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Living with Fire / Feeding the Flame #2

“And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.” (Ex. 19:18)

GUARDIANS OF THE FLAME.

“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” (Lev. 6:13)

Redeemed from fire by fire! Yes, T.S. Eliot said it well. Consumed by either fire or fire. Consumed by grace or sin. Am I on fire for God? I have been charged by God to never let the fire go out! Guardians of the Flame!

How do I live with fire? How do I feed the flame so it never goes out? What is this heroes journey? To slay a dragon, to save a city, to live in such a flame.!To light yourself on fire and live there. Where does such a life come from? It is not five of the six archetypes inside each of us. It is not the Orphan, the Innocent, the Wanderer, the Altruist, or the Warrior, but it is the Magician, the Mystic, the Priest.

You must step across the line of mere mortal and flesh, and into Spirit and Priesthood. Blessed art thou Simon, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you! Only God can create a bush that is on fire but not consumed. Try to do this in your own power and you will fail. It will be a strange fire, not of God, and you will be consumed, not eternally sustained. “Priesthood is a supernatural lifestyle of surrender”. (Try to explain that one.) It is mystic. It is the highest level of existence in unity with God. And every one of us is called to it. Being a Christian is more than just being a good person, it is a Priesthood.

Priesthood is a supernatural lifestyle of surrender.

If you’ve never truly been on fire, and if you’ve never truly surrendered, then you know not of what I speak. Neither do you likely believe it, and certainly not crazy enough to try it, after all, look at all the things you might have to lay down, and then what? What if you could not get them back? What if it really did cost you something, like it cost our Lord? Even that fear of not getting it back betrays you. You are not Mystic, not Priesthood, but you are still in a fearful, selfish, carnal state, and you have not tasted of God’s ultimate peace, or joy.

I find myself writing words stronger than I expected. Can I explain any of this? Hhmm, Jesus walked on water. I think water offers us a lesson. I use to be a terrible swimmer, and because of that I had a fear of drowning. My wife, who is an excellent swimmer, tried teaching me how to float, so if I ever got in such a situation, I could simply lie on my back and float. It sounded good. It made perfect sense, but there was one problem. The more you “relax”, the more you “let go”, the better you float. If you tighten up like a rock, you tend to sink like a rock, and sense I had a fear of drowning, guess what? I found it extremely difficult to float. It was very hard to relax and let go when fear was gripping me. Try it some time. You’re scared to death but you’re going to begin mentally relaxing each muscle, slow your breathing, and command your heart to slow as well. Mentally, it is a very hard thing to do, to slow the racing heart gripped in fear.

Nevertheless, floating was there for me. It was there all the time, I simply did not have the faith to tap into it. I was resisting the water, instead of surrendering to it, like a mighty eagle surrenders to a current of wind. Most of us live as little flapping sparrows, not soaring eagles. But don’t we all long to be the soaring eagle? God longs for that for us, and he offers it.

So what does this have to do with feeding the flame in us? ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!!!

If we will not surrender to the supernatural habits of a priest in Christ, i.e. a quality prayer life, faith, fasting, obedience, God’s Word, and God’s holiness, then the fire will never be sustained. This supernatural flame that fills the universe with passion will be lost to us.

Do we not believe God’s word? Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these other things will…?

Yes, this is too much for five of the archetypes in us. But not too much for the Mystic, it is where he lives! It is where he burns with passion and thrives! Because he has learned the surrender that feeds the fire! He has gone to the cave and received a God-given vision! Now he is on fire with it, like Merlin who got the vision for Camelot! And then he raised up a King Arthur, who drew the sword from the stone!

No, you would not want to live such an authentic life. That life burns too hot for most of us. We would not dare to be so alive.

A book I once was impressed with, I have puled from the shelf to remind myself of. No, not everything I read is scriptural, but I must admit this book impressed me, about these six archetypes in all of us, and a heroes journey. The book is: “The Hero Within”, by C.S. Pearson. Of course the teaching has passed through my own filters, but I’m mixing some of that into this series. There will likely be more.

Fire purifies. There is a supernatural path bordered with flames, and so alive, not many dare to walk it. Just the Mystics, the Priesthood. The Spirit of God can take us there, if were willing to enter into that supernatural surrender, get a vision from God and burn with it! It’s hard to think about yourself when you’re filled with such passion. As a matter-of-fact, you won’t even miss yourself. Good riddance to the one that was slowing you down. The true Mystic and Priest understands. Just as I eventually learned to float, so can anyone seek God and learn of this way we speak of. The Bible is the authority on this powerful life, and Jesus is its author. (“For we walk by faith, not by sight:”) II Cor. 5:7 Faith…a powerful supernatural force practiced by God’s Priesthood.

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“Living with Fire / Feeding the Flame”

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How do we feed the flame to live a life of inspiration? This begins a new series.

Hope you enjoy, and burn brighter every day.

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“Living with Fire / Feeding the Flame” #1

THE HEROES JOURNEY?

THE LOVE OF ANYTHING WORTHY WILL TAKE US INTO THE FIRE, AND MUST BE PURSUED WITH FIRE.

“And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush.” (Excerpts from Ex. 3:1-2)

A flame of fire? The mountain of God? Am I a flame of fire? How do I feed the sacred fire bringing meaning to each life? How can I live without fire? How can I live without passion, purpose, love, meaning, joy, and flame? God’s Word reveals it to be a life not worth living. Man’s own experiences eventually proves God’s Word absolutely correct. We must have fire! Or we become robots going through endless motions, repeated circles until we die, the point of Ecclesiastes.

For the follower of Christ it is essential, we cannot live without it, we are drawn to His flame. This thing was birthed in fire on the day of Pentecost, and the old testament Priesthood were commanded to never let the fire on the altar go out! (There will be more on that in coming articles.)

Whatever the passion may be in your life, that flame is sacred to you, but is it sacred to God? Whatever the love is in your life, is holy to you, but is it holy to God? We worship our passions. We sacrifice to them. We do not truly live without them. However, do you see the difference between the sacrifices a man will make in a strip club, as women stoke his flame of lust and he gladly tucks his hard earned money into forbidden places, compared to the sacrifices of a righteous man unto the cross of Christ? Two flames. Both sacred to the one who loves it, but only one is holy in the eyes of God, the other is stoked by the flames of hell!

We will talk of flames of heaven too. We cannot truly live without fire. God invites us to a heroes journey, a life of fire, love, and passion!  Consider these words from a poem by T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”.

The dove descending breaks the air / With flame of incandescent terror / Of which the tongues declare /

The one discharge from sin and error / The only hope, or else despair /

Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre…

To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Dictionary definition of “Pyre” is: A combustible heap for burning a dead body as a funeral rite. (You might want to read the above verse again.) To be redeemed from fire by fire? What is being said here?

Who then devised the torment? Love. / Love is the unfamiliar Name /

Behind the hands that wove / The intolerable shirt of flame / Which human power cannot remove. /

We only live, only suspire / Consumed by either fire or fire.

The more I have read the above poem, the more meaning that has spoken to me. We are called to a FIRE! Consumed by sin or grace! Two flames burn in this earth! Of which are you? Love is the unfamiliar “Name”. Notice the “N” is capitalized. Meaning God.

And then there are those most wretched of souls who have no fire burning. They live flameless lives of depression and defeat. They are most miserable of all. Just going through the motions of life. No energy or drive because there is no fire! And their lives give no light!

I have much more to say on this subject. I want to feed the flame! Broken wings that soar! Let us mount up with the wings of the eagle!

The love of anything worthy will take us into the fire and must be pursued with fire!

(The quotes in this article, other than scripture, are from a book entitled: “Teaching with Fire”. My Bible, and this book has been useful to me in preparing for this series of articles.) Hope you enjoy. I will write what feeds my flame and I hope it will feed yours too. We need more of God’s fire in this earth today. This is one little way I have to help stoke His holy fire. More to come.

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“Do you have your Gotham?”

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Wrapped in mystery and secret things, the Caped Crusader overlooks his Gotham? What might a Priest of Christ have in common? Read on if you dare.

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“Do you have your Gotham?” > Chapter Seventeen

The Encounter III > How big is your Gotham? Your personal assignment from God. Is it just your family? I have seen cases where that in itself might be all a person could do, but for most of us, God expects something more. And how do we go about answering that call? Do we give our all, or… something much less…something less sacrificial… something much more “man-made than God-made”. What is the secret side of our Priesthood? What is God’s Covering, his Cloaking, his Anointing? What does it mean to be a “caped crusader” for God? Batman had his secret side, and if I’m a proper Priest of God, so do I.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret… And when you pray…go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in secret… And when you fast… don’t make it obvious… then no one will notice you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret…and your Father who sees everything, will reward you. (Excerpts of Matthew 6: 1-18)

Don had a smile on his face as he cruised around the parking lot in his 97 Honda Civic. What a story this car could tell. Everything from the white rear bumper on a silver-gray car, to the rumpled hood, the soldered gas tank, the repaired brake lines, the fact the car sat for three years and the alternator was locked up when he started it. Soaking it with WD40 and forcing it to turn actually worked, and somehow he now had this great job as a “Watchman”, a guard, cruising around a parking lot in a bad area of town, keeping order, protecting, while a small yellow bubble light flashed repeatedly on the roof of his silver-gray car. In some respects it was ridiculous, but in others it was awesome.

His prayers were being answered. So much was happening! When he hired on as part-time, working the evening shift, who could have known the day shift guy would suddenly, without warning, quit! And he was offered the full-time, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday position. God knew. And now his work schedule was as perfect as it could get. Not only that, but he could pray while in that car, and listen to things on radio, preaching, books on tape, etc. etc. The physical need was met and a strategic position acquired, all in one moment, after that very bad day when he chickened out on the Starbucks job and came home depressed. Then he looked out the window and saw this little car waiting to be fixed. Reluctantly he obeyed God’s lead, and now he sat in the car smiling, for God is good and always has a plan.

When the door opened for day-shift, Don was once again able to reconnect with “Oasis of Hope Church” and help with the ministry birthing at that government housing apartment complex. The need was great, and when he reconnected he discovered there was talk of expansion! The Southern Baptist liked what Chris was doing, they had plans to send teams and help him expand to three new complexes! Soon he would have a ministry outreach every week! But this was only one opportunity whose door was opening, and these other two really had his attention.

Pastor Kerry and his wife Twyla. Their Church on Mass. Ave. and the special assignment from God on Pastor Kerry’s heart, that of reaching the “creative people” of the city. You see, the purpose of this ministry was not geographical as much as it was “gifting oriented”.  Pastor Kerry, as an artist, had a heart to reach out to other creative type people, which just happened to include “writers”. Don pondered what this special door could lead to? He had always felt a bit of a loner, misunderstood by others who did not have his pondering ways, because he thought deep about things, sought out solitude, as in his little car cruising around, so he could ponder things and create stories revealing the treasures he uncovered in God. What might this new connection lead to? Only God knew. Pastor Kerry wanted to read his newest story as soon as it was ready.

He thought about the unexpected call from a past disciple. How did God resurrect this old connection? Years had passed and this brother was in sore straights. They met after work and spent three hours together. This meeting had started at a Burger King and ended up in prayer in a secluded cemetery. God’s ways are unique, and His Presence had been strong while they prayed, but what could he leave this brother with? A story he had written, “Flapless”. That story had continued to minister, teach, and uplift, long after the two had parted, until they would meet again in one month, and Don was working on another story called, “Grasping the Wind”. God was still using his gift for writing, but how much more might God have planned?

However, the vision itself, that was the other unknown door. He had not been able to convince anyone at the Pentecostal Church to take up this vision. Perhaps because it was still untried. So the vision fell to him alone, to figure it out, to see what God would do, how do you reach your own neighborhood for Christ? The plan was slowly coming together and soon it would launch, but not without complete dedication to the “SECRET THINGS” of our Priesthood in Christ.

Yes, Don knew full well that was how he had gotten this far, and if it were to continue, then so must his Priesthood habits. After his year sabbatical, he fully understood that being a Christian was more than just being a “good person”, but there was a Priesthood. A Priesthood that God spent 4,000 years paying the price for, and when he ripped that veil in two, in the temple, when Christ gave his life on that cross, God the Father said, “Finally! IT is done!” Finally a supernatural life unlike any other was available for God’s people. Now we could be Caped Crusaders, if we are faithful to the secret things.

God is disgusted with his “SPOTLIIGHT seeking people”, who caught up in pride and desire for admiration, hide in their Church Boxes, proclaiming great things in the safety of their own, while neglecting the lost multitudes all around them, even in their very own neighborhood. We live in a day when some Christians make great and expensive journeys to minister one week in a land whose language they do not even speak, and yet they fail to try and reach their own neighborhood or city where they live all year long. What logical sense does this make? These people speak from pulpits as if they are examples?

We need to wake up. We are losing our own country while we hide in our church boxes listening to speakers who hide in the box too. Is it so brave to go to other church boxes in other countries where the people greet you with open arms, and need your money? Perhaps I should not speak such things? I who would compare Christianity to being a Caped Crusader? A Batman? How ridiculous. But if only Christians would be as faithful to the secret things of God, as Batman was to his secret things.

Is our Gotham lost? We are losing it more every day if we do not wake up to this vision. One year alone with God did this to me. I have more to say about this secret life. And there is a book growing, “Grasping the Wind”, written by a Christian Batman, with a neighborhood to reach and a city to save, one secret thing at a time, as it is revealed.

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Is this not a beautiful thought? Our ripples of love and life going forth? I hope you enjoy the article below. Taking it with you.

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You can’t take it with you, or can you?

We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t take it with you.” In death we leave it all behind. The money, big house, hot car, all those material things we worked so hard for. We spent so much of our life pursueing these things, but what are they worth now? As Ecclesiastes would say, they pass to other hands, and who is to say that all your hard work does not end up in the hands of a fool?

However, there actually are a few things that go with you. Have you thought about it? Maybe not? We spend so much time pursueing the things we can’t take, and we fail to realize the old saying is not completely true! We would do well to seriously consider what will go with us in the grave.

I can think of three things that go with you. Maybe you can think of more, but for my purposes these three will do. Most important of all is your SOUL, this is your most valuable possession! However, your SOUL will be affected by the other two. When you realize how few things you can actually take with you, it should cause us to put a very high value on those items.

What value is your SOUL compared to earthly pleasures you may be seeking? The soul is eternal, and may be possessed by you eternally if you choose. What other possessions do you have that you can say that of? But God’s Word says you lost it! Sin has separated us from God and the wages of sin is death! What tragedy it is to lose the most important thing we can eternally possess!

This would be more tragic than losing your home, money, health, anything you may “think” you own, because you do not really own those things. You will let go of everyone of them. You will leave them behind as your SOUL passes through the veil of death to meet its Maker.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26a)

Lose his own soul. His own soul. It’s yours to lose.

(Luke 21:19) “In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Jesus speaking to his disciples.)

So what are the other two things you take with you? Your words and deeds. These will be the things whereby your SOUL is judged. What do our words and deeds reveal about us? Your words and actions will reveal if you ever truely received Christ as your saviour. It will not be your words alone, but your words and deeds. God’s Word says you may judge a tree by its’ fruit.

True salvation, the saving of our soul so we may possess it eternally, will show up in your words and deeds. Not only when you speak those words of repentance unto God, admitting you are a sinner, and how sorry you are, and your desire to follow after him, but in your actions, proving if you meant those words or not.

You are your soul. If you die in a lost condition, then you have lost the most precious thing God gave you. You were born in this lost condition, and you failed to believe, you failed to make a right choice and accept God’s tremendous offer of grace. And for what reason? To pursue a bunch of stuff you can’t take with you? So sad.

This is my first time working my blogsite from the downtown Indianapolis Library. I am shoulder to shoulder with others. My Bible is spread open on the table as I write. Four different people have set next to me during this time. As I get better at this it is my hope that a door will open with someone.

I’m not use to the distractions going on around here, compared to my writing nook at home. I have struggled to write my thoughts today, but the potential is worth it. This is just my first time. We actually just got our Internet service back up at home for one-third the price we were paying, but I intend to come here 2-4 times a month, praying for a door to open, and then another, and another. It will happen.

I come here on Tuesdays because there is a Southern Baptist Home Group meeting in this downtown area at 7:00 pm. So I have this one big day a week. I work till four, hit the Library till 6:30, and the Home Group at 7:00. This is my Gotham. I can’t expect anything to happen if I’m not out here. Things are happening, and I hope to write more on those things soon.

LET THE RIPPLES GO FORTH!

 

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“Do You have Your Gotham?” > Chapter Sixteen

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A VISION IS BIRTHED, A QUEST CONTINUES, A MISSION IS SERVED.

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“Do You have Your Gotham?” > Chapter Sixteen

THE ENCOUNTER III > What started as fictional in the Encounter 1 & 2, has now become reality in The Encounter 3. One man’s path to an encounter with God cloaking him in God’s “covering”, and hearing the call… “Gotham needs me.” You can run but you can’t hide. You either answer the call, or settle for less. This is one man’s story who decided to not “settle”.

The financial and sickness storm was finally over. Don was healthy and also working, although it was only part-time, 22 hours a week, if they were frugal they could make it work. The job promised to go full-time in just a couple of months. Two giants had fallen and now the challenges became more spiritual than physical. This was the day he had been praying for.

Because of his connection to “Oasis of Hope Church”, Don was invited to a Southern Baptist Prayer Meeting of “Church Planters”. It was a morning prayer meeting and since he worked evenings he was free to go. His day started with early morning prayer at a Pentecostal Church called” Charity”, on south Tibbs. It just happened the prayer meetings hit on the same day. Charity did this 6:00 a.m. prayer meeting every Tuesday, and he had been a regular. The Baptist meeting was at 9:00 a.m.. “Perfect!” he thought.

And so he did. He attended both. What a day of praying it was. But while he was at the Baptist Prayer meeting, he met two men in process of growing downtown inner city churches! He even got teamed up to pray with one of them. This man’s name was Kerry, Pastor Kerry of the “Circle City Canvas Church”, having services in the Arts Bank building right on Massachusetts Avenue, or Mass. Ave. as everyone likes to call it. The other Pastor was Pastor Yale, holding services on I.U.P.U.I. campus, reaching young people, college people, for Christ. Both these services were evening time, and Don immediately made plans to attend.

With the new job in place there began to be the challenge of working around that schedule. His job now interfered with his “Oasis of Hope” involvement at the Hawthorn Apartment complex, but he was still able to attend prayer meetings and weekend services, which meant he could connect with both “Circle Center Canvas Church” and “Living Faith Church” with Pastor Yale. After going to each once, he decided to focus on “Circle City Canvas Church” first, and see what might develop.

The “Gotham Call” still meant being out of the Church box and into the streets. God had given him a vision of being involved in not only the downtown area, but also neighborhoods. It was the same vision. What he saw for downtown involved being out of the Church box and in the neighborhoods. In the meantime, the Pastor at “Charity Church”, Pastor Paul Slagle, was preaching on “Our Priesthood”, and a real move of God was stirring the people. A lot was going on! And he was carefully watching it all, and involved with it all. The early morning prayer meetings was causing a fresh move of the Spirit, but only time would tell if the stirring would lead to great things, or fade?

And then, on top of all this, came the chance to meet Ying Kia, of T4T, and hear him personally speak and teach on “Training for Trainers”, a discipleship outreach causing quite a stir of its’ own.  God was supernaturally ordering his steps and answering his prayers. This was the last piece of the puzzle he needed for “1000 Houses of H.O.P.E.”. He just happened to be off work and able to attend, and so he did. More to come.

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“J.E.D.I. Theology” #4

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WILL WE MAKE THE EFFORT TO RISE ABOVE THE “SETTLED FOR” LIFE?

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