Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Take off your masks...

I stopped at 7-11 the other day and there was a sign on the front door requiring customers to take off their masks while in the store. It's obviously a crime prevention issue, (notice I'm not saying WHICH 7-11 in which town, but if you live in Kamloops, you can use your imagination as to which one it is...)

I've been thinking about the message though. What if we put signs up at church saying "Masks are not allowed inside the church" or if we put them on homes "masks are not allowed within relationships" or if what if we put them at the entrance to our towns and cities... remove masks while in Kamloops, Vancouver, New York, etc... (notice the subtle but obvious connection of Kamloops to world class cities...)

Since the days of Adam in the garden of Eden we have been covering ourselves to hide what we didn't want people to see. Hiding has made our lives and relationships more complicated and painful. Hiding puts distance between us and those around us and most importantly, us and God. As an experienced (and former) "hider", I can tell you that hiding is a short term solution to a long term issue. The craziest thing of all is that those closest to you KNOW that you are hiding or at the very least suspect that you are because in most cases they are doing the same.

There are two obvious solutions to this scenario. On the one hand, we can continue hiding, because after all everyone else is doing it... OR we can come out of the darkness into the light. Coming into the light seems kind of scary. Someone very close to me described it as the fear of being hated for what you really are. And yet, I can tell you that LOVE covers a multitude of sins and coming out from hiding was the best thing I ever did.

There's something very liberating about not living in the shadows "hoping" that your secret remains a secret. Embracing grace and freely admitting that you aren't all things takes a huge weight off your shoulders and allows you to be real in a very real way. Admitting you have "clay feet" takes a ton of pressure off you.

Try it ... you'll like it...


Friday, October 27, 2006

Walking By Faith

I heard something a few years ago that came back to me like a bolt of lightning today. Walking by faith isn't a matter of waiting for God to go first but a matter of us stepping towards what God is calling us to do, even if all the "i's" aren't dotted and all the "t's" are yet to be crossed.

God ALWAYS responds to faith. This has been a huge learning curve in my life and one for which I am extremely thankful. The biblical examples of God responding enormously to the smallest acts of faith never cease to amaze me. Whether it's Moses extending his sheperd's staff, a boy offering his loaves and fishes or people walking around a city and one day shouting at the walls and watching them fall over, the result is still the same. We do our "little" part and GOD does His very BIG part!!

Week by week, we see God responding to our acts of faith-filled obedience and it's overwhelming and exhilarating all at the same time. As partners continue to join us on the journey we know that God will respond to their simple act of faith with enormous results as well.

When we "jump off the bridge" to obey the call of God on our lives, there's no need for a bungy cord or a safety net. To say "unless God provides" is an oxymoron of the greatest kind. God ALWAYS provides and makes a way when we are walking with Him

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can you hear me now??

I've got some fun stuff I want to share with you later, but just wanted you to know that I've added an audio feature to the website. I've uploaded the message I preached at Harvest City Church (thanks for your help, Eddie...) and you'll find it at www.leadinginfluence.com Find the Audio Page and go from there.

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Week in Review

What a full, exciting and blessed week!! Since I've last posted, I've been to Victoria for several meetings that were interesting and exciting at the same time. On Thursday night, Barb and I met with a group of intercessors from Victoria who pray for the city, government, etc. It was exciting to meet with them and they were very kind to spend an evening with us. We were able to share the vision, discuss the direction in which we were going and pray together. Thanks to Bill, Susan, Donna and Rina for putting the evening together and hosting us. It was a great night.

On Friday we met with a group of friends from Colwood Church who feel more like family. Even though we've been gone for 12 years, we have been blessed to build friendships with quality people who love and believe in us. What a blessing to have Pastor Funk lay his hands on us and bless us and the ministry in that context. It's priceless to have his blessing on what we are doing.

On Saturday we went to the Lions game in Vancouver. We have a friend who is a waterboy for the Lions and were able to get down to field level after the game. Once everyone had cleared out, the boys were able to catch a few footballs on the field and have some fun. (More about that in another post...)

On Sunday, I was blessed to preach at Harvest City Church with Pastor George and Joyce Johnson. It was an incredible time and I was so blessed to be with amazing people, in an amazing church. I'm trying to load the message on the website, but having some troubles because it doesn't handle "mp3" files. In the meantime, you can hear it on www.harvestcitychurch.com and pick it up off their website. I spoke on the "Dynamics of Influence".

The church graciously blessed us with an offering that morning which will help us establish the ministry. I'm very grateful for the hospitality and generosity of the church.

Today, Barb marks the big "40" Sadly... I'm out of town, but we will celebrate when I get home. I am so proud of her and absolutely love EVERYTHING about her. Apart from putting up with me, she is an incredible woman and an excellent example of a life well lived!! Here's to 60 more years!! (I thought about saying 40, but we might want to live longer than 80...)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Training and Reigning

I don't often watch TV in the morning, but I'm on a road trip and had it on while I got ready for the day. I was watching a Christian Talk Show and the guest was talking about young Josiah. Josiah was one of the kings that God used to bring about revival. What makes him unique is that he assumed the throne when he was 8 and over the span of about 20 years God progressively moved him towards the ability and authority to reign with righteousness.

In the natural, Josiah shouldn't have had a chance... His father and grandfather were both incredibly corrupt and except that God had spoken that he would turn his nation towards Him 300 years before it happened, it's not likely that he would have been much different.

But God had a plan to grow Josiah and so He positioned godly people around him who mentored him towards right choices so that when he was in his late teens he could lead appropriately. The point the guest was making was that Josiah had to learn to reign over the things around him before he could reign over a nation. The same is true with us. Until we are able to reign over our own lives, we won't be great leaders in the world around us.

I'm a great believer in destiny, but until we lead ourselves, our homes and churches well, it's not likely that God is going to give us a whole lot to do outside of that realm.

So... today's message ... train to reign in your own life and watch what God will do with you in the broader circumstances of your life...

Love ya!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

How well do you fit?

Kind of a strange title, but it comes out of a comment I heard this week. What the guy was saying was "If you fit in this world, your DNA is too small." The point he was making was that when we live according to God's plan for our lives, we live larger than we do when we live outside of that plan.

It's given me a lot to think about over the last few days. The world is corrupt, distorted and "less" than what God created it to be. When we fit within it, it speaks to the size of our spiritual DNA. I'm not suggesting that not fitting needs to be apparent on the outside and that we adopt 80's hair/clothing styles just so that it's apparent that we don't really belong. I think it's more about recognizing that those of us with a renewed spiritual DNA won't find what we are looking for on this planet.

As I write this, I'm hearing U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" in my mind. It could be an anthem for the spiritually renewed, knowing that what we are looking for is found in another kingdom that is both now and "not yet".

Our DNA wires us for service, sacrifice, abundance and purpose that goes beyond normal living and propels us into a dynamic realm where God is both present and powerfully active. That's the place where miracles happen and the supernatural becomes natural.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Equals 100%?

From a strictly Mathematical Viewpoint: What Equals 100%?

What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 101%? What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:


Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1 9 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then: H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

and K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But, A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

AND, look how far the love of God will take you
L- O- V- E-O-F-G-O-D
12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:
While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there,
it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friends, Faith and the Future

This week marks a year since I left the church we had served for 11 years and moved on to a new adventure. It was a scary time, marked with more than a few "sleep diminished" nights, but it remains the right thing to have done. Through those intial first months when things were pretty scary, there were friends and family who reached out and supported us emotionally and spiritually while we walked through a valley that was deeper than we thought it might have been but we made it because they prayed for us and with us, lifted our hands and at times pulled us through into a "good and spacious land". We aren't yet where we want to be, but we are a long ways from where we used to be. They reached out because they love us and believe in us. I've got to say that in some cases I was surprised at the depth of concern and where it came from. Some people whose lives I felt I had touched only in passing, continue to cheer us on in this new journey. One in particular sends me "emails from heaven"... it's always a treat to hear from her...

Some thought we were crazy a year ago. Then again, people thought Abraham, David, Moses and multiple others were crazy too. I'm convinced that you can't reach the fullness of what God has for you by constantly playing it safe. Irrational action when God is in it makes perfect sense. That's not to say that irrational action is always God driven, but throwing something out because "it doesn't make sense" ensures that God doesn't have a chance to do anything in our lives.

So... here's to a life of faith and knowing God's faithfulness at every level knowing that God is Good ALL THE TIME!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Defence of Religions Act

As a "B-Plan" in the event that the federal government's intended review of the same sex marriage legislation fails, there are measures being prepared to protect pastors and churches from law suits if they refuse to marry same sex couples. The "Defence of Religions Act" is seen as a response to what many have come to see as an over-aggressive gay agenda that lables anyone who speaks against homosexuality or same-sex marriage as "homophobic".

I'm hopeful that this step will provide the church and it's leaders the freedom to say "no" without fear of legal action. While not everyone will agree with me on this, it's no secret that morality cannot be legislated. Morality comes out of our personal decision to yield our will to a greater moral authority. The choice to yield cannot be forced upon anyone who knows their own mind and is determined to follow it. (If you're not sure that you agree, ask some parents who have teenagers at home...)

While I certainly don't agree with same sex marriage on a personal level, it may be that the "Defense of Religions Act" is the best option for our nation, if for no other reason than it will avoid an enormous social and political backlash.

The great irony in this discussion (which was on the front page of today's (Oct 4, 2006) Globe and Mail) is that constitutional experts are already saying that the act itself would violate the constitution and that protection provisions already exist.

If the current federal government fails in it's effort to reverse same sex marriage legislation (and it's a virtual certainty that it will...) my hope is that this proposed Act would quickly and easily pass. If not the election posturing would be fascinating to say the least ...

By the way - I've changed the comment requirement and you no longer have to login to post yours so ... fire away on this, I'd be very interested in what you have to say!

Monday, October 02, 2006

School Shootings

I groaned out loud when I saw the news of the shooting at the Amish school. I'm not sure why this particular shooting is as bothersome to me as it is. Maybe it's the fact that this is at least 3 in a row over a relatively short period of time. Maybe it's because I have a daughter and in the last 3 shootings, it's been young women who have been victimized. Or maybe it's because this seems to be more than an attack on just children and females.

The Amish by choice lead a very simple and intentionally separate life. They have conciously chosen to look and live differently than the rest of the world. The "one-room schoolhouse" where the shooting occurred is an expression of there chosen lifestyle. The irony is that their choice to educate their children in that context as a means of protecting them from the world, really put them at greater risk, because there was no where to hide when the shooter entered the room.

I hate the fact that violence penetrates the world of the innocents so often and with such impunity. I hate the fact that people who are powerless are far too often the chosen targets of people who are choosing to make their own twisted and dark statements with guns and bombs. I hate the fact that "the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy" as often as he does. It makes me angry that there are parents with empty spaces in their homes tonight that weren't there this morning just because one man's inner world collapsed because of the work of the thief. It makes me angry that there is a widow who had nothing to do with her husbands actions but now faces her own valley of sorrows as she tries to cope with her own loss and the horrific actions of her husband.

I'm tempted to write about hope, redemption and sovereignty, but instead tonight, I just want to pray for those whose hearts are broken and whose lives are shattered.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

There's Bears in them there hills...

It's been an interesting few days around here. We have a green belt a block from our house where we take our dog for a walk. It's also the place where bears pass through on their way to wherever it is bears go...

Yesterday, Britt and the boys took the dog for a walk through the park. Tyler climbed up the hill to a rope swing that they like to play on. Zack was at the bottom of the hill with a friend when they noticed two bears (a mom and a cub) sitting on the branch right above where the rope swing is attached to the tree. Thankfully, no one panicked and the bears weren't overly interested in a mid-morning snack, even though Tyler said that the "big one was watching me with his mouth open..." Truthfully, the boy has multiple guardian angels as one would hardly be enough.

Today, Britt was walking down the trail to meet a friend when she and the dog encountered another one. Not a lot of details on this, other than she walked around a corner and a bear was there looking back at her. Apparently Zoe (the dog) just stopped, took one look at the bear, tucked her tail between her legs and did a quick retreat back up the path. About the only people that she barks at are our neighbor and me when I come in late.

I enjoyed a great morning at Clearwater New Life Assembly today with Pastor Dan and Joan Daase. God is doing some great things in their church and they graciously had me there for the morning. God was present in so many ways and I was very blessed for being there. In keeping with the bear theme, I saw one cross the highway on the way home from Clearwater.

Someone once told me that hitting a bear with your car would be like hitting a pig. Not sure if it's true, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out...