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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April 2009...oh, to be present...

My Story of God’s movement toward Presence (both obvious and miraculous) in a beautiful 14 period of time back in April of 2009. I thought it would be good to rehearse this nearly a year later. Sometimes I forget what God has done so quickly and I don't want to be that way. This is a collection of stories that were orchestrated by God for my personal sanctification and for the spiritual renewal of my heart. I will not forget the visceral sense of his presence during this season of closeness...

Exodus 33

12 Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people."

14 The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

15 Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"

17 And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."

18 Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."

19 And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."

21 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."

It all started at the Catalyst conference two weeks ago…

We were sitting out behind our hotel, and I was telling Jim Nora about a time when I saw a humming bird in the woods one day when I was praying and felt like God caused that to show me his presence. The next morning we were eating breakfast outdoors in California and a humming bird started drinking little droplets of water from a nearby fountain in the exact way the humming bird did when I was in the woods...Jim and I just smiled and shook our heads.

Going to the bookstore at the church that morning I found John Eldredge’s new book “Fathered by God”. I had just purchased tickets a couple days before to go to his conference in Troy. The reason why this happening is important is that nearly nine years prior to this day I was at another conference when I happened upon his book "Wild at Heart" that proved to be the beginning of a season of transformation and revival in my life. It was like God was saying, "Get ready, I'm here again and I'm about to bring another awakening."

When I was with Jim the night before talking about stories from our past and memorable moments in our narrative, I told him the Pez candy story that I shared two weeks earlier in a blog as my earliest memory and at the conference when we arrived, Chic Fillet was catering lunch and was handing out Pez candy dispensers as a promotion. I always find it ironic that something that I hadn't thought about for 30 years pops up in a blog, emerges in a conversation randomly, and then surfaces in a seemingly impossible way days later in this Chic Fillet promotion. God moves in nuanced ways that are almost imperceptible.

During an intermission in the conference, I went into the lobby where they had Apple computers set up for people to check the internet if they wanted to. As I was checking my email, a guy with some sort of speech impediment started talking to me. I couldn't understand anything he was saying with my human ears. I whispered a prayer to God, "God give me the gift of tongues, so that I can hear what this young man is saying to me and respond with encouragement." I couldn’t understand him at all and all at once God opened the ears of my heart and I could make out what he was saying. I felt like God gave the gift of interpretation to me and I was able to encourage this young man that most people couldn't understand. It was powerful.

On The WAY HOME…

In the plane when the announcer said, “Take the oxygen mask and put it on yourself first, then on your neighbor.” I needed that. I sensed God say that to me as I returned to my ministry. "Don't forget to fuel your own heart, Jason. Then give the nourishment to others."

AT HOME…

On the Saturday I returned home from the conference, one thing that Erwin McManus said in his first session on Wed. was echoing in my head, “You can’t fake presence.” I sensed God wanted to be present like never before.

Adsum (latin) - Here! present! I’m alive!

Sunday morning after going to Disney the next week I felt drawn to a new “presence”, seeing the same things but completely differently.

In church that next weekend I remember grabbing the lady in the 9:30am service who’s husband died and asking her how she was doing. Then my mouth moving outside my control and saying, “Do you have any friends?” (which didn't seem to fit the conversation at all) To which she responded “no” with tears. Hugging her and whispering in her ear and then saying, again without my actually doing it, “I will find you a friend this week.”

I remember the very next service at 11:15am grabbing another lady the very next service and telling her about the situation and asking her to call her and reach out to her. How powerful to feel God use this “power of presence” to bring about actual happenings.

On Monday morning I awoke to an email called, “A place to see…” where a friend took satellite pictures of my childhood home on 45 W. Van Buren St. based on an blog I wrote a couple weeks earlier called, “the Blizzard of ‘77”. It just felt like I understood afresh how powerful being present in someone’s life is.

Another email came moments later from a friend who signed off with the statement…”With fierce affection.” This is exactly what I was feeling that morning and just happened to be the phrase in the book "Fathered by God" that so deeply struck me the week before. It was a confirmation that God was speaking that phrase to me through that book I was reading in the plane ride home from California.

When the staff was sharing on Monday at the staff retreat, I felt like their voices as they shared were EQ’d with reverb…it was powerful…like I could here them, but also feel them at the same time.

I remember leaving work and going to Meier to pick up vegetable oil and feeling God telling me to smile while I was in the store the whole time. (this seemed really strange)

It was like I had a power over people. They were forced to say hi to me and nearly everyone with whom I made eye contact with was either moved to smile or looked as if they were going to stop to talk to me. It was powerful.

Tuesday morning I woke up and had breakfast with Brad Riemer who doesn’t know Christ. As I walked out the front door I felt God tell me to get my Bible. I don’t usually take my Bible to morning meetings, especially if it’s with a seeker, but there was this maroon bible that had laid at the top of the stairs for about the last two weeks that was new, didn’t have a name in it and had come out of nowhere. I went upstairs to grab it just in case. When I got there to talk to him (I shouldn’t have woken up because I set my alarm incorrectly, but something woke me up miraculously on time), we talked for about an hour or so and he finally said that he felt he was changing. I felt God telling me to ask him if he wanted to meet every other week to simply read the Bible together and talk about it. He looked at me and said, “I was hoping you would ask me that.” But then he paused and said, “The only problem is that I don’t have a Bible.”

At first I was telling him the kind of Bible to get, NIV with study notes, and it hit me, this was the exact Bible that I brought that was Brand New with no name in it that came out of nowhere. I looked down on the seat, pick it up and gave it to him. We hugged, he left…I felt like God set this whole thing up.

Laster that day, I had a powerful programming meeting with my crew and shared some of what I was experiencing. They shared similar things in their hearts. During the time, we ate McDonalds hot fudge sundaes. (wow…Hot Fudge Sunday!! Cool idea!) My daughter came in to the middle of the meeting and with a unique face and beaming heart shared her progress report card…4 A’s and 2 B’s. This was a miracle compared to the last report card. We hugged and kissed.

I woke on Wednesday morning and went to McDonalds to meet with a friend. When I got there I walked up to the counter to order my coffee and a woman who is there all the time took my order. She never talks, she is obviously shy and broken and insecure. This morning she asked me a question about who I meet with and why. I told her and without even a transition she said, “I just met my daughter yesterday for the first time in 18 years.” Out of nowhere. She looked at my face and just went there. You tell me presence can’t be felt. It was beautiful conversation.

I spent some time on my Thursday doing some writing, and then met my wife and Taylor at Wendy’s. I was going to take Tay and go home, but I felt something stirring me to go to Barnes and Noble to see a book that God wanted me to read.

We left and went over there and I browsed around and couldn’t find anything when suddenly a book, “Blue Like Jazz” special edition jumped out at me.

It had a colorful announcement at the top of the book alerting everyone to the new book coming out in the fall and saying that excerpts of that book were in the back of this special edition. I knew I had to read those excerpts. It was perfect for what I needed and knew it was exactly what God brought me there to see.

On FRIDAY...

Today, on my way to the library, about 20 minutes ago, I was driving down the road (Lincoln Lake) to drop of my daughter and her friends at the church. As I was driving thinking about what God was going to show me next, I saw a woman from a distance walking on the sidewalk with her children. She was Hispanic and her children seemed to be a blend of "this, that and the other" nationality. The color of her shirt even from a distance made my eyes adjust and focus in for some reason. It was a color that was very familiar to me. The closer I got, the more I became aware of why the shirt drew my eyes with such a vacuum-like attraction. It was the "Rooted" shirt from our men's retreat last year. I didn't know this woman, nor did I recognize any of the children walking along her side. But the shirt--which was drastically oversized--was something that was as familiar as the back of my own hand.

This morning I met with someone who had their Bible opened to the gospels and one verse that was underlined was the one that said "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. For I didn't come to call the righteous, but the sinners."

Something about this verse lodged in my spirit and came up like accidental puke when you're burping and you get a little more than you bargained for. I swallowed it back down, but the taste of that verse mixed with that women wearing that shirt spoke into my soul. Jesus whispered to me, "She is who I am talking about. I am in her life. I am all over this community. I want you to get busy looking for sinners to be friends with. Looking for sinners to love. Looking for sinners to breathe hope and life and joy into. I didn't come for the clean, calm and collected...I came for the trash, the tramps, the terrors. She is wearing that shirt because I wanted you to see her today. I wanted you to see who I'm hanging out with today." And with that he slipped away into my rear view mirror and faded from view along with the little family waddling toward main street.

Saturday morning...

I woke up, went to church and worked through some programming stuff for Mother’s Day. While I was working, a woman came into the church and we started talking. She was wearing a “Lowell” shirt and as we were talking, it was like my eyes were opened and I saw two words “Low” and “Well”.

I sensed God saying, “There are many Low people right now in this town, but I want you to help me get them well. That’s why I’ve come. To move people from Low to Well.” This is Lowell right now.

I shook my head and went back up to the tech booth finishing what I started. There was this guy in the tech booth that got divorced a couple years ago and I don’t know why, but I sensed that I should ask him if there were any women out there catching his eye. I felt for about a minute I should say something, but it felt foolish. I overcame the absurdity of the question and just asked it to him. He looked at me and said, “Why do you ask?” I could tell by how he answered that something had happened recently. I said that I just felt like it. He then shared how he went on his first date that week and asked me, “Do you want the long story or the short story.” I said without hesitation, “The long one of course!” ha. I couldn’t believe that God would even put something like this on my heart, but this guy wouldn’t have talked to anyone about it had God not brought it to my mind.

On Sunday...

Brian Kueick told me that the story of the Hummingbird that I told him on Saturday morning happened to him right when he got home. He was working on his car and a hummingbird flew right up to his face and scared him to death. He knew immediately that is was associated to what I just told him only hours earlier. He told me on Sunday with a crazy look of “can you believe that?” all over his face. (this ties into something else that happened on Monday with Gene Beerens…I was telling the story of the hummingbird to the staff…the first encounter, the time in California, the Brian story from Saturday and Gene smiled and said, ‘you aren’t going to believe this, but last week I was outside and a hummingbird flew up to my face and just stared at me for a moment spooking me.” We all sat their blown away. Could this really be happening?

On Sunday we went out for dinner to the Olive Garden and when we got there we were sitting next to a family who had been waiting a while.

When their names were called, they made a comment of some sort and we laughed. There was some sort of connection as the walked to their table and we stayed their waiting to be called. When we finally got called, we had a table next to them and as we were getting the girls situated, we made eye contact, made a joke and I gave him a high five. There was something about this high five that was freeing to me, something so natural and inviting. Why isn’t there this connection to strangers within humanity more?

As sit down, the bill from the party before us was on the table and Heidi inadvertently looked at the tip and saw that it was about a 4 percent tip. We saw the waitress who was very nice and when I saw her pick up the bill, she looked at it, dropped her eyes and her head and headed to the register to punch it in. Immediately I felt like God said, “you need to pay the rest of her tip.” So I told our waitress that we would be taking care of the rest of the tip for her and she went and told her. She then stopped at our table thanking us and it was so cool to see how little things can bring such blessing to someone’s life.

I don’t know if I said this before, but three weeks ago, I found out John Eldredge was speaking over outside Detroit and so I got online, and without consulting me wife or my schedule, I bought two tickets. It was a conference called, “A night for men and the women who love them.” I like that title. I knew I needed to be there three weeks ago and when the night finally came. I couldn’t believe how it was weaving together with my story the last three weeks. Not to mention that I had purchased his new book on that same morning I saw the hummingbird, got the Pex candy dispenser, and talked to that kid in the lobby interpreting his speech with the gift of God helping me understand. We went to this conference and I felt God speaking into my heart the whole night. What an affirmation of the story of God and the story of my whole life and how God had moved in me from my childhood to today. We left the conference and stopped at Starbucks on the way home.

On the counter, there was a little brochure with the title on the top. “Now – Here” I sensed that God was reaffirming the power of being present in the present. I took the brochure and headed to the car to drive home.

This morning I woke up and met with Brad Raimer, the guy who I gave the bible to last week. I told him about how God showed me everything that happened last week and he was blown away. I told him that God has spoken to me that he didn’t know Him very way, but that he wanted to and that I was supposed to help him. God was clear that He’d been working with him for quite sometime and that I wouldn’t have to work hard, cause he did all the hard work already. Brad thought this was amazing cause he said it was spot on! We talked about how God has been stirring him for the last couple months and how he had talked to his wife about how he wished he could meet with me and talk about life and God. Bingo!

As we were leaving, we walked out the door and I sensed that I needed to go back in and ask the owner’s wife of Keiser’s how she was doing. I don’t even know their names, but I went back in and said, “Hey, how are you doing?” She said, “Good.” I said, “Really? Are you really doing Good?” (I was nervous to press in like this but I felt I needed to) She then said, “It was a rough morning. My husband just went to get tested to see if there was still cancer in his body after two months of chemotherapy. They had to wake up really early that morning and she said they were very tired. I knew God knew that this had happened and wanted me to come into their fatigue. I told her that I would be praying “hardcore” for her. (I don’t know what I said hardcore, I just did). She smiled and as I left I was just amazed how God knows what everyone’s going through and wants us to know too so that we can join them with his love.

And the story continues…

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Pre-sent – this is missional…to be sent in a pre- sort of way.

In an email to some brothers…I penned it this way…

It's funny...I was thinking about the word present and I saw this yesterday...

Pre-Sent.

This is what it's like to be present...you feel like you're sent, living on mission, living with intended and intentional purpose before you get in the moment so that when you arrive in the moment, you already knew you would be there and prepared yourself so that when you were, you were fully, not partially there. Not mostly. Fully.

Pre-sent people live in each moment as if God sent them to it before they got there. They visualize the moment they are in as an ordained slice of time, predestined, orchestrated, choreographed. They don't show up absent or distant or vacant. They are there, completely and holistically there. Rather, they are here. Always here, always now...yet knowing ahead of time that the moment would come then and there. Strange, paradox, but this is the paradox of the PRESENT, the "PRE-SENT".

Being Present is feeling Pre-Sent by God so that you, with deliberate passion, Present yourself to the Moment as a Present, a gift.

And this stillness is essential to living for God. Because you can’t live for God until you learn to live with God in the moment. Listen to the importance of presence…

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (present)"
 - Exodus 14:14

"Be still (present), and know that I am God" - (Psalm 46:10)

And I will, Lord. Today I will. Thanks for the reminder of this season of my life today. I needed that.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What did God say?

A few thought on Holy Spirit Fire, God Speaking and other unsolved mysteries...

I Thess. 4:19-22
19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.


I so desire a life that joins the Spirit instead of Quenching him. A life that treats prophecies with welcoming care instead of criticizing contempt.

**How do people put out the Spirit’s fire?
- Two extremes - Over Control or Out of Control
- Two extremes – God isn’t speaking anymore or God is speaking all the time

To avoid the danger of Rogue Spiritual Dictatorship, I’ve noticed some shifts that are helpful for me to discern what is the Holy Spirit and what is the Human Spirit when it comes to “God Speaking”:
1. From God is “Telling me” to “God impressed upon me or is stirring me.”
2. From “God is saying” to “I am sensing”
3. From “God spoke to me and He said…” to “God laid this on my heart and I sense him saying…”

When we have people saying “God said…” or “God told me…” it creates a Schizophrenic God who can’t make up his mind and is confusingly telling everyone something different and capriciously changing his mind without warning. It also makes you feel like you can’t say anything if you disagree because you feel like you’re disagreeing with God. This is not our God.

It says in the Scripture that he is not a God of confusion…and then goes on to say that he is a God of order in...

I Cor. 14:33 - For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

That’s why I believe God’s speaks primarily through what I call “communal conscience”. The Scriptures even attest to this in the early church…

Acts 15:22-28
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers.

23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.

25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.

28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…"

Austin, a guy on our Creative Arts Collective who is currently in A.A., brought up in our programming meeting something that I thought was very interesting about Alcoholics Anonymous.

The First Two A.A. Traditions:
1. Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.

There is something about communal conscience and consensus mixed with "God Speaking" that gets to the heart of what God is after...

That’s why the verse goes on to say…

I Thess. 5:21-22
21Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22Avoid every kind of evil.

Yes, don’t put out the Spirit’s fire, but don’t check your brains out at the door either! Don't hold prophecies with contempt, but don’t hold testing with contempt either! Leaders in this passage were trying to discern what was good or bad as it relates to what was surfacing.

1 John 4:1
Test the Spirits
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Proverbs 11:14 - Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety (wisdom).

Here are five signs of the presence of spiritual abuse, manipulation, domination, or intimidation within a church body. Spiritual Abuse (which is always expressed in varying degrees) is occurring when a pastor, leader, or even a friend:

1. “Hear” God for you. God apparently “goes through” him/her to speak to you. (This requires a sense of superiority – from him or her and is often framed as being “more mature,” and a sense of being “less” from you.)

2. Alienates (shuns, ignores) you if you do not adhere to his/her guidance, leadership, or authority. (This is usually VERY subtle – so it is easy to deny.)

3. Suggests that rejection of his/her “higher understanding” is done so at your spiritual or even physical peril. (You will hear things like, “Be careful. You will move yourself from the covering and protection of God.”)

4. Rewards your obedience with inclusion, and punishes your questioning or resistance with withdrawal. Remember: “They heard from God.” (Compliance gets stroked, resistance gets struck!)

5. They typically leave behind a trail of cut-off relationships.


Many have contracted what I call RTD’s over the years – “Religiously Transmitted Disease’s” and it’s usually through “Spiritual Abuse” of Authority. In my research the most common universal beginning point of spiritual abuse is one person hearing from God for the whole. Rather than entering into a relational and communal dialogue, they function as if they have special access to God and a special ear to hear his voice.

If God is speaking to someone or through someone is will be evident in three ways:
1. The words from God will come with Humility more than Authority.
2. The words from God will be Communal more than Personal.
3. The words from God will be Intra-biblical more than Extra-biblical.

I have watched a good many churches led by a good many well-meaning people implode because of this controversial issue of "The-Holy-Spirit-told-me" business. Though I think God speaks to individuals and through individuals, I believe that these impressions/promptings/sensations need to be tested in the light of community before decisions are made.

"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to Us..." Seemed, not Was. Holy Spirit, not Human Spirit. Us, not I.

We, not me.

Help us to follow your Spirit without checking our brains out at the door.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Feral Christianity...

Once again, I want to write about "Growth in Community" and you have to understand what’s at stake if we don’t get this “God thing” right. People, mobs of people, masses of people…are all alone in our culture right now…and they need us to talk about how to check the plague of isolation that is spreading across our land.


This is where the distinction between the religion of our day and the revolution of the kingdom must be made…there are two distinct alternatives available within the culture of Christian spirituality right now…

Fiefdoma domain controlled by a feudal Lord (the Churches’ Jesus). (religion)

Kingdoma domain under the leadership of the Bible’s Jesus. (revolution)

Christ's Invitation into the Kingdom Culture…

John 6:53-69

53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.

________________________________________________________________________

Many Disciples Desert Jesus

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"

61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! ________________________________________________________________________

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

The invitation into the culture Jesus gave and the rejection of so many to the invitation should cause us to ponder this with a sobriety that disturbs us a little bit…

You have to think the people were thinking something like…

1. “I don’t know if I’m ready for this kind of seriousness in the relationship.”

2. “He, obviously, wants more out of this relationship than I do.”

3. “He’s wanting to get serious, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet.”

4. “We weren’t on the same page in our relationship.”

5. “I just wanted to be friends.”

*I just like hooking up.

*You know…friends with benefits…no strings attached.

6. “I don’t want to be in a relationship right now…I’m enjoying the single life.”

But Jesus knew what he was doing. He was essentially preaching a message called…

“The invitation out of spiritual singleness.”

God didn’t design our faith to be a platonic love relationship, a mere nominal Christianity with no strings attached…He is desiring marriage, partnership, intimacy.

**But there are so many Exiled Souls within the Church right now. (banished beings, deported disciples)

Check out this verse that talks about the importance of Banding Together with others in God's body connected to Him as the head.

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

* Don’t give up on banding together.

* Don’t make a habit of isolation.

* Do it all the more.

Genesis 2:18

"It is not good for the man to be alone.” - God

The psychological effects of isolation

J Kellerman, D Rigler and SE Siegel

The Psychological side affects associated with isolation include anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, withdrawal, regression, and hallucinations.

Our Life starts to be overgrown with side-affects leaving the soul suffocated within…

What are “Side-effects” – pesky things that just stay right here by my side and follow me around like a stray dog. You meet me, but you can’t meet me without meeting my good friends named “Side-effects”. The only way to get rid of “Side-effects” is to move away from isolation and toward intersection with community.

Many of you would say with the Psalmist….

Psalm 102:7
I lie awake; I have become like a bird
alone on a roof.

But you don’t have to live life alone (unaided)…

God has given us Little Communities, better known as Life Groups within the church:

The church is a mosaic of broken pieces through which the world gets a glimpse of Jesus. It is only when those broken people come together that Jesus face emerges…

Jesus does something really special when we move toward each other, banding together our broken pieces in search of solidarity…a brokenness that finds wholeness. And as our scattered pieces find their prodigal pieces, these broken shards finally find their meaning…a meaning that can only be found in collective redemption. Group therapy wasn’t discovered by AA…it was formed by God and it’s called “the church”.

Yet so many Christians are not banded together with others in a common mission…they are alone…they are what psychologists call “Feral”.

Feral – (little to no contact with other humans)…WILD

Feral children, also known as wild children, are children who've grown up with minimal human contact, or even none at all. In many cases, these children are confined and denied normal social interaction with other people. It is the absolute absence of human presence, touch and language”.

The result is Psychosocial dwarfism - In this syndrome, the failure to grow is caused because production of growth hormone in these children is suppressed owing to excessively high levels of psychosocial stress. Once they are removed to a normal (nurturing) environment, there is usually rapid catch-up growth.

Feral Christians, using this analogy, are people who have adopted the “personal relationship with Jesus” doctrine which could easily be translated “isolated relationship with Jesus”. This kind of life leads to having an underdeveloped, deformed, socially inept, emotionally malnourished and stunted growth, other wise known as…(psychospiritual dwarfism)

Our world is increasingly addicted to Virtual Community – e-community. (online chatting, online video games, online porn, online day trading, online shopping, online billing, online etc.)

“The Internet: absolute communication, absolute isolation.” - Paul Carvel

A glut of Communication with a dearth of Community.

Or as Melvin Webber called it Community without proximity (nearness).

This virtual reality causes people to desert the Kingdom by the droves…

Paul dealt a lot with what he called deserters and the pain of their chosen absence….

2 Timothy 1:15
You know that everyone in the province of Asia has
deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

2 Timothy 4:10
for Demas, because he loved this world, has
deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.

2 Timothy 4:16
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone
deserted me. May it not be held against them.

Maya Angelou

Send ecard"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.