Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Beauty

I have not always loved Christmas. I tried real hard when I was a kid with some successes and some terrible failures. What I didn’t know then but I’ve learned since is that drug addictions and family dysfunctions don’t take a holiday break….in fact, they ramp it up. It can be summed up in the holiday greeting I grew up with, “Merry Kiss My A__”. Lovely sentiment, isn’t it?

But somewhere in life with two little kids and a wife who grew up with a family that relished Christmas, I had a Scrooge-like epiphany. Something, somehow broke into my reality and lodged in my heart and thinking. This life, this world, this one and only shot we have at spreading good cheer, needs Christmas.

And here, I am not talking about the Christmas “wars”. That’s nonsense. If I’m upset about losing influence in the world due to the fact that not enough people say, “Merry Christmas”, it is not a sign that the nation is in a moral free-fall….it’s a sign that I need to regain my credibility.

And, I am not talking about the droning of some who argue that Jesus’ Birthday is not actually December 25th (they’re right), or that we need to end the commercialization of the holidays (simple heart-felt gifts are always of higher value than money spent), or that various traditions of Christmas have been borrowed from a variety of pagan rituals (yep, it’s true; along with the modern calendar, astronomical maps and more names of people places and things than an encyclopedia could list) … blah, blah, blah.

I still believe this life of multiple disappointments and grieving needs a Christmas break. This world of scary people and hatred needs a Christmas break. This one and only shot we have at spreading good cheer, needs Christmas.

It’s about the insertion of beauty in a collection of far too much indignity and disgrace. It’s about clearing a small patch of ground, declaring a cease fire and singing Silent Night. I looked this up in Wikipedia, so the details might not be completely accurate. Just bear with me and read this;
"The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, jam, cigars, chocolate, and the like. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

In a world of reality shows that become ugly reality, we need beauty. In a world of unhinged ego, we need beauty. In a world where a friend of mine presides and weeps over a daily parade of human agony in the justice system, we need beauty. In a world where the f-bomb is a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb and artistic musical expression, we need beauty.

I want you to understand why I don’t care if pagan paltry has had a role in shaping Christmas. In my opinion, if something is beautiful, it was created by and belongs to God. Winter solstice provides a unique opportunity for reflection on dark bone chilling nights. In the mind-set of the Old Testament, if you touched a leper, you got leprosy. But now, on this side of the Cross, when we touch the leper, the leper is healed! Some people just need a bigger God, a far more real Jesus and much more completely defeated prince of darkness.

Let me tell you about my own personal Christmas tradition that brings me to tears every year. I started this when my kids were tiny. Late on Christmas Eve, after everything is done and a quiet has settled in, I take my car keys (or bells if they are available) and I go outside. I look up at the sky as if to look for Santa, throw my head back, jiggle my keys and as loud as I can I shout, “HO, HO, HO! Merry Christmas!” I’m not kidding. Ask anyone who lives within a mile of me. Dogs howl and the valley around me echoes….and I cry.

I cry because it is my shout for beauty. I cry because I hope some kid somewhere hears me and wonders if there really is a Santa. I cry because I love the moment. In this one and only shot for bringing peace on earth and good will toward all people, beauty deserves at least 15 minutes of fame every year.

So, Merry Christmas…HO, HO, HO!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pre-Christian World

It has been said that Christianity has not failed but that it has rarely been authentically attempted. I believe we are not living in a "post-Christian" era as much as we are living in a PRE-Christian era; a time of genuinely REpresenting the beauty of Christ and the true character of His Father.

What if we are not at all living in a society of past Christian glory? What if the history we tend to see only with the most romanticized ideals does not at all support the notion that our best days of faith are behind us? Isn’t it possible we’ve never known a truly, majestically thorough impact of genuine Kingdom Come influence in the U.S.A. and the western world?

Think about it; a Christian nation did not advocate the ownership of slaves. Christianity was not the core value supporting the Natives of this land being herded off to reservations and marginalized into the near extinction of their culture. It was not a Christian nation that forbade women the right to vote for most of our history. A nation living out the full bloom of Christ like beauty did not sponsor segregation with its ignorant “separate but equal” world view.

To be perfectly transparent about it all, some people painted the above crimes with the brush stroke of their silly interpretations of the Bible, but they were utterly and completely wrong! The error of their ways is so thoroughly egregious it is impossible to say with any certainty how long it will take to live it down!

Here’s my thundering point; it is utterly and completely possible that we are wrong to think of our current day as being a “post-Christian” era! I’m proposing that to live in the illusion of our past being something it was not is to rob us of the potential of an outrageous dream inspired faith for today and tomorrow!

We have not yet seen what God could do in a truly Christ inspired environment. “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; and how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” (Job 26:14).

Our day is a time of birth pains waiting the revealing of the authentic children of a Father Whose love is prepared to make an appearance on the stage of history. What wonders we will behold are limited only by our allegiance to fables of the past.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Heal the Sick and Say, "This Is the Kingdom!"

Two years ago I was awakened by the Presence of God on a Sunday morning. He poured into my heart the following promises for healing in our house and upon our region. The phrase “deluge and oceanic appearance of a Healing Presence and an environmental shift” is as near a quote as I can ever remember God speaking to me.

I urge you to join us in believing for these broken areas of our humanity to be healed in magnificent ways. This day October 11, 2011 we covenant again to the promise of God for our region.

God has promised me: A deluge and oceanic appearance of a Healing Presence and an environmental shift for the following 7 areas of healing and health;
1. Emotional healing; from unfounded anxiety, sudden-harsh, but brief; crippling nevertheless~ healed!

2. Thought life healing; self destructive-from self sabotaging success to unreasonable surrender to defeat~ healed!

3. To be significantly loved; undeniably, permanently connected to significant relationships ~ healed!

4. Healing from the inability to effectively convey the truest quality of love~ healed!

5. Healing from the victim mentality; asserting that my life has challenges that only others can correct ~ healed!

6. Healing from the spirit of poverty; “there’s never enough” must change to, “there’s more than enough” ~ healed!

7. Radical, raw, real, recognizable physical healings. YES, YES, YES!

As our doubts abound, so the pain will continue to own our quality of life. As a faith and passion for God and His presence abounds, so will our quality of life arise. Stay where you are and keep what you've always had. Or, you can arise and reach for what you have never known and you will grow beyond you're wildest dreams.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Business and management gurus tell us that a person’s ability to think metaphorically is as important as intelligence quotients; hence my title, MQ = IQ.
I think that sails beyond the business world and is exquisitely true for all of life. Metaphor is defined as a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse” is a simple metaphor. It begs the listener to expand their knowledge base without undue or extreme literal explanation.

The Bible is rich with metaphoric delights. The person who says that every word is intended to be taken with a wooden and literal eye is unwittingly draining the Book of its potential awe and power. Even “Thou shalt not murder” grows when the Holy Spirit is allowed the breath of Jesus who says, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty…whoever says, ‘you fool’ shall be guilty…”. Suddenly murder becomes a subject of inventory for every single one of us whose resentment, dishonor and unkindness lives unchecked neatly tucked away in our hearts.

Cognitive researchers whose life is spent in thinking about how people think (how’d you like to live with one of these folks?) tell us that as the world grows more complex “imaginative rationality” has become ever more valuable. Metaphorically speaking in a tired cliché that’s called, “thinking outside the box”.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of His inheritance in the saints”. We are on the brink of a spiritual renaissance, or as Kris Vallotton calls it, “the eve of construction”.

Literalists have the world blowing up while others of us have the earth being consumed in the passions of an outrageous God whose Throne is encircled by a rainbow and surrounded by a leadership team saturated with eyeballs beyond count and bodies carried about by six wings.

Which reminds me; God told Noah that every time He looked at a rainbow He would be reminded to spare creation. As if to underscore this notion, God filled His own Great Room with a round rainbow. Metaphor or not, that’s just cool.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Wake Up!

I’ve noticed when I hear, “They need to wake up!” or the twin saying,
“They need a wake up call!” the clear suggestion is that someone else needs an alarm clock blast. Oh, and here’s the best one, “This nation needs a wake up call!” Seldom is it said, “I need a wake up call!”

Ephesians 3:14, “For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”

The definition for “awake” in this passage is of particular interest to me. It means to collect one’s faculties, to waken. To rouse from sleep, sitting or lying, disease and death, obscurity, inactivity, ruins, non-existence. To awake, lift up raise and rear up, to stand and take up.

My definition is this: change your patterns. Shake up your standard procedures. Get out of your predictable thinking and force yourself into emotional, intellectual and spiritual fresh air.

A few days ago I downloaded a bargain book to my Kindle, “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin. The basic premise is about a researcher who built a simple buzzer box and put it in front of a one year old child. The box had 2 buttons, a buzzer and light. Push one button and the light comes on, push the other button and the box buzzes. Left in front of a child long enough and the little tike will learn to “poke the box” for the reward of sound and light. The sub title of this bargain book is, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” I’m officially on the lookout for things to do for the first time.

America wakes up when I wake up. Others will wake up if I wake up, if for no other reason but to keep an eye on me to make sure I’m not about to disturb their snoozey lifestyle.

Revival does not come when we pray for the nation to be revived. Revival comes when I draw a circle, jump in the middle of it, throw everyone else out of that circle and I pray for the one person in the circle …ME… to be revived. In fact, I would say it this way; the whole world is waiting for me to WAKE UP!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How To Walk on Water

Ephesians 4:31 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

I’m amazed at how many folks who read the Bible and say they believe every word can find so many routes around actually taking the Bible seriously when it comes to a passage like this one. Some of these same people can quote chapter and verse about what God has to say about sin in other folks, yet they don’t seem nearly as fascinated by what the Bible has to say about their own sin.

Ephesians 4:31 is a directive straight for the heart of the church. Get rid of bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice. Here’s how each word of these nasty negatives is defined:
1. Bitterness – poison, sharp harsh feelings, acridity (the state of being constantly irritated)
2. Wrath – literally means to “blow smoke” or breathe hard. Fierce feelings of indignation.
3. Anger – violently passionate, indignant and generally abhorrent of others.
4. Clamor – to shriek or croak like a crow. An outcry of grief or agitation.
5. Slander – to vilify people. The greek word is “blasphemia”; as if to blaspheme a human like we might otherwise blaspheme God!
6. Malice – to aim worthlessness. To carry bad feelings and vilification of others.

I love the R.D.V. of the Bible….the Randy Dean Version. Ready? Here’s the R.D.V. of Ephesians 4:31; “Keep a healthy internal review of your emotions so that you are consistently aware of and removing from your heart every wasteful negative emotion. Sharp harsh feelings toward anyone for any reason must go! Breathing hard and fierce against anyone for any reason must go! Being indignant, disgusted and dwelling on how “against” someone your ideas are, must go! Making rude noises or disgusted sounds about other people must go! Turning people into villains because they don’t share your opinions, must go! (In fact, learning to look at all people as the expression of the image of God should keep this nasty habit far from you. Imagine yourself talking about God the way you talk about some people. It would be blasphemous!) Lugging around a generalized bad feeling about anybody and thus diminishing the value or worth of anyone for any reason, anywhere must go! Why? Because we were not designed to carry these high levels of toxicity in our bodies or our minds; we were designed to carry only the love and forgiveness that each one of us received from Christ and give it away as much as we like receiving it.”

I take aim at this kind of moral inventory on page 97 of my book, RADIANCE "The crippled man lowered through the roof in the Gospel of Mark had not spoken a word, but Jesus started the conversation by telling him that his sins were forgiven. The woman caught in the act of adultery and brutally dragged to Jesus had not whispered a word of repentance when Jesus took charge of the situation with the anointing to forgive her. The butchers standing around the cross were barely coherent due to their vile task, but Jesus spoke to the mountain of their sin and commanded forgiveness upon them."

Jesus didn’t have any of the Ephesians 4:31 list of poisons in His system. He didn’t have it in Him to wonder, “I wonder if this guy is really sick or if he just likes the attention? I wonder if this lady has done this before? Maybe she’s got it coming. If these jerks tearing my body to shreds only knew who they were touching, they’d be plenty sorry…in fact, hey God! Show these perverts how wrong their sin is!”

No wonder Jesus was full of life when He called Lazurus out of the tomb. No wonder Jesus could touch the sick and they were immediately healed. No wonder a woman washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. No wonder He walked on water…His personal burden was very light.

I’m preparing my body to be a living sacrifice emptied of toxins and consumed with the Presence of God. I’m longing to be just as light as Jesus.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Less is More...

If Christianity is to be genuinely Christian, we have no choice but to reach for a more authentic, happier and transcendent spiritual life. Less debates, more delights. Less damning, more dancing. Less political obsessions, more passionate worship. Less self-righteousness, more unselfishness. Less condemning, more compassion. Less pettiness, more powerful living!

If the powers of darkness can not get us to live outright dark lives, they will opt for having us dipped in self serving piety and walled up against the very world we could be joyously serving. No sin is so binding as the sin that masquerades as fierce opposition to sin!

If good, righteous living was all God ever wanted from His people, He would have had everything He needed in the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. If having a crowd whose disgust for national sin was accentuated with a proud higher standard was the end to all of God’s dream, He would have never inspired Jesus to say, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice’, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners”.

If Christianity is to be genuinely Christian, we have no other choice but to arise to a shining brilliance of delighted and thrilling lifestyles of the beauty of God alive in us. Our self serving righteous misery is not illuminating a dark world. The only righteous living God is sponsoring today is a celebration of the bounty of heaven on earth.

Less misery, more party! -- “Let’s get it started in here!”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kris Vallotton's Eight Core Values Regarding Eschatology

This is sooo good I'm tempted to say, "The Lord showed me these 8 things....".... then again, I'm allergic to dishonesty.

Unless you've been living in a cave lately, you've likely heard of the current hoopla from a group that believes "We Can Know...because Noah knew, WE can know". According to them, Saturday is the rapture and October 21st is The End.

In my book, Radiance, I do address nonsense like this, but Kris' words below establish a brief but powerful grid for discernment. Give a read...then pass it along. I routinely vaccinate the sheep under my care with truth like this as an ounce of prevention worth a TON of healing. Enjoy-

Kris Vallotton’s 8 Core Values Regarding Eschatology or
“the End-Times”
1. I will not embrace an end-time world view that re-empowers a dis-empowered devil.
2. I will not embrace an eschatology that takes away my children’s future and creates mind-sets that undermine the mentality of leaving a legacy or an inheritance or my kid’s future. I intend to leave my children a world in revival.
3. I will not tolerate a theology that sabotages the clear command of Jesus to make disciples of all nations and the Lord’s Prayer that the earth would look like heaven. Why is it that just the bad things have to be fulfilled? What about the amazingly good things?
4. I will not allow an interpretation of the scriptures that undermines hope for the nations and for the restoration of ruined cities.
5. I will not allow an eschatology that changes the nature of a good God.
6. I refuse to accept any mind-set that celebrates bad news as a sign of the times and a necessary requirement for the return of Jesus Christ.
7. I am opposed to any doctrinal position that pushes the promises of God into a time-zone that cannot be attained in my life or generation and therefore takes away any responsibility I have to believe God for them in my life-time.
8. I don’t believe that the last days are a time of judgment nor do I believe that God gave the church the right to call for wrath on sinful cities or nations. There is a Day of Judgment that God alone has the right to pass any judgment…but even that is a DAY …not days.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Double or Nothing

This blog is about me. Yes, it is all about me. I need to read it. I need to live it and I need to express this. I don’t necessarily need anyone else to read it nor do I need anyone else to feel as I do. As Barney Fife used to say, “Nothing to see here folks, move along.”

Yesterday I found myself needing to put a Word in the atmosphere. I was duty-bound and inextricably drawn beyond ME. Yesterday was the first full day of our nation digesting the news about Osama Bin Laden’s death...BUT, this blog isn’t going to be about that. I’ve moved on to something far, far larger for me. But to get there, I’ve got to go back one day.

So, let me tell you about me (get the idea?....ME). Sunday night, when the networks jumped on the TV screen with the bulletin about Bin Laden, my most visceral reaction was a fist pump. My gut said, “YES!”, and then the Holy Spirit said, “Virus alert”. Later, after I went to bed, I laid there feeling dirty. I had to get up and work this out.

I do believe that one duty of civil government is the protection of its citizens. They bear the sword, in a righteous sense, for good purposes for those who are potential victims of genuinely bad people. Romans 13:3,4 “Rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.”

While humanity sorts out its need for salvation, I’m thrilled that Navy Seals bear a sword for our protection. But, I am committed to labor for the change of all of society until that day when we can beat our swords into plowshares (Micah 4)! The fact that the military has to do what they have to do is to ME a testament to my failure to do what I should be doing… praying, laboring and seeing “on earth, as it is in heaven” through the wielding of MY sword!

I failed where 24 brave Navy Seals succeeded. For that, they have my undying gratitude and my genuine honor…THEY ROCK! That being said, now I have to deal with ME!

The sword I carry is the Living Word of a Transcendent Force of the Immaterial. My sword is destined to be regarded with a higher respect for world changing power than the swords that stopped Osama Bin Laden. And yet, I failed to carry my sword to that destiny so now, I have to deal with ME.

I am moved to repent, moved to grow, moved to clutch this conviction and I am being seized to step up to my assignment in this life. I AM dealing with me. I am an elder in today’s church, an elder who dreams a dream because I have invited the Holy Spirit to roar in me all the days of my life. True elders must rule in a worthy manner to the Spirit’s dream.

I Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching…”. I hold preaching and teaching as a holy skill with a Kingdom high potential. To ME, preaching is not about entertaining a crowd; it is about healing, revelation power and literally changing the world by putting the Kingdom of God in the soil as a seed which will dominate every field.

Jesus said of Himself, “…the Spirit is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel…” (Luke 4). All through the ministry of Jesus, believers and unbelievers alike knew that His message was with authority; force and tangible power. The atmosphere around Him changed when He spoke.

This is about me. I aspire, seek and yearn to be one worthy of double honor because I am passionately fulfilling an assignment to put a Word out that has tangible atmospheric efficacy and usefulness. Now, back to the hours that followed my “fist pump” last Sunday night…

After a dozen attempts to clear my mind and go to sleep, I finally got up, opened a Bible and found Proverbs 24:17 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles…”. Remember, this is about ME…

To “let” is to allow for, permit and welcome. I had a choice. At first, I let my heart be glad. Something in me wanted to stay right there and just savor the justice, but the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me. He had more to say to me.

For ME, to stay right there, to continue to allow my heart to percolate and find relief in the Navy Seal’s victory would have kept me cheated from a ravenous hunger for my own personal victory. Like eating candy before a good nutritious meal, my larger appetite was in danger of being spoiled.

When King Saul, David’s personal Osama Bin Laden, was dying on the battlefield, an unsuspecting and shallow little fellow happened upon the scene (2 Samuel 1). At Saul’s insistence, he assisted Saul in ending his misery. This shallow little guy then assumed that David would love to hear this good news. He found David and brought him the DNA evidence…. Saul’s crown.

David tore his clothes and wept for the rest of the day. No fist pumping. What’s happening here? I can’t speak for anyone else, but for ME, God is offering three life altering prescriptions:
1. Guard your heart from accepting cheap substitutes for celebration. The possibility of the end of the war on terrorism is celebratory but a man’s death, however evil that man, is not a matter for bringing cheer to my soul.
2. Keep your expectations and faith on the highest possible goal on the horizon. My destiny is to preach the impossibly good news of the Kingdom of God until every knee bows to the extravagant goodness of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
3. For David, to kill Saul and celebrate, was to become Saul. For Randy, to be given to deeply celebrate anything less than, “…not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4) is to steep my soul in lukewarm water. If true passion is my destiny, the fire of the Holy Spirit must be my living room.

Yesterday’s “good day for America” (President Obama’s words, and I agree) was yet another wake up call for me. As I said in an earlier paragraph, I am ravenously hungry for Kingdom Come! Too much satisfaction at the wrong table is the worst kind of distraction, for ME.

Paul’s word to Timothy about elders worthy of double honor is my calling and I’m passionate to be found worthy of the same. As such, I’ll always find myself preaching toward an even better day for America. Celebrating the physical sword, while appropriate for the brave who carry it, will always be somewhat muted for ME. Parents often tell their children, “Others may, but you may not” when they have higher aspirations for their sons and daughters.

In 1 Samuel 17 a young David came to the battlefield with lunch for his soldier brothers. Goliath had Israel intimidated into impotency. Upon arrival David heard that King Saul would heap a sizable reward on the household of the man who would defeat Goliath. One hearing of the reward wasn’t enough…just before taking the dare, David asked, “What shall be done for man who kills this Philistine?”

I am unashamedly as aimed to be worthy of double honor as David was for Goliath’s forehead. The Holy Spirit was tapping me on the shoulder the other night. He wanted to know if the fist pump was where I wanted to stay. He was asking if I wanted more honor than the Navy Seals and how far I’d like to go on this quest for double honor. My answer is, “double or nothing”.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Resurrection Insurrection

In the face of very real dangers in our world, the Church can not afford an anemic teleology or a pitiable theology of destruction and decline. In fact, on this side of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ a demand from Heaven has been put upon the people of God to be laudably and heroically optimistic out of the detonation of the Resurrection!

Jesus’ resurrection is either an anecdotal historical event for my personal future pleasure, insuring my escape from this blue planet roasted to ashes by God’s fury….OR…

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an ongoing event with an invitation for the faith full person to hungrily reach for its intrinsic calamitous force of life to be practically applied to every day living with every ordinary footstep! The revelation that Jesus staged a jail break from the prison of the pessimistic cycle of the walking dead reverses all need for doom to dominate our voices! “He is risen, indeed!” yearns for expression to resonate through every word we put into the atmosphere.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21) sets an astonishing banquet for a spiritual feast at the appearance of Jesus to His disciples after His resurrection in John 20:21-23. In that account, Jesus passes through a locked door, invites the disciples to inspect His physical wounds, speaks “Peace”, breathes the Holy Spirit on them all and says, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them: if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

In other words, take a long hard look at the butchery of what is a most unforgiveable deed—the crucifixion of Jesus. Soak it in and then get this revelation in your heart: Resurrection trumped injustice! NOW, get blasted with the Holy Spirit and move out through society with the power to forgive. And not just in the metaphoric sense of spreading good feelings, but in the transcending force of the immaterial world pounding into oblivion the treachery of sin. SET THE WORLD FREE!

Don’t waste your energy on storing food for calamity. Spend your faith in an exhaustive feeding of the world with amazing grace! Don’t give your mind to the zombie virus of “The End is Near”. The outbreak of radiant healing is ours for the release of captive brains and broken hearts! Don’t fall prey to the oldest rip-off of religious prediction societies when they chortle over disasters and human misery. Our new found life vigor must now be lavishly spent in proclaiming, “release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18,19).

The narrative of Luke 9:51-56 always makes me smile. The disciples are strutting a bit of power obsession when they ask Jesus if He would like for them to call fire down to consume some bad people. The mix of this exchange is both silly and sobering. It is so close to home for us. Jesus simply replies (my interpretation), “What? Are you in any way aware of the spirit you are dipped in when you talk smack like that? I’m not here to roast people…I’m here to restore people!”

I wonder if we know what spirit we are dipped in when it is easier to believe for judgment and collapse? On the other hand, it is a far greater challenge to believe for a Holy Spirit baptism with true grit faith for restoration and resuscitation. One nuance of the Greek meaning for resurrection is, “to stand up again”. Jesus stood up for all humankind. He beckons us to join Him in standing up with Him for our world.

It is time to be THE LIVING for the sake of our time and for the Glory of God!