All the People We’ll Meet this Christmas

18 12 2019
Christmas Guy

Photo by Stte Funn on Unsplash

As I’m working on writing my fourth novel, starting a new trilogy on the topic of hope, I’ve been studying Johnny Enlow’s RISE teaching on bringing God’s kingdom into the 7 mountains of culture: government, business, education, religion, media, arts & entertainment, and family. As a teacher, I’ve been especially fascinated by his ideas on education.

Today one point that jumped out at me was when Johnny wrote that the student is always more important than the information. How many of us have had teachers who made us feel like our lack of mastery of the material made us sub-human and destined for an insignificant life? Hopefully all of us also had at least one teacher who lovingly modeled that the information was only important as it helped us move forward into a life of significance and destiny.

This reminds me of how God relates to His rules and to us. Have you ever felt that your lack of mastery of God’s rules put you on His naughty list and kept you trapped on the sidelines of life?

The reality is that Jesus declared, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) The person is always more important than the rules to God.

Or how about one of my absolute favorite Scriptures, the story of the woman caught in adultery? (John 8:1-11) Those who saw the rules as most important wanted to stone her; Jesus talked to her as a person needing his mercy.

I had an opportunity to practice what I was learning recently as someone threatened me with a lawsuit regarding something I’d mistakenly posted on my blog and promptly removed over a year ago. At first I was shocked by the person’s aggressive and unreasonable demands. I went to the Prayer Room and spent some time discussing it with God. His word to me was that the person was more important than the negotiations. Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” isn’t about Americans trying not to hate ISIS who live far away—it’s about loving the people around us who don’t treat us the way we’d like.

Our negotiations lasted about two months, because I was in no hurry. I needed time to pray for the person each day and ask God what I could share to help them return to His path of significance and destiny for their life. I have no idea if anyone else was praying for them, but at least for this season they got one faith-filled intercessor on their side. I hope I was just the voice they needed at the time they needed it.

I’m writing this in the midst of a busy Christmas season. Is it just me, or can the holidays bring out the worst in us? Could we take a moment to prepare our hearts for all the people we’ll meet this Christmas? How beautiful it would be if we could remember that the overwhelmed cashier is more important than the mistake on our bill; the mother juggling packages and a crying baby in the post office line is more important than the delay to our packed schedule; our impossible-to-please relative is more important than our desire for a “perfect” Christmas.

Perhaps a moment when we make them feel important again is the gift they really need.

Remember that God sent His Son to us at Christmas not because we were well-informed or well-behaved, but because in spite of us being NOT well-informed or well-behaved, He chose to love us anyway. He chose to see each and every one of us as precious, significant, diamonds-in-the-rough, people with a glorious destiny.

Now it’s our turn to see the same in all the people we’ll meet this Christmas.





Book Review–THE SEVEN MOUNTAIN RENAISSANCE by Johnny Enlow

16 09 2015

7 Mountain RenaissanceI’ve been a fan of Johnny Enlow’s books for some time, but this one more than any book I’ve read in the past few years put into words many of my feelings on what’s wrong with Western Christianity, and more importantly, what’s right, with a tremendous hope for the glorious expression of our faith that is coming.

Johnny explores what God is doing and is about to do in each of the seven “mountains” or primary spheres of society: religion, education, family, government, economy, media and celebration/arts. With an insightful understanding of history and a true prophetic vision of what’s on God’s heart for this hour, he paints a panorama of beauty, restoration and glory that the Bride (church) of Christ will become by 2050.

Johnny also instructs those on each mountain in what we can do to get there. As an educator, I was excited to read his concepts, aligning so closely with changes in education that I’ve been feeling needed to happen. His chapter on the economy talks about new models of business that integrate properly with the other spheres of life to become blessing to all of them rather than dominate or steal from them. The school where I teach for years has been operating under a completely different model of success than the world’s, but this was the first time I read about it in terms of God’s heart to make business glorious.

Another strength of this book is how Johnny unpacks some of the controversial issues of today. I’ve rarely found American Christian writers I can fully agree with on some of today’s tough issues such as abortion, homosexual marriage, women’s rights, immigration, racism, prison reform, and relating to those of non-Christian religions, but Johnny eloquently and prophetically expresses perspectives on these issues that reject the rule of fear and truly reflect God’s love, with fresh ideas for followers of Jesus on how to reengage these spheres with that love and immense hope for His goodness to breakthrough. When we tackle any of these issues motivated by fear, we can fall into dehumanization, building walls, and trying to isolate ourselves from the very people God wants to put His arms around and embrace.

We choose to align ourselves either with a fear-filled worldly cynicism or a hopeful, loving pursuit of God’s Kingdom (His better ways of doing things) coming “on earth as it is in heaven” by how we pray; what we choose to post, tweet or Instagram; what different kinds of people we’re willing to make friends with; and how we choose to invest in building a culture of love, light and life all around us. Johnny writes, “No matter what your race, culture or nationality, God is restoring the destiny of your city and your nation.” Each one of us has a part in this global renaissance.

Here’s one of the book’s many predictions: “An on-fire, loving church that has a hopeful perspective on life will be globally advancing by 2050.” This advancement is not about domination or Christians “taking over”—it’s about the pure release of God’s compassion, hope, and wisdom for practical problem-solving that makes every sphere of society a better place. For those who are tired of listening to the doom and gloom Christian talk-show hosts, let this book lift your eyes to perceive this as the greatest time in history, when the “earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

Find out more at www.johnnyandelizabeth.com.

Buy from Amazon: The Seven Mountain Renaissance: Vision and Strategy through 2050.