today’s session + video

I’m struck by the “name” or the “theme” of this year = “Deep Roots. Mighty Oaks”. Let us not lose sight of this. We invited you into a deep work last fall. The process of digging into this material. It is an agreement that if I want the mighty oak, I’ve got to be open to digging in to get to the good soil so my roots can grow to nourish that oak. It isn’t easy nor is it quick. If you just want the mighty oak without the work, good luck. If you don’t have time to dig deep, to take the hard look, you’ll come up empty. Sadly, that is what most do and it is why we find so many shallow men today. Good men – no doubt – but they are not willing to stop to go deep and, as a result, they won’t bear the fruit.

Today was a PHD class in the material. Weighty. Challenging. Authentic. It is not for the faint of heart or the man who only has one foot in the room and one foot out the door. This is for the man who wants the “more” and who is willing to take a good hard look under the surface of his life.

Al Johnson took us there with his question a few weeks ago. Ray Honea stepped into the deeper waters by asking his family …

For many of us, these truly are deep waters. We are just becoming “aware that we need to be aware”. We’ve never considered our effect on others. We operate out of a deeply wounded place of believing, “It is all up to me” or “I need to make it happen” or simply, “I’m just behind”. Out of that place we go out into the world seeking the answer to our question and it ends up a mess.

And so now … this. Now we’ve peeled back the facade and we’re exposing what lies beneath. We are seeing there is much, much more to our story and how we navigate it and how our false self operates and the damage that does.

Morgan’s story in the below video captures much of this. We are deeply honored he would invest his time in us. You’re going to want to watch this one a few times to let it sink in.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bjakusc471y15zx/Richard%20-%20BAK%20MSG.MOV?dl=0

We will push into this video deeper next week.

Jesus comes for the one…

We played Reckless Love this morning. Jesus leaves the 99 to come for the 1. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray. God NEVER stops pursuing us. He chases us down, fights until we are found. I don’t earn it, I don’t deserve it yet HE still gave Himself away. What we are doing right now in Manschool is powerful. We are hearing stories and seeing examples of God coming for us.

Morgan says in chapter 3, “To become a king, we must give our strength to the sacred work of excavating before we can participate with God in the process of building in His way and in His time.”

This is what happened last week.  Through Jeremiah’s story and Al’s question, we began the process of excavating, digging out the false so we can reach bedrock and begin to let God build the true in us.

Morgan continued, “While this ancient truth was knocking at my door, I had yet to become the kind of man what has ears to hear it or a heart to receive it.  I was spending most of my energy tinkering with my outer world, trying to change other people so I could feel better, trying to make life work.  All the while, I had largely chosen to ignore my inner world – the world to which God most deeply wanted to draw my attention.  The external world is easier to access, to measure, to evaluate.  The inner world takes time, curiosity, and, above all, an honesty we often won’t consider employing until the pain is more than we can bear.”

(Click on the link above to read the story of Jeremiah’s walk up the mountain)

What God did for Jeremiah on that mountain was an “inner world” work.  By agreeing to accept the help of those men to carry him up that mountain, Jeremiah consented to the process of becoming true.  He had to surrender a part of his false self.  The pose in him that pushed people away.  He had ears to hear what God was trying to say to him and a heart to receive it.  God’s breakthrough miracle power came down and it is changing Jeremiah’s story.  

Likewise, Al’s questions were the beginning of the inner work.  It is the willingness to go below the surface, go beneath the pose, being willing to admit “I’ve done this so long, I don’t even know what true is anymore.”   That is the vital first step. 

And what we heard this morning from those brave men that stepped up to share their story was the second step. These men were peeling back the layers and opening their hearts and consenting to the process of letting God come in to excavate out wounds, poses, false self’s. Ray boldly asked his family “what is my effect on you?”. Matt joined us for the first time from LaGrange and said that while he is an iceberg he also realizes an iceberg is also an island – that he is an island, isolated, alone, pushing people away. Gary said, in effect, the same thing.

DO YOU SEE IT? God is literally working right in front of our eyes in these men! How holy! How glorious!

what is real?

We had an amazing session this past Wednesday. God was moving. A powerful testimony from Jeremiah Means and an authentic, painful question from Al Johnson when faced with the picture of the iceberg and the quote below on bringing the “true you” … Al asked, “How do I do that? How do I find the real? I’ve been this way so long, how do I get to the real?” Beautiful. Raw. Honest. Transparent. Al took the first step towards the real by asking this. We will have much more next week with other stories from the Wild at Heart BASIC boot camp. More probing to Al’s question. Push in here. Much is being exposed.

Everything we do in here is all about recovering your true self.  It is all about restoring your heart and helping you find the man God truly intended you to become.  Lately we’ve been talking about the false self or the Poser and how that hides the real us and how it prevents us from receiving all God has for us.

The Poser is your way of navigating life.  A bruised, wounded boy grows into a man with these false fronts, these poses, these layers of the onion, these ways to live life built on agreements and vows like, “I’ll never be hurt that way again” – or – “I must come through” – or – “I’ve got to present the appearance that I’ve got life figured out”.

That false self is a wall.  It won’t let me in.  It won’t let your wife in.  It won’t let God in.  You’ve figured out life and, as harsh as this sounds, you’re saying to even God Almighty, “I don’t need you, I can do life.”

We talk in here a lot about spiritual warfare to help us realize the battle that is underway and to remind us that we are in a story far larger than the little life we think we lead.  We get beaten up by life and the enemy comes and lies to us and we settle for far less than God has for us.  We do this for restoration.  We do this for freedom and breakthrough and to rediscover our passion for the Lord.

We asked this question a few weeks ago and I wanted to present it to you again this morning….

What would it be like to have so much confidence in who you are that you know, whatever the circumstances and whatever context you find yourself in, that what you brought to the world is the person you truly are, the person that God made you to be?

THAT is the goal — or — we can continue live this way…

You know this man.  He’s a poser.  He is a caricature of a man.  He hides behind his façade of having it all figured out. 

You and I fear exposure.  We fear failure.  “I was afraid so I hid”.  Every one of us is a poorly constructed version of authentic masculinity.  We all wear a fig leaf.  Your false self – the 10% above the water line you let us see – is mature and sophisticated.  You’ve practiced building this façade that protects you in a way.  It gains you some applause.  It helps you avoid feeling exposed.  We all fear being found out.

It is idolatry.  It is a way of making life work … without God.  I heard a pastor say this weekend If God is one of your 17 choices, odds are, He’s going to let you try all those other choices.  When God is your only way, your only choice, then He’ll show up.”

Same is true with the false self.  As long as we’re content to fake it and stay with the 10% above the surface, we’re putting the idol of self and self-preservation ahead of God.

Will you keep hiding, keep posing or will you take the step of faith of giving that up? Will you allow God (and us) access to the hidden parts of you? Will you admit you’ve been faking it a LONG time? Will you cry out for the “more”, the deeper, the real, the authentic?

Live! Live! Live!

A new study just published states that 1/3 of adults are walking around in a concussion-like daze due to stress, lack of sleep.  The symptoms of what you have been through is similar to effect of having a concussion – headaches, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, loss of concentration and memory.

And you were wondering why you are having such a hard time concentrating.

2020 dished out a lot of trauma on human souls. The enemy is all over this seeking to do as much damage as he can.

Many of us just endured 2020 and never really came up for air to ask How is my heart? How am I doing? What impact is all this having on me?” No, we just pressed forward to make it through the day, the week, the year. We endured. But in all that, the enemy came at us with lies like “You’re not going to make it” or “Everyone else is navigating this better than you are” or “You are all alone or non-essential”. Lies.

Do you know who you are? Do you know who God says you are?  What He thinks about you?

This is where we need to take this. Tune out the enemy. Turn off the TV. Turn on the Father. Ask Him what He thinks about you. Ask Him to pour out his love over you. You are the beloved son – fearfully and wonderfully made. Believe it. Fight for it. Trust it.

The end is coming for us all. Life is so short, so fleeting. A better day is coming. A restoration. A glorious day. I don’t fear death because I know what I will be stepping into. I don’t fear 2020 or 2021 because I know who I am and I know what God says about me. If they “kill” me, I win.

So knowing all that, I choose to LIVE.

Watch this. Maximum knows who he is. He knows he’s no slave. And all the host of heaven peers down over the castle wall and chants their support to him (to you) of LIVE, LIVE, LIVE…

son or orphan?

We will meet next Wednesday 12/16 and then we’ll take a month+ break and resume in mid-January.

We said this last week – much of who you are and how you act and how you navigate life comes from being an orphan rather than as a beloved son.  Your posing and posturing and persona are that of a wounded boy in a grown man’s body.

I’m going to show you to pictures of a father – one is painful.  The other is full of provision.

Bull Meechum is the dad in the Great Santini.  He’s a marine fighter pilot in the years leading up to Vietnam.  He’s a domineering man who drinks and bullies his family.  He’s posing.  The only way he can make life work is by playing the role of a marine – even in how he parents his kids.  Deep down, he has profound questions about his role and his validity as a man and he’s learned how to make life work.  And it comes at great cost to those he most loves.  His son is a star basketball player with a kind heart.  His dad pushes him and always must have the upper hand against his son.

Ben finally beats his Dad in basketball, but rather than be proud of his son’s dedication, he berates and insults him.  Later that night Ben awakes to the sound of his father practicing basketball alone in the driveway. Refusing to believe his boy beat him, he’s not going to let that happen again.  His mother tells Ben not to be angry at his father, and that deep down he is secretly proud of Ben.  Do you think Ben believed that?  The father is just struggling with losing so much control of the things he used to know. 

“How have we learned the father?  It would have been better for us to not know anything about him, than to have learned him wrong.

George Macdonald

Here is another picture.  This is stark contrast to Bull Meechum.  Notice what this father is doing.  When you first watch this, the dad appears disconnected from his son.  He talks almost in a negative way of all the things his son hasn’t done.  But watch what the father is doing.  There is provision in all of this.  The son is being invited up into a larger story.

The son is being taught.  He is being fathered and celebrated.  His dad has prepared him, and I love that shot of the boy in the deer stand and his Dad up above him coaching him and filming the hunt.  When the buck appeared, the boy was ready.  And I loved when the friends and family come out to see the deer.  The boy is being celebrated.  The dad and the granddad skin the buck and show the boy how it is done.  The dad teaches him the value of animal and the sacredness of the hunt.  A meal is shared, and the boy rightfully gets the first cut of meat.  Photos are taken.  His success is commemorated.  The boy will never forget this day.

This is what is available to each of us as sons but too many of us are living as orphans having never been truly fathered.

Security in your identity as the beloved son of a good Father is the core of masculine strength.

Morgan Snyder

This grabbing of “sonship” is crucial to your restoration. It is the knowing that I am a beloved child of the Most High that enables me to walk out into the world with nothing to prove, no need for a pose to hide behind and what enables me to bring strength to my world instead of orphan questions. Paul nails this in Romans 8:15-17 (message)…

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance!”

A friend of mine recently said…

The first 40 years of my life carried a question, “Why me?”  Poor me.  Pitiful me.  Why was life so difficult?  Why did I feel so alone and why did life seem so unfair?  Everything seemed like such a struggle and when I compared my life to others it felt so unfair and unjust.

The last 15 years of my life, I have been asking the same question, “Why me?!”  Why do I get to enjoy such an incredible life?  So full of friendship, mission, and glory!  Such privilege and possibility!  Why do I get to walk with such expectation of more and better just around every corner?

Ironically, only one thing changed, my perspective.  When I step back and objectively look at all the circumstances of my life, I can’t really point to anything else being significantly different.  Knowing that I am unconditionally loved and delighted in by my Father changed everything.

With my grandchildren, I want to convey that they are safe and secure with me. That they would know they are delighted in and adored and safe. I’d walk through plate glass for them, take a bullet for them. They’ve done nothing to “earn” this. It is a free gift given to them. She can climb up in my lap and know she is beloved…

As a beloved son, I can live “adventurously expectant” with a childlike, “What’s next Papa?” knowing that I am safe and secure in His arms. Paul continues … “That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.”

what kingdom?

What kingdom are you building? Your kingdom or His?

Nebuchadnezzar tore down Solomon’s temple.  600 years later, Herod built the second temple.  10,000 workers constructed the temple.  The average stone in the wall weighed 10,000 tons.  They were so precisely laid that not even a piece of paper could slide in between the stones.  The temple was massive with soaring roofs and spires covered in gold.

Cara Murphy in her book The Inquisitive Christ says that our self-promotion is as natural and unconscious as breathing.  We need to know we at least measure up to others.  We are driven to act on our own behalf, making a name for ourselves in the circles that matter most.

You and I covet structures, built to serve our undeniable need.  I hear the rumbling deep down for towers, castles, and temples – the “great buildings” erected for personal honor, protection, provision.  They are designed to draw the eye to our own glory.

“As Jesus was leaving the temple that day, one of His disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings!  Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”  Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings.  But they will be completely demolished.  Not one stone will be left on top of another.” 

Mark 13:1-2
Ballycarbery Castle Ireland

Cara continues – At the time of Ballycarbery castle’s full glory, it must have been absolutely intimidating, jutting out from the coastline like at stone-wrapped fist.  But, no more.  Our towers, castles, monuments, and temples will never deliver what our souls crave.  They are painfully temporal, fated to fall.  We spend so much of our time, our energy, and our gifting in self-promotional building projects.  For a while, they may cause others, even ourselves, to gasp in wonder and jealousy.

For a little while.

Like Herod’s temple, what we and others see may glitter in the sunlight.  Like Ballycarbery castle centuries ago, we may seem immune to suffering and loss.  Like the Tower of Babel, we may be elevated above the known world in beauty and power.

Jesus sees the realty behind the extravagance.

He looks at these structures and sees them for exactly what they are.  Our pride-structures and nothing more than an ugly, razor-edged wall, a barrier between us and Him.  Our buildings of pride, while lovely to our vision, are an eyesore to Heaven.  We think they’ll take us closer to God, but in the end, they always become competing towers to His glory – and He will not allow them to stand.

“Do you see these great buildings?”, He asks, “They will all be torn down.”

As we set out today, whose glory are we seeking? His or ours?

consenting to disruption…

Will you consent to the process? This entire season we’ve been asking this question. By even opening this post, you are at least consenting to a portion. Will you take the time to really read this? To let the words wash over you and ask the Father, “What is it You are up to Father in this?”. There is much here. I’ve tried to condense it but I make no apologies for the length. In this culture, few of us have the attention span to invest even in reading this post, much less Morgan’s book. Will you? Will you watch the video at the end? Will you invest the time?

God is always at work chipping away at our kingdoms.  I have a way I do life and a way that I’ve “figured out” how to make life “work”.  God is always at work against that.  God is sanding us down, shaping us, molding us.

The problems you and I have truly are not external – they are a picture of what is going on in the internal, underneath the surface.  You and I are this iceberg.  This iceberg is a picture of your kingdom.  There is the seen and the unseen part of you. 

How much time do you spend on your outside (the poser, the false-self, the image you want everyone to see) vs. how much time do you invest on your inside? (in the deep work, the 90% below the surface) Which one lasts forever?  Your heart and the way it can come alive scripture says, will live forever.

This question is disruptive. Or at least … it should be.

Page 7 of the book, Morgan warns us about the “check engine” light flashing on our dashboard.  He says that he finds himself where “My dreams and desires have become very simple: a few hours’ sleep, a beer, a cup of coffee, or – someday – maybe even ten minutes of stillness.  As the margin in my life evaporated, the negative impact of my style of relating with Cherie increased. I could see the check engine light on the dashboard of my soul illuminated but our lives seemed to be functioning well enough, and as long as the car is still running, who has the time or emotional space to check under the hood anyway?”

Here are more questions that should get our attention …

Why do I check my phone first thing in the morning to see what emails I have overnight?  What compels me to do this? Why do I use food or exercise or alcohol or sex as medicine to try and change how I’m currently feeling in the moment? Why do I feel the need to always move into the fast lane in traffic? Why do I always find myself rushing, trying to get more accomplished than is realistic? Why do I constantly feel like I need to be heard? What compels me to always interject my opinion or have the last word in a conversation?

Needless to say, there is much going on beneath your surface.

Last week, we said – The Kingdom is like the tectonic plates moving and shifting below us.  Every now and then, they collide, and an earthquake or volcano goes off.  The Kingdom is ever present, ever moving, ever pressing, pressing, pressing and heating things up. 

Lysa Terkeurst said in her book – It’s not supposed to be this wayWe live in a broken world where broken things happen.  So, it’s not surprising that things get broken in our lives as well.  But what about those times when things aren’t just broken but shattered beyond repair?  Shattered to the point of dust.  At least when things are broken there’s some hope you can glue the pieces back together.  But what if there are aren’t even pieces to pick up in front of you?  You can’t glue dust.

It’s hard to hold dust.  What was once something so very precious is now reduced to nothing but weightless powder even the slightest wind could carry away.  We want God to fix it all.  Edit this story so it has a different ending.  Repair this heartbreaking reality.  But what if fixing, editing and repairing isn’t at all what God has in mind for us in this shattering?

What if, this time, God desires to make something completely brand-new?  Right now.  On this side of eternity.  No matter how shattered our circumstances may seem.

Dust is the exact ingredient God loves to use.

We may think the shattering in our lives could not possibly be for any good.  But what if shattering is the only way to get dust back to its basic form so that something new can be made? When mixed with water, dust becomes clay.  Clay, when placed in the potter’s hands, can be formed into anything the potter dreams up! Dust doesn’t have to signify the end.  Dust is often what must be present for the new to begin.

Your life is like a densely populated city. In order for something new to be built, some things need to be torn down to make way for the new. God is there chipping away at us, the tectonic plates beneath us shifting, shaking us up. He molds us. He makes us. He sands down the rough edges. He saws off the excess. Sometimes, He needs to have us ground down to dust before He can rebuild us. He sees what we can become and … if we will consent … He will craft us into the men He meant when He meant us.

Eugene Peterson talked about pottery in his book Run with the horseman talking about Jeremiah following God’s instruction to go to the potter’s house…  So, I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel.  He is working at a wheel that has a formless mass of clay on it.  He turns the wheel and with skilled fingers shapes the clay.  A little pressure here, more there, a vessel begins to rise out of that shapeless lump.

The brute fact of the clay, lumpish and inert, shaped for a purpose by the hands of the potter, and then, as it took shape, it becomes the uniquely designed creation of the potter.  God shapes us for His eternal purposes, and He begins right here.  The dust out of which we are made and the image of God into which we are made are one and the same.

God kneads and presses, pushes and pulls.  The creative work starts over again, patiently and skillfully.  God doesn’t give up.  God doesn’t throw away the spoiled clay. 

Storms are the triumph of His art.

Now, all that said as introduction … now watch this video. Fast forward to 16:55 minutes in and watch.

There is this discarded piece of lumber…

In that rough piece of wood, HE unveiled a beauty…

HE exercised a fierce mastery, chiseling, chain sawing, sanding, finishing, delivering, unveiling a gift … a treasure to the larger community…

That creation causes awe and wonder and should, to all those that see what has emerged from what was previously discarded, cause them to listen for and look for God…

This is what God is up to in you.  You are the clay.  HE is the potter… 

You are the discarded wood.  HE is the craftsman and the artist who knows who you are and who it is you have yet to become.

Will you consent to the process of letting God work deeply in you to uncover the true you, the real you, the submitted you?

kingdoms fall…

To follow on last week’s post about the election and Nebuchadnezzar. There are five implications of this..

One – we now know the main reason for the turmoil in this world.  It is not only for the moral weaknesses of human society nor the demonic forces. The upheaval we feel and see is the progress of the hidden Kingdom of Jesus.  He keeps invading human kingdoms, but He keeps being resisted and rejected.  The fundamental issue is our resistance to King Jesus.

Two – turmoil continues until resistance ends.  Unrest will mark this world until humanity lays down its resistance to Jesus.  Since the Gospel has been preached, every one of us is under pressure.  His new world order is pressing against us.  The pressure is relieved when we lay down our resistance and give into the Kingdom of grace.  The turmoil in me will be there until I surrender.

Three – This is the positive of #2 – turmoil is a prelude to a further inbreaking of the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom is like the tectonic plates moving and shifting below us.  Every now and then, they collide, and an earthquake or volcano goes off.  The Kingdom is ever present, ever moving, ever pressing, pressing, pressing and heating things up.  The turmoil in your life and in mine is not an absence of God – it is quite the opposite.  It is a sign of the presence of God pressing up against the reign of the other gods to whom you and I have bowed.  It isn’t that God has forgotten us, it is God bothering us just as He did Nebuchadnezzar. 

Four – this is hard to hear but it is critical – Daniel’s interpretation of the dream warns us that it is possible to waste our lives, waste our talents, waste our time, waste our energy and waste our money on that which finally does not count.  Whatever is not consistent with the Kingdom of Jesus will one day be revealed for what it is – chaff which the wind will blow away leaving no trace of its existence.  Charles Colson stood on the grounds of the Roman Senate now in dust and rubble and he realized that the only lasting Kingdom was God’s. 

Men, we must realize it is possible to spend your entire life serving an empire (your business, the United States, etc.) which is, in the end, forgotten.

which kingdom do you serve?
the Roman Senate

Five – We never waste our lives living for the Kingdom of God.  No human kingdom no matter how hard they try, political or personal, secular or ecclesiastical, liberal or conservative, East or West, Marxist or capitalist can finally block the coming of King Jesus.  We never seek His Kingdom in vain.

The coming triumph and progress of the Kingdom of the little Stone is inevitable.  One day it will be the mountain that fills the whole earth.

Nothing stands in the way of Jesus.  Nothing.

the election does not matter…

God is fiercely committed to thwarting our building so He can get to these places in us that need reconstruction. God is not interested in the 10% of you that is visible above the surface. That part of you is false – it is your pose. It hides your wounds, your fears, your brokenness. You put on a false front of having it all together. What you know is that the 90% of you that is below the surface is where the “real” you is…

The problems you and I have truly are not external – they are a picture of what is going on in the internal, underneath the surface.  You and I are this iceberg.  This iceberg is a picture of your kingdom.  There is the seen and the unseen part of you.  Are you willing to consider giving God the 90% below the surface? Are you willing to let this go? Are you willing to surrender? Are you open to consider a radical reconstruction and the possibility that there may be more of what God meant when He meant you?

So here we are after the election.  Maybe we know the result, maybe we don’t.  I’m here to tell you this morning, it does NOT matter.  I’ll explain why.

Read Daniel 2.  It fits perfectly with this discussion we’ve been having about excavation and becoming whole-hearted in Christ and, it needs to be read this morning after the election.  If Trump is proudly boasting of his victory today or if Kamala Harris is dancing on stage celebrating their ascension to power, Daniel 2 needs to be read.

God is at work as we speak.  The Gospel is a rolling thunder across humanity.  He is pushing and pressing in against us as men. He pushes and presses in against kingdoms and governments.  There is more of what God wants for you.  It isn’t always a pleasant process.

Daniel is in captivity in Babylon. The best of Israel has been captured and sent to Babylon for indoctrination into an entirely new way of life – new economy, new music, new literature, new gods. In the middle of this captivity, God comes against King Nebuchadnezzar in his dreams. Haunted by these repeating dreams, he can find no one that can tell him what the dream is or what it means. Enter Daniel. Daniel and his friends turn to God and beg for His divine revelation. God gives Daniel what the dream was and what it meant. Nebuchadnezzar sees this towering giant statue of gold, silver, bronze and iron…

The statue is a symbol of four kingdoms – most scholars think these are, in order, Babylon, the Medes & Persian empire, the Greek empire and finally, the Roman empire.  Following history, the dream implies Rome would be the last empire before the empire that would never be destroyed arrived.  Indeed, Christ was born in the middle of the Roman empire.

Rome was mighty beyond imagination. A kingdom that stretched from northern Europe, into Africa and into the Middle East. Rome ran the world. It had a reach and breadth of staggering proportions. Think of Gladiator – the triumphal arrival of the evil Commodus in the mighty city, the center of the world, the home of the most powerful kingdom ever on Earth …

Here is a picture of the Roman senate today …

The lesson for each one of us and the message to Nebuchadnezzar is the same – empires built on faulty foundations ultimately will collapseThe present unraveling we are living through in Western civilization is not a surprise.  What happened last night in the election is not a surprise to God. 

Unrest is prevalent in Europe and it has landed in America.  Where have you put your hope?  In America?  In the Republican party?  In the Democrats to finally come in here and make everything right and fair?  These empires will crumble.

The Soviet Union collapsed as did Rome.  America will collapse at some point as will China.  Johnson says in this teaching on Daniel that empires built by rejecting the presence of God eventually will fall apart.  Listen to me here – empires built by rejecting the presence of GodYes, he is talking about empires like Rome or America or China, but he is also talking about you and me.  Your empire.  Your life. 

If my life rejects the presence of God, my life will collapse.

“These kingdoms fell because they stood in the way of and blocked the progress of the coming Kingdom of Jesus” … did Rome do that?  Absolutely.  They crucified Jesus.  Did the Soviet Union?  Of course.  Does China today – yes, there is an underground church there for a reason.  Does America stand in the way and block the progress of God’s kingdom?  With abortion, the hatred, the division, the rampant pornography addiction, legalization of drugs, gay marriage and more, our nation is turning away from God and with what now feels like almost a growing hatred of God, I’m afraid the answer to that is “yes”. 

To all these kingdoms, Daniel 2 is an ominous warning.  2:44 – “The God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed.  It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.”

Daniel saw those 4 kingdoms and he saw the stone not cut by human hands and he saw that stone fall and strike the feet of this statue/image.  That stone broke the statue into pieces.  They all became like chaff and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them could be found.  But the stone grew and grew and eventually, will become a great mountain that will fill the whole earth.  

Jesus came to rescue us but also to call the whole world to a new world order.  An order of justice, of mercy, of light, of love, of healing and wholeness.  A kingdom of reconciliation and restoration.

The stone is rolling across this planet.  Jesus is not deterred.

So in the context of Babylon and Rome, the election last night simply does not matter. “No, you’re wrong, that election could turn the entire history of the United States and we’ll never get this county back.” I hear that a lot. But here is the harsh reality, America will not survive. We don’t know when but we do know the “if”. America won’t stand. The only Kingdom that will stand forever is the Kingdom of Jesus.

What are the implications for us? Read the next post!

disrupted?

God wants to tear down what is false in us so He can bring about His design and plan for your life.  Every one of us have all orchestrated this way of navigating life.  You have invested many years in perfecting these ways of operating your life…

To become what God wants us to become, we’re going to have to consent to letting Him tear down these false structures of operating so He can take us down to the good soil and excavate out these false ways of operating.

Most men are propped up kingdoms.  Out of your fear.  Out of your shame.  Out of the accolades.  Out of your gifting and being championed beyond your maturity – you have figured out a way to make life work (sort of).  The storm will come, and these structures won’t stand, and most men become a statistic.

The question is, will your story be different?

This morning should have had the effect of being disruptive for you. We can talk all we want about our drivenness or our posing or these false structures that we’ve built to navigate life … that we need to to tear those things down so God can build back up. Yeah, yeah, yeah …. blah, blah, blah. Gimme that, I’ll knock it out and move on. It is sort of life saying, “My wife and I keep having these issues but tonight I’m going home and this is going to change.”

Good luck with that. We fight bravely and we die quickly. Nothing about this is fast or quick or cheap or easy. If you think it is, tackle these 4 questions…

What is it that I want for my legacy?

What is it that I want to be said about my life in the campfires of the kingdom?

What is it that I want my wife to describe about me when she’s hanging out with her friends talking about our marriage?

What words would my kids use to describe my emotional life around them?

We get a chance to bring all that to God.  One of the “awful” things about God is that He is fiercely committed to thwarting our building so that He can get to this place in us.

Luke 2:23 “The child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many.” He will enable us to fall so that He can build us back up.

What’s not working in your life? Drivenness.  Marriage.  Huge addiction to food.  Struggling to let go of outcomes as the basis of my prayer life.

I’m so convinced I am a far better strategist over my life than God is – that I know better.  

Do you really? Will you consent to the process of letting God do what only He can in your life?