Newness: Present & Future

In Soul by Caleb

The Kingdom of God is now and not yet.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelations 21:5)

In some ways, already. In other ways, still coming.

The Kingdom of God is present and also stilling being given. The Kingdom of God is realized, and also being birthed. The Kingdom of God is right in front of you and also just out of reach.

It’s the same with YOU. You are yourself, AND you’re becoming more so. You are entirely who you are, AND you’re still becoming the best version of yourself. You are a living and whole being, AND you’re still in the process of bringing harmony and wholeness to your body, mind, heart, soul. Now, and… Yes, plus…

Newness is real, and newness is coming.

Be grateful for what is, AND pay attention for opportunities to participate in the coming of what could be! 

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Newness: All The Things

In Mind, Soul by Caleb

Every good story goes to crap before the glorious climax.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelations 21:5)

It’s difficult to imagine how the Creator of everything intends to make it all new. Humanity seems to be doing a pretty good job of making a mess of it all.

All living things die around us. Eventually, we too, will die. Even our earth—its’ ice, oceans, trees, and soil—are in dire straights. We are in desperate need of the “everything new” trick.

But, perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe we think it’s a divine trick up God’s sleeve. Or, we’re waiting for this place to get so bad that God takes us to a different place. All the while, I wonder if God is waiting on us to keep up our end of the original assignment:

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

God’s first instruction to humanity was to manage and oversee creation. We’ve failed, miserably. Even the “religious” or bible-readers among us. We love the verse, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But most of us don’t use the “newness” to spur us on to being catalysts of more newness—for all living things around us.

Newness starts as a seed within, but it has to work its way out—into ALL THE THINGS. And you and I have a part to play.

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Mental Health: Create Space

In Mind, Soul by Caleb

Fight for space, stillness, and margin in a world of overwhelming chaos and technological connectedness.

Create space to not be okay. With your words, your face, your presence, create space for it to be okay to not be okay. This goes for YOU first. Have compassion for yourself and create space to rest and not have it all together, all the time. You will struggle to create space for others to be weak if you refuse to allow yourself to need rest and need a break.

Create space to rest. Build margin into your day and week. Just like your body, your brain needs breaks. Build time in – at least every morning and evening – to reflect without technological stimulus. Keep your phone at a charging station that’s not next to your bed. Before you take inputs from the outside world, invite your inside world to connect to your Creator and Life Source.

Create space for stillness. Some call it meditation, or centering prayer, but the terminology doesn’t matter much. What’s key is being still, breathing, and connecting to your mind to your body, heart, and soul.

You are a WHOLE being – body, mind, heart, soul. Your mind will run the show unless you force it be still and pay attention to the rest of you.

Questions to ask as you create space to get in touch with your whole being…
* What am I feeling in my body?
* What emotions am I experiencing? What are they telling me?
* What is my soul trying to tell me? How is God’s Spirit relating to my soul/spirit?
* Will I surrender and embrace my dependence upon the God of the universe?

Allow your breathing to remind you that God is closer than your breath. Breath in God’s Spirit. Breath out your worry and anxiety. Over. And over.

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Mental Health: Compassion

In Heart, Mind by Caleb

Everyone is carrying a burden you know nothing about.

Maybe the best lesson from the movie “Joker”, is that we ought to be compassionate in our all our dealings with people – as odd or unusual as someone might be.

So,

Choose compassion over discomfort. We fear what we don’t understand. And what we don’t understand can make us uncomfortable. Seek first to understand.

Choose compassion over disgust. Because we fear what don’t understand, we end up operating in fear. And fear can lead to a resentful disgust that we’re having to deal with this “problem” in front of us. An ugly way to live. Instead, turn disgust into grace. If we knew the darkest parts in you, we’d all be disgusted, too.

Choose compassion over denial. Instead of ignoring the problems and pretending it’s not there, enter into the mess. Ask the questions. Get below the surface. Build trust as you express genuine care and compassion.

Compassion means that we look beyond the symptoms to the inner struggle. Default to compassion, kindness, and being caring.

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Mental Health: Focus and Affirm

In Mind by Caleb

Affirm what’s good, beautiful, true…and what you want to be true.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

My friend Eric taught me to practice affirmations about 10 years ago. He started with gratitude – being thankful for things that are true, noble, right, and pure. Then, he affirms things that he wants to be true – characteristics that he hopes increase in him. Things like…

* I’m a brilliant communicator, encouraging thousands.
* My wife feels loved and cherished by me.
* My children know their value and how much their parents love them.

These kinds of things already have a glimmer of truth, and the more we emphasize them in our minds, the more they expand into reality.

Choose your thoughts. Focus your mind. Affirm what’s helpful and true and leading you in the direction you want to go.

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Mental Health: Think About Thinking

In Mind by Caleb

Thinking about your thinking is how you’ll think better thoughts.

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Most of life is spent in autopilot. Your brain has learned to do 95% of the thinking in the subconscious, making decisions based on previous data and experience and not bothering you with the details.

The mind is brilliant, until it’s not. All of us have past experiences, thoughts, and ways of being that poison the well – training our brain in unhelpful ways – so that our subconscious is leading us in a direction we don’t want to go.

When people have negative self-talk, that’s what happening. When we default to fear, flight, or fight, that’s what’s happening. Our brain has learned and it thinks its protecting us. But it needs updated information.

Think about you’re thinking. Take every thought captive and ask…

* Is this helping me?
* Is this hurting me?
* Is this beneficial?
* Is this true and verifiable?

Claim the helpful thoughts and reject the unhelpful. Simple, not easy. But possible. One thought at a time.

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Joker: Mental Health

In Mind by Caleb

Reorder your thinking and put peace in first place.

“Mental illness is really about a mental ‘disorder’”John Jolliffe

Disorder suggests that something in the mind out of order. Unhelpful and unhealthy thoughts are front and center and helpful and healthy thoughts have fallen by the wayside. Disorder.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 2:2

A new person allows God to reorder their mind, though it’s a collaborative effort. God supplies the truth and inspiration. But it’s our job to focus on what’s true and helpful and reject what isn’t.

Just like a vitamin promotes physical health, so encouragement and uplifting truth brings health to your WHOLE being – body, mind, heart, & soul. I’ll say more about this in the next few days. For now, think “reorder” my thoughts; prioritizing the thoughts I want, rejecting the thoughts I don’t.

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Kingdom VS Tribe

In Heart, Mind by Caleb

The Kingdom is here and now. And you’re in the royal family.

“You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” —Jesus (Luke 17:21)

Tribes were the extended family for many generations. Tribe battled against tribe and the fittest survived.

Then, people began to rally together and form super-tribes and kingdoms emerged. Ultimate authority was given to kings to lead and be in charge. That worked better than the other thing… Until a corrupt king came into power. You see this in the bible and in countless books, movies, and shows (i.e. Gladiator, Game of Thrones).

Jesus arrived on earth in the pre-democracy kingdom era. “I’m bringing a new kingdom in the middle of the present rule and culture.”

It was invisible and people didn’t understand it. Then, Jesus rose from the dead and people started paying more attention.

People still don’t understand Jesus and his Kingdom, even though it continues to be “already among you.” Most of us are still trying to be king/queen or be part of a “winning” tribe. Us-against-them kind of stuff. ‘Members Only’ kind of stuff. Complete with hoops, hurdles, and secret handshakes. (AKA – right doctrine, legalism, arrogant intellectual leadership…the whole thing.) And it’s all a mindset that is 2,000 years old.

If you haven’t already, catch my recent podcast dealing with this issue and how it relates to Kanye West. Click here to: LISTEN or WATCH.

Embrace Jesus and his kingdom that’s already here. You’re part of the royal family and you can stop wasting your life on exclusive tribal mumbo jumbo.

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Teach vs Ask

In Mind, Uncategorized by Caleb

Questions are the best teaching tool.

Jesus was the master question-asker:
* “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
* “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32)

Our tendency is to teach—we want to convey our thoughts and ideas in a way that shows we have value and understanding. Jesus did that but didn’t need that. All he did was precisely what the person in front of him needed. Which, by the way, is usually a question, not a statement.

We’ve started releasing new videos and CWs (Conversations of the Week), via The Weekly email. Make sure your’s isn’t going unread. And, if you’re in a group–or have a family or roommates–rally them this week for a short teaching and questions that lead to meaningful conversations. Then let me know what you think!

You can watch the last video HERE and subscribe to the Spirit Farm YouTube channel. Stay tuned for the next video & CW on Sunday… and every week!

It’s like the mail… we’ll keep delivering. Or, like spiritual Crossfit—workouts for the whole of your life… delivered to your inbox.

Forward this along to your group or anyone who needs to get in the game. Also, there’s a new SpiritFarm.TV website launching later this month where you’ll find everything Spirit Farm related!

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The Patient Pro

In Mind by Caleb

Whistle—and work hard—while you wait.

Just after my time at USC, a quarterback named Matt Cassel arrived on campus. He was there in USC’s Pete Carroll era—the height of Trojan dominance.

Cassel played behind two different QB’s that would go on to play in the NFL. Meanwhile, Cassel sat the bench, never starting a single game in his USC career.

But Matt Cassel did not get discouraged or give up. Though he saw almost no action at the college football ranks, Matt was picked up in the 2005 draft by the New England Patriots—famous for spotting the under-the-radar talent. When Tom Brady went down due to injury, Cassel stepped in and lead the team with poise and effectiveness. That offseason, he signed the highest one-year contract in NFL history, $14M. Cassel went on to play 13 years in the NFL and is now a television football analyst.

He isn’t the most famous quarterback. He’s not the most wealthy or acclaimed football pro. But, perhaps Cassel is one of the most patient. Cassel kept a longer-term view, kept the faith, and worked hard when it didn’t seem to be paying off. Well, it did pay off.

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12

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