The insecure security of resources and safety

I’m often confused by Christians who use the apparent threat of resources, safety, and security as a reason/platform for saying NO to things, especially issues for people and community. This fear is natural, but powerfully played by the enemy to stop us in our tracks so we remain in neutral, moved by the winds of life instead of the power of God.

Our communities, co-workers, and all of humanity need the resources of God’s kingdom to be activated, that means we need to be there looking for the solutions, not just saying no out of fear or lack of understanding the full picture. From personal relationships, local issues, all the way to national and worldwide problems; in Christ we can cooperate with the world to engage where resources, safety, and security are needed, rather than trying to protect just our own. We all have a mission, and we all share the same resources, which we have been given to take care.

We are not promised these things, in fact we are encouraged to risk them for people and our communities. The enemy plays the game well, using the lack of resources to strangle life, or the abundance to create apathy and false security. We have the power of God, the wisdom of God, and the commission to make disciples. He is the great caretaker and provider, and he asks us to go into the harvest, where often our resources, safety, and security will be threatened. However, He will take care of it all to expand His Kingdom, where these things are not in short supply.

Being interdependent on our brothers and sisters goes against the grain of our western independent mindset, yet this is the template shown to us by the early Church, and for good reason. Fellowship creates trust, resources, and faith. It can also be scary, hurtful, and messed up – but this is why Paul showed the example of holding people accountable, calling out the issues in their church communities, and calling them to cling to what is good and right, to adjust course and not abandon ship.

Let God fill your sails with bravery and courage in all things, engage the fear with the wisdom and love for all humanity that God has, letting him begin where you end. Which in my experience, means letting Him begin at just about the beginning.

It’s a journey, often with fear and lack of knowing all the details, but the rewards are unfathomable faith in situations that most would just give up on, and peace in times of great upheaval.

His Kingdom is near and far

Something that is not often discussed is the fact that people in God’s Kingdom are held to a different standard, order of operations, and transparency; while those who are yet to surrender to Jesus as King, are not held to the same. This is immensely important to understand the natural culture and societies we find ourselves in. Within the Kingdom we must mutually encourage one-another, hold ourselves accountable to others, and be transparent about our struggles.
It seems that our (at least from my American perspective) christian sub-culture tries to apply these values universally to all, to somehow affect culture without inviting people to know the King first. We’ve turned the Church into a club, when really Jesus “lived out Church” with the disciples and shows us the Church is for fellowship and gathering as a result of being salt and light in our communities.
Kingdom citizens have zero reason to expect anything of Kingdom values from non-citizens. The only way to address non-citizens is with compassion, an offer of friendship, authentically share our lives, which leads to why surrendering to Jesus is life changing. Ultimately it is about everlasting life, with the Father or not, and for here and now, it’s about the supernatural, the ability to do more than this broken nature allows.
Many struggle with the bad things in this world, with the horrific stories in the Bible, and with the horrific history where God didn’t seemingly intervene. Friends, this is the natural-state of our world, the one where we do not fight against flesh and blood, but can not see the true battle until we know the King. What we as Kingdom citizens know, is that with God we have supernatural abilities that point to the true creation that God originally intended and which still exists behind the veil.
Remember his Kingdom is near (we who have surrendered to Jesus) and far (not yet here for all).
Have hope, this is not the end, it is only the beginning. 10,000 reasons and more to come.

The Leviathan, blessings, relying on God, and forgiveness.

Job 41 &42, and 2 Corinthians 1 & 2

Weather the Leviathan (described in Job 41) represents an actual animal, or is a metaphysical allegory (I bet it is both in some way), I continue to face my own personal leviathan(s) and take much comfort from God’s response to Job in chapter 42. The way in which God redeems Job’s friends by accepting Job’s prayers, and then also restoring Job’s fortunes because he prayed for his friends, shows God’s heart, how He values relationships, and that He loves to have people restored, to Him and between each other. Simply, and complexly beautiful.

Fast forward to Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians in chapters 1 & 2, and we are hit dead on with a similar theme. Paul and his team have recently gone through tremendous troubles, even risking their lives, making the strong point that relying on God is the ultimate source of comfort and direction, not to mention rescuing them for the bigger message and mission. Additionally, Paul urges the Corinthians to hold strong through their struggle, confronting them to make amends with the man who hurt them, that now is the time to “forgive and comfort him” and he urges them “to reaffirm your love for him”.

In the natural world, both of these situations would not turn out as they did. People don’t let the ones that hurt them come back, nor do they love them more than the original pain or hurt. It is through God, and now through His ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, that we can live free and love more than humanly possible.

Father God, help me depend on you in the face of my giants and beasts, help me depend on your in the face of natural human thoughts and ideas, help me ultimately live out your will and not my own. May the rawness of reality, and the tragedy of my past be always the reminder of your amazing grace and love in my life and motivate me to live for you in full. May I see and hear you with every interaction, without judgement and without expectation.

Walking with you…

Tweets for the past week

  • Self discipline is the key to this life. Patience, peace, love, & dreams are all made of it, & it gives strength to survive through tragedy. #
  • It seems objectivity is a fine art not practiced by the general population at large… at least not in public, where it's needed. #
  • Good morning! #NoFilter #Gresham #PDX #
  • Super annoying when you miss your normal train and the next one just vanishes…. #TriMet #

Tweets for the past week

  • PDX is leading the way with returning our streets to moving people, not just cars: #
  • If micro-apartments had been around when I was single, I would've lived in one! #
  • Do you bike, ride transit, walk, or skate in PDX? Portland transport is looking to app-ize their magazine — #
  • Avoid the poison of pessimistic attitudes! #youcandoit #

Tweets for the past week

  • Yikes! Forgot laptop charger at home, anyone in #SEA have a Lenovo X series AC adapter? Or Anyone in #PDX coming to #SEA by Monday? #
  • Nothing quite like the Kirkland waterfront @ Kirkland Marina Park #
  • Emma making wishes 🙂 @ Downtown Kirkland #
  • WATER for the imagination. @ Downtown Kirkland #
  • Alexis enjoying a smoke shop :/ I tried to warn her! @ Smokin Hot Smoke Shop #
  • It's July 21st! People here are still setting off fireworks! Sounds like a war zone, this must be what it's like in some places. #LikeWar #

Tweets for the past week

What is a “live” neighborhood? Can the Church revitalize our neighborhoods?

Here’s something that maybe Christians could lead the way in, revitalize our towns, our neighborhoods, and bring a sense of community back to our lives. Markets have survived for centuries in other places, and we all love Pike Place, Portland Saturday Market, Fisherman’s Wharf and the neighborhood markets which have begun to find their way back into other communities.

Go, read this article or at least glance at it.

Make sense? Not the entrepreneurial type? Don’t worry, we can all be excited for this!

For this of us here in the Portland area we’ve visited and love the food carts, well this idea is far more than just food carts.  It would require changes in city codes, allowing for businesses to spring up and move around. Little stores where people can buy and sell things, literally niche stores.

Now, imagine these little stores distributed throughout our neighborhoods but backed by the Church, giving people work, and at the same time being an outreach to our communities through real tangible service. This could be a great way to activate our boring spaces and energize our neighborhoods with a neighborly feeling of “local store” again.  It’s a little far-fetched, and definitely out of the box as far as the Church is concerned.

In our travels there are small little shops like this all over European cities and towns over time people come to know each other and create relationships, your local shop keeper becomes in a sense part of your community. It’s in these kinds of linking conduits that we can make connections that eventually become meaningful and thus open the doors to sharing the Gospel. Getting out in our communities is what the Church is always “told” to do – but honestly I don’t see it happening… probably because we have no reason… generally our communities in America are pretty boring (outside some city centers).  If we had actual things to do, places to be, and people to see in our neighborhoods, we might, just might actually connect and begin making some differences.