Archive for July, 2009

We join our heroine in progress: Deborah gives the military commander, Barak, the word of the Lord: Prepare for battle, take 10,000 men and He will give you the win. Now, this battle is a head-to-head with Sisera and his 900 chariots. It’s a battle with the people of Canaan and their leader – Jabin – who has cruelly oppressed Israel for 20 years (Judges 4:3). You know WHY the oppression has been going on for two decades? Because the soldiers and the leaders are scared spitless of conflict. We’ll talk in a day or so about their shockingly spineless condition and their refusal to ever under any circumstances, you know, fight – but for today, just trust me: their courage shook like a bowl full of jelly.

Barak immediately says to Deborah, “Ten thousand men, huh? Great, but I’m not going unless YOU go!” Now either Barak really is a fraidy cat of epic proportions, or this is a “put up or shut up” kind of challenge he’s issued. “God spoke, huh? Okaaaay, how bout you go first, D?” I’m sure he also wanted the assurance of having the prophet and judge along for the ride, but I suspect something else is going on under the surface. And, oh man, how I love dear Deborah’s response here: “She said, ‘Of course I’ll go with you. But understand with an attitude like that, there’ll be no glory in it for you. God will use a woman’s hand to take care of Sisera.” (verse 9-10) No hesitation, no stop-and-pray, no shaking or quaking in her sandals…this woman is ready to see the heat of battle. She’s built a great office under that palm tree – but something tells me she’s been longing to see God in action and she knows that His real power is shown in places that aren’t nearly as safe as the the sweet spot beneath the cool tree. I love her immediate YES. I love her willingness to leave a great gig for one that is going to be tense and bloody. Brilliant.

In the movie, Beauty and the Beast, the crowd of villagers gathers to go after the Beast and their fearless leader, Gaston, utters one of my all-time favorite cinematic lines: “Light your torch, mount your horse, screw your courage to the sticking place….”

Maybe it’s time I find my courage and introduce it firmly to the sticking place. Maybe it’s time I listen to God and believe Him….believe that if He’s promised the battle, then it’s already mine. Maybe it’s time to show up.

Praise the Lord and here we go,

Bo

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For the past week, I have spent every day in the story and Song of Deborah. The story is pretty short, but when combined with some treasure out of history and the amazing stuff woven into the song, a full picture takes shape and gives clear detail on who and what I want to be. Exactly who and exactly what I want to be. I’m going to try to tackle my thoughts on this and wrestle them onto the page and I’m doing it for me – so that I will not let truth go undiscovered. If you want to come along for the ride, I’d love the company. Here’s part 1of who-really-knows-how-many parts:

First amazing fact: Deborah is given the distinction of being both a prophet and a judge. That may not seem like a big deal, but the only other person so labeled is Samuel. There is no getting around the fact that this woman is among the spiritual elite – not just in Israel – but in history. She’s a woman who finds purpose and peace (in her “office” under a palm tree – sign me up!) in the middle of a nation that is lost in sin and oppressed by a cruel enemy. No one could have blamed Deborah for using her gender or her government’s issues as a reason to stay hidden and helpless – we’ll soon see that’s exactly what the men were doing – but she didn’t. She couldn’t. She was called to more and I’m guessing that awareness haunted her and chased her down until she said yes to it.

We live in exactly the same kind of situation. Conflict is spinning in from every direction. Our government is a mess. Our country has forsaken Jesus. People are frustrated at the Church. We have become a nation of hiders and in this landscape, it’s easy to build our vision around survival. Keep our heads down, our bills paid and stay under the radar. We’ve become so much like Barak and I’m tired of it. I’m tired of believing for the crumbs under the table. I mean, I’ll take them, but I also want what’s up on the platters and in the bowls and fresh out of the oven. I want more than my country is finding. I want more than the American church is experiencing. I want to believe that I can hear His voice clearly and be used by Him to stage a big win.

So, quick question: In the middle of a country in crisis, is it possible for women of God to find a place that is smack dab in the middle of His call for their lives? Is it possible to live out Plan A for my life while living under a government (or marriage or job or financial situation) that moved on to Plan B a long time ago? After a week in Judges 4 & 5, I’m absolutely convinced that I can. So can you. And I’m becoming certain that it’s possible for one woman living out God’s dreams for her life, to wake up a whole nation in the process.

I really want to be Deborah.

The Suddenly Shrinking Army

Posted: July 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

Judges 7:2 God said to Gideon, “You have too large an army with you. I can’t turn Midian over to them like this – they’ll take all the credit, saying, ‘I did it all myself,’ and forget about me.”

I can relate to Gideon. Actually, I think our whole country can relate to Gideon. Dwindling jobs, plummeting house values, collapsing economy all amount to shrinking security the likes of which we didn’t think we would see in our generation. I have been pretty safe here in my little corner of our superpower nation. But times change and armies retreat and enemies rage and we draw new pictures of what security might look like for ourselves and our children and I don’t know if anyone wants to think much further down the generational ladder than that.

Circumstances in my life pushed me into a place recently where I needed to take stock and get an accurate read on the war that I feel I’m in right now. First, I listed all the trouble above (economy, transition, etc.) as the stuff that I’m up against…then I realized that wasn’t right. The economy isn’t out to get me. The real estate market doesn’t have a vendetta against me or my future. My retirement account is not malicious – it’s just shrinking and can’t help it. These things are not forming a strategy for squishing my happiness beneath their collective shoe. It’s not that they’re my enemy – it’s that they used to be part of my army. My well-built, carefully maintained, beautifully polished army. I had circled all these soldiers around my life like my own personal band of Happiness Sentinels and I felt smart and strong for having done it. However, as I’ve watched them peel away from the place I had stuck them, I’m finding a whole new me. A new fear, yes, but also a new sense of trust. New needs, certainly, but also new expectations for what I actually need and renewed creativity on how to live peacefully in the changing landscape. There is less settledness in my home and job and portfolio, sure, but a new hunger for adventure that is refreshing. And terrifying. Refreshingly terrifying…and I actually mean that. I think that for the longest time we’ve focused on the same fears, the same issues, the same fight..and I know that for me and my house, God has called us to something that is requiring a whole ‘nother kind of courage. We’d become settlers and I suspect that He has always intended for us to be pioneers. To that end, our house is on the market. I love my house. Love it. It contains years of memories and the blood, sweat and tears that only a true fixer-upper can pull out of you. I love it and my kids love it and we bought at a good time and we don’t have to sell it…but we know that God is saying that it’s part of the army and we need to give Him the chance to release it if He wants to. I’ve cried a little (heh…”little”), and wondered a lot about why nothing gets to stay the same.

So, this morning at church we sang that incredible old hymn, “Take My Life”. One of the verses says, “Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee…swift and beautiful for Thee.” I almost couldn’t get through it…I just felt the loving nudge of the Holy Spirit saying, “It’s going to be good where you’re going…stop dragging your feet.” Not that the “going” is a literal leaving Bend or even leaving my house, but it’s a Gideon moment in my heart where I’m willing to say, “Take everything but Your presence and I will march into battle with joy.” (Maybe Carolyn will be open to coming to my house every morning and singing that song to me!)

I don’t know where you’re at today or who’s in your army. But I just wanted to write this very personal note about my current location to encourage you that in the middle of shrinking security, there is a growing sense of His power that is bigger than life and death itself. His love truly is everything.

Westward ho,

Bo

26 Minutes

Posted: July 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

I’ve seen MILES of stuff on September 11, but I’ve never seen this. It’s chilling. Captured by a couple staying at a home just 500 yards from the World Trade Center, you can hear the plane approaching the second tower and feel the suffocating sense of panic and despair that they were experiencing on that world-changing day.

This video is 26 minutes of real time on a real day that maybe more than anything reminds me why I love America so much. If you have time in your July 4th festivities to remind yourself that freedom is worth fighting for, then I encourage you to watch this one: