. . . .

The formation of the future involves our participation. The universe is rigged to change largely in cooperation with our individual and collective agency, not merely according to an independent, automated grand scheme. The miraculous is deeply hard-wired into the process for sure, but more times than we’d like to admit divine intervention comes in the form of human instruments. You and I. If we are surrendered, we are ourselves a massive part of heaven’s response to the ills of this world.

Don’t under-estimate your significance. Your creative imagination, your bravery, your truest, self-less spirit is a gift to us all. Let grace breathe afresh upon and empower your most substantive ambitions. Lend your energies to the coming Kingdom. Lean into the great dream, into the HOPE you were designed to embody. And embrace the personal transformation that your obstacles will invite you into along the way.

Your life is meant to express the reality that all things are being made new. Don’t just wait for an answer from above… Engage in the unfolding of it.

Follow @destintweets

It Matters.

Breonna Taylor’s life matters.

Black lives matter.

Muslim lives matter.

Trans lives matter.

Immigrant lives matter.

The victims of sex trafficking and

forced labor matter.

If you’re reading this, YOUR life matters.

However you might feel maligned, marginalized or lacking, I pray that — no matter what contradictory messages our culture gives you right now — you would be deeply convinced that you have endless worth. This was true of you before you even left your mother’s womb, long before you lived a life that the dominant society around you might recognize as making a valuable contribution to its agendas.

Your life matters, not because of what you are able to make of it through your own success or good, moral performance. Not even because you respected the value of others around you properly. It is simply because of WHO you are. Or maybe better said, because of WHOSE you are.

You matter to the gracious Source of all life from whom we each originated. You matter to the one who dreamed you up, who came to redeem you, who constantly reaches out and speaks to your heart to remind you of how incredibly cherished you are…

“He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of the poets have said, ‘For we are all His offspring.’”

Child of the Divine, trust that your very being in this world is significant and ought to be dignified. Your Maker deems it to be utterly precious.

 

Moving Past Sectarianism

I always grew up going to nondenominational churches. When I was about 14, I remember reflecting on some of the things that made my church’s worship different from other churches. We occasionally waved flags and shook tambourines, we raised our hands to the Lord, we anointed people with oil, we had contemporary-sounding music, we prayed “with authority,” etc. I didn’t know of any denominations that had really codified our theology and expression of worship, so I thought I had a novel idea… “God, should I start a new denomination to encapsulate all of this and pass it on to the next generation?”

I then sat down to open my Bible and accidentally opened it right up to 1st Corinthians 1. Immediately my eyes fell on the title of the passage, “Sectarianism is Sin.” It read,

10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? Continue reading Moving Past Sectarianism

Disruption, Inclusion & Pentecost

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover He was greeted by crowds singing His praise, seemingly recognizing Him to be sent of God. But Jesus came with an agenda for more than mere festivities. He went straight into the Temple and began to deliberately make a big scene. No doubt this was premeditated.

As Jesus entered the outer court, He took it upon Himself to start aggressively flipping the tables of the businessmen who were selling livestock there. He also took the time to fashion a whip, with which He proceeded to drive out the animals that were being sold. He shouted about how unfair it was that their business was occupying this space, quoting from Isaiah 56:7…“For My house will be called a house of prayer for ALL nations.” This was a holy, staged disruption. It was a demonstration, if you will.

Scholars say these businessmen were selling their goods in “the Court of the Gentiles” — the one place non-majority culture worshippers could come and serve the Lord. The Jews at that time had the whole Temple set up exclusively for their worship privileges, but God had intended His home to be welcoming to every ethnic group. And the marginal space that religious leadership had segregated for these minorities to worship in was now being filled with Jewish commerce instead.

Our Lord was not merely demanding that He be loved more than financial profit was loved. In one sense He already had the adoration of the masses. He was also taking a stand to dignify and make room for everyone in the house of God. And He was not afraid of offending His fans in the process.

Later in Scripture, after Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem. The Spirit came with what is described as sounding like a “mighty rushing wind” — the winds of change. Suddenly those gathered to worship began to supernaturally speak in a wide variety of tongues, miraculously praising God in languages that all the outside foreigners understood. Again, the Lord had set the scene for holy chaos… a disruptive sign and wonder. In doing so, He was affirming that “all nations” were to be included in His worship. Or as the prophet Joel had said, God’s Presence was coming upon “all flesh.”

Our Lord is not an apathetic person. Jesus came moved with compassion, flinging open the doors for all people to enter His Kingdom. And then He came once more in Spirit, standing in solidarity with the diverse spectrum of humanity. Again, He did not mind whether or not His methods made everyone comfortable.

Today on Pentecost (May 31st), we celebrate that great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the launching of the global Jesus movement. This movement is for the inclusion of all in God’s family — as many as will come. We are now the international temple of God’s Spirit.

I want to encourage those of you who are working to live in a way that is socially conscious. Take some time today to honor the occasion in the midst of this painful moment for our world. Remember the Presence that was poured out for you to access. Be filled afresh with the comfort that only His manifest nearness can bring. Encounter the living God, listen to His still-small-voice and let Him re-energize your heart. We can’t continue His ministry without continually drawing afresh from our Source. And in Christ, the Spirit’s wild, demonstrable, refreshing, empowering touch is freely available to us all.

Follow @destintweets

“Too Much Grace”

I often hear people say, “We need grace, but we don’t want to take advantage of it. We don’t want to take it for granted…” Or they’ll say, “Yes there’s grace, but we also need….” Fill in the blank. It’s as if grace is seen as something that needs to be limited or counterbalanced in order for people to be motivated properly to walk in integrity. As if it can potentially be bad for our spiritual health and our growth if we overdose on God’s goodness.

I say, if we are afraid of having “too much” grace it is probably because we don’t understand the essence, value or function of grace very well. Grace does not necessarily always produce the kind of behavioral modification we are looking for, sure. It’s not utilitarian, pragmatic, or formulaic. It does, however, transform the human heart like nothing else…

Continue reading “Too Much Grace”

“Yield”

I asked a leader for prayer a while back. Instead of a mere prayer he gave me a prophecy. “I see you standing at a fork in the road,” he said “and you want to know if you should turn to the right or to the left. But the only sign the Lord is giving you is to ‘yield.’” How true that message was…

So often in life I want clear-cut, directional answers. I want to be told what to do. Where to go. How to move forward. What to believe. Over and over though, God seems to ask me to simply “yield.” To open my heart to Him in the midst of my tension and grow in wisdom rather than certainty about my own future.

When it comes to decision-making, I think the Lord is always teaching me that the important thing is not that we figure out WHAT to do as much as HOW to do it. The posture we take is more important than the conclusion we come to.

For instance, when we make big choices….

Are we running from difficulty and discomfort or facing it bravely?

Continue reading “Yield”

The Blessing Goes Viral

I keep seeing more stories about this song and I LOVE IT.

On March 10th Johnny Enlow wrote on his Facebook, “This song [The Blessing — then just released on YouTube] will be played from sea to shining sea and will gain major traction even outside the church.” It clearly was the right song “for such a time as this”… When it hit Itunes, it immediately became the number 1 song on the platform for ALL genres (see here).

Now The Blessing is gaining attention on various news outlets. It truly is being sung from sea to shining sea — a prophetic declaration over these cities and nations.

Check out these EPIC videos of diverse worshippers gathering online from across the globe to sing God’s heart over their homelands. It’s more viral than Corona 😜 Gives me chills almost every time I watch it…

South Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EPcd0B5SNs

Betterland Intl.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_1Va59q7XE

Orlando, FL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT9sgMz2Uh8

The UK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUtll3mNj5U

Selena Gomez: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcB-kDZsg8w

Pittsburgh, PA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdxMgmN9NpA

and Latin America

Dream: A Pointless Journey

 

I dreamt that I was standing at the bottom of what appeared to be a very tall hill. I had to climb it if I was ever going to reach the “Promised Land” I had been told about. The land was said to be a rich, lush, green valley. It was full of refreshing rivers, fruit and rest for my soul. I had a sense that it remained ahead of me, somewhere just beyond the ridge of the hilltop. The only way I knew how to get to it though was to move forward, struggling up the climb before me.

I began to march up the mountainous hill with countless other wanderers journeying along side me. Apparently we were all seeking the same endpoint. We’d all been told the same kind of message and none of us questioned it.

Pretty quickly in my ascent up the incline it become too steep to hike upright on. I adjusted my posture and began to crawl up the hill, hands on the ground like a bear. I still thought it would be a pretty doable journey. Over time however, the hill steepened even more.

I eventually found myself bouldering the hill like a rock-climber. At one point I was stretched out almost completely vertical — hanging onto the hillside with all my might as I reached upward. I was starting to get very tired. Somehow I hadn’t expected it would become this much of a challenge. I was exhausted…

Suddenly the loud roar of an engine ripped through the air. I looked up, and far above me, over the top of the hill, a couple massive vehicles appeared. They were specially-crafted machines, looking something like the hybrid of a tank and a large four-wheeler. They’d clearly been built just for this sort of intense terrain.

Someone was shouting from one of the vehicles, “It’s no use!” I stopped to listen to what they were saying. “Turn back! It’s no use! We’ve climbed for so long, and it’s an endless desert up here. It doesn’t ever get better — no matter how far you search!” Continue reading Dream: A Pointless Journey

Jesus’ Cry From Psalm 22

When Jesus was dying on the Cross, He cried out the first words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” People read that and think it is evidence God abandoned His Son there… just like we think He does with us when we don’t recognize His nearness. We need to realize though that Jesus was hinting at something when He quoted this passage of Scripture. He expected His hearers to know the whole Psalm…

The passage Jesus was quoting goes on to say in verse 24, “For [God] has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and He has NOT hidden His face from him — but has heard, when he cried to Him…”

God didn’t turn away from Christ in that moment. No, in fact Paul tells us “God was [present/manifest] IN Christ, reconciling the world to Himself — not counting their trespasses against them,” (2nd Corinthians 5:19).

We don’t worship a Father who leaves His children. He is with us, even in our darkest moments…. Yes, even when it is we who despise and reject Him.

Enjoy serving a loyal, ever-Present God, y’all!

A Good Friday Encounter

Good Friday is my favorite holy day. It’s always a great opportunity to reflect on Christ suffering for us, as us. He put to death our sinful, egoic nature once and for all — and we now get to live in unbroken union with God.

All that said, I really wanted to mark today with some kind of recognition/appreciation of all it stands for. Clearly, however, there were not a lot of options for doing that in any traditional ways with the world’s current circumstances…

As I was driving through Kirkwood tonight, I had the thought to stop in and visit a Catholic adoration chapel that I’d prayed in several times before. I wasn’t sure if it would even be open, but I figured it was worth a try. Turns out, the chapel had been closed and a larger, remodeled one had opened across the yard from it. It was unlocked and almost entirely empty, and the new room I entered was beautiful! It was such a godsend, on the perfect day of the calendar to find it.

I SO needed this quiet, sacred space to engage with the Lord. My practice of contemplation has been seriously lacking this year, and along with that I haven’t felt very confident that I’ve been seizing each day for what it’s worth like I could lately.

With the Body and Blood present before me, and a journal in my lap, Jesus met and spoke to me there. Here’s what I felt His Spirit whispering to my heart… Maybe it will speak to yours as well:

“Life and life more abundant. Joy and bliss. Rich relational fulfillment. Good memories, new experiences, exciting adventures… Learning, growing, discovering and connecting… This is what’s ahead. This is what I have in store for you, every leg of the journey — as my GIFT to you. 

“It has nothing to do with your hustle or grind or perfection of diligence. It’s freely available, regardless of merit, in every season of life.

“Your days will be marked by My goodness. I’ll not disappoint you. I adore you and have pre-planned so many great moments for you to step into.

“Yes, be attentive to Me. But recognize that I can get your attention even when you are silly and get distracted. My grace is too big and expansive and generous to let you stay in an empty or confusing place without any wake up calls. I will always whoo you into the awareness of My Glory.

“Life is to be savored. The enemy cannot stop you from enjoying it. Really hard circumstances cannot stop you from enjoying it. Even you cannot ruin My plan. I’m too good to put that kind of burden on your shoulders to carry….

“Your destiny is in My hands, beloved. I’m writing your future with, through and FOR you. Expect the best to haunt you — even when your expectations are low!

“As you grow you’ll see, it only gets better from here.”

Happy Holy Week, everyone!