Friday, November 23, 2007

Good Comments on Feminist True

There are good comments to my poem titled 'Feminist True'.

If you read them, I am expectantly waiting for definition of sexism from a responder.

Click the "Comments" link at the bottom of the blog entry 'Feminist True.'

Any and all comments are welcome.

Notes on Feminist True

What madness is would cause
that a brown bear use its paws
to eat plankton in the depths of the sea?

What confusion it would be
were a squid to be seen
grazing in a summer prairie?

Should a calf wean from a bull
instead of the cow,
or the buck give birth to his doe?

Were a feminist true
it would cause me and you
madness and confusion more than we know.

[Should I cut it here, or…?]

Adam would give birth
,taking pain and mirth,
and deprive this joy from Eve.

Women would provide
lead and decide…

[…try to finish this paragraph? It is quite difficult to even think of something that would not be considered sexist. What traits are unique to Man that would be considered odd if attributed to Woman? None, it would seem. Not in a developed nation!

[In itself, that is quite indicting as to how over-sensitive society is to role reversal when it comes to Women, but can find the most humorous situations when it comes to role-reversal of Men. Think of the movie ‘Junior’ with Arnold Swarzenneger and Danny DeVito.

[Or…ah…here is a thought that is so rarely visited.]

Woman would derive
the strength and boldness to protect and provide
from the loving support of Man by her side.

["You cannot reform biology." – Bill Maher. What do you think?]

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Like Father, Like Son

Ah, like father like son!

How true this statement is. There are many good applications for this, Lord.

To be like you is to be blessed. To be like you is to be whole. To be like you is to be a blessing for all your children. To be like you is to be part of the eternal symphonic progression of this life.

Will life always progress with such sympathetic harmonies? Will we always resound and vibrate with a noise of progress, prosperity and peace?

What happens, though, Lord when we come into contact with those who are not sons or daughters? What happens when we encounter those who think that they are serving you but really aren’t? What happens when those whose reverberation is like a hammer clanking an anvil, thudding as it wields the chains that bind them?

They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. – John 16:2

Why will they do such things, Father?

The will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.
I have told you this so that when the time comes you will remember
that I warned you. – John 16:3-4a

What is the authority you speak of, Father? How can I act in authority? What does it mean to be like you here on earth?

Speak, Father!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sonship and Finding Direction

What is it to be a son, Father? How can I act more appropriately for you?

If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15

Wow, what is your command, Father?

This is my command: love one another. John 15:17

But how can I? What is the appropriate thing to do day to day? When I get pulled over for an expired ticket, what should I do? When I like a girl but do not see the resources with my natural eyes to move forward, what should I do? When I want to serve the man of God in my home town but feel called to fulfill a mission in another land, what should I do?

Father, what should I do?!

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. John 14:16

When I was in Vero Beach, Father, I ran around looking for where you would have me serve. I tried to diligently serve the man of God. I tried to meet with my faithful friend, and get her to open up. I tried to return to the place of serving the ministry that I was at before I left for Lakeland over a year ago. I felt, though, that I didn’t fulfill the things on my heart. I flouted your command for me to write. I let the time slip away. I did not wake up early in the morning to pray. I did not take my time to read and study. Even though I made sure that I worked out, as well as kept from old habits, I still feel that it was almost misuse of resources.

While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen. I called you, but you did not answer. – Jeremiah 7:13

Forgive me, Father. Forgive me for being distracted. I am here. I am listening. Guide me once again, Father.

The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?” – Jeremiah 1:13a

I see much, Father. I see a downtrodden church body. I see old, stale bread in most houses. But, “a, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” – Jeremiah 1:6

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. – Jeremiah 1:7

Yes, Father. Amen. So be it as you have said unto me. I will speak. I will speak with my words. I will speak with my writing. I will exercise the obedience that I have been writing about. Your will be done in my life, Father.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Prep for 2008

Two-thousand and eight is quickly approaching. This morning I began gaining a clearer picture of structuring my year.

2008 seemed to be before me as a small sliver of time. I could grasp what I desired to do and accomplish. More specifically, I grasped who I want to be and how I want to operate in 2008; my modus operandi. This weekend I will take significant time to write it all out and envision my future.

In December I want to prune and add to my dream list and dream machine. I know a little bit better now what I want to be doing. Currently, the dream list and dream machine are very much a shotgun approach to envisioning.

The more power I realize I have causes me to be more specific in my dreaming. I find that the power in a man is absolutely unlimited. The options are infinite.

That being the case, I find that great care must be taken on what one chooses to do.

Our only limitation, time, forces us, which are eternal save for our sole limitation of time, to specify our lives.

Notice I did not say that we have to choose just one thing, or limit ourselves. But being specific brings great power and unlimited force to us. And, surprisingly, this does not limit our options. Instead, it rather opens them us.

This paradox will not be understood fully except by those who have experimented with themselves on human effectiveness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sonship II - Sonship and Obedience

Recently I wrote a book about obedience. Something pricked my mind about obedience that I was not able to communicate in that book.

Whenever you try to mention obedience to an American Christian, you get the tomato.

What is the tomato? It is a flying vegetable! (Or fruit to be more exact.) You know, people throw them when they are highly displeased?

Yeah, if you try to convince Christians that obedience is what is missing, they pull out the vegetables (or fruits.) American Christians have the problem of thinking that they already ARE being obedient.

Along with that, a mental picture usually forms which makes them think of slavery. I know that in the past, whenever it was mentioned that I needed to be more obedient, I pictured an over-bearing task-master demanding my allegiance and dogmatic service.

Slavery is not the type of obedience that God is asking for.
He is asking for the obedience of a child.

God doesn’t want us to be slaves. What kind of service and obedience would that produce? It is not a service that comes from the heart.

God does want us to be sons. This produces a type of service and obedience that God loves; that which comes from the heart.

John confirms this. When recalling a conversation that Jesus had with him, John tells us that Jesus said:

15:9 - As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

Then, He seals the deal as to how we can be obedient as sons. He gives us a command that cannot be fulfilled by a slave. It can only be completed by a son.

15:12 – This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Even further,

15:17 – I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

I do not think that Jesus could be any clearer. Read the entire chapter to be even more educated on what Jesus thought of obedience and sonship.

I believe that we will find that to be obedient with God, we must be obedient as a son. To be obedient as slaves may have the right actions, but they are sure to have the wrong heart.

Check out the ChristianCrunch blog for missing posts to this or other series.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Obedience X – Washout

What is “washout”?

Well, have you ever seen a pastor totally forget where he was in the middle of his sermon, pause for what seemed like an uncomfortable eternity, ask his deacon to take over, walk out the back door and never come back?

That is “washout.”

In youth ministry, I was told all the time that if I made it more than 2 years that I would have beaten the national average. Apparently, the average time a person serves as a youth pastor was only 2 years. (That numbers are not verified, and I don’t think I agreed with them at the time either. I despise being pigeon-holed!)

But I DID see washout happen quite a bit. A fellow-youth pastor, single for years, one day simply disappeared from his ministry. He turned up in Louisiana almost 2 years later with a wife and 2 kids. He was cool, but you could sense something was ‘off’, just a bit.

How do so many ministers become so burned out so fast?
Didn’t God say that “the joy of the Lord is” our strength?
Didn’t He say that He would never leave us or forsake us?
What happened to the fact that “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives within me”? Wouldn’t that mean that He would keep us from burning out?

In the pursuit of questions like these and more, I did come to one particular conclusion: either A) the Bible is wrong and God is a liar, or B) there is something wrong with me.

What do you think is the obvious answer to that question?

There is definitely something wrong with me. It may be in my theology. It may be that I am doing something wrong. But, regardless, the problem is moi.

In pursuit of a solution to this, I felt impressed in my spirit that it was an obedience issue.

“WHAT?!” I exclaimed internally.

“God, how could that be?! Ministers are doing so much for you.

“They are being so diligent in bringing new people into church. They are praying and fasting. They are preaching 4 nights a week. They are attending house calls, prayer meetings, and networking with area pastors. They are financing the church, managing the staff, planning the sermons and sprinkling holy water on anything that moves!”

“That is not what I have asked of them,” was all the answer I got.

“What do You mean? They are sacrificing so much!” and that is where I suddenly stopped myself. I knew immediately that was the problem.

But He still reminded me of that fateful scripture.

“I want obedience MORE than sacrifice.”

I knew in my heart of hearts that even though ministers are running to and fro performing for the Lord, they are usually too busy to actually HEAR from the Lord what it is that He wants them to do.

For certain this is what I fell victim to. I was all too familiar with doing 27 hours worth of work in a 24 hour day for the ministry to go home and feel exhausted. And it wasn’t just being exhausted. It was drained without joy.

Enter the “washout.” Our strength is gone. Our delight in doing the tasks is gone. The truth is that in the midst of our work we became task-oriented and not God-oriented.

When we are doing what God has asked of us, it may be difficult. We may be asked to put our tasks to the side and simply fellowship with Him.

We may be asked to work until our fingers bleed and our eyes bug out, but at the end of the day there is a joy in obedience. There is a satisfaction and a knowing that we were doing the right things.

Though trials and tribulations may come, when we know that we know that we know that we are being obedient to something specifically that He has asked us to do, we are filled with strength beyond ourselves.

It is rare that ministers stop long enough to ask, “God, do you even want me to do this?” But it may just be worth it. Think about it: if God wanted more sermons, couldn’t He just raise up more preachers on His own? Is God able to have the rocks cry out? Of course He is able to do that.

More than wanting you to go and just DO things for Him, He wants you to hear from Him first. When we are tapped into the voice of God, and are hearing clearly, when we are carefully heeding His instructions in our lives no matter where it may take us, we will be more than supplied with strength beyond ourselves.

When we are obedient, He will make a way where there is no way. “Wash-out” will be blotted out, and the life of victory that He promises will surely flow through us!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Obedience IX - Faith

So, HOW can we live an obedient life with Christ?
How can we succeed with this Christian life?

Here is the good news, and the bad news, (in reverse order.)

The Bad News:
You can’t.

The Good News:
You CAN’T! He can! He did!

Pointe blank, you and I have no way to live totally obedient lives.

Oh yeah, we can come close.

Yes, we can affect a lot of our living victoriously here and how. But, ultimately, it will depend on His grace to come through; the grace that He has already paid for.

How to tap that grace? Faith.
The only way to live this life of obedience is Faith.
We have to have faith that we are hearing from Him.
We have to have faith to heed what we are hearing.
We have to have faith to observe what we are hearing with care.

And Paul says this to some people who had stopped living by faith, and started living as if they could be obedient to God in their flesh. If you don’t know who I am talking about, it was those silly Galatians.

Paul stated some words to them that we need to hear. If you know this one, sing along:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” - Galatians 2:20

Now, we could spend an entire 12 other books, blogs and chapters about ‘faith.’ I will let you do that on your own time.

But, to summarize, faith in something will produce a fruit relating to the thing you are having faith in.

From Faith to Fruit, I would say.

If you have faith in the chair (that it will hold), then you will sit in it! It doesn’t mean that the chair will hold you! You will still try to sit in it.

If you have faith that chocolate raspberry cheesecake tastes good, you will bite. Whether or not it has a foul worm in the middle of it or not is irrelevant! You will bite because you believe.

Faith in something produces an action. Likewise, if we have faith in God, we will act on it. It doesn’t matter whether or not we will receive positive or negative repercussions. If we have faith in it we will act.

That is why so many seers today claim that the majority of Christians do not believe, or have faith, in God; there are so few actions happening to obey what God is calling us to do.

That being said, we need to constantly cultivate our faith in Him. The more we believe the more we will act on (being obedient to) the Word that the Lord is speaking to us daily.

And, unlike the Galatians, let it be spirit-started and spirit-finished. Start your walk with God in faith; faith that He will move, that He has called you, that He will lead your way. Along with that, END your walk with faith in God; faith that He has put you here, faith that everything you are going through was known by Him when He called you. And let that push you to act on what you know you should do next.

One step at a time is what will bring us into obedience. Heeding His word, through faith in the Son of God to deliver, is the thing that will cause us to continuously draw closer to God through obedience!

Rinse and repeat!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Obedience VIII – Joy

I am overjoyed where the Lord has brought me to.

Being obedient to Him has taken me around the world to 10 different countries. Being obedient has shown me cafĂ©’s in South Africa, and surfing in Hawaii, and chocolate in Venezuela.

Being obedient has had me take the pulpit in Florida and Kenya. I have seen the sick healed, and seen the captive set free. I have watched my mentor flow in depths of the spirit that would cause people to stand in awe of who God is. I have seen rains fall for weeks at the mere prayer of the faithful.

Even this morning, as I approached my prayer spot, I was overcome with joy.

How did God bring me here?
How did I end up being paid for my creativity?
How did I end up being paid to grow and learn and prosper?
Doesn’t He know where I came from; what I have done?
What events did He arrange just to bring me to this one point in time?

There is so much joy and appreciation for who I have become (especially compared to the life I led previously!) Even how I survived that past with so few emotional problems, the mystery of how He brought me through, causes me severe joy!

That is how it was for the servants of God before Christ came.

The prophets all spent time with kings of nations. Those who were obedient were given great victories on the battlefield. They enjoyed love stories like Jacob and Rachel. They traveled all over the known world. They saw so much, and were ever in awe of who God was.

Likewise, the disciples and the early church all had times of immense joy. The Bible tells us in several gospels that when Peter and John left the empty tomb that they were full of joy.

Simply put, being obedient brings us the joy we so long for and desire!

Being American, I have observed the difficulty it is often for other Americans to want to be obedient to anything. Call us protestants. Call us revolutionaries. Fine! Whatever! The obedience factor is hard for us to understand.

It is even harder to conceive that we will ever experience joy unless we take it for ourselves.

Which is why it is so hard for us to believe that by submitting our entire beings to God, being 100% obedient to the Jiminy Cricket voice we are hearing in our head, that we will ever live the life we have truly dreamed of.

I assure you, it is true. Truth be told, the very reason we are not experiencing truly satisfying joy is because we are trying so hard to make it happen for ourselves!

What if I told you that we need to QUIT trying?!
What if I told you that we just needed to be obedient to the voice in our spirit?
What if I told you that Jesus actually told us this same thing, plain as day?

Read the entire chapter of John 15, but I want to zero in on verse 11 in the Amplified Version:

I have told you these things [His commands] that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be in full measure and complete and overflowing.

“Overflowing”! Can you believe that?!

Well, you should, and so should I. Its there in red and white, friends.

You see, Jesus spends the first part of John 15 talking about abiding in the vine as branches.

How does He recommend that we abide in the vine? By being obedient.
What will that produce? Our overflowing joy!

It may seem counter-intuitive; especially as Americans. But this walk with Christ is a walk of obedience.

It is not an obedience you would find at a dog-training school. It is the obedience that produces that which is good and prosperous for us. The best part is that He promises that it will bring us joy.

To be honest, the first few years of my salvation were hard. The transition of my old lifestyle to my new lifestyle was a slow, long path. But, just 8 years into this life I look back and think that it wasn’t that hard.

The difficulties were nothing compared to the joy and awe I feel day to day now.

Consider deeply how to be more obedient. Reading John 15 will bring additional insights as to how. But, when things get tough, keep in mind that on the other side of those obstacles is a joy that exceeds our greatest imaginations!

And when that I happens, I pray that your joy may be full!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Obedience VII – Carefulness

Once one has learned to quiet themselves, listen to God, and heed the word, there is a stumbling block that affects almost everyone; the frailty of our minds that causes us to be careless.

In Romans 5:19 (AMP), there are several possible definitions of disobedience. I mentioned before that simply failing to hear God was considered disobedience. The one that has gotten my attention lately has been that carelessness is an act of disobedience.

Why this has my attention is that I am very away of how prone I am to negligence. Simply put, I have generally been pretty forgetful. I forget names. I forget small errands or responsibilities.

What’s worse; I often forget the things that I feel that I have heard from God in prayer or throughout the day.

You would think that once you start to zero in on acknowledging His voice that you would become a super-warrior for the things of God.

Though that is true in many ways, you really become more aware of your frailness. The closer you come to hearing God’s voice, the more obvious our propensity for disobedience becomes.

That all being said the last two days have been an issue of disobedience. The day has gotten away from me twice now. I have been traveling and have had a busy schedule. By night time (when I write) my mind has raced and hit a thousand topics. I have been prepped for bed when suddenly the thought hits my mind. I forgot to write on what He told me to.

So, I drag myself out of bed, and set down to writing. I am often sheepish in doing so because I realize that I had forgotten what the Lord was telling me just that morning. I had been negligent with the Word of God!

This reality of the stories of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and all of the ancient prophets is that they were careful with the Word they heard. They didn’t let the Word of God “fall to the floor.”

With the chaos of the modern world, it is easy to lose focus and have one’s thoughts jump from one topic to another. As a person who has overcome ADHD, I easily get careless with my thoughts. I ponder one thing and then the next. Even if I think of Godly things many times they are not the items that I have been instructed to focus on.

I must exercise care to rehearse the words that I have received from God. To run in obedience, to act with faithfulness to the unction in our spirits, we must take care to remember, write down, act on and heed the words we receive.

With a careful obedience to the Word of God in our lives, we will run deeper than we ever thought possible, and live the lives we were intended to live.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Obedience VI: HOW to be Obedient

Having come this far, we know we ought to be courageous and step out and DO what the Lord has called us to do. We are on fire and passionate for His calling, and want more of Him.

But we constantly hit this brick wall to obedience; uhm, for lack of a better term, disobedience.

We don’t have confidence that He will move, so we don’t act on what He says, and then we think, “well, it probably wouldn’t have worked anyway.”

So, how can we overcome this obstacle to obedience? Well, let’s find someone who has dealt with being courageous for the things of God.

Joshua has the best introduction to ministry I can think of. If you haven’t done it yet, read Joshua 1. God speaks to him just He spoke to Moses. Throughout God calling Joshua to step up, He tells Joshua 5 or 6 times to be “strong and courageous.” Then the congregation tells him to be strong and courageous.

Then God hands him the key to being obedient and, thus, successful in the things of God. In verse 8, God zeros in on the main secret to how any of us can begin down the path of bold obedience.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of they mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then though shalt have good success.”
God lays it out. To be obedient, just get in the Word.
Live the Word.
Breath the Word.
Think the Word.
Learn the Word.
And thus live the Word.

Often we doubt what we hear in our spirits and do not act on it.

We justify this disobedience any way we can. Usually the real problem is that we are not familiar enough with Who God is, and the only way to do that is through His word. We can better discern the voice in our Spirit by whether or not it matches the Word the Lord has already spoken in the Bible.

That way we will not have excuses for not acting when we receive unction to heal the sick, raise the dead or minister in some other God-ordained way.

We MUST act on what we have heard, assuming that it is accurate and in line with the Word and nature of God. The only way we know if it is in line with the nature of God is if we know God. The best way to get to know God is to get to know His word.

This week, delve further into the Word than ever before. Press in. Be diligent with it. Be strong and courageous to act on His Word, and THEN you should make your way prosperous, and THEN you shall have good success!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Obedience V - Grace

Ultimately, obedience requires grace.

Why do I say that?

First, it says it in scripture. Romans 5:19 shows that I am not constituted righteous (totally obedient) by anything I have done. It was one man’s sin that got people into the sin-mess. It was also One Man’s obedience that covers when I have not been obedient.

Secondarily, like tonight, I need the grace. Case-in-point: I was supposed to write on a scripture in Jeremiah 1, and cross reference it to Joshua 1. Instead, I went to a movie with several friends. (Another act of disobedience because of the violence, drug use, and nudity.) But when I got home, it was late.

I need God’s grace. I needed Christ to be obedient for me for nights like tonight.

Because of that grace, though, I can wake up tomorrow and begin anew; attempting to be obedient. I can rest easy, knowing that I obeyed when Christ obeyed on the cross. It affects my victory negatively, but not my grace.

Now, I am going to receive that grace so that I can be empowered to be fully obedient once again.

It is an unfair advantage to be sure! I thank God for that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Obedience IV: Obedience is EVERYTHING

When I say ‘everything,’ I mean everything!

Check out Romans 5:19 (Amplified version):

For, just as by one man’s disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him.)

There it is, in plain sight! It shows the beginning and the end right there.

It refers to the beginning of man’s trek on the earth (Adam’s disobedience), and comes right back to the redemption of man (Christ’s life of obedience, obedient death, and obedient in living again.)

In fact, I dare say that the only thing we have to do from here until our days are finished on this earth is be obedient.

Obedient to what?

Good question. We must be obedient to what God has said, and what He is saying to us.
Right here. Right now.

God IS speaking. We are just not listening.

In fact, in the Amplified Version of the Bible, it implies that “failing to hear” is an act of disobedience! We are EXPECTED to hear from God. Anything less is being disobedient.

And I believe we do get unction from the Lord quite often. We have just conditioned ourselves to reject Him. We have conditioned ourselves to rationalize away unction to help others, act on His instructions, or just get away in His presence.

Well, do you notice that “heedlessness” is also listed under disobedience? I did. That means that we HAVE to heed what we feel that He is saying.

One that I almost succumbed to today: carelessness. I have known that the Lord had desired me to be writing what I feel He is teaching me on. (Hence all of this Obedience stuff. He has had me on it for days! You think I may have a problem with it?!)

Today, the day got away from me. Carelessly I forgot my calling for this season to write. When I normally turn in to bed, I realized that I had not written. Do I get up and write, promise myself to catch up tomorrow with the writing, or just scratch it all together?

On any other day, a week ago, two weeks ago, I would have let it go. BUT, it is not about the writing, or even the quality of the writing. It is about the obedience of doing what I was told without asking questions.

The rest just flows.

Obedience III

Check out the 3rd installment of Obedience here.