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Grace + Freedom + Empowerment + Hope & Healing

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The most powerful force in the universe is literally in your hands

health + healing miracles Jul 25, 2017

One of the first miracles Mark records is Jesus healing a leper (see Mark 1:40f.). There’s an interesting nuance about the entire story that I’ve read over and over and always missed…

Jesus touched the leper rather than simply healing Him with a word. Even though He heals many others with His words only. Even though He actually performs “long distance” miracles, healing events in which someone visits Him one village and asks for healing for a person in another village.

Why touch the leper?

It seems odd, particularly when you realize that the leper was healed as soon as Jesus spoke: “As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed” (1:42).

Furthermore, lepers weren’t supposed to be touched. People believed that if you touched a leper that you, too, became unclean. 

Perhaps that IS the issue here. Jesus touched him because the leper needed to be touched more than he needed anything else, including...

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What -OR- Success is recipe, not a lottery ticket (The Ladder Series #2)- Podcast #20

 

The first step in living any dream is to decide what that dream is. Sounds obvious, right?  I mean, how are you going to go ANYWHERE if you don’t first have a destination?

Cristy and I go on a date every week. Sometimes, we get into this debacle… perhaps you’ve been there: 

“Where do you want to eat?”

“I don’t know. Where do you want to go?”

Suggestion made. 

Reply = “Anything but that!”

Been there? Done that? (This works both ways- sometimes she makes the turned-down suggestion; others times I do it!)

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? It kinda stalls out the first part of the evening.  

And, the truth is that this kind of thing can keep you stalled out in life, too. 

Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). They lose heart. They grow faint and weary. They find themselves hopeless. They find themselves in despair. 

In this episode...

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Relationships: Can you do more with 5 $1 bills or 500 pennies?

advance relationships Jul 18, 2017

We often use the wrong words to define relationships. Take Facebook for example. I have 4,993 “friends” as of the date I’m writing this post. Statisticians and sociologists and people who study these kinds of things say that I can- at most- manage 200 relationships at once. And that’s just relationships, not real friendships. 

That means that, clearly, I can’t manage 4,773 of the relationships on any level at all. Yet these are my “friends.” 

You may have noticed the same trend in your profile. You have all of these people to whom you’re connected. But who are they, really? 

Now, I’m not arguing we should go on an “unfriending” rampage. I’m simply stating the obvious: just because someone is labeled a “friend” doesn’t mean they are. It just means, well… they have a label. A title. Not a role, but a title…

 

What are friends, really?

Solomon, the wisest guy who...

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Within Reach (The Ladder series #1)- Podcast #19

 One of my favorite events of the year is coming up… Advance arrives every 5-7 months, depending on the time of year, and is designed to empower men to move from where they are to where they’re destined to be. It’s not a retreat… it’s an Advance. 

In this episode I’ll tell you a bit about what we do and how… 

And introduce you to the concept of The Ladder, tell you the stories of how this thing (“accidentally”) came to be, and share with you how to go deeper and higher at the same time…

Ah… about The Ladder. Lots of talk about climbing ladders and making sure you go up the right one. This one’s short, though. On purpose. Because we REALLY believe this…

  • Your dreams are HUGE (inspired by God Himself and placed inside of you, waiting to burst forth).
  • Your dreams are within reach…

Join us on the journey…

 


Links mentioned in this talk- 

Access the free PDF or...

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The rubber band relationship thingamajig from Advance- another illustration showing you how relationships make you the best version of you

relationships the ladder Jul 11, 2017

Tension is a natural part of relationships. Most of us hate it for sure. But tension can make us even better versions of ourselves. And, tension can only be “lived out” where deep trust exists. If trust isn't there, the relationship might actually snap.

(You might also want to review the "paper plane" post, too, if you're interested in learning more about relationships.)

I often illustrate this concept by using a rubber band. And, I'll be honest with you... this illustratation came about completely by accident. And, I'm sure I heard this somewhere before using it- I just don't know where and to whom I should give credit :-)

 

The back story

At Advance 3.0 in Kansas City, my friend Derin asked a question about leadership: "How do you move in a certain direction if the people who are with you- the people you are in relationship with- don't necessarily want to go...?"

Now, he wasn't talking about going somewhere and trying to beg complete strangers to take the...

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Freedom is now!- Podcast #18

It’s easy to punt the promises of God to the future- to a time and space after we die. When do this, we turn the stories and the principles we see in Scripture into nothing more than allegories and tales about what COULD be rather than what SHOULD be in the moment. A lot of us live like this- effectively postponing the blessings of NOW, determining instead to hope for them after death. 

In the Bible, though, people expected God’s blessings to come in the present- they anticipated that His promises were for NOW and not for later. The Children of Israel were delivered in their lifetime- not after they died. In the New Testament, even, Paul had to correct the Church at Corinth. They were so “this world” minded about the power and presence of God that they decided their future in Heaven wasn’t important (see 1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

We’ve swung the pendulum the other way. You see, both are important. 

Yes, we get to go to Heaven when we...

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Most of the change you experience in life is the result of a person, not a decision

In session 6 at The Advance, we talk through the power of relationships. One of the biggest takeaways is this: every significant turning point in your life- good or bad- is probably marked more by a PERSON that it is a PLACE. That is, we rarely make decisions “in a vacuum.” We’re far more influenced by the people around us than any other thing. 

It’s why we read observations- and coaching statements- in the Book of Proverbs like, “He who walks with the wise will be wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm” (13:20). 

And- “A man who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin” (Proverbs 18:24). 

Quite simply, our “inner circle” in some significant sense determines our destiny. 

 

Show me your friends, and I'll show you... 

I had a youth minister who regularly said something like this: “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

Most of us are old enough now to...

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Living in Heaven while walking on earth- Podcast #17

 The Bible outlines a few contradictory things about us- things that we need to hold in tension.

First, everything that happened to Jesus has already happened to us. We were crucified with Him, we died with Him, and we were buried. We also arose with Him AND we’ve been seated with Him in Heaven. 

That means that, right now, we’re “here” and “there” at the same time. This is our current experience. 

Second, the Kingdom of God is a kingdom- not a democracy. It functions with rank, order, and spheres of authority. I know, authority is a misused and bloated term in our culture… but, under the lead of a benevolent king in which the first is last, the greatest serve the most, and honor and humility win the day, the Kingdom of God is the ideal… 

We actually want to see it THIS Kingdom manifest. 

However, we find ourselves in the middle of a conflict. A spiritual war of sorts. 

But, rather than fighting FOR the...

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To encounter YOU is to encounter the presence & power of the Kingdom

 

To encounter YOU is to encounter the presence & power of the Kingdom. End of story. 

But let me explain… 

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a jillion times. I mean, if we're completely honest with one another, I've actually said it- or something like it: 

“I need to get spiritually re-filled.” 

Or- “I need to get ‘connected.’”

And- “I’m spiritually dry…”

The implication from these statements is that, somehow, we're missing something, that we're spiritually empty...

 

We measure the things that matter to us the most

I was running through my neighborhood one morning, praying and thinking as I moved through the city’s streets. (Our house is awesomely loud = running through the streets seems to be one of my “getaway” times.)  

One particular morning, at some point, my thoughts shifted to how, particularly in our city, we’ve shifted from the idea of a...

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Come in closer- Podcast #16

podcast relationships sozo Jun 26, 2017

There’s a rabbinical tradition that says Moses’ burning bush was always burning. Or, at least, that it had been burning for quite some time before Moses stumbled upon it.

Furthermore, tradition says that God was there and was READY to speak the entire time. It was only after Moses stopped and “came in close” that God reveals Himself to him… 

(In the same way, it's believed that God is always looking... waiting... wanting to reveal Himself to us...)

The name of God that’s revealed here is interesting, too. The name, YHWH, is actually unpronounceable. It’s the sound of breathing- like a whisper. It a real sense, that name shows us that- 

  • You can’t fully place God’s identity into a single word (like they thought they did with names), and
  • You can’t begin to understand God apart from relationship. From close relationship. From close enough to hear the sound of a whisper. 

 


Here are the links mentioned...

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