Friday, September 30, 2016

Mic Drop Moments

Some of the people who study space believe the realms of outer space are expanding faster than the speed of light. That creative light is advancing into the undefined dimensions of nothingness creating new realms as it expands outward. We need light and the dimension of time and space in order to define our reality. What is happening is far beyond that reality and the natural capabilities of a human being to see or comprehend its existence.  
The galaxies being created at this very moment in the distant reaches of space will never be detected by us no matter how advanced we become. It will always remain out of the reach of our perception because of the rapid speed of its expansion. The edge of nothingness that lies at the border of created space is currently yielding to the voice of God who set it all in motion when He spoke the words, “Let there be light”. This is the same God who put on a human body and paid us a visit 2,000 years ago and told us He wants us to be His friends.  
So the next time you listen to anyone confidently saying they have any aspect of God all figured out smile and pray from them. Be merciful and realize it has probably been a long time since they stood beneath the stars and took time to contemplate the immensity of the One they worship.

The Garbage Bins of Personal Opinion

In our small town we have 3 color choices for our garbage bins. The red one is for recycling. The green one is for yard clippings and the black one is for household garbage. The black garbage bin goes out each week. There is nothing to remember with the black one. Where the confusion comes is from the bi-weekly pickup schedule that alternates between the red bin and the green bin.

What can really mess things up is when some of us on our street forget which bin is supposed to be put out the night before – the red one or the green one. The first person to set out their bin can set off a misguided roll out of wrong colored bins all the way up and down our street. I messed up this week. I was the first one to roll out my green bin, but it was a red bin week.

The confusion over a colored garbage bin selection reminds me of where our American culture finds itself at this moment in our history. There is an assumption that the first and most visible comment on a subject is one the rest of us should follow. We have a slavish addiction to groupthink – both in the Church and within culture. This seems OK until it proves to be the wrong colored bin of opinion. We live awash in assumption. We follow political parties in lockstep. We believe something on social media must be true because it aligns with our bias. We put out our bins of assumption without first listening to the Spirit only to realize later our confident selection was the wrong one.

Refuse to jump the gun and put your opinion on the curb of public opinion before it has been evaluated in the light of God’s truth. If you do this you won’t have to go back out to the curb like I did a few weeks ago to retrieve the wrong colored garbage bin I rolled out in a moment of personal assumption. I rolled out the wrong bin because I had assumed my neighbor down the street was right in his choice, so I blindly followed his garbage bin selection only to find out later he was wrong.

“The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Revealing Wind of the Spirit

Today, a Spirit-birthed image entered my mind. I was looking at the distance horizon of a desert scene. A powerful wind began to blow across the sands. The wind blew with increasing intensity blowing away a deep layer of sand revealing the structure of a hidden civilization. At first just the tops of the structure became visible. As the wind continued to blow the full structure was finally revealed, including the foundation.

Immediately, I knew this was the wind of the Spirit blowing on the Church. Over time a deep layer of sand has covered the simplicity and power-potential of the western Church. The covering sands were our methodologies, techniques and programs that did not require the empowering presence of the Spirit. Paul shared with the Ephesians that the structure of the living organism called the Church was built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus as the cornerstone. Everything is built upon that foundation. Jesus is uncovering His original intent so we can rediscover the foundations of our calling.

This coming sandstorm of the Spirit will present a challenge. Once revealed the simplicity and power of what is seen will require a courageous adjustment. A church led only by a pastor-teacher gift will eventually be recovered with sand over time. Adjustments are needed to return us to the foundational intent of Jesus for Church led by an apostolic and prophetic gifting.  

When the winds of change begin to blow many will get sand in the eyes of their ministry vision. This is part of the revealing and healing process.  Once their eyes are cleared of the accumulated grit of ministry some of these leaders will be able to see what has been hidden and make adjustments accordingly. Others will return to old patterns and be recovered to disappear once again. The wind of change is blowing. When the dust settles a fresh clarity will arrive revealing a coming season of incredible harvest.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Make It Work

In the 1920’s and early 30’s my father lived in Modesto, California, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Irrigation canals crisscrossed the valley providing water for thirsty crops. My father told me of the times when he and his friends would tie a rope to the bumper of a Model A and waterski behind the car as they sped down a dusty dirt road atop a canal levee.  They didn’t have a boat so they had to make things work if they wanted to ski.

Some of you are waiting for everything to fall into place before you step out in faith. If this is your mindset you might end up waiting for the rest of your life. The great pioneers of faith never had everything they needed when they began their journey of faith. They simply did what they could and left the unrevealed parts of the plan in God’s hands.

When my dad and his friends waterskied down an irrigation canal it wasn’t as romantic as gliding atop a beautiful lake behind a wooden Chris-Craft ski boat, but it was still waterskiing. Our demand for the perfect context can become a hindrance to our obedience if we require that everything be in place before we obey. Later in his life my father bought our family a real ski boat. We took it to a lake near our home and learned from my father how to waterski under the hot California summer sun. He could teach us how to ski because he first learned on an irrigation canal while being towed behind a Model A.

Today, find a spiritual canal. Don’t wait for a lake or the perfect ski boat to arrive. Tie a rope to your promise and yell, “Hit it!” Once you are up on your skis of faith it will no longer matter where your obedience is taking place.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Footprints of Favor

You are stepping into new territory. It is like a construction site where new concrete walkways are being poured. The forms God has set up to define your path are being filled with the equivalent of spiritual concrete.  God has set these forms to hold the wet concrete of new faith-opportunities that will eventually harden to become the testimony of your life. Your footprints will provide future generations with a way forward and a reminder of your unique journey of faith.

As you step into your walkway of destiny it can be sloppy and messy like someone sloshing through fresh concrete. This doesn’t destroy anything in God’s Kingdom as compared to footprints marking wet concrete in the natural. God is having you step forward into this messy moment with a purpose in mind. He wants you to leave behind the evidence of your journey as a testimony of His favor on your life

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Light of a Nation

Jan and I were walking along a country road near our home. On our walk we walked by a familiar flag we had seen many times before. It hangs from high within a large oak tree. As we passed the flag it was just at the right moment to see the rays of the sun shining through the red, white and blue fabric. in that moment, I realized the light passing through the flag was an image of what God wants to do in our nation and in each nation on the Earth.                                                    

This penetrating work of God's light is the hope of a nation. Only the light of God’s presence passing through our divided souls has the power to overcome our division and become a bridge to a new future. Possessing strong and well-documented opinions or holding the reigns of political power do not have the ability to accomplish this challenge. Only the light of God has that kind of power.                                                                                                                                

Turn on His light where you now stand and let it do its supernatural work. It may even penetrate your own soul revealing those places where you stand in unrighteous division with other people. God wants access to your heart to do a work of transformation so that when people look at you they will see His light shining through your life.

The Value of Your History

Removing an archaeological artifact from its original context removes it from its place in history. Archaeologists cringe when someone walks into a museum with a newly discovered piece of history hastily dug up from their latest backyard project. In doing so they removed the piece from the surroundings that actually tell its story. Each artifact requires a precise and measured excavation to properly identify its relationship to its surroundings and its place in history. The context of an artifact reveals as much information as the artifact itself. Without both parts working together the story is incomplete.

Your personal history is what gives your life the distinct character it carries. Paul never distanced himself from his history. He boldly shared his personal history. Don’t try to hide from your past. Use it to show others how God's plan of redemption has worked out in your life. The testimony of your personal history is a gift God wants you to share with others.

There is no place in our lives for the kind of shame that would cause us to live apart from our history only allowing our lives to be displayed on a protected fireplace mantle removed from the very provenance that accurately describes our life. We are God's masterpiece. He wants to display us with all our history intact. 

Allow your history, both the good and the bad, to be known. In that honest representation people will be able to see how the love of God was powerfully displayed in your life. That will become your testimony - the historically complete and accurate one.