Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Wilderness

The following is something a friend wrote that I wanted to share with you all and invite your thoughts!

The Wilderness
Many feel that a lack of trusted leadership to relate to, a lack of any community or movement to identify with, a lack of miracle in provision or healing would be evidence of their being in a wilderness.

The children of Israel had an anointed, powerful leader and they were still in the wilderness. They were part of a great movement and still in the wilderness. They lived by supernatural provision and miracle but were still in the wilderness.

Star leadership, miracles and multitudes are not proof that you are in the promised land.
They may be proof that you are still in the wilderness of immaturity and codependency.

Jesus went into the wilderness alone to fast and pray. Maybe the true purpose of the wilderness is to wean us from our addiction to the approval of others, our addiction to the sensational, our addiction to equating numbers with success? Maybe the true purpose is for us to connect with Jesus alone? To settle our needs in God so that we can freely give to others?

When the children of Israel reached the promised land they dispersed to their own portion and each had to begin to take responsibility for their own lives, to manage their own affairs and to provide for themselves. They could no longer live by Moses and miracle.

You may feel alone and isolated...
That may be your promised land...
That may be the place you fully engage with Jesus.
Although it may feel like a wilderness, it is not only a good place.
It is the best of places!
Steve Hill

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is He Enough?

Hi, everyone. The following is a short story that was forwarded to us by our friend, Gary. It is a simple story but something about it drew my attention and I felt compelled to share =)


"A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas,there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, 'Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.' The young man held out this package. 'I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.'
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. 'Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.'
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. 'We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?'
There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, 'We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.'
But the auctioneer persisted. 'Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?' Another voice angrily. 'We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!'
But still the auctioneer continued. 'The son! The son! Who'll take the son?'
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. 'I'll give $10 for the painting..' Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
'We have $10, who will bid $20?'
'Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.'
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel. 'Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!'
A man sitting on the second row shouted, 'Now let's get on with the collection!'
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. 'I'm sorry, the auction is over.'
'What about the paintings?'
'I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!'
God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: 'The son, the son, who'll take the son?' Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.


What stands out to me is how often we will seek the benefits of the Kingdom rather than the Son alone. So many of us have heard the words "seek His face and not His hands," but how far are we willing to allow Him to take that in our hearts. How often are we furrowing our brows and asking, "when will God come through for me?" as though we have some sense of entitlement from God?

So often, I feel we are getting the cross bit out of the way so we can move on to theological pursuits and further knowledge and understanding of an incomprehensible God. What if we stopped there. Right at the death and resurrection of Christ? What we if stopped at the place where we simply want to know His deep and powerful love for us? What if that was all we ever sought to know? Anything else is gravy. Wherever else He leads us is His business.

Father, from here, take me only where you want me to go. Teach me only what you want me to understand. My life is not my own. I am yours. And Jesus is most certainly enough for me.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Here's a thought. What if having our emotions validated isn't His main concern? Do I believe our Father loves us and aches when we are hurting? Why, yes, I do. Does He rage at the enemy of our souls? Absolutely. But what if all these feelings and perspectives and opinions that no one else understands are actually existing only in a carnal reality that really only holds us back from the Kingdom reality that we are invited to live in every single day?

We can hold out for miracles, yes. Why not just abandon those too? We can keep praying for reconciled relationships and righted wrongs. But could there be a more excellent Way? What if we were transformed truly into the image of His likeness? What if we became so enraptured by Him and His purposes that the things of earth truly became strangely dim?

I wonder if we could ask Him to simply help us to "set aside" these encumbrances so that we could move forward in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called, as true Spirit-beings, communing with Him, worshiping Him with our every breath, shedding His light and His water on a lost and dying world.