Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

The meaning of a to-do list

September 27, 2007

No, I cannot imagine the horror and pain New Yorkers felt. I remember walking into the conference room at the organization I was serving at in Dallas. The emotions that welled up inside me. Then a few days later being in NYC and witnessing a destraught city looking for something, hope, meaning and answers.

This post that reads beautifully while touching a nerve. It’s by far the best post I’ve read in a long time.

Nice People Don’t Change the World

June 28, 2007

I just came across this book and idea that resonated with me. It’s by Lynne Hybels, wife of ministry guru Bill Hybels, and I believe it reflects the struggle of “many”. I don’t think this book is for women only, and in my opinion it might as well be called Nice People Don’t Change the World. Yet, she’s writing to women who only in general terms struggle with this more than men (men struggle with it their own ways). But I like how she uses that to help spur women to use their untapped potential, to “respond compassionately” to the world with the “talents, skills, education, and financial resources that women didn’t dream of in the past”.

    cover.gif

Nice Girls Don’t Change the World is also about Lynne’s transformational story “from a people pleasing ‘nice girl’ toward becoming a change-maker (or as she prefers to say, a ‘dangerous woman’)”, one “that has taken her through a painful crisis of identity, a pitch-dark night of the soul, and a fierce battle with fear.”

We’ve got to let go.

We’ve got to let go of the things that are tying us down, like fear, perfectionism and pride – and use what God has given us to change the world! We’ve got to stop hesitating and move far and away from passivity and indecisiveness, and have courage. Faith is having hope in the future. Fear is losing hope in the future. God says to never worry about tomorrow, but have hope in it – and focus on today. This is what makes a person come alive!

It’s so hard to motivate those who are gripped by fear because they’re afraid of making a mistake, and with so many options to choose from choosing anything can be a daunting thing. This is why we are afraid of commitment and would rather use our time to watch a few hours of Television than serve the world. And as our confidence drops and our focus hazes we become nice people. When we are too concerned about what people think of us it’s a sign of meism, which is rooted in selfishness and fear. All we have to do is re-surrender our lives to God and put our faith and motives in him, and we’ll move from nice to dangerous.

As Erwin McManus says (as I recall in my head, misquoted), “When we are out of God’s will, we are in danger, but when we are in God’s will we become dangerous.”

That moment

June 11, 2007

Seth Godin articulates what’s been on my mind. It’s called That moment

    “When you are sitting right on the edge of something daring and scary and creative and powerful and perhaps wonderful… and you blink and take a step back.

    That’s the moment. The moment between you and remarkable. Most people blink. Most people get stuck.

    All the hard work and preparation and daring and luck is nothing compared with the ability to not blink.”

Read. Think. Change.

May 4, 2007

An article that’ll make you think about the way we view and influence the culture. The author Mark Buchanan happens to be one of the best Christian writers out there.

So, consider his words. And think again, as I am, about how should we deal with culture. We should not be afraid to change.

Stop. Read. Think. Change.

Something is the new something

March 3, 2007

Sometime ago I came across this list of clichés (via google) about how something is always being transposed to be the new thing:

Clarendon is the new Helvetica
The location field is the new command line
Fake is the new real
Orange is the new black
Quiet is the new loud
Nearshore is the new offshore
Red is the new blonde
Blacker is the new black
Iraq is the new Vietnam
Movies piracy is the new plague
Fat is the new thin
Wide is the new black
Fat is the new tobacco
Organic is the new kosher
MCA is the new MBA
Small is the new big
Spim is the new spam
Being uncool is the new cool
Gay marriage is the new abortion
30 is the new teenage

Do you love what you do?

November 19, 2006

I ask people all the time if they love what they do. Most don’t. I ask why and they a) haven’t thought of it before or b) just think it has to be that way. They think it’s normal to be miserable. When you see miserable people (or anyone for that matter) ask them questions. You will help them and it will keep you fresh—it will remind you how bad it can be. Ask your friends, your bosses, your teachers, even strangers all kinds of questions. I tell young people to watch and question their teachers and don’t be atraid to wonder if they are truly happy. That’s just life. People everywhere get caught in the web of distraction and doing and the paycheck and loyalty to people. But they need to be reminded just like you and I do that there’s nothing more unnatural and abnormal than living like that. Actually, it’s a life grounded in fear – the anxious kind (you know, the bad one). All we need is love. Fight for love. Seek out love. Open your eyes to love. And resist fear. Fight against the voice of fear. It’s there. It’s the enemy. Every single day.

Focus on changing the conversation.

October 26, 2006

Conversations are nurturing and meaningful while campaigns convert momentarily.
Cultural change happens most effectively through a shared conversation.
Campaigns are short-term. Conversations are long-term.
Focus on spreading conversations. That’s the consistent and sustaining way for change.
Conversations lead to conclusions. And conclusions lead to conversions.

You can survive in a constantly changing culture. It’s been done since the beginning of time. Today, we live in a harsh attention deficient world, saturated with marketing messages. Well, that’s life…one that requires us to evolve in order to refocus the conversation without becoming outdated.

Clearly, the most effective agents of change have discovered new ways to do things. As great thinkers like Seth Godin have discovered “the old way of advertising and selling products isn’t working as well as it used to, and they’re aggressively searching for a new, enterprising way.” One that requires a “fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising and customers.”

How are you changing the conversation?

Scenes from the Culture Clash

September 13, 2006

A fantastic article in Fast Company Magazine about how the next generation of workers WILL change the business landscape in many, many ways. Some will shock you, but some might encourage you if you are a right-brained, non-lineared thinker like most everyone under 30. For me, I’m anticipating the changes!

Btw…this is based on facts!

The

This is your moment

September 13, 2006

“This is my moment, I thought. If I don’t seize the opportunity, if I don’t step out of my comfort zone and risk it all, if I let too much time tick on, my moment will pass. I knew that if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, I would replay it in my mind for my whole life, wondering: What if? Why didn’t I? This was my shot. Even if it didn’t work out, I still had to try it.

I made up my mind to leave Starbucks and start my own company. My idea was to open stores that would serve coffee by the cup and espresso drinks, concentrating on high-traffic downtown locations. I wanted to re-create the romance and artistry and community I had seen in Italy.”

“Part of what constitutes success is timing and chance. But most of us have to create our own opportunities and be prepared to jump when we see a big one others can’t see.

It’s one thing to dream, but when the moment is right, you’ve got to be willing to leave what’s familiar and go out to find your own sound. That’s what I did in 1985. If I hadn’t, Starbucks wouldn’t be what it is today.”

~Howard Schultz, Pour Your Heart into It: How STARBUCKS Built a Company One Cup at a Time

I can relate. Read the last sentence of the second paragraph twice. We’ve got to re-create the romance and artistry and community we see in Starbucks. Schultz ended up buying out a little company called Starbucks and as we know and enjoy, he took to the world.

Bye, bye Blogger & hello WordPress

March 25, 2006

I decided to give WordPress a try. After a trial with Typepad and just under a year with Blogger I am convinced for now this is the best host for me. Simple, elegant…and free (at least, for now. I’m looking into the next levels).

The Need to Conquer…the Harder to Fall

February 8, 2006

The longings of my heart is to pour the gospel message into people’s lives. I am not so much of a brain surgeon—I am into doing the heart-surgery thing on people’s lives. But the intertwining thought that continually tangles my mind is how can I be the person God made me to be. It wasn’t long ago that my role seemed so complicated compared to everyone else.

I would assess and evaluate and seek counsel and look everywhere for that fit. All of this has led me back to the same mind-boggling questions and the same desperation I’ve always had. And I wonder if there’s no other way than to aggressively and intentionally go.

That’s the way my journey with Christ began. I went…hard! I found wavering souls and fed them the food of God. Lives began to change. My life was like a sailboat…and I glided with the wind of God. I didn’t have time to think…only time to proactively pour my life into the word, prayer and the powerhouses of teachings in all kinds of books, tapes and the men of God to spend time with. The overflow of all of that was to step out in faith and point people upward to Jesus and then to help guide them into a similar walk I had. The power was eminent!

Then things started to unravel as I found something to conquer.

Beforehand, I had nothing to conquer, only everything to lose. My life revolved around losing in order to gain; giving in order to receive; staying weak as the only way to be strong. But in college I found something to have and enjoy and settle on.

Of all the things in the world, it was a relationship with my future wife. We had something that was truly incredible, a story only God could weave. But the moment we acknowledged to each other that we were going to be soul mates for the rest of our lives, in my mind I felt like a conquering hero.

At the top of my game I began to let the very thing that brought so much joy to my life take me down. I really had no idea this was going on. I was in love and at the point where I had it all—a walk with God, a very fruitful life, and a wife very few people get to have.

This was a woman who is special and everyone who knows her can see it. She’s as true of a Proverbs 31 woman of God as you’ll ever find, even at a young age. So I had my trophy now and everything else seemed less spectacular. The high of my game became the unraveling.

Success is such a danger isn’t it? The more you obtain, the more you have to lose. Even the good things in a life can become the idol that brings you down.

There’s something to be said about the man who maintains a perspective that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. The more we learn and the more we become can eventually become our biggest threat.

The constant fight – to be more consumed with God than anything else – the world, the becoming, the having, the wanting, the expectations, and even the pursuit. It’s God’s deal or nothing at all. We are meant to be slaves of the Master in word and deed.

Ravi Zacharias noted in This We Believe:
“A modern-day writer, jack Higgins, was asked at the pinnacle of his success what he now knows that he wished he had known as a younger man. ‘I wished I had known that when you get to the top, there is nothing there.’”

Three pertinent questions that can take you towards God or separate you far away from him:

What am I after? What do I want? What do I want to live for?

Six Viewpoints

January 6, 2006

I just did an article on evangelism for a magazine. I thought I’d post some of the viewpoints I propose (a modern magazine needs points).

1) Transformation is a life-long process, not just a one-time event.

2) Unless we put more emphasis on authentic, connective relationships we will lose this generation.

3) The most effective evangelism strategy is to cultivate genuine friendships with people who are non-believers and engage them in thoughtful, respectful conversation about what’s important to them.

4) Those with the foresight and strength to speak the truth in love will have the most impact.

5) Genuine humility and love will win over anyone anytime!

6) Centralize everything with Jesus. They like Jesus but they don’t like the church.

Checklist for Your Purpose Statement

December 20, 2005


Very few have marked my life as Tim Elmore has, and I want to introduce you to something he lives and teaches really well – living up to your potential. Tim is the long-time right arm of John Maxwell. He’s also the founder of Growing Leaders “Growing Leaders” which is becoming the go-to organization for leadership development among high school and college students, and those who work in that arena. On top of that, he’s one of the best communicators I’ve ever heard in my life and a humble man of God.

Last week, I carved out two full/valuable days to think and prayer real hard for the third time in four years. Along the way I filled out Tim’s “Checklist for Your Purpose Statement”. The first year I took up a page…the second, four pages and this time it was over ten. This is one of the most productive things I’ve ever done!

I highly recommend you find a way to think deeply about the calling, wiring and dreams God has made you to do, write it out and never stop working on it. I don’t plan to stop, ever! Enjoy…

The Checklist for Your Purpose Statement
Now we are ready for the exercise. The following list of ten items could be called: “Life Planning in Ten Steps.” It is designed for you to respond to during an extended block of solitude time. I suggest you carve out a D.A.W.G., (Day Alone With God), and take this lesson with you, along with your Bible, a notepad and a pencil. Fasten your seatbelts, and get ready to reflect and respond…

1. BURDENS
What needs tug most at your heart? What are the things that make you cry or make you angry or cause you to become passionate?

2. HALLMARKS

What are the major hallmarks that have made up your life? List significant books, people, accomplishments, and events that have shaped you into who you are today.

3. TOOLS & RESOURCES
What specific resources or tools do you have at your side that you could employ as you fulfill your mission? These could be possessions, people, computers, skills, etc.

4. DREAMS
What are some of your aspirations or ideas which could become a God-given, clarified vision in the future? What are the things you’d love to do or be?

6. MISSION
This is it. Begin to write out your mission statement which answers the question: Why do you exist? Why did God give you to the world? Write out the central purpose of your life in one to three sentences.

5. VISION
Based on your mission, describe in detail what you see as the ultimate results of your life as if you are seeing your contribution from the other end of your life. Start the statements with the words, “I see…”

6. GOALS & OBJECTIVES
Finally, list the areas in which you will need to stay involved on a regular basis, if you are to accomplish your mission. What will you need to do on Monday morning if your life purpose is to be accomplished? What immediate steps can you take?

NOTE: You may want to write your responses down on a pad of paper so you can have unlimited space. When you’re done, don’t just set it on the shelf or in a drawer. Contemplate what you have written, pray through it, and allow God to soak your heart in the purpose He has for you.

If You Could Do Anything With Your Life

November 6, 2005

My newfound friend Margaret Feinberg, who is an excellent and accomplished writer was speaking at a event in Dallas called Fusion. While there she asked her audience the following question: If you could do anything with your life, assuming that time and money were no object, what would you choose to do?

Check out the answers at margaretfeinberg.blogspot.com… I was shellshocked by how many said they would write. You know, when I read that it hit me how many people have told me that they’d love to write too. I get asked all the time about my journey in writing. My answer is always simple: I just did it because God told me to and he backed me up. That’s it. Sure, I’ve had to pay a price for it, but it’s worth it because I love doing it and he’s guiding me.

My charge to people is to go for it! And don’t depend on a publisher for crying out loud. Writers are prophets, not puppets. I’m just getting started but my faith muscle has grown a lot in a year. Someone told me one time he thinks the evangelists of the 21st century will be writers. We have so much baggage as a religion, we will have to build our platform through writing.

Can you imagine the kind of material God could put out there if more people would just go for it?

Thinking Like Jesus

October 26, 2005

The great struggle I have and I am quite sure many others have too, is what to think. My mind seems to think progress and loyalty and leadership and decisions. In my mind, to be successful is important and I like to think I am on the track towards that. It’s not money for me its accomplishment. Money wouldn’t hurt, but significance and respect rank higher up on the scale. My generational sin is pride, not material things or morality. Sure, my mind is intentional and so I evaluate everything I can to make sure I am on the right track. But to what?

Yet, in the midst of this type of thinking, I am called to think like Jesus. I am called to the role of a servant, a slave of my Savior and a servant to humanity. So, how do I balance thinking like Jesus with getting results intentionally?

When I think like Jesus, I am restful and just do my best.
When I think like culture, I am driven and have to be the best.

When I think like Jesus, I am joyful.
When I think like culture, I am a self-made optimist.

When I think like Jesus, I value people as the most important thing in the world.
When I think like culture, I value people for my own benefit.

When I think like Jesus, all circumstances are opportunities to trust God.
When I think like culture, circumstances determine my happiness.

When I think like Jesus, my time is his time.
When I think like culture, my time is results-oriented.

When I think like Jesus, I enjoy life inside out.
When I think like culture, I endure life outside in.

When I think like Jesus, it’s all about him.
When I think like culture, it’s all about me – even though I think I’m doing it for him.

When I think like Jesus, what’s important to him is important to me.
When I think like culture, what’s important is what’s produces results.

When I think like Jesus, I read the Bible to talk to God.
When I think like culture, I read the Bible to help me fulfill the mission I think he’s called me to.

When I think like Jesus, I don’t carry any burdens.
When I think like culture, I carry the world on my shoulders.

When I think like Jesus, I don’t have a problem – they’re all his.
When I think like culture, I have many problems to fix.

So, why don’t I think like Jesus more often?
Thinking like Jesus is a cultural clash and we have to fight to keep it!

So Jesus, what do you want to do today?

A Decision and a Commitment Aren’t the Same Thing

October 25, 2005

Man, is it important to understand the difference between a decision and a commitment. Leadership expert Fred Smith taught me about this on breakfastwithfred.com. He begins by saying that decisions are not commitments. One is short-term and the other is long-term. I could go off on this…very solid thoughts.

“People decide short-term to work for a specific emphasis; long-term commitment is aimed at the ultimate purpose. Both are necessary. People committed only to the long-term vision and not to specific tasks will not accomplish much. The short-term commitment produces the activity. But that must be judged by the overall vision. In evangelism, we see a lot of decisions. Billy Graham is right in talking at his crusades about decisions, not commitments. Decisions are often like New Year’s resolutions. The leader’s job is to move people from decision to commitment, says Smith.”

He says, “I’ve observed that this is one difference between the spoken word and the written word. Speakers are most effective at bringing people to decisions, but generally it takes reading to bring people to commitment.”

Spiritual Environments

October 23, 2005

This morning I was interviewed in a leadership breakfast led by Travis Vaughn, who is a good friend and pastor of a church plant in Cumming called Lake Ridge Church. This discussion stemmed from Travis’ desire to see his leadership team create more spiritual environments where people could ask questions about life and God.

I’m not going to go into detail with where the dialogue went but I’d like to share a couple things that I seem to keep bringing up lately when people ask me about the conversations I’m having…

• They don’t like the church or even Christianity but they do like Jesus.
• We have this “thing” with assumptions. We assume people think like we do. No one – I mean no one likes it when someone assumes something about them.
• Why is our evangelism efforts focused on recievers, rather than real people?
• Why do we assume that when a person becomes a Christian they are automatically a disciple?
• From my experience the number one way to have lots of amazing spiritual conversations is humility. If you’re humble anyone will talk to you. How can we be an image-bearer without it?
• The message we must present today needs to focus on heaven and the honing device our hearts are already after rather than hell and the decietful heart. Jesus’ message is and was attractive!
• We must put our ideas into a language people experience on a daily basis.
• Is our goal to become better Christians or more Christ-like? The most important thing is to do what Jesus told us to do. We have got to get our heads out of cultural Christianity, if we are going to create powerful spiritual environments.
• People do want to have spiritual conversations! It all depends on how you go about it.
• The two hot bed topics in my conversations with 20 something’s: spirituality and sexuality.

Emerging Culture – Outline

October 13, 2005

Here’s the real outline. What’d you think?

I. Understanding Emerging Generations

How do we bridge the gap between the modern and postmodern cultures?

1) Our generation is now a missionary frotier
It’s time see the young generations as a missionary frontier.

2) Significant desire for experimental spirituality
We have chosen an extreme openness to experimental spirituality

3) Intense openness to spiritual things
We have become a deeply “spiritual” generative.

4) New Methodologies
Youth and College pastor must change their methodologies if they are going to reach the postmodern.

5) Christian Subculture
The Christian and non-Christian are becoming all too alike and this must come apart.

6) A Cultural and Global Generative
The leverage of the media and the Internet

7) A Disconnected Generation
Deep desire to be understood by their fathers and mothers.

8) Pluralistic Culture demands new approaches
Truth has to be personalized because we have been impacted by a pluralistic culture.

II. The Heart and Role of Leading Emerging Generations

What does this generation look for in a leader?

1) Relational vs. CEO Approach

Trinitarian-Shared Leadership

We have chosen Trinitarian leadership; instead of a hierarchy we should lead as a community of voices sharing each other’s roles unified in one direction.

2) Event vs. Process

Process Oriented Leadership

We have chosen to lead more by a process and less by events because that’s where real transformation takes place.

3) Being a “Poet and Gardener” Leader

Evolution of Leadership

We have chosen to embrace the evolution of leadership, understanding our role in God’s story.

4) Creative Innovators Artist Leadership
We have chosen to embrace our uniqueness so we artistically replicate our God.

5) Relevant Environments
We have chose to create environments that are conducive to the hearts of people. This will allow us to connect with people.

6) Organic Flow of Ministry

Participatory Leadership

We have chosen organic growth, ministry and movements instead of organizations and institutions. We live with a “tourist” mentality rather than a “maintenance” mentality.

7) Missional vs. Consumer Mentality

Reproduction Leadership

We have adopted the concept called missional living; therefore our theology has shifted from developing one system called “missions” to turning theology into one department of mission and moved from consumer church to missional church.

8) Leadership Conclusions

III. Spiritual Formation and the Emerging Church

How does this generation relate & connect with Christ?

1) Tribal Community Togetherness Formation
We have chosen to channel our growth through tribal communities instead of bureaucratic programs because we believe in a call to community where we live as one big family on a journey together.

2) Engage Culture Holistic Formation
We have chosen to integrate our faith into all areas of life Instead of separating the spiritual realm from normal life.

3) Return to the Sacramental Ancient Depths Formation
We have chosen to return to the ancient depths of our heritage.

4) Centralize Everything with Jesus A Jesus Formation
We have chosen to be like Jesus.

5) Greatness is Servanthood Slave Formation
We have chosen to walk by action and not theory.

6) Authentic Eyes Visual Formation
Reading the word through a refreshing lenses.

IV. Conversations and Communications with the Emerging Generations

How should we communicate with the emerging generation?

1) Moving from sin-management to kingdom-management preaching”

2) A new hunger for depth and theology vs. shallowness and anthropology

3) Who is truth? Vs. What is truth?
Apologetics focused on “Who is truth?” vs. “What is truth?”

4) Fellow-journeyer vs. problem-solver
The preacher as a “shepherd” and fellow-journeyer vs. a message presenter and problem-solver

5) Questions and Thinking Allowed

6) Use Visual eye-catchers in messages

V. 8 Postmodern Branding Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss

AS THESE SEVEN KEY CHURCH CULTURE TRENDS SHOW, BRANDS ARE LESS AND LESS ABOUT WHAT WE DO, AND MORE AND MORE ABOUT WHO WE ARE. THAT’S TURNING THE CHURCH CULTURE BRANDSCAPE INTO A MINEFIELD.

That’s turning the church culture brandscape into a minefield.

Evangelism replaced by “Spiritual Conversations”

Discipleship replaced by “Replication”

Good News, a Worthy “News Flash”

Sermons replaced by “Weekend Talks”

Church Membership replaced by “Partnership”

Conversion replaced by “Allegiance to God’s Kingdom”

Systematic Theology replaced by “Worldview”

Missions replaced by “Missional”

The New Lingua Brands that are being made new by the Emerging Culture:
• Communal
• Radical
• Revisionist
• Social Activists
• Tribal
• Revolutionary
• Emergent
• Participatory
• Image-Driven
• Apostolic

Rethinking Ministry for the Emerging Culture

October 13, 2005

Last year I wrote a series of messages for Josh on the emerging culture. I have some other ideas for it and would love to hear your reaction as you read this broad stroke outline. Does it spark your interest? Make you want to read more? (wish I could figure out how to use my fonts – but I’m still blog-illiterate)

Rethinking Ministry for the Emerging Culture
“…exploring ministry in a post-Christian world…”

Contents

Outline

Goals

1) Understanding Emerging Generations
A foundational look at our emerging culture, where it is heading and how it influences where the church is heading

2) The Heart and Role of Leading Emerging Generations
Ministries suffer from a great lack of quality leaders; this generation has to rethink how leadership is done

3) Spiritual Formation and the Emerging Church
Thinking through how this generation experiences and connects with God

4) Conversation and Communication with the Emerging Culture
Rethinking how to dialogue with this culture

5) 8 Postmodern Branding Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss
As these eight key church culture trends show, brands are less and less about what we do, and more and more about who we are

Appendixes

Bibliography

Letter to My In-Law’s

September 24, 2005

It’s easy to take things for granted – especially your in-laws. I have great in-law’s and recently ago I wrote them a letter, pouring my heart out about the journey God is taking me on. Both have an insatiable hunger for learning and are making a huge difference in the world we live in. I’ve learned that there are some things it might be hard to share verbally that I could say on paper.

Here’s the letter: (w/permission share it here, of course)

Dear Allen and Leslee,

All the believers were one in heart.
—Luke the Physician (Acts 4:32)

The following is a piece of my interior makeup. I decided to park for a little while, late yesterday afternoon and write. In fact, this is the way I always begin my day. I write letters to friends, strangers and mostly God in my journal, most of which never see them (except God). Today, I feel the nudging of the Lord to show you what I’m writing on this night. For me, it’s always been easier to express my heart on paper than in person. So, it is my joy to write to you (probably more for me than you). I hope you’ll discover through these words the similar heart and understanding I think I have with you. Nothing here is written to you, every word is written with you. As usual, when I write, I write a lot, so bear with me. Allen – you definitely get my drift and Leslee – you can empathize from over 30 years with a writing husband. Like Amber, you ladies are very patient in giving us the best sounding board we have. You play the role well of humbling us – a much needed piece, so thanks.

Trust me, my motives here don’t allude you are going through trials. It just happens, I am thinking a lot about the gift of pain and suffering. About how to grapple with shattered dreams and how the bigger story God is telling builds an oak of depth for getting through the tough times of life. I ask God a lot of questions and He so kindly answers the ones He wants. I’m intrigued with His way of turning the broken into whole people. But before we dive into that, I’d like to share from my heart.

I think we are becoming the kind of camaraderie only God can weave together. What I like to call ONE. We are one family under one God. I love that! Think about what life would be like alone. His miraculous touch sizzles through everything trusted and obeyed. My gratefulness, in heart and depth is to you. Your visit is appreciated from the bottom of my heart.

I suppose trust will only deepen through tested time. I came into your family in a season of testing…more like an assault on His heart in you. That is Satan’s purpose, part of the reality we have to endure. I am extremely grateful that you did what couldn’t be better: got through it! Pain is inevitable and mysterious. God is inconsistent when it comes to suffering, but He’s the author so I guess He can get away with all His perplexities. Personally, it’s a little bit maddening to me, but I think I’m beginning to see the bigger picture. A place I never really understood until recently. Hope. Shattered dreams – is a tool He uses, isn’t it? But hope stands higher, and wider than that doesn’t it? I’m learning the solid kind of hope, which is the kind I like most, the hope of a better NOW is only guaranteed in heaven. What seems better may not be best…His plan is best. That’s a tough grapple for me.

God has a dream for us as a family. His purpose is perfect and unbreakable. That lifts me up! This family thing is His doing. Sure, we’re a tiny boat in a big storm. But no matter what assault or stabs are thrust upon us, its okay – just a part of the spilled blood. Don’t ever forget – you can lean on us, as at times we will lean on you. We’re a family and that’s what they’re for. Cool stuff.

“When we step into the family, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”
G.K. CHESTERTON

I share all of this with you for two reasons: 1) to just tell ya of my desire to become the kind of journeyers Luke writes about above and 2) for you to know how much I love you and pray for you. Mixing families has never been easy. Suddenly, you’re stuck with these stranger(s) who bring their lifestyle, even problems into your family circle. So I say a big thank you for making me feel at home, especially in the vague moments sometimes thrown on you.

Also, I want you to know that my heart’s desire is to lavish your daughter with all the love I can give. There is no one living on this planet more in love than I. There is so much pleasure in marriage to be enjoyed and we are squeezing out all we can. Together we want to walk with Him no matter the cost…and we know there will be a cost. As you know, Jesus said there would. We are striving to put “eternity on our hearts” in a much deeper place. We seek to always protect our hearts in a dangerous and beautiful world. The only way we do that is to open our hearts to God who is zealously pursuing so much more.

I really do appreciate your passion and love for the Lord. I am fortunate that He placed me in a family that puts Him on the throne. Again, thank you for coming to see us! It was a real pleasure to be with you and I’m anticipating a fantastic time with you in two weeks.

And there is so much more ahead. More fellowship. More tears. More joys. So much more to uncover together as one family. We’ve just scratched the surface! The journey has amazing discoveries ahead and I can’t wait.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet
And whither then? I cannot say.
— J. R. R. Tolkien

Okay. That was my first set of thoughts, now I’d like to share with you about the pain and suffering gleanings I’m drinking up. It’s changing the way I view suffering and pain, even life!

Becoming broken isn’t all that bad of a thing because it means we need transformation. God can turn our brokenness into wholeness. All of us have been broken pieces turned into whole people. Some of us are broken pieces and partly whole. All in all, life is all about the transforming power of Jesus Christ. There may even be scars left over from things but one thing I know and appreciate so much is that we (Unruh/Davidson Clan) don’t give up. In actuality, everyone has them. People have developed an American craft of hiding what they don’t want others to see. I heard our good buddy John Maxwell say the other day that there is nothing more demeaning to your self than secrets. He said never, ever keep secrets because 1) they’ll kill you and 2) God will eventually uncover them. For me, I’d rather be the CEO than an apprentice any day, but Jesus calls to be mere slaves – to be an apprentice is actually a step up.

It’s not hard to look into someone’s eyes and see hurt. In fact, Leslee, it’s not a coincidence that you have the God-given ability to see people in a special way. Some may call it a gift to look straight through people, but God has chosen to call it discernment. Your swift of intuitiveness is as powerful as I’ve ever seen. Did God entrust you with a gift or what? I think your pathway to see people’s pain reveals a lot about you.

Every day, I ask God as many questions as I can. I figure that if James is for real, in that, God will answer you if you ask then I better take as much advantage of that promise as I can. Yet God’s uncovering truth’s for me I didn’t expect. I didn’t think the only comfort I’d receive for desiring so much understanding was in knowing 100% that my perspective for the last six years was so far off the radar. He did not promise comfort exteriorly, only interiorly. He didn’t promise heaven on earth, only in the afterlife. I journaled the following lesson he was teaching me last week:

Oswald Chambers once said, “It is much easier to do something than to trust God.” The only way to know the living glorious God is to walk with him. Chambers alludes that we would rather work for him than believe him. The challenge arises to believe in him which intersects with believing him. The true litmus test for a community of followers of Jesus is to find out if they are living what they claim to believe. It’s sad when ministers water down truth and accept the condition of these confused folk. They accept it because they too don’t truly believe it. If I want to find out how much someone believes in this truth then all I need to do is find out what they care about. Do there beliefs give a slab to what they care about?

Simply put: we live for ourselves, yet we convince ourselves otherwise by listening to others over God. This year it hit me that Christianity is not that complicated when you listen to just Jesus. Here’s what I mean.

I feel truly fortunate because God has called me to write. Sometimes I wonder why more people wouldn’t do what I do but then I realize the only reason I do what I do is because He’s called me to it. Simply put. No other way around it. Our cause is obedience in faith. Writing is my obedience in faith. Tomorrow – maybe not, but today it’s the way I walk with Him.

Graham Greene in his book The Third Man he writes about how in “it Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed—but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they have brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Hmm. Don’t you think we are living in the same kind of era as Switzerland? Think about how deep and wise our founding fathers were in the midst of war, sickness and fragility.

Is pleasure the opposite of pain? The Oxford English Dictionary thinks so. Leonardo da Vinci didn’t see like that. Pain and pleasure were one, to him. For most all of my life, I have thought like the Oxford English Dictionary, that pleasure is the opposite of pain. To me, a person who is in pain was someone who lacked happiness, who had it bad. I never knew why. I just hoped I wouldn’t ever be that person. That’s the hope I had. I’ve really missed the boat. Pleasure and pain are Siamese twins according to Philip Yancey and Paul Brand. Pain is not the enemy, rather it’s an opportunity to glorify God – it even protects us. Soren Kierkegaard says it for me, “With the help of the thorn in my foot, I spring higher than anyone with sound feet.”

I think all of us are becoming a beautiful mosaic. ALL OF US. If we’re His we’re always forming in that world. Just a mosaic: broken pieces turned whole for the glory of God. Jesus hurt. Jesus died. He took up His cross, now we take up ours all for the glory of the Heavenly Father. His name. His fame.

Thank you for steering your wheel towards others instead of sitting idle in a bath of tears. You’ve experienced difficulties. And you’ve stuck it out. I’ve learned buckets of lessons simply as a bystander. Not to say I haven’t experienced pain myself. I do and will, as long as He has me here. All for His glory in His story unfolding.

Yoda in counseling his protégé Anakin Skywalker says, “The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.”

Young Skywalker responds in hurt and anguish, “I won’t let these visions come true, Master Yoda.”

The wise Yoda says, “Death is a natural part of life.”

And Young Skywalker asks, “What must I do, Master Yoda?”

Yoda, “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

What did young Skywalker do? The opposite! And he was taken over in the process.

I love that! There’s so much spiritual depth in those words.

Erwin McManus is one of the leaders God has used to shape my thinking. He shares how the post-modern culture is taking us into new textures. At the same time he said the modern church sees discipleship as primarily doctrinal training. “A mature Christian was someone who knew his Bible. Good citizenship was expected of everyone. This was not an unreasonable paradigm, but it was a dangerous one. Before post-modernism, the church enjoyed the positive influence of a culture shaped by the Christian faith. Life change became a lost art because most people appeared “together,” says McManus.
He says as things evolved we are becoming powerless to help those who are hurting and have fallen into a grip in the power of sin. Now we don’t know how to make disciples any more. The church just can’t handle the culture.

“Restoring broken lives requires conviction, commitment, and community. Unfortunately, even when the church wants to help, often it assumes it doesn’t have the power to heal. We profess that Jesus changes lives, but with broken people we tend to rely on psychotherapy. We’ll entrust Jesus with the small stuff, but we refer out the really big problems to Freud,” says McManus.

So the questions arises:

“How do we begin to reclaim the power of making fully functioning disciples out of seriously flawed people?”

Erwin says it begins with a culture of expectancy.

At the ministry I have the privilege of serving with, Bread of Life, I had to quickly learn that what these people need is someone to tell them often they CAN do it. They can change. They need belief! And they need to see before their eyes because words don’t mean anything any more. When you lose your ability to provide for your family, everything changes, just like what Jim Braddick experienced in Cinderella Man. The kind of culture’s the church needs to create all over this country are healing places because our brokenness is back at all time low. As you saw yesterday, when Pastor Andy speaks, he speaks with belief, no matter where you are in life. That connects with a huge audience!

I don’t want to be the referee in our family, just a cheerleader. To cheer you on, Leslee, as you campaign all over the world for a vital cause. To cheer you, the person God made you into, as you are. To cheer you on, Allen, as you restore thousands of people to health and convictions. To cheer you on, as you articulate to the world the power of freedom and values. You have a gift to communicate and you use it like tomorrow’s opportunity is uncertain.

You can only serve Jesus when you are losing yourself in serving others. Hurting people tend to demand more from you. Whole people have more to give. That’s the way it’s meant to be. If whole people ran from the hurting ones, then they all miss out. That’s a struggle for me. I tend to run from those who make me feel uncomfortable, but I’m learning now how far that is from the directions of Jesus. “The mind is its own place, and it itself can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n,” says John Milton in Paradise Lost. I conclude this letter with two things I must continually work on:
The best thing I can do for you, as a family is to continually develop gratitude.

This is learned when I keep the perspective that I am a criminal, who needed a savior and got one. And never forget it!
I believe that the root reason why we lack compassion for others is because we haven’t received any compassion ourselves. Then too, we’ve never walked with Jesus, because a walk alongside of him showers you with big drops of compassion. Everywhere I turn I need compassion, understanding and patience from God. And he gives it. If I were God I’d shoot balls of lightning at myself, but he daily listens to me, waits on me and believes in me. As I fail, give in and give up he looks at me and says, “I’ll wait as long as I need to because you’re well-being is important to me.” Now, the one who walks with God understands the kind of well-being I’m referring to. Sure, it is physical, mental, emotional and spiritual but underlined with glory and purpose. If you walk with God you’re the first to admit that you’re completely criminalized in every way possible. That’ll change the way you see the world. And you will naturally leak compassion and understanding which is the only way Jesus preached truth (Psalms 26:3).

In this process of developing gratitude, bitterness will have to be removed. This is where the forgiveness process has to begin. Releasing the past and forging into the future is key too. George Allen once asked, “How badly do you want it?” I find myself asking the same question, “Well, how badly do I want it?” My answer is, “Real badly!” Why? Because when God gives you a revelation of truth, you can’t help but act. Stephen Leacock said, “It may be that those who do most, dream most.” I’ve discovered that in God’s presence dreams are unleashed, and that’s what I’ve been pursuing. Incredibly, it gets more exciting every day!

Today is unlike any day that I’ve been a part of. It’s a day where the challenges are greater, but the potential is huge. The only way to live the future is to find the present. The things I’ve shared have really sounded an alarm in me so maybe I am better prepared before tragedy strikes. Alarms are not meant to cause fear in us, but to infuse us with an unwavering boldness to make a difference. Every day I’m in the Word it seems, I’m turning blindness into boldness. Turning fear into faith. Desiring to turn our churches into communities of faith, hope, and love. Turning hurt to the God kind of hope. Hope is a treasure; it’s a part of our mission – to lend a voice of hope to a hopeless world.

Forward thinking people are full of joyful anticipation. In contrast, regretful thinking people spiral downward into depression. God sees the end from the beginning. He is always looking ahead and that’s how we have to model our lives. Thinking hope. Thinking promise. Trusting God for the outcome.

The other thing I must do is to develop the spirit of a servant, which will only be trusted in time.
The good thing about people who hurt is that they see value in serving. It makes them feel like they’re doing something that matters. That’s good but they have to be channeled through a healing process or they’ll never get over their issue.

I’ve got to remember that my struggles just reveal my brokenness. That will never leave me. It’s something I must embrace, simply a part of the journey. So, I put my heart in your hands, not to run from potential hurt and pain but to embrace the chance to trust and grow. And that means so much more with you.

Ahhh…time to take a breath. Now, you can feel quite sorry for Amber, Mom and Dad who have to read all my ramblings very frequently. Love you guys so much!

One more thing I have to add for Allen. I just read your letter after I had written this. I have to tell you how astounded I was by your gift for words. It seems when people do read in this super-paced culture rarely do they unless there are word pictures and stories. Actually, I’m amazed you said that much in seven pages. Just Powerful! Read every word! You have so much to teach a young writer. I guess these are my thoughts about something important, just like you encouraged us to do. At 25 I’m beginning to think so philosophical too, already. You should seriously consider hiring someone to make your thoughts into books. Not me – I’ve discovered I’m not a great ghostwriter. I’m a creative writer like your self, not a word crafter. We’re the kind of people who come up with the creative ideas and rantings – but need editors!

Your Son-in-Law and Friend,

Bryan

Survival is Dangerous

September 17, 2005

If there ever was a time to stop scheming myself into writing revolutionary thoughts it is now. I have to admit that I’m coming off a two-month journey through what I’d call the wasteland (normal thinking living) – caused by doing what I need to do to survive.

I became a survivor when I said yes to a writing job that God was nudging me to say no to. I took it to survive, to pay the bills, and to take up a great opportunity, but at the time didn’t realize that fulfilling my commitment to finish the job would have a huge toll on me. It was good, but not freeing. It was productive, but not powerful. My spiritual walk like vaporized and I couldn’t figure it out. I’m not talking about a spiritual walk where I ‘feel’ great, I am referring to the kind where Jesus is walking through you all day long and it’s like a sailboat all the time rather than a paddle boat or a boat that runs out of gas at times.

The desire for survival is what takes us all down – unless we find some way some how to stay free in a spiritual walk. Models. Systems. Programs. They kill the spiritual walk. Then why do we continue to create them? For one reason alone: to survive. Suddenly, we sense that our freedom is gone, yet we’re confused at what it could be, so it’s natural to find something – some kind of outlet, to get by. At least then we can look like we know what we’re doing. At least then we feel successful.

The thing for me is, God did not call me to get by, he called me to walk with him, and walking with him is always above and beyond getting by. Walking with him is on the cutting edge. Walking with him is a conversation. When the conversation depletes, you know something’s wrong. Today, I am afraid not to keep the conversation going. My conversation with God is my lifeline, my spiritual walk, my freedom. Millions of believers lack these things, yet don’t have a clue that there’s so much more to life.

How many people live long lives surviving? How does the surviving mentality affect the spiritual walk? How dangerous are survivors to the cause of Christ, particularly the leadership?

To be literal, survivors kill the message of Christ.

On a bigger scale, as a whole the reason most people don’t understand this is because pastors and church leaders don’t get it. Their own leadership models are just surviving, and the only reason they’re successful (if) is because the word of God prevails. Yet, there’s ministry burnout and the reason they is because they have a messed up paradigm. On far too many days, my wrong paradigm needs a transplant. They need it. I need it.

The spiritual leaders we read and read about have a quality that separates them from the rest of the world. That quality is the strength to do whatever it takes, and never just survive. The day they start simply surviving is the day their ministry dies.

I am tired of allowing survival to creep into my mind and life.

• Not surviving is having the willingness saying “no” when needed.
• Not surviving is listening to God and obeying, no matter how crazy it sounds or what it takes. *Remember how Jesus called his disciples to follow him. And it wasn’t a popular or normal thing to do in that culture either.
• Not surviving will look strange to the world. *Remember Jesus was the most peculiar of people.

Survival vs. Thrival
• Lynn, who left his high profile job to work with abandoned children for little money rejected survival.
• Lee, who once pastured a mega church and was president of a large bible college decided to pour his life into small groups of disciples rejected survival.

The Voice

September 15, 2005

When Jesus called out his disciples he doesn’t tell them to figure everything out on their own (Matthew 10:5-6), he tells them to go where they are sent. In other words, when God calls us to go somewhere He doesn’t have to explain why, we are just supposed to be obedient. It’s not a matter of it sounding right but a matter of us knowing what the right thing is to do. We spend a lot of time trying figure out evangelism while God wants us to know that He will tell us what to do.

When I share this with people often they become frustrated because I may sound vague to them, so here’s what I tell them: “I’m not the one who sounds vague, Jesus doesn’t have to paint clear pictures of exactly what we are to do. What Jesus wants us to know is that His voice is all we need. We will hear his voice. All we have to do is position ourselves to hear his voice. You will know what the right thing is to do. If you aren’t clear on what to do, then wait. It’s that simple.” Evangelism becomes most natural as we become familiar with the voice of God.

Power of the Marketplace

August 21, 2005

Been thinking a lot about the “engaging culture” mindset . Below is an excerpt from Bill Bright’s last book. These are the words he wanted to say to the church as he went home. I’d like to think this man (who influenced me in an incredible way) has earned the right to be heard. Personally, it struck me for several reasons. Read his words and allow me tell you why.

“I have been asked if I have any last words before God calls me to a new assignment, and I do. To the believing world, I would add this: in light of our failure through the years to be salt and light, as Jesus commanded, our generation is faced with a grave crisis. Anti-God forces have largely become the dominant voice and the major influence in our culture. My challenge to believers would be: reverse this tide. It is not enough to say, “I must live a godly life”—that is a given. It is not enough to say, “I must be a witness for Christ”—that is a given. Beyond these two, we must be salt and light in our culture, helping people to realize that the God of our Bible is our only hope.”

I don’t think he would have never said these exact words 20 years – especially 50 years ago. I’ve heard Billy Graham say numerous times that he thinks the greatest force the Christian cause has is in the marketplace. Very interesting when thinking about evangelism models. How does that make all of you feel who work in the marketplace?

The thought that comes to my mind is the way this affects those who work in the marketplace – the gatekeepers – who I’ll talk about tomorrow. How does this affect the way we lead our churches and ministries? It presents us with one option: to expect more out of them. We can’t by trying to raise up pastors – we need business leaders of steel who know how to penetrate the culture.

Thoughts?

My ‘Don’t Forget’ List

August 13, 2005

A few days ago I took some time off for a couple hours to sit, think, meditate and pray. I began to write down the things God keeps bringing up to me, when I do this. There’s many, many more I could add, but here’s my ‘Don’t Forget’ List for today:

• The will of God is the most dangerous place to be.
• Step out and trust that God will open and close the right doors. Simply walk with God.
• Read God’s Word and Simply Obey it. Want to be smart – meditate on the Word. Make the Word central to your thinking.
• Embrace the price you have to pay. Suffering is inevitable to a true Christ-follower. So don’t run from it – embrace it.
• Ministry is not a means to success. It’s simply obeying our Father. Nothing is a means to success. We are to simply obey the Father. We can learn that the easy way or the hard way, but, in reality, there’s not really an easy way to learn this one.
• The call of Christ to me is a call to live a heroic life. Prosperity – NO! Consumerism – NO! Live noble and heroic in this broken fragmented culture.
• Refuse to live a victimized life. Embrace the innocence and lifefulness of God.
• Spend loads of time studying the life and ministry and message of Jesus. He’s the centerpiece. Study the relationship – it’s a love story written directly to me.
• Learn to labor in prayer. Ask God to show Himself and be ready – James 1. Prayer is not a convenience; it’s a discipline. No one feels like praying. I’ve heard numerous people say you have to pray when you don’t feel like and pray until you feel like it. Prayer is the most powerful force in the universe, yet we the church, have discovered how to get by without it.
• Discover the path God is calling you to and have the courage to “do” it.
• Love to live and live to love. Dream to live and live to dream.
• God gets a lot of joy from us coming after him. He loves “the try”.
• Are you grateful that God loves you? That will come out. Love is the fuel. If not, you’re going to run out. Am I taken hostage to love?

A Studdly Life

June 14, 2005

I’ve been thinking about how great it is that youngsters are embracing vintage Christianity. Three years ago I couldn’t have imagined it. They actually like to hear what the old and gone, retro leaders had to say. Thank God! There’s powerful material in there. I’m learning firsthand that nothing’s new. Every time I hear an amazing metaphor I hear something similar from a retro leader. I guess that’s good – so we can modernize our language to a culture. That’s talked about in the bible in very clear terms. Thank God, for now, my pursuit in modernizing can take a pit stop and soak in the spiritual hero’s. Their words reveal so much – particularly to me how much they TRUSTED our Heavenly Father – the same kind of bond we’re all after.

Today, I’m a jottin some C.T. Studd quotes. Ooh! I feel like to not share some of these magnetic, beguiling, power-packed lines would be selfish. Allow me to take you on a journey through a bucket of spiritual aphorisms!

Yes, these are provoking thoughts for all you studdly folks. I was thinking of writing a update but Amber and I both agree that we get so many information sources that we don’t enjoy a long and compelling letter. So in reality, this is more of a upend than a update.

C.T. Studd was a famous Cricketer in England who chose to forsake his fame and family fortune and follow Hudson Taylor to China. After 21 years in China and India, he unexpectedly received a call to the epicenter of Africa. He left everything and had to trust God for everything. His answer to those who thought he was mad to go was simply: If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him

Here’s my favorite for all ye fund-raisers: “Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave His reputation in our hands.” In fund-raising if we begin with nothing then our potential is huge. You can only go up. It was James who said the poor are honored and the rich are humbled. Either or, we have the God of the universe as our CEO.

I hear a lot of opinions all the time about seminary training. Personally, on some days I’d like to blow up cemetaries, uh…I mean seminaries but I guess they can be useful too. Seminaries teach a bunch of knowledge, definition-frenzies and even some bad practicality. Of course, God does call some to go to seminary and that’s what’s important. In any case, my man C.T. had a few perspective-lined thoughts too: “The best training for a soldier of Christ is not merely a theological college. They always seem to turn out sausages of varying lengths, tied at each end, without the glorious freedom a Christian ought to abound and rejoice in. You see, when in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little biblical confectionery is like shooting lions with a pea-shooter: one needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Ghost. It’s experience, not preaching that hurts the devil and confounds the world. The training is not that of the schools but of the market: it’s the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the devil out. Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count. A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ’s service. It is not so much the degree of arts that is needed, but that of hearts, loyal and true, that love not their lives to the death: large and loving hearts which seek to save the lost multitudes, rather than guard the ninety-nine well-fed sheep in the British pen.”

Okay, living in a prozac culture can be discouraging at times. Can I hear paradox? I think part of the problem is…besides sitting in front of a computer and TV over four hours a day (US average) we should be out and about serving the Lord, trusting Him and laying our life on the cutting edge fine lines a little more. Ole C.T. said, “The best cure for discouragement or qualms is another daring plunge of faith.” If only I lived like that…when it’s soo easy to enjoy all my movies.

Comfort and Convenience. The killers of a Christian walk. This is right where I’m trying to war against because God gives us so much freedom. But Christianity is earmarked with suffering…can I hear the cross? Paying a price is a good thing. I think we should get real good at EMBRACING the price b/c the dream can’t be fulfilled without the dreamers being molded into the person God needs him to “be”. Emphasis on “be”, rather than “do”. Like we said earlier: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

One of the reasons we don’t like to pay the price is because when we do we get gutted in more ways than one by the slickest, slyest of them all: the devil. Mr. Studd nails it here. I’ve had to read the fourth one at least five times. Whoa.

“Here’s my final advice to my followers:
1. If you don’t desire to meet the Devil during the day, meet Jesus before dawn.
2. If you don’t want the Devil to hit you, hit him first, and hit him with all your might, so that he may be too crippled to hit back. ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the Devil fears and hates.
3. If you don’t want to fall – walk, and walk straight and walk fast!
4. Three of the Devil’s dogs with which he hunts us are:
Swelled head.
Laziness.
Cupidity.”

I remember traveling overseas a couple years ago. “I know so much and have so much to offer,” I thought. Yeah right! I knew stuff, not the God-given Word like these men who have nothing, except the Word. It’s the whole preach what you live thing. I’m still a-learnin. I don’t know much at all and that’s okay because it’s right there in the Word. The Word truly does take you hostage when you pursue it and challenge it. C.T. gave me some perception on this. I need to read this every day!
“Our recruits come out from home vastly raw and are largely parrots. They have been crammed with religion as though for an examination, and seem to come out to carry on their education rather than finish it. So many are just taught doctrines without ever having thought them out or searched the Scriptures for themselves. They come out like infants with pop guns. They need to be trained into soldiers with real devil-defying weapons. Some arrive thinking they are the last thing in high-class Christianity and have to find out they know little. That is why I keep the newcomers here at base for a time till I can make them really think out things and settle questions, not from hearsay but from Bible-say.”

Preach it C.T.! “How could I spend the best years of my life in living for the honours of this world, when thousands of souls are perishing every day?”
“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.” Will the church mourn your loss and will the devil throw a party when you die?

Allow me to pose a question: Is the Christian walk that easy? “Very many are half asleep or deluded, and make up fancy doctrines of their own, which practically mean that an unholy man can get to heaven without being holy. But remember, Christ did not die to whitewash us, He died to re-create us, and none but His re-creations enter heaven.”

God wants action and I’m happy about that because I stink at this patience thing. Patience is required most right now as He tries to mold me in character. I’m truly all about living as a warrior. What challenges me is living as a warrior in holiness and loving-kindness. That’s where the miracle of God comes into play. I like to fight more than I like to love, but as I get to know Him a merge is taking place. All of sudden I’m taken hostage by love.
“Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time of waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God’s Holy Name let us arise and build! ‘The God of Heaven, He will fight for us’, as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear? Before the world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God, we will venture our all for Him, we will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.”
Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don’t deter any but Chocolate Soldiers from executing God’s Will. When someone says there is a lion in the way, the real Christian promptly replies, “That’s hardly enough inducement for me; I want a bear or two besides to make it worth my while to go.”

I hear you…that’s enough. But I leave you with one more Studd line. It’s truly studly:

“Some wish to live within the sound
Of Church or Chapel Bell.
I want to run a rescue shop
within a yard of Hell.”

Go get em this week! Live hard and faithful for God’s glory.

Bryan

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    For more information about Bryan or his writings, presentations and consultations, please contact bryan.davidson@mac.com. He is located in Atlanta, GA USA and can be reached at +1.678.777.6625
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