The Music in My Head – DJing, Raves and Redemptive Vision

The Music in My Head - DJing, Raves and Redemptive Vision

As I sit in my home office, I am surrounded by music that connects with the old raver, the old man – the DJ. I see it all through new redeemed eyes and a new heart.

Do you ever reflect on the past and think to yourself, “I have lived many lives”? That happens to me quite often.

We moved into a new house a few months ago. Every time we move, I pack about 500-600 vinyl records in boxes for the journey to our new home. The other day I was rearranging my new home office and reorganizing my record collection. At the height of my collection, I had over 5000 records. Over the years I sold off some and gave away the rest. I’ve kept my favorites – the ones I’ve esteemed as “classics.” Some are one-of-a-kind acetates – which are single cut records that were once used to test new songs in live environments. Some in my collection are ‘test-pressings’ which are limited to 25-100 copies.  The rest of my collection are just records I love.

How did I end up with so much vinyl? Well, that is a long story. I don’t have time to share the journey in its entirety at this time – it would require a book. I will share that many moons ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was a DJ. Now, some of you remember “Lance the DJ – the raver.” That may be your last and most prominent memory. Mind you, I may also remember YOU as the raver because of time and distance that is the last memory I have of you. Others may have more recent perceptions of me – a financial advisor or more recently (last 7 years), a pastor. I’m the same Lance but also a different Lance in a very real sense. Often times, I think to myself, “I have lived many lives.” Perhaps when you reflect on your life you feel the same way. We’re very much the same person we once were but at the same time we’re different. Life is so bizarre and yet strangely beautiful in this respect.

(Note: a “rave” is a massive all-night party centered around, friends, electronic music, dancing, drinking and drugs. “Ravers” are the folks that comprise the community centered around these events. At the time I considered myself a ‘sophisticated club-kid’ but let’s be honest – I was a raver.)

Every time I unpack and shelve my vinyl collection, I go on a journey. I don’t have a photographic memory but for some reason I can look at a record and remember where I played it and who was there. In fact, I have dozens of “white labels” that have no markings whatsoever. However, I can remove them from their sleeves and look at the grooves cut into the vinyl – the music in those tiny grooves pops into my mind. I may not be able to tell you the name of the track, but I can tell you what it sounds like and where I played it. Again, this is both bizarre and beautiful – that the mind can make such strong connections across the expanse of time and space.

Within every sleeve lies not just a slice of vinyl but a piece of music – a story – connecting to something beyond itself. There is a gift-nature to it all.

Think about it, 25 years ago, a producer had a vision – an idea for a song in his mind. In the audio studio – ex nihilo, he brings forth sound out of silence. He plays the music in his head and it manifests in reality. He creates, forms and shapes sounds into a song. The producer thinks to himself, “Hey, this is good – I’ll record it for the world to hear!” So, he records his beautiful song and sends the tape to the record press. From there an acetate is cut, a plater makes a mold of the acetate in silver with electro-plated nickel. Then the plate is placed on a stamper where the vinyl is pressed. The end result is music neatly embedded on a vinyl record – the finest analog playback in the world, I might add.

I was a professional DJ and producer in what seems like a different life long ago. Much of my time and money was invested in music. I would seek out those vinyl gems to play at raves and club events each week. I would lug of hundreds records in flight cases to various venues around Austin, Dallas, Orlando, Miami, Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Montreal, Chihuahua, Juarez and the rest of North America. I was welcomed into people’s homes and lives.

Perched in the DJ booth, with music thundering and people dancing – I would find the right track and gently place the record on the turntable. Then, I would place the needle (stylus) where the groove on the vinyl began – matching the beats of the previous song. At the precise time with the tempos in sync, I would add upward pressure on the volume control on the mixer. And like being a pilot of an aircraft, I would throttle the volume higher – keeping the beats in sync with the pitch control, monitoring the EQ and ensuring the two tracks being played at once stayed in key. Once mixed, we were “wheels up” and full volume! I’d check the dance floor below to see how that producer’s idea – the music that was once in his head was effecting the crowd. Then, I would repeat that process hundreds of times – taking people on a journey. If you take a moment to think about it, this entire process is so rich and powerful.

I have thousands of those visions lining my shelves of my office. Every record is linked to memories. I look at a record and I can hear the music in my head. I see the faces of the people. I see old friends and my mind is flooded with more and more memories. It as if I’m right there with them again – even if it is just for a moment. Some of those people are no longer on the earth. Like my good friend and DJ partner-in-crime, Jamon – gone. I preached at his funeral a few years ago. Other old faces I’ve lost track of. Time and distance separates us. Some of the songs on my shelves are attached to long time friendships that exist today. It is all so very prismatic and beautiful – kind of like a spinning disco ball. Even the darkness and brokenness of the DJ / raver lifestyle can be brought into the light and transformed
– redeemed.

Nearly 15 years have passed since I hung up my headphones. But even as I look at the records around me and all that has passed by in the river of life, I have come to realize the goodness and beauty of God working.

I see how he created us in his image with the ability to bring forth an idea – transforming music in someone’s head into music that somehow connects to the hearts of others. Then, stories, memories and lives are given a soundtrack. This is a thing of goodness, a reflection of the creative nature infused into the human creature by his Creator. Whether you are the producer, the DJ, the raver or the gal on a jog – we are listening to art that has in some way contributed to our lives. Sometimes silence is beautiful and good. Other times, we bring forth music and song into our little worlds. I mean, imagine a world without music? Given, not all music is good, beneficial or life-giving. Some music (if you want to call it music) brings out the worst in people. Perhaps we need to stop listening to that kind of music and play a new song.

As I sit in my home office, I am surrounded by music that connects with the old raver, the old man – the DJ. I see it all through new redeemed eyes and a new heart. I hear the music without even playing it. I close my eyes and see the gift-nature of it all – even as it is distorted in this broken world. I see the old friends and the times we shared. The fact that I had the privilege to entertain, meet and know so many incredible people in my many lives is deeply moving, particularly as I get older. As the memories fade as one song ends, I pray for those faces – many who I can’t even remember their names. I put that memory on the shelf…. and in true DJ fashion, I reach for the next memory dust it off and play the music in my head..

We can see the qualities of God’s beauty and goodness that He has lovingly infused into His image-bearers in the domain of human experience. This is the truth. Take it from a redeemed raver peering into the past with redeemed eyes – reaching for the next memory – just one more time before the night is over.

Author’s Note:
My wife recently shared with me a story about two college-age guys who shared the Gospel at a rave in Tennessee. Over 400 rave-goers placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and most are being discipled today. That is an extraordinary story of faith and how God even pursues ravers at raves. It is interesting to think that even in my dark days as a DJ, He was working to redeem and restore one who would become a pastor – from death to life. When I hear about the guys in Tennessee, if brought back memories and inspired the story above.

For those interested in listening to some of the music I was playing back then. Below is a link to a compilation album I released for Proton Radio in 2004 entitled “The Sound” (named after my radio show on 93.3FM in Austin and ProtonRadio.com)

Lance Cashion ‘The Sound’ Disc 1

Lance Cashion ‘The Sound’ Disc 2

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Detachment and Reflection to gain Perspective – what have you learned?

Detachment and Reflection to Gain Perspective

What have you learned in the past 12 months?

Two of the best disciplines we can adopt are detachment and reflection in order to gain perspective and make plans going forward.

Yesterday the church cabinet staff had our regular meeting. Our cabinet is comprised of pastors and ministry leaders representing about two dozen ministry areas of the church. We were asked a reflective question that can help shape the future of our ministries. I think this question is applicable life, family and business as well as ministry.

Here’s the question:

What have you learned in the past 12 months?

My process for answering the question…

So much has changed in the last year. I invested more time reflecting and praying than planning. Some would argue that focusing on the future and moving ahead are more important than reflection. I am a contrarian and argue that detaching in order to assess events, changes in the ministry environment and taking an honest look at the good and bad are keys to planning. I’d say that the more complex the issues and events of the past, the more important reflection becomes.

I intentionally employ a slowed-down version of the OODA Loop.

The OODA Loop is an acronym that stands for:

Observe
Orient
Decide
Act

The OODA Loop concept was put forth by the great military strategist Colonel John Richard Boyd, United States Air Force. Simply put, it is the decision-making that occurs in a recurring cycle of observe – orient – decide – act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.

To put it another way, “(The OODA Loop) explains how individuals and organizations can win in uncertain and chaotic environments.” – Tyler Pearson

You and I run through the OODA loop thousands of times per day. Next time you are driving somewhere, you’ll stop at a red traffic light (hopefully). Your act of stopping at that light was acheived by the process of the OODA Loop. You observed an intersection ahead and saw a red light. You oriented yourself in proximity to the intersection and the vehicles around you. You decided that you were going to stop at the red light (smart move). Finally, you took action and applied the brakes and stopped your car at the intersection. You just experienced the OODA Loop. When the traffic light turns green, your loop begins all over again. Check out the video below this post to learn more…

Observe Slowly:
In my reflection, I take time to observe what has happened and how all that has happened is effecting current conditions and how past decisions (good and bad) have shaped current conditions. This must be an honest assessment of self and my decision-making. Honest feedback must be gathered from trusted partners. This is where the organizational hierarchy is allowed to be flattened where all team members are on the same level with the leaders and everyone has a seat at the table to provide input.

Orient Carefully:
I take in information I have observed and start to carefully orient myself and get my bearings. I’ve had some experience and training in land navigation (Land Nav). “Land navigation is the discipline of following a route through unfamiliar terrain on foot or by vehicle, using maps with reference to terrain, a compass, and other navigational tools” (Wiki). Honestly, I am terrible at it. However, I understand the most important exercise in Land Nav is ascertaining my current position on a map. If I don’t know where I am on a map, there is no way I’m going to reach my destination. The same goes for orientating myself in the current moment in time in order to decide or plan for the future.

I learned two major lessons in the last 12 months in ministry. It struck my how these lessons apply to life, family and business.

1. BE FLEXIBLE: There is a great line from Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood) from the film “Heartbreak Ridge” where Highway is addressing his platoon of misfit Marines. He said that in facing adversity on the battlefield a good Marine will, “improvise, adapt and overcome.” In other words, we must be flexible. In the last year of ministry, I had to learn to be flexible due to changing conditions and challenging situations in ministry. Our 2019 pre-COVID plans were often set aside, particularly in regard to events. Therefore, we had to improvise and adapt ministry operations in order to overcome obstacles and accomplish our mission. COVID never changed our mission but our means of achieving our mission changed dramatically.

2. BE DEPENDENT ON GOD: Another lesson I learned was not to hang on to anything too tightly. Due to challenging circumstances and changing conditions, I learned a deeper dependence on God. He reminded me that He is in ultimate control and He would see to it that His purposes would reach completion. Sometimes God puts us in a place of desperation where we come to realize that He is the only one who can make things happen. And sometimes God accomplishes this in surprising ways. Therefore, I learned to be open-handed with my plans and projects knowing that God could step in at any moment and change things. There is a kind of freedom in that experience.

What does all this mean for you?

I believe that if you take time to detach, reflect and observe how things have unfolded and decisions you made (good and bad) in the last 12 months, you can orient yourself. Then, you can make plans and decide how to best move forward. Finally, you can act (completing the OODA Loop).

Remember, being flexible is key to success in an ever-changing environment in ministry, business and in the home. At the end of the day, remember that God is in charge. Your responsibility is to pray, plan and walk in obedience to His Word and purposes. Leave the results to Him. His plans and ways are higher than yours. Be open-handed with your plans and projects knowing that God owns it all and loves you. He will surprise you beyond your understanding.

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Untended fires

Untended Fires

… soon die out and become a pile of ashes.

Have you ever sat by a campfire on a cold winter night?

I’ve always enjoyed a good campfire, particularly on cold nights. I love the warmth, watching the flames release smoke like plumes of silk into the air. Fires bring warmth, light and stir something deep within my soul. There is a connection to our past. Before the smartphone, electricity and stove, there was the campfire. Man has been staring into flames for thousands of years – a campfire in some ways embodies a kind of essence of primordial humanity.

Every campfire eventually dies out if left untended and without fuel. On a cold night as the flames have ceased and embers are fading, darkness and cold encroach the once warm space. The faces of those sitting around the fire grow dark as the light fades and the chill in the air creeps through your neck and back as cold advances on the area once claimed by warmth and light. At this point, you have a choice… Let the fire die out or tend it to bring it back to full flame.

It takes discipline to leave the tent in the cold of winter to stoke the fire. But, the fire is what sustains our warmth and comfort. Tend it, stir it and care for it. A fire is either growing or dying out. At no moment does it remain static.

You and I can learn a lot from a campfire.

Because of the gift nature of creation, even a campfire has meaning and significance beyond itself. In other words, fire has an essence infused into its existence that is much fuller than its utility. I think thats why most people find enjoyment, wonder and contemplation beyond the light and warmth of a fire.

My good friend Dr. Doug Cecil once said in a seminary class, “Untended fires soon die out and become a pile of ashes.” Think about that statement for a moment. If you’ve been around a fire, you know its absolutely true. Fires die out without tending and fuel. To sustain a warm fire, it takes commitment and time. The flames must be stoked and renewed with fuel.

Now let’s apply this ‘untended fires’ idea to our relationship with God and others because I believe we can learn deeper truths about reality and relationships from a simple campfire. When our relationship with God is neglected, that relationship grows cold. The same goes for our relationships with others.

I have old friends I have not spoken with in 20 years. I don’t know where they are or how their lives have turned out. Why? Because with the passage of time the relationship has grown distant and cold due to a lack of attention and tending. Are these relationships a dead pile of ashes? Perhaps. But perhaps not. The only way to find out is to reach out to that old friend and see if there is a hidden ember beneath the ashes. Then, I can fuel that ember and possibly bring the fire back. Given, there are some fires that must be allowed to die out and become a pile of ashes. Those are unhealthy relationships. However, for the most part a good stoking and tending of an old friendship can bring light and warmth into our lives.

From a Christian perspective, I believe the primary fire we must never allow to die out is our relationship with God. By stoking and fueling my communion with my God and creator, I am able to stir a kind of eternal flame in the lives of others (potentially). For my fellow Christians, it will be the flames of fellowship, encouragement, exhortation, challenge, comfort, joy, rest, peace, love and following Christ. For those who do not know the love of God in Christ Jesus, it will be the flames that shed light on sin, awareness of darkness, cold and judgement but also the inviting warmth of God’s goodness, grace, forgiveness, rest, love and peace. Notice how the fire and warmth for both end up pointing to a loving relationship with God.

What fires need to be tended in your life?

Want to know God better?
Spend time with Him in His word – the Bible. By reading and meditating on scripture, you are renewing your mind and stoking the fire of your love and knowledge of Him. The more time you commit to fueling your relationship with the God who loves you and saved you from sin the more you will experience Him as a growing reality in your daily life. The result will be the deep enjoyment of rest, joy, love and peace regardless of how cold and dark the circumstances of life become.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

“I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

Want to see God transform the lives of other people and the world?
Pray and intercede for others. Reading and meditating on God’s word reside also with prayer. If reading and meditation are the fuel, prayer is the oxygen required to bring the flames alive. Like warmth radiated by a fire, the result of prayer is the transformation in the world around you – particularly those standing close to your fire. Therefore, we tend fires through prayer.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” (1 Timothy 2:1)

Want to experience the fullness of Christ?
Serve Him by serving others and sharing your hope in Him. Nothing ignites or reignites a fire in ourselves and others like hope. One way to share the hope you have is through serving others. Meeting the needs of others and protecting the vulnerable take you further into the Kingdom of God and draw you closer to His heart. There is also a blessing in the action of ‘doing ministry’ (John 13:17). Serving others is where what we believe intersects with our will to act. The toil can be tiresome even painful at times but you will experience a fullness and deep joy through serving and sharing. So, we can tend fires through serving and sharing.

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:17)

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25)

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

My hope and prayer is that you and I will attend to our relationships with God, each other and folks around us. May we remember that untended fires soon die out and become a pile of ashes. You’ll never look at a campfire quite the same again. Perhaps, you’ll see your relationship with God and others in a different light as well.

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What will 2021 be like?

What will 2021 be like?

it will not be anything like 2020

Last week I was having a casual conversation with a friend and they remarked, “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over, 2021 can’t come fast enough.”

I hear that sentiment repeatedly. 2020 has been a watershed year across the world. It appears as if a shift has occurred across society and throughout culture. Let’s assess the good and bad of 2020 before diving headlong into 2021. In last week’s post, I pointed out that 2020 was “the year of fear.” Stick with me as I wade through the muck and mire of the bad news – the good news will be worth it, I promise.

The Bad News

In America, we have experienced a virus emerge from a Chinese town that engulfed the world in a pandemic. We have seen major social upheaval along ethnic, academic, corporate and political lines. We have witnessed a heated presidential election that is still being contested. We see businesses, churches and other ‘non-essential’ entities shutdown while perfectly healthy humans (including small children) are forced to wear face-masks through unconstitutional mandates – enforced by fellow volunteer citizens who revel in public ‘face-shaming’ as their civic duty. Keep in mind, the human face is the primary means through which a human being reflects the image of God. If you want to degrade, humiliate and objectify another fellow image-bearer, force them and their children to cover their faces.

We have been taught that “loving your neighbor” actually means isolating yourself from your neighbors (and family). Furthermore, you must ridicule your neighbor for not wearing a mask, not towing the party line or not bowing to the woke mob. Apparently, “loving” has been redefined to mean coercing and shaming because in the new era of ‘social justice’ virtue signaling is far more important than actual virtue.

The new scientific orthodoxy has ‘proven’ that rioting and looting are ‘COV ID-safe’ but worshiping God and singing in public are deadly – that masks and social distancing work, until they don’t – that biological sex is fluid and Jeffery Epstein really killed himself (well, the science isn’t settled on Epstein yet)… But, working a ‘non-essential’ job to put food on the table is downright criminal.

Meanwhile, statistics have shown the two of the most life-threatening places in America are nursing homes in New York and pregnant mothers’ wombs – in a nation where people’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are ensconced in law and protected (unless you happen to be located in a womb in NYC, then not so much). Job numbers are down while depression, loneliness and suicides are up. Fact checkers can ‘fact check’ those facts – but facts are funning things in a world of relativism, ‘inconvenient truths’ and ‘settled science.’ And, if you don’t agree with the media narrative, you are given a heavy dose of a new drug called ‘Censorship.’ I think its imported from the CCP.

Finally, we are being reminded that God is on His throne, but you better get your COV ID vaccine just in case He isn’t. Many Christian leaders are living and preaching like nihilistic deterministic pagans with one life to live. Media propaganda echoes from many pulpits across the land as a new prophetic voice (divorced from the Bible and trafficking in falsehoods) runs off with the sexy little zeitgeist. Note bene: I said ‘many’ not ‘all’ because there remains a remnant of leaders and churches attempting to take a stand for truth and righteousness.

The Good News

(See ‘The Bad News’ section above but with a reclaimed, redeemed and restored Christian vision infused with grace).

This morning I was reading FW Boreham’s essay, “Catherine Booth’s Text” (1922). I reflected on the past year. What has carried us to the point that you are reading what I’m writing? The answer is, “GRACE!”

Catherine Booth was a spiritual titan of her time. She built her life around a single text, “My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). In his essay, Boreham beautifully describes how the realization of those six words transformed the lives and ministries of John Bunyan, John Wesley, Martin Luther, Catherine Booth, the Apostle Paul and countless others. He argues that we accept the first four words with ease – “My grace is sufficient…” but the last two are only realized in a deep moment of extreme need – “for thee.”

Boreham sharpens his point by saying, “It is always easier to believe that there is a Savior for the world than to believe that there is a Savior for me.” He continues, “Martin Luther believed and preached confidently that Christ died for all mankind, long before he could persuade himself that Christ died for Martin Luther. John Wesley crossed the Atlantic to proclaim the forgiveness of sins to the Indians; but it was not until he was verging on middle-life that he realized the possibility of the forgiveness of his own.”

Closing the chapter 2020 and opening 2021

Charles Spurgeon once said to his students, “There are many passages of Scripture which you will never understand until some trying or singular experience shall interpret them for you.”

If God’s grace was sufficient in 2020, do you believe His grace will be sufficient in 2021 and beyond? In 2020 perhaps you know and believe the first four words, “My grace is sufficient…?” Behold, the dawn of a new year is breaking before us! Just maybe in 2021, the last two words, “for thee” will with great power suddenly break upon you as they did for Bunyan and others.

What will 2021 be like?

I can say with confidence, it will not be anything like 2020. Why? Because God’s grace is sufficient for the world and you and me. Fear and despair cannot exist in the presence and fullness of God’s grace as darkness and cold cannot exist near the light and warmth of a fire.

If you go outside right now and take a several deep breaths would you fear that you would exhaust all of the oxygen in the entire atmosphere? Of course not! Then why would you believe the God who created the atmosphere and your lungs would not provide in Christ sufficient grace for you? There is to be taken a giant step from believing in the head to believing in the heart. Won’t you take it?

My Grace is Sufficient for thee… That means you and me!
I will close with some final words from dear Pastor Boreham, “For it is the glory of the grace that it takes what sadnesses there are and transmutes them into songs sublime.”

Take a few moments to ask God for His sufficient grace to walk into next year. Pray for a clear Kingdom vision, boldness and living faith that sheds the light of true hope in the world. God’s grace is sufficient for thee … for such a time as this.

By grace through faith in Christ alone.

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Deposing the Tyranny of Fear

Deposing the Tyranny of Fear

2020 has been the Year of Fear

If you were to ask me how I would describe the year 2020, I will tell you plainly, “2020 has been the Year of Fear.”

I can see it in people’s behaviors, I hear fear in people’s words and I feel a spirit of fear in the air. Fear has become a currency in our culture. All media, including social media, newspapers, books and talk radio from both sides of the political spectrum fuel fear- and the government is happy to protect you from what the media tells you to be afraid of.

Fear renders humans vulnerable to manipulation and silencing – and dare I say thought control.
Fear is a tyrant!
People are flat out afraid.

If this life is all there is and this world is all there will ever be, then fear is the best idol available to most people. Unless of course, you are an oligarch or an elite, then power is your idol – and fear is the friend of those in power.

Why then are most Christians and churches responding just like those who believe this temporal world and this life is all there is? Why are Christians responding to circumstances like godless pagans who have no eternal vision of reality.

The answer is, we Christians have adopted the idols of the world and imported them into our theology. Whether we want to admit it or not, we have created idols of safety, autonomy, affluence, personal preference, comfort, politics, social issues, self, compromise, immediate gratification and list goes on. Many Christians in America have to some extent adopted a theology of “live your best life now.” I admit, I am guilty of this as well. Humans can’t live in a culture and not imbibe their culture to some degree. And since the Church long ago decided to give up on redeeming, reforming and shaping the culture in which they lived, the modern Church reflects the culture, it’s values and it’s idols. I’m afraid our forbearers would not recognize our modern form of Christianity.

Don’t believe me? Take a few moments and reflect on the last ten months. COVID, lockdowns, mask mandates, social unrest, political battles, the destruction of small businesses, and closing churches reveal things about us. When people are fearful, they will do pretty much anything to ‘feel’ safe. They will even run into a ambush or accept bondage. When the Church is fearful, the light is hidden under a basket. What happens when you hide a light? Darkness invades the room.

“When the Church is fearful, the light is hidden under a basket. What happens when you hide a light? Darkness invades the room.”

Like mushrooms on a pile of dung, fear thrives and grows in the darkness.

When will the mask mandates and lockdowns stop you ask? “When it is safe,” they say.
When will it be safe? My answer is “Never.”

Until the Church stands up to the spirit of fear, the current trend will continue.

Why? This is all rooted in basic human psychology of cost vs. reward and incentives – and human sin nature.

There is no benefit or negative consequence for those in power to stop coercing people and exercising unlawful control. Zero. In fact, there are incentives for the powerful to exert control over you and me.

The thinking Christian must recognize 99% of those in power do not share our worldview. They believe that matter, chance and power are all there is in this life. Why would elites cease trying to control people when there is no incensitve or negative consequence to cause them to? Particularly when free people acquiesce so easily when fearful. For these elites, it’s all about POWER.

Think about it. There is no incentive or risk for those in power to cease and desist mandating shutdowns of small businesses. However, there are big incentives and rewards when those in power designate massive companies like Amazon as ‘essential’ while ordering small businesses to shutdown. Why? Because small business owners are not the big donors or influencers that politicians care about. Politicians care deeply about companies like Amazon, Google, Target, Walmart, Facebook, etc. donate large sums of money and help influence political outcomes that benefit politicians. Does COVID cease to be dangerous inside a crowded Walmart vs an uncrowded mom and pop shop? Absolutely not! Tyranny is always rule by arbitrary edict.

Laws and restrictions only apply to others, not the elite ruling class. That’s why we see tyrannical governors and mayors on media ordering people stay at home, wear masks, requiring businesses shut down and churches closed one moment – then you see them out and about, dining with friends and enjoying other activities the next.  While many Americans can’t work or gather to worship God, the elite ruling class is free to live and move about however they want – without wearing a mask. It’s almost like they rub it in our faces when they ‘get caught’. That is called tyranny – and those clowns use fear to control everyone else. In addition, it’s not hypocrisy as much as it is arbitrary because there is no hypocrisy in a worldview that is rooted in matter, chance and power. Whoever has power can arbitrarily impose their will on others – hypocrisy does not exist in their worldview. This is why I tell people to replace the word ‘hypocrisy’ with ‘arbitrary’ when talking about these ideological tyrants and their arbitrary rules.

The current situation will get worse until it is disrupted and challenged.

Those in power must be forced to see their benefits and reward system is at risk. The world system has always been bent on tyranny and bondage (sin nature of man). Read your Bible and learn history. The world before Christ was a world where most of the population was in servitude or slavery. Only in the last 300 years has that changed significantly. I digress.

The Church (those redeemed by the blood of Christ) is the ONLY institution on the planet that can disrupt the trend toward tyranny. Political parties do not have the moral fortitude or mandate to achieve this. Only the Church has the theological equipment, moral conviction and spiritual power to recover, reclaim, redeem and restore that which is quickly decaying.

Consider the following…
Fear is NOT the fruit of the spirit.
Our fears reveal our idols. In other words, we fear what we worship.
This is a spiritual battle first and foremost.

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well.” 1 Samuel 12:14

How then shall we (Christians) live in this historical moment?

Get ready for what is coming… Embrace the opportunity.

We must begin with prayer and repentance. Pray for renewal, obedience, courage and that God would forgive our idolatry and fearfulness. We must consider his Word and commandments with a renewed commitment to the revealed truth of the Bible and what it says about total reality. We must be prepared and ready to respond, stand our ground and resist appropriately. We must act using our prophetic voice, bearing witness to the truth, sharing the Gospel and working to redeem and restore all institutions – beginning with the church. Finally, we must trust God and leave the results to Him.

I am convinced that individual Christians and the Church need to get ready for what is coming next in America. There is a head-on collision between two completely incompatible worldviews occurring in our nation that are diametrically opposed to each other. They cannot coexist. That is impossible. They have two completely differing visions of reality and what it means to be human. We have two different constitutions and we’re two different nations.  We need to get ready for the coming conflict. Unless God intercedes, there will be violence.

The Christian must first look for peaceful alternatives. But when faced with threat, he must take a defensive posture but not a passive posture. This is why every Christian must have a sound theology of resistance – knowing which authorities we must submit to and when to righteously resist.

The church must stand up for truth, goodness and righteousness and stop cowering in fear. Or, the church will be shut down. I’ve said it before, “If we do not exercise our First Amendment rights, we will lose them.” And rightly so, as we don’t deserve good gifts that are not appreciated and used. Atrophy is the fruit of apathy and laziness.

Never Quit

On October 29, 1941 Great Britain was in the throws of war with greatest evil of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Winston Churchill addressed the boys at the Harrow School.

Churchill stated, “This is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Imagine being the leader of a tiny island nation as a German grey giant loomed over everything you loved, threatening your family and countrymen with total destruction and subjugation. The United States had not entered WWII yet. So, it was one man and one tiny nation staring down one of the strongest most destructive armies in history.

Say what you will about Churchill, but the man never quit. Think about the abolitionist William Wilberforce, he never quit. He fought for freedom for African slaves his entire adult life – the British slave system was abolished three days before he died. Wilberforce never quit. Think about our Savior, Jesus Christ. He came to this earth on a mission to redeem and restore sinful man and the world by dying on a cruel Roman cross. God became flesh and dwelled among us – he was born to die. The Bible says, Christ’s face was ‘set like a flint’ as he marched toward Calvary. Even death could not hold him. Jesus never quit. If our King didn’t quit, why should we?

Enough is enough. It’s time for men of faith to be called to greater faith. It’s time to stand up and prophesy against the zeitgeist. It’s time to depose the tyranny of fear.

Never Quit means that you won’t wake up one morning ten years from now wishing you had done something. Never Quit means that you won’t have to look your children and grandchildren in the eyes with shame and regret about the world they inherited. Never Quit means that church gatherings and unmasked faces will not become memories of how things once were.

Never Quit means that you will obediently take a stand and push back against the darkness. Never Quit because Christ is worth it, the church is worth it, your wife and children are worth it and your nation is worth it.

“I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.” – Revelation 3:1-2

Your move….

(Comment below)

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

1906 - 1945

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

Over the last few months I have been diving deep into history in the area of Christian resistance to forms of tyranny. I’ve learned that we moderns don’t have a clue of how our forbearers thought and responded the world around them. They were far more sophisticated and theologically adept than we are. We believe that just because we have a vast array of technological advances and chronological distance, we’re somehow superior. We need to humble ourselves or history will do it for us.

“More often than we think, our unconscious presuppositions and unquestioned axioms influence our theology. Each of us has a set of theological, cultural, and emotional “filters” that affect our perception and interpretation of the things we see and experience. We seem to be caught in a vicious circle: our experience influences our theology, and our theology influences our experience.” – Ken Boa

This moment may be the biggest opportunity the church has experienced in 200 years. Please don’t let this moment pass because you are afraid. Remember, fear is not a fruit of the spirit. (Comment below)

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Facebook: All good things come to an end

All good things come to an end.

All good things decay unless they are reclaimed and restored. That’s not going to happen with Facebook. They are too far gone.

I want you as a part of my life without Facebook mediating or manipulating our relationship.

I opened a Facebook account in January of 2007. It was a fun way to connect with family and friends all over the world. Nearly fourteen years later, the experience is completely different – it’s almost entirely negative.

I login to see what is happening and log out asking myself why I put myself through the Facebook psychological meat grinder.

A few years ago, Facebook decided to race to the bottom of the human brainstem and manipulate people. I will not be manipulated. AND I don’t like seeing my friends manipulated.

Admittedly, daily dopamine hits are a difficult addiction to break. But, so were drugs and alcohol.

Dumpster fires are hard NOT to watch – particularly when people are throwing huge amounts of fuel on them.

Facebook has turned into a relational dumpster fire.  People have said things on Facebook that ended friendships that began before Facebook crossed Mark Zuckerberg’s mind. Some of those friendships were formed before Zuckerberg was born and were ended on his platform. He (and others) decided to run a social experiment and make some loot. I’ll champion anyone’s right to build a business and create legitimate profits providing goods and services. The problem is the once ‘good Facebook’ transformed into a cruel Mr. Hyde… or maybe more like Nurse Ratched.

There is something fundamentally flawed with the Facebook business model. As I’ve written about Google, the two tech titans share many of the same tactics and strategies. Neither platform is friendly or pro-user. They both manipulate and use people for profit and power.

While I will not blame societal breakdowns totally on the world’s largest social media platform, I will say Facebook has contributed to the problem. What is most troubling is they profit off the dumpster fire not caring that the people involved are image-bearers and have value (regardless of their views).

So, I’ve decided to step away from Facebook. I don’t have any plans to move to another platform. The biggest challenge will be staying connected with many friends and a acquaintances from the platform.

I’m going to allow a few days to pass before stepping away to connect with anyone who wants to stay connected off the platform.

I’m also going back to good old fashioned face-to-face meetings, phone calls and a Zoom meeting here and there. I’ll be focusing on my work, a couple big projects and writing. Feel free to visit and connect.

As I said at the outset, I want you to be a part of my life without Facebook mediating or manipulating our relationship.

Perhaps our paths will cross again. You can contact me here.

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