Thursday, January 24, 2013

More notes from the fall term

Jason Vallotton
I'm still sorting through my notes from the fall term. Here are some more gems.

Jason Vallotton
Pain says “fix me now”, especially the younger you are. Or it says, "something’s right, keep going." 

"I just give my pain to God" isn’t a good answer. When you don’t acknowledge pain, you forget why you are the way you are. When we don’t see what’s inside us, it begins to form us, the way we think, what we do.

People can shut off their emotions for good to shut out pain. But, Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted and Psalm 126:5 - Those who sow in tears will reap in joy. When you don’t deal with your stuff and your pain, you pass it on to the next generation and you start a cycle of poverty.

How do you know how much to process? If you’ve already dealt with it, don’t dig it up. You’re not allowed to dig up a dead man. Don’t go around looking for bad stuff.

Bill Johnson

Sometimes we grow closer to God through "violence" (Matthew 11:12), other times by being a child (Mark 10:15).
There are times when you need to take breakthrough by force. Violence in the Kingdom is faith. When someone puts faith in Christ it is trauma to the kingdom of darkness. Violence can look like prayer walks or fasting -- putting aside all sense of decorum and crying out to God.

Bill Johnson

Then sometimes you realize you’re not going to get breakthrough through fighting. Some things aren’t trusted to soldiers, only to sons. Sometimes there's too much of a chance that you’ll take credit for the breakthrough. When receiving as a child you need to trust.

“Ask me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance.” We don’t fight for inheritance
When the Lord stirs up a violent thing, that passion for breakthrough, he’s trying to teach you about authority. But sometimes He says just stand by. He wants you to use your identity, not your authority. 

People who know their identity don’t have to fight for who they are. It can seem so wrong not to fast and pray but sometimes a season of less activity, and more trust in Him, will lead to your biggest breakthrough.

More Bill Johnson
Don’t settle for a baptism of fire that fits your doctrinal qualifications. Only be satisfied by unstoppable, unquenchable fire that you don’t define, but that defines you.

Kevin Dedmon 

God wants us to encounter His presence so we can become an encounter. I don’t go to an outreach, I AM the outreach. Because I’ve been seeking more of Him so that I leak out His presence on other people. He is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Come away... again

My pilgrimage took a big step in May 2011 at Cora’s, the breakfast joint in south Guelph.

Anne and I felt God calling us to something new. So much had happened in a few short years. The financial struggles as our small business floundered drove me into God’s loving, gentle arms. Then, the floodgates of God’s blessing opened as we sold the business on the same day that I got offered a great job minutes from home.

Life was good. I was banking an excellent income for the first time in years. I loved my co-workers. We were hammering down debt. We had winter holidays, a new car, tasty food and wine, lifelong friends, a great church, and happy kids living the normal middle-class life. But I had been permanently marked by God. The passion for Him started to grow even stronger. We needed to follow Him with abandon.

It didn’t make sense. Every responsible cell in my body screamed in terror. We'd spent years in the desert. I’d prayed fervently for the rains to come. And now we were soaked in blessing and we were considering leaving everything because we felt God beckoning.

And that’s when I found myself sitting over a plate of bacon and eggs at Cora's across from my close friend, Jim Tice. I told him of the rumblings in my life -- that I was thinking of doing something radical.

“I think you need to listen to God saying ‘just trust me,’” said Jim. His eyes were wide. "And I don't usually hear from God for other people like that."

It was raining when I left. I scooted down the path and cut through parking lots to my office. Something inside me, I think it was God speaking, prompted me to pull out my iPod. I swiveled around to a new album Anne had purchased that I hadn’t listened to yet. It was from Jesus Culture, the Bethel band.

This was the first song I heard. I cried, amazed that God saw me and would speak so clearly. Alone in the elevator, dripping wet, I lifted my hands to heaven.

We’ve reached the midway point of our first year at Bethel and it’s decision time again: What next?

We sacrificed a lot to be here. We sold our house. Our bank account is solid. We're budgeting carefully but it's always dropping. The "responsible" cells in my body are getting antsy. They've been here before. 

It was our first day back at school after the Christmas break. Worship is a key component of every afternoon of class. I took out my journal, planning on finding a quiet corner to sort through our plans -- maybe to think away the growing worry. And anyway, worship has been a tough place for me lately. I prefer being alone and quiet with God.

But a small voice inside me prompted me to drop my journal on my chair and make my way to the front of the auditorium full of 1,200 students. There's plenty of time to write, I thought. It's time to worship.

As I wiggled my way through the crowd to the front, I heard the familiar guitar riff start the first song. 

So I stopped. And I raised my hands to heaven. It wasn't raining this time but my cheeks were wet just the same.
I have a plan for you 
It's gonna be wild
It's gonna be great
It's gonna be full of Me
I don't know what's in store. It's scary, just like it was the first time around. But this time I know even more of God's goodness. He still sees me and I see Him even better.

I wouldn't trade these last few months for anything. My family is reborn. My faith has exploded. 

I know the next step will lead us even closer to Him and it will be just as good. Let it rain.