Awareness

Simba

Drifting a bit from the topic I’ve been tracking but still there to a degree…some of the things I want to explore here will remain un-reconciled…I give myself permission to change my views as I grow.

Begin

Lately I have landed on the verses that speak of the completed work of Christ, often before the foundation of the world, there are plenty of them and much of the time we have gotten  lost in debates about predestination and Calvinism, rather than explore the conceptual largeness of what these verses might imply…and this seems to be a problem of human nature in general, often we fail to see where the wonder can take us because we are intent on understanding before we go…probably due to eating from the wrong tree we no longer are quick to take the adventure path like children.

Yesterday I over-heard a conversation between 4 year Michaela and 2 1/2 year old Asher…he asked her if she wanted to fight (play obviously, at least I hope), her response was both sincere and profound:

“I just a kid I don’t fight people I just love people”

It makes sense in context of becoming like little children at least in order to even see the kingdom.

Where we begin has a lot to do with where we will end up…if you are trying to find your place in a symphony it helps to know what page everyone else is playing on…this of course is where most of us develop our awareness…it something Rene Girard will call “mimetec desire” and can be seen in children at play…when child B comes into the room the first thing they will notice is child A, the second thing they will notice is the toy closest to child A or the one they are playing with and suddenly what could have been a peaceful playroom erupts into a war over something child A probably could not have cared about until it was desired by child B.

The Big 10 will address this in the last commandment…”Don’t even desire stuff your neighbor has”…but this mimetic desire goes further than simply desiring things others want, in part because I believe we have disconnected with the true source we were meant to reflect, God, and because of that we are constantly trying to reflect whatever is most appealing or popular.

“Culture of Honor”, “Royalty”, “Revivalist”, “Dream Culture”, even “Wilderness” “Missional”…these are the most current mimetic desire banners and I wholly embrace them all without hesitation…

However…by following the popular hot words, we often (and by “we” I mean me), find ourselves distracted from the personal journey that could be unique to who we are in God.

Placement

I’ve been thinking a lot about placement…where am I? This question has invaded my world like the voice of God calling out to Adam, “Where you be Bro?”…some of it is the result of disconnect from traditional sources of “mimetic desire” the Pastoral team I was on, the assignment of leading worship for more than a decade, the love I had and have of that engagement, especially in terms of my identity as a psalmist, songwriter and lover of Gods Presence, in corporate and other settings.

As I go to scripture, and more importantly as I go to the Lord, He is directing me to a place in Him that I was assigned before the creation of this whole lopsided mess we call life.

Apparently God see’s me in Jesus long before I lose me in Adam…and you can only “lose” something that belongs…no one loses a “wild animal”, only something that has become a prized possession can truly be lost…and to the point WE have GPS technology that can find cars and phones…what kind of God could ever lose anything in a world He made, unless it is simply lost in its own awareness?

So many verses talk about being “In Him”, having “All truth”, and even when Pete writes in 2 Peter 1:16-21 I will find scripture, and prophetic input serving as simply “flash-lights” until the real light dawns INSIDE my heart…so frankly where I am geographically, or politically, or evangelically, or culturally seem to have almost no relevance once the light shines up inside me.

There is a place I am to occupy, that somehow I already occupy and should remain…almost as if Brother Lawrence was right or something.

Repentance

I gotta talk about repentance for a minute…it is something that has saved me and beat me up as well…recently some of my historical studies of how we got what we got when we got it, has turned up some rather significant understandings of this word in my experience and the church culture at large.

I have lept into a practice of repentance since leaving my last institutional church, primarily because I hate pain, I hate experiencing it, but more I hate causing it…and being a bit of a wild olive branch grafted in I tend to say and do things that in a domestic environment can be harmful, especially when I am passionate…which is about 99% of the time. So I’ve spent about a year repenting of my sins, the sins of my fathers, my generational sin, taking cues from Paul Cox and Arthur Burk doing my best to clean up historical/land/time/generational trauma that would help me create a train wreck…which I did.

But lately (here comes the big but, everybody has one)…as I delve into the actual meaning of the word, the Greek, and look at the history of my current understanding of its usage I have discovered that the Latin Vulgate crowd, King Jimmy and close to a 1000 years or more of empire based definitions have colored what perhaps is a much simpler word than we have made it.

The current version “repentance” basically tells us to make penance again…which is completely unlike the “meta-nou” word used in the New testament…I have even heard very popular and powerful prophetic people use the word to say “Re-go back to: Pent, the penthouse, the highest thought”…which can kind of get us there but is still not the Greek…

The idea of penance, and even doing penance again has roots in an Empire system of thinking that places all the energy and effort on us and kind of flies in the way Jesus would often use the word…and this “re-penance” has bought and paid for more than one or two Cathedrals in the world…it has bought and paid for entire ministry machines and systems of control…it feeds on guilt and shame and leaves us hungry for a world yet to come…creating and feeding even more “distance and delay” than we had before we started.

The Greek really means to “think it over again, with a new mind, or new thinking”…

So really if I use the word the way the Greek uses the word, it will mean that I am to have a completely different thought than the one I have been having…and as I trace to the design of this, it ends up on the idea that I am to think the way God thinks, which is so much higher than the way I think…in other words the thoughts I am to have about Mark Pixley, should be the exact same thoughts that God has of Mark Pixley…and this is a bit harder than it looks since as I go to the Bible to see what God thinks, He somehow thinks He has placed me far above all powers and principalities, in heavenly places, filled with the fullness of Christ (who was filled with the fullness of God)…what?

Say that again?

I am complete in Christ, I have all truth, I have need of no one teach me, I am seated far above, I am one with Him as He is one with the Father, I am included and sanctified and filled with love and all things are mine?

You almost want to cuss right here…it seems to big.

But apparently that is what God thinks…someone want to argue with Him?

Awareness

I recently posted that the only difference between you and Jesus was He knows his exact place in the Father and you (we) don’t…that’s it…and if like 2 Cor. says, you have died with Him, and have been raised with Him, then you are currently in the same place of favor and honor and revival, and royalty and mission that He is in.

The only thing hanging you up is your awareness of it.

That means your awareness might be the the bottle-neck…ya think?

What if the only difference between the me that causes train-wrecks and the me that loves like Jesus is an awareness of where I am?

What if the only difference between me wallowing in doubt, and me boldly declaring Gods purpose in love is an awareness of a reality not visible, but perhaps revealed in mystic prayer?

What if everything He said to you is real? Whadda you gonna do with that?

When I repent, I don’t generally find God all that interested in talking about something that He said was “finished”…He seems intent on talking about my righteousness, the ability to stand with Him as an equal…I know that’s hard to swallow, but for crying out loud why do we think He created us, so He can show off to dumb powerless peons?

ALL of the disciples healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, and cast out demons even the one who was stealing money from the offering plate…this was BEFORE he breathed on them after the resurrection and did what God did in Garden #1…breathed the breathe of God into a man and he became something…something capable of sharing in His creation and hanging out in the cool of the day to talk shop…

Remember the Jews, the ones who got really pissed off because Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic that was lowered down? Remember what they said?

“Only God can forgive sins”

Basic Hebraic first century thinking…and then Jesus does the unthinkable…he tells these disciples he has just breathed on: “Whoever sins you forgive are forgiven, whoever sins you retain are retained”

What kind of deal is this?, its almost like He wants us equal to Him or something…

I think He wants fellowship…that means creating something that can share and enjoy and appreciate the same things…which means we are much more than we are aware of.

No plan B

Last night I had one of those epiphany moments where the Lord spoke to me and said “Mark there is no plan B, because Plan A is perfect”…that means that nothing I do can derail His purpose, if it does anything at all it simply delays it a bit and makes me frustrated in the process, but even that serves Him…

So like Simba in the picture above, everything changes when my awareness changes, but truthfully that’s the only thing that needs to change…when I see the image of my Father reflected in me then I can do the things He does…

This has great significance in the areas of faith and prayer and hope…I am only responsible to be aware of what He is doing…even in issues of sin and train wrecks…if I simply adjust my way of thinking to His way of thinking the entire thing begins to take on a different metric…because there is no plan B, only a perfect plan A to make me like Him.

Of course this raises more questions than it answers…which seems to be what an encounter with Him always does…your mileage may vary.

The Church of the future…

My last post brought some questions to the surface regarding Gods justice and the assignment we find the community of the saints gathered around.

So in this post rather than get to deeply into the history and models of this stuff I want to take a general crack at it and stir up some popular notions maybe cloud the waters even more…

I have come to the conclusion that any church that creates a “vision statement”  has essentially given themselves a “sell-by-date” because vision statements are not for living organisms they are for man made constructs such as businesses and clubs.

Do I believe that a church should have a vision? Probably not. But that’s a different discussion altogether than the one I want to suggest today.

So without a vision statement the people perish…or something to that effect, but what does the church of tomorrow look like?

Well we probably need to define some things first…

I want to look at two words we use and abuse and seldom look at very closely…”church”and “religion”…

When we say “church” it is generally going to fall into one of two categories, either a local section or fellowship that we have connection to, or something universal that we can throw words at.

I often find myself throwing words towards the church at large and its a habit I am trying to break because more often than not it generalizes things into categorical perspectives that probably do very little good.

And as far as a local fellowship that I might belong to…well I have been to “church” exactly 4 times in the last year…although I have attended 2 different conferences that were in church buildings…and I live 1/2 an hour from one of the most active revival churches in the world, Bethel in Redding and so far it has not been on the Lords agenda for me to find myself going there, you can do what you want with that statement, just let me qualify it with this observation though:

My walk with the Lord has grown exponentially in the last year…my prayer life and what is happening in my devotional time with the Lord is at a level I have never experienced in over 40 years as a Spirit filled believer…it has not been painless…and I am sure there are a lot of things that might be different had I decided to “plug-in” more…but doors are opening for me that are part of my life assignment in ways that being in a church never allowed and I am fine with the current situation.

So on to definitions…lets start with religion…

The Bible will identify what pure religion is, and I am not going to repeat it here look it up yourself, it is quite different than the pulpits will tell us with the unintended messages we are used to…

This is not the religion I want to address here…what I want to explore is the nature of religion in the heart of mankind as a whole…and the best way to define that is by looking at what religion thrives on…and its really quite simple…religion in the community of man thrives on distance and delay

And church as a religious institution spends its energy reinforcing these two metrics…

Think about it a second…almost all the energy of an average religious service is spent on creating distance to an Angry God, or delaying the inevitable pain of His anger…

I am not trying to be mean-spirited here just making an observation as though it were all a large test-tube experiment…

Think about what we do and the motive behind it…almost ALL religious activity done in the context of a church community centers around bridging the distance we find in our hearts, and explaining the delay we all know to well.

Any priest or preacher worth his salt will have an explanation as to why your brother died from cancer, even when you had a word or fasted…it might be weak and meant to appease your pain, but it will be the most logical answer to the delayed prayer and the distance you feel when God does not answer the way you thought He would.

And how many worship services have you been in that serve the purpose of closing the gap from your heart to Heavens Throne? We’ve gotten so demanding of this function that if a worship leader starts “cheer-leading” or talking to much we all say in our head “Shut up and let us worship why don’t you?”

Ain’t nobody got time for all that!

We say things like God is love, but He is “Just” and the hidden message is that today Gods love might be over-ruled by His justice and you will get slapped, but maybe tomorrow His love will over -rule his justice and you will get mercy instead…this unpredictable God is so far from us the distance is unfathomable, but we almost feel safer knowing we are different…we like the distance because we have no idea who is going to show up.

If we are really bold we will use verses like “Touch not my anointed”…I have never once heard that verse used to eliminate distance, always rather to create it…especially if the leader is insecure and pushing some empire model that does not allow for questions…Question:”What happened to the money?” Answer:”Touch not mine anointed”…ok no more questions then…

If your salvation has ANYTHING to do with other people you are screwed.

Or we create delay in other ways, suggesting that God will only come to us when we have reached a certain level of maturity, we delay the abundance of knowing His love for the really grown up ones who have walked with Him for most of their lives…

What if the really mature old saints simply figured out that His love was there all along and it took them forever to find it out?

The God created by religion is insecure, egotistical and needy, that’s why He created all of us…the God of religion needs 6 billion people to worship Him because He doesn’t feel good enough about Himself…after all “every knee will bow”…

And somehow the God who IS truth will have no problem when knees bow that are in rebellion…just so long as they bow He is fine with it…really?

Recently I have been blind-sided by a few bible verses lately that encompass a world I had no idea was there…verses that suggest the entire problem of sin and redemption has already been handled, and was figured out before God said “Light Be”…and I’m not talking about redemption for a handful of saints who fight through the distance and overcome the delay, I am sensing a redemption that enfolds all of humanity in one moment…if one died for all then all died…and the next phrase therefore if ANYTHING be in Christ…its a new thing that has been found…not new in the sense of never existing before but new like “re-pristinated”

My entire experience with religion has created a sense that distance was the natural result of the fall of man, and frankly we use that phrase way more than God does, we imagine a fall so great that the distance to God is infinite and only eternity will ever get us back there…so the double whammy of distance and delay is what I have come to expect in ALL of my dealings with God…

If religion teaches you anything, it teaches you that God is far and a long time away from you….so you better start praying now if you need an answer in a year from now.

We use phrases like “God is to Holy to look on sin”…really? What in the world did Jesus look at for 33 years? Was Jesus some how less Holy than the Father? Did sin suddenly stop being visible for the time he was on earth? Doubtful.

The problem with this theology of distance and delay is not the obvious pain we have to live with, the real problem is it elevates sin and death to a place that intimidate God Himself…its like the Father looks at the Son in abject horror and says “What will we do now that they have eaten the tree? Oh no? Oh no?

But let me show you the subtle way we proclaim this nonsense…from the front of the church…

We assume that the people up front have somehow conquered sin, and we reinforce this notion by not letting just anyone up there…because heaven forbid our “leaders” reveal they struggle with lust, or anger, or depression, or finances…and the rest of the people in the pews resign themselves to distance and delay because they know the inward truth that no one speaks and that is we ALL struggle with our identity and it manifest as some sort of deviation from Gods design.

Here let me upset your apple cart a little…the only difference between you and Jesus is He knows His exact place in the Father and you don’t.

That’s it.

For Him, because He knows, there is no distance or delay in ALL that the Father wants for Him, and likewise there is no distance or delay in the response of love back to the Father…

What in the hell have we been doing with verses like “Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory”????

Or “You are the temple of the Holy Spirit”…

He freakin lives in us now…what kind of distance or delay can there possibly be?

????

 

 

I suspect we are about to embark on a revival of basic truth so simple and profound it will make most of what we have been doing and teaching for the last 20 years meaningless and boring…it will eliminate distance and delay because God is not in either of those things and He wants His church back.

To the degree that you as a community can participate in eliminating distance or delay you can be a church…

What that means in practical ways is that as we come to understand that God is redeeming our past, becoming present and creating our future catching them all up in His eternal purposes, and there is absolutely no where that He has not already gone and been “in” the moment for us…

Where we begin to comprehend His love knows no distance…but is deeply intertwined with the very breathe we take…

As we explore these adventures…we become the church that kills man made religion and something pure emerges…

And this “ekklesia” (or “church” if you want to name it) that emerges cannot be put in a box and defined by anything other that its connection to the God who loves it…so definitions will become meaningless…

Frankly I have no idea what that looks like…but I know what it doesn’t look like…

So much more to ponder, more questions to come…

Church, Sodom, and Justice

This will be the first in a series on church, ekklesia and Justice I want to do, enjoy.

I have been a student of the church and church government since I was born into it long ago. I’ve slept through more good sermons than most people have heard.

I’ve spent as much time under the pew as on top of it, starting as a child when I played there to later a an adult as I wept there.

I love the church, always have and it has been my home since God grafted me as a wild olive branch into the holiness stump and revival culture I am part of…but I love the Kingdom more, and I am by nature a wild branch so I might pursue the Kingdom in ways that the church finds offensive, uncouth or perhaps outside safe perimeters…but no one ever discovered a new frontier by being safe…so yea…whatever…

The Kingdom has the church in it, but often the church does not recompense this grace…we’ve all encountered church environments completely devoid of kingdom.

What we call church and what God calls church are two completely different things, they must be because when God see’s the church He see’s what Jesus purchased and not some building with a name on it, or some group of like-minded doctrinal adherents.

When God see’s the church in a city, He see’s every person in all of time in that vicinity that calls upon the name of Jesus, and He see’s the contribution to His assignment that each person will make.

When we go to define the church we need to do it from Heavens purpose and perspective and not earths…this is much harder than it sounds because we have a tendency to use our church culture to define church, God is not limited to this, or any other of our environmentally developed languages, He defines all things in terms of eternity, He see’s the end from the beginning and declares His purpose before it comes to pass..we don’t have that luxury.

If you want a shocking expose on how different our view of the church from God can be consider that the church Jesus grew up in became the chief agent of opposition and murder against Him and what he birthed out of his Rabbinical journey with his disciples.

The church Jesus grew up in became the agent demanding his death…

It should be written into our understanding that the church did not exist in the garden, and does not exist in the New Jerusalem, it is a temporary structure at best, so how we define it, and better yet how we approach it should encompass a mindset that it has a limited purpose and scope for existence. This metric should also encompass how we define gifts that are primarily focused in the church, or on the development of the church, such as the five-fold or even things like worship ministry.

If the church is temporary, yet Apostles exist in the New Jerusalem, if a “worship ministry” here is temporary, but worship is eternal, then we obviously need a broader framework of how and what these gifts and assignments are.

This is where I think a few adjustments to our western mindset can help…first we need to understand the context of “ekklesia” in the way it was used both in Greek and Hebrew culture, the scriptural context of “church” must first make sense and fit into the worldview of the people who the original passages were written to, after that application we get to see how we fit into it.

The second adjustment we must make is in context of Gods broader purpose on the earth, nothing He endorses will be in opposition to His purposes but will in fact flow into His plans…this is why I have chosen to include the word “Justice” in my title…justice is one of the foundations of Gods throne, meaning that all of Gods purposes in eternity with us have an element of justice in them, it is unavoidable and will become plain if you are willing to look.

A prime example I give of this is the simple equation that any healing is a manifestation of Gods justice upon the issue of disease, the stripes and wounding of Jesus establish a legal framework for healing and when it arrives it is a demonstration of the sentence issued from heaven, regardless of if the healing came from a surgeon or faith, all flow out of Jesus who carried the disease for us.

Recently in one of my prayer walks, I was confronted with the reality that Abraham in bargaining with God over the fate of Sodom stopped at ten righteous, I have heard sermons that suggest Abraham stopped to soon, that He balked at requesting more, that if he had gone down to 5 or even 1 God would have said yes…this thinking comes from a purely western mindset that does not see how deeply devoted to God Abraham was, when Abram heard the word that he would bless the families of the earth, he took that on as a personal assignment, so his attempt to stop the judgment of Sodom was not about averting justice, but in fact it was the opposite, Abraham needed a righteous *minyion a group of ten righteous leaders who could change the course of a city, he was not looking for averting judgment. he was trying to establish a synagogue model where the city could be transformed.

Justice must be a deeply held model of any group called to transform a city…so any definition of church must encompass justice as one of the primary tenants in its model, this was Abraham’s model and it must be ours, the question that led to the bargain table of intercession was “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”…Abraham’s motivation was based on Gods justice, not on some arbitrary begging for mercy, Abraham’s faith was redemptive in wanting ALL the families of the earth to be blessed by him.

So how does that translate into our modern model of a church and “not forsaking the gathering together”???

Well I’ll answer a question with a question…paying the internet bill for an organisation that is limited in freedom to only members of rank, or giving money to help a single mom raising kids alone where the father has abandoned them…which if these is “the Lords work”????

One of these will ask for funds in a weekly setting in a typical gathered environment using the phrase “for the Lords work” (maybe not directly but implied) the other will go possibly unnoticed and struggle to remain afloat.

Why ask this question? (Especially in light of the critical posture it evokes)…because in both of these equations, the church where believers gather and in the situation of a single mom we have elements requiring an application of justice, Paul will admonish the Corinthian believers that they will one day “judge the angels” so any disagreement should be handled by a group of “wise” among them, this is what Abraham was reaching for in 10 righteous, he was seeking to establish a bench where wisdom could adjudicate and avert judgment on the city, justice must flow and the gathering of believers should be the fountainhead of justice, not the distorting of it.

When we make the gathering of believers about hierarchy, about building projects and ministries and not about justice, you can probably bet that we are deviating from Gods agenda for the ekklesia in a community…am I against buildings and ministries? Not so in so much that these things serve a purpose in establishing justice, social and otherwise…you may need a building to help single moms by providing childcare or healing rooms to establish justice over disease, but the existence of any building or ministry must be the out-working of Gods throne and His throne is concerned with the cry of the widow, the fatherless and the alien…

Please don’t hear this as a critique of modern church models, I have absolute hope we can do a lot of good in our communities but we must prioritize what God does, and that should start with justice, not retire there…

More to come…much to ponder…

*minyion is actually a Hebrew group of elders called out of the legal assembly to enforce the conditions of covenant…a Biblical example is in the Song of Solomon where the bride is found by the watchmen “shamar” who were the guardians of the city and enforcers of covenants made in the gates…when the bride was wounded, it was because she had turned away the groom and violated some of the basic requirements of covenant, when she was wounded by the shamar or “minion” she was cleansed and the covenant re-established for her…it was a willing submission on her part, she sought them out so the covenant could be rejoined since she was the one who violated it. Our modern day term “minion” came from this Hebrew model, meaning “group of ten”…although the current use is much different than the original.

2013 Birthday Blog

Ok, typically I pay very little attention to my birthdays, I am really a very shy person in my core and always have been, so making a fuss over my birthday is a bit of the anti-Mark manifesting.

But this year something has shifted, I think it was Cindy Hansen prophesying to me on facebook that got me moving into a different way of thinking and another realm sort of opened up so here goes…my birthday blog.

Many of you don’t know me except as some internet persona behind a blog, some emails and a social networking site, others have known me for 20 years or more and almost all of you have known me in some sort of church culture or kingdom quotient.

But the real me, the person that shows up consistently was probably most changed on this day exactly 48 years ago when on my birthday a portal, a door, a curtain or whatever descriptor you prefer…something opened up in my kitchen and the Son of the Living God at the right hand of the Father appeared to me,

I can see it as clearly now as the day it happened because every word of God is living and non-time-dependent.

In that encounter He said no words but the implied Presence placed a demand upon my heart and my allegiance…this was my conversion experience and as I stood before the vision, the image, the unbelievable Truth Himself, I knew a decision was mine to make and it was my heart that was the question.

Lordship is always about the heart, salvation may be about the soul, or the mind, it can be about a thousand little things on our side of the equation, but Lordship always comes down to one simple thing, our heart.

Anytime there is a question of Lordship in your life, you don’t need to be to introspective…just go to the heart and give up already…say yes, its the only answer the heart is allowed to give when Love calls.

At that childish age I did not know the things I know now, such as the inappropriate response of answering with the head when he heart has spoken…to often with both God and others we answer the sound of a heart with the mouth of a head and it is an insult to the hearer…you know the moment, when the other person has opened up their heart and been vulnerable, to rattle off some platitude or informal mental response is to wound the soul of another, even if it is God….

No even at that age I knew a glib and quick response was wrong…so I stood there for a minute and pondered the request…could He have my heart?

….

….

….

….

I answered yes…I did not ask Him “in” since he did not make that a request, He simply wanted the whole thing not just the interior decorating…

I said yes and have never, ever, not once looked back or chosen an alternate path…I have never “back-slid” or even wanted to…because He has owned my heart since that day.

That decision has determined the rest of my life…that portal has become part of my identity…in even funny and physical ways…

I recently shared with some of my close friends an anomaly that happens to me ALL the time…not just some of the time ALL the time…

If I am standing in line at a grocery store, or a movie que, or in a Starbucks, or any place really…and people must cross the line to get across…they ALWAYS do it right in front of me…no one else, always me…its like they don’t see me standing there or don’t care.

It used to really bother me…I used to say in my head “Am I freaking invisible here?”

I thought the Lord was trying to teach me patience with others, so I would adjust my attitude and try and remain friendly, but it was weird, uncanny…even as recently as last week when I went to pick up my grandson for his last day of school…a loooong line of cars before me, as well as behind me and the crosswalk long before me and as I drove, long behind me, yet ALL of the pedestrians crossed in front of my vehicle, no matter where the crosswalk was…so I park the van and start across the traffic only to find that now ALL the CARS pass in front of me and I must wait now as the pedestrian…it happens everywhere I go..so finally several months ago I had decided to find joy in it…and in the middle of it the Lord speaks and says do you know why this happens to you?

“No I said, maybe to teach me patience, kindness?”…

“No” he said…”Its because you are like me a little…” I was floored…how so?

“You like me, are a door…I am “THE” door, you are “A” door”…”these people all see an opening in the spirit and they know its a safe place to cross because you are not a wall you are a door…”

It suddenly made perfect sense, and explained why I was able to lead people into the Presence in worship…

It also explained why can connect people with His mind through some of my perspectives…in some fashion the thing that opened up to me 48 years ago has become a part of me…

So many of you have written me such nice wishes and offered deep friendship when the candle of my soul would have been blown out by brokenness, you have been a wall to me to protect me from the wind and give me a place to hang my hinges…

Many of you who are not connected to me now, because God has done some remodeling, are no less a part of me and go with me wherever I am…

There are people who I have missed so bitterly these last many months, that I have cried myself to sleep so many nights and you are first in my prayers every night in the cool of the day when I do my prayer walk…some of the people I love the deepest I am sure I have hurt the hardest but it was never my heart and I refuse to lose those covenant connections regardless of how long it takes to get them back, love never fails…we will dance again…

But Cindy is right…

A shift has happened…I am a door in a different world now…

A little over a month ago I decided my dreams to go the nations and preach, pray and just be a door needed action…in one month I will be in Cuba the first of many islands and coast-lands that God has promised me, and in this short month God has provided all the means, all the funding, all the opportunity while I sat back and was still…I did not ask for a dime, and yet the whole thing is now paid for (plus a few extra days/nights in Cancun!)…

So whats my point? And why Cuba?

Well my anointing is one of access…this is a closed island that a crack has happened to…I will go and by going a door will be created for the future as well as the present…it is who I am, not what I do…and it is also driven by my love for the Bride of Christ, that I see in so many of my relationships, the natural daughters I have, the “super”-natural daughters  (Antionette, Emily, all the Edes girls) I have…its about empowering women…which is where the Bridegroom is headed by the way…its a no-brainer for a seer to see this…part of this first trip will be about providing housing for women, empowering women is the primary assignment on this trip…it is the first of many…its the widows and the fatherless, the aliens that we are called to, and this is a practical way to do some of that.

And to put a fine edge to it, I have to quote a Beatles lyric…”Today is my birthday, its your birthday too!”

Because you have made connection to me, you have found a door…and through this door you will find that God is:

Your Keeper…He will keep you like a lovers poem close to His heart, He has kept every prayer you’ve ever prayed, every tear you’ve ever cried He is your Keeper.

Your Access: Like Cyrus in Isaiah 45 nothing can stand in your way because He will go before you and cut open the bars of iron, bust the gates of brass, He will touch the small of the back so that Kings and Queens become vulnerable before you and then He will give you the treasures of their darkness, the hidden riches of their secret places…

Your Joy: As in the anointing of gladness above your brethren in Psalm 45…a sword of joy hangs between your shoulder blades, use it and see how wonderful joy is. You don’t need to access joy its yours already…just step into it anytime, all the time.

Your King: Nothing says provision like being in the Kings courts, you have a right to be in those courts and I have discovered they are much different than we have imagined, but they are just as real as the technology that lets you read my thoughts from a thousand miles away, His courts call to you, you have an assignment there and your provision awaits you in that space, not in this space. Your provision from the King is directly related to your identity and assignment, they are all connected and the more intentional you become about WHO you are, the less you will need to think about how its going to get paid for…

These are just some of the ways I have come to know Him, I have walked through that door so many times the threshold is well known to me…but that is really the best part about today…

None of us earn any of this…it comes when He shows up…this door, this portal that has defined who I am since that moment…is not any more or less real than how you came to know Him…my experience is unique, but so is yours, we are all unique because He is so incredible He needs millions of different ways He can reveal Himself so each of us gets our own special name and revelation of Him…each of us gets a door into Him, thats why He created you…He had a place for someone just like you to enter into His love…

And that’s the reason we were all born, that is the design behind why we should celebrate any birthday…we were born to know Him…and to know Him is to love Him…its as natural as blowing out candles on a cake…

So happy birthday to all of us.

The sound of silence emptied out

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“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord…”-Proverbs 20:27

I start with this picture because the difference between His voice and ours is huge…do we hear His voice, or does He speak to our spirit that in turn speaks to us?

Its a subtle distinction…maybe not important…but often I find my spirit chatty and Him not.

I was finally alone…I had flown (with the help of a good friend) my wife back to OKC and she had picked up Leahbeth (18 months old) and Rena (6 months old) and flown back to Tucson…I was in the parsonage of my very first church “Oasis of Love Christian Fellowship” in the panhandle of Oklahoma…

My wife had left me with the two kids and decided she no longer wanted to be a wife, a mother, and especially not a pastors wife and she had gone back to the last place she felt free…I convinced her she needed the babies and they needed her so she had agreed to take them for a while until I could get sorted in the life change she was forcing.

I had two weeks left where the parsonage rent was paid, probably $20.00 in the bank and no options for work in a slowly dying oil-field town. Our car had been disassembled by a mechanic and he gave up so it was not an option I was without “wheels”, and I was now jobless, soon to be homeless, broke and kind of trapped there with a broken heart and a destroyed world…this would be my first real experience with silence and the heart numbing sense of loneliness that went with it.

Maybe that’s why I am so reluctant to engage it now, who knows?

I was 24 what did I know then, and more to the point what do I know now?

I knew to pray.

Pray and fast.

Seek the Most High…and that is what I did…(and do)

As I look back now it is probably one of the most humorous examples in my experience of learning to hear the Lord…here’s the cliff notes version:

I went into a closet after fasting for several days…in this closet I waited and listened for the Lord to teach me how to hear Him…He said “Listen to the noise out on the street”…I could hear cars driving by….“Ok, now bring it in a little, listen to the noise in the yard…” I could hear birds and wind…“Ok now listen for sounds in the living room…” I could hear the clock on the wall…“Ok listen to the kitchen…” I could hear the refrigerator humming…

“Now listen to the sounds in this room…” I could hear the drip of the bathroom faucet…

“Ok bring it in even more…” I could hear the rustle of my shirt as I breathed and my own breathing…“Ok once more bring it in even more…” I could hear my body and perhaps thought I could hear my own heartbeat…

Then…the growing sense of silence poured out…

The process took several hours but seemed just as quick as you can read it.

In that clear moment God spoke and asked me what I needed…I needed a car, a way out of this town since I had obeyed Him and closed the church sending them back to the fellowship they had split off from…He asked for specifics, what kind of car, what color…I gave it and in less than 2 weeks time that exact car pulled into my driveway and I was given a car by the owner that I in turn sold and moved to Tucson with…and as the journey continued my wife came back to me and we were restored for at least another 12 years and 3 more kids…

It was a profound experience…that really is funny when you think about it…here I am wanting to hear the Lord and the whole exercise is Him speaking to me and me following His instructions…it never occurred to me until many years later that the thing I was seeking was speaking to me the whole time and I was “hearing” as I learned to hear.

It has been a lifetime lesson to learn that the One I was seeking was seeking me and this is one of the truest pictures of His nature…”Adam where are you? is not simply a question, it is a characteristic of how and who God is with us…when you truly connect with Him, you find Him asking questions.

The questions you have are all meant to lead you to a better question, which is the one He wants you to ask…Gods silence is not a reflection of neglect, it is a divine set-up meant to get you to ask the question He has been dying to answer all along…

Elijah will run to the mountain and hide in a cave, and eventually hear “a still small voice” which is a terrible translation of the Hebrew…the actual Hebrew says it is the “Sound of silence completely emptied out”….

This process of hearing God is probably one of the most difficult and yet natural things we do…it is a major paradox that we know His voice since we are His sheep, but then struggle to discern it from all the other voices…

That sound of silence poured out can turn a hired shepherd watching a bunch of sheep he married into, to a guy bringing down the gates of empire with a stick and a stutter, it was the difference for Elijah of a voice he had known his entire life as a prophet, into a sound that would change destiny and even in a “run-away” mode God had an upgrade for the prophet but it was not in the usual place or in a familiar voice.

It required a wilderness and silence.

Recently the Lord has impressed upon me to “Be still” the rest of the verse implies knowing He is God…and the part that is my responsibility is to be still…which for me is the hardest part.

We are constantly barraged with a thousand voices screaming for our attention like being at a Indy Race track, we get a few seconds of shouting in to the people closest to us, but between the loud-speakers, the car engines and the crowd its a crap shoot if anyone really hears us and we often wonder if we understood what they said to us as well.

But all of the major miracles I can point to came out of this kind of silence…asking God to heal my Mom who was in a coma with a 2% chance of living, and no chance of not being a vegetable if she did live…I heard Him say He would heal her and so I went home never looking back…it was 5 months before she awoke, she was completely comatose and then one day she sat up and over the next year her complete healing manifested…to this day the Doctors require a specialist to read her X-rays because where her pancreas should be is something that can only be described as a cloud.

Or my first grandson Alden…he was born with gastroschisis for the first months of his life it was touch and go in intensive care since they immediately took him into the surgery when he was born…his mom Rena stayed with him in ICU for the first few months…I would drive the 2 hours to spend the weekend with her and finally one Friday she called me while I was on the way and just broke down saying “Dad, I can’t take it anymore, he’s not getting better and I don’t know what to do”…

I did…and when I got to the hospital I told her to leave and come back in an hour…in that hour I found that silent place and all the nurses somehow left the ICU as well…and I reached out and held his little hand placed a simple demand of the Father for healing…within a week he was healed and released.

Perhaps it is desperation that forces us to shut down the race track of noise…for some of us that’s the only time we do…but it shouldn’t be…

I know there are no guarantees in life…but I have never found that silent spot to be empty of faith and hope because His Presence is so overwhelmingly direct there.

I suspect He treasures that space enough to give us whatever we ask because it is just as Holy to Him as it is to us.

Be still.

Look for the silence.

Because the One who is silence itself is looking for you.

The purpose of Gods silence is to speak louder than His voice.

The Wilderness is probably the best place for this, and perhaps the main agenda of heaven for sending us out here…it was here Moses encountered “I am that I am” and threw down his staff and then went on to deliver an entire nation from empire. I wonder what would happen if every pastor of every church in Western culture just went out into the wilderness, let their staff go and waited for the Silence to respond…

When God said to me “Be still” it made me realize I had not been asking the right questions…Who are You trying to be for me here? Why are all these relationships stripped away and I am so disconnected? Who am I supposed to be right now…? Why is it so damn quiet in my world…oh…wait…I’ve been here before…oh…yeah…silence…I remember now…You are in the silence.

So I am trying once more to silence the race cars of a thousand questions and a thousand conversations I have been having, turn off the loud speakers and wait…and that means accepting the silence myself…waiting…

Sting will suggest that the purpose of modern music is to put a frame around silence, that our lives are so noisy that the best music simply points us to hear the silence.

I like that.

What if God wanted people on earth who could sit in His courts in Heaven and help adjudicate, but the thing missing most was people who could be still…?

I am coming to believe that God wants to speak louder by His silence, than what we are used to hearing in His voice…but it will require a commitment to listen.

And lately (as I update this post) the Lord rebuked me in a very kind way, He said “When you doubt that you have heard, you are not doubting your ability to hear, you are doubting my ability to speak, I said MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE…either they hear, or my words are not true…I am perfectly capable of making sure you hear me, so it is illegal for you to doubt.”

So reluctantly…I’m starting to enjoy the wilderness, not so much for its bareness now as for its silence…originally it was painful…but now I sense His Presence is much closer than before…

I think this also might be a reflection of maturing love…to be able to sit in silence and simply enjoy the other…

P.S.

Don’t try this at church, it might get you in trouble.