Posts filed under ‘Supernatural’
No meanderings this week. I didn’t have time yesterday and we really haven’t done much meandering this last week. Will see what happens next Monday.
When I was preaching regularly (which I miss) I would find myself often being tested, tempted, even attacked in the very area I was studying. Sometimes it was pretty intense. Since I decided to write down what I believe is a more positive, Kingdom view of eschatology (study of last things) I have felt more pressure to not do it than anything I have done recently. Thoughts like, “who really cares what you think?” With each new world crisis comes the inevitable “doesn’t look too positive right now, does it?” or this question “what makes you think you know more than_________?” Fill in the blank with a hundred different names of people who see the end as ugly and negative.
But here is why I am going ahead with it. It is my blog, and I write what is going on in my life and head. No one has to read it if they don’t want to. There seems to be a hunger in people for an authentic Kingdom view of life. Whoever chooses to read it is totally free to be blessed by it, disagree with it, blow it off, embrace it, whatever, so here we go.
There are a lot of views out there about last things. Do a search of words like “end times”, “last things”, “end of the world”, “eschatology” etc and you will find everything from the weird to the complex to the helpful. There are two I will spend most of my time interacting with.
Today’s popular view, that things are winding down to a fateful and horrible end, made the more horrible by a particular individual called the anti-christ, through a miserable 7 years of tribulation, out of which the “church” will be raptured, culminating with a 1000 year earthly reign by King Jesus. That view I will refer to as the futurist view. The view I will contrast with the futurist view is referred to as the partial preterist view. Preterist comes from a Latin word that means roughly “things that are past”. Rather than to use the words partial preterist I will refer to this view as the Kingdom view.
A pretty easy way to define these two understandings of last things is to say the futurist looks at Matthew 24 and Revelation and says most, if not all of the prophesies found there, are yet to be fulfilled. The Kingdom view, as I call it (partial preterist view) sees the prophesies of 24 and Revelation as fulfilled primarily in the past and partially in the future.
As I said in a previous post the Kingdom view is one held by the church for centuries while the future view is a much more recent view of last things. That isn’t all that important but I wanted you to know that what I am going to write about didn’t just show up in recent days, in fact it is the futurist view that is the most recent of the end times scenarios.
As He (Jesus) was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, asking, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
There are three key questions being asked of Jesus and how we understand the answers Jesus gives to these 3 questions determines how we will understand the end times, the tribulation, the antichrist and how future events will play out.
Jesus answers these 3 questions by talking about people who come along claiming to be the Messiah, about wars, famines, earthquakes, heavy persecution of Christians, and about people who claimed to be followers of Jesus who slip away under pressure. He also speaks about the gospel going out into the world, followed by some really bad things happening and people being taken away.
Futurists look at the way Jesus answers the three questions and come to the conclusion that all the events Jesus speaks of, are going to happen sometime in the future, a future far beyond the days of the disciples to whom Jesus is speaking. In other words the futurist reads what Jesus says and rather than to see what He speaks of as taking place soon after He answers the questions, they vault them over the disciples day and land them, if you believe the futurist, in days yet to come, more likely, they would say, in our immediate future.
The partial preterist view, or Kingdom view as I call it come to very different conclusions, when they study 24. We view Jesus’ answers to these 3 important questions as not yet to be fulfilled but actually finding their fulfillment in a period of time more likely less than 100 years from the time Jesus answered the questions.
You should know that the futurist has all kinds of ways to object to the Kingdom view. I will mention a few of them as we move through Matthew 24. But remember, my goal is not to refute the futurist view. I have lived much of my life under the futurist view and found it very debilitating. No doubt, the enemy tries to get to me by pointing out all the ugly stuff happening in our world today and trying to get me to look at how obvious it appears to others that all the signs point to the end being right around the corner. But there has never been a time in my nearly 59 years when people were not pointing to signs of the times and telling us the end was near. Time to our Father is relative because He neither lives in it nor is He bound by our calendar.
How about another point of view, how about we see if there isn’t a blessed hope that the Kingdom really is without end and that by living out the Gospel of the Kingdom, we really will change the world, and that the Bride really will be beautiful and pure at His coming and that the Body of Christ, really can be made ready and that every knee will bow and confess, not out of fear but out of joy at His coming? How about we take a look at those possibilities? Can’t hurt.
Next question number 1. “When will these things happen?”
After more than two months away we are back in our spot on the beautiful 100 acres that comprise Trinity Fellowship. We arrived back yesterday in time for the second service yesterday, and the opportunity to hear our friend and spiritual son Charlie, share some thoughts on staying fit spiritually, from the inside out. It was a good word and really fun to see how this young man has grown. He has such a good grasp on the importance of relationships in the Family and the value of hearing the Father. Wish you could all know Charlie, Lorissa and their family, they are such a great example of how the Family is producing sons and daughters who get the Kingdom and are living out Kingdom values. (Don’t have time for a pic, wish I did)
Item one. We spent some really great time in Williams, Arizona with another Kingdom family. Brooks and Melissa are ranchers in the dry high desert country. Brooks rides herd over about 100 square miles of land where he cares for as many as 1000 head of cattle. That is a lot of country. I went with Brooks to help a neighbor with branding and moving some calves, while Linda helped Melissa with the homeschooling of their two oldest. Along the way we shared our relationship with the Father and shared some pain and some joy. We are so blessed to have spiritual sons and daughters to go alond with our natural (they are spiritual, too) sons and daughters. I don’t have any fear for the future of the Kingdom (of course we have a great King) because it is populated with some young people who are living it out. There are so many more I could write about and probably will, but these two couples are fresh on my mind today.
Item two. We were about half way between Flagstaff and Winslow, Arizona when I-40 was closed down in both directions because of blowing sand. We have experienced road closures because of snow, ice, flooding, downed trees, among other things, but never for blowing sand. We sat on the freeway, with a few thousand other people, for over 4 hours before we were able to head on towards Albuquerque where we spent the night. I really wanted to stop in Winslow where I hear there really is “a girl my Lord in a flat bed Ford…” Didn’t get to this trip. (extra points if you understand that last line)
Item three. I intend to do a post just on points made by Bill Johnson in a message we listened to on Resurrection Sunday. We had our own service with Chuck and Nancy and it was really powerful, great worship, good friends, an encounter with the Word that has stayed with me for days and excellent food. Even watched the end of the Masters. hard to beat a day like that. There are not many messages these days that still have your attention days or weeks later but this was one of them. He was talking about the fear of God and how the church has watered down the meaning of the word so as to try and make a relationship with the Creator more user friendly. Bill said, and I agree, that fear really does mean fear, but he went on to say there are two kinds of fear in the Scriptures; fear that messes you up so you run from God and fear that brings us near to God, low and surrendered. Not to many Christians in that posture these days. More on that later.
Item four. We are officially out of the trucking biz. After several months of really good income followed by several more of limited income and then more of none, we had someone approach us about buying our truck and it seems like a good deal for us. The oil industry has tanked out here so the work we had is just not there anymore and we are not interested in trying to find other kinds of loads so we decided to call it a career. Many lessons learned and there are still some unanswered questions, but that isn’t all bad. Questions always force trust in places we haven’t trusted before and of course that is what builds stronger faith. Perhaps there still be some use for my CDL.
Item five. There are all kinds of projects to work on now that we are back in Sayre. While we were away a high speed fibre optic line was put in place which will now allow us to get our classes and services on line in real time and to archive other video for use by our students and others. This is really exciting for me but it is also pretty new to me so I will be flying by the seat of my pants as we put it together. Convergence Summit 2 is not that far away and there is much to do, like securing speakers and publicity and all that goes with putting a program together for 100+ people. We are also talking about a 3 month Convergence program for 10-15 students who want to live, learn and serve in the western culture. There is also teaching to do plus our work with Forever Cowboys, Fellowship of Christian Cowboys and the Pro Bull Riding Outreach. We have varied responsibilities and opportunities with these groups but we have a high level of interest in their success in reaching their Kingdom vision.
So, lots to do. Still hope to keep the Juniper Tree growing too, so stick around, I appreciate you. Have an anointed week!
When we first went out to Sayre, Oklahoma it was because, honestly, we had no where else to go. Since our Father is sovereign, we knew that being led to Sayre, in a way that could only be God, Sayre would be the one place where restoration would take place.
Trinity Fellowship is not like any church or Family I have ever known. It isn’t perfect and I don’t always think the same way the leadership does about some things, but I have learned so much about the Father, the Holy Spirit and myself out there and have friends I trust and who trust me. The Trinity leadership has taken seriously the responsibility of Galatians 6:1, something the church I served for nearly 17 years would not do. For that I am very thankful and frankly a much better man, follower and servant of Jesus.
Pastor Andy hears from God and when he does he is able to put what he hears in terms most of us can understand. Early on in the genesis of Trinity Fellowship the Father told him to build the church with “people noboby else wants”. That Word has become the story of Trinity, taking people nobody (no other church wants to spend the time and money on) else wants and turning them into the people everybody wants (faithful, servant minded, humble people). I have never seen another church, and I’ve been around, that takes its responsibility for the poor (both economically and in spirit) so seriously, at great cost both in time and money, and I believe the blessing of God is on this Family because it takes this role so seriously.
So when I read yesterday’s Henri Nouwen devotional it made me think of Trinity and why, even with it’s flaws and weaknesses, it works as well as it does building Kingdom on the windy plains of Western Oklahoma.
Nouwen wrote: There are many forms of poverty: economic poverty, physical poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty, and spiritual poverty. As long as we relate primarily to each other’s wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and soul strength, we cannot develop true community. Community is not a talent show in which we dazzle the world with our combined gifts. Community is the place where our poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn to cope with as best as we can but as a true source of new life.
The Trinity Family gave me the opportunity to acknowledge my poverty, accepted me for who I was, broken in spirit and orphaned by the church. They told me I was OK and valuable, actually more valuable broken than I was “whole”. They restored my soul and allowed healing to come, simply by providing a place for another one of those people nobody else wants, to feel at home.
Nouwen concludes: Living community in whatever form – family, parish, twelve-step program, or intentional community – challenges us to come together at the place of our poverty, believing that there we can reveal our richness.
Still from Payson, Arizona
I don’t say it enough and certainly I am not thankful enough for the favor of the Father that allows us to be in places like Payson with people like Chuck and Nancy. Last night some missionary friends of theirs (Wayne and Brooke) came through, had dinner, played farkle with us, watched AmIdol (do you know what that is?) and shared their story of being called from a tent making pastorate to missionary work in Costa Rica. It was fun and just part of the favor on us. We meet new people all the time who, apart from sovereign grace, we would never know.
When I was a pastor in the Northwest (seems like a lifetime ago) down the street from our church, around the corner and up the stairs was something called a Healing Room. Not only did I not go there, I was just ignorant enough to tell others not to go there either. I repent publicly for my ignorance and arrogance. That Healing Room has been led all these years by Marc and Lydia Buchheit who are also the directors of Healing the Northwest International Ministries, as well as being the Northwest Regional Directors for the Healing Rooms. More info about Marc and Lydia HERE.
When I was no longer the pastor of the church that is down the stairs, around the corner and down the street from that Healing Room and was not in very good shape, spiritually, emotionally and physically, I would climb those stairs and spend time in that Room by myself and over time got up the courage to go in the Room and ask for prayer, which was what they did. Now when I am in the area I try to go back to that wonderful place of healing and hope and get prayed for. If I had it to do over again, not only would I go more myself, I would send everyone I know there for prayer and healing.
A few years back my friend, and son in the Lord, Tyler Johnson was led by the Spirit back to Shelton and into the ministry of prayer and healing from that same Healing Room. Tyler has blessed me so many times and raised the level of my faith and expectation way past where I was, by living out what he believes and calling the rest of us to join him. Tyler married Christine and together they have a son Joshua and are extending the ministry of prayer and healing all over the place from that Healing Room. You can learn about them and their ministry at their great new website found right HERE. If you need healing, if you want prayer for whatever, get in touch with these great people. If you live in Mason County don’t wait as long as I did to climb those stairs to the Healing Room.
When we came to Payson we thought it was for one reason and have been discovering we are here for at least one other. Our friends Chuck and Nancy are in the process of opening a Healing Room here in the Rim Country of Arizona! Along with several others they are taking the extensive training to be leaders in this ministry and meeting every week to pray and learn and get ready to open the doors very soon. So, guess what? We are going to be taking the training too. The end of the month we will go to a weekend training and learn what we can about starting and/or being part of the Healing Room ministry and learn along with the others while we are here. Who knows where this might lead us!
Everyone of us has been affected in some way, by this economic tsunami, swamping the world. You have either been laid off, lost your job, threatened by job loss, had your investment portfolio devalued or someone close to you has, and you are concerned about it. Right?
I have several friends who are out of work and our trucking investment has been “over” for several months. In an email conversation with one of these friends I made some statements and asked a question: Anyone can view this situation from a natural perspective. That’s easy. It is bad now and it is going to get worse. When you look at things from a human or natural perspective, what else can you say? That is the statement, it’s not good and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Nothing profound about that.
But here is the question. Is that how our Father sees it? What might His perspective be on the situation? We are Kingdom people, full shareholders in a Kingdom that is unshakable (Hebrews 12:28). Some, I guess view that verse as a statement of the surety of heaven, for the believer. I won’t argue against that point one way or the other. But is that all being a Kingdom person is about–heaven? (sure, I know, that would be enough but…?)
What if we who are Kingdom people, began to think differently, to carefully listen for the mind of our Father? Began to look at things from the Spiritual and supernatural and not just the flesh or natural? What if we began to gather in groups of Kingdom people and strategize Kingdom solutions for these problems? Would it make sense for us to start looking for businesses that are stressed or broken that we could bring some life and health to, by thinking outside the box everyone else is thinking in?
If we believe what is going on is just a precursor to the End, how does that affect the way we think? If we are just going to duck and cover during these “so called last” days of grave uncertainty and shaking, will we miss the opportunity of a lifetime to actually bring Kingdom values to bear on the crisis?
(BTW, we have no idea if these are the last days, and have no way of knowing, so Jesus said in Matthew 24:36. There is a lot in Matthew 24 we need to understand from a Kingdom perspective, rather than just an end times approach. Anyone want to work on that?)
Kingdom people must not focus on a deliverance plan, an out. I am not convinced, for a lot of reasons, that is the mind of the Father. (You can read my thoughts about the End written before the great wave hit us. (HERE) This is of course not the full answer to this very important, if not the most important issue of our day, but it does have merit.)
If we are just waiting around for Jesus to come back, what happens if He doesn’t come in our lifetime? I am committed to telling as many people about the saving grace of Jesus as I can. It is of utmost importance. However, is there not some Spirit filled creativity we could bring to the table right here, right now?
Pastors, elders, Spirit filled church people… Let’s start by first acting differently than those around us, that don’t have the mind of Jesus, nor the Spirit. Let’s rebuke and reject the spirit of fear and think with sound minds. Let us speak optimistically about what our Father might be up to, rather then just agreeing that the enemy is doing his thing very well. Pastors and leaders of all kinds, lead us. Show us a new and different way. Preach and teach Kingdom life and gospel. Help us to see the difference. Don’t just tell us to “hang on, Jesus is coming”. I hope He does today, but I want help focusing on what we are going to do differently, if He doesn’t. Even if you don’t know what to do, let’s get together and begin to pray that we will see into the Spirit realm and lock on to what the Father is doing and get hooked up to that!
Kingdom values, when appropriately applied will change culture, other wise, what’s the point? If you wonder what Kingdom values are try reading Matthew 5-7 or Hebrews 13, you will find them there and all over the Word.
I have some ideas, so do you. Start sharing them. Write about them, preach about them, invite people into your home to pray and strategize together. Wouldn’t that be more productive and encouraging than hanging on? If you have a blog, link your thoughts to this blog. It will spread the word faster than I can do it alone.
As always I would love and benefit by anything you are seeing or hearing. Please comment for all our benefit.
Been reading parts of a book, our host Chuck gave me, called The Shaping of Things To Come(Frost/Hirch). This morning I read this: Built into every fabric of New Testament teaching on the extension of the Kingdom is the assumption that when the Christian community embraces a godly, holy lifestyle, it will so tantalize the wider community that they will seek after God. And yet so much of what typifies the so-called holiness movement in the fundamentalist-evangelical churches has had the opposite effect. When the wonders of life in Christ are boiled down to teetotalling, it’s hardly likely to arouse great interest in the community about us. If by holiness we simply mean no drinking, no smoking and no dancing we have a very limited view of the concept.
This is not particularly new. We know withdrawal doesn’t work, but the quote got me thinking about what will work. Has there ever been a period in American history (perhaps the Civil War era, or the Great Depression) when the culture as a whole needs the Kingdom more than it does today? The cultural upheaval we are experiencing right now, starting with new leadership, for good or bad, right on through a total revamping of the financial world, has opened the door wide to a Kingdom culture and way of life. During this shaking season, it appears whatever can be shaken will be shaken, but the writer of Hebrews says “we have been given a Kingdom that cannot be shaken”. So it makes sense, doesn’t it, the culture badly shaken and still shaking could use something solid to come to for safety?
If we who are Kingdom people will handle this crisis personally, corporately, relationally, economically in a way that mirrors the Kingdom of our God and not the kingdom of this world we will make this Life so attactive that there will be a move of the Spirit in our world the likes of which we have never seen. If we are respectful, self controlled, kind, loving, and faithful along with soundness of mind, integrity, seriousness and display a faith that sees not what is easily seen by every one, but a faith that sees what our Father sees, there will be an attraction to our King that false holiness has never had.
It is fine to abstain from the use of alcohol out of devotion to God, but if our lives are marked with greed, self-centerdness, arrogance, fear, holding tight to our stuff, and trying to simply gut it out, preserving our own stake, in what way will our light ever reach the culture?
What can we do to shine during these days, so there is an attraction to the Kingdom and not a repulsion? Frost and Hirch offer some suggestions and I have expanded them to reflect what I am Hearing:
- See to it that no one has to face their problems alone. Challenges like we face today tend to isolate people and loneliness and despair are the result.
- Make safe places for people to reveal their pain and struggles. Let it be OK to struggle. We don’t have to fix, just care.
- Allow each person to have a voice, not just the strong and the wealthy. Seek out the poor, weak and those nobody else wants.
- Don’t isolate the young or the old. Both ends of the age specturm are the most vulnerable in crisis. Be a real Family.
- Invest resources in people not buildings or programs. We cannot afford to do business as usual in the Church. While we must not abandon those who serve us as their vocation, we do need to evaluate every dime we are spending with Kingdom values in mind. Use our Spirit filled creativity to create jobs and grow the resources we have. Just doing “church” won’t get it done.
- We must not require agreement in order to have deep, meaningful relationships. This is the part of church the culture just doesn’t get. Why can’t we get along? This crisis is going to cause all kinds of fights and disagreements in the government, schools, states and cities and among neighbors and on and on because the world will be doing what the world does, trying to preserve and protect what they have and take advantage of a bad situation to protect themselves. A “City on a Hill” will be a bright contrast to all that darkness.
- Expect the Supernatural. Anyone can do what comes naturally but Kingdom people can live Supernaturally and when people see what God can do, they will come in droves!
If Kingdom people will do these things and more, there will be a revival and the culture will be regenerated in a positive, Kingdom way. Something no bailout will ever accomplish.
Someone must have some thoughts and ideas on this one.
Might be the last post from this location for a while. We are heading west on Monday and will surely post along the way as well as when we are settled into our Arizona “home”. I will miss our friends here in Oklahoma and probably even miss Oklahoma, but we are looking forward to a new adventure in following the Spirit and ministering to those He brings us. While there are some ups and downs in this life, as there is in any life, we are still enjoying the freedom we have to do what we are called to do. We will return to Western Oklahoma the middle of April.
Here is another Word from Hebrews 13. Read the previous post for a little background.
Don’t forget about those in prison. Suffer with them as though you were there yourself. Share the sorrow of those who are being mistreated as though you feel their pain in your own bodies. (13:3) I don’t think this is a reference to the general prison population of the day, nor all those who were suffering mistreatment, though as followers of Jesus we need to care about those in prison and those mistreated, wherever we find them.
I think this is a reference to those who are suffering these things, for their faith. Google or Yahoo! persecuted Christians and you will have a wealth of info in front of you, if you sense this Word is for you. I could link a bunch for you, but if you are called to care in this way, you will find what you need.
But here is the Word as it came to the 7 of us the other morning. These three exhortations point us to embrace other peoples pain. Suffer with… as though you were there yourself. Share the sorrow..feel their pain in your own body… If we are to really, I mean really make a difference in this world, during these days of declining everything, we are going to have to get involved at a level most of the church has never invested. Most of us give well, some even sacrificially and we need to keep doing that as we are led, but this Word goes deeper. Can you remember the last time you were moved to tears by the plight of someone else, the last time your heart was broken by someone elses pain?
A few days ago I wrote a post called Dear Ted and Gayle. It was an open letter to the Haggard’s, who have been much in the news these last few weeks, even months. Not long ago they were on top of the evangelical world, with fame, “fortune” and everything going their way, but it all came crashing down when Ted’s dark side was revealed to the world. Did we care? Did we take some sort of pleasure from someone getting busted for behavior that repulsed us? How could a pastor do that!? Were we glad he got what he did, or did we suffer with them…share their sorrow…feel their pain?
I know that is an extreme case but sometimes we have to see things in the extreme before we can apply them to our own little sphere of influence. This Word is here to tell us that when we enter into peoples lives at a level that evokes emotion and touch we make a world of difference.
This new day begs for a new kind of investment-ourselves. Who needs you to suffer with them, share their sorrow or feel their pain? Yes, some of you can give money to those in desperate need. If you can, do it, generously, sacrificially, but please don’t do it at the expense of this Word.
Meditate on these Words. Suffer with them, share their sorrow, feel their pain. It will change our lives, for the better.
Dear Ted and Gayle,
You don’t know us, but we are Family. We are Family because we have the same Father who loves us no matter what we have done or what we have failed to do. We are also Family because we have shared a similar road from a position of influence and ministry that we loved, to a very lonely place of humiliation and exile. Choices always have consequences and for those of us in positions of Christian leadership they seem to have greater consequences than those assigned to the people who we served. We don’t think it is right but at least the church is consistent.
We just wanted to tell you we are proud of both of you. What happened to you was horrible and yet you are still standing in faith and hope, believing and walking out your conviction that no matter what happens, your Father will be there for you. Thank you for showing us all that we can trust Him in the very darkest of times.
We are proud of you for speaking the truth about your experiences from the desperate to the hopeful. It makes us all confident we can, and will make it, when our lives go in the tank. Thank you for being honest about who you are and the darkness you have faced and continue to face. Every Christian has dark places, but most don’t have to tell the world about them. You have both faced your darkness with dignity and grace and as a result there is a bright light shining from you to those of us who really need it.
Gayle, thank you for doing the right thing when everyone and everything shouted to you to do what everyone else thinks they would do. Love is always seen best when given under circumstances that shout to withhold it. “Standing by your man” makes no sense apart from a Kingdom perspective that calls for honoring commitments and loving “until death do you part.” There is no question you would have been cared for by the church in more demonstrative and needed ways, had you left Ted, but your actions speak so clearly about what grace and love really are. Bless you.
Ted, everything you said for all those years, that God used to change a whole lot of people, were true then and they are still true today. I don’t know why it is that people think we were somehow lying when we spoke truth into their lives, just because we were struggling to walk it out in our own experience, just like they were. I don’t ever remember preaching a message that didn’t work on me first and I didn’t always get it applied either. Your gifts and your calling have not been revoked, even if the church you gave your heart to has revoked them. Your Father has not. You have much more to offer the Family then you did before and we would not hesitate to sit under your teaching. Truth is truth and truth offered in the crucible of reality is much more effective than what is run out there in most churches, Sunday after Sunday.
We all have a dark side, it is called the natural. You know this as well as anyone. We make choices everyday to choose life in the natural, out of our old nature or life in the spiritual, fueled by our new nature. The enemy who rules the dark side, hates our guts, hates the Kingdom and He hates our King. Our dark side is very complex and all of our past life plays in to what provides fuel for it. I don’t understand why we sometimes do things we hate and don’t always choose righteousnes, but we are in good company. (see the last few verses of Romans 7) The leaders of your church have a dark side along with the rest of us. People like those of us who fail in a big and public ways make them feel very uncomfortable about the darkness in them. That’s why they left you on the outside.
One thing I have seen time and time again in the Christian world is this: When things in our lives or church go sideways, we fall back on what we know best. If we abused drugs in our past life, we will often go back to that when things are tough. If we were sexually permissive in our past life, we will often go there for comfort when we are faced with obstacles we cannot understand. If we used to over eat when we are feeling insecure, we are prone to go back there for our encouragement, rather then to our Savior. Before we were born into the Spiritual some of us were angry and mean and when life throws us a curve we are sometimes still angry and mean. Our point is, we do what we know best to do when we don’t know what to do.
That was true for your church. When it was revealed that you were a struggler and not always the overcomer they thought you to be, your congregation and much of the evangelical world was devastated. You can understand why they would be. The leadership of your church had never faced anything like it before, so because they didn’t know what to do, they fell back on what they did know and functioned, not from a Kingdom perspective (capital K), but from a kingdom one (small k). In the kingdom of this world the institution must be protected at all costs and so in their confusion and hurt, they circled the wagons around the institution and left you outside. That way, they believed, you could not do any more damage to the church. It was Jesus who said, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” That is really all we can do.
The Kingdom way would have been to circle the wagons all right, but to circle them around the two of you and your children, and protect you from the world and from your self. But they didn’t know what to do, so they did what they knew to do, and it was wrong.
But by comparison, what did you do? When you did not know what to do, you fell back on what you knew as well. You fell back on what you knew of your Father and what you knew of His Word. You let Him circle the wagon of His love around you and inside that circle of love you listened, you cried, you were afraid and you did what anyone would do when kicked to the curb, you made some mistakes and you did a lot more that was right. The way you have been led to walk it out has not always pleased everyone whose role it is to pass judgement, but it is hard to worry about pleasing people who are inside the wagon circle, when you are outside by yourself. Don’t worry about it. Keep doing what you are led to do. Those days were as dark as any you have ever faced and you had to face them “alone” but you held on to the Father and you survived. You did what you have always done, you showed us how to walk it out, for better or worse.
Ted, Gayle and family. We know something of what you have endured as do many, many others who have failed and been left out side the circle to survive on their own. We are proud of you.
You could always come to Sayre, Oklahoma. Even after pouring grace and love over us for two years there is still a lot left.
Greg and Linda
Had a great couple of days in Big D (Dallas, TX) over the weekend. I attended the PBR event there with bull riding legend and good friend, Cody Custer. It was great fun meeting many new people and watching the best bull riding in the world. Cody is one of the PBR founders and heads a ministry to the PBR and other bull riding circles. Cody’s influence in that world is as significant an influence as anyone in the rodeo world. He cares about people in a very special way and so has earned the right to speak into many lives there. The church service and outreach event were well attended. One highlight was meeting Clyde and Elsie Frost. They lost a son in 1989 in a bull riding accident. I spent most of Saturday night watching the bull riding with them and getting some of their wisdom into my life. I had such a blessed time.
I asked the Father to give Linda and me a Word for direction in 2009 and I woke up during that first week with one Word clearly formed in my mind. The word is RELEASE. As I listened and allowed the Spirit to teach me I saw that the Word moved in two directions. It had outward movement and inward movement.
The last decade or two has been prosperous in ways I can’t ever remember. Stocks went to unprecedented heights, home values, in many cases, tripled in value. Incomes rose, investments paid off, retirement income allowed many to retire early with resources to do all kinds of things. Almost everyone benefited in some way from years of amazing growth and accumulation of wealth and all that came with it, both good and bad.
But very few are still riding that wave. Even here in oil/gas booming Oklahoma the wave is all but smoothed out and while there may be fewer layoffs here than in Seattle or other places in America, they appear to be on the horizon. The future does not look very bright, at least in the natural.
But in the Spiritual I think things may be brighter than ever if we will embrace what the Father is doing. I believe He is shaking things up in order to bring in a greater level of Kingdom advancement than we have ever seen in all of history. But first must come RELEASE. What do we RELEASE? Perhaps we all have different things to let go of but I would suggests a few for us all to consider: Expectations. When things have been so good, we want them to stay that way and get depressed when they are not. Change is good, let the past go. It is a new day and learning to do more with less and to depend on the Father and Family is almost never learned in the good times. RELEASE the need to continue living at the same level you have the last 10 years. How about letting go of hurt and disappointment. Let some people off your hook. Forgiveness is a great RELEASE and brings all kinds of beneficial results. RELEASE the need to control every aspect of your life. Allow some mystery into your experience. You will see much more of the Spirit’s power and direction if you leave some blanks. RELEASE fear and worry. This is a hard one for me. I don’t worry about myself as much as I do those closest to me. In declining economies children and the elderly are the most vulnerable, and there are many in both groups I love. But my fear and worry doesn’t change anything for them. Do what you can to help others, in fact this is a good season to make big sacrifices for others rather than to hunker down and just take care of ourselves and RELEASE their care to their Father, He is their Father too and cares about them more than we ever could. RELEASE the need to spend money just because you can and especially if you don’t have it. If you have it, help your Family through these days, if you don’t have it, refuse the plastic urge.
We all have our own list of things to RELEASE in an outward direction. But here is the exciting part about RELEASE. While in Washington I visited Rivers of Grace Church, pastored by our friends Dennis and Diane Teague, who by the way, know a lot about RELEASE. I went to the front after the service for prayer, as I always try to do when invited, and Diane began to pray for RELEASE to come in to my life. The Word she had for me was RELEASE that moves inward.
When we RELEASE in an outward direction the Father will have room to RELEASE in the other direction and that was just what Diane was speaking into me. As there is an outflow of things like those mentioned above, the Father will RELEASE into our lives a flow of power, freedom, hope, confidence, courage, boldness, gifts of the Spirit in fresh new ways, love for others, clarity of purpose and direction and so much more.
I have not got the flow adjusted just right, quite yet. The outward RELEASE is hard to learn and harder to practice, but I am determined because I desire a greater RELEASE inwardly than ever before. It is coming and it is there for you as well.
RELEASE for RELEASE in 2009!
Still recapping recently completed Convergence Summit. Pretty much doing a “Cliff Notes” version of the teaching we heard during the Summit. For those who attended you can get all of the audio on the Trinity website HERE. Click on the “online courses” tab and insert the user name and password you were given during the school. If you don’t have it call me or the church office.
For information on Bob Mumford, see the post below this one.
Some bullet points from Bob:
- God uses All Things, with nothing excluded, in the inexorable and twisted battle against all that is eros driven(not agape driven) and compulsively repulsive. All is fair in love and war. This is both.
- Works of the flesh are, in Paul’s understanding are the absence of Agape and the failure to allow Christ to deliver us from all that is compulsively reflexive.
- The content of Agape are these seven attributes: Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, mercy, truth, faithful, forgiving. These 7 attributes are God’s own nature and when birthed in us produces Agape. Could it be these 7 are what it means to “put on Christ?” and we “Fall short of His glory?” when we live without these 7. When we live otherwise is that “exchanging His glory…?”
- Kingdom living is honestly and relentlessly living for the things of Jesus and not ourselves.
- Living to get our own way produces self love not agape. Trying to get our own way produces mindless repetition, loveless, cheap sex, stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage, frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness. trinket gods, magic show religion, paranoid loneliness, cutthroat competition, all consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants, brutal temper, an impotence to love or be loved, divided homes and divided lives, small minded and lopsided pursuits, the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival, uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions, ugly parodies of community… (a paraphrase of Galatians 5:19-21)
- For the Kingdom citizen, we are called to change direction from the above to the seven attributes of Agape. The enemy is relentlessly determined to cause you to change direction again through spiritual warfare, temptation and ungoverned desire. Once we change direction we are capable of anything!
- When we choose to change direction and enter the Kingdom our minds, emotions, and will power are flooded with multiple reasons why we made the right choice.
- One hope. Christ in you, the hope of Glory. (Glory being the seven attributes of Agape)
- This Glory is seen in the two most expensive aspects of the Kingdom: Unqualified love and unlimited forgiveness.
- These two, when received, embraced immediately begin to set us free from the compulsive, reflexive self interest that dominates and controls the world system.
- Christ in you is the biblical hope of displaying Glory. Christ in you, is Agape incarnate (7 attributes) will displace the animal demands that is relentlessly forced upon us. We can behave like animals even while quoting Scripture and praying out loud in the church.
- Christ in us releases the fruit of the Kingdom (7 attributes that produce glory) all of which are understood as uncommon concern for others over self.
- Paul knew with certainty and writes the letter to the Galatians to tell us that returning to the Moses law would without question lead back to animal behavior. It is proven, repeatedly.
- The writer of Hebrews knew if they returned to the Old Covenant, they would lose the Kingdom as an inheritance and begin to respond, predictably, as people who are in need of competing, pushing, encroaching and seeking to gain favor.
- Kingdom hope reduces to these simple principles: Receive and follow Jesus. He will take you where your reflexive concerns will make you turn back or, alternatively, allow you to surrender, yield, break. He will, I promise, use All Things with nothing held back. If you follow, you will come to freedom and to the Father (John 8: 29-34)
- Begin to search out Unqualified Love. This becomes so expensive, that the only answer and possible survival is for us to allow the demands of His Love to press us into the reality of Christ. He alone, can impart that which is needed.
- As for courage to experience and give Unlimited Forgiveness. This, He asks us to do, irrespective of how unfair, expensive, or demanding it can be. This is the Cross of which He spoke and asked us to particpate in.
- These two Kingdom principles will again change the world and bring freedom to the entire creation. These principles are what brought the Roman Empire crashing down.
- Our nurturing Father intends to do it again. And the kingdoms of this world system become the Kingdoms of our God and of His Christ
I haven’t done Bob justice. He is a man of depth, but more he is a man who knows his days on earth are numbered (whose aren’t?) and so is determined to blow up as much of the religious system and institutional church as he can get to before he dies. You know he loves you but you also know he doesn’t really care if he messes you up. You cannot listen to Bob without being motivated, unnerved, blessed, made angry, all at the same time. You are either dead or emotionally “all in” when you listen to him. There are no other options. You don’t always like what you hear but your world will always be hammered in some way, that will be good for you.
Next time I will try to “cliff notes” Bob’s discussion of the Father as Kingdom and Mother as the institutional church or religious system and the drastic consequences of Mother being in charge! Not sure when that will be but it will come and you will be challenged.