Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Ask What You Wish Me to Give You"

When Solomon was confirmed as the King of Israel after his father David’s death, he offered a thousand sacrifices and later that night, God appeared to him in a dream. First of all, the notion of God appearing in a dream is pretty trippy, but it is right there on page 455 of the Bible. Either we accept this reality or we don’t. And, if we do, we also accept the possibility of God behaving in the same manner today as He did then. To me, Bible knowledge without Bible experience is lame, at best and vain at worst.

In this dream, God says to Solomon, “Ask what you wish me to give you…”. In essence, “What do you want? No caveats, no fine print, no bait and switch. What do you want?” Astonishing.

You can talk all you want to about God’s all knowing capacity to see what Solomon really wanted. We could debate Solomon’s moral weaknesses (and by the way those weaknesses were already present when God offered this blank check) and his eventual downward spiral. Doctrinal experts rush in like a “haz-mat” team to immediately confine God’s behavior here so as to avoid anything messy happening in our time. But none of the above matters to me. I say, if God didn’t want me to want this, He should never have put this story in the Book.

New Testament disciples are called upon and designed to be “kings and priests” (I Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6) with royal aspirations living in our visions and dreams. Jesus came to be “King of kings” not “King of bums”. If you and I don’t see this we won’t offer a thousand sacrifices as Solomon did the day before he had this outrageous dream and we certainly won’t have the revelation of the possibility of the offer of this dream being our inheritance.

I want my inheritance! Not for squander like the younger son’s error in the parable of the prodigal (Luke 15:11-32), but for investment and fully realized potential as could have been for the older son in that same parable! Do you realize that the older son was equally guilty of wasting the inheritance as was the younger son? The younger son wasted his inheritance with loose living but the older son wasted his inheritance with NO living!

Read it for yourself, the older son was ticked off and separated himself from this significant family party that dad was hosting for the younger son’s return. When the father went out to get his older son he said, “My child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Both selfish harlotry and self righteous resentment will separate you from God’s richest offers.

The extreme generosity of this father suggests that he would have given anything to either son and clearly, on some level, both sons were missing the point! Is it possible that we are still missing the point? “…All that is mine is YOURS…” sounds to me wonderfully familiar to, “Ask what you wish Me to give you”.

What would it look like if we too would offer a thousand royal sacrifices of worship? What would it look like if we would allow the Holy Spirit to lift us to a dream state to realize that our Father is saying to us, “All that is Mine, is YOURS”? What would it look like if we wanted, ONE THING?

Oh…I almost forgot…Solomon asked God to impart to him the full capacity of genuine royalty…that’s how I read it. Lay this template over the story of the prodigal. What if one of the sons in that story had said, “Father, bless me with the full capacity to rule in your house with a heart of genuine royalty that I might increase, enjoy and properly distribute ‘all that is yours’”.

“But seek for His Kingdom, and these things shall be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen GLADLY to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:31,32

Go ahead….ASK…..I dare you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Secret Service Reports "Incident" at McCain Rally

Sources tell us that the secret service agent assigned to Senator John McCain was called away from a local bar to hurry to the side of the presidential candidate at a campaign rally at a community college in Paducah, Kentucky, late last night. Witnesses at the scene have reported that in the middle of the Senator’s speech a man was said to be clapping and cheering “vigorously”.

When Senator McCain’s secret service agent arrived he tells us that he found several audience members surrounding the suspect demanding an explanation for his sudden burst of enthusiasm. Several witnesses complained of “undue excitement” and “a raised heart rate”. Later when this unidentified person was being escorted out of the room by a part time campus security guard he could be heard apologizing and explaining that he had had a second cup of coffee that morning and “wasn’t himself”. One member of the audience humorously commented, "Go ahead, taze him bro". Toxicology tests have not yet confirmed these findings, but little else would explain such behavior.

The official spokesperson for the McCain Campaign promised a thorough review of the Senator’s speeches for any further signs of innovation, inspiration and visionary thought in an effort to avoid similar future outbursts. The Senator himself said, “No one was more surprised than me. Our intra-organizational mantra has been, ‘keep it cool, keep it lame’. We’ve decided to reward our secret service agent with time off for the next week in hopes to have him back fresh and ready for our run through North and South Dakota”.

Meanwhile, Senator Barack Obama expressed his concern and offered a prayer for the safety of his opponent at a campaign stop along the Great China Wall. Several reporters in his entourage were said to be weeping openly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Senator Obama Cures the Common Cold

Rumor has it that the presumptive president-elect, Senator Barack Obama, has cured the common cold. His campaign spokesman said this morning that it was too early to comment on this development, but that she was sure it was true.

Media outlets around the world are preparing their responses, however, in order not to offend Senator Obama, they are waiting for him to make his own announcement. To do otherwise would potentially steal his thunder at worst and, at best, hurt his feelings. Medical researchers who have expressed doubts are being urged to show restraint until after the November election. Most media outlets are reporting that this advise is certain to be honored.

On another presumptive president-elect Obama news front, it is also rumored that Senator Obama will be visiting a number of homeless shelters throughout the nation and multiplying fish and loaves to feed the masses. Sources close to the senator are neither denying nor confirming these plans, although one source who asked to remain anonymous said, "This dear man can only do so much at any given time. We must be patient and temper our expectations. Please allow the next leader of the free world some time and space to finish his research on time travel before demanding a solution to homelessness...one step at a time!". One reporter close to this interview was said to be weeping openly.

Finally, on a more humorous note, the Pope has reportedly attempted to contact the Obama Campaign to request an audience. When asked about this, the presumptive president-elect smiled that all knowing, kind grin of his and said, "Please, do I look like I want another preacher around me who could potentially embarrass me?" Laughter abounded, birds sang and a rainbow appeared just over the horizon.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Roar in the Forest

I carry in my Bible the tattered notes of a message I preached on January 25, 1989 here at Living Word Chapel in Forest, Wisconsin. (Side note: our mailing address says we are in Emerald but our actual location is Forest. Forest isn’t big enough to merit its own Post Office…for that matter, neither is Emerald since they closed it several years ago…but I digress) Anyway, where was I…?

Oh yes, the tattered notes. The title of the message is, “A Roar in the Forest”. It is based on a passage in Amos 3 that describes a lion’s roar in a forest when it has captured prey. The image is that of God or His people roaring like a lion when an enemy has been seized and neutralized. I spoke prophetically then of this little hamlet in the middle of no-where being a place of the choice of God for an invasion of His Kingdom and His Presence. I’ve carried those notes for 19 years as a reminder to me of God’s precious promise that this “little” place would someday be in the vortex of His mighty roar…that someday is today.

For over 3 full months we have been trembling in awe of a “heaven on earth” outpouring in our rural setting. I have often jokingly told people that I pastor a church of 150 in a town of 15…We’ve reached our city for Jesus, now we’re coming after YOURS. I am frequently amused by the slick church growth pamphlets I receive in the mail that promise me a conference sure to inspire me to “take my city for Jesus”. Hmmm…I suppose we could go after the cows on the other side of the highway…but again, I digress.

On quiet Monday mornings lately I walk across the empty sanctuary and my body just starts to “buzz” from the spiritual energy left over from the day before. The supernatural testimonies of what is happening among us are far too many to list here. For every one that I can recall, ten more come to mind later. It is simply amazing.

I don’t often refer to our podcast web-site but I feel compelled to do so today. Go to www.lwc1.com and click on podcasts. Last Wednesday evening is a sweet sampling of what God is saying and doing in the middle of a cow pasture in western Wisconsin.

I guess since He was born in a barn and laid in a manger, He apparently He enjoys the ambiance.