Monday, July 27, 2015

Laughing at Lies

At Shepherd's Gate Fellowship, we love the whole Church, we fellowship with some other local churches, and we choose which sources of ministry we draw strength from.  One source of teaching and impartation is Bethel Church in Redding, CA--we love those guys!

Steve and Wendy Backlund came up Saturday, and I was invited by the Global Legacy Central Oregon folks to go to a one-day seminar.  Am I busy with preparations moving-to-Vietnam next week?  Yep.  But the Lord made it clear to me that I should go.  Go early, stay late.  Get the full benefit.

I got the full benefit.  Here are my notes, and I'd love to video chat with you, or discuss in the comments if you want to follow up on any of these points.


(Before I start with the notes, let me just say that in addition to the Chase family "grateful game," we have already instituted a "declarations circle."  If we're in the car or in the kitchen, any one of us can say "declarations circle" and we will go around the family voicing declarations, declaring the truth of God over our lives.  My 12 year old son has been hearing a negative tape cycling through his head for months: "you're a bully."  It's not true, but it's been hard to convince his heart of that.  So it's my joy that he has been offering to the family declarations circle: "I'm not a bully--I'm compassionate."  Very true of him.  Then if someone of us makes a declaration that another needs to also voice, they repeat it.  It's AWESOME.)

Okay, notes:

You are not called to fail--I called you to succeed.

Declarations like "I am not called to fail, I was called to succeed" take it on the offensive.  Not just resisting the devil's lies when he suggests failure, but taking the battle to him.

The battle is not in the circumstances, but the circumstances reveal how you think.

People fight tooth and nail to hang onto hopelessness.  They fear disappointment.

I didn't call them to be realistic--I called them to be supernatural.

Our thoughts are the fruits of our beliefs.

Declaration: After today, I'm going to believe differently, think differently, and act differently.  In that order.

I am more spirit than I am flesh.

We have got to stop relating to people (in the context of ministry leadership) out of fear/frustration/anger.  They feel the difference when we relate from hope.

The Christian life is not about learning to die.  It's about learning to live the resurrected life.

Give yourself permission to be great, because the church and the world need your greatness.  God created you for GLORY; don't resist mere greatness.

Change the way you talk--the power of your TONGUE is underestimated.

The more inner unity you have with the truth, the more weight and penetration your words carry.  (the difference of when I say it and Bill Johnson says the same thing)

"We used to be laughter-impaired leaders."

"I'll be joyful once I get through this circumstance."

Joy is attached to a belief system.

Toddlers don't get depressed.  They fail more than they succeed, but they don't get their potential from their past ... they get their potential from their PARENTS.

Joy is an optional fruit of the spirit.  ---Let's laugh at that lie.

People sometimes resist laughing at lies because they (rightly) desire to be authentic.  But it's not authenticity that clamps their laugher shut, it's rust.  (accusation: laughter is "fake")

Families celebrate Progress, not Perfection.

LUNCH  (at lunch, 15-20 pastors went aside to eat with Steve and Wendy)
Steve: What stood out to you from this morning? What's your name and where are you from?
Tim: I'm Tim, and I'm from Bend for one more week, then I'm moving to Vietnam.  The standout for me was the idea of wholeness and word-penetration.  Being a "unified body of Christ" in myself as well as helping the diverse other Christians be unified.
Steve: That's good.  Tim, I see thankfulness all over you.  You notice what people do for you.  This gratitude is a key to unlock a nation, igniting miracles.  On the keychain of Kingdom keys you wear at your belt, the gratitude key is lit up--almost glowing.  You're going to enter into new revelations of thanksgiving; new dimensions of God's nature.
Wendy: I see God opening big doors to the educational system in Vietnam.

>>My family plays the "Grateful Game" more than anyone else we know.  Every time we leave town for any kind of road trip (at the culmination of all that preparatory stress), we run through gratitude for each other and for circumstances in our lives.  We are good at grateful.
>>Wendy didn't know that I'm going to Vietnam to teach, and she didn't know that last week I asked for and was granted permission to help choose my own successor in the position at the university.  Now that I've heard the Lord speaking a word with a bigger vision than I originally had, I'm going to be looking for other ways to impact the whole system.  I'll let my college students know that if they arrange it with their high schools, I'll go and give a free presentation.  The preso will be similar to a commencement address, calling out the strengths of students.  Wouldn't it be cool to exercise the prophetic in a roomful of Viet high school students?  I might frame the talk in terms of "this is what teens in the USA are facing today," but really it's what "teens are facing today."  Peer anxiety, looking forward, taking on identity (from what sources), mending vs. medicating your past brokenness.

As a leader, you grow in influence as your vision becomes infused with hope.

Nevada gold-sifting town: People didn't mind us moving their dirt as long as they knew we were looking for gold.  Be gold diggers, in the best way.

People's negative qualities are usually positive qualities out of whack.

"I am an influencer of people."

The Kingdom is not moved forward by good conduct, but by good beliefs.

To do something great, don't change what you're doing--attach faith to it.

We don't deny the past, but we don't get our beliefs from the past.

Romans 4:17  God gives life to the dead and calls those things that do not exist as though they did.

In the morning, don't ask "how do I feel about today?"  That's the wrong question.  Instead ask "what do I believe?"

Wendy uses 3x5 cards for her beliefs, because after all, who knows what they believe at dark 30 in the morning?

"I believe revival breaks out where ever I go."
"I am a round barley loaf."

Nevada moved up from AA to Div A sports, and it was a hard season.  But don't be afraid to move up to Div A church, Div A joy, etc.
Don't go back down to Div AA so you can win more.  Normal church: you win because nothing went wrong.  Real church: you win because you break out in revival and it spreads.

Winston Churchill: Success is moving from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

Lord, can I give up on this circumstance?
"I'll make you a deal.  you have permission to be hopeless about anything I'm hopeless about.

The Three Battlegrounds: “Every area of your life that does not have glistening hope is under the influence of a lie.”.

You're not going to have anything just from saying it, but you don't have anything if nothing's been said.

It isn't stopping doing something (sin avoidance) that releases the kingdom.  You release the Kingdom by proactively speaking it.

You're more powerful than you think. Speak Life, not death.

>>We're going to add another game to the Grateful Game: the Declarations Circle.  The Declarations Circle can happen in the car or in the kitchen, and if someone says "let's do a round of declarations," then off we go.  We each make a declaration for our soul's benefit (bringing our souls into greater unity with our redeemed spirits), and then if the other's declaration is something our soul also needs, we repeat it after them.  Go around once with any declarations we need to hear, then a second time with God/spiritual declarations if our first one wasn't in that category.  The first declaration might be "I'm a good friend and people respond to my friendship" but the second might take it to a realm of spiritual truth like "The Lord has anointed me with gladness, and my friendships flourish in that climate."

There are giants in the land.  Depressionites, Recessionites, Immoralites.  Are you still willing to be unreasonably optimistic?

Leaders need the oil of gladness.  What happens when a car runs out of oil?

Deception 101: Once you know you're deceived, you're no longer deceived.

It's harder to surrender our beliefs than it is to change our actions.  And the beliefs need to change first, or we're disunified people.

We get saved because we believe IN Jesus.  We get transformed because we believe LIKE Jesus.

Every area of your life that doesn't glisten with hope is evidence of a lie-believed.  Each of those are strongholds of the devil.

"I have a high-level anointing."

"I write books" vs. "I'm an author."  One is about what you do, the other is about who you are.  

Don't get your identity from your past, but from your parents.  Toddlers never wonder if they are going to get the "gift of walking"--they assume that they're going to be just like their parents one day.

I don't know why you're trying to lose weight when you don't believe you can.  You can't consistently do something you don't believe you are.
  • You really can’t do what you don’t believe you are. If you try, it’s called work. If I’m trying to be something that I don’t believe I am, that just won’t happen.

If you act righteous but believe you're a sinner, you'll sin by faith.  You are dis-unified.

Positive thinking (wishful thinking) vs Biblical Optimism

If the sinner can't become righteous by doing a righteous act, 
what makes us believe that the righteous can become a sinner by doing a sinful act?

"It's easy for me to live in and rest in Jesus' righteousness."

Hope is an overall, optimistic attitude about the future based on the goodness and promises of God.

"I have unreasonable optimism."

Change your identity before you try to change your behavior.

There is more power in light than in darkness.  If strongholds can influence you, then so can blessings influence the demonic.  Let's make life uncomfortable for the demons.  Let's set up angelic strongholds in our lives and in our cities.

"Who told you that?"  (Genesis)

--Past Experience told me that I'm disorganized, fat.

Gideon was a mighty man of valor living in a non mighty man of valor experience. 

"I have a nation-delivering anointing on my life."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Deception, thy name is "Modern Bible Translations"!

Hi ______,

I've looked through both of the sheets you handed me on KJV vs. other versions (including the NIV). I'd be glad to meet with you sometime and talk about translations--it's a topic I enjoy!

I think I'll be able to supply some of the history of *why* folks have gotten so riled up about the "Authorized" KJV and subsequent translations.

There are valid reasons to prefer one translation over another, but the papers that I have here (one is called "Titles of Jesus Omitted in the NIV" & the other is a table showing omitted portions of scripture in modern translations)  are not ones that I'd recommend for making that choice, unless you are already wanting KJV to be the only right translation and are looking for reasons to support the viewpoint.

Go gentle on it.  No mainstream Bible translation was made by bad people with ill intent.  They've each added to our understanding of the original scriptures and the Kingdom benefits from each contribution of translation work.

I'm glad the work of understanding scripture is fluid, because if we were only allowed to read from the earliest English translations (based on the idiom and scholarship they had available to them in the 1500s), our scriptures would be less intelligible and accurate than they are today.  We, the Church, benefit from continued translation work, and the story of English translations is not even done yet. :)

When looking into the specific cases mentioned in these papers, I found this page helpful (regarding scripture omissions):

And any time I need to read Anglicized Greek to tease out the original texts, I love this tool:

My goal, if we do meet, isn't to change your mind about which scripture translation you want to most-often read, but to help you relax your position as it relates to the "liberal" translations.  I write this knowing that even the word "liberal" has strongly negative connotations for many folks, but I'm using the word here because that's how such translations are characterized by some fear-based, conservative authors and it's best to face such criticism head on.  I'll take the position that  modern/liberal translations add to the accuracy and intelligibility of scripture and should not be dismissed as flawed just because they render the Greek/Hebrew differently from the translations of the past.

Grins!  I'll only do this if I can still be your friend at the end of the day.

~Pastor Tim

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fishing Without Hooks?

We're going to be talking about people as if they're fish to be caught.  It would be easy to be sort of offended at the thought if you are one of the catchees instead of the catchers.  This people=fish metaphor is common language in the Christian church, and it comes from something Jesus said to some fishermen:

Matthew 4:19
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Witnesses say they left their nets and boats and followed Jesus, and in so doing became the first people to enroll in a school of church-planting. Not many months later, these former-fishermen were being sent out into the surrounding villages to ruin the plans of the devil.  They were healing people and casting out demons in Jesus' name, telling people the good news of God's love and presence of God's Kingdom come-to-earth.

They had gone from fishermen to fishers-of-men.

Now, that's all that the Bible tells about their fishing strategy.  Says that they were to let their blessing rest on a home, that they weren't to amass money or even be dependent on material comforts.  Says they prayed for people and God answered their prayers.  Does NOT say that they had a particular strategy for convincing people to follow the Jesus they had begun following.  There's a lot left to the imagination in that department.

So now the questions.  Each of these is related to the overarching question: "What does it mean to be a fisher of men?"

  1. If it feels bad to find a hook in the bait (if you're the fish), is it okay to use that technique?
  2. Is it fishing to throw in bait but use no hooks?
  3. When "fishing" for people, is it better to use a baited line, dynamite, a harpoon, or nets?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sampling ... or Soaking?

I just read (and enjoyed!) a book that I want other people I know to read: The Fault in our Stars. I came home from a youth conference (yesterday) rife with topics about living holy, sexual purity, and keeping a God-focus, and the first thing I did was to read a book in which the characters wrestle with existential questions and do NOT find that Jesus is the answer. It's a book where the teenagers [spoiler alert] have sex outside of marriage. It's a book with lots of values, and it's only a mixed bag of them that are the sort of values that I want imparted to my own three kids.

So what's with the recommendation?  Why would I put such a book on my family reading list?

My daughter read it before I did.  (And maybe one of my boys, too--I'm not sure.)  Her friends read it before she did, friends that follow Christ and friends that don't.  It has been made into a PG-13 movie that is receiving really high marks on the movie-ranking sites.  This is a book that reflects culture and shapes culture.  It's important to read.

It's not a "good" book.  There is profanity.  The kids are presented with opportunity to think about their relationship with Creator and the afterlife, and the reader is not left with a strong connection to the reality of either.

I do recommend reading this and other books that similarly capture/reflect/shape the Zeitgeist (spirit of the age).  On the other hand I also am reminded of the importance of choosing carefully what we meditate on.  The Bible has wisdom about that.  If I read one book where the teens ask existential questions and come up empty, angry, and godless, should I then read one book that reinforces a worldview based on Biblical understanding of existence? Two? Should it be a 3:1 ratio of books that reinforce Biblical truth compared to books that explore the prevalent truths of popular culture?  What about the ratio of movies?  Music?

I guess the question is: do I taste-sample of my culture's Zeitgeist worldview ... or soak in it? What books and media do I choose to soak in?

Rub your hands with vinegar and you'll be smelling wafts of vinegar afterwards.  Soak in vinegar and you'll eventually become a pickle.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Crucibles Generate Leaders

Be cautious about trusting a leader who hasn't been through a crucible; broken people are better than whole people when it comes to leadership. Try looking through the Bible to find a leader who hasn't first gone through the trials that break him down so God can better flow through him.

[These are notes from an excellent talk at Generation Unleashed youth conference; I am here with the youth of SGF and DSC. Here's a photojournal of the event. Sitting in a session with other pastors hearing from Pastor Frank Damazio.]

Do we trust leaders who only talk about going from glory to glory without the valleys of testing, the valleys of being led by the Shepherd?

The crucible exposes your values. In that time of pain, do you protect yourself and your reputation?  Do you value equally the people who can't give back to you and the people who can?

The detours becomes the testimony, not the (linear) progress of your life.

When people come to accuse and criticize, Pastor Damazio's standard response is "Oh, if you only knew me better, you'd have more to accuse me with!"