Thursday, June 18

The world grows smaller as the dream grows bigger

"And when they were on the way, a certain man said to him, I will come after you wherever you go. And Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have resting-places, but the Son of man has nowhere to put his head. And he said to another, Come after me. But he said, Lord, let me first go and give the last honours to my father. But he said to him, Let the dead take care of their dead; it is for you to go and give news of the kingdom of God. And another man said, I will come with you, Lord, but first let me say a last good-day to those who are at my house. But Jesus said, No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is good enough for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:57-62 BBE)

God's commission doesn't sit well in the modern westernized Church model...which seems so far from the model of the Church that Christ left in the hands of His disciples some 2,000 years ago. More and more churches are more concerned about fancy temples, big projects (called capital building projects) that do little within the communities in which they rest. Evangelism becomes a 'big sign' and 'full parking lot' rather than one-on-one relationships. Pastors become favorites rather than the word that is preached. Outreaches become single-minded and sharply focused upon one group, one bracket or one direction.

The numbers look good, the finances attract investors who 'loan money to visionaries' and the Word (never to return void) goes slowly silent as the faithful are guided into the postmodern 'self' message of love, love and love.....the lies and philosophies of man become hazy and semi-biblical in their utterance but totally void of their fruitfulness, until it becomes the 'Word', leaving more and more of the mega-churched empty and abandoned to fall prey to the growing malaise that paralyzes a people into 'voting' for a immoral change, speaking less against a culture in chaotic destructive mentality and a rejection of those who would speak the Truth in its unadulterated, non-respecting purity.

Go out to all the nations of the world and tell them the Gospel, making disciples becomes an inward focus on keeping what you have and calling the community that lies stagnant a focal point of God's blessings, the Word proclaimed and the lesser 'dirtiness' of life is conveniently swept under the table that sits on the stage.

Disciples lose their zeal for the passion of Christ and opt instead for the relative comforts of Sunday school and cookie-cutter programming for the ministries. Challenges once issued to the leadership under the passionate convictions of a man or woman of God, even if in opposition to the leader's chosen direction, fall upon the ears of the discontent as they have been silenced into submission by the congregational love feast with their pastoral leadership. No one really questions anymore, for questions are not welcomed within the halls of the faithful and the glittered temples of mega. It is better to fade into the quietness of contemplative silence and forego the desires God stokes within the flame of our faith.

Most churches preach a doctrine of peaceful contentment, relative bliss and relational complacency that one has to dull their hearts in such condition so that the mudanity of their lives serve as a balm for the discontentment that boils beneath the surface. This is why I believe the mega-, emergent- and postmodern churches are the most popular soothes the discontentment that a life seeking Christ, knowing God and being counseled by the Spirit causes, the disruption and the fearful reliance upon a faith that is never stagnate, never satisfied and constantly challenged.

As John Eldridge says in The Sacred Romance, "While our hearts grow in its capacity for pleasure, it grows in its capacity to know pain." The Church, in trying to answer the painful experiences that its congregations are facing actually helps to silence the growth of its members....calling them to a mundane numbness that nullifies the growing sense of painful disconnection to a world that moves further and further from the precepts of its Designer and Creator.

"As the Lord gives you truth, acknowledge it and allow HIM to guide you through it. Don’t try to do anything on your own. Our walk with the Lord is a continual realization of how we need to grow in the image of the Son." Paul Ferree, American missionary and writer of the blog "How To Become A Missionary", writes as he and his family travel the United States where the Father leads, "We simply recognize our errors and repent, or trade our ways for the Father’s ways. Turn from the way we do things and do things the way our Father in heaven instructs us to do them."

As I sense with growing wonder and competing fear the grand work of the Lord within and around me, and the evidence that shows a preparation to the impossibility of the direction preconceived perceptions of what my service to the Call would shape out to be. These are shattered upon the rocks of disillusioned fantasies, exposing the utter foolishness of a future built upon their fragile and simple frames. The assured, peaceful disruption of following the 'walk of sorrow' that characterizes the journey of Christ from rejection to condemnation to the crucifixion promises a grander context, greater works and stronger persecution in ways that I immediately want to reject as foolishness and point out their improbability.

It no longer seems ironic to me that as I look into the chaos of my disrupted life and all of its trials, tribulations and stresses that I find more and more Word being delivered upon the platter of my supplication for God to speak. From a multitude of sources; devotions from separate ministries, words from others (and not just necessarily 'faithful' ones) and an inter-relationalish to events in my life.

Today, from the Ransomed Hearts ministry of John Eldridge, author of Wild at Heart, as well as other fantastic books, comes a devotion that referenced Psalm 119:25. I've quoted part of Eldridge's comments from his book, The Sacred Romance, already...but God chose to expand upon Eldridge's offering with the verses from 25 through 38.

"I am at the point of death. Let your teachings breathe new life into me. When I told you my troubles, you answered my prayers. Now teach me your laws. Help me to understand your teachings, and I will think about your marvelous deeds. I am overcome with sorrow. Encourage me, as you have promised to do. Keep me from being deceitful, and be kind enough to teach me your Law. I am determined to be faithful and to respect your laws. I follow your rules, LORD. Don't let me be ashamed. I am eager to learn all that you want me to do; help me to understand more and more. Point out your rules to me, and I won't disobey even one of them. Help me to understand your Law; I promise to obey it with all my heart. Direct me by your commands! I love to do what you say. Make me want to obey you, rather than to be rich. Take away my foolish desires, and let me find life by walking with you. I am your servant! Do for me what you promised to those who worship you." (Psalms 119:25-38 CEV)

My heart wants to cling to the 'comforts' of this life that has taken so much effort and suffering to achieve, even at this level. It wants peace, grace, mercy, love and above all, hope in such degree that its undeniable. It wants evidence of healing, restoration and an visible 'outward' sign to point to as evidence of my spiritual growth in His purpose. Yet, by clinging to that desire and the resultant chains that it creates, I become bound by the declarations of others.....more beholding to their perceived and unknowledged agendas. God doesn't move where we chain ourselves willingly but calls us to break those chains and live 'on the edge' of His cresting wave of life-giving water......straining in those places where our worst fears lie, unprepared and uncomfortable....God has already prepared us for those things, just as He has already restored our corrupted bodies, yet the journey is realizing that in truth in its entirity, something we will never fully achieve until we reach the point of Christ's return or ours to our Heavenly home

God doesn't ask us to 'fit Him into our life' but to surrender our life over to Him so that we can fit into His story, His life.

"But more than anything else put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well." (Matthew 6:33 CEV)

Even in the fluidity of my current situation; finances, location and family time has been less focused on what God is doing in my world, in the life around me, and more focused on the miserable attempt to 'maintain' this lifestyle's 'status quo' at least, with the hope to improve it beyond the difficult position of being fully dependent on God's timing, provision and direction. My devotional time, as reflected in my blog postings, has been stagnant and full of silence.

But, in the last few months, in ever increasing ways….God has brought undeniable proof of His provisions and of His conditioning for the Calling He's given. Not in the hallowed halls of the Church, nor the venerable cafeterias of the aging saints. By becoming vulnerable to God, I am realizing the folly of my limitations… if God is big, but not big enough for my situation and problems. He is working in my life in ways I didn't realize, amid the painfulness of letting go of the old…..and it is the strength He has added to my faith that makes it still cling to Him despite no assurance of anything.

Oh, I'm not fully free, if I ever will be, but God is still pointing the way and whispering words of preparation for a world that He's opened for me to journey in with His Truth, His Mercy and for His Glory. The dream, though personal and unique to my perspective, is expanding beyond my wildest imaginations.

Paul Ferre's website is that is his 'tent making' conjunction to his ministry. His blog, how to become a missionary is at . John Eldridge's devotionals are sent from the website of his Ransomed Heart ministry that you can sign up for at

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