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What is good biblical leadership?

What is good biblical leadership? This is a question I've been asking myself lately. Oftentimes, I see Christian leaders referencing boo...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Home Again (an original poem)

The day breaks with a clap of thunder and a peel of lightning
the chirping of birds goes silent in the ominous darkness.
Sunshine breaks through these thunderheads of autumn
cascading rays shine, warming the cool damp earth.

A flood of emotion overwhelms me to my knees
bringing Your Spirit back home after so long a time away.
The wisdom of another world gets cataloged in the vault of my mind
making my heart shed long awaited tears of joy.

Within this new awakening, Your Presence finally reaches my soul.
I stand shivering, elated from the warmth of Your touch.
Gently Your warm affirmations soothe my spirit, helping me
trudge through the memories of my life's most dreariest of events.

All of my triumphs and hardships are brought to Your doorstep
You see into my dark heart and cast aside the longing.
Welcoming and lovingly You open my heart to my mind
letting them commune with one another after so long a time apart.

At peace and in the folds of infinite oneness
Your promised gift to me I will cherish in my heart of hearts.
With love and affection I now walk among the many
sharing what I have been given to all who have yet to become.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jesus and The Introverted Thought Life (a personal commentary)

This post is for all the introverts (like myself) though technically I would consider myself an "ambivert" because there are times I do gain energy when I'm around people, but other times it is draining for me. But, if push came to shove, I do prefer to be by myself to recharge, which technically puts me firmly in the introvert camp. 

We introverts are a funny and peculiar lot. 

I can relate to this saying. There are days that I just feel like being away from people. Sometimes, even when I go out I will purposefully go out of my way to minimize my interactions with people. Now, if you are an introvert reading this I know you can relate and have probably done the same. But, I would ask that you would try and hold off any assumptions, judgments and conclusions about this and me. 

Something that I've come to realize and I know that I may offend some people in saying this: "We introverts (yes I include myself) are really good at judging people and casting them in a suspicious and negative light." The reasoning behind this (in my humble opinion) is because safety is a top priority (if not the highest priority) for an introvert. In many ways, we would like the outer world to reflect our inner world. And when it doesn't we tend to think through the many different scenarios (sometimes over and over again) until we come to an acceptable outcome. Why we do this is because we are making sure we are prepared (which helps us feel safe) or have some sort of escape route or plan just in case things don't go the way we'd like them to go. 

I can tell you from my own personal experience, that this has been true for me and I believe I am not the only introvert who feels this way. Introverts are always thinking. I appreciate this cartoon's depiction "He's got the whole world in his head." It's true. One of the hardest things for an introvert to do is to get out of their head. 

Now to the point of this blog post. 

Something God has been challenging me on is my inner thought life. More specifically on my thought life towards others. You see, I've been praying (for over a year now) asking Jesus to help me live firmly in a place of grace and goodness towards others. And since I've started praying this, God has been answering by challenging me on my introverted judgmental thought life. 

I mean how can I extend grace and goodness to others if I am having suspicious and negative thoughts about them? Thinking they have ulterior motives which at times may be true, but not always. Now I do think it is perfectly fine to make notes and observations about the things happening around us. I mean collecting data and growing in our understanding of human nature and the world around us is a good thing. But, when suspicion and negativity become the filter in which we discern the world around us, I think this is a problem. 

I mean, why can't we think better of people by giving them the "benefit of the doubt" when it comes to why they are doing what they are doing. Or better yet, wouldn't it be better to hold off all judgments until we've actually engaged with the person? Now before you start making conclusions like I'm being naive and foolish (too late?), I would further add that our thought life will always color the way we interact with people.

So, if I have already concluded some negative or suspicious things about someone even before I've engaged with them, my non-verbal language will show this in my facial expressions, body language, spacial distancing, even my vocal tone, speed or hesitancy will make these known.

Now, on the other hand, if I have withheld any suspicious or negative judgments and assumptions, I am free to see each person before me with minimal bias and be able to speak and engage with them from a place of grace and goodness. Isn't that how we see Jesus engaging with people in the Gospels? I mean He already knew things about people which was 100% accurate, unlike us who at best could be maybe averaging a 50% accuracy rate, but regardless of what He knew, Jesus still treated them with from a place of grace and goodness.

So, to all my fellow introverts, I dare you to pray this prayer: "God, help me to live firmly in the place of grace and goodness towards others." And when you do, be ready to come face to face with all your judgmental junk.

If I could share a little wisdom I've learned along the way is that God is interested in bring a lasting inward transformation to you. This means He's not really focused on your behavior, but on the condition and shape of your heart. Something I've come to realize is that the older we get, the better we are at masking our disingenuousness.

So I urge you to resist trying to hide and mask your junk but to actually invite Holy Spirit into it. And if you find yourself arguing within yourself, know that maybe you're actually arguing with Holy Spirit. In these moments, pause, take a breath, and tell Him you're sorry for trying to justify your thoughts and ways and begin listening and letting go.

I'm not going to try and sugar coat this in anyway, this is a rough and hard road to walk because it means allowing God to touch and shape the deepest parts of who we are. But, as I have been actively engaging in this for a little while now, I can tell you it is worth it. There is so much peace and freedom here that is life giving and releasing. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Nothing Without You (feat. Will Reagan)

Music has a way of drawing out of our hearts the deep resonating groans and murmurings within that often elude us, and at times can even put words to these seemingly intangible heart rumblings. This song has done just this and these are the words to my own groans from within. 
 This world feels so vast and untameable
 It's like I am treading neverending in water
Oh Lord, what am I to do?
I long for You Lord
To feel the nearness of Your presence
Oh Lord, I feel lost and discouraged. 
But, even if everything and everyone around me should fail me - 
There is one thing that I know for sure
You, oh Lord are faithful and true.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Exploring the Unknown

As 2017 begins, I have found renewed peace in exploring the unknown which is very exciting. I am reminded of God's invitation to all who would come to Him.
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)
I've come to the revelation (yet again) that the Presence of God within me (aka the Holy Spirit) is my safe place. This means that no matter what lies ahead I am in good Hands. Sure this is easier said than done, but hey aren't most things worth doing?