Sunday, July 6, 2014

What if I fall Apart.... Author, not so confidential (this time)

The following is an excerpt from another "Misio" on the field in Asia.  If you would like to check out her blog it can be found at or trotters 41 on FB.  I have not screened any of Elizabeth Trotter's other posts so I cannot endorse them.  However, let credit be given where is it due. Right?  Just felt like I and many of my international cohorts could relate to this one.  BTW.

Starting to look for some "friends" on FB.  And that is a hard journey when you are nameless.  Hey cut me some slack, it is a lonely world being confidential  So, if you want another friend:  The name again is Christian Hadash.  And there is even the slightest inkling of a page that is rolling out on FB as well. So, go ahead get some updates. Hit that "Like" button on

Titled: What if I Fall Apart on the Mission Field?

They say that living overseas will bring out all our bad stuff. They say it like it’s a warning, like it’s supposed to scare us out of going. Like only a superhuman could go and survive.
And what if they’re right? What if moving overseas does bring out all our dark stuff, putting it on display for all to see? What if all the inner turmoil we kept so neatly concealed in our passport countries – or didn’t even know existed – starts falling out of our hearts, falling out of our mouths? What if it spills out into daily life, interfering with all the good works we’re supposed to be doing?
But — what if that’s not such a bad thing? I mean, what if it doesn’t end there, with you at the end of yourself? What if all the stuff that surfaces is supposed to surface? What if the only way to know what’s inside your heart is for it to come out? And what if the junk that needs to come out wouldn’t actually come out in your home country?
So maybe those multiple breakdowns have a purpose. Maybe knowing your weaknesses means you know God more intimately. Maybe you are exactly where He wants you to be, right at this moment. Maybe living overseas means becoming the person that God created you to be.
You followed Him across oceans and continents, across countries and cultures. You prepared for this for years, dreamed of it for longer. And all for what? Just to fall apart on arrival?
No, I don’t believe that. You followed Him this far for a purpose, because you love Him, and because He loves you. And now that you are where He wants you to be, He’s not going to leave you alone and without help. If God brought you to this place, don’t you think He will use cross-cultural living to shape you into the person He wants you to be?
When all our darkness reveals itself, God is right there beside us, waiting, ready to bring ever greater healing to our hearts. Through all this nasty falling-apartness, I believe God wants to heal the broken pieces of our lives. And living overseas might mean that we’re in just the right place to accept those healing changes.
So maybe they’re right. Maybe living overseas will draw out all our bad stuff. Maybe we won’t be able to hide it any more. But I no longer think that’s something to be afraid of — life with God is not something to fear.
So today, if you find yourself in that broken place, at the bottom of a mountain of messes in your life, have faith in the One who called you. Trust Him to put you back together again. Because falling apart is not the end of the story, but it just might be the beginning of a new one.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Death of Forgiveness

 “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool
~Isaiah 1:18 
“Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The important thing is that a discord has been resolved.”  
~ C.S. Lewis

Forgiveness is the final form of love

forgive-bible-quotesForgiveness.  What a strange and intolerable word to the human psyche.  The thought of it has now turned into a grey warmish lump of that one thing we should do as Disciples in this Backward Upside Down Kingdom.

It is not that we don’t recognize its importance.  But the cognitive dissonance it thrusts upon us when we grapple with the concept behind the word…

This is where it loses- where we end up losing because we don’t recognize the impact of an act that is of of utmost importance.  Its paramount nature in this Christian walk, and the crux of the concept is so detrimental to OUR lives (so often), that we pass it up as a simple “I forgive you.”  Words flippantly spoken through clenched jaws, with the air of contempt pouting our lips, or disgust of doing such a thing leaves that muscle above the upper lip in a wrinkle that is nigh impossible to reproduce.  The pupils of our eyes constrict and bore holes just to the left of the “forgiven.” And then the act is done, and I can live my Christian life.  Right?

Or even worse we go against the scripture, and justify the lack of forgiveness when we say something similar to “I’ll be happy to forgive them, if they would just apologize.”

What a hard notion this is, in reality, because of the way we live.  It becomes impossible to Forgive (capital "F," Forgive for the real thing from here on out) when we are living our “Christian Life.”  Let me give you an example. 

A man once got in my face after Sunday morning services in the states.  I was working with youth a lifetime ago. The man thinking I had mistreated, or disrespected a single mother, this lit a fire in him and his own struggles with anger surfaced.  Was I wrong in how I dealt with the woman?  Knowing me back then… probably.  But I certainly felt justified, and even a little malicious as he read me the riot act in front of God and everyone, while I piously held my tongue, of what I wanted to say and instead undermined his every word to his tirade with, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Over and over the same sentence. His anger bubbled up and over, so big, that it finally took his wife to haul him away after bruising my sternum with a two finger jab, and the loud boisterous man became controlled .And in words only I would hear, through a snarl of malice he got in my face and said with seething breath, and threat as an overtone. 

                “You’ve got one thing right.  YOU ARE SORRY.”

Now, I can’t be responsible for his actions, but I know full well that I let him self-destruct in front of me.  I didn’t have to puff-up.  I didn’t have to feign concern.  I didn’t have to feed him words that sounded right to the rest of the people standing around, but I knew were going to make him dig deeper into his hatred.

The following day after having my world “rocked,” he called to see if he could apologize.  Being the incredibly gracious, and humble, and without pretense person I was (Sarcasm folks)  I agreed to receive his apology.

He did so, I said I forgave him. And neither he, nor I at the time, was any the wiser to my own grievances that were heaped upon him not 24 hours previous.  

 What a missed opportunity.
But I didn’t Forgive.  I went the rest of that summer as an intern (did I not mention that part. Me being 19. and finishing 1 year of college, silly me), avoiding him.  Thinking of ways I could pay back that wrong, even though I had no real intent of doing so.   But I’d done my Christian duty right?  I forgave him!  
Where’s the hypocrisy buzzer, right?  You, already see the fallacy in this. And you are right.  Just because I speak the words, doesn’t mean that I’ve done anything to forgive.
And I think that is where we get stuck.  So often we equate a gesture of words and ceremony with what remains is a heart matter.

You see the one thing that flies in the face of forgiveness for me to you and you for me is always the same denominator of a problem.  It is another typically blasé word that has deep function in our Christian lives, and it is always there…

Are you ready for it?


Here’s the bare honest truth:  If we are authentic with ourselves in this, we will find this to be without impugn-ability:

 Forgiveness only ever happens if I lay myself down on an alter, beside the offending person seeking forgiveness, and meet them at their level of dysfunction.  There is no way, to Forgive without a sense of empathy.  To simply look at the other and say, “Debt cancelled, you are forgiven.” Is a Pharisaical act at best. and is directly of satan, at worst.

After all is it in the scope of the Almighty God to simply forgive and remove?  Well the rhetorical answer, without waxing Theolosiphies is, “Yes, God the ALMIGHTY DESIGNER and CREATOR, ALL POWERFUL, could have forgiven us in any way he desired.  Yet he chose death, something that made it real to both God and man.  Then in this cosmic relationship a mutual battlefield of the heart for reconciliation, was developed.

Not to say that God’s pride got in the way, because for Him Pride and Jealousy are his alone to own.

But when it came time for me/for you or me, to say “I’m sorry, God, will you please forgive me.”
His reply, “death first.”

"Not just for you, Christian Hadesh, to know how gravely serious this was, but for me to be incarnate with you and next to you.  I will forgive, but I need to be there by you on your level making my tabernacle among you (Insert the Christ).

"Letting you know that this has been causing me pain to, but for me to take it in…even though, I AM, is perfect, I must be in a place where all sense of pretense is gone.  We need  a place of incarnate love that proclaims:   'I understand in perfect syncretism, and empathize with your need, and as you have laid your forgiveness as a sacrifice to me, bring me a sacrifice not solely for payment to me… It is for you as well…'

"And there.  Where your offering and MY offering meet.  This is where forgiveness will be granted."

Maybe I am way out of bounds and over humanizing the Master of the Universe.  Or maybe the truth is that being made in his image… unless I can sacrifice like he does, did, continues to do- I will never experience the power of this relationship with all mankind, in an upside-down, and backwards kingdom. 

To forgive, to be forgiven, are one in the same, the important thing is, is that discord is resolved when I lose myself in Love for another, and am willing to lay my sacrifice down, as they do the same.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hey Missionary...Less than 200 words: Read this really fast!!!

Up until now it has been just me AKA "Anonymous, or Christian Hadash (hadash is Hebrew for continuing to completion or becoming). 

However, the inevitability of this becoming not-so-anonymous in certain crowds is becoming more and more real.  So let me propose the following: 

If you are on, or have been on the mission field long term (more than 6 months), and would like to post an experience that led to a greater insight, and relationship with God... or just a simple lesson learned. 

Consider this an invitation for YOU to let me post in your place. 

I'll be the conduit/liaison, and post what you send without edit as, "Guest Article":

You can send in your article to  I'll keep your name anonymous unless you ask of me otherwise. 

And unless the topic is of a totally inappropriate nature, you may consider it posted ASAP.  If I don't post I'll write you as to why.  So type away.

One last thing: if it is at all possible try to make the final lesson uplifting.

The Music of, Life, and Everything "IT" Changes

“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.” 

C.H. Spurgeon

 It happened many thousands of years ago and was recorded in philosophical and banned texts, that were presented before the religious leaders and Orders.  Many were tagged as cover-ups for the purpose of keeping the masses understanding the truth as they could handle it.

There was a ban on the “scientific” exploration and discovery of this Gospel, and yet manifest truth would not be quenched.  It was the sacrilege and heresy of the day, and was branded of the devil. There is little doubt in this authors mind the father of lies (he doesn’t get capitals grammar correct or not) smiled at such a "branding."

It played out in so many arenas of history.  To research and footnote is not the purpose of this.  Instead ripened purpose is for reintroduction, of the divine amidst the dull, and the drab. 
In fact you're experiencing this Gospel right now even as you read.  Don't be mistaken it is not “a gospel,” but the real unadulterated Gospel of truth of Jesus Christ. It is preceding and continuing after the man of Jesus himself.

No, it is not a watered down new age way of looking at the world.  It is creation aching for us to see, and to hear in full stereo sound.  For all to witness, the story of Jesus was both the corner stone and the capstone to “The Grand Riddle.”

For those who would refuse to see and hear, that stone became a stumbling block.  A path marker  many might regain balance from in their journey. For some though, a stumble so great, because their myopic world view and tunnel vision of Messiah, this could not be complete in such a way as “This.”
Have you discovered the riddle yet? The answer?

I hope so... I hope not...

It is the unsolvable equation, for it continues through eternity.  It is however, the known glimpse into reality that most of us have missed.  It is The Gospel.  And though I believe there is an expounded Gospel that comes through Jesus Christ, the essence of it is what we proclaim, and believe.

 This Gospel is simplified for the cause of Paul’s letter in 1 Corinthians 15, but the student knows that it involves a grander scope (not a greater complex understanding), than the three fold 1. Christ died for our sins. 2. He was buried. 3. He was raised.

Do not misunderstand me.  This is it! The Gospel boiled down to its essence.  But to say these three things assumes a lot of background underpinning knowledge.

Let us assume though that you already are in possession of those parts that support this 3 fold brief statement of Paul, a solid understanding of what The Gospel (the good news) is. 

Have you yet noticed its place your world yet?  

Have you noticed that nature has held this truth of what was to happen even before the fall of man?  I mentioned part of this in a past post “The Burden of the Cross, Seeds, and A Transformed Life.”  That Jesus himself gave the analogy of a kernel of wheat.  How it must die, fall to the earth, and then be raised.

What if the above analogy was not an analogy (as we should understand the concept of the word), at all?  What if it were the hidden truth, that prophecy and teachers, and the evil one, would not recognize.  Even though it was replayed over and over again thousands of times in an hour, all over the globe, both before and after the Christ came.  And when He came the Gospel was the defining proof of God’s exquisite orchestration?

Travel with me for a moment in questions:  What must happen for you to eat an apple?  Yes. Yes, there are the cute answers we can all give where we talk about human interference with the natural progression… but naturally speaking?  It must grow into an apple before eating an apple right?  From where did that apple grow?

 “An apple tree,” you so wisely reply.

And from where did that tree come from?

Some might get hung up here with the concept of grafting and saplings and the like but when pressed your answer is drawn to, “It grew from an apple seed.” 
And did that apple seed get plucked from a watermelon, and immediately get planted, so a tree might begin, and more apples might be produced?

“No…” you reply, understandably wary of such questions.  “Like all other things, according to Genesis 1.11ff, it came from its own kind.  And before it was planted it needed to remain dormant, in a sense ‘die’.”

Aha! You already know!

What about the body then? What cells are really the only ones that go through no change or mitosis in their life span?

After consideration of how the question above is worded your reply is, “Sex cells I suppose.”
And you would be right.  

Now, let’s begin to allow this to unfold without the “Q and A.”  For a sperm and an egg in all vertebrates, that I am aware of, (granted I’m not a biologist), to continue in life they must give up what they are to produce a life.

A sperm does not a person make. An egg does not a person make.  Only the combination or, “death” of the one, planted into the other does a person make.  It lives, it dies, it is raised again.
As you look around you this IS the process by which life is given to all things of the natural world.  It was alive, it had to die, and only then it became something new, alive and dare I say it REBORN.

We could even go into the wonderful poetic relational side of this, but let’s save that for another time.
This is the concept with which Nicodemos struggled, in talking with Jesus.  “How can a man be born into a new life if he is old?”

In light of the above thoughts consider Nic-at-Night’s discourse with Jesus below, and see if there is fresh meaning to it:

John 3.3f
“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
Did it resound differently this time?  I hope so!

What then of Romans 12?  When Paul says, “do not be conformed to the world… be transformed into ‘Christ’s’ likeness...”  He is speaking of this renewed or dead body and mind becoming something different. Something that is LIFE… So Many more examples, but I’ll stop with these for the moment.
Yes, one can argue over semantics, or that a Christian body  (by example of Jesus) will be the same after it’s raised from the dead, …only different and transformed; or other arguments about angels dancing on a pin-head (pun intended).  But those arguments simply dilute the Truth of it all, which is to say this:  “The Gospel is proclaimed every moment of everyday in some fashion!”

Why make this point?  You may draw your own conclusion, and applications.  But for me it is this:  If I don’t proclaim God’s greatness, His Gospel of Truth that is proved through Jesus.  If I refuse to declare the wonder of possibility to all who would hear…, the rocks and trees and birds, and all of creation are going to do it in my stead.  

I believe he would much rather nature to be 3rd and 4th chair instruments in this Orchestra.  God has called us into the Solo, and 1st chair positions, when he commanded us to “Go.”  Then, with Christ as the conductor, the music produced His flowing and dynamic Spirit, and The Almighty as the composer that has breathed life into it all.

The orchestration is played, but what sweat melody is missing when I refuse to listen to the composer and conductor?  

"I don’t want the spotlight of a soloist; I want the music to be pure. For I believe this is the desire of the Almighty: My desire, harmonizing into the unity of His Wholeness, for the purpose of all creation. When his Church does this, the dissonant (out-of-tune, chords of death), are seamlessly woven into a musical tapestry of Perfect pure LIFE. Life born from a mother's water, and then Born of the Spirit.

HIS desire, to be my desire, to be an instrument of all surpassing PEACE. Peace, as death looses it’s terrible sting, and LIFE reigns.

In the “Upside Down, Backward Kingdom,” THIS is the song that plays."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A "NEED" for forbidden fruit, and Wet Dirt-Floors

“Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
The Cost of Discipleship

I had this grand anticipation of being able to share with you something.  Maybe a behind the scenes look from one missionary's eyes.  Though I'm becoming increasingly convinced that my story is so
far removed from yours it may have little value.

And then there is the exploitation factor.  Even though this is "Confidential." I feel the awkward tug of, "maybe it is all too much."

 Not that you can't handle it. But to hand out information that is sometimes still raw, and "wreaks" of spiritual bile. When it still has the unmistakable acerbic tug of that piece of glass you stepped on in the night, and the instant feeling of "now what?"  You don't know how to remove it- You cannot fathom the damage it may have caused.

Or it is the immediate feeling when you break a bone, or bite into your food only to have your tooth perform a reenactment of Jericho's walls tumbling down, as it crunches into a dozen pieces with-in your mouth.  Our immediate reaction in the mind is: "I know something is not right, but it is too unfamiliar to process completely."

This is where I spend much of my life, these days.

Oh, but please...?! Don't read into the above confusion as negative. And DO keep from thinking the implication of "these days" was written to reference a better time, to which I wish I could go back. Sure, I fantasize at times of being a child again, but those days were filled with pain, and fear, and terror as well, and as a child they hurt as much if not more than the here and now.

No! I don't want to be scared of the dark again. Be frightened of sleep paralysis, be scared of getting punched in the nose, or someone stealing me from the playground.  The faster I learn pain is a part of life, and a valley through which we all must pass fearing that    becomes illogical.


It  suggests a measure of control which I/we don't posses.  To think I have control in either managing or avoiding said pain...  If it should ever jump on you like a terrible hairy spider.

Okay, Mr. "whoever-you-are," Get to it!

Raw, without much set-up here we go:  The family friends of ours are nationals, in this unnamed non US country.  They called because they were scared not of the dark but of Dad, who was on a particular drug that is readily available here.  The police were not yet there, and I was called as a "stop gap" until they arrived.  The dad calmed down immediately when he saw me. This was not my first encounter with him inebriated in such a fashion.  He knew quite well that in his condition he was all but worthless to anyone who would stand up to him.

I insisted that he lay down in his bed, and you'll have to take my word, I didn't touch him... yet.  After the third order (like telling a five-year-old, to get to bed yet again),  he managed to stumble hard enough to fracture, then splinter a large mirror.

The light in the house was low, but as I almost always do, I had a flashlight, which I immediately popped into my mouth (the third hand for flashlights !), once I saw the damage.  The black dirt of the floor immediately changed colors as the dehydrated thick blood just fell and spread.  Rapidly it turned from hard soil to slippery mud.  The cuts, on the man simply annihilated the palm of his left hand and two of the major blood channels down into the wrist and curving back around to hit 2 more major vessels on the top part of the same hand.

this is why I wear a belt
Fast tourniquets from my belt along with a few ruined shirts kept him from bleeding out. The police arrived, and he still has his hand.  Though I cannot imagine him escaping without major nerve damage. We will see.

This is my day, this was abnormal because of my relationship with the family, but a day in the life of...  To teach the gospel, to protect the innocent, to help when I'm able, and what does this "superhero" job description gig pay?  I could tell you my tax numbers, but more than half of it were receipts for others as we felt the need to give, (just a little more to "this" special thing).   But the reality is I couldn't find the receipt for the casket, or wheel chair parts, or doctors billings etc. So even that number would be off.  All in all we still lived richer than 99% of the people we minister to, and according to the IRS, we're living at the poverty line... 

Why tell you?

Because what good is it if a man gains everything and then looses his soul?  Can you buy something to trade back for that lost soul?

What then, makes it worthwhile?

And again I answer as I have in previous posts: "Welcome to a world where everything, EVERYTHING is upside down."  I am not a medical professional, nor am I a professional off-road 4x4 emergency driver.  I am not a mortician, nor an electrician.  I am not a mechanic, or a linguist-   I am ill-prepared, in all ways, to have my closest friend here, die so rapidly, then my now closest friend (see story above of broken mirror) be loosing his life, and family to his own pains.  Forget about that sliced-up hand of his. Lop that thing off, I want him back!

I'm ill-prepared for the betrayal upon betrayal that is woven into the fabric of this culture.

I am however, prepared for a different line of work. One that puts Dr. in front of my name and sits me behind a desk... at least that's what the culmination of 4 diplomas say.  But welcome to the upside down  world/ a backward kingdom! Where you plan to go one way, "for-life," and then you ask over and over in your daily prayers to be 'more like Jesus.' When God answers that request, sometimes you leave your desk, and soft hands behind for a whole new "on-the-job-training" where diplomas are only handed to the graduate in the form of a spiritual promissory note.  The weird thing, I don't care about an extra "jewel in my crown."  To sit in HIS presence, this, is more than sufficient!

You will go through the fire.  If you haven't already, you will.  If you have, and God intends to keep you  on earth for much longer, you will walk through it again.  If you're a disciple of Jesus' it may likely be a new searing pain you feel every week or so.  These are not the glorious stories of adventure, and conversions, of hundreds or thousands being baptized as they confess and proclaim Jesus that you hear from the pulpit.

This however, IS, "Life to it's fullest!" Those lost souls come with cost.  Even when all is perfect and ordained by God-  If there's doubt, let me refer you to the life of a man named Jesus, and what it cost him.  And then to a book called 'Acts,' and the lives of the Apostles, and then to history. 

But Mr. "no-name-guy."  That doesn't sound very fun, why don't you just go back and earn a 6 figure income, retire with the American Dream under your belt, and smile all the way through? You can still tell them about Jesus.

Why not go back? Why?...

The why is this:  When one realizes he will feel pain. And then comes to terms with the fact that it will come for both the atheist and believer in some way- a real disciple of the Teacher no longer needs to fear the pain.  This particular fear will break a spiritual back, before a load of, or single straw is ever even placed.  Fearing pain, worsens the experience when it comes. 

Dear friend, I love you, but it always comes. This is the price of being born into a broken world.  This is why creation is groaning.  It is not a groan of fear and the unquenchable pain, but of anticipation of what is to be born through it all.  This is unmistakably an expression of peaceful, patient, long-suffering, faithful JOY!

And no, I can't go back, I've already started plowing.  I'm on a wall, and cannot come down.  The joy is in the journey of pursuing deep relationship with God.  If you want to call this "unfortunate" or say, "This poor believer doesn't get it God wants your best life now, with all health, and wealth.  He just doesn't want your focus to be on this." This prerogative is for you alone to cuddle up with. But those thoughts lead down a wide path where many are walking... and snakes are, NOT cuddly prerogatives.

For all who seek, find. All who knock, the door is opened.  And for those who ask!  You can't even imagine the humbling lessons he will teach you as he "over-gives." Health, wealth and all treasures pale in comparison to watching God, move and orchestrate. Yes, even when he uses earthly treasures as tools to accomplish the extraordinary.

I do not fabricate, or conjure-up a false hope of how I decided to "feel."  No, it is different. I've been there, and done the "fake-and-make" it before.


I can only compare this LIFE to what happens when one goes sky-diving, or cliff jumping.  Once you make the leap there's nothing you can do to take back your choice to jump.  You will either live or you will die. On the way down, you have only one choice to make:  Will I enjoy this ride or not!

In the Upside Down Backward Kingdom...  Remember those Spirit Fruits in the end of Galatians?  They become more than a measurement of how well you are tending your Spirit-filled Garden.  They are life giving, edible, sweet and fulfilling foods that replace the forbidden stuff we ate in the beginning.

Isn't your stomach growling for the Bread of Life, thirsting for Water that Lives? Are you not hungering and thirsting after righteousness?  Then come.  Call him more than just Savior, take the leap and enjoy the ride; call him Lord.  Put your hand on the plow, let the blood of sacrifice, and not broken glass accidents, fertilize the field. And watch as the Natural world of the Spirit takes its control.  Watch as your fruits grow, and then eat, indulge, imbibe... deeply.

Do not let me minimize your pain if you're there in the fire now. For I too,  still feel the sorrow, and tears, and heartache, and they are not easy.  On the other end of the spectrum, I enjoy all the smiling and laughing at inside or ridiculous jokes,  and even more those moments with another person, where you can't stop the belly laughing, and your sides hurt... And as fun as those are, they are the snacks that we eat in the car, from the gas station on the way to Disney World.

Are you ready to enter that life?


I understand... the thought of a Wonka-Land is a bit creepy, at least in the movies.  The bad news: Inside this very real world there is no chocolate river.  The good news: this world that you are hesitant to enter into, is not a movie, book or fairytale.  It is not Dianetics or self-help dribble. And it/He is ready for you, when you're ready to enter.

No, no! That's funny though. This is not an "altar call."  I'm talking to you Christians. Take a deep breath because there is a whole world out there.  And someone is knocking on your door now.  Do you open it? Do you dare make such a leap of faith?

Your new Eden awaits a hand on the plow, to cultivate, that which will leave you content, full, and awestruck!

Welcome, to the Upside Down Kingdom: where the floors are dirt and slick with the blood of heartache. But where this heart still overflows with love, and the light of Joy... it will not be quenched!

Welcome! Won't you come inside?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Burden of the Cross, Seeds, and a Transformed Life

“God is love and God is sovereign. His love disposes Him to desire our everlasting welfare and His sovereignty enables Him to secure it.”
- A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of The Holy

The Light we must bear
Is the Light we must share
Is the Light that illumines the darkness
The promises kept
Give us strength to accept
This burden of bearing the Light
-Michael Card (Poiema project) 

Reader,  I admit assuming you know enough scripture that a "word/phrase reference" will often suffice rather than long explanation with reference.  For example: Jesus talked about seeds. 

"Yes," you think to yourself. And then you think,"Pfthhh... this is all a bit unintelligible and a little arrogant of this 'Anonymous' author. Jesus talked about seeds.  But more than just the famous parable of the sower, 'author' is obviously referencing." 

You!... :) You are a smart one, aren't you?! 

Yep, you are correct. There's that "one" parable. Then the kernel that dies in John's Gospel. Then the tiny seed growing into big faith, analogy.  Beyond that if you come up with another off the top of your head, you certainly win the, "Jesus talking about Seeds" award.

Beyond this though,  I wonder if it is all, somehow, is the same allegory. For example: A seed that will produce, must die, to rise, and if it is planted in good soil it produces great kingdom faith.   ...A stretch?  Your call.

But if it is true about death preceding the life, in all of these the "seeds,"  we plant through the Spirit.  Each seed that will produce is full of much suffering and death.

It smells bad, it looks...(no words to describe it when personal), it feels like it looks. And somehow "THIS" is the essence of life?  I have to humble a still aching heart to gently nod my acceptance of this to be the truth.

I suspect those that have read this far, are in majority, those who are very close in experience, or close to the life of someone dear to you on the mission field.  Otherwise, it seems the topic of,  wishy-washy title(s), and  anonymous authorship would hold little interest.

For those who were there in the "thick of it." Especially in developing nations.  I'm sorry. For the things you witnessed.  I know you still feel the pain, heartache, and often loneliness. The wounded trimmings, as God pruned the dead parts of your heart away, so fruit could be produced for all, is a hard pill to swallow. 

Have you cowered away from that bright light, I mentioned, in the first post?  Did you run back into the comfort of the darkness because "It" was too much.  Or did you hold fast and let the truth set you free?

Did you ever imagine that just being there, and acting counter-culturally, when the pain came, would be the greatest seed you (God through you) ever planted? 

When the child was stillborn, when the accident happened, when the person was murdered, when you stayed by his/her side for days, witnessing the worst of death, and helpless to do anything but pray for a quicker end for an "untouchable," no one else would even visit.

They all looked at you differently after that day, and when they probed as to the "whys," You pointed to the cross because it was Him who enabled your peace and endurance during those moments.

A long time ago a seed was planted in that certain situation. The plant grew, it cycled through life, but it gave up myriad seed when you ministered to the weak. In this moment you were witness to "the sowing."  In those moments you were the embodiment of Christ, you were "The Sower," at least in part, because you are called, "Christ"ian. 

Even though the putrid death smell of Satan's sting permeated everything, many seeds were scattered and landed in good soil in those days immediately following your story. And your words of a Living God became relevant!  The Spirit, to those who watched you, became real.  The Gospel, without romanticism, was replayed before their eyes as Death became life again through your willingness to bear the weight of The Light.

If you are hiding from those moments, I encourage you to come back into the raging beam of Light.  Remember, His promise is not for health,wealth and happiness, but for a transcendent contentment, and abundant Joy, for those who will Love as He did... from here through eternity to come. 

Maybe I can get more specific in posts, to come of my moments, but for those who made it to this post (#2)  I think you might not need my specifics. Your specifics are example enough.

The burden of the Cross is the burden of the Light, is the death of a Seed, is the faith that produces, is the cycle of the miracle of the Gospel, and all Life.  And you. You are invited to this horrendous/beautiful, and undeniable upside down blessing. 

Their applause as you move forward, in His perfect will, is LOUD!  The saints cheer your forebearance and faith. Because like them, you REMAIN in the unknown.

Yes, you have the answer to the questions of Messiah, but even though you've been given the punch-line of Jesus, those cheering saints never received.
Those witnesses trusted God, and received their reward.

And now even with your wonderful knowledge of the Messiah, the recognition of all is your need for courage. They, with The Christ, the Father, and Spirit all acknowledge that each step along the narrow path, is to be applauded, and encouraged.  For holiness is your pursuit.  It is my pursuit... 

It is a faith that leads into the likeness of Christ.  The original burden-bearer and seed planter. He is the one who still leads us into carrying the Light of Truth, to all.  Your pain, your burden is your life transforming to become more like him in every way.  So bask for the briefest of moments in the encouraging shouts and applauding of all who need your work.  And when your Sabbath is over it's time to do it all again.

Oh, one last thing.  Did I forget to mention it?  Silly me.  The burden, the light, the Truth, is an easy load when others are lifting, when your life is no longer your own... Hard to bear? For sure.  Easy to do? Yes, of course!  Contradictory answers to the questions?  Most definitely, if you are looking through the eyes of flesh! 

Welcome to the upside down of... EVERYTHING. When Jesus is Lord, and discipleship goes beyond a "radical/not a fan" platitude that are there for our reminders,  don't stop.  The progression of BEING TRANSFORMED, will not end in this life!  How glorious!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What happens when you add God, a man, science, the gospel, a devolping nation, technology, and a bunch of people? I'm so glad you asked...

“Some knowledge is too cannot bear it...your Father will carry it until you are able.”
-Corrie ten Boom

“There are also all sorts of things in our spiritual life where a thing has to be killed, and broken, in order that it may then become bright, and strong, and splendid.”
-CS Lewis

 Because this begins the rest of the story...  If you were to guess the answer to the question in the title you might throw out the mundane answer which is of the most obvious kind, "a mess."  And of course you'd be right.

Let me propose a small provocative statement before I end a brief introduction:

What you get with the above combination is this:  everything they never told you about life, you get the withheld information because "they"  whoever it may be have an agenda.  Oh, don't snarl such. We all have an agenda, and missionaries and the teachers of missions are of the least offensive in their agendas.

But how does one tell the stories/lessons that could change everything, without offending?  They're too hard.  Too heart breaking. Honestly, they are often too crass. And then at times the one who would share fears you might be filled with so much joy most of us fear you'll explode if you heard the behind the scenes stuff, on the mission field.

Me, I think you're tougher than that. You're not ready for living this life,  but don't let that offend you. None who have gone before ever were.

So, I'll post this little ditty and wait.  Once I have an audience, I'll say to myself, "self, you should probably post the first real article for the MISSIONARY Confidential blog you started.

Until then, and this part is yours, I'll go about my work learning the next lesson(s).

Here's how I figure it to happen.  In a week, a month or year there will be 100 or so who will sign up to get notified to this anonymous blog.  (Yes, they made me put a real name in there but let's just let it be my nickname on this blog).  Then I'll post the story I already have in hand.  Many will cringe and "un-sign" from getting the little notifiers.  Because they won't understand how incredible God is in it all. Instead, All they will see is a lesson that is hard to read, and could have been told with out the heart wrenching details.  They won't say it but it is because it makes them feel guilty for not taking up their cross today or for the last 5 years.

But maybe I'm wrong, I hope so, because that would mean that the bubbling essence of truth has surfaced once more.  And though HE is THE light of the world you didn't cower, and run inside when He  showed up.

 No, you remained, in the Light, in the Truth, you "held tight."  And when you do this..."hold tight to truth." Jesus says it does something for you  I'll let him describe it  (Jhn. 8.20ff).

So are you ready for this?  No?  Me neither! But if you can read and understand that beauty and pain often thrive together in the presence of God.  I'm pretty sure we'll get through this and maybe be better because of it