Richard Foster offers me so much hope in the area of politics. I am as political an animal as they get. Yet, the frustrations of the past several years have left me in a mess!

Foster writes this about believers who will decide to live in true Kingdom power: “Frankly, these folk are a complete frustration to political leaders who are out to earn votes, because their opinions and motivations simply are not controlled by self-interest. Anglos among them, for example, care more about immigration justice for Hispanics than they do matters of self-preservation. They all care passionately about those who are completely off the political radar screen: native-American peoples, the urban homeless and the Appalachian poor, the very young and the very old, and more.”

I need this Kingdom life! I need Foster’s dream to become a reality in my life!

“Every man gives his life for what he believes, and every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have; we live it and it’s gone. But… to live without belief is more terrible than dying, even more terrible than dying young.”
–Joan of Arc

“Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization”
–Dallas Willard

In our American culture we see the Church as a cruise ship and the pastor is a cruise director. You board the ship on Sunday morning and it’s all about your comfort. It is the cruise director’s job to make sure all your wants are met. (Sorry, I meant “NEEDS”.) The room temperature must be right. The level of music must be totally comfortable. The length of service must suit your fancy. The message must be prepared for the finest of delicate tastes and perfectly pleasing to the palate.
That is not the Church of Scripture. The Church of Scripture is a battleship. It is about search and rescue. It is about war.

Until we see that life is war we have know idea what prayer is for. We think prayer is for getting our needs met. We never dream of prayer as spiritual battle, unless it’s spiritual battle to pray through until I get the house I want, the job I want, the wife I want, the car I want…

Life is war. Prayer is warfare. It is engaging the enemy at the highest levels to ask for the Kingdom of God to come in manifest power. That may not mean my total comfort! It may mean shots across the bow from the enemy. It may mean some sleepless nights. It may mean a lot of things that challenge my comfort.

What do I dream of for my life? Do I want a life of prayer so much that I dream of dying while I am on my knees? As a preacher, the most “romantic” way for me to go would have been to preach, then just slip into eternity.

My dreams aren’t big enough. That would be for MY glory. How foolish.

Let my dreams be of advancing the Kingdom in prayer. Let me go THAT way!

God has so much in store for us. So much more than what we imagine. The problem is, we don’t imagine much anymore.

Christianity has been reduced to saying a prayer, avoiding hell, and making sure we make the rapture. There is so much more, but we’re too busy playing putt putt Christianity.

I play too much putt putt. In the midst of a spiritual journey God has me on for about three weeks, I have struggled, but have learned in the process. The Lord is teaching me so much. I can hardly believe it. In my biggest struggles, he gives me grace. Today, after a very hard evening the night before, God showers me with grace beyond imagination. In my deepest struggles, he still pours out grace.

He has so much more in mind for me. The Kingdom truly is vast.

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.” Matt. 7:13, NLT

Who teaches you? Whose disciple are you? You are somebody’s disciple. You learned how to live from someone else. Contrary to contemporary Western thought, we are NOT our “own person”.
Who has discipled you over your lifetime?
One of the major transitions in life is to recognize who has taught us, mastered us, and then evaluate the results in us of their teaching.
The assumption of Jesus’ ministry is that people on earth would live their lives as His students and co-laborers. They would find Him so admirable in every respect, they would constantly seek to be in His presence and be guided, instructed, and helped by Him in every aspect of their lives.
Anyone who is not a continual student of Jesus, and who nevertheless reads the great promises of the Bible as if they were for him or her, is like someone trying to cash a check on another person’s account. At best, it succeeds only sporadically.

The effect of continuous study under Jesus is that we learn how to do everything we do “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17); that is, on His behalf or in His place… as if He were doing it Himself.

KEY: There is no good reason for not doing what He said to do! He only tells us to do what is best! Just try and picture yourself standing before Him and explaining why you did not do what He said was best. His gospel is a gospel for LIFE and DISCIPLESHIP.

As Jesus finishes this Discourse on the Hill, the topic is the practice of routine obedience from the heart.
You enter by a narrow gate.
–Understand this: There is a correct way to enter. Not just “any old way” will do.
A warning against those who would mislead us
–They look good, but inwardly (where the real action lies), they are only governed by their own desires.
–Look at what they do…see their actions…and pay little attention to what they say.
Do the will of the Father.
–The real meaning of the law and the prophets.
–Do what Jesus taught was BEST.
Build an indestructible house.
–Hear what He says…then go DO it
–Hear only, “think about it”, and then not DO it, exempts you from the blessed reality of the Kingdom.
What is the narrow gate? Doctrinal correctness? Obedience. Simple obedience to His best for us. Many people who cannot even understand correct doctrine nevertheless place their full faith in Jesus…and their lives are indestructible. Yet, many may have “doctrinal correctness”, but live with hearts full of bitterness and unforgiveness and hatred. The broad gate is simply doing whatever I want to do.
The fruit of the good tree is obedience. The wolf in sheep’s clothing is the one who tries to fake discipleship by outward deeds. Inward realities will overwhelm them in time.

This article from Christianity Today online was a breath of fresh air to me. It is a call to evangelicals to engage the ancient faith once again. It is a serious call to engage the soul. Hopefully some will read and enjoy, or be challenged. We need this call to serious apprenticeship in our lives.

This call to the “ancient future” comes from a website developed by theologians hungry for true renewal in the evangelical movement. We need a return to the faith that transforms lives! We don’t need this individualistic “gospel” anymore.

The other day I took time for a silent retreat. The best way to enter a silent retreat is to go overnight. Actually, TWO nights are helpful, just to cut down the noise in our lives.

I only had a day, but knew I needed to take it. I went to a hermitage. All alone in the woods, the hermitage had no running water or electricity. It was very well done, just no “modern” amenities.

And in that silence, the Lord had orchestrated this day for me. In that time, he spoke his word to me. In the afternoon, reading the Scriptures and visiting some “ancient wells,” he spoke to me directly. The Spirit overwhelmed me. I was so grateful. In the time I had, he arranged it so I could hear from him. His word is SO GOOD to me! Gentle. Calling me. Firm. Grace.