Is human creativity an attempt to reconnect with the reality we see with our spiritual eyes?

A friend kindly tweeted me yesterday a quote to encourage me in my writing, which said: “You write because there is fire in your bones. You have got to do this whether anybody ever reads it or not”.

Whilst I appreciated fully the sentiment with which she forwarded this tweet to me, I felt a great unease about the implication in that statement: whether one has an audience or not, one must write and use their writing as an outlet for that fire, that passion, that message, truth that lies deep within them. My reply to this kind lady was “Writing is an art form which makes us feel through another person’s creation. No artist creates something to keep it hidden, a gift must be shared”.

I don’t believe that those of us who feel the absolute need to be creative, be it through a painting, a poem, a novel, a drawing, a sculpture, a song, an instrument, a performance, can create with the same integrity, intent and vulnerability, if we are fully aware that there is no recipient to the art we create. Art stems from an undeniable need to communicate something to the rest of the world, be it for their benefit or our own. Yes, ultimately, as we create art, we experience a moment of reckoning with ourselves, our fears, our longings, our hope, our frustrations, but I believe that being able to create something is a privilege, a tremendous gift from above, an opportunity to reach others where direct words or even actions may fail. I believe that there is a purpose to every gift; there is a responsibility inherent to every talent. For isn’t it in the ability to create something new, something powerful, something way beyond our mundane existence, that as humans we are able to best connect with our spirituality, that side of us which is so mysterious, unexplored, that dimension which remains hidden and yet is so apparent, so beckoning, so vital to our existence and how we relate to the world around us and each other?

It is through art that we depart from the natural and we step into the supernatural; we leave a temporal, ephemeral reality and we take a chance into a world of dreams, hopes and endless possibilities; a world  where the optimum side of the human race fulfils its utmost potential and also a world where the most evil side of humanity is fully realised and visualised too. Art gives us the opportunity to take a glimpse of heaven as well as hell and as we undertake that journey, be it as the artist or the person who explores that work of art, we are able to connect with, explore and develop our innermost self, our own tendencies towards good or evil or both as is the case for most of us.

I am fully persuaded that creativity is a gift and as with every gift, with every good thing, its goodness and worth increases a hundred fold, if we are able to share it with others, if we offer it to others so that they too have access to that other dimension which is so elusive and at the same time so present in all of us. I cannot imagine an actor who would perform to an empty theatre, or a painter whose work gets exhibited in a room which is always empty just as I cannot comprehend the notion of a writer who puts his heart out on a piece of paper for all to see, only he is also expected to bear his soul with the same intensity and passion where there is not a  single witness to benefit from such an introspective and didactic encounter.

Getting back to the quote at the beginning of this post, yes, I write because there is fire in my bones. I write because I feel called to do so. I write because it is in being able to create something outside of myself, which can only be attributed to myself, that I feel most akin, and closest to the God who created me, who put that fire in me in the first place. Perhaps it is worth considering for those who are believers and maybe more so for those who are not, that creativity is the vessel which allows us to break the boundaries of time, place, matter, proof and knowledge, for as we create we reach out into another world, a world where we can give free rein to that inner voice that whispers to us in the quiet of night, and the buzzle of daytime: we are called to a different existence: something more grandiose, something more beautiful, more perfect, more free.

It is almost as if lying deep within all of us there is knowledge of a far superior reality we feel called to fulfil and aspire to, and that knowledge cannot be suppressed no matter how hard we try to deny it in our everyday living. It has to surface somehow. Art is like bubbling magma under the surface fully aware that its sole purpose is to eventually burst out with uncontrollable magnitude into the surface and annihilate with it the certainty of anything that exists and is secure up to that point. Creativity challenges all of us from what we know into a world of what we might suspect exists but refuse to accept.

 

 

MY DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

MY DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

Being passionate is a double-edged sword

It is a formidable and invaluable weapon if we wish to finish the race

Of pursuing those dreams that burn up inside us

The quests that drives us

In our feeble attempts to leave a better world behind us

But this sword of fire that burns within,

Like the human soul tormented by sin

Rages a ruthless war where for every great battle won

The permanent taste of hurting another renders victories numb.

For she who wants much, will risk much

And it is that same zeal that leads one to triumph

Which all too often also causes irreparable injury and denial.

Being passionate is a blessing as it is a curse

It feeds the fuel that sustains the warrior on his crusade

But in overdose it becomes the poison

That eats up at your better judgement

And alienates you from the dearest of friends

THE SPIRIT OF JOHN PROCTOR HAS WOKEN UP A SLEEPING GIANT

The run of The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre in London finished a few days ago, and to my utter suprise and annoyance, I have not been able to function properly since then. I have been carrying deep within in the pit of my stomach a strong sense of bereavement, a sense of deep loss of something that brought back to life, something that unearthed a SLEEPING GIANT in the hearts and souls of so many people all around the world. I have been bewildered by the knowledge that some people have travelled from as far as places like Australia, the States and some Asian countries in order to witness what will turn out to be, in my opinion, a highly regarded and respected chapter in the history of Theatre and a catalyst for change in people’s attitudes toward Truth, Love  and Freedom. Indeed, there have been so many who bewitched by the sheer power which Drama possesses to mirror life, have been unable to be content with seeing the play once or twice, but as many as seven times. Crazy, one may think initially, but having experienced the play twice, I can only but relate to that uncontrollable urge and desperate attempt to not let go of something so beautiful, so transcendental which once delivered by the actors acquires a life of its own and moves high and far beyond the rows of seats in a theatre. A rare thing indeed in this world we live in dominated by speed, urgency and the shallowness and ephemerality everything we experience is tainted with.

The Crucible, as recently rendered at The Old Vic Theatre in London has released an unstoppable force spiritually, something which challenges the status quo and the complacency of a human race which right now sits pretty for the most part and in denial as the most abominable of evils, perils and injustices are happening all around us.  It is ironic that a play which is dominated by the subject of false accusations of witchcraft can carry with it such “supernatural” force for transformation, for good, for justice, truth and freedom, rare values indeed in today’s world and because of their rarity made all the more precious to audiences and onlookers across the world.

Granted that the character of John Proctor and his evolution throughout the play cannot exist without the other characters, just as human beings cannot grow and develop unless sharing life with others. Having said that, it is solely the gradual and “supernatural” ascend of John Proctor’s soul throughout this play that leaves behind a blazing trail of glorious notions such as: TRUTH, COURAGE, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, AUTHENTICITY, LOVE and COMPASSION. These are notions which have laid dormant for far too long in our world; notions which were long ago replaced by their evil counterfeits: GREED, DECEIT, PRIDE, FEAR, COWARDICE, HATE, MERCILESSNESS. As I said in my previous post, these are forces which have been contending in the world for thousands of years, but today, right now, the good guys are losing this mighty battle. “The Crucible” as I have experienced it and as I have seen, read and heard others experience it, is fast becoming the antidote to a poison fed to the world daily which has numbed our senses, blinded our eyes and switched off our brains rendering us ineffective to live lives worthy of living, to leave behind a legacy worthy of remembering, and an inheritance worthy of being shared with others. For is a life well lived one that leaves this world exactly as it found it and in so many cases much worse than it found it?

There is in all of us an innate, inherent and deeply rooted longing to live for something that transcends the triviality, the immediacy of our daily grind. For some, it is a religion, for others a worthy cause such as Equality, Freedom or Justice, a charitable enterprise, being the best at what you are gifted at. That deep longing that we are all born with slowly but surely gets numbed and put to sleep by the pressures and fears that daily living brings, and little by little as we age, the brave soldier within us that once carried so much promise, surrenders a small piece of that lofty enterprise we felt born to pursue, one sorry day at a time. The glorious quest we set off on in our youth is slowly but surely annihilated by the cynicism, and everyday demands which chain to the ground our bodies, our hearts but most of all the ability for our souls to ascend, as John Proctor’s soul ascends, in those moments, seasons of our life when we come face to face with a choice to stand up, be counted and fight for what is right, for what is truth, for what is just.

Our world is dying of hunger and thirst right now, a hunger and thirst for the John Proctors that have existed throughout history but who shine for their absence today; a thirst for individuals who led by humility, integrity and courage and the acknowledgement of their own fleetingness and mortality are able to spiritually transcend beyond the carnality of their existence and give their all, even their last breath in the quest for the truth, even if that truth means losing everything that is dearest to them. Hardly anyone seems to be prepared or willing to go that extra mile, to lead from the front, to lead by example, to jump off the precipice as eagles do in order to reach glorious and new heights, in order to conquer new enemies, in order to enjoy that elusive freedom we all think we have. But are we really free, free enough to overcome the fear of rejection and alienation from others if we consistently and to the end swim against the current of tyranny, pride, conformity, lukewarmness and deceit?

This is for me where “The Crucible” and particularly the depiction of John Proctor by Richard Armitage have shifted the tectonic plates of a world dominated by inactivity and the lack of a fire in its belly in the face of adversity and evil. I deeply believe that what this play has achieved in London goes far beyond what our eyes can see and our ears can hear. It is my utter conviction that something has shifted and been released into the four corners of the earth through the spirit of truth and love that this wonderful piece of literature carries.

I am in absolute awe and truly humbled by this rare breed of individuals like the play’s Director, Yael Farber, and the actor playing the lead role of John Proctor, Richard Armitage, who go far and beyond their artistic flare and vocation in order to use their gift not only for their own profit but because their life’s mission is also to use what they have, their gift, talent and resources to create a channel through which others can travel and see too that a life worth living can only be a life pursuing even to the death those things we know deep in our hearts to be true, to be right. Anything else is not living, but dying one day of conformity and indifference at a time, short-changing ourselves of the supreme quest that it is to pursue “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This Sleeping Giant has most certainly been re-ignited in me through this play. I was there twice and I felt it; I felt its power and its weight. I saw that the people who left the theatre were transformed from the people they were when they first came in. It is for this reason that I sit here today with a heavy heart, praying that was has been released through this play is not diluted by the one other million things thrown at us, put in front of us each and every single minute of the day. When one witnesses truth, it is impossible to continue on our journey as before.  How can anyone witness through the character of John Proctor what living and dying for love and the truth truly is and at what cost, and then not have the unwavering determination to make our lives shine as they should, as they were always meant to?

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ON THE PRECIPICE OF ETERNITY?

I have often published on my site prophetic words given by Priscilla Van Sutphin. I used to be very sceptic about anyone claiming that they had “heard” from God and felt a burden to be HIS mouthpiece. Indeed, I still feel there are many charlatans out there, many deluded people, deceivers who fool no one but themselves.

However, I do believe with all my heart that this woman “hears” from God and though I have never met her or know anything about her at all, every time I read the messages she shares, I myself sense the presence of God around me in a tangible way. I feel comforted, encouraged and disciplined. I feel His Spirit right there next to me. The words hit me like the words of a best friend, and intimate relation who knows you inside out and can get to those places we all try so hard to keep out of sight from the world around us.

This particular word is an example of how the Spirit of God can make contact with us when we least expect it. It can get to those dark, hidden, secret, sheltered, delicate, sensitive corners of our heart that nobody else gets to see or know about. It can unearth our deepest longings, fears and our biggest regrets, our failures and the strongest desires of our heart which up to that point have laid dormant, numbed by a culture and an existence fast forwarded by commitments, responsibilities, worries, TIME.

Priscilla, if you ever happen to read this, please know that in the past when I have shared your messages here, often I shared them because I felt they would encourage someone else. Well, this time the message was for ME.

I sit here in floods of tears feeling like that person you speak of who feels they have been discounted, who no longer have a role in the Kingdom, is ME. I am the one who has personally been given this promise:

“but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.”

I am the one who saw myself in a dream doing these very things, flying, being carried, sheltered under God’s wing:

“I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.”

I am the one who was personally told to:

“Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.”

I am amongst those who have been given this promise over and over again in dreams:

“For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.”

I heard this promise too:

“Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.”

I am that person:

“He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.”

The words: “You are called to be a LIGHT in the DARKNESS” have been given to me time and time again:

“Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!”

Oh! I am the one crying as His words unravel the complexity and the burden in my heart that no human around me is even aware of. He sees in me what no one else can or will see; He alone knows the dreams and promises He has laid on my heart; He alone sees me in the night troubled by visions of Tsunamis and earthquakes that shake the foundations of the Earth; He alone sees the tears I cry when those chosen and called to share the Good News, misrepresent HIM in such an abysmal and hurtful manner, and THAT is how I know this word is coming DIRECTLY from  my Heavenly Father to me.

Thank you Priscilla for being that vessel, that channel which brings this healing balm onto my soul and reminds me that HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME, NOR FORSAKE ME.

http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/the-lord-says-were-on-the-precipice-of-eternity/

The Lord says We’re on the Precipice of Eternity!

“[So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] O my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.  [My heart was touched and I fervently sang to him my desire]  Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom”   Song of Solomon 2:14-15 AMP.

“You’re on the precipice of eternity, and many are not aware of how close My coming is.  They’ve been lured asleep by compromise, apathy and complacency.  But I am asking you now to be ready for extraordinary change that is coming.  Nothing will ever be the same.  Life as you know it cannot be Counted on.  The things you have taken for granted in the past, cannot be taken for granted any more.

My coming is urgently approaching and so many are sleeping in the church.  Deep darkness has filled many people as the darkness has covered the earth, but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.  The vultures are ready to pounce if you let them, but I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.

Keep your oil lamps filled to the brim, for ordinary substances that people count on are not being supplied.  There is a plot to starve out many, and to lay many to rest through cruel and unusual means.  PRAY these things do not come.  I will uncover it all if people will repent and seek My face in this nation.  Change is about to turnover many things they think are established.  You are on the precipice of GREAT CHANGE.  Not the kind some were looking for in last few years, but that which WILL change people’s hearts and expose the hearts of others.

Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.

I am NOT the God of the new age.  I am not the God of the world, though I should be.  But I AM the CREATOR Who made heaven and earth and sent My Son to die for them.  Many have heard and rejected Me.  Many have spurned My love through My servants.  But many have not seen the kind of love I am about to pour out.  For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.  Ready your hearts to be enraptured with Your King!  For I AM READY and I see the plans that you cannot see.

I see the plans of the wicked behind closed doors, and I know all things about them, and about you. Do not hide yourself from Me now.  Come to me with your burdens and I will give you rest for your soul.  I will heal the hearts who are corrupted by the enemy.  I will do miracles upon miracles.  Startling miracles will be seen, and people will be in shock, including you, that I do them now.  Others will arise trying to mimic them, but they will be shown to be the frauds that they are.  Ask and you will receive.  Believe that I am GOOD, and that I have your best interest always on My mind.

Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.  Many continue making mistakes, sinning, but did I not know that when He died on the cross?  Did I not show you the parallels to Israel, and how they wandered for 40 years in the desert because they could not attain to the law, nor get all the unbelief and rejection and bitterness out of their hearts.  IT IS BY THE BLOOD that you have My righteousness, and I see you through that blood.  YOU are My precious possession, and I will make you My jewels.  So fret not, and do not take on the condemnation of the enemy.  Do not allow it in your heart.  He is a liar and the father of lies.

He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.

Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!  I will remove the little foxes that spoil the vine as you worship ME and seek My face.  Don’t worry about the little foxes, just trust ME, that I will remove them as you seek Me.  That is why you find yourself crying in My presence, without knowing why.  I am healing your heart and plucking out all that the enemy has sown that is not from ME.  I love you My bride, and I am at the door, so lean on ME.  Lean on the everlasting arms for I am not weak as man is weak.  Trust me to bring you through anything that you have to go through.  For I am with you always, even to the end.”

My best birthday present to date has been the GIFT of Awareness.

Today I am 44 years old.  Never before have I felt so comfortable in my own skin, so happy to walk in my own shoes, so free to be who I am called to be and to exist in the manner that I was fearfully and wonderfully made to exist.

Of all the presents I have ever received none come even close to the magnitude and beauty that the gift of awareness has meant in my life and that of those who share in this life alongside me.

To me a birthday is not an annual occurrence but a daily one, for each day is a fresh and new opportunity to share in God’s grace, to be showered in his blessings and to find new mercies in Him, and most importantly to be reborn and bathed in His Spirit . I want to spend the rest of my life cultivating a heart that is aware and grateful for all the good things and for the meaning, purpose and reason behind the bad things too.

Today on my 44th birthday I am GRATEFUL:

  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that we have the opportunity to start afresh each day, for the bad to be washed away through Christ’s redemptive nature and for the new to take hold and meaning.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY  AWARENESS that up to this point it is the grace of God and his mercy that have sustained my faith, my marriage, my parenting, my children, my health, my home, our business, our extended families, our friends and those spiritual lighthouses who help us to keep perspective and a righteous frame in our daily walk.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that miracles are not only found in the unexpected, extraordinary, unexplainable, or grandiose occurrences, but much more so in the little details of our existence and that of our environment which we don’t take any notice of because we take these things for granted. There is a miracle in the new rose bud that is about to open, the dove that flies over my garden as I am praying, the weird and wonderful cloud formations that keep me forever wondering, the laughter of a friend who is able to laugh and appreciate friendship despite his personal challenges and struggles, the fight within of a cancer sufferer who refuses to give up and battles with all they have until the power of determination overcomes the power of the illness.  There is a miracle in the Autistic child that can’t make heads or tails of why he feels the way he does but is able to say “Mum, I love you and what am I going to do when you are no longer here with me?”. There is a miracle in the husband who one day fights with the frustration of being let down by his wife and the next renews his affections and love by giving her a gift.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that much will be asked of those of us to whom much has been given and alongside that thought the awareness that I own nothing really but I am a steward to much and therefore have a responsibility to myself, God and others to look after those things and people who have been entrusted under my care; to be generous with them and compassionate.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that millions suffer everyday as they lack the most basic of needs and rights, and the painful DAILY awareness that their joy always manifests within them in equal measure to and despite their pain. What is our excuse for complaining about our own predicaments? How dare we?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I am here today but may no longer be here tomorrow and what did I do with all my todays and tomorrows?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that today never comes back and so after it is gone would I have left the world or at least “my world” a better place?
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I fail my calling everyday to honour God and to love him above all else with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength, and yet He never fails to continue forgiving and loving me, because unlike me He is not the God of second chances but countless.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that the fire that keeps the coals of my faith burning does not lie within a church, a church family, a religious system or even a house group, but with the Spirit of God Himself and I therefore have a direct source and access to that Spirit for He lives in me and I in Him and it is that constancy and that assurance that keeps my fire burning and not any external agent within the natural realm.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that only when I have failed, I can learn what true success is and how to obtain it.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that every now and then I need to take some punches in order to be taken down a peg or two so that I do not think of myself higher than I ought to.
  • GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that my birthday is not today but everyday and with each new day comes a fresh opportunity to become aware of all the things above all over again, an opportunity to stop, take stock and give thanks for the grace and the unconditional love that God gives me and which I do not deserve.

THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT IS KNOWING THAT WITH EVERY BREATH I GET YET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME AWARE OF HOW BLESSED I REALLY AM AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE MY GRATITUDE IN A PRACTICAL WAY.

IF I CAN ASK FOR JUST ONE THING ON THIS MY 44TH BIRTHDAY, LORD I ASK TO NEVER LOSE THIS AWARENESS AND TO ALWAYS DO SOMETHING WHICH LETS YOU KNOW THAT I AM GRATEFUL.

THIS BLOG NO LONGER DOES WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN. OUCH!

Recently a dear friend sent me an email to let me know that a well-known Christian writer was offering a bumper gift of free books written by himself and others upon the condition that we bought his latest book.  Immediately enticed by the thought of a free gift, I took the bait and purchased his new book, and as promised, once I informed the author that I had made the purchase, a link was sent to me from his website with the promised bumper gift, which by the way was for the most part the ability to download for free various books and audio and not as I had hoped a physical, tangible gift to be received on the post, which was a bit disappointing, but that is more to do with my own personal preferences and not the nature of the giver.

Once I had downloaded most of the stuff, the excitement of the free gift ebbed away, specially when I received another email from this author’s website to say amongst other things that a free copy of another of his books would be automatically sent to all those who subscribed to his blog.  Another condition, I thought! This is beginning to smell of egocentrism and idolatry and it is certainly not pointing me or anyone else who comes to this author’s site primarily to Jesus or more importantly emulating God’s unconditional love, a God who gave his one and only son to set us free and to redeem us to Himself. For as one freely receives one should freely give.  Somehow, these words did not ring true in my heart when I thought of this author’s tactics to attract readers to his site and ultimately to increase the number of people following him. I personally know self-confessed men and women of God who will unashamedly use the arena and the platform God has blessed them with to market, promote and push their egos forward and simultaneously brag about going out on mission to the poorest countries for a couple of weeks a year as if one washed clean or cancelled the harm and the defiling done by the other.

Now, when I take a step back and ponder on what the picture of today’s church looks like, I see what I have described above as one of the primary reasons why the Western church is in decay at is very core and why hundreds of people are marching out from their local churches with absolutely no intention of ever going back, and worse still why many unbelievers will automatically keep their distance the moment they find out that you are a Christian. Why? Because they simply cannot and will not wish to dig in any further when they see the hypocrisy of a system, a set of beliefs and a large number of people within this group who perpetuate and condone the worship of other gods whilst claiming to love above all else the one and only God.  Who would be stupid enough to fall for that kind of on your face, down right deception, right?

This morning as I was having breakfast all alone in the kitchen (my favourite time of day) I felt utterly convicted for being one of those who is simply perpetuating this situation and fallacy by the mere fact that my own blog as of late no longer seems to point people to Christ, no longer does what it says on the tin, but often it points to other people’s wisdom, knowledge or discernment and even more disappointing is the fact that by doing this God never gets the glory, the praise or the love, but it is instead given to countless individuals who have been set apart by God for a specific purpose and as time has gone by that direction has been lost and everything they are about and everything they do reflects not the glory, power, grace and love of God, but their own ingenuity, enlightenment and self-worth.

There is a reason why my blog has erred from where it was supposed to go and that is simply the fact that these days I don’t abide in His word and His presence as much as I need to. This is another big factor in why those set apart Christian leaders who are out there pushing forward their own findings, revelation and vision forget in the process that they are simply mere clay in the Potter’s hand and not the finished article which is ready to be put on a shelf for everyone to admire and enjoy.  Only Christ, I say it again for my own benefit as much as anyone else’s reading this, only Christ is worthy of such adoration, glory and praise. And the very sad part of all of this is that the majority of such individuals were destined for great exploits for God, for unimaginable intimacy and a supernatural walk alongside Christ himself, but unable and unwilling to take the path of self-sacrifice, anonymity and suffering, they push for the mirage instead, pursuing a great following as the credentials one needs in the world today to have influence for Christ and to have a life-altering, transformational and redemptive effect upon the lives of others.

Many people like myself are these days shouting to the four corners of the earth the deception and hypocrisy that abounds in the church system today and why this is causing floods of Christians to leave such pools of stagnant water, but few are prepared to be radical in how they tackle this problem, in how they offer themselves as living sacrifices in order to enable Christ’s bride to receive a heart transplant which presents her to the Groom without spot or blemish.

I want to have that kind of radical approach to changing the face of The Church, the Body of Christ, and I have to start somewhere, so I will start by simply ceasing to publish on this blog anything written or said by anyone else other than Christ himself.  This blog was born out of  a desire to share with you all what Christ has done and continues to do in my life and that of my family, and I would be an utter fool if I truly thought that posting, promoting or glorifying what another brother or sister in Christ has said or written has the same power as the words of Christ himself or if I thought that by pushing forward as the panacea the knowledge and revelation attained by another Christian individual, I am pushing forward the redemptive power that only the blood of Christ is able to transmit.  Radical thinking I know, for some perhaps even too much of an extreme attitude to have, but everything else has been tried and tested and failed.  We are all full of good intentions and the determination to give everyone the benefit of the doubt but when it comes to the Kingdom of God, short-changing does not cut it. I don’t want to look back a few years down the line and see that the Church is still in the same sad, ill state because not only did I and everyone else not do anything in my own walk to change it, but because I was in actual fact an active agent in promoting, praising and glorifying men and women above Christ himself.

It is simple: anything that detracts the light from the Saviour himself, is as good as darkness and becomes a betrayal to the Father’s heart, for one cannot be content to belong to the darkness and the light at the same time and one most certainly cannot be a part of the Body if that part is holding a lampstand that points to itself and not the Head.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (38 kb)

I don’t discount that some of what these individuals are putting out there is indeed born of the Spirit of God and being used by God to bring renewal and growth in the lives of certain people including myself of course, but if at the same time they are intent on drawing attention to themselves and their work first and foremost to then point people to Christ, the later cannot justify the former and the former cannot be used as an excuse to whitewash and exonerate the latter. In Christ, we can only have one Master and not two can be served, revered and worshipped at the same time.  Let’s today choose whom we shall serve and commit with our every breath to such a choice. Double standards and hypocrisy never enlarged the kingdom of God and they never will, no matter what you are made to believe by those who have vested interests in persuading you otherwise.

Jude 24-25 (111 kb)

A graceful, loving but candid and honest depiction of where The Western Church is at today

Below is a transcript of one of Wayne Jacobsen’s podcasts on the God Journey which I have typed up word by word.  I hope I have faithfully put down exactly what he says, but if I haven’t, I apologise in advance.  Please bear with me.  English is not my first language but I am also having to contend with a different accent to the one I am used to here in the UK.  Please let me know if at any point during this transcript I have misinterpreted what was originally said and I will endeavour to edit it accordingly.

As this is quite a long podcast, I will divide it into various parts.  If you wish to listen to the podcast instead of reading it here, please go to Wayne Jacobsen’s site at http://thegodjourney.com/2013/04/05/not-made-with-hands/. The title of this podcast is “Not made with Hands”.

Not Made with Hands – Part 1

“It feels like being able to have a relationship with God is akin to winning the lottery. It happens, people do win but the odds of winning are a million to one.”  Hi, I am Wayne Jacobsen and I want to welcome you to this edition of the God Journey, and that line is one of the saddest lines I have ever gotten in an email. I will look at the rest of the email in just a moment. I think it will lead to a discussion that I hope spawns some conversation among us.  I am going to today try to unpack some of the edges where I am thinking these days and it is not clearly formed in my mind yet, so we will see what comes out.

I have left out here a section from Wayne’s podcast which is not relevant to the subject discussed.  Please feel free to go to the source and listen to the whole thing.

Back to the letter I read to you, I read the last paragraph of this letter. Let me go and pick up a little bit earlier on. It says: “First and foremost, I will take this moment to thank both of you (referring to Brad and I.  I got this letter prior back some time in the fall) for shining as beacons in a tangled wilderness of thoughts, words, actions, dogma and chaos.  Simply said, I had not come across the books and the podcasts.  If I had not come across them, my journey would have been laden with more darkness and despair than I was capable of handling.  At the very least without all these conversations I was able to listen in on, there was a good chance I would have embraced some of the rigid “Do good, get good, do bag, get bad” God paths.

For the past year I have toiled with at least writing something to you. Why? Because crushingly so I felt I was further from a relationship with God than ever.  Over the past few years my thirst to listen to and ponder over the different topics I heard on your podcast and a number of others, has been fading, not because I find fault or flaw in what I heard, but rather I found the distance between me and God could still be measured in light years.”

Agh! You know on the one hand I hate email like this because I hate knowing that people are stuck there.  On the other hand these are the emails I love, because I get these generally  before there is some kind of breakthrough in someone’s life.  I love the hunger.  The sense of feeling lost in it all is a big part I think of somehow us giving up or looking elsewhere than where we looked in the past.

One of the things for which the religion that we have come to know as Christianity enrages me is because it creates hungers in people that it cannot fill for reasons we will talk about in a moment.

It says this, back to the letter, “For a long time I felt that God was the only thing that saved my life. My search for God had ranged full circle: believed as a small child, tattered and torn as I witnessed the judgement and warfare that Christians wedged on others outside the circle of belief. Gone as I raged through life as a full-blown alcoholic and as I began my first tentative steps towards recovery, I read everything I could find about religion, you name the belief, I checked it out. A spiritual experience I clearly felt heard, sensed that Gold told me that everything would be alright and I veered back towards Christianity. I was drawn to those who spoke with authority. God spoke to them and if I did the right thing, God would speak to me. There was the problem though.  In AA I watched and saw that many who had been in the program for years and decades had not grown beyond “I had a crappy day, but I did not hit that first drink”. It made me wonder.  They were just a drink away from hell on earth and obviously they’d not healed the wounds that had driven them to drink.

That is where Brad and Wayne came into the picture. I can’t describe just how transforming and min-boggling it was to hear the two of you tell of your own journeys. For a season I was buoyed to new heights.  There was a God who loved his people, a God who wasn’t striking down folks left and right because he/she momentarily sinned. I had become increasingly alone and to compound the isolation, I had been hounded by a sense that God would strip me of everything, and no matter how hard I struggled to live one day at a time, no matter how responsible I tried to be, no matter how much effort I put into trying to devise a way to care for my family, it is all to no avail. Listening to your podcast had less and less meaning for me, more and more like it felt you were speaking of something I was never going to encounter. I’ve ran endless spiritual miles. I’ve searched countless spiritual havens, and it just never gets closer. And since there is nothing I can do or say to drive God away, I try to leave all the doors open and the welcome sign up 24/7.  The results thus far, more has been stripped from me.  I am far more aware of just how alone I am. To put it in other way: it feels like being able to have a relationship with God is akin to winning the lottery.  It happens, people do win, but the odds of winning are a million to one.

Well, Jim first of all I want to say to you if you are listening to the podcast, don’t even know that you are, but thanks for your letter, thanks for your honesty and this is where my heart breaks. It breaks because Christianity promises people a meaningfull relationship with God, but then it can’t provide it, and that is not a slam against Christianity, it is just the reality. It cannot, not will not, it cannot, and I think that is what many of us at various stages, all the emails I have gotten from doing this God Journey over the years, so many people in religious systems, in Christian systems, hearing promises, having hungers tapped, even having experiences where God makes himself known to them, and then trying to redouble their efforts and trying to find a way into that reality only to watch it fade away and feel isolated and alone, just like Jim does here, and then trying to find another way to make it work, and trying even harder maybe at a different place and again being disappointed that it is not what it claims to be and then in the midst of those things we feel the futility and frustration of trying to work a system that can’t do what it promises.

Now this is not a diatribe against all Christian institution. As I said to you last week, that is a place where my hunger for God was tapped, it is the place that began to nurse a hunger it could not satisfy, but like many of us, there is just moments of coming to grips with the fact that this is not getting me where I want to go.

I was at a funeral last weekend at the Fellowship I pastored at thirty-five years ago, long time and I met people there that I knew back in the day. And do you know what was sad to me, spiritually? Many of them were just in the same place, and not that they are bad Christians.  They are good Christians. They are conscientious people, very well-intentioned people, people who work very hard and committed, they spend their life serving the institution, hopeful that their relationship with God would connect, and I don’t know that most of them are disappointed today.  They kind of swim in the sea of stagnation.  I know because I hear it in their voice, the things they hunger for that they haven’t settled in their heart yet, and then I wonder: why is that so?

As I watched the new Pope installed in Rome a few weeks ago.  I did watch it, just because I am intrigued by that whole thing, but when I see him sitting in that, if you watched it, there is one point before the mass, he is sitting in this canopied throne at the top of the stairs to St. Peter’s. An image of this ornate throne, and the Pope is sitting on it, and it is all covered in this red velvet gold canopy, or so it looked, with gold trim.  What has this in common with Jesus Christ as he appeared to them?  How did Jesus and his disciples, even after 2000 years, how does it get there? How is that recognised as the pinnacle of what religious authority is?

And I know some of us hearing this podcast are going to say “it is not that for me” and I know, I agree it isn’t that but it is regarded as that by so many people.

to be continued

(Please bear with me as this process will take me a long time, but I strongly feel I must do it to get the message out)