Joshua the Unlikely Ruler

Are you familiar with the feeling of doing something you’d rather not do?  Are you familiar with the feeling of having to fulfill an obligation no one could pay you enough to fulfill?  Have you felt like the victim of your own barrage of thoughts that are zapping your energy?  These are tiny of glimpses of slavery and are foreign to your true self.  You, in essence, are created to live without any other king but you and your God as the best of friends basking in the glorious responsibility of true freedom.


There’s a man named Joshua in the bible, torah, and koran who is Moses’ right hand man while the whole clan of Israelites have just been divinely freed from slavery in Egypt for 430 years.  We are introduced to Joshua in the desert after their release and we see him believe God when few others did, in the tent of meeting with Moses.  We are introduced to him as a free man, but Joshua too, grew up as a slave.  Just like every other short-sighted, fear-based Israelite who couldn’t believe in God’s goodness beyond their own past experiences, Joshua grew up a slave.  However this man, unlike Moses and almost all Israelites, did cross over in to the promised land.  Joshua was able lead others that had only tasted freedom into God’s promises, despite having grown up in a culture of slavery.

We often eliminate ourselves for so many things.  We look back at our lives and say, “But I’ve done this, or this happened to me, or I endured this,” and we have these road blocks in our minds to believing our own happiness, our own strength, our own victory.  We tolerate slavery in little ways, we endure being emotionally or mentally kept into places we want to leave, but why?  Joshua is a man that had every excuse like everyone around him had to stay in his slave mentality.  All of his peers.  Comparison.  Justification.  Do you see how we’ve been treated?  Do you see what we’ve been through?  But he carried no excuses in his soul to not believing God was everything he imagined he could be and more.  You see God never joins in slavery with us.  Even as Christ in flesh, Jesus was not a slave to anything.  God never tolerated being pushed around.  It’s not who you are even if its where you’ve come from.


Your experience with slavery does not disqualify you from leading yourself and others into God’s promises.  It does not disqualify you from achieving the impossible.  It does not negate your unearned inheritance.

Joshua, the slave who acted like a king.  The man who had slavery as the norm in his culture of origin.  But he spent time with the never-slave God.  The free God who spoke, interacted, and existed without being forced to be or do anything but who lives as love and calls us to the glorious freedom of the same.  Your origins are free of all slavery.


Moses!  Of course Moses was chosen to lead the exodus, he grew up in the kings house, he experienced the kings freedom, he saw the world from the perspective of ruling since birth.  But the one who led the people into the land of inheritance, Joshua, was the one born a slave who believed God enough that he became a king in his inner man.  By that I am inspired.

Maybe Joshua was given the command of being courageous because he doubted.  Maybe was given the command of being strong because he was familiar with feeling weak.  “Be in my likeness,” God was inviting Joshua, “You don’t have to stay in the likeness you’ve come from or see being displayed around you.  Listen to me, I’ve invited you, come and lead in what it feels it feels like to be free.”

No Man’s Land. Life Beyond Church

I wanted to write about this subject three weeks ago but am just getting around to it now.  This subject is “unbiblical” to the conventional Christian.  There is no life beyond church they would say.  I have even heard people within the church call people who have left their church “bastards.”  Yet here is where so many people find themselves.  And so… I write.

I am not going to spend time here defending this topic, I am going to go right into writing about it.  I remember asking God about his body, the church years ago which began a 15-year journey of seeing the ins and outs of church creation, growth, development, leadership, failure, hypocrisy, glory, strength, and blessing.  If the church were a closet full of clothing, I have worn almost every outfit in different seasons where I felt God leading me through relationship with people.

And yet I find myself, and other people I both respect and would call people of great faith, outside of regular church participation at the moment.  I will not group these people into people who are rebellious, hurt, bitter, or prideful.  These are beautiful, servant-hearted, prayerful, joyful, faithful, creative children of God.

So why do we find ourselves here in this field of spirituality beyond where the paved road ends?  Could there even be purpose in this?  God of course lives within the walls of his church but I think he is also moving his body, his people beyond not only church walls, but Christian culture.  There are so many people who carry the love of God and the ways of his kingdom into so many places; the home, business, arts, media, entertainment, education, etc.

Can I be a Christ follower without walking in American church culture and vocabulary? Of course I can. I hope we are sharing God’s culture, how he loves us and sees us, with people and nations.  I’d like to make the argument that this can happen 100% outside of meetings and buildings set aside for this purpose.  People can experience hearts and homes of heaven.

I don’t think there is necessarily a wrong reason that people have quit participating in a church regularly.  I do think there is a fullness of God’s people operating as a kingdom of priests as he originally intended.  His children have full union with the father.

Church family commitment is like marriage, you get involved because of what you have to give, what you have to offer, not what you have to get from it, or how they can serve you.  Community is beautiful and I think this can be found outside of a church governing structure and weekly scheduled meetings.  But…

What I’m seeing even more of is people who are very much on relative islands of preparation and intimacy right now.  Little pockets of service and relationship more based solely out of energy spent on building/maintaining healthy family relationships.  I do think it’s beautiful when the role of a mother and father are one and the same as the pastor and priest.  That discipleship and family are one and the same with no definitive line between the love of God and the love of family.

Not being understood and being judged is a regular occurrence of life and I’m being reminded over and over again to not care what other people think.  Especially people who care more about what my life looks like rather than wanting to hear my personal experience.

Being outside of a church structure doesn’t mean we quit learning about God as we live life with him.

I just wanted to write a bit of encouragement to those who find themselves in no man’s land.  Or not operating in the fullness of their giftings at whatever church they find themselves in.  You are not broken, you are not failing, and you have not been ‘taken out of ministry.’

God is so much bigger than our little religious mindsets of what freedom and spirituality look like.  He grows things inside of us we don’t even know need growing and often times they have nothing to do with external appearances.  Although God is in religious meetings every week, he is just as much at the dinner table, in the nursery of your house, at the grocery store, and in your office.

I love that the presence of the awareness of God is naturally felt at all hours in all places.  Our existence is one with his.  You are the church my friend, you couldn’t leave who you are.  You are his temple and the only building he cares about.  He’s never left the meeting of your life and God is not finished being in love with us wherever we are, whatever season we find ourselves in.  Joy is in his house, in his bride, and in his family.  Blessings to you, all the beautiful sons and daughters of God who find themselves in No Man’s Land.


He keeps turning my eye here.  I try to focus on other things in this world or his kingdom and he keeps pointing me to this thing called happiness, this thing called Joy.  Perhaps the wide road is the one of worry, fear, anxiety and frustration and the narrow road of heaven we’re actually invited to traverse upon could just be the road of trust, peace, contentment, love, rest and joy.

Joy somehow sparkles with glory and a supernatural existence; it is a gift of heaven without limit and often overlooked.  Joy has a lowly state.  It is often seen as ignorance or immaturity.  Serious, urgent things are looked upon with esteem and great importance.  But Joy is not news.  It is not urgent.  It does not fight for power.  Joy is meek and unassuming.  It is persistent and unexpected, playful and a welcomed guest.

There are things we must chose to not give attention to in order to participate in Joy.  We must look away from the fears of our own condition and any worries ahead.  We must turn away from decisions gone awry behind us.  Joy requires us, or allures us rather to be entirely present once again.  We must let go of performance in it’s company.  It is participation with someone wholly other than ourselves.  A different source from which this magical river flows; Jesus’ side.

It is God’s expressed desire for our Joy to be full, not finding lack in our experience of this wonderful gift of heaven.  But the realist would ask, what is Joy’s purpose?  How is it productive or long lasting?  Joy is a fruit to be enjoyed, not to be made into a gadget for a machine to use.  It’s expression is as purposeful as the beauty of a flower.  It is meant to be enjoyed.

The treasure map to finding joy is clearly shown in scripture.  Psalm 16 says the fullness of Joy is found in God’s presence.  Everlasting pleasure is found at his right hand.  Not on this earth or in a thing or an activity or a person, but in God’s company.  His nearness, his friendship.  Where can you find his will for your emotions?  In the goodness, safety, commitment and gladness of himself!

So many things can happen in life that deter our hearts from this child-like track.  Perceived failures, tragic losses, disappointed expectations, and hurtful betrayal are just to name a few.  The eternal part of joy is that we don’t derive it from what we see around us, what people are saying, or doing.  We derive it from his presence within us.  It is truly powerful and absolutely unassailable.  Nothing has truly threatened or will ever be able to take away this gift of Joy that has been given to us through Christ Jesus.   He has overcome everything that claims to have overcome his presence in your walk with him in this life.  His Joy is yours.  His Joy is mine.  And it endures.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love



Canola field and clouds in Alberta, Canada

We are meant and created to live life in a
limitless field without fences. 

With endless grass and freedom of movement.  No hindrance, or restriction, with vision as far as the horizon and beyond.  Beautiful breezes and freshness.  There are things in life that cause us to feel fenced in, restricted, … trapped.  Sometimes these hindrances on our freedom have nothing to do with people or structures or circumstances, sometimes it is walls built through our history, our life experience, things we came to believe that yet live within ourselves.  These are walls made of the brick and mortar of fear or lies.

Other times there are outside structures or people that perpetuate fences we believe in and operate within as our own.  Some religions say you cannot do this, or act this way, or say that thing, or believe that idea.  Some work environments project that you should esteem this certain thing or success should look like this for your life.  Some relationships say you are worth only this much or you are only this type of person or you should reflect themselves to make them feel comfortable.  Some of the above bodies intentionally use fear directly and freely to control your open wanderings.

‘The world is coming to an end’ the media says, ‘ciaos is around the corner, you must give us your attention, your well being depends upon us’.  ‘You must never do x,y,z’ some religions say ‘because God hates that’, implying the imminent relational rejection from him, eternally forever, don’t forget the eternal punishment and torment on top.  Other organizations say you must be productive, you must appear productive, you must work and manage your life to appear to be working, you must stay busy, keep working, for your value lies in your profit or productivity; rest always equals laziness.

Life Outside the Fence

BUT all of the above are just examples and ways ideas, worldviews, and thoughts cause fences to spring up in our field of freedom, the plot of freedom purchased for us through Christ’s blood.  It was actually for freedom’s sake you have been set free.  Because you were meant to move like him.  What hinders God?  What restricts his movement?  The great part about each and every barrier in your life is that you are actually not bound by it at all.  You cannot lose Christ by crossing that boundary therefore you will lose nothing if you step outside of society’s or culture’s fences.  Let me be clear in saying I am not advocating self-destructive or other destructive behavior, not at all, just actions or choices that others say are not available to you, but in reality they are entirely options for you to posses.

Don’t listen to your upbringing or where you came from or the culture you came from or the economic class to dictate what is possible for you.  Anything really is possible for your life.  Freedom costs you nothing but requires only the passive ignoring of every voice that tells you no, it is not possible, not for you, not with the time you have and the choices you’ve made.  You are free my friend and your freedom has been bought with a price.  You can love extravagantly, change extravagantly, think differently, speak up, be different from everything the media tells you is normal, you can be yourself, remain unseen if you wish, experiencing the fullest expression of Christ alive in you.

Watching People Climb Over

I remember hearing a beautiful story of freedom I will share with you as an example here.  There was a man who worked for a boss who often used anger and fury to invoke fear and submission into his employees.  After experiencing freedom during travel, this employee was finally going to stand up to his boss and quit even though he didn’t know where he would work.  He went into the office and as soon as he let out the words the boss proceeded into a rage when out of the belly of this employee sprung such a laughter and joy he could not contain it.  Soon after this now former employee got a grant form the government to take care of his vast inheritance of land and maintain and develop it and now he spends his days raising his children and with his wife in the literal open planes of his own land without the fences of control constricting his heart.

Let me give you another example.  A young man heard a call from God on his life for a certain profession.  Fast forward a decade of following that call.  His heart was burnt out, he didn’t have joy, and was literally sick to his stomach in his final days of preparation for this career field with zero desire to practice it and dread at the thought of it.  With encouragement, he quit.  He breathed again and remembered the joy of being alive.  He will return one day in some form but he is not a slave to something he heard from God ten years ago without any grace or life on it now, struggling and striving to work it out in our own timing and ways.  Knock the suffocating fence down and get out of there.

If you feel an area of your life you are tied to a chain.  You can recognize the feeling that is void of giving you life, turn and break that chain, start a new way, remember freedom.  I am not talking about break your word or covenants that carry with them responsibility, I merely am saying you don’t have to tolerate those irritations because society says you have to, because other people put up with it.  Live and live your life.  Live free and follow your heart.  Don’t just look through your fence at other people’s freedom.  Step over your fences and live your own.  Your fears are lying to you to keep you from following your dreams.  Don’t listen to them and do what has persevered staying alive inside you all these years.

One more story.  This powerful woman ran free within an organization that sent her in the nations.  This organization came to make the decision of letting her go.  She could have seen it as person rejection, disqualification, or failure.  Or there was divine orchestration for her personal promotion into a level of freedom she had never fathomed or experienced yet in her ministry.  She climbed over that fence into a place that looks so scary, new beginnings.  She began her own organization and now calls the shots, leads the creative flow, and decides when and where and how long she goes with no strings or expectations attached.  She is free to be the beautiful gift of herself.

These are just examples I am referring to.  If you don’t know what this looks like in your life, it is probably the thing that makes you most excited inside, whether or not you have ever shared it with anyone.  The thing that enthralls your heart and mind and imagination. That excitement inside of you exists for a reason and is not shared with everyone, it is unique to you in your own specific way.  Follow that.  It will give you life.  I am just telling you that you really have the freedom to follow, the freedom to fail, the freedom to live.

Okay one more example.  Sometimes in people’s relationship with the holy spirit we can experience this tight rope of obedience or bust that causes anxiety.  Let me explain.  You feel or hear something you think it specifically is referring to this one thing and this one time and if you don’t do it you are deserving of punishment and chastisement.  Granted if the Holy Spirit is inviting you to do something its probably in your best interest to take his advice but what is not from him is the confusion or anxiety that call follow this decision making process.

Sometimes if things don’t go well we think we missed it or got it wrong or failed but what if you heard right and there’s lessons to be learned in process?  What if your getting it right and his getting it right don’t look anything alike?  I just want to tell you God did not create humanity because he needs slaves.  He created you as his child, his growing developing, likeness of himself.  That includes your relationship with him as well. Step outside of your own fences with Him.  You can be powerful, free, and full of joy because his love has cast out all fear between the two of you in your relationship with him.

I could probably go on about freedom forever.  Literally forever, but I am going to stop here and move on.  My freedom and your freedom are what excites me.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love