Now Accepting Applications – Become Good Soil Intensive 2015

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We are accepting applications through January 15th for this event uniquely designed for world changing leaders of men.

Click Here for more details and to apply.

Special Note – 5-6 spots will be reserved for graduates of past Intensive Retreats.  In order to be considered for these spots, alumni can fill out the same application as the link above.

Below are a handful of responses from Become Good Soil Intensive Alumni:

“Put simply…as C.S. Lewis put it, in Christianity the myth becomes fact. The Intensive was one of the most mythical and mystical experiences become fact in my life. It wasn’t just daily revelation of the Father’s goodness, it was daily outpouring, rushing rapids not stopping, goodness never drying up but ever increasing. One of the things Abba said to me was, “Over and over I will be good to you my son, my king.” This happened…over and over and over. Amazing. Truly amazing. No bullshit, and no posing, it was amazing.” – Mark

“I’ve been to five Wild at Heart events in CO and led a bunch myself… I was concerned that my heart would not absorb anything from this retreat. I was wrong… Thank you for a beautiful and holy encounter with God.  The sheer number of one-liners of pure gold was amazing. This weekend was better than a google search for “wisdom,” “life,” “hope,”  and “freedom.” – Carter

“Love. The answer is love… Yes… thank you for creating a space and offering the wisdom to walk in it and for exposing how little I actually allow love to enter my life.” – Dave

“I’ve made a 180 degree shift in my life since The Intensive.  I am engaged, firing on all cylinders. I am dropping my pencil at 5 in my work world.  I am fully present to my wife and my children like never before. Thank you!” – Matt

“I came an orphan, haunted by the orphan spirit. Now I leave as a son.  To every question I asked of God this weekend, the clear answer was “Be a Son”. That’s it. And its everything I need.” – Tim

“So many questions answered, twice as many discovered. The father gave me permission to be young again. Step back into life. Live not strive.” – Blake

“Rather than bringing something back home, some revelation or some good fruit from a conference or retreat, I feel instead that I am just now embarking on a  journey that will be one of those pivotal moments that sends the pilgrim’s life on another, yet highly more meaningful, lasting, divine direction.” – Adam

“I will live differently as a result…you paved the way for me to get freedom from a wound that has plagued me for decades. You opened a door to a new way of living and you invested in the advancement of the Kingdom in ways that are immeasurable.” – Kris

“I have never in my Christian life experienced such a deep environment of stunning humility and grace.  For the first time I understand the verse that says the Kingdom suffers violence and forceful men take hold of the Kingdom forcefully.  The facilitators of my story group were “forceful men” that came after my heart and rescued me from fear and bondage.” – Daryl

“My grandchildren and their grandchildren will have you to thank – you have fought to bring the Kingdom of Jesus Christ – you have set the captives free. You have lived Isaiah 61… I’ve stepped into ‘unforced rhythms of grace.’ my life has radically shifted.” – Steve

Click Here for more details and to apply.

This surely isn’t for everyone.  But it may be for you.

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The Best Christmas Gift You Could Give

Decorated Christmas tree in snow covered w/small log cabin @ dusk Arkansas Valley Colorado Winter

I came home from work just in time to tag team with Cherie and send her off to a regular monthly gathering of women.  I took off my work-hat and donned my dad-hat, diving deep into the list of what we had to accomplish for the night. I finished the dinner Cherie had graciously begun, tackled the spelling lists and practiced with both kids, hemmed Joshua’s pants for his school concert the next day, paid out commissions for the kids’ weekly chores (a few days late as we’d had a commitment every night that week so far), and watched my 7-year-old reenact her Constitution Day presentation.

On the outside, I might’ve looked pretty impressive as a dad.  I’m often good at cleaning the outside of the cup.  But on the inside, all that doing was motivated by exhaustion and a desperate need for relief.  I was cranking through the to-do list, rushing the bed-time prayers and songs, all with my eyes on the prize: sitting down with a glass of wine next to the fire after the kids were asleep. I had pegged that moment as the chance to breathe for the first time since morning.

As I sat in the firelight, congratulating myself on the accomplishments of the evening, I felt my heart rise, and with that rising came quiet conviction.

I had missed everything.

I didn’t remember tasting the elk steaks we ate for dinner from a bull I harvested and packed out from deep in the Colorado wilderness last year.

I didn’t remember the joy on my daughter’s face as she giggled about the funny twist in Oliver Ellsworth’s fame: he’s the one who didn’t sign the Constitution.

I didn’t remember what happened in the last chapter Joshua and I read together about the epic quest of Geronimo to defend vanishing Indian territories.

I didn’t remember singing or praying with my Abigail; I didn’t remember the feel of her skin, and I didn’t remember if the moon was casting a glow into her childhood wonderland of a bedroom.

I was there. But I wasn’t there…at all.

Solomon was right: there’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1).

In His brilliance, precision, and deep kindness, Jesus tells the story of a farmer scattering seed, offering a saving insight into the nature of God’s Kingdom (Matthew 13): both the extravagant sowing of the Trinity, and what gets in the way of those seeds germinating and bearing fruit within us. This story has meant so much to me over the last ten years, and on that December evening, I needed its saving power all over again.

There once was a generous farmer who scattered prolific seed far and wide over the land. The seed fell on ground that included four different growing environments. Some seed fell on what was actually good soil, but as the seeds sprouted, all good growth was “choked out” by prying weeds, which by nature use up tremendous resources but bear no fruit.

Jesus goes on to explain that this particular soil condition represents the heart of one who genuinely encounters God, but the seeds sown in that encounter never mature. The weeds of mistaken conclusions about where true treasure is to be found, leading to worry and a deep commitment to less wild-lovers, choke out all the could-have-been life.

As I read the parable yet again, chewing on it as the aspen logs crackled and popped in the fire, a question rose in my heart. You know how it goes; these conversations with God are more nuanced and intuitive than we can easily put into words, but my question was something like this:

“Father, You have my attention.  At any given moment, how much of my capacity to connect with You and others in the present moment is being choked out by anxiety and commitments to my false comforters?”

His answer came immediately to my heart:

“80%.”

I was shocked.

What shocked me truly was not the number, but by how deeply this percentage resonated with my experience of the evening and of much of my life in the previous weeks.

As I sat with God, a passage from The Screwtape Letters came to my heart. It wasn’t just any anxiety that was choking life in me, it was two very particular forms of anxiety: worry, which relates to fear of the future, and regret, which relates to fear of the past.

In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis articulates the sinister work of our enemy to use these particular twin thieves of worry and regret to short-circuit our connection with God. Remember the ironic strategy in Lewis’ narrative: it is the imagined correspondence of an older, wiser demon to his younger charge. In his letters, Uncle Screwtape refers to the Godhead as “the Enemy.”

To his young protege, Screwtape writes,

Humans live in time but our enemy desires them to eternity. He, therefore, I believe, wants them to chiefly attend to two things.  To eternity itself, and to the point in time they call the Present. For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.  Of the present moment, and of it only…is freedom and actuality offered to them…

His ideal is a man who, having worked all day for the good of posterity (if that is his vocation), washes his mind of the whole subject, commits the issue to Heaven, and returns at once to the patience or gratitude demanded by the moment that is passing over him.

Much of Satan’s work can be exposed in this sinister strategy: to disengage us from the present moment and therefore shift us away from present-tense union with God.

But we need not fall prey; connection with God is always available.

He desires to connect with you right now.  Right here.  In the very moment you are reading these words. Whatever else He is up to, He is always our fiercely loving and pursuing Father who is initiating and leading a rescue of our hearts. His gaze is ever toward us, His favorite sons, that we might come into ever deepening relationship with Him. And His invitation is rooted in calling us back to the present moment where He IS, the only place where we can encounter His voice, love, nourishment, and freedom for today.

Consider these words from Tozier in The Pursuit of Man:

But for all our fears we are not alone.  Our trouble is that we think of ourselves as being alone.  Let us correct the error by thinking of ourselves as standing by the bank of a full flowing river; then let us think of that river as being none else but God Himself.  We glance to our left and see the river coming full out of our past; we look to the right and see it flowing on into our future.  But we see also that it is flowing through our present. And in our today it is the same as it was in our yesterday, not less than, nor different…

Start with a simple exercise. I mean it: try it right now.

Breathe.  Three deep and full breaths.

Then notice.

What do you smell?  Breathe and tune in until you can answer.

What do you taste right now?

What do you hear?  Listen carefully.

What do you feel?

What do you see?

Breathe. Through tuning into your five senses, allow Father to slow you down to the pace of your soul. Now attend to the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God, the joyous, energetic, affectionate, generous, powerful community of the Trinity into which you have been wholly invited. Experience connection with the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit right here.

Right here, you can be present to God.

Pause. Breathe. Listen.

Can you sense a shift?  An awareness of Him as deepest Reality?

Now ask Him how He wants to lead you in the coming week so that you can give your family the very best gift you could possibly give them this Christmas:

You.

It’s that simple.  And that profound.

You, present to God and to your own heart, is the best gift you could give.  You, present and available to both give and receive love and affection this Christmas season.

Ask God what is set against you being present to Him, your kids, and your wife in the coming weeks. In particular, where are worry and regret depleting the resources of your soil?

Take a moment to write down what He says.

Father, thank You for Your unwavering presence toward me. Thank You for Your kindness, for Your generosity of heart, for Your intimate counsel. You are such a good, good Dad.

To preserve your presence this Christmastide will require fierce intentionality.  It’ll no doubt require letting go of things, people, and invitations that feel impossible to release. It’ll require surrendering obligations around the holidays that are sincerely good, but aren’t God’s best for you and your family.

It’s trial and error.  It’s training.   No one said it wouldn’t be messy. We are yet apprentices in Kingdom-living.  But the promise is that choices to live in concert with the nature of the Kingdom will most certainly bring Life (Matthew 13; John 10:10, 17:1). And as we let go of other attachments and yoke ourselves to Jesus, learning from him how to live our life as He would live it if He were us, there will be incredible lightness and ease.

As for me, I’ve set my heart on being present this holiday season. I’ve spent too many of those after-work-nothing-left evenings doing all the right things but not being present to any of it. The pain of missing the moment has formed my preference for the goods of the Kingdom. I want the Kingdom more than anything.

For my heart, being present includes a few simple and heroic steps:

Go Slower.

Do Less.

Love More.

These steps are flowing into choosing rest, prioritizing play, exercising stillness, nourishing my heart in some great books, great worship, some great friends, and some great adventures outdoors. And, in particular this season, choosing to be present means rejecting cynicism toward  the “holidays” and letting the Deep Magic of Christmas unsettle me and heal me once again (You might be strengthened by reading more on that here).

Come with me.

Some will not understand, but others will be so deeply blessed by your courage. And your Father will champion your faith in action.

And as you slow down, do less, and love more, you will in turn give PERMISSION to those in your world to do the same.

There is a way. A path. A Narrow Road.

Rest assured, it leads to life. It always has.

Right here. Right now. Lean into His offer.  Lean ever closer into Him so that you might grow and become the kind of person who is more present this Christmas than you have ever been.

Your family will thank you for it; if not now, then years from now.

And your Father will rejoice.

Go Slower.

Do Less.

Love More.

Merry Christmas.

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Endnote:  To into some great family Kingdom stories this holiday, check out these books:

The Indescribable Gift by Richard Exley

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel

Come and See by Monica Mayper

Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale

Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick

The Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan

#008: A Conversation with my Aussie Hero Dave Tolman [podcast]

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There are few men I respect more than Dave Tolman.

He is one of the giants who served as a sage and guide at the most recent Become Good Soil Intensive.  I had a rare chance to turn on the microphone and record a conversation with him that I think you’ll enjoy.  Dave is a Kingdom strategist.

It’s been said that a good king cares far more about your heart than he does your gifting.  And it has also been said,

“The activity of love is to make space for another person to be totally themselves.”

Dave is that kind of leader and that kind of king.  He has that kind of impact on the men under his leadership.

He serves in many leadership capacities, from serving as a key Director of a denomination of churches throughout Australia to leading a big team over one of the most vibrant conference facilities in Sydney.  His passion is ministry to families, and he lives out that message personally with his ridiculous holidays in the Aussie bush with the family in a pop-up trailer for six weeks at a time.  In this conversation, I had a chance to lean into his many years of wisdom in the category of mentoring—and much more.  Enjoy.

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The Night I Stole Baby Jesus – A Case for Killing Lions

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December 1994.  The tires screeched, spinning out on slick wet asphalt as we raced around the corner in the getaway car. Mary and Joseph were securely in our possession in the back of our speeding SUV with the hatch still open.

Mission accomplished…or so we thought.

Images from all the best chase scenes of the ’80s blazed through my mind—Beverly Hills Cop, Die Hard, The A-Team.

Yet like most great heists, this one soon proved to have a complication…

The mission objective seemed straight forward:  Us neophyte frat guys were to “acquire” decorations for the fraternity Christmas party. Budget: $0.00.

In the mid-December darkness, we had roamed the neighborhood next to campus, scoping our options. I don’t remember whose eyes first spotted the nativity scene abounding in yellowish heavenly glow, but our reaction was unanimous: visions of a life-sized Mary and Joseph accessorizing a yuletide tower of cheap beer at the frat house danced in our heads. Within minutes, Mary and Joseph lay side by side in the back of the careening truck.

Abruptly we became aware of a strange banging sound behind us. We turned our heads only to behold none other than the baby Jesus in tow.

It had never dawned on us that it was more than the Deep Magic of Christmas that shined celestial light upon the babe in the manger; in fact, it was a 110-volt power cord that also connected Jesus to his parents more intimately than had we accounted for.

Jesus was flailing and banging on end of a 15-foot electric umbilical cord and we were now racing toward rush hour traffic on a four lane road, needing to make a split-second decision.  Do we pull baby Jesus into the truck or do we cut him loose?  Funny how much can be in a metaphor…

We scrambled for a pocket knife, but not surprisingly, there was none among us young, uninitiated kids.  And before we could come up with another option, the cord broke and Jesus was gone.

Forever.

More was transpiring in that moment than a decoration highjack.  It was a tragedy and comedy of thirst: the misappropriation of energy whose source was in the core spaces where eternity has been set in our hearts. I think of the Scottish proverb that captures it best.

“They speak often of my drinking but never of my thirst.”

I was a young man thirsty to find life. Direly in need of finding my place in the world. Looking for my deep question as a young man to be answered.  I was longing to live in a band of brothers, to be part of a heroic fellowship that was swept up into a story larger than myself, requiring something more of me—something deeper, something more courageous, than I found in my normal life. I suppose a reaching to have that thirst quenched is what led me to the back of an SUV on that starry night.

How do I develop true brotherhood and engage in some heroic mission bigger than myself?

How do I pursue a woman with strength and integrity?

How do I navigate finances?

How do I interpret adversity in my life?

How do I live with courage in the face of such great risk?

And in it all, do I have what it takes?  

How do I truly become a man?

What I would have given in my college years for someone to have placed Killing Lions in my hands.

What it would have meant to have the faith-filled coaching and encouragement of a father, an uncle, and a brother; to have a life-giving interpretation of my story, to have a guide.

What pain and harm might have been avoided.

Killing Lions, both the newly released book and film series,  is nothing short of an invitation into the wild, daring adventure of becoming a man. It speaks to young men directly where they are, meeting them in their language and on their terms.

I never did see Jesus at that Christmas Party, though as I look back on it now, I was intensely looking for Him. The only other figure that popped up near Mary and Joseph was a fully illuminated five-foot tall Frosty the Snowman with a 10 inch rubber-hose conveniently protruding between his snowballs, delivering an endless stream of holiday cheer.

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But I did find Jesus shortly after that party. And I found that He was looking for me.  First through the heart of a woman on that same frat deck, then through the hearts of a few good men.  Those good brothers, uncles, and fathers have all invited me into a story that continues to this very day – two decades later, a story more adventurous, more thrilling, and more life-filled than I could have ever dreamed.

Many of those earliest steps into my journey as a man were lived out with John and his sons. And in Killing Lions, John and his son Sam have put words some of those same soul-strengthening and life-giving ideas that rescued me in my early 20s.

This is a tool that can help young men recover their heart and strength.  Through it, more masculine hearts can be strengthened and made whole.  And in turn, more marriages can start off rooted in identity and wholeness and more children can be raised by dads who are more armed to bring a genuine strength, rooted in the Love of their Father, to a young family that needs them. There is much at stake, both for the present and for the future.

If you are in your teen years or 20s and are thirsty for a life that is truly life, or if you know a young man who is, get Killing Lions.  How much ache of soul might have been tended in me if I’d had this book twenty years ago. How much ache of soul can be tended for so many young men today.

And who knows, the more men we can reach with Killing Lions, the more heavenly-glowing nativity scenes can be saved, bringing peace on earth and good will toward men.

Killing Lions

  • Watch the a selected episode of the Killing Lions Film Series below and Click Here for more.

You Are His Favorite

View More: http://kjandrob.pass.us/abbey-shaun-wedding

It was a shimmering rehearsal dinner, the headwaters of which were most certainly in Eternity.

Cherie and I were basking in the midst, poignantly aware of the premium of the joy between us. You know how it goes: weddings can be a charged mirror reflecting back the current state of the union. We’ve attended our share where the reflection was mostly sorrow in our own marriage and the temptation to camp in resignation—or worse, cynicism. But over the last few years we’ve received the grace to tend to deep recesses of pain, and we were sincerely refreshed to not only be seated together, but actually enjoying each other deeply as well.

Yet Father had much more intended for that night beyond a milestone for our marriage.  He had ordained it to bring a revelation that would change the course of our lives.

The choicest wine flowed, but even more, the choicest stories: stories of daring, risk, and deep redemption. Family and friends honored the couple with words of profound affection, honor for obstacles overcome, and the kind of faithful knowing and seeing that forms the texture of our deepest longings.

As the story-telling drew to a conclusion, we were all caught up in the wonder and delight of the major theme: Love wins.

The bride, Abbey, was positively radiant. Not since beholding Cherie as she walked down the aisle at our wedding fourteen years before had I seen a bride with such an effervescent glow. Now at the close of the evening, she stood alongside her husband-to-be, shimmering in the light of God’s movement toward her and in her and through her.

What could she possibly say in response to all the love and stories shared that evening?

There was a rich pause.

Then, in a moment flush with eternity, she slowly scanned the room, her countenance brilliant, and made eye contact with every witness present.

What she then said changed my life forever.

“You are all my favorite.”

Her tears of goodness and delight glistened in the dancing candlelight.

“You are all my favorite.”

And it was true.  Because of who Abbey is and who she has allowed Father to be for her, it is sincerely true: we are all Abbey’s favorite. But there was more: Abbey was also a holy conduit for my Father as He brought a revelation infused with power from the Kingdom of the Heavens.

My Father was saying this truth to me and gracing me to know it to be simultaneously true for each of us.

“You are all my Favorites,” He said.  Then He made it personal.

“You are my favorite, Morgan. YOU are my favorite.”

“You are my favorite, Cherie.  YOU are my favorite.”

“You are my favorite, (say your name, fully, right here, right now. Risk). YOU are my favorite.”

Hear the voice of your Father as He truly is, not as you have learned Him to be.

It is this singular reality of His heart for us that makes us worthy of His love and belonging.

Not what we do, but who we are to Him. His favorite son.

In Matthew 3:17, in the wake of Jesus’ baptism, Father breaks with protocol and His audible voice quakes over the earth.  He calls out,

Jesus! You are my beloved son! You make me so happy!

For most of my life, the word “beloved” consistently fell flat, feeling as attractive as shopping at the mall. It’s a word overused by Hallmark and invoked obliquely at weddings.  The religious spirit has hijacked it, along with so many other Kingdom treasures that were meant to buoy our hearts in turbulent seas.  I confess the innumerable worship songs I’ve sung, weddings I’ve attended, and cards I’ve read with the word “beloved” without ever connecting with its true weight and possibility.

The only way around the presumed familiarity, or through it, is to peel back the religious layers and get to the Reality that the word is meant to represent. In fact, this is our call with all of the words of Scripture: to excavate them until we experience Jesus with the startling, inviting, and disruptive freshness that is His essence.

Dallas Willard describes the effect of Jesus’ words when they are heard accurately:

Jesus and His words have never belonged to the categories of dogma or law, and to read them as if they did is simply to miss them. They are essentially subversive of the established arrangements and ways of thinking. That is clear from how they first entered the world, their initial effects, and how they are preserved in the New Testament writings and live on in His people.  He himself described the words as “spirit and life” (John 6:63). They invade our “real” world with a reality even more real than it is, which explains why human beings then and now have to protect themselves from them.

One way to hear the words afresh is to explore their connotation in the original language. Back to Matthew 3:17, we find the Greek word for “beloved” (agapētos) to connote

Favourite, esteemed, dear, worthy of love” (Strong’s G27)

Now revisit the weight of Father’s words to Jesus. He is saying,

“Jesus! You are my very most favorite! You are my favorite!”

And then in John 17:23, Jesus insists that we know with our whole being that the intensity of Father’s love for Him is EXACTLY what the offer of the Gospel is for you and for me.

It’s what John the Beloved understood. It’s why he took very personally the identity as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”(John 13:23). It is the revelation from which he lived and breathed and found his being unto the very end.  No wonder he was the last of the twelve disciples to walk the earth, having endured the brutal death of each of his closest friends.  No wonder he was one of four chosen to unveil the narrative of Jesus’ life.  John owned the identity of being Jesus’ favorite, not to the exclusion of others but to actually incite each of us to own it as well.

No doubt, living in a broken and embattled world threatens to steadily erode our belief in God’s intimate knowing, availability, and pursuit. It’s brutally hard to hold on to being His favorite in the midst of sorrow, trial, and loss. Moreover, one of our enemy’s greatest aims is to undermine all revelation of the Father’s love. Yet when we receive this revelation, it becomes the abundant fuel for us to prevail over every adversity.  The revelation of our identity as his favorite is the high tower from which we can love, risk, battle, and live a victorious life, a victorious life that transcends circumstances and is not contingent upon outcomes.

That rehearsal dinner was a celebration of a gallant couple—overcomers.  And it was an exhilarating celebration of the Glorious One who is authoring their story and ours.  But it was more.  It was a rescue, a re-orienting, and a saving act of our loving Father for me. And I sense His fierceness that I am to pass it on to you. It was for YOU.

You are His favorite.

YOU are His favorite.

You are the one Jesus loves.

You are the one Father loves.

You ARE His favorite.

You are.

Receive it today. Own it. Write it on your doorframes and the deepest bedrock of your heart. Reach for it when you go to sleep and when you rise. Reach for it as your first daily act, as a courageous declaration of belief.  Proclaim it until you have found yourself immersed in it as Reality.  And let it have its way. Allow Love to lead you into territory you never thought possible.

Scripture says that soon in fact (1 Peter 1) the day is coming when the wine will flow once again (Isaiah 25:6), and thrilling stories will be shared at the great wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9); and your Father will run toward you at your arrival on that day, full of strength and tears to celebrate you (Luke 15: 20-32).

He’ll say, “Welcome home, son. Welcome home.  We’ve been waiting for you. You are my favorite, and you make my heart so very happy.”

If we will receive the grace to believe it, it will change everything.

A Risky Prayer

Father, the Scriptures say

Ask, and it will be given to me.

Seek, and I will  find.

Knock, and the door will be open.

Father, I confess that to believe I am Your favorite is a tremendous risk.  

But I recognize that the risk and cost of not believing in far greater.

I give You access to my heart afresh. I give You permission to speak into this particular place.

(Pause for some time and think of five particular things in your life that you are truly grateful for. Write them down. Consider each of them, from the heart.)

What is it You want to say to me, Father?

What is in the way of me believing?

Is it true?  Am I truly Your favorite?

After sitting with God over His personal words to you, consider reading Romans 8 in The Message afresh from the place of revelation as God’s very most favorite:

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and sons.  And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance!…

He knows us far better than we know ourselves…We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what [his children (Insert your name here. Say it out loud.)] should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself.  And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins… None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing, absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (Excerpts from Romans 8, The Message)

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Footnote

Want to dig deeper?

George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons.  Read The New Name and Sonship.

Tumbleweeds and Joy Bombs

The Question Every Daughter is Asking

Endnote
This blog is dedicated to my editor, true companion and sunrise, Cherie.  She makes Become Good Soil possible as the greatest champion of my heart.  And as Chief Life Officer of our home, it’s a supernatural act that she can make time to fight for my heart, provide life giving editing and partner with me to bring this message to you.  I confess, while this particular message, You Are His Favorite, is a newer revelation to me, Cherie has received it far earlier and far deeper than I.  Truly, it must be said, the message above is the Father’s, entrusted to neither Cherie nor I, but to our union.  I turn and cheer her on and give her courageous heart my applause. Thank you, Cherie.  For believing.

#007: Responding to Divine Affection—A Conversation with Adam Paulson [Podcast]

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Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes | Play in new window | Download

A few thoughts on discipleship from Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard to begin:

Who teaches you? Whose disciple are you? Honestly. One thing is sure: you are somebody’s disciple.  You are learning how to live from somebody else. There are no exceptions to this rule, for human beings are just the kind of creatures who have to learn and keep learning from others how to live…

It is one of the major transitions of life to recognize who has taught us, formed us, and then to evaluate the results of their teaching in us. This is a harrowing task, and sometimes we just can’t face it. But it can also open the door to choose other masters, possibly better masters, and one Master above all…

The assumption of Jesus’ course of action for his people on earth was that they would live their lives as his students and co-laborers. They would find him so admirable in every respect—wise, beautiful, powerful, and good—that they would constantly seek to be in his presence and be guided, instructed, and helped by him in every aspect of their lives…

Anyone who is not a continual student of Jesus, and who nevertheless reads the great promises of the Bible as if they were for him or her, is like someone trying to cash a check on another person’s account. At best, they succeed only sporadically…

[God Himself suggests that] the one who hears him and does what he says accordingly builds the house of his or her life to be totally indestructible…

And of course it is discipleship, a real-life apprenticeship to Jesus, that is the passageway within The Kingdom Among Us from initial faith in Jesus to a life of fulfillment….Accordingly, we must take a very careful look at discipleship to Jesus…. consider what it is to be a disciple of Jesus, how to become a disciple of Jesus and how to make a disciple of Jesus…

But if I am to be someone’s apprentice, there is one absolutely essential condition. I must be with that person.

……..

The daily structure of our life is precisely related to the results we currently experience.  If we truly desire a life of more—more of God, more of the internal and external fruit of His Kingdom, more joy, more hope, more courage, more strength—we must strategically direct our lives day by day, moment by moment, on a path that takes us deeper into the interactive life of God.

The spiritual disciplines are the tools. Better said, our weapons.

They aren’t some set of religious activities or a magic formula.  A discipline is “an activity within our power that we engage in to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort.” A spiritual discipline simply postures us to receive the living water of the Life of God. It is an activity we engage in to ingest the bread of heaven offered by the only One who can truly feed our souls and generate his life within us.

Daily, personal worship is not only one of the primary disciplines, it can be one of our most strategic weapons.

You only learn by practicing. Like most good things in the masculine journey, there is no shortcut and no substitute for miles on the odometer.

……..

Adam Paulson is a dangerous man in every good way.  I have happily consented to be his student in the arena of worship. And through that consent in this decade of becoming good soil, I have grown in my capacity to access the heart of God through the daily spiritual discipline of worship in ways beyond my wildest dreams.

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I had a rare privilege to have some time with Adam to hear more of his heart on worship.

Adam partnered with us to produce the updated Hello Trouble Single as part of our Hello Trouble Podcast and Castration blog.  He spends much of his time directing and developing worship for Toth Ministries.

In a desire to invite men like you to go adventure deeper into God’s heart together, Adam and I turned on the recorder. I think you’ll enjoy this.

Over the last several years I’ve put together some powerful playlists for our nourishment as sons and as warriors of the Kingdom.  Click here to access those resources, which are found in the Dig Deeper section of BecomeGoodSoil.com.

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At the end of this podcast, we entered into an impromptu worship time.  Below is a link to have that worship set as a stand-alone, apart from the podcast.  Once you’ve enjoyed the podcast, you may want to return to to the worship set as a new weapon in future days.

To download the live worship, right click on this link and choose “save as” or “download.”

Enjoy the podcast.  Link below:

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Note: Several of the songs from the live impromptu time were originally recorded by Will Reagen and United Pursuits. You can find more of their worship here.