Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wishing to Hold

  If you know my wife, she loves to shop, and when she shops she loves to touch everything.  She will say, "I want to see that," which means she want's to touch that. ( Jason, my BFF, just interrupted my blogging.) We all like to hold things, to see if we like the feel, the weight, the smell, or what ever. It's not just looks, but if a bond is formed while holding, its the experiencing of.. So it is with the things of God. We want to hold, feel, touch, try it on, see if it fits, and if a bond is formed. We want to experience it.. But most of the time it's never holding, feeling, but seeing from a Distance.  Never really holding, but sometimes feeling. Never really seeing, but catching glimpses from afar.  "For we walk by faith and not by sight." and "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things Not Seen."  So, we have these moments when we sense, pause and hear the echo of our souls longing for a home more glorious than this we have. Wanting to be Clothed in something non parishable, more than this latest fad.  Yes, We all want to touch, feel, smell, experience, this life God has called us to. But the cares of this world drown the sounds of the heaven from us. The things of this world numbs our touch of the world not seen; our eyes become weary of looking, but never seeing. Our ears become dull of listening without ever hearing. 
  "I want to see that." It forever echos in my walk of faith.

"These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had left, they would have had opportunity to return."

(Hebrews 11:13-15 ESV)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Releasing the Artists

  Ernest Hemingway where are you? JR Tolkenn, are you still writing? Michelangelo, show us God touching man. Van Gogh, give us another "Starry Night" to behold. Robert Frost,  give us a path less traveled.
For to long our schools have celebrated these people and their work, but we haven't allowed our kids to inspire to be them for "practical" reasons. Our churches have not celebrated them because of tradition. Our society doesn't value them because of monitary value, the lack there of. Our kids write, and we tell them that's nice.. Our kids paint us pictures and we hang them on the fridge and tell them to take their school work seriously. They join a theater group and we ask them when they are going to grow up.
 Yes in the church we are no different. Have we stopped to listen to their hearts? Have we helped free that which is inside of them? What is the fire in their soul?
"There may be a great fire in our Soul yet no one ever comes to Warm himself at it and the Passer-by see only a wisp of smoke comin through the chimney and go along their way." Vincent Van Gogh
Are we stopping by the fire of our kids' souls? Are we warming up to them?
Van Gogh's last words "the sadness will never go away", what is this sadness he speaks? I believe it's the loneliness, The sadness of expressing the unexpressible and no one knowing, hearing, no one stopping to see what is being told.
 Artists take their giftings from God. Van Gogh said, ""Christ is more of an artist than the artist, he works in the living spirit and the living flesh; He makes men instead of statues". Jesus drew our attention to the sower in the field, the birds of the air, flowers and lillies, the faces of the poor and widows.
  Let them paint their Sisten Chapel and have God touch man once more that we may see more clearly the colors of Creation. Let them write and read like the poets of old to express the pains and joys this life offers, and philosophers they are. Let them tell the tales of the heart and soul that grap our attention and tell us of things we have not yet seen.  Yes, let's warm by the fires of their souls. Let them Express the Unexpressible in our churches and give the Great Artist His Art Back in return.

Monday, December 12, 2011

You are More than you Know..

    I believe we are created for an Adventure, something more than we understand or know. In the book, The Hobbit, Gandalf tells Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit, “there is more to you than you know.” And so it is with us, we are this mixture of flesh and blood, but infused with this breath of Heaven. So we are at home in this earthen body, comfortable to climb into our hobbit holes and just exist; but there is something divine in us that craves adventure, something more. Yet we are all too often taught and pressured from those around us to suppress this “Call of the Wild” for something tamer, more manageable, more safe. We love reading the stories of adventure and risk, and we love to applaud those that go on these rare adventures, but we justify in our spirits that it’s only for a select few. We say, “I could never do that.” And so we climb back into our burrows and hunker down for a “normal”, “Safe” life like everyone else.

    Yet something awakens in us when we seek the Ancient Paths. When we awaken that which was breathed into us so long ago, that Breath of Heaven blows over the ambers of our hearts causing a fresh fire to light, and it is this fire if fanned will set ablaze our spirits and souls for something greater than ourselves. It requires Risk. It is not Safe.. It requires Faith, not security. It sees things as they could be and not as things are.
    See yourself as a Tree; our roots going down deep into the soil clinging to this earth in which it finds it’s security and stability, and As this tree grows so does its roots, digging ever deeper holding on to this world like there is no other. Yet, this same tree also grows upward, stretching out its branches in Every possible direction to reach the Heaven above as if something unseen is drawing it from the very core of this earth to risk the damaging winds, the violent storms, the cold of the winter night, and the furious heat of summer for something outside of itself. If the tree doesn’t branch out into the heavens it will never accomplish that which it was created for, to give shelter to others, provide shade for the hot, tired and worn. It offers its branches as a resting place for the birds of the air, animals to cling to for security to escape the dangers in the world, as well as nurishment for the hungry. For a tree to do this it must expose that which is weakest. It is that which is frailest that provides the greatest comfort. The blossom, the fruit, the leaves, all which add to the tree’s beauty is actually the weakest..and so it is with us. We stretch out for the unseen; Something in heaven that beacons us to come, and as our roots stay in the soil of this earth our branches reach out, and we expose that which is weakest so that God can use that to comfort those around us.
    Yes, there is more to you than you know. “You are beautifully and wonderfully made.” “And God made Man in His image and He Breathed into him the Breath of Life.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ordinary? A Bush, A Manger, or Swaddling Clothes.. Or Spirit Filled?

     I could read forever, but the thoughts and Ideas I have keep coming to mind and I feel if I don’t stop and write about them they could be lost forever; or sunk deep down waiting on the next surge to raise them from the depths of my Soul.
      We now embark on this journey towards Christmas, approaching quicker each day, a season focusing on the Birth of Jesus. I’ve been reading some from a book called Windows to the Soul, by Ken Gire. Today a thought came up and I don’t want to let it go; the thought that Jesus being born in a manger was not the first time Deity stepped into the most lowly of places, but an echo of the Great I AM that choose to clothe Himself in a Burning Bush. He could have shown himself as Mighty Angel, A thundering Voice that shook the mountains, or a Chariot of Fire coming out of heaven, but instead the GREAT I AM picks a shrubbery, A bush.. Why? They are so common in the area. But maybe that is why. Maybe He chooses those ordinary things to display His Glory. Nothing special about a bush, it’s just any old bush, but when God comes in to that bush a Miracle happens. Something that has never been seen before happens. Heaven comes into contact with earth, and humanity is touched. In touching one millions are effected. So it is with Christ coming to Earth, born of a Virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. Once again, Heaven comes into contact with earth, and Humanity is touched forever.. Millions are effected… Nothing special about the manger. The miracle happens when the Great I AM chooses to wrap Himself in Humanity and take on the likeness of Man. Something that has never been done before, or ever will.
     But wait…. What does this mean to me?  You see, we are that burning bush. We are the empty manger. We are the swaddling clothes. Now Christ comes into Humanity through us and this is the Miracle. Nothing special about each of us, just ordinary bushes in the desert of life living each day as we know how; BUT GOD then comes in, and we become that miracle. That Burning Bush. That typical empty manger now is housing the Son of God. Our Ordinary life is that which now wraps The Great I AM. “Know you Not that your Body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:19. “It’s no longer I who Live but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
    God loves to come into the ordinary, the down and out, the least of these I believe, because it is in our frailness and weakness that His strength can be seen the most. He isn’t looking for Perfect Vessels, He is looking for Yielded Vessels. Any Bush will do. Any manger will work. Any pair of swaddling clothes He can make do with. They just need to have room for him to come in.
    I Corinthians 1: 26-30 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus

Merry Christmas…

Friday, December 2, 2011

But God!!

 This is the Key God has been using with me this week to unlock those doors that seem locked and rusted shut.
  Have you ever had a dream that seemed impossible? Have you ever had a dream and had it die in front of you? Have you hoped for something so much that when it didn’t happen you felt like Giving up, that you just can’t go on? That you feel like your soul just died? I know I have. Even now I feel this pangs of this where I am in my life.

   David wrote in Psalms 143:7 “Answer me Quickly O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide your face from me, or I will be like those that go down into the Pit.”
   Or even Isaiah 63:19 “We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, Like those who were Not Called by Your Name.”
  I feel the truth of these verses. I am bruised. Crushed. I feel like I’m about to go down into the Pit. For who can Praise God in the Grave? How does being Buried in the ground or in despair glorify God? What is my life right now? Do those around me look at me and say, “He looks like those who were Not Called by God’s name”?
  So much fear. So much uncertainty. So many other options. What is God doing? What is He bringing about?  With all these fears, worries, and anxieties comes this "BUT GOD."  Romans 5:8 "But God Demonstrated His Love for us in while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." ... BUT GOD!! I know you have fears that cripple you. BUT GOD.. I know you drowning in anxiety and feels like you can't grasp your next breathe, BUT GOD.. You feel like quiting, you don't want to go on anymore.. BUT GOD..  How does this apply???
"BUT when the fullness of time had come, GOD sent forth his Son" Galatians 4:4.  "He (GOD) who did not spare His own Son, BUT delivered Him over for us all, how will He (GOD) not also with Him freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32
  We can't make it. We weren't meant to make it on our own. We were meant to make it with God. He sent His Son in to the world that we "might have life and have it more abundantly." Jesus said, "My Peace I give, not as the world gives." "I am the way, the truth, the Life." "Come to me all who are weak and heavy burdened and I will give you rest."  But God, took the cares of this world on his Shoulders. But God made a way for you financially. "My God shall supply all your needs according to His Riches in Glory." 
 Let me end with this. BUT God thought.. " No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Struggles that come with the Calling.. A collection of thoughts

  “If God wanted to use you to impact your world for Jesus Christ, what circumstances would have to be created in order for you to respond to His call? Would prospering you materially encourage you to this end? Would a major change in what you are presently doing be necessary? What would your response be should God and the angels conclude that the only way to move you into a position of fulfilling God's purposes was to remove some things that might be very dear to you? Would you agree with their plan if you knew this would be the only way you would achieve the purposes for which God made you? Hard questions, aren't they?” Os Hillman
  This is the very thing God does in many who have been called for a special mission. Joseph sold into slavery. Locked in prison, being falsely accused, and then forgotten about for years. Moses lost his position in the royal family and was sent to the desert for 40 years tending sheep. Paul a Jewish leader and fast rising star, gets knocked off his horse and goes blind. The disciples are called to leave their jobs and family to follow Jesus, not knowing where they were going or what they would be doing.. Imagine what kind of disruption this had on their lives. There are many examples of God bringing major upheaval in the lives of those He called for His purposes. Why?

“ The reason is that we do not seek God with a whole heart in times of prosperity and comfort. Prosperity and comfort tend to breed complacency and satisfaction. It is rare to find the man or woman who seeks God with a whole heart who does so simply from a grateful heart. We often must have pain or crisis to motivate us. Eventually, that crisis bridges us to a new calling, and we embrace that calling if we are open to the Holy Spirit's work in us. We can actually thank God for the change that was required to get us to this place, but it is not without anguish of heart.” Os Hillman

Author Ken Gire wrote in Windows to the Soul.
Help me, God,
To realize it is in being crippled that I learn to cling,
and in limping that I learn
to lean,
that victory comes not in how courageously I struggle
but in how completely I surrender,
and that this is how I am to grow,
by being defeated,
by constantly greater things.
Help me to understand that Your power is perfected in weakness,
so that when I am rendered weak,
You are given the opportunity to be shown strong.

  We Grow “by being defeated decisively, by constantly greater things.” So if we are experiencing a lot of loss, A lot of Crippling defeats, it is because God is doing a work in us to bring about a death to ourselves so that the Life of Christ will be manifested in us. “For it is God who is at work in us both to will and to work for His good Will.”
  Are you wanting Miracles? Do you want more of God? Or does God want more of you even if you aren’t seeking him? Sometimes we don’t have a choice in this. For it’s His plan, not ours. Sometimes we are in the way and he has to strip us of everything.. How do you teach others to lean if you aren’t leaning? How do you comfort others if you never need comforting? How are you going to show what surrender looks like in your life, if you never have to fully surrender? How are you going to tell people to walk by faith if you have everything worked out and planned? “If anyone wishes to come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. If anyone wishes to save his life he will lose it. If anyone losses his life for My sake will save it.”

Friday, November 25, 2011

You were Born for This..

  I, like so many, struggle with Purpose. When I talk about purpose I'm talking about the God Dream inside of you; that which is deep down that surfaces as certain times and brings that smile across your face. It gives you energy and passion when you think about it. It brings a Hope. Life.  But then you shove it down, bury it deep, because you see no way of that coming to pass. Not just yourself doubts come,  you have all the people doubting you as well.  "You can't." "No way." "That's Crazy!" "Impossible!" "Where are you going get the money?"
  Deep down there is a hurting and a struggle, for you know what's on the inside of you that no one else does.  We struggle with an inner battle, Why would God plant this seed in you when He wouldn't make a way possible to do it? Is He such a cruel person to give you dreams that can't be accomplished?  Does He delight in seeing us fail?
 "For I know the PLANS I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future." Jeremiah 29:11 
   So Why do I feel like I'm fighting against God to fullfill that which is in me?
  See, My dream is to preach, teach, motivate, and to speak life into people. But no one is knocking on my door, or calling me to come preach. Not only do I have people doubting me, but I have all my surroundings shouting at me that this Can't Be Done.. I want to quit. I want to give up. But I also know that in doing so it doesn't take away the pain in the Soul. As Paul wrote, " for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" Jeremiah also wrote in chapter 20, when he was doing what God had called him to do, he was beaten and locked up in stocks, he just let out his complaint to God in Vs 7 "You deceived me. You over come me and prevailed, I have become a laughting stock, everyone mocks me."  And when he wanted to stop and quit, what happens, VS 9 " but if I say, "I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name, Then in My Heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones, I become weary of holding it in and cannot endure it."
  Have you ever felt like that with your Dream?  I know I have, and am now. I just can't sit here and let another day pass. I can't just wait for something to happen. I have to DO Something. My own Soul depends on it. Not only that but there are people waiting for us to Fullfill that which God has put into us. For when we do, they will be released to do that which is in them. It's a snowball effect. People are waiting for us to be that which we are made to be. They are bound by fear, other people, circumstances of life, needing to know that there is a better way, A Way Out..  Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has Anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind and heal the broken hearted, to Proclaim liberty to the captives and Set Free them that our bound." 
  Go forth and be that which you were meant to be.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kingdoms and Castles

 Are you Building a Kingdom or Castle?? What a great thought. I was in a conference not to long ago and we had this discussion in a break out session. It was so moving, and as I have been typing out the notes from that converience I wanted to share what has moved me.
  We all want to live in the Castle. That's where it's safe. That's where the Rulers Live. That's where everything is easy because you have people doing stuff for you. Here is a few things I have jotted down about Castles.
Castles:  1.) Are Strong holds  2.)  where the ruler of that land stays  3.) where the Ruler is served by others  4.) The Ruler determines who can come in to the castle and who can leave  5.) Castles have Barriers to keep certain people away 6.) Castles don’t move.  7.) You make the Castle nice and decorate it for the benefit of those in it  (Come up with as many more as you can and share..)
   But the people live in the Kingdom move about the country.. Kingdoms - 1.) Kingdom expands over a wide territory  2.) The Nature of a Kingdom is to convert that land into the Mother Land  - Change and influence that group to be like the Mother land   3.) Unlike Castles, Kingdoms affect everything outside the walls. 4.) Establish rules of the mother land,  5.) Brings things of the mother land into that culture
   I love this thought.. Now compare churches as Castles and the Kingdom as the Kingdom of God. Churches have become like Castles.. Jesus didn't tell us he gave us the keys to the Castle but the Keys to the Kingdom. He said "Thy Kingdom come.. on Earth as it is in Heaven." He called us "Kings, and Priests." "Royal Priesthood." and "Ambassadors".  So as Ambassadors we are to bring the Kingdom of God to our Culture. We are suppose to change our world to the imagine of our Mother Land. As Ambassadors are we representing Christ in establishing His order around us, or are we trying to play it safe in the Castle and be served?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Walking by Faith, feeling it's by Stupidity

In Walking by faith,  I left my job in February, not knowing what all I would do, but believing that  I was called to the youth here in Decatur, TX. What has become of this?? I find my self without a Church, and with out a Ministry now. Having stepped down due to the leading of the Lord, and wishing for the betterment of my own family. So now I am here, no career, no clear direction, struggling as a man for my idenity. My concern is, (A) am I doing right for my kids now, and (B) how have I left the youth I have been ministering to?  Clearly we walk by faith, so I have left with out knowing.. And in not knowing, The Still Small Voice echos that "this is the way walk ye in it." But everything in the world SHOUTS, "You're an Idiot, a Looser and a Failure."
  So in my reading today, I stopped, and began to prayed. I asked God to bless my sons. That a door would open for them. That a way would be made for them to use their hearts desire and giftings for the Kingdom, and that I would not cause them harm by not being able to afford to give them stuff this year or really provide for them as I have in the past. Also, to help us financially during this time of change.
  After that, and writing in my Journel, I started Reading in a obscure page in the bible, as I wasn't normally reading in Psalms, but the Bible was opened to it, and I started reading in the middle to the end starting with Psalms 37:19 And what happened next seemed like God spoke directly to me.. "The days of famine they will have abundance." Didn't I just pray for my kids because I couldn't meet their desires? Didn't I just pray because I don't know how I will provide?
Then Vs 23: "The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in His way." Wasn't I asking God to open a door for my kids to use their gifts, to make a way for them to follow Him?
Vs 24: "When he falls he will not be hurled head long, because the Lord holds his hand." The lord is going to watch over my kids for me? Really?? Are you now speaking this plainly to me?
Vs 25: "I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread." Wasn't I just questioning everything before I started reading??? How will I provide for them?  How will I take care of my family? ??
  Psalms 42:5" Why are you down cast O my soul, why are you disturbed with in me?  HOPE in God for I will yet praise him for the help of his presence." 
  Yes, God does speak. Yes God is real. Yes He does use His Word to speak to us. Yes, "He is faithful who has made the Promise, He will also Bring it to PASS."
 Trust.. Rely on.. Be Confident in. Be Assured. Rest on.. And Know that He is God.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Love of the Father..

Someone sent me a Quote the Other day.. "The world has it backwards, Things are to be use and People are to be loved."   Then last night at Church the scripture that came up was 1John 2:15-16 " Do not Love the world or things of the world, for if anyone loves the world the Love of the Father is not in him. 16For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world."
  And it dawned on me.. What is the Love of the Father???? The love of the Father, God, is the Lost. The People.. "For God so LOVED the World, He gave his only begotten Son that who so ever believes in him shall not perish." Jesus said, "I didn't come to call the righteous but the sinners" Luke 5:32 . The greatest commandment is ," You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart Mind and soul, and You shall love thy neighbor as thy self."  WOW.. The love of the father is towards people. Not Items, possessions, cars, houses, money, fame, or anything else.. So if you love or pursue anything other than the care and welfare of the people, particularly the Lost and the poor, the Love of the Father is not in you.  
  People are the greatest things on earth. They are to be loved, things as in possessions and items are to be used to promote the Love God has for his people. Anything else is sin. This world flashes everything out at us, for what? For the purpose of drawing us away from the Father heart of God, "Seeking to save that which is lost." Luke 19:10  Thats why Jesus said, "Store up your Treasures in Heaven not  on the earth." What Treasures are in Heaven?????? PEOPLE.. Its all about People. So where is your Heart? Where is your Treasure? Do you have the love of the Father?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hope - An Anchor to our Souls

Romans 5:2 "We exult in hope of the Glory of God" and Verse 5 "Hope does not disappoint for the love of God has been poured out with in our hearts through the Holy Spirit."
What is this hope? A Wishful thinking? "Oh, I wish for a million dollars." No, hope is translated as Expectation, Trust, a Confidence, an expecting..
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast " Hebrews 6:19
This shows that hope is not like the world's hope but that which is sure and steadfast. Unmovable. Reliable. Trustworthy. The word of God is filled with "his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature" 2 Peter 1:4
How we live and how we talk reveals in us and the world around us how we view God and His word.. Do we Expect God to Act? Do we Trust that He will deliver? Do we have confidence in his Love that He will not fail us? The world sees hopelessness. At Best the world wishes.. But as for us we know. We Believe. We Trust. We Expect. We have Confidence.. "Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the World." "I will never leave you nor forsake you." or "Peace I leave you, My peace I give you, not as the world gives." "And their Faces shall Never be Ashamed."
As Psalms 42:5 "5Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6my God."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Passion, Deep Passion

Passion, fervor, fire, or zeal.. These nouns denote powerful, intense emotion. Passion is a deep, overwhelming emotion. It was said of Jesus in the Old Testiment, " Zeal for my house has consumed me." I sometimes find myself not so zealous, or passionate about my Father's house or even better, his Kingdom. For I know, ""'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?"
Jesus was so passionate about that which represented His Father, and what are we passionate about? Sports, our big game of the week? Our Tv Shows? Our kids activities??? But Jesus had one Passion.. His Father's Business.. So now we have been given this Mission.. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Now, how are we comparing to the example set before us?
Does our compassion, zeal, fervor, fire, or Passion look like Jesus'? "As you have received Christ Jesus, so walk in him." Our walk, our talk, our passion should be that of the things of God. Our Zeal should be to make him known. Our Love should be to make his love real to others.
Our talk should be that of His greatness and power.. It should consume us..