Archive for July, 2009

Permission to Drink and to Think

July 27th, 2009 No comments

By nature, I’m not very spontaneous and I’m not all that thrilled with unexpected interruptions. So this whole “accessibility” thing goes against my wiring. Perhaps you are the same.Unfortunately raising sons does not fit neatly on a “to do” list or into a weekly time slot. Raising sons and daughters is bigger than life! The demands often resist the arbitrary boundaries we establish.

 Paul reminds us that these “living epistles,” our spiritual sons and daughters, are written “by the Spirit of the living God.” The work of the Holy Spirit is dynamic, spontaneous and free. When He is doing something, His agenda must supersede mine.

We must remember He is writing on “human hearts,” not on tablets of stone. This demands a commitment from me to be open and accessible to the supernatural and spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit moving in the heart of my spiritual sons/daughters through the natural rhythms of life.

I love it when Pastor Brock, one of my spiritual sons, drops by my office for an unscheduled visit. Sometimes he shares a great success in the youth ministry. He might ask my perspective on a passage of Scripture or ask if I have a book on a certain topic. Sometimes he just stops by to check on how I’m doing. But regardless of the specific reason for the call or visit, my message to him is clear: my heart is open to you. I love you and I’m concerned about the full spectrum of your life, not just your ministry responsibility.

  An open heart in an invitation to drink and to think. It says, “Come, let us reason together.” Jump into my world and help me understand yours. And in between all the planning, details, problems and issues, let me remind you how much I enjoy you and value our relationship.

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The Power of an Open Heart

July 25th, 2009 No comments

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;  clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3

In the passage above, the apostle Paul highlights two important qualities shared by all true fathers. As “living books,” spiritual fathers are both “known” and “read.” This means they are available and accessible. Fathers have the desire to release all that is in their hearts for the blessing and benefit of their sons.

 On the contrary, fathers with closed hearts are often unavailable and inaccessible. These relationships are marked by high structure and rigid boundaries. They are hard to connect with and have walls around their hearts a mile high.

 I remember listening to a teaching series on CD by a great prophetic teacher in the Body of Christ. This man has been a seasoned minister for over seven decades. He has been faithful to his wife, planted churches around the world, and releases amazing revelation from God’s Word when he teaches. As I listened to the message, he made a side comment which caused my heart to break. In essence, he said, “I know many of you wanted to talk with me after the evening session, but unfortunately, I need to return to my room to prepare for the morning session.”

 I was listening to this seasoned father in the faith from the perspective of a son. I know the conference was filled with this man’s spiritual sons and daughters. They wanted time to connect heart to heart. They love his teaching, but they enjoy him even more. They wanted his touch, his affirmation, his encouragement. I could almost feel a collective sigh come over the room when he made the announcement. I wanted to scream, “No! What you are teaching is your life message. An extra hour or two of study will not make much of a difference. You can teach this material in your sleep! Your sons are crying out for time with their spiritual father! Close the books and be a “living epistle” instead.”

 This man was inspirational, but struggled with the relational. You can easily connect with his anointed teaching, but find it difficult to engage his heart. His head was known, but his heart was closed from public access. A true father has a heart that is open for dialogue and available. Paul told his disciples as Corinth, “Our heart is wide open” (2 Corinthians 6:11). He’s inviting them to come and to receive all he has for them. He’s saying, “I’m available and accessible.” I am here to pour into you and all I am is yours.

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Fathers vs. Teachers – 4

July 22nd, 2009 No comments

“Therefore I urge you, imitate me. ”

Teachers encourage you to buy their books, while fathers challenge you to imitate their looks. Paul simply said, “Follow me.” There’s a Christ-centered confidence in the heart of a true father that’s the product of years of experience. Fathers walk with a limp. They’ve walked with Christ through the valleys of life and they’re alive to tell you about it. The boxing match is over and they are still standing. Fathers are battle tested. They’ve been seasoned by the storms of life. When they speak, they can say with confidence, “It’s going to be all right.” Like David, they can declare, “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25).

Fathers can boast in the Lord with full assurance, and challenge you to believe God too. They’ve been through the battles and attacks and have the scars to prove it. Like Paul they proudly wear the scars from their service  to Jesus (Galatians 6:17). Now they have earned the right to say, “Follow me. I can lead you through this situation.”

 Very few in the body of Christ can speak with this kind of meekness and authority. Teachers can talk about it, but fathers have lived it. In fact, we almost want to apologize for Paul’s boldness. Surely he meant to say, “Follow Christ,” and not, “Follow me.” But don’t forget, Paul is a son as well as a father. He has been fathered by Christ and other godly men. He has learned well and now he invites us to follow.

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