what he’s saying…

A question for you… when was the last time you heard God’s voice? Maybe it was just moments ago, maybe it’s been a while. But stop for a moment, quiet your soul, clear your mind and ask:

“Jesus, what do you want to say to me right now?”

And wait.

Repeat at lunch.
Right before your presentation.
During your coffee break.
Right before you talk to your boss.
What is he saying?

If you’re willing to share, put it in a comment below. Thanks folks.

Dojo Session #2b: Nurturing Spiritual Hunger [TRUST]

Challenge:

:: Prayer: “Lord, what about my life do you want me to trust you with?”
:: Prayer: “How do you want me to do so?”
:: OBEY

Overview:

Intimacy with God is hard to teach. Because intimacy is something to be experienced, not learned. You can never collect enough data on jumping out of airplane or savoring a slice of tiramisu or enjoying the bliss of being in love. So how is knowledge and experience bridged? It’s bridged by trust.

And the truth is that we can’t love without it. We speak often about “loving God” being at the top. But how can you love someone you can’t trust? The lack of trust will always keep you at a distance. And for many of us who claim to follow Jesus, it’s the exact thing that’s been keeping us from really experiencing God.

Trust [in relation to God] essentially means this: I put my possessions… my worth… my life into your hands. And I will follow your leading over my own. Even Jesus had to do it. Mark 14:36, Jesus says:

“Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

My own little paraphrase is this:

“Daddy, you can do anything. If it were up to me, I’d like not to die. But your way is better than mine.”

It’s a very human moment for Jesus, one we’ve all been through and will encounter again in our lives. When God whispers into our ear and asks, “Will you trust that my way is better than yours?” Will we trust he’s knows what’s best? Will be embrace whatever he’s got whether we want it or not?

If you were Jesus, you wouldn’t want to die either. But why did he die? In Hebrews 12 it says that he did it for the “joy set before him.” What does that mean? Maybe he did it because he knew that his death would bring life to the ones he loved. Or maybe he did it because he just wanted to do what his father told him to do. Maybe both… either way he made a decision. And his decision was that he trusted that God’s way was better than his. And because of that we live.

If you’re going to experience Jesus… you will need to follow him. If you’re going to follow him… you will need to trust him. Go places that you may not always want to go. Do things that may not always make sense. Believe in things that may not have happened yet. But in that you will experience God and the breadth of his character and the depth of his love in ways you may never have before.

It’s a hard teaching – but the essence of Jesus, what he did, what he’s about, his call for us is this:

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.¬†For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Essentially it means this:

“Following Jesus… trusting him… will lead to your utter destruction. But your utter destruction will lead to life. Life for you and for those around you.”

Blessings to you this month as you hear his voice and begin to ruthlessly trust him with everything that you are.

Questions? Comment!

Dojo Session #7: Self-Leadership

DOJO – December 2009

Many of us move from spiritual high to spiritual high wondering why we can’t just be spiritually baked all the time. If you live that way you soon realize that you can’t avoid the struggles, the heartbreaks, the failures. The highs are beautiful and needed and God is gracious to give them. But God is gracious to give the low times as well… because it’s these times that God uses to restore, remake and refine the child he loves… you and me.

So how do we “lead ourselves” during both the highs and lows so that we are moving towards being more loved by God, loving him back and tangibly loving the world? Or maybe simply…

How do I grow during both the highs and lows?

We’ve spent other DOJO’s talking about nurturing our lives through spiritual disciplines [ie. Bible reading, prayer, fasting, etc.]. And we’ll come back to that again. But some basic tenets to begin with:

+ Growing is fueled by a spirit of SURRENDER. > Romans 8:1-8

So often struggles in life [regardless of whether it’s brought on by us] reveal areas where we hold on to too much control. And God, responding as a loving-father, uses these times to loosen our grip and help us to trust His lead for our lives. Yield to his control… learn to let go.

+ Growing is allowing God to bring correction. > Hebrews 12:1-11

God’s most loving act is often to point out our most glaring weakness. It’s His heart to train, build up and correct for the good of ourselves and those around us. Which means that our mistakes become the most fertile soil for growth. Listen for what God wants to say especially during times when you mess it up.

+ Growing is trusting Jesus over the circumstance. > Philippians 4:13

We don’t learn contentment when things are going well. In fact we often settle into greater dissatisfaction [ie. American consumerism]. We learn contentment when we don’t have what we want… and that’s when we learn authentic faith and a genuine trust for a God that is bigger than our circumstances.

+ Growing is believing God is doing a work in you. > Romans 8:28-30

God has NOT given up on us. And He won’t until He’s finished. We often deal with parental-figures who are always calling out our flaws. Thankfully God never forgets to see our potential and will never tire of helping us get there. Even when we don’t see our growth, He does. Believe it.

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Poems

This week in our Tuesday house group, we reflected on Isaiah 49 and 50 by contemplating on it, and then proceeding to write a poem. Writing poetry helps us think, articulate, and conjure our reflections in a way that is free, creative, and expressive.

What you see here is our thoughts, put on paper, expressed through words, deeply personal and uninhibited. For that reason, we chose to make each one anonymous. They are, in essence, meditations of the heart.

Sometimes, I wake up with regret to start my day
sometimes, I start and pray for a hopeful day
asking God to help me go through the motions.

I think alone
about what is to come
or analyze what went wrong.
Could I have said something more
so they could’ve known how I felt?
I bottle it up inside and
it lingers.
I know how I feel, but do they?
If you could only understand
how I want to be reached out to.

Saved, loved, accepted.
The Lord has forsaken me.
I’ll not forget you!

In pain and torment I cried out
and in the silence, came the dreadful doubt
to my dismay, I saw myself waste away
the consequence of a payment I couldn’t pay

And yet like a mother you came to me
broke the chains and set me free
to run and conquer and bring the light
the love of God that sets everything right.

There are happy times.
Times of being loved, of comfort
of being secure and being protected.
Times of belonging.

I can do anything, be anybody
I have infinite amounts of enthusiasm and
optimism.
Times of promise.

There are sad times.
Times of trouble, of despair,
of being hurt and being
abandoned.
Times of confusion.

I fail miserably, shout out loud!
I despise my circumstance and
lose faith, mostly in myself.
Times of darkness.

After every dusk, there is dawn.
It happens every time
without fail.
Flowers spring from the ground
at the first sign of winter’s deadlock easing.
It is for sure.
Happy and sad, time moves forward
and I am heading into morning.

I wonder how a mother or father cannot love
the child they bear?
I wonder why a child feels like he
does not have a purpose?

Do they not realize he is a miracle?
Does he not realize purpose was given
to him before he was born?

Though a mother and father may forget,
God will not forget those hebrought
into this world.

To you who are hopeless,
put your hope in the Lord and He
will not disappoint.
Do not wallow in your darkness and
wonder where God is. God is light.
And while you cannot control where the light
comes from, you can control how
much light comes in.

Let it in, then you
will find purpose.

Ravaged, ruined, rejected
Damaged, distraught, dejected
Battered, bruised, bereft of comfort

A pillow, a blanket, a warm embrace
Here, there is none in the dark, this lonely one
Pain, He becomes; His frame, overrun; His life to be unspun

No pillow, no blanket, no warm embrace in this empty, lonesome space
To look death in the face, and overcome
In quiet strength and grace
Deep within a trace

Of flint
Ready
To make sparks

I work hard and gain nothing from the earth,
The Lord is my reward, He shows me what is of worth,
Being a blessing to other Christians is noble indeed,
But God calls us to bless non-believers and plant the seed,
Has your mother forgotten you? Have you forgotten her?
God will never forget you for his love always endures,
If anyone messes with you they mess with the Lord,
And no one wants to mess with the Lord,
Do not think God is too weak for He will show you his strength,
Walk in the dark and do not fear,
Trust in God, He is always near.