October 24, 2014

I’ve been rereading John 13-17 recently, and I can tell you that I personally think it’s one of the most glorious passages in all of the scriptures.  In John 13-17, John records the heart and words of Jesus just before His betrayal and murder.  So much of His heart for you and I comes out in these chapters.  In today’s post, I would like to talk about something that will change the way you treat me, and others, in your life. Continue Reading…

October 21, 2014

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of people about the grace of God.  I always enjoy sharing at events like these, and last weekend’s event was no exception.  They are precious people.  Although I was there to share some things that the Lord has been showing me, the Lord actually put emphasis on something that He has been trying to communicate to me personally.  He spoke to me through an insult, and I’d like to tell you about it in today’s post. Continue Reading…

October 15, 2014

A few weeks ago, I received a scathing email from someone who read my blog.  Apparently, this person had been directed to this blog from a friend of theirs thinking it would be helpful.  Instead, the post seemed to deeply irritate this person.  

This irritated reader decided to pen a semi-lengthy email to me regarding why he found my post offensive.  In his message to me, he asked me a series of detailed questions.  In my opinion, the questions he asked seemed to indicate assumptions that he had already made about me personally, although we had never met.  I began to think about how to best respond.  

My first inclination was to ignore and delete his email.  Then I asked the Lord how I should best respond.  Instantly, I sensed compassion for this person.  He had taken quite a bit of his own time to read my post and then to ask a series of well thought out questions.  It would be consistent with the nature of love in me to respond, and not ignore him.  As I prepared to sit down and write out my counterpoints to his points, I heard a word. Continue Reading…

October 13, 2014

I have discovered a secret that will determine success or failure for your life.  Seriously.  I am not overstating this.  This secret is that important.  I feel privileged and  humbled just to have discovered this secret!  Out of all the books written about this, I have never seen this talked about or explained.  All I have seen is simply phrases regurgitated, and assumptions made.  These assumptions have all missed the mark, however.  This is tragic and I wish to reveal this all important secret in today’s post. Continue Reading…

October 6, 2014

I’m convinced that most of the struggles that we face in life are not real.  As a matter of fact, most of the struggles that I’ve lost sleep over haven’t been true struggles.  I’m willing to bet that the very thing you’re struggling with right now probably isn’t real.  My hope in today’s post is to illuminate the struggles in our lives that aren’t real, and the struggle that is. Continue Reading…

September 25, 2014

Are you in love?  Everyone is preoccupied with this question; and for good reason.  We were made by love (Christ) for love (Christ’s) expression.  In order to express love, however, there are a couple of things that are needed.  First, we need to be placed in the location of love.  Thankfully, the Lord has masterfully placed us in the location of this love (Christ) before the foundations of the world.  Second, we need to abide in this love.  It’s the abiding in love that is quite rare in our circles these days.  There is a reason for this.  My hope in today’s post is to give us some markers, so to speak, that will help us see how we can know if we are truly abiding in love. Continue Reading…

September 22, 2014

If you’re familiar with the evangelical world, there is no doubt that you’ve probably heard about the recent downfall of the Mark Driscoll empire.  There seems to be story after story detailing allegations of some form of misconduct from the former mega-church pastor.  In the age of social networking, the stories about him have spread like the feared ebola virus in west Africa.  To be completely honest, I have no idea why he stepped down from his position.  I have no idea why the network of religious institutions (Acts 29) that he started have distanced themselves from him.  I do not know, nor do I care to know.  Here is what I do know. Continue Reading…

September 18, 2014

As I mentioned earlier this week, out of all the writers & directors putting out films today, in my opinion Terrence Malik is in a league of his own.  I am convinced that Terrence Malik has discovered a profound reality and this profound reality is being masterfully communicated in the films that he is producing.  

The New World

The New World is a film that was released in late 2005.  It’s a historic / romantic drama that depicts the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia settlement.  The historical figures of Captain John Smith & Pocahontas of the Powatan Native American tribe are portrayed in the film.  I hope you’ve had the opportunity to watch this film and take in the message.  In today’s review, I’d like to briefly discuss a few of the main characters, and the life changing insights of divine love (Christ) that I’ve gained from them. Continue Reading…

September 15, 2014

Out of all the writers and directors putting out films today, in my opinion, Terrence Malik is in a league of his own.  I am convinced that Terrence Malik has discovered a profound reality and this profound reality is being masterfully communicated in the films that he is producing.  I believe his films are vitally important.  Some time ago, I highlighted a Terrence Malick film (The Tree of Life) here on this blog.  That film was life changing for me, and I highly recommend it.  It’s my hope to eventually conduct a blog interview with Terrence about his important work and message in the future, but the point of today’s post is to highlight another one of Terrence’s films (which I believe is vitally important) to prepare you for this film review coming later this week… Continue Reading…

September 9, 2014

My most recent post to this blog was entitled The Location of Bethany & The Rise of Judas’ Career. I hope that post was a blessing to you, and that it was helpful to you in the Bethany recognition process, so to speak.  In today’s post, I’d like to expound a bit further on a serious incident that occurred in Bethany.  It was an attempted robbery of sorts, along with an improper prayer that went along with it.  As we discover and live in our Bethany as well, the chances are that the same thing could also happen to us as well.  My prayer is that this post will be helpful to you when that occurs. Continue Reading…

September 5, 2014

It has been said that Bethany was the favorite place of Jesus when He walked the earth two thousand years ago.  Throughout the years, many books have been written about this small enclave that was nestled just a few miles outside the religious metropolis of Jerusalem.  If you’re familiar with the gospels, you’ll see that this was certainly a place of sanctuary for Jesus.  He went there as often as He could.  Bethany was the one place that Jesus was welcomed fully.  To Jesus, Bethany was a place of friendship.  The fact that Jesus frequented this place, and felt at home there, is quite significant due to the fact that Jesus also said that He had “no place to lay His head”.  

Personally, I am fascinated with Bethany.  There is something special about that place.  If Bethany was a favorite place of our Lord, I’ve concluded that it must also be a favorite place of mine too.  After discovering Bethany for myself, I can tell you personally that it is indeed a favorite place of mine.  A lot of things occurred in Bethany, including the rise of Judas’ career.

Bethany was more than a suburb of Jerusalem.  It was a shadow of something greater.  My heart in today’s post is to let you know the location of Bethany so you too can have a home there.  I hope that by the end of this post, you will know where Bethany is, or at least how to recognize Bethany when you find her. (I know that’s a tall order, but here goes nothing!) Continue Reading…

July 17, 2014

I have good news for you.  You’ve been adopted.  No, really.  You’ve been adopted in the real sense of the word.  It’s not just a figure of speech.  Unfortunately, for most people reading this, you have not experienced adoption.  This has been the case in my own life until recently.  In today’s post, I’d like to answer two questions about adoption that I believe are vitally important. Continue Reading…

July 10, 2014

Happy July to you. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been traveling the last couple of weeks. As a result, I’ve taken a small vacation from the blogging world. As I also mentioned in my last post, I have been looking forward to sharing some things with you when I returned from traveling. During the last couple of weeks, I have had the privilege of visiting a community of saints in the Redlands, California area. This is a beautiful group of people that I have grown to love and cherish. During my time there, Jared Gustafson (a dear brother from the community there) asked me to join him on one of his podcasts for a conversation. It’s actually the only podcast that I’ve ever done. Continue Reading…

June 24, 2014

For the next few weeks, I’ll be traveling and won’t be posting much to this blog. In the blogging world, that is is mortal sin. My apologies:)

The Significance of One Post

Although I won’t be posting much here in the next few weeks, there is something brewing in me that I hope to share with you here on the blog when I return from traveling. It is significant for me, and I hope it will be significant for you too. With that said, if you have some free time on your hands and you’d like to browse the archive of posts here, there may be one significant post here that may serve you where you are in life right now. Feel free to have a look around.

Speaking of significant posts, my last post entitled Relational Love or Friction…What Really Holds Living Stones Together in Community Part II seemed to generate quite a discussion. I am thankful for that as I believe this is an important and needed conversation. I invite you to give that post a read and check out the discussion that follows. Talk to you a bit later in July.

Love!

Jamal Jivanjee

June 16, 2014

This is the second part of a two part series about the essence of what holds living stones (us) together in community.  In the previous post, I talked about a common misconception that is regularly taught about what holds us together.  If you have not yet read that post, let me encourage you to give that a read before you continue reading this post. (Click here to read part I

The True Glue of Community 

As I stated in my previous post, friction / pressure is not the substance that holds the living stones together in community.  Thank God for that.  There is something much more glorious holding us together.  Before I get into the substance of what is holding us together, I would like to talk about what I don’t want to do in this post. Continue Reading…

June 10, 2014

In my life, I’ve had several paradigm shifts.  They’ve all been painful and costly, but well worth it.  I’ve had another paradigm shift in this last season that may sound simple and obvious, but is really a mystery.  By mystery, I mean a refreshingly simple spiritual reality that seems to be hidden in the natural realm of things.  Today’s post is the first post in a two part series that seeks to shed light on this vitally important topic.  

In today’s post, I’d like to expose what I believe to be a destructive lie, and why this lie needs to be understood as a lie.  In the next post, I would like to talk about what this refreshing mystery actually is and why it’s better than the lie that many of us have bought into. Continue Reading…

June 6, 2014

Today’s post is more like a vital public service announcement. I have a couple of things that I’d like to draw your attention to. Every once in a while, I’ll come across something that would be an absolute crime not to tell you about. I just finished a book. This book is for you personally. Trust me. If you purchase this book and read it, and you feel that it was not tailor made for your life personally, let me know and I’ll personally give you the money you paid for the book. That is a promise on my part. Continue Reading…

June 2, 2014

I recently had the opportunity to visit some wonderful people over the memorial day weekend.  The family I stayed with have several children.  This family was a true joy to be around, including their two year old daughter.  In addition to being an adorable two year old, I strongly sensed the Lord speaking to my heart through the way she lived her life.  Yes, that’s right.  You can learn a lot from the life of a two year old. Continue Reading…

May 21, 2014

As a blogger, I do engage in forms of marketing.  No, not for profit, but because I desire to bless others with the treasure that I have been blessed with.  It’s for love’s sake.  With that said, I want to say that the most precious things in life could never be marketed or understood if shared.  The most glorious treasure that the Lord desires to share with you will never be found in a book, blog, sermon, podcast, etc… As a lover of a good book, blog, podcast, etc…  I will be the first to say that those things have their place in our lives.  I’m simply saying that there is no substitute for one thing… Continue Reading…

May 14, 2014

separationOne difference between a truth and a lie is the affect it has on those who carry it.  Deeply knowing truth will cause something to happen to us.  Deeply knowing truth will cause us to be free.  No, not the kind of free that is only theoretical.  Truly knowing truth will cause us to be free relationally.  Freedom to know and be known, and freedom to give and receive love from and to those sent to us.  

There is a lie lurking out there that causes bondage, slavery, and misery in us, however. Continue Reading…

May 8, 2014
Troy & I

Troy Aikman & Jamal Jivanjee

I recently took a trip to Texas and while out to dinner, I had an encounter with Troy Aikman, the hall of fame & former Superbowl winning quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. I have come to realize that there are no coincidences. There are no accidents. The Lord is always speaking through the day to day events that occur in our lives, and this encounter with Troy Aikman was no exception. Before I get into that story, however, let me share some thoughts about why this encounter almost never happened. Continue Reading…

May 6, 2014

When it comes to currency (money), there are usually three ways folks relate to currency. People are usually hoarders, frivolous spenders, or investors.  Chances are, you may resonate with one or more of these three tendencies.  I’d like to invite you to take a few minutes to think about some of these things and see the reality of life in the kingdom of God to which they point.  Please understand that this post is really not about money. Continue Reading…

May 5, 2014
Roadtrip

Roadtrip

First, let me apologize for the lack of communication these last couple of weeks.  I know some of our readers have wondered where I’ve been and why there haven’t been any new posts in the last couple of weeks.  In the part/ full time blogging world, disappearing from the blogosphere for a couple of weeks is a faux pas.  As you may know, I don’t go by those rules, but I do always want to serve you through my communication.

With that said, I wanted to let you know that I have been on a road trip these last couple of weeks.  That was the reason for my temporary blogging absence.  I will resume blogging this week with some of the beautiful nuggets of the kingdom that I received while I was away.  If you haven’t subscribed to this blog by email but you would like to receive new posts that are regularly posted here, feel free to subscribe to the blog by email by clicking the button at the top right side of the page that says ‘get new posts sent via email’. 

The first post on the blog this week will have to do with currency (money).  That’s right.  Move over Dave Ramsey.  Tomorrow’s post will have to do with currency.  I truly believe that what I’m learning could solve all our currency issues and set us free.  I look forward to sharing that with you tomorrow.

Enjoying the newness of spring,

Jamal Jivanjee

April 19, 2014

Happy Saturday to you.  I almost never post new blogs on the weekend, but I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of things in today’s post before next week.  In December of last year, I wrote an article about some things to beware of in organic church life.  That article was posted in last Thursday’s edition of House 2 House magazine.  Check it out HERE if you get a minute.

The second thing that I’d like to tell you about has to do with a word that has been on my mind recently… Continue Reading…

April 15, 2014

Can you imagine what life would be like if you were at rest in a total paradise?  What if all the food you would need was readily there, and all your surroundings served as a lush and secure dwelling for you to fully live in?  What would your life be like if time was either inconsequential, or it served you instead?  I have a feeling that we’d be free to engage in some pretty monumental things!   

Things like being fruitful and multiplying. Continue Reading…

April 7, 2014

I’m convinced that there is no greater treasure in the world than knowing and experiencing the Lord’s heart. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that (from time to time) I share ‘letters’ written from the first person style of Christ. For me, these ‘letters’ have come from the texture of our Lord’s heart that He has developed in me over time. These ‘letters’ are very precious to me as they contain something of the Lord’s heart that was shared with me at a high cost.

In today’s post, I’d like to share a ‘letter’ with you that is one of my absolute favorites. I wrote it last year, and in all honesty, it’s a treasure that I’m hesitant to share with you here publicly. Continue Reading…

April 1, 2014

When we think of the internal struggles and civil conflicts that we typically face within our relationships and church communities, many of us may be tempted to look for a specific problem, person, or issue to blame for the perceived conflict. While that may be the case some of the time, the cause of our civil wars could actually be stemming from the very solution or promise that we have been given from our Lord. History will show us that the Lord is completely fine with the temporary conflicts and wars that arise from His promises of peace, unity, and oneness.

A Lesson From History

Many historians will tell you that the U.S. civil war of the nineteenth century, and the following civil rights movement of the twentieth century actually began with the promises put on paper by the American revolutionaries of the eighteenth century Continue Reading…

March 25, 2014

Last week, I spent several days in the city of Indianapolis.  During one of those days, a friend and I went to a place to eat lunch called Yatz.  Yatz is a cajon food establishment known for their good food.  There are several locations in the central Indiana area.  Normally, I wouldn’t be writing about a food establishment here on the blog.  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.  My experienced at Yatz changed my life, however, and I’m compelled to tell you about it. Continue Reading…

March 17, 2014

Today’s post is part two of a two part blog series on the problems with the cross of Jesus.  Yes, I did say that.  There are some major issues when it comes to the understanding of many regarding the nature of the cross of Jesus Christ.  While these two blog posts are not meant to be an exhaustive discourse about this topic, I do hope these posts can bring some more clarity to the person and nature of Jesus Christ, and the demonstration of love that His cross is.  

Several folks told me personally that part 1 of this series was very eye opening to them.  I hope today’s post can be equally as helpful, if not more.  If you haven’t yet read part 1, please read that HERE before reading the rest of this post. Continue Reading…

March 13, 2014

We have a serious problem.  Actually, two of them.  Please don’t let the title of this post offend you.  Please hear me out.  While I don’t think a couple of blog posts will solve all the issues related to this topic, I do hope today’s and tomorrow’s posts can help shed light on the solution to these two major problems regarding the cross of Jesus Christ.  In today’s post, I’d like to address one of the major problems we are facing regarding this issue.  In tomorrow’s post, I’d like to address the other.      

In the earthly life of Jesus Christ, the cross was a major theme.  He was born for the cross.  His life prepared Him for the cross, and all that was released from Him to us was made possible because of the cross.  With that said, I don’t believe it is a stretch to say that all of us who live by the indwelling life of Jesus Christ will also face the brutality of the cross as a major theme in our own lives.  This is why I feel it is so important to shed light on these two major problems head on. Continue Reading…

March 11, 2014

Several months ago, a conversation with a friend sparked something in me.  A revelation of sorts, about Judas.  In our conversation, we were talking about love.  More specifically, we were talking about the Lord’s desire to give us a love that is good enough for enemies for one another in church life.  My friend’s use of the phrase a love that is good enough for enemies really impacted me and caused me to think.  Wow, what kind of a love could actually be that strong that it could withstand the actions and brutality of an enemy? Continue Reading…

March 6, 2014

She stood there shivering as the wind brutally blew through her pores, chilling her to the bone.  She could never remember feeling this cold and alone before.  All she wanted to do was die.  How would she go on?  How could she go on?  How could she leave this place?  The thought of going home again to that empty house was too much to bear.  She hadn’t eaten anything in the last twenty four hours.  She was feeling weak, but how could she ever eat again, let alone make another meal?  How would she make it through this long night until tomorrow?  How could she lay her head on a pillow, breathe, and drift off to sleep in peace ever again?  

Her heart was pierced to the core with the sharpest knife, and the pain was not one she could imagine surviving.  Her most precious gift in life, her definition of love, her own flesh and blood, was ripped from her in the most inconceivable act of injustice. Continue Reading…

March 3, 2014

I’m convinced that our Lord loves to eat.  In the scriptures, some of the most profound exchanges that Jesus had occurred around meals with friends.  As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that our Lord is actively preparing a suitable setting for us to dine with Him here in this world.  He likes things to be just right before we eat.  I have recently discovered, however, that His choice of dinner setting is not the same as mine.  

The Field of Battle Continue Reading…

February 26, 2014

An unborn child hasn’t been educated in the ways of the world.  It does not know human language, nor has the unborn child yet learned to judge the world according to the rules of knowing good and evil.  All the child knows is the heartbeat of its mother, the warmth and comfort of her womb, and the intimate sound of her voice.  So what can an unborn child really know?  

Apparently, more than the knowledgable religious apparatus that crucified our Lord. Continue Reading…

February 18, 2014

I’m not a civil engineer, but sometimes the logistics of how cities are laid out fascinate me.  How is it that you can have a million people living in an area, and yet the functions of daily life not get in the way?  To be more specific, I’m talking about raw sewage. 

Raw Sewage

Nobody wants to live in or around raw sewage for obvious reasons.  For most of us who live in the first world, raw sewage isn’t something that we normally think about or deal with on a daily basis.  It’s out of sight and out of mind.  Actually, a lot of time, resources, and thought have gone into developing ways to keep sewage out of sight and out of mind in daily life.  I’m very thankful for that.  

For most of history however, and in many parts of the world today, how to dispose of raw sewage has been a significant problem.  Please hear me out.  I do not intend this to be an article that tries to solve the problem of raw sewage; rather, I would like to talk about an observation that I have made regarding how sewage was dealt with in the past, and how this relates to the indwelling love of Jesus Christ. Continue Reading…

February 12, 2014

As a blogger, one of my goals this year is to allow our readers to know me a bit more.  As a result, I will share some things here throughout the year that are more personal in nature.  Some of those things will be light hearted and humorous, and others will be more serious.  For the purposes of self-disclosure, I recently wrote a semi-humorous post entitled 20 Things That Drive Me Insane! (on the inside of course).  Since writing that post, I have thought of two more things that I would like to add to the list. I HATE misleading questions,  (I’m thinking of one in particular), and I HATE cheap claims of friendship.  In today’s post, I’d like to explain why these two things make me want to drive off a very large cliff. Continue Reading…

February 4, 2014

conflict

conflict

Jealousy.  What is it, and where does it come from?  Does jealousy come from life, or death?  Paul the apostle described love as not being jealous (1 Cor 13:4); and Paul also lists jealousy as being an attribute of sinful flesh (Galatians 5:20).  If love is not jealous, and God is love, why then is the Lord described as being jealous (Exodus 20:4-5) ? Continue Reading…

January 21, 2014

Last week on the blog, I posted a light hearted post entitled 20 Things That Drive Me Insane! (on the inside of course).  One of the things that was included on my list of things that drive me insane was this item:

Systematic, Reformed, & Evangelical theology.

A beautiful brother named Jared commented on the post with his own list, and also the suggestion that he would like to see a follow up post from me about why systematic, reformed, & evangelical theology bothers me so much.  I thought it was a great suggestion!  In today’s post, I’ll simply stick with evangelical theology.  I may tackle the other two in future posts.  Unlike last week’s post, today’s post is intended to be quite sobering and serious. Continue Reading…

January 15, 2014

Some of the things that I post on this blog can be quite heavy.  In today’s post, however,  I’d like to take a bit of a break from that trend.  In 2014, I’d also like to share a few more personal things about me so you can get to know a bit more about this blogger.  Today’s post is along these lines. Continue Reading…

January 9, 2014

crane

In 2011, my wife and I spent some time in Key West Florida for a few days.  As we were driving through south Florida on our way back home, we stopped off at at nature preserve.  We hiked back to a lake securely nestled away in a wooded area.  As we walked toward the lake, I became aware of how distinctly different the sounds of the wildlife were from what we normally hear in our part of the country.  As we rounded the corner and the lake came into view, I observed a scene full of exotic birds.

There was one bird in particular that caught my attention. Continue Reading…

December 30, 2013
The Top 25

The Top 25

As we approach the end of 2013, I wanted to draw your attention to the twenty five most read posts on the illuminate blog this year. It has been an eventful year here, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of the articles that seemed to resonate with our readers the most. I was not surprised that some of these articles made the top twenty five, but I was legitimately surprised to discover that the most read article of 2013 was actually posted in 2011! As a matter of fact, there are a few older posts that have continued to draw steady attention. You will see some of these older posts in this list.

Take a few minutes and browse through this year’s compilation of the top twenty five most read posts. If an article from this blog comes to mind that is not included here on this list, or if you’ve read an article this past year from a different blog that you’d like to draw attention to, please feel free to share the title and link in the comment section below. Continue Reading…

December 18, 2013

In today’s post, I’d like to share with you some very real temptations that can occur to folks who are attempting to meet organically outside of the traditional religious system.  This is a temptation that I am experiencing right now in my current season of life, and I’d like to share my temptation with you today in the hope that my experience can be helpful to you and your relationships.  Before I do that, however, I need to give you some background information about me. Continue Reading…

December 11, 2013
Soul Ties

Soul Ties

I have been consistently blogging for the last couple of years. There are now almost two hundred posts archived here.  Some of these posts were written to challenge old paradigms and open up needed conversations.  As I’m sure you can imagine, some of these posts have stirred up a bit of controversy.  I like to call some of the controversy the yes, but additions to the conversation.  Sometimes the yes, buts are needed additions to the conversation, and other times they are simply reactions to deeply rooted belief systems that have been challenged.  Sometimes the yes buts are a combination of both.  I have a feeling this post may also stir up some yes, buts. With that said, I’d like to talk about the concept of soul ties in today’s post. I hope you will take a few minutes to consider what is being said here. Continue Reading…

November 26, 2013
Burned out lightbulbs

Burned out lightbulbs

I’ve been reading a book  titled ‘Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life’ by Henri Nouwen.  This book has been helpful for me regarding learning to look deeper at the seemingly inconsequential or mundane occurrences of daily life.  Nouwen’s emphasis in the book is that the Lord is always speaking through the things we might be tempted to overlook.  Taking time to notice His promptings and communication in the little things throughout our day truly redeems how we view the simplest details of daily life.  This renewed awareness allowed me to receive a life saving encouragement from the Lord through three blown light bulbs.  Let me explain… Continue Reading…

November 22, 2013

Dear sister,

The time of my betrayal and accusation was upon me, and it was hard to breathe.  The internal pain from the rejection was far worse than any external pain I could experience.  I felt uncharacteristic desperation & suffocation in that moment.  I looked to my friends for help.  

I asked for an hour of their time. Continue Reading…

November 21, 2013

Dear sister,

You have heard it said, “Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”.  In your brokenness and fear, you have used this to build a treacherous fortress around your heart to keep me out. Continue Reading…

October 17, 2013

My Dearest Sister,

I am writing to inform you of the reasons regarding my silence.  My silence is not because of my lack of love for you.  Actually, just the opposite.  My silence (or perceived silence) toward you could be for a few reasons.  When you hear these reasons, you will know which is most applicable toward our situation. Continue Reading…

October 11, 2013

On August 17, 2013, I had the opportunity to give a talk at a Searching Together conference, (an annual conference put on by Jon Zens).  At this year’s conference, I shared something that was quite sensitive for me personally.  At the beginning of the talk, I said that I didn’t want the talk to be shared publicly because it could be easily misunderstood.  In today’s post, I’d like to share this talk with you. Continue Reading…

October 4, 2013

I am not very tall.  In school, I was always one of the shortest people in the class.  As a male, this caused me to have an inferiority complex.  In the dog eat dog world of middle & high school, I often felt the need to prove my bravery to my fellow classmates by picking fights with intimidating individuals.  The fact that I had an older brother with a lot of friends helped me feel more brave in this process.  I certainly had what is commonly known as little man syndrome.  Out of fear of being hurt and intimidated, I attempted to hurt & intimidate others.  On more than one occasion, however, this fear based mentality caused me to get myself into conflicts that were way over my head. I learned a valuable lesson from this experience.

Fear will cause you to pick fights that you have no business fighting. Continue Reading…

September 27, 2013

The essence of our lives can be boiled down to relationship.  Relationship with God, and with one another.  For this reason, the nature and health of our relationships are of the utmost importance.  Most of the problems that we face in the Western world are a result of dysfunctional relationships, and most of the problems that we face when being joined with other brothers and sisters in organic church life are rooted in confusion about the nature of co-dependent, independent, and INTER-dependent relationships. Continue Reading…

September 25, 2013

Those who know me know that I love movies; specifically, French movies.  I recently watched a French film that deeply touched my heart.  From time to time, I have done film reviews on this blog, and in today’s post, I’d like to tell you about another film that I believe could be quite impactful regarding the reoccurring issue that YOU have been struggling with.  Trust me when I say that. Continue Reading…

September 20, 2013

For most people, communicating love involves saying the infamous three word phrase that we’re all familiar with… I love you.  My mother once told me that she heard her father say I love you once or twice in her entire life.  As a result, that phrase is quite significant when she hears it.  Still for others, I love you is used more often, such as when a person is going home from a gathering and farewells are exchanged.  Still other times, these three words are used before hanging up in a phone conversation, or before spouses go to sleep.  For many, that phrase has become a normal expression in everyday conversation.  

For me personally, I always thought the three word phrase I Love You adequately communicated love until this past week.  Something occurred, however, that changed my thinking about this three word phrase.  

I heard a NEW five word phrase communicate love to me in a way that I love you never has been able to!  

As a matter of fact, when I heard this new phrase, it deeply impacted me.  I have not been the same since.  I can’t get the phrase out of my mind.  It’s stuck on repeat in my mind.  In today’s post, I’d like to share this new, five word, life altering phrase with you. Continue Reading…

September 17, 2013

Forgive me for the use of profanity in this post. I must say, however, that I am not the first one to use profanity in a public forum. The 1939 film Gone with the Wind starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh violated a significant social barrier with the use of the word damn in a major motion picture. In 2005, this line was voted the number one movie line of all time by the American Film Institute:

Embedly Powered

 

The more that I think about the nature of Christ’s indwelling love, the more I realize that this love also doesn’t give a damn.  Let me explain. Continue Reading…

September 12, 2013

Today’s blog interview is truly historic. I have been trying to get this person to be interviewed on the blog for the last couple of years, but to no avail. Today, all of that changes. It looks as if my persistence has finally paid off! I’m very glad because I believe our guest today has a monumental perspective to share with us that I believe could be a game changer for some. Without further delay, let me present to you our special guest. Continue Reading…

September 10, 2013

I have a confession to make.  I have used a subtle form of manipulation for the last couple of years.  I am happy to tell you that I think it has finally paid off!  Let me explain… Continue Reading…

September 3, 2013

Everything good thing has its limit, right?  Too much of anything can be a bad thing, right?  That’s what we’re taught, and for the most part, I would agree.  Recently, however,  I have begun to rethink this mindset when it comes to something specific… Continue Reading…

August 29, 2013

Last weekend, my wife and I traveled back to our home town to attend the wedding of a couple of people whom we have known for many years.  I made a few life altering observations during the day that I’d like to share with you in today’s post. Continue Reading…

August 22, 2013

For most of my life, fear and doubt have been the subtle (and not so subtle) motivation for a lot of my beliefs and actions. These last couple of years, however, I have been waking up to the profound nature of love. God is love, and Christ is love personified. The more He is revealed, the more I see just how far apart doubt & fear are from love.

They don’t live in the same neighborhood.

They aren’t in the same zip code.

They are mortal enemies who hate each other. Continue Reading…

August 13, 2013

Thermometer_broken_Final_217161_7There are many scriptures that are routinely misused to make people feel guilty.  In religion, guilt can be an effective (albeit temporary) tool to motivate people to do something seemingly good.  Here is a scripture that I routinely used against people: Continue Reading…

August 9, 2013

I will be conducting an experiment today, and I’d be honored if you’d join me.  I am going to be spending the entire day today in a tree. To be technically accurate,  I’ve been in this tree for a long time, but I simply haven’t always been aware of how encompassing and liberating living in this tree can be.  Let me explain… Continue Reading…

August 6, 2013

After a few years of laboring in the professional ministry world,  I was convinced that something quite profound was off kilter.  I wasn’t sure what, or why.  I simply knew that the church I read about in the scriptures was something that had been foreign to my experience up to that point.  After taking a three month trip overseas (Middle East, China, Tibet, Nepal & India) in 2006 to experience the church outside of a Western context, I started to understand that the body of Christ described in the scriptures was completely different than the organization that many were calling church. Continue Reading…

August 2, 2013

When we read about the life of Christ in the scriptures, we are not simply reading about someone who lived on the earth two thousand years ago.  Rather, we are reading about someone who is currently living on the earth today.  

The same life of Christ we have read about in the scriptures is currently being relived through our very own bodies.  

This is both a glorious and brutal reality.  This means that not only do we experience His glorious life, we also experience the brutality of His death.  This death is not a one time only affair, rather, this death is ongoing.  Sometimes it comes in seasons.  The degree to which we experience the glory of His resurrected life will be the degree to which we experience the brutality of His death. Continue Reading…

July 30, 2013

Cafe-Au-Lait
“Je voudrais un cafe du lait.”  

That’s what I said to the lady behind the counter at the coffee shop I frequented in Switzerland during my recent two month trip there.  I waited for her to comply with my request, but instead she just looked at me with a slightly amused look on her face.

“Un cafe *au* lait?” (coffee with a special blend of whipped milk)

Dang it!  Her correction stung.  How many times would I have to look like an idiot? Continue Reading…

July 23, 2013

veiled womanOne of the things I greatly enjoyed during my time in Europe was seeing the culture from the vantage-point of a minority.  Culturally speaking, I was a minority in every way possible.  Although I enjoyed being a minority during my recent trip to Europe, there was a time in my life when I was not fond of being a minority.  Let me explain…

I have a mixed heritage.  Growing up with an Islamic father of Asian Indian decent from east Africa, and a mother from a small town in Ohio, I realized one thing.  My family was not like most of the families of the kids I went to school with, or that lived in my neighborhood. Continue Reading…

July 16, 2013

First impressions can be difficult to overcome. The first time someone truly sees you, will be how they usually see you in life. Who you are to them will be filtered through this lens of you acquired during their first impression. Continue Reading…

July 10, 2013

3816391053_77dc755abf_zLast week, I posted an article to this blog that shared the story of the greatest miracle I have witnessed to date.  If you have not yet read that article, please read that article by clicking HERE before you continue with today’s article.

In today’s article, I’d like to share the story of three smaller physical ‘signs’ (miracles) that occurred to me during my time in Europe.  In John’s gospel, he calls the miracles ‘signs’ because they operate as a ‘sign’ which points to something greater. Continue Reading…

July 5, 2013

I witnessed the greatest miracle that I’ve ever seen. I’ve been in tears numerous times since it occurred. As long as I live, I’ll never forget what I have witnessed. I never knew this kind of miracle was possible in this day and age, but it is. The miracle I witnessed recently is very much connected to a familiar story from scripture. Continue Reading…

July 2, 2013

This is my first post back after a two month blogging hiatus, and I’m looking forward to easing back into the blogosphere. I’d like today’s post to stay a bit light, so I’ll simply share three snippets with you. The first snippet will be about my trip to Europe. In the second snippet, I’ll share some general thoughts about the difference between loving someone, and having a relationship with someone. In the third snippet, I’ll share a tiny bit about a new season that I’m entering into. Continue Reading…

May 13, 2013

I’d like to begin this post with an acknowledgment of a broken promise. A couple of weeks ago, I told you that I would not be blogging while I am overseas for the next couple of months. While that is still my intention, it looks like I am going to have break that promise at least once due to necessity. Simply put, it is a necessity that I share a French word with you. Continue Reading…

April 29, 2013

This is my last post for the next couple of months.  I wrote about why I won’t be blogging for the next two months last week.  You can read that post here.

Since this is my last post for a while, I wanted to let you know about something important.  As a matter of fact, what I want to tell you about is so glorious it will be dangerous.  A revelation of Jesus Christ (who is love personified) will get you killed.  It happens 100% of the time.  You will be put to death in the most brutal of ways.  You will be betrayed by those you love the most.  You will be misunderstood.  You will be rejected.  You will be slandered.  You will be lied about.  You will become the scum of the earth.  In spite of all of that, however, you will know love through it all. Continue Reading…

April 24, 2013

typing-on-a-keyboard

The number 165 is quite significant for me. Since this blog was created, one hundred and sixty five articles have been posted here. That might not sound like a lot, but it is. The experience of writing has been like nothing else I have experienced in my life. It has been rewarding, yet heart wrenching at the same time. Although I am not a female, and I have never given birth, that is the analogy that comes to mind. Each article for me begins with a conception, a development, and finally a painful birth. While the parts of this process can be painful, the experience as a whole is overwhelmingly joyful. Continue Reading…

April 22, 2013

medical picThere is an ancient disease currently spreading that you more than likely have come in contact with. You may actually be infected with it at this very moment. This disease is hard to label because it is easily disguised as something noble. Make no mistake, however, it is deadly. In today’s post, I’d like to shed some light on what this disease is, and how it masks itself in our lives. This post could be a test indicating whether or not you are currently infected with this disease. Continue Reading…

April 12, 2013

About a year ago, Brandie (my wife) wrote a poem to share during a meeting with the church body we are in community with. I remember being impacted when she first shared it. I recently reread it, however, and this poem struck a cord much deeper within me. This poem expresses the agony of searching for the cure to the fatal disease of *lovesickness* in external places, and the beauty of finding that cure internally. This poem beautifully communicates the mystery of ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Col. 1:27). When the scriptures speak of ‘Christ in you’, the *you* is not just you individually. This was written to an entire community of people. The *you* is your brothers and sisters you are being joined together with. The cure to our ‘lovesickness’ is found within ‘you’. I would like to share this poem with you today. May this be as much of a blessing to you as it has been to me. Continue Reading…

April 10, 2013

Relationships

Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘falling in love’? I have. Many people will say that they ‘fell in love’ with someone, or they ‘fell out of love’ with someone. This is a ridiculous phrase, however. Love is not something that you fall ‘in’ or ‘out’ of. Love simply is. Love is a constant reality because God is a constant reality. God is love.

When people say that they fell ‘into love’, or fell ‘out of love’, they really mean to say something quite different. I’d like to propose that we change this phrase to mean something a bit more accurate. Instead of saying that we fell into, or out of, ‘love’, let’s say this: Continue Reading…

April 5, 2013

Where is your favorite destination? Maybe it’s somewhere you have already been? Maybe it’s somewhere you ‘know’ you need to go? Maybe it’s a place like the paradise of Hawaii, the temperate weather of Southern California, the crystal clear waters & white beaches of the Bahamas, or the wide open wild country of Montana? Maybe it’s the romantic city of light & love like Paris, or the rain-forests of Nepal? Many of us have a desired location where we have fantasized about living someday.

Did you know that God has a favorite place here on the earth too? Continue Reading…

April 3, 2013

SUSP for websiteOn Monday of this week, I posted a book review of Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions, a book that I believe is of a revolutionary caliber.  Although this book is not for the faint of heart, I’m convinced this book should be thoughtfully and honestly considered by anyone who is serious about experiencing authentic New Testament community.  The title of Monday’s book review is:

Why The New Covenant Is A Sexual Revolution…(a review of Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions by Dan Brennan).

If you haven’t yet read this review, please give that post a read before you read further here.  Because of the controversial nature of the subject of this book, I asked author Dan Brennan to come on the blog today to answer some questions about his book Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions.  He has graciously agreed.  Without further adue, let’s jump into the conversation. Continue Reading…

April 1, 2013

In 2008, a book hit the bookshelves that rocked the evangelical world.  This book finally put words to what a multitude of people had begun to realize.  The revolutionary book was Pagan Christianity  by Frank Viola & George Barna.  This book made the claim that much of institutional Christianity and modern church practice was actually not rooted in the New Testament scriptures, but in pagan traditions.  It was a book whose time had come.

In today’s post, I’d like to tell you about another bomb-shell book dealing with personal relationships that I believe is of a similar caliber.  For the last few years, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the New Covenant & the New Commandment that Jesus gave to us, when truly grasped, is the most radical and purest sexual revolution in relationships that the world has ever known.  In a masterful way, this book has finally put words to what I have long suspected. Continue Reading…

March 29, 2013

Although I am excited about next week's posts, I can honestly say that it will not be suitable for all audiences. The content that will be shared will simply be too foreign for many. Much of evangelicalism is still operating within a 'sin management', law based mindset. As a result, much of what will be shared on the blog next week will be offensive, and possibly even dangerous for many. Continue Reading…

March 27, 2013

Money

Have you ever wondered what money is, and where it came from? If not, you may want to give it some thought. Most people will quickly say that money does not rule their lives, yet money is the main deciding factor behind much of their lifestyle and decision making processes. It’s simply the way of the world. Continue Reading…

March 19, 2013

Most of us either know, or have heard, the cute little children’s song entitled ‘Jesus Loves Me’. The lyrics come from a poem written in 1860 by Anna Bartlett Warner. It’s typically one of the first songs that a child from a religious heritage learns to sing. Here is the first stanza:

Jesus loves me—this I know,

For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to him belong,—

They are weak, but he is strong.

Although the song might sound adorable when sung by sweet little children, it actually contains a devastating lie.

Continue Reading…

March 14, 2013

Whenever something ‘good’ is discovered, mankind usually attempts to recreate and mass produce it in large volumes. Obviously, this creates problems. The quest for money & power is usually involved somewhere in the process. Farming and crop production is an eye opening picture of this.

Organically, most crops require a certain environment and season in which to grow. This is not typically a problem unless one wants to mass produce crops. The limited seasons and locations in which some crops can be grown make ‘mass production’ impossible. As a result, mankind has learned how to genetically mutilate the DNA of these crops to enable them to crow in many seasons and environments that are not typically natural for these crops. While this might not seem like a big deal, it is. Let me give you one example, among many.

Continue Reading…

March 11, 2013

I have a specific Word about the situation you are facing right now.  I’d love to share this Word with you, but before I do that, I’d like to remind you about a couple of things that you probably already know. Continue Reading…

March 8, 2013

Think of the most deadly, disgusting, contagious, fear gripping diseases. There are a few that come to my mind, although there are not a lot of commonplace diseases that exist today that fit that bill. If we go back two thousand years ago, however, there is one disease in particular that fits this description to a tee. Continue Reading…

March 5, 2013

Sometimes one sentence spoken to you can shift a paradigm and change your life. Last Wednesday, I sensed the Lord speak one sentence to my heart that has set me free from a faulty paradigm that I didn’t even know I was carrying. Even though I was ‘wealthy’ before last Wednesday, the shredding of this false paradigm has opened the doors for me to become even more wealthy than I was before! I want to tell you about this single sentence that I sensed the Lord communicate to me, but before I do that, I need to give you some background. Continue Reading…

February 22, 2013

I am both overjoyed and terrified to share this post with you. I am overjoyed because what I am about to share with you has been one of the greatest discoveries of my life. I am terrified to share this post with you, however, because I know this post will be misunderstood and I will be personally maligned. The joys of what I am experiencing have been stirring in me for quite some time, but have only become clear recently.

I believe this is a vitally important article for you to consider and read carefully. I would ask that you DO NOT skip ahead, or skim any part of this article, but to read this with a spirit of openness and sensitivity. Before I share some news with you about my own marriage that some of you might find disturbing, I need to begin this conversation by talking about ‘shadows’. I will then talk about a new glorious reality that will seem to good to be true.

Continue Reading…