Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Girls Allowed

No Girls Allowed.  Have you ever seen that sign?  You probably won't see it anymore since everything has become a litigation frenzy, but it's still out there.  
Sometimes the roadblocks for a woman called to minister in the Kingdom of God can be difficult, and often times, overwhelming.  Difficult to establish any credibility when your not given any opportunity.  Overwhelming, when you just get tired of the whole battle.

25 years ago, my husband had been involved with a hockey outreach ministry for a number of years before we met and married.  He'd go on trips to isolated Native communities in Ontario, Canada and forge relationships with the people there using the sport of Hockey as a common interest.  An outreach was planned by this ministry soon after we were married and it's preparation begun.  Both of us wanted me to be involved with the outreach, so we approached the leader with our interest.  His response was that I could go and participate as a cook, but not as a member of the team of ministry. He reminded me that serving in the kitchen was truly ministry and not to see it differently.  I wondered why, if it was so great a ministry, I didn't see any men on the kitchen and cleanup team!
  His response sparked some candid rebuttal on my part.  I finally persuaded him that I would help in the "ministry" of cooking and clean up, but I would also like to be a part of the outreach ministry with the Native people whenever I could get out of the kitchen.  He never endorsed me for any of that, but did allow me to go on the trip.  And I did do my kitchen duty to submit to his leadership.  The other women involved all stayed in the kitchen the entire time.  I alone escaped that confinement and joined with the guys in ministry.   I found a ripe and ready field to minister in outside of the kitchen and that was exciting and fruitful! That for me, was real ministry.

A friend of mine, John White ( speaks often about our design. Those things that make us unique and designed for a purpose.  We can look backward in our lives and see how that unique design was apparent even as children.  A design with a purpose in the Mind of the Creator.

I grew up playing with the guys. There were only a couple girls in the neighborhood and I found I liked playing with the boys better. I'd organize the building of forts, tree houses, crayfish catching, exploration adventures and salamander hunts.  Jimmy A was my best friend for years.  Together we'd plan and organize teams for capture the flag, army, cowboys and Indians,  baseball, dodge ball, flag football, tag and whatever game we had interest in and gear for.  But I wasn't a "Tom Boy".  I loved being a girl and dressing up to look pretty.  Sometimes I'd play house with my baby dolls, build cities for my barbies,  leap around the house in a tutu or in flowing Arabian scarves as a princess of the Far East.  I liked being a girl, but I felt totally comfortable as a girl in the world of boys and that made up the majority of my friendships and camaraderie.

There are those who would say that my design, and God unfolding that throughout my life, needs to fit into a certain box of acceptable ministry venues as it relates to the Kingdom.  I don't always hear those words, although I have had many such exchanges.  But I certainly feel the affect of those beliefs.

Many years ago, one leader I was submitted under, pulled me aside one day and asked me to withdraw from the church planting training my husband and I had enrolled in.  He said that since I was the one gifted in leadership on the team of my husband and I, and not my husband, we would not be able to continue in the training program.  A woman could not be the primary church planter because she could not be in a leadership position that was "over" men.  I asked him; "what do you do with Deborah in the scriptures?  She was in leadership "over" men, and was supported by her husband and Barak, the head of the army of Isreal?"  He responded with; "Deborah was an exception."  I responded with; "how do you know I am not an exception?" 

(I won't go into this persons'  lack of understanding of what true Kingdom leadership is. He clearly sees it as a top down position. I'll save that discussion for another blog post.)

So did God make a mistake in creating me uniquely designed?  Has my creation in my mother's womb and then reflected throughout my life experience gone amuck?  Why has He made me comfortable in circles of men with similar gifts and calling and yet bar the door to entrance? 
 I used to ask myself these questions a lot and finally had to concede that God doesn't make mistakes.  He is not a sadist. The error must be human.

In the book of Genesis, God says we are intentionally and uniquely created in the Imago Dei (the image of God), both male and female. We are created for a purpose. We are created to bear fruit and to honor Christ.  Our living out that created unique design is an act of worship.   It is obedience.  
 Can we please take down;" No Girls Allowed," and encourage us all (male and female) to walk in obedience and in the fullness of our unique design for His purposes and Kingdom?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Self Delusions

I'm not a huge fan of the show, but our family does enjoy watching the tryout episodes for American Idol. We are intrigued with the high level of self delusion that exists with contestants that believe they have a quality singing voice that will propel them into the music business.   But they don't!  They probably shouldn't even sing in the shower!  No amount of convincing themselves or others will ever change that fact.  It's living in another reality to believe differently, and some of them most likely prefer living in that reality of their own making.

How much do we, as believers in Christ, also choose to live in realities of our own minds that have deluded us to what really is the truth? 

In Proverbs 23:7 it says; " For as he thinks within himself, so he is."  The word for think in this passage is Sha ar in Hebrew, and it means to open, to act as a gate.  A place of controlled access to the city.

When we don't watch the gate (our thinking), we can allow all sorts of things into our being and that has the ability to effect our actions.  Once we begin a pattern of acting, it becomes ingrained in us and difficult to change.  Therefore, it is really important we guard the gates and think in line with Truth. 

  An example from my own life reflecting this is being a woman called to leadership in a man's world these last 25 years.  Men in leadership positions have many kinds of responses to me.
 Hostility, indifference, limited acceptance, awkwardness, suspicion.  With a very few; but more and more in recent years, encouragement and affirmation.  (Praise God!)  Of all these responses, suspicion always seemed to have the most affect on me.  
There was a teaching that went through much of the church years ago regarding the "Jezebel Spirit".  Of course, it was taught as a spirit within a woman that wanted to control men and basically take over.  This was a woman that could, and would, seduce a man into sin.  Any woman with assertiveness and confidence, was suspect and watched carefully.  I felt watched a lot.  Couple that with their indifference, awkwardness and limited acceptance, and you had a powerful force to affect my thinking.  It didn't take long for me to think and act in line with the belief that most men in leadership saw me this way and I began to misjudge and misinterpret as a result.  A man with whom I had recently come into fellowship with, was one such misinterpretation of the truth.  In our interactions, which had been very limited, I had made the assumption that he was suspicious of me.  I limited my contact with him and felt the hurt of misjudgment.  It was me however, who had misjudged.  I called him at one point, confessed what I thought he was thinking in regards to me and realized through our discussion that I was wrong.  My own experiences, wounds and assumptions had incorrectly determined what I believed to be truth.  I had a faulty gate and had fallen into self delusion.  

Watching the American Idol tryouts remind me to take a look at areas in my own life that I'm living in self delusion and faulty thinking.  Areas that I may be convinced of their validity, but convinced in error and thereby causing my actions to reflect that error.   

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect".  Romans 12:2

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bob the Builder

Yesterday I spoke on the tendency towards expertise ism that seeps into us as people, and  the movements of God. I hoped to challenge  us to not let that happen in this movement of SOM (Simple/Organic/Missional) Kingdom lifestyle. If  it's not about the experts, than what does that look like?
 Today, I want to talk a bit about the importance of each of us as Kingdom builders. Co-laborers with Christ as He Himself builds His Church.  We participate by our obedience to use every aspect of our lives and who we are, to be transformed and transformers.

A few years ago, there was a popular toy and television show called "Bob the Builder".  My kids were older by then, and not interested in it, but I found it a wonderful toy.  Basically, Bob made it fun for everyone to be a builder.  

In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, we see the re-establishment of the Jews to their promised land.  The books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi also add to this time in history and restoration of the Jewish people to their homeland and subsequent rebuilding of Israel.  If you read through these books, and I would encourage you to do so, you see that God was restoring all aspects of what it meant to be re-established as the people of God.  The temple was rebuilt, as also the walls of the city, and homes of people.  Ceremonies, temple treasures, relationships, scriptures, worship, giving and more were re-established and sanctified to the Lord.  There was a renewal of the hearts of people and they felt alive again with their commitment to the Lord and His Ways.  It took place over many years and had times of setback and struggle and yet the work progressed because each person found a place to be joined to the work and built.

In Nehemiah 2:20, after receiving a lot of harassment from the opposition, Nehemiah responds with; "So I answered them and said to them, 'The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build,.."

What follows in Chapter 3 is a listing of all those who arose to build the wall, gates and towers.
If you take the time to read it, you'll be amazed at how everyone contributed and were counted in the building.  Names of men, brothers, families, daughters, servants, priests, goldsmiths and merchants.  Persons of no renown giving themselves to the rebuilding.  Rebuilding by creating, repairing, opening gates, and laying support beams and bolts to hold things together.  Building 
homes and business that lined the wall and formed the community.  Each person or family took a section.  There was no competition, or striving for "more" wall than was their section.  All sections of the wall and city were important and necessary for its completion.  Each one a builder, a person of transformation.  A co-laborer in Gods Kingdom.

Does this sound like the SOM movement today?  Put your own name, and those you know into chapter 3.  Are you one building homes to restore what healthy family looks like and welcoming others into it for their "building up?" Are you one that is opening gates for others to walk through and into a simple, intimate, purposeful relationship with God?  Maybe your a repairer of brokenness, truth and restoration.  Others are creating new and exciting venues of what ministry really looks like to a world that is hungry for something real in their neighborhoods, jobs and business's.  Which of you are support beam layers, those who encourage and strengthen and keep it all bolted with truth and love in action?

I would use the words of the Lord, in Haggai 2: 4; "take courage.....and all you people of the land take courage,' declares the Lord, 'and work; for I AM with you', says the Lord of Hosts.  'As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt; My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!" 

So all you "Bob the Builders"; arise and build! Take your section and transform it!

Wanting Simple To Stay Simple

On of the best aspects of Simple/Organic/Missional Church (SOM)  is that in essence,  it is a movement of the "non experts".  A movement of regular people.  People living average, nondescript lives, seeing ministry as life and not a religious calling.  Obediently, simply, and in daily discovery, walking out what it means to join in the work of Christ on earth. 

 Jesus Himself choose men as His foundational disciples that were simple in lifestyle and were not known for great dissertations of knowledge.  In fact, it is quite sad how many times Jesus became frustrated with the dullness and lack of understanding in those He had gathered around Him.  Yet, they were the men chosen to spread The Kingdom.  He knew they would have the Holy Spirit to led them and that would be sufficient.  

 A few years ago I was home sick and turned on the television to see if something on it that day would help my boredom.  I went from talk show to talk show, amazed to find that each one had an expert as a guest.  For each topic change, another expert would be interviewed and all their knowledge expunged.  Interestingly, the last expert I saw was a man from Australia who told us that one aspect about the United States that the world found irritating was that we were a nation of "experts" in everything!  Or at least, thought we were.  I found that funny and a bit hypocritical , since he himself was promoted as an expert on the U.S!

I think this tendency to expertise and the hunger for knowledge, is a world wide and very human phenomena.   We look to the experts to speed our progress and to lessen the work it takes on our part to gain insight.
Even though I don't understand most of it;  I personally love reading and listening to the recent discoveries in the field of Quantum Nano Physics.  Science is now discovering that we are actually made up of tiny particles of light, and are exploring simultaneous realities that coexist with our own!  That's cool stuff! (As a Christian, I find this fascinating in how it relates to Scripture but that is another blog to write.)

I'm wondering how long it will take, in this movement of SOM,  for the "experts" to arise and begin to manage this work of God.  When, once again, the average Christian is sidelined because he/she does not have enough training, theological understanding, organizational endorsement or have written enough books to gain expertise status.  

I was in a movement years ago, where the leader was known for being a simple guy, saved from a life of sin .  He continually spoke on everyone being a minister, the simplicity of hearing and seeing God work, evangelizing, and seeing the supernatural "naturally". Churches were in a "flat" organizational relationship, each seen as autonomous fellowships joined through common values.  In the span of a very short time, this movement slid into organizational requirements, theological training for those called to leadership, and top down management.  They started out as a movement and became a denomination as the simple became less important and qualification (expertise)  esteemed.

Am I saying that there is no place for learning from those God has given insight, understanding and good communication skills?  Absolutely not!  We gain greatly from each other and the teaching gift in operation.  We should always have teachable and trainable hearts. Not just toward God, but with each other. However, let us keep our tendency to expertise ism to the Holy Spirit, and not to one another.  God qualifies each of us and will be faithful to equip and enable us on the unique journey we  walk in regards to this life.

1 John 2:27 says; "And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him."


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stand up, sit down...fight, fight, fight.....

When in I was a high school, I was a cheerleader for couple years.  One of our cheers went
 like this; "Move to the left, move to the right, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight,!"

Sometimes being a woman  has it's challenges in the mainly male world of Christian ministry.  However, challenges come in all areas of our lives and are they are there to refine us.  An old saying most of us have heard says; "it can make you bitter or better".  It's really our choice of what we choose to fight, Spirit or flesh.  

On a trip to India, I joined a team of presenters for a conference on leadership. The other presenters were all men, and our audience was men.  With the exception of a couple ladies who were there that sat on the perimeter and the wives of a couple of the men on the team.

Each of the men presented their teaching standing to the group that had gathered themselves on the floor, sitting Indian style.  However, before I was to speak, our host informed me that it would be best for me to sit as I spoke to the men so I would not be "over them" in standing.  "These men", he said; " would likely be uncomfortable with a woman standing and teaching them.  They would receive better if you sit as you teach." 
There was the  initial jab to my ego and feeling anger for the unfairness of the situation. Thoughts arguing for relevant points of rebuttal formed in my head.  I painfully pushed them aside and said, "sure, whatever you want".  

The presenter before me, finished up his talk and I was up.  Or down,  in actually. 
 I stood up for the introduction by our host, and then promptly sat down to begin speaking. 
 In all truth, it was perfect that I sat among these men and spoke on my topic on humility.  Not only because of  my submitted sitting, but their own humility in receiving a woman to teach on leadership!  God showed up in wonderful ways and I had a whole new understanding of the power of humbling oneself.  For the rest of the leadership conference, these Indian men openly received me, and my ministry to them.  

Many years later, the Lord used this situation to teach me further on this lesson of humility.  I was asked to be a "color commentator " for a specific training conference weekend I was hosting in my city.  My job was to add relevant stories and points specific to the topics being covered by the other presenter.  During one of these sessions, the other speaker asked me to "stand up" as I spoke, since I gave my input from one of the tables that everyone was sitting around.   I remember clearly the Lord reminding me of this event years before in India, when I was asked to "sit down".  
For those who know me, you know I'm not uncomfortable with standing and speaking at all.  I had done and continue to do much public speaking and I am quite relaxed and enjoy doing it.  However, something changed within me during that time in India.  I became just as comfortable with taking the "lower" position and sitting, even when others had the more "honored" position of standing.  It just was not an issue to me anymore.  

Jesus tells us a story in Luke 14:8 -11 to illustrate this; "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both shall come an say to you; 'Give place to this man', and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.  But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you; 'Friend, move up higher', then you will have honor in the sight of  all who are at the table with you.  For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted."

So, sometimes in life we are bumped to the left or bumped to the right.  We are asked to stand up or sit down.  Let us fight, fight, fight, that we not become bitter, but better in the process.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Value of One continued............

We greeted each other, made introductions and learned that he had walked more than 7 hours straight to get to where we were in order to meet us and receive some prayer.  We knew nothing about him except that he travelled into the remote areas to preach Christ and plant the Kingdom.  He looked ragged and poor.  It was obvious to all of us that life for him was full of struggles.

 As we gathered around him for ministry and prayer, we all felt something change in the atmosphere of the room.  It was as if this small tree house had been translated into "higher heights", and we were privileged to be along for the ride.   We began to pray and encourage him with words of affirmation for him as a son of God and as an ambassador and minister for the Kingdom.  We all truly felt in our hearts; Gods great love and pleasure over this son and servant.  We were all in tears, even those who stood around us and watched.

When we were finished, he gave this testimony; 
"I have been obedient to the Lords commission on my life to bring the Good News to those in this region for over 15 years, but was ready to quit this month because I have never received one word of encouragement or prayer from anyone in this whole time.  I have become so tired and discouraged and have wondered if God even remembered me.  I have felt completely forgotten.  But now, after today, I can go another 15 years knowing the Lord has not forgotten me and has sent you here to encourage and strengthen me!"

A veil pulled back from my eyes and I saw to what great measures the Lord would go to reach one of his children and servants in His work to bestow upon them His great love and pleasure over their lives.  To let them know He has not forgotten them.  He sees them.

All of a sudden, my message to the people two days before, as I stood before them bruised and bloody in the assembly,  became a new reality to me.  The Lords great love for this abandoned faithful son, was so strong that He pushed me through injury, storm, illness and fatigue .  He had sent us there; compelled us there.   Just for this one man.  What incredible value one life has to our Lord!

In the gospel of Luke, we see Jesus leave a multitude of attentive listeners, mount a boat and weather a storm, all to get to one man who had been besieged with demons to set him free.  Can we fathom that?  Wouldn't we think it far more strategic to spend the time with the multitudes of people who were gathered around to be taught?  After all, if your planting a Kingdom, numbers are important right?

I learned a lot during that excursion in Brazil, many more stories I could tell. But foremost, is the knowledge of the value of one.

The Value of One continued............

As I crawled onto the boat and down into the cabin I wondered how we were all going to fit.  There were 15 of us on a boat that should of had a maximum of half that.  Hammocks were strung head to foot across the cabin and people were squished hip to hip on the small benches that lined the inside.  Our pilot had a very small cubby in which to navigate our vessel.  A vessel that did not look water worthy in my opinion!

Off we went, our diesel engine echoing painful chugs against our ears and filling the cabin with exhaust smoke.  After about an hour into the trip, people had settled into hammocks and the gentle rocking of the boat attempted to lull some into sleep.  I kept awake, nervous about the possible carbon monoxide threat and made sure no one sleep too soundly.  My head and face hurt, and I was a afraid to sleep in case I had a concussion. 

 Soon the waves became such that the people on the hammocks became like human pendulums, swinging back and forth, crashing into one another.  It was apparent that a great storm had come upon us and it was getting worse by the minute.  We had two small windows in the cabin which soon became prime space for those getting sea sick and from the diesel gas which hung like a blue vapor in the cabin.  Some people were crying and shouting out when large waves tipped the boat over to one side.  Others quietly prayed and clung to whatever they could find that gave them some stability against the rocking of the boat.  I tried to take solace in the fact that by growing up in Minnesota,  the "land of 10,000 lakes", I had good swimming skills in case our boat dumped us all into the waters of the Amazon (actually Tocantin) river basin.

After about 4 hours of storm we finally felt it leave us.  Exhausted, sick and humbled by the experience, we all crawled into hammocks and left our fate regarding toxic fumes to the Lord. Our ears had become numb to the pounding of the engine and were all too tired to do anything but sleep.

When we arrived at our destination a few hours later,  I was beginning to feel quite ill.  However, I knew that we had a group of people who had been assembled from the area for us to minister with.  I knew the Lord had gotten us safely through a dangerous storm for a reason.  So I popped a few ibuprofen, asked for more strength, and climbed off the boat.  I walked into the swamp on three inch wide felled trees used as a walkway, and into the lush rainforest ahead.

After a couple of sweltering miles we walked into a clearing that was quite amazing.  A large wooded "tree house", standing about 25 feet off the ground was to be our host dwelling for the afternoon of ministry.  We climbed up the ladder and were warmly, but shyly, welcomed by those who had come from the area to meet with us.

We had a great time of praying and ministering to the people gathered there.  God blessed both them and us in those hours of fellowship together.  I felt completely drained and satisfied that we had done what the Lord had wanted us to do.  So when a Brazilian brother asked if we would stay a bit longer to wait for a man who hadn't gotten there yet, I wavered.   I wanted to say; "what about me? I'm sick, bruised and battered.  Completely exhausted from the last 24 hours and have no energy left to minister to one more person!"  But I didn't say that, even though that what was screaming inside of me.  Instead, I said; "Of course.  We'll wait and pray for him whenever he gets here."

When he finally arrived, I knew then why the Lord had brought us through such difficulties to get us there.  It was all for this man who stood before me................

more tomorrow.......

The Value of One

Have you ever thought about how much God values the life of one person?  I didn't, until the Lord gave me a lesson on it.

We were in a small river town in the Amazon river basin of Brazil ministering there for a couple weeks.  I was going to speak that night, but others were going before me and I had some time to use the restroom.  So I got up from my chair and went outside to find the residence we had been staying in when "bam!" I woke up on the ground dazed.  I looked up and saw I had walked into a archway that was lower than my height.  Because it was dark and my lack of familiarity, I had walked head first right into it.  Blood poured from my face and I made a wobbly dash for the house to find a rag and some first aid.

After a bit, I made my way back into the church, my face already swelling up with noticeable  cuts and bruises and went forward to speak as I had been asked to do.  I spoke that night on how Jesus was compelled to mission.  The Father had sent him to earth so that we could have relationship with them, and we were also called to the same mission.  We also should be compelled to go, regardless of how much we may be "banged up" in the process.  My face was a good illustration of that!

Well, after the evening drew to a close, our host informed us that our trip up the river to more isolated areas was to start that night while the tide was up on the river and it could be navigated.  We had to hurry to gather a few overnight things and meet at the boat dock within the hour.  I was still a bit shaky and  dizzy from the blow.  My face had swelled up and raw cuts  had scabbed over.  When people looked at me, I could tell in their face that I was not a pretty sight!  I thought, the worst was over, so I dug deep for some perseverance and mounted the boat.  Little did I know at that time, that the real tough stuff was still ahead of us.......

more on that journey tomorrow...............

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Tho none go with me....."

There is an old hymn with the words; "tho none go with me, still I will follow".
In my life, more than a few years ago now, I woke up and went to sleep with this little phrase of the song on my lips. It truly spoke into my life at that time and gave me great strength.  We were finding ourselves like square pegs in a round hole.  More so me, than my husband, but it became increasingly clear that we were seeing the paradigm of church differently than those around us.  It was like some invisible force was marginalizing us into something unknown at the time.  I remember saying to those around us who questioned our struggle, that we were called to something that was "not yet".  As you can imagine, that didn't get the greatest response!

We all have seasons in our lives that leave us feeling alone on the journey.  Old friends don't "get us" anymore, family members wonder why we seem somehow different.  The road we walk feels to us like unsure footing and dark passages into the unknown.  We feel confused, vulnerable, unsure and often fearful.   And yet, there is a force within us that drives us forward.  To what, we aren't sure, but forward we go.

Jesus Himself experienced this in his short life on earth at least three times.

The first time is when he begins his ministry.  Everyone in his village, including his family and friends couldn't believe he actually thought he was more than "Joseph's son".  They dismissed him as self absorbed and completely deluded.  They even took him out to be stoned for even suggesting that He was more than the carpenters son.

The second time was when he walked out into the desert to be tested.  Alone and without encouragement, he walked into 40 days of hellish testings. Hot, dehydrated, physically spent, He pushed through until it completed the purpose.

The third time was as he "set His face as flint" towards The Cross.  His friends tried to talk him out of it, didn't understand the reasoning behind it, and then left him completely alone as He wrestled with His own will through a night of prayer.

The scriptures say; "consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have it's perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4

There is just no way to avoid it; endurance requires the trial for it to be worked into our life.  The trial is often walking solo on a journey to the unknown future, enduring it for the purpose it will achieve in us.  Jesus walked solo, He understands what we feel.
 God has a plan.  He knows the way ahead.  He is at work to give us what we are lacking.  He is in our journey and "He will be faithful, even  if we we are faithless".

Tho none go with me, still I will follow...........

Friday, February 6, 2009

Through The Gates

When I was younger I spent many years on the back of a horse exploring the fields, woods and open land that was available to ride upon.  Each journey brought some new experience and challenge and part of the excitement was anticipating what that would be.

One day, I came upon a fence (and I hated fences) that blocked my way.  I decided to continue on by following the fence line until I could find an opening.  Finally, I came upon an old rusty gate that obviously, had not been used in quite some time. Weeds, rocks and deadwood had almost completely blocked the gate and the latch was rusty and stiff.

Well, I'm not one to let a gate like that deter me, so I began to clear away the rubble and work at the gate latch until I could get it to open.  After a considerable effort which left me quite spent, I propped open the gate, mounted my horse and went through.  What lay on the other side of the gate was an explorers paradise!  Streams to cross and meander alongside, woods to feel lost in, scenery that was fresh and beautiful.  I was ecstatic to find such a place and went back again and again.

It didn't take long before I saw a trail was beginning to form through my secret gate.  It was obvious that other riders had found my opening and  had begun to go through it themselves and enjoy the journey beyond.  They created a noticeable trail with their use.  I had found it and cleared it, but it was they who were making it a trail of usefulness.

In Isaiah 62:10 the Lord says: "Go through, go through the gates. Clear the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, Remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples."

Each of us have journeys with gates.  Gates that the Lord is urging us through.  Gates that have rubble that needs to be cleared and a path marked out for others to follow.  Gates that lead us to highways of wonderful new explorations and journeys in the Kingdom.   Let's be diligent to open the gates and forge the way for others to follow through, and enjoy the adventures that await on the other side of the gate.  

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Last night I had a disturbing dream where everyone was walking around without a head attached to their body.  Even stranger, was that it didn't seem to be problem or an issue.  I watched them function in all the ways we do naturally, going here and there, living their life.   I was confused because I couldn't understand how they were doing so without their head directing, seeing, listening, processing etc.

Have you ever been driving the car for a period of time, lost in thought, and suddenly realized that you had covered many miles, switched lanes, maneuvered through traffic and not had a consciousness of what just happened?  There was a disconnect from the "head" but you functioned just fine on "auto pilot".

In Colossians 2, the theme is learning how to walk out our being complete in Christ.  In verse 19 it states; " not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God."  

In Ephesians 4:15 it say; "but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ."

How much of our daily lives to we live "without the Head", and we don't even notice it?  When we go on "auto pilot" ?

I know I desire to grow with a growth which is from Christ, and I believe you do also.  To remain connected to Him so that our lives are a living, fruitful and growing reflection of His Will and direction.  No more auto pilot or headless meandering!  Let's stay connected to our Head!