Change is in the Air

I promise this piece is not about a new administration, but that new administration is part of what I’m referring to. I love to write about what I observe. Within the last two months there are 8 significant people in my life that are having significant shifts in jobs regarding their long labor of love, destinies, and increase in authority and influence. This is a new season! I observe things but never think about naming them because I know their purpose is as transient as the wind in God’s work in orchestrating the hearts of men. “Upgrade” sounds cheesy and christian dumb but it is all that is coming to mind. I also know that overtime, faithful labor commonly results in reward increase, its just natural in the flow of life, but I’m telling you I don’t talk to a bunch of people and when eight of them are experiencing this how can one miss it?!?

I LOVE change. I love risk. I love the undetermined and the uncertain. It feels like traveling but I don’t even leave town. Ironically we did abruptly leave town to care for some family, but often when there is significant change God peels my whiny-souled fingers from gripping anything tightly and I recognize his hand taking mind and relax once again to rest in watching him work, only aiming to be authentic to myself and what I communicate in the process, being sure to never never never manipulate an outcome. Who wants to be the disappointing Saul as he ascended into leadership? No one. Manipulating the affections of men, feels stinky to my soul and if anything I have to intentionally avoid swinging too much in the opposite direction and not shut down my authenticity in some way.

One thing I do know is that I sure appreciate the verses that relatively say. God is in control over bringing about the calling on your life and the purposes of why you were made. I don’t even know why I’m made or what the point of everything is, but I do know what it feels like to spend my days executing things I am especially competent for or excited about. I hope you are operating in your niche. Don’t worry about what that looked like in past seasons, you’re not meant to carry your yesterday identity into today if God’s not calling for it. I often remember old versions of myself but those illusions don’t exist now. They used to, but are intangible. Just think how much bs I no longer put up with because of this glorious wisdom I came across through grand failure?

All I keep trying to focus on seasons of change like this is operating out of love. What else really matters? God is going to position us where he wants us. There will be challenges that are uncomfortable –that’s called growth by the way. But what can I control? How I interact with people and how I carry my heart regarding people in my internal world. How kind can I be? What does extravagant kindness cost me? Does love really cover all in my life? If so, where doesn’t love cover all in my relationships with other people? Don’t get me wrong, in my tired moments or sensitive areas, I can still be a jerk, but often even that is magnified in my head and is a position of my heart I have to change my mind about because it’s obviously not working, or at the very least, not fun.

If you are going through uncertain change, know you are not alone, there is a wave you are riding that you cannot control, and you have been prepared for this. Take rest in his sovereignty, his plans, and his goodness, whether or not you understand it or whether or not you have the answers you want right now.  Blessings!

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.

 

 

My Story

I feel like there is power in sharing our stories and sometimes the best place to start is the beginning.  Recently, I was given an opportunity to share how my relationship with God began and I thought I would share it here as well.

I went to church with my family sometimes and even learned stories from the bible as a child, but I went to church for years and never really remember hearing about Jesus or what he did for us or what he thought of us.  I remember trying really hard to figure out when to stand and when to sit and how to make my voice go up or down with the music notes I didn’t know how to read in the hymnal.

Fast forward through my parent’s divorce, our moving to a new location, and lots of high school parties.  At one point I was grounded because of driving lots of drunk people at like three in the morning when I was sixteen.  I hadn’t been drinking.  While I was grounded, my mother gave me a book, as she is an avid reader.

This book was fiction and written by a Christian.  In this book, the author clearly explained how a certain character in the book was impacted by Christ and the holy spirit working in her life.  I remember just saying “Yes” to God in my basement and feeling his presence fill the room and a conversation between us began that hasn’t stopped to this day. (You can read more about this subject here.)

God continues to help me.  How to respond in my marriage, how to view the mistakes of my past, what decisions I should make concerning how I live my life.  He is the peace within me, and his love is my breath.  He continues to remind me of my value and my worth.  I have fallen in love and he continues to show me how to love myself and love others.  The end–or actually–just the beginning.  🙂