Tag Archives: truth
How Do YOU Hear from God?
Why Am I So Bent Out of Shape?
How it Went “Down”…
On the morning of January 21st, 2013, as on all Inauguration Days, there are dozens of events, speeches and breakfasts in the nation’s capitol. This year was no different in that the usual invites went out to the usual VIPs, power brokers, politicians, and leaders. But, this year, a bold word was spoken at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast by a man, a Messianic Rabbi, named Jonathan Cahn. In his own words, he stated that his message would not be politically correct, nor political, rather Biblical.
He wasn’t joking and he delivered on his promise. For 35 minutes, he unfolded the truth that America is a nation in the early stages of Divine judgment and that we have time to repent and return to God as a nation. He urged us to pray in that direction… The biblical parallels he drew were stunning and the idea that prophecies thousands of years old could be unfolding on American soil during the 21st century rang hauntingly accurate.
His speech was captured on video and made its way to YouTube. By Friday morning, 01.25.2013, I and many of the table leaders from ONE TH1NG had already seen it and forwarded the link on to friends, family, and co-workers. I had opportunity to watch it on Friday morning and immediately ripped and re-posted it on the Seasons of Life Ministries YouTube channel. By Friday evening, it had over 9,000 views.
By Saturday, it was in the 20,000s and on Sunday morning, just 48 hours after posting it, it had 48,000 hits. Viral by any statistics. That day, we received correspondence from Scott Pinto at Hope of the World Ministries, in Wayne, NJ, Rabbi Cahn’s organization. He informed us that the production company that filmed the event owned the intellectual property and if too many people posted it before they were able to put it into proper distribution (which they plan to do with HOTW) it could wind up tied up in copyright court rather than getting into wide scale, legitimate distribution.
We immediately complied and took the video down. However, I asked Scott if it would be permissible to put out a transcript of the speech, to which he replied “yes”. So, after hours of regular work and many hours of back and forth between YouTube and Evernote, we have the below transcription. It’s rough and fairly unedited, but you’ll get the idea. It is a long one, but a very worthy read. We look forward to your comments, questions, and reactions.
Let’s pray for great repentance and revival in our nation while there is still time.
UPDATE: The video has been reproduced and cleared for distribution as of 02.04.2013. It is live, again at: http://youtu.be/bovMw1l056k.
The city on the hill has grown darkened. Its lamp has grown dim. Its glory is fading, for God is not mocked. No nation can war against the very source of its blessings and expect its blessings to remain. And, as it was with ancient Israel, the city on the hill now stands in the shadow of judgment.
How does judgment come to a nation? After defying all of God’s calls and warnings, the nation of Israel would experience something unprecedented. It was the opening stage of national judgment. God removed one of Israel’s blessings. Years before its destruction he allowed it’s hedge of protection to be lifted up. He allowed an enemy to make a strike on the land. It was a wake up call. To avert national destruction, to wake them up. Nothing else would reach them. The strike was limited and temporary. The nation was now given a period of time to turn back to God or enter into judgment. The first opening Biblical sign of national judgment is this: the initial removal of the nation’s hedge of protection.
|Harbinger #6 – the sycamore at
|The Chapel at Ground Zero, which averted destruction
because of the sycamore.
The short answer is “no”. Men Step Up, Gwinnett is still a place where men can go to think out loud. But, a few years ago, Kelly Talamo sent out an email telling the guys who regularly gathered at the Cabernet Steakhouse on Friday mornings that he sensed the Lord leading him to step into content development and out of running the MSU venue every week. For a while, the Cabernet went dark on Fridays.
But, a few years ago, Dan Diaddigo had Ron Dunn step up to lead a very similar truth & lie environment where men could be spurred on to the truth of Christ. Today, ONE TH1NG meets every Friday morning from 7AM to 7:55 on Windward Parkway at the Cab’. Below, I wanted to share with our readers Ron Dunn’s note regarding the truth about a lie we’ll be talking about tomorrow morning, bright and early.
So, What’s the Co-ed Thing
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot – the tag line that got you to read this article in the first place. My bad… For years, women of all ages have been begging to know what it’s like to sit at the same tables and chew on the same issues their husbands or boyfriends or guys in their church get to talk about each week. As of this Fall, Ron has added a unique “re-run” to the mix: ONE TH1NG Co-Ed. On Sunday nights (this is the LAST Sunday for 2012) from 5PM to 6:30, men and women will gather at the Cabernet to look at a lie, learn from the truth, and be truly set free by the Word of God.
Mark your calendar. Call your sitter. That barking you’re hearing is me hounding you to show up this Sunday (and only this Sunday for the remainder of 2012) at 5. No food, no admission, just show up as you are, hungry for the Truth.
It looked good. It was a delight to the eyes. It was desirable.
This wasn’t the first time Eve saw the tree. She passed by it many a day. It was positioned in the middle of the garden. On this day, however, Eve was looking at it through a different lens.
Her emotions were engaged. She was feeling it. She wanted it.
Satan engaged Eve in a well crafted conversation, then slyly slipped a pair of shades on her eyes and said look again though my lenses.
Now, lets be clear. Despite what Flip Wilson might say, the devil cannot make us do anything. When we came to Christ, Satan lost power. He was defeated. Christ overcame him by the greater power of His sacrificed blood.
Satan can’t force sin, but he does suggest it so vividly that men chose it on their own volition.
Satan created an image of God and of the tree that paved a path for Eve to take the forbidden fruit.
With his skills to deceive, He perpetually tries the same with you and me.
Eve wasn’t seeking sin; sin was seeking her. On this day it looked desirable and permissible.
Satan would have us believe that he is where fun and freedom reside, so party here and party on.
Truth is no one has more fun or feels better than God.
What a bummer…all these people thinking they went to the fun party only to find out they missed the best feel-good a person can experience.
Lie #6 is: If it feels good, do it!
If it feels good… I mean really good… and lasts forever…. then you are giving glory to the God who created you, drawing near to Him.
Join us at the tables as we unpack this uncommon truth and refreshing freedom.
This Friday morning at 7 or this year’s final Sunday night COED at 5, we hope to see you at Cabernet.
Like a madman shooting
firebrands or deadly arrows
is a man who deceives his neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”
Author’s note & pet peccadillo:
Today, apart from being incredibly grateful to Ray Ortlund for His obedience to God in writing such a timely post as we’ll dive briefly into, I also can’t resist the temptation to play Spelling Nazi. Kelly Talamo named the environment “Men Step Up”, because in his words “lives change when men ‘step up’ to the Truth”.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear people ask “Hey, are you going to Men’s Step Up this week?” Okay, I can, I’ll just wind up gritting my teeth into dust… You get the point… I’ll step down off the soap box and put away my red pen. It’s not like I don’t occasionally invent my own words or brutally murder a rule or two of decent, English grammar…
Spurring One Another On…
|What happens at the tables never
stays at the tables. Praise God!
This past Friday morning, I had the opportunity to “bring it” at Men Step Up, Gwinnett. Essentially that means I was tasked with standing up in front of a crowd of guys, (many of whom intimidate the heck out of me from a spiritual standpoint), and “provoking” them toward a discussion that would take place at their tables.
These weekly discussions are proctored by a table leader and outlined by about 4 or 5 questions on the front of an index card (see picture, right). The back side of the card will normally have a lie on it that many of us have either bought into, wrestled with in real life, or both, as well as a few select lines from scripture that either individually or collectively debunk the lie.
|Men Step Up is a gathering where the lies of the enemy collide with the truth of God’s word. For more information,
go to http://www.menstepupgwinnett.com/.
If you’ve been reading the blog at all last week (Part 1, Part 2), you know we’ve been talking about the context for current struggle, trial, aggravation, etc. as a lead up to that event. I had planned to present this morning’s post as a combined update/devotional on the topic. However, it seems the day after I spoke, Ray Ortlund posted an article that capped off our discussion perfectly in a mere 20 sentences.
So, here it is in its entirety with a brief send off from me at the end:
The fact that Ray & I have never met and yet he wrote the perfect synopsis of what we were talking about on the very same day, he’s dead on point here. In last week’s post and our discussion at Men Step Up, we concluded that eternal rewards are the context for current suffering, that current rewards are no indicator of eternal and Godly appreciation, and that when it comes to rewards, we have a three tiered “compensation plan”:
- One time paycheck: “Atta boy!!!” (remarkably temporary, a la Matt. 6:2, Matt 6:5, Matt 6:16)
- Royalties only: “I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” (see Rev. 2 & 3) or
- Earthly Reward and Eternal 401K: “do everything without arguing or complaining. (Phil. 2:14)”, “Enjoy life… (Ecc. 9:8)” and “I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Rev. 2:23b)”
I was amazed at how pertinent this message was for the guys in attendance, at that moment. It may well be pertinent to you right now. Regardless of its relevance in your current season of life, this is a topic neither you nor I will fully grasp in a handful of blog posts or even conversations with godly men and women – this is one of those things that requires the illuminative power of the Holy Spirit to make clear and present in our everyday mindset. It may also require diligent and thirsty searching of the scriptures.
Be encouraged, be spurred on, and be aware: That Day is coming when we will all receive rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. May your inheritance be great and may you enjoy this life and the one to come.
|Want one of these in your 401K?|
Context is King.
But, Jesus is the King of Kings and He offers not only salvation for those who believe, but also some desperately needed context for our worldview.
Trials and troubles and annoyances and tragedies exist. No getting around that in a Genesis 3 world. So, Jesus gave us a heads-up – “In this life, you will have troubles.” But, what is the context in which we are to interpret these troubles? In chapter 15 of John’s gospel, Jesus has just spent a bunch of time telling his disciples some bad news: the world is going to hate them “for no reason (John 15:25)”. Then He moves forward into the “you will have trouble” part of the speech. As if the “they’re going to hate you” part wasn’t bad enough, He explains two things:
- “I’m telling you this so you won’t get freaked out when it happens. I’m giving you a heads-up now that I’m on my way out.” (John 16:1 – paraphrased)
- “It’s going to be so bad, people are going to try to kill you because of me, thinking by killing you they’re serving Me.” (John 16:2-4 – paraphrased) “So, what do you guys want for dessert?”
Can we skip to the end of the story? For some context?
The End That Satisfies the Means
Here’s why “the end of a matter is better than its beginning… (Ecc 7:8)”: At the “end of the story” – Revelation 2 & 3, where God dictates seven letters for John to address to the seven churches in Asia Minor, Jesus reminds them who He is. “I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (v. 23)… To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations (v. 26)” At the Bema seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5.10), believers in Christ will receive their eternal rewards, including many crowns promised throughout scripture.
Bottom line – in a world where trouble is the everyday landscape of our walk, everything you and I do [within God’s will for us and that’s not done with selfish motive (Mt. 6:2, Mt. 6:5, Mt. 6:16)] will be repaid with eternal reward.
So, here’s the compensation structure when it comes to persevering under trial:
- Get paid now – “Atta boy!!!” (remarkably temporary)
- Get paid in eternity – “I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” or
- Both – “do everything without arguing or complaining. (Phil. 2:14)” and “I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Rev. 2:23b)”
We’ve been warned. We’ve been told it won’t be easy, but given the Holy Spirit to guide, empower, and protect us. We’ve been given the context of our trials, persecution, and our eternal rewards. We can take the recognition from men now or we can take a rain check in our eternal 401K. What would you prefer, a compliment that lasts a little while or a portfolio that lasts forever?
If you’re a man within 30 minutes of California Dreaming in Duluth, GA – do whatever you have to do to get there tomorrow morning (Friday, 05.11.2012) at 6:30 for Men Step Up. There, we’ll be thinking out loud about the lies of the enemy and the truth that sets men free, specifically this stuff. Hope to see you there!
For those of you close to us, you know our family has been going through quite a time as our teenage daughter has begun an outward wrestling with her identity in Christ. She’s been given great tools and great teaching, but in the confusion of her adolescent brain (remember those days? I do… and shudder) has chosen destructive paths to express her long bottled up emotions. This is not an indictment against her, rather a recounting of the facts as she and we have discussed them. For her privacy’s sake, we’ll draw the line here in terms of detail. Let it just be said that we are fully committed to and currently engaged in getting her all the help she needs as she navigates this exponentially complicated season of her life. Her commitment to this process, moving forward over the next 90 days and beyond, is between her and her Savior – or, as we say “a vertical issue”.
Rest in Peace
Recently, a friend and mentor of mine verbalized his observation of my “stable” state of mind and attitude in the wake of all she’s done to herself, and by extension, to us as a family. I didn’t even realize how stable & peaceful I was feeling at that moment. In fact, I was torn with whether or not to even mention it here so
publicly for fear of taking credit for something that was so far outside of my own doing. But, there you have it: it wasn’t my doing. I wasn’t keeping myself in peace [Is. 26.3] by intense concentration or fierce labor of the body, I had merely decided not to fight against the all powerful God whose name is “Master of the Universe” (Adonai, melech ha olam). With regard to all Brie is going through, Cristine and I have acknowledged that God is in control and despite the fact that we disagree with His methods of sanctifying our daughter (and again, by extension, us…) at this time, we trust Him to have a far better plan than we to accomplish His ends.
Then, today, as I was reading Jim Cymbala’s “Spirit Rising”, I noticed Cristine had circled one line in Francis Chan’s introduction – “It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh is no help at all. (John 6.63)”
Praise the Lord.
The truth was right there in black and white. Mere paragraphs from one of my favorite and misquoted verses in scripture: “if you hold to my teachings, then you are truly my disciples. And, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8.31-32)” And, there I was – set free by the truth that my flesh (my natural tendency to do things in my own power and will) was of no help in bringing me peace and stability. At any given moment, we have a choice – we can wrestle with God (which very rarely pays off – see Gen. 32.35 and Gen. 18 for examples) in our own strength or we can yield to the Spirit.
Are you striving or trusting, right now?
Jesus made a big deal about the Holy Spirit – “…it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. John 16.7)” If it was better for Him to go and the Spirit to come, shouldn’t we expect more of the Spirit in our lives? YES!!! I didn’t feel any tingling in my bones, didn’t glow in the dark, didn’t even speak in tongues – but when my mentor mentioned my demeanor, I did notice the peace that I had no part in creating. I simply yielded to the Spirit. That promise and peace are available to you, and all who call upon the name of Christ with a pure heart. Isn’t that NUTS?! Just for the asking and the yielding. You don’t have to wield an axe and chop down a forest, you just have to sit and rest.
So, sit. Rest. Know that He is sovereign and you are His.
Peace. Really – rest… in… peace.
Thanks, for all of your prayers on our behalf.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Pet. 5.7)”
Ever think that? Ever been in one of those moments where the hammer is about to drop on your life, your job, your deal, your carefully orchestrated plans and all you can think of is how “this is just not going my way”, or better, a four letter word or ten cross your mind or lips? When I’m in the middle of an anxious moment – everything’s falling apart, the deal is unraveling because the CFO’s got a buddy who’ll do it cheaper, the finance company’s moved from phone calls to foreclosure/repossession – I’ve had friends email me or text me or even tell me “cast your anxiety on Him…”
Being in the moment, the hardest thing to think of is anything other than the moment. Last week, in discussion with a group of men the question was raised “How can a man take his own kids into his home, whack them in the neck with a hatchet, fire off an email, and then burn down the house, killing himself and everyone in it?” I thought about the story of Josh Powell and immediately could only think of another, nearly unrelated story that happened 5 years ago – when my younger brother pointed a .380 at his own chest and pulled the trigger on a Monday morning in January.
The answer to the question came swiftly “That guy would have to believe that this was his best or only exit from the situation he was in.” In conversation with my brother even a week or two after he tried to take his own life it was clear that he was weighed down by the anxiety that comes from believing a lot of lies (over a long period of time) about what’s possible, what’s probable, and what the most “viable” outcome of his situation (pre-gunshot) would be. Josh Powell had to believe that his best option was murdering his own kids and taking himself out in the process. But, both my brother and Powell were at the far end of a very dark tunnel that neither of them had to go to.
Today, consider this – if you are “in Christ”, you have a very large target on your back, just like me. You have an enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He will lie to you every chance he gets and he has no friends, only “servants”. He will plant seeds of deception in your life and do everything he can to keep your focus on what’s now, what’s not possible, and a very limited menu of viable outcomes. However, you also have an ally: the living Christ, whose Spirit lives in you to confirm truth and comfort you in your fears.
It’s trite to say “this too, shall pass”. Though it be banal, its cliche cannot take away its truth. Time will pass, this situation may leave marks and scars. But, it cannot last forever. Jesus never wanted us to ignore our troubles or trials, rather to grieve our losses, seek His comfort, and “let endurance have its perfect result so that [we] may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” As my friend Greg Ford says – “I wrote it on the inside windshield of my truck – trials are necessary.”
My prayer for you this morning is that if you’re in a “limited menu” moment, you will heed any or all of what scripture says regarding anxiety. Don’t minimize the moment or the fear, rather press in to God with your concerns and pray He helps you unravel the lies before they begin to grow like kudzu, strangling your hope.
“If you hold to my teachings, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8.32).”
I bid you peace, but peace in freedom.