We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen… 1Corinthians
I was honored by an invitation to speak to a men’s meeting that a friend was hosting recently. I prayed and thought about what would be appropriate to share. Later on while I was mowing, this inspiration came to me.
We are building an invisible house. Sometimes the visible things around us compete with that reality, including our natural “house” or accumulations. These two, as far as focus or priorities go, can be mutually exclusive and at a minimum tend to struggle with each other for first place. Keeping the most important thing as primary will go a long way toward a fruitful and peace filled life. If we focus solely on natural things and accumulations, it will undermine and steal the opportunity away from the construction of our spiritual lives. That is why we must realize that “consumerism” or materialism is a deadly weapon to our effectual faith, especially so in our post modern culture.
Before I went to kindergarten, I had my first spiritual experience. How precocious, right? Well.. This spiritual encounter was actually from the devil. I was between 2 & 3 yrs old. I remember it, grant you. Not sure forgetting that is possible. I was in the middle bedroom at my grandmother’s house, where we were living due to my parent’s recent divorce. It was little kid nap time, and Mammaw Hill had laid me down for a nap. To the left side of the bed he appeared at some stage in nap time. It was a classic depiction of the devil, maybe I’d seen him on “deviled” ham cans, but there was no mistaking who was there. The jest of the encounter was this; he was (falsely) claiming me as his own. This experience was not from God and was accompanied by a payload of fear, with a side of attempted control and deception. I never wanted to nap in that room again.
Humans are Spiritual Beings
“Keep a man from food and he will gobble poison”, CS Lewis astutely declared. In this exploration of things spiritual, I hope to help you discern between the food and the poison. Discernment is the needed key ingredient, which we appear to be very nearly devoid of in our times. Discernment of spirits as it’s called in the old KJV, is as much for discerning the true as it is the false. We are lacking the discernment of the true just as much as we are the false. “Don’t be deceived” is a recurring phrase in the scripture and not without reason. Absent vigilance, and growing skill, deception is unavoidable. We might even slip so far as to call the good, evil and the evil, good. Woe to us!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
As we enter this world, the smile and joyful exclamations of one man welcome us to our new reality. Who is this man? He is known as our father. This moment is the beginning of the important role he plays in the different stages of our life. He is not just an individual who helped in our creation or pays our bills at the end of each month.
A father is a person who gives all he can to help you, in ways great or small. He takes the responsibility he has been given seriously and sacrifices himself for the sake of his children. He has a role to play, which no other individual can replace. A father is one who gives in selfless love to provide for you, teach you, and challenge you.
A father is a giving person who sacrifices daily for his family. This sacrifice may be found in working long hours to support the family or spending time with his kids. Through this sacrifice, he realizes that he is not the center of his world. He is aware of the importance of the responsibility he has been given. Sacrifice is a necessary element of fatherhood.
And that is our problem. We know what to do; in life, in ministry, and in business. And if you don’t know what to do, someone will happily tell you (sadly most often from the same source as your “knowing” comes from). There is no blank slate to start from…
My mind goes to examples from scripture that highlight such “knowing” and reveal it’s source.
Why do most major issues become rapidly politicized and fought over, with fixed battle lines and endless strategizing? Who wins with this approach? Who loses?
We are living in a time where everyone is looking for the “high ground” of being the “one” who is right. Not to mention the immediate huddling into opposing camps, consolidating power, shaming and reproach of opponents, and basic devaluing of the dignity of ourselves and others. Looking for the high ground in a conversation, and especially in an argument, robs us of the benefits of the perspective of others. The robbery happens when we need to prove our points as superior and ultimate.
I travel, safe to say I think, more than most. As I type I’m on a plane. I travel about every other week, sometimes more. Maybe this is why I’ve noticed we have a problem down at the local Micky D’s. Especially when driving cross country, you are looking for a convenient, quick and clean place to get rid of that coffee you really had to have a few hours before. But you can’t buy a meal every time. Stops kill your time results. Also, you aren’t hungry, but a cone sounds nice! Right? Wrong.
My last rendezvous with this fact was quite recent, and this angst has been building for a while, to be honest. What can I say, I like ice cream.
My wife and I were about to get into a stretch of I-20/59 that is pretty sparsely populated. We called an audible and took the exit. Would it be false hope that the Golden Arches inspired? I told her as we pulled in, “I bet you $10 the ice cream machine is broken.” When we walked out, I wanted to know where my money from the bet was. Oh, I wasn’t surprised, but more like the final squeaks of a balloon that’s loosing all it’s air, my final gasp of confidence in getting a cone from this place (or it’s billon other locations) left me with a grunt. I’m done, I told her. Let’s never stop for anything at McD’s ever again. She agreed.
Some people tend to attribute anything they dislike to the intentional design of a few influential “others.”
There are topics that chase you everywhere, and even if you want to avoid them, sooner or later must be addressed. Conspiracy theories is one of them.
The Church is experiencing a real division between those who support and disseminate conspiracy theories and those who consider them only the result of ignorance. The main channel used for this kind of discussion is social media.
We all know how difficult it is to have constructive and calm discussions on social media networks or on messaging groups. This is the result of a combination of several concurrent factors, including the absence of body language, the presumption of knowing other’s ideas before he or she expresses them, and a limited knowledge of the medium and its communication rules, the so-called “netiquette”. Yet, we persist in using them to proclaim our truths to the world expecting to solve, with a few posts, issues that have been discussed for centuries.
There is an escape from dominance by the spirit of the age, which is Christ and His grace. The systems and strategy that the enemy uses against us, we are no match for, in our own strength. This can be clearly seen in the example of the man and the woman in the garden of old. To face spiritual forces in natural strength creates a very predictable outcome. But let’s not lose heart! We have access to the Tree of Life, Himself!
Esta es una traducción del texto original publicado en Inglés, si deseas leer el texto original haz click aquí: Madurez Espiritual
As we grow in spiritual maturity, our desire grows toward mutuality. We want to have a contribution, and we want to grow in our contribution. Often as we are in the beginning stages of our journey, we look for and seek everything and everyone who will make a contribution to and for us, with little thought toward contributing. This is normal and shouldn’t cause any alarm. “What’s in it for me?” is an expression of immaturity, coming from an immature mind and perspective…
Dependence, Independence, Interdependence
We can see this in Paul’s thoughts on impartation in Romans 1. Here he explains that impartation is, in fact, mutual. It’s not something that the “great man” or “great woman” comes to town to do, it’s something that we participate in, mutually.
10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be [h]established; 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. So much of what we see around us, and even the way things are constructed, in effect locks us into immaturity. Don’t be alarmed, however, if Jesus is the one you are following, He will lead you on, beyond these things!
Para leer la traducción al Español de éste arículo haz click aqui: Falsa Seguridad
This content may be controversial, and may talk about things you have no personal experience with. I want to be careful to share this in a way that isn’t unnecessarily weird, mystical or “super spiritual”. Also, I want to ask you to hear me out and try to consider the entire content of what I am sharing, then process thru it, before making a judgement or having a reaction. I’ll be happy to answer questions or clarify as needed, after the fact. This is not intended to be a teaching on these kind of experiences.
I had an experience from the Holy Spirit in the early 2000s, something like 2001 or 2002, wherein I was shown some things from the perspective of the future, almost 20 years beyond where we are now. It took me some years to get a sense of what was being communicated, and some things were immediately obvious. In my experience, I knew that false security was in the process of being removed from the earth. It WAS NOT in the early stages. Much of the false security was gone, whether those falsities that construct errant worldview, right on down to those that people use as coping mechanisms. It’s strange how in dreams or experiences like this you can just “know” something. This was one of those types of experiences. There was a lot more to the experience, most of which is not necessary to share at this moment. I think the timely thing, the thing that needs to be shared now, is about false security.
Why is this important to share now after almost 20 years?
It’s not what a person does that makes his work holy, it’s why he does it. – Tozer
I’ve studied leadership for more than 25 years. There is a ton of leadership podcasts, books, resources and examples in business and history. What part of this can be valuable to us in our pursuit of becoming better leaders?
Abraham was a man of vision, which was a result of the voice of God to him, relaying to him a prophecy of what was to come. In all likelihood, the expanse of the unfolded future relayed to him seemed a fantasy of sorts. It was big. It was long range. And it outsized his circumstances. This is only the beginning of the story, and Abraham as initial collaborator, embraced it.
The hardest thing to learn is what you think you already know, right?
Pain is a faithful instructor…
I read some years ago that the product of a team and the product of individuals aren’t the same. I’ve come to believe / realize the truth in this. Here’s the story that drove it home like no other. It was 2005 and I’d just returned from an extreme missions training pilot course. My mind was being brought into the light of teamwork in ways I thought I already knew.
What we have is not what we need, no matter how appealing the marketing has become.
We can try to fit into what is, and find our place, but that will cost us the real fit and actual contribution that Jesus offers us. What is all around us, making its pitch for “membership”, is a religious framework, a construct of men. Taking the bait, we are being beguiled, robbed really, of the higher and better. It has to do with our perspective, our worldview, and the low and beggarly appeals that seek to distract us and prevent our farther entry into Christ. Now, we cannot escape the context we are in, but we can transcend it. This is why Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble, but cheer up, I have overcome the world.” Veiled In this elaboration, like a hidden treasure, is His invitation to you to overcome the world, with Him. Jesus was in this world, but not of it. That is our birthright in Him. Let's walk in it.
The constant undertow of pleasure, self-centeredness, and vanity draws us away from a life of meaning and consequence. How do we fight against these foes? To fight them directly, or head on, can be an exercise in futility. We never transcend our problems by focusing on them. We have to realize (and believe) that there is a overarching intention in life, generally, and in our lives, specifically. What are we / what am I called to do or be? It’s important to take onboard that your creation was, and is, intentional. Surely you were made for more than just what you can produce…. Right? I think so.
The road leading home is the road of obedience. Unless your course is fixed, you are powerless before a thousand options, regardless of how “empowered” you may feel.
This reference to the wilderness, tho I am not sure it was CS Lewis’ meaning in his original statement, has a curious parallel to the children of Israel’s trek, a trek we are all on, in a manner of speaking. Our individual journeys will fill up a lifetime, but will it be a lifetime of wandering here and there, filled with false hopes & failing motivations, distractions, misleadings and unfulfilled promise? The choice was theirs, and it is ours, as well. Continue reading “One Road Leads Home…”
Some years ago, I came into contact with the idea of 5 Levels of Leadership, I believe through a “cassette tape”… remember those? 🙂 To my knowledge (and memory, haha) it was an audiobook by John Maxwell, entitled, Developing The Leader Within You. Even tho it was years back, I haven't forgotten it. It has helped my perspective on leadership and influence since that time, and has helped me understand more about how leadership works.
Recently I had an encounter that reminded me of this concept, and discussed it one of our core team members. I pass it on here, in hopes that it will add to your growing perspective and worldview on the subject of influence, authority and leadership.
At the time I initially encountered the 5 Levels of Leadership idea, I have to admit most of the authority I was familiar with (and was operating in) was level 1. Surprisingly, that was no discouragement to me. I was happy to find out that this was a good place to start and that you could only grow (or go up) from there.