Friday, December 31, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
REFLECTING LEAF 11-3-10
On a hike this morning
in the hills above Jacksonville
I saw a fallen leaf shaped like a bowl
filled with rainwater
becoming a reflecting mirror of my face
as I sought the face of God.
TOWARDS FOREVER 12-11-10
Like toy soldiers marching,
wound up but winding down, waiting
for the Hand to twist again,
to set in motion
this march towards forever.
WHITE TRACKS 11-23-10
Walking up an unmarked trail of snow
the first of the year
white, unprinted by foot, claw or hoof
circling around the mountain
in a loop
atop a canvas of frozen paint.
As I circumnavigate this path
I come back around to my first tracks
cutting the white on the trek up
and meeting myself in print form.
I stop and ask, “Am I a different man?” on this way back down,
than the one who walked this way up.
It is strange to meet your tracks once again,
footprints as reminders
of who one is, both up and down.
Snow is honest.
enemy of knowing.
Comprehending the God of all
a goal he never posed.
To be, to walk, to sense, to touch together
is the knowing.
These never designed for the comprehender
but for the lover.
Lying side by side
having no comprehension,
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
2011 will be a year of change and transition within the Church. This change and transition has already taken place in the spiritual realm. In the coming year these changes will become visible within the Church in greater measure. I am seeing four areas of change and transition that will take place in the upcoming year.
A NEW ALIGNMENT WILL TAKE PLACE WITHIN THE EQUIPPING GIFTS
In the last several decades a broadened understanding has taken place regarding the ministry of the Apostle and Prophet. Movements have risen up around these two gifts. A critical linkage will develop in 2011 between Apostle and Prophet with the Evangelist for a three-cord, Spirit-empowered harvest of souls. The government of the harvest will be released. There will be a visible inclusiveness between these three gifts to prepare the Church for a supernatural harvest.
SUPERNATURAL BLESSING WILL APPEAR IN UNUSUAL PLACES
For 2011 many will make a great discovery - in midst of their failures God will show up to bless them in spite of these visible and obvious failures. There will be a revival of blessing in unlikely and unsuspecting places. A Prodigal blessing and feast is being planned and released for 2011.
When we stand in the middle of the debris fields of failure that many are experiencing, and when God comes unexpectedly with supernatural provision and blessing, that moment of mercy will produce a depth of humility, repentance and worship, that no successful faith-formula can ever provide.
Our songs of repentance amidst our failures, sung under the blessing of God, will release a deeper understanding of the mercy heart of God.
GOD WILL BREAK THE RULES OF RELIGIOUS PRODUCTIVITY
Recently, a counselor friend of mine spoke to a leader who was burned out. The counselor told the leader to stop studying, stop having daily devotions, stop making plans and simply learn to rest in God's presence. None of these things the leader was asked to stop doing were wrong. They are all part of a healthy believer's life. But in the case of this particular leader, things had gotten unhealthy. The spiritual disciplines of his life had become the places from which he had tried to draw Life. An orderly life had replaced Jesus as the giver of Life. My counselor friend wanted this leader to break the rules of religious productivity in order to come back to the simplicity of faith in Jesus.
God is breaking man-made rules of productivity that tell us doing more is holy. God desires that we lay down the deception of trying to prove our worth to God through religious duty. Productivity is the language of slaves. Inheritance is the language of God's children.
In 2011 God will ask his people to move into the deeper revelation of friendship that Jesus promised His disciples. In John 15 Jesus told these newly-defined friends that a master does not confide in slaves. Slaves are not receivers of revelation – only friends are. Slaves work from a list of duties provided by a slave master. Each day the predictable drudgery of the slave's list produces a defeated heart in the slave. God wants his friends to hear his voice. Some have mentally moved back into the slave quarters of the past and now God is calling them back into friendship and into the fresh daily revelation that comes from living in the dwelling place of his presence.
CHICAGOLAND WILL EXPERIENCE A BURN OF GOD'S PRESENCE.
In prayer I saw an image of a large magnifying glass being held over Chicago and the surrounding communities. As a focused beam of light passed through the magnifying lens and focused its beam on this region, I heard the words, “A burn is coming.”
The great Chicago fire of 1871 burned for three days destroying the city and killing hundreds. In 2011 the coming burn of God will revive the Chicago region and bring thousands to new life in Christ. Hands raised in worship during “normal” worship services will be set on fire. People will literally feel the heat of God's presence in their bodies. A prominent mega-church will experience a work of Pentecost that will challenge the understanding of some. The wise will wait to judge what is taking place. God will raise up an unlikely spokesman from among these burning ones to champion what God is doing.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Sociologists and cultural pollsters don't work with initial revelation - they study the history of past events. Those who leave a mark in this life walk into a developing history that is uncharted and undefined. Our heroes of faith are those who stepped into places where the rest of us feared to tread. They had no road signs of research to calm their fears along the unmapped path of faith.
Developing history does not always have a sociological model to work within. Those who leave a mark in our lives did not first poll for statistics to determine their next step. They simply stepped towards the Voice. I wonder what would happen today if you and I did not weigh the cost of the journey or draw from the opinions of others to determine our buy-in to God's agenda? Maybe the personal and cultural transformation we are praying for would actually take place in this God-pleasing environment of raw faith because we stepped towards something not yet seen.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Poised and suspended
now attached to what is known, familiar, doable.
A release is coming,
and a rising up to meet me,
of something new and undefined.
Needing, even wanting, to see the release,
trembling like a water droplet hanging on
clinging amidst the vibration of what is coming
the trembling before the drop
a shaking me free to fall.
Ready to exchange one form for another
that is why it is called a droplet
the drop had to let
the release come in faith and anticipation
of the dropping to become a splash
a change of structure
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I would not venture to guess
where she ends
and I begin.
Of one flesh we have become
both losing ourselves and finding ourselves
in that oneness.
Still a mystery
how we cannot tell where each ends and each begins.
Of oneness we are.
We all like flowers bloom and unfold.
From bud to blossom, new to full,
from young to old.
The summit of a life cycle no one knows
the height, the apex of life's arc
from fullness to withered petal.
But life is,
from beginning to end,
from tender shoot to brittle leaf,
all part of the bloom.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
A very strong and clear word came to me recently,
“During this season stay away from over-scripted, over-studied and over-choreographed personal lives and corporate church gatherings. God is up to something new and our planning can be the very clutter that dulls our ability to hear the voice of God.”
We are living in cluttered times that have produced distracted lives. Family activities and careers ask for their fair share of our day. Ministry commitments ask us for more of our time. The needs of others stand in line at the door of our lives and want to come in. Each of these demands are good by themselves, but together they can become overwhelming in their ability to fill every spare moment of our lives. At some point we must push life back and create a place to listen to what the Spirit would say.
John the Baptist stood in the wilderness and cried out for people to prepare for the coming of the Lord.
“Prepare the way for the Lord's coming! Clear the road for him!” Mark 1:3
All the people in Jerusalem, and all the people in the surrounding country-side, left their known civilization and walked out into the uncluttered wilderness in response to John's voice. A friend recently told me at that time there were over a million people in Jerusalem and the surrounding region. Imagine a group of people that large walking away from the city and out into the wilderness to hear about Jesus. They left the clutter of their everyday lives and walked out into the simplicity of the wilderness to hear the message of God.
Paul addressed cluttered lives when he wrote to the Church in Corinth,
“The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away. I want you to be free from the concerns of this life.” I Corinthians 7: 29-32
Later in verse 35 Paul wrote,
“I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.”
Paul was listing, among those things that can distract us, our relationships, our failures, our successes and our possessions. When all of the stuff of life begins to fill our lives we become absorbed into them and take on their shape – our image changes. Like wet clay we are crafted into an image of the distractions in our lives instead of being absorbed and molded into the image of Christ.
Profound and epic change is taking place upon the earth. Promises spoken by God are hanging above the Church seeking places to fall. God is looking for target audiences, not target audiences that come from opinion polls or logical conclusions, but target audiences that have prepared themselves for His coming. These target audiences are those personal lives and public ministries that have cleared away landing zones for heaven to touch down, much like an “LZ” (Landing Zone) that would be provided in a military operation for an incoming aircraft. Now is the time to push back the clutter and distractions of life that are occupying your time and space and draining away your energy. Heaven wants to land, but the clutter is in the way.
For the last year I have felt that much of what Heaven wants to do upon the earth is now hovering over the Church ready to fall into our midst. Words of promise spoken in the past are now in orbit over our lives waiting for God's signal to land. Heaven is prepared for this landing. God is asking His people to prepare for His coming by providing uncluttered landing zones where His Spirit can set down and do extraordinary things. Remove the clutter and distractions and welcome the coming of the Lord.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
For the last several weeks I have been going through a deep pressing of my soul. God is wanting to get to the foundation of who I am and that will always stir a life. Discovery is never a comfortable process. This morning I read the following verses from Mark, chapter 4:
3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
I used to look at this text of scripture and try to pick out which soil I represented. My hope was that I would be the fertile soil. Then something happened today as I read this parable – I realized that I had all four soil types on my spiritual farm.
In the last 60 years I have accumulated a lot of spiritual acreage. Like a farmer in the natural realm, we work different parts of a large land holding based on the needs of each particular soil type. For those of you thinking I am copping out to having sin in my life, I am not. I love God, love my wife and don't want anyone to die because they crossed me. I repent daily and make heart adjustments. But maybe at age 60 I am finally realizing that I don't have it all together all the time and I need to understand what that means. This is the pressing that comes in times of intense spiritual formation.
As I look at my life I see places that used to be fertile ground where I have allowed other things access to and they have beaten a hard path across my once fertile field. I look at another section of my life where I have allowed myself to become shallow by seeking the dim and lesser things of this world. Nothing lasts long in that patch. The third parcel of my spiritual life is overgrown with thorns and I feel their choking influence as I become consumed with the “what ifs” of life. And finally, and thank God for this, there still remains patches of fertile soil from which I can compare all the others and demand that they yield to the fertility of His presence.
For the places I have allowed hardened footpaths to develop I need to limit access to who and what crosses my field. For the shallow places where I failed to go deeper, I need to allow God to take me into that ground and deal with any fear or shame that might arise on the way to freedom. For the thorn-infested places I need to pull these things up by their roots and not settle for a weed-whacker form of Christianity. And for those places of fertile soil I need to ask God how it became fertile in the first place and do more of that kind of work in all the other areas of my spiritual farm.
If you are like me, and going through a time of intense spiritual formation, God is wanting to do a work of fertility within you. To prepare the field of our lives for the supernatural seeds of His Kingdom, God needs to show us the condition of our soil and those images are not always pretty. From the parable of the sower we see that God is secure enough to throw some of His precious seed into the fields of my life that are not yet ready, and through the painful process of death and resurrection of that seed, He will create in us a heart that is fertile and inviting to His presence.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
It seems that in each season of breakthrough two things show up - critics and crisis. At our best we will never be able to please all the people all the time. It can be a rude awakening for some to realize that not all people agree with them.
The critics, for the most part, do their critique behind closed doors. This kind of criticism is fueled in private without you being present. This criticism will grow and remain unchallenged until it is discovered. Once discovered it must be challenged in love. Unless dealt with it will spread like a cancer without the “medicine” of truth to confront it. Small groups of “friends” can gather around this kind of criticism and require of each other an alignment with their point of view. An emerging crisis of relationship begins to develop because it is being fueled by this cancerous criticism. This kind of battle is based on rules of engagement from the kingdom of this earth, not the Kingdom of Christ.
In the book of Judges there is a re-occurring theme. Israel walks in sin and God sends judges to expose their sin and call them to repentance. After these confrontations with their national sin Israel would repent and begin to live in peace. Before long Israel would return to their sin and the process would start all over again.
A man named Jephthah emerged as a judge over Israel. In one instance he was dealing with the king of the Ammonites over a land dispute. When Jephthah delivered the word of the Lord to this king the king paid no attention to what was said. As a result, Israel went to battle with the Ammonites and destroyed them.
Jephthah spoke to the Ammonite king before the battle and said, “Let the Lord, who is judge, decide today which of us is right – Israel or Ammon.” Judges 11:27.
This word delivered by Jephthah to the Ammonite king would not be confirmed in its delivery – it would be confirmed in battle. Every word of the Lord has a battle where it will be confirmed. Where and how we choose to do battle has a huge effect on the outcome and confirmation of God's word in our lives.
God is the only one who can righteously decide and define true victory. Even in a time of criticism those being criticized have something to learn from their critics. If you find yourself in the midst of a season of critics and crisis it is time to look again at the battle armor of a New Covenant believer and to make sure those protective coverings are in place.
We are called to stand fully armored and let God fight for us. This battle is fought from a stationary posture. Paul described this battle armor in Ephesians 6 as the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of God's Word.
Taking a stationary posture in battle does not mean that we don't speak the truth in love and confront sin. This means that we speak from a place of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and God's Word. We don't let the battle draw us into the battle. In this kind of warfare we evaluate our words and our response to our critics through the filter of our Spirit-empowered armament.
The weapons of our warfare are not drawn from the armory of this earth. These weapons are imported across the border between heaven and earth. These weapons look powerless to the natural mind, but they are what God will use to bring down the spirit of criticism and turn the crisis into victory.
Critics bring to their acts of criticism all of their unresolved sin, brokenness and limited observations. These unresolved issues create a lens through which they view you. We all do this. Sometimes these critics can even bring an element of truth hidden within their criticism.
What you and I can do is to step into a supernatural level of trust that hands the outcome of our crisis, and the critics themselves, over to God. None of this is personal even though it feels deeply personal. He loves your critics as much as He loves you. God's victory will always look different than what we have planned because our plan has personal vindication at its core. God's plan it different - it brings Him glory.
When we allow God to decide “who is right” a sense of rest comes because we are not expending our thoughts and energy on the preservation of our self-image. This kind of rest is deep inside our soul where the criticism and crisis cannot do battle once we close the door to their entry. This kind of rest is a spiritual resistance that confounds the real enemy (the enemy is not people) and puts him to flight.
A prayer for those under the weight of criticism in the midst of crisis might be-
"Lord, this criticism hurts. My wounds feel overwhelming. I don't understand why this is taking place. I want to run to the battle and scorch my critics with words of self-vindication. Forgive me. I ask you to first examine me before I examine others. See if there be any hurtful way in me. In this crisis I want you to do another battle within me in those private places of my own pride and fear that this crisis has brought to light. I choose to rest in knowing you will decide who is 'right.'”
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Recently, I read an article from Central Oregon about the unusually high number of suicides within the business community over the financial losses and subsequent despair that has occurred in this economic downturn. As I meet with pastors and leaders I am finding that many ministries are facing some of the most trying times in memory. Some families are now faced with hard and painful decisions about the homes they once thought they would live in forever. There is a spirit of despair prowling our land.
The definition of “despair” is formed from two words. One part of despair means “the point that something begins” - in other words, a trigger event. The other part of the word means, “to feel like you have no way out.” Despair is not just a general malaise. Despair originates with certain events and begins to tell a person that there is no way out. The person afflicted by despair begins to feel hopeless.
In II Corinthians 4 Paul addresses despair and the circumstances that surround it:
7 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
Paul described us as “fragile clay jars.” Alone we could easily collapse under the pressure, but because God's Spirit lives within us, external pressure, no matter how intense, cannot crush our lives. Paul said in verse 7 this picture of a fragile clay jar filled with God's presence is a very clear witness to the world that the power to remain uncrushed is from God, not from ourselves. This is one of our most powerful testimonies.
Paul provides a way to defeat the spirit of despair in II Corinthians 4: 13-18:
13 “But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
Verse 13 says, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” This means that words of faith can be spoken no matter what the pain or pressure of my despair feels like. This instruction to speak words of belief came after words like, “pressed”, “perplexed”, “crushed”, “hunted down” and “knocked down” were used to describe conditions in the Early Church. Words of belief will always trump our feelings of despair. We are able to speak these words of life because we are linked to the Resurrected One.
Paul went on to say that our reason for not giving up (vs. 16) is the provision of God's grace that reaches more and more people. When this grace comes to us it does battle against our despair. For example, when we were trapped in the despair of our sin, Christ came and redeemed us in the greatest act of grace ever demonstrated – the Cross. Grace has always destroyed despair and will continue to do so until Christ returns.
The children of Israel failed to enter the Promise Land because they complained in the privacy of their tents as recorded in Deuteronomy 1:27. They said God hated them and that He brought them to this place to die. The roadmap for the next 40 years of Israel's wilderness wanderings were charted behind the closed doors of their homes with the ink and pen of faithless words spoken in despair.
This is a season for words of grace, not despair, to begin falling from the lips of God's Church. Unconfessed words of death are like a spiritual Pit Bull on drugs. Unless repented of these words will return to bite us. If you have found yourself yielding to despair and speaking death to your future, confess it as sin and let God's grace re-craft a new response to your circumstances.
How is the spirit of despair defeated? Paul gave us the solution in verse 18, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” We aren't supposed to fixate on the despair producing events that surround us, but on an imagery this world cannot produce. If what we speak about each day are the events that produced the despair in the first place then the controlling environment in our lives will be despair. We have a choice of what we fix our eyes upon. Spirt-empowered sight produces Spirit-empowered words.
One of the missing elements in the Church today is an eternal perspective. Someday you and I will live between a new heaven and a new earth. We will walk upon an earth that no longer groans in sorrow for what it once was. We will experience the beauty of Eden. We will also worship around God's throne in the beauty of holiness. Gaining an eternal perspective is the greatest equalizer to the inequities of this life.
When we fix our eyes on the unseen world of eternity we see what we will become. Our calling, as God's Spirit-empowered Church, is to capture a vision of eternity and bring it back into this world and speak it out. This kind of eternal language, the language of the prophet, is many times mocked because it sounds other-worldly. It is!
Last week, I hiked up on top of a mountain near my home to pray in the dawn. I arrived about 10 minutes before the sun actually crested the horizon. As the sun climbed up the other side of the mountain the day began to get brighter and brighter until the full dawn exploded into my view.
I had the beginnings of this word about despair in my heart as I watched the new dawn emerge. Prior to the actual dawn I recalled the unresolved issues I went to bed with the night before and the coming issues I needed to face in the new day. As I remembered all these things that needed my attention I found that my vision was beginning to focus on the new day in an ever-increasing way. I was living for the new dawn. Somehow the issues of life that were facing me were diminishing in their urgency.
If you are living in despair I would suggest you do something that will destroy the power despair might have in your life. Grab hold of the trigger event of despair in your life. Maybe your ministry is facing a financial drain – take hold of it. Maybe your family is about to lose your home – take hold of it. Maybe the one you loved left you and you are now alone – take hold it.
Now, fix your eyes on the horizon of eternity that is beyond your despair. As you hold despair in your grip look into the unseen realm of eternity and allow God's Spirit to download your eternal destination to you. Speak about what you see and the person you are destined to become. Begin to speak words of life over your feelings of despair. As you speak these new words of life you will sense the controlling power of despair begin to diminish. Each time despair wants to raise its head take hold of it and deal with it from an eternal perspective and soon it will flee from you.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
As the text of Acts 2:6 reveals,
(From my book, Prayers from the Throne of God, chapter 4 - "Our Position of Power.")
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Jan and I were recently in Northern California for a meeting. The next day, after the meeting was over, we departed for the drive home. As I navigated the city streets I saw a homeless person across the lanes of traffic on the sidewalk. This person was pushing a grocery cart filled to overflowing with what appeared to be all their earthly belongings.
I looked several times, but couldn't tell if this was a man or a woman. It wasn't the distance that made the identification difficult – it was their appearance. This person was either a coarse-looking woman with male characteristics or a coarse-looking man with female characteristics. I couldn't tell. This person was wearing high-waisted pants and a long sleeve top. Their blonde hair was done in an Afro-hairstyle, even though this person was obviously not African in ethnicity. What confused me even further was the garish orange-red lipstick that had been unevenly applied and was smeared far outside the boundaries of this persons lips.
As I was processing all of this I saw the cardboard sign he/she had put on the front of the grocery cart. The sign read, “Mean People Suck!” At that moment the light changed and we were forced to make our way onto the freeway on-ramp for the drive home. I thought about this person several times that day and had to agree with the sign, mean people do suck!
The word “suck”, when used is this persons context, is a colloquial usage of the word that means, “to be inferior or objectionable.” It is used to indicate a particular area of deficiency – in other words, a lack.
As I thought about this homeless person, and the reason for the sign on the grocery cart, I could only imagine what might have been shouted out to him/her as this person navigated the city streets. Sometimes it is easy to be cruel at a distance when we don't have to hang around to see the other persons response to our hurtful words. It is akin to a drive-by shooting without bullets, but with words.
I have come to realize that not only do mean people suck in general, but mean Christians suck especially because meanness is not part of God's Kingdom or our intended character. I have noticed that mean Christians can gather other mean Christians who create a mean theology to speak mean words to the world. Sometimes these mean sounding Christians create mean ministries and even ask for our financial support to project their mean version of God.
The Church should be the least “sucky” and mean people on the planet. We were born into God's family because God didn't drive by us, define as hopeless and then blow us away. He saw how hopeless we were and then gave us Jesus to show just how kind He is to very guilty people like us.
The opposite word from “mean” is the word, “kind.” Paul used this word in Roman 2: 4 where he said that the kindness of God leads us to repentance. This word for kindness has been defined as something, “useful, excellent in character, gentleness, goodness.” Meanness is a deficiency of usefulness, excellence of character, gentleness and goodness. If God's kindness lead us to repentance, how can I use meanness to introduce people to the God of heaven?
Paul used this word “kindness” in several places in the New Testament.
In Galatians 5:22, Paul said that kindness was one of the fruits of the Spirit that a Christians life should produce. Fruit is what our life-style, words and actions leave behind as evidence of what vine we draw our life from. Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit.” Fruit falls from our spiritual tree to identify what kind of life I am living and what kind of source I am drawing from.
In Ephesians 2: 7, Paul said that God's kindness in us is an advertisement to the world that He is real. Our life should become a living billboard that God should be able to write in big, bold words - “KINDNESS FOUND HERE!”
In Colossians 3: 12, Paul describes kindness as a garment we wear because we have been made into a holy people who wear God's personality. God provides His garment of kindness, but we must choose to wear it. Some people are naked of kindness and walk around exposing other people to conversations and actions, in the name of God, that we would rather not hear or see.
The Church can't be responsible for people who don't know God who drive by a homeless person and say stupid and hurtful things. But the Church can stop when we see signs of pain in another persons life and simply say, “I agree with your sign. Mean people do suck. I just wanted to stop and tell you that God loves you and so do I. You don't suck. Thanks for reminding me today to become a kinder person.”