Archive for January 27th, 2008
I’ve heard Allen share this story many times in his “Growing Through Mistreatment” message, but I wanted to write it down here nonetheless, so that I can remember it better when I steal it for my own messages.
The story goes like this:
St. Francis of Assisi is walking down the road with a fellow monk when he asks, “Father Leo, would you like to know what true joy is?”
“I’m in,” I imagine Father Leo saying excitedly.
“Did you know that you could receive all the revelation and knowledge there is to receive, and you would not have true joy?” St. Francis asked.
“No,” Father Leo responded, “then what is true joy?”
“Did you know that you could have the greatest evangelism gift on the earth, with the ability to lead thousands of men to God, and you would still not know true joy?”
“No,” Father Leo responded again. “Tell me then, what is true joy?”
“Or that you could have the most incredible gift of prophecy, with the ability to hear mysteries that no one else can hear, and you would still not know true joy?”
This continued for quite some time, as St. Francis explored all of the options and possibilities, leaving Father Leo exasperated and longing to know the definition of true joy. Thus St. Francis shared this example:
“Imagine then, Father Leo, that we arrive at the monastery and the men refuse to let us in. In fact, they mistake us for thieves that have been troubling them and, after a long and fruitless attempt on our part to convince them otherwise, they angrily send us away. Thus, in the cold and rain we go to the entire village trying to find shelter for the night; yet none show us any kindness or give us a place to stay. So, desperate, we return to the monastery and try again. This time, the men there, in their frustration to drive us away for good, come out and beat us.
“Then there, lying on the ground, cold and wet, we find that there is no anger in our hearts towards those who have wronged us.
“That, Father Leo, would be true joy.”
January 27th, 2008
Did something happen on Friday that I don’t know about?
I’m not a big “stats” guy, because it always seems like more people read this thing than what the “stats” engine tracks. Every conference, everywhere I go I meet folks that read this space. I enjoy looking at the “stats” thing because I enjoy seeing who is peeking in - but there are many of you out there (especially if you use “Google Reader”) that the stats tracker misses. There are better codes and sites out there to figure out who is reading where, but I’m not tech-savvy enough to figure all of that out. It’s a miracle that I even have this website - it took me a year and a half to launch it.
The reason I ask the question, however, is because there was a “record-low” number of readers logged on the stat engine on Friday. I’m used to a certain number per day, and it’s held pretty steady even as new readers have jumped in (because, I’m guessing, old readers jump out as they break their daily reading habit). Friday, however, was so unusually low that I’m wondering if there was a random monster attack in downtown Tokyo that I missed. There was some other time where the stats thing was on the fritz and it was obvious - I went from the normal number one day to, well, zero readers the next day.
Am I numbers-obsessed? Nope. I would do this if there were zero of you reading this space. I wouldn’t write a post like this one if there were none of you out there, and would stick to the other “non-conversational” posts that frequent this site, but I would crank away nonetheless. As I said to Shawn Blanc a while back, zero readers times zero dollars is the same amount of money as a million readers times zero dollars. The impact of a space like this is more difficult to measure in the natural realm. It doesn’t transfer in tangible, immediately notable ways - much like prayer, fasting, and preaching. My life is about producing words to an invisible God and teaching materials and resources to invisible people. I could never measure the impact of my life on this side of eternity. I do what I do because of the invisible, unmeasurable impact that only God knows and cares about.
As I said, however, the numbers do help me get a feel for who, what, where, and why. I write about things that I care about - but I also like knowing who you are because I can throw stuff out there that you care about as well. So - thanks for reading; I do treasure the connection in the spirit. Just not on Friday, January 25th, 2008.
January 27th, 2008
We’re on day three of the IHOP-Atlanta House of Prayer Leadership Summit, but it feels like day ten. Billy Humphrey spoke on Friday night on Zechariah 4 and the subject of “grace, grace!” for those leading houses of prayer. I went on Saturday morning for two hours on “Strategic Leadership for the End-Time Prayer Movement”. Kirk Bennett took the afternoon and talked about the tabernacle of David in the afternoon and played a twelve-minute oracle by Misty Edwards at the end that had us all weeping. Then Allen Hood spoke last night on the necessity of Christology related to the great falling away. As you can imagine, every session felt like a full day.
Allen is speaking this morning, right now in fact, one of his key messages, “Growing Through Mistreatment”. So, while I’m listening to him urge us all to relinquish our personal rights and use mistreatment as a gift to grow in love, I thought I would express my gratitude for his friendship. Allen and Rachel, beyond their generous and fun friendship, have been a key spiritual brother and sister for my wife and I. I am so tender when I think about the hours Allen has spent helping me navigate difficult situations, talk through spiritual matters, initiate strategic think-tanks, and work through general “life at IHOP-KC” stuff. His patience and tenderness has been a true gift from God.
Beyond our friendship, however, Allen really is one of my heroes. I am continually provoked and challenged in watching Allen privately as he lives his life before the Lord as a husband, father, and servant leader unlike anyone I have ever met. The way he lives his life serves as a helpful “target” for me to shoot for in contending for the fullness of God. Watching bible verses get lived out in a practical way fills my heart with vision and ideas for how I want to live my own life before God as a husband, father, and servant leaders.
I’m already gripped to get back in the prayer room and carve out more time there - with a little more fasting mixed in as well. I leave times with Allen wanting to pray more, fast more, and consecrate myself more for the Lord. That’s the kind of friendship that one should fiercely guard. I’ve had too many social times where I leave weary and spent - where no lines were crossed by my inner man was a bit dissipated in the exchange. I’m not a fan of wasted time.
So, this post is mostly for me n’ God - but it’s also a neat opportunity to highlight one of my true heroes in the body of Christ. One of the key prayers of my life is that my secret reality in God would exceed my public reputation. Watching Allen Hood I find a worthy target to follow as he follows Christ.
January 27th, 2008