An active priesthood…

This entry is for more than one audio teaching, but as I heard this first one listed, it struck me that the others were hugely complementary. All the teachings together, I believe, create a powerful package that we need to get a hold of.

The first teaching is by Gary Wiens. Gary is currently on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City where, I gather, most of his involvement is in teaching. He is an excellent teacher…which is really a hidden way of say that I like him a lot! As with any of these teaching, your mileage may vary!

This teaching is entitled, “The Priests of the Kingdom.” (mp3 – 24.7Mb) This teaching lays down very clearly the duty of the Christian on earth using the paradigm of a “priesthood.” I’ve always found this paradigm to be rich with meaning and this teaching is the best I’ve ever heard to sum it all up….worth listening to several times.

The second teaching is by Dr. David Van Koevering. Dr. Koevering may be best known in the world as one of the early driving forces (invention/innovation/promotion) behind the Moog Synthesizer. He is a quantum physicist and inventor with a big focus in the area of the physics of sound. As a worship musician, this interests me very much. As you’ll discover, his teaching style is a bit eccentric but bear with it…the material is powerful and he can be fun to listen to.

This teaching is entitled, “Your Words Can (And Do) Change Other People’s Environment!.” (mp3 – 16.9Mb) This teaching begins to build on the previous one by giving one practical domain in which we can exercise the authority of our priesthood…our words.

The last teaching is in two parts and was given by Sam Matthews on two successive evenings recently at our church here in France. So, the teaching is in English with French translation. The beginning of the first teaching contains about 8 minutes of introduction given by our pastor. This is all in French. Do not fret…the English does come!

This teaching is entitled, “The blessing is in the name.” Part 1 – mp3 – 43Mb, Part2 – mp3 – 33.6Mb This teaching, again, builds on the one by Dr. Van Koevering and by Gary Wiens. It gets specific about what words to use to change things. In this teaching, Sam talks about using the names of God and how the specific blessing that comes from a specific character trait of God is contained in the name of God that expresses that character trait. Furthermore, we can, and should, use the names of the Lord to bless people and situations in very specific ways so that the manifestation of God’s attributes for any given situation come into action.

All three speakers are very different in their style and these teachings are not at all connected one with another. They simply struck me as being a very complementary set that I believe will change a lot of things in our lives if we can really get a hold of the truths and apply them (still working on it for myself!).

Language Heaven, Language Hell…

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you…

Hogwash!

It’s been clear since God created the world simply by speaking, that words have unlimited power. God Himself saw that His best recourse against the rebellion and pride of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 was to pull the verbal rug out from underneath the construction crew. Voilà, rebellion stopped dead in its tracks… In the Gospel of John, Jesus, the King of Kings is called The Word.

Even in non-ecclesiastical circles, one finds that the pen is mightier than the sword (attributed both to Ben Franklin and Edward Bulwer-Lytton…go figure), the world is full of influential writings, and of course there is the Internet…dare I mention Blogging!?

For our family, language acquisition has been an abiding and profound reality in the last 5 or so years. Even before that, Angela and I had an above average amount of language training in our school years.

Why? Well the motivations run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime. I think behind all of it is a deposit from God in our deepest parts to draw us toward other people; to live the reality that our God is a relational God and has made us in His image.

For us all, learning French has been a very rewarding adventure. There are unending layers of discovery and depth of relationship that have been opened up to us because of the work to learn another language. There is a bit of satisfaction when one aces a test on some obscure conjugation of irregular verbs, but there is immense satisfaction in the joy of relating at a heart level with someone whose heart otherwise would have remained but a closed book on a shelf gathering dust to you…had you not studied for that conjugation test! ;c) There are many other moments of serendipity related to knowing another language…at any level.

Last week when Rachel and I went to Berlin, there were some very special moments like that as we obviously heard a lot of German, in addition to English and French. German is the foreign language that I first studied before French. I had a fair amount of it academically in Jr. High, High School and College, and of course, we did our YWAM DTS in Germany. Since then, it’s been so much French that I have a real difficulty in getting German out of my mouth, even if I can really understand what I need to say…more or less. Rachel studied German for the 1st time last year and really enjoyed it and now Noah is starting to study it and seems to be enjoying it too.

So, speaking a foreign language is all heavenly bliss…right?

Again, the appropriate response is: Hogwash!

When we were standing in the security check line at the airport to leave Berlin, Rachel was asked by the security official if her pockets were empty. It was asked in German. Rachel understood the question to be whether she had anything in her pockets. She said “nein” to the question she understood and assumed the posture of a person with nothing in her pockets. Of course the security guard, heard “no” to his question but saw the posture of a person who should have answered “ja”.

They understood quickly what needed to be understood, but what they did next stabbed my heart…all the security officials laughed heartily and mocked. Not a big deal in the cosmic scheme of things, but each time something like that happens when we try our best to communicate in another language, the accumulated vignettes of misunderstanding can wash over you afresh. You remember the blank looks you get from people you desperately want to communicate with; want to build a friendship with. It’s not always mocking from a stranger but it can really drain you! Of course, the enemy of our souls can have a heyday with this as well! This is a bit of what Language Hell can be like.

Thankfully, these are wonderful occasions to have our heart worked on by the Lord. We have the privilege to take up our cross and better learn the immeasurable humility of a God who would become man because of His passion for you and me. His willingness to be misunderstood, in order to ultimately be able to express infinite love is the very mandate of every person who has ever learned another language and used it as a tool to expand the Kingdom of God.

I saw a wonderful quote by Helen Keller recently in a newsletter by another American missionary family in France.

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

Our adventure may seem to be insignificant at the language level, but in reality, we’re risking “hell”, to bring Heaven here on earth each time we open our mouths and stumble through some French (or German) to connect at a heart-level and stand in the image of our heart-level God.