Dream of Lowpoint

•March 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

So I had this extremely vivid dream this morning.  The kind of dream you think is real life.  Where the colors are bright, you can feel the wind in the air, the leaves cracking under your feet…that kind of vivid.

The dream began late at night.  I had a handgun and walked over to Seth and Anthony’s house.  In front of their house I shot the gun into cornfield.  I had some reason for doing that probably something from earlier in the dream that I don’t remember.  Then I proceeded to lean against their front door and very dramatically and very poorly act like I was dying.  I was kinda laughing at how silly this all was.  One of the kids opened the door and I was telling them that anytime someone dies in a movie they are just acting.  I guess one of the kids like timmy or kissy was scared of watching movies because of people dying.

At this point i know its 7:30 in the morning, I dont expect everyone anyone to be awake but everyone is up and at em.  Seth, Anthony, and I start playing a video game that I bought for them.  It was a modern version of a game that we played when we were younger and had alot of fun with.  Seth asked me what I was up to today.  With a big smile, I said I was going to attend a service at the church in Lowpoint in order to relive childhood memories.

I left out their front door, it was a bright sunny morning with a warm breeze just a gorgeous morning.  As I walked up the block I could see the church parking lot in the distance.  Just a few older style cars I recognized as the elderly people in town.  Infact it was the same cars I remember as a child.  I began to realize only a few people attended this church anymore.

All the sudden I began to feel Gods heart for the people of Lowpoint.  He loved them so much and deeply yearned for them to fill His house, to meet with Him and know Him.  I began to think about how churches are filled with ritualistic services that have lost meaning and relevance.  As a result, people are turned off by it and don’t want to participate in it.  But this is such an unnecessary hindrance, blocking people from encountering the true living God and experiencing his nature filled with peace, love, and joy.  As I was feeling God’s yearning heart, I just began to weep.  I thought I had to do something about it.  Maybe I could talk to the pastor and ask him if I could hold a service on site to reach out to people.  We could have a fun and creative type of service that would give people a chance to come to know God.

I was looking down at the ground through my tears when my friend Tim had a container of water and was splashing some on me, saying some sort of blessing to me.  I knew it was a sign that the Lord was calling me to to do this.

But then slowly as I awoke I realized, the church in lowpoint is no longer open, that its been turned into someones house and that I will never get the chance to relive those childhood memories again.  This made me really sad.

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Encouraging Word 12\24\14

•December 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I wanted to share something I have felt the Spirit speaking to my heart. I see the Spirit delivering different ones from snares that have been brought into their lives through past failures. These snares latch onto us seeking to be a replacement for the Grace and Wisdom of God. How do they do that? We absorb the pain of our failures into our identity. We can be deceived into thinking hanging onto this pain helps keep us Holy, it will protect us from messing up again because we can still feel that pain. But only the grace of God has the power to truly transform us, clinging to any dimension of pain or shame from past failures do absolutely nothing to transform us and in fact stand at odds against the Spirit’s work in our lives, which is redemptive. Our past failure seek to replace the Wisdom of God when we use our failures to try to make sense of our lives. Maybe we experience a trial and attribute that trial to our failure. Maybe we are tempted to let go of our callings or prophetic words. it just makes sense when we think of our past failures. Infact these failures can replace our prophecies because whether we realize it or not–we predict our future in to be representative of our failures. In some ways our failure shape and give meaning to our lives, but this is contrary to the Wisdom of God. The lens of our failures easily becomes our point of reference which makes receiving anything from the Lord very difficult. There is alot that could be said about this, but I just want to highlight how much these are at odds and the true need to be converted from a failure mindset to the mind of Christ. One of the ways clinging to our failures is justified is through this idea that these are God’s discipline. It is critical to understand discipline rightly. Discipline is an invitation through pain into transformation which works lockstep with God’s redeeming process. It is very much a transaction and a process that we progress through. IT IS NOT A PLACE WE ABIDE! Many times in our discipline, shame is experienced as we are humbled and corrected. As discipline bring a fire into our lives, shame is kind of like the dross\impurity that is brought to the surface that is meant to be discarded as His blood heals us of our wounds and sets us free from all of our shames. The job of a father disciplining his child is to bring forth correction but to minister to that dross that arises in the heart of a child. It could be shame or a bitter attitude but we patiently minister to our children helping them rise above this so the correction we desired can happen in a context where those bitter shameful attitudes have no place to stick around. WE DO NOT discipline our children in hopes that the next time they fail, they will be brought back to a shameful bitter place to relive those emotions. These emotions can do nothing to change us, at best they could affect behavior in a limited way while opening the door to all kinds of darkness into our hearts. I feel charged from the Lord to expose this foul spirits work in our midst. Many of you have been long down the road of the influence of the enemy in your life to use your failures to bring about all sorts of prolonged shame and pain. I want to encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit right now, take a moment, ask Him if what I described is taking place in your life and if so I encourage you to approach the table of the Lord remembering his blood and body that set you free and invite him in to begin the healing process. If you have been in the dungeon for a prolonged time and need prayer I would encourage you to ask a trusted brother or sister to pray through some things with you and receive healing by faith. The redeeming work of Christ is causing your failures to work on your behalf, you are being restored and redeemed to a place of confidence as a child of God open to hear His voice, receive His wisdom, believe in His transforming Grace, and to receive all that has been promised. I love you guys God bless you.

The Echo of a Whisper

•December 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The kingdom is hidden. It’s a well kept secret. It’s withheld for OUR benefit. It’s meant to be searched out. It’s meant to be pursued. Childlike faith is serious business.

As live trudges on, the days turn into months turn into years, our hearts progress through dramatic yet subtle transformation. Underneath of the fog of life and its stresses and worries and doldrums, beneath the peaks of great joys and deeply fulfilling moments, The Lord is steadily, faithfully molding our hearts with utmost tenderness. Like a masterful sculptor shaping our hearts, tending to the deepest places where our personalities and emotions are knit together…His work upon the fallen human heart is beyond stunning. The riches of the children of God are beyond what can be comprehended and lies in the secret of His work in our hearts.

“The treasure in the earthen vessel”

How perplexing that he treats a fallen human being in such a delicate way. Almost invisible is the true work of His hands.

On the outside the vessel is subject to the soulish and fleshly experiences of this life. The brokenness, the trials, the frustrations, the loneliness, the vanities, the foolishness, the false glories and joys…these constantly work to glue us to that low place of humility, of a teachable heart.

I think the temptation as we journey though life is to retain the wounds of our failures and absorb them into our identity living in the shadow of our darkest moments. But lets put these dark corners of our heart into the context it belongs:

The Genesis 1 God of eternal glory who spoke creation into existence with awesome power has chosen to set his affections upon YOU. Not a blurry crowd of human beings, but YOU personally.

His statement about the darkest dungeons of your sin, the times where you scorned love in the most repulsive ways, when you offended His glory and gave your glory to idols and walked in wicked ways—The statement He makes over your life is the Cross of Jesus Christ. You see, He pursued you in the darkest place, and offers His own blood to heal your shame.

Folly – Your failures are meant to be wounds you carry so the pain will remind you not to mess up
Wisdom – Your failures are meant to draw you closer to Jesus where you receive healing and trust in His work to transform your heart.

Asceticism (inflicting yourself with pain to achieve holiness ) can never being about the holiness of God.

The revelation is, in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ in fellowship with the Holy Spirit–you are carrying something so glorious it’s far beyond human comprehension. You are in the process of inheriting eternal riches and your pilgrimage in this life is preparing you to be the equally yoked bride of Jesus Christ. You are more precious and valuable than you could possibly imagine.

So while wearing the cloak of childlike faith and humility, I believe the Spirit of God’s work is to bring forth Sons and Daughters. These are the ones who are beholding the Son of God and becoming like him.

In beholding Jesus we understand:

What true beauty is, not how the world sees.
The glory of true meekness
Become established in our identity as children of God

So deep inside of us, inside this earthen vessel— the treasure is YOU and who you are becoming in Christ. You are inheriting breathtaking beauty, stunning character, deeply rooted and established confidence in who you are in Him. He is drawing forth something so powerful in you.

The kingdom is mysterious and hidden, how he hides beauty and glory in common or even despised things. This truth is deep and his work so subtle to human perception yet so glorious. Like the echo of a whisper, can you hear it?

Christians are cool!

•November 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I think it’s interesting that over the years I have heard this same Christian sermon preached in many different churches. I’ve heard this same vision cast before ministry groups in so many different places. The vision that I have heard shared is this idea that our ministry or our community will be so interesting or so loving that unbelievers will come in and be fascinated by us and thus want to be saved. Now I do understand the impact of a group of people being open and accepting of others and how that could be an influence on people. I also understand that the idea that a group of people having “fun” May also be appealing. but I also understand what it was like to be an unbeliever in church, or at least someone who ” thought” that they were a believer, and there is very very little to someone who is completely dead spiritually to be found in these sentimental ideas about a ministry. The thing that is exciting and powerful and alluring about Christianity is only God himself! It is the power of the Holy Spirit moving upon the human heart revealing Jesus that is the most powerful incredible experience that you could ever imagine. And it doesn’t matter really the people that are ministering under that anointing/in that environment, because it’s really God himself that is drawn men to him. That said, I am deeply indebted to people who reached out to me after I was saved and allowed me to be a part of their spiritual community. That is definitely necessary and is powerful. But the idea that our meetings or our ministries are in and of themselves able to answer the dire need in the spiritually dead is a silly fantasy that puts much pressure and promotes performance among the spiritual community. This is completely unnecessary. All that a spiritual community need, is to focus their lives completely on Jesus Christ, to love and serve him with all of their hearts. That is all that is required. Truth be told we are an awkward weird bunch and our traditions offer little in and of themselves. Our relationships are powerful but only to the degree that we love each other with the love of Christ. When the spiritual community reached out to me to involve me in what they did, it wasn’t this community or the people themselves that anchored me but it was that I was being anchored in Christ that was powerful in my conversion experience. Otherwise if I was converted to a program or a community, that would have left me dependent on something other than Christ. I mean not to completely diminish the role that the body plays in the harvest, but I do mean to squash are misguided fantasies that cause us to believe we will be so cool and interesting and loving that this will convert people. There is so much about the spiritual life that is so uncomfortable and so awkward to the unconverted that if we try to make ourselves attractive to them we do it at the expense of an authentic expression of our faith often times. Just some thoughts I had today 🙂

Flee the evil d…

•December 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:22

The Incredible Hope in Humility

•December 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I am finding humility to be a truly mysterious thing.  On the front end, we are often blind to it’s way.  Half the time I don’t even know what the “next step down” looks like.  I heard someone describe it like learning how to play guitar.  To position yourself to cultivate this skill, you have to “take a step down” into a place of difficulty as you play the instrument poorly, develop the callouses and straining your hand to be held in unnatural positions of the chords and you have to persevere through this for quite some time.

–BUT–  I already have a good idea of what learning guitar is like.  I have plucked around myself and seen others cultivate this skill.  It’s all of the little areas of my life that I find this to be particularly challenging.  There are flaws in my life that I didn’t even notice for many years, let alone know how to actually deal with them.  I have like a million and one different blind spots where I can’t see what the reality of my life is, how my decisions are affecting my life and people around me, the nuances about how I give and receive love in all its expressions, the stewardship of my time, finances, the words I speak….  All of these are opportunities to embrace humility, to cultivate a deeper expression of the nature of God.

It seems pride, trusting in ourselves or influences that don’t come from the Lord contributes to the blindness.  I often don’t see the low road because my heart isn’t even in a place to consider taking that path.  Like learning guitar, how willing am I to submit myself to an uncomfortable path revealing my weakness that could take years to reap the benefits from.  I would look for a short-cut or try to find my own way to that destination.  But my self-made shortcuts only serve to reinforce what humility is trying to break down.  If embracing humility in a certain area of my life would take years to pay off, taking my own road would just make the journey EVEN longer.

Things I wrestle with when it comes to Humility:

– I don’t want to face the truth.  It confronts me.  Makes me decide (thus revealing my heart).  Holds me accountable.

– I am impatient.  If I don’t immediately get breakthrough I don’t want to persevere.  When I give up on something that’s tough it’s hard to start over.  Return to battle that thing that has defeated you or discouraged you over and over again.

– I like to do things my way.  I prefer my own version of the truth.

————

But what I am learning, is that when humility is embraced, its like a bright light that opens up so many possibilities.  It attracts the presence of God and is truly a kiss of Gods grace.  Humility is His nature, and Oh the joy to be like Him.

more on this soon!

Vanity of Vanities

•November 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Everything under the sun is vanity! and oh How I have felt this recently!  I am weary and greived by the vanity of this world deep within my soul.  I am longing for the true substance of the being of Christ.  Painful longing for substance!  Longing for the true answer to my heart cry.  Vanities of this life only provide temporary distractions that just deepen the ache.  I feel thrust into this dark place by the very Spirit of God…this place where I wander and I search for Him in places that aren’t comfortable.  In places where I do not expect to find Him.  The places in my soul where I feel alone, lost, fearful, confused.  I am learning about my nature to be deceived by my own desires.  I spent most of my life giving so much weight to what I felt my heart telling me.  I thought the key to really being yourself was following your heart, which after being saved didn’t seem to be wrong…but it is so wrong.  My heart has been lying to me my whole life.  Day by day it told me what it needed, what it desired, and in the pursuit and occaisonal attainment of these brought perpetual dissappointment.  Going around the mountain again and again.  I tried to do course correction in my own heart.  See I just did it wrong last time and now I am so much wiser.  I will follow my heart with WISDOM this time!  I know how to navigate this!  and this fruit the serpent offered me, the wisdom of my own heart, led to fall after fall.  Yet I return to this tree seeking my own knowledge.  My own way.  I am coming to see my ENTIRE life, my pursuits for success, spiritual maturity, deep meaningful relationships, money, it has all been tangled into a web of deep deception.  My deepest longings in all these areas of my life have been glued to such vanity.  I look to so many things thinking in them I will be satisfied.  It was only in embracing my true blindness that I began to really see the tragic state that I am truely in.  No more fig leaces… No more nonsense… No more lies… Nowhere to hide anymore.  The truth is a light so bright it blinds you.  At the end of the day everything I desire and hope for is in this man Jesus and His perscription for me is a Cross.  It’s a perpetually deeper humility.  It’s just so clear right now, there is no other way.  The deception is far too powerful, to follow your heart is a dark twisted road.  It’s no longer excusing myself out of allowing His word to penetrate so deep that I actually do not see living it as an option.  He didn’t let me go.  I feel like a child sitting on my bed in my room after being disciplined again and again coming to the realization my behavior and my attitude has to change.  My Father has been nothing but good to me and I owe Him everything.  It kills that entitlement deep within where I felt God owed me the American Dream.  Where I am at truely is a very dark, painful, and lonely place.  I have run from it so many times before but I am learning not to try to escape any longer.  I know He is here but I can’t see Him very clearly.  What He is uprooting in my life is so deeply attached to my identity, I don’t know who I am on the other side of this.  Not finding my identity fully in Jesus has gone from a place of comfort to a place of suffering.  It’s all coming to an end.