A Gentle Breeze
Back in the late 80s I was volunteering at WCVO 104.9 fm in New Albany, Ohio. Rich Fout was the undisputed king of all local Christian media at that point and the crown jewel of his empire was his Friday night Christian Rock show called Final Flight.
After a year of so of listening in and a few months of going out to the station and volunteering to answer phones and pray with people, I found myself being invited into the main studio. It was a combination of being star struck and intimidated at the same time standing in the same control room that RIch and his team operated from every weekend. It was like a mini throne room experience that my then teen-aged self will never forget.
When RIch asked me if I wanted to sit behind the control board, I nearly froze with a combination of awe and wild wonder. Of course I said yes and I slowly slid into that big air chair for what would be the first of thousands of times.
I remember thinking to myself that Rich (who would have been in his late 30s at that point) was old. His long, unkempt hair, beard and shirt untucked made him look much older than he was, plus he had that unmistakable deep radio voice that left you with the impression that he had to be an elder statesman of some sort.
I grew quickly anxious to talk on the air but Rich had a special wisdom beyond his years and he saw how elevating me too quickly would be something that would actually harm me instead of helping me so he kept my voice off the air while still letting me play music regularly on Final Flight. After many months the night finally came when I was allowed to take a coupel of small vocal breaks and talk about being nervous, I was a mess. Voice cracking, literally sweating but somehow I made it through.
As time went on Rich would go from being a volunteer himself to actually running the entire station as the General Manager for a season and in that time he hired me full time to first do overnights and then to do afternoons full time.
In that entire seven year stretch from about 1985 to 1992, I had opportunity to spend a great deal of one on one time with Rich not only as a good friend but as a protegee sitting under his amazing ability to "flow and go" in and by the spirit. What I could have never began to understand just by listening on friday nights, I began to be fascinated by as I would watch Rich pray and meditate for several minutes between each and every track of music being careful to only select what he felt the Lord's spirit was leading. At the peak of our chemistry together we would both be in different studios, sometimes not even having eye contact but he would be on the mic sharing and I would be the carefully praying and meditating before the Lord as to what to play under him and after he would be done sharing.
People would often call in reporting unexpected miracles and we knew the Lord was not just resting on us, but was pouring Himself out on others who were taking the time to do what we were doing, just patiently waiting on Him. The times that we would both be flowing in the same river were just indescribable and laid incredible foundation in me for what God was calling me to accomplish in the coming decades.
Rich and I would reunite some twelve years later at WLRY in Rushville, OH and one night in particular we found that amazing mutual chemistry and flow on Final Flight. As Rich was sharing and I was lining up songs under and around his sharing, although we were sitting in a small studio with no open windows, no air conditioner and no fans, the most cool and gentle breeze began to blow thru the room. It blew over both of our faces and I remember seeing it grace the edges of Rich's beard and we both saw it blow over the hair in our arms. We both stopped in awe of the moment and finally Rich slowly getting himself back together says on the air "sorry for the dead air, we just had a friend blow in unexpectedly". We both just smiled.
Rich went home to be with the Lord several years ago now and I am now older than Rich was when we first met all those years ago but one thing time cannot steal or stain is the precious and gentle way the Holy Spirit still blows in, (often unexpectedly) on those of us who prioritize Him and His presence. To this day I never feel a breeze blow on my face that I don't flashback with fond remembrance of Jesus blowing in on us in that small little studio.
Here is my original post about RIch's passing back in 2014.
Here is my follow up post and prophetic word to all after his passing in 2014.
Thanks for reading, more later.
The Great Exchange
I have been consumed as of late, a prisoner of my own perceptions and the last hour or so where this song has played on repeat on my computer, much of my perception has been corrected...all because of the Great Exchange.
As I sat here listening to this song, these powerful words flowed out of me...
A fix for your sin has already taken place. If you are waiting on God to do something, you are a couple thousands years too late. That ship has already sailed.
Every voice in your life that deals with you based on your sin, failures, shortcomings and the like is a voice standing in opposition to what God is trying to do in your life.
Self righteousness takes such subtle forms. We want so desperately to hold on to some fallen sense of control that will leave us just a tiny bit in control of God's opinion about us.
You do not need to die to yourself... because that fallen sinful nature is not who you really are in the first place. "Dying to it" infers a struggle of some sort. You could say that you should die to your fake self but even that puts the focus back on your sin instead of on Jesus where it belongs. That's why the Bible says the mind set on the flesh is death. Even if the mind is set on dying to the flesh, it is still set on the flesh no less.
We have greatly underestimated God's deep desire to be intimate with our souls. Religion has built walls around God's heart offering to only lower the drawbridge if our actions line up with what that religion says. In reality, the love and passion of God's love marched around the castles of our brokenness and those walls all fell down completely.
God's Grace is an absolute scandal. A completely one-sided injustice that sees Jesus take the fall for every wrong we have ever done while we walk away not only free from paying for our own sin, but we also walk away with fresh, open access at will to everything that was and is His. He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.
In Gethsemane, Jesus didn't have second thoughts about you. In fact, fellowship with you is the passion that drove Him into ultimate obedience to His own plan. That's why Hebrews says for the Joy set before Him, He endured the cross. You and I were that Joy!
The person paying for your meal unexpectedly is never about the few dollars they saved you, it is instead a very small reflection of God's ultimate Grace in paying our sin debt. You had no foreknowledge it was coming, you had no control over the person paying your check without your knowledge. It humbles you and once humility arises, it begins to shrink pride to the point that spiritual eyes can begin to see things how God sees them.
The Bible can only be understood properly as its author grants you His Spirits of Wisdom and Understanding. Every false doctrine is birthed from the fallen mind trying to make sense of scripture without the lenses of Jesus' Wisdom and Understanding.
Jesus' free gift is so hard to accept at face value because it requires us to admit that we do not control God like we think we do. He is the author and finisher of our Faith. That leaves exactly zero room for us to manipulate salvation itself and that brings us face to face with our own self righteousness. We either surrender to His Love or we walk away from it.
Salvation is a person, His name is Jesus. The more we accept His Spirit into our hearts, minds and lives, the more He reveals Himself to us personally and this revealing undoes what the bible calls strongholds in our thinking about ourselves and others. How do you forgive what cannot be undone? You allow Jesus to have deeper access to your heart, mind and life. As He gently brushes against the painful places with the skill of a surgeon, spirits of retaliation and revenge start to lose their grips.
His loss became my gain... at the Great Exchange.
Like many today, I have created, deleted, published and shared literally tens of thousands of posts, blogs, vlogs, journal entries and social media activities.
I have been active online since the 1990s, my history includes creation and management in dozens of larger and successful chat rooms, message board communities, Facebook pages and Facebook groups and I currently have a social media reach into the thousands of individual followers over several platforms and several thousand more each month that read this, my current personal blog.
I oversee a listener supported, nonprofit organization that provides 8 online Christian radio stations reaching up to 40,000 people a month from all over the world and yet I always come back to writing blogs like this with the simple challenge to try and convey my heart so with that in mind, here is the latest from me... and yes, I know it's been awhile since a blogged here so I'll try to catch you up a bit. :)
Recent months have once again shown me that as a rule, people want your acceptance but not your advice. The Bible says there is a way that seems right to a person (Prov 14:12) but that way is something most do not like to have questioned or corrected, despite them often needing just that. I have learned to take great comfort in the knowledge that we all stand before the Lord and give account for ourselves.. and only for ourselves.
God has repeatedly sent me to people who have not received what God had for them to receive. How refreshing to know that their refusal to receive is not something God holds me responsible for. Part of prophetic maturity is coming to understand that the role of the prophet on a personal level is to stir people up, motivate them, build them up, encourage them, to basically put a demand upon their true selves that are hidden in Christ. However, people who insist upon seeing themselves as victims will always refuse these prophetic attempts.
I recently put myself on the ballot as a write in candidate for my local school board. Ultimately it was a distraction from what God was doing in my life but the prophet in me loves to address and try to fix injustices so with only two people on the ballot and three open seats, I joined with several others in tossing my hat in the ring. My goal was not win but to instead address the injustices of the evil Common Core, bring account to our local school district that gets off on tormenting parents they decide privately they don't care for, and most of all to be a voice to those who feel they didn't have one. I feel I accomplished those goals. It was wild toward the end of the race too as the Lord exposed literally dozens of wicked hearts consumed by bitterness and retaliation for the entire local community to see. It was literally a Proverbs 28:1, the wicked flee when no one pursues.
When a prophet gets involved, hidden agendas are going to be laid bare. It has been that way for thousands of years and continues to be so today. Those with hidden agendas afraid of the uncovering generally try the same tactics, they attempt to attach controversy to and/or discredit the prophetic voice. They even did this with Jesus Himself (Matt 9:11 and others) accusing Him of unholy associations to others. In my case, I had several people over the last few years who had been talking to me about the schools but I needed help in separating those who were honest and those who had hidden agendas. Running this time brought fantastic clarity as to who had pure motives of loving others and who were ruled by bitterness and retaliation so for that clarity, I am very grateful.
On the home business front, God is breathing fresh, new life into our efforts there. There is a saying, Joy to a teacher is finding a willful learner. I have recently found some willful learners who have taken my business advice and predictably they are seeing incredible success. I so enjoy helping others reach their personal goals, it brings great fulfillment to watch others get where they want to be.
I am also being prepared in my heart to write music again. I have done 14 music projects since 2004, including writing dozens of songs and performing on each of the recordings, many recorded live. In 2015 I wrote a song called "Never Gone Before" and it was just a simple prayer that said in part...
I wanna go where I have never gone before
and all I know is you alone, you are the door
will you take me with you, where I have never gone before
That is a good summary of where I am finding myself today in late 2017.
I will have more soon as I plan to blog more in teh near future. Thanks for taking the time to catch up here with me.
The June Update
I'm not exactly sure when it happened originally but somewhere when i was around 13 or 14 years of age the happy and secure church that I grew up in began to show signs of not being so happy and secure. The Pastor's daughter had become pregnant out of wedlock and the church was divided on if she should be made to stand before the entire church and "repent" or if a private repentance would be good enough. This split the eldership down the middle as it did with the congregation. Before it was all said and done, nearly 500 person congregation was down to about 200 and I had my first taste of church politics that started a very long journey of soul searching for me.
Friends sometimes warn me to not post so much about my bad experiences with the church because they feel it paints me as "wounded" or like someone who just can't let go of the past. of course, they know better, which is why they are friends... :) but I do understand that it's always a risk when you blow the whistle that others will ignore what you say and instead try to blame you as when you expose what is really there, it will often mess up their perfect illusion that they often hold about their given church. My heart is to cover people in love... but the same scripture that tells me to do that also tells me to have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them...so somewhere there must be a balance. I pray that makes sense.
I have kept many online blogs, this one since early 2014 and the primary reason I do is because I often want to say much more than Twitter or Facebook lets me say. I share much more freely and deeply here as a result so buckle up, I'm about to really unload my heart once again and as I do, I pray the lord uses it as He has done countless times before.
I have recently discovered some unchecked bitterness in my own heart dating back to 2014 and it was a direct result of me not being more keen and aware of offences and bitterness sneaking in as myself and my family were drug thru the mud somewhat publicly by a couple of local church messes from 2014, 2015 and 2016. I am avoiding the temptation to namedrop on these people because in my flesh I feel that they so richly deserve to be humiliated just like they tried to do with us... but instead I will just say that the Lord is my Defence and as more time goes by, more and more people who were in those circles with us are seeing the truth for themselves, namely that we were completely lied about, misrepresented and thrown under the religious bus because we knew of sins that had gone down within the leadership of those churches and that made us dangerous to those same leaders. ...and when I say we knew about sins, I mean we were first hand eyewitnesses to the craziness. So to protect their reputations, they felt it smart to try to get ahead of the potential exposures by slandering and soiling Lori and I. That way if we ever did expose them, we would not have any credibility and would not be believed. What's more crazy that that is these same leaders actually believe that God led them to tell the lies in the first place. They claim it is how they "protect their flock" from what they don't feel they should know.. so they twist that passage out of Timothy and justify their own sins even further.
The bottom line is that I did not emerge from those situations well at all. I was flanked by hitting the empty nest with our two oldest boys, finding my birth mother for the first time, learning that my adoptive parents had early onset Alzheimer's, Lori losing her mom and having her family largely demonize her through that whole process, having the local school system declare their version of a holy war on our youngest son prompting me to run for the local school board and oh yeah.. I helped run our online ministries, our home business efforts and in the shadow of all of that, here are local church leaders talking all of their smack... yeah, it was everything I could do to not really lash out hard against all of them... but I didn't. I was largely successful at processing it and giving it the Lord. Largely, but not entirely.
In recent days I got word that a prophetic friend of mine had passed away. When Apostles and/or Prophets leave the Earth, that is a big deal... and I had felt it was coming but to get the news was still rough. In the shadow of those losses I have also recently found out I have some new half brothers and sisters thru my birth parents that I never knew I had before...so my head has been spinning to say the least.
I am seeing patterns in my own life that have required me to pull back a little bit and climb up in Papa's lap for a little while. I've taken parts of June here to "spiritually detox" if that makes sense. I am being wooed back to playing worship again, something I had laid down completely for a few years for many of the reasons I listed above.
Many around me want me to run for the school board again in November. Others want me to continue the rapid advancement pace of our home business efforts (which have been significant and wonderful to be sure)... and still others want me to do local meetings and gatherings to minister to them and others... when right now in this season I just want more than anything to cleanse my own heart and mind of the trauma and drama of church foolishness along with the other cares of the world. I don't like the bitterness I have found in myself and I am going to try and make it a priority to get rid of that more sooner than later.
Pray for me in this time.. and no, I don't mean feel bad for a minute and move on.. I mean really take a few minutes and call my name out before God. I need great wisdom in every area including future focus and direction... and thank you for doing it!
Naked and Unashamed
There I was starting my day not too unlike any other day and the Lord spoke to me and said those three words.. God Hates Fear. He often mentions Himself in third person like that to me, it's one of the ways I know what he is saying is not just for me but it's something I need to share with others.
Fear is a demon designed to ultimately blind you to your true identity. It pretends to be wisdom and even common sense at times, but it is Fear. Doing everything he can to trick you into ultimate emotional paralysis, Fear is cold and cruel. There is no lie he will not tell, no fact he will not try to exploit, no relationship he will not try to exploit... all in an effort to trick you into making decisions based on false evidence. IN fact, that is one of the acronyms for Fear... False Evidence Appearing Real.
I grew up being afraid of not being loved. I was adopted from birth and my adoptive parents did not flow in the spirit of God like I do now. They had no way of knowing the prophetic seeds that the Holy Spirit had sown into my personality to lean me toward the prophetic or things of the spirit. I don't blame them in any way but they simply didn't know what they didn't know. As a result I was raised like most with conditional love because that is how their parents raised them...and you cannot give what you do not have to give. The result was me being afraid of never being able to be good enough and thus living in a constant state of being afraid of not being affirmed, not being held, not being accepted just on the basis of who I was but instead it was all about how I behaved.
Shame is a tool that fear uses to manipulate people. Fear will whisper just under the conscious mind "Don't do that, people will mock you". It's fear threatening you with shame to trick you out of succeeding.
As the Spirit of God heals us, He lets us see who we really are and just as importantly who He really is. When we begin to see that He is for us, that He is waiting with open arms, not a fist cocked back ready to strike us... it changes everything.
Why is nakedness feared by most? Because it exposes what we all try so hard to hide.. our body's imperfections. We don't want people to laugh at us because of our imperfections so we cover them up. People that truly accept us for who we are (and not based on what we have done or may do in the future) are just fine with our imperfections and thus was the case with Adam and Eve. They were naked and unashamed. They saw their own nakedness, they saw each other's nakedness and they knew that God saw their nakedness and none of that mattered at all because they were moving out of their true identities. Only after their identity was compromised in their own minds did their nakedness bother them.
Adam and Eve's fig leaves they used to cover themselves didn't cover their nakedness nearly as much as it exposed their broken perception of themselves. God saw this and asked one of the most powerful questions in all of scripture.. "Who told you that you were naked?"
My question for my readers today is the same... who told you that you were naked?
So many cover themselves up emotionally just like they do with their body and largely for the same reasons. They have eaten a lie that told them they were not really who God created them to be. They have crafted and cultivated relationships based often only on a piece of who they truly are. Then, when they cannot be their true selves, they get frustrated with those around them blaming those people for their own frustrations. In recent months I have identified this same behaviour in my own life and am taking steps to correct it.
We all want to be accepted as we are so let me ask you this question.. who can you be physically naked with and have them not judge your body for it's imperfections? When you find someone like this, you have found the beginnings of a perfect lover. One that can study your reactions and please you in ways that can only be explored in at atmosphere free of false judgements.
Let me ask an even more revealing question.. who can you be emotionally naked with.. no filters, no holding back, completely open and entirely honest and unchecked. When you find someone like this, you have found the beginnings of a soul mate. One that can study your reactions and please you in ways that can only be explored in at atmosphere free of false judgements.
One more powerful question... can you believe that God wants to heal you to the point where YOU become this person? Healed to a place where you can see yourself physically naked and not judge yourself for your imperfections? Healed to a place where you can explore your own emotions and mind while remaining free of judgements about what may be wrong, improper or flawed.. it's a powerful thought isn't it.. to be naked and unashamed?
Fear has limited you in ways you have mistakenly identified as part of who you really are. In fact it is NOT who you are and the part of your personality that has been hijacked by fear waits to be unlocked from that cage and set free to explore the realms of freedom that you are truly hungry for.
You don't have trust issues, trust flourishes when fear is removed. You don't have intimacy issues, nakedness is a natural state when fear is removed. You don't even have financial issues because wisdom illuminates the path of wealth when fear of lack is removed.
I speak a prophetic breaker word over you reading this today that you are not afraid anymore. You never really were actually. It was and still is a giant lie. The fear, the shame, the rejections.. it all felt so real but absolutely none of it was who you really are. Stop trying to be someone you are not and instead start to be the real you. Start to prioritize and celebrate relationships where you can be naked and unafraid because those are the relationships that are based on who you are and not what you can do.
The Kingdom of God is built upon a foundation of Intimacy. This is why so few people truly see it because very few can truly merge with and give themselves completely and honestly physically, emotionally and spiritually to anyone else. Oh, to love like that.. to have passions purified to a place where fear is removed and the two can truly become one.. that is the heart of God my friends.. that is just one of the many things Jesus died to secure for us on the cross.
Jesus is not afraid or ashamed of your nakedness, in fact he offers Himself to you in His own nakedness. We call it "the Glory of God" but that's just a fancy term that means He is being completely naked and transparent without holding any part of Himself back. Under all of the fear, shame and even resentment.. the real you is so incredibly hungry for that, you don't even have the words to explain it to others. It comes out thru our brokenness sometimes as a drive to gamble, or drink, or smoke, or overeat, or for sex .. but deep under it all, those are all just band aids on the gaping wound of raw hunger for what we were truly created for... completely unchecked naked intimacy with the only one capable of giving it to us.
Fear is a lie, shame is a lie, false identities lying to you hiding your own worth and value before the Lord from you. Many have at one point said yes to God .. to be born again.. I hear the Spirit of God say He wants to push you the rest of the way out of the birth canal today...into the brand new world that you have only heard echos from and dreamed about. It's time for the real you to emerge ..naked and unashamed..ready to be intimate with the Presence of God in ways you never imagined possible before!
David was absolutely anointed but also quite dysfunctional due to a demon that came in thru the rejection of his father. Those that knew him closely knew of his private lust issues..so much so that when he was an old man they put a young woman in his bed and when he didn't advance on her they said the king is dead... :o Now that's a reputation of lust...
Out of David came unspeakable rebellion and drama with Absalom who was indeed his father's son. The primary difference between David and Absalom was that David had a private relationship with God that caused him to love God in his heart despite his many flaws. Absalom on the other hand was entirely self absorbed.
Historians believe Absalom was considered the most handsome man of his generation. He had the looks, he had the linage, he had undeniable charisma but his pride unchecked without his father David's humility before the Lord drove Absalom to plot an overthrow of his father leading to his ultimate death...which by the way was due to his long, beautiful hair getting caught on a tree causing him to be pulled off his horse allowing him to be killed. Even in Absalom's death his personal vanity costs him..oh, the many lessons in all of that.
Then there was the one son who was the heir apparent to David's throne.. Amnon. Again, blessed by God with looks, linage and potential but his refusal to humble himself before the Lord and deal with his own lusts drive him to rape his half sister. The deception is so deep that Amnon actually believes he is truly in love with her tracing back directly to a David's failure as a father.
Despite the drama in David's family line, ultimately the Messiah will come forth from that lineage showing once again that no matter how deeply flawed, no matter how twisted, no matter how unjust..even up to and including a rape springing from demonic collusion...what God can bring forth out of the mess is always greater than the damage the original mess made!
So many points here.. Fathers, take the time with your sons. Time spent with your son(s) is always an investment into both of your futures. Sons, forgive the shortcomings of your fathers. WIthout humility before the Lord, no amount of looks, linage or talent will heal your personal brokenness and you will absolutely bring that drama into your own family without even realizing it.
Many of you have so much to offer. So much talent, so much impressive skill, so much internal and external beauty... but the one thing that matters the most (for any of us) is that humility before Papa God. Being able to be humble enough to allow ourselves to be held and to receive unconditional love from the one who matters most. If you can submit to the Heavenly Father's attempts to bless and love you just as you are, that will be the single factor that can merge with every other thing in your life good or bad and bring forth the immaculate that could not come any other way.
Forgiveness assassinates the out of control Amnons in your life before they do their internal damage. Mercy to those who don't deserve it brings protection to your own heart from the Absaloms. Wisdom lets you see the bigger picture of what God is going to be bringing thru you and how that is always larger than what you face in the moment.
I saw a person yesterday at Sams Club who has slimed me pretty hard in local church circles. They know what they have said and done and as a result they had disconnected with me entirely on all social media and had basically been in hiding. Seeing them first I immediately went up to them, smiled, said hello and offered to shake hands. They were instantly and noticeably uncomfortable, like they had been exposed.
I was reminded that in Heaven there are no block lists. There is no manipulation of or about others in the Kingdom of God...and the only reason we have that stuff here and now is because we have severe shortages of understanding and revelation about God's LOVE and God's GRACE.
Jesus carefully crafts a group of young males together in their respective mother's wombs. He enjoys this greatly knowing that they will grow up together and share many wonderful life experiences. They will be a joy to their parents and others in addition to going on to work within the local government and being trusted with important matters by society's leaders. He watches as they pass from youth to being strong and vibrant adults.
He loves each of them so honestly and deeply that no malice enters His heart at all when one of them punches Him in the face repeatedly or when another one pulls His beard out by the handful. As another one whips him 39 times crippling his body in unspeakable pain, Jesus' heart is still wanting the best for His creation that He still sees as beautiful.
When His once tiny cell sized creations now violently throw Him to the ground stretching his arms and legs out and nailing them to crossbeams, the pain in His body nearly causes unconsciousness but the idea of retaliation or revenge never even begins to stir because His love is far too great. They were murdering Him but in His mind He remembered resting on Solomon generations earlier and revealing to him that there is a love that is stronger than death... and that is exactly what He had for these now grown men who to the average onlooker appeared to hate Jesus.
In perhaps the most powerful statement ever spoken in all of human history, Jesus is moved with so much Grace and Love that He once again reveals Papa's heart and says "Dad, I'm not upset with them, you don't be either, they don't even understand what they are doing right now, give them all a pass because I love them".
What I have just described is merely one example out of tens of billions in just how strong and pure the Love of God truly is. It is legalistically true that He loves everyone... but it becomes a life changing internal miracle when you see that he also loves each person individually as well.
"You must be born again" is not a cold rebuke to straighten up your life. Instead it is a warm and heartfelt invitation to come and play like a child in the beautiful fields of Grace that God and God alone has waiting.
Forgiving someone else is simply you laying down the heavy desire to get even that if you were honest, you never wanted to do in the first place. See, that is the deception in it all. You surrender perceived access to those beautiful fields of Grace in exchange for the ugly scorched earth that bitterness and retaliation brings you to over and over again.
He loves you, my friend...more honestly and deeply than your human mind will ever be able to truly comprehend. Once that starts to fill you up, the bitterness and other stuff will naturally wash out of you just as it did with Jesus on the cross. As it does, just let it go and pray as Jesus did... Heavenly Father, I'm not really upset with them after all, you don't be either, they didn't even understand what they did to me, give them all a pass because you love them just like you love me"
The Shack Stuff
I am NOT into Universalism. Not everyone is going to Heaven, so please don't lump me into that. Just because I recommend a great fresh fruit bar doesn't mean I am a vegetarian.
God infused me and healed me as I watched The Shack at my local theater. I feel like the man who had his hand healed and then watching as the modern teachers give Jesus grief for doing it on the Sabbath. They missed the entire point.
Since I saw the film I have been driven deeper into the Bible.. the very book many claim denounces the movie. Is Satan leading me to study scripture now? Is this where people pull out Timothy's warning against false prophets out of it's context to accuse anyone with a different opinion of being somehow against God?
We all need to RELAX a bit here. You want to know who is "right" in this entire shack back and forth? I'll tell you who is "right".. it's the one whose interactions and life looks the most like Galatians 5. WHo among us has Peace, Joy and Love? Who here has longsuffering? For me the entire point of the Shack was to let God bring you to a place of healing so you can accept that you have been forgiven thus bringing you to a place where you can forgive others. Is that not the entire reason Jesus died to begin with?
I have been judged my entire life by other Christians the whole time saying they loved me and accepted me just as I am... in fact, even when I was a little boy, that was always a favorite invitation song played in my church.. Just as I am... but my experience has been that while Jesus does indeed accept me just as I am, the modern church does not. My teen years and adult life have largely been a collection of mentors and leaders placing demands upon my behaviour without having the relational authority in my life to do so. if I didn't roll over and take the abuse, I was labeled as a troublemaker and one to be avoided. Well, guess what .. I did the unthinkable.. I FORGAVE those people for judging and abusing me. I went very, very deep into my own life.. even forgiving a sexual predator from my past who abused me when I was very young. I FORGAVE him... and that forgiveness stuff is irrelevant to a religious church world that cares much more about you not being overweight or God forbid you make out with someone of the same sex... and no, I don't do that and no, I don't think t's ok to do that.. but the larger point is that we have judged people to the point of our own extinction.
Research shows that only 25% of professing Christians even attend a church regularly. Then the church does what the Democratic party is doing right now.. they blame the people for not attending instead of looking at themselves and trying to figure out why they lost.
Everyone wants to bow and worship the bible.. well, John's gospel says the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts people of sin. I've looked in several translations now and I can't find any that say Mark Kenney is the one who convicts them... yet the modern church teaches that by proxy.. that is we live a pure enough life that others will be drawn in.. which is BS. I don't see a line of people in Oregon being drawn to the monks .. and they live more holy than 99% of modern believers.
I'm just tired of being sold the idea that Jesus loves me just as I am but His people on the earth will only accept me if I live up to what they judge to be a holy standard. IN reality, as long as I engage in the same sins that they do, I am fine.. it's when I engage in different sins that make them uncomfortable that I am suddenly "outside of God's will". Again I call BS!
To me The Shack is an attempt to clear God's name.. to restore the real heart of God into the earth today.. and that is the heart of a loving Father who says to everyone.. I love you, right where you are, no strings attached..even if you never change. Now, I don't believe He wants us to stay as we are but it's only revelations of His Kindness that bring changes to our lives, not our wagging our fingers at others calling out their sin.
Think for a moment.. have you ever really sinned and then realized it after the fact? It's a serious question. I can't ever remember a time when I did something I felt was perfectly in alignment with God and suddenly discovered later "oh wow, that was actually sinful". Point is that people already know what their sin is! Do you not already know as you read my words what active sin(s) you have in your own life? DO you really need a church person to come into your path and say "thus saith the Lord, this is your sin"? Really?
The church has a sin fetish because it has a blind spot about it's own righteousness before the throne. The Shack is being used to expose that blind spot. The humble let it correct them away from wrong judgements against others and into a deeper place of personal inspection and forgiveness... the prideful will just continue to rage on about how evil it is. As for me, I'm just glad that God met me right where I was and accepts me right where I am. Those two facts have melted my heart anew and if you cannot be happy for me in that, you are the one with the problem, not Mr Young.
Some dry backstory
My first job in radio was at a small, low power AM station in Delaware, Ohio. I will never forget that feeling of sitting behind a control board for the first time knowing that when I touched a button, everyone listening would hear the results of what I did. It was a glorious mix of emotions for my 15 year old soul. Statistically we would have been lucky to have 100 listeners but to me at that time it might as well have been 1 million.
Around that same time my youth group took a trip to our local Christian radio FM station where I ended up volunteering on a regular basis and then while volunteering at the FM station at 16 years of age I got hired on at a high power AM Christian radio station in my area. It covered the entire state of Ohio and I did evenings and weekends there.
So there I was directly involved with two Christian stations and to say I was ecstatic would be an understatement but sadly that incredible feeling was about to be interrupted. Turns out the station manager at the FM station had some personal issues with the AM station and when he learned that I was working there while volunteering for his FM station at the same time, I was branded a traitor and actually banned from returning to the FM station. Now, I know a "ban" sounds extreme but that that is exactly what it was. I was working at Pizza Hut at the time and I will never forget getting a phone call from a friend inside the FM station telling me that the manager said to call me and tell me I showed up again I would be escorted out by the sheriff. My crime? I had taken a part time job at what the FM station manager considered his "main competition". I was shocked.
Over the next couple of years it would come out that the manager at the FM station was knee deep in adultery and embezzlement. In addition he took station money and used it to pay off the husband of one of his mistresses. It was a very ugly situation to say the least and finally a group of Godly men rose up, took control of that FM station and eventually hired me on to be full time staff where I did overnights and eventually afternoon drive. Talk about a big restoration!
About a year later another management change took place and this manager was really in over his head and didn't have the leadership skills to do the job so I gave notice and left for a newer Christian FM station that had just popped up months earlier in our market and quickly found myself doing evenings and producing the morning show there. Again, powerful restoration.
A year later that newer FM station was bought out, went secular and I stepped away from radio for a season. In the mid 90s I went back to radio by getting a job doing afternoons on a secular station in our market. Then I went to that station's sister station and started to do morning drive. Morning drive is THE prime slot on any radio station and in many ways I felt like I had arrived. I was not even 30 and was doing Morning Drive in Columbus, Ohio. Life was good... at least my radio life. Behind the scenes my personal life was a mess at that point but more on that in a different blog entry...
About a year after that the station I was doing Mornings on was bought out. They changed formats and let most of the staff go which is standard in those situations. I was disheartened and stepped back out of radio for another season.
Understanding The Times
I'm a big Star Wars guy. In The Force Awakens there is a scene where Rea is handed something that she could not possibly understand the importance of. It is Luke Skywalker's lightsaber. The audience instinctively knows that it is not just Luke's lightsaber but it is somehow in some yet to be revealed way a future connection with the last living Jedi master himself. I believe in the spirit this is where America is right now.
We as Christians are like Rae in The Force Awakens. We have been through great trials to get us to where we are today and the Donald Trump victory in November has handed us something most of us could not possibly understand the importance of but most of us somehow instinctively know it will lead us individually to a deeper connection with the plan of God for this nation.
I don't believe as others do that Trump's victory was God's victory. I think Trump's victory is an opening so that Christians can catch their breath, regroup and begin to strategically advance the Kingdom of God in the Earth today in a much better, wiser way.
16 years ago many of the same people who are upset now were upset then for what they claimed were many of the same reasons. "George Bush was not a valid President" became the media fetish. Fringes on the far left to this day still don't recognize Bush 43, yet we made it through eight years of Bush and now we have made it through 8 years of President Obama. Guess what? We will also make it through 4 or 8 years of Donald Trump but that is not the larger point. I only share it to help bring some perspective to those are consumed with fear about the guy.
The larger picture is always the eternal or The Kingdom of God that always remains unshakeable, even in the face of unusual or changing times. The Kingdom is the safety and security for the souls of Christians everywhere. This is why Jesus said in Matt 10, Luke 12 to not fear the one who can kill the body and not the soul. A deeper revelation of the Kingdom leads to better understanding of the Kingdom and that produces greater awareness of His Holy Presence and where His Presence is, He is and thus all of His fruits which are part of His nature.
Let me talk about national politics for a moment... This is a season of HEALING for the SOUL of America. Healing is what 2017 is all about. I believe our current situation in this country is a parallel of Numbers 21 where the Nation of Israel suffers a loss (Bill Clinton Presidency), they vow to do things the right way so the Lord honors that (Bush 43 Presidency) but along the way they get tired of doing things the right way so they start to mumble and complain against God's leaders.. and God always defends His true leaders... so he sends fiery snakes and many of the people died as a result. (President Obama) The people under tremendous pressures finally wise up, stop blaming others and admit to the Lord that they have been selfish and they repent.
Seeing their hearts, the Lord instructs Moses to build a fiery serpent and he does. Everyone who looks upon Moses' serpent who had once been bitten and was dying would suddenly be healed and so many were! I believe Donald Trump is the result of God's people after eight years realizing that they need to stop blaming others and simply repent for what they have personally allowed in their own private day by day lives. Trump is the new fiery serpent that politically speaking people can look upon and be made whole again from the woundings of the previous serpents.
Later in Numbers 21 Israel tries to play nice by asking for passage thru a given territory but the king there refused passage and instead attacked them. This is what the far left is doing now and you see it playing out over night on the TV and online. Israel fought back, won and took over everything. This is also what you are seeing the trump administration doing. Why do they keep bringing up every little detailed thing? Because its not just about the big picture.. not only is Trump going to succeed, he is going to take back every last little thing that Obama 44 took away from the country.
Now, back out of politics and back into reality here...
This season of Healing needs to be carefully considered by all of us. This is not just something to be blown off or brushed over. This is a narrow opening into a world that has gone off the rails. Never before in AMerica's history have it's people been more confused about who they are. This is an hour where clear voices can raise up and speak gently and directly into the hearts of the confused. We have been handed an incredible opportunity, one that many generations do not get. Let's not squander it in political battles but instead let's take advantage of it by living loudly what we know to be true because in this season of Healing, so very few even know or understand that real truth is only found in the person of Jesus and they will never learn that is we don't share it with them.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.