Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I am NOT retiring!

I am NOT retiring!

I am decreasing, so another may increase.  I may even have to work harder because of this act of my free will. 

Prior to all the revelations the brave souls of the #metoo movement brought to light I had a sense from the Holy Spirit to give up a position of leadership and open the opportunity for a woman. 

FYI:  The next wave of the #metoo movement is gathering energy and is about to crash over male dominated religions.

FYI:  The Holy Spirit is, was and will always be grieved with any form of any gender dominance. 

FYI:  All humans are equal. 

FYI:  The bible doesn’t make men the tie breaker, giving men two votes and the woman one vote in family decisions, nor the male the head and the woman the neck, the rear end or any other body part that is less than the male.

FYI:  The Anti-Christ Babylonian System that represents all that is evil was built on a foundation of human slavery.  See Rev. 18:13.  Note:  Historically, organized religion has aligned itself with human political systems and this pattern just might be the evil system described in Revelation 18.

Maybe, theologians that have made commentary that has become acceptable traditional Christian family values, on their understanding of the Ephesians 5 passage have slightly missed the meaning.  Maybe mutual submission is the topic of the passage. Maybe the outlining of the gender roles is specifically outlining the role of Christ as head of the church.   Maybe the Ephesians 5 passage is as it says it is, “a mystery” and was never intended to be the foundational rock upon which marriages are built.  Maybe what seems so very clear to so many is really not so clear and remains a “mystery” that takes a lot of thoughtful, prayerful pondering to solve the mystery.  (See Ephesians 5: 21-33)  Read it as if you are reading it for the first time without the bias of male dominance.  Maybe the idea is love, respect, not master, and slave in marital relationship. Just maybe tone down the anger that may be rising with this challenge to male superiority in the church.  This is not a challenge to the infallibility and authority of Scripture, but rather a challenge to an interpretation of God’s Word. I believe and receive that God’s Word, the Bible, is infallible, authoritative and is THE rule for faith and conduct.

Women, consider asking your church leadership how they see the Ephesians 5 passage as it relates to you being a decision maker in your congregation. 

Married women, consider asking your husband how he sees the Ephesians 5 Passage as it relates to you being a decision maker in your family.  Let him know how degrading it feels to not have an equal vote.  Let him know it opens you up to using methods other than a straight up conversation to move a decision in your favor.  Let him know you desire to be treated as an equal partner in life, and will no longer be a slave with half the votes of the men in the family.

Women, consider monitoring the platform opportunities of ministry that your denominations or fellowships offer to women.  Consider asking hard questions behind the scenes with quiet meekness, seasoned with humble perseverance.  Only as a last resort, speak openly about the inequalities of opportunities for women.

I am a year and a half into the revelation that racial and gender equality was included in Christ’s atoning death on the cross.  This eye opening experience came simultaneously with a heart fast led by a book by Alicia Britt Chole,“40 Days of Decrease”.  John the Baptist thought to himself, and then SAID with his mouth, “ I must decrease”.  (Jn. 3:30).    Jesus also experienced decrease as a baby in Bethlehem and the night of his betrayal that preceded his crucifixion.

Men in church leadership consider carefully the biblical passages and listen to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to release the captives and set at liberty those who have been bruised.  (See Luke 4:18,19)

Men, STOP abusing women and children! 

Men, START decreasing your authoritativeness and accept racial and gender equality as a huge part of the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

And…  I am NOT retiring, nor am I receiving perpetual retirement income from the small not for profit 501 (C3) church I served for 30 years.  I am entering a season of decrease, walking a pathway of willful financial surrender of a paid leadership position.

Pray for me, that I will remain on the pathway of humble submission and surrender.  This path is leading me somewhere better, and I don’t want to miss God’s plan that will only unfold as I continue walking this path.  I also realize that even John the Baptist went through a mental/emotional let down as he second-guessed his decision to decrease. (See Luke 7:18-28)

Pray for me that I find both an income producing and kingdom of God increasing opportunity to be God’s source of provision for our family.  I still desire to be as John Wesley said, “Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can.”

In addition, forgive me if I offend anyone in this process of decrease.

Be aware that my prayer that I feel is being led by the Holy Spirit is this:

“Lord, may every white male in church leadership, experience decrease so that ethnic minorities and females be given opportunity to step up and into church leadership.  In Jesus name.”

Saturday, December 23, 2017

I Wish you a Wild and Simple Christmas!

Go Wild for Christmas!

Go see some stars (the God created ones), run or walk through moon lit fields, climb into a cave and spend moments pondering what it was like to be born underground, hang out with animals (not the human kind), ride a donkey or a horse and feel the connection, infuse frankincense and myrrh and breath deep the ancient oils, welcome financial kings and political shepherds, abstain from sex, drugs, porn and alcohol, ponder the virgin birth and self control of Joseph, lay where animals lick up their food, spend time in the out of doors, lean up against a tree, walk through a forrest,  lay down in a bed of leaves, eat simple natural food, go minimal for a few days, etc., etc., etc.

The First Christmas was Wild and Simple.  Merry Christmas???? Go wild and simple this and future Christmases'!

“He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.” 
C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Another Cancer Diagnosis

A tiny lymph node on my chest has been biopsied and a PET/CT scan confirms that is has Follicular Lymphoma.  A sister in Christ gave me a word of prophecy that it was as if the Lord pulled any cancer cells from my body and localized it in a place my dermatologist would notice.  (See 1 Cor. 14 on the gift of Prophecy)

On September 11, I fly to Tanzania for a week, then to Ethiopia for two weeks for a mission’s trip.  In Tanzania, I will conduct a Leadership Ethics Seminar with a fabulous church in Morogorro.  IN Ethiopia I will teach an undergraduate course on “God and Angels” to the ever growing number of people being called by God into ministry.   Both the Radiation oncologist and my regular oncologist do not feel the diagnosis should hinder or cause me to postpone the trip.  Upon returning home, I will begin radiation treatments, which are found to be highly effective on Follicular Lymphomas.

My life verse for recurring health issues and any thing that is recurring are this:

2 Cor. 12: 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

This verse is not a NO from God, but a YES.  In this and any recurring health issue, the answer is in a grace-based relationship with God, through Christ Jesus. 

My issues seem almost trivial compared to those affected by Hurricane Harvey and the threat of North Korean missiles and the passage is true for them as well. 

Join me in deepening the resolve to grow in our relationship with God, through Christ and not let any diagnosis or natural disaster pull us away from God or others.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Devotions Deepen and Delight

Here is an excerpt from my daily devotions.
“In his book, The Vision and The Vow, Pete Greig tells of how a distinguished art critic was studying an exquisite painting by the Italian Renaissance master Filippino Lippi. He stood in London’s National Gallery gazing at the fifteenth-century depiction of Mary holding the infant Jesus on her lap, with saints Dominic and Jerome kneeling nearby. But the painting troubled him. There could be no doubting Lippi’s skill, his use of colour or composition. But the proportions of the picture seemed slightly wrong. The hills in the background seemed exaggerated, as if they might topple out of the frame at any minute onto the gallery’s polished floor. The two kneeling saints looked awkward and uncomfortable.
Art critic Robert Cumming was not the first to criticise Lippi’s work for its poor perspective, but he may well be the last to do so, because at that moment he had a revelation. It suddenly occurred to him that the problem might be his. The painting he was analysing with clinical objectivity was not just another piece of religious art hanging in a gallery alongside other comparative works. It had never been intended to come anywhere near a gallery. Lippi’s painting had been commissioned to hang in a place of prayer.
Self-consciously, the dignified critic dropped to his knees in the public gallery before the painting. He suddenly saw what generations of art critics had missed. From his new vantage point, Robert Cumming found himself gazing up at a perfectly proportioned piece. The foreground had moved naturally to the background, while the saints seemed settled – their awkwardness, like the painting itself, having turned to grace. Mary now looked intently and kindly directly at him as he knelt at her feet between saints Dominic and Jerome.
It was not the perspective of the painting that had been wrong all these years, it was the perspective of the people looking at it. Robert Cumming, on bended knee, found a beauty that Robert Cumming the proud art critic could not. The painting only came alive to those on their knees in prayer. The right perspective is the position of worship.”
Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, HTB: One Year Bible 2016
Pete Greig, The Vision and the Vow, (Kingsway Publications, 2005) pp.17–18.

Consider some daily disciplines that include bible reading with a devotional.  It WILL position you in the right perspective to see and enjoy the beauty of God’s wonderful, abundant plan for every human being.
FYI:  Listening to the bible while running and stretching works better for me than sitting and reading.
Position yourself to enjoy your summer life,