Walking through Chaos

We all move through chaos. Usually we try to avoid it, control it, or mitigate it, but it seems to be getting worse and worse. Maybe we’re looking at it all wrong. Didn’t and doesn’t God create out of chaos? What about us?

Church In A Bar

This all came up because we started going to church in a bar, The Flora-Bama Lounge & Package to be exact. They bill themselves as “The Ultimate No Judgment Zone,” I said ‘right’.
As we walked in, we were greeted by a lot of happy people, all trying to help us. Then I saw a guy coming into the service carrying a couple of beers. We sat down across the picnic table from a lesbian couple. This place had no walls, just a tent top, no air conditioner and everybody was sweating for Jesus. On top of that, nobody, and I mean nobody, was dressed for ‘church’.

Walking Though the Chaos

The band started up with a rendition of Sweet Home Flora-Bama and even did a blues number. I sat waiting for ‘religion’ to drop, but it didn’t. I saw Jesus walking through the chaos, doing small acts of kindness, passing out water bottles and fans, and listening to people.
The sermon was on recovery. A woman got up and read her poem, “I Am the Mother of an Addict.” It was deep, short and to the point. No manipulation and no crowd factor tactics. It all lasted for only one hour.
As the crowd was leaving, and the chairs were being put up, I saw a group of people walking into the Gulf to be baptised.
I learned something that day I shouldn’t have forgotten.
God brings life out of chaos. Through Jesus our chaos is transformed into life.
Here’s an awesome prayer to help you focus your heart and poise your life in the midst of your daily chaos.

A Classic Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, harmony; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be comforted as to comfort; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in forgiving that we are forgiven; and it is in dying that we awaken to eternal life.

Living Fully in the Present Moment

Something I’ve noticed about living in the present moment is about how our mind works as we do it. I call it whole thinking.
Here’s a few things to chew on:

What is Whole Thinking?

Simply put, whole thinking is seeing things in wholes rather than in opposites. It’s a framework of being that affects the way we see, think and feel about things. It doesn’t nullify our discernment. It sees through them into the heart of things.
You have to be in the present rather than wandering the past or the future to think wholistically.
It’s a still point way of seeing things. But it’s also seeing with our spirit, soul and body.
It’s an expansive way of thinking, feeling and being in this moment. It’s as much earthly as it is heavenly.
It’s transcendence integrated into our lives. It’s living heaven on earth. It’s how Jesus lived his life. And it’s how Jesus lives in our lives.
This is abundant life.

Love ~Quotes on Fire

God is love.

Love, the most powerful concept, motivation, and force of all time, originates in God. God is love.

John tells us, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. 
He that doesn't love doesn't know God; because God is love. 
In this, God's love for us was manifested, because God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
This is love. not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Hey guys, if this is the way God loved us, we ought to love each other the same way.
Jesus came and fulfilled the whole law, all 613 commandments. And He said, "It is finished."..righteousness completed, our debt paid. Jesus is our way out, or better yet, to live eternal life.
And Jesus gives us one new commandment. It supersedes the Law and the Prophets.
The Law is summed up in " You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind', and You shall 'Love your neighbor as yourself."
Well Jesus upps the ante. He gives us, his disciples, only one new commandment, "I'm giving you a new commandment. to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are to love each other."
"This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love each other."
John tells us that If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.
"...just as I have loved you, you're to love each other."
This is powerful.
*Loving one another is proof that God dwells in us.
*This love is above and beyond what any law could ever do for us.
*This is where the truth of God and the grace of God kiss and meet in our lives.
*This is where the tension between faith and works is resolved, in the love of God.
*This is where the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, dissolve and become one, in the love of God.
*This is where all our divisions unite and fall away, in the love of God.
The fruit of the Spiritthe fruit of abiding in the vine, abiding in Jesus, is this: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
These are the character traits of God. The Holy Spirit will cause us to bear God's character as we abide in Jesus. It's an outworking of what God has worked in us. And our champion is God's love to draw it out of us.
Paul gives us a window in: If I speak in the languages of humans and angels but have not love, I have become a reverberating gong or a clashing cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It's never rude, never seeks its own way. It's never irritable or resentful.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures everything,
Love never fails.
This love of God in Jesus Christ, is the center and the heart of the gospel we proclaim.
And this is how we disciple the nations...by our love.

Love breaks the walls...from the inside out.

Where East Meets West

Both east and west
Both yin and yang
Both analytical and intuitive
Both heart and soul
Both man and woman
Both feminine and masculine
Are met in our Creator
Both kiss and are complete
In being we awaken
The wholeness that we seek
In Jesus we are rescued
In dwelling we are one
Both in source and substance
Shinning like the sun
Oh such is spirit in us
Burning through the chaff
We flow with living waters
Your eyes they smile and laugh

The New Covenant ~ A Post Easter Meditation

A Jew Named Jesus

Jesus is not Italian. And Jesus is not American. Jesus doesn’t go to your local conservative or liberal church. Jesus was and always will be Jewish.*

Covenants Are Cut

Jesus fulfilled the old covenant. He was the complete Abrahamic Covenantman, all the while, cutting a new covenant for us with his very flesh and blood. You see Jesus is Jewish, and covenants are cut. It’s a very bloody mess.
To think that Jesus didn’t know what was going on, is a pretty ignorant view of the crucifixion days of Rome. It’s why he sweated blood, agonizing over what was going to happen when he left the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew full well what was at stake. Jesus wanted a way out, but he knew the only way was through.

What Really Happens

To come to Jesus is to enter into this new blood covenant with God. Baptism physically symbolizes the blood that spiritually stains our life forever. All the spiritual forces of heaven and hell see his blood, as we’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit.
You are marked out as adopted, God’s own. Your stains are visible in eternity, where they glow like the sun. It’s why we’re called children of light, because that’s what we are.

How It Works

As we daily receive and are filled with the Holy Spirit, we activate this new nature, and it comes through our being into our present. It’s a mystery and a greater reality to us, as we help each other activate more and more of God’s nature we develop the character of God. We grow into who we really are…more and more, from glory to glory.

Working Out What God Has Worked Within

So let your light shine before everybody, so that through it, some might recognize what you’re doing, and glorify God.
After all, we’re living witnesses, as we work and share what Jesus had done for us, and in us, and through us.
You are the light of the world. You really do shine.
Here’s the idea:

* Never met a Jew named Jesus?  His Hebrew name is Yeshua or Joshua, while Jesus is actually Greek, the language of the New Testament.

The Art of Letting Go

Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future. ~Daphne Rose Kingma

Forgiveness changes the way we remember. ~Henri Nouwen

We’re all broken human beings, every single one of us. And we’re living in a broken and hurting world. The old saying, ‘hurting people, hurt people’ is true.
But God’s here to love us, to make us over and to heal us, and through us to touch this world. He’s out to restore us and his world.
We become agents of change…of healing reconciliation.
Our ability to choose is our ultimate power as human beings.
We can choose or refuse Jesus at any time. But God is faithful, regardless of what we do.
So please hear me in this, people will fail you, but God won’t.
We’re driven by fear, and we’re drawn by love,
but we intuitively know, when to hold on, and when to let go.
Be drawn by the sweetness of love.
May God Bless you with grit and grace!

The Art of Letting Go

Being is letting go, letting time fall down around you and being present.
We think our control keeps us safe, but it actually keeps us bound.
The truth is, our letting go allows God to hold us, to heal us, and to empower us.
In surrender, our control falls apart into something greater, a larger grace, a boundless place where our souls expand…
Surrender leads us into what we can’t fully understand, hence what we can’t control. Surrender is our first step of sanity, to becoming whole. It’s our first step into grace, our first step into faith, and our first step into trust.
Surrender is the art of letting go, an art we engage in the moment we hit our knees, and lift our eyes; the moment we worship, and surrender ourselves, as we ‘let go and let God.’
Art is a living practice, that becomes deeper, richer, fuller.
Developing and growing in grace is always a progress, not perfection. What God does is perfect, but we always mess it up.
Thank God for Grace. So we can learn and grow.
And as we grow in Christ and Christ in us, our past, present, and future begin to converge into our present. Then the veil of eternity becomes very thin.
It’s called mutual dwelling.
And how cool is that?
Surrender is a trust fall into the arms of God.
You can trust and walk with God in the cool of the day.
Even now, regardless…
You can take one small step…right here in this moment…right now

Happy Chutzpah!

In every spiritual discipline, rules arise to shape and focus us.

I once heard a Zen master say, "In every Zen temple you'll find good rule keepers. Their spiritual pride runs quiet and deep. They practice well."

Listen, Don't be good rule keepers. Keep your nose on the prize. Run into the arms of Jesus. If the law is perfect, and only Jesus could fulfill it; don't you think He could straighten you out a lot better than a list of rules? God changes us from the inside out.

These rules give us form and structure. They shape, but can never change our lives.

So you've got to be a little rebellious. You've got to have a little chutzpah, without being arrogant, to move through the spiritual disciplines and meet their goal. Otherwise you'll get caught up in the list of rules like a dream catcher, and never get out. And that goes for every spiritual discipline, not matter how 'perfect' it seems.

'Out goal is progress not perfection.' Leave the perfection up to God. He's done it for you. Let Him work out what he's put in you.  Our spiritual disciplines are there to shorten the learning curve.

Happy Chutzpah!

Vision~ It May Not Be What You Think

We're told that if we want to accomplish anything in life, we need to begin with the end in mind, and work our way back.

This is the way a vision or a revelation works too.

In a real sense, even meditation is beginning with the end in mind. Here's why: Simply put,  through meditation we move into the finished work of Christ. We experience that place of rest and peace Hebrews talks about. That rest in God.

Guess what? That's the whole purpose of meditation for the Believer. Workaholics, Legal Eagles and Gatekeepers hate this. But I've got to tell you.

From this position, this place of rest, this vision of God, we work our way back, or better yet, we work out what we've experienced.

We work out what God has worked in us. It's restful, it's transformational, but the world wants to kill it. Why? Because it reveals Jesus and his finished work on the cross.

So what works for you? Does singing bring you into the presence of God? or worship? or reading the Scripture? or a walk in the woods? Raising your kids? Teaching? Serving other people? What do you do, that brings transcendence up into your life? Those mystical moments. Whatever it is, that's your work of grace.

That is what you were put on this earth to do. That is how love expresses itself best through you.

You are meant for so much more than you can possibly imagine.

At Summer's End ~ Sitting by the Shore

There's a stillness at the beach. A quietness you can hear in the echo of a seagull's cry, or the slowly breaking waves, lapping the shore. The waves whisper eternity. You can smell it. You can taste it in the salt air.

It's something you can feel, as the soft sand gives way under your bare feet. Or as the winds caress you, melting life's cares away.

It's there, as you gaze out over the waters...it holds you, it draws you. When suddenly, the sun on the water casts a thousand diamonds at your feet.

There's a calm in every sunrise, every sunset...a dazzling display of creation, and rest.

So, soak in the moment. It's like the pause at the end of every breath. A space where time touches eternity. And in that moment, we are renewed. 

And if you get very still and you listen very clearly, you'll hear it. In that space, you'll hear a faint echo down the halls of time, along with a call, a yearning for home.

Photo Credit: Pensacola LIFE

Confessions of a Christian Mystic

“A mystic—one who beholds God and in so doing is filled with God’s glory and is fully alive.” ~Kevin Johnson

Are You Different?

Are you out of step with the rest of the world?
O.K. I’m coming out of my prayer closet :-) I’m different, and I’ve got to say, it’s awesome!
I’m not sure when it finally dawned on me. I’m pretty hard headed after all.
Maybe it was while I was trying to be the ‘super Charismatic’? Or maybe a good Baptist, Episcopalian, Plymouth Brethern, Messianic, Methodist, and the list goes on.
You get the picture right? It dawned on me a million times, but I ignored it and kept trying to fit in over and over again.
And it didn’t work. I couldn’t fit in. And the wild thing is, it wasn’t anything I was doing wrong.

Have You Noticed?

Have you ever noticed the weird thing about how every ‘church group’ has their own insider’s ‘code language’. It’s what sets you apart as being ‘one of the gang’. You belong, and everybody else is outside. It doesn’t go well for the Mystic though. We keep saying startling things outside the box.
Then there’s the more spiritually minded groups. Their rite of passage is that you’ve got to get into a ‘certain state’, and then you’ve got to express it properly, that is, to belong. Maybe it’s shaking, falling down, or sitting ‘stone cold silent’ with an occasional ‘Amen’. It’s learn response. Shakers and Quakers got their names for a reason. Mystics however, don’t do responses well. We dance to our own rhythm.
I was leading worship one evening, when the presence of God came in, and one of the ladies began crossing herself over and over again. I thought it was pretty cool because we had another person, who would shake very time they felt God. While this was going on, I had to lean against a wall because I was continually passing out, and hey, I was the one leading the service. LOL Has God got a sense of humor.

Who’s Responding to Who?

I’ve learned that response is usually caught rather than taught, and Mystics are generally so tuned in, we’re oblivious to everything else, and when we aren’t, we don’t tick the response box. We do the unexpected. That’s why I love St Francis so much. He expressed his radical faith with such freedom, joy and abandonment. Control freaks abhor this, and I understand, but it’s how we’re wired as human beings.
But then again, Seers, Prophets and Sages have never fit in. We generally speak from the outside in. It’s why

Mystics are the ‘spiritual nerds’ of the Body of Christ

We’re usually Seers, Prophets, Sages, Intercessors, and Healers. Some of us are worship leaders. Just listen to David Crowder.
We don’t fit the norm, and we never will, no matter how hard we might try to. And here’s the reason.
We march to the beat of a different drum. We’re hardwired differently, and that’s O.K.
We see and experience things most other people never will see or understand. And because of it, we’re seriously out of step with the status quo.

How Are You Wired?

Here’s an example:  If I’d say to you, “The most important thing you can do, is to walk in the Spirit.”
  1. You might think of a list of things you’ve got to do,
  2. Or a longer list of things not to do.
  3. You might think of practices, devotions, or prayers that would really help.
  4. You might think that first, you need to become a Missionary, or a Preacher, or a Priest.
  5. Maybe even a Monk or a Nun…to really get your spiritual mojo working.
  6. Hey, at least Bible College or Seminary should get you there.
  7. You know a good fast would help you too.
For the Mystic, walking in the Spirit simply means, I now walk in the Spirit and we do it. We don’t analyze it, or add steps to get there. Mystics see things intuitively from the ‘get go.’ We consciously and intentionally move into the experience with God. And because Jesus’ finished work allows us, we go in.
Here’s another clue that this might be you:

Here’s The Thing

Most Believers will go to a great service. They’re thrilled with the presence of God being poured out, and that’s awesome. But for us Mystics, getting alone with God is the thing. Our high point is before the meeting. We go to services to serve, and if we’re made to sit, we get bored outta our gourd.
It’s like this: Where do you get your energy from? What stokes you? Being around other people? or being alone?
Regardless, be comforted in the fact that, your individual gifting works in any Church structure, because ‘your solace, is in solitude.’ It’s about having a real love affair with God rather than some spiritual mumbo jumbo.
The Mystic revels in contemplation and meditation. Why? Because these are doorway practices, the thresholds we cross.
Do you realize that walking with God in the cool of the day is more than a beautiful image? It’s real, it’s possible,and it’s here and it’s now for you.
Hey, give a Mystic a Scripture and he’s gone. She’ll jump in and plumb the depths of God. The Mystic will dive into the awesome, incredible, inexplicable, mystery of God before you can blink an eye.

Never Before

There’s something incredible we as Mystics have today, something that no other generation has ever had. Did you ever wonder why ancient mystical writings are so obscure and seriously difficult to read and comprehend?
Today we have language and words to express our interior life with a clarity no other generation has ever had.
Psychology, psychotherapy, and the brain sciences have given us interior language, and opened up whole new ways to express ourselves.
Now, regardless of who you are, everyone of us has the need to get alone with God, and soak in his presence.

Take A Moment

Take a moment and just breathe. Focus on your breath. Now, realize that breath and spirit are one in the same. You have the ability to move out of your head, and out of your body, into your spirit. Not completely mind you, but to walk in the Spirit, first you’ve got to remember how to ‘get in the spirit.’
Now breathe in and breathe out in a ‘breath prayer’. Try it. Silently breathe in and breathe out saying Jesus. Take a few moments. What do you feel? or better yet, what are you experiencing?  Take your time and don’t try to force anything. Just be still and breathe. Enter your spirit.
As you breathe, you might notice there’s a passive awareness or effortless concentration as you rest in God. Everything is in His hands, as we let go and trust Him to handle it.
Come close to God and He will come close to you.

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