Wednesday, November 26, 2014

America's Mustard Seed


The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which although it is the smallest seed in the garden, it grows into a tree. Matt 13:32


The enduring strength of America is the tree that has grown from a seed.  The seed?  It is is found in the initial declarations of the founders- the Pilgrims in the Mayflower Compact, the authors of the Declaration of Independence- these founders carried with them a powerful seed, born of the kingdom of God.  






That seed was the knowledge that mankind is loved and valued by God- that each man is given value by God.  And if that was true, then it would look like something- first of all, like freedom to worship God according to each man's conscience.  This led to freedom from the oppressive English monarchy.  And having won the freedom that was held, deeply, as having been given by God, the same men went on to define how free men, valued men, would live.   



Men valued by God would be honored individually by their government. And that government would be subject to those free men.  The governors would be subject to the consent of the governed.  The free men of the land would further be valued by having property rights, access to finances without usury, and many other fine inventions of the new world.  The Christian World.*




The seed, nurtured in the hearts of men who received the idea that human value is from their Maker, has grown into the largest tree in the garden.  What a powerful seed. Perhaps it will find fertile soil in my own heart.







Happy Thanksgiving Day America!  It's God who values you!






*This view went on to lead the world in the ending of slavery.  The seed of God - expressing His value of individuals - still leads the world into understanding His design and intention - that the destiny of all is freedom.  Slavery continues horribly today in regions where there is no seed of the kingdom of God.  Regret not that America once had slaves. Thank God for the seed He spoke into hearts- the seed of human value- that ended slavery in America and wherever God is loved.  


Monday, June 30, 2014

How to Fail Miserably and Wonderfully


So, I started a company.  One based on my Christian faith.  Wanna know how that went?  


Thought I'd give you the backstory on this ongoing startup.  

Step one was to ask this: 
What would my company look like- in its practices- if everything I did was an expression of what my faith is? 

I'd have to ask what do I actually believe about God, and man, and everything, and process through that, to come up with business practices that have a direct connection to what I believe.

This is different from living from your "heart".  It's living from an assessment of your actual faith. That's a challenging exercise in itself!  I have to tell you it was fun and enlightening to actively look at what I believe, with the purpose of making an implementation of that as a business plan.  I have a pretty high view of who God is and what he wants to do in the world, and as the Director of this company's practices.  



I can say that the result was crushing.  I immediately found that there is a massive gap between what I actually believe and what I'm capable of living out.  I've been brought to tears over this- crying, "I'm not that man!"  

This was a difficult thing to realize about myself.  But here's an amazing reality.  There is a lot in the bible about faith and perseverance together.  

The bouy to all my grief over my shortfalls was when someone said "this just proves you have something worth persevering for."  Huh?!  I can honestly say that I've never had that before!  But the business model I came up with from that assessment is nothing less than my highest aspiration and faith; and from what little I've done so far, I'm convinced this is what the world needs.  It's worth persevering for.



The fact that I fall far short of being able to deliver that is just the truth about what God made when He made man- the weakest and most dependent of all creatures he's ever made!  Of course I'm weak!   

Working through that, and delivering the goodness of God in spite of it, is the exercise of the life of faith!  I believe in demonstrating the righteousness of God on earth- His compassion, His courage, His generosity, His deliverance... Realizing the failings of myself as a man to deliver that, well that is a call of God to me to find HIS ability to make Himself known, even through my weakness... and possibly, especially in my weakness!  



Well, that's just the bible in real life!  I've come to accept my inability to be that guy, and really ask God to somehow use this mess to bring His kingdom wherever I set my feet.  It's gloriously ridiculous and laughable and wonderful!













Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Social Responsibility





I'm finally reading a book on the subject of "corporate social responsibility" - it's a really big deal in business.  Corporate giving back.  Well, I'm just not impressed.  And besides, it already has a name.

I call it the Love of God.



Chapters and volumes are spent describing and defining this revolutionary practice of Corporate Social Responsibility.  It just falls short with me.  It's like putting Josh Hamilton to the plate and telling him to bunt. It's just such a waste of horsepower, and not what he could accomplish at all.


Here's my version of corporate social responsibility, set free:



Get radicalized for Jesus and then go demonstrate the righteousness of God in the marketplace.  Spend your life and your means and your business goals on showing the world what the Love of God looks like.  In fact, use every resource and every tool devised by man, and demonstrate every aspect of the true nature of God.  And if there is not a business practice, or technical achievement, or invention, or a form of government adequate to fully express everything that you have to say about what God looks like, then invent a new one.  The world will benefit.




Somehow, hearing God's own vast answers to my biggest questions, has radicalized my life.

I don't have it all verbalized yet, but I can feel a sufficiency inside me now for every challenge.  I'm not looking for a fight, though it feels like that. Like a kid who is pretty sure he can hit the ball out of the park if he had to.  I was like that when I came to bat. The coach would say "just singles" but when I went for just singles I'd fly out.  I knew I could hit that ball far.  It took a while but I finally stopped listening to the coach and did what I felt I could do.  I turned out to be a pretty good power hitter.  I caused outfielders to do exploits to run down my hits.   My gospel says be released into the display of God's joy that He made you to display on the earth.

That's what I'm trying to say here, and it's just one of so many ways I am hearing the same message from God.  You were made for things as vast as Heaven, made to manifest them on the earth.   So go after it, son!





Monday, January 13, 2014

Proving What's Possible


And looking at them Jesus said to them, 
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  
Matthew 19:26

At one point I felt compelled to make the move, meaning that there was no way I could NOT do it.  I was meant for more.  I pulled the plug, and jumped.


If I hadn't made the jump out of my meaningful, but soul-numbing career path, and into the purpose-filled vision I held of my future:

I'd never have seen myself as someone who could actually have impact
I'd never have given meaningful work to people with special needs
I'd never have given opportunities to homeless men
I'd never have funded an orphanage and medical clinic in Guatemala
I'd never have proven that it's possible for business to be a powerful mechanism for expressing compassion in a community
I'd never have my own platform upon which to play out the substance of my faith and the desires of my heart
I'd never have seen how good I am, and how bad I am
I'd never have stared my naked failures in the face, and gone forward anyway
I'd never have something worth persevering for
I'd never have set an unattainable goal, and surpassed it
I'd never have known how far I could go
I'd never have a tool to embody every noble aspiration of mankind: to earnestly reflect the image of God on earth.

I can't tell you how stinking empowering this is.


I've started something.  These are all things I've begun in my first 9 months after leaving my career, and launching out into the life of applied faith and self-determination.  You can't say you're not a person of faith, either.  Maybe you believe in yourself.  Maybe you don't believe in yourself.  I believe in God, and that He made me for this.

The rest of my life will now be a grand experiment in whether my faith is meaningful in the world.  Because if it is, it will result in exceeding goodness for others.  


Here are some things I believe the world will see because I have jumped:


  • Compassionate employment for people with special needs and for the hurting and broken (read: homeless). Development of new models for this.
  • Recidivism among felons in Raleigh replaced by envisioned men owning businesses and leading their communities out of hopelessness
  • Real reduction in infant mortality in Guatemala (the country with the highest infant mortality rate in Central America- but not for long.)


And here is something that is completely out of reach for me to accomplish, but I cannot help but lay it out here: 
To start a movement.
To go first, prove what's possible, and encourage anyone who will listen, to lay hold of that for which they were laid hold of.

This is for people with faith in God. Who believe that God has a purpose for them, and who would race to that purpose if they knew what in the world that looked like.  I believe it looks like this. Like what I've done. Like what I'm doing.  What I'm doing is everything that comes into my path to do, and do it with a bare conscience before God.  Doing everything that is in my heart to do- all of it.  It looks like seeing with eyes of faith who God made you to be, and racing to become that with acts of that faith.  Risky, jumping from the nest, acts of faith.  


I define faith as believing in the goodness and trustworthiness of God's nature- that he is mighty to save those who jump from the nest and look to Him to bear them up.  Not for their own purposes, but for His.  A person of faith lives not for himself, but for God.  And God is Love.  What does that look like?  This is what it looks like to me.  How you have come to see that, and display it, is your calling in this life.  So join this movement, jump from the nest, and cast yourself upon the faithfulness and promises and nature of God.  You will never be the same.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Mediocracy of Normal


We trade our dreams and our lives for something that keeps us from suffering- a job that pays the bills and gets the kids through school.  You make a compromise with the devil when you do that. I won't go after my dreams and you won't kill me.

We live in the middle of a raging war. We are all it's victims, but we can be it's victors.

The evidence of this war is the broken lives and broken dreams scattered all around us- if not in our very own experience. We see it in generations of lies, and greed and selfishness that takes and takes, and leaves behind pain and ruin.  In America, why is there cancer, and obesity, and heart disease? Why is there poverty and prison injustice?

The call on my life is to step into the ruin and make it beautiful.  

We trade the idea of going after our highest imaginations for something mediocre that's attainable and will feed and shelter us.  In doing this we give up something that would be beautiful, for something normal.  Its the mediocrity of normal, and it's killing us. It holds many captive, while others it takes down into chains. Its a mediocracy. A government of don't make waves. And we are ruled by it.

But ours is a gospel of taking the broken lives and un-pursued dreams into the care of God, and resurrecting them, breathing life into them... making them beautiful.  He's the one who put them in you at the start. They are creative, because He's a creator- and you are a co-creator. They are noble because He is noble and good, and you were made for that too.  This is the life that God brings into this war. In the midst of battle, He is Love- unafraid and steadfast - He is not going away.





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where are the Next-Level believers?


My question now is - where are the songs?  Where are the believers of my generation, any generation, who are experiencing the life of loving and being loved by God, and who become something because of that?  Where are the bringers of the kingdom?

God is spoken of in hushed tones- leaving people untouched, unloved, unemployed
Why isn't there more knowledge of God out in the wild?  Why are we repeating the same lessons some 30 years after we all learned them the first time- where are the next level believers? Are they hiding? Why aren't they exhibiting the dominion of God in every place and in every way? Why is God spoken of in hushed tones- leaving people untouched, unloved, unemployed?  Where are those who are experiencing the love and power of God?  And why aren't they showing themselves and making God known on the earth for all His goodness and loving-kindness?  Where is the demonstration, and where is the discussion and the volumes written of what happens through a mature believer's life? Where are the books about the eternal life of knowing our God, and taking ground from the devil, making him look bad in the process, and transforming the culture with the Love of God?  Where is the revelation that what we're doing with the rest of our lives is expressing the overwhelming power of Jesus that always leads us into victory over the schemes of the devil? Go ahead son or daughter of God.  Hear and declare the will of God over your next challenge. Watch Jesus crush satan's head for you. Tell me that's not a kick ass life. You are God's weapon in eternity.

The expression being given was failing men.
I realize that the discontent in my heart is driving me to become the answer to my own question. In the same way Isaac Watts wrote new songs because he saw that the pure magnificence of Jesus Christ demanded a new expression. The songs of his day, the psalms, came from one man's heart, but he had songs in his own heart that needed expression.  And Luther, the closer he got to God, the more he saw the crying need for everyone to have this word. Watts "rebelled" against the constraints of a form that had grown stale - by writing new songs that refreshed and inspired hearts with faith. Luther rebelled against the church that misrepresented the true God by making Him known in all His loving-kindness. These two men were compelled to give a greater expression of God because the expression being given was failing men.  God is so much more than what I'm seeing and hearing - what passes for the knowledge of God out there in my culture. I feel the expression of God in America is failing man, and I'm about to rebel.

There's no escaping the fire in Jesus' eyes
For one thing, if we really read and believed the Bible, we would talk about Satan more. Because Jesus was in the world to tear down his works and schemes. The schemes he has spent all of time constructing to misrepresent God.  Well, I have the inside intel on those plans, and I believe God has a direct answer to all those "questions" Satan raises against God.  There's no escaping the fire in Jesus' eyes or the sword in His mouth or the blood dripping from His robes as He gives God's answers to all those so-called questions. I pray for THAT Spirit to fill me as I contend for my faith, and bring the truth about God's overwhelmingly loving nature. It's overwhelming.

He's the enemy of man,  the enemy of your baby,  and the enemy of God.  
Here's one example of what I mean.
"We prayed and things finally worked out, thank God" Thing's did not "work out"! You called on the One who has authority over your enemy, and He crushed Satan's head!!  You're not getting a nice life, you're taking ground away from your enemy. He's the enemy of man, the enemy of your baby, and the enemy of God.  You just called him out on his schemes, and the right man for the job stepped in and slayed your enemy.

Being awesome.
I'm rewriting American Christianity because it is wrong.  Its failing the culture it is meant to transform. It stops way before it makes any impact. Who's writing THAT script?  It's not biblical, I know that. Rewriting the songs, and the verbiage we all use to express God in our lives. I only want to use language of faith that I implement. Express faith that I see. And what I see is that God made us to declare and pray down the dominion of Christ on the earth.  Jesus is in the world, speaking to our spirits and giving us life. Through us then, He is expressing His dominion in a world currently run by satan, man's enemy, God's enemy.   Not being nice.  Being overwhelming.  Being awesome. Being Love...  Consuming the enemy, putting him on public display, and taking what he ruined and making it beautiful. That's the Love and Power of God, and it's what we were made for.







Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Faithfulness


It would be a mistake to look at the few things out of a lifetime of a person, that they were credited with, and think that the rest of their days were more or less idle. 

I think guys like Moses weren't just idly milling about tending sheep when one day God broke in on their lives and everything changed.    Or think about Gideon.  What was he doing before God spoke to him in the barn?  Was he evil?  I don't think so . I think he was faithful, and pursuing to know God.  

His story is different than, say Boaz, who was a successful, God-honoring and beloved landowner, who paid attention to his workers' families and concerns. With a guy like Boaz, you could imagine he was a faithful man. 

Why wouldn't we think the same about these other men before their lives were used to change the course of history for a nation?  Why wouldn't we think the same about ourselves before our own lives were used to change a culture, or disciple a nation?  

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What I'm getting at is that I do believe God chooses the foolish things of this world- the nobodies- to accomplish His will in their day. And I do believe He draws them out of obscurity to do it. That's a big part of just Who He is.  

But I do not believe He chooses men who have settled into a mediocre life, who haven't dared to rock the boat with their questions, or worse, have no questions. Such men end up with little thought of God, and are fairly unmoved by the things of God.  That kind of man will die in his obscurity, and never change the world he occupies.  They are like sticks in a streambed- the water ripples, passes around them, and continues on its way, unchanged. 

But a man who has something churning inside him- some urgency, some discontent, some vision- that man, who wrestles and pursues God for what is stirring inside Him, will find God break in on his life, and see everything change.  Because that man is responding to the thing inside him that God put there to be answered. And as he finds answers for that path- which God is leading him on, by the way- he will not be able to help but breach the bank of that stream and redirect its waters.  His place in the world will be changed. And we will all be better for it.

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So, maybe my idea of faithfulness is different.  I say ask your questions.  This IS a journey of Discovery. God made the earth and mankind, and you, to express every aspect of His true nature  What is God wanting to express through you? I believe it has more to do with what unsettles you, than what gives you peace. Pursue your discontent with God, your indignance, your doubts. You will discover a real life God, and the answers you find will be a real expression of Himself- revealed to you, and to the world through you.  It's a daring, off-road journey. You'll be a discoverer. And the world will be changed.





Thursday, May 3, 2012

Colossians 3 revisited



Everything about God's intentions for mankind, and for your own life have now come to pass.  Now that you have invited the architect of all time and humanity to take over your life, you now have access to a whole new life.  You get to live for things you couldn't have even hoped for before.  You were stuck like a dog on a short chain, without any chance of chasing anything you really wanted. 





Now you've discovered that what you really wanted all along was to be connected to Jesus Christ.  You've been feeding an obsession, but you didn't realize that what you were really obsessing for was Jesus.  You've secretly longed for a day when you could have something better than your harsh responses and sinful choices that were your only options.  Well, your day has come.  With Christ in you, a new world has just opened up, and you're not that stuck person anymore.  In Christ you are now freed to go after the things that are only found in the kingdom of Heaven.  Things that give life real meaning, and hope, and joy.


So set your sights on the realities of heaven- where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand, where He has all authority, and where His ways and His will just happen all the time.  You've had a whole wasted lifetime of dwelling in the limited, optionless world of disappointing outcomes.  Now you have been freed to dwell on the things of heaven, so start dwelling there, and not here in this mess!  This world and its old ways have nothing for you anymore- you discovered your real life when you invited Jesus Christ into it.





Now you get to leave behind all that junk that was your only option before.  Now you get to start walking into what you were made for. 

Now you can put to death the sinful things lurking in you that were destroying you.  Now you can put on a whole new nature... and be renewed... and learn to know your Creator... and become like Him!  Woohoo!


You know why? Because God chose you. Yes, He really chose you. And what He chose you for is His outstanding, feedom-filled, joy-filled, holy life.  Now you can clothe yourself, not with the rags of sexual immorality, impurity, and lust; but instead with the robes of tender-hearted mercy, kindness, and humility.  


Now you can exchange things you were stuck doing when you had no other options- like your angry responses, rage, and maliciousness- for things of the kingdom like gentleness, and patience.  Isn't that what you really want, if only there was a way?  What I'm telling you is that it's not too much to hope for!  


Instead of your old knee-jerk responses of slander and cursing and lies, in your new life in Christ you have access to new responses.  Now you can make allowances for faults instead of judging them. That's freedom, dear one.  Now you can forgive those who offend you , instead of wishing they were dead.  


Don't laugh, you used to want that. And maybe you still do, but now you have access to Heaven, where Jesus is, where grace is, and you can have that, and find things like forgiveness for others.  By dwelling on the realities of heaven, when these things come up, bring them to the Lord in prayer.   He will answer you, and be strong for you, and you can start walking in the blessed, loving responses you secretly long to have. This is what you were made for.  To be like Him in these things.


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Now above all, brethren, clothe yourselves with Love, which binds us together in perfect harmony.  And let peace - that comes from Jesus - that you never knew before - that you now have access to - just completey, totally rule in your heart!


Here in the kingdom life... where Jesus is... Jesus is all that matters!  Huh... where Jesus is, He's all that matters... So how "here" do you want Him to be?  And it doesn't matter where you're coming from.  Whether you  think you're important or think you're nobody. Whether you're classy or a redneck. Whether you're slaving for the man, or you ARE the man... Jesus is all that matters.


So let this message about the new life in Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Talk about these things all the time with eachother, in the wisdom He gives.  Sing psalms, hymns and songs in the Spirit, with words from the Holy Spirit welling up from inside you. This is beautiful worship and praise to the Lord we love.  And in everything, give thanks through the Lord Jesus to God the Father.









Sunday, April 29, 2012

I believe in God


Are we saying we stand against atheism- that there is a God that exists? 
No. We are not. It is more than that.


Some say "What first comes into your mind when you think about God is what most defines you."


I say unless you are believing in the true God, then it doesn't matter what you think about when you think about God.  So go ahead and try this.  Close your eyes.  And picture God.  I'll wait for two minutes while you do this...  What do you see?  Where is He?  And where are you?


If you're not seeing the Father of us all, who directs history, holds kingdoms and nations in His hand, chooses His worshipers, rescues and restores crushed spirits, revives courage, and Who lives and dwells with His people who He loves... unless you're seeing THAT God, then it doesn't matter what you think about when you think about God.  


Because anything but the living God Who reveals Himself to you, will not make a difference in your life or in the world.  Only the true God, and not something contrived in our minds, can change the world, and can change you.  


If you aren't being changed like that, then you have yet to meet the true living God.  But knowing this God, as He reveals Himself, and responding in open, contrite, welcome and hunger, THAT is the pure unadulterated calling of your life!




"I live in a high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble,
I restore the crushed spirits of the humble, 
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts."  
Is 57:15


"Do you not know? Have you not heard from the beginning?
The Lord sits enthroned above the circle of the earth...
He brings princes to naught, and reduces rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted
No sooner are they sown
No sooner do they take root in the ground,
than He blows on them and they whither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff."
Is 40:12-14