Seasonal Growth: December in a Nutshell
In order to share the highlights of this month, I’m going to examine it through the lens of the current, seasonal goals I shared in November.
- Focus Audience: Family. I’m grateful for permanence in this season, to be able to celebrate familiar Christmas traditions with my mom and sister. This time of year, I often take my mom with me to Christmas Eve service, surgically share a package of Sour Punch straws with my sister at the movies, and go out to eat instead of cooking on Christmas. The taste of mandarins and pomegranates, the sight of decades-old sequined red velvet stockings, and quiet nights with dogs falling asleep next to you on the couch.
- Giving or Receiving: Receiving from Church
- Emotional Tenor of December: Going on a seeking process with the Lord. A little bit like turning over rocks, looking for crayfish.
- Progress towards Seasonal Goals:
- Quality of Life + Balance: Reducing stress by selectively abstaining from media. Enjoying the company of the seals and otters (my favorite creatures) at the Seattle Aquarium. Meeting new people, Slow Saturday mornings, and cozy evenings with a book or seasonal movie.
- Community: Formally became a member of Mosaic Church. Met leaders and was able to offer my skill set in a way that was well received, going low and slow to build relationships. Joined the Outreach team (which I really enjoy), and life group. Found a mentor who not only understands what it is like to be a Prophet but can help me develop balance in this season. Noticing opportunities for future ministry (including the prophetic), but mostly just focusing on building relationships.
- Holding Salt + Developing Resources: Prophesying in a Prophetic team over what God is doing in different age ranges of Youth. In Private, recording every word Jesus says about new wineskin Prophetic + youth (spoiler: lots of content about healthy communities).
- Expanding Skill Sets: Understanding how Russian + Chinese + US foreign relations history is affecting current economic conditions and the spiritual well-being of each nation. Transitioning to Instructional Design as the next step in my career (more on that below).
- Developing Maturity: Enjoying the freedom to remain silent. Plenty of thoughts on what God is doing on the Earth right now, things I’m discussing with him privately, but not under pressure to share.
Revelations of Jesus: Worshiping the Servant Bridegroom
In December, various experiences in worship caused me to reflect on the glory of God.
As I kept pressing in for more of God, I found myself falling into a structure for worship this month that helped heal some of the raw places of the past season. I’m sharing it below as a tool to help others heal from their own 2022 challenges.
- Identify: First, identify how you are experiencing Jesus in this season or moment.
- Thank: Thank Jesus for sharing that part of himself with you.
- “Jesus, thank you for showing me this. Thank you that you know what it’s like to _____” (shared experience).
- Name: Turn the revelation of who Jesus is into a name. For example, do you feel like God is taking you through a long process of formation? Call him, “God of the Long Process.” This step of giving God a name is similar to the way that various biblical characters named God. It demonstrates active attention to what he is doing.
- Worship: Find music or some other avenue to worship him for that timely expression of his character. Through your active worship, take time to give him glory for being [Name of God].
- Because you have identified with that aspect of God’s character, when you worship God for who he is, the worship will result in greater inner healing.
- It will also have the effect of giving Jesus glory that he didn’t receive on Earth. As Christians, we have the privilege of honoring Jesus with honor he should have gotten, retroactively. Make it your mission to be someone who worships and participates in the restoration of Jesus’ inheritance.
- Practice and Reflect: As you practice this exercise, you will gradually develop a posture of seeking solidarity with Jesus’ experiences. Let it become a constant treasure hunt for more of him, greater solidarity.
- Extra Stretch: Listen Ask Jesus what names he’s calling YOU in this season
Here are some of the names I’ve given God/Jesus/Holy Spirit this month, based on how I’ve known him. Many of them relate to his Servanthood:
- “God who was a different kind of Leader than they expected him to be”
- “God who left a comfortable career to be led into the Wilderness”
- “God who let your family call you Crazy”
- “God who left what was considered glory in ministry to die to receive the kind of glory that comes from Heaven”
- “God who is more worthy than my Children”
- “God who called us Worthy of the Sacrifice”
- “God who took the indirect path as an Apostle and didn’t despise the Narrow Road”
- “God, the Unshakeable”
- “God, My Legacy”
- “God, Our Bridge”
- “God who Holds Me Back”
- “God of the Long Process”
- “God, My Transformation”
There are other names, but I’m keeping them to myself because that’s what you do with a close friend.
Seeing the Bridegroom in the Nations: Looking for Christlikeness
It is no secret to my closest friends that for several years now, the Lord has been using marriage metaphors to talk about what he is doing in the Church. In the past few months, Jesus has been giving me dreams where he appears as a Bridegroom of a Nation, to demonstrate what he is doing in that country.
For example, in September, I dreamed saw Jesus as a Belgian man, planning a future for his family. He built on the history of his nation and was interested in making history available to children.
I saw him in October as a Filipino who was locked into synchrony with his Church. In a place of skin-deep comfort, I saw him at peace, sitting with her side by side.
In October, I also saw him in India as a Protective, Honorable spouse who honors Women. I saw him take on responsibility so his Church wouldn’t have to.
In November, I saw Jesus in Italy. He was a father figure who knew not just the needs and quirks of his own children, but all of the children in the neighborhood. He cared for animals and vulnerable creatures in general.
I believe that these dreams are not just a reflection of what Jesus is doing in the nations, but how he wants his Church to strategically put on Christlikeness. Right now, the World is looking for people who look like Jesus. In 2023, the only leaders and groups who will make it through the fire are those who have bought oil in worship, transforming into greater Christlikeness. As God continues to strip and refine the Prophetic Movement, he is reclaiming prophecy as a tool to make us more like Jesus instead of buying us more of ourselves.
On a Personal Level
For me personally, these dreams have been part of a several-year process where God has given me the weird, painful honor of using my life as a Prophet to model what he’s doing in his Church (the Bride). While he’s used marriage metaphors and national prophecy to teach me about my own preparation for marriage and family, the most important thing I’ve learned is universal: The Nations will only recognize the Church by its Christlikeness. They will not see him otherwise.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.Isaiah 60:3
Significant words about marriage, family, and ministry can only be confirmed and established by the Christlikeness of the people of God and groups connected to them. In the same way, the real presence of Jesus can only be proven to the nations by the embodiment of Christ in his Church. Lord, make us the men and women of your dreams.
The Need for Purified Choices
This month, I’ve increasingly noticed how Jesus isn’t just calling his people to think of their own happiness, but of his legacy.
There are some choices that you can only rightly make when you think about the glory of God. In this season, some of us have been trapped confusion and doublemindedness, struggling to hear God clearly for next steps. Realistically, the only thing that cuts through the noise is focusing not on your own emotions, but what will win Jesus greater glory on Earth. When you make your life about God, he transforms you so that you can participate in the reward. In failing to surrender to God, there is a unique kind of tragedy available to us, in getting what we want only to realize that it doesn’t satisfy.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6;33
I have found the need to think about Jesus’ legacy this month in submitting to Jesus’ plans for my timeline, geography, friendships, employment, and interests. Since my life isn’t about me, I have found that my satisfaction has come in allowing God to make the adjustment.
You Must Rest to Finish the Preparation
I see some individuals in the middle of the maze, like a person halfway done putting on their boots, grown tired. Like a man who is bone-weary; aware that he wants the reward on the other side, yet undecided about whether he will actually submit to the process. Exactly halfway between where he’s come and where he is going, tempted to just unlace the first boot and stay comfortably at home.
Yet do not forget: To undo the former progress costs just as much effort as it takes to put on the second boot.
Will you rest in the middle of the process, so that you will have the stamina to finish your preparation process?
Will you remain in the grind, believing that it will prepare you for something beautiful? Or will you check out too soon, only to be unprepared for the next challenge?
You must choose between having two-shoeless feet, or making yourself ready for an adventure.
Decision-Making: Direction for Next Steps with Career
In my life, I’ve needed to let Jesus purify my career goals this month. As someone who has been applying to different Seattle jobs since July, I’m more than ready to be done with the process. Yet, in resting in God, I’ve been able to discern clarity for the next immediate step in my career, regardless of what the future may hold.
I started this process by reflecting on the last 4 major jobs I’ve applied for. I realized that as a person, there were specific gifts God unlocked in me as I went through the application process for each position. I also realized that each job carried a message, and limitations that would be helpful or difficult for me to accept.
In listening to the “messages” I was sending by choosing to apply to each one, I was able to listen for whether they aligned with God’s plan for my life and my long-term goals.
Introducing: Instructional Design
About a month ago, I was asking the Lord for more direction regarding my immediate next steps for my career. A local Prophet friend who is also looking for work happened to send me a job posting for a position in Instructional Design (ID), and I fell in love.
The more I explored, the more I realized that a job in Instructional Design would help me develop the skills I need to create e-learning and curriculum for ministry (for adults, for youth, for people of all ages). It builds on tech skills I already developed as a teacher during the pandemic, which for me was a time of career renaissance and exploration. Without realizing it, I’ve already developed skills in digital publishing, multimedia production and editing, assessment technologies, learning management systems, data analysis and visualization, and more. A job in ID would give me technical and applied skills to balance the leadership theory and theology of my Doctor of Educational Ministry degree. It is less responsibility and more income than teaching, which would allow me to focus on finishing my doctorate, filling (mutual) skill gaps at Church, and a balanced life. Due to my advanced degrees, I may end up targetting my search to ID in Higher Education (vs. the Corporate sector), where I will be a more competitive candidate. Best of all, a job in ID would not require me to get another degree, and I can learn all the skills I still need for free online.
In order to supplement my current skills, this month, I:
- Watched free webinars
- Started LinkedIn Learning through my public library (free) to learn software + further skills for ID
- Rewrote my LinkedIn page for ID
- Rewrote my Resume for ID
- Summarized my 10 years of work history between paid and volunteer positions, developing a 10-page Skill bank to use in cover letters
- Started researching skills I will need to develop a digital portfolio of projects using new software
- Interviewed a former Professor within Higher Ed who has been involved in course redesign
Direction for Next Steps: Apostolic Building
Just as God was speaking into my next steps with career this month, so he has been giving me the next step of strategy for Apostolic Building related to Youth + Young Prophets.
You see, about six weeks ago, I was panicking because I needed clarity regarding blueprints for how God wanted to build the next 6 months – 2 years of my ministry. I had the 30-year plan and the immediate plan for this season. However, I needed clarity on the next step of the puzzle.
I am worshipping him today because, in such short December timing, he clarified the 6months – 2 years strategy, including:
- How to support Adult Leaders in various locations in developing their own local programs
- How to collaborate asynchronously as a team
- How to honor Jesus, keep vision front and center to keep a team motivated
- Timings for working with local youth and traveling again
- Logistics of e-learning, curriculum development
- Transfiguration in Worship so I can be the leader that youth and their communities need me to be
- Talking Points for Other 5-Fold Leaders, Denominational Backgrounds:
- Vision as “Healthy communities, and youth with greater access to God.”
All of this clarity, as a fruit of worship. I’m intentionally not sharing most of the details right now, so that can press in further. However, I just wanted to briefly celebrate the faithfulness of God for removing yet another seemingly unmovable obstacle.
Less Shakeable, Insulated from Evil
As I spent time alone worshipping Jesus this month, I noticed that I have been tangibly less shaken by mess, and by evil. I’ve noticed that without effort, I have not had fear or much internal dissonance when confronted with dark things in media, stories, or real life. Internally, there is a robustness that has come from worship where things that would have disturbed me months ago just aren’t able to shake me as much. About halfway through this month, I realized that degree of insulation is a byproduct of worship.
Now, it’s not like I wasn’t worshipping before. But now, it’s like this is nearly all I do. When I used to wake up with words for nations or specific causes during the night, now I’m waking up in the middle of the night to worship. It’s marvelous.
As a Seer/Watchman, I have struggled at times to know what to do with the part of me that is very sensitive to good and evil. Yet, I’m realizing that the right medication for Prophets who are struggling with hypersensitivity is a greater dose of worship. His beauty is the only thing that medicates our eyes, cleans out our insides (inner healing). and insulates us for war.
This month, I met Jesus in his decision to allow Judas to come very close. To me, Judas represents the broken part of all of us that not only reject the cross but actively sabotage goodness. I’m learning that Jesus could co-exist with parts of people that were blatantly evil without hypersensitivity in feeling all of it because he was in such worship that the evil wasn’t a distraction. Jesus had the capacity to allow evil to come close, so God could repurpose it for good.
Let’s get this straight: God is at war with the Western notion of “thick skin/stiff upper lip.” Instead of letting God’s glory insulate us, Prophets who subscribe to these ideals act in their own strength. They become critical, defensive, and combatant, fearing exposure. They develop boundary issues from false responsibility, remain unhealed, self-numb their emotions, fail to see the gold in people/relate to them, take on unnecessary heaviness, and fight unnecessary battles instead of winning people over.
Instead, Jesus teaches us to embody purity and not flinch at evil. With Jesus’ help, we will be teachable instead of combatant, grateful for those who save us from a snare, and able to discern when people need a gentle word, correction, healing, or something else. We will be connected, relational people who build bridges and aren’t afraid of shaking.
Learning Seattle as a City
This season, God is having me focus on befriending Seattle as a City. He’s given revelation and sent supplemental gifts related to people gathering, mercy, evangelism, and relationship-building (shepherding) because those are the graces necessary for this region. He’s using my friendships, future workplace, and volunteering to outwork these skills. He is having me practice balance shepherding and evangelism with the apostolic and prophetic, in advance of greater harvest he will have me lead.
As part of befriending Seattle as a City, he’s also sharing specific International sister cities around the globe he wants me to connect with and providing new people who touch those regions. He has said that as I and other Prophets in Washington State connect with those people and places, we will experience an exchange of anointings and parallelly synched to shared moves of God.
Over the last few months, I’ve come to see God’s provision in a different way. His faithfulness is in the prophetic words, the clarity, the apostolic blueprints, the relational grace, the word of encouragement, and the hug.
God has been providing for me through my new Church this month. The atmosphere is like an aerosol SOZO (inner healing) session in that so many people are in love with Jesus. I formally joined the Church this month, and have seen Jesus in the people: celebrating my gifts, making room for me in ministry, carefully listening as I speak, modeling vulnerability, taking the slow road relationally without expecting too much. This church demonstrates health in the relationships between people, honors women, and showcases the healthy masculinity of Jesus. While I have been impressed by the Christlikeness of both genders, it’s been uniquely healing for me to watch men unreservedly giving themselves away to God.
Favorite December Books
A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis
While I have long admired C. S. Lewis for his intellect, in A Grief Observed, I came to admire him for his emotional courage even more. I read this book to process one of my own griefs, and ended up finding a standard for truthful storytelling in loss. This is the kind of emotionally courageous writing I aspire towards, as narrative, as memoir, in general. This is the kind of writing that makes people feel seen and known, like they aren’t crazy for having gone through similar things. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a friend in processing loss.
Children of God, Mary Doria Russell
The month, I read the sequel to Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow”, a science fiction book about loss of innocence, hope, Christian faith, and God’s goodness. Full disclosure: Before I read this sequel, I read the plot synopsis first, to make sure I would be able to handle the content. To my delight, Doria Russell not just made sense of the loose ends of the first book’s characters, she did so in a way that was beautiful. I love science fiction, Jesus, and socio-linguistics. Reading a sci-fi book noticeably composed by socio-linguist and full of the character of Christ…I was fully at home.
Worship this Month
I love the courage behind Show me Your Face. Seeing his face is the only thing that we as human beings can’t live without, regardless of the cost.
Verse 3 from King of Kings keeps wow-ing me: “For even in your suffering / You saw to the other side / Knowing this was our salvation / Jesus for our sake, you died.”
Lord, give us the same kind of vision to see to the other side of challenges and sacrifice towards joy, as you did.
- Favor and grace with the job-seeking process
- Order and to keep in pace with God’s short-term timings
- Continued heart rehabilitation (abstract, not literal sense)
- Continued deep roots and relationships forming at Church and within Seattle
- More maturity