Some things just get better with age. “The Wayback Machine” posts occur at the end of every month and reference the best posts of that month in years past. My hope is to provide a good jumping on point for readers whTho have never been to Pursuing Glory.
This is my first attempt at poetry here at the blog. I wrote this both as an introduction to who Jesus is for people who don’t know Him. I was also trying to find ways to explore the artistic side of my writing. I hope you enjoy it. ***If you’ve never encountered Jesus or don’t have a relationship with Him, this should be the post you read.***
Earlier in the year Ariel accepted Christ and was baptized. There was an immediate turn in her heart and attitudes. It was fun to watch and these are my thoughts from shortly after the event.
I wrote this post in December of 2009, but only got around to posting it July of last year. In my mind this post captures the best of where we were as an organic spiritual family in 2009 and 2010. If you’re wondering what sometimes happens when our house church gathers, this is the post for you.
Much of the church in the Western world is devoid of supernatural power. I wrote this post as I was reading through Visions Beyond the Veil by R.A. Baker. The book has some important insights into our anti-supernatural leanings as a Western Church and I shared some quotes as well as my own thoughts.
This was my first post after coming back from my trip to Ethiopia. If you want a good picture into the heart of a guy who just returned from Africa, this is the post to read. It will be interesting to see what the Lord continues to do with us in Ethiopia in the next year.
I wrote this post about an encounter I had with one of my 50,000 coaches, Dick Speight. Dick helped me see that I was off in my walk with the Lord because I was lacking time in the secret place. I wrote this post as I wrestled with the fact that I should know better than to let communion with the Lord slide.
This post was born out of a trip I took to meet with others who practice meeting as organic churches in Iowa. It centers around the idea that we are quick to believe others have imposed religion on us, but frequently something far more subtle is at work. If you’ve ever struggled with a “religious spirit” you’ll want to read this post.
This blog is me wrestling with whether this blog will be a personal blog (which it started out as) or whether it will be a resource blog about house churches, apostolic Christianity, and revival. I think I’ve settled on it being both, mostly because I’m both and I think about these things a lot. But this gives you a good snapshot into some of my early thoughts on the subject.
This post represents some of our early thoughts about evangelism that we had as a house church. I still believe these are things we’re called both to see and do, and that stories and miracles have a much bigger part in the spread of the Gospel than most of the Western Church understands.
This was my very first post on my blog. I started this blog as a journey into self expression and finding God in the midst of the things I love. I write about some bloggers that were stunningly honest about their lives in their blogs and some movies where I saw myself in some of the characters. Social media has given me a few more outlets to do the every day life sort of posts, but I hope to never loose the honesty and simplicity this post captures.
One of the movies that I saw back then was Akeelah and the Bee. I’ll spare you the synopsis, but a turning point in the movie talked about how Akeelah has 50,000 coaches. I was struck by the fact that many of us neglect the 50,000 coaches God has given us in our lives. This is a phrase I keep coming back to over and over again.
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Notes From The Margins
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[Editor’s note: It is my full intent to finish chronicling and posting my Thirty Days to Greater Fruitfulness Posts. They will be coming shortly. This post is an exercise in returning to blogging.]
Monday I had an encounter with one of my 50,000 coaches. Today my coach was Steve Russell. If you’ve ever lived in Cedar Rapids and been a believer over the last 10 or 15 years, you’ve probably been impacted by Steve one way or another. I first met Steve in the late 90’s when he was helping me get up the courage to start my first cell group. While I don’t know Steve well, ever since that first day we met, I’ve always known he’s been for me and more importantly for the Kingdom.
So Monday, when he was standing in my front yard, it was no surprise that he was encouraging me. What surprised me was the content of the conversation.
I was telling Steve a little bit about what was going on with our house church. The conversation turned to what he was doing. Steve has been in transition for a couple of years now. But he looked at me with his patent Steve Russell smile and said, “You guys are doing what I always wanted to do when I grew up.” I quickly replied telling him that was funny because I thought he was doing what I wanted to do when I grow up. And then Steve said something profound. “”It’s amazing what a you can see from an arm’s length away, isn’t it?”
That statement stuck with me and it’s both an encouragement to me where I’m at and a challenge to you where you are. I need to be able to see what I can’t because I’m too close. I need to be able to look at my life sometimes “from an arm’s length away.” What about your life and the work of God in it are you not rejoicing in because you’re too close? What does God, the angels, and everyone else around you celebrate, but you look on with despair? Not everything is done, nor will it be until Christ returns. But can you get outside of yourself and see the work of the Spirit in your own life? And can you alert others to what God is doing in theirs? Maybe you can be one of someone else’s 50,000 coaches today.
I found this picture on the web site of Ben Israel, a community founded under the leadership of Art Katz who devoted his life to preparing the Church for the end of the age. Art’s method of preparing believers for the end of the age was different than most. He believed that only believers who were forged in true community would be prepared for what the Lord would bring upon the Earth. He had some other people who agreed with him. To that end, he founded Ben Israel. I think the sign speaks volumes.
(You can catch up on what Art had to say here.)
Something I haven’t talked about a great deal on this blog has been my time at the Forerunner School of Ministry in Kansas City, Missouri. I went at a time in my life when I was spiritually dry and burnt out, and the Lord used the environment He had established in Kansas City to awaken my heart. One of the chief architects of that environment was Mike Bickle, a man I deeply respect. Mike definitely makes my list of 50,000 coaches, but he also makes the list of 3-5 men that I want to be like when I grow up (And yes, I know I’m 28). I’ve watched Mike Bickle from a distance for a number of years and he both continues to call believers to radical purity and holiness while at the same time being one of the happiest men I have ever observed.
All of this is to say that Mike Bickle is a man worthy of respect. He has decades of experience in prayer, intimacy with God, the prophetic, end-times, and just about any other subject you want to talk about. I would highly recommend you go to his new blog and add it to your feed reader. And then once your done, make your way over to the Facebook Group called “Amen, Let’s Stand.“
Sometimes we pick really good books to read and sometimes it seems God picks them for us because He knows what we need. The latest book that I’m reading is not only incredibly good but it also comes at a time where I desperately needed to hear the content inside. Living Water is written by Bruther Yun, a former leader of part of the Chinese House Church Movement and now a leading voice for the Back to Jerusalem movement. Brother Yun is probably most famous for writing the book the Heavenly Man which is his biography detailing the sufferings and miracles he experienced as an apostolic leader in China. I also count him as one of my 50,000 coaches.
This new book is a collection of Brother Yun’s teachings and they’ve been stirring my heart in a real way. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and with 28 short chapters it would make a great daily devotional. My hope is to post some quotes as I read to both stir our hearts and to record what the Lord has been speaking to me through the book.
Today I was reading Chapter Five, “Pregnancy of the Holy Spirit” where Brother Yun compares a Christian with a vision from God with Mary (the Mother of Jesus) when she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Yun challenges believers to give birth to that vision that God by the Holy Spirit has placed in our hearts. He uses the story of Mary from Luke 1 to teach us how to do that. This is the part that really stuck out to me. Speaking of how Mary went to visit Elizabeth when she was pregnant, he says:
“If you become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, it’s very important that you go and visit someone else who is also pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Only people who are also going through this experience can provide encouragement and comfort when others are attacking you. I miss the close fellowship I used to have with such brothers in China. We who were pregnant with the Holy Spirit would often come together for days or prayer and worship, and we would leave greatly strengthened in Christ and able to withstand the dangers and attacks of the world,” (p. 55, Living Waters).
This is amazing advice from an apostolic father. I know that in seasons of discouragement, visiting others who are “pregnant” is always encouraging, but I’ve never seen that taught like this anywhere. Are you pregnant with the Holy Spirit? Who are those that you visit when you are? How has that helped sustain you in times of weakness?
So yesterday I stumbled across the blog of Shawn Bolz. Shawn doesn’t know me, but I count him as one of my 50,000 coaches. I spent some time in a class that Shawn taught at the Forerunner School and it was one of the classes that really helped establish my foundation in the prophetic and at the same time push me to believe for hearing the audible voice of the Lord, having third-heaven style visitations, and becoming a true friend of the Bridegroom as I declare what the Lord is speaking. Right now he’s blogging about the season of singleness the Lord has called him into, which is worth reading, if only to see Shawn’s head photoshopped on the cover of the movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” (Bryan would love this wouldn’t he?)
Note: After this post I will resume posting actual thoughts and happenings in our life and cease advertising other great resources on the web.
So today I had a random but well-timed meeting with one of my 50,000 coaches, Dick Speight. We had a great time at the world’s greatest fast-food restaraunt (how could you not?) and caught up with what was going on in each others’ lives. As I was sharing, though, I became very clearly aware that I have avoided some much-needed maintenance on my spiritual life.
Let’s be clear about one thing-I’m not happy about this. There are probably a ton of reasons why I’m not happy about this but here’s two good ones to start. First, I thought I was doing better than this. There have been times in my life where my disciplines were right on and people could feel the affect of my time in secret with the Lord. Lately that has not been the case. Because I lack time in the secret place, I have nothing to give when I’m in the world. No one knows I’ve been with Jesus and I’m not content to live that way.
The other real bummer is that I hate maintenance. I’m not good with it. I love to start things. I love to improve things. I love to resurrect things from the dead. But I’m not very good at routine maintenance. I typically just don’t have the focus and the stamina to stick with a routine that I have mastered. My length at any one position in my job is directly related to the amount of time it takes me to understand the position. Then I move on. To be clear, this has not happened with God in any stretch of the imagination, it’s just that I want to be further along my walk than continually retooling my devotional life.
So, its time to take some time and get under the hood of this car I call my life in God and see where the kinks are. Mostly this will look like me scheduling in time on my calendar where I cannot be bothered distracted. I’m needing to find time to get some communion in with God and get some vision about where my family, the church I belong to, and my life are all going. Pray for me as I start out on this journey…it will mean some definite changes for me and for us as a family. Pray that I’m able to stick to a routine that doesn’t become routine…a continual encounter and drawing away with God that propels me into the harvest field. Pray also for grace for my family to help me in this. I won’t blog a ton about what’s going on, it is still the secret place after all…but who knows? Maybe God will give me something sometime. Who knows whats under that hood anyways?