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The Brooding of God - a word

On the way home today the Lord spoke the word I wrote out below and I thought I would share it with you. I don't think It is only for me.
It was so cool I got this picture of God brooding, trembling with anticipation, and then when I looked up the word "hovering" in the Hebrew it literally means both brooding like a mother bird and/or shaking/trembling. The same Hebrew word is used for both meanings in the Old Testament. Wow. God is good.
So here is what I heard.
"Gen 1:2 - The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.
As I brooded over the face of the waters so I am brooding over you. It looks dark and there does not seem to be anything happening but, by my Spirit, I am at work. I tremble with anticipation and excitement for what I am about to do. I am hovering over you readying you for the Word that will release a new creation. I am protecting and caring for my Word over you. New explosive life is about to be released, but without this time of waiting you would not be ready. So hold fast and believe that my plans are bigger than your plans. Very soon I will speak and unleash light to break your darkness, life to all your dead places, and order to the chaos that hangs over you. Only wait, trust, and believe that I love you."

Right now I prophesy this over everyone reading this blog post. God's plan over you is not diminished by the darkness you see and feel all around and over you right now. His Spirit is as at work keeping His word over you and it will come to pass! In Jesus name! Let faith rise up in our hearts to connect Heaven to Earth and release the Kingdom of Heaven the promises of God made manifest in our midst.
Faith is stirred up by prayer and worship. Aligning our hearts and heads with Heaven and saying YES to the will of the one whose thoughts about us outnumber the sands on the shores of the ocean. Oh it is to wonderful for me!!!!! My Father Loves me!
Let this word be released to destroy the darkness of fear and discouragement in every heart.
In Jesus name and for His glory!
Amen

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His work - and ours

Philippians 1:6 says "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" ESV

I read this the other day and it struck me.  I've read this verse or heard it countless times, but it grabbed me by the hair the other day.  I read it over and over.  This verse says a lot.

  1. "He who began" – God began this work in us.  I don't want to get all Calvinistic on everybody that's not where I'm going with this.  The point is God is at work in us, and it is a work that He has chosen to do.  We said yes at some point, no doubt, but it was begun with God.  "While we were still sinners", Paul says, "Christ died for us."  This is God's work.  We loved Him because He first loved us.  God is the initiator of our salvation.  He is the one reaching down.  He is the one searching us out.  He is the one who began the good work in us.  The Bible says that before the foundation of the world God looked forward to us and it was THEN that He began "working all things for good".  He has had each of us that has said yes to Christ in His sights since long before we were ever born.  God set His love and His favor upon us in that day and it lives to this. Waking up everyday we can say, "God has set His love and favor upon me".  That gives us incredible power over sin.  that gives us incredible confidence that no matter what happens today, God's love for me is behind it somewhere, somehow. 
  2. "will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" - If God began it then God will complete it.  This encourages me in two ways.
    a. "He's still workin' on me" that childhood song is so true.  I am not what I will one day be.  I am still flawed, still imperfect, still immature, and God knows that!  He understands my weakness.  He understands my failure.  He wants to use these weaknesses and failures to make me stronger and grow me up.  He is AT WORK and will continue to labor upon me until the day I see Jesus face to face.  Isaiah 62 is one of my favorite chapters.  The Lord emphatically states over his children Israel, and over my heart as I am grafted into that tree, " For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch." God is passionately commited to my inheritance of righteousness.  He will not stop until it goes forth as brightness and as a burning torch.
    b.  This work WILL BE brought to full and total COMPLETION!!!! Some day I will be holy.  Some day I will be righteous!  Some day I will fulfill my eternal purpose of showing forth the GLORY of my Lord and savior that the universe my worship Him all the more ardently for the mighty work he has wrought in me!  This is who I am meant to be!  A carrier of His glory!  Is there any higher calling?  My stuggles with sin will come to an end.  My misunderstandings will fade away.  All my inconsistancies, hypocricy, and immaturity will blossom into the full flower of the eternal bride Christ chose before the foundation of the world to stand by His side in perfect partnership forever.  My destiny is assured!  My place in forever is on the throne with Jesus.  Not because of anything I did, only because of all He is doing in me and will continue to do until the glorious competion day not so very far away!!

HALLELUJAH! - so what part do we play in this grand design?  What is our work?  Simple!  Keep saying yes!  When you are discouraged or angry turn to Him and say yes.  When you are hurting and confused turn to Him and say yes.  When you are triumphant and joyful, turn to Him and say yes.  The Christian life is one HUGE YES to Jesus over and over and over.  Jesus said the work of God was to believe in the one He sent.  Let's do that work and say YES.

Amen

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An old Blog Post brings renewed hope

In my reawakening to the book of Revelation I remembered an old blog post.  Thought I would put it up again.  I stirred me. 

The weeping of John

John wept bitterly. He saw the earth unredeemed and with no redeemer to be found, and he wept. He saw the future of the world in the hand of the father and there was no one worthy to open it. So John wept. He saw the promises of God wrapped up in the sin and brokenness of man with no hope of release. He saw prophecies of old left to rot and he wept. He saw the groaning of creation for the revelation of the sons of God going unanswered and he wept. He saw his own destiny tightly bound and completely out of his reach and he wept. He saw the calling and anointing of the church, the glorious bride, unrealized, untouched, not even believed and at this John wept. John wept bitterly.
Rev 5:1 - Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" 3But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
He weeps still. Pastors, laymen, intercessors and Sunday school teachers weep the tears of John. The tears of lost dreams and disillusionment. Tears of disappointment and confusion. Tears springing from lives disassembled and broken. Weeping arising from the shattered fragments of promises that died long ago. The mourning of all that life was supposed to be and never will. John still weeps.
Is there no redeemer? No one to save us? No one to pay our debts? No soothing mercy to calm this burning justice? All of Heaven and all of Earth has been searched and all of Hell, still there is no hope.
But wait.....
What is he saying?
Can it be?
The lion? I only see a lamb!
The root? I only see a branch!
Triumph? I only see defeat and death!
But there in his hand He holds the scroll...
It can't be true!
He is worthy? He is able?
The scars! He has paid the price! The unpayable price! Why?
For me?
Oh He is about to open it!
My future, my plans, my dreams, my promises! They are all there in His hands
The hands of the lamb!
All that I care about all that makes life worth living it is there! In the pierced hands of that man!
But why would he do that for me?
Oh John stop weeping! OH JOHN! He is alive
My redeemer........................He LIVES!!!!!!
He has triumphed
He is WORTHY!!!!
WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN!!!!!
Worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!
ForEVER FOREVER FOREVER!!!!!!!

 

5Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth."

11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"

13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!" 14The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

 

 

Josh Hawkins

BDS

 

 

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The "Good Bad news", and the "Bad Good news"

There is a revolution taking place.  It’s happening everywhere.  The people of the world are getting better!  Man is realizing his potential!  Through the wisdom of this late age, through education, tolerance, and comfort the world is learning to live together, to work together, to love one another.  The message of all the great religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism is finally sinking in.  The enlightened among us has, for so long, believed that if we all just wised up, put aside our differences, and had true empathy for each other we would see a new age emerge.  An age of peace, an age of understanding, it is the age of man; and it is finally beginning.  The economic disaster of the past few months will be the shaping force of this new age.  We will see an abandonment of old greedy intolerant and irresponsible ways of thinking.  We will see a new infrastructure rise as the old collapses.  Businesses that think of more than the bottom line will emerge; we will see governments that realize their responsibility to push us forward as young progressive thinkers are given the position and the permission to change the culture on a global scale.  They will rewrite the DNA of human government, culture, business, and religion in one generation.  The first priority of humanity will become humanity itself.  Poverty will be eradicated, sickness all but destroyed, and war abolished as this movement crashes forward.  The intolerant, willfully ignorant, and immoral will be converted or removed from places of power and influence.  Their voices will be silenced forever and the hatred, destruction, war, and intolerance they spread will be eliminated.  The human race will be free.  John Lennon’s dream of “Imagine” will be the theme song, and the sure and steady becoming reality of this massive paradigm shift.  Adam has at last grown up.

 

Does this really sound like good news to you friends?  Part of me says yes, and part of me is absolutely sick just writing it.  This is really how much of the world feels.  The reality is that there is such a movement happening and it will change the world.  Everywhere I look the wolves in sheep’s clothing are moving in.  The great deception, the strong delusion, is slowly but surly settling in like a warm freeze.  Even churches and pastors are being taken in and that is what scares me the most.  Jesus predicted this 2000 years ago and it should alarm us what is happening.  It should alarm us but not frighten us.  The Good Bad news is what I have listed above.  It sounds good but it is so bad.  Now let me tell you the bad good news.  The end which is the beginning is coming.  Jesus and His intolerant kingdom is coming.  Jesus will NOT be tolerant, not even a little.  He will NOT be understanding.  He will not live and let live.  He is coming to rule, and the world hates Him.  They will hate Him more as things move forward, and they will hate anyone who stands with Him.  The spirit of Anitchrist is already loose in a powerful way.  It will be defeated.  Humanity will lose and God will win!

Amen 

 

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Accidents don't happen by accident

We had some bad things happen to our house over the Christmas holiday.  I won’t go into boring details but let’s just say that Christmas Eve SUCKED until about 5:30 PM when I tucked in to one of my mother-in-law’s home made rolls.  Mmmmmmm rolls!  Sorry I got side tracked.  With the ice storm and the water damage, and church being cancelled due to the power outage I am left once again wondering what the heck God is thinking sometimes.  Whether or not we understand what God is up to; we must NOT make the mistake of thinking that He is not in and behind every single thing that happens.  The Bible clearly states that every cast of the lot in the lap is from the Lord.  I do not believe in chance and I do not believe in accidents.  I do not believe that things, “just happen” no they do not.  God knew, God allowed and in some way God caused these things to unfold as they did, and He knows WHY He did.  He did it because of His great love for me.  Some day in the future I will look upon all the things He has done and thank Him for them.  I will thank Him for the Tsunami that killed almost half a million people.  I will thank Him for 9/11.  I will thank Him for Katrina.  I will thank Him for Hell.  I will thank Him because He did these things or “allowed” these things because He loves His glory, and His love for His glory is the most loving thing He can do for me.  I don’t have time or energy to really explore the whole of that reality, but it is the central truth of the Bible.  It is the first commandment in living color.

So WHY did these things happen?  What was God thinking?  He was thinking He loves me.  My task in this time is to search out any specific lessons He wanted me to learn from all of this.  God teaches in many ways.  He leads with every tool that He can.  He uses the best tool for the job.  So I have to trust in God’s love.  We all do.  On the scale of tragedies this one is pretty low.  A minor inconvenience.  I will learn to be grateful.  We may end up with new carpet and better walls and ceiling etc.  I will learn to be optimistic.  My family and I were warm and comfortable and fed throughout.  I will learn to trust Him to take care of us.  We got help from many friends and family.  I will learn to lean on those that love me. 

There is much to learn.  I love His leadership!

 

 

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I don't want to believe in Hell

I heard a radio program today via Podcast that deeply stirred me.  It was about Carlton Pearson; a pastor of a church in Oklahoma that decided one day that Hell did not exist.  I say he decided it didn’t exist because according to his own admission that is how it happened.  He was praying and just felt like Hell didn’t exist; like it couldn’t.  I would encourage everyone to go to www.thisamericanlife.com and listen to this program.

 I used to listen to this man preach.  He launched the careers of many huge evangelical / Pentecostal people.  People like TD Jakes.  He was on TBN.  He was dubbed “Bishop” by his peers in the evangelical community.  He used to sing on Carman’s records ( I know I just dated and begeeked myself in the reference to Carman but regardless).

This man no longer believes in Hell.  He believes that the blood of Jesus covers EVERYONE on earth regardless of what they have done or what they believe.

I have thought a lot about this even before I heard this program.  I wish I could believe it.  I wish the Bible wasn’t so completely clear on this issue.  I wish Jesus hadn’t talked so much about Hell.  I hate Hell, but I love God.  Because I love God, I agree with Hell.  Because I love God’s glory I understand why Hell is necessary.  That doesn’t mean I like Hell.  I don’t want to believe in Hell.  I really don’t.  If I found sufficient Biblical reason for not believing in Hell, or even for not believing that Hell lasted forever, that it was a temporary torment to punish the wicked for a time and then release them, I would jump at the chance.  I don’t care what the whole of the church has believed before me.  If the Bible doesn’t support it then I feel no responsibility to believe it.  The problem is that the Bible makes no bones about Hell.  It is there.  It is clear.  There is no way around it.  Hell exists and without an active relationship with God through a living faith in the work of Christ on the Cross to take away your sins you are going to go there.

I don’t want you to go there.  I don’t want anyone to go there.  I hate that so many will be going there, but that doesn’t mean I can throw away God’s word.

Bishop Pearson says that the Bible has been misread and mistranslated, twisted to sell us a bill of goods.  I’m sorry Bishop, you are wrong.  I do not think YOU are going to Hell sir.  You still believe in the power of the cross, but I am afraid of all those you will send to Hell because of your misinformation.  I worry about those who will comfort themselves with your words and never give themselves to God through Christ.

God help us all!  Teach us to be humble and to be righteous at the same time.  Teach us to know what is right and to know how wrong we are.

Forgive us all for heresy because every one of us is a heretic.  Every one of us is a hypocrite.  Every one of us is a sinner.

Thank you for the precious blood of your Son.  Thank you for forgiveness.  Thank you for always being like yourself.  I love you.

Amen

 

 

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The Second Commandment

The first and second commandments are the central column of my understanding of God, man, life, and church.  Jesus said, “all of the law and the prophets hang on these two”.  That means that all of God’s revelation to man hang on “Love God first and most and love everyone else as much as you love yourself.”  I am sorry but that is saying a lot.  So needless to say I spend a lot of time digging into these two commandments.  I have come to believe that these are much broader and more expansive than the Sunday school teachings of them have been.  

I have been thinking a lot about the second greatest commandment lately.  “Love your neighbor as yourself”.  I really love myself.  A lot of people would say they don’t love themselves at all, or even that they “hate” themselves, but I find that notion a little disingenuous.  They do an awful lot of things for themselves.  They eat.  They breathe.  They live.  Even suicides usually end their lives because they are searching for release and or happiness, not because they are seeking to destroy themselves.

So what does Jesus mean by this statement?  Jesus answered this question in the parable of the good Samaritan.  The man asked, “who then is my neighbor?”  Jesus’ basic answer through the parable was, “your neighbor is the person you encounter who needs help that you can give!”  My understanding then is that the definition of “loving my neighbor” is doing for them what they cannot do for themselves, but that you can.  Wow that changes the way I look at my friends and family.  What can I do for my wife that she cannot do for herself?  What can I do for my friends that they cannot do for themselves? Etc etc etc.  The implications are massive, but where they usually end is when I no longer see a need. 

I do not believe that is where the second commandment ends.  Loving my neighbor is not just responding to crisis, although it is definitely that.  It is more.  It is doing what I can to see them become all they can become; leveraging my abilities and relationships to help them reach their highest potential in all realms of life.  I heard someone say once that they do not want to leave any conversation, any encounter with another person without somehow making them better in some way.  What a costly philosophy, but isn’t that what Jesus was talking about?
It’s worth thinking about!
It’s worth praying about!

Josh Hawkins

 

 

 

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I'm Tired

I have been a person who cares a lot about the political realm for a long time.  I have been an ultra fiscal and social conservative since I was 12 or 13.  There was a long period when I seriously considered a future in politics.  Now all I can say is, I’m tired.  I’m tired of the fights.  I’m tired of the irresponsibility, the unwillingness to listen, the pure naked pursuit of power that I see splashed across the political scene every single day.  The ads are driving me up the wall.  Last night I saw so many political ads in one 30 minute time span they all started to blur together!

What I want, and I believe what the American people want, is an honest discussion of values.  An interplay of ideas.  A place where honest men can stand up and say, “this is what I believe and this is why”.  No mud slinging.  No digging up the ancient past for things that never really happened and even if they did, no longer matter.  No name calling.  Simple straight forward choices.  Do I agree with guy A or guy B?  That’s all I am looking for! 

There is a line from the movie “The American President” that I would really love to hear come out of these candidates’ mouths.  The guy got up and said “I was so busy trying to keep my job that I forgot to do my job”.  Doesn’t that feel good? 

Frankly my intelligence has been insulted this election season.  These campaigns honestly believe the American people care more about the rhetoric and the flying accusations than they do about the issues.  I am so sorry to say that it is the McCain campaign that has been the worst, with the help of talk radio.  I used to be a HUGE talk radio fan.  Anymore I can barely stand 15 minutes of it, because intelligent discussion of issues and ideas has disappeared from that medium. 

 

I’m tired.  I’m fed up.  I don’t know what to do about it.

I need to pray!

 

 

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Thinking Deeper

Being thoughtful is becoming more and more a priority in my world.  I refuse to say anything, do anything, and feel anything without serious thought introspection and prayer.  The quick pat answers of earlier days are no longer satisfying to me.  I want to know WHY.  I want to understand the deep reasons behind everything.  I do not believe that God hides these from us.  I know his depths are unsearchable but I hear that and take it as an invitation to exploreGod has deep eternal reasons for everything he does.  I want to know those reasons, or at least have a view toward what they are. 

I have been thinking a lot about the massivity of God.  He is infinate.  The Bible is fairly clear on that.  Solomon said in Chronicles that the “Heavens of the Heavens cannot contain you”.  Jesus describes Himself as the “first and the last.” Paul says that he “holds all things together by the power of His word.”  The universe is our only scale for measuring God and science tells us that not only is it impossibly massive but it is getting BIGGER all the time and its expansion is accelerating all the time.  I am in awe.  We just don’t understand how big God is.  We need to be thinking about Him; taking the box off of Him.  We must believe that He is so much more capable and so much wiser than we can comprehend. His purposes are so far beyond our puny human minds.  The things He told us in His word are as infinate as He is.  When John says something like, “God is love”.  He is saying something inexpressably infinate, overwhelmingly significant, and immeasurably powerful.  Do we get that?  Do we FEEL it?  I want to.

I challenge you to delve deep into these thoughts.  Let them challenge your ideas of God and His existance.  We cannot possibly understand the fullness of the mystery that is our beautiful God.  Enjoy it! 

THINK DEEPER!

Love y’all

Joshy

 

 

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The End of the World

THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING! ……

BUT NOT BECAUSE OF THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL RACE!

Forgive the “shouting” but I feel like shouting it!  I have heard so many Christians lately work themselves up into lather over the fact that Barak Obama is ahead in the polls.  They predict horrible things if he is elected and are doing all they can to mobilize the “religious right” into action to stop his candidacy from being successful.  I sickens me.

First off let me say that I am not an Obama supporter.  I cannot be.  Even if I agreed with everything else that he says (and I don’t), his stance on the issue of abortion and the “right” of women to murder their own children automatically switches my vote to a no.

What sickens me is the climate of FEAR that is being created by CHRISTIAN LEADERS!!!  The REALITY of this situation is that God has this election in His hand and HE will govern its outcome.  We as Christians must do what we can to shape it, meaning vote and if so lead campaign for the people that we would support for president, but we cannot, and should not be filled with fear about what is going to happen!

Let me be methodical in my presentation so I can say everything I think needs to be said:

  1. Barak Obama is NOT the Devil incarnate and he is NOT the enemy of God loving God fearing people across the globe.  He is just a man.  He is a man with some bad ideas and nowhere near enough experience to serve as the president of this country, but just a man!  It is our job to pray for this man and love him.  We keep our eyes open.  We speak up when we see things wrong.  We don’t let him get away with things he shouldn’t but we cannot hate him!  We cannot demonize him. I say with a heavy heart that Barak Obama will most likely be the next president of our country.  He will most likely be the most powerful man in the world in just a matter of months.  We need him to have an open ear to us and calling him an “Arab” or a “Muslim” (I don’t know when either of those words became terms of slander by the way) or the “Antichrist” (I am pointing 4 fingers at myself here) is not the way to foster a good relationship between the possible future president and the Christian community. 
  2. The kind of hatred that is being stirred up against him in the church is unhealthy and, to be quite frank, sinful.    We cannot allow fear and anger to take hold in our hearts!  We are Christians!  When did we get the right to hate ANYONE?  We are to be motivated by love at all times.  Not fear.  Not hatred.  Love.  Let’s try and remember that!  Also whether you live in his state of Illinois or not this man is a United States senator and therefore we are charged by the Word of God to pray for him as for all our leaders.  That is only multiplied if he becomes president.
  3. I have a deep and abiding hatred for the stigma of the Religious Right.  We have been made a caricature and robbed of any real cultural relevancy exactly because of this kind of frothing at the mouth behavior that I have witnessed regarding Senator Obama!  When are we going to wake up and realize that we need to be having dialogue and conversation with the secular left so as to bring them to CHRIST!  They are NOT the enemy either!  It is our responsibility and our JOY to love them and bring them close.  We cannot afford to take the radical stances we’ve taken and alienate men and women that desperately need the Gospel.  WHEN will we learn to be all things to all people by all means that we might win SOME! 

My friends let’s trust the Lord, vote our consciences, stand against evil where we see it, but never ever forget that we are called to a higher purpose, and that is God’s purpose in the earth!  Nothing, not Barak Obama, not the terrorists, not Satan himself or even OPRAH can stand in the way God’s invincible purpose.  He is on the throne!

 

Love you all

Joshy

 

 

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I love history

I spend a lot of time thinking about why I think the way that I do.  It is fascinating to me that my pattern of thought did not originate with me.  It has changed the older I’ve gotten, and it has changed the more I’ve listened to other voices and other patterns of thinking.  My whole life I have been learning how to think!  If I had read other things, watched other movies, listened to other music, had different parents, gone to a different school, I would, in some ways, be a very different person.  The raw material of me would be the same but the shape that was formed from that material would be essentially different.  It is an intriguing concept to say the least.  I also know that in a few weeks, months, years, I may not think, or feel as I do now!  In the past couple of years I have come across systems of thought that have radically altered the very way my mind works namely Calvinism, and the Prayer Movement. 

I heard a man say once something along the lines of, “Listen to one voice and you will be a clone, listen to two or three voices and you will be confused, listen to many voices and you will find a voice that is your own.”  I believe that.  I am always searching for new voices; not because I want to become like them, but because I want to know where I stand and where I do not. 

This whole spin of thought and this blog post come from listening to a historical perspective on the idea of life.  What is the “spark of life”?  What is the difference between something that is alive and something that is dead.  These historians were not trying to find out the answer to the question they were merely talking a long look at the history of ideas about the question.  I was amazed at the things people believed and often because of their Christian faith.  When their ideas about these things were disproved people were angry and upset or in despair and many abandoned their faith!  How foolish it seems to me to abandon your faith just because it’s been proved that frogs do not spontaneously generate out of the mud! 

As always I tried to point this kind of thinking at myself.  What ideas / theories / theological imperatives do I have about, life, God, or existence that if they were disproved would shake my faith and threaten my relationship with God?  I call the actions of my predecessors foolish but are they not just like me?

Honestly as I ponder this more I realize that all of the things they believed that caused them to be on shaky ground were extra-biblical.  They were not from the Bible.  They were superstitions or conjecture but not there in the scriptures themselves.  We must get back to the Bible and ground ourselves in scripture!  It protects us from so much error!  Oh God THANK YOU for the gift of your Word! 

So I said all that to say that I love history.  It reveals the blind spots of our current age and protects us from the errors of the past, but only if we know it!

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Jesus loves new bikes...and little lasers...because he loves little boys.

I woke up this Saturday with no plans at all except to pal around with the kids (those are my favorite Saturdays).  I told my wife, “let’s do something fun today, that doesn’t cost money!”  She reminded me that the Zoo was closing in only a couple of weeks and we should take advantage of our season passes before the season was over.  So our plans were made.  We got ready as quickly as a newborn and a Saturday morning will allow and we were ready by 11:30 or so.  As Rachel was herding the boys into the minivan I went across the street to get the mail.  I found waiting for me there a nice, and completely unexpected, check!  Praise the Lord!  I asked the Lord quickly if there was something specific we were to do with this money and I got no immediate answer but Rachel quietly reminded me that the boys were in desperate need of new bikes.  The budget has been tight lately, REALLY TIGHT, I’m sure you ALL are feeling that right now, and there has been NO room for bike money.  Thinking this may be the only time that we would be able to afford new bikes for the boys for a long time we decided that is what we would do.  After a great time at the Zoo we went to Wally World and looked at the bikes.  The price of bikes, it seems, has followed the trend and gone up just like the price of everything else.  We were just barely going to be able to afford it and we wouldn’t be able to get the ones they wanted.  I was disappointed.  I was grateful for the opportunity to get them bikes at all, but it broke my heart to see them wanting on thing and getting another.  So we decided to check at some other stores.  As we were leaving Aidan reminded us that we had promised him a few days earlier he could have a laser pointer he had seen at the checkout counter.  Needless to say we were stretching just to buy the bikes, lasers were really out of the question!  We told him he would have to wait ‘til another time for the laser.  He accepted this pretty good naturedly because of the promise of the bike.  In the parking lot on the way to the car Aidan was behind me jabbering away as always when I heard him say, “oh look daddy I found a piece of money”.  I turned around expecting to find him holding a penny or a nickel and saw him unfolding a 20 dollar bill!  I looked around to see if anyone was close that might have dropped the money but there was no one.  Wow thanks again Jesus!  So we went to a couple other stores to see what there was and we found the bike Aidan wanted for 20% off!  Hallelujah again!  So to make an already long story a little shorter.  Not only were we able to get new bikes for the boys but we got them the ones they wanted AND yes we got them the little laser pointers as well, all without spending a dime out of our weekly budget.  As we left the store we prayed together as a family just thanking Jesus for being so wonderful to us that day.   Rachel and I were in tears hearing our children rejoice in the overflowing generosity of our amazing provider.  As we prayed I said, “Thank you Jesus for loving us and for loving new bikes”, and Aidan chimed in from the back seat…”and little lasers!”  Yes Lord, and little lasers too. 

Thank you Jesus for giving us the opportunity to teach our children how much you love us and provide for us even in the hard times.

Amen

 

 

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Sin is Loss

What a statement!  I heard John Piper say this in a sermon this week and it stunned me.  If we really believed this how much easier it would be to say no to sin!  The really great thing about this is that IT IS TRUE!!!

The more I study the realities of Sin and Righteousness the more I believe with ALL my heart that the HEIGHT of righteousness is a life lived form a place of total and complete delight in God and in God alone.  My definition of Holiness is endless exclusive delight in God.  My definition of Sin then is delighting in anything but God!  That is a pretty radical statement I know.  We all delight in many good things that are not directly God.  My contention there is that we delight in God THROUGH the things He gives, in a way that increases our delight in Him and thereby glorifies Him.  I love my family because Jesus gave them to me and I love Jesus more because of the delight I find in my family.  That is delight that draws me closer to Jesus and Glorifies Jesus all at the same time.  However when we choose something else IN THE PLACE of God we are sinning.  When we choose the fruit of the knowledge of Good and evil over fellowship with God we sin.  When we choose the broken cisterns that cannot hold water over the ever-flowing fountain we are sinning and in both cases we are loosing that which is of INFINATE worth to gain something fleeting and worthless.

Everything that we choose in the place of God STEALS from us, but when we choose God He gives TO US endlessly.

When we see sin and righteousness in this way sin looks really foolish!  Sin IS loss.

The problem of course is that Satan is REALLY good at making Sin look like gain.  They ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil because they thought they could be like God.  We choose sin because we want pleasure, security, power whatever it is and for a time we may actually get what we are after, but eventually we will lose.  Pleasure goes away, security falls apart, and power fails every single time.

 

Oh GOD Make this real in my heart – Sin IS Loss.  Only YOU are gain!!!

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We do what we want to do.

We do what we WANT to do.  That is the truth of it.  We do what we want to do.  We don’t do what we don’t want to do and we do what we want to do.  I have become a master of holding on to things that I call “values” and “beliefs” but not allowing them to be manifest my life except in ways that coincide with my personal desires.  The short way of saying that is I am a hypocrite.  There is no way around it.  I hate it, but there is no denying the truth. 

It is no use comparing myself to someone else.  Saying, “well sure I’m a hypocrite but not as big a hypocrite as that guy over there!” is just a waste of breath.

I need deep soul reality and I need for that reality to be made manifest in WHAT I DO EVERYDAY.  Let me clarify even further.  Going to church, being involved in church activity, singing in the worship service, for me these things DO NOT QUALIFY as holiness, righteousness, or any sign that I am on the right track.  I can do all of these and be completely lifeless on the inside.  For me personally these things have militated against  soul reality.  They have been my hypocritical hiding place, my shield, my mask held up to fool myself and everybody else (but mostly myself) into believing I am doing ok.  Ministry was my way of pacifying my own guilt at my lack of Christ-like character escaping a real investigation of the contents of my inner man.    

I have decided that I cannot settle for less than a complete renewal of mind.  The way I react to my wife and my friends, the way I act when confronted with a situation, the emotional states of my heart at all times, the way I FEEL not just what I do; all of these must be changed.  I must BE and not just do.  I want to BE like Christ and I want that inner reality to flow out of me through my actions, my eyes, my words, my facial expressions.  These changes only happen by the power of the Holy Spirit at work on the inside of me.

Here is the thing.  I am completely ok with this looking ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like the modern Christian subculture characterizes it.  I heard someone say the other day that Christians are thought of in the outside world as looking and acting just like Ned Flanders from the Simpsons.  If we do we have totally failed. 

I want to look like Bono.  No really.  He is a Christian and I think in some ways the kind of Christian I want to be.  Sure he cusses, drinks, smokes, and gets it wrong a lot of the time, but who doesn’t.  I’d rather be a cussing, drinking, smoking Christ-like person than have a clean mouth, a blood alcohol level of 0.00, and clean lungs and be nothing like Jesus on the inside.  Not only that but Bono can speak credibly to the world and they stop and listen.  Ned Flanders can’t do that.  I tell you it isn’t the clothes or the songs that gives him that right.  It is the passion of his heart for the poor and suffering in Africa and the Billions, that right Billions with a B, of dollars that he has been able to mobilize to meeting the needs of those people.  That is Christ-likeness and the world responds.  I am NOT advocating drinking, smoking, or cussing!  I am just saying that THOSE things are not what makes a person like Jesus or not like Jesus.  Caring about what Jesus cares about and being driven by that compassion to ACT THAT is what makes us like Jesus, and that is how I want to be.

We do what we want to do and I want to WANT to do WHAT JESUS WANTS TO DO!  I long for the day when my desires are aligned with His.  All of my desires, and my friends that day is coming, slowly but surely, that day is coming

Come Holy Spirit take from what is Jesus and give it to me.

Amen

 

 

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Called to do the impossible

I was considering this recently…

We are called by God’s word to “do everything to the Glory of God”.  That is a high calling.  Indeed the highest calling there is, but how do we do it?  If we look at ourselves with honest eyes we know that no matter what we do, even if we do it exceptionally well, it will never be good enough to give Glory to God.  We make a mistake in the planning, in the delivery, or in the follow up.  We lose focus and get off track.  There is the issue of motive.  Nothing we do has a completely sinless motive we are sinful people and I honestly believe we never know our own hearts well enough to know that there is not a sinful motive in us.  The reality is that the Apostle Paul said “God is not served by human hands”.  What a paradoxical statement coming from a man who spent his WHOLE LIFE serving God!  Yet it is NOT a paradox.  We CANNOT give anything to God.  My life verse is Romans 11:33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.  Did you catch the question in verse 35? “Who has ever given a gift to Him?” the obvious answer is NO ONE!  He made everything including us and He made every capacity we have of making other things as well as the stuff that we make other things out of.  No matter what you do you cannot add to God.  He will never be a debtor to anyone.  So how did Paul serve God?  How do we serve God?  The answer is easier than you might think.  Faith.
The author of the book of Hebrews said that, “without faith it is impossible to please God”, and faith is what?  (If you were in the Assemblies of God Junior Bible Quiz you would say that faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That is absolutely WRONG by the way.  That is a description of faith NOT a definition.  That would be like someone asking you what a fire-truck is and you saying “it is red and long with sirens”) The definition of Faith is “a workless receiving” isn’t that good!  So how do we please God?  The ONLY WAY to please God is to receive!  Everything we do, everything that goes out from us we received from him first, and we received the ability to do it from Him.  Therefore HE gets all the glory he is the beginning middle and end of everything we have done and everything we do. 
When we really understand that it does a few of things:
1.It keeps us humble – when we look at things we have accomplished and we understand that everything we see was done by receiving Grace from God or it was done in sin it is REALLY difficult to get proud. (Although I think I could manage it!)
2. It takes the stress off – when we understand the we are only vessels through which the resource, influence and creativity of the Lord flow the need for us to be worried about where it is going to come from, or the size of the job is eliminated.  The only thing we have to be sure of is that we stay in a place of Faith and obedience.  God will do the rest.
3. It helps us rejoice in what God has done whether we were involved or not! – A lot of times we struggle with envy about the work of God happening through someone else.  When we know it was God and not them envy is no longer an issue.

 

Josh Hawkins

BDS

 

 

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The indefinable priority

Have you ever been asked about your plans, future, and or dreams and had nothing to say?  That’s where I am right now.  Not because I don’t have plans, and not because I don’t have dreams, and not because I don’t have some inkling of the path that lies ahead, but because I don’t know how to make the concrete realities God has placed on my insides expressible to anyone else.  There are people all around me who love me and are….concerned, or wondering, or maybe even slightly worried about what my next steps are.  I have stepped out of the ministry that consumed my life and I am not stepping into anything else right away and I understand why that might confuse some people.  So they are asking me what I am doing next.  I don’t have plain English answers for them, or at least not one solitary answer, I have a thousand!  I have found myself simplifying my answers down to phrases people can get their heads around but I feel bad about that because I’m not being entirely honest.  The truth is I simply don’t have words for the phase of life I am in.  The closest I’ve been able to come is “preparation and consecration” but I don’t have an answer to the questions “preparation for what?” and “consecration to what end?”

 

What I know is that I am running after Jesus.  I know it is not supposed to look like what “running” looked like before.  I know it is not supposed to BE like what “running” looked like before.  I am after deeper, more valuable treasures than I was after before.  I am after living a life that is incarnational.  I want to BE like Christ or at least be the tiny reflection of Him that I was created to be.  What does that look like?

 

I just don’t know, but it doesn’t look like what I look like now, and I can’t stay on the path I was on before and get there.

This is the indefinable priority.

 

 

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Discipleship

A pastor at my church and I were talking about discipleship today.  He and I agree that this is one of the deepest needs in the church today.  He had been to fantasy football the night before and these guys there could name the top 12 quarterbacks in the NFL and give you every stat on their lives but they cannot name the 12 disciples of Jesus.  There is something broken in that.  We talked for a while about what the church should do to change that but we didn’t really come to a conclusion in the end. 

 

I think most pastoral teams would try to find human answers to this problem.  I don’t blame them.  This is their job and they feel responsible so they want to DO something to fix it.  Practical minds devise practical solutions.  “If we have a study plan available for them” or “we teach them how to study the word” or “we need more classes” are the suggestions that come out.  I’ve been right there with them time and again suggesting things myself and getting excited about what we were going to accomplish, and without fail, I have been disappointed.  Yes there are some success stories this program will touch this person and that one that, but the change in the culture of the group cannot come that way. Programs or classes or challenges from the pulpit can do very little to change this reality in the church. 

 

The problem is not ability or even time although I promise both of these will be thrown up as excuses.  No, the problem is very simple and very powerful it is a lack of desire.  When the masks are dropped away and the truth is revealed the normal everyday guy does not want to study the Bible or pray.  They have no desire to really run after God.  They may say that they do, they may even work themselves up into doing it for a while but the truth is they do not.  I hear the Lord in Jeremiah 2:13 calling the Heavens and Earth to bare witness, they have been given the opportunity to drink from the fountain of living water and they have chosen the broken cisterns!!!!

 

I am indicting myself here!  I am guilty!  I choose brokenness over the water of life everyday in little and large ways. 

The problem is desire.  So what do we do about it?

Make it known that HE is the most desirable reality in the universe!  He is the most enjoyable reality, the most satisfying reality, the most soul thirst quenching reality in the universe!  In truth he is the only desirable, enjoyable, satisfying, soul thirst quenching reality and when our hearts know that, FOR REAL everything will change. 

 

Oh God! I repent of my cold heart!  Let me taste and see that you are GOOD!  Teach my heart that you are the only air for my asphyxiating soul!  Let all the other lovers fade away before the fire of your Eternal beauty and Glory.  Satisfy me in you forever.

Amen

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I'm Hungry

Folks I’m hungry.  I miss the presence of God.  I miss deep worship.  I am crying out for a visitation!  Something more than we’ve known.  I am longing for the Holiness of God to come in and lay us low.  I am longing for the Majesty of God to come and subdue us.  He is our only hope!  We have so many words, so many ideas, so many ways of attempting to get the job done, but they all fall terribly short of the goal. 

 

You know, I love wisdom.  I love asking for strategy and working hard to accomplish something together with the people of God, but sometimes I think we shut down the Holy Spirit when we do that.  Or we ask for his minimal involvement.  Is there a place of balance to be found between planning the work and working the plan and just leaving it all to the Holy Spirit?  There must be.  Jesus had no question on the matter.  He walked every minute led by the Spirit doing what the Father was doing wherever he went.  How do we do this?

 

I don’t have answers I just have questions today.  Today is my last Wednesday leading worship for Ignite Youth ministry.  It is a bitter sweet day, but in a way I feel like I am leaving ministry to learn how to be a true minister.  Jesus didn’t have an organization, a service schedule, or a website.  He just walked around being the incarnation of God on the planet.  I really want to learn how to do that.  It is my deepest desire.

 

 

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God's Will 5 - The way to walk -Courage, Faith, Wisdom, and Diligence.

Courage, Faith, Wisdom, and Diligence.
 
Ok so.  My whole desire in these posts is to bring some measure of clarity, freedom, and joy to my friends who are wrestling with the issues of direction.  FREEDOM!!!! In Jesus name.  I just believe with all my heart that the issue of God's will is not meant to be an issue that is difficult for us to understand.  I think the pattern in God's word is very clear and deeply freeing.  God created us to be lovers of Him and live like it. 
 
Today I want to talk about a subject that is very near and dear to my weak heart.  That is the issue of resource development.  This is, in my belief, the primary way that God leads AND PROVIDES for us.  The most convenient point of reference for this desire in the heart of God is Jesus parable of the talents.  This frightening and wonderful parable speaks of deep Kingdom realities and unveils God's management style AND His expectations of His children.
 
The master comes to his servants and invests in them.  He takes very large sums of money and puts them in each person's hand according to their ability.  He gives no instruction to them as to how to use the money he only tells them He will be returning and expects them to manage the resources well.  The first two servants go out and take a risk, they invest the money in ways that could possibly end up breaking them, but through their hard work, ingenuity and diligence they end up doubling the amount of money they were given in the first place.  The third servant is worried that he might not be able to hold on to what he has been given so he puts it in a very safe place.  Under the ground!  Sure enough the master returns and He wants to know how His affairs have been maintained.  He speaks with the first two servants and is very pleased with what they have accomplished.  He says, "you have been faithful in a few things, I will set you over many"  He speaks with the last servant and he is furious.  He calls the man wicked and lazy.  He takes away even the little that the man has and gives it to his most capable servant.  It struck me hard the other day that this man did not lose one penny of the master's money, but the master was completely unsatisfied with his performance.  The master expected multiplication.  Wow. 
 
This is how God deals with us.  He invests in us and He expects results.  Our tendency is to say, "well when He tells me to invest I will."  the problem is He already told you to invest!  He told you that by giving you management of His resources!  The lazy third servant told the master that He didn't do anything with the money because he knew his master was a man who cared about making money "reaping where he had not sown".  The master's response is revealing.  He says, "If you knew I cared about making money you should have done something to make me more money!!!"  God cares deeply about the investments He has made in our lives.  He cares about the opportunities he has given us to produce.  He puts us where He puts us because He wants us to produce!!!  One of the ways we can know what God wants us to do is to pick up our heads and look around!  What is there to do?  How can we use what we have to get what God wants.  I believe that specific step by step instruction is a great way to train a dog, but humans need room to be creative and innovative and we can accomplish so much more that way.  So what we do is fix the goal in mind and then run the race guided by the heart values of God.  Four of His heart values are Courage, Wisdom, Faith, and Diligence.
 
Courage - we have to take the risk of investment.  We risk loss, we risk hurt, we risk failure, but we must in order to produce!  The servants could have lost every penny of their master's money and what would his response have been to them!  They knew the only way to please the master was to take a risk.
 
Wisdom - in order to know what risk to take and how to take that risk for our maximum return we have to have wisdom.  That means counsel, asking for help!  That means research, that means patience to wait for the right opportunity to come along and jump on it in the best way we can.
 
Faith - we have got to believe that God is going to reward our courage and wisdom by blessing.  Look at these two servants, they had a 100% return that's pretty darn good!
 
Diligence - we can never give up.  even when it looks hard, and maybe even hopeless.  We have to work hard and smart to the end!
 
Josh Hawkins
BDS
 
 

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God's Will 4 (a long one)

Last time we dealt with depressing side of the issue that God sometimes stops giving direction because you already know what He wants you to do.  Today we get to talk about the uplifting side of this whole debacle.  It can be depressing because all we want is a new word!  "God Just TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!!!!", but if we look at this another way we will see the truth that this is a loving God creating us for maximum enjoyment and freedom in love.
 
You see I've realized recently that the way I've looked at God's calling and purpose in my life has been all wrong.  I always kind of looked at it like this - Here I am little old me with talents, giftings, faults, struggles, dreams, desires, and life circumstances. One day I God meets me in the road and says, "this is what I have for you to do!" and the 'call of God' drops down on me.  All my stuff that I had before the "call" no longer matters, I have been given a mandate and now this is how I must walk.  My call defines me and the work I have to do gives me a purpose and a drive.  I can live this way.  The call may be hard it may not even be what I really want to do, but I know it is God's and so I do it.  "Carrying the cross", for Jesus, but what happens when God takes that away?  What happens when God comes to me again and says ok you're done with this and takes it up off of you, but never gives you anything else to carry!  Suddenly my purpose is gone, my drive is gone, and my way of life has to change, but to what?  I no longer have that cross to carry.  What the Heck do I do now?  The whole thing just doesn't work.  I may have been miserable before but at least I knew I was doing what I am supposed to be doing!
 
The problem is that this is NOT how God really works!  Let me give you the real story.
Before the foundation of the world God had an idea that was you.  He loved this idea.  The idea was not about what you would do, but who you would be.  The idea was not about what you would accomplish but about the things He could show the world about Himself through you.  The idea was not about the ways He could use you or your effectiveness in His kingdom, but about an eternity of showing you more and more ways to fall in love with Him.  God looked forward to being loved by you, but He never needed you, He just wanted you.  So when the perfect time came, He formed you and sent you into the world to discover Him.  Human beings are made to love in a multiplicity of ways.  We love Him by beholding, we love by changing, we love by responding to love, we love by reflecting love.  So as you walked He guided you into places where you could see His love in new ways and show others His love in specific ways.  He leads you there because only the specific idea that is YOU can show His love in the way He wants it to be shown in that place at that time.  After a time He lead you out of those places , but it's never about the places.  It's always about Him and you.  This walk and this purpose, loving and being loved is the eternal calling.  It is the ultimate purpose, the forms and the tracks it takes are important but they do not alter the purpose.  God gave us life LIVE and because He is a productive person He made you in such a way that only as you are producing fruit in partnership with Him and for His glory are you happy.  Because He is a creative person He made us in such a way that only as you are being creative in partnership with Him are you happy.  He is a relational person a self existent community of Father Son and Holy Spirit so He formed you in such a way that only in community with others that love Him will you be happy.  All of this is for our joy and fulfillment and His Glory and revelation to us of Himself and NONE of it is about rules or a cranky God trying to pile something on top of us that we don't want .
On this road God does lead us through hard and confusing times but even these are His way of showing us love.  The hard and confusing times teach us lessons about ourselves and God that only hard and confusing times can teach us.  They buy us treasures that only this costly a price could buy us.  In the end we will agree with him that what we received is far and above the worth of what we paid.
 
So what does all of this have to do with God's will?  Only this.  God's will is not something imposed upon us.  It is something God grows up THROUGH US.  He doesn't create us one way and lead us another.  He forms us for the walk that He wants us to walk.  If God has put a desire in your heart to do something then He wants you to do it!!!  If God has not put a desire in your heart then, unless He has given you VERY CLEAR direction to do it, you should not be doing it!  So the directive is this:  Get you heart deeply in love with God and then DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, and act with confidence that this indeed is GOD'S will for your life!
If you are floundering, if you are unsure, if you just don't know what God wants you to do it is probably because He wants you to go after your dreams.  He put them in your heart did He not?  You might say, "follow my dreams HOW?"  Well that is for next time, but I will give you a couple of words to chew on until then.
Courage, Faith, Wisdom, and Diligence. 

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