Thursday, April 12, 2018

Reflecting on Answers and Experiences.

He also gave them this parable: “No one lights a lamp only to place it under a basket or under the bed. It is meant to be placed on a lampstand. For there is nothing that is hidden that won’t be disclosed, and there is no secret that won’t be brought out into the light! If you understand what I’m saying, you need to respond!” 
Then he said to them, “Be diligent to understand the meaning behind everything you hear, for as you do, more understanding will be given to you. And according to the depth of your longing to understand, much more will be added to you. For those who listen with open hearts will receive more revelation. But those who don’t listen with open hearts will lose what little they think they have!”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:21-25‬‬

I've been saying this thing, that I have gotten good milage and acceleration out of taking time to re-consider the day prior before moving on into the new one, and encouraging everyone around me to take similar time to review, but even for me, I don't think I'm being diligent enough in it. We've got to reflect, and record, and review for deeper understanding. The unexamined life may actually be worth living, but it's lacking in illumination. It's lacking in direction too, because if you're not seeing what was, you're probably not considering what is, or what might be, either.

I have a pet peeve. This would happen a lot in high school, where I got an early start on decoding film as I was the movie review columnist for the school newspaper, but this still does happen with some adults and still does make me roll my eyes and grind my teeth: Watch a movie, and, leaving the theater, mind whirling with all the points the director left out and questions unanswered and why-did-they-do-thats and geez-that-was-dumbs and holy-crap-what-would-I-have-done-in-that-situations, and you ask the people you're with, "What did you think?" 
And the others say, "Yeah, that was good." 
End of convo, let's go get ice cream.

Some people just want to enjoy a movie and not deconstruct it, I get it. But maybe this is getting worse all across the spectrum of society. We experience, but don't ask any questions afterward. We experience, and - hopefully not - move on to the next experience. We eat and eat and eat and never digest. 
Some of it's the news cycle that disallows us from contemplating why anything happens, only what happens - and before we can ask Why?, the next urgency is before us. We're binge watching season after season and never asking if it was worth our time, or what the motivation was of the maker, or what effect the viewing might have had on our soul. Movies are for enjoyment, not comprehension.

Hedonism is the philosophical trap of thinking that life is for enjoyment (not comprehension, and certainly not self-sacrifice or suffering or any higher motive than pleasure). I'm afraid that current American christianity is missing half the story and half the life because we're all soaking up the blessings and the worship and the miracles and the tasties, but we're not asking the Why of all of these experiences. Never asking if pursuits are worth our time, or what the motivation is of the Maker, or what effect our viewings might have on our soul.

There was a time not so long ago that a christian was expected to have a Bible and a journal. These people of the book also wrote down their prayer requests to track the answers. They wrote down their current questions and quandaries for review after the fact. Where have the philosophers gone? Christians used to be the deeper thinkers and quieter pools.

My pool's disquieted. I've got too many unanswered questions and too many bothersome discrepancies between my experience and what I carry as truths. I'm missing understanding on some pressing sensations and sounds and recurring thoughts and relationships and giftednesses and avenues of ministry and deficiencies in common knowledges, and I'm aware that I'm missing. I'm aware that I'm aware, but that's all. 

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Some of what God's got, He's got hidden, only available for those who pursue it. 
So, I've was thinking that I have been diligent in my reflection on what's been, but I'm now convinced that I want more added to my understanding, so I must pry deeper. If, only according to the depth of my longing to understand, much more will be added to me, I must long at a deeper level, and seek and re-seek at a deeper level. 

I must pursue these awarenesses. I must codify what I discover and translate it for dissemination. Or not. If many others do not want to question, then they may not want answers. But I do. I must scratch this itch of awareness and see if answers stop the irritation.

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Hope of Glory.

Today I'm having a di-alog-along with Graham Cooke.

Two and a half years ago, I was destitute in spirit. I didn't want to die, but I didn't want to live, either. I was at a low place, thinking every day about killing myself, and while I didn't want to end like that and was trying my best to bootstrap up out of this cloud of suicidal sadness, I was also certain that there was a limit to my resolution, and that there was going to come a day, eventually, where I wouldn't be able to reason up a reason to not end it all. And that would be my last day. 
In the midst of this darkness, this snippet of scripture was echoing over and over in my head: Christ in you, the hope of glory. Christ in you, the hope of glory. Mysterious and high-minded.
What did it mean? That Christ was in Jesus? Like, He was the specially anointed One? No, the "you" in this verse is lower case. I'm the "you."
I'd never gotten a handle on that verse in all my years of reading or studying the Bible. My hope of glory was dying - to actually die. Then I'd be over on the other side, in heaven, without all these problems. Heaven was glory, right. 
But that didn't seem like what the verse conveys. Christ in me - present tense. The hope of glory must be present tense too. What could it mean? This Christ in me, bringing some sort of glory? And what glory? 

- from Graham Cooke, Overcoming Life - Undermining the Enemy:
The … thing is Christ is in us. We are a habitation of God by the Spirit. We're in the New Testament, we're not in the Old one. We don't have a visitational relationship with God, so we're not waiting around for something that will never happen - like revival- which is the biggest religious myth that I know of. Why are we pinning our hopes upon an event, when we have the indwelling presence of God that causes us to rise up?
I think everytime we focus on revival, our focus is taken off the indwelling Christ and the power of Who He is in each one of us.

You know, when you read all the stuff on revival and revivalists, you realize that many of those great men and women didn't know they were revivalists at the time. They were just living in the fulness of Jesus. And so they were like, Gulliver in Lilliput. They were like Gandalf surrounded by hobbits - people who put more faith in the revivalist than in the One Who actually revived them. 
That seems a little weerd. But that's religious christianity for you. It's always looking for a superstar because Jesus, apparently, isn't ever enough. 

Well, we're turning the tables on that. Because revival is not mentioned in the Bible, not once. But fulness in Jesus, it never stops talking about. The abundance of God, the favor of God, the fulness of God, the life of Christ, Christ in us, the expectation of glory. The language is so rich about our relationship with God and His relationship with us. That's where the real issues of the Kingdom are. 

The reality of Christ within. So, we are provoked by that. We want to see a community of believers raised up in this country and around the world that are absolutely provoked the magesty, the sovereignty, the supremacy, the beauty, the magnificence of Who God is. And who are willing to get caught up in that to extraordiary lengths. So that wherever we go, we light fires. We kindle something. Majesty pours out of us. 

Like Caleb, we can take territory. Becasue, in the fulness of Christ, you know, He's designated a piece of territory for all of us. There's territory out there that's got your name on it. It might be your place of work, it might be where you live. It might be your subdivision, it might be your city, it might be your region, whatever. There's territory out there that's got your name on it. 
And the Lord is calling you up, making you fit that territory that He wants you to have.

And so we're learning in the business of life just who we get to be in Him. Christ in you, the hope of glory. Christ in us, us in Christ. There's a mystery and a majesty attached to our story and our journey. And we are a people who are going to explore that for all we are worth. We're explorers.

I'm no longer sad or depressed. God lifted that off of me. I've spent the last couple of years rising up in of this concept of Christ in me, the hope of glory. Rising up in my ability to wrap my mind around it. Rising up internally, to freely receive love and to freely give love. To accept. To worship. Rising up as I move through my world, to speak and seal and to heal. Moving vertically through levels of glory to levels of glory. Giving God glory, being more glorious as I house the Holy Spirit. 
This is what I was promised, what we were all promised. God would come and live inside of you because of Jesus, and everything would be different. But somewhere along the line, the messaging got to be about lingering sin, and the human condition, and how life will always be a give-and-take fight where we will win some and we will lose more, and God will occasionally show up and do something out of the ordinary, but mostly, life will be a series of disappointments where we will dutifully serve the program of the church and bow our heads and close our eyes and pray to God to hope to die, and if we don't die first, one day, Christ will come back to rescue us because evil will continue to grow until darkness covers the face of the earth. Because only in heaven will our problems cease.

I'll stop. It's a downer even to review the religious hopelessness.

Heaven is now. Heaven is here, inside, because what was promised is true. Christ is in me, the hope of present glory and future glory, is alive and dancing to the rhythm of the Father's heart. Life. Love. Supernatural power to overcome evil with good. Good works, which God prepared beforehand for me to walk in them.

You see, I am a member of the Body of Christ. The one who is the Bride of Christ.
The bride who is worthy to wed the King of Kings, Jesus. She's not a loser. She's not powerless. She's not sinful or sad or sloppy or selfish. I'm not sinful or sad or sloppy or selfish.

- Graham Cooke, from The Recession Buster: 
Pray like someone who's beloved. Don't pray like a widow: "Lord please help me!" Pray like someone who knows she can get something out of her Beloved. Women are good at that, have you noticed that? Guys we need to learn from the girls.

By the way, there's a reason why they're called grrrls. Because they're tough, they're fierce. They don't stand any messing. They're like a warrior bride; she looks gorgeous, but when she lifts up her dress she's wearing combat boots! And this girl is so feisty, she'd just as soon kick you in an unmentionable place than kiss you on the mouth. This girl - she ain't taking any schtick from anybody! She's fierce. 
Now, Jesus is coming back for a ravishing beauty who's strong and powerful and knows who she is. 
You can imagine Jesus in heaven over the last 10, 15 years saying, "Dad, let's just delay the second coming, I'm not marrying *that!* I'm not marrying that!"

You know that we are made beautiful by the promises God gives us. Instead of the ashes of defeat and depression he gives us beauty. What if every situation in the world right now is sent to beautify the bride of Christ? As she rises up in her honor, in her power, in her beauty. And she manifests - so the whole earth points to the bride and says, "That's the girlfriend of God!" … We are the girlfriend of God. We live under His favor, we live under His bias, His provision, His strength, His majesty.

I imagine that, if she was cognizant that every situation was about making her more beautiful and more strong and more ready for eternal relationship with Jesus, then she wouldn't be boycotting and picketing and complaining against those situations, but she'd instead be diving into those bad situations to reclaim territory, to make things right. 

Stand up as a saint. Stop calling yourself a sinner, and stop allowing religious mouths to call you one. Stop thinking that the Holy Spirit needs to come down and touch your situation, start reaching out with your hands and touch with the Holy Spirit Who lives in you, and Who promises to never leave you. You have prayed to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world, haven't you? Well, look at the ends of your arms; prayer answered. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Christ is in you, He in you is your hope of glory after glory, and you are now His hope of glory after glory after glory on earth.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Seers - Bob Jones

A seer is everything. Prophets are the eyes, but seers are the entire head: eyes, smell, taste and feelings. That is what Isaiah 29:10 says:
He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers.

A seer is everything. I like to use a hot loaf of bread to explain this gifting. With your eyes open, you can see it. But if your eyes are closed, I can tell you it is there, and you will be able to "see" it with your ears. I can put it under your nose, and you can smell it. I can put it in your mouth, and you can taste it. You can feel it in your hands. As a seer, you can move in all five realms, and because of that, you are more discerning. The enemy is never able to fully shut you down. The prophet can be momentarily blinded, but if the enemy blinds you, you will still be able to hear, smell, taste and feel. If the enemy comes against your feelings, you'll still be able to see, hear, smell and taste. A seer prophecies by all five senses, and so the seers move in stronger discernment.

What does this look like? There may be times when you hear a prophecy, and a bad taste will come into your mouth. Your taste is discerning. "This isn't God". But other times when you hear a prophecy, you'll start tasting gold. Whenever I taste gold, I know, "Man that's it. I want to get all if this." God communicates with you through your senses. It takes longer to become a mature seer that to become a mature prophet, because all five senses are involved. You have to learn how to discern your feelings, because there will be times when feelings come to you in ministry and they're not your feelings. And if you take them personally, you won't be active.

The one thing the Church has been taught against is feelings. But that's where you, as a seer, are the most accurate. You can take on how other people are feeling and know exactly how to minister to them. You can move right into their "living room" (their minds) and see what the problem is. You can feel what the person is feeling: depression, self-rejection, joy, anger, happiness. You can feel where they're coming from and know exactly what to go for as you pray for them. So the seer is really strong in deliverance ministry.

The prophet can speak the future, but the seer can see what the people need to let go of in the past, tell them what the Lord is saying to them today, and declare what the Lord is offering them tomorrow. You can go right into their minds and see where the pain is coming from and what is still affecting and controlling their lives. Seers can help people forgive - usually themselves, help clean their minds out, and invite the Lord there.
Seers can knock on a person's front door, come in, and visit with that person without saying a word. A prophet can only prophecy as the faith arises. A lot of times, a prophet is just a person who really comes forth in faith, and that faith activates him so he can speak clearly. That is what Nathan the prophet was. He prophecies by the faith that rose in him. But a seer can have all five senses.

A seer can feel the strongholds of a town. If you enter a town and feel lust, lust owns that town. I you feel depression, it's a depressed place. As you come in there, you'll take on the feelings of that town, country, or person, whether they are good or bad. You'll know where there is self-rejection, because of what you feel. If you're ministering to somebody who has self-rejection, you'll feel it coming at yourself, and you must never take any of these things personally.
One of the strongest things to minister to is spirits of self-rejection. Suicidal spirits come through these spirits. A seer will feel these things. if you think they are coming from yourself, you will be totally unprofitable. So you need to have all these senses sanctified and be able to tell, This is not me. I am not in self-rejection. I love myself. I can taste and see that He is good.

You can also smell what's happening. You can discern what's wrong with a church or a city or even a nation, because you can smell it. You can smell sin, corruption, and holiness. That's what 2 cor. 2:14 says: "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place." So you can smell the sweet incense of the Lord. You can smell His presence when He comes out of people, for the kingdom is inside of us. You can actually smell when a person really yields to God.
You can discern what's going in with people through their incense. You can do it with your taste: "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). You can do it through your feelings, through your sight, through the things you hear.

Seers are kicked out of a lot of churches, because you are the least understood of all the gifts. You are one who feels like you don't fit any place except with other seers. Because of your revelation and dreams and the way God communicates with you, people think you're loony. But when churches reject you, they're bidding good-bye to their own mercy. As a seer, you are there for mercy. You are there to help bring healing to the people and show them what God is doing.
It's time for the seer to come forth. The Church needs you. It is time for the seer to mature and be used.

- Bob Jones

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Life Above the Timberline.

Tumbleweeds. They grow quickly, randomly sprouting in the open land where they are doomed to brown, die, break at their stems, and, pushed by the wind, roll helplessly until they stop, driven into spiny piles. There they decay, or are burned.
No one wants to be a tumbleweed. Insignificant, without purpose or personality or potential. A nuisance. Lost.

Redwoods. They have significance, are statuesque. They grow in groves to amazing heights and girths, and, despite small footprints relative to their overall size, survive storms and winds for centuries in communities where their root systems interlock, giving them stability and longevity that they would never have if they were to stand alone.
Everyone would like to be among the redwoods. Tall and beautiful. Held together with others in a cathedral of shaded protection. Content. A destination for those who seek rest.

God desires that no one should tumble like a weed – and that all would thrive like redwoods. Jesus died to rescue us all from the doom of living only to die, alone and without purpose in the world. Those who have the Holy Spirit in their lives, and hold eternal life in their present and future because they have taken hold of all that Jesus offers them, live tall and well in the community of heaven. This is God's plan, to grow people into a happy garden of health and grandeur.

Then, there are Bristlecone pines. These grow slowly, alone or in tight clusters, above the treeline where little else is found but sun and rock and snow. Blasted by wind and storms, their gnarled shapes bear the assymetrical wounds of hardship; broken limbs, scarred bark.
So few pines at elevation. Many seeds and cones can germinate and grow there, but few do.

These trees don't do anything that others trees don't do - they grow using water, sunlight and nutrients. They just do it in a place where other trees don't - closer to the sun in the rarified atmosphere, in a place of solitude. These trees may not seem as tall as the redwoods, but they, simply by their placement in the world, have roots thousands of feet above the tops of the tallest trees below.

Some of us will endure privation and personal isolation. Some will volunteer themselves into wilderness, and willingly enter into simplicity in separation from those in the forest. There is a rugged beauty and richness and maturity and blessing and perspective and strength that will come out of this type of prophetic, intimate life that will carry into eternity. 

Perhaps God has differently called you to this, an elevated life. Are you willing to stand in lonely adversity? Will you accept isolation in exchange for the increased clarity of a panoramic view? 
Are you willing to face privation and furious storms that those in the lower, protected groves won't feel? Are you able to cling tenaciously to, and derive all of your nourishment from, solid rock?
Are you willing to seem distorted, bent, unbalanced or broken compared to the trees in the forest, where life is cushy and normalized and less demanding? Are you willing to digest hardship into a composition of hard-wood strength as you stand against the powers of the air that those in the forest won't feel, see or understand? 

If not, that's okay. A redwood is an awesome tree, a wonder of creation. Revel in all that you are. Inspire tumbleweeds to join you and grow into something better. But remember that there is a place, higher and harder, where you can go if you feel ready to be something other. Someday.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Logging Out.

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
John 21:25

If you were to meet the President of the US, you’d probably want a picture with him, an autograph, you’d tell all your friends about the meet up, and you’d try to chronicle everything that happened and all that was said. 
“I met the President!”
“No way! What happened?”
“He was walking to his plane and he shook my hand, and he said, ‘Hello!’”

If the President of the US became your best friend, you’d probably not swoon over hellos anymore. After the initial glamour of friendship, you’d not write down every detail of your contact, especially as you became closer and contact became more frequent. You’d be in touch too often to keep up, there’d be too many points of contact to cover. Eventually, you’d have half-hour-long discussions over weighty issues and not think anything of it at all.

I’m entering into this space with the President of the Universe. Last year, I kept a log of all the visions and voices and revelations and experiences that fell my way. Ten exciting things a day, so awesome. 2016 is a 120-page book of anecdotes from the edge. So much more to this life than I’d ever imagined the Christian life being able to be for me.
“I heard the voice of God today! 
- What happened?
He said, ‘You are not forsaken.’”
Not much to write about, unless you’re feeling forsaken like I was, and this simple message shines on you like a supernova of reassured relief, like it did for me. When you’re thirsty and the drinks of living water are infrequent and fresh, every sip is something to write home about.

This year, I’m struggling to keep up. Relationship and intimacy with God has grown in volume and depth and nuance. I was thirsty in the desert and now I’m in an open boat on a lake. I’m finding that I’m not logging everything that happens, even the really awesome stuff. There’s too much contact, and, while I’ll never tire of any word and every touch that comes to me, the supernatural is becoming natural for me. Always going to be super. But now more natural too. I don’t have to deconstruct everything; a punch is becoming a punch, and a kick is becoming a kick.

Yesterday, I had contact with two demons, and two angels. The angels gave me items of power, the demons got what they deserved. God told me something specificly and directly in His own voice. I heard some pointed teaching that put four new tools into my batbelt. I prayed in the Spirit for some people, and each transaction was powerful. I caught myself saying words to at least three different people that I know were rhema truth, breathed from the Holy Spirit though my mouth. I wrote a song of intensely personal worship. I read a Bible passage that spoke to me in five different ways. I found out just what happened when Jesus did one of His miracles, something I’d never learned while hearing the story deconstructed over decades of sermons and study. I had a half-hour-long tear-soaked conversation with God, much of it involving weighty policy matters.
And some other stuff. You’re getting the idea - so awesome, but — and this is an awesome but to have when you’re trying to track it all — just another awesome day in paradise.

Not Ho Hum, but How Am I Going to Keep Up? I would spend an hour logging it all and have to leave out most of the telling details. I’m understanding the verse that has to dump treasures into the pile titled “many other things that Jesus did.” 

I love You God. Everything You do and say, everything You are is a wonder to me. Seal everything we share, everything we do and say and are and discover and will and work, into my heart and memory. May each exploration and experience be kept until becoming a story for a campfire, useful to some ears that need to hear. Until then, let our story be written on the world, stream of consciousness, one chapter at a time, in the ink of blood and tears and glory, and read with eyes that only want to look forward. Let us log this now moment with love instead of letters, because we are moving together too quickly to look back. What lies ahead? Yes, Together We can log that.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

King's Ransom.

If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Romans 8:31-32

There once was a good king, who, as was his custom, would hear requests from his servants and citizens on a day in his great hall.

This day, a knight came before him, weary from walking in his armor.
"My Lord," he said, "I come before you as your servant to make request."
"You are welcome, and you are recognized," said the king in return, "I well know how you have traveled far and endangered yourself to uphold justice. What is your trouble?" asked the king.
"I come broken before you," said the knight, "for my horse of these many seasons at long last has become weary and lame, and I am unable to ride forth to extend the king's peace."
"Not so," said the king, "for you shall have a horse from my stable. And no mean horse, you shall ride my mount; my very own. For I know that as you go, I have no need to ride forth. Keep the peace for me in my name."
Then he gave orders that his horse, the finest in the land, should be made ready for the knight.

Next, an elderly serving woman came before him, stooped from years of labor in the castle.
"My Lord," he said, "I come before you as your servant to make request."
"You are welcome, and you are recognized," said the king, "For I have seen you these many years, how you have from sunrise to sunset worked to maintain this house. What is your trouble?" asked the king.
"I come broken before you," said the woman, "for my life-long husband has died, and being unable to keep our house, I find myself without any home."
"No, no," said the king, "what has been your workplace shall be your home. I have no bride as of yet, so your chambers shall be here in the castle. Live well here, and all who live here shall be your family, and know that you are yet loved." 
Then he gave orders that the queen's suites, empty these many years, should be made ready to house the woman.

As she left, a tradesman from the marketplace came before him, dressed well, but with lines of worry on his brow.
"My Lord," he said, "I come before you as your servant to make request."
"You are welcome, and you are recognized," said the king, "I know that you have ever transacted fairly in the market. And I perceive that you are vexed. What is your trouble?" asked the king.
"I come broken before you," said the tradesman, "for an enemy of the kingdom has tricked me in a business venture, and now I have nothing left. They have taken all and I find myself endebted to the king's treasury for taxes. I am unable to pay."
"I shall deal with this enemy," said the king, "for the now, the kingdom has need of your honesty. Go again and do well as you ever have."
Then he gave orders that the man's debt should be forgiven, and moreover, that the amount he owed should be given him from the treasury to renew his trade.

Finally, on this day, this most strange exchange. An orphaned boy was brought before the king in chains. 
"My Lord," said a guard, "This condemned boy comes to make request."
The king looked to the boy. "You are welcome, and you are recognized," said the king, "For I have been awaiting your arrival. What is your trouble?" asked the king.
"I come broken before you," said the boy, "sentenced to die, for I have been found eating the fruit of the king's orchard these many days."
"And what is the penalty for this trespass?" asked the king.
"The penalty is death," said the guard.
"This is an old law, and well known by all," said the king grimly. "And the law will hold. But you," and he rose and walked to the boy, "your trouble is at an end."
Then he gave orders that the boy's chains should be unlocked, and he led the boy to the his chair, and sitting him there, he removed his crown and placed it upon the boy's head. He then walked out with the guards and had himself killed as the boy would have been.

You have already given your very life for me. So, I trust You, as I serve as knight, to provide for me a means to move. As I serve to maintain Your house, I trust You to provide for me with living space. As I serve to move goods to those who need them, I trust You to provide me with the means to do this business. I accept the freedom You have afforded me. I accept Your unimaginable generosity, just as I have accepted the impossible sacrifice of Your life for mine.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

90 Days of Jesus.

So, it's the new year. Did you make a resolution? Did you make a resolution and already fail? Did you not make a resolution and think that you should have? Did you not make a resolution because you think that New Year's Resolutions are bogus and only for people who don't sack up and do what's best for themselves year round?

Resolution or not, I've been hankering to really examine Jesus up close for a little while now. I've made a resolution to look at the life of Jesus through the gospels before Easter. 

I'm going to read a bit a day for 90 days, from January 16th through April 16th. Each day I'm going to journal my revelations, and I'll be looking for a couple of things as I go: 
• What do I learn about Jesus from this?
• What am I to do?

The idea is that I will understand Jesus better, and better understand what I'm capable of in Him. I know, it's back to square one this year for me.

I've done the gospels, reading a chapter at a time, but this time, I wanted to read chronologically as a whole - if only as a fresh approach.
I created a combination gospel out of Matthew-Mark-Luke-John that may or may not be completely error free (there is a book out of a chronological gospel: The Chronological Gospels Bible by Michael Rood which reorganizes Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts and Revelation, but I was too cheap to buy). I'm not a Biblical scholar, I mean, I am a Bible scholar in that I study the Bible, but I'm not your seminary guy. I am your determined DIY guy. So my version might be a little rocky – not sure yet, I've not read it through. The upside is that my version is free.

Since the synoptic gospels overlap, some of the readings might seem redundant. I'm anticipating that encountering something verbatim back to back (to back, sometimes) will impress its importance upon me. So, yeah! Chronological; some days a triple sameness. Something different, and different is good.

If this sounds like something you want to do too, make a resolution to join in. Starting on the 16th. The pdf is available here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Open Boat.

You, misfit in your own life,
wondering if there is a place for you in this world,
knowing that you were made for something
but uncertain if that something is a place for you to land
or a role for you to wear
or if it existed in your past and you walked past it
intent on another lesser thing
and you've missed it.

Me, I wouldn't blame You God
if you let it pass me by
as I moved by it.
Not Your fault.
I have chosen wrong at times
and thought that it wouldn't kill me
or wanted to die 
and didn't care 
if everything fell to ruin.

No one's watching.
Everyone's in the same space
caring about their own lack
and wanting the lottery to fall into their account.
But the cavalry's not coming.
And God is the one watching 
but only watching to see if you'll be different
and become who you are
to stand out from this forest of faded shadowy silhouettes
in color 
and in identity.

And I ask
What color?
In this rowboat named Identity
Where I see only where I've been
and row until I tire
and think
Maybe if I set the oars down I'll feel a current.
But mostly I feel tired
and alone
and sad, again.

Why did You make me?
Why am I here?
I need a reason.
I want a thing to do that doesn't almost pay the bills
and doesn't make me say oh damn it it's Friday night and only two days until Monday again 
and Saturday and tomorrow's Sunday and almost Monday
and Sunday night and tomorrow's Monday
and it's 5:15 and almost time to leave
and we haven't done anything Together We

I don't need to feel You all through me
But I want to
I don't need to change the world
but I want to
I don't need to work it all out and be neat and move with elegance and power
but I want to

But I want to
Wouldn't it be lovely
to have waaay more than enough
to step away from survival to hand away crazy 
wads of money
words of life
I had it, would I 
do it
I believe I would
I believe I would intentionally
and coincidentally
(if coincidences exist, because there are no coincidences in the You)
A Structure to really make a difference in my circles
and in me
to heavenly give opportunity and opulence and openness
to those who never had a first chance to know who they could have been
(and here we don't insert all the hard knocks and evils because who wants to cry harder)
and A Margin to take time to really make a difference in my day
and in those
who heavenly are the one before me in this low place
where I find myself
where I would keep myself
even if the lottery were to try to float me away 
wash me away with green water
I would not be awash 
from here

So, why
or why not rather
because it would be wasted on me
because I'm alone but tied to others
who would not be able to handle more and less and depth and height
how does one do this thing called God
because we all walk alone with You
and we all are naked before You
and I 
can't herd cats or lead christians 
for politicized people all want their vote and their way and everyone does what seems right to himself 
even those who claim Lordship claim lordship
in blindness and delusion and this-far-but-no-further
is far enough

Not far enough for me.
Not deep enough for me.
Not near enough for me.
Not sensical enough for me.
I want it all to make sense
not be sense, mind You
just to come together before it's all over here
and to know that I've played my role
as written
not to fail
  although I know I have failed
not to fuck it all up
                    although I know I have done that pretty well too
to overcome all that deficit and to leave something of a profit behind
to speak a profit
to walk something forward
to become what I was to be so
I don't lurch into bliss with blinking eyes 
and disappointment in You
for leaving me undone 
and me leaving this place unfinished

Which puts me back into the rowboat
here with oars up, looking back on the Finished Work of the Cross
and The Empty Tomb
It Is Finished, and I am dead to all that
and alive to all that
still out here on the water
and I've rowed hard but did it even move me
or even in the right direction
there are no roadmaps here on the water
was I supposed to just rest and drift and enjoy the day
or was I supposed to hand over one oar and row Together
We are in the boat, I know, Together
with hints of wind 
to direct me

So I set my face to the sun
and I listen for breezes
Will I end like I began
Will I ever
or land
or will I 
will I need to stay in the boat until
until I
until the boat and lake and wind and I

I want to leave all this brokenness behind
Not broken, I know
this boat isn't sinking
feels broken
looks worse now than it did
but not leaky
afloat and capable of floating here forever
which is the problem
a motor would be nice?
a galley?
Nah, this is the brokenness
Me picturing my yacht, pulling up to rowboats and handing down motors 

My dream.
Your dream?
Me, in a rowboat with You.
No motor, no need for anyone to hand a motor down to me
or me to hand anything down to anyone
or anyone

one breath of breath

with all the

in the

with no provisions or ambitions or destinations or purposes
in an open boat
in the open
and open
for whatever

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Random Commentary Is No Tale To Tell.

I'm making a note here to remind myself - my later, older, forgetful self - that some clangin' and bangin' has been going on in the backyard box over these last long weeks. I've not logged any of it here as
• I'm not on a program or regular schedule worth tracking. This is not because I don't desire to be on one, it's a time issue
• Everything is on feel, so there's no weights/reps/benchmarks to track

• I have no fitness goals ATM
• I care less about this than I do about tracking all of what the HS is doing in my life, and I don't have enough time for that, so. Also, I'm not logging that stuff here, because, who would believe it anyway?

What I will note is that when I do get out for what seems like bi- or tri-weekly sessions, they look like this right now:

Assistance antagonists (10 mins)

Hip Thruster/RDL, say
Main (14 mins)
Oly Squat, say

Assistance antagonists (10 mins)

Landmine Iso Rows/Y-pulls, say
Main (14 mins)
Meadows Rows or Ring Rows

All I'm doing is pulling because I trashed my right rotator cuff bouncing OH presses off the bottom like a complete stoopidnoob, a failure for which I still punish myself, as you can see, and for which I am still paying the price of all things overhead. I am unable to static hang, and all pushing movements are right out.

Nothing's changing in terms of hypertrophy or composition. I'm doing IF just about everyday, with a noon to 6ish window.
Strength is down, but yeah, that tends to happen when you don't do anything constructive, and can't do anything but squat and ring rows.
Conditioning is baseline, if I can work in anything, work capacity will be the first addition; sprinting and MA.

So, saying that there's nothing to say. Nothing to say in a conversation with someone who only speaks infrequently, when he has time to blurt out a sentence or two, and those talking points are merely what's on his mind in the moment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Dream Image and Ultimate Insanity.

I'm dreaming every night, but I'm not remembering them. I not troubled by this. The usual nature of my dreaming, or what I can recall, are flights of movement and action and color and never any specifics. I remember only that some craziness happened - like the incoherent snippets of memory after getting clocked in a street fight. I know my spirit and the Holy Spirit are going on grand adventures, happy to run along without conscious-me tagging along. So conscious-me doesn't need to remember. The deepest parts of me are getting massaged and grown and stretched and pacified and purified while the rest of me is at rest. I'll take it.

Yesterday, Carl led an in-depth college-level-survey-seminar of all-things-dreams on GroupMe. He convinced me, at least, that I should pursue some divine knowledge while sleeping. So I prayed  yesterday:

God, I ask You for a dream tonight, one that provides clear direction from You.

Annnd, last night I had a dream. More like echoes of a dream, like usual. But, there among the confetti snippets of dream memory, I did hold to one very complete, razor-sharp and memorable image.
Since the dream isn't much of a story to tell, let me tell you a different story first.

Familiar with Dave's Insanity Sauce? The hot sauce that can remove driveway grease stains? I first tasted it after I came home from Thailand, when my mouth was conditioned into a spicy-food resistance that could lick a red-hot tailpipe and giggle.
We were in a hot-sauces-only store, I was going to buy a bottle of something crazy for my father in law who liked hot sauce, and I asked what was hottest. The retailer said Dave's Ultimate Insanity sauce.
I asked for a trial. The guy dipped a toothpick into the bottle and handed it over. I touched it to my tongue. I remember wondering if I had speared myself with the tip of the toothpick, because this slightest hint of Dave's had created a tiny black hole that was sucking all the loose shards of pain from all points in the universe directly into my tongue meat. 

Fast forward to after I'd gifted the bottle to my father in law, when we're making sandwiches and joking about putting some Dave's onto the sandwiches, and his mother says she wants to try the stuff.

Gram was the sweetest person in all of the Body of Christ. Jesus would shed tears at times hoping that He could have a heart of love like her someday. Never an unkind word, never any talk that didn't somehow cycle back to Godliness or a blessing or some manner of self-sacrifice. She's about 70, and slowing down physically, but still ramping up in her divine sweetness - until the world will not be worthy of it anymore and she is taken home.

Just trying to give you a mental picture if you never met her. We all know someone like her: the one upon whose prayers the entire church stands. When she dies, if someone doesn't step up their game, the church will close its doors, because all the love will have left the building.

She wants to try the hot sauce, and, not seeing too well anymore, she smacks the bottom of the bottle like ketchup and blops at least a quarter-sized ball of lava onto her sandwich.

Everyone: Whoa! Stop! Danger! Don't do that Gram! This stuff isn't like that! You're going to have a heart attack! It's going to eat a hole through you and down to China!
Gram: Oh, stop it, sweetie. Blop, blop.

This conversation goes in a circle for 5 minutes until Gram voices a grim edge to her sweetness and we all know that it's time to surrender. She is going to do this thing, and telling her not to is only hardening her resolution to add more sauce.

This was before a universal 911 phone number was instituted and people had to call emergency services by their particular phone number, so I go into the kitchen and ready her a post-tastebud-meltdown glass of milk, and check that the number for the ambulance service is magnetized to the refrigerator. I know what one toothpick tip of this stuff is capable of. She is liable to have that heart attack. 

I bring the milk back to the table in time to see her take the first bite. Gram, with grim resolve, remains immobile as she eats that whole sandwich.

She can't see. Her eyes cloud over into a drippy bloodshot pink. Basins of sweat pool in the folds under her eyes. She cannot speak. She will not speak, I think, even if she can, since if she might emit a squeak, the sound would be an indictment: I have misstepped and I must admit it.

This kindly elderly lady is suddenly someone monstrously grand in my eyes. A towering cliff that withstands crashing ocean waves for centuries and remains intact. A sun that burns, and is burned, for millennia and never flames out. What is her secret?

Stubbornness. And it's not hers only, this dark power. 

I look around the table, and there to my right is my little brother in law, who, at the age of 10 ordered a raw steak at a restaurant. Who knows why. Maybe being the guy who eats bloody meat sounded manly at that time to him. The plate came to the table, red and bleeding juice and still mooing as they say, and, rather than return the cut to be cooked, he mechanically chewed through the whole disgusting thing, obviously hating every second, but too stubborn to admit it.
And, on my left. There is my father in law, who I won't tell any tales on, as he is in heaven now and has the ear of the Almighty, and who, while alive, was famous for harboring no quit at all, ever, and who, like Gram, was the most loving and generous and self-denying man alive, but who was notoriously the stubborn-est of them all.

He's more stubborn than Gram, who is sweating but resolute and unmoved and upright, but only just so, holding herself together like some sort of human jellocake. If I were to touch her with my pinky finger, I think she might start to jiggle and vibrate and volcanically explode.

But she doesn't. Through sheer stubbornness she didn't. And she never admitted that the sandwich was hot. She never said anything, no matter how anyone tried to tease any commentary on the experience out of her. 

And I learned: I am married into a family with monumental resolve founded on a granite foundation of stubbornness. Stubbornness that will swallow burning pitch without flinching to avoid an admission of misjudgement. Stubbornness that can turn a Godly grandma into a stoic deathbot, incapable of acknowledging pain.
And I realized: Her stubborn blood also runs in the veins of my wife; the woman with access to my bank account and the block of knives in our kitchen.

You're making a big scary deal out of not much, you say. Stubbornness! Everybody is a donkey sometimes. This only becomes a problem during communication and conflict. It's not a spiritual issue, stubbornness, is it? It's not really an evil to beware? 

I don't know: Can anyone tell you anything? Can anyone question you on anything, or call you on anything? Do you always have to be in the driver's seat during any disagreement? Can you listen to more than a few sentences of anyone's anything before you drift or interrupt or contradict? Do you always have to be right? Can you ever say you're sorry? Can you ever be wrong? Can you ever admit that you might have misstepped into a pool of hot sauce?

Yeah, hot sauce. Which, brings me back to my dream. I have my usual dream(s) last night. I say "usual," but I don't know what the content is in my usual dreams.
What I do remember is a picture-framed dream portrait of Gram, my father in law, my wife, my brother in law - the whole surnamed family line - as static busts in a museum display. I have only that picture and the encompassing mist of dream-knowledge that all of these people are held by a spirit of Stubbornness. 

A spirit of stubborn? It's not even a thing, is it? The One talking to me via a dream says yes. And a generational, familial one that that. The Stubborns.

I woke up holding tight to this image and didn't waste any time. I prayed. I first prayed my gratitude to God, for answering my request to speak to me clearly and directly during dreaming, and then spoke to the spirit of Stubbornness down through the whole familial line, down through my kids, breaking it and replacing stubbornness with humility, receptivity, openness. Soft heartedness instead of hard headedness. Some tractability where there's been intractabilty.

That was this morning. This evening, L and H are having a disagreement, after everyone else has carted off to bed. The words were indistinct, but the tones of the voices made the messaging clear: 
I'm stubbornly stubborning your stubborn stubbornnesses, and I've stubborned enough stubbornnessing for one stubborn day!
Well, my stubborn stubborny can't take any more stubbornite from the avalanche of stubborn flying down from your stubbornstubbornstubborn stubborn range!

How do two stubborn people back down to show love when Stubbornness is a brushfire on their tongues? This will be a spiritual war that one prayer isn't going to win, I see. I'm glad that I was given a dream image to prep me for what's at stake, and to ready me a sledgehammer of Humility to smash against this long-standing red-hot iron-willed wall of Stubbornness.