A trail of seed

random seedsChristmas 2014. I grew up in South Africa where year-end is February 28, at least from a financial and tax perspective, which allows you to have Christmas holidays in financial denial. Here in the USA annual goals, finances, performance reviews, connecting with friends all get squeezed into the pre-Christmas funnel like reluctant ingredients in a Christmas fruitcake. Year-ends are therefore a particularly pensive time for me. Since I like to have the books reconciled and the year accounted for at the calendar close my days are generally not filled with Christmas stockings and mulled wine, but with taking stock and mulling over whether I have made progress this last year. Yesterday morning was different: I woke at about 3 AM wondering, “What progress have I made in the last decade?” I opened a file marked Journal:2002 to 2010 and scrolled to December 2004. Some of the things I longed for back then are still on my list… no apparent progress.

…I have told the Lord that the longing of my heart is a piece of land in California where we can live, maybe have teams come for equipping, mostly have places where our kids can live with us for seasons, and where our children and grandchildren can come, spend time, play on a swing under a tree, pick fresh fruit, and continue to generations of those who will be faithful.

In 2004, there were less me-focused things happening too, world events that would draw us into new places.

While I muse these things it would be remiss to not note that on December 26th the largest earthquake in decades, 9.0, hit Indonesia where they estimate about 150,000 have died, and tens of thousands remain unaccounted for. The islands roundabout experienced terrible destruction. The largest world relief effort ever is underway. Just today another 4,000 bodies have been pulled from rubble that is 6 feet high. The 100-foot wave traveled at 500 m.p.h and devastated Sri Lanka and other nations. One third of all children in Sri Lanka have died – the death toll there is 30,000. I lay in bed this morning thinking, “Couldn’t we have some businesses in a box that would be ready to plant in areas of such massive destruction where entire towns have to be rebuilt?” Lord, give me revelation into these things and what we can do in response, I pray.

Big dreams, but what has been accomplished? I could add up the new cities since 2004  Jakarta, Johannesburg, Chennai, Kochi, Lagos, Knysna  and the people hundreds of people, maybe thousands. Today, however, I needed a context-setting scripture. I opened my iPad and there was a text I highlighted recently:

He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.

This has been a theme verse for my wife, Lyn, who speaks of sorrow seed as producing the best harvest. I dug into the meaning of original words in this stanza and have paraphrased what I see there:

Practitioners of righteousness
who keep plodding with a bag of seed
that seems to have a hole
even through humiliation and tears
leave a trail of offspring
and are brought back
lifted up like those returning from exile.

The seed we have sown these last 10 years has doubtless produced. My job is to plod, holes in my bags, accepting the fact that what is poured in scatters out, more looking back over my shoulder for progeny along the path than forward for seeds in my storehouse.

Home bodies on the move


I have been constantly on the move.” 2 Corinthians 11:26

Recently a young woman who has know us tangentially for a decade or so asked where we were living now. I explained briefly that we were between houses right now and did not have a permanent home and were using this as an opportunity to travel. Her reply: “Well, you aren’t really home bodies.” imageActually, we are. We love having a home and using it as a base for hospitality, friendship, equipping and mobilizing. Lyn loves to have seasonal tubs close at hand so decorating a Fall or Easter season is easy and fun. We prefer having clothes in a closet, rather than in a suitcase or storage. 39 years ago (today) when we started dating, neither of us expected we would be on the road with essentials in a small travel case. (We probably suspected we would be watching grandkids play in a garden in South Africa.)

“I have been constantly on the move.” 2 Corinthians 11:26

To be clear, there have been long seasons when we delighted to stay at home with our children. Once or twice a year we traveled on vacation overseas, but mostly we were “home bodies.” Even in these times when we could not go to the world, however, we invited the world to come to us. Friends visited from other countries–lots of them–and we reciprocated. Missionaries (many of the young and cool variety) sat around our table and told stories of God’s amazing deeds. Our kids, now living in America, knew there was a world outside California. We moved house more than once, but not as many as those in the military. If you are thinking, “Well, when you sign up for the military you know you will move a lot” then ask yourself, “When I signed up with Jesus did I not sign up for active duty and a life of following a mover and shaker?”

We are home bodies, but we value three homes: the one on earth, which we temporarily do not have, and the spiritual home we create for others on this planet, which is wide and welcoming, and a home in heaven. Your earthly home will never match your heavenly mansion, but it is okay to long for a place on earth that reflects in some way your heavenly long-term address.

All of us are made to be home bodies… and we are made to be “constantly on the move.” The bible does not say, “Blessed are those who settle, who stop taking risks, who hole up at home and watch the world on CNN, who have ‘stay’ and ‘they’ buckets in their brains.” In this season I take comfort from one of the Apostle Paul’s marks: “I have been constantly on the move.” 2 Corinthians 11:26


When the earth goes topsy-turvy
And nobody knows which end is up,
I nail it all down,
I put everything in place again.   GOD

God made this observation in Psalm 75. Pity he is not running for office, or sorting out the healthcare malaise, or the budget mess. What if we had Godspan instead of Greenspan? Would the world be in this sorry state? The answer is, “Of course not,” not if God were running government, or healthcare, or the economy. The problem, however, is that God is a delegator, and mankind has taken the assignment without the Source, or better stated, the Source out of the assignment. We create policies that are bereft of Power. We design systems–and many churches do this too–that are designed to run without God.

Upside-Down-House1Then things go topsy-turvy, pear-shaped, farce about ace… or whatever your colloquialism is. We don’t know which end us up. Life is hardly “nailed down.”

Perhaps it is time to invite God to “put everything in place again.”

A whale could ruin your day

Not that long ago I was sharing with a group of friends the strategy that Jesus used when he met a young businessman. The man was rough around the edges, an outdoor kind of guy, running a blue collar business. He had dirt under his finger nails and smelled of fish and nets and boat. No one got points for hanging around his business. There was no, “I had lunch with the mayor”-factor in meeting with him. Yet Jesus got into his boat. After I shared the story I saw the photo of the whale and the sailboat… and it got me thinking.

20100720_zaf_y60_002.jpgFor a while Jesus did nothing directly related to the fisherman’s business. He didn’t evaluate his fishing practices to see if they were dolphin free. He didn’t review his books and look at his daily yield. He didn’t give advice on time to market. He was just there.

Then he turned to Simon and said, “Let’s go fishing!” and Simon said to him, “We already tried fishing… and they ain’t biting.”
“Put your net on the other side.” Jesus effectively said, ‘Go counter to your business logic, go against your best instincts, and try it my way.’ Whether desperate for a business result or just curious at the teacher, Peter and team took the challenge and fished God’s way.

It took an investment to let Jesus into the business. Looking back, of course, it was a simple decision, but on the front-side of the miracle Peter was like many businesspeople today, asking ‘Do I want to risk my reputation, take time away from practical tasks, invest time and effort…?’

Peter was never the same again. If you invite Jesus into your business — seriously including God in all the practices — he will most likely show his presence with miracles There will be a whale in the boat you cannot ignore. Are you willing to take the risk?

Love like a Luminary

When I teach on LEMON Leadership those in the audience relate to the Networkers (the N in LEMON) as the warm, fuzzy and lovable ones. But… Luminaries also love, like luminaries, of course. Paul, a Luminary if there ever was one, said this to his friends in Philippi:

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you. I love you with all my heart… God can give witness that I long for all of you. I love you with the love that Christ Jesus gives.

glasses on bookSo far, so good. The Luminary feels, he loves with all his heart, he longs for his friends. Friends want the best for friends, so what is the desired outcome that the Luminary has for his friends?

I pray that your love will grow more and more. And let it be based on knowledge and understanding.

Love based on “knowledge and understanding.” Wait… what about the heart? To the Luminary, it is okay for love to come from knowledge and understanding. I know more than one person who arrived at pre-marriage counseling with a spreadsheet.

10 Then you will be able to know what is best. 

For the true Luminary, knowing without living is never enough. Love untranslated to life is love-in-theory. True love results in pure living, not unbridled emotion.

You will be pure and without blame until the day Christ returns. 11 You will be filled with the fruit of right living produced by Jesus Christ. 

LEMON coverWhat is the time-frame of loving like a Luminary? “until the day Christ returns” — Luminaries see until eternity, and should love for a lifetime. I asked a Luminary friend, “When do you feel loved? “When he thinks about the long term implications of what he says…” she said without hesitation. “How long?” I asked. “Multiple generations.”

Which leads to the “why” about which the Luminary is so concerned:

All of those things bring glory and praise to God.

The bottom line of Loving like a Luminary is not so that we all feel loved and great, but “so that” all of life “brings glory and praise to God.”

Kingdom business midwife

“I feel like a midwife for kingdom businesses.” In the past I have described what we do as Corporate Chiropractors: coming alongside existing businesses and helping them align with biblical truth. This is still true, but this happens after a regular old Christian business gets a born again, as one client put it. Just as Christian parents do not automatically give birth to Christian children, likewise Christian businesspeople do not inevitably have businesses under the rule and reign of King Jesus. It takes a deliberate effort as a parent to “train up a child in the way they should go” and part of that training is creating the climate where they make a crucial decision of surrender, submission and lifetime obedience.
Why do we think it should be any different for whole corporations, for households, for the oikos? I find we have to be even more deliberate, as determined, as conscious of the stakes involved. For most people, work and household will be the context in which they discover life purpose.
I recently spent a week casting vision for a Christian leader who had not yet discovered the kingdom purpose for his business. I pondered what scripture says about his industry, I prayed, I PowerPointed, I shared perspectives, I spoke prophetically, I proclaimed life-purposes for him and his household, I laid the case for kingdom purposes surpassing a man-sized legacy. I travailed, coached, encouraged, and even added a little godly pressure. This is the work of a midwife. It is deliberate, takes investment and skill.
Not every birthing process is successful.There is a haunting verse in Isaiah 37.

This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the moment of birth and there is no strength to deliver them.

Before we can “chiropract”or align, we often have to bring to birth. Thanks for all in the rēp Community who repurpose businesses with us… work that produces new life.

What do you let inside the circle?

I needed some encouragement today and got it from a Bethel podcast by Bill Johnson (Bethel Church, Redding, California) about being transfigured. He spoke of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain as a type of our mental transfiguration when our thinking is renewed. He said:

“Faith doesn’t deny a problem’s existence — it denies it a place of influence.”

Part of what he spoke about was the location of “facts” and whether we let a problem into the inner circle of one’s thinking, into one’s life, like the leaven of the Pharisees (as I grasped it). What is inside my circle and outside my circle?

  • I have a need and God is my provider; that is inside the circle of the renewed mind.
    • Right now I don’t have enough money to buy a house for my wife: that problem is outside the circle.
  • God is my healer and he is good and powerful; that is inside the circle.
    • My ear rings (temporarily) and my eyes don’t work as well as I would like: that is outside the circle.
  • God has given me a message and is proclaiming it through my life lived out; people are being transformed. This is inside the circle.
    • I have not seen all the influence I want to see in the world, in all the cities, in the breadth of my message: that is a temporary situation and is outside the circle.
  • God has all capital set aside for my work on earth, in heaven: this truth is inside the circle.
    • The money has not moved into my earthly bank accounts yet; that temporary banking glitch is outside the circle.

The things outside the circle, while factually true, are not allowed inside the circle otherwise they will become a leaven of unbelief that will corrupt the whole loaf. When we speak about “living inside out” it is making the idea of Positional Truth practical by only letting that which is eternally true inside our lifestyle of thinking; all other thoughts are temporary alien-thoughts, waiting to be transformed by that which is inside the circle.

What happened to kindness?

For some reason I have just experienced a hat trick of meanness (not all directed at me) that has me wondering, What happened to kindness? The provocations were small: a check in the mail that evoked a rude email from a vendor… I mean, genuinely in the mail. Then there was addressing someone by the wrong title.


This all got me thinking about kindness as an indicator that God is in the house. When he is in residence, surely we should be kind. What is it that has given us the notion that we are entitled to all sorts of things? Do we somehow believe that ‘The customer is king’ means we actually are always king? Is it that self-worth schools have bred self-centered graduates? Has high bandwidth immediacy produced high hubris? Has order on demand made us entitled jackasses?

Some of it seems to tie into power trips: I will treat you like dirt to show you who is boss. Other of it might be self-worth turned sinister: I will demand more to demonstrate I am worth more. (I remember the angry traveler who shouted on the plane, “Son of a gun… I am an executive. Treat me with respect.” It didn’t help when one of my colleagues told him to ‘Sit down and shut up.’ They zip-tied Mr Executive and policemen led him off the plane when we landed.) Most of it, I suspect, is our Western habit of thinking, “It is okay to be unkind if I am smart.” Semi-high-IQ people have become low HQ (heart quotient) pains in the neck. Me too. We somehow think that smart beats sincere, competence trumps charity, and efficiency excuses all sorts of ill-mannered behavior.

What happened to kindness? We want it shown to us, certainly. We want upgrades, fast lanes, short waits and quick turnaround. And we want warm smiles, people serving us from the heart, and hospitality that is a conviction not an industry. But where is our kindness in return?

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…” not to mention “self control.” That’s another topic.

Glad to see my tax dollars at work this way

I am biased — one of my sons is in the Air Force. That said, most people should be delighted to see a branch of the military singing Bach’s “Jesu, joy of mans’s desiring” and “Joy to the World.” In the midst of our advances in flight, space travel and technology one thing remains: Jesus, his coming and his sure returning are what it is all about.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring, holy wisdom, love most bright.
Drawn by thee, our souls aspiring, soar to uncreated light.”

Thanks, Air Force Band for the reminder!