Living fully in two worlds.

Our friend Kim and her son Ben have been going through some tough days lately.  Ben, a high school senior has a diagnosis of lymphoma and along with our Family have been believing the Father for the manifestation of healing for Ben’s body.  A few weeks back Kim, concerned that she was doing everything she could do to see healing take place, asked some of us this question: “if we go ahead and do all this chemo-therapy, doesn’t that show a lack of faith and which will keep God from healing Ben?”  My answer to that question was this: “we live in both the natural and the spiritual world and so we want to do everything we can in both worlds to see Ben healed.” 

They continue to walk it out in both worlds and the Father is operating to bring healing through both.

We exist in two worlds and we are responsible for our actions in both.  We get inspiration, purpose, direction, wisdom and many other things from the Spirit but all of these have to be worked out in the natural world we operate in.  This is the way we were created.  It is why we are left to live on the planet even though we have a seat in the heavenlies. (see the letter to the Ephesians)

Error comes when we give emphasis to one side over the other.  I just came from having coffee with Kelly, a man I knew a little, when I was a pastor here in this area.  Kelly had heard me speak the other night and wanted to know how I could go from preaching what I used to preach to now preaching with an emphasis on the fullness of the Spirit.  He was wanting to know how I was able to live in both the natural and spiritual worlds after having functioned primarily in only one for so many years.

I use to say things like this: “if you get it right in your mind you will get it right in your life.”  This statement, while it contains some truth, is not the whole truth.  I was full up on knowledge and had a very good grasp on the truth but I didn’t always get it right in my life.  I was not a whole person.  I knew the Word but I was not open to the Word the Spirit wanted to implant, moment by moment as I walked through my day.

When we have an extreme emphasis on the rational, natural side of life we tend to have trouble receiving anything from the Spirit.  When our focus is solely on study and aquisition of information we are not always conscious of the Holy Spirit speaking, leading or revealing and we miss that moment by moment direction the Spirit wants to give us.

The natural and logical are important dimensions of our life and must be trained and used to function in the natural world but our spiritual senses need training as well so we can receive from our spiritual side as well.  Paul prayed that we would be sanctified (made pure) entirely, body, soul and spirit (1Thessalonians 5:23).  God never intended us to deny or reject any of these essential parts of our nature.  The message of the gospel is redemption, redeeming of our entire being.  If our minds are the only thing redeemed we will miss much of what the Father’s intentions for us, are.  The Father’s intention for us is that we live in touch with both the natural and the spiritual world.

Because most of my life was lived primarily in touch with the natural world at the expense of the spiritual world I have a lot of ground to cover to catch up.  I am not going to get out of touch with my natural side but I am going to give a lot of attention to my spiritual side.  I want more and more of the Spirit and will gratefully and boldly take anything and everything He wants to blast me with.  However whatever that is must be worked out in the natural.

I plan to do some writing on how we can live out our maximum potential in the Spirit while we walk it out in the natural.  Check back, it could be interesting.



August 6, 2009 at 2:17 pm 3 comments

“How could then…they didn’t even have Bibles?” Part 2

Some of the best comments in a long time came in to the Juniper Tree on my last post on the effect of worshipping the written Word while ignoring the other ways the Father speaks to us.  One friend said it this way: “I know it because I have read it in His Word, but it goes deeper than that: it is solid in my heart because I have encountered Him, and I have heard His Spirit whispering in my ear.” 

There is no substitute for the written Word, I love it, I generally read something from it every day and have for nearly 5 decades.  It is like food for a hungry soul that must feed on it to live.  But for most of those 5 decades I missed hearing God because of unbelief, hiding behind knowledge.

I was taught that in these “last days” our Father no longer speaks to us the way He did with the apostles and prophets.  That He no longer is operating outside of our knowledge of Him or our understanding about Him. My teachers were consistent, faithful to their hermeneutic and had a love for God that was real and hopeful.  But they allowed their unbelief to be fogged over by their commitment to wisdom/knowledge over faith.

Unbelief often has an appearance of being a being an approach to life that is careful, scholarly, conservative and skeptical of anything that defies logic and could possibly be faked or flow out of an emotional experience.  No one who operates out of that frame of reference calls what they are doing unbelief but it clearly is.

The mission of unbelief is to subject God to the mind and control of His creation.  Unbelief questions everything including God’s agenda and His way.  Unbelief’s favorite method is to demand proof.  If it really is a miracle, unbelief says, then “prove it”.

What is sad and so counter productive for Kingdom advancement is that unbelief is completely unable to represent Jesus in His power and glory.  It may sound wise, steady, steeped in conservative and proper Christian behavior but it effectively cuts off what the life of Jesus in us is capable of doing to see His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth (in the same way) as it is in heaven.

One old friend said to me during a discussion (argument) as to whether God was still healing people: “when people start getting out of wheel chairs and walking instead of a few people having their hearing restored, I will believe it”.  Well they are getting out of wheel chairs, the dead are being raised and now he wants doctors reports and x-rays to prove it.  The issue is not does God heal, the issue is will we believe He heals.

I am aware that there are fakers out there.  There are mean people who prey on broken, hurting and hopeless people for their own gain, but this intensive effort to protect ourselves from being fooled is more about unbelief than it is a desire to be wise so we are not deceived.

Fear of deception exists predominately where unbelief has been ruling for a long time.  Children believe, new followers of Jesus believe, people who are not followers of Jesus believe!  Wisdom does not believe.

It is not for us to put God on trial.  He is not subject to our knowledge, our wisdom.  When Paul spoke of renewing the mind it was to just such an issue he was speaking.  The unrenewed mind demands proof and demands the Creator explain Himself to the created.  Prove it God and I’ll believe it.  What arrogance, what unbelief.

1Corinthians 13:7 says this Love believes all things.  When we encounter the redeeming, freeing, consistent, unconditional agape of the Father it frees us from our protective instinct of unreasonable caution.  The apostle Paul takes us further into an understanding of this agape when he writes in Galatians 5: faith finds it greatest expression in love.  When fear is driven out by real agape love it opens up the door to the kind of faith that believes the Father’s desire to lovingly reveal Himself extravagantly through miracles.  An encounter with the Father’s love is the best method for dismantling unbelief.

The enemy of our souls always comes at us with fear which leads to unbelief which leads to falling back on wisdom which leads to power-less and glory-less lives.

My friend and pastor, Andy says: God is what (knowledge about) He is but Father is who He is (relationship with).  Religion is a call to knowledge about God, to aquiring knowledge about what He is which more than not produces fear and unbelief, while an agape relationship with the Father leads to a trust in who He is (our Daddy) and an ability to see with the eyes of the heart and not the proof demanding eyes of our head.

July 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm 1 comment

How could they…they didn’t even have Bibles?

I was raised, trained, schooled, believed, and taught that the Bible was the only way to hear God.  To trust any other method of revelation (if there was any other method) was dangerous, suspect and generally untrustworthy.  So I did what so many other people do, I worked as hard as I could to master as much of the Bible as I could, so that I could teach others at a high level of competency and not mess up because I didn’t know the truth.  Nothing wrong with the process just the result.

If the amount of Bible we know were a protection from messing up then most of us who know the Bible would never mess up.  Obviously that is not the case, so what is wrong? 

Hearing the Father through the written Word is not an option, it is mandatory.  The Bible is limitless, timeless and complete.  It is the Living Word of the Creator God.  I cannot live without it, anymore than I can live without breathing.  Having a relationship with the Father through the Bible is a given.

But ask yourself, “self, how could the early church be so effective in changing their culture and how could they be so united in their efforts to build Kingdom, when they didn’t even have Bibles?”  The amazing fruit of the early church couldn’t have been because they had their doctrine squared away and their teachers were “fundamental,” doctrinally pure and went to the right schools to learn the correct theological positions.  The whole creed thing that started a few hundred years in, effectively stopped the forward motion of the church.

The more of the Bible we have broken down into doctrinal positions and the more we have become experts in theology and doctrine the less cultural impact we have had and the less united as a Family we have become. 

We have more teaching ministries, discipleship tools, multiple media options from which to learn, the best educated preachers, teachers, the finest schools and amazingly gifted writers turning out thousands of really great books. every year.  We have so much more “knowledge” available to us than all of the rest of history combined, and yet the culture could care less about our faith or our knowledge and we who claim to have such squared away doctrine are failing in almost every area of life to live as we know and desire to live. 

It seems our increasing lack of effectiveness has come from making aquisition of Bible knowledge the point rather than hearing the Father, the point. When we value the Bible and knowledge over the Holy Spirit it becomes idolatry and does the opposite of what was intended.

The Holy Spirit loves to add to our knowledge things we think we understand.  He loves to take what we think we know and reveal what we need to know.  Why?  Because it is the Holy Spirit that reveals the Word not the other way around.

My friend and pastor, Andy Taylor often says this: “we don’t tie the ends up on our doctrine”.  That doesn’t mean we are wishy washy about truth.  What it means is that doctrine must be kept elastic by the oil of the Spirit or it will burst.  If it is rigid and unmoving it will not yield to the Holy Spirit when He reveals more of the Word to us.  Rigid doctrinal wineskins have a way of becoming irrelevant, powerless and finally they break because we are more concerned about preserving what we know at the expense of what the Spirit is revealing.

It has been my experience that the most dangerous heresies have not come from humble people, filled with the Spirit, who allow the Spirit to open up truth and who regularly have their wineskin refilled, but from people who fixate and cling to one doctrine and build monuments around that teaching and proudly tout their position over someone else’s.  Heresy almost always comes from making one doctrine the issue and not allowing the Spirit to bring life to that truth. 

Every cult, every irrelevant denomination got that way, not from hearing too much, but from not hearing anymore.

July 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm 8 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.82

Shelton, Washington

Here is the weekly update of our life on the road between “homes”.

Item one.  Travelling between Western Washington, Western Oklahoma and Arizona is becoming pretty “normal”.  We have logged nearly 50K miles over the last 3 years but some of those miles are just the here and there of “living” somewhere for a couple of months at a time.  This is at least our 8th trip back to Washington since we sold the house and started living on the road.  It is good to be back in Washington but it never quite feels “right”.

Item two.  Part of this nomadic life means you really don’t completely “fit” anywhere.  There are no roots and no real permanence.  That is the trade off.  If you live in a house and work in a community you collect stuff and take care of stuff and turn in a circle of relationships at work and whatever else you do to connect with people.  When you “live” in a variety of locations you don’t sink down in, because you know you are moving on and so every stop is temporary.

The relationships we have are as good as any we have ever had but they are such that you never quite “fit” because life is so different for us.  We don’t have regular jobs and we don’t have lawns to mow, houses to take care of or regular meetings or gatherings to attend especially when we are not in Sayre.  Sometimes I really want that “normal” again but that isn’t possible here in Mason County and if we settle into that normal in Western Oklahoma we miss out on life with our family here in Washington.  It is always a dilemma without a good solution, so we keep on doing what we do.

Item three.  Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington.  The most direct route to Washington from Oklahoma passes through all of those states and covers a little more than 2000 miles.  We stopped in Colorado Springs overnight to have dinner with my dad and see his new apartment.  He has a $3000.00 view for $300.00 in a senior housing place.  Really great.

I parked the trailer at my brothers business and it was the biggest trailer mess ever, by far.  I got into one of those jams people who pull trailers avoid at all costs but because of the “perfect storm” of situations I got to the place where I could not back up or pull forward without damaging the trailer, the pickup or both.  It was a lose/lose situation.  Wish I had pictures so you could see what I stepped in.  It was totally bad judgement on my part but there were so many factors going on it was easy to make a bad decision.  After much effort in a rain storm, angels lifted the trailer a couple of inches and we made it out with some small scrapes.  I still have nightmares about it.

We went from The Springs to Charlie and Lorissa Kingsbury’s family ranch outside Greeley, Colorado where we spent the fourthof July weekend with Charlies family.  We were treated like family (which we are) and had such a great time.  Wonderful meals, the Greeley Stampede (87th annual), fireworks at the country club (never been to one of those) prayer with Charlies car dealership partners over their businesses, church (the most patriotic Sunday ever!) and many more fun activities that left us gasping for breath.  Great fun with great people.

We left Greeley about noon and drove into Wyoming and on to a rest area 60 miles east of Bozeman, Montana where we spent a short night and then on the next morning to Missoula where we loaded up on groceries and headed to our destination along Lolo Pass and the Lochsa River.  We have stayed in this National Forest Campground many times over the years and always enjoy it there.  I caught a lot of fish including 10-12 of the biggest cutthroat trout ever on that river (16-20 inches)  Great fun.

Did something dumb there too.  Because the nearest place to buy a fishing licence is about 50 miles one way, down the winding highway, I decided for the first time ever in my life, and I fish a lot in a lot of different states, to see how the fishing was before I made the trip to get the license (there was road construction too).  I have fished dozens of different rivers in at least 5 states over the years, always bought a license and never, ever been checked, ever!  You guessed it.  10 minutes into my decision to check the fishing before buying the license, along comes the LAW and checks me for a license! I felt so stupid and there is nothing you can say, no explanation wanted and none he hasn’t heard before.  The saga is still not concluded because it looks like I will have to drive back over there to appear in court.  I am trying to work something out but they are pretty tough on poachers!  “You just have to believe me, Sir, I have never done this before, honest, really, I never have…”  Sure.

We left Wilderness Gateway Friday morning and drove the 500 plus miles to Shelton arriving in time for #1 grandson Sloan’s 5th birthday.  We drove to Gig Harbor to pick up Brad’s two children, Canyon Paul and Sage and brought them to Shelton for Sloan’s party as dad was doing a wedding and mom wanted to go along without two small children.  It was a long day but a log of fun.

Well, that gets us to today and the start of 7 weeks or so in Washington before we head out on another adventure in living “nowhere”.

Not sure what we will do with all of this time here but will let you know.

July 13, 2009 at 12:43 pm 6 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol. 81

Sayre, Oklahoma

What beautiful weather we have been having here in Western Oklahoma!  We have had some really hot days where it didn’t cool down at night but mostly the mornings and evenings invite outdoor activity.  Hard to beat sunshine most all of the time.

Item one.  Our latest season in Sayre is coming to a close.  We are going to leave here in the next few days and make our way slowly to Washington, planning our arrival there in time for our grandson Sloan’s 5th birthday.  We are so blessed to have two families, one here and one there and even more blessed that we are able to spend time in both places.  This family here in Oklahoma has restored us, renewed us and given us a place to use our gifts in a Kingdom way.  We love these sons, daughters, grandchildren, brothers and sisters and will miss then and being here, but we will be back soon.

Item two.  We have been teaching a new class at our Convergence School of Ministry called “Pursuing a Kingdom marriage and family”.  I believe the Spirit has downloaded some fresh insight into what marriage is and the purpose of marriage and the students have responded so well. I am sure other people are thinking about marriage this way but I don’t know who or where.  If you are interested in listening to the teaching you can find session one HERE, two-HERE and three-HERESession four will be up next week. 

Item three.  After more than two years of blogging faithfully and working really hard to turn out the best posts I know how, I have discovered Facebook.  Yeah, I know it took a while.  The best thing about FB is it’s immediacy.  Short bursts of both nothing and really good stuff all thrown together in this mess of humanity.  I really like it.  It is a challenge to keep it short, witty and/or stimulating.  I think it has real value in marketing, as some of my friends like Kasey, Shawn or others are doing but it can be just plain old fun.   Some do little with it and some are always there when I show up, just like my real life friendships.  Not sure what the life span of an FB’er is but I plan to hand around for a while and see what develops.

I have found some long lost friends.  I am in contact with a college friend I haven’t seen in at least 25 years and realized we had been living within 45 miles of each other for most of that time.  I have also discovered lots of Scandrettsand am pleased to know we are a multi-racial, multi continent people.

It is so easy to do FB that the blog has suffered.  Blogging for me is work and I have tried to treat it that way.  Since I haven’t had a real job, to keep from getting lazy, sloppy or brain dead, I wrote on the blog as an outlet for my angst and my mind and in many ways it has been my salvation.  When I am teaching or speaking a lot, the blog isn’t needed for me in the same way and FB fills in nicely.  Will be interesting to see what gets blogged as we visit our family in Washington.

Thanks to those of you who faithfully follow this little piece of my life.  I really appreciate it.

Item four.  Just watched the trailer for a new movie called “2012”.  A little “end of the world” piece from the people who brought us Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow.  I found the title and idea of this movie interesting because it taps into the fear of thousands of astrologers, doomsday enthusiasts, and conspiracy theorists who are afraid that a massive cataclysm will strike the earth on December 21 of 2012.  Even “evangelical” Christians are buying into the whole Mayan calendar theory that spawns this sort of world view.  Given my recent writings on Matthew 24 I obviously don’t buy the theory but it will probably be a “fun” movie.  Watch the trailer HERE.

Item five.  I thought this research by the Barna Group was interesting: Half of Americans say they know a growing number of people who are tired of the usual type of church experience. The statistics are even higher among blacks (59%) and Hispanics (58%). Keep in mind, one dissatisfied man’s “typical church experience” may be another dissatisfied man’s dream church. However, this important trend should not be taken lightly. Half of Americans perceive the number of people who are tired of typical church experiences is growing. And 64% of Americans are completely open to carrying out and pursuing their faith in an environment or structure that differs from that of a typical church.  If church is important to us, we probably shouldn’t ignore such stats.

Item six.  If you are interested at all in following us over the next few weeks as we travel and spend time in our other home, you should get a Facebook account going and choose to be my friend.  www.facebook.comwill get you started.  Both Linda and I are on FB and both of us have FB mobile so will be putting it out there all along the way.  Better get on! 

Love you all.  Please pray for my friend Mike who has been diagnosed with cancer.  We are not having any of it and believing for his healing to manifest as we pray for Him in Jesus name.  Please come into agreement with me for this.

June 29, 2009 at 2:24 pm 2 comments

Audio link: Pursuing a Kingdom Marriage and Family Session 3

Linda joined me in teaching this Convergence School of Ministry class on Kingdom parenting.  Follow the link HERE to listen.  It is a slow loader and the recording is not the best but it is still worth your time.  Find it HERE.

June 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

24.9 Question #2 What will be the sign of your coming?

There are 8 previous entries in this series on Matthew 24.  Since it has been a while since I wrote anything on this subject some of you may want to go back and read a few of the previous posts.  This post will focus on the second of three questions the disciples asked Jesus about the future.  If you want a little taste of this series before reading today’s post you could start with 24.2.  Find it HERE.

Question #2 What will be the sign of your coming?  (24:3)

My background as a dispensationalist was not only good for me, because of their deep love for the Scriptures,  it also  taught me important principles about how to study the Bible and how to evaluate teaching as to its validity or credibility.  An unfortunate thing about that training is that it also taught me to read my bias into what I was studying, especially in the area of eschatology. (the study of how the world will end)

A futurist reads this question and immediately decides it is about the second coming of our Savior.  They are convinced, through some, in my opinion, incredible leaps of interpretive gymnastics, that the signs Jesus speaks of in Matthew 23-24 are yet to occur and so believe that the return of Jesus is waiting the culmination of these signs.

I have already explained (to my satisfaction) how all of these signs, like wars, earthquakes, famines and the rest were signs that came prior to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.  Those signs have been fulfilled.  While there may still be wars, earthquakes, famine and all the other disasters mentioned in 24 around today, they are not the “signs” Jesus was talking about.  Those are behind us.

When the disciples were listening to Jesus, they were not thinking about the Second Coming of Jesus, in fact at that point they were not even thinking about Jesus death, let alone a second visit to planet earth, some day.  So that alone is enough to say they were not asking about the “Second Coming”. (the kind of Second Coming understanding the futurists teach and has been made popular by the Left Behind book series)

When they ask “what will be the sign of Your coming?” what did they mean by this word “coming”?  The Jews historic fixation on the coming of the Messiah colored everything in their lives.  All of their hopes, dreams, desires, understanding of who they were and what their destiny was, was focused on the Messiah coming and setting up a Kingdom where they would be in control and the Romans would be out of their collective lives. (see for example Matthew 20:20-23)

So their question was directedat finding out when Jesus would come into His Kingdom and take a position of authority and reveal Himself as King.

A Kingdom view of these verses and all the other references to Kingdom, authority, rule, reign, etc are fulfilled in the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus to His place on the throne at the right hand of God, the Father.  All authority was given to Him both in the heavenlies (spirit world) and on earth.  Jesus came into His rightful and authoritative Kingdom at the moment He entered the heavenlies and sat down next to the Father.  That took place 2000 years ago in the generation that was alive when these insightful questions were asked.

What else could it mean when Jesus says these words recorded in Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1?  “There are some of you standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

It seems brilliantly clear to me that some of the people who were sitting right in front of Him, as He spoke on the Mount of Olives, would live to see Him come into His Kingdom.  Jesus took His place on the throne 2000 years ago.

And now, as Kingdom people, given “all power and authority” by Jesus, before He went and sat down on His throne, we are, filled with the Spirit, with supernatural wisdom and revelation, in the process of taking back what was lost in the garden, renewing and redeeming this planet through the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom, anticipating the glorious return of our King and Bridegroom Jesus, to a spotless, pure and “made ready” Bride. (Ephesians 5)

Jesus came into His Kingdom 2000 years ago.  We are not still waiting signs to tell us He will come into It real soon.  He is on the throne right now and we His Kingdom people are establishing His Kingdom by His power and authority.

These posts are a work in progress.  I am getting my thoughts in order as I write them here.  I want to be real clear that Jesus has already “come into His Kingdom.”  He is on His throne.  We are not waiting for “signs” to be fulfilled so He can finally have all power and authority.  He gave that to us in what we now call the Great Commission (Matthew 28)  We await His return, but we do not wait for signs. We await His coming to rule and reign on a planet redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. (Read Revelation 12:11 with this post in mind)

With all of that in mind we will better understand the answer Jesus gives to Question #2 “What will be the sign of Your coming”.  More on His answer in the next post.

June 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm 1 comment

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