Category Archives: Blue Bloods

A Sunrise of Dreams

Dreams fuel creativity and inspire people to go far beyond their abilities. I’m speaking specifically about imagination—that ability to dream up solutions and scenarios that, as yet, have not premiered on your life’s stage. Dreams are essential for building a satisfying life and sustaining a high level of hope (the biblical word for a confident expectation).

 Long held dreams of “what if” and “what might be” have driven me to make decisions many thought were silly, irrational, foolish, or totally insane. There have been moments—yes, even months (maybe even years) where their cries of practicality looked like Solomon’s wisdom. They suggested, ripped apart, belittled, and attempted to throttle this dream or that one in the name of what they deemed safe or acceptable. The only problem with that—God did not impart that specific dream within them or…they were too fearful to step out in faith and reach for those far away stars themselves. It amazes me how many people have settled for less because less is always safer or somehow fulfills what is expected by the faceless crowd called normal.  

 Every time I have listened to those erudite naysayers and purveyors of this world’s wisdom and knowledge, I have missed the boat God was in, and was forced to stand on the shore and gaze at what might have been. Let me tell you, regret is not a friend you want to travel long distances with. Failure is a far better companion than regret. At least when you fail, you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. With regret, all you get is instant replay over and over again.

It is my belief that God gives all of us dreams. He allows them to incubate in the cracks and the crevices of our spirit and soul and then moves them into our heart and eventually into our minds where they can sprout into existence. He puts them there with all the resources we need to bring what we imagine into reality with His help. He partners with us—that’s right the God who created everything partners with you and me.

If I had listened to sensible sages of common sense, horse sense, and ultimately no sense, I would never have married my wife, gone into the plumbing business, acquired an undergraduate degree (not to mention an advanced degree), become a pastor, had a book published (with a second coming out in May of 2012), planted a church, or jug-fished with the alligators in the lily pads on the Ross Barnett Reservoir. No, if I had listened to the wisdom of this world, I would have played it safe and been content to color inside the lines. I would have looked just like everybody else—except…God did not make me like everybody else. That cookie cutter approach to life where we’re all supposed to be average was forged in the dark fires of hell, not in the ingenious mind of our Creator. Look-a-likes and copy cats are supposedly the highest form of a compliment, but in reality they are nothing more than wanna-be’s who missed their opportunity to be cutting edge. They were unwilling to take a chance and lead, but were content to steal a good idea and follow.

Perhaps I am too hard—too sarcastic—too whatever, but I’ve seen far too many dreams squashed and too many people accept less than the best. Perhaps you’re standing on the shore, watching what you think is your opportunity disappear over the horizon as the sails of God’s boat dims in the distance. If so, take a few steps out on that murky water toward your dream’s sunset. I know—I know—people can’t walk on the water (that’s what they told Peter too). Yea, yea there are sharks in the water. Yes, the water is over your head and the tide could carry you out to sea and you might drown. All those things are a possibility, but…unless you take a step—you will never actively partner with God and contend for your dream, and that sunset you’re presently staring at will never become the sunrise of your dream.

Blue Bloods: Reformation or Revolution (part 14 of 14)

And so, dear friend, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Here the sons and daughters of the King must part company with the slaves. The time has come for either reformation or revolution, either of which is far nobler than dying on a chain gang building Babel’s walls and towers under the tutelage and whips of religious megalomaniacs whose own kingdoms have commandeered the center stage. We must either take back that center stage and offer it to Jesus or exit these current cities and join the real Jesus outside the gates of these doomed citadels. His cry is arising and many will hear that clarion call to true freedom.

Tragically, many are content with the status quo. Their endless song is, “Don’t rock the boat baby.” They are satisfied having their egos massaged and their ears tickled, while being told every move to make and the backstage spot where they must stand. These slaves will follow the crowd because that’s what slaves have been taught to do. They will complain about enduring the monotony of a past that can produce no future, but they will do nothing but complain, as they trudge mindlessly along. Most will never break rank. That is why you must now decide who you will follow. Your moment at the crossroads is approaching as the endless column ahead of you bears to the right or left. What will you do?

Freedom means throwing off the shackles of a system and embracing a Savior who really has paid your debts in full and now offers a walk of relationship in a garden setting similar to the one our ancient ancestors trashed. It means you can intimately hear His voice and be sure He hears yours. It means His endless embrace is an eternal expression of the extravagant pleasure He finds in you. It means you don’t just hear about it every Sunday morning for an hour or so, but you experience it fully every moment of every day for the rest of your eternal life.

Freedom means He longs for your presence as much as you do His. It is the emotions of your spirit set free to host His Spirit in the very depths of your personal expression of His image and likeness. This is what it means to be alive—to breathe the same breath God breathed into Adam. Your spiritual oxygen is not elemental in composition, but experiential in Christ. Life is no longer just a biological expression, but now can be lived out as a spiritual explosion.

Freedom is the authority—a delegated permission—to be everything Jesus bought and paid for. It is also the power—the ability to exercise the authority—to bring order out of chaos, health into sickness, restoration to brokenness, and light into darkness. It is the ability and permission to do the things that Jesus did and the greater things He promised. It means acting as His ambassador—standing in His place speaking with His voice and accomplishing His work as though He was standing there. Freedom is allowing Him to live His life through you. This is the real secret of being a blue blood. You no longer live, but Christ lives in you. The Son of God has put you on like a glove and now brings to life the potent animation of His omnipotence through you on whatever stands in rebellious opposition to His will.

This kind of freedom is worth the price of another reformation or a new revolution. Someone must say, “Enough!” Someone must take up the banner of the Resurrection—not the resuscitation of a diseased and dying religious system—but the rising from the dead of a people filled and formed by the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. A people who will live, eat, breathe, dream, and want nothing but Jesus.

If this seems a bit too radical or revolutionary for your spiritual refinement, then keep step with the rhythmic march of your fellow slaves, and at the intersection head right or left to the brick pits of your own particular Pharaoh. It won’t be long until the brick molds are passed out and you can resume turning mud into bricks for the construction of that tower you’ve been assured will take you to heaven.

As for me, I am not a brick-maker, nor the son of a brick-maker. The flesh of my back will no longer bear the lash nor will my feet stand paralyzed in the stinking mud of that sacred sewer. I will not bend to the religious demands of a counterfeit, nor bow my knee in submission to a demagogue, a demigod, or a man who thinks he is a god. I will no longer remain silent as the very images of God all around me are destroyed by slavery. I will shout the truth until my voice is heard and heeded here, hushed by hell, or hailed in heaven. I am a son of the Most High God, purchased by the blood of the Son of God, and filled with the very Spirit of God. I am baptized for battle, empowered by His victory, and ready to sound the alarm and answer the call of my King. I am a child of royalty—a son of the Sovereign—a prince of the realm. I am a blue blood.

Blue Bloods: Slave Pastors (part 13 of 14)

I find it extremely hard to write this piece. I am a pastor and have been for over 25 years. I have served in both the small and mega church spheres. A pastor is a shepherd, one who has been called by God to lovingly care for His flock. So as I pen the following words, I do so with a desire to shine the light of freedom and not to throw stones of anger or judgment. I will use a term that sours my stomach to the point of sickness, but the term is what it is and it will not cease to be simply because we ignore it or pretend it isn’t there. It’s the pink elephant rampaging the pulpits and population of our churches. That term is “slave pastor,” and like “slave church,” is an oxymoron.

Slave pastors always lead slave churches. A slave pastor cannot lead a church filled with blue bloods (sons and daughters who know their identity in Christ), and neither can a blue blood pastor survive in a slave church. They are oil and water—night and day—a recipe for disaster. Conflict will take place at some point when one confronts the other.

Slave pastors lead small, medium, and mega-sized churches. The size of the church has nothing to do with it. Don’t allow tremendous growth in a church to fool you. A small church can grow into a mega church with the right location, program, or preacher. Size has nothing to do with slavery—the faulty mindsets and belief systems we have discussed in earlier pieces determine slave or free.

The slave pastor is a control freak. Slaves crave control because their lives seem out of control and they fearfully desire the boundaries someone else will implement and enforce. Some might call this type of pastor a person with personal ambition, a sense of purpose, or a strong drive to succeed. I prefer to call them slave pastors—slaves to their own ambitions, dreams, and self-constructed kingdoms. By the way, one person cannot build their own kingdom: They need laborers and slave pastors can spot strong backs and weak minds immediately.

Many depend on their denominational pedigrees to open doors. Slave pastors often serve in slave denominations (nothing but a partnership of slave churches all wanting to be first). Openings and opportunities are meted out to those who have come up through the system—paid their dues and are sworn to the party line (even if it diametrically opposes the truth of Scripture). Slave pastors, though they hunger to be in control, are often subjugated by slave pastors who are a rung or two higher on that proverbial ladder of success.

The slave pastor has learned the organizational techniques, corporate leadership skills, and the art of manipulative preaching with twisted contextual biblical passages to create a smooth machine that from all outside appearances seem to have the markings of God’s favor. But in reality many would not recognize the presence of God if He walked in and sat on the front row. In fact, that church, wherever it is located, is in slavery because in the past someone relegated the Holy Spirit to the back row because He was a bit too rowdy for their own personal taste. Their vocabulary is sprinkled with the buzz words of faith but there is little faith in the God of the Word.

Sermons carry the familiar phrases of the Zion to arouse the excitement of the crowd, but excitement alone can never evolve into holiness. Holiness is a word bandied about, but quietly dismissed, as it often leads to freedom, and freedom is the last thing a slave pastor wants. Free people think for themselves, and heaven forbid, we cannot have that in church.

They come dressed in slick suits and tee shirts with designer jeans. Media graphics and carefully coined verbiage become substitutes for broken hearts and contrite spirits. With these tools and host of others at their command, they purport that the power of God is in the house. Cutting edge techniques—that next great show Bro. “So and so” is having success with—fuels their ministries and their mission. Their prayers are, “God bless what I’m doing” rather than “God show me what you’re doing and where you’re doing it, so I can join you.”

Fear, manipulation, and arrogance mark their behavior, while their sermonic offerings either beat down the sheep or inflate their heads with feel-good gas. The Word of God is used as a tool to get what they want, when they want it, and without any regard for the lives they might damage. Often the sermon topics they rail on—that hobbyhorse they love to ride roughshod over the congregation—mask the sinful bondage their own pharisaical souls are chained in.

This, my friend, is a worst-case scenario, but sadly it is the reality of so many pastors and churches. God help us if this poisonous mindset and pervert skill set is not eradicated from the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul’s question to the Galatian believers seems rather appropriate at this point.

But now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? (Gal. 4:9)