ShameBreaker Covenant

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  1. God loves me, and has a wonderful plan for my life. 
  2. As I humble myself and turn away from my wicked ways, I position myself to receive the fullness of God’s blessings and favor.
  3. I confess that I have sinned — against myself, others, and God — to the point where I deserve nothing but condemnation and death. 
  4. Through the cross, I have been born again as God’s child; He blesses me because He wants to, not because I deserve it. 
  5. In order to receive my inheritance, I must confront and overcome the part of myself that wants to remain a slave to the systems of this world. 
  6. In God’s timing, I will respectfully renegotiate my relationship to the people and institutions that were my Egypt, in order to redeem myself and them. 
  7. Going forward, I will boast of my weakness, so that God’s power gets all the credit for my achievements.  

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Twelve Steps to Breakthrough: Free Courts of Heaven Worksheet

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Online Version https://forms.gle/xraVo3KsSSQ5npTV8

Introduction

This worksheet is designed to help you achieve victory over the spiritual and psychological “curses” that prevent you from living the abundant life God intends for you. Specifically, it provides a structured format for us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:6). The idea of making petitions to a heavenly judge is inspired by the idea of literal heavenly courts as taught by Robert Henderson and others, but you can also use it metaphorically as an advanced Twelve Steps program for taking ground in other aspects of your life.

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RSVP with God: Outcome-Driven Quiet Times

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RSVP stands for the four steps I have been using to help my spirit align with God’s purposes for my life:

  • Rejoice: Meditate on yesterday’s emotional highs and lows until you find a way to rejoice in them
  • Shalom: Repeat until you can rest in God’s peace. Over time your “set point” of how much peace you expect will increase.
  • Vision: From that place of Peace, ask God what to focus on today. As part of this, I like to read a short devotional, look up relevant Bible verses, and God for a single “theme” word for the day to prime my thinking.
  • Praise: Finish by affirming God’s sovereignty over everything that is going to happen, and thanking Him for showing up.

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Reclaiming Eden, Part II: Adam’s Weakness

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Continued from Part I.

Man and Woman were walking by a range of hills. Suddenly, a gleam of light caught Woman’s eye.  She glanced up, and saw a beautiful blue sparkle high up on the side of a cliff.  “Oh my,” she said, “how lovely!  I wonder what that is?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Man ran over and started climbing.  Woman held her breath as his fingers and toes sought out tiny ledges to hold onto, and gasped once when he almost fell.  But before she knew it, he had retrieved his prize and was kneeling before her, holding up a nearly transparent rock that glittered with all the colors of the sun.

That night by the fire, while she was admiring her gift, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “You were so brave, today.  I bet you aren’t scared to do anything!”

Man stiffened.  Without a word, he got up and walked away into the darkness. 

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The Sinners Prayer, 2.0

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Dear God,

Thank you for creating me in Your image, and for loving us like Jesus.

Make me more and more like Jesus as I listen to your Word, your Spirit, and your Body.

Heal the wounds in my spirit that keep me from loving You, myself and others as Jesus did.

Help me show Your love to the world by practicing the generosity and vulnerability Jesus showed on the cross.

Teach me to always rejoice in the privilege of being your child.

I ask this because of everything Jesus did for me. So be it!

Redeeming Charlottesville: A Cry of Radical Compassion

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O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:

We praise You because You are a good God. In a world that seems filled with brokenness and evil, thank You for taking all that upon Yourself through the cross, so that we might be made whole.

Our hearts go out to the people of Charlottesville, and all those wounded physically and emotionally by the tragic violence of August 12th. We pray especially for the family and friends of Heather Heyer and the police who were killed, that they would experience Your peace and comfort.

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A Pre-History of the San Francisco Revival

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“Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” – Matthew 26:13 (NLT)

April 1st, 2024 A.D.

By now, one-quarter of the way through the 21st century, almost everyone has heard of the San Francisco Revival.  While skeptics question its longevity — and theologians its validity — there is no denying the impact it has had on the city and the region: the eradication of homelessness, conversion of red light districts into family neighborhoods, stadiums full of young people dedicated their lives to Jesus, legions of techies quitting their VC-backed startups to pursue social entrepreneurship, etc.

There has also been endless coverage both lauding and critiquing the organizations responsible for shepherding and publicizing the Revival: YWAM SF, TBC, and of course Harvest Evangelism.  Regardless of how you feel about their methods, you have to admire those organizations for having the foresight and courage to invest in the region and move quickly to capitalize on this strange phenomenon, despite the enormous risks.

Yet there is another, deeper story that still hasn’t been told. Unlike the general public, scholars are well aware that the revival first started in the South Bay before spreading up the Peninsula to San Francisco and beyond.  But even most of them are unaware of how it all began.

Allow me to explain.

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From the Kingdom to the Cross: A Confession

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I feel like I need to repent of something.

For the last decade or so, I have been focused on understanding and promoting Transformational Christianity, which is based largely on Kingdom theology.  I believed — and still  believe — that the Kingdom of God is a powerful Biblical metaphor for understanding what the church and Christians are supposed to be doing on the earth.

But I think we’ve missed something.  To be fair, everyone else in the gospels — the crowds, the disciples, even John the Baptist — also missed it.  But that’s still no excuse. Especially since we have their example.

We have forgotten the cross of Christ. We have preached the life of Jesus in the gospels, and the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts, but overlooked the crucifixion that made both of those meaningful.  We have sought the glory of Christ without sharing in His sufferings.

We want to bring the Kingdom of God — which is a good thing.

But we have tried to bring the Kingdom without first going to the cross. Which is a bad thing.

Oops.

Dear God,

Forgive me for falling into the same trap your early followers did, of getting so excited over the promise of the Kingdom I totally missed what you were actually doing. I confess that I still do not understand the cross of Christ, or why you had to die.  Which is why I resist the fact that I have to die. And forget to tell people that they have to die, as Jesus did.  We have — forgive the pun — watered down Baptism to an empty ritual, instead of a way to share in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I am sorry. Please forgive me by your grace, by that very same death on a cross I have so foolishly neglected.  Have mercy on those I may have misled or failed to help along the way.  Help me to do my part in bringing back the fulness of the gospel to your people.

And, um, please let me know if there’s anything else important that I’ve missed…

I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

Redemption: A Vision in Many Pieces

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Redemption

A Vision in Many Pieces

Ernest Prabhakar

June 8th, 2001

“God, its too big for me to carry!”

“I know, my son.”

We sat at the bottom of my heart, facing the dark, concrete-like slab which was my need for love, my desire for human intimacy to the fill the void in my life and give me meaning. We had been doing some Spring Cleaning of my soul. It had been a while since I’d talked with God, and when I finally got around to it again I was surprised to discover lots of worries and fears weighing me down. The stuff on top was relatively easy – I handed over issues at work, my marriage, relations with family. But then we got down to things which had been undisturbed for years, maybe decades, and I realized I couldn’t move these myself.

“Will you carry it out?”

“Of course, but I will not do it alone. You must be a part of the process. It is yours, after all”



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LEAD! C.9 Confrontation and Confession

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In Which We Speak The Truth, Even If It Hurts

Early we discussed reconciliation and forgiveness in the light of Christ’s salvation. This week, we dig into the disciplines which enables all of those: confession, and its handmaiden confrontation.

Though we love to be forgiven, we generally hate to confess, and are terrified of confrontation. Though we are ready to face persecution and death for the sake of Christ, we find ourselves paralyzed at the thought of admitting our sins to another — never mind confronting them face-to-face with their own sin!

Yet these two disciplines have the potential to break individual and community strongholds of sin that otherwise would not fall despite years of bible study, prayer, and fasting. They may be a heavy cross to bear, but if we persevere in them we shall find a glorious resurrection at the end…

Memory Verse: “Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”James 5:20 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • Part III. The Corporate Disciplines
    • 10. Confession
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 11. Journaling
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 2. Repentance: “I’m Doomed to Live in Meshech”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 6. Self-Examination: Bringing My Whole Self Before God

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LEAD! C.4 Fervent Fasting

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In Which We Slow Down To Feast on the Lord’s Name

Throughout the Old and New Testament, God’s people have fasted to express sorrow, repentance, and desperation. In ways we only partly understand, these acts of physical denial open up our spirits to experience God in deeper and more powerful ways. For Christians, fasting is less an obligation than a privilege: the opportunity to enjoy a special time of intimacy with our Bridegroom despite his physical absence (cf. Mark 2:18-20).

Memory Verse: “‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.”Joel 2:12-13 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 4. Fasting
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 9. Fasting
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 13. Humility: “I’ve Kept My Feet on the Ground”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 5. Honoring the Body: Flesh-and-Blood Spirituality

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Twelve Steps to Arrow-Proof Your Ministry

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Apologies for the pretentious title, but I wanted to challenge myself to identify and reorganize the lessons we covered in last year’s leadership class into a coherent prescription for facing down “Ministry Killers”. The idea is that each of these “steps” would be a single “life lesson”, but that together they provide the “full armor of God.

What do you think? Did I miss anything important?

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Stoned, Part I: Three Stones

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5:30 AM, Sunday, March 11th, 2007

I am walking down a street of some kind, carrying  three stones I, um, excreted earlier. Semi-round, they are roughly the size of a quarter, nickel, and dime, respectively. Clean now, I juggle them in my hand, relieved to have them out, but not quite sure what to do with them.

It is night, but I am approaching a streetlight where i can finally examine them. They all have a fine texture, almost like a random-dot stereogram. More than almost — if I stare at each of them I can make out a word. Respectively, I see:

  1. Insecurity
  2. Pride
  3. Self

It is a bit surprising to see “Self” as the smallest pebble, but there you have it. Having named them, I understand why it was important to excrete them — so I could get them out into the open and deal with them. But, how to deal with them?

  • Jesus?
  • Hi Ernie.
  • What do you want from me?
  • Your sin.

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