Looking for Lydia this year!

Finding the Lydias in your life this year…

Recall that Lydia was the first woman in Europe to turn towards the message of St Paul. She was evidently already a convert to Judaism, but now turned even further in her conversion towards what Paul talking about. She was wealthy and had networks.

Felt like this year, some of us would meet Lydia’s in our lives—people of high impact who can cover some of our own needs as well as others, and network us into larger movements of God. Look for the Lydia’s in your life this year. 

Women and men of high impact already who have favor in their domains, but who will offer those networks to God for new works! Just something I saw in da Spirit the other day while studying the beginning of the gospel coming to Europe! 

This was a bit outside of Phillipi (Paul had come to a “new edge” in his ministry and life, which happened to be Europe, and a whole new harvest field which would impact history mightily!), and Paul couldn’t find a synagogue for Sabbath, so goes to a river, there he meets Lydia, who must’ve heard about him, and presumably also wanted to celebrate Sabbath or talk to this roaming Jewish teacher! So a person of Peace, and like the Samaritan woman, open to newer levels of Truth. 

She believes and is baptized that day, in that river, and turns and starts blessing others. She ends up helping out in St Paul’s ministry for several seasons as well. Good to have a wealthy Jewish woman on your side! 

I think this year, many of us will be introduced to such seeking high impact people, who will turn immediately and become aids to His Movements, and bless us in our own journeys. That’s exciting. Keep your eyes open for them. They often wear purple evidently or at least dye purple fabrics:)! 

My journey in and with the prophetic parts of Him!

Someone asked me about my experiences in the prophetic this week, so here are a few raw thoughts on my experience of knowing Christ as priest and prophet. It’s fun for me reflecting on my prophetic journey, as those gifts are once again stirring strongly this season! 

I grew up in a prophetic area, where many would hear fresh words from God, and try to express them. So it wasn’t strange to me that God talked to us all the time. Plus, I like to talk and hear Him all the time! I did not grow up charismatic, but did grow up near many people who had rich prayer lives, which I think is the foundation of the prophetic. 

Later I met lots of prophets and prophetic leaders (some from Africa and Europe) who stirred up that gift in me. For me it was very natural, as I love being very close to God, and then telling everyone what He said! That is probably my core spirituality. I also have always had dreams and visions since i was a little kid. And have been able to see angels, demons etc. That was pretty normal for me. My family was a ministry family, and we had a culture of service and serving others. But, I wasn’t always sure why I saw so much, and could discern spirits etc. It wasn’t until later that I found a useful context for my gifts. Yet, even when young, my folks would ask me to pray over land, or for a person and share what I saw. So that gift was encouraged. I’m blessed by that, so it could develop naturally. I think i was first filled with The Holy Spirit, at least experientially when I was 17. Then when I went into full time ministry, I was more fully baptized in the Spirit–or more like paralyzed for a few days (that’s another story!)

When I was training spiritually, i used to go onto the harvard (harvest) campus, as I was living in Cambridge, Mass. God would show me firstly all the Jews who were in the quad. He knows I have a heart for my Jewish friends! Then others. He would whisper a word, to which ones He wanted me to talk to, and then give me a little something for each. I would go talk to them, and usually it went right in, sometimes through tears. It always impressed me, that He cared so deeply for every person, and had such articulate little blessings for them. Later, i started doing it for cities. To me it’s part of our relationship-to hear Him for others, and then try to express it in His Heart’s Tone. I try to get the word, then get His emotions and tone for that person, so I can communicate it more in His Way. To plant the seed in Wisdom and His Timing. 

Other times, He will give me a word, and say, don’t give it yet. I’ve had that experience in lots of churches. That group wasn’t ready for that word. Those experiences are always hard, because I will feel like God is saying this, but they are not ready for it yet. So I pray for them in that area usually. The fact is, God has thousands of thoughts for each of us daily, but we aren’t always open to them, or maybe we are just distracted by the things and stuff of life. He will wait, but we are smart to turn and listen to what His Heart is communicating to ours. 

I have lots of God stories through the years: one’s of talking a suicidal man off a bridge in Paris, of meeting many celebrities and being able to offer His words and heart to them, and helpful tools. I’ve had other times where i was directed to fly to a certain nation to bear witness to events He wanted me to see. That happened at 911. I was told to fly in using specific airlines and airports, and ended up at 911, having rented my car in Boston–the other airport; and driven into NYC and was on the George Washington bridge when the buildings fell. I saw many things in the Spirit that day, to say the least, and that event is still inside me. 

To me the prophetic is part of my wonder and friendship with God. I love that He takes to time to communicate and care for people in specific ways each season of their lives. And that He cares for whole cities in that way. To me the prophetic is normal Christianity, not exclusive to one part of the Body of Christ. He likes to communicate to all His People! God is not denominational, though He uses them each uniquely, i think. Culturally, I find certain denominations easier to relate to than others. But each has it’s unique highlights! 

Over a year, once, i had a dream series, of where He was with and in each denomination. Great dream series! I could see where He was most manifest and moving with Catholics (saw an opening in the 70’s etc), Presbyterians (holders of history and some social justice aspects etc), Charismatics (youth and worship), Baptist (family life and teaching the word well), Anglican etc. I was taken around the Body and shown where He could “show up” and some of the blocks on each, including Pentecostalism (the five fold ministries and stirring of the spiritual gifts etc). Great instructive dream series, and actually made me love the whole Body even more!!! I do love what He loves, and He does, as it turns out love His Church!!! Sometimes, we forget that. 

At times, I have been given specific details about a person’s life in order to help them out of a block or situation. Personal prophetic ministry is probably the funnest for me. Yet, in prayer, i am also often shown whole regions, and can see the general health of her church, or of His People. Which watchtowers are vacant for instance. And how to pray over that area’s rivers or landscape with Him. The priestly and prophetic are in close collusion in God. They work in tandem! I think they also do in us, as we sit with Him as Priest and Prophet. I love being in that space with Christ! And going back down the mountain in The Holy Spirit to articulate what I saw. 
I had a vision once of me sitting on the Father’s lap, and Him giving me little scrolls, and then asking me to run down the hill (mountain really) and deliver the words on the scrolls. He took great fatherly pleasure in watching how I would run and deliver the words. He collaborated with me as I did. The artistic communication part was my favorite, and He knew He made me that way. And takes such pleasure as I deliver the little words He gives me. That to me is the prophetic. For me, it is integrated into my personal relationship with Him, or our friendship. 

I love hearing Him, and then communicating what I hear to others. That is still my central passion in life. Receiving from intimacy and friendship, and then expressing creatively and authentically, what He heard or saw from Him! 

I like to communicate what He shows me, in an authentic way. That seems to be His method through me, as He has highlighted authentic identity in and through my life. I like to just be myself as I deliver the word. I think that may be my generation’s gift of authenticity. We like things to be real or not phony. I have not really had a choice, as I’ve never not been able to be myself. 

When I was younger, i was worried more about getting the word “perfect” or right, as I do struggle with performance orientation or perfectionism in general. As I’ve gotten older though, i just try my best to listen well and express well, and trust the Holy Spirit to plant the seeds. I like growing in the prophetic still. 

I do think calling flows from identity. So He knew Jeremiah in the womb, therefore He called Him to be a prophet to the nations. Identity precedes calling. But, the two also usually match one another! What we do with Him, comes from who we are with and in Him. That’s been my experience anyways. 

Midrash on the Psalms

Reading the Psalms again today (little midrashing for you today!), as I often do, as they seem like the center (and therefore centering parts of the Book) and most honest, or at least human-direct raw parts of the book….i like reading the painful ones the most! The, life sucks, and yet parts….

I love the parts of any song where the rawness of the author meets, and comes in friction with the naked Love from Above! That’s the gospel to me–where our felt abandonment meets His Belovedness spoken over us. The embarrassment of being loved–that’s our place of hearing our names. In clear view, you!!!!

We are those meant to get raw to know! I’m abandoned and loved. Put those in the same room, and you’ll have your gospel wallpaper. 

Why am I forsaken, abandoned left alone, is still the first question. Why did no one cover me? Why was I forsaken abused not seen, neglected, and yet… I feel thrust out into nothing, and yet….why am I loved still. That’s the basic meditation of the song. Jesus embodied that human existential experience, and over came it by dialoguing at the last minute. Plus, He interpreted that passage for His Jewish friends! This is what that passage looks like incarnated or embodied. He always did that. Taking the Torah truths and ingesting them into physical spiritual symbols! How to live the Law, or embody it.

The prophetic imagination scraping and wrestling with Reality. Things are terrible and yet, somehow Love breaks through into and exactly where my most pain is. How is that? Ok, You are still there. I’m loved despite…

Psalm 22 teaches us if nothing else—we are allowed to complain and lament our way into communion.
It’s never about denial of pain, but rather saying the “and yet”, the and still I will praise, i will choose to trust, even while in pain! That was certainly David’s spirituality, but since Jesus quoted it on the Cross, it’s suggested it should also be ours. 

The “and yet” i will praise Him part is the key.
My life sucks, and yet…i am being falsely accused, and yet. I’m a worm, and yet. I’m being destroyed and misunderstood, falsely accused and yet…suffering is the birthplace of trust. Don’t waste your trials, as they say. 

This is why Jesus quoted this passage on the Cross. He was the question. He embodied it! And the way to answer it, as always. 

He was as always embodying the teaching of how to suffer into formation, to suffer with and towards wholeness for all! That’s the blues, and that’s the gospel. The implied “and yet” as we suffer is the right inner orientation. 

Suffering is a way to know, if we stay with Him in it. That is the One intimately acquainted with all our particular griefs. Every situation, is a potential tabernacle as my mentor put it. Finding Joy in our unique sufferings, seems like the Way to me. Nice Winter mediation today, at least.

Get raw and naked, transparently emotionally and vulnerable to know God is at least one message emitted from this Psalm! God tends to lean towards and into our suffering! Nice little holiday message your way today, anyway.Like

A counselor’s confession

Confessions of a discerner….( excerpt from an article I’m working on about how to appreciate your gifts and be challenged by them towards growth simultaneously!)

I have the gift of discernment, as many counselors do, and in-sight into other’s hearts (both their triumphs and their blocks). Sometimes it’s annoying. I get insights into people and situations which I don’t always want to know or see. Still, it can be helpful in counseling or just helping people out. Those are good days.

Still, it’s hard to know for instance that a person you are with is depressed, suicidal or struggling from loneliness, regardless of their persona or veneer outwardly. Still, i’m glad i have this gift, and am thankful especially when it helps another person make it through their day, or the stress of holidays! Yet, at times it’s like watching too many movies at once.

Sometimes i feel like Run Lola Run in that scene where the main character is jogging, and “reads the inner mail” of each person she passes. A bit overwhelming to get so much raw data constantly, and yet…I’m thankful for the gifts I carry nonetheless. Hopefully they are at times, helpful to others.

Often I will ask: what am i to do with this info? Pray, intervene, encourage, or just hold these things in my heart like Mary did? Regardless, discernment becomes part of your daily practical spirituality if you have it. It let’s you tune into everything in a room, which of course, is annoying at times to my wife.

I try to turn off my radar to tune into her when we are out and about. And yet, it’s always there on some level, ready for action. It’s an interesting gift to learn to use well—that is in Love. Still, I’m thankful for it even when i know too much about my neighbors at times. And you don’t really get paid for the gift of discernment! At least not in money! Yet, it does keep you very other focused. And grows your empathy, which is sort of what any art is supposed to do.

I’ve been learning to have daily releases into “His burden is light” place/space as well. Sort of discernment baths, to wash off anything i saw which was traumatizing. That also becomes part of the practice of discernment. Cleaning your eyes at the end of each day, and refocusing on the Great Seer of all human hearts. At least, that’s what I do. Re-fix my gaze to gain understanding, like old Daniel practices. Who also wrote down his dreams! Anyways, just some confessions of a discerner for ya today! Some of you may relate.

Dealing with abuse patterns for us all! The We, too….

We too….

Want to say sorry to all my friends who were abused on whatever level! And am in deep prayer for us all!

As a man, i fight this way on earth with all my strength, and more of His. Jesus was acquainted with ALL our griefs, nearly beaten to death himself, mocked and ridiculed on every level, humiliated; and from my own journey, I can meet you in that particular pain.

So sorry the worst of our nature acted out on you all dear friends. Most of my friends have been abused (i would say at least 80% of artists, and many in ministry were abused on multiple levels in life), so I am not surprised so many were.

I try to make even my eyes towards women and men, not take from or abuse them in any way, but honor their inner dignity. To proactively honor one another’s inner dignity is a displacement of this spirit of abuse, and taking from one another for our own needs. Abuse is basically extreme selfishness, and doesn’t honor identity itself!

I was also sexually abused at age 9 and again at 15, so have had to learn the healing journey in this area. In fact I rarely meet someone especially in counseling who wasn’t abused on some level. I think we can come to see even our abusers in love, once we’ve healed. I’ve experienced that. But the first stage is getting it out into the Light!

When I was hit repeatedly and mugged by a young Puerto Rican kid years later, i had to go through another long process of forgiveness and healing, so that i didn’t hate all puerto rican kids—what a dumb thing to write off one of the coolest must life giving peoples on earth.

I’m glad i did the healing work, now some of my best friends are from there. I think we have to do the same with whatever group we were hurt by—we can’t hate all men or women, or races. We need to find the healing to love them even more instead. That’s the way of Jesus, at least.

He ended up forgiving those who were even killing Him, that was of course one of his last dying prayers. Father forgive them, for they really don’t know what they are doing. That has to end up, after dealing with the hurt, anger and pain, of our way as well. Partly, as Bono said, so that we don’t become the monster we are fighting!

To forgive and plant new life in that violated area is where healing starts. It has actually made me purer and stronger in that area of my life, and able to enter deeply into the pain of others in care, safety and love.

I’m thankful in that sense for what happened to me when young, though it was a violation of my youth and identity, and an attack on my own purity. But I’ve been aware of it since I was very young, so this does not surprise me, what many are finally sharing now. It’s unfortunately common, not just among women, but men as well. This is not new news!

Many of the ministers and artists i counsel were abused multiple times on many levels. It happens to men and women, and of all races and nations. It’s not gender specific, or race specific even. It’s human specific!

The sin nature is not isolated to one group. But neither is the healing available-thank God! The one who made our dignity and identity was there, knows all about it, and is willing to help you grieve through it, if you want to heal, and not grow bitter and projective! I assure you that much.

Thanks for sharing your stories this week friends. Bringing things into the Light, ushers in collective healing, which is my prayer for us all!

The resulting sins we do, once abused, or even our mindsets towards others, also have to be confessed. So we can see again more accurately with a pre-abuse interpretation of other people. Or a post abuse view, with Love miraculously back in our hearts again, and a willingness to trust again. I’ve learned to love those most like my abusers!

That is Grace, and an imparted vision! But of course, owning, anger into grief and healing always come first. You can’t heal if you are in denial. So, it seems like some are starting the process in our times! Great and praise God, who wants to heal, and is truly intimate with all our particular abuses! Bruised for our healing, specifically. And can come in a sooth our wounds. I know, i’ve experienced it! It’s actually real.

If our bodies were violated, He will incarnate there! And let you know safety again in self, and even give you the ability to give outwardly again. In that safe Love space. He is a healer of souls as well as spirits and bodies. He can teach us boundaries and freedom again. Freedom to live outside of fear of abusive other. He is the non-Abusive Other! And brings healing and Peace on His Wings! I’ve known it in my own body, heart and soul. It’s actually true.

Still, our orientation towards others who are like those who abused us, has to become Love. We can’t fear and hate all women, men, black people or whoever abused you. Other nations included. We have to come to a place, where we no longer live in fear of other, and instead, are whole and can even serve them. This is part of what Jesus meant in loving our personal enemies. It wasn’t an ideal, it was a possibility of the heart, He was offering.

Otherwise, we write off over half of humanity, which isn’t an option if you believe that God is Love. So I’ve had to learn to love and trust again, and treat people as the poetry we each really are.

That’s a journey, and maybe this is the start of that journey for many people this week. I hope so. Healing is real and possible. Your greatest area of abuse can become your ministry in life! The area where you shine forth God’s love the brightest! I’ve experienced it! That place where you minister the Life He has formed in that area where you were most hurt, becomes the thing you needed most in that moment. Let’s let Him in there friends! Thanks again for sharing your stories, hurts and hopes friends!

Also, as certain nations have been more abused than others historically, would love to hear more of their stories of healing. It’s not just personal, it’s also collective. If a place has been raped multiple times, as many nation’s have, and have come through some healing, you have something to say and teach us about healing in time. Curious about those voices in this current dialogue.

It’s not just a woman man issue (and we need to be very careful here, since this particular trigger came from a man, not to dualize this issue! Or racialize it, it is a human problem of the heart in the end), as we must know by now. My “abusers” were women, as well as men.

The first was a baby sitter who forced me to take my clothes off for her own pleasure, and it got worse. But I’m not going into my own story here, just saying this is unfortunately the new normal, so time to learn what healing really means! This is the case for many! Abuse comes in all packages as they say, but carries the same violation spirit. Good to judge it by the spirit!
And from different races as well.

We need to see the heart issue here. It’s a sin nature problem with demonic and systematic re-inforcement of course, as all abuse moves in. You can’t melt people in furnaces, if you are not moving in a dark force, and your personal hatreds and wounds aren’t attached to another enforcing power. But we can clear out what in us would want to murder! These are heart issues!

Jesus taught us even to lust in our heart, was a sin. He was dealing with roots, before actions! That’s how we have to deal with it also.

Since this abuse discourse is coming up, it feels like an opportunity for healing and good teaching from those who have come through it, and aren’t living in hatred and fear. Looking forward to the rest of the story on this one! And an open dialogue, glad people are finally considering it! I’ve been considering it as long as I can remember!

As a minister and artist, i know few of my friends who have not been physically and or sexually abused, not just harassed or assaulted, but physically abused—there are levels of abuse, but it’s always the same selfish heart. Take what I need, in my way.
It’s very common now. I usually assume it, when counseling, especially with artist or those in ministry.

As a minister’s son, i just assume that is aimed beforehand! Comes with the territory as they say! And I’ve worked with many sons and daughters of ministry who were hardcore abused. I almost assume it when i meet one now.
And try to help the other person get out of denial and into real healing!

Unfortunately abuse is the norm not the exception in our times! So it has to become part of spiritualities! This has seemed obvious to me for many years, but now appears to becoming apparent to more people. Good news, that! Now, let’s get to the real healing games!

Good that it is coming into the light, as it has to to let the Light of healing in! So, we too! And as one of my favorite poets put it: we all have abused and have been abused, but few have learned Love well. Let’s! It’s a human heart issue at the end of the day, i pray we move towards healing together as we share our stories!

There are many who have been laboring in these healing fields for many years, let’s listen to them now. As we care for one another in these particular pains, we are collectively going through! Wisdom is waiting now in this area, let’s seek it out, and grow together friends! And again, thanks for being bold enough to start the new chapter in the endless story!

More on this soon. But feeling the collective heart of my family stirring awake through this issue, which is much deeper than social media. It is a matter and opportunity of the human heart to grow into itself. With, in prayer, my many friends who are just beginning the grieving process in this area. There really is hope friends! Thanks for taking the first step towards HIM!

The way of the prophetic…

Reading about the “way of prophets” today..reading about their ways from a Jewish and Christian perspective, but as a way on earth in Him as well…combining some quotes and insights here:

Nice insight about the way of the prophets, I came across today anyway…

“The great thing about prophets is that they just don’t care what you think of them—like King David dancing naked before the ark. The fear of rejection of others, has been killed, so they can just dance, naked before God, as we all are. They dance for us all, as we are meant to be. Example it for others, or make a way to be. And feel that gap between His Heart, and ours. Their (our) burden is to carry the mind and heart of God, and then His expressions, in tandem and while being tangibly aware of the hearts of people, and stay humble as they do.”

A terrible and beautiful and priestly chore theirs/ours also, even as we pray for one another in that way.

And a good solid Jewish warning: “So don’t envy the way of the prophets,” as one said: “it is deadly to them, but life to others. Unless a seed dies and is buried into the ground it is useless to bear fruit.” Nice prophetic study of being today! Plus, prophets are never welcomed in their own hometowns. Mis-understanding is a given by the nature of gap.

Also from my studies, a prophet, or one moving in the prophetic way, is never welcomed in his own home! “That means, for a christian, the Church would be the place of most resistance for the prophetic voice.” For an artist, perhaps, the art world would be. Whatever area you are priesting, laboring in the gap for and in, without care, or fear of rejection (just standing before God in that area), will be a place of resistance. Adam and Eve hid when God showed up, and we continue to.” Home is a long way from home, as one monk put it. If you are in Christ fully, you will feel the prophetic gap between what is in His Father and where we all are. And pray from that space.

(all quotes, mine)

Our seasons…

Someone asked me yesterday, where we are all at…my heart unexpectedly, but quickly replied….deep times, require long answers! Do you have a longer moment?! Ok, then…sometimes it’s good to post a full response.

A season, of Being, and ours, laid bare. (lay bare–third-person singular simple present lays bare, present participle laying bare, simple past and past participle laid bare) To make bare; strip. And laid those proud roofs bare to summer’s rain. –Byron. (figuratively) To expose to view, reveal, uncover…) That’s the type of season we are all in. Being made more obvious or overt in our growth, is another useful definition of this phrase!

People should never ask me deep questions when i’m just picking up an iced mocha for my wife, but since this fellow did….

So, this was my very brief answer when someone asked me this week what type of season things are in collectively, I had to answer: One of being laid bare, I said. People, cities and nations, each of us..we are seeing what parts are actually “in The Light”, “in Him”, and which parts need to mature, or come home, catch up and mature, as Henri Nouwen put it. “God is trying to bring us all the way home! Each part of us!” To eclipse us in knowing, as one monk put it!

Each of us has to ask, which part is not whole yet in my life. And get that part into The Light of growth and maturation.

Trees and people, cities and nations, are known by their fruit. What is not fruitful in us, is being uprooted and exposed for its certain growth, was my first response to this friend. It is good to know what is not mature or in growth in yourself, that’s Mercy, then you can tend and steward it, into the present!

It is mercy to reveal which parts of us are actually in and growing in Light and which parts are in flight from Reality; what’s home, maturing growing in us, and which parts still need to grow and be guided towards maturity. So things are in high contrast lately, being made obvious in their levels of maturity. So we can catch up with ourselves “in Him.”

This is kind, so we will be all the way “home” when greater storms, which are coming, come. A tree is known by its fruit. What in you is actually rooted and grounded in Love, as the good book puts it. The fruits planted at night, are now exposed by a searing Light. It is good to know which parts are truly rooted and which are still trying to find good soil.

This is a high contrast season, when what has been done in secret is brought into the light and interpreted. We are in a being laid bare season on earth. And that is Mercy. Was my quick response. It’s a great opportunity to renovate the whole heart-to catch up on growth, to come entirely or more fully home. Complacency is impossible in times like ours.

High contrast lighting reveals the actual present contours, so we can work on the overall composition of our lives! It is good to know what is mature and immature in ourselves and things around us. Love is the lens for interpreting what is what. Love is discernment, even of ourselves.

This is a season of potential rapid growth and maturation in every area of life, as we yield expectantly in Hope. And get usefully exposed in areas of weakness…which is compost for potential growth!

And then my friend had to go, so I stopped rambling about where we are now. But then, he snuck away to hear the end…

Lastly I said, things are being laid bare, made apparent or obvious in every area of life, which really is a gift of Grace, so we can grow and catch up with ourselves in every area! Individually and collectively. It is a high contrast black and white time, so we can see and choose well. And form well.

I asked my friend, as I ask myself daily: What needs growth now in yourself, what is immature in you? What needs to undergo transformation in each room of your life? What needs to “meet Jesus in your dreams?” What parts need to come into the present of His Presence in your life?

For, we are in a time of opportunity to transform, a potential “yes moment” to growth and Life, in every area un-grown or immature-individually and collectively. Things, people and people groups are being grown up, being shown for what they are and will be. Matured and exposed. And the process is exposure or what may feel like over exposure at times. These are necessarily vulnerable times. It’s for our certain good to be exposed.

We are in high contrast times of potential transformation. And it’s a great gift to live in “such a time as this.” Not boring at least! And sheering lays bare character. It’s kind to be pruned towards our potential Glory. And that’s where the story is at now. It’s an editing moment, when the all the lights go up and expose the inner content of things. So we know, and can choose to grow.

We are, at the very least, in a time of character formation individually and collectively. Everything in us, must grow up, be caught up, or die. Our trees will be known by our fruits. And we are those who are meant to lean into Sky and Truth. The roots, or our inner work is where to start, and do our part of and in yielded transformation. To trust into becoming, and keep leaning into what is Love.

When someone asks you a question, you need to answer it from the heart, thoroughly. This was part of mine, as I picked up an iced mocha for my wife yesterday! Each of us give our own partial answers, this was mine.

So fruits are being shown, partly so we can work on roots now. Deeper formation is the result if we are yielded. Everything is being made obvious, so we know where to tend first in ourselves. What still needs to mature in us; having the actual Life of Christ more deeply formed. But also God in Mercy is making it obvious where His Son’s spirit actually is, and where it’s not. Great opportunity for rapid spiritual growth, if we are willing. All things are being laid bare, their inner nature made obvious. This is His Kindness, even if uncomfortable.

First impressions for this coming year….

Quick words over this coming year:
(I try to do this annually—seek some general words over the coming year!)

Re-align—align again for efficiency and rapid growth year.

Look for new relationships or allainces, as well as deepening certain older ones. Meaningful collaborations coming this year. Look to partner with the right things, in Wisdom.

Year of alignments! Year of re-alignment. Year of new and older alignments! What are you aligned with? Who are you aligned with-internally and relationally? What is true gravity in your life. Arrange things around that center, and let other unaligned things fall off, or be shaved off. Get ready for swift winds forward….for some, this will be a year of re-alignment; for others of sheer alignment and swiftly moving forth in life.

Aligning things this year, so they can move forward efficiently, in love and wisdom. This past year, was a year of loss; this coming one of alignment, into swift gains in life. Get things in order so they can sail well on the coming Winds!

This coming year is one of moving forward in proper alliances. Some are prepared, others not. But there is an opportunity for great strides forwards, as we re-align with His Purposes, which will be made known.

Re-alignment doesn’t have to be painful, if we are yielded to it. Be improvisational this year—open to the unexpected, with God and He will surprise you with what you end up dancing into!

Many have been humbled through grief, and so are readied to be used for great change and impact. Many dreams will start to touch down on earth this year. One’s you forgot you had will be revived and start to incarnate. It’s an exciting new year!

Not boring. Much was shaved off, much will now grow. Many mantels will be restored to their owners. Many retrieved which have not been used recently.
Year to soar, if aligned with the winds.

A year to be born, not to die. Go where there is birthing in your own life, and around you. Look for new birth, things emerging into Life, and look in odd places.

A year to birth new projects, and allow others which aren’t fruitful to pass.

Year of actual new births—many children and fruitfulness. Children already called for such a time as this. Living breathing signs of hope! Praise God year. Thankful for His faithfulness year. Overt God moves year. Tangible Presence year. Open heaven year. easy access to the spiritual realm year. Incarnate hope year.

As we are willing to re-align with His true callings on us, we will see sudden fruit! Sudden fruitfulness, some in the areas of projects and people we didn’t expect.

Year of unexpected blessings. Look to odd places, unexpected growth. Unexpected blooming! God is being creative this year. Not unpredictable, but creative. So think outside normal scenarios or boxes; expect the unexpected while in collaboration with Christ this year.

He wants to create new frames, new ways of moving in Him, and naming things. Time for the interpreters who are poetic and linguistically fluid. God is talking this year in new cadences and ways, new rhythms and phrases—once aligned, look towards the unexpected collaborative spaces with Him. Notice who He brings to your doorstep as well, and take them fully in.

Year of re-alignment; year of friendship, and greater intimacy with Him; year of creativity on God’s part with those who are yielded. Year of incarnate hope! Year of not yearning, but knowing.

Blessed are we who are awake to His Spirit. This year, for those bent, is a year of remarkable blooming. Ecstatic sudden unexpected growth through proper alliances.

I’m excited for this coming year in us as well. Some of our own spiritualities are going to rapidly move forward in formation in Him. He wants to incarnate more deeply in His People who are willing this year. Be open to dreams and visions or other intense direct forms of spiritual communication. Babes will prophecy this year.

And like John the baptist be anointed or filled with the Spirit from birth, even in the womb. These are signs of hope, after a hard season.

Look for entirely new forms of church as well. Not just new wineskins, but new types of skins!

Find where the cloud of His Presence is, even if weird, and dwell there. Align with it, and move swiftly forward in The Father’s Love and Knowing, and incarnation into it (personally and collectively, depending on which He is working on with you)….this year rocks! And offers great opportunity for personal and collective spiritual movements and growth forwards! GO where He is moving, and become and bloom there! Follow the cloud and the fire in old school language. Do so, both in your own life and outside yourself. He is wanting to collaborate with His people in new creations this year!

So quick year of re-alignment year.
Incarnation of dreams year.
Finding proper partners and alliances year.
Many new blessed or anointed births year.
Unexpected bloomings year.
Year of fluidity, for those who are willing to be fluid with and in Him.
Incarnate Hope year.
New frames of communication year.
Year of Hope, year of God’s creative collaborations with those yielded year.

Peace, and ecstatic hope forward friends, on your years; more soon.God is ready, so are we! I’m excited about this spiritual year. God is still Good! And waiting to collaborate with those open and willing! Let’s be those people!
(Also watch the earth for signs this year! God is speaking through nature in overt ways this year—actual signs and wonders. Watch for them!)

Considering the Strangeness of Christmas!

Christmas is strange! Finding Christmas peculiar again…considering the strangeness of Christmas again this year.

Every year I write a christmas poem. This year, thinking about the strangeness of Christmas, and how it helps to remember just how odd this story is. That ultimate God would chose to incarnate like this is weird, and maybe to rediscover the story beneath the cultural extroversion of this holiday, we need to see it as strange again (as an ultimately shocking narrative!)…my favorite part has always been these multi-cultural wise men staring at stars to find the Jew boy King. That alone is weird, and feels really true to me.
But there are lots of odd parts to the story about this hinge of history moment in space and time…

i know many no longer believe in christmas, as I have friends from many faiths and belief systems, but you at least have to consider how strange it actually is even outside the cultural frames. It’s an Odd God story!

So I’m focusing on the strangeness of christmas this year in order to let it enter freshly into me heart’s imagination. Also considering the multi-cultural and multi-dimensional oddity of it (“the angelic ripples”, as one monk put it). This happens again at the Resurrection, and to me the birth and resurrection are symbolically connected. I can’t think of christmas without thinking of easter!

There are lots of angels in the story, which we focused on last year, how His birth effected the spiritual realms; but also there are many cultures of wise people (my favorites) following the skies towards some prophetic event in a tiny town. They were also from all classes of society, and I assume all ethnicities!

Anyway, here is my little free verse christmas offering poem from this year, considering the strangeness of Christmas (of course, it’s never finished!):

God coming into earth and dirt christmas
Jesus in animal trough christmas
muddy diaper animal smell christmas
multi-cultural all classes of people christmas
all colors and sizes and styles of wise people christmas
dirty diapered in an animal trough Jesus christmas
on the road with family christmas
mystical sky mapped christmas
strange boy God Christmas
un-usual packaged God Christmas
God using unlikely frames to enter christmas
blood and water on straw breaking christmas
out of your comfort zone christmas
unlikely muddy gloried christmas
christmas was strange christmas
salt and light christmas
weird star lit christmas
strange people in the same room christmas
Jewish boy king christmas
strangest story ever christmas
of unlikely formed Glory incarnation christmas
strangest holiday ever
strange bed-fellows
probably sukkoth christmas
probably weak vulnerable pilgrims in tents christmas
recalling our dependency christmas
Jesus as a pilgrim at birth christmas
strangest star on earth christmas;
probably with animals and what is lowly christmas
but also with royalty and earth kings christmas
probably very messy all around christmas
on the road christmas-long walk christmas
with strange men arriving christmas
weird way to change everything christmas
God’s ultimate creativity and love, christmas is.
everyone welcomed christmas!
if you’re weird enough to believe in
christmas. the greatest unlikely
holiday christmas
christ with us, within us, in our own inner animal troughs christmas
Him with us in our ugliest spaces being born, christmas
Him choosing stable over cathedral christmas
His showing up as a kid christmas
The Hope of Christmas in such a small package
baby christ who cannot walk or talk christmas
angels singing in rounds above and walking into and within christmas
animals responding to their presence christmas
Jesus probably petting them christmas
smell of incense from foreign lands christmas
mixing with animal manure christmas
strange languages and weird regal gifts christmas
the Odd God breaking into history
Christmas. Strangest holiday there is christmas
and perhaps the truest revelation of up coming down. Christmas.
Everyone still in pain christmas, lonely and breaking
bombed and shaking at christmas;
yet, nothing’s the same because

More on true counseling

More on counseling well: raw notes on trying to help others well…

(Grabbing versus receiving; learning to plow and plant well)

Giving counsel in the right ways…

When we get to a level of spiritual parenting, we have many decisions to make. Wisdom is to know that often we will get empathetic insight, but not yet have the inner tools or wisdom and love available for the other to really bless them.

Also, there is this key issue of whether a person is ready for spiritual parenting or healing. Jesus asked the lame man: “Do you want to be healed? This is the first core question. Are you actually thirsty or just complaining about the lack of water? Or your own inability to get to the waters while their stirring? This man had to overcome 38 years of victimization–feeling like he could never get there fast enough.

Then, Jesus just comes up directly and ask him, are you really ready to be healed. Implying, are you willing to change, not just your body and situation, but your heart! At the end of this tale, Jesus challenges him to change his lifestyle. Now that your physical healing has come, are you willing to change your inner spiritual life! Jesus was always so thorough in his healing process.

This story of course has so much to teach—not only does the man have to overcome a victimzation mentality in order to say yes to Jesus; he also is told that he needs to change his lifestyle at the end of the story. Good healing story. Being able to discern if a person really wants or is ready to be healed is one aspect; the other, is do we ourselves really want to be healed, and be willing to change our lifestyles. Lots there.

Often, people need more plowing, before the seeds they need can be planted. To break down the blocks, or find the good soil behind and within them. Jesus was clear with the lame man at that healing pool (Bethesda)—“Do you really want to be healed?” was His first question. And the man himself had to overcome years of victimization to say yes! Years of not feeling like he was fast enough to get to the pools of healing. Jesus also offered Him a new way, which didn’t require the pools–a more direct way–stand up and walk! It was a risk on the man’s part, and he went for it. Then told others, and lastly Jesus challenged him to change his lifestyle. That is the pattern of healing, contained in this one story from St John!

Do you really want healing is always the first question. Then are you willing to overcome your experience to believe that it’s possible, then are you willing to stand and change your lifestyle. Nothing has changed in the healing process. And Jesus offers a higher way than the angelically stirred waters. He offers direct contact, and a challenge to overcome our lack of faith based on experience. Now, there is both overcoming the lame man’s blocks in this story, and planting new seeds of life! That is always the case with God’s healing. He both plows and plants! Not each of us is able to do both for another person, but both are necessary.
If we want to both plow and plant, then we need more equipment ourselves. To plow is unique from planting. Of course, St Paul did both, but not everyone is as gifted.

It is good to be very aware of our own issues as well—how much of me needs validation through this helping of another, and what are my particular blocks around blessings them. All these have to be constantly questioned in order to really help someone.

So I usually in prayer get insights, then feel love for a person, and then ask for His tone or orientation to deliver what He is telling them. I think He gives all of these—insight into another’s problems is not enough; we also need love, and then orientation to how God is blessings them. Then, also they have to be willing to ask for help and sit under it.

Insights, again, are not enough. I can get insights over ten people a day, but not be called to help them. Sometimes, I just release that in prayer, and thank Jesus that He is so thorough. Other times, He will give me more to seed or plant in that person or situation. It is wisdom to discern my part in another’s healing journey. If any.

In short, you have to have insight from prayer, love for the other person, and knowing what your role is in the situation. That last one would include knowing your own wounds and weaknesses, and making sure you are not doing it for yourself, or your own needs.

If I have wounds around a need for validation, or I have a self judgement about not being available to others for instance, that can cause me to “soul” things into place—in that space comes manipulations and witchcraft-or manipulating things into place. So, I must be very clear about myself in the situation as well. Why do I want to help this person, and what does it bring up in me. These are basics to mature counseling.

I myself often see into people deeply, that does not mean I am the one meant to help them. And if I do feel led to do so, it needs to be for the right heart reasons. It should be a place of meeting God, for instance; so that I too am growing through the relationship.
There are many levels of awareness required to good counseling and spiritual parenting. And we must be very humble to collaborate with Christ in this area. I’m learning it slowly and surely myself. God is always working on each of us at the same time!

There is something about us being aware of why we are helping another, and then how He is helping them through us and our gifts. That keeps it about getting to know and love and be formed by God. And less about our own gifts, or other’s needs.

Counseling others must become a part of getting to know and love and be formed by our God, of it really helps no one. Counseling others must become part of our spirituality,if not, it really isn’t useful to us or others. We must meet God through loving one another with our unique gifts.