Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Dangerous Manger

I just happened upon a headline that gave some details about Congress embracing Christmas. Wonderful. The debate whether to display the traditional symbols of Christmas in public places has been with us for years now. We are all very aware of the issue. For most of this debate, my position has been "What is the harm in displaying a scene in which a baby is lying in a manger? Does it really hurt anyone?
Recently, I had a change of thinking. The manger ought to create a great deal of tension in a post Christian society. The declaration behind the manger is this: "Unto us...a Savior is born..."
You don't need a Savior unless you need saving! You have to be in a great deal of trouble to need a rescuer.
Maybe there ought to be a whole lot of tension. Maybe those who don't embrace Jesus have a better grasp on the significance and power of the manger than those of us who do embrace Jesus. I'm just thinking. . .

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Father and the Dance

I'll never forget that Sunday. I was standing on the platform while our church was in the midst of intense worship. When I opened my eyes, I saw my daughter, Corrie Emma, front and center in that sanctuary. She was caught up in the most beautiful display of worship. She was wearing a new dress and her beauty was shining both inside and out. She was dancing for Jesus.
As I watched, everything in me wanted to move from that platform and gather her in my arms and dance with her. Unfortunately, I am not as uninhibited as Corrie Emma is. I just stood there weeping and thinking about how much I loved her.
Before the worship set ended, I heard the Heavenly Father. It was inward, but it was audible. He said, "That's how I feel about you!"
Can you imagine? The Creator of the whole universe has that kind of deep emotion over me! Not just me, but you as well. And He's not inhibited with His love.
Join Him in the dance today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

On Beyond Zebra

Said Conrad Cornelius O'Donald O'Dell
My very young friend who is learning to spell:
"The A is for Ape. And the B is for Bear.
The C is for Camel. The H is for Hare.
The M is for Mouse. And the R is for Rat.
I know all the twenty-six letters like that. . ."
"Through to Z is for Zebra. I know them all well."
Said Conrad Cornelius O'Donald O'Dell.
"So now I know everything anyone knows.
From beginning to end, from the start to the close.
Because Z is as far as the alphabet goes."
Then he almost fell flat on his face on the floor
When I picked up the chalk and drew one letter more!
A letter he never had dreamed of before!
And I said, "You can stop, if you want, with the Z.
Because most people stop with the Z, but not me!
In the places I go there are things that I see
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.
I'm telling you this 'cause you're one of my friends.
My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!"
. . . So on beyond Z! It's high time you were shown
That you really don't know all there is to be known.
Dr. Seuss
In our culture, we are masters at "reduction." We can reduce tons of information into digital bits that are easily manageable. We control words, images and movies. And we can store them on a flash drive that we keep in our pocket! We control everything. . .from A to Z!
Everything except God. The farther you go in engaging Him, the more you must embrace mystery. Even His love surpasses our knowledge (Ephesians 3).
You really don't know all there is to be known. . .Thank God.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Is It Time to Love?

Her name is Jessie and she is everything you would want in a daughter! I absolutely loved having two sons. Besides all the pride and joy stuff, having boys is a built in excuse for Dads to keep buying toys! But when Jessie came, something inside of me changed. I will never forget looking into those deep brown eyes when she was a baby and feeling such tenderness and responsibility.

When she was a a child, almost every day she would pull on my pant leg or tap me on the arm and with a great big smile ask: "Daddy is it time to love?" No matter what I was doing, I would look at my watch and answer: "Jessie, how did you know? It is. . .it's time to love!" And then she would climb up in my lap and squeeze me with a hug until I thought I was going to "pop!" I'm not sure you have ever been officially hugged until Jessie has hugged you. If you have a princess like that, you know that you can't put a price tag on those moments or memories.

I'm learning more about the love that my Heavenly Father has for me. It's so much more intimate than I ever thought before. He feels stronger love for me than I even feel for Jessie, but that love that I feel is meant to be a mirror. Although it is deeper, it carries the same DNA. I want to be as faithful to Him as Jessie was to me. Each day, I want to engage Him.

It's time to love!

Friday, November 2, 2007

"I just fell in love with Him!"

A young Russian girl who grew up under the Communist regime had never been to a church or had never heard of Jesus. She found a booklet that included the Gospel of Luke and after reading it, she became a follower of Christ. A neighbor heard of her new commitment and took her to a secret church. The pastor watched as she worshipped with tears streaming down her face. After the service, he questioned her about her faith. "How did you come to know Jesus?" The pastor asked. The young girl explained about the booklet and then said concerning Jesus, "I just fell in love with Him!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Faith is spelled: "R - I - S - K" (John Wimber)

We have now lived in Kansas City for 15 months. This has truly been a life changing experience for our whole family. We've learned so much about ourselves and our God. First, He loves it when we have no where else to turn but Him. I am in a place of ministry in which nothing that I have done to date fully prepares me for what is ahead. My file of good sermons is useless here. My experience in pastoring and preaching in "church as we have known it" doesn't earn much interest here. My ability to provide for my family has been stripped away. We must trust in God and be dependent on the loving support of others.
So much of what I used to take pride in has vanished. In its place are oodles of opportunities to risk in ministry. That translates into the rush of pioneering adventure and the panic of perceived failure. We are in the process of brainstorming about a new school that will launch in August of 2008: The Apostolic Missions School.
We are believing that God will bring to us hundreds of young people that have heard the Lord invite them to plant a House of Prayer, a church or a compassion based ministry. This school will focus on students who have graduated from our program or have had similar education or life experience. We look forward to investing into these proven leaders and then sending them to the ends of the earth to see the exploits of God in the last days.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Niagara in a Teacup

"I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God." Brennan Manning

There is a spiritual experience that you can apprehend even if you cannot comprehend it. In Ephesians 3, Paul reminds us that the love of God "surpasses our knowledge."
Apprehending this love of God involves risk. . .the risk of getting involved with a supernatural power that is beyond your control and understanding. The risk of being known, and even worse, knowing that you are known.
You have the option to only experience love that you can comprehend. But you will only go as far with God as YOU can go.
I'll choose something else. I want to go as far in the love as God as HE can go. I'm learning that it is worth the risk.