Father is a ‘filler!’
A re-read of Genesis 1&2 reveals that He fills all He creates – the sea, land, plants, us!
I love the phrase describing the sea – it was teeming with life.
Father is draw to emptiness. He desires to bring His life to empty spaces.
There is a space that He particularly desires to fill that is often overlooked and misunderstood: unconscious incompetence.
This can be defined as not being aware that I don’t know what I need to know!
Father is clear about a lack of knowledge – it’s a dangerous place.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hos 4:6 NKJV
When I become aware that I don’t know, what I need to know, this can become a sacred place. Father invites us into this space and holds His breathe to see if we will RSVP and enter?
As men, when we lack info, knowledge, experience, skill, we have a number of choices – blag it, ignore it or humble ourselves and ask for help.
I don’t know, what I don’t know, is a core obstacle to learning, development & transformation.
All great teachers are aware of the space that learners have to enter and remain in until they’ve received the info, experience, knowledge or skill they need.
Blaggers hate this space and time but learners positively love it.
Learning lies at the heart of Christianity because Jesus defined everyone who followed Him as a disciple. Disciple means ‘disciplined learner’ and we have this label until we see Him face to face.
I am therefore a lifelong learner!
Right at the front end of His earthly ministry, the Father took His Son into a sacred space for a specific reason.
The Holy Spirit led Jesus into a stark, dangerous and potentially deadly place. See Luke 4:1. Jesus was tested and His humanity was put under great pressure. What He’d been acquiring for around 30yrs, (see Lk 2:52) He now began to apply.
The contrast between how He went into this sacred space and how He came out is remarkable.
He went in full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) and came out in the power of the Spirit (v 14).
This was a test and He passed it with flying colours!
The verses in the Bible that give me the most trouble are the ones I understand! Take this one –
He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. Roms 8:29 The Message.
“Along the same lines as the Son!”
The Holy Spirit wants to lead me into a thought through place, so I can apply what He’s be teaching me, realise and release the potential He has given me and have new experiences to learn from!
If we RSVP to the Spirit’s leading, we can be sure that we will enter the sacred space one way and come out completely different.
We will return with new power; His super on our natural and with renewed confidence and increased enthusiasm.
Let’s face it, He created us men to take stuff on and with His power win some battles.
Father desires to empower us so we become acquirers of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
“Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have get understanding. Prov 4:7
There is a cost and a price attached to learning which is more than monetary.
We have to admit, enter the space and find what we lack.
Humility is the prerequisite to learning and Father always gives grace to the humble. 1 Pet 5:5
He does not intend to leave us as mere acquirers. He wants to take us into that sacred space so we can apply what He’s been showing us, mature and mark that place with His grace!
It will cost us but sacrifice lies at the heart of biblical masculinity.
I am learning to love those times when He leads me to this unconscious incompetence space. I know that this is a sacred space and a divine appointment and I will become aware of what I don’t know or what I’ve been given but am not using!
At these times, Father is setting me up for a new revelation, insight or experience that will empower me to transform and to move up, move out or move into!
Sir Edmund Hillary made several attempts at climbing Everest before he succeeded. After one attempt he stood at the base of the giant mountain and shook his fist at it –
“I’ll defeat you yet,” he said in defiance. “Because you’re as big as you’re going to get – but I’m still growing
- I’m still growing!
- Question; are we?
Growth can be biological, facial, to do with abs and stomachs. We can grow in confidence, knowledge, skills, learning. We can grow a life, friendship, business, a marriage.
We all grow something, which grows or hinders everything else – habits!
- From everything Father has given life to, He expects growth. See Luke 13:6-9
- To recieve life and not grow is a ‘creation violation.’
- The Divine Manufacture sees growth not as an optional extra but fitted as standard!
- It’s in there and he expects us to utilise it.
To utilise means we make use of, or harness what’s there, we proactively make the decision to apply what is at our disposal and kick start the growth process.
In Luke 13:6-9 the Father, pictured as the vineyard owner, gives us the ‘heads up’ on the growth process –
- Proven material
- Time & Expectation
The Father is described as a vineyard owner, one who is looking for an end result from the investment of His time, resources and effort. These three energies and abilities, that we all have, are the ‘Growth Trinity!’ When these three are combined we release a strength that is not easily broken. See Ecclesiastes 4:12.
- All investments yield a return
- So, what are we investing our time, resources & efforts on or towards?
- Do we need to cash some investments in because they are hindering our growth?
The vineyard owning Father is not happy; in fact He has had enough. He is fed up of not seeing any growth on the plant that He owns and has been literally pouring His resources into for the last three years!
- Are there key people around us who are a little exasperated with our lack of growth?
- Are we exasperated with another’s lack of growth?
- Are we personally fed up with an unproductive area of our lives?
The vineyard owner is in evaluation mode and after His appraisal; He decides on a course of action and sets a time frame.
- If we don’t evaluate we will stagnate
- Stagnant places always yield results
This is real bottom line thinking from Jesus, about His Father and it may be a disturbing picture but it underlines the value and priority Father places on growth.
Winners never quit and quitters never win is simply not true. If we are to win through to growth, to feel the tape across our chest, we are going to have to quit some stuff. The manager of the vineyard implements a plan and the first part is Removal! He digs around the base, agitates and disturbs the soil and this is the preparation for the next stage which is application!
- What has accumulated in our minds and hearts that might need to be removed?
- Does the thought of change, produce agitation in us?
- If so, it might be a sign of the Father’s ‘Divine Fork’ going in!
Doing the same things but expecting different results is quit frankly; barmy! To grow we need to remove stuff – thoughts, attitudes, perspectives, habits!
We need to make room for some fertilizer!
The word is dunged. Nice! The Father will use even unsightly and smelly stuff, to bring enrichment to our lives, these are usually problems. Problems and potential are partners that many misunderstand and yet problems can be the ‘fertiliser’ that can kick start new growth and fruit.
Fertiliser can also be ‘proven material.’ The Father has helped many to grow before us and these growers have left insights and wisdom: proven material, for us to learn from. Wisdom is released when knowledge and learning are applied in given contexts. Father’s wisdom ‘calls out and raises her voice’ in some vital areas of the journey of life – heights, crossroads, entrances. Proverbs 8:1-3
If we are taking steps one through three then we will arrive at four – time and expectation!
Growth takes time and if we are implementing the growth trinity, then we should expect results because we have triggered a due process, which will lead to a due season of new growth and fruit. The Father who has set in place the process of growth has also determined the time of the harvest.
All the time we are waiting we should continually expect results, harvest, and fruit!
We can keep growing or we can remain the same, these are the choices available to us, and both can become habits.
Sir Edmund kept growing; eventually reaching his summit and conquering his Everest.
I don’t know what you might be facing or how mountainous it may seem but can I encourage you to keep growing, remove from your thinking what is hindering growth, apply proven material, give yourself time, whilst expecting the harvest you are cultivating.
Love and respect to all who are struggling and growing!
The primary paradigm that Jesus asks His disciples to adopt and buy into is a ‘father view of the world,’ reminding us that we are not doing this life stuff on our own but there is a Father who is totally for us and not against us.
I like the way John Eldredge puts it –“You are the son of a kind, strong and engaged Father…” *
“yet; there will be times when we think dad is trying to kill us!”
So much of modern Christianity and discipleship portrays a merciful, loving and kind Father, who seeks to bless and prosper us. These truths are correct but incomplete because He is also a Father, who tests, proves and refines us, which are inseparable from the blessing and prospering us stuff and heat is essential for all three!
Hope this doesn’t offend but He is portrayed like a –
“’ Soft drinks swilling fat guy, who wears a red suit and just wants to give you good stuff!
- I believe in a Father who desires to give me the desires of my heart. Ps 37:4 & Prov 10:2
- This includes treasure, which infers adventure, risk, danger, opposition & hot places: heat
I think it’s really cool that Indian Jones’s father is Sean Connery; I wonder who would play Indian’s son. This, like Father like Son dynamic, can be gleaned from a verse in Romans –
“God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. Roms 8:29 The Message
- The Father would shape the lives of His sons by treating them as He treated His Son.
- He would view, lead, expect & equip us as He had Him.
- Father will turn up, bring on and increases the heat!
At twelve Jesus said He had to be about His Father’s business, eighteen years later, give or take, Jesus goes into the wilderness, to be about His Father’s business!
What kind of father is it that sends His son into a place that has:
- Extreme temperatures
- Is a hostile and demanding terrain
- Could be a life and death place
- Where He would be exposed to dangerous creatures & supernatural forces.
What kind of Father does this?
The one Jesus desired us to know and follow, who understands and uses Heat!
“I call Him the ‘bless and stress us dad!’ “
The Bible is full of characters that this Father blessed and stressed and stressed, and then blessed! You may have never thought about God the Father this way before but stay with me.
At its core blessed is about empowerment: divine ability assisting its natural partner. The super meets and equips the natural within the test. Luke records a ‘Before and After’ dynamic regarding Jesus and His wilderness experience: He goes in one way and comes out another –
- And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, & was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, Luke 4:1-2 RSV
- And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, Luke 4:14 RSV
Jesus came out of the wilderness, the place of the stress and the test, with the empowerment to accomplish and finish His Father’s business and His Father deliberately took Him into this wilderness for that purpose.
His Father knew that Jesus had what it took; He told Him so before He entered the wilderness (Mark 1:11). Immediately after His Father’s affirmation He enters the wilderness and within this ‘Father arranged, test and stress place,’ Jesus would release and realise the power that was available to Him and for Him!
“He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son.”
The Father desires to shape our lives along the same lines as His Son, which means He desires to –
- Affirm His love to and for us
- Release Affirmation before performance
- Approval outside of achievement
- To confirm we have what it takes
- Give us His power to ‘get the job done.’
- And to send us into a stress and test environment to understand and utilise that power.
Within the test/heat are problems that will call out to our potential, the Father knows this and so He takes us there and provides us with opportunities and opposition, so we can ‘realise and release,’ what He has called us to be and do!
The test and the heat combo, make demands on the potential our Father has deposited within us!
Father saw –
- Moses’ potential and so He provided a Pharaoh
- David’s and so He provided a Goliath
- Jesus’ and so He provided a satan
- Ours and so He provided …..!
Father knows pressure produces and so in the next part we’ll look at the truth that ‘Exacting places are be Extracting places!
- Heat, correctly used, will strengthen & temper, extract impurities & raise the carat rating.
- Father knows how to use heat and He always test, proves and renews, ALL of His sons.
- He’s not trying to kill us
- He’s intentionally seeking to maiximise the potential He has placed within us!
“The maximisation of the abilities, talents, gifts and untapped potential that lay dormant in the lives of individuals who have impacted their generations, was occasioned by the pressure created by circumstances and situations beyond their control. Preface to Max your potential Myles Munroe”
*The Way of the Wild Heart pg 31
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!
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 *
- 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!
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