One of the things I’ve had a hard time doing since becoming a husband and a father is being fully present in each of life’s moments. Maybe it’s gone on longer than that, but Heather, Jacob and Naylan have certainly helped bring it to my attention—not through words, but by being mirrors that help me see myself more accurately.
Each Friday, I’m going to be featuring a photo from the collections I’ve pulled together over the years. There may be a story attached to it, there may not be.
Some will come near our current home in Montana; some will come from other states out west like Colorado, Utah and California; others will come from back east in Michigan and West Virginia. And occasionally there will some from my trip to England and Scotland back in 2002.
As the week’s featured photo, print orders will be discounted 25% for that week!
Enjoy this photo of the Swan Mountains, taken a few miles north of Bigfork, Montana, in January 2013—our first winter in the Flathead Valley.
Is it significant that I’m starting back into blogging 10 years after I first began? Unlikely. But I guess it is novel if nothing else. (Did I use that word right?)
Anyway, in honor of Throwback Thursdays, every other week I’m going to resurface an old post from around 10 years ago. It will give you a look into my humble beginnings as a blogger, drama-filled young adult years, and initial encounters with the charismatic stream I’ve fully embraced. And lots of other stuff.
It’s self serving in some ways, I suppose, because I have over 600 posts I want to review anyway. So I might was well do something with them while I’m at it.
This week I’m serving up a short reflection I had on a book I was reading: Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership. What struck me was this:
Jesus loved recklessly and with abandon. He didn’t save himself for some ambiguous time or person in the future… He gave the wine freely to anyone who wanted it. He poured out the best of himself to all he encountered.
Read the full post here: “Oh bother” or “I could get the hang of this”
There’s an old saying: “Fake it, until you make it.” And I truly believe there’s a whole lot of faking going on—at least a measure of it. Certainly there are experts… but probably not as many as it seems. And there are certainly people further down the path than you or I on any given topic… but probably not as far as it seems.
What I’m beginning to believe is that what mostly separates the so-called “experts” (and by “so-called”, I mean those that might not be quite the experts they appear to be) from the mainstream is confidence, and the assertiveness that comes with it.
Back in April, I was asked for the first time to give a message at MountainSong Church – the church Heather and I moved to Montana to be a part of. I had briefly shared a few times at MountainSong, but never had I given a full message. A communion reflection, a post-worship transition time, a closing reflection and prayer, a testimony or two… those were about it. Needless to say, I was honored and excited about the opportunity.
I knew God wanted me to discuss three of the major works of Christ – His death, resurrection and ascension – and what it looks like to realize the power of each of those works in our lives. What I didn’t know was the incredible well of living water He was going to break open in the hearts of Heather and I as a result and the profound impact it was going to have on our future!
What started as an Easter- and Pentecost-season message on Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, ended as a call-to-arms of sorts to carry unwavering HOPE into and throughout each and every situation we encounter. As Christ’s ambassadors and as ones presently seated with Him in heavenly places, we can boldly live out and exert the hope of our salvation in all of our experiences. This is our inheritance as His sons and daughters!
So, let me share with you a few of the main points and then leave you with a parting reflection.
It seems fairly evident from scripture that there isn’t a particular rhyme or reason concerning which name Jacob/Israel goes by after his official name-change. God says to Jacob in Gen. 35:10: “’Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’ So He called his name Israel.” Yet, as soon as God and Israel part ways, verse 14 starts out with “So Jacob…” and verse 15 repeats “And Jacob…” It seems God wasn’t following His own protocol.
Regardless, I was struck when reviewing Gen. 45 recently, where we find Jacob’s sons returning to him with news that Joseph is still alive and quite well, residing as governor over all the land of Egypt. Verses 25-26 state, “So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. And they told him, ‘Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.’ And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them.”
What I felt God highlighting to me in this case was that Jacob, the old man version of this new creation, had a hard time receiving the message of hope.
Around a year ago the Lord told me He was digging a new well in my life. Or, I suppose more accurately, He showed me this is what He was doing. The encouraging picture came to me at the tail end of a session of ministry I was receiving from a couple that moves powerfully in deliverance. It was an important revelation for me, because the ministry time ended with me more in frustration than freedom. Nothing at all against the couple, because I know they are servants of the Lord and are heavily anointed to set captives free. But things just didn’t work out the way I envisioned and I think issues arose from my overbearing expectations.
So, this idea of a new well being dug in my inner man has been an anchor I’ve clung to on more than one occasion this past year when I’ve found myself longing for a new level of inner freedom. The Lord has cultivated great fruit in my life these past six or seven years; ask many of my college friends how different I am and they will tell you the transformation has been significant. But I know my inheritance in Christ is an even fuller freedom. And I desire it.
“If you had known personally, even at least in this your day, the things that make for peace (for freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin and upon which your peace–your security, safety, prosperity, and happiness–depends)! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
“For a time is coming upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank about you and surround you and shut you in on every side. And they will dash you down to the ground… [all] because you did not come progressively to recognize and know and understand [from observation and experience] the time of your visitation [that is, when God was visiting you, the time in which God showed Himself gracious toward you and offered you salvation through Christ].
“For it is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer; but you have made it a cave of robbers.'”
— Luke 19:42-46 AMP, edited a bit by me