Archive for February, 2013

The Wilderness can be a place of surpassing Intimacy…

“Well, ya got trouble, my friends!
Right here, I say, trouble right here in River City!”
(From The Music Man — an old “boomer” reference — you may not get it — heh heh)

Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”  (1 Kings 18:16-17)

Well, OK — it’s clear that there are different ways of being troubled. The devil is a con artist, and he and his bad boys can definitely trouble us. But according to the Scriptures, God is sometimes in the “troubling business” as well.

So…here we are in the groovy season of Lent — a perfect time to be troubled by God.  Yahweh’s brand of Trouble is meant to move us to repentance. And Jesus definitely didn’t avoid saying troubling things like:

  • Forgive others or you won’t be forgiven! (Matthew 6:15)
  • Calling Him Lord (talking the talk) is not enough — we actually have to do what He says (walking the walk), or we will miss out on Heaven! (Matthew 7:21)
  • You must deny your own self-interests and seek to build God’s Kingdom first if you want to be His disciple. (Luke 9:23, Matthew 6:33)

Being troubled is never pleasant — but better to be troubled now and respond rightly (via repentance and obedience) than to be tragically troubled later…


Lent… OK, this is how I see it: it’s not a time of obligation or mere self-denial, but an outrageous opportunity. Jesus didn’t go into the wilderness to earn His Father’s love — He already had it. And so do we.

The Wilderness is an opportunity and a time of preparation — preparation for breakthrough! According to the Word, Jesus went into the Wilderness with the Holy Spirit and He came out, after His season of fasting and testing, with the Holy Spirit and Power. (Luke 4:14)

I want to encourage people not to “give up something” but rather to set apart a special season to focus your eyes and hearts on God, which of course may also involve changing our habits and setting certain things aside.

But there is a very big difference between the two, although to an outside observer, they can look the same. Merely giving up something makes a hole in our lives — a painful hole that we are constantly reminded of, until Lent is over and we get to fill it up again (yuk!) — but pursuing God allows the Big Guy into your life in a way that dramatically displaces everything else.

So…don’t give up something in hopes of feeling better about yourself — but rather look at the clutter and busy-ness of your life, and be a Holy Ghost opportunist. Stir up your hope and anticipation! DARE to carve out a special place during this special season that He will graciously fill up.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8)

“The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
(Isaiah 35:1)

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…”
(Luke 16:10)

“I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”
(John 3:12)

It seemed the Lord was showing me tonight that these verses can refer to how we manage and steward and understand time.  He gives us time in this temporal world and watches to see who we will use it.  And if we do well (according to His idea of “well” – heh heh), then He is ready to entrust us with heavenly, eternal things!

Sometimes, when we experience God’s tangible Presence, Eternity invades our temporal reality and time seems to disappear, as it is overwhelmed and displaced by His eternal, infinite Gloriousness. And as we experience Him like this, everything in our lives begins to be transformed.  But if we want to experience this infusion, we need to approach and esteem temporal time rightly — by spending a lot of it on Him, being willing to lavish Him with one of the few types of currency that really impresses Him — our time.

TRUTH IN LOVE - loon watchman blog

Love is a huge thing with God.  And so is truth.  It is really impossible (from Heaven’s point of view) to separate the two.  And it is clear that real Christian community and unity cannot happen without both…

“Instead, speaking the TRUTH in LOVE, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)

But we humans often do very “artful” things with truth and love:

–We will avoid all confrontation or correction with those in our community or peer group and call it love (but it is really just the fear of man or “unsanctified mercy”).  This is a form of passive abuse, and it is as destructive (spiritually) as aggressive, verbal abuse. (“Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” ~James 5:20)

–Or we will use words and bible verses and confrontation (often fueled by mere annoyance or laziness), to “set things right” and call it truth.  This is particularly pandemic on the Internet — supposed Christians blasting each other in the name of veracity.  But the goal is never supposed to be mere correction — but rather, restoration. (“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” ~Galatians 6:1)

And the real Heavenly thing — speaking the truth in love — is a costly, trying thing — it takes time and it takes sacrifice — and it is the only thing that can establish true Kingdom culture.  Anything else is just destructive, religious game playing.  And if we are really serious about this “Jesus Kingdom thang”, then we will, by God’s grace, pay the price to see it happen.

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
I…have become comfortably numb.”

We must fight against the flood of comfort and passivity that seeks to slowly swallow us whole and imprison us in a comfortable padded cell of our own design, deep inside the safe walls of the Christian ghetto.

All around us are the living dead…the zombies of this present darkness…moving tragically and resolutely towards a Christ-less eternity.

TODAY is all we have. Don’t let your amazing TODAY be hijacked by mere busy-ness and the worries and cares of this world. Unplug from the matrix and invade someone’s darkness today!

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)

A short video I created based on a vision God gave William Booth,
the founder of the Salvation Army, back in the day.
The message is still today (and always will be) a “now” message.