The Invitation


The Invitation

Come in, man!

Come in and know me better!”

— The Ghost of Christmas Present, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Ultimately the Christian world is divided into only two groups: those who believe that this invitation is at the core of the heart of God (and therefore all human existence), and those who do not believe it.

Or did you even know about the first group?

We believe a great many things about God, but, for the most part, topping the list is not the belief that He is offering Himself to us in an open, present, engaged, knowable way.  

If there is anything that is deeply (if unconsciously) believed about the God of all Creation, it is that He is unsearchable, that He is unknowable.  "His ways are not our ways" we are constantly reminded, and after all, "Who can understand the mind of God?"  Not that we needed any theological support for this feeling that God is, well, hiding from us.

How different would your take on Life be if you thought the One who designed the whole shebang...well...wanted you to find Him? To know Him? Intimately, like a friend, or like the kind of Daddy you wish you had but never really did?

It was during the Christmas holidays (not surprisingly) that during some time alone in prayer, I felt this phrase from the Dickens classic leap to mind: "Come in man! Come in and know me better!" If you are a fan of the George C. Scott film version, you will have the same mental picture I had of the Ghost of Christmas Present, in all is warmth and jocularity, practically laughing out his lines as he summoned the terrified, self-centered, lonely old miser Ebenezer Scrooge into his happy presence.

Sure, I could have conjured up the words out of my own memory cells. Maybe I did.

But, oh, the thrill in that moment of thinking that it was God that brought this to mind, that this was what God was saying to me! 

Really, Father? You really want me to throw open the door and come closer? You wont snuff out the light and disappear into the darkness like elves caught unawares in the forest at night? Could I dare believe it?

Do you?

In the midst of all the hustle and clamor of your life, what have you come to believe - not in theory, but deep in the unspoken places of your heart - about God's attitude towards intimacy...towards drawing close and becoming increasingly knowable...towards sharing Himself with you?

Oh, I know a lot of people who are growing in their theoretical knowledge about God. 

But who do I know that is living out this invitation to "come in and know Him better?"

Who do you know that's living like that?

It's arguable, you know, that if this Christian thing is remotely accurate, then the whole purpose of our existence is to know God. Personally.  Intimately.  Increasingly. 

The fact that this is just about the last thing happening in most people's lives is one more VERY BIG claim for the worldview that fuels the Warrior's Path:  quite simply that spiritual warfare is the context of our Story; that, like it or not, we are at War.   Assailed.  Besieged.  Opposed at all costs from discovering all that God is offering.

"Come in man!" (Said with cheery welcome and abundant mirth, you'll remember!)  "Come in and know me better!"

Or, as Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him..."

When I think about all the lies about God that I have come to believe in...


The Man in the Iron Mask


The Man in the Iron Mask

You have no idea who you really are.

And you don’t have the faintest clue who you could be.

All you really know for sure is that the distance in between the life you are living now and the life that you long for is so vast that you can hardly bear the weight of the thought of it. Which is why you choose not to think about it - why instead you dive into a sea of busyness, distraction, entertainment, noise, and fantasy. Another magazine, another football game, another hour surfing the web --anything to drown out the silence, anything to remain comfortably numb.

But you must think about it.

The advice of the secular psychologist simply will not do: to lower the bar of our hopes and expectations in order to bring them closer to our present reality will certainly ease the pain by shrinking the gap...but this is the coward’s escape, not the Way of the Warrior.

We were meant to feel this agony of not being what we know we were made to be. It is G.K. Chesterton who said that these are no trifling sufferings, but rather that “they are the agonies of a dethroned monarch.”

Created to be the sons and daughters of God with dominions of our own to rule in His name and authority...

….and instead we shuffle aimlessly through the aisles of Meijer or Wal-Mart at midnight wondering why our lives feel so pointless, wondering if they stock on one of these shelves whatever it is that we don’t remember losing but can never seem to find. No wonder life hurts so badly.

If you want coddling, a pain-killer and a pat on the back - affirmation that “you are only human after all” - you will have to look elsewhere than The Warrior”s Path. I’m sure you wont have to look very far. But be warned: as C.S. Lewis often said, in looking for that kind of approval “you are asking for less love, not more”. God’s love burns hot and will not rest until it sees you become the glorious creature He had in mind when He first thought of you. He’s not going to “settle”, even if you are willing to. His love won’t rest until you look like Jesus -- like a son or daughter of God was meant to look like. Like you’ve always dreamed of looking...when you’ve dared to really dream.

The Enemy is here, at this moment, isn’t he? (Some foul fallen spirit that labors for his dark kingdom, anyway.) Oh, yes. He’s here, whispering “Don’t do this. Don’t go there. Don’t open that wound. You’ll go mad. You can’t be that person. You’ve tried. Nothing ever changes. This is you. This is your personality. Why fight it? It’s just beating your head against a brick wall. Accept your puny little insignificance in this world and get on with what you have to do to survive. You don’t have time for this fairy-tale crap.”

You’ve been listening to that voice for most of your life. And the worst of it is that you always thought that voice was your voice.

Maybe you are still convinced that it is.

Okay. Fine.

But what if?

What if all that stuff echoing in the canyon of your self doubts that sounds so comfortable and familiar and ultimately true about you -- what if that is the lie?

For the sake of argument, why don’t you just pretend those things are the lies, just for a little while, and see where that leads you? What begins to open up in your deep heart? A ray of Hope like you haven’t known for so long that you’d forgotten what the warmth of it upon your face even felt like?

Go with it, my brothers and sisters. Go with it, and see where it takes you.

You have no idea who you really are, or who you were meant to be.

It’s time you found out.

Hanging By a Moment


Hanging by a Moment

Walking The Warrior’s Path doesn’t mean that you will always be fighting for others.

Not by a long shot.

Much of your time is going to be spent just fighting for yourself: fighting for your heart, fighting for your joy – or just fighting to hang on to the truth that the whole “battle” thing really is deep Reality.

We wish we could do justice in writing to how difficult hanging on to that truth is going to be, especially for those of you who don’t have much encouragement from fellow freedom fighters. After all, if devout believers of my own faith aren’t seeing the world through the lens of this invisible battle between the spiritual forces of darkness and light…well, maybe I’m just chasing dreams and fantasies after all?

Brothers and sisters, don’t let the difficulty of keeping a firm grip on this surprise you, or cause you to doubt the truth of it. We’re telling you right now that it is way out there. And by “way out there” we mean that it is not very perceivable anywhere near where we live. Most likely you are not going to be blessed with a whole lot of hard, physical evidence that this stuff is Real. It’s a pretty rare person (in western culture anyway) who gets to see a physical manifestation of this unseen war. Sometimes we think that going toe-to-toe with a couple of ferocious servants of the Dark Lord in some tangible way here in the material universe would really crank up the intensity of our commitment to this way of perceiving things. Maybe it would. We hope that is where our lives are headed. Who wouldn’t feel more like a real Warrior if they had the chance to physically cross swords with some foul beast from the pit of hell?

And yet, oddly enough, the people who I have met that have experienced some bodily confrontation with fallen and disobedient spirits seem just as prone to marginalize the whole spiritual realm as the rest of us.

Those rare encounters apparently can be neatly boxed and packaged in the category marked “people with serious demon oppression who come to our fellowship seeking prayer and counseling.” Yes, of course it’s real in those cases. But what about the other 98 percent of all the frustrations, disappointments, sorrows and temptations in the everyday lives of everyday people like you and me? That’s all part of it too – the hardest part to believe in, in fact, because these are the sorts of things that we always could, if we tried hard enough, come up with some plausible alternative explanations for.

Yes. Please hear it from us first, so you don’t think that you have discovered a valid and un-anticipated argument against the way of the warrior: the biggest struggle to living in the truth of The Warrior’s Path is the apparent insignificance of our lives - the meaningless monotony we so often see in our world, and in the flat, colorless, redundancy of the days of our lives. That’s what seems True.

And the other?

Oh, so hard to grab a hold of.

We have yet to meet anyone who can consistently live with the eyes of their heart fully fixed upon the Unseen Realm – the Realm that the apostle Paul assures us is more real than the physical realm which we so often are deceived into thinking is all there is – “the whole show” as C.S. Lewis used to say.

You are not alone in that struggle.

Does every single faculty of your brain, your senses, and even your very emotions cry out to you that nothing really important is transpiring in your world this week, this day, much less at this very moment? That life is just life – no less and no more than the endless succession of tasks and activities that we see unfolding here in the light of day with our own two eyes? Sleeping and eating and going from one thing that must be done to the next thing, never sure what it all adds up to in the end anyway? That any hope that there is Something More, something dark and deadly, something beautiful and romantic, something dangerously poised between “happily ever after” and an inescapable doom – that this is all a childish attempt to make a story-book adventure out of a life that has turned out to be so…well…boring?

If life, as John Eldredge says, “is a Romance set within the context of a Great Battle” – then why doesn’t it feel more like that is what is going on here??

Most of the time, you are not going to have to go looking for a battle to fight, because this is the battle: the battle to keep believing that this War is really happening, and that we are caught in the middle of it.

Lose this battle, and you will lose the War.

For if we lose our faith in the existence of the battle today, we will be useless for the fight tomorrow.

We lose 100% of the battles that we don’t enter.

Keep Holding On…