Friday, November 9, 2018
I heard some rather alarming statistics recently. Unbelievably high percentages of people in ministry who gave up on what they considered their calling, walked away from their purpose, battled depression and mental illness, felt abandoned as “members” were leaving what they were building, and who also said that many of their families were negatively affected because of the perceived demands and pressures in “ministry”. I totally understand, and get that there is a real enemy trying to take out people who seek to engage and reflect God’s good kingdom work. But could it be that the occupational hazards of stress, frustration, & pressure in ministry are often times self-inflicted, because many people insist on trying to fulfill ministry expressions, focuses, images, and roles never intended by God to be associated with or define church or ministry? Or perhaps the “labels” of ministry that people use so often today such as “pastor”, “spiritual covering”, “bishop”, “apostle”, etc… were not intended to look like “western church” culture has made them to be. I’m pretty sure that the early church looked a bit different than much of what we accept as the norm today, and even vehemently defend as the only “legitimate” expression of “church”, in function and design. Maybe we have mistakenly attempted to live up to the false expectations of others, and the prevalent philosophy of what “ministry” is really about? Jesus was the ultimate model of ministry, and He gave the purest example and expression of the work of His church. He lived un-phased by comparison or competition, totally at rest, joyful, and ministering out of the overflow of His life and the purpose of His Father. He was clear of mind, always living in love, with a complete understanding of what true abundance, success, and life were truly all about. The Kingdom of God is not an American made “corporate”, top down, “caste” system of church and ministry. There is ONE shepherd, and it’s HIS church. What man builds, he has to maintain. And yet most continue to defend the old wineskins and marginalize and criticize those who would point out this reality. #NewThing #NewDayNewWineNewWay #WhoKnew #ThrivingNotSurviving
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Monday, April 16, 2018
I try, I don’t try. I work, I don’t work. I listen, I ignore.
My life has become a checklist, a desperate formula to somehow find an open door.
Every effort to surrender, every attempt to rest.
Always seems to land me back in this mental mess.
I’ve analyzed til’ I’m paralyzed, I’m numb and at the end.
This isn’t a new destination, it’s a state in which I’ve often been.
I’m out of ideas how to get over, walk through, and overcome.
I’ve tried desperately to rest in, trust in, and depend on the power of the only One.
So why do I always end up in this desert, this cave, this ‘what the hell’!
When will I ever finally see the fruit of what I believe come to life in the story I tell?
I’ve only One that I can run to, only One to heal my soul.
The silence cannot continue, this long, dark night in an emotional black hole.
When will I find that place of restful repose
Where I confidently and securely function in what my heart knows.
That I’m loved by the One who is more than enough
To fill every place, where I can’t measure up.
Not a failure, vulnerability, or a flesh and blood flaw
Can keep me from becoming and being the man that He saw
When He placed me in Christ before the world breathed its first
To live life abundant in every facet of my existence here on earth.
I can experience Kingdom come in the right here, right now space and time.
Every promise, every blessing, every desire from His heart is now mine.
So in every “what the hell” moment, when my strength is all but gone.
I simply believe, fall into His grace, and trust He is working, and I’m never alone.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Dramatic, major event-type stories and tales of tragedy to triumph, rags to riches, or from the outhouse to the penthouse, often garner the biggest stages, and those "heroes" who live these "grandiose" experiences or meteoric rise, receive the most accolades, and enjoy the greatest opportunities. They are sexy and sensational, and people are drawn to them. But the plodders--those who go day after day, year after year, and extended season after season, fighting intense battles out of the limelight, surviving and suffering away from the stage and the clamoring crowds and thrill seeking masses wanting to vicariously live through the glamour of those episodes--their stories often go unsung, unnoticed, and unappreciated. Process oriented stories are not "newsworthy". They don't sell books, or build a following. However the plodders are the ones who understand the journey of life, the meaning of character development, patience, perseverance, and trust. Ironically, the plodders give hope to us all--not just short-lived inspiration. They write the stories that relate to the journeys of so many people--even the ones who are busy chasing down the "events", and the movie-worthy plot lines, and those who "star" in them. The plodders face the maddening mundane and the daily dirty, and they often do so from a forgotten place of hidden obscurity while trying to find their purpose, live their dream, grow their faith, and serve their God without recognition or reward, often void of external validation. While it is proper to celebrate EVERY story of life, hope, and true success, we must not forget the plodders. Don't abandon them as "background" noise, or opening acts to a headliner. Don't relegate them to bylines or irrelevant, less valuable "extras" as you try to build YOUR own reputation & purpose by hobnobbing, associating with, or vicariously living your own dream by attempting to ride on the backs of celebrity figures and their Pulitzer prize-worthy stories. Chances are, the plodders have more to offer you in the way of example, of hope, and a relatable process that you can identify with in your own story.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
And thankfully, there is the now! And there is God's perfect timing again! 10.5 years later, the purpose is beginning to dawn. And as far as community, I believe THAT will unfold. There are certain aspects of living here in Franklin that feel a little "transit", even after 10 years, namely, still living in an apartment, and the community thing. But I feel strongly that our purpose has birthed, and has been developed from here. His Kingdom legacy in our lives is burgeoning from here! These past 10.5 years have been a longer-than-I-had-hoped period of preparation and isolated discovery. God has mercifully been reconnecting me to my identity, and His heart for my family and me. I have never been more excited about the revealing of this next chapter. Every part of our story has been leading up to THIS CHAPTER! Man, am I ready to close the one I’ve been reading over and over for 10 years, and start reading the new one! Thanks for listening!
Thursday, January 4, 2018
How do you know if you’re arriving at the end of yourself? Are there indicators in your emotions? Or do you simply reach a place where you are too emotionally and mentally exhausted to offer up any emotional response or basic coherent mental “functionality”? Do you feel as if your self worth itself is up for debate? Do you find yourself without any natural energy, even for elementary and mundane tasks? Do you begin to question if your family would actually be better off without you? Do you entertain the notion that, although your process and journey have taken a long time, and you know that surely your “spirit” must have grown significantly, you still feel as though you are no further along now than you were at the start of the whole process, and you are STILL hijacked by the same issues you have battled from the beginning? Is there a relentless fear, shame, and insecurity that seems to be growing stronger in its attacks on your heart and mind? Do you feel forgotten or rejected by pretty much everyone? Do you find yourself starting to believe that you were meant for nothing more than to have your ass busted over & over in the furnace of preparation and constant deferred hope, but never meant to finally experience “breakthroughs” in this life? Do you feel powerless to live from the place where God has been building you, and instead, you continually fall into the pattern of living according to your ever-present circumstances, failures and missed opportunities, cycles of maddening “stop, start, repeat”, and perpetual self-loathing? Do you find yourself apologizing to seemingly everyone for everything about yourself? Do you feel like a “leper”, avoided by everyone, the one who always reaches, but no one seems to reach back? Do the liabilities of your personality and nature overwhelm you, and though you fight like hell to settle in, rest, and live from the place of your true identity, you just can’t seem to break the “one step forward, two steps back” pattern of living? Do you have to continually fight the urge to give in to the “screw it all” mindset? Do you find yourself bargaining with God, begging Him to give some sustained relief, and trying to influence Him with some sort of personal life journey “resume”? If any of these “symptoms” are indicative of reaching the end of yourself, then thankfully my long, dark season (at least that’s the way it has “seemed” to my natural man) has not been wasted. In fact, it has been a most joyous process. So, along with me, take heart & rejoice, for in this case, “The End Is Near” is an exciting proposition, instead of some doomsday proclamation. For it’s at the end of yourself where you find the beginning of your true identity. That identity that you were created for, to enjoy and thrive, and live In Him, not in the “best version” of your old self, but a brand new identity. Life lived from THAT reference point is truly abundant, and it’s worth coming to the end.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”—1 Corinthians 2:12 (ESV)
"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”—Romans 8:12-25 (ESV)
“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?"—Galatians 4:1-9 (ESV)