Swimming With the Sharks without Getting Eaten Alive

Life is not for the fainthearted. Our world simmers from Russian aggression to Islamic State militants

to our Southern Border Chaos to Religious Liberty Persecutions/Pressures Worldwide to juggling massive state and consumer debt to pre-fall campaign strategies. I wonder if God laughs at our madness or cries out of compassion. How do we negotiate it all? How do we swim with the sharks and not get eaten alive? I sure don’t have all the answers and I don’t think you can make it out of life’s waters without being harpooned… but I’ve been experiencing the fruit of the “With” Principle.

Christianity is not a subject to be mastered,

 but an infectious way to live “With” Jesus

 and shared “With” Others

Mark 3:14 says, “And he appointed twelve, so that they would be with him and that he would send

White Sulphur Springs Retreat Center

them out.” Paul practiced this same approach with Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, Silas and so many faithful men and exhorts us in the “With” Principle throughout Timothy and Thessalonians. In June, I finished up a three-month stint at the Capitol during session, followed by eight days of teaching to military officers with Officers Christian Fellowship as well as numerous appointments and Bible studies with leaders. What stood out to me was the value of the “With” Principle. It is the simple truth that the best discipleship and spiritual formation flows out of being “With” people while the Holy Spirit is in your midst. My work is not flowing out of any program, canned approach, special expertise or an agenda. I am planting a seed, watering it and watching it grow. I shepherd leaders, enfold strays and relate to people, not as a job, but as a way of life. It is just sort of like breathing. I don’t know any other way.

Some of the Military Officers and their families

It is so easy to approach relationships out of agendas sometimes hidden agendas. I’m enjoying the “With” Principle. I don’t have to have all the answers and don’t have to always be on the top of my game. I am a fellow traveler and sometimes struggler. In fact, last week when I taught on the topic of failure, it produced the greatest discussion of my eight day stint. I disciple out of a man’s life by asking questions. I disciple out of my life by sharing victories, defeats, experiences and learnings, and I disciple out of Jesus’ life through the Word. I’m seeing the kingdom is at its best when underground, counter-cultural, stealthy, quiet, humble, hopeful and positive. Too much of the Faith seems to be negative, loud, problem-centered and angry.

“Always be sure you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you low to hate him.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I feel like Andrew this month who got to tell his friends, “You have to see this!! We’ve met the

Teaching Session to Military Officers

Messiah!” (John 1:42) This month I have seen leaders freed up from bondage. I’ve seen men truly hear His voice and enjoy Truth chase away lies. Some with dark clouds and shark bites have discovered hope. I’ve experienced the joy of men I walk with go off to foreign mission fields or debate a panel of atheists. I walk with leaders living in shark infested waters choose to cling one more day to Jesus even as they await their rescue. Yup, walking “With”men has been good this month. Give it a try. Somebody needs to be “With” you and With “Jesus”.

Praise and Prayer
1. Pray for my first Grace Adventures Retreat on September 26-28. Consider coming. If you are out of

I also enjoyed speaking to the staff

state and can fly in…I will make sure we pick you up at New Orleans Airport. Pass the word.

2. We have a few days with Jonathan and Patricia next week. We are looking forward to it.
3. Pray for God to transform leaders to have a deep devotion to Jesus and become leaders of character.
Betting the Farm on God,
Swimming With the Sharks without Getting Eaten Alive

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