Archive for March, 2009

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.74

Payson, Arizona

Our time in Arizona is coming to an end.  We leave early tomorrow morning for the 2 hour drive to the Phoenix airport and a flight to Seattle, where we will spend a short week with our children and grandchildren.  Next Tuesday we will return to Payson, pick up our trailer and begin the trip back to Western Oklahoma, arriving just in time for tornado season!  Don’t want to miss that!

Item one.  When we left Sayre a couple of months ago I believed I had heard God about what we were supposed to do with our time.  It was not a wishful thinking plan but one we felt was simply going the next step with some individuals and groups we had been sowing into for some time.  The first month went according to plan and in fact,  things happened that we didn’t expect, and were a real blessing to us. 

This last month has gone a completely other direction from what we thought would happen.  It is easy for me to question if I heard God right when things don’t work out the way I planned and it is hard for me to just go with what is, rather than being disappointed with what isn’t.  Any one relate?  But I have learned a lot about staying in step with the Spirit, doing what is right in front of me, as my friend Doug encourages me to do, and being ok with not accomplishing the plan.  Never easy for me but I am learning. Here are a few things God did while we have been in Payson, that I didn’t plan on or expect.

  • We have spent a lot of time with Chuck and Nancy, more than I imagined and that has been good.  We have poured into them, been poured into by them and had some really fun relaxing times which I think they needed maybe more than we did.  I have been able to work several days helping Chuck with their business which has been fun and I helpful, I think.  We have shared a lot together, hearing the Spirit about their future and ours.  While I knew we would spend time together it has been encouraging to do more than expected with them.
  • I love to worship and I love to participate in leading worship.  I have played very average guitar for years and have had a desire to do more worship leading but there are always people more gifted than I am around to lead.  Chuck is a guitar player and a worship leader and leads regularly at two meetings each week and he invited me to join him.  So I have been practicing a few times a week and participating in leading worship a couple of times every week and it has been a lot of fun.  My fingers are toughened up, I have increased my skill a little, had a lot of fun and helped some folks enter in to worship. 
  • When we arrived in Payson our hosts were in the process of training and certification to open a Healing Room here in this part of Arizona.  I was familiar with Healing Rooms (find out about my experience HERE) and wanted to know more.  Each week we participated in a small group training time with the people who will lead and staff this new ministry in Payson.  Then this past weekend we went to a large group training in Phoenix where we were led by the Southwest Directors for Healing Rooms.  It was a really good learning experience and a good time of ministry in the Spirit.  We now have some experience and training we can use in ministry wherever we are and the potential of starting or being part of a Healing Room ministry in Oklahoma.
  • Payson is a beautiful place.  As nice as any where we have been.  The weather is nearly perfect and the sky a beautiful blue almost all the time, with very little wind.  We are parked in Chuck and Nancy’s side yard on a hill, overlooking the city.  Our view is really nice.  It is easy to take these kinds of gifts for granted as we are privileged to be in a lot of really nice places.  I have been trying to not take it lightly, but to bless the Father several times each day for this gift.  The view repeatedly puts me in a place of prayer for this city and for the ministries that go on here, day after day.  It is really an honor to pray for a city and to believe God for breakthrough in the hearts of people you don’t know and will probably never meet.  That has been good for me.

We have now been on this journey for nearly two years.  We really had no idea where it would take us and what we would do.  Our Family at Trinity in Sayre has not only embraced us and given us a place to belong and serve, they have also freed us to travel from place to place sharing what we have been given with others.  They not only took us in when we felt like outcasts and foreigners in our own home, they have launched us into a unigue ministry that is always interesting.  It will be good to return to Sayre and the Family there, and to see what the Father has for us to do next.  I have some plans but remaining open to the Spirit’s direction!

But for now it is Canyon Paul, Sage O, Eyob, Sean and Sloan time!!!! (will spend some time with their parents too!)

March 30, 2009 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Why the sky is not falling. (article reprint)

Payson, Arizona

No M3 this week.  Too much going on. We are headed to Washington next Tuesday for a week with the family.  It should be fun but too short, as Linda reminds me! (I am the one who booked the flights)

I read a lot both on line and in print.  There is so much material available that is not Kingdom focused but written by people who claim a relationship with the Father.  There is a ton more written that is not Kingdom focused by people who claim no allegiance to the King.  There is very little written by Kingdom focused people who are able to look past the obvious and see only what can be seen by eyes of faith.  These are the people whose writings I seek out and try to share.

So here is one of those.  It is written by John Garfield of Releasing Kings.   You can read his bio and more about his ministry HERE. 

Economies around the world are suffering. In the US, stocks representing the value of companies have fallen to less than half their value at the peak to reach the lowest level in 12 years. What’s going on?

Sue and I ate breakfast with a couple in their late 80’s. Faye had just had a stroke affected her ability to remember certain words. It also set off her arthritis. Her husband, Vern (82), is a retired painter. They shared how they had a vacation home that won’t sell because the market had fallen so badly. Faye shared that she knew how to use a chain saw and how they had cleared the land to build the house. You could tell this was a couple that started out with no particular advantage beyond their work ethic.

What struck me most from out chat with Faye and Vern, who lived through the depression and World War II, was a simple phrase, “when the economy recovers.” They know it will. Not all believers do understand that.

Eschatology – I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that we haven’t heard the normal chorus of predictions that the end is near and Jesus will soon rapture the church as the culture descends into chaos. Sure there are still a few, but it doesn’t feel like believers are storing up canned goods and heading for the mountains – thankfully. If you’re still suffering from the drum beat of theological doomsayers please read Harold’s book Victorious Eschatology.

God is not judging the world’s materialism and greed through shakeups. He obviously could, that’s just not what’s behind this turmoil. Economic pullbacks are are part of a natural “rest cycle” that is actually good for the economy and good for people. It feels like they happen about every seven years. It does recalibrate greed and materialism but it’s not coming from an angry God. He loves this nation. Our job, as Christians, is to figure out how to get the train back on the track with new ideas and innovative solutions. We have the answer – or at least we know the one who does!

Leading– Christians in business and in government have an opportunity to lead with a real solution. Yearning for that level of spiritual leadership is exactly the sentiment behind President Obama’s popularity. Whether he or another will deliver remains to be seen. So far the markets have voted “no” on a subtle drift toward socialism because the policies hinder the entrepreneurial spirit that fueled the blessing of God on America. Socialism tends to regard all people as equally motivated and productive and deserving the same degree of blessing. In fact, civilization and the Kingdom of God have always been a combination of outstanding leadership and accomplishment next to poverty caused by those without motivation or a dream.

 I like this bumper sticker.“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher

Giving money apart from work fuels a sense of entitlement, erodes self esteem, and cements a poverty mentality. Welfare has nearly destroyed poor segments of American society because it eliminates the need for a bread winner and removes fathers from families. Whether it’s politically popular or not, God really does favor those who work hard and take responsibility for whatever opportunities they do have.

We want people to be successful and wealthy in all areas. They are examples that convince us we can do it too.

The Tipping Point – What’s the answer? We will turn the corner in faith when we take responsibility and grapple with the issues. “Faith” understands that there is a solution waiting to be found. I don’t think we’ve heard it yet. Although we should help those who are struggling, it’s simply not within the power of any government to make poverty disappear. Poverty is a mindset that is only broken by a dream and the hard work of implementing it. The tipping point is really within the people of God. So far, we are still in a process of giving ourselves permission to dream and find the full expression of God’s will within our own heart’s desires.

The tipping point occurs when we realize that an entrepreneurial nature that results in prosperity is the product of the spiritual and Biblical foundation that has been laid in our lives. We’re on the eve of a contagious manifestation of Kings that will set an example of creativity, innovation, prosperity and generosity. Gordon Brown recently challenged the US congress to “lead the world out of this crisis.” There is a prophetic quality to his statement. I believe the US is called by God to do exactly that. Kings in government and business have an opportunity to display the glorious intervention of God… through men and women in the marketplace! We’re the ones called to bless the nations (Gen 12:2-3).

…so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. Eph 1:18-19 NASU

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Eph 2:10 NASU

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Eph 3:20 NIV

March 25, 2009 at 11:34 am 1 comment

Friday Funny in color.

Probably good for a few laughs:

One from past history.

Dick Cheney walks into the Oval Office and sees The President whooping and hollering. “What’s the matter, Mr. President?” The Vice President inquired.
“Nothing at all, boss. I just done finished a jigsaw puzzle in record time!” The President beamed.
“How long did it take you?”
“Well, the box said ‘3 to 5 Years’ but I did it in a month!”

Here is one that is pretty up to date that Cody sent to me:

Due to the popularity of the “Survivor” shows, Texas is planning to do one entitled, “Survivor, Texas-Style.”

The contestants will all start in Dallas, then drive to Waco, Austin, San Antonio, over to Houston and down to Brownsville. They will then proceed up to Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, Odessa, Lubbock and Amarillo. From there they will go on to Abilene, Fort Worth and finally back to Dallas.

Each will be driving a pink Volvo with bumper stickers that read: “I Love the Dixie Chicks,” “Boycott Beef,” “I Voted for Obama,” “George Strait Stinks,” “Hillary in 2012” and “I’m here to confiscate your guns.”

The first one to make it back to Dallas alive wins.

And one because I liked it and I know both Andy and Daryle:

Andy and Daryle are in a mental institution which has an annual contest that picks two of the best patients and gives them two questions. If they answer correctly, they are released.

Andy is called into the doctor’s office first. The doctor says, “Andy, what would happen if I poked out one of your eyes?”

Andy says, “I’d be half blind.”

“That’s correct. What would happen if I poked out both your eyes?”

“I’d be completely blind.” The doctor tells him that he is free to go. On Andy’s way out he tells Daryle the questions and answers.

The doctor asks Daryle, “What would happen if I cut off one of your ears?”

Daryle says, “I’d be half blind.”

The doctor, slightly puzzled, continues, “What would happen if I cut off both your ears?”

“I’d be completely blind.”

“Daryle, how can you explain that you’d be blind?” asks the doctor.

“Well,” replies Daryle, “my hat would fall over my eyes.”

And one from my friend Paul:

A little old lady is sitting on a park bench in “The
Villages,” a Florida adult community.

A man walks over and sits down on the other end of the
bench.

After a few moments, the woman asks, “Are you a stranger
here?”

He replies, “I lived here years ago.”

“So, where were you all these years?”

“In prison,” he says.

“Why did they put you in prison?”

He looks at her and very quietly says, “I killed my wife.”

“Oh!” says the woman. “So you’re single?”

March 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm 2 comments

A place for the people nobody else wants.

Payson, Arizona

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.

March 19, 2009 at 10:01 am 2 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.73

Payson, Arizona

When the time changed last week everywhere else in the country it did not change here in Arizona.  They see no point in it, so they don’t do it.  The rest of the country sees no point in it but they keep right on doing it.  It was nice to not have to change and nice to be in the same time zone with our family on the west coast but it did put us two hours off from our family in Oklahoma.  Now we have to change two time zones for the “move” back to Western Oklahoma, but when we visit Washington in a couple of weeks, there will be no change.  Trade offs.

Item one.  Our hosts here in Arizona own a screen printing and embroidery business and work hard doing all the work themselves.  So I volunteered to help during a big push last week and learned a new skill!  I afixed, with a high heat system, embroidered patches onto about 20 dozen hats over a three day period.  Not really that difficult after the first dozen but good, mindless work that was actually fun.  Now I can drive a tractor/trailer rig, put patches on hats and fold tee shirts!  Now that’s a resume.

Item two.  A week ago I visited a start up church here in Payson led by a young man I met when we were here last year.  New churches have an air of excitement often missing in a lot of established churches.  This church has  no building, no offices, no paid staff and meet in a small room in a grade school that they are already outgrowing.  While I might want to do it differently than they are, it was refreshing, full of happy multi-generational faces and I expect they will do well here in this community.  What seemed to be missing, from my point of view, was any emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit to draw people to saving faith and to heal their hurts and diseases.  If they would allow a place for the supernatural in their format I think it would have greater impact and potential.  Just my point of view as the leaders of this church have thought a lot about how they want to do it.  Did make me think about giving church planting a try, though.

Item three.  Two views of the economy, one right of center, one left.  Right, HERE and left HERE.  Have you seen the Hyundai commercials where they promise to take the car back if you lose your job and can’t pay?  Well here is a church that promises to give back all your contributions if you lose your job!  Find it HERE.  You don’t have to go far, these days, to hear some pretty empty preachingHERE is a book that might help. 

Item four.  Had to put this link in a new Item so some of the people who skip over stuff they don’t find interesting might see this one.  I have several friends who believe you cannot be saved if you do not have a Mac.  One is my pastor, one is a natural son and the other, that comes to mind, is a son in the Lord.  You know who you are.  Sometimes I want a Mac just so I can be cool like them and then there are those Mac commercials of the fat, total loser of a guy who has the PC (think me) and then the totally hip cool, young guy who has the Mac (think Brad, Tyler, not Andy!) that make me really feel badly.  Here is a post that brings the fun part of the Mac/PC drama out as well as a serious side of the role of advertising in promoting ideas that are wrong.  Find it HERE on Don Millers blog.  It is a good read and in one place even agrees with my conjecture that Macs are really not that superior to the good old Gateway. 

Item five. Over the weekend we drove over to Wickenburg, Arizona to visit Cody Custer’s parents and attend something called a Cowboy Camp Meeting.  After a great steak dinner at Jim and Dixie’s and some good fellowship with our hosts and friends Destry and Terri Haught, we had an interesting evening in the beautiful guest house.  Jake the Dog (find his blog HERE) decided to eat all the dog food of the Custer’s three dogs.  He is not allowed to eat anything other than his own food.  Thank goodness for tile floors as Jake the Dog proceeded to ralph up several servings of food in several locations in the house.  Yeah, gross.  It was a fun night.

Early the next morning, we all piled in the trucks and drove back up into the mountains, up a dirt road, through some huge ranches (think thousands of acres) to a little church where the Cowboy Camp meeting was to be held.  This is an all day event where western Gospel music, preaching and food all come together for a good time.  Destry gave his amazing testimony and Jim sang some great Gospel songs and we ate doughnuts and ate sandwiches on the tail gate of the truck.  Good thing we had our Wranglers, boots and hats on or we would have looked seriously out of place.  Used our new Flip camera to take some videos I intended to post but with great skill I deleted them all!

We love this whole Western culture thing and are blessed to meet so many great people who quietly go about their lives on ranches and farms and in small communities.  They are for the most part simple people (I don’t mean intelligence) of faith, hard work, family and who care about this country.  We could all learn something from these folks.

Have a great week!

March 16, 2009 at 12:08 pm 5 comments

Healing Rooms

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!

March 11, 2009 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Kingdom thinking needed, right now!

Payson, Arizona

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.

March 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm 5 comments

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