Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

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Hey friends! Thanks for checking in with us. We hope you stop by from time to time and read our latest stories and thoughts from the Way family, the Tulsa Boiler Room, and our mission in Uganda. God bless you!

August 2019
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The Gospel

Posted By on August 26, 2014

We are called to know, believe, live, and proclaim the gospel. The gospel is God’s power at work, saving everyone who believes it (Rom 1:16). But we often truly do not remember what it is, or believe that it is really true.

The gospel is all about Jesus (Rom 1:3). I wonder if a total stranger came to the boler room consistently — to our teachings and our spuds and our social activities and worship nights — would it be obvious to him that Jesus is the reason we gather? That He is the center of our community? Of our individual lives? The gospel is all about Jesus — and our salvation and very life as a community of faith is built upon Him. At least, that’s what we profess.

Jesus is God’s very Son, and he became a man and lived a perfect life. In doing so, He revealed to us exactly what the Father is like. He also showed us how we as people are meant to live. More than that, He lived perfectly for us. He lived perfectly so that He could give us His perfection in exchange for our sin. And that’s what happened when He died. He made an exchange with us. We have His righteousness — His rightness — and all the rewards and benefits that comes with that. And He got our sin — and the punishment that came with that. This really is good news! He took our shame and guilt condemnation and brokenness. And we got His purity and wholeness and rightness. There is no condemnation for us now. Not for the sin you committed ten years ago, or the one you committed a minute ago — or even for the one you will commit tomorrow. No condemnation. No guilt. No shame.

Jesus rose from the dead. He conquered all that was darkest and most vile. He defeated death, and gave us the promise of eternal life. God Himself died and was buried in the tomb — the darkest and most hopeless situation imaginable — but He rose again. We are people of resurrection. People of hope. Jesus ascended to heaven. He is preparing a place for us, and for all who believe. We have a home with Jesus. We are family. He is interceding for us. He is praying for you. That’s pretty sweet. He also sent His Spirit to dwell inside of us. This is crazy. The very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within YOU. Like, right now. And always. Even when you act like a moron (which, now that I think about it, is a really good reason to not act like a moron). Because of this, you can live a life of victory over sin. A life filled with things like love and joy and peace and kindness and faithfulness. A life of power and of witnessing to the reality of Jesus. Together, filled with the Spirit of God, we can reveal to the world what He is truly like. That’s crazy. But it’s our calling and our privilege and our purpose and our destiny.

Jesus is coming again. He’s going to make everything right. None of the evil in this world is going to survive. It’s days are numbered. Injustice of every kind. Poverty. Sickness. Violence. Hatred. Pain. Depression. Fear. You name it. It is overcome, and will be no more. Instead there will be joy and peace and goodness. There will be love and plenty and satisfaction. There will be true rest and true work and true relationship. True worship and true celebration. Because of this, you can take whatever muck life throws your way. The worst thing that will ever happen to you is absolutely nothing compared with the goodness and the wonder and the bliss that awaits you.

That’s the gospel, friends. I don’t think it’s really that we don’t know it. We just, kind of forget about it. We don’t think it’s relevant to our situation right here and right now. But it is! There is nothing more relevant to your current situation that the gospel! Think about that. I’m convinced that it is true.

Uganda 2014

Posted By on July 29, 2014

In June, by God’s grace, I was able to travel to Uganda with Believers World Outreach — a team of 30 people from across the US. Together we ran medical clinics for the poor, ministered to orphans and street kids, and shared the gospel with many. We also encouraged pastors and enjoyed fellowship with Ugandan believers. It was a good trip, and I am grateful for the opportunity. The team was eager to serve and fun to get to know.

One of my highlights was working with our friend Fatuma. Fatuma was a part of our family when we lived in Masaka, and she always had a heart for the street kids who populate that town. In fact, she was once one herself, and had been rescued and given a new life through the grace of Jesus. Now she actively reaches out to kids of all ages, and has a home where some can come to get off the streets. She showers love and acceptance on them, and continually shares the truth of God’s love and grace. Our team spent an afternoon sharing the gospel and playing with the kids, and were so impacted by her ministry and by the kids in her care. It was beautiful to see the work of Christ in and through Fatuma, having known this dream in her heart for at least a decade.

In an unusually quick turn-around, I have the opportunity to return to Uganda again in late August. This time I will be traveling by myself. I have been invited to spend the first few days teaching in a pastors’ conference with my friend Israel Nabimanya. Israel has been a partner in ministry with me for more than ten years now, and it is always a joy to come alongside him. Most of the pastors we will be speaking to serve in churches that Israel helps to oversee, and some have gone through the school of ministry that we established together in the early 2000s. Conferences like these have a lot of potential, because the pastors who come do not get many opportunities to continue their training, or to be encouraged in the often difficult work to which they are called. Many serve in very remote villages, and they often feel isolated and alone. I consider this opportunity a great honor and privilege. The conference will be held in the far western part of Uganda, deep in the beautiful Rwenzori mountains. I also hope to be joined here by some of our other friends – Kasozi, Kintu, and Tushabe.

I will spend the second week in the town of Mukono, near Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. Here, I am scheduled to teach a class at Uganda Christian University, through an organization called Development Associates International (DAI). I will be working with students seeking a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. These students are Christian leaders from all sectors of life — education, politics, law, business, church, etc. I will spend the week teaching Christian Ethics, and then will spend the next six months e-mailing with the students as they continue the course-work by correspondence. This also is a tremendous opportunity to speak into and learn from a cross-section of signifiant Ugandan leaders.

It Doesn’t Work! (for me) — Part 2

Posted By on August 15, 2012

Daily prayer. Consistent, intentional time with Jesus. Reading the Bible. Ok, so I do need it. And maybe I’m ready to think about trying this whole thing… again. It hasn’t worked before. But maybe there’s hope. I’m fairly skeptical, but maybe. So… how do I do it?

I’m going to give a few simple and practical ideas that I hope will be helpful. There is no formula for this. Remember, we’re talking about a relationship. The most important relationship of your life! And relationships can be unpredictable. And messy. And no two are exactly the same. Before I get to the ideas of what to actually do when you pray, there are a couple of important thoughts to get us started.

First, I urge you to begin small. That’s basic enough. Don’t try and be a spiritual giant in a day. Set a goal to pray and read the Bible for 15 minutes every day. You can do that. Eventually, you’ll probably want to do more. But don’t worry about that for now.

Secondly, begin simply. There are many places to go in the journey of prayer. There is much we can do in interceding for our friends, for our church family, and even for the world. We can soar to lofty places in adoration and worship. We can dig deep into personal consecration, inner healing, and total surrender. But there is plenty of time for all that. Begin with the love of God. Ask Him to reveal His love to you, and take a minute to receive it. Tell Him that you love Him, too. Begin to ask him for the things that you need, and tell Him about your problems, and how you feel. Yes, this is self-focused prayer, and not the most tremendous kind perhaps. But it is prayer, and it is vitally important, and God calls us to it. It’s a great place to begin, and to come back to often, no matter where we are on the journey.

Here are 11 (11 is more powerful than 10) suggestions for what to do with your devotional time. Be creative, and be you.

  1. Read one chapter of the Bible, and take a few minutes to pray whatever comes to your mind as you interact with the Word.
  2. Pray through the Lord’s Prayer – taking a moment after each line to reflect or go deeper. Or, in a similar way, pray through a psalm.
  3. Mix prayer with something else that you genuinely enjoy. A cup of coffee. An artistic expression. My favorite prayer activity during this season is walking in our neighborhood park. This has become a sacred place to me, as I have enjoyed fellowship with the Father there over the years.
  4. Journal. I often love to write out my prayers to God. For some reason, I find it easiest to listen to Him as I write to Him. I will sometimes have my prayer time at a favorite coffee shop, writing and listening to the Holy Spirit.
  5. Make use of a 24-7 prayer room. These provide a wonderful atmosphere of prayer. They inspire creative ways of spending time with God, and doing it as part of a wider community. For information on the Tulsa Boiler Room’s prayer room, check here: http://www.tulsaboilerroom.com/prayer/prayer-room-info/
  6. Listen to a worship song, and let that catapult you into a time of communion with Jesus.
  7. Mix it up sometimes, and do something different. Pray in a different location, or with a different focus.
  8. Use a liturgy. There are some great ones out there. You can use an online tool such as this one: http://m.explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/hours.php, or get a great book, like Celtic Daily Prayer.
  9. Pray in tongues. Seriously. This is a gift from the Father, and His gifts are good.
  10. Pray with others sometimes. This can be tough and awkward, but very rewarding. It brings greater intimacy with the Father, and also greater intimacy with your friends. You can use most of the ideas mentioned here in corporate prayer as well as individual prayer — such as praying through a psalm, using a liturgy, etc. (Note: Journaling may not be the best corporate prayer activity, Tyler).
  11. Remember to pray throughout the day. Turn the radio off in your car sometimes, and focus on Jesus. Turn to God for small conversations dozens of times each day. This works best when combined with a daily, intentional time together.

You will likely have many starts and stops. Lean heavily on grace. There is no condemnation. When I miss a meal, I don’t feel guilty – but I do feel more hungry for the next one.

Remember that this is about following Jesus, and growing in intimate friendship with him. This is his invitation, and it is the greatest thing in the world. You get to spend time with the God of everything, because He pursues you and invites you.

Jesus likes spending time with you.

(isn’t that kind of a freaky thought?)

It Doesn’t Work! (for me)

Posted By on August 6, 2012

Yeah, sure. I know. We need to pray and read the Bible every day. It’s important for us. It makes the day go better. We can’t get along without it. We have more peace. More joy. More love. More fruit. I know that’s all true. In general. But honestly, I tried it, and it doesn’t really work for me. In fact, I really can’t even do it. I just can’t. So I try and sorta pray throughout the day, go to church, and do my best.

Sound familiar? Many of us have been there at one time or another, and I believe many of you probably are right now. I’ve been there. But I need to tell you this: You really can do it. And yes, it is important for you. In fact, it’s really important. You cannot afford to ignore this. And from one undisciplined, pathetic pray-er to another, I offer this as an encouragement and (hopefully) help:

The Bible often talks about God’s Kingdom using the example of seeds. They don’t come up in a day. It’s the same way with other relationships. I can’t spend time with my kids once, and be disappointed that nothing amazing happened. In order for our relationship to grow, and for me to reap the benefits of that relationship, we need lots of time together on a consistent basis. The huge majority of those times are simply un-special. Some are outright tedious. But over time… it becomes something beautiful.

There’s no such thing as a bad quiet time with the Lord. There are many times when we don’t feel anything and don’t hear anything. The point is being there. So what if you suck at praying? Just do it anyway. That’s what matters. So what if all your praying is self-centered? Keep doing it. You’ll grow. So what if you never hear God’s voice? If you always get distracted? If you can’t focus on the Bible? If you hate mornings? If you don’t know what to say? Listen to this! There is a place for you in God’s heart. There is an invitation for you. He has promised to help you pray. But it takes time.

Remember Luke 18:1? “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up…” Jesus says you should do this. And to not give up!

Here’s another thing that might seem a bit shocking. We don’t just pray because it’s good for us. We pray because it’s good. We have been conditioned to think that the Gospel is really all about us – even though of course we know enough to say that it’s about Jesus. We “accept” the Gospel because our lives will be better. Because we need Jesus. Because we’ll find purpose and meaning. Because we’ll find fulfillment and contentment. Because we’ll get eternal life. Because we’ll get healing and wholeness. Whatever. But that’s all about us. Those things are right and good, and are certainly part of the Gospel. But ultimately, this whole deal is about Jesus. He is the center of it. We receive Him and follow Him because He is Lord, and that’s what we were created for.

So what does that have to do with the whole doing Bible and prayer stuff every day? Just this: It doesn’t have to be a good time for you in order for it to be right and essential. Jesus is calling you. If you are a follower of Jesus, remember that means that you are compelled to deny yourself and take up the cross daily (Luke 9:23). It doesn’t matter if it seems to be “working” for you or not. Jesus wants you to do it, and that makes it a HUGE priority. Remember that time people told Jesus that His mother and brothers were looking for Him? He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Lk 8:21). Prayer and Bible reading does not have to feel right. You don’t have to feel the growth. But you are called to this. How can you hear God’s word without consistently listening for it? How can you deny yourself daily without gaining the strength to do so from Jesus? You cannot. And if you try, you will, in a very short time, have given all you have to give. Jesus can renew your life. Daily.

Ok, so that part was kind of tough. But there is more. When you decide to live in daily self-denial, and to seek Him daily, good things do happen. Inside of you. When you decide that it’s not all about your fulfillment or your feeling good, you find that He gives you the contentment and peace and joy you’ve longed for. Again: it takes time. But, remember, He said we should persist, and not give up. Eventually He will work that revelation into you, and you will know that life is coming into you each day as you devote time to Him. You’ll have a conviction of this truth that is stronger than your fickle emotions. And – though it will still be hard – you will hunger and thirst for Him, and you will know for sure that you need time with Him daily.

One other important note. You don’t need to do this in order to be a Christian. Your salvation comes by grace through faith. You do not pray daily in order to become a Christian, but because you are one.

So… We need to pray and read the Bible every day. It’s important for us. It makes the day go better. We can’t get along without it. We have more peace. More joy. More love. More fruit. I know that’s all true. For me. For you. For real.


Posted By on July 21, 2012

As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God,  for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

— Psalm 42:1-2

I long for God.  Not for an experience.  Not for a spiritual high.  But to know Him.  To walk with Him.  To be sure of His presence.  To know that He loves me, and to love Him in return.  To be faithful.  To honor him in my life – with my actions, my words, my very thoughts.  To serve His Kingdom and advance His mission.  To represent Him rightly.  To give Him all my burdens, and to receive His in return (so light and beautiful they are – and yet so real and right!).

I don’t tend to get goose bumps.  I’ve never seen a vision or heard an audible voice.  I’m not always sure what it means to feel His presence in a service.  But I want to know Him, and I rejoice in the sure knowledge that He is with me.

I long for God!  My thirst for Him is deeper than the more surface emotions that tend to dominate my daily life.  It is deeper than my longing for comfort or security or even happiness.  Yet it is not simply rational.  It is deeply emotional.  It exists in the place where reason and will and emotion all swirl together.  It informs my decisions and how I choose to live my life.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. – Phil 3:10

I know that many of you are right there with me.  You read passages like the ones quoted here, and something stirs deep within.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls

Psalm 42:7

How do we respond to this – this ache that is so beautiful and mysterious?  This yearning that is never quite satisfied, but which is itself desirable and somehow fulfilling?

And what about those of us who are in a season (or a life) devoid of such stirrings?  You want to long for God, but you feel tired, dry, and deeply alone.  All motivation towards spiritual things has vanished, and you are discouraged, confused, and perhaps even angry.

In whichever state of spiritual aliveness you find yourself, I invite you into the ancient journey into God’s heart.  Whether as a response to the inner ache or a response to the apparent lack thereof, there is a simple way marked out for us.  The description of it appears utterly un-profound.  The practice can feel forced and unproductive.  And the inner voices proclaim, “It doesn’t work for me.  I’ve tried it before.”  And yet, with persistence, endurance, and simple faith, I believe we can all find our way and experience more of God in our daily walk.

Prayer.  Whether you are good or bad at it, whether full of faith or riddled with doubt, I challenge you to simply pray.  Every day.  Even if you can set aside 15 minutes in the morning, and another few in the evening… tell God you want Him.  Ask Him to reveal His love to you.  Share your heart, and ask to know His.

The Word.  His Word is life.  It is light.  It is bread.  Again, its ok to start small.  Little bites each day. Read one chapter in the morning. Meditate on a single verse all day long.  Ask God to speak to you, and listen to His voice, telling you who you are and who He is, and how He sees you.

Community.  We need each other.  Specifically, we need to gather together, centered on prayer and the Word.  Don’t stop just because you feel too busy or too dry or too whatever.

I invite you to renew your commitment to the above practices, with a few simple thoughts:

1.  Do them in faith.  Choose to believe that God is doing more than you sense.

2.  Be consistent.  Just as your body needs to eat, drink, and breathe fairly regularly, so your spirit needs these practices.

3.  Persist.  Don’t give up.  Be patient.  You can go long periods of time completely unaware of God’s activity – but you are building health and receiving life with each small step.

Deep calls to deep.  Something of God is calling to something deep within you.  You may feel it.  You may just have to accept it.  But joy comes only in responding to Him.

Family at Owen Park

Posted By on March 15, 2012

God has called us, as His representatives in our city, to reach out to the lost and broken, and to minister to the needs of the poor and oppressed.  This is a calling for all of us as the people of God.  Many in the Tulsa Boiler Room are actively involved in ministry to the lost through a variety of means, and we want to champion all of this.  Others have dreams in their hearts planted there by God, and we want to help cultivate and support these Kingdom endeavors.  In addition to that, God has given us the ministry of Owen Park Outreach (OPO) as a practical and meaningful way of impacting the marginalized of our city.

There are a number of ways you can play a significant role in the ministry of OPO. If you are not actively engaged in other intentional outreach efforts, we want to strongly encourage you to commit to some level of service with OPO.  This does not simply come from a place of need within OPO, but from a conviction that God is calling us to live out his mission right here in Tulsa, and that it is an important component in our discipleship.  Following are some possible areas of commitment:

1         Welcoming:  Be intentionally ready each week at spuds or Tuesday nights to welcome and engage friends who come from OPO.

2         Attending: Participate in the Thurs bbq regularly and help to build a family atmosphere.

3         Serving.  This looks like committing to one of the following at least 2 times per month:

  • Being available to serve in whatever way needed from 5:30 – 9:00.  Could include:  loading up at the McIntyres’, giving rides, setting up, grilling, helping in line, interacting with people, participating in circle time…
  • Being available to serve in whatever way needed from 6:30 – 10:00.  Could include:  leading or participating in circle time, tearing down at park, giving rides, unloading and doing dishes at the McIntyres’
  • Shopping sometime before the event

4         Praying:  Commit to prayer for OPO on Wednesdays and / or on Thursdays (perhaps before heading out to park, or praying while the ministry is happening)

5         Giving:  In order to financially support this ministry, contact us at tulsaboiler@gmail.com, or see Rachel McIntyre or Katie Bleeker.

6         Discipling: (any of the following)

  • Weekly d-group with OPO friend (OPO leaders can help to set this up)
  • Checking in by phone / getting coffee a couple times a month with someone
  • Volunteering to help someone in practical ways:  giving rides, mentoring in specific areas (finance, health, time, …), etc.

Please pray about this, and ask the Lord to lead you into a clear commitment.  Allow Him to challenge you and to stretch you.  This is good!

With Jesus

Posted By on February 13, 2012

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.  He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.  –Mark 3:13-15

I’ve developed kind of a bad habit lately.  It’s about Philip.  I’ve been letting him lay down with me when I go to bed at night sometimes.  It’s a bad habit because, firstly, he should already be tucked away in his own bed fast asleep by the time I get around to heading to bed.  And secondly, it’s a bad habit because he wants to do it all the time, and he really should learn how to settle down in his own bed at night.  Some nights he reads to me.  Other nights he just talks…  And talks…  And talks.  In fact, on such nights I often fall asleep to the sound of his voice.  Like I said, a bad habit.  But I’m not going to stop anytime soon.  Because this is my son, and he wants to be with me!

According to the above passage, the twelve apostles’ first calling was to be with Jesus.  Jesus selected them to be with Him.  In fact, they could never have carried out the second part of the calling – going out to preach and drive out demons – without devoting themselves to the first.  There is a calling on your life, and it is significant and wonderful.  And I know what it is – at least I know the most important part of it.  It is to be with Jesus.  From that place, He will also send you out into the world to spread His love and power and truth.  But first things must be first.

Jesus reminded the twelve about this point on the night before His death:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. — John 15:4-5

I know what it’s like to be busy, and to feel like there is just not enough time for everything.  I know what it’s like to struggle with the disciplines of the spiritual life.  I know what it is to long for more sleep.  I know what it is to feel guilty over not reading my Bible or spending time in prayer.  Please understand, this is not meant to be another guilt trip.  And yet, I am compelled to exhort you to fervently pursue Jesus.  I need to remind you that you have to spend time with Him daily.  I know we’re taught to avoid ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts,’ because they tend towards legalism, guilt, and condemnation.  However, remember that Jesus Himself taught his followers that “they should always pray and not give up”  (Luke 18:1).

My friends, please hear what Jesus says.  “Without me you can do nothing.”  The work of the Boiler Room.  The ministry of Owen Park Outreach.  Going to other nations as missionaries.  None of these activities can possibly produce any good fruit apart from Jesus.  In fact, they will only spread death.  Our primary responsibility is to stay connected to Him.  To abide in Him.  Our first  calling is to be with Him.  This is hard.  This is beautiful.  This is just the way it is.

But how do we do this?  I am no expert, believe me.  But I want to give you a few suggestions, and trust that as you cultivate a true hunger for relationship with Jesus, He will help you to work out the details.

1     Make time every day for God.  I strongly suggest this be in the morning.  It may be 15 minutes.  It may be an hour.  But start with something.  Read a passage of scripture, and pray what is on your heart.  Maybe just be quiet, but meditate on the Word or on the fact of Jesus’ presence with you.

2     Engage in the discipline of “practicing the presence of God.”  By that I simply mean to acknowledge Him throughout the day.  Shoot up one-line prayers.  Tell Him what you think and feel.  Ask for His perspective.  Or simply just remind yourself that He is there.  By the way, this is not a substitute for a daily quiet time, but a wonderful addition.

3     Give Jesus your burdens.  This is related to number 2, but I wanted to emphasize it.  Throughout the day as you feel stressed, or as you think of people for whom you are contending, practice giving them to the Lord.  Pronounce your trust in Him to take care of the people and issues that touch your life.  When you are fatigued, practice receiving strength from Him as you offer up the things that weigh you down.

4     Join your spiritual family in the prayer room for specific times of corporate prayer together.  We have set aside every single day from 6-7 pm to pray together.  Put it on your calendar to show up once or twice a week, and then follow through.  Seriously.  It is refreshing (except when it’s just tough, but even then it’s good).

I’ll stop with that.  And end with this:  I need this desperately, and I know it.  But I am also growing in my awareness of how much I need it.  Some days I pray for an hour, plus spend time in corporate prayer.  Other days I pray for 15 minutes and beg God to let it be enough.  Other days I don’t really pray at all (sorry if it pains you to hear this).  But the more I do, and the longer I walk with Jesus, the more convinced I am that this needs to be a high priority.

Jesus is wonderful.  Spending time with Him is the greatest privilege in life.  It is also the single most important thing for those who want to be fruitful servants of the Gospel.

Apostolic Passion — Part 3

Posted By on September 1, 2011

This is the third and final article in a series, re-posted from Floyd McClung.  In order to read more from him, go to http://floydandsally.com.

Last year I was separated from my wife for eight months. I saw her occasionally during that time, but it was for brief interludes and never alone. Sally was caring for my daughter Misha, who was suffering from a muscular disease called fibro-myalgia. We had agreed to try anything that had a remote promise of relief for Misha’s extreme pain, so Sally took Misha to medical clinics in Florida and California in search of medical help.

I really can’t complain about the long time of separation compared to what my daughter went through, but it had an effect on me. Especially the loneliness.  I responded by staying busy – from early morning until late at night. I hated coming home to an empty house.  This pattern of busyness continued when Sally returned. I stayed busy out of habit. I was hooked on the adrenaline of going, rushing, doing, being needed, and making decisions. Meanwhile, I was drying up inside. I hated the sense of spiritual emptiness it produced, and the superficial relationship I had with the Lord, but I subconsciously justified my condition because of my circumstances.

I learned one sure thing during this time: I could cruise along without spending much time with God. I could make do on grace. Later, I found out how bad things had gotten, but at the time I did not see it taking place. A subtle shift in my passions was going on. I wasn’t as deeply concerned about the lost, the great commission, studying the word, and pressing into God to discern His will on the important decisions I was making.  The world outside my world seemed further away. I was less interested in loving people when they offended me, and I justified withdrawal from those who I couldn’t get along with. I found myself backing away from challenges that previously had been a tremendous source of spiritual motivation to me. I started thinking about dying more, but in the wrong way. I no longer welcomed the opportunity to lay down my life for Jesus.

In short, my passion for Jesus and the things he is passionate about was withering away. The fire was there but not as bright as it used to be. Deception was setting in. Things that I never accepted in my life until that time were now becoming acceptable. Tragically, I did not see it happening. Until it was almost too late, that is.  After Sally and Misha were home for a few months, I decided I needed a few days away to take stock spiritually.  It was during that time of spiritual inventory that I allowed God to speak to me. I asked Him to convict me of anything that was grieving Him, and He did so. I made a simple decision to start fasting again, something I had not done in a long time. I also renewed the discipline of journaling – carrying on a running dialogue with the Lord about the spiritual state of my heart as He saw it. Those two things alone turned me on my ear. literally.

During those times of crying out to God and listening to Him, He began to speak. He led me to focus on my passions, what excited me, what was most important to me, what got me turned on spiritually and emotionally. Out of the wasteland of spiritual dryness and passionless relationship with Jesus, I became desperate to share his heart. I cried out that he would not just renew me, but that he would reveal to me what He is passionate about.  What does all this have to do with choosing your passions? Stick with me while I share another conclusion I came to while on my little retreat last year. I startled myself one morning when I heard myself say out-loud, “You can choose your passions, McClung. You don’t have to be a prisoner of your past choices or the value system of America.” You can choose your passions? Where did that thought come from, and what does it mean?

It has been a liberating thought, one that has given me the impetus to analyze my passions as best I can and make some radical choices about how I want to live and what I want to live for. At the heart of my relationship with God is a profound sense of freedom to choose. Not that I have the willpower to carry out my choices, or the motivation even to make them for the right reasons, but there is a deep sense of respect in how God treats me. I have experienced it like a divine courtship, a wooing of the Spirit to respond to the love of Jesus.  More than freedom to choose is the awareness of just how different Jesus really is to everything around me. I made a list recently of the core values of Jesus. Then I made a list of the core values of my own culture, the American way of life I was raised to love, cherish and be willing to defend against any enemy who would dare to take it away from us.

I concluded that Jesus stood for servanthood, sacrifice, dying to rights, humility, purity, and immense goodness and righteousness. Over and against that is what is most important to Americans: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, comfort, security, tolerance, personal rights, status, power, wealth and fun. There is more, but that is enough to make the comparison. In making this list I was stunned by how deeply my own self-interests and life experiences had shaped my passions and core values.

I was disappointed to conclude that I was more American than Christian in many of my core values!  I was surprised by a statement Jesus made in Luke 24, in which he stated to the disciples, on two occasions actually, that he was going to summarize the whole of the law of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets for them. His summary was breathtakingly short. In verses 44-47 he says,

“This is what I told you…everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. HE told them, ‘This is what is written: the Christ will suffer, and rise again on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness will be preached in his name to all nations…”

Not only is it very short, but incredibly simple. Jesus says that the whole of the Christian life is about two things really: his death and resurrection and making that known to all the nations of the earth.  Is that what my life is all about? Is that the core value that gives impetus and meaning to all the other values that shape my life and passions?

I have decided to choose this to be the passion that is above all other passions, the core of the core. The reason for living the life of Christ. If that is the summary of the whole of the Bible I want it to be the summary of the whole of my life: Jesus and the world.  But that is easier said than done. And that is why I have decided to consciously, deliberately, by his grace, feed those two core passions. I have decided to fast and meditate on them. I choose them every day. Regularly I ask the Lord to reveal anything that is undermining this focus. I have looked long and hard at all other competing passions and I have chosen to kill them off.

I read books about Jesus and the nations. I have recognized a need for a values conversion in my life. I am focused on becoming a man who lives to make God happy, not vice versa. I have taken a good look at American cultural values and have decided to hate them. Why? Because they are the good life values that eat away at the Christ life. They are passion robbers. They appeal to my flesh. They feed what is selfish and self-preserving in me. They are opposed to the cross life, the life of the disciple of Jesus.

I have taken a good look at Jesus and how he lived his life and decided that is the way for me. If I want something more than Jesus, then what is it? And if I want something less than Jesus, why is it?  I have read and re-read the gospel and the book of Acts and decided to live like Jesus and the disciples. Pure and simple. Jesus is enough. I want to do church like they did it. Get rid of the complications and additions and excuses. Just do it like Jesus and like Paul.

Apostolic Passion — Part 2

Posted By on August 24, 2011

This is the second article in a series, re-posted from Floyd McClung.  In order to read more from him, go to http://floydandsally.com.

When God invests His own passion in you, the desire to see His name glorified among all people, you must build and develop what God has given you.  Four things will help:

1. Apostolic Abandonment

Too many people want the fruit of Paul’s ministry without paying the price that Paul paid. He died. He died to everything. He died daily. He was crucified with Christ. This strong-willed, opinionated man knew that he must die to self. He knew that in his flesh, he couldn’t generate the revelation of Jesus; he couldn’t sustain the heart of Christ. So he died. He abandoned his life. He abandoned himself.

We live in a world of competing passions. If we do not die to self and fill our lives with the consuming passion of the worship of God in the nations, we will end up with other passions. It’s possible to deceive ourselves into thinking we have Biblical passions when, in reality, all we have done is to baptize the values of our culture and give them Christian names. We will have chosen apostolic passion only when our hearts are filled with God’s desire for His Son to be worshipped in the nations.

May I encourage you, dear friend, to give up your life? I challenge you to pray this prayer: “Lord, be ruthless with me in revealing my selfish ambition and my lack of willingness to die to myself.”  I guarantee that He will answer your prayer, and quickly.

2. Apostolic Focus

The greatest enemy of the ambition to see Jesus worshiped in the nations is lack of focus. You can run around expending energy on all sorts of good ministries, and not get one step closer to the nations. I don’t have anything against all the projects and ministries out there.  God’s people do them, and I don’t question their obedience to God. But the Church has an apostolic calling, an apostolic mission. God has called us to the nations. We must focus, or we won’t obey.

Focus on what? I believe God wants a people for Himself. Activity without a desire that God have a people for Himself is just activity not missions. You can have evangelism without missions. Short-term ministries are great, as long as they focus on raising up workers to plant churches. You might say, “I’m not called to plant churches.” Yes, you are! It’s always the will of God to have a people who worship His Son in the nations. You’ll never have to worry about making God mad if you try to plant a church. It seems crazy to me that people are under the delusion they need a special calling to save souls, to disciple them, and to get them together to love Jesus. Whatever ministry you are with, you must understand one thing: church planting is not for us, it’s for God. We do it so God will have a people to worship Him!

3. Apostolic Praying

A young man in Bible school offered to help David Wilkerson years ago when he was ministering on the streets of New York City. Wilkerson asked him how much time he spent in prayer. The young student estimated about 20 minutes a day. Wilkerson told him, “Go back, young man. Go back for a month and pray two hours a day, every day for 30 days. When you’ve done that, come back. Come back, and I might consider turning you loose on the streets where there is murder, rape, violence and danger. If I sent you out now on 20 minutes a day, I’d be sending a soldier into battle without any weapons, and you would get killed.”

You can get into heaven, my friend, without a lot of prayer. You can have a one-minute quiet time every day and God will still love you. But you won’t hear a “well done, good and faithful servant” on one-minute conversations with God. And you certainly can’t make it on that kind of prayer life in the hard places where Jesus is not known or worshipped. Here’s a challenge for you: Read everything Paul says about prayer, then ask yourself, “Am I willing to pray like that?”

Paul said that he prayed “night and day with tears without ceasing with thankfulness in the Spirit constantly boldly for godly sorrow against the evil one.”

4. Apostolic Decision-Making

If you live without a vision of the glory of God filling the whole earth, you are in danger of serving your own dreams of greatness, as you wait to do “the next thing” God tells you. There are too many over-fed, under-motivated Christians hiding behind the excuse that God has not spoken to them. They are waiting to hear voices or see dreams all the while living to make money, to provide for their future, to dress well and have fun.

The Apostle Paul was guided by his passions. Acts 20 and 21 tell of his determination to go to Jerusalem despite his own personal anticipation of suffering, the warnings of true prophets, and the intense disapproval of his friends. Why would Paul go against his own intuition, let alone the urgings of prophets and weeping entreaties of close friends? He had a revelation of greater priority, of greater motivation:  the glory of God.

Apostolic decision-making starts with a passion for God’s glory in the nations, then asks: “Where shall I serve you?” Most people do the opposite. They ask the where-and-when questions without a revelation of His glory in the nations. Is it any wonder they never hear God say “go!” They have not cultivated a passion for the passions of God. All kinds of lesser desires can be holding them captive. They might never realize it.

Present your gifts, vocations and talents to the Lord. Press into God. Stay there until you long to go out in His name. Remain there and nurture the longing to see the earth bathed with His praise. Only then will you be able to trust your heart if you hear God say, “stay.” Only those who long to broadcast His glory to the nations have the right to stay.

If you have apostolic passion, you are one of the most dangerous people on the planet. The world no longer rules your heart. You are no longer seduced by getting and gaining, but devoted to spreading and proclaiming the glory of God in the nations. You live as a pilgrim, unattached to the cares of this world. You are not afraid of loss. You even dare to believe you may be given the privilege of dying to spread His fame on the earth. The Father’s passions have become your passions. You find your satisfaction and significance in Him. You believe He is with you always, to the end of life itself. You are sold out to God, and you live for the Lamb. Satan fears you, and the angels applaud you.

Your greatest dream is that His name will be praised in languages never before heard in heaven. Your reward is the look of pure delight you anticipate seeing in His eyes when you lay at His feet and the just reward of His suffering: the worship of the redeemed.

You have apostolic passion!

People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives… and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.

—  Nate Saint

Apostolic Passion

Posted By on August 18, 2011

This article is re-posted from Floyd McClung.  In order to read more from him, go to http://floydandsally.com.

What is Apostolic Passion?

The term “passion” is used to describe everything from romance to hunger pangs. I don’t know what it means to you, but for me passion means whatever a person is willing to suffer for. In fact, that’s the root meaning of the word. It comes from the Latin paserre, to suffer. It is what you hunger for so intensely that you will sacrifice anything to have it. The word “apostle” means a sent one, a messenger. “Apostolic Passion,” therefore, is a deliberate, intentional choice to live for the worship of Jesus in the nations. It has to do with being committed to the point of death to spreading His glory. It’s the quality of those who are on fire for Jesus, who dream of the whole earth being covered with the Glory of the Lord.

I know when apostolic passion has died in my heart. It happens when I don’t spend my quiet time dreaming of the time when Jesus will be worshipped in languages that aren’t yet heard in heaven. I know it’s missing from my life when I sing about heaven, but live as if earth is my home. Apostolic passion is dead in my heart when I dream more about sports, toys, places to go and people to see, than I do about the nations worshiping Jesus.

I have lost it, too, when I make decisions based on the danger involved, not the glory God will get. Those who have apostolic passion are planning to go, but willing to stay. You know you have it when you are deeply disappointed that God has not called you to leave your home and get out among those who have never heard His name. If you will not suffer and sacrifice for something, you are not passionate about it. If you say you will do anything for Jesus, but you don’t suffer for Him then you aren’t really passionate about Him and His purposes on earth.

If you don’t have it, how do you go about getting this thing called apostolic passion? Is it like ordering pizza at the door in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed? Is there an 800 number to call? Or better yet, just send us your special gift of $15 or more, and we’ll rush you some passion, express delivery, overnight mail. If you’re like me, you need help figuring out how to grow this thing called passion. I am motivated by reading how the apostle Paul got it. He chose it.

Paul says in Romans 15 that it is his ambition, his passion, if you will, to make Christ known. It began for him with a revelation of Jesus that he nurtured all his adult life. Paul not only encountered Christ on the road to Damascus, he kept on meeting Jesus every day. This revelation of Jesus, and his study of God’s purposes, gave birth to Paul’s apostolic passion. Knowing Jesus and making Him known consumed the rest of Paul’s life. He “gloried in Christ Jesus in his service to God” (Rom 15:17). By comparison, everything else was dung, garbage, stinking refuse. Paul’s ambition was born from his understanding that God longed for His Son to be glorified in the nations. It was focused so that the “Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit”(Rom 15:16).

Human enthusiasm cannot sustain apostolic passion. When God invests His own passion in you, the desire to see His name glorified among all people, you must build and develop what God has given you.

If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and him crucified. i would set the world on fire.

— John Wesley