Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Fairy Circle

"Truly, I tell you unless a seed of grain falls to the earth and dies, it remains a single seed.  But, if it dies, it creates a great big harvest."  Jesus, John 12:24

Fairy Circle:  a circle of new trees created from the death of a parent tree
Last week our family went to Armstrong Woods to see a vast forest of giant redwood trees. One of the reasons redwoods can become so tall (some 330 feet) is because their roots systems intertwine underground.  I read about fairy circles in the forest, discovering a fairy circle comes from a parent tree which dies.  In the process it sends out redwood shoots in a circle which result in the birth of many new trees.  As I observed these fairy circles, I sensed the Lord say to me, “This is the picture of what is taking place in Missio Lux. The parent tree must die, but in the process the shoots will thrive and continue to significantly impact my kingdom.”
Missio Lux has created a root system that is deep and wide through the foundation of faith reflected in the people of Missio Lux, as well as the transformational ministry taking place through our lives.  You may be reading this blog because in some way, whether big or small, your life and faith has joined in its root system.

It is with deep sadness, and yet a sense of gratefulness and joy over the many shoots created through Missio Lux’ ministry, that Missio Lux as an organization will cease operation.  However, in the death of the organization, we recognize we have been impacted by the relationships and the sense of family created in Missio Lux. 
Just as we gather to grieve the death of a loved one, and in the midst of the grief, we have joy as we recall the stories.  Please take some time to write your reflection in the comments section of how your life has been impacted by Missio Lux. Together we can celebrate the fairy circle of strong, inpenetrable redwoods God has created within his people.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turning our D's into P's

D’s and P’s.  They keep rolling around my head as the smaller letters: d and p.  When you look at them it’s easy to see that they are direct opposites.  But, when you turn a d around it becomes a p. Why is this important?  It’s not the letters themselves but the words they represent that alert me to a reality of direct opposites, yet when the d is turned around, it becomes a p!

Think about it, the letter d begins the name of our enemy: Devil.  The letter p’s points us to our Savior:  Prince of Peace.  I realize the d’s start words such as doubt, despair, destruction, disabled, discouragement, and depression which lead to death.  The p’s lead me into life:  peace, protection, provision, promise, power and perseverance.  Who is the author of the d words?  Of course, the Devil himself.  Who is the creator of the life giving p words?  Our Prince of Peace, the Son of the Living God.

I’ve been considering the reality of our ability to take a d in our life and to turn and face the Prince of Peace to partner with him to make the d’s our p’s.  Two of the most devastating realities for people in the 21st century is depression and despair.  When the Devil gets us to believe that life will never change, we are chained into a prison of despair, no hope exists for breakthrough, we often find ourselves sinking into depression.  But, when we take our despair and depression and bring it before the Prince of Peace, we are able to experience the d’s becoming p’s of peace and promise.
George Barna has a study out regarding how people progress in their journey with the Prince of Peace in his new book Maximum Faith:  Live a life like Jesus.  He writes: 

The transformation journey has ten stops en route to wholeness and freedom. Most Americans, according to the research, never get beyond stop three (awareness and concern about sin and its effects, but not cooperating with Christ to alleviate that problem). Among those who become “born again Christians,” most never move past stop five (i.e., having invited Christ to be their savior and then engaging in a lot of religious activity). In other words, a majority of the American public never reaches the second half of the stops on the journey to wholeness.

The research actually indicates that only 2% of Jesus followers ever get to stop 9 and 10; the place where people live in peace, productivity and power, rather than doubt, despair and destruction.

How can this be?  I spend a lot of time thinking about it because following Jesus is my life passion and pursuit.  I am also privileged enough to also engage pursuit and passionate work helping others live a life of peace, protection, provision, promise, pleasure, passion, perseverance and power partnering with the Prince of Peace.

The question I wonder is, which life do you want? 

           Doubt, despair, depression, destruction, disablement, discouragement
            Peace, power, perseverance, provision, protection, passion, pleasure and promise.
Missio Lux is committed to equipping people through intentional discipleship to change our d’s into p’s.  We regularly ask ourselves and one another, “What is God saying to you?  How are you responding to his invitation?”  We walk through a Learning Circle ( in huddle; a small group of 6 to 8 people meeting intentionally to discover how to follow the Prince of Peace in the life of p’s.

When we discover that our focus has been on the author of the d’s, or living in a d place of destruction, despair, depression and doubt, we take time to observe, reflect and discuss the root of the d, and the ability to turn it around so that it becomes a p in our life.  This is called “repentance” which only means to turn around and go another direction.  The d becomes a p as we turn it around….it faces another direction.
The good news about the turn of d’s to p’s in Missio Lux is that we don’t do it alone.  We have the power of the Prince of Peace to make it happen and the support of a loving community.  It happens through yet another life giving word: prayer.  Prayer is our communion with the One who loved us so much he couldn’t live without us.  Prayer is the place where our body, our mind and our emotions come into peace.  Prayer is what reminds us we are protected and provided for; prayer brings us passion and pleasure, as we persevere through the challenge of d’s.
The d’s and p’s come with both invitation and challenge.  The invitation comes through the Prince of Peace who came to earth to experience life as a human so we would know he cares about every aspect of our lives.  Hebrews 4:15-16 state:

“This High Priest of ours, the Prince of Peace, understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
The challenge is whether we want the life Jesus came to give us enough to fight for it.  Will we do the work to repent, or change our direction?  Will we seek out a loving community who will walk with us in our journey from the d’s to the p’s?  Will we share what we are experiencing with others, so they can live in freedom too?  Will we pray often, setting aside sacred time with the Prince of Peace, so that our minds become permeated, another p, with his presence and power?
Here’s my challenge to you:
1.      Make an intentional decision to set aside three days to do a mental audit of your thoughts.  Carry around a notebook or a recorder so when a thought pops up, you can decide, “is this a d thought or a life thought?”  when you decide, record it as a d or p.

 2.    At the end of the three days, count up how many d’s and p’s you have.  Are they equal in number, or way out of balance?

3.    Ask yourself if they are equal, Is this the life I want to live, or are too many of my thoughts dominated by the prince of death?  If they are way out of balance on the d side, take immediate action and find a Celebrate Recovery or a Healing Prayer ministry, where you can find others who are intentionally facing their d’s head on and partnering with Prince of Peace to turn them into p’s.

4.    Celebrate if you have a disproportion of p’s.  This indicates you are living a life the Prince of Peace invites you to live.  It also means you have the privilege and responsibility to take your life and multiply it into others.  Jesus told us in John 15:7-8:
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
It is when we share our p’s with others, we live as a disciple.  A disciple is one who patterns their life with their leader and multiplies their lifestyle.  In our case, we want to pattern our lives with the Prince of Peace who teaches us how to live in such a way that our fruit spills out wherever we go because we are sharing the life of p’s with a world focused on d’s.

When we intentionally commit ourselves to partner with Prince of Peace to help support, encourage and equip others, the Father is filled with pleasure and in return, releases his pleasure into us.  I dream of a world where the d’s have no more power because the p’s are so filled with life which entices us to live the life Jesus came to give us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reflections on "The Father's Delight"

I remember when our daughters were younger and full of curiosity.  It pleased me so much to do something special for them because of their joy filled response.  My gifts were simple: an ice cream cone, a stop at the park for 10 minutes of swing time, sitting down to create a treasure out of playdough, hanging their picture on the frig.  My simple “yes” to their desire made parenting them as young children an enjoyable experience.

As I’ve grown in my identity as a beloved child of my Heavenly Father, I’ve begun to realize my interaction with my young children mirrors the interaction I have with my heavenly daddy.  He, too, delights to please me because of the joy it gives me to experience his answer.  It’s cylical too:  the more I express my delight, the more he loves to give me his gifts.  This reality is even in Scripture when Jesus expresses, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11)

I’ve been praying a Scripture out of 1st Timothy 6 that almost always causes my spirit to leap up, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment!”   There it is in print: our heavenly father richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

Do we believe this?

Do I believe this?  I think for a long time my view of the Heavenly Father was one of withholding.  I thought he would withhold from me because it was good for my character, or I had disappointed him, or someone else deserved it more.  It’s taken me time to move into the mindset where I firmly believe he wants to please me.  He just wants to please me.  Wow, this makes my relationship with my heavenly father a lot more enjoyable.  Just like my time with my young daughters; it was more enjoyable for me when I was telling them “yes, I want to please you,” rather than a “no” or “come back later” or “just a minute.”

I often wonder why it is such a struggle to stay on the side of believing our heavenly father wants to please us.  But, when I take time to explore it, I remember Adam and Eve and their interaction with the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  The serpent so brilliantly planted the seed of doubt in their minds:  “Your God doesn’t want to please you, he’s holding out on you by telling you not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”  He caused Adam and Eve to begin to mistrust God’s good intentions for them.  His strategy worked so well, he’s been using it on the rest of humanity ever since!

So, you may ask, how do we begin to experience our heavenly father showering us with good gifts provided for our enjoyment?

First, experience his love through getting to know him better as your daddy.  Spend time in Psalms 103, Romans 8, 1st John and Psalm 139.  Go to a location where you feel most alive.  If you love to be in nature, take a hike and meditate on one of the passages along the way.  If you are contemplative, put on some soothing music and read the Scriptures slowly, letting God’s love pour over you.  If you are an activist, consider how you can convey God’s character to those around you who need to hear “good news.”

Second, begin to pray.  But, don’t just make it a long laundry list you spout out occasionally at God.  No, begin to be very specific, consistent and unified in your prayers.  These three concepts will literally begin to unfold God’s delight in answering our heart’s desires.

When I pray, I often set timelines for when I’d like God to answer. Some people have commented they think it’s demanding to ask this way, but I disagree.  When we pray specifically with timelines, we can be even more positive it’s God’s answer. When we are in the process of discovering God’s delight in answering, it helps to build our faith and to recognize his work amongst us.

I love this example.  Our house was on the market in preparation for our move to California.  Our new house was set to close on November 17th, so I prayed for a contract in hand by Nov 15th before we closed on our new loan.  The whole week leading up to November 15th, not one person came to look at our house.  I kept telling God, “It’s getting close, don’t you want to bring a new person to look?” I like to say, “God is the God of just in time” because he often likes to wait until the last minute just to make his answer even more tangible and dramatic.

Well, it turns out that we didn’t get just one offer on November 15th, we got 4!  One offer came from traveler in China who got up in the middle of the night to call their realtor. When we signed a contract for purchase of our present home in our kitchen at 3:25 on November 15th and literally walked around the corner to our living room at 3:30 to close the loan on our new house, I was fully aware of God’s smile as he looked at me and said, “See, you didn’t need to worry, the answer was always on its way.”

Pray Specifically!

Pray Consistently.  I continue to encourage those around me to set their alarms to go off at 10:02 a.m. every day. The reason?  Jesus taught his 72 friends to pray for harvesters because the harvest is ready in Luke 10:2. Luke 10:1 tells us Jesus’ strategy was to send his friends out two by two to the places he intended to go.  It’s the same with us.  He sends us out in prayer to prepare the way for where he wants to show up and show off! 

The third aspect to discover God’s delight in answering our prayers is to do it with others in unity and community.  When we make a decision to pray together at the same time, wherever we are, when the alarm goes off, we know we aren’t on this journey alone, but we have fellow travelers who are praying with us for God’s answers!  When we get a spectacular answer like the one we received for the contract on our house, it’s so much to share it with our friends who are praying too!  It’s just like Jesus sending us out two by two to prepare the way for his coming.

Jesus told us “When two or three are gathered together, I am in their midst.” This promise applies to us even if we aren’t literally in the same location. When we are gathered through our commitment to pray at 10:02, Jesus is there, preparing the answers for us. 

Last week my sister came to help me unpack our new home.  When the alarm went off at 10:02 she cried out, “Time to pray for the harvest.” Even though she doesn’t live by me, she knew about the prayer because she had just been with her son who also prays at 10:02.  We stopped our unpacking for a couple of minutes, prayed for a harvest in my new neighborhood, and then went back to work.

The father’s invitation is here for you to know him as a generous and loving Papa who wants to please us.  Put my challenge to pray specifically, consistently and in unity and community to the test! 

Start the challenge through considering what would fulfill your heart’s desire.  Is it a visit to see your grown children?  A trip with your family? A promotion at work? A meaningful conversation with a neighbor?  A medical issue healed?  Nothing is too big for our heavenly father.

Next, set your alarm to go off at 10:02 every day.  When the alarm goes off, pray your specific prayer, every day.  Invite your friends or family to pray with you at 10:02.  If you are with others at 10:02, stop and invite them to pray with you.  If you are in a business meeting or in a place where it isn’t appropriate to stop and pray out loud, take a moment in your mind and pray; then, re-engage what you were doing.

I can’t wait to hear your answers to prayer.  Post them on the blog, or send them to me at  We have a heavenly father who can’t wait to hear from us!