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Fortuitous

Fortuitous means, "happening by accident or chance". You may have worked hard to achieve something. That is not fortuitous.


I think of being in the right place at the right time as fortuitous.

Fortuitous also means unforeseen, unplanned.

I prefer to think of fortuitous as a positive, good-fortune event, or a "happy accident".
But is can also describe and unfortunate event or accident.

Graham Cooke talks about "the suddenlies of God", to describe events like David's anointing by Samuel or Moses at the burning bush. I think that God loves to surprise us with gifts and opportunities and that He sets ambushes for the enemy.

It's the music

I had a dream this morning where I was having a conversation with pastor-teacher-theologian-revivalist who played a key role in my life twenty-one years ago who I greatly respect. I was telling him my story and he kept playing this music sort of in an interrupting way as I continued to share with him, seeking any counsel he might have for me. I asked him what that music was and he said it was "boom". What does "boom" mean? I don't know. But what I do believe is that music can be very powerfull.

I think that there is music coming that will be an important way that God will speak to people, drawing them to himself. If you have studied revival history, you will know that music has played an important role.

Real Joy

I am overwhelmed with joy despite all our troubles.

In all my trouble I am still very happy.

In all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

-Paul, 2 Corinthians 7:4

We can experience joy, no matter what our problems. That is the Spirit-filled life. God is the source of real joy. The Holy Spirit is the most optimistic person you will ever know. He is also the wisest and the most comforting. Sorrow, grief, and anger have their times and places. But throughtheir toughest times, the Holy Spirit gives us joy. There is a heavenly optimism. In Christ, everything really is ok. There is suffering, but it's suffering with God.

Pleasing to God

What would be the best Christmas gift for you, from God? Just for you and about you, from the Almighty. How about hearing God tell you that you please Him?

Nobody is perfect or sinless except the Lord Jesus Christ. God is looking for something that pleases Him in men and women, girls and boys.

The word "pleasing" might be a bit old-fashioned. It means to give pleasure. Pleasure is still sort of old-fashioned as well. It can mean a sense of sensual well-being, but it usually means to have a sense of gratification, joy, or delight. God may be pleased or not pleased and it's wonderful to be pleasing to God.

One of the two men in the Bible who didn't go through death, but was taken by God, while alive, is Enoch. The record in Genesis says that he walked with God. What does walking with God mean?

One verse that mentions walking with God, might also describe it:

He has shown you Oh man,
what is good and what the Lord requires of you:
To do justice and to love mercy,
And to walk h…

9-1-1 moments: dwelling and abiding

This Monday and Tuesday mornings, I woke up at 9:11. Most of the time I take no real notice of what exact time I wake up. Other times, like these times, the numbers stand out or linger and I wonder if I am being signaled about something. On Monday I sat down and got quiet and prayed about it and Psalm 91:1 came to mind: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

After waking at the same time on Tuesday, I read Psalm 91 again and wondered what, if anything, God might be saying to me. I now realize that perhaps God was preparing me for some bad news and showing me how to cope with it by running to Him and finding rest for my troubled soul.

On Tuesday night, just before leaving work, I read some bad news that was like a kick in the stomach. I realized that a lot of my reaction to this bad news is that I want to fix the situation or see it fixed. I want what it seems that only God can do and since I'm not God, I can only pray to …

Thanksgiving Song

We Gather Together (1597)
By Adrianus Valerius
Translated to English by Theodore Baker, 1894

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Pray your prayers with thanksgiving

When I'm bothered about something to the point of anxiety and distress, I remember the "be anxious for nothing" prayer direction in Philippians chapter four:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


Taking stuff to God in prayer is great advice. But Paul says to tell God about what's bothering you with thanksgiving. I think that what this does is to keep us from prayers that are just negative complaining prayers, where we recite the facts of how the proverbial glass is half empty.

Adding thanksgiving puts a positive note into your prayers. God is fully aware of the thing that is driving us to prayer. Being thankful in prayer is an act of faith. Being thankful says, "no matter what I believe God is good".

Praying with thanksgiving is not victorious denial. We are not thankful for sin, death, or loss. We are thankful for God, who is good no matter how we feel.

Want to know God's will? Give thanks!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ
Jesus.
1 Thess. 5:18
Why would Paul say that giving thanks, no matter what, is God's will? I think it's about alignment of you with God. God is good no matter what. This isn't self-help or affirmation therapy, but wisdom from God.

We don't say thanks for sickness, loss, or defeat. But in all circumstances, we thank God for his goodness. No matter what happens, God is good.

Getting into God's presence with thanksgiving

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his
courts with praise! Give thanks to him;
bless his name!
Psalm 100:4

The inspired psalmist says that we cross the threshold of God's domain by thanking him and we get into His dwelling place with praise. When you are calling upon the King of all, isn't it absurd to begin with a complaint, a request, or even a confession? Beginning with thanksgiving and praise establishes the relationship. It states the obvious, but it also states reality. And this establishing is for your benefit. God already is firmly established in his identity. We have to re-establish it in ourselves as long as we're alive on earth.

To try to come into God's presence without thanksgiving and praise is to implicitly take God for granted or deny his God-ness. Your heart is not in alignment and your words do not connect with God. God still hears your prayers, but you don't get into God's presence.

Thanksgiving and the blood of Jesus

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
That song, by Robert Lowry, a Baptist minister who wrote 500 songs and lived until 1899; tells of what I believe is the ultimate thing we can be thankful for.

The early church began calling the taking of communion or the Lord's supper, the eucharist. That word means thankfulness.

What church did Jesus go to?

I'm listening to Paul Vieira, from some talks he did about a week ago. What I'm writing here, starts from him.

In the evangelical church culture that I'm familiar with, people often ask each other, "what church do you go to?" To imagine asking Jesus this question, during his earthly life as a man, illustrates the absurdity of the question, yet we keep asking it and using it as a point of reference. Today, I feel so strongly about how church is a "what", rather than a "where", that I would even hesitate to say that this thing we do, like having (a) church in a house is the church we go to.

When Jesus walked the earth as a man, he went to synagogue "services" and went to the big temple as well. In the midst of that culture and his participation in it, he said, "I will build my church." It seems obvious that he was saying his gathering(s) of people would be something new and different. I don't think he was saying that …

Keep waiting

Hebrews 10:36-39

"For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls."
Tarriander: While God tarries, you meander. Tarry means delay and meander means circuitous windings. Meander can seem like a negative word, but it is really a positive thing. It is to wait and keep moving. It looks aimless from the outside view, but it is really purposeful or faithful! Think of an airplane in a holding pattern outside the landing zone of an airport.

The above passage directly precedes Hebrews 11, "the faith chapter", where faith is extrapolated upon and illustrated. These words here say to endure and believe the word, even when circumstances …

Concierge

American Heritage Dictionary states that the word concierge is, "[French, from Old French cumcerges, from Vulgar Latin *cnservius, alteration of Latin cnservus, fellow slave : com-, com- + servus, slave.]

Concierges are caretakers, doorkeepers, custodians, head porters, or a hotel employee who assists quests as by booking theater reservations or arranging for transportation.

The job of Concierge has also evolved into personal assistant: people who do all the time-consuming odd jobs for someone, like running errands.

The early usage of the word has the meaning of "keeper of the candles" and the then "keeper of the keys", and "doorkeeper".

Concierge can be summarily defined as the expert servant.

Jesus came as a servant. He said: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,and whoever would be first amon…

Soroptimist

I was introduced to this word, Soroptimist today. It means sisters who are optimistic or best for women. The International Soroptimist Society has been going since 1921 and it, "is an international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world."

Hope against all hope

Hope is expectation.When we hope for something, it means we want it.When we lose hope, it’s because we’re running out of patience or it means the circumstance are so opposed to what we want, that we get hopeless.For example, when a team falls further and further behind, the prospect of winning gets hopeless.So what if circumstances build a case for hopeless, but you have a word from God that goes against circumstances?That was the predicament of Abraham and Sarah, who had been promised they would have a child, but did not.There are two statements that Paul writes in describing this situation:First, “in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”And second, “In hope he believed against hope” (Romans 4:17b-18a).God who stands outside time, speaks a word about the future of a man and his wife.This man, Abraham, puts his hope in God’s word, over and against the hopelessness of his situation.He is our examp…

Adventure: The unexpected path of God

This painting is called "Flight into Egypt" by Annibale Carracci (1560-1609). This is a part of Jesus life that we perhaps don't ponder much. His early childhood was spent hiding in Egypt. Imagine walking that far with your baby. When you worry that things are not going so smooth for you, look at what Jesus went through. It is so awesome to me that Jesus and his parents went through rough patches and needed God's help just like we do.

Credentials for church leadership

What are your credentials? What is said about you? What would heaven say about you? This is what Paul said about Tychicus:

He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. (Colossians 4:7b, NIV)

Those are pretty good credentials, don't you think?

He is dear: loved and loving, warm and special.He is a brother: speaks of family, relationship, tied by Christ to brothers and sisters in Christ.He is a faithful minister: He serves, day in and day out.He is a fellow: He is connected to the apostolic mission.He is a servant in the Lord: He is a bond slave of Christ. We know Christ owns him.You could extrapolate that as you move on in service of the Lord, you start as a brother, move to one who serves, and finally graduate, as it were, to being a full fledged slave as your identity. We could also look at these as three spheres. Some people are happy to be brothers or sisters, in the Lord, but don't want to serve or be bond slaves of Christ. Other people take on th…

Toreador: Avoiding the bull

Are you a "bull handler"? How to you respond in the ring with a bull? I think of lies, anger, and just the insanity of life like that person driving very unsafely next to you. How can you "handle" these things that life throws at you?

Jesus Camp Movie: Activating Children in the Spirit

We finally saw the Jesus Camp documentary. It started as a straightforward documentary about a ministry to children. Even though Becky Fischer's ministry to kids is unique in that she believes kids can be activated into spiritual experiences and ministry, rather than just child-cared with flannel boards, fun songs, or a Christian Disneyland experience while parents get the real thing... The non-believing filmmakers, of course didn't get it and made the movie into a political thing.



I found a good article on the film by Rich Tatum. The long list of comments following, and I have not read all of them; is good in that it is dialogue, but it's also systemic of the fact that there is so much disunity among American Christians. Maybe not. I could be defensive of any criticism of Lou Engleor his style, but what I hear Rich saying is that he isn't used to that sort of thing and he's warning against certain things which are valid, but Lou isn't responsible for excesses i…

Dream Church

Dream on, dream on, dream on.... dream until your dreams come true.

I dream of a church that is a matrix of relationships centered on Christ.

I dream of a church where we usually share with each other what God is teaching us and occasionally are taught by an equipping teacher.

I dream of a church that is an army, who "meat" in the street and homes and marketplaces, doing the stuff Jesus did.

I dream of a church that is for believers and not-yet-believers, where life and vitality is measured by how many babies are among us and not by individual growth and knowledge.

I dream of a church where the creativity and artistic expression of God is reflected in his people.

I dream of a church that is a dangerous place for fakers and frauds, where rebellious sin will be exposed in a loving and straightforward way.

I dream of a church where God is King in everything.

I also dream of a church where the people serve rather than consume.

I also dream of a church that is self-governing, where every…

Mary of Bethany

The first thing is to love God. God so loved the world that he gave his only son and that son Jesus said to go into the whole world and make disciples. Yes, that's true; but first we love God and then that is what we disciple people in. Jesus said first love God, then love your neighbor.
Mary of Bethany got this. We minister to God first, then minister to people or seek out ministry for ourselves. The more our lives are fully given over to ministry to God first, the more effective we will be in ministering to others. Are you ready to minister to Jesus so much and be so captivated by him that other people give you a hard time? God does not need worship to feel better or something like that , but to give God worship and adoration is to come into proper alignment with what the truth is, and doing so is righteous- it puts you in the right order and then everything else can fall into place: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of ear…

Horton Hears A Who

In Theaters, 6 months from today: March 14, 2008

Pray for your enemies

I had some difficulty getting into a nice deep slumber this morning and I finally was awakened, in the 2am hour, hearing the phrase, in my mind, "pray for your enemies". I was a little irritated that I was not sleeping well to begin with and then heard this word. I responded, thinking, "who are my enemies?", and "I don't have any enemies". But, I went through all the possibilities (I'm still half asleep) and prayed for these people anyways and went back to sleep.

When I woke up later, I looked up Jesus word to pray for your enemies. I thought about people who don't yet believe the gospel and want to wipe out those who do. These are the ones to pray for.

Approaching the Heart of Prophecy by Graham Cooke

I was fortunate to get a copy of Graham's first book of his 6 part opus on the gift of prophecy.
I sat down and read about the first third of it last night and I really like it.

Sudden provision when we ran out

I tried to describe what happened in one line for the title of this post. I'm a coffee person. I love espresso or a fresh brew. Today, I used my very last beans and was tapped out. No one else knew this- my little dilemma. Later in the day, Marc Coffey (or someone employed by Marc) decided to stop by and drop off one bag of coffee on our doorstep. Yes, this is his real name, and his signature line is, "here's what's 'brewing' in your neighborhood..." He's a realtor.

Numbers 33:33

"And they set out from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah"

Hor-haggidgad means "hole in the cleft, place in the desert, cave, crowded"; from "gadad" witch means crowd pressed together, assembly of troops, crowding in upon to attack, and "gad" means troop.

Jotbathah means "pleasant place in the desert".

Sweet speech

"The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness."
"He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend."
" Let your speech always be gracious"

I had a dream that I was with my grandma and she had sugar cubes for teeth.
I had a cigarette in my hand and there was a black cat at our feet.

Kindness

"Be kind to one another."

"Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the most high, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil."

There is a shortage of kindness today. Unkindness abounds. When we practice kindness we are reflecting God. It seems so paradoxical to be kind to our enemies and those who are unkind to us and in one way or another are trying to do us in, but it's God's way and if you are his, this is your code of conduct and you will let him sort it out.

Generational restoration

The very last word of the Christian Old Testament and the Jewish Prophetic opus is a call for reconciliation between fathers and sons, and by implication; mothers and daughters, sons and mothers and daughters and fathers. It's a call to generational reconciliation and not just within individual families, but within the whole covenant community.

This is how is reads in The Message:

He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I'll come and put the land under a curse.The curse issue seems pretty harsh, so it must mean that this is really important to God.

I got a Grindenstein

I've been wanting to get a knock box for my coffee set up and finally did the research that led me to the Grindenstein. It's from an Australian company that only makes this one product and stands behind it with a 30 year warranty. They have a great website and I discovered that Mark Prince also put it to the test and liked it.

Conscientious Objector

How about not killing people with words or thoughts? How about obeying what Jesus taught about loving our enemies, praying for those who mistreat us, turning the other cheek, and giving more than is even unfairly asked of us? How about relying on God to justify, judge, avenge, and deliver us?

I saw a movie over Memorial Day about the guy who was a conscientious objector in WW2 and who went on to win the medal of honor for his bravery and the idea has stuck in my mind until now. I finally realized that the message for me is the idea of staying out of the wars and fights that we're tempted with. I'm all for good communication, speaking the truth in love, boundaries, fair fighting, and loving enough to confront. These are all great topics I could talk or write about, but what I'm saying here really is the idea of ceasing from killing and sniping, and mouthing off at people as a way of paying them back, getting revenge, or playing God. This can be done overtly or covertly…

Saving Reilly

We went for a walk last night and we saw a lost dog. I followed him, signaled cars with a flashlight to not hit him, and after some time and sweet talking; I gained his trust and was able to read his tag and hold him by the collar. We found his house and his embarrassed master who was very happy to have him back. Reilly had gotten out when his master took the trash out a little while before we saw him.

Some thoughts:

When you're lost, you're utterly lost. You could be near home or help, but you don't know where that is. It's as if you are blind in the dark and have to have a helping hand or you're lost.

When you're lost, you're in more danger than you know. Most people who are lost have no idea they are lost.

God sends people to help those who are lost get found. My grandpa and the father of my friend both had Alzheimer's disease and they would get out, far from their homes, going for walks, sometimes late at night. Kind police officers brought both…

Let her go to bat

I had a dream this morning that a woman was at bat in a ball game and she hit the ball towards the left field fence where the left fielder was, who fumbled the ball.

Update: The next morning my wife had this dream:

My wife dreamt that she and I were going to switch bodies and roles. She'd be going to my workplace and I would stay home with our eleven kids. She wondered how she would do my job and I told her to tell them that she'd been hit on the head and forgot all I do there and would need to be retrained. She then realized that our eleventh child did not have a name, then chose Kaycey, which I said was fine with me.

The Rock

"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

"But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards."

The key to making it through life storms is to practically work out Christ's teachings in your life now. It's not about knowing stuff through maximum exposure to Bible studies, classes, and sermons; but it's about doing the stuff he did in your daily life. Then when it comes, you're already there.

Jesus says that just listening, just reading, just talking about it, just knowing it, just knowing people who walk in it..... these are sand foundations, not solid for storms and winds; and worse yet, it's foolish- stupid.

You have to do it for it to work. To have a life in God, you must participate you must work out.
You can't be passive and …

Keep going by God's grace

I got this idea that as we run the race which is actually a marathon, we are
able to run it or are empowered to run it because of God's grace.
Another athletics picture is of a reciever in football.
You run downfield, open for a pass continually.
I could say that you'll catch that ball by God's grace
and that's true, but my real point is that you keep going downfield,
you keep going out, without seeing the ball coming,
although you still expected the ball to come,
and it may never come, but because of grace, you keep going. You don't keep going
because you know you'll getsomething, but you keep going because the one you're going for is good.

Waiting

Some reflections on waiting on God:

You're waiting on a person. It's personal. You need something, but you need God

Waiting is worship. The highest form of worship is the lament. Worship is not an event, but a way of life. Bring a sacrifice of praise. Get all your eggs in one basket. Bet the farm.

Waiting is active. A surfer on a wave or a ballplayer at their position, waiting.

Prayer is primarily about changing the one praying. As you wait, you are transformed.

(The picture above are people waiting for "old faithful" to go off!)

Revive your work

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet:

LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

Revive your church Lord. Revive me.







Trust God

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart and don't try to figure out everything on your own."

If we could figure life out, we wouldn't need God. Life is not about figuring, but trusting. It's not just about trusting, but who you trust. Not your self or your creed but God himself. The living God. Whatever I want to get figured out, God already knows backwards and forwards. Most believers would agree. What God wants is for us to put our faith in him. He wants to help and take care of us. You and I have problems that need solving, big ones and small ones. God is the expert problem solving. he can solve any problems and has everything figured out. Part of our job down here is to trust God. It's better to be in need that not. We're all in need, but we don't all know it.

offended

I'm listening to Bill Johnson's sermon of the week and he's touching on this issue of getting or being offended at or with God and I think it's so profound or important that I've got to write something here.

Can you get your mind around how the people in Jesus lifetime were offended with him? It seems hard at first when you're thinking of the Jesus who is your personal favorite. I mean, you might have a caricature of him or a persona you project on him that you just love. But the real, authentic Jesus might offend you at times. This seems so paradoxical because Jesus is such a good person. God is love and Jesus is God, right? Then how in the world could you or I get offended with him?

I think the beginning of the answer is that the problem is on our end- sorry. We always have to be careful to get out of the "God seat" (throne). Being God means you know what's best, and you know the future and can see everything. Not being God means you don&…

Total forgiveness

I'm listening to a sermon this weekend by RT Kendall on forgiveness. Actually part one was on forgiveness and this is part two, which is on blessing our enemies. I was reminded that forgiveness does not equal reconciliation. You have to forgive, but you usually can not reconcile. So, you don't wait for reconciliation to forgive, nor repentance from the one who hurt you. Here's a note from a doctor who read RT's book on forgiveness:

As a medical doctor, one of the most important problems that I encounter among my patients is that of bitterness, resentment,and unforgiveness. It is a major reason why people don't heal. This book offers extremely practical information and refer many of my patients to it for reading. It is the best book that I have seen on the subject of forgiveness and I highly recommend it to everyone.

This has never happened before

"no eye has seen, no ear has heard; what God has planned"

God wants to do things that have never been done before. But sometimes (most or all of the time), if you want God to do something He's never done before or you've never seen; you have to do something different. I've been listening to Kim Clement talking about this.

When Jesus multiplied the food, the disciples had to take what they had and start giving it away.

No offense

I'm listening to Bill Johnson's sermon from Sunday and I am again impressed by this issue of avoiding offence towards God. I'm thinking about one of the most painful times in Jesus life, when John the Baptist was murdered. He got alone with God and processed it. Bill has this insight that if you want the peace of God, you have to give up the need to understand: "the peace that passes all understanding". A mentor of mine coached me to pray, "I don't understand, but I trust you."

Matt's seven-seven

Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

A good husband, who loves his bride, would give her anything in his power, would help her find whatever her heart seeks, and would open any doors for her that she needs his help at.

This presupposes that the bride has covenanted herself to him and he to her. This is what marriage is although it isn't often recognized or understood in our society.

A covenant says all I have is yours and all of you are mine. A marriage covenant also entails renouncing covenants or allegiances or ties to all others than the betrothed.

Matthew seven-seven is a promise written to those wholly committed to God in Christ. These are Christ's bride and God's children. Read Matthew six and seven to get the context on seven-seven. These words are written to Christ's intimates, people who are looking to him for everything and in turn are giving him all of themselves.

We ask cove…

The year of liberty

But if he makes a gift out of his inheritance to one of his servants, it shall be his to the year of liberty. Then it shall revert to the prince; surely it is his inheritance--it shall belong to his sons.
-Ezekiel 46:17

The meaning of liberty is the idea of being freed to flow and the Hebrew word carries the picture of a bird free in flight. The idea of the year of freedom or liberty or jubilee is that of restoration. That which was lost from misfortune is restored. Isaiah wrote about a time of liberation that would happen through the Messiah and Jesus quotes the same passage. As D.A Carson wrote, "Jesus announced the inbreaking of the reign of God, in his own ministry. The 'Nazareth manifesto' (Lk. 4:16–30) is the clearest, programmatic statement of this, and quotes directly from Is. 61, which was strongly influenced by jubilee concepts."(D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary)

Ezekiel 46:17 teaches that if the prince gives land to somebody that is not his child, that …

Death sucks

I have a buddy I've known for about 23 years who just lost his 7 year old son. His loss and going to the funeral of my music teacher I took lessons from in high school have made me think about death. You've probably heard the saying, "timing is everything"? Well with death, the timing sucks 99% of the time. My dad died an hour before I got to his bedside. With my music teacher, I never took the opportunity to write her a letter or give her a call to tell her that she was the nicest person God ever sent into my life. I'll be writing that letter to her son.

The minister who officiated at the boys funeral did a great job. What can you say? He quoted a number of scriptures, some of which I have used at my grandparents funerals. These scriptures are true and comforting. But I have reflected on how that the highest form of worship is the lament. When we relate how much pain we are in and how confused we are and even angry, I think that should connect with whe…

Saved

Matthew 19
23
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”


From this passage, we get a definition from Jesus of what it means to be "saved". It means to enter the kingdom of God. Being saved or becoming saved is not defined as one who is (now) going to heaven, but as one who has become subjected to God's kingdom, and those who have willingly subjected themselves into God's kingdom will inherit eternal life. Those who walk in and under God's kingdom and his reign will continue to do so after they die.

Also from this passage, we recieve the insight that it'…

Consecration

Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "setting apart. (Wikipedia)

We consecrate the communion elements when we bless them or ask God to bless them. We consecrate our meals the same way. We also consecrate our selves to God. We also can consecrate our homes our places of worship our times together. To me, it's a raising of the bar, in taking seriously that God dwells among us and that God is real and that God's presence changes everything.

If we are consecrated and our place of meeting is consecrated, then we can really love each other and really be loving and gracious and kind and optimistic. If we are consecrated and dwelling in God like a branch in the vine, we'll be able to confront evil as well; wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.

When we are consecrated we also cherish the sacred things. We need to see God and the Word and the Spirit as sacred. What h…

God isn't worried

This is a simple "no-brainer" thought. But my point is that if . God isn't worried, then you don't need to be. I remember listening to the late George Mallone talking about the gift of prophecy. He heard someone try to give a prophecy say, "behold my people, I know you are worried, and I understand because I'm worried too!" This was an example of a person not speaking from God, because God doesn't worry.

7-7-7

During my prayer time this morning, I asked God when a certain thing would happen and I got the impression or heard the still, small, voice say,"go outside and look at your neighbor's licence plate."



As you might know, The Call Nashville will take place on 7-7-07. Watch the video on the sidebar here to find out more.

Update (9-4): My friend said that 777 means God's perfect timing. Just came across an article where Ryan Wyatt says that 7 means perfection, rest, refreshing, and promised land.

Consubstantiation: participation

The Lutheran concept of consubstantiation is that the presence of Christ is, "in with and under" the elements in the Lord's supper, communion or the Eucharist. The Catholic belief called transubstantiation is that the elements are transformed into Christ's blood and body. On the other side, broadly speaking, protestants believe that the elements memorialize Jesus body and blood, and the ritual brings to memory what Christ did. I personally believe that the elements stay natural but can become anointed. I believe that God's presence can come on and around the the communion table.

"Is not the cup of thanksgiving a participation in the blood of Christ?
Is not the bread we break a participation in the body of Christ?" 1 Corinthians 10:16

The word participation could also be translated communion and also means intimate fellowship.

When we participate in the Lord's supper we are communing with Christ's broken body and shed blood. When you get c…

Tithing: Biblical but not Christian

I think we're called to give all we can, save what we can, live simply with frugality, but also enjoy all the things that God gives us or allows us to get through the abundance that God flows into our lives.

Tithing is like paying a tax. It's impersonal. You write your check to your church or ministry you support and that's it. When you are a giver, as a life-style; your hand, your wallet, your checkbook, your pantry, your closet, and all your stuff are untethered. Your possessions don't possess you.

Can you both tithe (10%) and give? Yes. Can you give and not tithe? Yes. What if you give less than 10% of your income, is that ok? Yes.

be ready in season and out of season

The context of the above text is Paul's admonition to Timothy to "preach the word". He is to preach in season and out of season. Not sometimes but all the time, not just when he feels great and has a fresh message but always. The application is that ministers are always "on-duty". Ministers are ministers. It is who they are, who you are if you are a minister. Ministry is a life, not a job or a title. Minister describes you if you are one. Another word for ministry is service.

Serving is an all-the-time lifestyle. Serving is not something you go and do for a time, and then revert back to a non-serving lifestyle. If you are a servant, you serve.... all the time. You don't just serve when it makes you look good, like serving by speaking to a group or being on a ministry team, but it is a way of life. It's not about going to church to serve or to be served or watch people serve, but rather; if you are a Christian, you are the church everywhere…

When it seems hopeless

Today, I'm thinking about situations where change seems impossible unless that one key comes along that can open closed doors. It seems to me that God specializes in solving so-called impossible situations, things that seem hopeless.

I'm reflecting on this text: Romans 4:18, that says, "against all hope, in hope Abraham believed, and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, 'so shall your offspring be.'"

Abraham didn't make it happen. The one who promised him did it. He put his hope in the one who promised, in the word of the one who spoke.

Christian's indifference

I was reading an article about the growth of the unchurched population in the U.S. by George Barna, where he makes mention of the book, Jim and Casper Go to Church, where two guys check out a dozen heavy hitter churches across the country and share their experiences. Barna says,
"Many of the insights drawn from the experiences of "Jim and Casper" parallel the findings of Barna Group studies among the unchurched. Some of the critical discoveries were the relative indifference of most churched Christians to unchurched people; the overt emphasis upon a personal rather than communal faith journey; the tendency of congregations to perform rituals and exercise talents rather than invite and experience the presence of God; the absence of a compelling call to action given to those who attend; and the failure to listen to dissident voices and spiritual guidance to dig deeper in one’s faith."

Strengthsfinder 2.0

I took the Stregths Finder test tonight after I got the book with the login code today.
My top 5 are:

ConnectednessIdeationResponsibilityAdaptabilityEmpathy
Here's a few things the report said about what each strength is about:

Connectedness

You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.


Ideation

You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking fo…

liminal

Liminal is a word that means "threshold". To be in a liminal place is to be in an in-between place. You've left one place and you are not yet at a new place. A rite-of-passage can be a liminous place. A liminal place is a place where your identity changes and you feel disoriented. You are opened by the circumstances of your life and are given the opportunity for change, growth, and transformation. When a group of people are in a liminal place together, such as when a group of people face crisis or disaster; social classes, previous prejudices, or ranks do not matter. Everyone is in the same boat.

The places of growth and rich revelation in the Bible are often liminous times. These are times of change and disorientation. Much of Abraham's life was liminal, for example.

Betrayal

The Bible says that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss and that Jesus addressed him as, "friend".

For Judas, an intimate greeting was only a formality; it didn't really carry any meaning. He could both kiss the purest person he had ever met and betray that person in one stroke.

It's interesting to me that, at the moment of betrayal, Jesus addresses Judas as "friend". For me, it puts things in perspective. If Judas was Jesus friend, then what does that say about Jesus? I think it says that he was incredibly secure in the Father's love. Jesus is our example of how to live. We are to be anchored in God, but hold our earthly relationships more loosely. It's so deep that I can't find the words, but Jesus knows that we all will betray him at some level, yet he calls us friend. Friends will betray but God is faith full. Peter betrayed Jesus, although in a different fashion than Judas and ended up being faithfull.

When your word hasn't come true, part 2

These insights were shared by Linda Heidler at the Glory of Zion weekly prayer meeting (Chuck Pierce's church). She talked about breaking out of old cycles and how to contend for the authority God wants us to step into.

Three points:

Presumption: You may be presuming that you see or know the whole picture and you stay stuck because of this. We always do not have the whole picture. We always must humble ourselves to be lifted up or to recieve grace. It is presumption to think we know how things should be. People reject what God does because they presume.

Incompetence: You may be saying that you've done everything you could do and now it's not up to you. You may fall into apathy or laziness because you feel your job is done and now it's up to God and others to make things happen. This is a spirit of incompetence and is the opposite of the spirit of excellence that we are called to. Excellence is when we continue to work hard and be gracious and generous when …

Kingdom and church: Churchian or Christ-ian?

I read this comment, written by Jon Hallewell, on John Smulo's blog:

I'll never forget sitting in a small group with Jackie Pullinger. She said it can take over 10 years to change the hearts of christians to be kingdom orientated - that was far too long for her - she advocated finding not yet christians who were already kingdom orientated and working with them.

It takes people who have been Christians any length of time (7 years, 3 years) about 10 years to unlearn stuff they've learned in church that isn't the real deal. What is the real deal and what is not? That's a big question that has a long answer. But part of the real deal is the issue of the kingdom of God. Jesus came proclaiming the kingdom of God (not the church or any "program") and he said that we would preach the gospel of the kingdom until he comes again. It's interesting that he didn't say something like, "preach the gospel of salvation through me until I come".

I…

A time to mourn

Good grief. Grieving is a gift to carry us through times of loss. Grieving is a process that takes time and cannot be denied. Mourning is a season of grief. The end of the process may be called healing, but we are forever changed. We may never forget our loss, but grieving helps us to live. We are forever changed by our losses, but they do not define us.

Good grief isn't about regaining equilibrium. Grieving can be very angry, deeply sad, filled with numb shock, or filled with questions. Equilibrium may be found temporarily and then waves of emotional processing or bleak depression can sweep over a person. A paradigm shift may be occurring as we seek to make sense of life in the face of loss. There is a time to mourn.

Morning has broken

by Eleanor Farjeon

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

You might think that this song was written by Cat Stevens, who popularized it song in the early 1970's; but he did not. Actually, the song was written in 1931 by the prolific writer
Eleanor Farjeon and the tune is a Scottish Gaelic Christmas carol that originally carried the lyrics, "child in the manger, infant of Mary". In 1961, Floyd Cramer, who was a pianist who played on many of Elvis Presley's records, including "Heartbreak Hotel"; recorded …

God's keeps his promises

I am thinking about how it can be possible for God to promise something that seems impossible.
Or to put it another way, how does it work when you believe God has given you faith for something, but you don't see it happening and there is plenty of evidence that it can not and will not happen? What if you have faith for something that seems impossible? I've thought a lot about faith and exercising faith, as well as Jesus words to pray, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." I have also thought a lot about Abraham and his faith walk. God called this childless older man, "the father of many nations". Paul says that God can say such things or make such impossible claims on people because he, "calls into being that which does not exist". God's word is settled in heaven and we are just being brought into alignment with it. Another translation has Romans 4:17 as "calls things that are not as though they were".

About Romans 4…

Jericho

Today is the anniversary of the Israelites seven day march around Jericho. There are many fascinating applications that can be drawn from the account of this in Joshua 5 and 6, but the part I am considering are how the people were instructed:
"Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!"They had to be silent as they went about the marches around Jericho, until the end of the seven marches around on the seventh day.

There is something about being silent as we walk in faith around our Jericho that only God can defeat. Walking around it is an act of faith and obedience, but so is being silent as we do so. It's a different kind of faith than the kind that speaks.

The parting of the Red Sea

Today is the anniversary of the parting of the Red Sea. After all the plagues that had been visited on Egypt, the Israelites were finally let go and given tons of gifts as they went, but then the Egyptians decided to pursue them and try to destroy them. the Israelite's ended up with their backs up against the Red Sea and the Egyptian army closing in on them. Then God made a way where there was none and then destroyed the whole Egyptian force. There is speculation that there were four groups of Israelites. One group said that they should surrender and return to Egypt. Another group advocated mass suicide. Another faction said they should valiantly fight the Egyptians. The fourth group said to pray to G-d who delivered them from Egypt to get them out of this trap and that's what happened. God intervened.

come again

Psalm 1261When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. 3The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. 4Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. 5They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
If you have been disappointed, come again.
If your hopes have been dashed and your prayers seem unanswered, come again.
You will come again with rejoicing and with a harvest.

When your word hasn't come true

"..until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him."

The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. Now it happened at the end of two full years... Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.
Psalm 105:19 and Genesis 40:23-41:1, 14

I was thinking about this issue of waiting for God when you believe he has promised you something. I think it's normal to feel frustration and disappointment. It says that the word of the Lord tested him. The word there for tested is the same word used for the refining fire that the goldsmith puts gold through to make it pure: "goldsmithing".

Easter text

Isaiah 53
1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?[1]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected[2] by men;
a man of sorrows,[3] and acquainted with[4] grief;[5]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[6]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that…

Here comes the sun

One thing is always for certain each night. The sun is going rise in the morning. Even more certain is God's faithfulness. The 12-step slogan, "this too shall pass", is also a profound modern proverb. I was thinking about George Harrison's song Here Comes The Sun. It's an optimistic song about good changes on the horizon for someone who's been through a tough time. Here are the lyrics. When George wrote the song, he had been going through a tough season and he believed things were about to get better. Actually longing for the break-up of The Beatles is what is believed to have inspired the song.

I've been listening to This song from Faith by Jason Upton in my car:

I will wait for You, Jesus
You’re the sun in my horizon
All my hope’s in you, Jesus
I can see you now arising.


Robust

"So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he may be glorified."
Isaiah 61:3b

The root definition of robust is "oak, strength". Robust means physically strong, or marked by richness or fullness of flavor. It can also refer to ethereal strength in the sense of an argument or faith, or the strength of a signal. A team could have a robust defense. A cruise ship could have a robust structure that can withstand sinking.

If we think of the word picture of oaks as meaning strength, how does this help us interpret Isaiah 61:3? If we back up and look at the context, we discover that this is the passage that Jesus read from, but you will note that Jesus stopped after the first half of verse two. He was proclaiming the year of God's favor and not vengeance. However, Isaiah writes here about what the ministry of the Spirit of God does to people:
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liber…

Synchro-convergence experience

On Monday night, I had a dream about my first two cars.

While doing research on Tuesday, on "the suddenlies of God", I saw a link of an article by John Paul Jackson on Synchro-something and it stuck in my head.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was delayed and left work later than I had planned on. When I was pulling out of my parking garage, I saw a car that looked like my third car that I have not seen for 2 years. I ended up right behind it so I could read the license plate and believe it or not, it was my old car. I called my wife to confirm the plate.

And here is the picture of my old car, on the bookcase that she looked at.


Today I looked up that post by John Paul, and he says:
When we recognize and begin to value these spiritual events—learning to see them when they occur—helps us tap into God’s nature and Heaven’s activities guiding our lives. As the Bible says, we plan our ways, but God directs our steps (Proverbs 3:6). We may know where we want to go, but God decides how …