Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Daily Devotional Today . . .

November 15: Could This Be Next?

Dear Mom:

Gosh, can you believe it's 2023 already?… It seems just yesterday I was sitting in first grade celebrating the century change. I know we haven't really chatted since Christmas. Sorry. Anyway, I have some difficult news and I really didn't want to call and talk face-to-face. Ted's had a promotion and I should be up for a hefty raise this year if I keep putting in those crazy hours. You know how I work at it. Yes, we're still struggling with the bills.

Timmy's been 'okay' at kindergarten although he complains about going. But then, he wasn't happy about day care either, so what can I do? He's been a real problem, Mom. He's a good kid, but quite honestly, he's an unfair burden at this time in our lives. Ted and I have talked this through and through and finally made a choice. Plenty of other families have made it and are much better off.

Our pastor is supportive and says hard decisions are necessary. The family is a 'system' and the demands of one member shouldn't be allowed to ruin the whole. He told us to be prayerful, consider all the factors, and do what is right to make the family work. He says that even though he probably wouldn't do it himself, the decision is really ours. He was kind enough to refer us to a children's clinic near here, so at least that part's easy.

I'm not an uncaring mother. I do feel sorry for the little guy. I think he overheard Ted and me talking about 'it' the other night. I turned around and saw him standing at the bottom of the step in his PJ's with the little bear you gave him under his arm and his eyes sort of welling up. Mom, the way he looked at me just about broke my heart. But honestly I believe this is better for Timmy, too.

It's not fair to force him to live in a family that can't give him the time and attention he deserves. And please don't give me the kind of grief Grandma gave you over your abortions. It is the same thing, you know. We've told him he's just going in for a vaccination. Anyway, they say it is painless. I guess it's just as well you haven't seen that much of him.

Love to Dad:

"You shall not murder." (Exodus 20:13)

-Facts of the Matter, (First Things First, Page 84, Number 85

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Holes + Discouragement + God = Faith


It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of Yahweh. - Lamentations 3:26

Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger withheld his tender mercies? - I said in my alarm, I am cut off from Your sight: nevertheless You heard my cry for mercy when I cried to You for help.

Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night, will he keep putting them off? - Wait on Yahweh and he will save you. - Rest in Yahweh and wait patiently for him: do not fret because men succeed in their ways; when they carry out their wicked schemes.

You will not need to fight in this battle: take up your positions; stand firm and see the salvation of Yahweh.

Let us not become weary in doing good: for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. - Be patient then until Yahweh's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the Autumn and Spring rains.

Psalm 77:9. Psalm 31:22. Luke 18:7,8. Proverbs 20:22. Psalm 37:7. 2 Chronicles 20:17. Galatians 6:9. James 5:7. - Daily Light on the Daily Path

- - - - - -

This is what I read first thing last Thursday morning. I have no idea how these words affect you right now, but to me they were a generous sprinkler to a dry lawn!

Some of you know our situation. For those who don't, let's just say our RI finances are impossible. After a little more than a year, we have seen very little change. In some ways, things have gotten worse, despite some enormous attempts to bring it under control. It can be very discouraging!

In times like these the days roll unendingly into each other and you begin to doubt God's presence- or at least his promises and blessing.

Then God throws you a bone!

As I ponder anew God's promises and blessing, I am encouraged. Is the end to our financial woes in sight? Absolutely not. But I have learned not to get off the train in the tunnel. There IS light ahead even if I don't see it right now. And in my experience of these things God has NEVER failed!

Even though I sometimes feel like there's no possible way out of this hole, I can remember the many times before when God has brought me out of the hole. This may be the biggest hole I've ever faced, but it's not bigger than God!

And my faith continues to grow . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Blood Sacrifice

DISCLAIMER: You know I have strong political beliefs, but with this note I am trying to avoid them for a deep spiritual purpose. I know to some of you it won’t look like I am trying to avoid anything, but I put this here to assure you my purpose is not political, even though it may make you think that way. I use strong words, because this is a strong issue that needs to be addressed. I am not looking for a fight- I don’t have it in me right now. So please read this prayerfully.

- - - -

There are many issues we need to think about during election campaigns. I have always been a bit concerned with those who simplify things down to one major issue and have agreed with those who have said “you can’t do that; there are too many other factors that need to be considered.”

But I read an email the other day that has made me think differently. At least about one particular issue- abortion.

In 2 Kings 3:26-27 there is a strange case of the king of Moab in battle with Israel. The battle is going against him, so he sacrifices his son and the battle changes so drastically that Israel quits and goes away. There is something important in this story!

Here is the spiritual premise: a blood sacrifice releases much power in the spiritual realm.

I need not remind any of you of THE great blood sacrifice that released such great spiritual power that we are redeemed from our sin! We are the direct recipients of the power of a blood sacrifice.

Jesus’ sacrifice obviously overshadows any possible comparison, but we cannot ignore the fact that a blood sacrifice also empowers the enemy and his forces that fight against God. We have seen the results of such blood sacrifice over the years- in scripture and more recently, specifically with Nazi Germany against Israel. The blood sacrifice of God’s chosen people brought great power to the Nazi regime.

As we look at the HUGE blood sacrifices that have been and are being offered to evil through abortion today in the USA, it really doesn’t take much to see that evil is running powerfully rampant in our society. God himself turns against those who choose to go against his ways. As a country, the single most important spiritual issue we face is how we deal with the innocent. God will not continue to sit by and bless those who blatantly trash his precepts.

Is the economy an important issue in this election? Yes it is. Could it be going awry because of the strong influence of evil empowered by a blood sacrifice? Yes it could. Could any other issue be put in this same category? Of course it could.

My point is, we need to change the way abortion is empowering the enemy in this country. The fact that we are so blind to this issue only goes to show how powerful the enemy has become in even fooling “the elect.” We need to eliminate the blood sacrifice that brings him such strength in his fight against God

How do we do that? By electing people who have strong convictions against allowing blood sacrifice to continue in this country. If we do that, we can begin walking the long path back to allowing God to bless this nation- again.

How does your candidate stand up to this test? The next president of the USA will probably have opportunity to at least place 2 new judges on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the place where this abortion issue can be dealt with. If the next 2 appointments are pro abortion, we have lost the fight. If the next 2 appointments are anti abortion, we have a fighting chance to eliminate the enemy’s blood sacrifice empowerment and bring God’s blessing back.

Honestly, I believe there are a whole lot of important issues in this campaign. But as much as it is in my power, I cannot personally allow any of them to overshadow the importance of this one issue which can affect every other issue on the table. And God’s blessing, which we so desperately need.

Please pray hard and vote.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Leadership Series: Part 4. Fraternizing

Perhaps "fraternization" isn't really the word I want here, but at least it should get your attention. What I'm referring to is how leadership relates to those they lead.

When I think of fraternization, I think of the military. I picture uniformed leaders with lots of brass on their shoulders (or at least a high rank) relating to the rank and file soldiers. Fraternization doesn't have a good connotation, for it brings to mind a leader relating to a lower soldier in ways that are not permitted. For instance, a leader dating a lower soldier- who has to obey the leader and would have a hard time putting off unwanted advances without placing themselves in a position of being disciplined by the leader if they do not obey. So rules against fraternization would be good for such situations.

This situation aside, there is a misunderstanding of what a leader's relationship should be to a follower. I recall a common discussion some of us had during our training school experience- whether Cadets should go to the altar at public meetings where soldiers could see them struggling. I recall being taught in a classroom that we should not let our people see we are struggling or that we have issues that need to be addressed at the altar. I immediately bristled at this thought!

Should we pretend we're not human? Should we act like once we have become officers we no longer have spiritual issues to deal with? What a sham! What a falsifying of the truth . . . what a lie.

Herein lies the real issue of this discussion- are leaders better than the people they lead? I offer a resounding NO!

We are all the body of Christ and a leader merely has a different role to play than any other part of that body. Not more important, just different. Not more important than an intercessor, just different. Not more important than an administrator, just different (yes, a leader is different than an administrator). Not more important than those who speak in tongues, just different. etc, et al.

A leader is not higher than, rather equal to; on a par with; on the same level. It is Jesus alone who rises above us all. Yet what was his response to this very discussion going on among his followers?

Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.
- Luke 22:24-27 (NIV)

At another place Jesus says "you are not servants, I call you friends." With that kind of example, how in the world can I, chosen by this very Jesus to be a leader, act any differently than he did? What would be my justification? How could I stand before him and say, "I know you said 'do it this way,' but I think . . ."

This goes back to a previous post where I told you about my desire for people to call me "Doug." I'm not interested in you knowing or using my rank or my position. It's man-made and offers nothing in the spiritual realm we move in.

Perhaps there are those who are insecure in their position, who feel it necessary to make sure their subordinates (really not a good word here!) show them the "proper respect" (whatever that is). I believe you cannot require respect from people. If they do not have it, you cannot manufacture it. It will come only when they see your love for them and desire to work with them, shoulder to shoulder. Not over them or above them.

A leader's task is to gather people together and lead them as a team. Each using their gifts together for the benefit of the team to accomplish what God has for them to do. Where each member takes the "lead" now and then in their area of expertise.

My people are not "my people," they are Jesus' people- I am just the hired hand; the steward of what The Master owns. I have to report back to him with how I treat his loved ones. Woe unto me if I do not treat them after the manner he does!

Just in case you're wondering- I fraternize with the best of 'em!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Please Pray with us for our Friend

Friends, An employee and friend of ours, has been out sick for the last 2 weeks. His doctor's have not been able to figure out what was wrong with him, until a couple of days ago. They discovered a tumor covered by a large cyst in his brain. The plan was to do exploratory surgery tomorrow (Tuesday 5/6) to figure out what their next step should be. However, they just decided to go in tomorrow around 3PM to remove as much as they can. This sounds good, but it means it is more dangerous. Everyone involved is very concerned now and his whole family will be there tomorrow. It is very serious and there could be complications.

Other than a complete healing even before they start, we are praying for a long surgery (approx 5 hrs), because that will mean they can deal with it all at once. If it is a short surgery (approx 2 hrs), then it means they were not able to deal with it all and will have to go in again at a later date.

The good part is that he just got saved a few days ago! He truly had an experience with God and he is talking about the change he has noticed- already! He is concerned that he will be able to keep up this change after he recovers.

Please pray with us and I will keep you posted once we have results. Any biopsy will take a few days to get results, but we should know some immediate things shortly after the surgery (a few hours to a day or so).

God bless you!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"When" we All get to Heaven

Here's another brief interruption in my Leadership Series. Sorry, I just got to thinking . . .

I've been listening to some teaching files and also reading some books that have gotten me thinking about time. Since I love thinking about time (like a good SciFi time travel story), I'm going to share some thoughts I've been mulling around. I hope I don't lose anyone because our limited minds have no way to really conceptualize the absence of time (yet)! Hang on!

God created time and is therefore above time. How that looks, I guess, is to imagine a huge time line where the beginning of time is to the left and the end of time is to the right. Everything that happens in time can be plotted somewhere on that line. The fall of Rome, WW1, your birth, my Grandfather's death, my last haircut.

Then imagine God way up above that line looking down on it. God can see the beginning, the middle and end all at once. Anyone living in that time line, must travel through that time from left to right. But God sees it all happening at once and can focus on any part of the line whenever he wants (or even all parts at once!).

So now lets imagine someone from the past (to the left) leaving that time line and moving up to God. As they leave their time line, they go above that time with God and can look down to see the time line below them just like God can see it.

Imagine another person leaving the same time line from the future (to the right). As they leave their time, they go above that time with God and look down as well. And so on with anyone leaving the time line at any point in time.

So here's the part that may blow your mind: based on what I just had you imagine, what if everyone who leaves our time line (dies) arrives at God's Throne at the same "time?" I mean, can't you see people leaving their time line from their particular point in time and as they leave they look to the left and right to see everyone else leaving from their point in time. But the moment they leave their time line, they are no longer bound by time and everyone ends up getting to God all at once; together!

What if the way we've always thought about dying and getting to heaven (based on time) is just wrong? What if my Mom isn't really waiting for me, she left the time line at the same "moment" I "will" in the future!?

I mean, if God created time, you don't think he subjected himself to it (other than when Jesus entered our time line for a while)? If he's still above time, and I think we all pretty much agree on this, then when we get to him, we too will be above time!

So what does this do to some of the traditional concepts of "where we go to wait" until time is fulfilled (purgatory, paradise, Abraham's bosom, hades, et al)? No one's waiting for anything! In fact, "waiting" will cease to exist! Basically, we die- we immediately go to the big banquet party God has planned . . . OR we die and we immediately go to eternal judgment, which will be anything BUT a party.

I suppose we could die and go to a different place still within our time and wait, but what fun is that to think about?

So join me in mulling this around a bit. Anyone have anything else to add to the fun?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Leadership Series: Part 3. Developing a Team

It's not about me.

Jesus seemed (still seems) very concerned that we understand the world does not revolve around us. William Booth got that and taught us well with his famous "Others" telegram. In fact I am told the world's smallest package is someone all wrapped up in himself!

Lucifer did not get that, fought God vehemently over this very subject, and has caused one third of God's angels and much of humanity to side with him in focusing on "Numero Uno." He still trips many of us up with this in a variety of nefarious ways.

How this fits into leadership is in the way a leader chooses to work with the people God has placed around him/her (notice I didn't say "under" him/her? We'll get to that in part 4). An apostolic leader will always understand that the church is made up of a body- a team. No one person can do it all by themselves. They NEED other members of the body if they expect to actually accomplish the mission God has for them in their area of ministry. Paul talked about this as a body working together. Let's try another analogy.

Imagine a baseball team- we'll take the Tampa Bay Rays, because their theme this year is "We are One Team" and that fits nicely! Each player has a specific role to play on the team. They "specialize," if you will. One may catch, one play infield, one outfield, one pitch, one coach. But there is even finer specialization- An outfielder may play left, center or right field. An infielder may play short stop, second, third or first base. A pitcher may be a starting pitcher, long reliever, set-up man, closer, left-handed reliever, etc. There are first base coaches, pitching coaches, batting coaches, et al.

No one person does it all. To get the job done and win the game, they work together as a team. Each person plays their specific role in which they are specifically trained.

Now place a superstar on that team (your pick- Crawford, Upton, Kazmir, Pena). Imagine them coming to spring training camp the first day and expecting to do it all. And it doesn't take much imagination to see the manager promptly kicking them off the team! It is simply impossible.

While the baseball analogy is easy to see, we still sometimes miss the concept in the church. True, the manager/leader leads all of the players on the team, but he ultimately gives them their job, steps back and lets THEM do it. You never see the manager on the field pitching, fielding or hitting for them.

I've got employees who work with me. I hire employees who know their job and after training, I trust them to do their job. Some of them are trained very specifically and often in areas I know little about. I do not do their job- I've got my own work to do. I coach and manage- sometimes even getting in there to work specifically with them for a time, but ultimately, it's their work to do.

When each employee does their job and I do my job a team develops. I don't own that team (the owner does. Hmm, who might that be?), I am merely a manager of that team.

Apostolic leadership develops a team, by getting the right people in the right jobs (based on how they are gifted and trained) then manages alongside of his team. He is not above his team, he is alongside them.

I am reminded of Jesus and how he worked with his disciples. Certainly he was the leader, but often he sent them off on their own to do their work. In fact, he ultimately placed his entire mission in their hands and left them to do it on their own. Well, not really on their own . . .

Next up: Part 4. Fraternizing.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Buying and Selling Friends on Facebook

I'm taking a quick break in my Leadership Series to express myself AS I'm feeling some anger. I believe it is righteous anger, so I am speaking up about it.

I've got a problem with the 2 applications (I'm aware of) on facebook that are based around buying and selling your friends. Now I understand they're just games and they're based around how much your friends "value" you or having your friends as "pets," but these may just serve to desensitize us a bit to Human Traffiking.

Now I don't know about you, but one of the LAST things I want is to be desensitized to Human Traffiking! HT is a ghastly blight on all societies and humankind. When I even THINK of a small aspect of HT, I get seriously messed up inside. Anger, frustration, pain and a whole bunch of other feelings like that come rising up almost uncontrollably. Do I like that? No, but it is necessary if I am to stand up and fight against it.

I could throw some stats at you or talk about individuals who have been kidnapped into the world of HT, but I won't do that here. Not now. You just need to know my naked anger that we as human beings tolerate anything that even smacks of this vile practice.

I just blocked both of those applications on facebook. I don't know for sure what that means, but I'm hoping that if anyone tried to invite me any more, the invite will not come through. If not, I'm telling you right here, IF YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF MY "FRIEND" ON FACEBOOK YOU WILL NOT INVITE ME ANYMORE TO BUY OR SELL HUMAN BEINGS! I WILL NOT TAKE PART! I may be dropping friends on the spot who send me any more of these invites.

I ask you to do think about this and maybe do the same thing. If you're using either of those apps- shame on you! What were you thinking?!

Perhaps a group should be formed against these games (although I believe facebook won't allow groups "against" other things). Perhaps we need to look into this. Maybe we can write a petition to facebook? If anyone has any suggestions that you know will work, please let me know. I'm willing to put some serious time into this, because I believe this practice must be stopped.

Human Traffiking is NOT a game and we should NOT be involved in supporting it in ANY way.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Leadership Series: Part 2. Concensus

Are you ready for shocking statement #2?

Leadership is not about making the decisions. It is about listening through the Body for God's decision.

Consensus is an interesting thing. Here's the American Heritage Dictionary definition:

1. An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole or by majority will.
2. General agreement or accord.

The assumption is that everyone in the group will come to agreement with interaction and discussion. Sound impossible? Maybe in the world, but not in the church. Why? Two reasons:

1) The church should be together. We find this in the second chapter of Acts- the KJV uses the term "with one accord" (Greek 6374 Strong's: homou where we get the prefix "homo" as in "homogeneous"). This doesn't just mean they were in the same room together, it's more like "they were in agreement with each other."

2) The church has Holy Spirit to guide us. TSA doctrine #8 speaks of a witness within:

We believe that we are justified by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and that he that believes has the witness in himself.

This witness is Holy Spirit that lives within every believer and regenerates us into salvation. In other words, the Holy Spirit within me is the SAME Holy Spirit within you. And God cannot have 2 opinions about something. If Holy Spirit tells me one thing, he will not tell you the opposite. If he wants the group to do one thing, won't he certainly tell everyone the same thing?

Therefore the church can go to God and seek his wisdom and direction (in fact, we SHOULD). And if we all are listening carefully, we will all get the same answer- that's consensus!

A leader in the church should be about his Father's business. He should most importantly want to know what God wants in any given situation (and what God wants may not always make the most "human" sense, remember?). It's not about who's smarter or who knows more than anyone else or who's in charge and gets his way. It's about listening to God as a group and coming to consensus. In fact, as a leader, I would be most remiss if I chose to make all the decisions myself and not allow my family of believers to listen with me so that I don't accidentally make a mistake (I actually made a mistake once. It was back in 1990 . . . no- wait, it was 1991. Dang! Now that's 2 mistakes!).

Here's an example from my own experience: I once met with my Corps Council regarding a new mission statement for our corps. It is the leader's responsibility to go before God and seek his direction for his congregation where they are placed. Prayerfully over time, I did that and prepared a mission statement to bring before the group for confirmation and implementation.

I spent time explaining consensus and then asked each person on the Council to speak to what they were hearing from God about the statement. As we went around the table, all were in agreement that this was what God wanted for us. But just before we finalized things, one person dared to speak up ("dared?" Yes- remember they weren't used to consensus- most "armies" lead by the leader telling their followers what to do and everyone else just salutes). This person said they couldn't be sure, but there was something "nagging" inside them that they had to speak up about. They were uncomfortable approving the statement as it was.

I was a bit saddened, because I wanted to get going, but I knew God had something to tell us. So I then tabled the approval so that each of us would go pray about what God was trying to tell us. Next month we would readdress the subject. It was almost funny to watch the members! They were shocked we didn't just go ahead with what was prepared. After all, everyone but one person agreed- and he didn't even know what it was that held him back!

During our month of waiting on God, that person was told by God what the issue was. Something had been left out of the statement. And when I was told, it was one of those "DUH!" moments! Of course! Why didn't we see it before?! (Probably because God wanted us to see how consensus worked!).

So at that next meeting our mission statement was approved as amended and all agreed in consensus as Holy Spirit spoke to us. It was a great example of leading by consensus.

Now don't get me wrong- we can't always take the time to move through such an exercise. There are times when the person most gifted in the subject and/or is appointed to lead must step up and take quick action. But when the issue is not immediate, consensus is how God wants a Christian leader to lead.

Don't you just LOVE working with the Body?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Leadership Series: Part 1. The Apostle as Leader

As I approach the subject of leadership, I must begin with a question:

"What is it about my leadership philosophy that differs from what could be considered a traditional leadership philosophy?"

After all, there are plenty of good books on leadership. What could I possibly have to offer you that would be different? I was recently reminded by JE at The War College, the difference is I lead from my apostolic gifting.

Therefore I will attempt to share apostolic insight with you in this Leadership Series. And necessarily, this insight will be biblically based. So let's start right there and offer you my most shocking statement at the very beginning:

The church is not a business. therefore those gifted in Administration should not be the ones leading the church.

Let's look at 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (NIV), "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues."

The church is the Body of Christ. Here Paul gives us an image of a group of members that works together to accomplish its mission. We are all a part of the working-together relationship; we all have a roll to play. In this body, God has established an order. The Greek words here are clear:

First = Proton, [Greek 4412, Strong's] firstly (in time, place, order, or importance):- before, at the beginning, chiefly, (at, at the) first (of all).

Second = Deuteros, [Greek 1208, Strong's] second (in time, place or rank; also adverbial):-afterward, again, second (-arily, time).

Third = Tritos, [Greek 5154, Strong's] third; (as noun) a third part, or (as adverb) a (or the) third time, thirdly.- third (-ly).

Then = Epeita, [Greek 1899, Strong's] thereafter.- after that (-ward), then.

The order we are given is Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, then general categories of gifts such as miracles, healing, service and helps, THEN those with Administration, and finally those with gifts of speaking in Tongues.

Now if we toss out Gifts of Tongues (there are more than one type of Tongues gift) and flip this list upside down, we get a kind of leadership pyramid for a business. O wait! That's what the church does today! Well, not really- parts of the church accept tongues as a gift (oops!).

Here's why this is important: A good business makes good business decisions. But a good church will often make decisions that fly in the face of good (common sense) business decisions!

For example: Joshua, leading the "church" of his day, goes before his CEO and asks for a battle plan to take Jericho (Note: Joshua doesn't call a committee together, he goes to God). With tongue NOT in cheek, said CEO basically tells him to "Walk around the city many times for a week, then yell at the wall."

Sounds like a solid, common sense plan to me . . . NOT!

Imagine a business board of Directors today responding to such a plan by their CEO:

"Say WHAT?!"

"What are you on, man?!"

"Security! Get this NUT out of here!"

Why the discrepancy? Because it's God who is our ultimate leader and even his "foolhardiness is FAR above our human wisdom!" Now Joshua is a simple example, but I think you get my point.

Yes, there is some good advise we can take from the business world, but that human wisdom should not be the largest factor in deciding the future of any Christian denomination.

That said, if we take a good look around Christian denominations today, we see an entire structure of church leadership based around discovering those in our midst who are gifted in Administration and getting them into leadership positions. Oh, did I mention we don't really believe in Apostleship today (or we've neutered it by turning it into the "missionary" gift)? Simply put, an Apostle is a spiritually creative leader (there's a lot more to it, but I'm trying to keep this basic).

Fortunately, there are those Administrators with a gift-mix that includes Apostle, so the church does "get it right" now and then. Yet I've seen that kind of leader struggle with being expected to fit into the old mold (ever read "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins?"). Isn't it sad we don't structure our churches (systems/bodies) in a way that would help us discover people gifted for God's philosophy of leadership?

I should point out that there is no question that when founded, TSA was led by a powerful Apostle- William Booth. And I must not forget the other half of the team- Catherine was the Prophet. In God's design for leadership, he often "hitches" a visionary Apostle with a ground-rooted Prophet. That way the Apostle doesn't float off in the clouds, but can be kept "tethered" by the Prophet holding his/her feet (Oh those visionary leaders)!

And perhaps that's a good place to stop for now, because it leads us to Consensus- a way for the Body to work together and discern God's plan for moving forward.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The War College 2008

My annual teaching trip to The War College in Vancouver, Canada for 2008 is now officially history. The history part is a sad thing as I am already missing the DTES with its many good friends, students, powerful ministry and cute little mice in the apartment. Well, 3 out of 4 ain't bad! Here are some thoughts about my trip:

This was a new season for me. Many things have changed since last year, including my roll in the 614 community. Oh sure, I taught a class, but I spent more
time with leadership and past missioners than this year's batch of students.

I also spent quite a bit of prayer ministry time counseling as well as casting out demons. Yeah, I did do plenty casting with great results, but my prayer ministry time was regularly more than what it has been. I liked that.

The 614 community used me as a guinea pig in their latest innovation called "Com
munity Hospitality." Basically different people fed me each meal and engaged me in hanging out! A smashing success, I'd say! I loved it!

I ended up with 2 new Battle Gear T-shirts! One is the new long sleeved "Saved to Save" design for officers. Yeah!

Computers were everywhere for me to use when I needed one. SL, JG, JS to name a few, but I offer special thanks to RB (who doesn't like to be called RB, but I'm just using initials!) who was exceptionally generous!

Here are a few of highlights from the prayer sessions:

One walked on water with Jesus! Steve Court: take note! Special Credit is due!

One had a Sword of the Spirit that was so big, it had to be handled with 2 hands! A Two-Handed Sword of the Spirit is awesome (and it does massive damage to the Enemy, trust me)!

More than a couple had false images of Jesus that were absolutely destroyed and replaced with an accurate image of The One who loves them like no other!

One had a wonderful banquet with Jesus and ate some very tasty stuff that dissolved the Enemy's influence!

One flew with Jesus over the countryside a la Peter Pan! There was powerful spiritual direction in their travel direction.

One did a deep sea dive underwater to find a sunken treasure chest. They were more valuable than any of the chest's jewels.

One took a high dive of a huge cliff with Jesus into crystal clear water!

I even got a session led by a wonderful team who were very helpful. Trust me, I needed some dusting off too!

Well, it seems my visit was all over before it started. Although the area may seem like a scary place
for some, I've got to tell you, Vancouver DTES always feels like home to me. I love it- but most of all I love the people who are giving their lives in this place to help bring Jesus to the lost.

To all of you 614ites I offer my blessing for continued joy in service, successful ministry that changes lives and peace right in the middle of the Enemy's camp. Storm the forts of darkness- bring them down!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This is Who I am

We are known by a variety of "titles." These titles represent things we do. For instance, I am a Dad, spouse, musician, officer, friend, man, blogger, teacher, Rays fan, son, boss, etc.

You may know me by one of these titles, but each is only a facet of what I do, not who I am. If you ask "Who are you?" these titles by themselves actually tell you very little. They may even conjure up inaccuracies based on what you understand a particular title to mean to you.

It depends on who asks me "Who are you?" as to what my answer will be. If my child asks that question, it would be ridiculous for me to respond with "I'm a teacher" or "I'm an officer." For them to relate to me, I need to offer an answer that will mean something to them, like: "I'm a father." If I'm visiting a corps in another country, it would be more important for me to answer "I'm an officer," than to tell them "I'm a boss." Being an officer has relevance, while being a boss means little to develop a relationship connection. So if you are interested in discovering who I am, it would be better for me to tell you something personal about myself.

When I meet you for the first time, I choose to answer this question by offering more than a simple facet of what I do. I choose to offer more. I choose to offer you myself. I choose to offer you my identity; my name. My name is a very personal thing and it means all of my titles rolled into one- and more!

In knowing someone's name, you have a certain power over them. For instance, you can call their name out loud and they will turn around to answer that call. You can look them up in the phone book, get their phone number or address and find them.

In my journey of life and figuring out who I am, God once told me "Your identity is not in your uniform." He told me I am much more than that- I am "Doug" to him. So when I introduce myself, I offer the most I can to you- I tell you "I am Doug."

It means a lot to me spiritually to offer what I have discovered about myself. I choose to offer myself to you- my name. I want you to know I am not higher than you or better than you, I want to be equal with you- "I am Doug."

God chose to give us his name- his personal name, not just a title like God, Lord, Jehovah or Almighty. He gave us Yahweh so we could know him. God wanted to share himself with us. Wow!

Jesus said to his disciples "I don't want to lord it over you, I call you my friends and I want you to think of me as your friend. I want you to know me for who I am, not just what I do."

If Jesus can do this; if God can do this, I can certainly do this. In fact, I would consider myself remiss if I chose to do anything less.

Don't call me a musician, although I am one.
Don't call me an officer, although I am one.
Don't call me a blogger, although I am one . . .

Who am I? I am Doug. Please call me Doug. It's the best I can offer you and I choose to give you power over me because I want you to know me and be my friend.