Friday, August 21, 2009
"We Are In a Time of Great Transition and Reformation"
Joni Ames takes a looong hard look at CHANGE.
Why were you born? What are you presently doing? Is it causing you to walk in more of your calling? What plans do you have to help you move forward and into your purpose, call and destiny? These are questions I was asked not too long ago.
While praying recently, I sensed the Lord speak this to my spirit: "My people must acquire the ability to learn from, yet release, the past in order to embrace the future and change history."
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 3:12-14
We are presently in one of the most interesting times in history. With the availability and use of email and Internet, each and every one of us has the ability to affect and direct the future of all mankind. Nearly all of us can become an instant news media source to the entire world just by using our cell phones or cameras to upload what goes on around us. Instantly, it can be uploaded onto YouTube—or by sending it to CNN or Fox News—and what you report can become today's top news story! In recent time, through the use of such personal media, we have been able to witness firsthand the literal restructuring of nations, right before our eyes!
The dictionary defines "change" as: (1) to make different, alter; to make radically different, transform; to give a different position, course, or direction. (2) to replace with another; to make a shift from one to another, to switch; to exchange money; to undergo a modification; to put on fresh clothes or covering.
I often come across people who are "uncomfortably comfortable." In other words, not happy with their situation, stuck in a rut they don't even enjoy—but due to "fear of change," they stay in it! How long will we each continue to accept the changes that life randomly deals out before we actually have the guts to make the changes in our life that will bring about the type of conditions that could catapult us into greater levels in life, and into our purpose, call and destiny?
It's time to "Work Smarter, Not Harder!" How many times do people settle for less than what they are worth, even in a job, just to escape having to make changes? That even happens to those of us in ministry. In fact, it happened to the disciples. They wanted to change people, but they didn't want to change the way they were doing things. They were happy to stick together and work together in the same region—maybe even forever. But they were called to spread the Gospel to the world, so God allowed there to come arguments among them in order to make them uncomfortable enough to get with it and walk in their purpose, call and destiny, and spread the Gospel!
We are told in Acts 15:39-40: They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
Sometimes we just get so used to those around us and what we are doing together that we forget—our job is to equip the saints, not be the only ones doing the stuff.
As I've mentored various ones in ministry, I've sometimes gotten "comfortable" with those around me, and therefore lagged behind in my call to release them to go on to what they are to do, and allow myself to continue to bring forth others. I'd have a worship leader or other person that I absolutely loved and trusted, and I didn't want to change that comfortable arrangement! Situations like that cause all of us to lag in our calling. We must learn to release what is in our hands in order to receive what is in His. And the truth of the matter is, when we allow ourselves to do so, it causes us to "graduate" to a new level as well.
How many of us do that though? For example:
• Parents who fear the "empty nest syndrome?"
• Ministries who don't want to have to find a new worship leader or children's minister?
• Businesses who could expand and have a greater effect?
Because of concern for our own comfort, we become fearful to step into the changes necessary to allow the other person to become who they are meant to be!
What type of change, effect, or legacy can we bring to help those around us (if we'd only be willing to change) when God gives us the opportunity to do so? And, how much of that will we actually accomplish if we do not allow ourselves to be flexible and receptive to whatever type of change is needed in order to accomplish it? It's not what happens to us that matters nearly as much as how we respond and what we do because of it. We must realize that His ways truly are SO much better than ours!
Did you know that fearing that which will NEVER happen is the main cause why our greatest dreams, visions and destiny don't take place? Sounds silly, but it's true! I have a counselor friend who says that most of the cases they deal with are due to fears of things that will never happen. Sales trainer Zig Ziglar says, "F.E.A.R. stands for False Evidence Appearing Real."
Satan is a liar and the father of lies—a deceiver; and comes to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly. Whose report will we believe? We must believe that He IS, and that He is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him. We must love God—and thus believe in Him—more than we fear the enemy. As we draw closer to Him, God's perfect love casts out all fear!
The men who fashioned our nation knew they needed a Revolution that would lead to Reformation. When you break down that word "reformation" it looks like this:
Re - Form - ation or Re - Formed - Nation!
When things need to be re-FORMED, that requires ACTION! — CHANGE!
Just as a potter is sometimes required to hammer out the old before "re - forming" the new, so it sometimes is with us. No wonder Jeremiah 18:3-5 says: I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand..."
Sometimes life is like an old couch, old mattress, or old pair of shoes: we are so used to them that, even when we need a new one, we don't want to take the time and effort to break in a new one. All too often we remain in an uncomfortable comfort zone, because we fear the unknown. Therefore, we never attain the success we are capable of.
As the old saying goes...sometimes we just need to "do it afraid!"
I have learned some things about "kairos" timing. Kairos means: (Greek: right or opportune moment): Fullness of time; the propitious moment for the performance of an action or the coming into being of a new state (Oxford English Dictionary).
Sometimes we have a dream or vision that we carry in our hearts for many years before it begins to happen. Then suddenly it is as if that "right moment in time" occurs. Suddenly (after maybe many years of waiting) a divine alignment takes place where everything and everyone comes together in proper alignment, and the suddenlies of God begin flowing! Kairos timing, simply put, is "God's perfect timing."
It can be likened to seeing a cloudy sky and then a small section of clouds part and the sun shines through; but the clouds continue to move, and just as suddenly as it opened, it begins to close again. When everything is "opened up" and we are in the midst of a kairos moment, everything is lined up and things can be done with ease, IF we just do it during that kairos moment! We can still do it when that kairos moment cloud formation closes, but then it is harder and must be done in faith and physical obedience, rather than in that anointed time when everything falls into place.
"Paralysis by analysis" can kill that kairos moment. Basically, it's likened to dissecting something in biology class. And just in case you don't know, when you dissect something, if it's not dead when you start out, it soon will be. Paralysis by analysis can also come from operating under the influence of a religious spirit. You will have prayed about or for something for 20 years, and then when it comes and you have to make a "rapid" decision, you move into fear and say, "I need to pray about it"—and end up missing out on it.
Obviously prayer is of importance, but if you've been praying for a certain amount of money so you can build a facility for your ministry and someone walks up to you with a check for that exact amount, what's to pray about?
Many times in Christendom, we use a variety of phrases that sound spiritual, but they can keep us from what God has for us. One such statement is, "I'm waiting on the Lord." However, in reality, we need to ask ourselves if we are waiting on the Lord or is He waiting on us? Let's FULFILL our destiny! We need to be sure that we don't let a religious spirit or a spirit of "paralysis by analysis" rob us of our kairos moments.
Write the Vision
I'm sure you've heard the old saying which says that the definition of insanity is doing the same things we've always done expecting different results. Truly, we can drive ourselves crazy by not fulfilling our purpose, call and destiny. So, let's not procrastinate or evaluate ourselves out of the changes we need to make in order to get to the goal. Let's begin to make even some small changes TODAY! It's time to set our goals and go for them!
Habakkuk 2:2-3 says: Then the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."
Let's write our big goals down in a notebook. But, let's make sure that we cut a path to the big goals by making stepping stones of small, ATTAINABLE goals toward it so that we do not get discouraged. Let's put ourselves in a position to WIN.
Even Donald Trump says the difference between those who write down their goals and those who do not is that the ones who do WILL achieve them. (The ones who do NOT will NOT.) So, let's go for it! Let's WRITE the vision. Then DO it! Faith without works is dead.
"Write in a book all those things that were told to you by the Lord." —Jeremiah 30:2
But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.—James 2:18
Don't confuse your purpose with others' opinions. Keep your goals and the blueprint that God gave you in front of your eyes and do NOT divert from them under pressure—or else it will end up looking nothing like what you started out with and what God gave you.
CONTROL has three distinct dimensions:
MANIPULATION - which tries to trick you into something.
INTIMIDATION - which tries to scare you into something.
DOMINATION - which attempts to force you into something.
If you feel yourself slipping into the old habit of trying to please people, DON'T. I was sitting in the midst of a group of people one day and suddenly as clear as can be, I heard the song lyrics come to me, "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right—and here I am, stuck in the middle with you!" As I sat there, I realized, "These people are talking about things they talked about ten years ago and have still never accomplished. And they are talking about other people the same way they did ten years ago. I need a change!" Surround yourself with RIGHT relationships.
Even the Bible warns us that bad company corrupts good habits: Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
—1 Corinthians 15:33
A while back, TV animal adventure man Steve Irwin passed away after having been pierced in the chest by a stingray fish while in the water. I knew there was some sort of spiritual lesson in the event, as well as the fact that we need to stay away from stingrays! So I said, "Lord, what are You saying through this?" To which He replied: "Watch out who you swim with. Toxic people talk sick. And they will pierce you right in the heart of your purpose, call, and destiny and KILL it."
Don't "swim" with time or money wasters. They will divert your time, attention, money, and energy away from your goal, and drain you of energy, life, and purpose. So many times people ask my advice, but when I give it to them, they argue with me. A situation like that is a waste of time. We need to realize that, when we spend TIME on someone or something, we are SPENDING our LIFE! And we will never get that time back! Let's SPEND our time—our LIFE—WISELY!
A Time of Great Transition
Bottom line: change is good. We are in a time of great transition. A transition is a sequence of actions which occurs when a process changes from one state to another in response to an input. However, transition is also the last stage of a women's pregnancy before the birthing. So often, transition involves not only a "new beginning," but the need to LET GO OF THE PAST in order to move into a new realm of the future, and no one can do that for us. Like the story of the butterfly, if someone helps it break out of the cocoon, it will die. For it is in that struggle that it's wings get strengthened enough to fly.
We each have to decide on our own to change or not to change. As we look at various aspects of our lives today, let's ask ourselves that Dr. Phil question: "How's that working for you?" And if the answer is that it's not going so great, perhaps we need to make some necessary changes to be able to move forward.
Let's Pray: Father, we come to You in the name of Your Son, Jesus, and we ask forgiveness for not allowing ourselves to change in the areas where we've needed to change. We ask forgiveness for blame-shifting to others for the situations we find ourselves in. And we ask for the courage and strength to make the changes we need to make. We hand You what's in our hands that we have been holding onto, and we trade it for what You have for us. In Jesus' name, Amen.