Every step you take is a step into power. Can this be true? Can I really step out in faith and there be power behind it? The biggest deterrent to stepping out in faith is the doubt that it will even make a difference. The second step may be harder than the first. Every step you take in faith changes you and changes the world around you. We sometimes forget that we stepped out in faith, that is when our feet fail us. When Peter walked on water every step he took literally changed the physics of the world around him. We see Jesus out in a storm and everything in us says get out to where Jesus is. But we forget that Jesus is standing in the midst of a storm. We head His way and all is good, then we look around and think well….this is a storm. We expect Jesus to stop the storm before we make it out him, but He didn’t calm the storm until He was back at the boat. He took Peter through the storm before He calmed the storm. I hate that. I want to walk on water, but calm water. No one wants to walk through a storm. We often mistake the demeanor of Jesus as the condition of the call. In the same respect we should not let the condition of the call determine our own demeanor. We want our step to be what changes the conditions. Peace is the condition of your heart, a raging sea is only a condition of your circumstance. Jesus walked in peace, with every step He took He created peace. But walking in peace is different than walking through a peaceful place. You can walk in peace and be walking through a storm. Two interesting things about peace. One, you can’t walk in peace until you’ve walked through a storm. Two, peace cannot be walked through. Peace is a strong tower. Peace is authority. Peace cannot be shaken. Peace is a position we, as Christians, are entitled to. We are adopted into the inheritance of Christ, and He is the Prince of Peace. He has mastered peace, therefore we also should master peace amidst the storm.
I’ve had a few things come up recently that got me thinking. One was an interview of a guy, who had a popular show that I personally didn’t care for. In the interview I discovered that this guy has a tremendous Spirit filled relationship with Jesus. Instantly I became more interested in the show. Another was a TED talk from a guy who has a very different belief system than I do. He started his talk stating some parts of his belief system and how it pertained to his talk. I was very interested in his talk and it was very insightful. But I was tempted to dismiss what he had to say because of his first stated beliefs. Holy Spirit urged me not to dismiss or devalue what he had to say simply for believing differently. I observed these two instances in the midst of the @socalitybarbie increase of popularity. Authenticity and real community have quickly become the height of most conversations, and very much a part of my internal conversation. I viewed my interaction with these two guys in a very unique way.
In our nature we have the proclivity to judge people in one of two ways. We either judge them by their performance or persona, by the image they put out there. The other way we judge is by their beliefs. A persons performance is not necessarily a bad thing. It simply may be the image that the character they are playing has. Someone my host a show as a character and be a totally different person in reality. We see actors do it all the time, they play the role of the protagonist and we don’t hold it against them. The second is a bit more dangerous. We know their belief system and we judge everything they do or say through that lens. Whether or not what they have to say has value, we blow it off because what they believe goes against our beliefs. We let what we disagree with become the thing that comes between what we do agree on. As a follower of Christ, I believe certain things are sin that a non believer will not count as sin. Until they become a follower as well, I cannot hold them the standard I hold myself to. Are they still in sin, yes. Are they acting against their beliefs, no. My job is not to point out how bad their sin is, it is be kind and lead them to the Christ I follow. When someone begins to act against their belief, that is when we can call people out. Jesus didn’t go through a casino and turn over the tables, He went into the church where they were using religion to steal money. Stealing is wrong in both places, but one is structured around taking people’s money. Until the casino believes that taking people’s money is wrong it will continue to take it. Let’s be honest though, if a casino gets your money it’s your own fault. We’re getting into legal vs. moral issues now. The reverse is also true. Someone may present something we wholeheartedly believe in, but at the core you have very different beliefs. My warning is to not let the fact that someone is presenting a single mutual ideal lead you to believe that you are kinsmen. See people in their wholeness and their hurt. The masks that people hide behind are only a reflection of their pain. Whether you believe the same thing or not, don’t let it get in the way of enjoying each others company. Live by your convictions and lead your friends to Christ through your love for them.
This is where @socalitybarbie comes in. Her account is based on the following. Instagammers are posting photos that are or seem to be staged with tags such as #liveauthentic or #adventure. Her frustration, some of these grams are not authentic and staged. Her solution, call out the inauthentic by making fun of it and being exaggeratedly inauthentic. She now has the popularity of all the accounts she makes fun of thru this exaggerated inauthenticity. I ask this of @socalitybarbie, to steward her influence well. She is now heard, and what she has to say can either keep people in check or simply become inauthentic. She must remember her beliefs and why she started. She got me thinking about the point of all the social platforms. It reminded what exactly they are, social platforms. In the same way someone can have their own show or share a TED talk, social media is your platform to share your beliefs and your persona. The original intent of social media was to keep people connected, but is has become so much more than that. My human brain can only keep a handful of healthy relationship before some begin to fall off. No computer program can help me with that. No matter how much of someone’s status I see, our relationship is my responsibility. Relationships are maintained through communication not status updates. Social platforms really have very little to do with real relationships. They are the platform for which people watch their friend’s personas. If you stage a photo, this doesn’t mean your whole life is staged. This is the way you choose to use your platform. If you don’t share all your darkest moments, this doesn’t mean all your days have to be primrose and daisies. The greater your platform the more cherished your privacy. You’re not going to tell the world what you tell your closest friends. That comes against the intimacy needed for healthy relationships. Don’t let the fear of being inauthentic keep you from expression. Don’t live life through your platform, live life through real relationships. Use your platform to share what you love. Whether that’s pictures of your kids or of your Kinfolk magazine. Remember this, everything you do sends a message whether you share it or not. If you have 100 or 100k, people are listening to you. Jesus only sought to influence 12 men, yet He changed the world.
How often do we have the gift but lack the boldness to use it? We know we have gifts, but we don’t believe in ourselves enough to use it. Boldness is being able to put your gifting into action. There’s a big difference in having a gift and using a gift. It is like having a gift card and leaving it in your wallet. You know the value of it and what you can get with it, but unless its used it is just a plastic card in your wallet. The greatness that God has put in you is only limited by your expression of it.
Boldness does not come from training and education. The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 (NLT) Boldness comes from ordinary people who have been with Jesus. When we depend on training we will only do what we’ve been trained to. We will never innovate or do anything new, and when training fails us we will have nothing to lean on. When we lean on Jesus for the leverage we need, that is when breakthrough happens. We are able to push past the boundaries of the situation and allow Glory to shine on it.
Boldness is a necessity for growth. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31 (NLT) You may have to do something bold before you see any growth, by may I mean you will. Every breakthrough you have and will ask for is the conduit that God will use to have His Word preached. His Word is necessary for your breakthrough, in the same way your breakthrough is necessary for His Word to be preached. Without your breakthrough His Word is void, and His Word does not return void. Without your breakthrough His Word is not preached, for it is through the word of our testimony that the Word is spread. Through His blood and our testimony is the only way those around you will see breakthrough. We need boldness to share our testimony, that boldness comes from our breakthroughs. We so often expect God to stretch out His hand on our behalf when we have yet to stretch out our own. It’s a beautiful cycle. Be bold, God moves, in turn He gives us more boldness.
It is now up to us what we do with the new found boldness. Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (NLT) We cannot leave breakthrough veiled, for that will leave hearts hardened towards God. We have to be masterful with our boldness. Using it to soften the hearts of men. Boldness without a breakthrough is false confidence and will hurt people. For you are not gaining boldness from a place of truth. When people push against your false confidence it will crumble and people will get hurt. It is cockiness birthed from pride. When boldness comes from a place of breakthrough, you understand what it takes for that breakthrough to happen. Boldness from breakthrough insights confidence to those that see it. They see that you understand what they are going through, because you have been there before. Don’t hide behind timid Christianity because of lack of confidence. Ask for the boldness to do what He is asking you to do. Christ came so that we can be very bold. Let us not deny the gift He has given us. Your gifts are what show strength and beauty at the same time. Be bold with who you are and your gifting will shine bright.
Your creativity should not be determined by the environment. I hear of these creative spaces that are supposed to make you more creative. Does this mean that my creativity is limited to a dim lit room with at least one pallet wall and all the furniture is made with gas pipe. Well, I consider myself pretty creative and that room doesn’t inspire me. In fact I very much dislike pallet walls and gas pipe is ridiculously expensive. That room also indicates that there is a barista somewhere nearby, thus bringing the cost of my creativity even higher. Don’t let the lack of creative objects around you stifle your creativity. So what if you’re in a stark white room with bad lighting. Lack only creates room for more. There really isn’t a lot needed to be creative, a time and place are the basic ones. Being truly creative is pushing past the dullness around you and pulling out what is in you. Instead let us leave an impact on the environment we leave behind.
I hear the phrase so often “Think outside the box”. Quite frankly I think it is the worst thing you can tell someone. What is wrong with the box and what is so much better outside of it? What you’re telling me is “Here’s your boundaries, but I don’t want you to work within them.” Why then are you giving me boundaries? By telling me to work outside of the boundaries set you are subsequently putting me in a box. Instead of thinking creatively I’m focused on thinking outside of the box. Outside of the box I have no direction, nothing to lean against and nothing to shape my ideas. When you’re trying to think outside the box, you’re trying to see through a boundary and not through a possibility. I honestly love being put a box (strictly speaking figuratively). The box is a safe place to take risk. If it fits within the box, then do it. You have nothing to support your ideas outside of the box.
There are seven key boxes. They are the boxes that God created to work within in Genesis 1.
Time – Before there was a beginning everything was formless and void. The box was empty and non existent. Before any idea is formed in your mind it doesn’t exist. Therefore you must layout time to give it form or shape. You also must constrain it to a certain period of time. If you do not it will simply remain an idea. It took God seven days to create earth, not because it was the only time he had. God determined for creation to take seven days, thus He did so. Imagine what would’ve happened if God didn’t limit Himself to seven days, we’d still be in the creation phase. Every day we would have a whole new set of things. The earth would look like a hoarders garage, cluttered and orderless. On a side note, He never said creation was finished just that it was good. I think He still creates a creature or plant every once in a while.
Practical – Set aside periods of time. One for each box you have to create. Stick with your deadlines. I have to admit deadlines make me cringe, but they are necessary. Without them you will never get anything done. This is coming from a professional procrastinator. Also determine whether or not you have the time to do your project. Note: Doing something over a period of time is not procrastination, so long as the time period is intentional.
Space – After time space had to be created. Room was made for all the ideas that were about to come to life. God separated the earth and the sky, the land and the sea. He gave an area for each idea to be fruitful in. If He had not made the separations there would be chaos. Birds would be flying and suddenly be swimming, fish would be swimming and suddenly be on land. He created space not to be cluttered, but filled.
Practical – Where can this be accomplished? Where will it go when it is done? What other projects are happening in that space?
Provision – Next, God created what was need to sustain His ideas. I he did not do this, the ideas would’ve lived for a period of time and then died. An unsustainable idea will never come to completion.
Practical – What is the budget? What can I use that I don’t have to pay for? Are volunteers available to help? Can I split the cost with another benefactor of this project? Who’s willing to pay for it?
Vision – Then came vision. God did not want His ideas to come to life for the sake of breathing His air. He created ideas to begat ideas. To be fruitful and multiply. Most of us think He only told man to be fruitful, no He first commanded this to the fish and the birds. Simply because He liked them. Great ideas do not lose their value in duplication.
Practical – Why am I doing this? Is the client getting what they are asking for?
Creativity – Some might say that this is to far down the list. It’s not. Without the above first being set in place creativity is powerless. Paintings can’t be painted unless there is first a canvas, a canvas can’t be stretched unless there is first a frame, a frame can’t be built unless there is lumber and so on. The framework of creativity has to first be set before it can be expressed.
Practical – How can I make this look beautiful, be cutting edge or most functional? If you can get all three of those, you’ve got the golden ticket.
Authority – All of this was done to give authority. God gave man dominion over the earth He had created. He didn’t create to micro manage, He created to give.
Practical – Now that I have all the other boxes set up, I go get the green light. This will look different for a personal project vs. a client project. For personal you need to like what you’re looking at, for client work they need to like what you’re showing them. Also you must be willing to let others work on your project, this is the point of the other boxes. They are designed to give someone else success on your projects.
Rest – This is likely the most important. God didn’t go from doing one great thing to the next. He rested before He moved to the next thing.
Practical – Take a break between projects and even during long ones. Your brain and body can only take some much. You can accomplish more with a rested body and mind, than a worn out one.
I pose a new phrase “Think above the box”. Get a higher perspective of you project. Determine the shape, size, durability, capability, color, accessibility and ship date of your box. Then get in it and work you tail off. Don’t fear the box, it is what protects you. When someone questions what you’re doing you can answer. See what you’re working with and what does and does not fit in your box. You can also see what needs to be taken out of your box to fit something better. I’ve never been able to squeeze in any of the ideas that I’ve thought of outside of the box. Anytime you step out of the box you take a risk of losing structure. Whether is time, money or space spent on a rogue idea. To be clear I’m not saying don’t take risk, just weigh those risk. You may have to lose something to fit that idea in.
You may only have one box set up, but you know you have to move forward. God may be asking you to trust Him with the rest of the boxes. He owns all the boxes and He has a much higher perspective than we do. God can see right through the box that you think that you need to think outside of. He knows exactly the size your box needs to be. You may have all the right boxes set up, but God want you to throw them all out. What He has planned for you is to big to fit in your boxes. Are you willing to do God’s lion sized idea in your mouse sized box?
Summery: Have a timeline, a space to do it in, a budget to do it with, a reason why, a way to do it, someone to support it and where you’re going to nap after.