Tag: Bible

Diplomatic Inspiration 2.0

Do I have a cool story for you!

But first,

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt 5:9)

Yesterday, I was at a Diplomatic Peace Summit.

The speakers consisted of Sikhs, Monks, Hindu Priests, Bishops, the Former President of Ecuador, Heads of various Parishes from The Americas, and one of my friends, Angel Roman, who was representing a fledgling Peace Initiative.

In attendance were thousands of young people, the general public, and honored guests. Thundered applause electrified the room from start to finish as each speaker gave their 3-5 mins speech in native lingo. Angel’s mother shed tears of joy seeing her 20-year-old boy made his entrance on the International Stage. Quite moving.

Then, came the SHOCK wave that pulsated the room and left me breathless!

This is how it happened.

First, religious leaders offered their thoughts for peace. Infused in their opinions were their respective beliefs and values. Then, they revealed what they each read from the Bible, the prophecies for peace, how their religion was linked in. Weird right?

Each leader then turned that to support their views and worldviews. None of them mention The Name but worked their way around it! By now, it was unsettling.

Then, one of the leaders stood up and repeatedly pointed to the Chairman as the answer and the one who had the solution to world peace. “He has the answer to world peace,” the speaker boldly stated. And away went the applause. Again, unsettling. Who did they think they are, I thought.

The NERVE!

Finally, came the chairman’s turn. He stood up to a standing ovation and delivered his speech. Then came the shocking twist.

God is concerned about peace,” he said.

And yes, peace is a person,” he added.

By now, I was like, say what now?

Then, the chairman punched the air with eyes closed and declared, “His name is Jesus and he is the Prince of Peace.”

I about fell out my chair.

He went on to quote and directly from Luke’s gospel and then proceeded to unwind some wisdom from Revelation.

After admonishing his followers, he explained further, “Jesus is not just for me. He is for everyone. He is for you. Everyone should want him. He has the solution. Let’s prefer peace together.”

Then, sharing the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, he encouraged the youth to be like Abraham who on behalf of Sodom intervened for Sodom when he asked if God would destroy the city if he found only 10 righteous people.

Wooo! What a man!

Then it occurred to me!

Where were the Christians? Why were they severely under-represented on the panel and in the room? 

Sometimes, we hide in buildings and associate only with our own. We leave the world to find a way to resolve issues and then complain when their endeavors make things worse.

The church is not the building, it is the people who come together in the building. God does not live in a building. He lives and operates among the people who make the building a gathering place.

We often claim to be people of love and truth. But, the only way to find out just how loving and patient we to engage and be tested by different problems and people with contrasting beliefs, behaviors, and emotions.

So I have been thinking –

If you were given the chance today to speak at international meetings or the courts of kings and high rollers, would you know what to do, what to say, how to speak?

Would you know how to act in such a way that folks in these circles felt respected and allowed them to actively listen and request that you return to share more?

Would you know how to act in a way to didn’t make you come across as arrogant?

And I have also been wondering –

Have you thought of finding a problem that plagues your community or nation with the intention to bring light into? Pre-believers see these things and they make efforts to help. If they don’t find us at the panels and tables wouldn’t they assume we are only about ourselves? Better yet,

Why would they respect us if they enter the fire trying to help people in it and find us doing nothing about it when we have and talk about our heroes of faith who were thrown into and ended up walking about and out of a fire, heated 7 times, unburned? If we have that “superpower in Jesus” why aren’t they finding us in the fire? 

Yes! We are citizens of heaven. Yes, when he appears, we will appear with him.

So what?

Until then, we are still here, on earth.

Who do we think is supposed to brighten the world, wipe tears away, heal the brokenhearted, revive broken dreams, and set captives free? Who do we think is primarily empowered with light and life to make the earth a little bit like heaven? Doesn’t it say,

All creation of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children? – (Romans 8:19)

Well, aren’t we HIS, the empowered ones?

If we are Ambassadors of the Light –

Wouldn’t you agree that its time for us to learn how to be diplomatic in our response to community and national problems just as we are concerned about lost souls? Wouldn’t you agree that this will mean entering areas of conflict and darkness to represent and bring light and peace?

People will not often believe what you believe until what you believe produces results that no one else produces

Yes! We set our minds and hearts on things above where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Colossians 3). But that’s precisely it. We fix our minds on things in heaven, not our bodies. Think of what heaven is like and commune with the savior regarding things there as well as things here on earth.

But wouldn’t you agree that the outcome of our ongoing conversations should be heavenly minded resolutions for both for souls and situations in different spheres of influence we have been inspired to engage here on earth?

Wouldn’t you agree that it should involve God being able to entrust us with financial formulas for creating wealth for kingdom purposes, wisdom for helping the broken, creative ideas for transforming culture and demonstrating the King of Kings, frameworks for national transformation, and peacebuilding?

And doesn’t it say,

“Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Mt 6:9-13)

I wonder –

What does heaven look like and what is God’s will in heaven like? Is there sickness in heaven? Is there poverty in heaven? Are they oppressed people heaven? Are they people crying for help in heaven?

Don’t get me wrong. Until he comes back, Earth won’t be like heaven. But, don’t get it twisted either. It’s our responsibility to infuse the “earth” around us a little like heaven. It could be a lot of work and sacrifice. But then again, it’s not a hobby. It’s a job description.

If God’s light and presence makes heaven a paradise, wouldn’t you agree that as diplomats of The Light we ought to demonstrate the power, love, light, hope, wisdom, revelation, creativity…of our kingdom in the Sphere of Influence our King has sent us to?

And what on earth are we waiting for even though we already have The Green Light?

You tell me.

Anywho, just thinking!

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One Love, One Spirit


 

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Brotherhood

Last night, I was going through some archives and came across this description of the Kingdom of God that moved me and has since shaped the way I approach life. I heard it from John Paul Jackson of righteous memory on his show, Dreams and Mysteries on the episode – The Kingdom of God. It was worth sharing today.

On that episode, the scene begins with John Paul sitting down with a woman. He begins talking about the inner life. Then shifts to the subject of the Kingdom. He talked about the woman’s inner issues which he noted were mostly spiritual. Then, he said –

Because it is spiritual, they require some change. One that begins inside of you more than anywhere else.

We all live in a kingdom and there are many kingdoms.

There have been many kingdoms of men throughout history.

They come. They go. They rise. They fall.

But, there is a kingdom. A kingdom above every kingdom that spans far beyond the limited kingdoms of men. One cannot see the castles on earth of this kingdom because this kingdom begins in the heart. It begins inside of us.

This isn’t a kingdom of politics or economics but of brotherhood.

It has an aristocracy not based on dominance but on service.

It has a house of Lords but it is not filled with eldest sons but of selfless brothers.

It’s not a kingdom of pride but of humility.

It knows no greed but fosters selfless giving.

It’s a kingdom that does not banish the weak but offers to make the weak strong.

This kingdom is the kingdom of heaven.

And in the final analysis, how we’ve lived our life in this kingdom is all that will matter.

There are some things that God wants to do that begins inside of you that’s going to change everything in your life. But it is going to require you accepting His only begotten son.

That kingdom begins with Jesus and with you accepting him and his sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins and payment to help you draw near freely and boldly to God your creator who longs to be a good father to you.

Thank you, John Paul. Until we meet again

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One Love, One Spirit


 

It’s the Final Test. Don’t Get it Wrong!

Reflecting on my adventure –

As I near – The Promised Land – I can see it. I see the difference and I can see why its hard. I see why it’s counterintuitive. Don’t get it wrong.

First, let’s see what you think.

In the Books of Exodus and Numbers, we read about journeys. They are strikingly similar and hard to tear apart. In both books, the people of Israel are on the journey which ends in sin and then, destruction. In Exodus, its the golden calf and in Numbers, the story of the spies. In both, God threatens to destroy them and restart the journey with Moses. And in both, Moses pleads for Israel.

Now, the difference. According to Rabbi Sacks, in Exodus, the people are departing while in Numbers, they are arriving. They have left Egypt far behind. Unlike in Exodus, in Numbers, the people are not looking back or thinking of the danger they are fleeing from (Egyptians chasing them at the Red Sea, Amorites etc.). Instead, they are thinking of the destination they are traveling towards, The Promised Land they are about to enter.

One would have thought that as they approached the promised land after escaping many dangers, they would be more relaxed, happy, fruitful, and less demanding. On the contrary., they become more rebellious. Moses becomes more tired, telling God to end his misery (Numbers 11:6) and is now easily prone to anger and despair. He becomes less likely to listen to God, acting on his emotions instead of swiftly obeying the Lord’s command to “Speak to the rock,” INSTEAD OF striking it.

And reading through it now seems like God is calling me out on it (ouch).

Contrasting both stories reveal that –

There are two journeys – The Journey from and the Journey to. The journey to is much harder than the journey from

Often, knowing where you are traveling from is not helpful but still doesn’t hinder your progress. At least, during the emotional moments of the adventure with God, its something you hold onto. It becomes the benchmark for what you are going through. The reason for your anger at God.

It becomes our “In Egypt, we had cucumbers, meat and much to eat. Why did you bring us out here to starve” type of complaint. In the final stretch, the uncertainty of your journey into the destination becomes hard to ignore. The mere thought of it may leave you overwhelmed and unfocused.

In Israel’s case, they made mistakes, had “Too much fear and too little faith.” They focused on the Journey From instead of the Journey To. The forgot to remember the destination. This honest, simple, emotional, and momentary error single-handedly cost them their chance to enter the destination the walked 40 years for. That error costs them the intuition they needed to pass the final test to enter the blessing.

And that test was the ability –

To distinguish between an opportunity to be seized and a temptation to be resisted.

On the Journey From, there are often not a lot of opportunities to turn to. One has to depend solely on the Lord. But, in the final stretch, on the Journey To, far many options and opportunities appear.

In fact, the opportunities are so obvious, so clear, and line up so well that if you are still wondering about your Journey From and wishing your present reality felt a little like it, you may miss the subtleties that distinguish opportunity from temptation.

Times like this can be hard. But, I have been thinking. Perhaps the one thought that can help us catch those subtleties and discern the best choice is to ask –

Which option does NOT require any faith?

For without faith, it is impossible to please God… (Hebrew 11:6 – paraphase)

Nuff’ said.

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One Love, One Spirit


 

 

 

 

 

 

Miracles on Skid Row

If you didn’t know…

Skid Row is a popular block close to Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. It is home to the homeless. Tents pegged everywhere, smells, garbage…and then men, women, and families.

It is home to some good people who made mistakes, good people with unfortunate storiespeople with good stories who made poor choices, and others.

Yesterday, I saw miracles on Skid Row. I saw miracles in the streets. But first,

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat… (Mt 25:35-42)

For about two weeks, the Holy Spirit seemed to pull strings inside of me, pointing me toward that end. So, instead of the regular dose of Sunday Service and Sunday Netflix, I decided to follow Him. And the entire day turned out to be one big divine appointment.

Its the miracles on Skid Row I wish to highlight today.

I got together with some folks who visit Skid Row each Sunday. We went out, set up a tent, and just worshiped God with guitars and all. I was told that the homeless don’t show until they start giving care packages. But, as we just sang, they started coming out. Some to worship, sing, talk, and pray with and be prayed for.

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Then, we stared giving out care packages – sandwiches, soda, apples, and water. Then this one homeless woman (in the photo) showed up. She was anything but ordinary. She prayed up a storm and blessed people and us too. Then, I met Mary. And this is where it all started.

See, Mary was standing by her cart on the other side of the street. I went to invite her and she wouldn’t burge. She kept saying, “Next Sunday.” Translation – never. It turns out Mary was broken inside. Lost all hope. Felt worthless. So, I brought stuff to her and just talked. Then Mary said, “I want pants. Do you have pants? Its cold and I ain’t got none.”

I told her I was going to ask but doubted there was any. So, I went back and asked and well, there wasn’t any. Right when I picked up some more stuff for her and walked over to Mary and her cart, a brand new pair of jeans all glittered up was in her cart. I was shocked and asked how that happened. She said, some random person came by and gave it to her and left.

???? Random person ???

As I walked back, a car pulled up and said I got stuff for you guys, pulled out some bread, a guitar, and pointed us to a backseat of Hand Sanitizers. And people, let me tell you. These good people with unfortunate stories love their Hand Sanitizers. They would kill for one.

Not long after that, car after car came by with more food, groceries and drinks. And I was like, is this the feeding of the five thousand again? The big one was roasted chicken. Wooo! It got through in a flash. But here’s the mysterious thing.

All those folks who brought stuff? We didn’t know them! I inquired and I was told they were not friends (but for one or two). Most of these kindhearted folks were just lovers of our Lord Jesus who saw what was happening and decided to unite in the pursuit of applied compassion.

And, I haven’t ever seen a homeless man serve God with gladness like one homeless brother who showed up to serve alongside instead of being served. It was humbling. He was diligent, making sure nothing was wasted. He would tell you point blank if something was good, if chicken bones was still enough chicken for someone and all that good stuff.

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He knew who needed extra and who had a wife or kids to take food to. I really enjoyed how others who came thought of asking for extra for loved ones and neighbors who they felt would never approach the tent for personal reasons.

When I reflect on the privileged service and conversations, I can’t shake the thought that some of these men and women in unfortunate positions who have had to make compromising decisions to protect or provide for loved ones –

may just turn out to be better human beings than me and some of us

This humbles me.

I chose to share this to give glory to God for inviting me to be a part of this and also to share this as a piece of the bigger story we the redeemed have a part to play in.

Lessons Learned or Reinforced:

  • Think baby steps. Take baby steps.
  • If you think its the Spirit. Test it. Go and do it and you’ll find out real quick if its Him or not. Sometimes, that’s the only way.
  • Swift and complete obedience with no reservations.

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~ One Love, One Spirit


 

 

Clues to Your Calling & Destiny

How does one find out what their calling, their vocation, or their destiny is?

This is a question I battled with and sometimes still battle with.

It is quite a journey and for me it has been hard and it has taken me over 8 years to put – some of it – together. In the beginning, it was blurry. I just knew what page God was on in my book of life and destiny and where in the future he was calling from.

But, like Father Abraham, I had no idea what to do, where to go, or how to go about it. It was a cold call – cold turkey.

My journey has been about learning the nuances of “God’s call to us” and sharing the process. It has involved stepping out of myself to see the work and the hand of the divine working on myself while doing life myself.

It now involves sharing what I have experienced to be the MOST IMPORTANT pieces to keep in mind or work with in order to help friends, family, and others make that practical shift and take action not on their own, but as a community.

That’s why I started this blog.

Recently, while listening to Rabbi Sacks discussing a weekly bible portion on Leviticus, he shared some thoughts and clues to identifying your vocation which I thought was awesome. I saw myself in the process. In his article, he quoted the late Michael Novak in, Business as a Calling: work and the examined life, shared these four characteristics to identifying your calling: Continue reading “Clues to Your Calling & Destiny”

First, Improve the World before Perfecting Yourself – here’s why

And…Its all about timing

I know, I know…sounds like marlarkey – meaningless talk, nonsense…! But, I assure you, it isn’t it.

In the previous post, Your Calling vs. Your Mission, I shared the following quote:

Improving the world around us comes before perfecting our own inner world ~ Mendel Kalmenson

Then I asked the question –

Did you notice the twist in that quote? Well, did you?

Its true. Transformation begins on the inside before it can be expressed on the outside. It only makes sense to work on yourself first before you work on the world. One must blow the flames of God’s word and God’s call in their souls first so that the heat of their fire can bring warmth to those around them.

But,

Do you have to “perfect” yourself first to before improving the world around you? When a house is on fire, anyone who can carry a bucket of water to put out the flame is required to. Continue reading “First, Improve the World before Perfecting Yourself – here’s why”

Your Calling vs. Your Mission

A calling is a vocation, something other, from your day job or what you do everyday. A calling is God’s call to you from the future. He is already there, sees you as He knows you are capable of becoming if you say – yes – to his ultimate adventure.

It means in your “book of destiny”, God is on Page 898 and seeing you at page 127 is saying to at Page 127,

Hey there! I know you don’t know me or know what will happen in your life. But, if you focus on this mighty task which I would like for you to consider pursuing in additional to all your other responsibilities and life in general, and if you calibrate your compass to follow this divine map, you’ll meet me on page 898 in the future. Along the way, you will experience me, meet or get to know my Son, and receive help from my Spirit. Are you in?”

When God calls you, it means you are not there yet. You are not that person yet. You are not “it” yet. It means you have a ways to go. But, here’s the sad thing – Continue reading “Your Calling vs. Your Mission”

You Don’t Have to Be on the Same Page

Often, we think that to get along, especially in relationships, we have to be on the same page. Well, I disagree.

We are all different. We are each unique expressions of the image of God with different hopes, dreams, and ideas. We each have our own experiences and differentiating nuances in world views. Yes, even when we believe the same thing.

Imagining romantic relationships here – what if her level of spirituality is different from yours? What do you do then? Is it a good match or not? Obviously, one of you has much to learn, yes?

So, being on the same page is not really plausible. What do you do then?

When you are in a relationship or intend to begin a deep one –

You don’t have to be on the same page.

You just have to be reading from the same book.

Here’s why – Continue reading “You Don’t Have to Be on the Same Page”

The Four Way Test

Listen! You are light and you are life. You cannot be hidden. Bloom! Shine!

Jesus said that “You are the light of the world” and “A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

If the light of the world lives in you, that makes you light too. If the one called wonderful dwells in you, that makes you wonderful too. But –

So what? How does it help your people and the community that you are life, light, and wonderful?

Continue reading “The Four Way Test”

The Search for Love is REAL

Hello fam,

I’ve been up and running, from North to South in Califonia and just returned to the villa. Personally, I prefer to sit down, reflect, and write. So, its been particularly difficult to set the mood and press some fresh spiritual and inspiration juice for you.

Nevertheless…

What’s up people?

THIS IS GOING TO BE AN EXCELLENT YEAR

Last weekend, I was in Orange County attending a Singles Life Workshop. And people, let me tell you – AMAZING! I was thinking I would walk into this event and meet 20-somethings and maybe, 30-somethings and maybe find a “pretty mama” but noooo….

I saw a few 20-somethings and 30’s to 60-somethings all over the place. I was like – Lord, have mercy…

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Seriously! I was like…even the 40’s to 70’s are looking for love?

I thought folks in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s…would have it down by now. I thought they would have it all together. But nooo…both the men and women came with their own issues.

And boy, some of those ladies had that perfect 8, size 10…body…, tights, boots, heels and that Beyonce Knowles walk. And…I mean… Continue reading “The Search for Love is REAL”