pochette

Pochette is my word for today. It's a French word that means "small purse" or "small envelope", small container of valuable things. There's something to small things that is good. Small things can be concentrated, like with chocolate or coffee, for instance.

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, that is one of the smallest seeds, but it grows up to be big. Jesus also talks about selling everything to buy a field that has treasure in it. the treasure is small compared to the field, but is worth more than it..

There's something really good about the small affecting the big for the good. Steve Sjogren says that, "small things done with great love will change the world". Every act of kindness counts. The little stuff totally matters. It's a delusion and a lie to believe that your little things- little steps, little acts of kindness- showing God's love, don't matter. YES they do.

God, who is beyond huge, came as one man to reconcile all mankind to himself. Think about how condensed God was in Jesus. God likes doing things through the small to make big things happen. It's God's way. What you do that shows off God is not insignificant. Do those small things. Keep doing them.

"The envelope, please".

Seven changes

I took some notes after watching a video of a conference from 3/07, of Peter Wagner:

Seven Changes happening in Christianity Today:

1. From church to kingdom.
Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of salvation is part of the gospel of the kingdom. Gospel meaning message or good news. Jesus invited people to come into the kingdom, not to come to church. The kingdom message is God centered, not "what's-in-it-for-me" centered. When you encounter the King, you get or perhaps reject Him and His salvation. You also become His servant, receive His healing, His deliverance. You give up everything and He takes care of you. In the kingdom of God, you don't accept His salvation, but not His Lordship- they go together, and there's no confusion.

2. From pastors to apostles.
3. From evangelism to transformation.
4. From despair to dominion.
5. From determinism to openness.
6. From petition to proclamation.
7. From poverty to prospertity.

cross over

Attention, Israel! This very day you are crossing the Jordan to enter the land...
Deuteronomy 9:1a

There is a time to cross over, a window of opportunity so to speak. Timing is everything.
If there's a time to go, a time to strike, a time to act; what do you do before that window comes? Prepare. Be prepared. Get ready.

Here's a key point about transition that is simple, yet profound: You have to fully leave in order to fully arrive. If you don't fully leave, then you can not fully arrive, at your new destination, because part of you is still "back there" or you've brought some of the "back there" to the "here". What's sad and what you don't want is to be in a new place with your old stuff. Grieve the loss and be healed.

Back to basics

Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent, and do the works you did at first.
If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent.

Revelation 2:5

You can read the context here for yourself. This statement is from the letter to the church of Ephesus. These guys had so much going for them. It's all listed in the statements before and after this one. But something was so wrong that God says repent and do what you did at first. They had stopped doing these first things, these basic things. Every musician, athlete, artist, poet, writer, comedian, and soldier knows that practice, working out, sharpening the saw, doing the fundamentals; is the key to going forwards to goodness or greatness. It's the same thing with being a Christ follower. Ya got to keep following. You don't stop following. Great leaders are themselves great followers.

You don't get beyond the basics and become superior to them. Sounds foolish even saying it. Doing ministry without relationship to the head is dead. There's a constant contact, communion that must be cultivated and not taken for granted. You don't get beyond simple Bible Study, simple worship, simple prayer, and simple fellowship; and all this results in simple sending on mission to take the other simple's out there, and bring back the over complicated to the simple. And the simple I'm talking about is actually the most profound. God so loved the world that he sent his only son: simple, yet completely profound. The gospel. You don't go beyond this. God isn't sophisticated, God is profound, yet able to be approached and met in simplicity.

You're pre-approved!

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Ecclesiastes 9:7

Food was God's idea and so was eating it. Wine was also God's idea. Eating disorders and alcoholism happen when something is broken. It's possible to abstain from alcohol and many do for a variety of reasons, but everyone has to eat. So, eating issues, food issues need to be dealt with or met with the healing power of God for us to become whole and walk in God's plan for humankind to enjoy eating. To me, the tag line of "God has already approved what you do", says, "don't be ashamed to enjoy eating and drinking- God expects you to enjoy it!" If you have shame around eating or drinking, I want to tell you that God can heal you through Christ, so be encouraged. God gave eating and drinking to humans and it's a gift that can be restored to you.

Azusa Street Mission & Revival (Book by Cecil Robeck)


I read the first 1/3 of this book on the Azusa Street Mission revival the other night and I have a few take-away's: William Seymour developed the habit, before the revival hit, of spending 5 hours a day in prayer, alone with God. I don't mention this to shame the rest of us, but just to say, "wow". It's just something to get inspired over to maybe increase our alone times with God.

The second thing is that William Seymour was a very meek man. But he was not a weak man. Meekness is "enduring injury with patience and without resentment", according to Websters.
I think that any leader that wants to be used by God can learn much from Seymour's style or ways. Most people probably think of his message on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, but to me a big part of who he was and what he should be remembered for is his meekness. He could have bailed or crashed at any point from personal attacks. He seems to have understood that big time suffering will be part of the deal if you are called to be an apostle, but he was so caught up in sweet fellowship with Jesus that he could bear the suffering.

Suddenly for you

Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to hide it from the Midianites . Judges 6:11


Ophrah was an obscure Benjamite town, in the promised land, where an obscure man named Gideon lived. In Ophrah, the people of God had pretty much walked away from their roots and were engaging in pagan worship with noticeable idols and alters in their town. In this seemingly God forsaken place that seemed forgotten by God and defeated by darkness; suddenly the angel of the Lord shows up and calls out Gideon. Gideon responds to what the angel says and he's off into a new life. Gideon is the person that the story is about- what happened to this nobody. But the lesson for us is God's intervention in human affairs. Gideon did not study or intern to become a leader. He didn't build up a network and find money to do good. Gideon was just trying to survive in a terrible time. Gideon literally had nothing but God. And what of God he had was invisible. The angel didn't go door to door with him. God was with him though and that did it. This obscure, afraid for good reasons, guy; became this wild risk taking humble warrior leader, almost overnight, because God really called him and equipped him.

My point is that.................. it can happen to you! Be surprised and go with it.

Nations

Psalm 87

He founded Zion on the Holy Mountain— and oh, how God loves his home!
Loves it far better than all the homes of Jacob put together!
God's hometown—oh! everyone there is talking about you!


I name them off, those among whom I'm famous:
Egypt and Babylon,
also Philistia, even Tyre, along with Cush.
Word's getting around; they point them out:
"This one was born again here!"

The word's getting out on Zion: "Men and women, right and left, get born again in her!"

God registers their names in his book:
"This one, this one, and this one— born again, right here."

Singers and dancers give credit to Zion:
"All my springs are in you!"



God loves the nations, all the nations. The church is meant for the nations. The church is meant to be open to all tribes of people to encounter, meet, and be forever changed by God. God wants to touch people who are different than you through you and have you and them commune in Christ. Community is when you gather in someone you have in common who supersedes everything else. In community, you love people you normally would have nothing to do with.

Time to do your soul laundry

Psalm 51:1-7

Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I've been; my sins are staring me down.

You're the One I've violated, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair.
I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.
What you're after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean, scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.

Have you done your laundry lately?
Or have you surrendered yourself to the cleaners?

From strength to strength

They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:7

Normally, you get weaker as you go further on your journey. But when you go on a journey with God, towards God; you get stronger. This is a paradox, especially when you feel weaker and weaker. But you really are getting stronger. Keep moving.

The turn-around

Is there anyone around to save Israel?
Yes. God is around; God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter.

Psalm 14:7

God turns things around. This is the gospel message. And while God is always at work, turning things around with many people in many places; there is a time when God turns things around for you. Things that are wrong are made right. Things that are messed up get cleaned up. What was lost gets restored. When turn-around's are happening for people across the board, it's called revival. God is in the business of setting captives free and setting them back to where they belong.

Sent

I have sent him.

Col. 4:8a

Have you been sent? Where have you been sent to? Did you think that you were just incognito in your life, your job, your relationships? Does God only specially send certain people or are we all sent all the time or most of the time? Did God send you to be your spouses spouse and your children's parent? Did God send you to your neighborhood?

Have you gone where you weren't sent? Have you tried to go where you weren't sent?

Have you gone the opposite way from where God wanted to send you and bad stuff happened?

Are you waiting to be sent? Is God waiting to send you? Are you prepared to be sent? Are you doing what you know to do to prepare?

Write your letter, let your letter be written. Maybe you can't read what God's written.

Get the postage on that letter. Get is sealed. And prepare to be sent.

God is with you

We watched some Rob Bell videos tonight. This is the preview of our favorite, called "Rain". Rob tells the story of carrying his one year old boy through a rain storm. God is with you in your storm.


"Things don’t always work out the way we want them to, or the way we think they will. Sometimes we don’t even see it coming. We get hit with some form of pain out of nowhere leaving us feeling desperate and helpless. That’s the way life is. Still, it makes us wonder how God can let these things happen to us. How God can just stand by and watch us suffer. Where is God when it really hurts? Maybe God is actually closer to us than we think. Maybe it’s when we’re in these situations, where everything seems to be falling apart, that God gets an opportunity to remind us of how much he really loves us."
Rob Bell

Some advice for older guys

Older men are to be sober-minded.

Guide older men into lives of temperance.

Tell the older men to have self-control.

Teach the older men to be temperate.

Titus 2:2a

Apparently, in the place where this letter was written to, too much wine drinking could become a problem and had to be addressed. We have plenty of alcoholism in our culture as well. The word is moderation. Drinking isn't a sin, but drunkenness is. And what is too much? What immoderate? I think it's gone too far when it's a controlling factor, when the addiction trumps relationships- relationship with God and with family and with humanity. Something you like becomes something you crave, and then at some point, it becomes an idol. Then, God is not a part of this little worship time and it's a dark place.

From another, perhaps more practical angle, it's obvious that alcohol dulls you. Men of God, Christian men are called to be vigilant, on guard; ready: to answer, to serve, to hear, to obey God, to go. If you're under the influence of alcohol, how does this affect your serve? The Bible teaches abstinence for some and for all at times but not all for all times. Human beings are allowed to enjoy the fruits of the earth that are good and that includes wine. But it's perfectly ok to choose full abstinence.

Trials and wholeness

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

You thought you had faith until you faced a trial, and after the trial or during it, you find out if your faith is real. And what is it that you had faith in before the trial? God's existence, God's goodness, that Jesus saves, that the gospel is true? What happens when life brings you circumstances that scream that it's not true? You find yourself in desperate need. What if God does not come through for you? Will you still believe then?

When James says that the result of the testing of your faith through trials is perfect completion, he means wholeness, maturity. A mature tree has deep roots. You are like a tree, but you can want your roots to go deeper. You can seek to grow deeper into God during hard times. You can seek out deeper salvation. Think in organic terms. There are many places in you, and in some of these places, God is not reining as much as in others. Let God into the dark places of confusion, of fear.

Wholeness.

Air conditioning

Just some thoughts here: If Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), can we change the atmosphere where we are? I believe, yes. I believe that prayer and praise and worship changes the atmosphere.

I believe that Satan only has power that he gets from basically tricking people.
When we agree with him, we give him power.

A room can be prayer conditioned, to quote Leonard Ravenhill.