This photo is of my good friend, Vince. He cares for me often by reminding me, “Jesus loves you, big brother Torrey!” Many know Vince and have encouraged and tried to help him on and off through the years. He has some challenges and gets people mad sometimes at him because of his not being aware of what he’s saying. My encouragement from spending time with him over two lunches lately and knowing him for six years now as a personal friend is that we cannot let someone get to this point and not have some friends in our community who will step it up and help out as God guides. Love this guy and you’re getting to spend some time with Jesus (Matthew 25)!
Carrie and I just very much enjoyed watching The Darkest Hour about Winston Churchill as he took office as the Prime Minister for the United Kingdom as Nazi Germany was crushing Europe with deathly blows and most were saying surrender was the only hope for the preservation of human life. Surrender at that hour to a satanic dictator was actually not even the last option. Surrender was not in fact a viable option unless the death of freedom was what we wanted.
Churchill’s strength was very unique. He was able to stand alone and still feel boldly that the English could stand together and rise above the lies of this satanic dictator, Hitler, the name that still today brings chills of both horror and hatred to people as we remember his evil aims and methods.
Reading today in Genesis, this passage stood out within the context of Joseph’s life story:
But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” – Genesis 37:10
Israel was embarrassed and acted defensively when he heard his son sharing a simple and shocking dream. It wasn’t as though Joseph made up the dream. Presumably the only blame he had was if he shared his dream with pride and excitement over dominating his brothers and parents one day. Other than that possibility (and not certainty) Joseph hadn’t committed any crime in sharing his dreams.
God is the Giver of good and fruitful visions, and and yet we so quickly want to take credit for truly world-impacting visions. We also take offense when people share their visions if they don’t flatter our personal visions for our own grandeur. Joseph, it is quite foreseeable, if he and one of his brothers were in switched roles, probably would have struggled too and chafed, resisted such a vision of his demotion.
The irony about visions that God gives us is they often feel so simple, pure, achievable, and self-elevating. Yet look at Joseph. The HOW was humiliation, not necessarily humility so much as humiliation. We believe God has called believers to step boldly into the visions God has placed in their hearts and yet to do so looking to Jesus and realizing the visions He has given us through His promised Holy Spirit are not for our benefit alone and actually are especially for the benefit of others, and these visions are reached often through self-sacrifice that He provides for us to take.
Never would I have believed I’d have an amazing four employee company and a healthy launch of a grassroots house church network in the heart of California with such a passionately beautiful wife who along with me is enraptured by the glory of Jesus Christ, the God-man.
Never would I have dreamed of being able to start a small group leader and house church pastor coaching and consulting firm with my wife in God’s timing and begin speaking as God opens doors to people about the love of God in Christ from community to community with creativity and boldness, leading leaders of believers to the truth that we are to live out the visions of Christ’s glory in our world by LOVING RELENTLESSLY and not cow-towing to the satanic lies that believers are to stand by and allow “the real leaders” who are “allowed to speak to the shaping of our culture” to do as they please with our world. If we keep God and morality out of our vocabulary, we can communicate in the public forum as much as we would like, disemboweling our vocabulary and thereby doing the same to our thought life. When this is done to our thought life, it is done also to our meditative life.
God teaches us that our meditative life is the most important and influential for the course of our life, because it is there that we encounter the visions He has for our usefulness in His plans.
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. – Psalm 40:1-2
Genuine Jesus followers cannot sit back and allow the lies to seep into our souls that our message is only for encouraging journals and cards or merely the “religious section” of our book stores and libraries.
A tactful and creative introduction of our Lord is more welcome than it is offensive when it is brought by a humbled and loving Jesus-follower. God has given me an opportunity to make a daily practice of asking several complete strangers every day how I can pray for them. I’ll take down the first name and prayer concern and often go ahead and pray right then and there for the tender soul(s) God has made a point to encourage that day, laying hands on him or her and trusting God to give me the words to pray and Scripture to recall during my prayer. I’ll also make a point to pause and wait on the Lord with these souls and pray into the visions He puts on my heart for them.
God gives us Jesus’ favor with God and man as we humbly serve and pray for those God leads us to minister to as genuine followers of our Lord Jesus.
We must consider HOW to stir up one another to love and good works, brothers and sisters in CHRIST!