we negotiate with other people or groups of people.

Ms. Tippett: It’s not something somebody else can give you.

Ms. Brown: Yeah, no one can give us this. We carry this in our heart. And so the most tangible behaviors that I have found: Stay curious, be kind, and, listen with the exact same amount of passion that you want to be heard.

Ms. Tippett:    When you talk about how we need to find points of connection and joy, even with strangers.

I am curious – who gets to say that one community is better than another?

Ms. Brown: ……..John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago, who does this incredible work on loneliness, says that the only real biological advantage we have over most other species is our connection, our belonging; our ability to collaborate, plan, be in relationship with in special ways. And so that desperate need to belong is not a neurosis; or it’s not an ego-driven thing. That need to belong and be a part of something greater than us is who we are in our DNA.

So – Is loneliness a gift from God that is his way to motivate us back into relationship?  When we are lonely, that is God’s way to tell us “something is wrong” you need to change something and 1) return to me 2) return to your wife 3) return to your kids 4) return to your community.


I have come to realize that it is MUCH easier to NOT spend the money than it is to make the money.

Earn $100.   -$35 for income tax, -12% sales tax.  Use it to by a house/car -$xx for insurance, -$xx for tax/license etc etc.

Vancouver – “The Census release showed that, out of 348,700 renters identified in the Census, 150,505 (43.2 per cent) were spending 30 per cent or more of their income on shelter costs in 2015.”

Questions from wisdom…


Who is noticing that you are losing your mind?

What was the source of that information?

Best question ever:

What is the wise thing for me to do, in light of my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams?

This book probes for honesty —it pushes us to open our eyes to reality and helps us expose the little (and big) self-deceptions we have.

But before we can answer that question… we must rip open our heart and look inside and honestly identify:

  1. Honestly, based on truth, what are my past experiences?
  2. Honestly, based on truth, what are my present circumstances?
  3. Honestly, based on truth, what are my future hopes and dreams?

Before we can do THAT – understand – self-deception – we cannot do this by ourselves.  We need an objective outside our own brain input.

Honest liars — the psychology of self-deception: Cortney Warren at TEDxUNLV
Michael Shermer at TED2010

The pattern behind self-deception