The Two Big C’s – Cam and the Church

Leading up to the Super Bowl, there was talk among some people about a prophecy spoken over the Carolina Panthers. If you haven’t heard about this before, you can find more information here. In short, there is a prophecy that when the Panthers win the Super Bowl revival will break out. I don’t know how the two will weave together or any details, just simply that their win at the Super Bowl will be a demarcation in time that will separate the before and after in a way that is spiritually historical.

When the game started Sunday, I had a feeling that it just wasn’t going to happen for the Panthers. And part of it was because of Cam Newton. I had a sense that it would almost be a horrible thing for him if they won this year. How would he ever learn humility? One thing that really stuck out to me during the first few minutes of the game was Cam’s jersey number, number one. Now obviously this wasn’t the first time that I had seen his jersey number, I just previously had never paid much attention. But this time, as I watched I thought to myself, why do people expect humility from a guy who chose number 1 for his jersey?

Then yesterday, the day after the Super Bowl, I was watching a program ESPN did on Cam  on YouTube. Not sure when this originally aired but I was shocked, like eyes WIDE OPEN shocked, when I saw Cam’s high school footage and he was wearing the number 2 on his jersey. So I begin to think, okay…when did the switch to number 1 happen? The piece goes through his Florida State Days, his Junior College days and his Auburn days…all the number 2. So today I do some research on the internet and find that Cam wanted the number 2 but the player at the Panthers who had the number 2, Jimmy Claussen, wouldn’t give it up. The crazy thing is, a year later, the same player Claussen switched from the number he wouldn’t give to Cam, to a different number all on his own. Now tell me that isn’t strange!

What is my point with all this? My point is simple. Could it be that the Church is right where Cam Newton, jersey number 1, is at this point in time? Full of potential? Full of purpose? Poised for revival? Totally equipt to do the job set in front of them? Equipt in a way that is new and different and maybe never seen before? But being held back by one thing, the same thing. In the fourth chapter of James scripture teaches us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Could it be that the one thing that is holding back Cam, is the same thing that is holding back the church? Could it be that the Lord is holding back because he is waiting for a completely surrendered, completely submitted Church? Could pride be the resisting force in all of this?

I believe God is calling to his people and saying that it is time to take the ax to the root of those things that are holding us back. It’s time to acknowledge that if there is any area of our life where we don’t wake up and realize how desperately we need God, there is a self-seeking, sub-rebellious pride still alive and well functioning in that area of our lives. Maybe we see the need for God’s help in our marriage, or our health. But the areas where you feel you have got it together, where you know what you are doing. Could those areas be where pride is growing in the shadows?

I think that Cam, like the Church, needs to return to his roots. It’s time to pull that number 2 off the shelf. Who cares about the jersey’s that people have…hey – they’ll be worth more in the long run. What a testimony it would be, and what a heart change it would show, if he were to reach for that number 2…because after all, there is only ONE who is above all things.

 

cam newton

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The Wilderness

Between the Red Sea and the Jordan river, in that area we call the WILDERNESS, God took a group of slaves and completely TRANSFORMED them. He took their mindsets, developed from 400 years in institutional bondage, that had given them mindsets and heart conditions and approaches to life that were not conducive to INHERITANCE. He took whiny, sinful slaves who wandered around the same mountain for forty years, and CONVERTED them into warriors who understood how to TAKE TERRITORY from their enemies. He took a group of people who had a mindset that told them they had to fight for scraps and DISCIPLED them into men and women of God who had the character and personality that enabled them to HOLD what God was trying to GIVE. He had to do this. It was intentional. The only way they could make it from the Red Sea to the PROMISED LAND was through the education and teachings that only the wilderness could provide.

God did the same with Jesus, only backwards. Jesus started at the Jordan river and was sent by the spirit of God into the wilderness. Scripture shows us that was the very first thing the Spirit compelled him to do, go into the wilderness. And there, yes he was tempted by Satan, but more importantly he was fed and ministered to by angels! I also find it fascinating that Jesus goes into the wilderness but you can see in the account that they were already in the wilderness when he was baptized in the Jordan river…so Jesus went into the WILDERNESS, WILDERNESS! (Aren’t you glad we don’t get called to that place!!)

When we are in the space between the Red Sea and the Jordan river – we have a choice. We can choose a perspective that tells us that it is dry and has eyes to see that there is no provision, no food and no water and we were probably better off in the bondage of our past where at least we had some basic comforts instead of stuck in this uncomfortable place where there seems to be nothing. Or we can elevate our perspectives and choose to come up higher and sit with God and have eyes to see the way He sees. We can choose to walk by the Spirit and see that in the wilderness we have the privilege of being free from distractions and are able to focus completely on Him. In the wilderness we have the blessing of being fed directly by God. The wilderness isn’t punishment, it is an invitation. To come higher. To go deeper. To free ourselves, of ourselves. To step into the new creation we are in Christ Jesus. To seek first the Kingdom of God. To see ourselves bare and naked. To recognize that it is only by seeing our own weaknesses that we truly become strong. To see how faithful God really is. To know who God is with such fullness and intimacy that we become INDOMITABLE. The wilderness isn’t a punishment, it is an invitation, from a God who loves you enough to not let you stay where you are at. 

So if you feel like you are in a season of wilderness, or if you feel the Lord calling you to come meet him in that dry place…let go and trust in the One who can still, and forever will, be able to command the waves and the winds and the storms of your life. Trust Him today. His promises are His promises.

Grandma Jean

Jean Louise Bennett had a beautiful spirit. She was a mighty servant of God. She led her family in all the ways that mattered. She led them to church. She showed them how to be a devoted spouse, even when it wasn’t always easy. She taught them to pray. Showed them how to love the unlovable. Taught them that all they needed was a  made up mind and the blood of Jesus. At 29 years old I am fortunate enough to not have many regrets. But among the few I do have, not getting to know Grandma Jean better is a big one. I regret not bringing my kids around to get to know her better. I regret not gleaming more of her wisdom. I regret not just sitting around and listening to her make others laugh. I regret not being around to taste her infamous pie – or any of the food she cooked for her family with so much love. Nobody went hungry when they were in Grandma’s house.

With all those regrets it is pretty obvious that my memories with Grandma Jean were limited – but there is one that I truly call myself blessed to experience. As it became apparent that she was making her way towards her eternal home we went to visit her at her house. Grandma’s house was physically small but like her, was large in spirit. When you sat in her living room, on her red sofa, you didn’t feel like you were in a small living room. Maybe it was the love in the house that made it always seem like there was enough room for everyone. As we all squished into the room she sat in her recliner dozing in and out of sleep. The television was playing in the background. As I sat across the room from her, quietly watching everyone around me a friend of hers from church came in. I was silently praying and could already feel the Holy Spirit in the air. Suddenly all the men and children went outside. It was as if God had taken his hand and ushered everyone except the women out of the house. Grandma sat in her recliner with her daughter, who was knitting a dish rag next to her – and her friend came over towards her to pray over her and anoint her with some oil. After she prayed over her – my husband’s Aunt started singing “Jesus kept me, another day, yes he did”. The Spirit was so thick in the room I don’t think an unbeliever would have been able to breath had they walked in. I looked around and myself and the other women in the room all had silent tears rolling down our faces. I think the tears were a mixture of a lot of things – pain, grief, the Spirit, joy. But mostly, I think the tears came from all of us knowing. Every woman in that room knew. We knew it was true – that Jesus had kept her another day and in doing so blessed us all with another day with her.

I don’t have many things I care about accomplishing in life. I don’t care about being a millionaire or climbing the corporate ladder. I don’t care about driving a fancy car or living in a huge house. At the end of my life, if my family loves me, respects me and feels about me the way we all felt about Grandma Jean, I will know my purpose on this earth was met. My life will have made a difference and I will be able to go home to meet my Father with the same peace I saw Grandma gracefully take with her on her journey to her eternal home.

The Web of the Spirit

Lately I have been feeling a thirst for the Psalms in my spirit. Maybe that is because they are so full of everything that encompasses this human experience – hope, joy, peace, hurt, heartache.

Often it seems that the Holy Spirit is the least understood and least utilized of the Trinity between believers. When you start talking about the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost people who are not “sold out” for Christ often get uncomfortable. That saddens me. If people only knew the depth and fullness that the Holy Ghost can bring to your life and your relationship with Christ….

In the James Cameron movie Avatar the “higher power” or diety is Eywa. She is made up of all living things. Her power runs throughout their land in an interconnected web made up of nuero trasnmitters. This is all centralized in the mother tree, a place where all the spokes of this web kind of come together. The Na’vi people have tails that they plug into this web and allows them to bring balance to things like wild horses or wild flying creatures and control those things. So where am I going with all of this? That is what the Holy Spirit is – it is an interconnected web that all leads toward the Father and the Son. In the web of life that is the Holy Spirit, I find time and time again that God will use the Spirit to start me on an assignment or give me revelation about something and throughout my day and week I will see that theme reinforced over and over and over. This brings me back to Pslams and David. Earlier this week I was looking for scriptures on identity and it took me to Pslams. And then I was looking for scripture on moods and it took me to Psalms. This morning my e-mail devotional (which I hardly ever read by the way) took me…guess where? – you got it – to Pslams. God is pointing me in the direction he needs me to go to find what it is I need right now. And I feel my soul thirsting for it. I have never read the book of Pslams. This has happened to me before – the Holy Ghost has taken me to the book of Acts and the book of 1 Corinthians. Did I ever finish these assignments? No. So what happens when you don’t follow through with the assignment that God lays on your heart? You miss a blessing. I don’t know what blessings I missed but I know I missed them. All because of my lack of follow through, my inability to be faithful when I don’t FEEL like it, my inability to be faithful when I don’t feel covered in the peace and joy of God. I have to get consistent. God has been ministering this to me for quite sometime.    And I have really got to listen. I am tired of missing out on blessings, on opportunities all because I can’t get consistent. I can’t be a finisher. The word says in Ecclesiastes that the end of a thing is better then the beginning. And I know this. But what have I ever finished?

I thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I thank God for the way it drops things throughout my day and week through it’s interconnected web. I thank God for the way the web of the Spirit connects those who are in the body with me – the way we all say the same things even when we say them differently. I thank God for the current that runs through the web of the Spirit. Always below the surface trying to bring forth God’s glory and His will through unity. I want to be a finisher. I want to be in unity with MYSELF and with other believers.

God showed me where to start – but will I find the tenacity to finish? That is today, and has always been, the real question.