Saturday, November 29, 2008

Desire and calling

Jim Robbins has posted a great blog explaining the connection between our desires and our callings. He has some great insight regarding our heart and I think you would all enjoy what he has to share.

Religion has covinced us to despise our heart and its desires. However, as we learn to re-connect with our heart, we'll find desires surfacing that we've pushed down. As Jim explains, these desires are the key to discovering our calling. I think this is a very important topic that we all need to be aware of if we're to grow and be established in the life that we've been given as children of God.

To read Jim's blog, follow this link. For additional thoughts, you might also want to read my blog Recovering passion.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recover Your Good Heart - update

Jim Robbins’ excellent book, “Recover Your Good Heart” is now available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com. Jim has also recently published a study guide which can be used for individual or group study.

For those interested in a group study, Joel is organizing an online book study of Recover Your Good Heart. For more information, contact Joel at Grace Roots.

Also, Jim has recently started a forum for people who want to “talk about the heart and the deeper life in the Kingdom.” This would be a great way to connect with other believers who are coming to understand the truth about our good hearts.

Because of all of the wrong teaching regarding our heart, believers have come to believe that our hearts can’t be trusted. The truth, however, is that we’ve been given a new heart that contains the life of God and, as a result, our hearts are now good. Jim does a wonderful job of explaining this truth in a way that is simple to understand.

As you can see, if anyone is interested in learning more about our good hearts, there are many great opportunities. If you’re interested, check them out. I’m sure you’ll be glad that you did.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Recovering passion


A number of years ago, I became interested in the subject of leadership. I bought every book I could find that taught how to develop leadership skills and I went to several leadership conferences. Also, I spoke with everyone I could find who was interested in leadership principles. Although there’s much that I could say about the institutional church’s concept of leadership, I really want to focus on only one aspect – passion.

One of the characteristics of a good leader as taught by the institution is passion. A good leader needs to be passionate about the particular cause he is promoting. Also, it’s his responsibility to meet regularly with his team in order to stir up their passion for the cause and to re-kindle it when it starts to die down.

As the leader, he is also responsible for imparting the vision to his team. He receives the vision and passes it on to the others. Therefore, it’s important that he describes it clearly so that the team will know and understand the direction in which they are to move. Everyone is expected to move together in order to fulfill the leader’s vision. In these conferences, there was much talk about running with the vision because it’s important that the leader’s vision be fulfilled. As a result, many workers are needed to serve the vision.

After growing in grace, I’ve come to believe that leadership as taught in the institutional church is not effective and has actually hurt the church.

In the institutional church, the only vision that matters is the pastor’s. Church members are expected to work to fulfill their pastor’s vision even if it means allowing theirs to die. As a result, we have thousands of believers sitting in pews who have no passion because their vision has died.

The early church as described in the book of Acts was a passionate church. The Leader was the Holy Spirit and it was he who instilled vision in the people and filled them with passion. As a result, their passion didn’t die so they didn’t need another person to constantly stir them up.

In the institutional system, intercession is strongly promoted so, for most of my life as a believer, I tried to make myself into an intercessor. I went to intercessory prayer meetings and I studied the lives and prayer techniques of well known intercessors. Although I talked about the importance of prayer and even taught it, there was never a burning passion in my heart for prayer. Basically, I was trying to function out of someone else’s passion and, since their passion never became mine, it wasn’t enough to carry me through to the end.

I believe that the religious system destroys passion. As I look at today’s church, I see a church that for the most part lacks passion. Its members depend on weekly sermons to pump them up because they don’t really care about what’s going on.

Darin Hufford in his audio series on prayer states that we depend on prayer lists and prayer chains to tell us what to pray for because we couldn’t care less about what we’re praying for. As Darin puts it, “We’re just flapping our gums.” Instead, he says that we should pray for what we care about.

Wow!! How profound and yet so simple!! If you care, pray.

I believe Darin’s advice is the key to passion. As a free believer, I’m learning that I do care about issues and I don’t need weekly meetings to stir up my passion because the Holy Spirit is in me and he constantly fills me with his passion.

As I’ve re-connected with my heart, I’m discovering passions which are now coming alive after years of dormancy. I’ve found that the Holy Spirit is constantly stirring up those passions and directing my steps towards their fulfillment. The church that Jesus is building is a passionate church and he means for our lives to be filled with adventure as we follow the passions of our hearts.

Anyone Up For a Snowball Fight???

CLICK on the following link and have fun!!! Everyone loves a good snowball fight!

Link

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oops!

Well, I have to embarrassingly admit I'm not perfect just in case you all were thinking that I am. I made a really bad blooper in my previous post entitled A Slave Mentality. I made reference to an excellent book written by Jean Sasson. Unfortunately, I posted the wrong title. Fortunately, the author was on the ball, tracked me down and very graciously corrected my error.

The correct title of the book is PRINCESS: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil. I've added a picture also and posted that at the end of this blog.

Jean, I'm sorry for the error and any inconvenience it may have caused you.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Healthy and unhealthy churches

Set free recently posted a blog that contrasts the characteristics of healthy churches with unhealthy churches.

This past Sunday was a day set aside to pray for the persecuted church. I believe this is important. I believe we need to remember and pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering because they know Christ.

However, I believe we also need to remember that many of our brothers and sisters are being held captive in abusive churches. Some of us have personally experienced spiritual abuse or we know someone who has. This is a major problem that is swept under the rug since the institutional church just doesn’t talk about it. However, Father knows and he cares and he’s stirring many to begin speaking out for those who can’t speak for themselves. I’m thankful for the many blogs and websites that are committed to sharing resources that are helpful for those who have been victimized by spiritual abuse.

What Really Matters is one of these sites. It’s an excellent resource for those wanting more information regarding this subject and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Slave Mentality

I just finished reading a book entitled PRINCESS: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil by Jean Sasson. Set in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the story is about the plight of women in this strict religious society. The book contains much disturbing and shocking information but it’s well worth reading.

In the calendar of events listed at the back, it states that in 1962, slavery was abolished and yet most slaves continued to live with their former owners. This is a phenomenon that also occurred in the U.S. after slaves were freed. Many had grown secure in their slavery so they chose to continue to live as though nothing had changed. They chose the supposed security of slavery over the unpredictability of freedom.

I believe there is a slave mentality that sets in after someone has been bound for many years. If the slave owner is kind, the slave if given the choice may choose to remain as a servant. If the slave owner is cruel, however, the slave may choose to venture out on his own but his thoughts and behavior are still controlled by a slave mentality.

This is also the history of the children of Israel. When they left Egypt, God was able to immediately take them out of Egypt but it was a lengthy process to get Egypt out of them. The process began and continued in the wilderness. However, even though they finally entered the promise land, they were never totally free in their hearts. This became obvious when they chose to be ruled by a king rather than live out of their relationship with God.

Unfortunately, this mindset is still alive and well in the church. Father invites us into a life lived out of our union with him but instead, we’ve chosen to be enslaved to the supposed security of man-made institutions. Although he’s called us to a life of freedom, we’ve chosen to remain in bondage following rules and laws.

The good news is that many in the church have finally decided to leave the slavery of legalism and live in freedom. However, once the decision is made, we’ll still have to deal with thoughts and behaviors that are holdovers from our days of bondage. When this happens, it’s very easy to get discouraged and give up. It’s important, however, that we don’t allow ourselves to give up because, if we continue to move forward even when we think we’re making little or no progress, we’ll eventually begin to experience greater and greater freedom.

Learning to live free is a process. Just because Father says we’re free doesn’t mean, we’ll automatically know how to live free. We have to be re-trained how to live free. This is a process that is similar to that used by animal handlers who re-train animals who were raised in captivity before releasing them into the wild. To read more about this process, follow this link.

After I wrote this, I read a post written by Amy over at Walking In The Spirit that goes along well with my post. To read what she has to say, follow this link.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My hero

I want to dedicate this song to my hero, Jesus Christ, who loved me even when I was unlovable.