- Your heart in me - the first commandment in your life. Your heart has begun to cool from to much time in your comfort zone. There is still life there but there is frost around the edges. You must keep your heart aflame!
- Your family's heart in me - your wife and children need you to be washing them with the Water of my word. You have not done enough to stir their hearts with love for me. That is all you've been about in the youth ministry but you have in some ways neglected that responsibility with your wife and kids.
- Your heart toward others - there are people I have placed in your life that I want you to invest in and you have not had the time. Make use of the time and pour into their lives in a more intimate and costly way.
- Preparation for your future - I have a calling on your life. I have a destiny but you are not ready for it yet, and staying where you are will not get you there. Go back to school, finish your degree and get DEEP in the Word. I am forming you. I am equipping you. The dreams and callings I have spoken over you are still alive and well. Become a better writer, a better speaker, and gain more wisdom and confidence with people and money. LEARN and GROW!!
Today I write a tribute my mother!
She deserves a novel of praise but a blog is the best I can do.
I love my Dad too and he deserves as much note as Mom but it's not his birthday so too bad Dad!
My Mom has been my favorite person for as long as I can remember. I am now and will forever be a Momma's boy and I am happy to be so. She is beautiful, talented, capable, intelligent, passionate, strong, good, generous, honest, and brave and a million other things I cannot think up words for. The older I get the more I want to be like her. She gave me my love for music, movies, books, creativity, wit, and conversation. (Gee thanks for that last Mom it got me in trouble so many times in school.)
I have watched her walk through storms and troubles a millions times and her compass never failed to point to the true north of Christ Jesus. Her faith and strength have been a refuge for me countless times. Her wisdom and intelligence have guided me in murky times when I wasn't sure what to do. She and Dad together in their marriage and their ministry have shown me what sacrificial love and real commitment mean in a real world. The constant, unfailing, overflowing, and boundless love and support that has flowed from my Momma have been a window on the love of God for me. Thank you for that Momma.
One more thing. My Momma inspires me. Her whole life she has pursued the passions and dreams that God has planted in her heart with a holy violence. I cannot put down how many times I have watched her face insurmountable obstacles, and almost unanimous resistance with determination and fearlessness, and then watched in awe and pride as she overcame it all and succeeded where others told her she could only fail.
She is doing so again even now as she is pursuing yet another dream and I stand amazed once again at the strength of her heart.
Momma I stand in applause of you! The Bible says that the children of mothers like yourself will rise and call you blessed and I do. You are blessed and I love you.
What would it be like?
What would it be like if everyone felt welcome and accepted by everyone else around them?
What would it be like if intimacy were a part of every friendship and trust was so abounding we forgot how to spell the word?
What would it be like if you knew every minute of everyday that there were several hundred people that prayed specifically for you that day?
What would it be like if perfect love filled each heart so much that fear's cold shadow was nowhere to be found among us?
What would it be like if Satan was the frustrated one, trying all he is worth just to reach the children of God but held a long way off by a wall of love?
What would it be like if avoiding sin were a reason to gather around each other not to push each other apart?
What would it be like if mercy was the first thing to come out of our mouths and not gossip?
What would it be like if the world looked to the church for a definition of friendship not the other way around?
What would it be like if we were really known as Jesus disciples because of our love for one another?
What would it be like if sincerity was the order of the day, and falsehood gone from our faces and our words?
What would it be like if someone's motives were the last thing we had to question?
What would it be like if Jesus were the reason we went to church?
What would it be like if Jesus were the reason we went to work?
What would it be like if Jesus were the reason we took each breath?
What would it be like?
What would it be like if we believed that this is what it could be like?
Let your kingdom come.
Let your will be done.
As in Heaven so on earth.
Grace is the will, passion, joy of God to magnify the worth of God by enabling sinners to enjoy God without compromising His Glory and Holiness!
Begin with God!
He has infinite, uncompromised, unchangeable, and immutable, worth. The worth of every other thing only exists in relationship to His worth. If His worth were devalued or corrupted the whole of the universe would cease to exist because it was made for His worth and because of His worth and through His worth it is sustained.
Sin IS the devaluing of the worth of God. It is calling God what He is not. Because God is who and what He is the universe is what it is. The very existence of all that exists is founded upon and rests on the foundation of the nature and the truth of God as He is. The word says that all things are, “from Him through Him and to Him”. It says that He “upholds all things by the Word of his power.” If His word or His truth were ever falsified or nullified those things upheld by that Word would cease to exist. That is why sin is so destructive and so hated by God. It seeks to falsify and nullify God’s Word. Of course the idea that God could ever be devalued in reality, or corrupted, or His immutable Word falsified or nullified is ridiculous. It is not a possibility! God is God and He cannot be changed in any way. Anything that attempts to do so is almost laughable yet sin still exists. Why? Because of the grace and for the glory of God it is allowed to exist for a time so that His grace may be revealed and His glory exalted! Romans 9:22 “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.” What was it that God desired to do? “Show his wrath and make known his power.” It is worth it to God to send people to eternal Hell so that His wrath and power are made known. If it is worth it to God it should be worth it to US. His other desire expressed in this passage is, “to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy” So in both ways God is allowing sin to exist for a time so that something of His nature is revealed and He is glorified. The only way He could reveal both His mercy and His wrath are bound up in Jesus and the cross. Sin and the “devaluing” of His glory CANNOT be allowed to stand they must be answered, but He is also merciful. How can these two exist simultaneously? The answer is that God Himself would have to pay the cost to repair the damage done to His own glory. If God had forgiven sin and left the cost of that sin go unpaid. Then the devaluing of His glory would have been accomplished and God would NOT have been God. Since this cannot be, God must always act like Himself, there had to be another way for the price to be paid if God were to forgive sin. The only one who had the means of paying that price was God Himself, and so He did. Thereby revealing the fullness of His glory on the cross by both pouring out wrath and releasing mercy. Oh the beauty of the CROSS!!
I think best in type! Here are some thoughts that might reveal more about what I have been burning about lately.
Loving God more than anything else and, because I love Him, loving others as much as I love myself.
Radical God Centeredness –
God is real. He is the most real thing. His reality and worth should penetrate and permeate EVERY aspect of the life of His people. Worship should be a life lived out of the fact that God is the most valuable reality we acknowledge. There is no more valuable one. We love Him more than we love ourselves. We treasure and value his infinite worth above all else. There is no more worthy one. Our lives exist ONLY to experience, comprehend, display and enjoy the infinite worth of our God. We do that through a life of righteousness.
Real Righteousness – defined holistically as “doing the right thing.” A life characterized by:
Honest Work –
The word of God encourages His people to work. God gave Adam and Eve a job in the garden. The Apostle Paul worked as a tentmaker everywhere he went. Jesus worked in his father’s world of carpentry until He was 30. The body should be a group of down to earth men and women who live life in the real world of work. Working with our hands to help each other is a big part of this. Whether it is homemaking or sales, construction or teaching; the people of God should not be about leisure but accomplishment, not about retirement but the release of resource. Our work does not define us and it is not the sole purpose of our lives but it is God’s way of providing for us and for others through us.
Resource Cultivation and Investment –
God has given all of us resources, whether they are money, talents and abilities, or relationships He has given them to us for the divine purpose of cultivation and investment. The job of man in paradise was gardening, “Cultivation of the resources to draw out hidden potential and create flourishing.” We are to be about that same task even now. Being used of God to release the potential from every place we see it. In each other, in the financial and business world, releasing the wisdom of God to create flourishing all around us in our own lives and the lives of others; all of us utilizing all of our gifts to make the church and the world all around a better place. Trusting in the power of God to bless our efforts as we align our purposes with His and knowing we cannot do it on our own but are in partnership with Him.
A part of that ethos of work and resource cultivation and investment is the use of the creative facility that God has given to every man and woman. God has made us creative beings. We must make a concerted effort to release that creativity to the glory of the Lord in ever possible way. Whether it is through arts of all kinds or new practical ideas; looking at every situation as an opportunity for the release of the wisdom and resource of God through creativity and prayer.
Study of His Word –
God’s word is his primary means His revelation of Himself to man. If we see God as the most valuable thing, the most treasured one, we will plumb the depths of his word to find the gold and jewels of his beauty that lay hidden there in plain sight.
We read the word to find Jesus: We desperately need Him. Joy in the Lord is COMMANDED in scripture! It is the fuel for life. The joy of the Lord is our strength. It is only through the revelation of Himself in scripture that we see, in as much fullness as we can now, the full Glory of Christ and so are filled with “joy inexpressible and filled with glory” 1 Peter1:8
We read the word to find wisdom: His word is full of instruction and wisdom that enables us to live life to the fullest revealing God through our lives as submitted to the wisdom of His word. That means life done right! Marriage, Finances, Justice, and Friendship in the
REAL Worship – Adoration expressed in song other art forms:
We were built to enjoy God. Our enjoyment is not full until it is expressed back to the source of that beauty and outward to all within earshot. The human heart responds to beauty with joy. This is adoration. Through song and every other art form we will rejoice in the goodness and glory of the king of kings! That the world may know how good He is! Let them taste and see! Worship and adoration are God and His people celebrating each other. Let the party begin!
The Lord commands praise and celebration of all that He is.
We remember all He has done – and respond in thanksgiving
We look to His promises for the future – and respond in hope and joy
We see the matchless beauty of His character and His intrinsic worth, His sovereignty, His goodness – and we respond in awe and knee bending worship
Real Connection –
Nothing about the church should be impersonal. Nothing about the church should be disconnected. The pastor is a man not a god. The power and authority of his sermons should come from the reality of them that people see every other day beside Sunday. Not because he has it figured out, but because with the Lord’s help he is figuring it out. He is learning from the Lord in the full view of the church. Church should be about real people being real and honest with each other at all times; honest about struggles, frustration, pain, joy, sin, victory, loss, and gain. The power of the Gospel should be seen in every life because every life is open to being seen!
We should weep together and rejoice together because we all value each other as much as we value ourselves.
Real Religion –
The Bible defines true religion as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, ministry to the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. Jesus NEVER allowed for a vertical relationship with God that did not flow outward on the horizontal plain of those around us who needed help. Love your neighbor as yourself was connected 100% with love the Lord your God. The whole of God’s revelation to man hangs on “these two” Jesus said. We CANNOT ignore this as a church. Not just ministry to the poor but to mankind as a whole to each what they need! To the poor, to the rich, whatever person the Lord puts us in contact with we release the life and resource of Jesus into their lives.
I am burning.
The last three weeks of my life have been about burning. I have had countless seasons like this but as always I am completely consumed with this one. This one is more dangerous however than the last few. This time it is accompanied by some kind of release. Not the release I want. Not the, go ahead and quit your job and get into the prayer room full time to gaze on my beauty and groan in repentance and intercession all day, release, but the, "I am not just teaching you this so you can learn", release. He is calling me to respond. With obedience. Here is the problem. What the heck does that look like? How do I walk this out with wisdom and in love and doing my best not to offend anyone or break fellowship with anyone. THAT is the hard part.
I'm sorry, if this isn't making a whole lot of sense. I am being cryptic on purpose. I can't take the time yet to fully pour out my heart on what is going on because the Holy Spirit is still forming it in me and I don't yet have verbiage for it all.
Jesus is reaching into my heart and changing my whole internal definition of Christianity, and it is painful. Painful because it looks nothing like my old definition and it grieves me that I could live so long and be so off in so many areas. Painful because I know that what He is doing in me now is only one more step to becoming like Him and I have a billion times further to go than I have gone. Please please please don't think that I think I have "arrived" or figured all this out. I so HAVEN'T. I've just been confronted again with HOW MUCH I haven't.
All I know is I cannot continue to be the SAME person. I cannot continue to live the same way. I wasn't in sin don't misunderstand what I am saying. I just cannot live the same way anymore. All my definitions are changed and to be honest with myself and with what the Holy Spirit is doing in me, I have to change too. What I do not know yet is how far this change is going to go or what all of the ramifications of it is going to be. I am willing to go wherever and do whatever the Holy Spirit leads me to do, but I do not yet know what that means. The majority of the changes are in the way that my life is lived every moment of the day and will not be extremely visible to those that don't do every day with me, but there may be other changes coming down the road that will be far more radical. I won't speculate as to what they may be. I just want to hold my life with a very open hand and say "Yes Lord" to whatever He wants to do. The problem is that when you try to do something better than you have been, even when it is JUST ABOUT YOU, you end up offending people. They see you trying to change and they call it a critique of the way they are living. They feel judged by it. That is another reason I don't want to TEACH any of this yet. That is why I haven't been writing my Blog very often. Everything I am hearing is beyond me. Every time I try to explain it I only capture a small part of the massive thing He is doing in me and what I do capture is just a shadow.
The best I can do is to say that really what is going on in me now is about a change of desires. Father is teaching me to desire the things He desires. I don't know enough about these things that He desires to talk about them with any kind of clarity. I just know that I deeply deeply desire to see them. Things like justice for the poor. Things like REAL DEEP HONEST connection one brother or sister with another. What does it mean when Jesus says "make them one as we are one"? I just don't know but I know I DON'T HAVE IT and I DESPERATLY desire it. What does the deepest heart expression of worship mean in the community sense. How do we come to God together with one voice in prayer in worship? What is God's will and desire for the market place? Am I cultivating every area of my life to display the Glory of God through righteous living, giving, resource development and investment, relationships with my fellow Christ followers, relationships with the people of the world? These are questions I don't have good enough answers for and I want them and of course the biggest question HOW do I do this? Am I living my life truly deeply based upon loving God the most and everyone else as much as I love myself? NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I'm not. So HOW???
I'm not content to go on not knowing, and not trying. I want to hunger and thirst after righteousness. I can honestly say I am beginning to begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness. That is my problem. I am hungering and thirsting after it but I do not have it. I have hope. He said "they will be filled" He meant it.
Oh thank you Jesus you meant it!