Tag Archive | choice

Pennies!

oldpennies
A granddad was showing his five year old daughter his porcelain collection and she was fascinated with the colours.  The granddad got temporarily distracted and at to momentarily leave the room.  When he returned he was shocked to see and hear his granddaughter in pain and her hand stuck inside a priceless vase. He tried to pull her hand out, no joy.  He tried all manner of lubricants to see if her hand would budge.  It didn’t.   He finally realised that he’d have to smash the vase, and so, reluctantly he took a hammer and freed his granddaughter’s hand.
What he saw next amazed him.
His granddaughter’s hand had made a fist and was almost white in colour.
fist         What’s in your hand?
She opened her hand and there was an old penny, which the girl had seen at the bottom of the vase, grabbed but could not get her hand back out whilst her hand formed a fist around the penny!  pennycoin
What she clung to eventually destroyed the surrounding environment
Her clinging perspective was catastrophic to her surroundings
What she deemed as valuable had destroyed what was ‘priceless!’
“What may we be clinging to that seems valuable, which might be  destroying that which is priceless?”
The penny and the fist!
The penny could represent many things
  • a mindset
  • a tradition
  • a attitude
  • a loss
  • a grudge
  • pride, vengeance, bitterness, offence
The vase for me speaks of the core people in our world, our family & loved ones.  It is difficult to watch someone you love cling to stuff that’s just not helping them.  In fact it is detrimental to their mental, emotional and relational health.
chinese_vaseThe intensity of clinging can sometimes be seismic to all that’s around us and affect the strength and integrity of the vase, the relationships that make up our core!
This week two politicians clashed and then both clung to the need for the other to apologise first.  It took the intervention of the leader and some key information being shared before one of the politicians apologised unreservedly.  At first, the ex-mayor of London said in effect –
when he apologises for what he said about me I’ll apologise to him!
 In this moment, the politician valued his pride and his will was clenched around his choice like an iron fist.
It’s logical that we cannot receive if our hand is full and that what we need to pick up, sometimes starts with putting something down.  Now, I’m not saying this stuff is easy because it’s not but that which is priceless is being forfeited if we don’t let go of what we deem as valuable: our pride, reputation, standing etc..
Jonah found this lesson out the hard way – fish puke is not an attractant!
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit grace that could be theirs.      Jonah 2:8
What Jonah was forfeiting was grace.  What he was clinging to is described as an idol, whose value was classified as worthless!
In today’s culture, particularly in the West, we have idle talk but not much talk about idols.
sumerian_idols
An idol is any person, possession or position, that we value and esteem above all, and from which we draw our sense of worth.
This might sound crazy but hear me out – some people draw their sense of worth and their identity and meaning from wrapping their fist around past problems, pains, losses, hurts, injustices, betrayals.   And in the same way an object tightly held in the hand will impress itself into the skin, leaving a mark, so it can be with us!   It makes its impression and until removed, leaves its mark but worthless means is as no value!  Therefore, it adds nothing of value to our lives.  No positives, no enrichments!
If these  ‘penny issues’ are clung to, they inevitably  become our hallmark: setting the standard and authentication of our identity
victim, betrayed, reject, loser, second, last, over-looked, abused, old, past it, lost it!
Victor Frankl never lost his hallmark, even when exposed to heinous and incessant evil.
Viktor_Frankl2
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Victor Frankl
A human being is a deciding being. Victor Frankl
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. Victor Frankl
I believe that our hallmark is not drawn from what we have, possess or the positions we hold or what we do but from being made in Father’s image. His hallmark, is the standard for our worth and value and authenticates our identity.  He never changes; life and people will and do.
Father never moves the goalposts!
His unmerited love and unrivalled power are always there, regardless. 
This is grace and He desires that it makes a lasting impression on us but it can be forfeited.  
The enemy comes to rob, steal and destroy said Jesus (Jn 10:9) both the the image they bear inside and them as an image bearer!
Is it time to fling and not cling?
Time to forgive and release ourselves?
Time to come back to grace and be stamped afresh?

Mind Worm!

monkMedieval monks devised poetic ways of talking about issues, and one of these was the ‘Mind Worm!’  This Mind Worm, was used to talk about psychology, issues of the mind.  So what is the Mind Worm?
A creature that had the power to burrow into the mind and come to know an individual thoroughly: their dreams, fears, strengths, weaknesses. It was supposed that this creature also had the power to create events in the world.  Therefore, this Mind Worm could create an event, that was unique to the nature of the individual, and this event would act like a trigger, to an adventure that would bring out the true character of the individual; demanding and stretching them on all levels of what it means to be human.
This Mind Worm concept I came across reading Robert McKee’s excellent book Story, and after his summary of the Mind Worm he made a statement –
The writer is a Mind Worm! Robert McKee 1
This thought immediately connected with a description of Jesus, who’s described as an author.  See Hebs 2:10; 12:2  The main dynamics of the word author in the texts are: one who takes a lead in, or provides the first occasion of, anything. Dynamically it’s speaks of being the source or originating cause
 
The writer, and Jesus as author, understand thoroughly  the mind and the heart of their characters and consequently the event, and events that their character needs to begin and finish their adventure.
In Kingdom of Heaven, Orlando Bloom plays a blacksmith, who is happily married until an unjust event, robs him of his wife. Bloom the blacksmith then makes a choice under  pressure and kills a man.  Then we see him sweat for a few scenes, until a knight played by Liam Neeson shows up.  He announces that he’s Bloom’s father and invites him to join him on a journey to Jerusalem.  Reluctantly, but feeling justice on his collar, Bloom joins his.  kohBloom
This scene, always reminds me of a core dynamic of the gospel or good news: the father inviting us into a journey, an adventure with Him, which He describes as entering and pursuing the kingdom of God!    An event that triggers a process that continually leads to other events, that leads to another process which etc…
An essential and vital  part of this process, written in by the Author,  is pressure.
…saying that through many tribulations [pressure] we must enter the kingdom of God.  ESV  
Two essential dynamics of ‘kingdom maturity,’ are coming under authority and exercising authority and pressure can position us to experience a greater level of ‘ruler ship!’    Pressure and character maturity go hand in hand.  
CHOICE
McKee’s definition of true character is excellent – 
True character can only be expressed through choice in dilemma.” 2
The reason I like McKee’s definition is that it is both true and clarifies the core issue when pressure comes – choice!   This is important because having an experience of pressure does not make you experienced or lead to maturity.  It’s the choice(s) we make, continue to make or defend, within the pressure, that matures us and then we become worthy of the label – experienced!
I do not believe that my Author is always the originating source or cause of the pressure I might experience, however, I do know that He always seek to use pressure for my  transformation and His purposes.  I am learning to develop what I call 50:20 vision, which takes time and effort and was one of the things Joseph matured in.
In Genesis 50:20 hindsight brings real vision:
  “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Joseph started out as a ‘cocky kid,’ yet in this verse he’s now a ‘mature prince’ with massive authority and power, facing the people, his own brothers, who started all the pressure! This character as experienced many dilemmas, has struggled, yet has made and defended right choices. Now, at this pivotal ‘arch in the story’ he understands that the Author’s intention all the way through the story, was to transform the one He had chosen, so he would be ready to fulfil the Author’s desire: to keep alive many people, who were to experience famine!
This Author, who is my Author, thoroughly prepares and strategically places His characters, so that they are ready to help those who are on the Author’s heart.  See also the beautiful story of Esther.
I see, believe and follow an Author that gets me, like no other, understand my strengths and weaknesses, and intends to use the first and transform the latter. See Hebs 10:34
He understands that all adventures start with an invitation and as He did many times in the gospels, Jesus stills invites us to follow Him.  Now, it’s my turn and my shift, in this meta narrative of the kingdom of heaven filling the earth and I can learn from those, the Author has thoroughly prepared and strategically placed before.
The event called invitation directly leads to a process called transformation, which needs the dynamic that is confrontation, and so the Author sets up events, to bring out our true character and our dormant potential.  See Philip in John 5:5-15.
In this narrative Jesus deliberately puts Philip in a dilemma and at the end of the test,  even the broken bread and smelly fish pieces are gathered up and used.
My Author, can and does take up the broken and smelly parts of my life, the wrong choices, moments of madness,  and uses them to wise me up and empower me to help others!
Martrix
“The nearest anyone can come to finding himself at any given age is to find a story that somehow tells him about himself!” Norman Maclean. 3
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Have we found that story yet?
Jesus as Author is still looking to cast new characters into His Kingdom of heaven Epic!
Interested?
  1. Story Robert McKee pg 374
  2. McKee pg 375
  3. quoted in The Way of the wild heart John Eldredge pg22

Buried!

Letter

Who will ever forget the dramatic news that flashed across the world on 5th August 2010 of the mining accident in Chile?  33 miners were known to be trapped and everyone feared the worst.

17 days later came these words –

 “Estamos bien en el refugio, los 33”   “We are well in the shelter, the 33 of us”).

Local and global euphoria, that those who were buried were alive and so began a truly awesome and multi-national rescue operation.  On the 13th October, 69 days after they were buried the Los 33, as they were called, were all brought to the surface one by one.

The emotions and the reactions as these brave men came out of their confinement and breathed fresh air, true space and freedom still stays with me.  The second miner, who was known as the joker gave out rocks, even to his president and the miner who leapt around and led others in a song.  Unforgettable!

As the third anniversary approaches I am sure there will be much reflection and varying emotions within the Los 33 and their families.   I have never experienced being confined, trapped or restricted in my life but as I pondered the Los 33 a question began to surface: What might lie buried within me?

What potential, dreams, fears, desires, hopes might have been covered by life, circumstance or personal choice?

What might I have buried because of the fear of what others might think or how they might react?

69 days of hard work, sweat and considerable cost because something very valuable was buried, not just those men but all their potential, strength and future.

  • Is it time to unearth what might be buried in us?
  • Are our strengths and potential as men buried?
  • Ready for some hard work, sweat and cost?

After twenty four hours of winching the Los 33 to the surface a board was held up that read:

“Misión cumplida Chile” (English: “”Mission accomplished Chile”)

The Father has a mission for the masculine heart and soul and a unique purpose for each masculine heart and soul.  When we see Him face to face what sign will He hold up?

Reminder at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11544807

 

From Memory 2 Imagination Part 3

stepping stones

If we are ready for the challenge and the adventure, here are five steps that will move us from memory to imagination.

1.      Think about what you think about.

Begin taking an inventory of our thoughts, especially about the issues and dynamics of home, work, and relationships, our potential, future hopes or aspirations.

  • Become aware of any fear that’s there! Fear is an acronym –
  • Future Events Appearing Real.

These words were spoken to a friend of mine, who was about to follow his ‘TA army flock’ down the ski course. The Sergeant and instructor saw fear in his eyes and challenged him to see future events in a different way and engage his new skills and he’d be alright.

We cannot go any further or higher than our thoughts permit!

  • Is our fear just the result of being human ?
  • The consequence of facing something new or big?
  • Or is it tied to a past experienced that acts like a bungee?

We cannot change what we cannot see or become aware of!

 2.      Repent 

There are two actions within this one word: change the way you think and then go in a different direction. See Luke 15:17&18

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Einstein

Our thinking informs and builds our belief and precedes our actions. So if we attempt new actions without new thinking, we will experience limited progress and success.  However, if we combine new thinking with new actions, we will release new power into and towards our contexts.

The law of combination states: that when we combine two elements we release a compound – energy/power!

New thinking combined with new actions will release new momentum, and this new power and energy will begin to affect the issues and contexts we desire to change. (Apologise for so many news but new is good!) Have to be careful with formulas but as an illustration it helps –

Thinking + Attitude + Approach + Action = Outcomes 

When we change one part of the chemical formula, we change the nature of the results! Stephen R Covey *

3.      Visualise

  • Before we think thoughts we imagine!
  • It is true that a picture paints a thousand words!

One of the purposes of our imagination is to make present and possible, ‘future events’ that seem impossible at the moment. As an adopted son of an amazing Father, I am commanded to imitate Him (Eph 5:1) The dynamic within this words speaks of copying or mimicking Him –

  • God makes know the end from the beginning. See Ish 46:10
  • God often enters our today using the language & image of tomorrow
  • These words & images often  bear no resemblance to how it is or how we are e.g. Gideon Judges 6 & Ish 54:1-4

The love of this ‘Tomorrow Imagining and Speaking Father’ is trying to cast out fear.  1 John 4:18

  • Imagination and faith, when combined release vision.
  • We see around us with our eyes.
  • We see tomorrow with the eyes of vision.

Sight is a function of the eyes, vision a function of the heart. Dr Myles Munroe *

Taking the time and making the effort, and it will take both, to continually bring to our imagination a new image is a vital principle in moving us from memory to imagination. Vital because our minds seek to complete the image we persistently bring to it.

  • Our words are the dictionary of our hearts and the core purpose of a dictionary is to define!
  • So what we confess is dynamically defining us!

 4.      Confess

Begin the process of using metaphors and language that support the new image  and thinking we are holding within us.It might seem weird or a little odd to use present tense vocabulary towards our ‘still the same contexts or issues’ but think of it like this:

  • When our new tomorrow happens, what language will we use?
  • Then use it now!

God tells the barren woman to sing, burst into song and shout for joy, which on the surface seems insensitive or even harsh but He’s addressing her form her tomorrow and with the benefit of hindsight.

She is on a page but He is on every page, including how it ends!

God dynamically does the same to Gideon; He addresses him as a Mighty Warrior because God knew what was in him and had seen him operating as one. The answer to an unproductive and fear gripped life is vision and Father has got loads of it and desires to share it with us.  See Eph 3:20

 We need to watch our metaphors because our potential and capacity are listening!

 5.      Act: Stop and start.

There are some actions we need to stop because they are part of the problem and other actions we need to start because they correspond to our new image, thinking and future. Our new image has the same potential and power as a seed but unless this seed encounters an ‘intentional grower’ it remains dormant.

Some years ago, seeds were found in a tomb in Egypt, they were hundreds of years hold. A person, an intentional grower, took them and gave them the environment and commitment they needed –

They released what was entombed!

  • Our imaginations are either wombs or tombs!
  • Father’s seed is in there but is it dormant?
  • Are we ‘Tomb Raiders?
  • Do we need to become intentional growers?

Only through cultivation can we make the picture on the packet become a reality in our lives!

Passivity lets anything and everything grow.  Cultivation, which is intentional growing and purposeful production, takes pro -activity.  Have a look at  this  metaphor at Proverbs 24:30-34

I hope these steps and their thoughts have made us think and I would love to hear your comments.  I would like to share a final thought, which has and still does help me in my daily discipline of making future events become real!

More energy was used breaking out of orbit than was used to travel to the moon and the rocket shook the most as it was breaking loose of gravity!

If we decide to take these steps, you will experience gravity and shaking but these are signs that you have engaged the power and are heading to a new destination!  The gravity and shaking will occur in our soul, which houses our mind, will and emotions.

  • Feelings and thoughts will try and hold you back and keep you in. Our & others
  • Feelings and thoughts  will act like gravity because –
  • They are attached, even super glued to the comfortable and the familiar.

Once we begin to move inwardly and outwardly towards our new goal, they will kick in, seeking to accomplish what gravity does; hold us down and keep us in place.  However, if we continue in these steps despite our feelings we will experience breakthrough and breakout.

  • So are we staying with memory or moving to imagination?
  • Staying within orbit or going where no one has gone before?

P.S   My TA padre mate made it down!

Please leave your comments

* pg 86 Seven Habits of Highly Successful People

* Preface to the principles & power of vision Dr Myles Munroe