Developing the Life and Leadership of Raw Faith

What is raw faith?

dreamstime_xs_57032596The men and women listed below risked their lives in raw faith, because they trusted Christ and believed in His eternal purpose:

  • Though it meant the surrender of his promised son, Abraham raised the knife of sacrifice in obedience.
  • After more than a decade of prison and broken promises, Joseph committed to live a holy life.
  • Though risking her life, Rahab hid Israel’s two spies.
  • After years of being hunted down like an animal by King Saul, David refused to assassinate him.
  • After his elders whipped him “40 lashes minus one” (for the 5th time!), Paul persevered for the Lord at all costs.
  • After they murdered her husband, Elizabeth Elliot continued to minister to the Auca natives.
  • In the midst of ISIS massacres, men, women and children refused to deny their love for Christ.

Raw faith proves that our eternal life in Christ is real. Raw faith imitates Christ and inspires others to see life as more than just flesh and bones and making space for ourselves on earth. God created us to thrive in an eternal kingdom, with an eternal purpose, as beloved children in the household of our Father.

What does that mean for us? Some of us have faced life-or-death choices to serve God, or the challenge to step out in faith under impossible odds. And even those of us who haven’t, consider how often we do face these everyday raw-faith choices:

  • Raising the knife to reputation when God’s way is different than status quo
  • Preferring others above ourselves with selfless motivation
  • Trusting God to perform His ultimate will in our lives without trying to manipulate or control people or circumstances
  • Refusing to defame the people who misuse us
  • Refusing to deny God even when faced with maligning coworkers or neighbors
  • Trusting God’s direction even in circumstances of great suffering
  • Revering our spouses
  • Training our children in the righteous, loving way
  • Interacting with servant attitudes
  • Refusing to listen to juicy gossip
  • Speaking the truth even if a little “twist” might have benefitted…

None of us are perfect, of course, but in our lifestyles, attitudes, daily decisions, and purposes, we yield to Christ with the attitude of repentance. With Peter we say:

 Lord, to whom else shall we go? Only You have the words of eternal life…
-John 6:68-69

Job 2:9-10; Psalm 25:1; Matthew 8:26; 9:2; Acts 11:24; I Corinthians 2:5; Ephesians 6:13-20; II Timothy 3:10-17; Hebrews 11; James 1:2-8

 – Patricia Tillman

PBL Front CoverMore on how to live out your leadership of bold faith in Keith’s book, Mastering the Art of Presence-Based LeadershipIt will increase the capacity for you and your team to discern the wisdom of Christ in large and small decisions.

Your Inner Beast and How to Tame It

dreamstime_xs_56079620Overcoming the Inner Beast

“I’m so sorry I don’t have enough for everyone,” the workshop speaker lamented as she distributed miniature plastic animal “beasts.”  “I never imagined so many would attend!”

Three times the number expected attended this business women’s workshop “Taming Your Inner Beasts” — those fears, insecurities and unhealthy coping mechanisms that hinder us from reaching our fullest potentials.

During the workshop I sat beside a speaker from another workshop, an older woman, not a hair out of place, with impressive experience and accomplishments, perky, smart, fun to be around. She confided that her personal beast was “the ever-present feeling that I’m not good enough.” Although my own inner beast was the same, I was stunned. How could this distinguished role model possibly worry that she didn’t measure up?

In fact, the “not measuring up” beast led the pack for vexing inner problems, and, judging from the high workshop attendance, one that so many women crave to overcome.

After sharing this phenomenon with a male friend, he confided, “Men have the same problem, the difference is they would never admit it, much less attend a public workshop on it.”

After spending several years surveying thousands of men, Shaunti Feldhahn uncovered the same phenomenon: 

… most men echoed… they sometimes felt like an impostor. Seven out of ten men on the survey said that no matter how much confidence they projected, they sometimes or regularly felt lost… “I hope I can figure this thing out before someone realizes that I’m not sure what I’m doing!*

Can we assume that the beast behind “not measuring up” is “fear of what people think about us?” Psychology diagnoses this as “insecurity” or a problem of “self esteem” with the remedy of “facing those fears” or “dealing with the root causes” with encouragement to “rise up and become all God created you to be.”

Space limits the depth to which we can cover this topic, but here’s the bottom line: We do not measure up, and we never will. 

Our feelings of inadequacy have been realized, are being realized, and will continue to be realized until the day we die. We are not good enough. The problem comes in our desperate efforts to try to make ourselves good enough in order to impress and win favor. We’re depending on our own goodness to impress other people rather than God’s goodness to please God. The Bible calls this idolatry.

Presence-based LeadershipThat’s why we need Christ. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit the Father sent to be with us until the day we see Jesus face-to-face. That’s why we need to draw strength from Him, every moment of every day, every breath, every step; why we need to seek His direction, His life, His results, His goodness, His fruit; why we need to spend time in His presence, His word, feasting on Him, becoming like Him, centered on hearing His voice in every conversation, every effort, every desire.

It’s true: All our righteous acts are as filthy rags. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no, not one.

But because of His blood: In Him we have boldness to access His throne in confidence. In Him we are complete. In Him we are rooted and built up, established in the faith. In Him we become the righteousness of God. In Him His love is perfected in us. His joy is our strength. By Him we can run like a troop and leap over a wall. In Him we have everlasting life and light. In Him we bear much fruit.

Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour… but do not weep. Look and see! the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome!

Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 18:29; Isaiah 64:6; John 1:4; 3:16; 14:26; 15:5; Romans 3:10, 23;  2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 3:12; Colossians 2:7,10; 1 John 2:5;  I Peter 5:8; Revelation 5:5

*Feldhahn, Shaunti (2009-12-15). The Male Factor: The Unwritten Rules, Misperceptions, and Secret Beliefs of Men in the Workplace (Kindle Locations 3032-3035). Crown Business. Kindle Edition.

PBL Front CoverEmpower your leadership team and increase the effectiveness of your organization by mastering the art of discerning Christ’s wisdom.
Mastering the Art of Presence Based Leadership, Keith Yoder

Leading in the Creativity of the Creator, or Breaking Status Quo

dreamstime_xs_31651551Where do we get ideas that break status quo? For that matter, how do we identify a status quo that needs breaking? How does the Creator teach creativity to His creation?

“If ever you find yourself in any danger… you must lay your finger… upon the thread, and follow the thread wherever it leads…” (George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin)

Grandmother’s thread led Irene through perilous pathways, dire tunnels, pitch-black corridors, a flimsy ladder, but dead-ended as it disappeared into a mountain of rocks. Irene sobbed in distress at the dead end. She attempted to retreat, but the thread led only onward. Then an idea nudged. She began to remove the rocks, one at a time…

During the first part of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, the disciples enjoyed the lime-light. Jesus was popular. Multitudes followed. The twelve had experienced some threatening situations, but now the path lay smooth, climaxing on the day that Jesus fed the 5,000. But within 24 hours after this spectacular miracle, hundreds of followers stormed away, disillusioned. 

What did Jesus say that caused the desertion?  John 6 records His words:

” …unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you…  For my flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink. All who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me, and I in them…”

“…Even his disciples said, ‘This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?’ …At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.”

Why did they think it so hard? Isn’t “eating His flesh” and “drinking His blood” no harder than taking communion? Why was this stone wall insurmountable?  Lack of trust?  Lack of commitment? Lusting after the easy life of freely flowing bread served in baskets? No creativity there. No breaking status quo either.

“Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you going to leave, too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life…”*

Peter recognized the status quo and understood it needed breaking. He spoke with pure, inspiration—creativity. At that moment Peter trusted the thread that led through a rock wall. He depended on the flesh and blood of Christ to provide his full substance. In fellowship with Jesus’ suffering, Peter sacrificed his reputation to the fire of Christ’s life. Peter turned his back on status quo to fulfill his destiny. Painful, yes, but quenched with transcendent joy!

Christ leads us to take risks at rock walls that expose status quo. We follow Him through the wall, removing rocks, one step at a time. Christ enables us with creativity to break status quo. How THRILLING to mount the adventure and purpose of genuine inspiration, Creator to created.

In listening prayer, meditating on His word, and fellowship with His people, we hear our Creator’s inspiration. We can’t do it in our own flesh and blood, but only by communion in Christ’s flesh and blood—taking time to hear the Shepherd’s voice, waiting on His wisdom and leading, and following His thread wherever He leads, no matter what the status quo.

*John 6:53-56, 66-68, NLT
John 6; Philippians 3:7-11
PBL Front CoverFind a wealth of insight and practical wisdom concerning our place within the household of Trinity presence in Keith’s new book: Mastering the Art of Presence-Based Leadership. 

– Patricia Tillman

How to Reach the Fullest Potential of Who God Designed You to Be…

Passion of LoveBefore we needed leather to cover our nakedness, God provided the glory of His presence to clothe us—not only enfolding our flesh, but our souls and spirits as well.

Oneness of fellowship in Trinity presence—that’s how God designed mankind to thrive. We’re fashioned to function to our fullest as we remain within the household of His presence, connected to our Father’s strength.

Outside of Trinity life, we can’t do or be anything that has eternal significance.
We find life only as joined with God’s Life;
wisdom and authority as aligned with His wisdom and authority;
reality as grounded in Trinity realness;
purpose as established in His purpose.
Our human beings develop the fullest potential only in oneness with Trinity fellowship.

As we laid dormant in the loins of our first father and mother, we sinned. We chose to stand in our own strength. We tried to reach our potential by ourselves, outside of our Father’s household, no longer clothed in His glory. We settled for leather we could obtain only by the sacrifice of animals. Our only resource was death.

With incomprehensible love, God Himself surrendered to the death that we deserved. He became sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor 5:21).

Jesus became the Door—the rent in the veil that barred us from Trinity presence. He cut open for us a new and living way, “through the veil, that is, His flesh…” (Heb 10:20)—the way for us to return to the circle of Trinity fellowship, back inside His household, rejoined to His presence, with restored capacity to function as originally designed.

We can stop striving for significance, stop struggling to establish a name for ourselves that will only crumble away. We’ll never be good enough. We can’t even try to be holy without our egos getting in the way.

worshipping GodOur only hope is the Door. We enter with repentant hearts of daily surrender to our Lord Jesus, laying down our bodies as living sacrifices before the One who sacrificed for all. That’s how we reach the fullest potential of who God created us to be. We approach Him with repentant hearts. He lavishes us with forgiving grace. We bow to Him. He lifts us up to stand in His righteousness. He reestablishes us with full rights and responsibilities of sons in His Father’s household.

We taste the joy of functioning as He designed, connected to our God,
spirit-to-Spirit, face-to-Face, strength-to-Strength.
His Presence becomes our presence.
His Life our life.
His wisdom and direction our wisdom and direction.
His authority and purpose our authority and purpose.

“…He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Genesis 2-3; John 15:1-8, John 17:20-24; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 3:26-28

PBL Front CoverFind a wealth of insight and practical wisdom concerning our place within the household of Trinity presence in Keith’s new book: Mastering the Art of Presence-Based Leadership. 

– Patricia Tillman