Last night I was inspired. With zero planning, I suddenly found myself making baked red-potato chips. Then I imagined nacho-style potato chips, with hamburger topping. My son, upgraded that vision and came up with some pre-cooked Philly-cheesesteak meat, also home-made, but frozen ahead. I started with the food processor to slice the potatoes, and on now autopilot found myself also dicing onions and fresh tomatoes. Finally, I sliced up 6 yellow “lemon squashes” and added olive oil, salt, and brown sugar on top. Sour cream, salsa, and cheddar cheese were optional toppings on the side. For dessert we sliced up a fresh cantaloupe from the garden.
(In retrospect, the inspiration seemed to come from the 3 pints of mocha iced coffee, which I downed within a couple of hours of starting this whole process.)
Looking over my shoulder when I was done, I had left the food processor and it’s blade, 6 knives, 3 cutting boards, 2 stove-top pans, six serving spoons, 3 spatulas, and every countertop in my wake. The meal served the 8 of us, so we also dirtied that many more plates and forks. It took a team effort to clean it up, but everyone was buoyed by a large, fun, and tasty dinner.
All of it was delicious and worth the risk, the time, and the mess.
The concept of the name of this website, Messilife reminds me of this meal. The play on words, “Messiah Life” is overly obvious, but the pun, the “Messi” part, can be taken the wrong way. The doctrine and lifestyle of the 21stCentury’s version of Christianity seemed mostly satisfying most of the time. I embraced that culture and doctrine for 10 years—even taught it and encouraged it, happily most of the time. However, once I was introduced to the depth and truth found in embracing my identity as part of Israel, it was like comparing what we ate tonight with a swing through a Taco Bell drive-though. Replacing my own ways and modern church culture with Yah’s Ways and the Biblical Hebrew lifestyle was and remains absolutely messy, but worth it in every possible way. Sure, several dishes on the new menu were acquired tastes, but Yah gives us so much flexibility in each recipe that we can honor each commanded course with various herbs and spices to taste.
It would so much less messy to just look at the drive-through images, order a #5, wait five minutes and go. I could even throw out all my garbage in one handy bag, leaving no evidence of the visit at all in my car. That’s not a “sin”, I guess—but it’s obvious in retrospect that I was missing out on something far greater, for both my taste-buds and my health. Once you’ve tasted fresh ingredients, and a experienced a meal made from scratch, you feel kind of disappointed in yourself for thinking the first option was even an option. Sometimes you even feel lied to, since all the marketing that told you that the fast food choice was “The Best!”
This entire analogy works with most aspects of our lives. For example, we’ve chosen to home-school—very messy. Would I think of leaving my 6 kids at the mailbox every morning for the State to pick them up for school? Not a chance. We do church at home, both our and other’s homes—sometimes up to 100 people packed in the living room. Meals, worship, prayer, and study—sometimes for 3 hours, sometime for days on end (seriously). Very messy. Between my wife and my adult children we run several businesses, plus this budding Messilife online ministry–all from home. Very messy.
I’m not alone in this choice to take the risk of letting our faith be guided by an educated understanding of Scripture. There are hundreds of thousands of families world-wide that have simply begun to read the Word with fresh eyes, stepping back from denominational and traditional doctrines. We’ve not just come to an exciting understanding, but we’ve chosen to transfer that knowledge into what might be called an “alternative lifestyle”. We aren’t just seeking to understand Yah’s Way, we are deciding to actually walk on it—no matter the cost.
Without any “official” head other than Messiah, using the Word alone to guide us, and the Holy Spirit to empower us, this life can look very messy. There’s a lot of iron-sharpening-iron, which can lead to the occasional iron-filing in our eye, sparks that cause small fires, and even an accidental impaling or two. You’ll see 6 families with 8 separate understandings of exactly how Yah’s calendar is supposed to work. Messy. Certainly, you’ll find 7 different pronunciations of Yah’s Holy Name. Messy. Most people, not all, agree on most, not all, of what scripture defines “food” to be—plus they over-salt and under-spice everything. Messy.
Over the centuries since Moses, mankind has tweaked the original recipe so many times, that Yah had to send His own Son, the Head chef, to make some important restorations to kitchen. Then the master left again. He knows there are too many sous chefs in the kitchen, and thankfully somebody took the time to write down the highlights of his advice! I really don’t want to be caught eating a #5 when he comes back for a taste-test.
Especially when His Ways are delicious and worth the risk, the time, and the mess.