Mission not possible

I’ve been rethinking much of the church…

Frankly I’m already tired of the negative aspect of it…the basic premise that it is not working should be obvious to anyone who is honest, and if you are not honest you are probably a large part of the current empire system we call church, sorry to be so blunt.

There are pockets where it does work, there are a handful (at best) of communities where the church is making a significant impact for good, but even there the measurable metric is not the driving factor in the community…not yet anyway.

I’m not suggesting that church in itself is not good, just that its impact on the local level is probably a zero sum equation, it does some good for some people, but by that fact alone it probably alienates and has unintended consequences that affect just as many others in a negative way.

I can give you specifics but its probably a dialogue we aren’t exactly ready for yet.

What I do notice is the incredible pressure we put on pastors who have genuine shepherds hearts but truly lack the wiring for the assignment we need most…its a bit unfair and a lot like asking Florence Nightingale to organize the D-Day invasion, it horrifies her sensibilities and guarantee’s her strategy will do more harm than good…

And that is exactly the metaphor we need at this moment…your mission in God is a suicide mission but the kingdom cannot accomplish the victory already purchased without your participation…its D-day…

The language of Jesus and the early Apostolic church completely supports this model, it is one of being sent into a hostile environment, with not promise you will survive, only that you will win, language like “they loved not their loves unto death”, overcoming in the New Testament is not about over-powering, its about sacrifice and the blood of martyrs and selling all and going…

Its a suicide mission that guarantees life…

Jesus demonstrated it, the Apostles demonstrated it, Paul told Timothy to prepare for it, Revelation is full of it and we have to embrace it if we want to reach our destiny in God.

Shepherds cannot lead that charge…it goes against their very nature to comfort and sustain green pasture like stillness for the flock…and yet these are the ones we have put in charge of the invasion…that’s really not a good strategy and definitely not the Biblical model.

What if to reach your dream, your assignment in God it would require you to sell all you have, give it away and just go in faith to another place? 

Do you really think a local pastor is going to be able to sign off on that? Of course not, the system requires your presence and tithe to keep the rest of the flock safe and secure, but the idea that we are called to lay down our lives and obey regardless of the cost is certainly not alien to the teaching of Jesus or the Apostolic mission….actually both pretty much require it…

This is where the comments will filter in about being “to heavenly minded to be any earthly good” and about living in “balance” both concepts not found in the New Testament…whats balanced or “practical” about turning over money changers tables and calling for more prayer, or preaching until a riot ensues and you get thrown in jail?

My point is this, you are never going to be satisfied until you give your all to your mission in God whatever that is for you, and it is NOT your Pastors job to guide you, sustain you, or arm you for the battle, his primary job is to comfort you, let you rest and recover, and provide a safe place for you to heal…beyond that the local pastor is primarily just a nurse in a hospital away from the battle, except for a few who are sort of like M.A.S.H. units in the heat of it.

SO you should stop expecting them to help you reach your dreams…if they are God dreams they will require everything you are and a pastor cannot require that, it perverts the call…

So lets stop placing this kind of expectation on the typical Sunday church Pastoral model…it is simply NOT going to happen and the primary proof of this is sitting in the pew with the unfulfilled assignment every week…if our model of pastoral culture could have accomplished the Mission of Jesus (and how your mission coincides with that) then we would be there by now because this model is at least several hundred years old.

Stop looking for the answer there, you are not going to find it.

This brings up an entirely difficult discussion about what in the fatal fires ARE we doing, since we don’t seem to be advancing the Kingdom Mission, but that would require us leaving our safe and comfortable hospital pews and actually looking at the battle plans…

Selah.

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The Royal Parade of Destiny

Just had an intense dream, one of those dreams you slowly wake from as the details fall into your mind:

In my dream there was this incredible Parade of all Gods kids dressed in Royal robes and lined up, it was simply Glorious…all kinds of Gods kids, young and old marching and dancing in gowns and armor, covered in Jewels and Crowns and carrying banners…(The banners were always the names or shapes of nations and cultures)

Some were playing “instruments of righteousness” which were on some of them their own hands and body parts that had been transformed to musical devices that were making the most amazing and captivating sounds…those who listened to these instruments were immediately transformed and some were actually caught up to heaven to have an experiences at the Throne.

Every person in the Parade was singing their own song, but it was the “Song of the Lamb”…made specific by their voice.

Everyone in the Parade was a Royal Son, or Daughter…regardless of their age they had a sense of regal bearing about them and each one of them walked like Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” in the Ascot Gavotte scene but instead of big hats with feathers and decorations each person was walking with the Dove of the Holy Spirit on their head…walking in such an awareness as to not disturb His Presence…some were literally bent back as His Presence was so weighty,,,,

The Parade led through a poverty stricken portion of the earth…it was on the outskirts of the city of God, but the road went straight to the Palace from poverty…and that was a big part of the purpose of the Parade, it was to draw the poor, the lame, the rejected and broken into it’s ranks and as it did, the children became Kings and Queens simply by imitating the behavior of the Regal ones…it was incredible to watch as poverty stricken and hungry people dropped their trash and empty cups to join the Parade, as soon as they did their feet became clean and from there they became outfitted in Royal garments…and it all happened as they simply pretended to be what they were on the inside…but this was not pretense…it was “pre-tense” meaning they were walking out the reality in spite of the tension…because this was a destiny given them before they joined in the Parade…

But this is where the dream shifted…some of the children (everyone was a child from the greatest to the least) began to throw rocks at others in the Parade…and some began to spew what looked like paint basically vomiting it on the backs of others in the Parade…but the saddest part was when they threw rocks at the poor kids to drive them away from the Parade.

Many of the rocks had names written on them and there was a LOT of rocks with the word “Doctrine” on them these rocks came from the side of the road, these were very “hard stones”, some of the rocks even had the name “jesus” on them these were the rocks thrown at the other poor kids to drive them away (what was sad was everyone at one time was a poor slave child).

Some rocks had the names of sin on them, like “homosexual” and “wine-bibber”…some of the rocks had “rejection” on them and those rocks came from inside the person throwing them…the vomit/paint was always behind the backs…spewed over coffee or tea or pillows…some pillows like in a living room, but most were sleeping pillows that were made not of feathers but a bag of rocks and I knew these had been keeping them from sleeping they were so uncomfortable…

Some of the rocks had more than one word, and most of those rocks had gold paint on them that said “my truth”…and these rocks were always aimed at certain people in the Parade…the other rocks were thrown quite random, and it was because someone had stepped out of line or in front the person so they reacted…

As soon as the people began to affect others in the Parade, either by the vomit/paint (which was like whitewash but wasn’t white it was more like “grey-out”) or by the intensity of the rocks thrown…God would reach down and pull that child/person out of the Parade and put them in a fence in school yard…where their garments and demeanor would begin to get smaller…the problem was the person still felt just as regal but it was obvious this was a “time-out” recess kind of place with a chain link fence…

From there they could still see the Parade…and the Parade continued without them…they stopped growing immediately when they were placed in time-out…although many of them had books, and were worshiping and even having church services every week…lots and lots of church services were going on in the recess yard…and God would come and sit in on the “service” and when they were done He always said “There’s more would you like to see?” and always the kid would agree and say “I know but its not time”…and the Father would get up and say “Ok” and walk away…

The time-out had lots of wood chips on the ground to make it safe, like you often see in school yards and parks but the chips also made it uncomfortable because they gave off splinters, what was odd is I could tell the wood chips had once been bread.

As each child would get a splinter they would cry out to God who would sit down with them and remove the splinter and He always asked them “Are you ready to get out of time-out?”…almost none of them did even though I could see they were getting healed at times…some were even healed of cancer and when I asked Him about it (because my brother died of cancer it made me upset) He said “I rain on the just and the unjust, your brother was just and did not die of cancer, only his body did”.

There were some kids in the time-out that decided to have their own Parade…and while they were children inside on the outside they looked like old women…(a few were old men)…it was incredibly heart-breaking to see because from outside the fence when you looked in you could see a beautiful and stunning Royal Bride…but inside the fence it was an old and frumpy, run down woman who was so caught up in her own Parade that she had shut out the real one…and each one of these Brides was alone and did not care because she kept saying “Well at least I have my children with me” and she pretended to have dolls in her arms even though she was alone in her place, the dolls in her imagination were always people who had joined the Parade for real because of her, but she only had a a sad little doll of a poor person and no longer could even see the Regal and Royal person in the real Parade.

Some of the time-out kids simply curled up and went to sleep…these children made the Father weep….and the phrase “Weeping and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness” came to mind when I saw Him cry…

On the outside of the fence were these demonic “bullies”…who would pester and create fear in some of the kids in time-out…they would say things like “If God loved me why did He let this happen to me?” or “If you love me then I know it will all work out in the end”…but all of the bullies had one thing in common and that was they blamed God and made the child doubt His goodness…some said things like “There is no Parade, that is for another time”…even though the children could clearly see the Parade through the fence…

Some of the kids in this time-out area were intently praying in tongues…some were fasting and these kids seemed to go back to being poor again…thinking that if they humbled themselves they could get out of time out…and that’s when I noticed each one of the kids was wearing a sash around their waist…I had not noticed it before…but each child as they were placed into time-out was given an Angel who tied a sash around their waist that had a key on it….it was the key to get out of time out and it was always a small replica of the person they had thrown the rocks at or vomited on…

Some kids had many keys, but each key was a different person…and the people in there the longest had the most keys of anyone…

It was obvious…I did not even have to ask…each person was in time-out because of unforgiveness…and each person had the key (attached to a very powerful Angel) that would immediately get them back into the Parade of their Destiny…and when they did the keys were then placed on their shoulders, it was an authority to help others get out. They would see rocks being thrown or vomit being spewn and would run over to help the kids in the Parade by showing them the keys on their shoulders, many fights were stopped this way.

I saw several children watch through the fence as windows would pass before them these were “Opportunities of a Lifetime” and each window was a different path to the same destiny the Bride had been born for…as the windows passed from right to left…they slowly closed and locked…many refused to look at the windows…but the windows were inside them…what they saw pass on the outside were simply moments in time that were opportunities…some turned away crying…but they could not ignore the windows because they came from inside the person and it was their Destiny…

I watched as one girl looked intently at a window…in it she was performing miracles and restoring poor children in Haiti…she turned to the Father and said “I want to go, I want to go”…He said “You are the only one with a key, I cannot help you”

So looking at her sash she held up the key and said “But I love this person”…hesitating to give Father the key…I realized she did love it but it was a warped kind of love…it was a love of addiction, not a love from the Father…He said “You cannot love them from you its the wrong kind of love”…finally she reluctantly turned it over to the Father and He signaled the Angel, who became excited to get her back into the Parade of her destiny…both she and the Angel began to laugh as little pieces began to fall into place that made a bridge right over into another world but back into the Parade and she was on a beach in Haiti dancing with children leading them to the Parade.

This is where the dream got uncomfortable…the Parade of Destiny continued with many being added to it…it was always a “New Day” for the Parade…however for the kids in the time-out playground….it began to turn to dusk…and I knew evening was coming…it would be dark soon…and they would be left in the dark in time-out…the windows would stop coming by…Father could not get them out if they chose the darkness…and the Angels were also affected but eventually reassigned…

When I woke up I felt the Lord say to me “Unforgiveness is the only thing that can kill your destiny once you join in the Parade”.

That’s when I remembered seeing only one person throw away the crown and chase away the dove…and I knew he had “blasphemed” the Holy Spirit…(which was truly kind of confusing after hearing what He said)…the Dove flew out into a field of white…

That’s when I realized a part of the dream I had not remembered…these fields of white…they were millions and millions of poor people all around the Parade of Destiny…and what was making them white was the Dove of the Holy Spirit settling upon their heads and making them look up…literally millions of souls were being affected by this “Hovering” it was a white light that the Holy Spirit as a Dove would come and “light” upon these poor slave children…as soon as He did they would lift up their heads (He was actually pulling their heads up as He touched them…the fluttering was to draw their gaze up)…it was the Dove that was making them white…

When the Dove caused them to look up, they could hear the sound of the instruments of righteousness and the song of the lamb being sung and many were responding…and as they responded, they saw the King in the Parade and were transformed…

I knew that this was the next revival, the next great awakening…many of the “white fields” were in the shape of Muslim countries…

“The fields are already white”…said a voice…and they were…

The dream was very sobering…and made me realize the power of unforgiveness…but as I think abut all the metaphors in the dream there is a lot of hope there as well…

I got up and asked Him to search my heart…and show me any keys where I said I loved people but it was not His love but something warped instead…

There are some parts of this dream that do not make sense to me yet…especially the part about throwing stones in judgment to keep the poor kids away as being unforgiveness…that seems like it is more of a system than a posture but I might need to redefine what unforgiveness really is…maybe ts the sign of Jonah with the sin of Jonah attached…


Selah…seriously Selah…

The dream reminds me of this song I recently heard:



I think Jesus wants His Bride back…

For a thousand years

I had a dream almost 30 years ago, and my oldest daughter had one as well that drastically reshaped my approach to parenting and teaching my kids…

One Sunday as I was preparing for church Leahbeth had gotten up quite early and was sitting on the couch as I passed through…she said “Daddy did you know Jesus has a white horse?”

I said “Yes, I did know that” and walked into the kitchen…as I poured a cup of coffee it dawned on me that I did know, but how did she know?

So I went back into the living room and asked her “Baby, how did you know Jesus has a white horse?”…

She said “I saw it last night when I slept…He was riding it up in the sky and fire came out of His mouth and burned up all the evil people”…

I was quite stunned, she was three and we had never mentioned anything like this to her and pretty much knew she had never heard it before…

A year or so later I had a dream…in my dream I was very old…so old I was kind of confused and mentally not as sharp, but Leahbeth and her family were taking me to church…we went to this small little church and she said “Dad we are going to worship the Lord, so come down to the front like you always do…”

I went down to the front and as we all began to worship the Lord, the level of our intimacy drew heaven until Jesus could not be held back any longer and came to His bride because of the intimacy of life and worship…

I haven’t really modified much of my eschatology because of the dreams, that is always a work in progress and I had pretty much abandoned any dogmatic posture when I met Barney Combs in 1978 and he dismantled my doctrine…

But what challenged me most was that in both dreams there was a very clear and unmistakable connection to the future and she was only 3 at the time…

I realized then that if I wanted to insure my walk with the Lord until the end, (whatever that might mean) then I needed to pour into my kids a model of following Jesus that would guarantee my own development once I crossed that thresh hold of being the guy in charge…it meant developing a model of relationship that would work when my own ability to relate might be impaired…

I think every parent wants their kids to be successful, but its a little harder to trust your own success to a generation that follows you…that is a completely different metric…but it is the Biblical model.

I’m not talking about the “survival success”, you know the easy sort of excuse we can make when we say “Well we didn’t lose any, they are all serving the Lord, etc…”

That’s not success…that’s surviving…success is “Greater works than these…”

Its the difference between a 2nd generation CEO and his fathers company…most businesses where the son takes over never really do much more than what the son inherited…the exceptions are few and far between…

I discovered almost 30 years ago that my future success would depend upon my current ability to teach and model an intimacy that would transcend the generations…so I stopped hiding my failures…I stopped hiding my insecurities…I let them in on the world of my doubts, and I gave them the authority to correct me without fear…

As I have engaged a certain “dismantling” of my models lately…rediscovering the desert and a need for intimacy that goes beyond my need for legitimacy…my kids have all kind of told me…

“We told you so…” 

And sure enough most of what I am encountering now was prophesied, encrypted and painted in conversations I have had with them over the last few years…they were mostly here already…wondering why it took me so long…

It scares the heck out of me, but gives me peace as well…its a little like accidentally winning the gold medal in archery…you know you missed it…but somehow grace moved the target to be right where your arrow would land…

TIME-OUT

I spent a few days at Courtney and Josh’s while he was in Germany and of course was enriched by hanging with Rebekkah and Cyrus…(Grandkids #6 & #8)


One morning I got up and turned on the coffee pot and sat down, RockyJo (Rebekkahs nickname) said in a delightful perky voice :


“Grammu I maypor choiz”…I looked over at Courtney who is fluent in the RockyJo dialect and she said:


“She said -‘Grampy I made a poor choice'”…and then she told me how Bekka had started out breakfast on the  new kids table in the game room, but part way through the meal had decided to stand on top of the table and was promptly informed of the bad choice consequence which confined the rest of the meal to the high security high chair in the dining room…


She had made a bad choice and at two years of age was ok with the consequences and frankly didn’t seem to be to bothered by it.


I watched as all day long she made choices neither her mom or I could understand…she was confined to time out for not picking up her toys, after and very distinct decision was offered and agreed upon between herself and her mom…


“I go time out”…


“A spanking…”


Courtney was very clear in letting Bekka know these were her decisions, and bringing her to a specific point of ownership for each one of them…and then not hesitating in bringing the consequence…


The Bible says somewhere that because punishment is delayed iniquity increases…but in this case it was just a day of bad decisions…all day…


I was impressed with both the consistency of Courtney who was unmoved by the incredible cuteness of a tiny little girl smart as a whip, and then also the determined and unfazed ownership that the two-year old exhibited in each consequence…


It was clear she knew exactly what she was doing and was fine with it, while her mother and I seemed to be more concerned about her limited options than she was…


Sometimes…apparently…you just have to reach out and take the fruit of the tree knowing full well that bad consequences are coming down like a monsoon flash flood…


We have all been there to some degree…there is always a residue of the MOM voice of God inside us asking “Do you want to obey or do you want time out?”…and then we sit in time out watching our freedom evaporate…


I think the biggest casualty in the equation is our time…


The days we have spent in some sort of divine time out (prisons of our own design) are not normally days we  get back…


Time records it and moves on…


So there is this ongoing record of sin and bad choices…


But the good news is it is limited to time…


It IS a record…that someday God will roll up like a scroll and the record of sin will no longer be available for any to read, see or remember…


Sometimes…I think that is one of the primary purposes of time…to put a boundary and a limit on this disease we call sin…


So one day…God will take all of our “time-outs” and remove the record and the time out itself…


Seems like a good plan and should give us hope…especially on days we spend making poor choices right from breakfast til bedtime…


Selah.