Thursday 14 July
Danielle Strickland is an officer in the Salvation Army in Los Angeles who has served the marginalised for over 20 years and is an ambassador for Stop the Traffik. At #Sligo16, she led a two-part seminar looking at "breakthrough". Here's a summary of part one:
The first thing God gave us was the ability to choose. Everything can change when we recognise the choices that we have.
Following Jesus is a practice not an idea. Postures of prayer at the start of my day:
I start with my hands up and I say, “I surrender.”
I hold my hands out and I say, “In a close-fisted culture, I choose to live open handed. Freely I have a received. Keep my hands open so I can give.” I imagine God pouring into me, enough resources for that day.
I how my arms open and I say, “You are welcome here.” Set my intention today to welcome people today.
Help us be surrendered, generous and missional.
God has taught me some breakthrough ideas. There is always before us about what type of leader and what type of church we want to be. There is no secret - just stay close to Jesus!
Judges 6: Gideon was the smallest and weakest leader and became a powerful warrior. If you don’t know the story of Gideon, just rent the film “The Bugs Life”.
Gideon was stuck, defensive, hiding out from the enemy because the enemy is big and scary. He was just trying to get enough bread to feed his family. We love the idea of victorious living but we are really just trying to pay the mortgage and look after our families. We are constantly stuck inside this idea that everything is against us. It is a defensive posture.
It is in that posture that God interrupts Gideon and gives him this amazing greeting, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you.” Gideon has loads of questions: Where is that breakthrough we’ve been looking for? Where is God? Where is the miraculous?
The breakthrough we are looking for starts in us. The way we think. The way we posture ourselves. God ignores Gideon’s questions and says, “Go with the strength you have.”
We tend to think there is something we haven’t received yet. But God says, “You already have it. You just don’t believe it.”
The scripture is clear about this. You have the full measure of all of the resources of heaven. You already have everything. You are living in more than enough, in grace, mercy and love.
We always say, “Open the heavens”… the heaven’s are already open. We need to say, “Open the earth.” The Holy spirit has been poured out in full measure - we don’t have to ask for more of the Spirit!
We need to be praying for more obedient faith, for more capacity, more understanding… we are already living in the “more” of God.
The most freeing posture for breakthrough is True Humility. True humility is when we come into agreement with God about who we are.
Exodus chapter one started with two midwives who were told to do something and they refused. The feared God more than they feared Pharaoh. They cared more about what God thought about them than about what Pharaoh through about them. A great Exodus starts with midwives not great soldiers. It is a posture shift.
On one end of the continuum, there is insecurity - playing the negative tapes (I’m not the right age, I’m not a leader, I’m the wrong person, I’m the wrong gender, I did it before and it failed, I can’t do it, etc…)
One of the great posture shifts for breakthrough is to stop the tape! Move your way into a place of Shalom - the fullness of relationship, everything wrong being made right, coming into the wholeness and fullness of God. If you find Shalom, it is the steel rod that goes through your entire self. You won’t be shaken, you will be rooted. It is a beautiful posture.
Gideon builds an altar, which is called Yahweh Shalom and then he declares war. As soon as my posture is shifted into a place where I can experience the Shalom of God then we can declare war, we can advance and see breakthrough.
On the other end of the continuum is arrogance - I don’t need anything else. I’ve got it all. How many times has the church acted out of arrogance rather than humility.
We need to come into the centre of the continuum and choose a posture which says, “I agree with God about who I am” - I’m in Shalom!
Where am I on that continuum? Where do I need to shift?
- Can you celebrate the gifts of other people?
- Do you struggle with self-loathing?
- Do you need constant affirmation?
- Do you crave recognition?
- Can you receive criticism?
Sometimes we work in absolutes. We make a posture shift and we think it is done. Every day you need to come into agreement that I am who God has said I am… that creates a Shalom in your life where you are no longer concerned about what other people think.
Coming into agreement about who God is. You are not God. It is not unhealthy self-loathing. You still agree with what God is saying about you.
On that continuum there are two extremes: one is self-sufficiency (I’ve go it) and on the other end is co-dependency (my church doesn’t pray… can’t you pray?)
True dependency is shifting our posture to come into agreement with who God is.
Gideon creates pockets of dependency as he tests God. He is learning that God is who He says He is… when no one else is looking. All of the great mighty breakthrough leaders learn this for themselves. No one can teach you true dependency. We can hear others talking about how they did it. But each of us has to do this for themselves.
When we posture ourselves at the end of our own hoarded resources, we make it possible to experience God’s sufficiency.
If you are from a self-sufficient culture, when do you need God to show up? We can keep praying for parking spaces… to learn dependency we need to position ourselves when we genuinely need God to show up. Do we trust God when everything is on the line.
What God asks Gideon to do later on was insanity. Unless Gideon was totally convinced there was no way he would be able to be obedient. He had already worked this out.
If you want breakthrough in your own life, in your church and your community. Are there places where God says, “give” and you say, “I can’t give”? You have to step into that risky, obedient faith and God shows up.
What made David so profoundly amazing was walking up to Goliath seeing the entire thing differently. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who taunts the living God?” David is not arrogant. He has “proved” God in private and now when it really matters, he KNOWS God will come through!
David had come out of self-sufficiency and out of co-dependency to the Shalom of God so when it came to the big risk, he was ready. He was prepared because he was already trained.
A few questions:
- Do you need to control everything?
- Do you regularly release people to try new things?
- Do you fail?
- Do you take risks?
- Would you characterise your life as a risky one?
What are the obstacles in your context that make true dependency difficult for you?
There are posture shifts that are necessary in order to see breakthrough! Where do you need to adjust your alignment? Where do you need to move to prepare yourself to what God wants to do?
Read Part Two of the Seminar HERE.