Archive for October 2007

Soft Power Before Hard Power

The early Church had an oppositional atmosphere that, in some ways, served the purposes of God. 

The opposition to the message of the coming of the kingdom is not so much in the culture at large, but in the status quo religious stalemate institutions of the day. 

A cursory look at Church history will show this has been the often repeating case over two millennia (before that in the Old Testament – human behavior doesn’t change much unless it is willing to yield to God’s Spirit’s direction). 

Take away lesson:  The message of the kingdom must be accompanied by the manifestation of the acts of the kingdom as Jesus modeled. 

I have noticed that in most cases in the western culture, before any aspect of the “hard power”  dimension of the kingdom occurs, there needs to be a lead up of the “soft power.”  That is, we must earn the right to be believable.  Otherwise, we either have no credibility
OR
we blow the circuitry of those who are the receivers and given glimpses of the hard power of God. 
This message can be opened significantly with stories. 
I plan to do this in upcoming books.  Stay tuned for details.

If you would like to be notified when new Steve books are being released email us and we will put you on that contact list.

Hunger for the Supernatural

Last evening the NBC show in the U.S. called Phenomena premiered.  This features a number of “mentalists” (some would call them “magicians” or “paranormal” people who can operate in the realm of the “supernatural”).  
I found it interesting but not surprising that more than one of the contestants noted they got involved in the paranormal out of a hunger to connect with what is beyond this life… (they are in a competition to see who is the most gifted – there are two judges – who are more visible and advanced in the field). 

Question:  Has the U.S. culture in particular created a super linear, left-brained atmosphere that is so litmus paper oriented that unless we can analyze something in a chemistry lab it is not real…
Has this scientific culture accidentally created an insatiable hunger for the supernatural? 

Answer:
  For my part, I think this is a big no-brainer response of YES.

This is a very similar spiritual atmosphere to what existed in Jesus’ day as well as the backdrop of the early Church as it launched out of Jerusalem. 

More on that tomorrow…

Location

Supply is coming in to CoastlandTampa from various places – in the form of a decent soundboard.
 
We will know by the end of the week what is up with our location.
The site I originally felt we were to get is turning out to be the exact one we are apparently getting.
The good news – it has a theater.  Fixed seating.  A stage.
In previous launches we have always had to load and unload chairs.  My arms have stretched 2.5” over the course of lugging chairs on those adventures…

Now my back is destroyed so that isn’t going to work for me…

Limited Resources

Our Phase 1 plan is pretty exciting on a number of fronts…
 
Though the up front capital influx has been disappointing based on earlier projections, I am convinced Jesus is going to use this as a model of some sort to encourage others who need encouragement from us as they also launch with limited resources, etc.
 
Good things lie ahead.

My Daughter On MTV

Want to watch a short MTV video my daughter Laura stars in? 
Maybe “stars” is overstating it, but she is in the video throughout anyway. 
Laura is a graduate of the DAAP school of design – majored in fashion design.  She is now working as a designer in the Big Apple and living in Brooklyn. 
Last week she was with friends when an MTV video was being shot.  They asked if she and company wanted to be in it – of course they said yes. 
She is the girl with the light brown hair, smiling with the orangeish-red Adidas sweater.  It’s the third video down – “Parking Lot Nights.”  Keep in mind, they are making fun of the Nintendo culture most Gen Y kids grew up in…  Would be helpful if you voted for the video a few times after you watch it…

http://www.mtvu.com/music/freshmen/

For The Kids

I spoke with a friend in Atlanta about our lack of up front capital to launch at this point.  Told him I was seriously thinking of going to our Phase 1 without a sound system.  He said he had an extra one lying around in the back room gathering dust – thinks we can have that.
 
We now need mini systems for children.
 
Current strategy based on wisdom is to pour existing funds into children’s area and nursery.  Much can be forgiven.  These two areas are pretty much unforgivable though.

Pre-Launch Launch

A couple of days ago I got together with the main guys involved in our initial pre-launch launch (AKA, Phase 1 Launch).  We talked about what is needed in order to do this mini launch.
 
This was exciting to touch base on, yet reminded me we are starting in a humble way here as we have done before.
 
It is amazing, God in his faithfulness, has answered our prayers for supply.  Yet  as I survey the situation, it seems our start up funds are minimal.

Be Strong…

“Be strong and of good courage…”
Joshua chapter 1 is a chapter for leaders to read, soak upon, repeat steps one and two frequently.
 
To be an original is impossible without the kinetic power of God resting upon each of us.
 
On this day of the Lord, call upon him as the leader he has made you to be.
 
“Oh God, I am what I am.  I can’t be anything else.  You mold me.  I humble myself under your care.  Let the adventure continue this week more and more.  You direct the hose as it flow.  Be it a fire hose or a garden hose.  I am yours.”

The Harvest Part 2

Picking it up from yesterday… re. the ripeness of the fields…
         B.  Leaders can see the ripeness of the fields.
Another way to put it – leaders see what God is doing.  Leaders focus their attention upon what IS happening.  Leaders build upon strengths, not weaknesses.
 
I have been told by inept, non-leaders in somewhat convincing ways that it is a good thing to be “balanced.”  You might want to copy and paste this line:  “Balance is for sissies.”
Balance only exists in a vacuum.
There is no balance in nature – never has been, never will be.
I am not against environmentalists.  I have my Sierra Club calendar on the wall.  Love the pictures.  On the other hand, without a living relationship with the Living God there is a propensity for humans to seek to enforce “balance” that is non-existent upon all things – when in fact that state will never exist.
 
Jesus called out leaders who had a seminal focus – a seminal, one of a kind strength.  Then he encouraged that “one thing” (to quote Curley from City Slickers, still the concept is thoroughly biblical) to flourish by the presence of the Holy Spirit big time.
 
The kingdom of God was carried out by a virtual army of “one thing” people walking out the message for generations until more than half of the world was converted – that is 350 A.D.

The Harvest

Steve at Laptop“The fields are white unto harvest… pray for workers for the harvest.”
 
I love that verse. 
 
I have only in the past few years come to realize that very few teachers “rightly divide” that verse considering the simple context of it.
 
You have no doubt heard this taught as an invitation from Jesus to raise up “leaders.”  Yes, maybe that is so, in a very indirect way that is so.  It is of course true that God is calling current leaders to raise up leaders.  However that is not in the least what Jesus is calling for here.  This is a commentary about:

A.   The constant condition of the receptivity of human hearts anywhere, everywhere is ripe – at least a decent percentage are ripe.

Let’s rephrase that without losing anything Jesus said.  “The fields are white unto harvest…”  He didn’t put any conditions upon that observation.  I have heard so many many many pastors – leaders tell me, “You don’t understand how things are here… this is a super tough place… it isn’t like it is in Cincinnati… or Los Angeles… or D.C… or Oslo where you have been.”  Hello!  All of those places are actually in the category of “spiritual graveyards.  I won’t get into it here, but each of those areas have been described by numerous evangelists as being graveyards.  It’s not about the geography for those who are hyper-spiritual and are seeing more than God himself concerning the “reigning spirits…”  Wow… someone tell me to ‘come on!’  The issue is always just this:  “Are you willing to notice what God IS doing… Are you willing to notice WHO God IS touching, IS inviting.”  Guaranteed, wherever you are, Jesus is at work with a huge percentage of your local population.  If you don’t agree with me that’s fine.  You are wrong.  Be wrong if you like.  But you are wrong.  Jesus says so, and I agree.