Monday, June 23, 2008

Some Unrelated, Unrefined Thoughts

We were on vacation last week, so I didn't get anything posted. But I wanted to share three "raw" and somewhat unrelated thoughts from recent my history with God.

First, my young (to me) friend in Las Vegas, Scott, in a response to one of my posts mentioned a book by Frank C. Laubach called Letters by a Modern Mystic. I sensed that I was supposed to read that book while on vacation, and I am glad that I did. Frank Laubach seems to describe as well as any I have ever read what it's been like for me to be on this "Secret Place Journey." Here's one brief quote to give you a sample: "How infinitely richer this firsthand grasping of God Himself is than the old method which I used and recommended for years, the reading of endless devotional books. Almost it seems to me now that the very Bible cannot be read as a substitute for meeting God soul to soul and face to face." (p. 18)

Now here's a raw thought that came to me on May 13. I welcome your comments.
I wonder if people gravitate towards public ministry because it's so much easier. It requires so much less of us. All it really requires is "anointing." But making disciples, allowing people into our lives and walking deeply with them requires a great deal more! It requires a great deal more maturity and change on our part, and it requires a great deal more of us in general. Public ministry has its place, but those who gravitate towards it without allowing room for making disciples are missing with how Jesus and his apostles functioned. Yet in our culture this is exactly what has happened and the results are evident, I think.

Here's another one from May 23. Your thoughts?
Why is it so important for leaders to be broken and weak as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians? It is far too common in the church for leaders to appear to be confident, competent and really in charge, etc. But since the Kingdom is about God's competence and the Kingdom is about example and modeling, it's very important for those of us who "lead" to be broken and weak, so that anyone and everyone--the everyday person so to speak, does not get discouraged by what they see in us. If we model brokenness, weakness and humility, we show them something anyone can relate to and aspire to. If on the other hand we appear to be superhuman in all of our abilities, etc., then most people will look at the Christian life as unattainable.

That's it for this time. I welcome your thoughts!

Stay lost in His love,

Tom, the least of Abba's children

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Are We There Yet?

When my sons were young and we would go on family vacations, the question "Are we there yet?" was a remarkably frequent one in our car! And this question forms the basis of my thoughts for this post. I find myself asking this question of God often--probably more often than my sons did on our vacations!

I ask this question because of God's words to me on the first few days of my "Secret Place Journey" which started on July 2, 2004. When God brought me into that first face-t0-face encounter with Him, He promised me that the day would come when I would live in uninterrupted awareness of His presence. The following is one of those promises and is from my journal entry on July 3, 2004.

Can we, can I, Abba, hope to have a relationship with you like Moses—“face to face”? Surely the answer is “yes,” and for all believers, not just a few. 2 Corinthians 3:7ff seems to indicate that we all can have “unveiled, face-to-face” intimacy with you because of the new covenant and by your Spirit.
Oh, Abba, what have we been missing?!! We have feared subjectivity and error so much that we have cut out the heart of what Jesus died to give us: true face-to-face, communication-filled intimacy with you! But my heart sings at what I am starting to see. Show me all that you choose, Abba! Show me more!
The implications of this are huge! We have inadvertently—with good intentions—cut out the heart of the good news. No wonder your people are burdened and powerless. No wonder they resort to legalism. They think that they are alone! For most of us, walking in the Spirit means filling our minds with Scripture and then hoping that we will guess what you are saying.
We need not fear deception or imbalance if we keep our balance via Word and Spirit! The Word isn’t a substitute for Your Spirit or vice versa; the Word informs and gives clarity and depth to your speaking voice.

Are you doing this in me because You are up to something, Lord, or is this how it should always be?
God's reply: “Both! This is how I want all my children to walk, but my people have so lost this that I have to restore it before I can bring my next great move on the earth. I am calling you and many others to experience this and then lead others to the same place. I am raising up an army of those who know me so intimately that I can guide them with my eye.”

But was I being deceived? Is such a life of "constant intimacy" possible? There have been times since July 2, 2004, when I have wondered myself about that. Am I there yet? Not yet, but I know that others have made this journey before me. And I want to leave you with some encouragement from a married couple who both found this life, Andrew and Emma Murray.

Excerpt from Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
"There are some people who seem to think that God, by some unintelligible sovereignty, withdraws His face. But I know that God loves His people too much to withhold His fellowship from them for any such reason. The true reason of the absence of God from us is rather to be found in our sin and unbelief, than in any supposed sovereignty of His. If the child of God is walking in faith and obedience, the Divine presence will be enjoyed in unbroken continuity."
A Quote from Emma Murray (from Andrew and Emma Murray, by Leona Choy, pp. 214-215)
"There is a step higher than just looking forward to Heaven. We may have our life so in Christ that even here below we may enjoy peace and happiness in Him which no earthly events can shake or destroy. And it is not by despising or trampling upon earthly things, but living above them, willing and loving to live for His glory and the good of others, and counting it all joy even in tribulation for His sake.
"God means us to know and experience that perfect peace and quiet of mind under all circumstances is possible. Nothing interferes more with work or renders it more difficult than fretting or worrying. In such a state of mind we can do nothing well. We must in a childlike way acknowledge God's will in everything with His peace in our hearts and a truly humble walk with God, bowing to his will....
"All this is attainable through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God, through receiving Christ as our Sanctification as well as our Justification. It is through an entire, unconditional surrender of ourselves to Him and an entire cessation from our own efforts and works, while waiting for the suggestions and influences of the Holy Spirit. And through believing in His indwelling and expecting His guidance even in the minutest concerns of our daily life."

Are we there yet? I am not, but I can at least see the possibility! What about you? Does your heart burn like mine with a desire to be so lost in God, so surrendered to His will that constant saturation with His presence is normal? Make it so, Abba, in all your children of the burning heart!
Tom, Abba's least child