June, 2010

Get Moving 1

Abide in Me . . . —John 15:4

To “abide” means to continue to remain firm to endure. A weekend like I just lived through helps me to abide in Christ. It renews my enthusiasm for the life I have in Him. It makes me  want to continue the walk leading to perfect harmony with my Lord.

God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself.

Our Lord’s inner abiding was pure and unblemished. He was at home with God wherever His body was. He never chose His own circumstances, but was meek, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! But we tend to keep God at a fever pitch in our lives. We have none of the serenity of the life which is “hidden with Christ in God” ( Colossians 3:3  ).
Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.

Coming down from the Kairos mountain top is a great time to commit to get moving, to determine to abide in Him now and forever more..

Getting There 3

. . . come, follow Me —Luke 18:22

I write this on the final morning of the Kairos  weekend. We have been passing on Christ’ invitation to “come, follow me” to a group of residents of Camp D. I will always remember this Kairos as the “Little Kairos that Could.” We were short of volunteers, money, cookies. We had to cut back from our usual 7 tables to 5; Still the Holy Spirit showed up.
My favorite memory may be of the man who has been incarcerated here for 57 years. On the first night he would not even introduce himself. Yesterday he was happily sharing with anyone who would listen.  We have a muslim who yesterday admitted that we were Christians as defined by Our Lord, he could indentify us by our love. Yesterday we made lists of those persons, often including ourselves, whom we hold in unforgiveness. As the day concluded we burned the lists in a special ceremony.
I recall the man who said, “Last night when I went to bed, it was like I wasn’t even in prison.” Or the man who proclaimed, “You made me feel like a man, not a criminal.” Or the one who said, “I didn’t think there was this much love in the State of Louisiana.” 
Several of the men last night announced that they had to “pass on” the love they had received during the weekend.
Thank you for all you have done to make this weekend possible: the cookies, financial support and prayers. Many have heard Him say “Follow Me” and they have responded, “Here Am I Lord.”
You have blessed many.
Be blessed. Will miss being in service with you today, but will be praising God here in a special way.

Getting There 2

We are watching God give many “new names” as we move into Saturday at Camp D Kairos. I will have many stories to report when it’s all over. Continue to lift us up.

They said to Him, ’Rabbi . . . where are You staying?’ He said to them, ’Come and see’ —John 1:38-39

Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened. “They . . . remained with Him that day . . . .” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.
“You are Simon . . . . You shall be called Cephas” ( John 1:42  ). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles. And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.
Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14 ). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one. You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “. . . We will come to him and make Our home with him” ( John 14:23  ). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.

Getting There 1

I was unable to get on the internet yesterday from Kairos. Things are going well. Please continue to pray,.
Come to Me . . . —Matthew 11:28

On Friday of the Kairos weekend, this is what we want the resident to hear: “Come to me” from the lips of Jesus. We want them to put aside whatever ideas they have about heaven and hell, religion and God and just hear Jesus call to them personally to come to Him, personally. For many, it is an incredible new experience. Pray that many will hear that call today in Camp D at Angola. I have a talk to give about 11 a.m. It is entitled, “Friendship with God.” It introduces the simple but powerful idea that God wants to be the friend that we have spent our lives looking for. Pray with me that my words will be used by the Holy Spirit to plant that revolutionary concept in these minds.

The questions that truly matter in life are remarkably few, and they are all answered by these words— “Come to Me.” Our Lord’s words are not, “Do this, or don’t do that,” but— “Come to me.” If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires. I will actually cease from sin, and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life.

Have you ever come to Jesus? Look at the stubbornness of your heart. You would rather do anything than this one simple childlike thing— “Come to Me.” If you really want to experience ceasing from sin, you must come to Jesus.

Personal contact with Jesus changes everything. Be “foolish” enough to come and commit yourself to what He says. The attitude necessary for you to come to Him is one where your will has made the determination to let go of everything and deliberately commit it all to Him.

“. . . and I will give you rest”— that is, “I will sustain you, causing you to stand firm.” He is not saying, “I will put you to bed, hold your hand, and sing you to sleep.” But, in essence, He is saying, “I will get you out of bed— out of your listlessness and exhaustion, and out of your condition of being half dead while you are still alive. I will penetrate you with the spirit of life, and you will be sustained by the perfection of vital activity.”

Don’t we all need to hear His words again and respond to Him. Here I come.

Be blessed.


And After That What’s Next To Do?

. . . seek, and you will find . . . —Luke 11:9

All you have to do is watch a little television to begin to desire. The media is designed to cause us to want things. And it’s not just the commercials, but the television shows themselves portray people living lives that seem far above and beyond our daily grind. If we can but realize that this picture of life, limits and does not expand, our horizons. If we limit our reach to those things we see in the  media, we cheat ourselves. God intends so much more for us.

Today I begin a Kairos weekend. I will go to the most unlikely of places to find God and His blessings. I know I will see him work in lives apparently “destroyed” by sin and death and He will put life into dry bones. I say this with confidence because I have seen it again and again.

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss . . .” ( James 4:3  ). If you ask for things from life instead of from God, “you ask amiss”; that is, you ask out of your desire for self-fulfillment.  Our prayers are pathetic, we seek goods and health and security. Our reach is so far from the possible.  “. . . seek, and you will find . . . .” Get to work— narrow your focus and interests to this one thing. Have you ever sought God with your whole heart.

Father teach me that You are the fulfillment of the desires of my heart.  Help me when I try to substitute the desire you created in me for You with lesser “stuff.” Thank You that You are everything and that You love me enough to want to be the center of my life.

I am truly blessed.


Then What’s Next To Do

Everyone who asks receives . . . —Luke 11:10

I hate to ask for directions. I think it is mostly a man thing. Women don’t seem to be afflicted with this malady. I don’t like to ask for directions because to ask is to admit I am lost. A man should never be lost. He should always know where he is.

I think to some extent OC agrees: “There is nothing more difficult than asking. We will have yearnings and desires for certain things, and even suffer as a result of their going unfulfilled, but not until we are at the limit of desperation will we ask.
“Everyone who asks receives . . . .” This does not mean that you will not get if you do not ask, but it means that until you come to the point of asking, you will not receive from God (seeMatthew 5:45  ). To be able to receive means that you have to come into the relationship of a child of God, and then you comprehend and appreciate mentally, morally, and with spiritual understanding, that these things come from God.

Heavenly Father, all good things come from you. I pray for this Kairos weekend ahead. I ask you to be present and to draw everyone participating into a life abiding in you. I look forward to the miracle of seeing you work.

I am blessed to be able to see you move.


What’s Next to Do?

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them —John 13:17

This week is another Kairos retreat week. It is especially exciting to watch the “new guys” get caught up in the excitement of the ministry. It is a scary thing to go into Angola, once the bloodiest prison in America, now transformed by the love of God into the country’s largest church behind bars. It is exciting to see the new ones, at first tentative, then excited as the prospect of seeing God at  work. One of the great times during the weekend occurs on Saturday night when the “new guys” are given a chance to share their thoughts and impressions. These reflections never fail to bring forth tears. Almost unanimously these people will tell you how they never envisioned themselves in prison ministry and that they fought mightily against the call if God.
If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea. Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and your eyes will be opened. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for yourself— begin to have spiritual discernment.
When you know that you should do something and you do it, immediately you know more. Examine where you have become sluggish, where you began losing interest spiritually, and you will find that it goes back to a point where you did not do something you knew you should do. You did not do it because there seemed to be no immediate call to do it. But now you have no insight or discernment, and at a time of crisis you are spiritually distracted instead of spiritually self-controlled. It is a dangerous thing to refuse to continue learning and knowing more.
Isn’t time to cast off the mooring lines that tie you to the dock and set forth on the great adventure God has planned for your life.
Set Sail and be blessed.

The Greatest Source of Power

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do . . . —John 14:13

Our lives should be affecting change in our world. Those around us should be different because we exist. The first question then, should be, is that change occurring? Is the world I live in any different because I am in it?

That’s the easy question, because the answer certainly is “yes.” By our mere presence change occurs. Is that change for the better. Things are better if they are closer to the Kingdom of God. We are seeking those changes if our wills are aligned with the will of the Creator.

If that is true, the final and key question is by what power is the changer occurring? Am I attempting to make things better by the act of my will, by the doing of good deeds?

Or am I focused, bringing everything to one central point— the atonement of my Lord? Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest of my life? If the central point, or the most powerful influence, of my life is the atonement of the Lord, then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.

Am I abiding? Am I taking the time to abide? What is the greatest source of power in my life? Is it my work, service, and sacrifice for others, or is it my striving to work for God? It should be none of these— what ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the atonement of the Lord. It is not on what we spend the greatest amount of time that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us. We must make a determination to limit and concentrate our desires and interests on the atonement by the Cross of Christ.
“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do . . . .” The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and what appears to be his free choices are actually God’s foreordained decrees.

If our focus is on Him, we are abiding and if we are abiding His power is changing our world.

Abide and be blessed.


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