Last month, I spoke with a friend who’s been noticing something that worries him. He recently helped host a conference for Christian students to bring revival onto school campuses, where they invited a bunch of famous pastors and worship leaders, and hundreds of fired up youth attended. The conference was an incredible time of empowerment, he said. But while spending time with all these leaders, both veteran and young, he sensed this covert, driving tension among them—a restlessness—and it worried him. The more he paid attention, the more he could see what it was: the hunger for significance.
Last week, I was called into a room with a young man who God saved and delivered from hard drug use. When I walked into the room, the young man was shaking, and I quickly realized that he was experiencing some high anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. So I went to the living room, grabbed a chair, sat next to his bed, and rubbed his knee as I began to pray for him. I picked up the trash can next to his bed, because I could tell that he was about to throw up. I could feel the warmth of his vomit as I held the bottom of the trash can. I continued to sit and smile, and all I could think was, “Man, deliverance is messy.” I got home that night at about three in the morning, and wasn’t able to fall asleep until closer to four.
We don’t know much about Demas. There’s only a couple of verses about him in the Bible. In Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24, the Apostle Paul mentions Demas in his greeting as a “fellowlabourer” in the Gospel. So seemingly, Demas is running hard with Paul in the ministry as they attempt to establish the early church.
However, I ran across 2 Timothy 4:10 today in my studies and was blown away with the statement that Paul makes of Demas. The statement is blunt and to the point when Paul writes, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…"
As a member of the charismatic movement, I must say that it’s not until recently that I realized that “breakthrough” in my life has had more to do with vulnerability than with a deep longing or prayer or more spiritual practices. What an offensive statement, I know, but as I look at life-transforming moments in my life, where I was totally wrecked by God, I realize that God broke through in times where I had given up fighting. These were moments of vulnerability where I allowed the Lord to do whatever He wanted to do, in spite of how I felt about it…
Many pastors really do struggle with depression.
Most church members have no idea their pastor was depressed. They don’t know until they are awakened to the reality of some of the dramatic consequences of the depression: broken marriages; sexual affairs; resignation from ministry; and even suicide.
With the stress of holidays, end of the year reflections, as well as attempting and struggling to start the new year off on the right foot— there is one word that encapsulates it all: Chaos.
Think of a time when it was easy to wait for God's promises to unfold. I assume that this task is a difficult one. The reality of waiting seasons is that, more than likely, they are never easy. This is because our waiting seasons are tests that God allows us to enter into so that He can teach us several lessons:
One lesson centers on revealing His faithfulness. Another lesson revolves around us and our response to what He's doing.
One of the most significant seasons that we can go through in life is the season where our roots grow down deep. It’s the season where, externally your life looks stagnant, but beneath the surface God is building a foundation that your destiny is dependent on.
Last month I began reading a book I actually bought years ago, Alephby Paulo Coelho. It’s amazing how timely books can be sometimes. There’s a chapter in it called “Chinese Bamboo,” where Paulo writes,
Happy Mother’s Day to the women of this world.
Happy Mother’s Day to the women I saw at the park the other day — the one who played “fairies” on the playground with her daughter and also to the mom on her phone while her son played in the sand… cause Lord knows we all need a break.
“Hola, como estas?” I asked before I began to speak through an interpreter. I smiled, and took a deep breath. In true vulnerability I began to share, "There was a time in my life when I felt that God was taking away everything that I loved. All that I had worked for--- everything I had that gave me security in life was all of a sudden crumbling to the ground. I was very angry at God because of that. But during that time, God gave me a vision of me burning in flames. Although that sounds scary, God showed me that His love was an all-consuming fire. He showed me that He was burning away everything that didn’t belong in my life. In all reality, God is making us more like Him by removing everything that is not of Him... You know, in order for a diamond to be made, it must undergo extreme pressure.”
Am I the only person who was afraid of the dark as a child? I still get slight chills remembering when my grandmother would close our bedroom door, and the endless night’s abyss would take over my room. I was the older brother, and my young brother shared a room with me, so when he would say, “Del, are you scared,” I’d find myself faking confidence in between my Ninja Turtle bed sheets, peaking through my comforter with a trembling voice to respond, “Of course I’m not scared.” But little did he know, with every creaking floor noise, my heart would sink deeper into this overwhelming fear of the dark.
I was visiting some dear friends at Bethel Church in Redding, CA this past weekend and had the awesome opportunity to attend Bethel’s Sunday morning service. Kris V. was preaching, and he was talking about courage. It was a real enlightening message, but one of his opening phrases made my heart leap. He said, “FEAR has become the most acceptable sin in the Body of Christ!” You could feel everyone in the room inhale and gasp as we realized the amount of truth that was in this statement.
Warning, this is going to get real personal real fast. I hope you still love me after this. You might even be entertained or surprised that I struggle with the fear of rejection. But here’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I’ve always been loud, obnoxious, and humorous. I can remember, even in elementary school, that I just had to be the class clown. Growing up, I always had to be the life of the party and the center of attention. But for those of you who know my story, you know exactly why I needed the attention.
In a culture where consumerism causes the selling point to be about me, myself, and I, I’ve come to face the fact that as a believer, Jesus is not a capitalist. And before you get upset, this is not a position paper on capitalism. Hear me out. Even within our church culture around the world, we’ve begun to build ministries that entice this generation with what we can do for them. We pick churches because we like the community, or the children’s ministry, or the style of worship, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that in and of itself.
I remember as a little girl being afraid of the dark. We lived in a small house that had a long dark hallway leading to the bedrooms. I don’t remember the colors of the walls or the furniture. However, I do remember feeling as if that hallway would lead to my demise. The big bad monster of the dark would capture me and I would never see my family again. To help ease my mind I would wait for my mom, sister or dad to go down the hall first. My thought was if they made it, then I could too. But there were nights that I had to venture down the hallway before everyone else. No one was there to assure me things would be ok and the monster of darkness wouldn’t capture me.
In a generation where commitment is undervalued, I’ve come to realize with myself in the last five years that I want to be a good friend who is surrounded with people who are good friends. I don’t think anyone wants to die alone. I think we all long for relationship, and desire to know and be known by the ones we love.
September 23 marked the start of a brand new season. This new season in which we call “Fall,” will show us that there is so much beauty in the death of a thing. Our culture teaches us to be afraid of death. Somewhere deep in the dark annals of our thinking, there is this belief that death is the “end all.” I want to present to you the thought that death is not really the end. Death is really the sign that a new beginning is on the horizon.
It had been an overwhelming week. I was facing stress at every level – personal, family, marriage, school, work, caregiving… I wasn’t sleeping well. I never do. So the fatigue was like a shroud covering my soul. I arrived at our small group meeting tense, and by prayer time was in tears. I wasn’t sure I could go on – or if I wanted to. I felt sorry for myself, for all the stuff coming at me, and for how it was affecting not only my life not, but also my future.
I’ve found myself frustrated in this last season of my life, because I’m realizing that many Christians who pray, fast, and believe for revival, don’t really even want it or even know what it is. Our typical idea of revival is a self-centered church where worship, preaching, and services are improved. Not to say that I’m old or anything, but as I get older, and hopefully wiser, I’m realizing that revival is way more than what I’ve been praying for.
I was asked a few days ago, “does God hate homosexuals?” My first response was simple, “is that a passive aggressive statement?” After determining that it was, my next reply came; “No, the Jesus of scripture doesn’t hate anyone.”