What Has Happened the Last Four Years in the Body of Christ in the U.S.??

Okay, this piece may not resonate with everyone but it hopeful resonates with someone.  So you’re a person who loves God with all your heart.  If that has been the overwhelming cry of your heart for the past few decades some of us have been taken on a wild ride.  Let me review in a tiny synopsis a general progression one could observe in the body of Christ before I make my point.  Early 1500’s reformation of the concept of earned placement in heaven through the church – Martin Luther.  1700’s evangelism had the wind of heaven behind it on a number of people abroad and in America – Johnathan Edwards, George Whitfield, John Wesley, etc.  Mid-nineteen hundreds we have healing and miraculous through Billy Graham, Smith Wigglesworth, A.A. Allen, Oral Roberts, etc.  1980’s Kansas City Prophets with a new normal being establish in hearing from God. 1990’s we have Toronto Outpouring that really redirected the lives of Apostles like Randy Clark, Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, etc.  In late 2000’s we have Lakeland and IHOP in glory and presence and miracles and grace with Todd Bentley and Mike Bickle and others.  Then in the early 2010’s it was the seven mountains, going out, taking position, reigning and influencing.

We’re now in the late 2010’s.  WHAT NOW?!?  What is God doing?!?  How are we growing??  What are we learning??

I know for the last four years in particular there are SO MANY people surrounding me that were the crazy-on-fire-for God type a decade ago that now look drastically different.  But I don’t want there to be misunderstanding and so I write.  Let me start off by saying I don’t see the devil.  What I mean by this is that God is not in some cataclysmic warfare against an almost equal opponent in the sky.  God has no enemy that provides any sort of threat and is writing a love story and an expression of himself that we get to be gloriously wrapped up in.  Moving on.

I don’t see the drying up (on a corporate level) of the last jumping-around-in-the-river-season as human failure, performance blunder, and now the body of Christ is supposed to get back on the work-up-the-glory-treadmill to try and conjure up some past experience so that we can roll around and go back to where we were.  I think that those crazy corporate times ended large-scale because they were meant to.  There was purpose accomplished in them and now we are moving on with new experience and fuller understanding.  There was no mistake, no failure, or “drying up.”  When I say moving on, I’m not saying abandoning anything or that anything was wrong.  On the contrary, we’re learning, we are moving on to the greater.

Let me summarize some things for you.  The last for years has brought so much tumult to so many people riding the top of the waves of the last season and has left some people not recognizing the glory saturating their lives now but I see and want to share.  I know a number of people who have been shaken to the core.  Literally the thing that is most important to them was destroyed, has ended, was taken away, or has changed to the point where even we ourselves at our core are hardly recognizable to ourselves.  I too am included in this group.

Unfortunately, (but it was not unfortunate because there was purpose in the experience), I spent so much time thinking I was broken.  After way too many attempts to fix myself with old tools without success the unknown and unrecognizability continued.  I met with a group of people I know intimately this past weekend and asked so many inquisitive questions.  I almost universally have found people in the same position as I: the way we used to operate in certain gifts operate that way no longer, the certain relationships I grew up in operate that way no longer, health or body do not operate how they used to any longer, that person I loved is alive no longer, how I viewed reality before didn’t cut it and I had to change, the entire life I’ve known up until this point looks so different.

So if you in the body of Christ are out there wondering why this growing hurts so much, or why those relationships ended, or why you were allowed to be disappointed or fail there, or why you feel like you aren’t really experiencing Christianity as you once knew it, IT’S BECAUSE CHRISTIANITY IS CHANGING.  Let me clarify; CHRIST ISNT CHANGING, WE ARE.  Especially in the lives who literally would abandon everything for God’s will in any moment of their lives.

I used to say that the latest thing God was doing was family— strong, firm, and free— which is partially true, and a glorious expression of God himself, but incomplete as far as an explanation of what I see going on around me.  So many people are in marriages, raising babies, working hard for them, but there were always those that are not, and how does that fit I used to ask.

Yes we are in a season where we are operating with the creator inside us all and living our dreams but there is more.  Things that the body of Christ are learning in any season have already been true in every season, we’re just learning through experience now more fully.

So many people I know and love are going through their days entirely unobservable as “Christians” to their own eyes, hearts, or to others in outward culture or ritual.  BUT.  But I am wholly excited for God in the NOW.  Productivity has stopped on so many other levels so that that which has always been important to God is what remains.  There really is no separation of heaven from earth.  They are one and the same place.  God is not in some ethereal distance place, or movement, or teaching, HE IS YOU.  God is not in some sign or doctrine or CHURCH.  GOD IS YOU.  There is taking place a complete melding of holy and secular.  YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS HOLY.

God wants each of us to see that the only thing that matters to him is our connection with him, not our PERFORMANCE FOR HIM.  He really doesn’t need us in the way we think he does.  Us being ourselves is the most powerful and clearest expression of himself.  Even though you don’t see all those Christian practices, even if you don’t feel all those holy spirit power feelings, even though you don’t influence people the way you used to, even though you don’t have those relationships you used to, YOU ARE NO LESS POWERFUL.  YOU ARE NO LESS HOLY.  Your communion with God is no less complete.

God gave us rivers and signs and glory and then transitioned out corporately on a wide scale because he wants us to look in another direction with him.  Quit looking for him in the past signs, experiences, and external stuff.  One of the leaders I’ve worked with that I respect the most listened to people when they came up to him about healings and deliverances that happened in his meetings but never gave them a further mention or time or attention.  He remained entirely unimpressed with SIGNS because everything is about Christ, the person they’re pointing to here, now, inside of us.

So many have moved away from religious people, structures, places, or experiences because it was exposed that their foundation was something other than love and we can’t tolerate that anymore.

Family is included in this concept because LOVE is the only binding force between any family unit.  It is the purpose of shared life.  There’s no ulterior motives and so family as a structure remains and thrives, even through the messes that happen within them.

God is in the moment, this moment, the conversation, this conversation, in the now, and here.  So much of the glory of Christian culture is fading away.  Christ is in no way fading away, the culture we’ve created around him that does fade is NOT HIM.  Language, doctrines, titles, hierarchies, separation, exclusion, condescension, none of them have been missed by me now that they’re gone.  DO YOU REALIZE SOME CHRISTAINS NOW LOOK LIKE SECULAR PEOPLE BECAUSE EVERYTHING THAT WAS RELIGIOUSLY DEAD IS NOW GONE FROM THEIR LIVES?

What if ONLY LOVE REMAINS??  What if all those glory experiences, all those hours in prayer, all those encounters of love, all those hard times, our identity being shaken to the core, all those structures, all that revelation, were meant to build this one thing in us; our ability and capacity to love one another.  To love our families.  To Love ourselves.  And everything else was a circumstancial tool to that end of being unconditional love.  And not in the fluffy performance sense but the gritty steadfast kind that people are changed by, including ourselves.

I believe God is reducing the glory of everything that is not love.  If something, anything in life, religious or not, is rooted in anything other than love it has lost its taste in our lives.  And ANYTHING, whether religious or not, that is ROOTED AND GROUNDED in LOVE is breathes fresh air into our spirits in this season.

Love isn’t some vague idea, it is practical connection between ANY two human beings or any human being and God.  This is the boiled down essence of everything that is the person of God and his kingdom.  Everything God does is in the purpose of building or preserving that.  If anything remains in our life for any reason–religious or not (especially religious ideas and concepts fostering any amount of rejection)-that actually threatens connection, it is moving counter to the kingdom of God and the living expression of love itself; heaven on earth.

This is just a view from my slice of the pie.  Hope this encourages someone.  Peace.

 

 

Have You Missed Your Destiny?

The glorious reality is that you are living it.  Did you know there was a world of possibilities with your creation and that you weren’t nailed into a pinhole of a purpose?  Did you know there aren’t borders you were supposed to cross decades ago or turns you couldn’t manage to see?  You were given specific gifts but there expression goes through your experiences, your personality, your training, and more.

Your previous choices–whether you still agree with them or not–were powerful and have written your story.  Today you are making choices that create your tomorrow.  And everything you do and say has value and an eternal ripple.

Do you ever feel insignificant or that you are living without purpose.  Even then what you do means something.  Does your inner desire for greatness or impact ever conflict with your external self that makes banana bread and goes to the movie theater?  Even now you possess the most powerful thing in the world.

As long as you are breathing, your power to love is functioning.  It may be weak under bitterness or forgiveness or it may be strong with compassion and understanding but as long as you are a part of earth’s story, you possess the muscle to give and receive love.  This is purpose, this is power, this is freedom.

People focus so much on externals in appearances, other’s appreciation, position, and power but everyone across the board, regardless of income or weight gain, has this same power to love.  It is enjoyable to be alive when you know you are loved possess the ability to share that with others freely.

In case you are not enjoying being alive, I want to remind you and let you know the truth.  There is someone who made you, saw you, dreamed of you, delighted in you, and is glad for your company.  God appeared as human to see you face to face and to show that he esteems your worth greater than his own life.  Would you give your life for another?  He wants you to know, it was with Joy God laid down his life for your company forever.

I remember living when I didn’t know that.  I didn’t know that God loved knew all about me and desired my company.  I didn’t know that he demolished everything that stood between us and wanted to share my life with me every day.  I know that now.   My only remaining enemy is doubt in the very thing he died to tell me.  My life matters.  I am lovely.  I am powerful.  He is alive inside of me.

Today I want you to know your heart has meaning.  Your life matters.  Your voice, your thoughts, your excitement, your passion all are beautiful.  Your growth process has purpose, including your mistakes.  Your destiny is to live loved as a free son or daughter of God naturally reflecting his glory by you living as your true self made by the Father’s hand.

Eternity is a thin veil.  Do you know one thing you will never ever stop doing is loving because it is who God is and ultimately who we’ve been created to be in his reflection.  Every way you grow in love here is a part of your forever-person.  You can be confident in the humility you choose and the forgiveness you embrace that are they are growing the organ of eternal love inside of you.

That unseen world of challenges that hinder love and your humility to choose it once again and enjoy giving and receiving it once again–whether between God or people–matters.

The story you are writing is still alive.  May you feel powerful and purposeful in the way you choose to love.  Including loving yourself.  And your enemies.  All things are possible with God.  May peace and joy rest in your heart as you believe and get to enjoy being alive today.  Blessings!

Looking Forward. Who Cares?

I’m sitting down not knowing what I’m going to write but just want to share my heart with you.  Christmas for 2017 has passed.  The decorations are up still holding on.  A new year before all of us is just around the corner.

Unfortunately I often find myself wishing I were somewhere else, a different place, a different state of mind, a different version of myself.  What am I fearful of?  Others opinions, failure, my own expectations?   Christmas has a gravitational way of bringing us into the preciousness of the moments of now.  Memories are being created for a lifetime or loved ones who have left us join our minds and hearts again so strongly for the holiday time.

I ate so much junk food over Christmas I made my blood pressure sore and my head pound, and yet there was no where else I would have rather been.  Here with my family, here in a place I know, with people who have been around me my whole life.  As I look forward, I am refreshed with the inspiration not to care.  Let me explain.

When your heart is full, it does not focus on what is lacking, how you are not measuring up.  I am feeling an authority run through my veins that I have not felt for some time and for that I am grateful.  My husband and I have gone far beyond even our own expectations and are in a land we have never been before in together, the unknown in this unmapped land of submission.

This is the part of my husband I could not live without.  It is easy to make something happen.  Easy to strive or fill in the gaps that scream, “How is this productive for God’s kingdom?!?!”  We like to stay workers.  We like to earn our approval.  And yet, my husband and I have been forced to let God adorn us as nothing less than a son and daughter.  We will receive our inheritance that our father earned.  He gives it gladly, with abundance and pride.

Nothing is too difficult for God, nothing too hard for him to orchestrate or arrange.  He is not questioning Joel or I’s value in this season.  In our rest, in our waiting, we remain as valuable as his son, as valuable as himself.

This voice on my back of need to defend my worth through my ‘ministry’ has been loud and been driving.  It has stolen my rest and my peace.  But I think after an unending series of days, not having answers to anyone’s questions, I think it may finally be dead.  And again I find that God has done something inside of me that I could not have seen or accomplished on my own.  I get to just be.  I am enough.

His love will continue.  His love will remain and he will never fail us, never abandon us, and never give up doing whatever he wants to in our lives.  Even now there are new sprouts growing in the ground.  Little things walked by and recognized by no one.  But that’s okay.  They weren’t planted to be seen by others.

The new growth comes from the land of not caring.  It’s not that there is no value in anything.  Exactly the opposite.  Everything is filled with such value, you care nothing for the things that really don’t matter–like attention or praise or acceptance by others.

I had a dream the other night where I was in front of an audience doing something that everyone else belittled in their mind and I didn’t care one bit and proceeded to pursue my interests and activities.  After the event was over I was continued to be scorned even by prostitutes as that person who did something that everybody thought was meaningless and stupid.  I still didn’t care and was glad to be me.  And it felt good.  Really good.  Who cares.  Be you.