Revival

I’ve been involved in revival for a long time although for many of those years I missed naming it for what it was. You see, I once believed that revival is marked by a loud, exuberant, ra-ra, experience in the Lord, yet I’ve come to find that revival is a deep, quiet work of the Lord way down inside us. Often times this deep revival results in a move of the Spirit over us that brings in greater silence; we are simply in awe before our Lord, humbled and quiet in Him.

In cultures and settings where loud and exuberant is the norm, when the Lord moves people to silence I know that revival is happening. When prayer clients are brought to sober reality and silence before the Lord I know revival is happening.

Continue reading Revival

Resting in God Today

The Lord changes us. When we come to the end of self-effort we take a risk to settle into the power of Christ to in fact transform and make all things new.

For years now, like skipping stones over the landscape of my soul, there have been moments, situations, circumstances that required I be stronger and wiser than I was. It was during those times that I learned to simply rest and wait in the presence of God for new clarity, fresh stamina, renewed capacity. And EVERY SINGLE TIME God works on me from the inside out and I am equipped and grown into what is necessary yes, but even more so, who I so desire to be.

Continue reading Resting in God Today

What are We Running From?

If you are a woman and you find yourself

decorating and redecorating (will one more specific decoration really make your life complete?)

renovating once again (might it do just the way it is?)

shopping for what you don’t need (how many pairs of pants do you need?)

going to school for yet more education (what if you took what you already knew and started there?)

You just may be avoiding your primary purpose in life.

There is nothing like busy work to keep us from the scary core of what we are to be about.

we tell ourselves that we need just this and that to be right.

the kids to be just a bit older.

x number of dollars before we begin.

our friends and mentors to all understand and give the go-ahead.

I know. I’v been there done that.

I get it.

It’s why I am concerned when I see women spending their days in distraction. When houses are too nice. When clothes are too many. When schooling is more than enough.

It raises warning flags in my mind.

I wonder what kind of emptiness is present.

Passion and vision must have their say for when we don’t loose passion and vision within our lives into something bigger than us it takes form for us – through purchases, through paint for our walls, through one more degree to add to our resume, through numerous pairs of shoes and pants and jackets and purses and bags and…

What are we running from that we must run to all of this?

A Test for the Church

It seems to me that homosexuality is testing the church – poke at a people and see what comes out. The church in North America has been riding on its laurels for a long time.

In many ways we’ve looked good from the outside, like we are all put together or something (this has always been the goal has it not?)

Each Sunday our clothes are pressed, our shoes are shined, our worship is not too much not too little; we’ve got our culture neatly presented.

And in this there is a stability and a gladness that makes for growth and we have all benefited from this.

Yet here comes open acceptance of homosexuality and out of the mouths and hearts of well-cast Christians flows hatred, contempt, bigotry – the jig is up.

We are being revealed for what we truly are.

Not only are gays and lesbians coming out of the closet but its forcing Christians to come out of the closet.

Screaming damnations reveal our hearts for what is truly there.

God uses everything. Perhaps he’s using homosexuality to reveal our hearts and our understanding of him.

Not too sure we are passing this test.

Body Wisdom

I’m writing this in the quiet of the night. One would think that the silence of an island would enable one to sleep longer but this has not been my experience. Wide awake after only four or five hours of sleep is becoming my normal.

At first I fight it, “Just go back to sleep” I tell myself. But when this doesn’t work I simply get up and go about my time as though it were really morning. I’ve learned to run with this ‘awakeness’.

I’ve always been able to gauge low-grade depression through my sleeping patterns. When I was young and working as a baker with very early mornings I was much the same way as now, needing only a half-dozen hours of sleep at most.

Some years later as I became less congruent and authentic in how I was living life I found it more and more difficult to get out of bed each morning. When what I wanted and what I was doing was in discrepancy I slept and slept.

Sleep has proven a very useful barometer of how truthful I am in my inner core. When I am engaged in activity that is peripheral to my true purpose I become tired and lethargic in my spirit and I sleep so much more. When I am living out of my purposeful core, in authenticity about my life, I sleep less.

During some of my worst years sleep was a drug. If I could sleep longer my days would be shorter. Less boredom, less frustration, less sorrow; there is less of everything when we sleep our lives away. In contrast, living out of my inner core my body resonates excitement and purpose and I no longer need sleep as a drug.

My body tells me what I need to know about my life and the way I am living it. Our bodies, after all, know what we do not know. The internal state of our hearts and minds shows through in our bodies if we will just take the time to listen and learn to read what our bodies are telling us.

Given Over

I’m at the start of month four of having no home of my own.

Not taken lightly and not entered into quickly, these past few months, and any number of years to come, is simultaneously challenging me and blessing me.

‘Home’ has boiled down to where I unpack my toothbrush and toothpaste and where I have a place to lay my head at night.

Thankfully my family has been stellar. My parents have given me a corner at their place and my extended family has ok’d me staying (i.e.:camping of sorts) at our family house on Mayne.

I’m a bit of a professional bum at the moment.

And so far, in the months since August I’ve not been any one place longer than 1.5 weeks at a time.

This giving my life over to the Lord’s compelling, vision, calling (whatever you want to call it) has come with its cost.

I’ve given over so many of my rights.

I’ve given over the right to have my own kitchen stuff at hand. Because it’s all packed away for the long haul I am always a guest in every kitchen I’m in. Using pans that are not my own, utensils not my own, cookware not my own… any woman will recognize the sacrifice this is.

I’ve given over the right to have my own children sit around my table. When will I ever have them over to my place again? I have no idea. Now I go to them and (bless them) they welcome me and extend their homes to me.

I’ve given over the right to decorate and arrange furniture just as I like. I’ve given over the right to have things just so and to make a space as I would really love to have it. I’ve given over the right to have my own pretty and familiar things at hand.

I’ve given over the right to privacy and that unique north american product of doing life with few watching. My life is now a communal experience with many ‘in on’ the logistics of where I lay my head each night.

I’ve given over the right to earn a decent wage. Living below the poverty line everything I am and make goes to the work of Capturing Courage Int’l. As anyone knows who has risked to begin a business, company, or organization, significant sacrifice is the modus operandi for some years; you would be shocked to know how little I am living on.

I’ve given over the right to financial privacy. I have those who know every single dime I spend and on what and when. In quest for transparency and integrity I am completely and totally financially naked.

I’ve given over the right to giving gifts. For the third Christmas in a row now (and for birthdays too) I’ve not bought one of my children or grandchildren one gift. Nothing. Zip. Zero. I’ve just not had the funds for it.

I’ve given over the right to comfort and ease. Most everything and everywhere I am and go asks of me inconvenience, some of it significant. My most prominent pleasure at the moment is simply keeping a few of my favourite mugs at my various ‘homes’.

I’ve given over the right to friendships. Many (I’ve lost about 20 friends this past year alone) cannot or will not move along with me as I enter into that which is bigger than me, and I’m not sure I will ever truly get over the sorrow of this.

I’ve given over the right to be understood. There are still those actively shunning me, there are those who gossip and assume the worst about me, there are those afraid of endorsing me, and there are those that don’t care enough to actually ask or get to know me or the work of CCI but rather simply pull back into the shadows… and are gone.

I’ve given over the right to my own bathroom. Most everywhere I go others know my bathroom habits. Overseas using a toilet or taking a shower is never a private affair, at my folks we must jostle and wrestle each other for bathroom time – well not quite. 🙂

I’ve given over the right to washing my clothes on my time. Except when I’m on Mayne my clothes must be washed in sync with others schedules and availability everywhere I go. This too is never private – I still feel an intruder in this way.

I’ve given over the right to a closet of clothes. The extent of my clothing could fit into one medium suitcase. I’ve learned to wear the same things over and over, to buy one pair of jeans and wear them till they die (before buying another), and to keep my tops to a system and uniform of sorts; clothing that works for both at home and abroad.

And finally, I’ve given over my right to independence. Everywhere I go, the places I settle into, require that I am okay with depending on others for their hospitality and generosity to me. Whether I am at ‘home’ ( the lower mainland, the gulf islands, in Alberta with my daughter and her family) or whether I am at ‘home’ overseas (with Daniel and his family in Mozambique, with Mamma Bosa or with Edith in Uganda – or any number of the smaller villages and homes which host me in various countries) I am dependant on others. Completely.

My main concern and query at this time is how to manage this for the long haul. What and how might I settle in my heart and mind so that I can sustain this kind of living? I am fairly certain there is an expiration date on such a style of life, but I am equally certain that for me that won’t be for significant time down the road.

I’m therefore working at setting routine into my days that remain the same no matter where I am. Habits of silence and contemplation, quiet time with the Lord, writing time to clear my mind, these things I can do anywhere thankfully.

When I was twenty I wanted nothing more than to sell everything and travel around north america random happenstance style for a years time. Now, nearly thirty years later, I’m getting to do this but on a much bigger scale – around the world happenstance style (well… certainly nimble) and for many years.

Those who pray for me tell me that my time is now and while I’ve been preparing for this for years I am quite aware that significant investment, significant results, require significant sacrifice. Something that is in fact an incredible honour to give.

Refusing to Fix

I work with indigenous leaders around the world. Many of them are in third world countries, some of the poorest in the world. Many of these leaders are working amongst the most difficult of circumstances trying to live the love of God to their own people.

Due to difficulties, both the chronic and the unexpected, I am often approached for tangible assistance with the needs facing these pastors and evangelists and early on as we were nailing down the scope of our work at Capturing Courage we were tempted, and tried on a few occasions, to fundraise to meet various needs around the world.

All of these efforts met with dismal failure. We couldn’t even raise $1 to help with a toilet door! And we began to realize that our work is not one of tangible help with the problems at hand, rather we truly are only called to grow leaders in terms of spiritual transformation, emotional wholeness, and in strong leadership skills.

In this and as I continue to work with leaders, those given assignments bigger than themselves, I have really settled this year on the fact that I would be doing them a disservice if my help removed from them their difficulties.

My eyes are wider and my view is broader and I understand like never before that for leaders to be leaders they must be well versed in difficulty. They must in fact be grown in capacity to head into trouble and to creatively look for solutions that are right at hand but often just out of sight.

This inner capacity within each one of us is only grown and strengthened in the face of difficult things. Difficult things grow us up. Our stamina is increased when we learn the love of God in what is the worst.

The ability to carry on, to remain abiding in God no matter what, is a skill all its own and one that must be acquired by leaders if they are going to go successfully forward to which they are called.

For it is not difficulty that undoes us. It is the nagging questions about the presence of God in the midst of these difficulties, these are what really undo us and it is only in difficulty that these questions about God can be fully answered.

Tree roots must go deep in order to withstand storms and it is drought that sends them deep.

What the many who approach me for help don’t know is that I’ve weathered my own many difficulties. I’ve walked a path of strain and faithfulness woven together for many, many years. And while I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face for a lot of that time I now look back and see that those years were the investments years paving the way for the rest of my life’s journey.

The spiritual authority, the leading that I am called to was birthed and nurtured and grown through those most difficult years. And now, as I visit and mentor and pray for leaders be it online or in person or over the phone across oceans I encourage leaders to embrace the difficulties that they are facing.

Are they hard? You bet. Are they crushing? Yes. Are they pushing them to their edge? Yup.

But this place where we end and our Lord begins is the richest place to be. Standing in the tension between faith and all that doesn’t seem to be working is in fact the call of all leaders. For leading is not about telling others what to do. It’s not about organizing building projects or arranging pastors conferences.

Rather, those who truly lead us, showing us the way, do so on the basis of how they themselves have met God. Where has God become real for you? This is where you lead from. And here in the shadow of your own journey others are nurtured and grown and empowered to go forth with strength of their own.

Every capacity a leader grows and allows within is a capacity that all around can catch hold of and make their own.

We need to be capacity building people. And capacity is built in the difficulties. Period.

What satan intends for evil the Lord makes good. What has been robbed from our lives will be replaced many times over. The losses we have experienced are the seed-beds of fruitfulness for others.

Imagine a portion of your heart, the part that all the stress and harm and difficulties go. Imagine that as life goes on and the difficulties surmount that this portion of your heart is stretched out of all proportion. Imagine your heart being stretched by difficulty as hard circumstance after hard circumstance is poured in.

Now, imagine that this portion of the heart can contain just one of two things. It can contain the grumbling, the bitterness, the rushing to fix things, the impatience, the complaining, the disillusionment, the harm, the hatreds, the unforgiveness, the doubts about God, and more.

Or this stretched out part of your heart can be inhabited by the living God. Entering the Lord into our grumbling, into our bitterness, into our rushing to fix things… you get the picture, turns our cauldrons into reservoirs.

And once we have been pruned and threshed with all chaff burnt away we are then in possession of strength and stamina, belief and wisdoms that cannot be taken away. Ever. The solid knowing of our Lord Jesus Christ is a possession that will not rust or decay. And this is how leaders are made.

I don’t rush to fix anyone’s problems any more. I wouldn’t do them the disservice.