Overcoming Fatherlessness With Alex Lyons

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=10062491&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=ff9933&fullscreen=1

Alex Lyons tells his story of overcoming childhood challenges to strive toward a strong spiritual heritage.

via The Mentoring Project

btw: the picture in the header is a much younger me, my grandpa Shansky, and my Dad.

I Don’t Care What I Think Anymore

Jamie Neumann is in her 10th month on THE WORLD RACE. Her latest post is below. You can check out her blogs at: http://jamieneumann.theworldrace.org/

I might be putting myself on the line here for this blog.  You might view it as radical, or stuff that just does not happen anymore.  You might blow it off, and that’s okay, because one day God will reveal the truth to you.  But here is what I have come to know… I don’t care what I think anymore.

This has been year of self-discovery and invigoration of my faith.  I wish I could articulate what I have grown to learn, but I cant.  All I know is I have a greater understanding of the things I already knew along with a whole new ball park of things I wouldn’t let myself believe in.  My whole life I spent searching for more.  Originally I thought I would find God in the university, in getting a great 6 figure job, and finding the perfect husband…. because that is what America is all about right? You go to church every Sunday and go back to whatever you were doing for the rest of the week. But little did I know I would find a better understanding of God by living out of a backpack for a year with the lost, broken, homeless, orphaned, and widowed the i ever could with the ordinary way of living.  I guess I should have paid attention to the scriptures when it said the first shall be last.

I used to think that God was stagnant; I  was calloused to His ways and how He worked.
I used to think praying for the sick and dying was futile.
I used to think people couldn’t have physical encounters with God.
I used to think people who got emotional or danced during worship were embarrassing.
I used to think God didn’t work miracles through people anymore like he did in the ancient of days.
I used to think that tongues were a fake babbling of people who were pretending to be spiritual.
I used to think people couldn’t literally hear angels sing.
I used to think casting out demons was a scary thing.
I used to think raising the dead only happened the 3 or whatever many times that it happened in the bible.

As a culture we have taken God out of the equation.  We no longer live with a reckless faith where “all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).  Its so easy to take God out when you can just go to the doctor when you are sick, or go to the store to buy food when you are hungry, or turn the heat on in your house during the winter. But the rest of the world isn’t like that.  They still have that reckless faith to depend on God for their needs. Don’t take me wrong, I don’t think you should stop going to the doctor, or go hungry at night, or sleep on the streets (although more power to you to deny yourself) but it all goes back to the heart.  Why do we live the way we do? When the first shall be last and the last shall be first.  If lilies and the sparrows depend on God for their food let us complex humans (the best of all His creations) put Him back in the equation. But after a year like this, and thinking about all those things I used to think about how God couldn’t move I have decided I don’t care what I think anymore.

Now I cannot deny that God is more then alive; I am now brokenhearted yet full of joy for how He works.  I now admire reckless unguarded worship.  It is so contagious when you actually meet people who worship like they really believe in heaven and hell; people who actually cry, shout, and dance when they are encountering God himself.  Worship is amazing when it is unplanned and led by the spirit.  Freedom in that kind of worship in how He moves is what I experienced today in our 24 worship session in Berlin Germany.  God is so alive here. I now knowpassion so deep that you cannot help but express it.

I now know that God speaks directly to me if I actually take the time to listen.
I now know you can sing with angels when they encounter you during a worship session and the entire room hears them.
I now know that the sick can be healed because I have seen it with my own eyes when we prayed over a lady who could not walk in Nigeria, and then miraculously walked after our prayers.
I now know demons can be cast out and freedom is so sweet because I have seen it with my own eyes in Cambodia as 12 men prayed for hours over a man who was delivered from the fire of hell.
I now know that the dead can be raised, because my friend Dan Synder <– (click on his name to read the blog about it) had enough faith to pray for a little boy in Africa who died but came back to life.

I cannot explain any of these things, and believe me I am the first to be cynical over any of this spirit stuff. Believe me I have tried many times to deny any of this stuff was actually happening, but when its real its real.  God will not relent.  He does not want us to live boring mundane lives he wants to encounter us every minute of everyday. I wont be satisfied with anything ordinary, I wont be satisfied at all.  I want You.

What I love about this post, is that I see so much of myself in there. I see parts of my journey, and this gives me great hope that God will see me through to the end. Completely transformed into his image.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Phil 1:6

Amen!

Club Remnant: Summer Concert

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 7pm
Southbound Fearing with guests One31 and Stria

Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Groups of 10 or more can be purchased for $6 each. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the venue.

Order tickets via Eventbrite:
http://southboundfearing-efbevent.eventbrite.com/

Club Remnant 1020 Saveage Ct. Longwood, FL 32750
321.439.0529

The truth about love

Alana Serna is in her 10th month on THE WORLD RACE. She’s a heck of a writer and the brutal honesty and courage is refreshing. Her latest post is below. You can check out her blogs at: http://alanaserna.theworldrace.org/

I gasped for air like the first breath after being released from a strangle hold. The once dark sky was bright with pure light. Still breathing deeply I looked around me. The last thing I remembered was my hands holding a bottle of bitter lies in my hand instead of my shield and sword of truth. I had been yelling words as equally as bitter as the lies I was consuming. My hands were empty. I glanced around the ground around me to see if my weapons were nearby. As I did, a pair of hands reached out to me. Looking up I found myself gazing into beautifully fierce green eyes. He held my gaze as I took hold of His hands. He helped me to stand on shaking legs that felt so strange and foreign to me. “Beloved, tell Me the Truth.”

I broke and purged before Him. Every bitter lie I drank was suddenly lying before me on the ground. He held pure Love to my lips and I closed my eyes as I drank deeply. Suddenly I was in a strong embrace. All around me voices were lifting me up in love and in prayers. Hands were tenderly pressed against my back, my head, my arms, holding my hands. I realized that I was in the midst of my tribe, holding tightly to one of our leaders. And it was in that moment I realized that God had won that battle… the victory was ours to celebrate.

I don’t know how I can explain what this really means other than to say, “Honestly, you just had to be there.” But I can say this. I realized this past week that it is far better to choose in… to choose to fight for the ones you love, and a very important part of that is to love yourself. For me, much of my Race experience has been trying to learn how to do just that… love myself. Prior to the Race I battled with self-esteem, self-image, etc. I wrestled with rejection and fell into the trap of living life on the defense. Much of this was based out of the war that had been waged on my family and on me even from a very early age. While this war had some major battles, most of the weapons used against us were subtle… things that are used against most families, like lack of communication, misunderstandings, sarcasm, reasoning away or self justification, etc. And when those little things added up it took its toll. Please hear my heart on this. No one was at fault in my family for this…

This past debrief all that I experienced was a sudden revelation of how much my coping mechanisms (solitude, justification of harsh words or actions, drinking, eating, sarcasm, etc.) affected those who love me. By pushing away I gave them the finger… by harsh words or actions I slammed the door… by drinking and eating I slapped them in the face… by sarcasm I lashed out in anger… the thought overwhelmed me. However in that moment I felt I had a Peter moment… being on the water and seeing the waves… but then Jesus speaks and the focus is brought to where it needs to be… on Him. In that moment of realizing the pain I was causing others I realized the love that was shared… I realized the overwhelming magnitude of that love and felt the strong arms of peace wrap around me. I realized that there is no reason for self preservation or defense. If you fight beside a brother or a sister there is no need to worry about what they will do to you… it is remembering what they will do for you… they will fight for you, love you, serve you, correct you, speak life over you, encourage you, intercede for you… But we all have to make that choice. And it starts with choosing to love yourself… speaking life over yourself… knowing that the person you see in the mirror is favored above all of creation by the One God… the King of Kings and Lord of Lords… Can you look in the mirror and see beauty? Or do you criticize the person you see? Do you speak with confidence, or do you trip over yourself apologizing for things you don’t really need to? Do you take time for yourself or do you get too caught up in putting other before you so much so you have forgotten how to let yourself be loved? I’m sure you can reason away any of these questions like I have in the past… but I would challenge you to sober up and answer these truthfully. Go through the chapter on love in the Bible and ask, “Do I do this with myself?”…

I challenge you with this because being in such intense community for these past nine months has taught me that you can only love others as much as you love yourself. I cannot love my teammates a lot if I don’t truly love myself a lot. But when we love ourselves we begin to put that off. We begin to share the gifts God has given us…For a few examples…My teammate Jessica is like that. She walks in a room and you can’t help but feel the joy that God has given her. Or Rebekah… she is a woman of such great confidence in who God has made her as woman, I can’t help but seek the same confidence and truth from my Father. Or Melina, she speaks and you can’t help but listen because the Spirit fills her with truth… DJ and Mike have such deep deep wisdom and insight you can help but want to listen and learn… But if one person is having a bad day on our team, we all feel it. If one of us is struggling we all feel it. So we cannot think that for one moment we are independent of that love. And if we lose sight of that, we deeply hurt those we desire to love. But the beautiful thing about it is that those people who love you, like my squad loves me, will be there for you… and the God who made you so wonderfully complex has always loved you… He loves you enough to put you in a position where He can love you through your family, friends, church, and even so that you can allow Him to love you through the way you choose to love yourself.

Via Mike Paschall’s Blog

Why I believe God speaks to me through dreams.

One of the primary reasons this blog was started was on my wife’s insistence (read wisdom) that I document my dreams, a diary of sorts to track interpretation and fulfillment. But let me explain why I take dreams so seriously.

It started years ago, I had the same dream for almost a month. In the dream, I was standing on a hill overlooking this small building, all around it dirt like at a construction site before they put the sod down. The building it self was simple just a plain brick building, but on the back of it (the part I could see from my spot on the hill) was the dairy queen logo. The inside of the building some kind of arcade, I don’t remember much of what went on in there, but I do remember the chaos or the craziness which is hard to describe. That was it not much too it, and I didn’t think much of it at the time.

But nearly two months later, my family and I were at a hotel from the spot where we parked I looked out over a dirt covered lot with a smalling building on it with a dairy queen logo, just like the one I had dreamed about. I don’t remember what happened, I’m pretty sure that we went inside and it was just a normal dairy queen, but honestly it’s been too long for me to retain that kind of info. But that whole thing caught my attention, and helped me to take my dreams more seriously.

Fast forward about 10 or 15 years, it’s weeks before our baby is to be born, and I have two strange dreams about her birth check them out here and here. Four weeks early Ari is induced due to her high blood pressure at the time. As it turns out both dreams were spot on, in how Hadassah came into this world, and provided us all with great assurance and peace that everything was and is in God’s hands.

Dreams are just one avenue for God to communicate to us. He uses them to help us realize what’s been going on in our spirit during the day, what we’ve been fighting or what the Spirit has been saying to us or to warn us or guide us through the days ahead. But it is just on avenue he can communicate with us for me it seems to be the strongest one, maybe because of my earlier experiences built up a faith that I know like I know that through my dreams God is communicating to me. But he’s stretching me, which is good thing, and I’m growing in the other areas of learning how to listen to his voice all be it very slowly.