Monthly Archives: July 2011

Wired Like a Ferret

My friend, Daryl, is an iconic teacher. Look what he posted on his Facebook this week,  ‎”When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” Erasmus. If you totally relate you too may be gifted like a teacher. I’ve been looking forward to this post. When I started this Wired series I decided to challenge my paralyzing perfectionism and by-pass the editing portion of my push-button publishing. I am fully aware that I am not picking up on all the poor grammar and run-on sentences and simultaneously driving my teacher gifted readers crazy.

Plumb Bob

No, not Sponge Bob, plumb bob. The featured graphic for this  post is that of a plumb bob. It’s used by construction professional as a tool to determine if a wall is straight or plumb. An individual who is wired like a teacher carry a severe conviction that God’s Word acts as a plumb bob or our standard for truth. They present truth in a very logical and systematic way and never without validating the facts. Designed to investigate they search and root out truth like a ferret.

Semantics is a teacher’s favorite game to play. They love to do word studies and naturally challenge the word choices of others. For an example you’ll have to take time and note the 11th of 16 comments that followed and article I posted on Facebook today, Beware Romantic Pornography. Another hot button for the teacher is context, context, context. The hair will literally arise on the back of their necks when quotes are used out of context. They are intellectually sharp and their gift is keeps us disciplined in the truth.

Passion is an Understatement

The passion that pulse through the teacher is that they believe the truth has the intrinsic power to change lives, to change governments, to change the world. They do not give a lot of credibility to someone’s experience, it’s too subjective for them. They can easily detach emotionally and become dogmatic about the facts. A mature teacher is well-disciplined and self-controlled. In their immaturity they can easily preach what they have yet to practice. They are also easily distracted by many interests. They have fat libraries and will admit they haven’t finished most their books. You see when a teacher starts to research they will come across a point of interest in their research and find another resource to speak to that new interest only to find another. Books and books open upon one another and not a one read to the end. I personally find this trait of the teacher most endearing.

They are easy to recognize when you are having a conversation with them about a new idea or an encounter. Their first question will be, “Who is the teacher? Who is the author? They are quick to know your resource and unfortunately quick to label it as trustworthy or not. It is at this point that the teacher can easily tune a person out for their own opinion. It is challenging for those with this gift to stay engaged with the people God entrusts to them. God’s Truth is the Truth. Teacher would do well to not always challenge the person but to challenge themselves and the delivery of the truth. The Truth is the Truth and there can be many applications and facets that make that Truth translatable to many.

Teachers Teach to Teach

All the gifts teach and will teach out of the passion that wires them the most. Teachers on the other hand can teach on any subject because their passion is teaching. They are a wealth of rich information and history. If you have ever had the privilege of sitting under a teacher well-studied in Jewish history the Bible becomes vividly inflamed with a whole new level of understanding God and His ways. If you have a teacher on your team be sure to honor their gift by giving them ample time to prepare their lesson or presentations. Take lots of notes, they are easily to follow.

If you are wired as a teacher you may find joy in working as an archeologist (I can’t believed I spelled that right without looking it up:-), biologist, chemist, college professor, composer, computer programmer, doctor, engineer, journalist, or writer. There are some similarities between the teacher and the prophet. As one Renaissance teacher discovered; one way to break that tie is to answer honestly: when you encounter a problem that needs to be solved where do you naturally turn first? Prayer or the Bible/books? Prayer for the prophet is more than automatic, it’s a 24/7 thing. The teacher, he knows he has read about a the solution before and automatically starts the research. With technology today, researching 24/7 is more possible than ever and makes for a very happy teacher.

P.S. May all the winces toward my poor grammar and run-on sentences always work to remind you dear teacher of your great worth to us …

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Wired to Work it?

The next gift in our series is the gift of serving. I am going be a lil transparent here; this is the gift I operate from the least and the one I envy the most. I don’t know if it’s the gift itself I admire or all of the applause this gift gets. All the gifts serve but this gift serves service; very practical acts of hands-on help. Those who bestow this gift are frequently admired as hard workers and rightly so. This is the gift that keeps the Body of Christ moving. Where teachers, prophets, and encouragers’ build with their words, the server builds with their hands, literally.

Radar Love

Tuesdays are salon days in my little world. I work reception at a higher-end salon & spa once a week. The phone calls today were well-behaved for the most part. Around 11:30 I got a phone call from a beautiful young lady who also doubles as my daughter, Andee. “We’ve got a problem.” she begins. She had just left our home for the gas station one block away when she discovered a flat tire. Not knowing what miracles I could do within a 30 minute lunch period while dressed in my favorite black Capri’s, I began to think of friends we could call to help.

I called Ryan; a young man whom I knew who would be the most available, the most experienced, and someone who would also be the most willing. Sure enough, within 15 minutes he delays his lunch plans and arrives with another friend of ours, Scott. They came with an easy stride, tools, and that know how – can do – will do spirit. Additionally, Andee’s boyfriend shows up with a friend ready for the challenge. Thankfully we had more than enough help and I was pleasantly relieved that my favorite black Capri’s would be spared from lying on the unforgiving grimy pavement. Within five minutes the flat was off, the spare was on, and we had a few extra minutes to enjoy each others company before we all went our separate ways for the day.

There was one significant comment made that I later thought would best reinforce our understanding of this gift. As we parted with thanking our friends, I expressed what a delight it is to be apart of a church, a community we can count on to come to our aid. Our friend Scott replied, “Yeah, we get another chance to love.” If you knew our friend Scott you would heartily agree that you would be hard pressed to encounter a better server than him. He is all about the work and working hard. Hard work fulfills him but not just in a “job well done” kind of way. To him it’s love. I know for myself I have joy when my words or my prayers help someone to encounter God. Today, I saw the same satisfaction in Scott. His satisfaction was not in a job well done but rather that we encountered God today through a self-less and yet simple act of help.

People who are hard-wired for acts of service have this amazing built-in radar to see a practical need and an amazing zeal to go do something about it. When servers detect a need they will by-pass: reasoning the need, the personal cost, and the inconvenience. They simply bend to the task and do it. For them actions of love speak louder than words of love. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t a server who didn’t coin the phrase, “git-r-done.”

They Don’t Know No

We love our servers and we have to be careful not to take advantage of their gift. A server has a hard time saying no to requests for help. If you asked a server what it was you needed to do about a clogged drain they wouldn’t just tell you they would also come over and do it for you. When they are immature in their gift they tend to be pushy and interfering. Not only do they enjoy helping they know they are good at it. This can also result in a tendency to neglect their family “to do list”.

Another challenge for the server is the ability to receive the help of others. Receiving helps makes them feel terribly awkward and it threatens their drive for perfection. However, it may be helpful for them to understand that by sharing their work they share the joy. You may also recognize servers by the meticulous order in which they keep things, freakishly high energy levels, and their stick-tuitiveness.

When there is manual work to be done these are the people you will want to recruit but be warned; they don’t make for the best project leaders. They are so eager to help that we can quickly position them to lead a project. However, because they can’t say no, it won’t be long before they become overwhelmed and eventually burnt out. The truth is they would much rather work on a project than lead it. They are a priceless support to those in management and holding leadership responsibilities. Most projects are a long term in nature and servers do best with the short-term assignments: the smaller picture.

Hands-On

Servers are wired with the greatest dexterity. They not only find their joy in fixing and building things, they can also be found enjoying artistic endeavors, cooking, gardening, etc. Joy-filled career choices for someone wired as a server would include: accountant, architect, beautician, cashier, child care worker, farmer, interior decorator, mathematician, mechanic, nurse, seamstress, and even a ship builder … ha, can’t say I’ve met one of those yet.

Love your servers; appreciation assures them their hard work makes an impact. If you find yourself wired, as a server be careful not to be too critical of others you don’t see helping. What they need most is learn from you so don’t give in and do it all, make room for them to do it with you. You are the “hands” of the Body of Christ and we can’t do the work of the Kingdom without you!

Next week: Wired like a Ferret


Q: Do We Serve God or Does God Serve Us? A: Yes

 

The intro to an upcoming area seminar reads, “Does God serve us or do we serve God?”  My traditional answer is, “Of course, we serve God.”  However, in recent months Jesus has been challenging my perspective on this.  He has me hedged into John 13 where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet.  I can’t escape the possibility that maybe the answer to that question is “yes.”  Yes, God serves us; and yes, we serve God.

Let Me Get the Door

Many months ago, the Lord commissioned me to let Him “get the door.”  First, my natural abilities were confused.  I thought, “I am a big girl.  I can get the door.  I have years of experience getting doors–heavy doors, awkward doors, car doors, garage doors, with both hands, one hand, with only my pinky, and sometimes I can pull out the skills with a knee-elbow combination while balancing bags of groceries.”  Amazing, I know.

There was no sense of condemnation for having these natural abilities—they are God-given after all.  And yet every time I was approaching a door, someone coming from behind was offering to get it for me.  God, fully aware of my slow learning, understood it took me a little while to learn to stop at the invitation and wait for another to do for me what I was perfectly able to do for myself.

One day in particular, I was approaching an office door when my pastor came near and offered this relentless invitation: “Let me get the door for you.”  I graciously responded, “That’s ok, I can get the door.”  “I know you can, but I want to get it for you,” he said.  It stunned me for a moment.  He was motivated by a desire not an obligation.  Through this simple act of kindness, Jesus began to speak volumes.

“If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  John 13:8

Is it fair to say that if we do not let Him serve us, we will have no part with Him?

Peter was clearly offended and did not see the offering of grace before him.  To stick his filthy feet into the hands of the Son of God was simply out-of-order.  To have your Savior wash your feet when you are perfectly able to do so for yourself (and probably should have before you sat to eat with Him) is undeserving.  Peter was put in a position to receive what he did not deserve, and he was offended.  What is unlocked in our hearts and minds when God serves us?  Yes, the humility of Jesus is seen here.  However, what can we gain from understanding the humility of a disciple who lets himself be served by God?

 

When God Serves You

I am understanding that there is an amazing humility worked into your soul when you let God serve you.  When God serves you, the humility becomes more than you can contain, and a beautiful thing happens.  The affections of your heart are awakened.  It is no longer a “have to” lifestyle.  It becomes an “I can’t wait to” lifestyle.  I love because He first loved me.  I live because He first served His life to me on a blood soaked cross.  He serves His graces to me daily, which I cannot return.  I cannot serve what has not first been served.

Later, after many invitations to wait for someone else to get the door for me, I asked the Lord, “What’s in this for You?”  His reply?  “It is My pleasure (to get the door for you).”  Once again the Lord offends my mind to expose my heart—can it be that my yielding to God serving me gives Him pleasure?  Isn’t that what I desire, to give Him pleasure?  Yes, He takes pleasure in my giving, and now I am challenged to believe that He also takes pleasure in my receiving.

Lovers vs. Workers

We all understand that sacrifice—giving up what we cherish—produces humility, right?  And, if you are like me, most of those experiences border on humiliation.  Is the act of receiving also creating humility in us?  For me, the act of receiving what I do not deserve mounts into an unexpected flood of vulnerability, a beautiful torrent of humility that melts my human heart to say “yes” all over again.

You get so much more accomplished with a lover than a worker, don’t you?  A worker only works for what he can see.  A worker is task oriented, fueled to work for only what was promised and always appreciates a little recognition.  A worker wastes so much energy stressing through the commands in order to achieve and meet expectations.

A lover, however, already has her reward and whatever is asked becomes a pleasure to fulfill.  A lover longs for the voice of her beloved to make His requests known.  Because she has first received, she can’t wait for the chance to give out from those same riches.  Because her beloved has no illusions about her, she does not fear disappointing the One who already knows everything about her.  She lives from peace and is free to encounter joy in the serving.  She goes the extra mile, giving herself to what she sees and what she has not seen (not yet anyway).

A worker will cover-up and compromise when the commands are impossible for him to achieve.  A lover will simply see her need and boldly ask for more of what she doesn’t deserve.  The strength of a worker weakens over the years, but a lover is continuously renewed in strength and empowered as she waits for Him to get the door for her.

Isaiah 55: 1-3  “WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty!  Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy, and eat!  Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy?  Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].  Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David.”


Wired to “See” Part II

The authors of Discovering Your God-Given Gifts did a survey along with their years of research. They discovered that only 12% of the church is made up of prophetically wired people. With that in mind many of you will want to use your” Advance to Go “card about now:-) This is for the 12%. This is a lil bit of the wisdom I’ve gained in my first 20 years of “gift” giving. This is for Andee, Joren, Jarred and Laramie, and their children, and their children’s children…

 

 

 

 

 

To The 12%

  • Do not love the truth more than you love a person and love a person enough to tell them the truth
  • Love is never having to say, “I told you so”
  • Correction is not punishment so don’t hit them with it, present it like a present
  • When you “see” sin ask to “see” their potential in Him; people will pay the personal price of a holy lifestyle when they understand their worth and their place in history
  • “Gift” giving is just a bunch of noise without love and your love for them will be conceived through prayer
  • Sinful behavior is always the lesser issue; unbelief is always the greatest issue
  • Identify the fear and you’ll uncover the lies people live by
  • Don’t say everything you “see” but instead pray everything you “see” until He gives you something to say
  • Sadly, and on rare occasions you may have to embrace a wounded heart when a friend is unresponsive to your gift, however, wisdom promises to justify you or them, so always keep your heart readied for a reconciliation
  • When you are left alone with, “was that God or was that me?” remember He has given you His Spirit to lead you into all truth and time will be gracious to tell who was taking the lead

I want to encourage you; it’s a long road to maturity. That may not sound like encouragement but the long road is about cultivating a deep level of intimacy with the One Who chose you for this gift. Out of all the gifts I think this one gets the most intense of workouts. To hear from God and proclaim His will is not for the faint of heart. You were chosen to steward His mysteries and the message you bring will not come from a knowledge of His works. Your message will come from experiencing Him in His ways. Much of what He shows you will eventually not be what you thought it was, it will end up being so much more. Some of you will be messengers and some of you will give up your lives to become the message.

The cross you bear will be trying to stay present in your job, your relationships, and your churches while simultaneously contending for what you are “seeing” years ahead of you. You will be challenged to forgive what you “see” so you can help set people free. You will need the Truth to fight the accusations that will chase you: “that’s not love”, “you’re crazy”, and “just quit cause things will never change”. God will assign you people, places, and causes to fight for and most of the enemies you conquer will be your own. Prayer will be the place that keeps you from sinning with your mouth. Prayer will be the place where what you “see” eventually transforms into what will be.

To Those Who Love Them

To those who love them I would ask that you see past the frankness and what seems an unreasonable zeal. Instead, look to the fire that burns deep inside them, there is truth somewhere in the rant. The love that burns in them is a love that goes ahead. It comes in the high expectations they set. It’s in their wisdom that always seems to kill your buzz. Their love is in the warning that comes before the fall. Though their delivery may lack the gentleness you need in order to receive it, keep the faith; God will be tenderizing their hearts all the days of their lives.

Remember, when they choose to be alone they aren’t necessarily lonely. When you come home and find them on their face in prayer AGAIN, they’re not weird; they’re wired that way. I know, I know, they are not easily encouraged when they are low. Next to hearing from you they long to hear from Him. His voice is their food. Quality time with quality conversation makes them feel the most loved. Lastly, when there is work to be done they won’t see it. Don’t assume they are lazy or pious; they are frequently preoccupied with seeing three years down the road, so just tap them on the shoulder and ask.

To Those Who Lead Them

To those who lead them give them your ear. Don’t shelve them as too spiritual. Consider what they have to say and help them to draw out what is good; prophets need encouragement too. What you may not know is that the enemy repeatedly accuses them of being crazy in a clinical way. This accusation is one of their most powerful foes. The accusation is so strong at times that they may weaken, be overcome with pointlessness, and simply wish they were dead (remember Elijah). If ever you are concerned you are dealing with a “Jezebel” keep in mind, people commonly take on the resemblance of their own tormentors. In other words, tormented people torment people therefore, prophets need set free too. If you are leading these gifted individuals and you find them saturated with pessimism and sarcasm please forgive them. They know not what they do because they know not fully who they are. Mature and immature alike, dare to receive them and you will receive their reward: what they “see” in Heaven is what you will get here on earth.

What I’ve “Seen” So Far

In my own travels I have had a few rewards of receiving what I was “seeing”. I once saw a healthy congregation and I gathered people to pray. Two years later health began to take its rightful place in our church. I once “saw” an abandoned worship culture in our church. I got on my knees every Saturday morning during worship practices with my 5-year-old daughter in tow. It would be three years before that life took its first breath. I once “saw” a friend planting a community of no-collar musicians and artists loving God with their gifts. Seven years later I am the official toilet bowl cleaner in a church called Renaissance that has been planted by that same friend.

I’ve “seen” babies before they were born, some of them are here now and as cute as the first time I “saw” them. I’ve “seen” the greatness other people are destined for and I am now watching some of those first steps take place. After 20 years I’ve just begun to “see” my weak words go forth in power, stirring the most holy of emotions in men and women like a fire. It’s a fascinating gift to give out AND an even harder one to live out. The fellowship of His sufferings has been my trainer behind this gift. The stories are piling up and they promise to make for some great future books. So thanks for letting me practice this writing craft on you while God and I wait to reveal so much more in the decades ahead. More gifts stuff coming your way next week!


Wired to “See”

I have a friend named Paula. Her relationship with Christ is much like the Apostle Paul’s: one to imitate. Her level of abandonment far out runs her trust in God. She knows that her capacity to trust God does not precede her obedience but rather follows her obedience to His voice. She is a faithful friend who believes in what I hear from God more than I do most of the time. Paula is someone who prays a prayer in the morning and has her answer before the end of the day. I, however, pray a prayer in the morning and I don’t see an answer for about 3-5 years. We joke a lot that she must be near-sighted when it comes to prayer. Me? Well, I am painfully far-sighted.

Farsightedness is a common characteristic of someone who majors in a prophetic wiring or gift. The Discovering Your God-Given Gifts study has a 25-question profile for each of the seven gifts. They ask you how true each statement is about you. Your answer will have a value between 0 and 5. The Renaissance staff ended up having one married couple each scoring over 75 points out of 100. They also had one young man with a score much like my own, a 98.

A Prophetic Profile

Individuals who are prophetically wired quickly identify good from evil and possess a very low tolerance for compromise. They are very persuasive in their communication styles and, sorry, they are sometimes blunt. They are insightful with very colorful interior lives. Prophetically wired people need only a few friends and they value alone-time as an optimum environment in which to hear from God and pray.  They are eager to see their own blind spots because they know the hindrance personal sin can create in relationship to God. They live life by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God and sin cuts off their “food” supply. Without a revelation of God’s perfectly fitted love they will suffer with low self-esteem, especially as children. Children who have very high standards and are very hard on themselves may be wired with this gift.

Prophetically wired people encourage repentance and the embracing of difficulties as the fast track to growth and intimacy with God. One of the statements on the profile suggested they grieve deeply over the sins of others. This stirred an interesting conversation between those of us who scored high here. As we shared the issues that grieve us most we found agreement that our grief was less about people breaking rules and more about people missing their potential. When you understand that the definition of sin is missing the mark then you can better understand their grief. Remember, prophetically wired people are far-sighted. If sin leads to death than that is where you will find the source of their grief as well as their passion for God’s people. Their grief is over the death of a person’s potential, the loss of Godly influence, the erosion of God-given dreams and relationships.

When you look at the lives of the biblical prophets you will find some pretty hardcore believers. Frequently God called them to speak to His people on His behalf. There was a rhythm to the words that God gave them to speak. Their words would declare God’s love, confront the missing mark (sin), paint the promises of a hope and a future, warn of consequences, and remind of redemption. That’s the kind of counsel you can expect from your prophetically wired friends. Their answers to you will always direct you back into a right relationship with God. If they are mature in the gift they will draw your attention to who God says you are in contrast to any revealed sin that may hinder or harm your future. More than likely they will direct you foremost to prayer.

The Prophetic Fit

This is the person you want on your team when the going gets tough. This is the person you want on your “friends” list when you need someone tell you the truth without the sugar. When God engages their farsightedness and shows them your potential they become a like a dog with a bone. They are a real contender for your future. They won’t let go of your destiny even when everyone else thinks you’re a fool. They will stay committed to your destiny even when you stray. Why so intense? No one values the voice of God like the prophetically wired person. They see themselves in partnership with the declared will of God and they take that job very seriously. In their eyes people are either in the will of God or out of the will of God, there is no kinda-sorta in their book.

When it comes to their place in the church community the prophetically wired individuals act like the “eyes” of the Body of Christ. The keep the church centered on prayer and obedience. They teach others how to hear the voice of God and discern the will of God. Like Jesus, they speak what the Father speaks. They easily read the hearts of men and, of course, they pray a lot. They are personally challenged to not be judgmental but to remember grace and mercy. They have to work on their delivery because they feel conviction so strongly. They can be pushy to get others to mature and can be intolerant of anothers perspective that is not like their own. God in His great wisdom only allows them to see in part in order to best promote interdependency within His Church. All the gifts bring a unique perspective and should be more highly regarded than your own. Together we are gifted to bring a bigger picture of what God is up to.

If you think you major in this gift you are going to find joy in teaching young adults and adults on prayer, prophecy, the will of God, and embracing difficulties to gain intimacy with Him. If you have not found your assignment in intercession you will be highly frustrated with this gifting. God shares His secrets with the prophets and prayer is the greater work of bringing Heaven to earth. If you are prophetically wired you may find joy working as an inspector of sorts, a market researcher, a paramedic, a reporter, a teacher of science or drama, a writer, an engineer, a judge, or a minister.

I have a lot of personal experience with this gift and I am considering a part two ???  so we shall “see”.


Wired by the Father

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Hall

Welcome to a Renaissance staff meeting: several of us arrived at Ryan and Katie’s house on the south side of Decatur. Ryan and Katie are a couple who are high in energy and enthusiasm. They are the parents of two beautiful little girls and a bounty of puppies and kittens. Their home has this extra-large kitchen that is perfectly constructed for hosting lots of people and I must say we filled it out well. We got to catch up with one another and feast from the grill. Collectively, we were all fascinated by the story of Pastor Kool’s recent tooth extraction. That will be a story for a later blog, his own of course.

As deserts were rolling out we began to discuss where we could expect to head in this course. Oh, which reminds me, my Salted Brownies didn’t make it. I thought I had plenty of time to bake them following a power-walk and a shower that afternoon. One of the woes of living with a delightful culinary student is always being surprised to find the ingredients you saw in the cupboard one day to then mysteriously disappear the next. So, mini lemon cupcakes from the Wal-Mart Bakery were the best I could contribute this time around.

We started with the 3 basic categories of gift lists in the bible. There are gifts from the One Who descended and ascended, meaning Jesus. He gave us gifts of church leadership called: apostles, prophets, evangelists, teacher, and pastors (Eph 4:10-12). These are leaders given to the church by Jesus to: plant, build, fill, instruct, and care for God’s people. Then we have gifts that come and go like the wind that the Holy Spirit gives: words of wisdom and knowledge, words of prophecy, prayer and praise in unknown languages with interpretations, discerning of spirits, gifts of faith and healing as well as miracles (1Cor 12: 7-11). I know, it sounds like an exciting culture to be apart of, right? It’s called Heaven on Earth.

The third gift list is the one we will be concentrating on in the coming weeks: gifts given by the Father (Rom 12: 3-8). This is an awesome list of gifts because you don’t have to be called as a leader to have one nor do they come and go like the wind. These are the gifts we possess like we possess DNA. They were woven into our nature and are easily detected through our personalities.

I believe gaining in the knowledge of our giftings is an act of recovery. Consider Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you..” It is here that God clues us in. Before we were in our mother’s womb He was thinking of us. I can only imagine that when He created Adam and Eve He wrote into their posterity all future generations, which included you and I. Think about it. Before the foundations of the earth God planned you. From the foundations of the earth your life was conceived within the Father’s heart. YOU were His dream come true … long before you ever took your first breath you were already worth the love He spent on you. Even if your parents didn’t plan you, He did. Your conception may not have been the picture perfect product of a love between two parents, however, you were conceived in love nonetheless. Let’s look at Psalm 139: 13-16:

“For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery]. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.” (AMP)

Listen to that language, “intricately and curiously wrought, as if embroidered with various colors.” Seriously? Talk about intention. Talk about purpose. Talk about a love that hovers over you with jealously and intensity. You are one serious investment of thought-filled passion, time, and precision. Within the elaborate threads that have painstakingly colored and formed your inward parts lay the gifts that best express the Father’s image on the earth. These gifts are wired throughout your many parts. You were never your own. Everything original about you has always been a consequence of the Father’s love. Recovering your original image in Him simultaneously recovers the Father’s image on the earth.

It’s hard for us to grasp since we are all born with a sin-bent nature and into a sin-filled world. What had been the original blueprint of our lives, etched within the Father’s heart, slowly and surely loses its original intention as we live out our lives apart from Him. Being born-again is so much more than being reconciled back to God the Father; it’s also about recovering our original design. The will of God for your life is simple, it’s to know Him and to know Him intimately. The callings of God on your life are the adventures you take into knowing Him and those adventures result in the recovery of who He had originally made you to be. His calling upon your life will change many times over but His will never will.

I posted this quote on Facebook yesterday, “The Lord is restoring innocence to His people … what would it feel like for your if you had never sinned in your life? What would it feel like to have never been sinned against? You have legal access to these emotions … (because of Jesus) we are free to live as if we never sinned. B. Johnson.” I so believe this is true and interestingly enough a funny thing has been happening to me over the last few months. I am repeatedly captivated by the innocence of children’s faces. I work in retail and children skip by my cosmetic counter daily. I catch myself getting apprehended by the awe of their innocence framed within their lil faces. It’s beautiful and I have a brand new yearning to be beautiful, just like them. I believe that’s where we are all headed, we are returning to innocence one “yes God” at a time.

I pray you become overwhelmed with the awe and wonder of your birth! The Romans chapter lists seven gifts. Each gift is a facet of the character of God Himself. We have been created in His image and therefore we each will have a measure of them all. The exciting part is that you will find yourself majoring in one of them if not two. You will soon learn you aren’t weird after all. The Father has wired you in love, congratulations! Coming up next? Stacey picked out the first of our seven gifts, the prophetic. It stirred an interesting conversation and you won’t want to miss it!


Wired for the Marketplace or Ministry?

Has God wired you for the Marketplace or the Ministry? The answer is yes, on both counts. Consider Jesus’ prayer,

“I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (John 17:15-18 AMP)

The Marketplace is THE Ministry

Robert Fraser published a book in 2004 called Marketplace Christianity. He writes, “Only about three percent of Christians are called to vocational ministry, yet the current church teachings have not helped the other 97 develop for what they do.” I was on staff of a large church when I first read this statement and it startled within me a brand new awareness. As a church leader I was now challenged to turn my attentions from the 3% called to vocational ministry and to give closer attention to the hundreds of ministers filling our seats every Sunday morning. They were the ones who had the advantage of a greater Christian impact, not those of us who worked in the church offices.

My staff position included the development and management of a team ministry culture in our church. Any church minister will tell you one of their greatest struggles is getting their people to volunteer in the church. In a church you work primarily with people who have been born-again and are no longer slaves to sin or their former selves. As I have been preparing for these upcoming meetings with the Renaissance staff I’ve been pondering a couple of questions: one, will a former slave answer to pleas that guilt and shame and resemble the voices of a task master or a losing team? My other question is; if 97% of the church is called to minister in the marketplace will they be less likely to invest their limited time in activities that center around people who are already saved?

In that staff position I had a great personal conviction that we were not to use the people to get the work of the church done. We were, however, to use the work of the church to get the people done. I knew that I knew, volunteer ministry was more about individuals identifying with and encountering their Creator than it was to staff church events. With this new awareness it became more important to me to equip the 97% with eyes to see they were the ones who are called to THE Ministry of all ministries. When people replied to church opportunities with, “I don’t feel called.” I would take that challenge and use this God-Given Gifts course to help them identify where they did feel it. They needed to know how they were uniquely wired to bring ministry to the marketplace and how using the work of the church could help them perfect that.

The Three Percent

My daughter recently returned from a trip to L.A. She had an opportunity to tour the Dream Center where thousands of homeless, addicted, and abused people are rescued and given every advantage to turn their lives around. This is clearly a winning team. How do I know? There is a 2-year waiting list for groups to volunteer. Hello? I mean what compels strangers to sacrifice the time and expense to travel to L.A. and volunteer for this ministry? Can it be that the Spirit of God calls 97% of the church to serve their gifts to the world? How else will the world come to know their precious value to Jesus except that those He calls holy bend themselves down and serve the world through their gifts.

Renaissance is a small group of creative people who are building a church community in the downtown area of Decatur, IL. This group represents about 3% of the church community they serve. This Wired series of blogs is initially for them. Studying the God-Given Gifts will be a valuable resource to for them. This staff will be able to help the community they serve to identify the image of God they already carry into the marketplace. This staff will also be able to help them identify the power of God they can carry into the world.

As the Renaissance staff is equipped with this knowledge they will be increasing the excellence of their volunteer culture. They will not be desperate for help. They will not be setting people up for burnout. They will be strategic to fit people rather than desperate to fill ministries. They are blessed to have a pastor who loves Christ’s Bride and loves to show her off. He refuses the pressure to be an omni-competent pastor. He has been through this course before. It has given him the eyes to see the wiring in others. It has given him the confidence to pull the gifted to the front so that the world can see where Christ lives. He lives in His people. His people live in the world and work in the marketplace just like they do, just like Jesus did.

We begin tonight and I think I will make some Salted Brownies to munch on. Chocolate is good for the gifted soul, right? Next blog will be an intro to the three biblical gift categories and we’ll breakout an emphasis on the Romans 12 gift list. Nothing in depth, another challenge for my gift, but just a lil sumptn sumptn to inspire your hearts:-)


Wired for Joy!

My friend, the one and only Mrs. Valerie P. (Hi Val!), called me this Wednesday shortly after reading my last post, Wired? or Weird? The content and timing of that post was such a God-thing for her. She asked to meet with me in order to help her think out loud concerning a new opportunity that had recently been presented to her.

My reply? Heck Ya! You see it’s a huge source of personal joy for me to walk people further into their destinies. Some people experience joy in physically laboring with others, some get joy counseling people through to physical and emotional health, still others have no greater joy than giving stuff away. Me? I like dreamers and the best news is dreamers like me. It’s like we were made for each other. My favorite part is encouraging them to say yes to the impossibilities in front of them. Why? Because I know the intimacy in God that is waiting for them on the other side. This particular joy, as you will get to learn about in the coming weeks, was key in helping me to identify my own God-Given gifts early on.

Joy is only one reason why everyone should know and study to understand their God-Given Gifts. Knowing how you are wired plugs you into a greater confidence to take your personal place in God’s history. To know how you are wired also gives you great insight into your relationships with others. Knowing how you are wired increases your understanding on how your spouse, your children, your friends and co-workers are wired. When we “get them”, many of our frustrations in relationship to them go on a hiatus! If we take a closer look at ourselves we will have to admit that some of our biggest struggles with others is how they are not like us. Why don’t they “see” what I see? Why don’t they “feel” like I feel? Why don’t they “think” like I think? Once you appreciate how others are not like you-you will be liberated to freely love them more and cheer them on in all those ways they are not like you.

The Advantage 

Knowing how you are wired is priceless when comes to life’s choices. Like some of you, I wish I would have had someone to teach me about my wiring when I was a teenager. I came by my survivor mentality honestly while growing up in a family with a strong work ethic and driving sense of responsibility. If there was any encouragement to dream it was always conditional to what was reasonable and sensible, which really can work to dry up the clouds of a girl’s daydreaming.

When you start to believe what God says in the bible you have to challenge the boundaries of what is reasonable and sensible. What I was learning is that reasonable and sensible are great anchors but eventually they contribute very little when God is calling you to dream beyond what you can even think or imagine (Eph 3:20). As I began to work on closing the gap between my dreams and my day jobs I determined not to miss my chance with my daughter. I took this information on our God-Given Gifts to heart and set myself to observe her triggers of joy.

To make a long story short, which is quite the challenge for my gift by the way, I was able to identify that her joy was found in working with her hands. She has a God-Given gift of Service. Now, you couldn’t tell she was gifted to serve by how clean her room was because, well, it wasn’t. Her room still has its days but more and more we are seeing “one of these days” finally closing in. Rather, it was the joy she experienced when she created things with her hands. As a little girl she had all the Barbie stuff you could imagine but she would prefer to spend hours at our coffee table coloring. When it came to dinner time she was always hanging around the kitchen wanting to help me. She also had an unusual habit of being enchanted by watching other people doing meticulous work activities. These were just a couple of the clues I got about her wiring.

By the time she got to high school she signed up for a business math course. STOP! I pleaded with her to reconsider that choice and for one single semester take an art course. That’s all it took. She majored in art all four years. It was her joy. She is now enrolled in college culinary courses because she found a greater joy: food and art working together to make for really cute cakes. Additionally she works at a Pier One retail store where enjoys she spends hours setting displays for marketing. She loves her job. What? She loves her job? That would be a first in our family. My joy overflows with knowing that she got the advantage of a 14-year head start on me when it came to knowing where to begin with the rest of her life. Feels like a great win!

My Joy on Friday

Happily, I had a morning open on Friday and got to meet up with Mrs. Valerie P. and hear her heart. I got to ask her how her new opportunity came, what she liked about it, and what parts she felt uncomfortable with. Then we talked about the fire that burned in her heart. That was the one question turned the corner on our conversation into a whole other arena of joy for her. It was funny how our conversation kept returning to that topic and how she passionately she spoke about it. It was an arena that was not even related to the opportunity that was currently challenging her.

Because of the way I am wired it was easy for me to “read” between lines and identify where her joy was and where it had yet to be. Because of the way I was wired I was able to lay out some wisdom that would act like anchors for her decision-making as she brought it all back in prayer to the Lord. Me? I left high. It was my joy to serve my friend insight and wisdom and inspire her to trust God for even more. That joy fueled me for the rest of my day and made what threatened to be just “another” day so much more fulfilling. You see the joy I am speaking of is not conditional upon our circumstances. It’s an eternal joy you experience when you get to give your gift away no matter where you are; on the job, in your friend’s kitchen, in a classroom, before an audience of one or one hundred.

Well, we’ve got lots to discover in the coming weeks. If I could ask you one question today I would want to ask you, what is the one ability you have that you can do for hours on end find yourself leaving fulfilled in, or better yet: joy-filled? You know, that one thing where time gets away from you and you can’t wait to do it again? I believe living the dream has more to do with recovery than discovery so some of us may need to look back to our childhood to best answer that question.

Oh, and by the way, because of how I am wired feedback makes my joy overflow so don’t be shy:-)


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