Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Shame--The Last Stronghold"

Shame is the ultimate "self-saboteur"! Shame and condemnation are the last strongholds that must be torn down for us to exit the long dark night season, and enter into the long-awaited season of purpose and harvest that God has prepared for us--the fruition of the God-given desires and dreams of our heart. Not only have we already been set free from condemnation through the blood of Jesus, and His finished atoning work at the cross, but because we have been set free, it is important to remember that we must also release people from our self-imposing shame on them. This includes our disapproval of their choices, our condemning the ways we perceive they have treated us, and the shame of unfulfilled expectations. Many of these, we have projected onto God as well. Doing so keeps us in a lifestyle of trying to perform for God, living under the constant threat of shame that we will never be enough, or can never do enough. We are accepted in the beloved, so no exterior rejections are valid, or significant. Religion is a system that is based on shame and performance, and this system has perpetuated much of this shame even in the name of God and morality. Shame can be generational, and a learned behavior as well. We try to manipulate our relationships, and the behavior of others as it relates to us through shame. These are toxic mindsets that we have been set free from through Christ. It is time now to walk into that freedom supernaturally and practically by the power of the Holy Spirit. We often use judgment, condemnation, and shame toward others to make us feel better about our issues that we struggle with. We must release everyone from our shame, and release them to the mercy and goodness of God. Including cases where we feel that their choices and actions reflect badly on us, or affect us negatively, we must release them from owing us any explanation or "compensation". Our compensation and justice are God's business, not ours. (Vengeance is HIS, HE will repay) No one owes us anything, and the sooner we can release them from any of our shame, the sooner we will move into complete freedom, and enjoy the long-awaited harvest of this new season. We are no longer victims, therefore we must not blame or shame anyone any longer, in an attempt to keep them as victims of our condemnation and shame, somehow making us feel better about ourselves. We do not need anyone's approval, so quit making others feel like they need our approval, by trying to shame them into conformity or behavior that is acceptable to us. We are beloved children of God, and in our identity in Christ, God is well pleased with us. That is reality, and that is what we should reflect in ourselves, and project to others. We have been set free, and now we can release others from the prison of our shame and condemnation toward them in which we have held them captive. The fruition of freedom awaits! It's independence day!

Monday, September 5, 2016

“Weird Way, Faithful Guide”

It may be confusing to understand the path I'm on. I don't even understand it sometimes. It's unconventional (not usually by choice, I might add). Many question what I "do", my vocation, or what I'm "about", and I'm often left without a concise explanation to give that will assuage the suspicious curiosity of some. But even through the countless times I have felt like a misfit, abnormal, inadequate, shiftless, and useless, one thing remains--the deep, settled peace I have in knowing and trusting that I am where God wants me, becoming who He created me to be, positioned for the opportunities that he created for me, and that He has my heart and my life in the palm of His hand. I can trust Him to speak to me even when so many surrounding and competing voices question what He is saying. No external, modern, "american", or personally biased perspective and definition of manhood, ministry, or noble “duty” determines my worth, my value, my strength, or my relationship with God. Time doesn't bring Him to worry, and age doesn't concern Him at all. The judgments and perceptions of others relative to my productivity or my performance as a “provider” are not important, nor do they determine the validity or legitimacy of the path I take. Before the foundation of the world, I was placed In Christ to do good works, He has already written every volume of my life book. Any choice I have made (or not made) doesn't leave Him without a way to lead me back into alignment with His purpose and will for my life, relative to His Kingdom, and how He has created me to engage it. I have chosen to acknowledge Him first in all my ways before making a decision. This has been my first focus, instead of trying to reason and justify a proactive “doing” in keeping with the often quoted, yet non-scriptural philosophy of “God helps those who help themselves”. I realize that that is a bit of noble sounding self-justification for going my own way according to my comfort zones under the influence of my own will. I have discovered that “doing my part” is a responsive, surrendered move to His initiatives and plan, and not a self motivated agenda to which I invite Him to be a part and “bless” my already begun “efforting.” I have spent many moments in solitude, isolated preparation, and out-of-view obscurity. I have learned that stillness is not laziness when ordained by Him for certain seasons. And busyness is not "noble" when it becomes a distraction from hearing Him and being intimately connected to His heart. My productivity, my value, and my identity are determined by One and One alone. I don’t have to live my life in fear of “missing Him”, of making wrong choices, or of underperforming as a friend, a husband, or a dad. I have been chosen and invited to live out the "book" He has already written for my life. My choices can be trusted in Him. My life can be trusted with Him. Psalms 139 so beautifully comforts my heart in this season--”I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. My life may make sense to no one, people may disagree with my choices. But I answer to the call and the urging of One alone. And in the end, my faith that has directed me on this "weird" path that I've journeyed will be validated and vindicated, by Him alone. So ask me, ask me about my journey; ask me what my purpose is. Don’t be afraid to question my choices, or even understand why I journey the way I do. I’ll tell you, and though the answer may leave you confused, in disagreement, or even challenge your self-reliant perspective, I’ll be happy to share. Because you see it’s not a matter of my dutiful performance, or my talents to achieve. It’s about my complete dependence and trust in who’s Life my hope is found. It’s about an intimate connection, and a willingness to walk completely in His wisdom, by His Spirit, resting in His timing. Even in the mundane, the routine, and the obvious, I put no trust in my own strength, or my mental & intellectual capacity to chart my own course. His will for me isn’t hidden, some mysterious conundrum that I may or may not be able to figure out. It has already been established in Him, and as I am willing to align myself and respond to His initiatives, a grand adventure awaits. It won’t make much sense to my sense of common sense or reason, and it may be difficult or even impossible to explain to the pragmatist or the analytical, purely logic-driven mind. It goes against the grain of my nature not to attack life in a proactive, self-initiated manner, but I’ve had to come to the realization that my part is wholly responsive to what He’s already initiated for me. My “part” is to hear, and then follow. And my following is not even dependent on my ability to walk in my own power, but rather a willingness to surrender to His power within, and be carried in His wisdom, by His Spirit. It may not seem a journey for the fearful or faint of heart, and yet that is whom He often calls. Just ask Gideon or Moses. Because, it’s not my weakness that disqualifies me, or my past that derails my destiny. I can follow, even in the fog, when I feel woefully inadequate, insecure, or afraid. It’s His strength that carries me, my identity in Him that establishes me, and His wisdom that guides my steps. And so I journey in surrender, realizing where my life comes from. I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone, not even to myself. As I am, here and now, I can rejoice in the reality that to my Father, I am perfectly beloved, and He is well pleased with me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"The Lament of a Body"

We speak relevant words of current culture, no matter how dark or shallow they may be. We offer “christian” morsels to the masses while partaking of their mentality. We've become content in fashioning appearances with the words we've learned to say, while the life in our reality is being lived a different way. And the culture grows darker as our words of protest grow louder still. We've played the part of a body, but the life that is seen is just not real. Until we return to and live from the source of our true identity, we’ll remain an earthly system, though disingenuously “sanitized” we may be. And all the kingdoms we have built, in your name and for Your cause, “Godly” forms without Your power, traditions of men and performance-driven laws. So in this time of historical shift, we humbly come to the One Head of us all. Denominations, titles, and career achievements no longer validate Your call. But to the Cross we now return, hungry for Your life in us to burn, burn in passion and in rest, trusting You to give Your best! The abundant Life that covers all, every aspect of our living, including our call. The call from You to reign complete, in Christ alone, our wings and feet. And we’ll live full and free indeed, as Your Spirit guides us, supplying more than we need. And as Your heart and face become all that the hungry hear and see, they’ll be drawn to You, and find unspeakable joy, glorious hope, and surpassing peace. As our prayers arise to You, oh God, we patiently wait to receive, and in child like faith, we expect above and beyond all we can ask or conceive. We humble ourselves, and return to YOUR call, believing You’ll hear us and heal us all. May Your Kingdom, Your Will, and the identity of our New Birth, be established as experiential reality in Your body, in our lives, as in heaven, here on earth.

Friday, August 5, 2016

“Political Perspective 2016”, Part 2

I don't care how you spin it or lamely attempt to justify it, but in THIS election and cultural climate, a third party vote IS a wasted vote, and a non-vote—as a conservative—is a de-facto vote for HilLIEry. I have in the past hoped for an independent or third party. I consider myself an independent, politically, and I’ve been hoping for another choice for years, other than the “tainted” two party system. Unfortunately, in this election, the choice is so clear to me. It is beyond politics. It's the ideology of Hillary and the far left and their dangerous agenda that would absolutely be disastrous for a country built on Judeo-Christian principles. Yes, I said Judeo Christian principles. Trump is obviously no choirboy. But I dare say, that most of the slamming and lambasting of Trump that is going on originates from people who don't have a clue, and are only parroting the nonsense and rhetoric that they hear the biased media and "faux" fact checkers spew. NONE of them have any credible basis to formulate an opinion on him, since they have not spent one minute with the man. I see his family, and that is a huge ringing endorsement of him as a person. Personally, I do see Donald Trump as a man who God can raise up as an outsider – an imperfect person – to carry out the purposes of God's kingdom. And for those of you pouting, petulant people who tout Ted Cruz, and his principled stands, I would like to ask you, what about the principle of honesty? Does that matter? He insisted that Trump commit to not run on the third-party ticket if he did not win the nomination, and Trump kept his word and did so. However, the "reverend" Ted Cruz himself made the commitment to endorse and support the eventual nominee, even if it was not him. Of course, as millions watched his speech at the RNC, Ted Cruz went back on his word, and even his preacher persona did little to hide his hypocritical, disingenuous display of a supposed Christian.
When God raises up someone for a certain purpose, you can expect tremendously intense opposition, misrepresentation, and attempted discrediting, from those whose opinions are baseless, divisive, uneducated, and completely ignorant--oftentimes even from those who claim to speak for God Himself. It rarely fails that those who speak the loudest, and in the most derogatory of terms against someone, are usually those who know them the least. In my estimation, this election is so far beyond politics. It’s about a nation being willing to let God have a say in who He chooses to raise up as a leader—even within a corrupt system—not to improve the system, but to be willing to allow God to replace the system with His Kingdom purpose. Check history, and you will see throughout the eons of time, that God has raised up the “unqualified”, the “outsider”, the renegade, and even the unbeliever, whose heart He changed, and directed Him to greatly impact culture, and direct nations back to the heart and purpose of God. And you know the crazy thing is that often times the ones who missed His plan and resisted His direction, were the ones who claimed to speak for Him—“the insiders”.
Quick question here, of all those conservative, principled "zealots" on here who are so staunch and adamant in their refusal to vote for Trump, how many of you same folks DID vote for Romney back in 2012? You DO realize that he was a non-christian--a mormon, right? So explain your "non-hypocritical" logic in that. And also, while you're at it, remind me again how you know better than God almighty about who He may or may not be "allowed" to choose to raise up for this time. Shouldn't you be seeking the heart of God relative to His plans for this time, instead of tripping up over your self-righteous, inconsistent, pseudo saintly principles? Let HIS heart guide your votes, not your opinions on Trump, or your self-exalted conservative principles. This is just a thought. You DO know that God has a history of raising up imperfect, outsider, renegade, failing, and downright sinful type folks to accomplish many of His plans and purposes, right? And many of them turned their hearts toward God, and became great leaders and world changers. What makes you so certain that this could NEVER happen to Trump?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Dear Hippy Christians"

I’m a creative person who enjoys a plethora of art and entertainment. Living where I live, I get the chance to see & hear many "artistic" type people who are christians. It's almost “pitifully” humorous to watch some of them try to be as "liberal" as they can in their views, while still maintaining their "christianity". They unwittingly are bullied by the political correctness police, and shy away from discussing the political climate or social condition from a place of conviction and passion. They try to remain “weakly” neutral in order to stay in the “good graces” of the establishment “liberalism” in the arts and entertainment industry in which they want to be an accepted and valued part. They teeter along the lines of trying to remain culturally relevant, and touting the social justice mantras, while still talking enough "safe" christianese to be somewhat accepted by the christian community. They are reluctant to discuss absolute truth or a definitive view of right and wrong. My question to them is this…How about speaking truth in love, and having a coherent, definitive thought in favor of right, and against wrong? Placating wrong isn't showing genuine "love", and acquiescing to evil isn't the way to show tolerance, diversity, or non-judgmentalism. As culture continues to digress, there is becoming more of a distinction between darkness and light. You will have to make a choice as to which you will commit to. Yes, we are in a spiritual war between good and evil, and yes, people are the pawns in the hands of the enemy. It’s people who carry out the sinister agenda of sin itself. We should reach for the hearts and minds of the misguided, loving them with the love of Christ, but never being content to leave them languishing in sin’s slavery, simply to appease them, hoping to gain their approval or trust. That is NOT love. And here's a clue that many seem to have missed, darkness doesn't comprehend light, so it will not be impressed by your disingenuous attempts to "understand" it, dialogue with it, or tolerate it as you try to be accepted by it or relevant to it. Christ never had to compromise the truth of who He was in order to “entice” sinners. He never had to defer timidly to the thunderous clamor of sin and evil so as not to offend the sinner. He knew how to reach them sincerely, powerfully, and with an unmistakable integrity and passion relative to what was right and what was wrong. He called darkness what it was, and didn’t soften His words in order to be “relevant”. He was pure. He was uncompromising, and yet He was absolutely genuine in the Love He expressed. Sinners were drawn to Him by His unwavering Love and Grace, which was NEVER watered down in order to be “socially acceptable” or politically correct to a sinful society. Jesus is still the answer for every issue of culture. What we as His body cannot do is to continually misrepresent Him, or “soft sell” who He is and His truth that sets the sinner free, and revolutionizes their very existence and identity. Light will never be “palatable” to darkness, and we can’t continue to try and “appease” or acquiesce to sin in order to appear accepting of the sinner. We need to unashamedly and full of love, reach for the sinner, while exposing and calling out that bully of sin that seeks to destroy their lives and forever enslave them in darkness. SPEAK TRUTH IN LOVE! TRUTH IS JESUS! Walk in the Light, as HE is in the Light. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

“Political Perspective 2016”, Part 1 (Yes, I’m Saying What Many Are Thinking”)

I try to refrain from sharing needless political posts or engaging in shallow back and forth with twisted ideologues and hacks who are separated from any semblance of rational thought or reality. I realize the needs in our culture are spiritual issues at the core, which will never be settled or healed through political solutions. Having said that, and having been inundated with these type posts on my newsfeed, I thought I'd make a couple of observations and declarations. Sandy Hook, Ft. Hood, the theatre shooting in Colorado, San Bernardino, and Orlando…NONE of these were the result of needing more gun control. If you honestly believe that, or that we should open our borders without discernment to any refugee looking for shelter or asylum, all in the name of culturally defined “love” or “compassion”, you are as delusional as the clueless leadership we've had in this country for the last few years. Call me racist, call me islamophobic, call me whatever you choose, as often as you choose. Your ignorant accusations will still not be true. We have to refuse to bow to this evil blowhard sham of a bully--political correctness. Boldly we must declare truth in love! We must courageously speak out against evil and those who would perpetrate it, including those in high places that facilitate it. The simple reality is that islam is NOT a religion of peace. It is a creation of evil itself which holds millions of souls captive who need to be freed by the savior of the world, Jesus Christ. And yes, we need to be ready and willing to share the good news with them, but it is woefully unwise to assume and delusional to think you can "reason with", understand, or placate their hate, somehow causing them to relent in their terror and aggression, and suddenly develop an affinity toward us, or those who don’t abide by the quran. That is the ultimate display of stupidity and foolishness. And before you carelessly try to shame me for my stance, you might want to recall how Jesus Himself used wisdom in avoiding going to certain places when He knew they were trying to kill Him. If people aren't ready to receive what you’re offering--no matter how Life giving--you’re wasting your time. A better approach, I believe, is listening to the wisdom of God, and trusting Him to direct you to those who are seeking His salvation, and His Hope. This enemy--carrying out the very heart of satan, and has been through the eons of time--isn’t interested in making deals, coming to a compromise, or showing compassion for any other religious beliefs or ideology. To them, it is “conform or die”. Their oppression against women and vitriol toward Israel, America, and Christians overall is reprehensible! And to think that a disingenuous, dishonest, and corrupt politician, who claims to represent the good of minorities, women, and the LGBT community, actually displays a worldview that is sympathetic toward those savages, and even facilitates this kind of hatred against those very people that they claim to protect and speak for, is beyond the realm of sanity and reason! And those in high places of power, money, and global influence, and those “lame duck” leaders of our country refuse to recognize, identify, or admit the extreme foundations that this whole religion is built on. It seems that the global “powers that be” hope to create instability, division, and fear, for THOSE create a climate conducive to control, manipulation, and corruption. I've not seen a greater abuse of power and freedom than what is being displayed by this administration, Hillary and her cronies, and most of the media as they scramble to spread and incessantly "parrot" empty rhetoric and false, misleading talking points in a desperate attempt to "handle", promote, and protect the Clinton/Obama agenda (which is obviously originating from a place much "higher up" and more sinister than their "puppet-on-a-string world”), by promoting insane propaganda, manipulating the narrative, distorting truth, and using meaningless distraction to try and keep others from recognizing and declaring what the root issues really are that we are facing today. Hate is but a symptom of a heart problem; it is not a gun problem! That is an incredibly foolish and clueless accusation that they are pedaling to the masses! THEY are the ones who are politicizing EVERYTHING--including the Orlando tragedy, and every mass shooting over the past 8 years--and keeping divisiveness alive and well. Please understand that the speaking truth in love, and being bold in calling out things that need to be exposed is NOT politicizing! The political correctness police and their army of lock step media minions will try to bully you and label you as such, in order to keep you from doing just that--exposing their agenda, and their horribly corrupt worldview! I realize that I am giving my perspective from the foundation of a Christ-centered worldview. So if your worldview is not formed from that place, what I'm saying will perhaps be lost on you. I'm not interested in arguing. That is futile. I'm simply hoping to awaken those of us who call ourselves Christ followers--not in a religious, ritualistic, principle-laden manner of speaking, but in an experiential, supernaturally and practically lived, relationally connected reality--to shift our focus back to the Source of the only Hope that our country and our world has, and let our words, our choices, our reactions, and our strategies be determined and carried out from there! If your political ideology, emotionally hijacked opinions, or party loyalty are what drive your decisions in this election season, instead of an unbiased, wisdom-led, and informed understanding of what is actually facilitating this hate, terror, and division, you are misguided, and being manipulated by those who don't represent you, but rather, are only interested in controlling and exploiting you. Wise up folks! Outside of a calculated path to political and social power--using YOU as pawns who are politically expedient and beneficial to their self-absorbed agendas--these charlatans are not for the poor, the little guy, the minorities, or the middle class, nor are they interested in YOUR freedoms! They have a dark, dangerous agenda for our country and beyond. We can no longer acquiesce to their incessant chirping, and wildly proclaimed stereotyping of anyone who dares disagree with their worldview and politically biased opinions. Stand strong, speak out, resist, and expose the darkness by shining THE Light! But make sure we confront the evil--not on their own terms, or with their own weapons--but rather, we must be led by the wisdom of the Spirit of God revealing to us His strategies, utilizing mighty weapons we have through Him to the pulling down of these strongholds. Don’t fight flesh on flesh. We’ll lose every time. Fight this battle from our place of proper identity alignment, In Christ, who has been made for us the very wisdom of God. Avoid the noise. Stay out of the mud. Tune out the hucksters in the media who ALL have an agenda to drive and a scam to sell. Stay tuned in to the voice of His Spirit, as He guides us to know how to respond, what to speak, and when to listen. May His Kingdom come, His will be done here in earth, as it is in heaven. Pray that HIS chosen leaders will arise, with the boldness of a lion, and the heart of a David! And even if our “principled perspectives” will not allow us to acknowledge or support His choice for leader--though imperfect or unconventional they may be--it would behoove us to have the humility and wisdom to understand and submit to His omniscience and will, understanding that He knows a whole lot more about the grand scheme of things. I realize that reality may come as a compete shock to our sanctimonious convictions and deeply held opinions of who we deem worthy to lead our country. I choose to trust and rest in the truth that His Kingdom will prevail, and I have decided to side with His power, wisdom, and choice to set up whom He will, and take down whom He will. Ultimately, I believe that His body will be triumphant--not just in the sweet by and by--in this earth, as His Kingdom is established. Let the collective cry of our hearts be, Thy Kingdom, Thy on earth, as in Heaven! Let’s move forward, boldly, confidently, in His grace, love, and wisdom, and watch this become a tangible reality! Onward & upward! “The kingdom (dominion, rule) of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”--Revelation 11:15 (AMP)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"The Missing 'Mojo' In Modern Christianity"

Where are the children?  O sure, there are plenty of logic driven mature "grown ups", theologians, intellectually pious pontificators of "balanced" reasoning, and even self professed "seasoned fathers" of faith, positively parched by lifeless letters that kill, void of life giving Spirit!  But where are the children?  You know the ones...those beautiful, "captured" by Grace beings!  Those truth embracing, trusting, treasured creations who are consumed with the Gospel--Love Himself--void of religious rhetoric, ritualistic emptiness, and a performance focused existence!  Where are the children?   Children know how to receive without earning.  Children know how to believe for the impossible.  Children know how to forgive.  Children know how to trust in the words of a loving father.  Children know how to depend on and rest in the love, work, and strength of another.  Children have an imagination that isn't limited to what their senses can perceive.  The Kingdom is only experienced by those who become as children!  Could this be why so many in this american culture of modern christianity are not seeing the Kingdom of God come, or His will being done IN EARTH--in their lives--as it is IN HEAVEN?  Has the body of Christ in this culture lost it's "Kingdom Mojo"?  Have we lost our childhood? Journey on....back into childhood! 
Matthew 11:25 (ESV)--"At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;
Matthew 18:1-4 (AMP)--"At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is [really] the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all]. Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.", 
Matthew 19:13-14 (AMP)--"Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed.",
Mark 10:13-16 (AMP)--"And they kept bringing young children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples were reproving them [for it].  But when Jesus saw [it], He was indignant and pained and said to them, Allow the children to come to Me—do not forbid or prevent or hinder them—for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive and accept and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] positively shall not enter it at all.  And He took them [the children up one by one] in His arms and fervently invoked a] blessing, placing His hands upon them."

Luke 10:21 (ESV)--"In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will."