Sky Links, 12-30-13

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0
The journey is harder and more rewarding than you thought it would be

Alison Brown, writes:

“10 Steps to Freedom” or “5 Ways to Instant Maturity” are popular paths dependent on someone else’s revelation and my self-help prowess.  Wide at the beginning, they quickly become dead ends.

The Road Less Traveled is where we can settle for nothing less than our personal encounter with God when we are challenged or pressed.  We want to know God in this place for ourselves and discover who He is passionate about being for us now.
It’s a toll road, but pay the price gladly.

.No Neon Signs Along The Road Less Traveled, by Allison Brown.


Have you been called?  Are you called?  What is calling, anyways?  I have been asking this question and pondering it for a very long time.  Mathew Schuler wrote:
For me, the concept of “calling” can quickly warp relationships by imposing a power structure that diminishes one party and exonerates the other...
...So am I “called?” I would say I am being called. Someone or something from somewhere is calling to me, and I am trying my best to make my way toward whatever that is.
Though that was shorter, by Matthew Schuler

Wounded healers with an education in empathy

Don Miller wrote about bitterness and forgiveness, citing Desmund Tutu searching for people to help him serve people who had been devastated by apartheid.  They had to be people who had learned forgiveness. Having been through unjust suffering and processed that experience with forgiveness, we have empathy that is a costly and valuable tool for healing others.

The Greatest Impact You Have May Come Out of Your Pain by Don Miller.

Stop saying, "It's a God thing"

I could make my own list of things Christians say that are odd.  I knew a man who was a fairly new believer and he soon discovered that Christians speak "Christianese", a language all our own.  Jason Johnson posted his brief list.  There is a very good discussion about these in the comments section.  I have been perplexed with, "it's a God thing".  What?

5 Things Christians Should Stop Saying by Jason Johnson.

Church without building

77% of Americans claim to be Christian, but only 20% go to church (builings).  4000 churches close every year.  What is going on?  There is a movie coming out next spring called When God Left the Building.  Watch the preview here.

Happy People Know The Shout For Joy

The people who know the celebratory shout are truly happy!
They walk in the light of your presence, Lord!
-Psalm, 89:15

Happy people know the shout for joy.  "Blessed are they that know the joyful sound" is how the New King James Bible says it.  I have known the song that says this for years, but I did not know that it meant more than enthusiastic singing.  In the translation I use, the Common English Bible, it says, "celebratory shout".  Happy are the people who know the celebratory shout.

I was wondering what this joyful sound was, that the psalmist had in mind.  We might assume that he meant the sound of voices praising God.  That seems like a good answer and that is what I assumed for these past 25 years.  Thank God, for a newer translation, that tries to get closer to the original language's meaning.

The NIV Bible version has been pretty popular, and it says, in Psalm 89:15, "blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you".  Even though I use the words, "blessed", and "blessings", in personal speech and correspondence; I'm not sure it works with a wider audience today, especially not with those outside our faith.  I'm not sure that I use the word "acclaim" very often or that most people use it.

The ESV translators keep "blessed", but translate the NKJV's, "joyful sound" as "festal shout".  I think that is a good translation that takes us where the Hebrew word teruah goes.  By the way, I am not a Hebrew or Greek scholar and don't claim to be.  I look these words up and see what the scholars or experts say.  

Even more so than "blessed", we have to explain what "festal" means.  That is a word I have never used and it is an example of why I do not use the ESV.  Like the NASB, it tries to be literal, but uses words that most people don't use or know.

So, what is a celebratory shout, the joyful sound?  Have you ever been to a sports game and heard what people do when their team scores?  They yell and shout and hoop and holler. They jump up and down and wave their arms in the air.

Christians ought to be the most happy people around.  What Christ has done is a much bigger deal than the points scored at a game.  If you are a Christian and your songs are about Jesus and God and if that is what the speaker's sermons are about, why are there no shouts, no cheers?  

Remember the song, "if you're happy and you know it"?  In that song, we teach kids to use their voices and their bodies.  Adults need that training too.  The church should be the people with freedom of expression to shout for joy to God. 

If you allow yourself the freedom to shout for joy, the next thing is that you might start bouncing a bit.  Soon, you'll be jumping for joy.  Then you'll twirl a bit.  Next thing, you are just plain dancing for joy.

The church I am wanting to join is a church where we shout for joy at what Jesus has done.  This is what believers did in the Bible, so why not today? 

Happy People

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.
“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.
“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
“Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
“Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God.
“Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.
“Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
“Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me.  Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you.
-Matthew 5:3-12

Do you want to know who the happy people are?  Happy people are the people who are experiencing deep inner joy....  because us Jesus.  Happy people are not happy just because they know something or have been taught something.  Happy people are happy because something has happened to them.

A person brings happiness to us.  It is personal.  I am happy because of a person.  That person is Jesus.  I am happy because of him.

But he is not just like any person or like something you put on a shelf, in a drawer, on your dash board, desk, fridge magnet, or bumper sticker.  Unlike every other religion, self-help program, education, indoctrination, boot-camp, or guru; he is a person who is personally involved with each one of us.

The whole thing is that Jesus is savior and Lord.  You don't go to school to get saved.  You can not do independent studies or classroom work to get saved or sanctified or empowered.  It's all personal and relational.  Someone had to die and that same someone calls each one of us to death to our selves.

Happy people are people who recognize the kingdom of God, who see it and respond to it.  Jesus mentioned people being in a negative state like hopeless or poor, mourning or grieving.  Jesus says that these people are happy, because of his kingdom, because of him.

We are happy because of Jesus, because of the kingdom of God in our lives, because we are being saved- saaaaaaaaaved.  A man does not "go forward", or "wave his hand with every head bowed and every eye closed"; and then go back to a life of sin, with "Jesus" tacked on.  Salvation is an event and a process.  It's just like starting over.

In the kingdom of God, every problem comes with a promise – and provision – attached to it; Graham Cooke is fond of saying.  If you are poor, grieved, humiliated, boxed in, or vexed and perplexed; then in your world, God has placed a gift box that has blessing in it.  Find it and open it.

Contrapunctus - Counterpoint - Singing Your Part

We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function.  In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.  We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us.
-Romans 12:4-6a

Did you know that you are music that is meant to be sung?  Did you know that your life contains a specific gift or destiny for you to uniquely minister or serve?

God has a creative voice that speaks out into every place.  God has also given each person a creative gift or voice.  When we express our gift, sing with our voice, or operate in our special gift, we voice something that is interdependent harmonically, but independent in rhythm and contour.

Interdependent means that you are aware of others, you take your turn, and you are a team player.  Independent means that you have your own goals you are going for, you express your uniqueness, and maintain your individuality.

Contrapunctus means, "melodic material that is added above or below an existing melody".  Contrapunctus is Latin for counterpoint.  It also means, "the technique of combining two or more melodic lines in such a way that they establish a harmonic relationship while retaining their linear individuality."

I believe that God designed us to harmonize with individual voices.  In other words, we all sing the song of Christ, but express different aspects of him.  Our voices sound different, our rhythm might be different, and that through which our sound comes may look different; yet we are all in harmony and unity.

Unity is not uniformity.  Choirs, bands, and orchestras; by definition, have sections that sing or have different notes, while harmonizing with the whole. 

Contrapuntal, counterpoint, or polyphony is when you have two or more melodies or parts going at the same time, that are different, yet complementary or harmonious; involving juxtaposition and contrast.  I believe that this is God's plan or how God does it.  Music is made when voices sing together and complimentarily.  Music is rich when different voices are heard,

Joseph's Story

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.  As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
-Matthew 1:18-21

Joseph's story is a smaller story within the bigger story of God's story, His story, the story of Jesus birth.  Joseph is a credible witness of Jesus birth.  We have already learned that Joseph was a righteous man, who displayed God's kindness and wisdom in his life.

In his righteousness, Joseph was deciding what to do.  He was a sensible man, a practical man.  He was a servant.  He put God first and others second.  He believed that God was faithful, so he was free to serve others, rather than himself.

Joseph might have been confused or disappointed by Mary's news.  But his concerns were to do the right thing in a gentle, kind, and benevolent manner.  He wanted to do the right thing before God and for Mary.  Joseph was all about serving God and serving others.

Joseph may have just set aside Mary's story of her miraculous conception.  The truly righteous person has a humility in them that believes that God is the judge and ultimately has the wisdom to judge others and that God is very kind, gracious, and generous in his judgements.  The truly righteous person carries with them the thought that only God can judge and says, "who am I to judge?"

In the midst of this time when Joseph was deciding what to do, he had a dream where God's messenger angel gave him guidance.  The angel told him that he should take Mary home to be his wife and that she is carrying a child conceived by the Holy Spirit.  The angel also told him to name him Jesus or "God saves", because the child will save his people from their sins.

Joseph, the good man, the righteous man; who had so many godly qualities, had to get special guidance from God, through an angelic messenger, sent to his dream.  God sent the guidance before Joseph made his next move.  Joseph was diligently making his plans and God directed his steps (Prov. 16:9).  It is normal to make plans and it is normal to be directed by God.

God is a God who initiates and intervenes.  God has plans and we have plans.  God might guide us from the good plan we are living out or executing, to a particular plan or special plan that turns out to be his best plan for us.  That is what happened to Joseph.  He was not about to drive off a cliff, but he was about to do the right thing.

We want to be living out a life of doing the right thing, while being open to and obedient to, if called to do a special thing.  Can you imagine Joseph awakening from his sleep and saying, "I had the strangest, most preposterous dream last night", and then continuing with his plans to divorce Mary?  Can you imagine that this could have been a possibility if Joseph was not the righteous servant, who was ready to do something "outside the box"?

The same Joseph who was so righteous and benevolent, kind, and gracious; in a word, godly.  That same man was also willing to "course correct".  He was willing to receive this different and outside the mainstream input and obey it.

There is a sad observational saying about the church, that goes something like this:  The people in the most recent move of God are the ones to persecute the ones in the new move of God.  What that means is that there are godly people, who's movement or now a denomination, started with a move of God, where people got revived and renewed in God.

Things settle down at some point and a new group of people, either in their midst or next to them, get a newer move of God and they become revived, renewed, and restored to God.  Now here is the sad part.  Some people in the first group persecute the people in the new move of God group, saying it is not real, that they are into the strange and the false, or that they are into heresy.

How this all applies to Joseph is that he was a righteous and godly man in Israel, but he was also obedient to or open to God doing something different peculiarly and particularly in his life.  There were going to be people in that day to this who would whisper that this child was illegitimate and his parents were frauds.  He and Mary would be the first to carry this stigma.

We can understand that people in the world who are atheists or agnostics might be offended by the virgin birth and not get it, but it hurts when your own people who claim the same God and same community of faith not only don't get it, but persecute you for it.

You might be like Joseph in that you have cultivated righteousness and godliness in your life and you were on a path to a good life in God.  But then God interrupted and called you onto a special path.  That special path you have been called to and are trying to live on is not understood by most others.  It is a lonely path.  People in your own community, tribe, or family have not understood the path God has you on.  Sometimes you have even felt persecuted by other 'good' people.

When God conceived Jesus in Mary, it was a secret only known to God, to God's messenger angel(s), then to Joseph.  The good news is that it was God and God's plan and Mary and Joseph were assured of that.  Joseph took Mary as his wife and perhaps, as the painting above depicts, Mary was showing, when they had their wedding.  The judgmental whispers might have begun then.

Everyone in the community of God is not like Joseph.  Many people are unfortunately, judgmental or are quick to condemn without knowing the whole story.  The most godly people look to God to judge, and many people are godly like that.

When Mary told Joseph the news of her pregnancy, Joseph did not immediately have a supernatural touch from God on his shoulder or in his heart, that told him the revelatory truth.  God did not even speak to him as he departed from Mary or when he got alone.  God had to wait till Joseph was asleep and send a royal messenger angel into Joseph's dream.

When we are asleep, we are unconscious.  Our minds are no longer at work, thinking, planning, or deciding.  When Joseph was awake, he may have been having a furious dialogue in his own mind, with himself.  No one could get a word in edgewise.  He perhaps could not hear when he was awake, because he was so engaged with himself is solving this problem and wanting to do the righteous thing.

So, God sent him a special message when he was asleep.  One lesson here is that God knows we are human and works with our humanity.  After all, God designed us and knows how our human bodies work, including our minds; conscious and unconscious.

We learn from Joseph that we all have a story that we are living out.  God also has a story and we are in God's story too.  We do our best to live out our story, inspired by God's unfolding tailor-made plan for each of us.  Through Joseph, we see that God intervenes in our lives, in our plans, at times, to help us follow his tailor-made plan for our lives.  God is also gracious to speak clear enough so that we hear and know it is him guiding us, but God is also often secret in what he does with us and many others may not understand and even oppose us as we follow God.

Jesus' Prayer Request

“I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours.
-John 17:9

It is astonishing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would humbly ask a request of his Father for you and me.  Today, that is just what Jesus is doing.  He is praying for us.  Jesus is asking God on behalf of you and me.

If you can let that sink in, it seems to me that we would want to know just what he is praying for us and pray with him.  What is it?  Do you think that each of us can go to God and ask God, "what it is that Jesus is praying for us, for me, because I want to pray that same prayer to you".

I believe that the Father listens to Jesus' prayers.  I also believe that Jesus is wise and would know what to pray for me.  Maybe what Jesus is praying is so deep that only my spirit and can receive what it is a pray that back to God.

When Jesus' life, before being executed on the cross, was coming to an end, he prayed.  He prayed a lot for his disciples and for those who would believe after them and through their witness.  Jesus sets the example for us of prayer.

The fact that Jesus prayed teaches us a lot about prayer and about how things work spiritually.  Almighty God needs people on earth to partner with Him, in order to get good things done.  The fact that Jesus prayed and prayed often tells us that his followers, Christians, will need to pray as well.

When Jesus said, "I am praying for them", it could also read, "I am asking for them".  If Jesus asked, we will need to ask.  It was not that God was holding anything back but that God is relational.  God is not controlling.  God wants to be asked, to be invited, to be permitted.

It is a profound mistake and error to believe that everything is set in motion, all is God's will, and there is not much we can do.  Fatalism is an error.  The truth is that God partners, covenants with, and uses flawed, broken, and imperfect people on earth to establish and herald His kingdom.

If you are a Christian, then you belong to God, in Christ, and Jesus is praying for you.  That encourages me and teaches me that if he prayed for those disciples then, I want to pray for the people in my life now who are his and ask God what Jesus is asking Him for and pray with Jesus.  The Christian life is very exciting when you focus on what is happening in heaven, that is focused on earth and get in tune with it.

Insights For Living

  1. You are what you eat and what you focus on or give yourself to is what you become.
  2. Your destiny is hidden in your daily routine.
  3. What you say is what you are.
  4. You can understand your life with your mind by looking backwards, but life can only be lived looking forwards with eyes of faith, hope, and love.
We are designed to worship

A life of bad eating leads to poor health and a chance of earlier death.  There is also a spiritual principle that what we behold we become.  If you behold Christ, you will become like him.  I know it is not enough to just look, but by looking at Jesus we hear him and obey him, imitate him, and have his nature imparted to us and are transformed; which is the Christian life or "Christ-i-an".

There is nothing wrong with many things in life like work, hobbies, creative interests, and important relationships; but if any of these becomes what we are living for, they will take over.  We were designed by God as creatures that worship Him in relationship to him.  It's not like God needs or wants the worship or the preeminent place in us to fulfill Himself, but we worship Him and Give him the throne because of who God is.

You don't know God if you don't get how worthy of our praise and worship that God is.  Worship is a life and a relationship, not just an expression or time at church.  We were designed to worship the King and then enjoy the life he gives us.  If we get is backwards and begin worshiping anything or anyone else besides God and place God anywhere in our lives to the side, when God needs to be in the center, on the throne, we are in trouble.  We will begin to become what we focus on outside of God.

Seed and harvest

Seeds sown germinate into plants.  In a spiritual sense, we sow seeds daily and they will grow slowly.  We want the short cut of bringing in partially grown or full grown plants to our personal gardens.  Or we might want to buy, borrow, or steal someone else's harvest that we desire.  But who you will become is actually grown slowly over time.  A journey is thousands of steps.

Often people have a realization that they want to make a change, they want to walk with God, they want to live righteously, or they want to find and move into their destinies in God.  That new path or journey is going to be a series of small steps, small decisions, in minutes, hours, days, and years.

Turning to God and going towards your destiny, living towards the answers is God's way.  "Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey." 

The power of speech

We can be our own worst critics and tear ourselves down with our own words or we can over inflate ourselves into delusion with our self-flattery, believing our own press-releases.  Many of us need self-esteem adjustments.  The narcissistic egomaniac and the self-loathing worm-theologist have in common that their self-esteem is out of whack.  Self love is a good thing.  But we love ourselves because we are loved.  God's love defines me and makes me lovable.

So when I talk, it reveals my theology and my theology reveals or defines what I believe about everything, including my self.  Bad speech is a symptom of a bad heart.  Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.  If the mouth speaks things that are ungodly, then the heart needs saving; perhaps even deliverance, and there is no shame in that.

There is power in our tongues.  We can bless or curse with our words.  How we talk is very important.  Nasty, sarcastic, or cursing talk is a symptom of a heart that needs to be be saved.

Living by faith

The guidance system does not come on until the rocket has been launched.   We were never called to understand with our minds, but to trust with our hearts.  Christians are called to be a prophetic people who's lives don't make sense to onlookers who do not share the secret passion for Jesus.    The call to follow does not carry with it a guarantee of understanding.  The call is a call to love and obey.  He is good and takes care of those who put their faith in Him.

We learn from our mistakes and are comforted in suffering by his grace.  We learn from the lives of others in scripture, in history, and from our elders who have pioneered on similar or same paths that we are traveling on.

Sky Links, 12-7-13

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0
In God’s wisdom, he determined that the world wouldn’t come to know him through its wisdom. Instead, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching.
-1 Cor. 1:21

I love what Paul Pastor wrote about preaching is his article, Have We Forgotten the "Foolishness of Preaching"  Paul asked if preachers today are raising up a church of gnostics, who take pride in hidden knowledge while avoiding transformation and Jesus' mission.

Paul wrote:
"I am weekly in danger of forgetting the “folly of preaching”, not through rejecting a deeper understanding of scripture, but by allowing that Teaching to usurp the place of my Teacher. The lines that determine where that process sours are beyond me right now, but somehow I set my mind on wisdom, and miss the Wise One.

As I think back, some of the worst sermons I’ve ever heard in my life ended up changing my heart, because in some nearly intangible way, they connected me to Jesus."
That picture above is actually from another great article on preaching: Is It preaching? Or Sermonizing?   That post makes the point that preaching is for unbelievers.   

Jeff Mc Q, wrote about time, God's timing, waiting on God, and God waiting on us; in regards to fulfilling our destiny's:
"What I didn’t understand as a counterbalance to waiting on the Lord was that God had given me a mind, a strength of will, and a sense of ambition–and a dream. He hadn’t given me those things just so I could sit passively on them. Sometimes He doesn’t just solve our problems or break through our resistance because He’s already equipped us with the tools we need in order to break through it ourselves, if we would just put forth the effort. He doesn’t always have to work a miracle. Sometimes we wait on God, but sometimes God is waiting on us....

... I began to question how many boats I had missed–how many times my so-called breakthrough might have passed me by because I didn’t even see the opportunity–because I had faulty theology about the timing of God, and my role within it. I began to understand that the dreams I’d carried in my heart all those years should not have been passed off as sinful, selfish ambition; God had actually put those dreams there in order to help chart my course through life. It had been my responsibility before God to pursue those dreams..."
The whole piece, The Elusive Variable of Time (part 2)–Faulty Theology, is here.

Alvin Reid, gave a thumb-nail sketch of Jonathan Edwards, in his When The Fire Falls series, that I Jonathan Edwards: A Life.  Doctor Reid wrote:
have been enjoying.  Much of George M. Marsden's biography of Edwards, in on-line:
"Oliver Wendell Holmes called Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin the two most significant minds of early America. Edwards, as a pastor, theologian, philosopher, and revival leader, wrote some of the most remarkable works on revival in history. His precocious intellect did not limit him from a fervent piety. We should never see intellectual acumen and the desire to learn on the one hand, and the hungry heart of a humble saint on the other, to be seen as mutually exclusive. The following video offers a brief overview of the life, ministry, and writings on revival of Edwards."
The video is here.

I heard Bono interviewed on Focus On The Family, by host Jim Daly.  I could hear him light up when he talked about David being a musician and writing "Blues",  but the quote that stuck with me was when he said that Jesus was "punk rock" in his response to the man who said, "I'll follow you after I bury my father".
Bono: And politeness is, you know, is a wonderful thing. Manners are, in fact, a really important thing. But remember, Jesus didn't have many manners as we now know. And He didn't have to.

Jim: He said it like it was.

Bono: Yeah. He just spoke directly to the situation. I always think of that dude who came up to Him, you know, saying [whispering], "Listen, I think You're incredible. You are amazing. You may even be God incarnate, and all of that. But I've just gotta go and bury my father, you know, 'cause I've had a trauma. You understand." And Christ says, "Let the dead bury the dead."

Jim: Seems cold-hearted.

Bono: No, seems punk rock to me. It's like, He knew. He could see right into that fellow's heart. He knew he wasn't coming and he was just -- it was pretense. And so, we've gotta be a bit more cutting edge. Not look to the obvious signs of righteousness. Jesus was very suspicious of them. And I think, look deeper. Look to the actions.
The whole transcript is here.

Breakthrough Is Preceded By Breakdown & Breakout

Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing.-James 1:4

 I have learned that breakthrough comes through breakdown and breakout..  The kingdom of God is paradoxical compared to the world.  To become big, you must become small; and to live you must die.

People who want a break through, but are refusing to have a break down, never break out.  The Christian life is a life of transformation.  To be transformed, you have to give up something and leave it behind. 

A nervous breakdown is when someone falls to pieces.  A breakdown in God is when we put our sinful nature to death,
So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).  The wrath of God is coming upon disobedient people because of these things.  You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things.  But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene language.  Don’t lie to each other. Take off the old human nature with its practices  and put on the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge by conforming to the image of the one who created it.  -Colossians 3:5-10
To break-through, we must put to death, set aside, and take off the old human nature; then put on the new nature.  Breakdown and breakout of the old will take you to spiritual breakthrough.

The Christian life comes from one place or source and that is Christ.  You only get the Christian life by spending time with God.  It is personal.  It does not work to be a crowd member and to see God from a distance.  You have to get real close to God and learn to know Him.  He wants all of you and wants you to be all filled with Him.

Do you remember the time when Jesus said to the crowd following him that unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood, they would not have his life in them?
Jesus said to them, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me lives because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven. It isn’t like the bread your ancestors ate, and then they died. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”  Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Many of his disciples who heard this said, “This message is harsh. Who can hear it?”

Jesus knew that the disciples were grumbling about this and he said to them, “Does this offend you?  What if you were to see the Son of Man going up where he was before?  The Spirit is the one who gives life and the flesh doesn’t help at all. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  Yet some of you don’t believe.”   -John 6:53-63
I think that what Jesus meant is that the Christian life will not work, if you keep him at arms length.  You have to partake of him.  The first step towards breakthrough is to partake of him, in your life (time). 

Power for life was released through Jesus' life.  His life in your life brings breakthrough.  We start over in him and have new life, born from above life, like a child.

Power for breakthrough was released through Jesus' death on the cross and his rising from the dead.  Sin was broken down, so we can break out through Jesus death on the cross.  The cross is an essential part of the Christian life.  The way in is the way on.

There is no cross-less Christianity.  The Cross is at the center.  There is no breakthrough without your cross.  We each must take up our crosses and deny ourselves and follow Jesus to get breakthrough (Matt. 16:24-25, Mark 8:34-5, Luke 9:23-24). 

If you are seeking breakthrough without taking up your cross and denying self, it is like driving a car without wheels or trying to fly without wings.  There is always the opportunity to, "go fake".  There is the false and the counterfeit. There is the short-cut that bypasses His and your cross.

Breakthrough does not involve getting the old man into the new place.  The old man must die and the new life in Christ is what goes forward into breakthrough.  We don't clean the old nature up and dress it in Christ.

God wants to transform each of us, to make us complete or whole in Christ.  We cooperate with God and discover who God has uniquely made us each to be in Christ.  God has specially and specifically designed each one of us for a purpose. The only way to breakthrough is transformation which involves intimacy with God (into-me-see).

The way in is the way through and the way on: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in your secret life.