Concerning the New Year "Prophecies"

It may be just me, but I notice every year, around the last week of December, that people, believers specifically, start posting stuff about how bad the year was and how good the new year is going to be.  It happens annually, and with monotonous regularity.
For whatever reason we are drawn to making declarations about coming year around the last week of the calendar year, and about saying how bad the previous year was.
My thoughts:
This cyclical crazy-making does not make a lot of sense.
Here is why.
I haven’t had a bad year since about 2012 or 2013.  That was the year I filed for divorce.  But filing for divorce did not make the year bad.  Heck, my ex-wife’s adultery which continued to the present, did not make the year bad.  What made the year bad was how her behavior affected my sons. Period.  The ones I am most loyal to that my ex-wife and I share in common, their emotional and spiritual damage, that is what made that year among the worst.
A plethora of celebrities dying does not make a year bad.  A year that caused you to personally struggle a lot and suffer much does not make a year bad.  Personal pain can make a year among the most productive.
The monotony with which you curse the previous year, because you effectively are doing that, does not help your timeline.
The monotony with which you utter the same four to six declarations over the coming year, and then the monotony with which you turn right back around 51 weeks later and declare how that year didn’t bring those things drives some of us crazy.
My solution to this non-reality is not necessarily the most gentle, but it might be realistic.
How about we reach forward, talk to Father, and if a year is going to be marked by suffering and destruction, we hear that from Him and speak concerning that?
If a year is going to be marked by pain, as some years are, as 2012 and 2013 were for me, how about we speak that?
Now, let me expand on that concept from my own life.  Following my biblically-sanctioned divorce, I connected with some other friends who helped me to restore joy in my own life, and I found my voice again.  In the midst of finding that voice, one of those people who helped me negotiate that season with my sons, my Sunday School teacher at the time, who also coached me in forgiveness, also became my wife.
So, 2014 was not a bad year.
Granted, expanding that, 2012 and 2013 were not bad years either.  They were years marked by pain.  But pain does not make something bad.  If you refuse to do anything with the pain, then it becomes unproductive pain, and the year can then be considered unproductive.
But enough of this mentality of “my year was bad, but G-d will make this year better”.
News flash:
Declaring the reality of what the past year was like is not about whether or not your year made you happy or sad, follower of Yeshua.  It is not about whether or not too many Hollywood celebrities died.  It is not about whether or not people made you feel better or worse about yourself.  Instead, it is about whether or not you were and did specifically what Father wanted you to be and do.  And if a lot of pain came in the midst of that, and you grew from that pain, that does not affect the year.  And cursing the year 51 weeks after you uttered all sorts of prophetic nonsense over the year, and doing this each year, does not make you have better years.  Rather, you can be playing right into the enemy’s hands and cursing the cycle of time, which can leave a negative imprint on time.
So, how about instead of “last year sucked, I prophesy this year will be a year of harvest and increase”,  perhaps say, “this year wasn’t what I thought it would be, and there was some pain” and then analyze whether or not you grew in or through the pain?  And then come back and celebrate the times when you saw the hand of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit move, and write an article or Facebook post about that.
For me, this year was strangely turbocharged because of what has blown open with respect to DID, SRA, CRA and blessings I have written for that group.  It also happened to be the year when I reconnected with Exhorters in an unusual way, and was able to work positively with a great many of them.
And now, I must away and fulfill a longstanding need to work my way through Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek.
So, friends, let us consider carefully the words we speak in response to the pain we endured, and let us also not throw away the resources that 2017 and its pain were.
Be blessed.

A Response To Rick Pino's Call For Worship Mothers/Worship Fathers

Rick Pino posted a video on Facebook to this effect, calling for Worship Mothers and Worship Fathers who will raise people up into their identity.
He notices a deficit in worship.
Plenty of the usual spiritual fathering motifs abound in this video, such as references to 10,000 teachers but very few fathers, etc.:
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155948387013711&id=36976983710


I appreciate that Rick is pointing out a deficit in worship that readily appears to him and probably to others as well: the lack of fathering and mothering in our worship paradigms.
And I will grant there is one of several deficits in worship when it comes to being fathered.
However, with due respect, I have just one serious problem with this cryout that there are no mothers or fathers raising people up into their identity, or that they are needed to break the orphan spirit.
First, you cannot break or expel or cast out the orphan spirit. Also you cannot accomplish what needs to be accomplished against the orphan spirit by human beings pouring in affirmation of another’s identity.
We do not need more human beings acting as fathers and mothers and breaking something that cannot be broken. Further, we don’t need more slaves running around and begging others to father and mother them because they think these are the only available resources. Especially when we add that pernicious doctrine of demons we call “covering” to the mix.
Rather, you DISPLACE the orphan spirit. And only one thing can displace the orphan spirit: the Spirit of Sonship. It comes through a regular vibrant relationship with the members of the Trinity.
Second, a problem isn’t that we need better mothers and fathers. The problem is that we really are often lousy sons because we don’t account for all of the resources available to us, and we reject those resources.
We have an impoverished mindset in the Charismatic/Pentecostal/Fivefold Ministry movement that thinks we need some apostle or father over us as a spiritual parent to raise us into our identity.
And so we run to this or that pastor and beg him to father us, because we believe that the only resource we have is their time and presence.
Also, in the Charismatic movement, we have this pernicious idea that is patently unbiblical called covering that rears its ugly head as a partner to the fivefold ministry. The current model of fivefold fivefold ministry paradigm is broken because it is used as a covering or as a model for church government and oversight, something quite outside the realm of its design.
Covering is code-language for slavery, but that is the topic for another post.
The problem is that we have rejected the best resource for parenting us; We already have a perfect heavenly Father, and in him there is no deficiency, no lack of parenting resources, or integrity, or skill in raising us. Further, it is the blood of his Son that is our covering. We just reject the resources He provides because they comes in forms that we don’t want to receive, for any number of reasons.
We have no need of fathers and mothers to raise us up, especially not those who walk in a spirit of slavery, when we have one Father who is perfect and does not walk in a spirit of slavery. And most of what passes for spiritual fathers and mothers are those with a spirit of slavery.
What we need to learn to do is how to walk in a spirit of sonship to our heavenly Father a d subsequently receive from him in whatever sequence he has for us to receive, and not rush to beg someone who is actually a slave but claims to be a father or mother to fulfill that role.
One aspect of the problem is that we don’t recognize, first, the many resources we already have. Taking Stock of Available Resources is one of the markers of someone with a spirit of sonship.
Slaves or orphans are those who don’t recognize all they have, and subsequently, they think the only resource that will do is another human being’s time and presence.
If I have to beg you to father or mentor me, I am doing it wrong.
The way it works, if you really want to father, is you have to be willing to first ask the L-rd to father you, and second ask him who he has given to you in order to father.
Begging someone for the crumbs of their time is not my problem.
I have been fathered for the last 34 years by the Son of G-d, and he has not failed.to adequately raise me.
And I see the resources around me.
Further, there are people he has given me in order to help father them along to the next stage of their growth.
“No fathers or mothers raising people up into their identity”?
Hello? We already have a perfect Father. We just don’t want to receive that way, because we have been duped into thinking we don’t have enough fathers.
Is Jesus not father enough?
Speaking of resources, allow me to point you in the direction of some helpful resources for helping you progress in this journey.

When I Function As a Counselor

There is a dynamic about me that I discovered sometime ago. I was working in the life of a married couple that needed some input as to dealing with a situation that was abusive to them both.
A number of years back, this couple introduced me to their church leadership, and I immediately knew these people were spiritually abusive.
And following that meeting, I told this couple that they needed to get rid of and leave this abusive place.
I knew where it was going. They may have heard what I said, but they were not comfortable leaving. So, I decided to let the sleeping dog lie, but every time something came up involving these people, I would voice a reminder that they were off.
A couple of years after this happened, the husband heard that they needed to leave. And some dynamic of the marriage was strengthened.
And in that moment, when I had gladly heard that my concerns were valid, I knew something about myself.
When I function as a counselor in any sort of capacity especially when it comes to married couples, I have a capacity to disconnect my feelings about the friendship from the priority of preserving those marriages. If I am faced with the option of seeing a healthy marriage remain intact, even if it means giving the couple some hard counsel, and that counsel will come at the expense of my friendship with the couple, then that is a cost I am willing to pay every single time.
My interest in marriages is, when possible, to see those marriages remain intact. Whatever currency I have in friendships with members of those marriages is something I will not think twice about spending to that end.

A Brief Thought on the Sun, Moon, and Stars and Their Designed Predictability

Loren Sandford, who pastors New Song Church in Colorado Springs, made an observation some months back about eclipses and blood moons and other phenomena with which I heartily agree.  Further, his thoughts pair well as a contrast to the subject of this post: Predictability versus unpredictability.
Paraphrasing the number of posts Loren had up on the subject, when Acts 2 describes for us suns being darkened and moons being turned to blood, and when the sun was darkened during Passover when Jesus was on the cross, those events did not describe regular, cyclical, and predictable events.  Translation: when Jesus died, the sun was not eclipsed. It was darkened. For hours at a time. For us to take cyclical and predictable celestial objects and use them as markers to interpret eschatological and apoctalyptic portents and prophecies has never worked.
Granted, Genesis 1 refers to these things as signs, but they are regular, predictable, and cyclical signs, much in the same way that a clock points to hours and minutes as signs that the season, hour, or minute is changing.
When the prophecies of Joel 2 and Revelation are fulfilled, we will not wonder if this or that predictable event will be the long-awaited sign.  Those scriptures point to things that no man has ever experienced, and which no one will ever experience again once they happen. Those signs will be very unpredictable.
This leads me to the next thing I wish to say: a brief thought that is overlooked.  The sun, moon, and stars are predictable, and follow regular cyclical patterns.  The fourth day, being linked to the rest of the lists of sevens in Scripture, follows a predictable pattern, a cyclical pattern, just like the menorah in the tabernacle must follow a set pattern of predictable refilling, and just like the shield of faith must follow a set pattern of predictable use in order to be effective at quenching the regular darts of the evil one.
Predictability is inbred into the fourth of the cycle.
When the L-rd returns, one of the signs of his return is that the predictability of the celestial bodies will come loose in a show of unpredictability.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Carl Killingsworth: On Words

Carl Killingsworth is someone I deeply respect as a friend and as an occasional mentor. He has walked places that I have walked before I wakes there. We have some common friends in Missouri, and some precious memories.
I served with him on altar teams at a previous church, and, other than my wife, his example colors just about every decision I make at the altar or when working with people who are in need of healing or deliverance:
His conversations with me on the late Kenneth Hagin shaped my views on Hagin deeply. Hagin, like him or not, was very influential on those of us who stand in the Charismatic and Pentecostal Tradition.
Carl made a comment on cusswords and disparaging speech that is worth sharing, so I present it for your consideration below.

I suspect God is a lot less bothered by a cussword every now and then than He is by the parent berating a child, or a spouse berating or criticizing their partner. There is so much of that in our world, Bosses thinking that criticizing is the same as correction, Parents labeling their children as stupid, worthless, etc, or the verbal abuse that occurs in relationships. The power of words is immense, and if I bellieve the condemning critical things spoken over me and begin to affirm them with my own mouth, a spiritual stronghold is built that may never be broken. And that can be accomplished by never uttering anything near what we consider a “cuss word”
My parents did something with me, and I did so with my children, When they needed correction, Mom would say, good boys don’t to that, you are a good boy so STOP IT, and if I didn’t she would spank my butt.

All I can say is wow.

Galatians 5:12-14

Galatians 5:12-14
12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
Paul took the previous few verses before this one to talk about those Judaizers who kept the Galatians from running the race, persuading them with words not from Christ, being unholy leaven, claiming that they will be brought to account, wondering at his own persecution if circumcision fixes the problem, and saying that if that is the case and circumcision fixes the spiritual problem, then the cross’s offense has been removed.
He then shocks us with this next verse, turning a corner on his argumentation and lashing out at those who were preaching circumcision with this unsettling image. And it is understandable. Consider that Paul is a world-changer; his desire is to see people set up in a place of maturity so that there is stability. Yet, people who add to the gospel, complicate it with a list of do’s and don’t’s as prerequisites for salvation, really put us in a place where we are destabilized. If the identity or security of a believer is challenged, then all sorts of imbalance and destabilization results. Paul knows this, which is why he responds by wishing them castrated. In other words, when they circumcised themselves, they didn’t go far enough. This is the response of an Exhorter that results when someone messes with disciples that he planted. Flamboyant, over-the-top language.
Considering that Paul has a lot of maturity at this time, this lash-out arises out of a fierce mentality that is protective of those for whom the apostle feels personally responsible. And with the heart of the gospel, the sufficiency of Christ, at stake, I doubt that anyone else in Paul’s position would feel differently
Walter Hansen writes:
“…False teachers emphasize sensational rituals. Verse 12 sounds terribly harsh and crude, but we must interpret it in its historical and cultural context. It would have indeed been a sensational ceremony if all the male members of the Galatian churches had been circumcised by the false teachers. But then, Paul says, somewhat sarcastically, if [the false teachers] really want to put on a sensational show, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! {Paul] is probably referring here to a barbaric ritual that actually took place in his day in Galatian pagan temples”, where priests of Cybele castrated themselves with pincers and placed their testicles in a box.
Consider the following. Even though Paul was circumcised, and had taken Timothy and circumcised him, he who carried the circumcision knew that it wasn’t of any value at all, as far as salvation goes or standing before G-d.

It is not a ritual that adds to our righteousness. Rather, walking in the principles of Scripture, loving G-d and loving people is what counts, and expressing our faith through acts of love (Galatians 5:6, is the point).
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Again, see Galatians 5:6. Additionally, see Galatians 5:1. Paul repeats the motif of liberation, and then applies it to be used for acts of service that flow out of love. Our freedom is for the purpose of setting others free, and for expressing the affection that Christ has for us by showing that love to others.
Circumcision was the preceding stumbling-block that messed up the Galatian churches. What will follow as we proceed through this chapter is a list of other things that provide more stumbling-blocks.
Because we have been given freedom, and freedom is one of many gifts of G-d, like every other gift that he gives us, this gift serves a purpose.

Circumcision does not free us. Christ’s salvation, which is a free gift, is what frees us. And we are permitted to become saved, go to heaven, and never do a thing to positively impact that kingdom. But even in light of that, there is still a problem. Let me explain.
There are a lot of Christians that think it is their right to sit in a pew and do nothing for anyone once they are saved. And you can do nothing if you want.
The problem is, that does not advance the kingdom. It does not help the Lord when we do nothing. There are other people that need the hope that we now have. And if we do not act, they may never know that hope, and they die in their sin and go to hell, and we could have pulled them to safety.
Gifts aren’t just given in order to be used. Gifts are designed to be used. The bike that you got for Christmas, or that drawing pad and pencils, were meant to be used. Bikes are to be ridden to teach us balance, and pads and pencils are meant to be used to teach us how to catch some of the finer details in life so that we are able to understand and have an eye for the beautiful. If G-d gives you a gift, and you hoard it to yourself, then you may have eternal life, but that is not to say that there will not be discipline or consequences for failing to use the gift you have been give.
Likewise, freedom is a gift. What are you going to use that gift for? What could the Father ask you to use that gift for? He might call you to ministry. He might call you to business, which is just another form of ministry. He might call you to work with land and the ecology for conservation. He might call you to raise a large family.
I have a friend, we’ll call her Ethel. A number of years back, she gave birth a few times and after the youngest of the children she chose to tie off her Fallopian Tubes, which connect the ovaries to the uterus in a woman, without consulting the Lord. Now, Ethel had the freedom to do so, so she did so.
Years later, she was talking to the Lord about some things that involved her children, and the Lord interrupted their conversation with the words “I never told you to get your tubes tied”. She was blown away, repented, and recognized that that was part of her legacy, to have a larger family. Now, G-d never untied the tubes or made it so Ethel could have more children, but she has since learned the importance of talking to the Lord in every situation, and how to better use the freedom given to her by Jesus.
I would counsel you and exhort you, brethren, to not use your freedom to just satisfy whatever your desires are, but to ask G-d and start having conversations with him about the freedom he has given you, and to not just discuss the freedom he has given to you, but also to discuss with him all of the resources he has placed into your hand. For the Father has given us each a large number of unique tools that can each be maximized for the advancement of the kingdom.
Do not leave any money on the table. Drive that car or that motorcycle not until you get bored of it, but until the wheels fall off, because you have been given only one to drive. Use it and utilize it wisely.

14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The second-most important verse in all of Scripture, deals with the spiritual interactions between humans. This deynamic of love is not just a physical or and emotional response. Love, and specifically the unconditional love of G-d, is housed in our spirits. The agape love of Christ, the love that cause Jesus to die for us on the cross, came not from an emotional choice, for, if you will recall in Luke 22:42-44, Jesus’ emotions were against going to the cross. His soul and body were not relishing the idea of suffering. He, with his emotions, said “’Father if you are willing remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in AGONY he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Those were the state of Jesus’ emotions, being against this whole idea. But his spirit came to the front and dominated, and because of the intense self-sacrificing love that flowed from deep within his inner being, deeper than his soul and emotions, he followed through, and died for us.
This is why we fulfill the law when we love our neighbors. It is because that love flows from our depths to nourish those whom we are loving.
And who is our neighbor?
The hated Samaritan. The Republican. The Democrat. Whomever it is that you most despise. The person that will challenge that deeply-held unspiritual belief that you have in the dark places of your heart. For the black southerner, it might be the white southerner. For the southerner, it might be the northern snowbird that overpopulates your highways and can’t drive properly in December, but pushes your every laid-back southern sentiment of proper driving.
For you Red Sox fans, it might be that gloating Yankee fan. :).

The bottom line is , you never know whom G-d might put in your path in order to force you to walk in love. And yes, he does have a habit of forcing the issue.

From the Desk of Eric Hatch: Respect Those Who Are Elected to Serve, Disagree With Their Policies, But DO NOT Waste Your Authority Reviling Them

I have a tremendous respect for Erich Hatch.  I met him while I was in seminary.
I surmise that he has a strong dynamic of Teacher, by Redemptive Gift. And he is such a treasure.
We are partners in going through Ezekiel. Currently we are in the process of reading straight through the entire account. Chapter 13 so far.
I will share some of our study time in another post, when I am not on the brink of bedtime.  But now, I have to share some of our conversation following our Ezekiel Deep Dive in which we engage a thorough conversation on the subject on how we treat those who are elected to serve in public office.
The First is his tweet from @hatchevent

Politics’ harsh tone these (enter # <6,000) years displays all govts.’ flaw: hallow people leading…hallow people. Our flaw isn’t absolute power. #Jesus, the One & Only who had it, was fully humble & replaces our death w/ His life. (Philippians 2:1-16) #Humble #ServantLeadership

The second, a series of notes from our from our Skype Call:
You hear that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely (said John Dalberg-Acton), but that really isn’t the case. It is not power that corrupts, but sin and the sin nature that corrupts.
Calling out our elected officials for the wrong they do is one thing. Correcting them is one thing.
However, attacking their humanity is completely different.  Saying asinine things like,”[people of this political persuasion] should stop breeding”, “shame on them”, and blah blah blah.
Mind you, that comment about “these people are still breeding” was uttered by a pretty prominent figure in Christianity.
QUIT WASTING YOUR AUTHORITY, YOUR TIME, YOUR SPACE, AND YOUR DAYS!!!!
From Eric’s desk: “We do not have an unlimited number of days, nor do we have an unlimited sea of opportunities.  We do have grace that can wash over all of our sins.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t planted seeds in the ground” for better or worse”, that at some point could sprout.”
“The reality that there is a past, [seeds planted] that will come back to either haunt or bless us.  Christians use a significant amount of grace and resources and power on things that are useless. I am not talking about happy, good, restful activity.”
“There is nothing wrong or right about going to a College football game on Saturday using our discretionary time.”
“But at the core, what we have got to understand is, ‘are we building something appropriate with our lives?'”
“If they are corrupt at 1% of their lives we need to call them out on it.”
“But wasting our resources on curses, disrespect, power plays, on letting our attitude show up and it is a bad attitude.”
“We do not have the time to focus our attention on exactly what G-d has told us not to do.”
“If we don’t attack the root, which is corruption in our hearts, and demonic activity, we are missing the point.”
Ed Silvoso, the Exhorter, said, “If your enemy has a driver’s license and a Social Security Number, you have the wrong enemy.”
You have got to stop fighting spiritual battles with soulish and natural weapons.

Birkenstock, A Servant Company? Perhaps…

topaz-1-1
Many of you who know me, know that I waver between boringly predictable, and breathlessly unpredictable.
And then I have a great love to peel apart complex systems and research deeply and methodically. This post that follows, while not the most meticulously-researched, does hold a special place for me, because many of the things that follow remind me of qualities that I find in my wife.
The Redemptive Gifts of Romans 12:6-8, seem to find reflection in all that is. In people, in cities, in land, and in businesses. Every entity has a flavor that manifests, and many if not all of these seem to resemble the sense or aroma of one of these Seven Gifts.
It is my intent in the above paragraphs to give food for thought and not make a didactic pronouncement for the sake of my more cautious and methodical readers who may treat stronger language as a turn-off.
While perusing Facebook, I came across a comment from Bryan Trapp in response to my distinct love for Birkenstock sandals that resonated well with me. The comment related that the DNA of Birkenstock’s culture as a business most readily mirrors someone with the Redemptive Gift of Servant.
Now, I knew nothing about Birkenstock’s history until tonight when I did a little researching.
Here are some quotes from the Wikipedia article:

“The Birkenstock brand traces its roots to Johann Adam Birkenstock, registered in 1774 as a “vassal and shoemaker” in local church archives in the small Hessian village of Langen-Bergheim. In 1896, Johann’s great-great-grandson Konrad Birkenstock developed the first contoured insole for use by shoemakers in the production of custom footwear. Also in the year 1896 Karl opened two shoe stores in Frankfurt, Germany where he continued to make and sell his insoles.
1902 saw the development of the first flexible arch-support for insertion into factory-made shoes; and in 1964, Karl Birkenstock developed these inserts into a shoe — thus producing the original prototype of the Birkenstock sandal. In 1925 Konrad Birkenstock expanded the company by buying a large factory in Friedberg, Hesse. After World War II (1939-1945) the Birkenstock sandal was popular among returning soldiers because of the orthopedic support. Starting in 1963 and continuing into 1964 Karl Birkenstock released his first athletic sandal with a flexible footbed called, Madrid. It soon became an icon especially among gymnasts.
In 1966 Birkenstocks were introduced in the United States, as well as elsewhere. American, Margot Fraser “discovered” Birkenstock sandals while visiting a spa in Germany. She gained relief from a foot condition, and founded a trading company called Birkenstock Footprint Sandals, Inc., in Novato, California, based on her enthusiasm for the sandals

List of observations:
-The founder was a vassal, one who pledged loyalty to a lord in Europe. A servant.
-Langen-Bergheim was located in the German State of Hesse. Hesse is notable for contributing Hessians to fight for the English in the American Revolution. These soldiers, known for their strong military performance, were distrusted by the English who forced them to fight, treated with contempt by the Americans against whom they fought.
-Birkestock furthered their influence in the Hessian region by building a factory in that same region.
-Footwear, as a general rule, provides comfort for the feet, similar to the way Servants help others by providing a place of comfort and rest.
-Birkenstock gained recognition in the United States because the American founder of the US variant of Birkenstock gains relief from a foot condition.
-They were popular among soldiers returning from World War II because of the orthopedic support.
Also, consider the following observations, courtesy of Mr. Trapp:
-They are quite plain, shunning fashion.
-They are worn often by people who look for a simpler no-frills form of footwear.
-They are not really a fashion statement.
-They are often worn by those who are on a spiritual journey or a quest of purification.
All of these qualities are quite typical of servants, who love purity, enjoy simplified living, provide comfort, help relieve those who are hurting, are quite adept at dealing with prickly people, and provide a critical resource or relief without standing out. My bride is all of the above. And, it seems, this company manifests many of the best of those qualities.
What are your thoughts?