Prayers for the Giver Gift

At the beginning of the year, I shared my plan to focus on the theme of courage in this blog during 2015.  It is now August and my production on that theme has been negligible.

Part of that has been because of the intensity of the year’s work schedule.  But some of it has been that there simply is no grace for the topic at this time.  While the systemic lack of courage in the Body of Christ is a matter of grave concern for me, it is clear that this wine needs to age a while longer inside me, before being expressed.

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Coming ‘Round the Bend!

This is Megan and I am delighted to report that the content of my new book was delivered to my proofer for the “final eyes” round.  YAY!  And there was much rejoicing.

I wanted to share with the tribe that the last three weekends of work have had uncommon grace on them for flow and productivity.  I have basically done the entire content layout in two weekends (this does not include the cover).  This means all of the fonts, and little decorative graphics, all the many paragraph and character styles, the table of contents, and pull quotes … and so forth and thusly.  Book layout is no small task, especially if you do it well.  It is just a lot of technical work, and plenty of opportunities for glitches.  There were a couple of slow-ups here and there but nothing major.  That was a tremendous gift all in itself.  It has been quite a while since I did a book layout so I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get in the swing of things again.

I believe that your prayers kicked in BIG time.  My debt of gratitude is immense!

I don’t think there are many authors who do the whole process themselves, so I bit off a pretty big piece in this grand undertaking.  But one thing that is gratifying is that the whole book -for better or for worse! – will have my fingerprints through and through.  This Mercy loves an ecosystem!

The last big piece on my desk is the cover.  The graphic design is done, but I still have to come up with something scintillating and gripping to go on the back.  That needs to happen sometime between now (Sunday late afternoon) and this coming Saturday.  I might get a start on it this evening.  It’s either that or grocery shopping.  I am sure that Philip (my parrot) wouldn’t mind going without his breakfast blueberries for a good cause, right?

Thanks again, my friends, for your joyful investment that has helped things to flow so well!  I am hopeful to get the book off to the printer in October.


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Project Life #2

The product continues to flourish.  And that intrigues me.

On the one hand, it could be just plain old fashioned good engineering.  On the other hand, God might be blessing this product.  I can’t tell yet.

On the surface, it seems as though there is no particular reason for God to be engaged in a product that is simply a better mousetrap.  There are others of this thing that already exist.  But one wonders if God has a purpose for this product that we don’t see yet.

In terms of Solomon, he is still out of the office.  He has already reneged on his promise and is meddling with the staff below Nehemiah, via e-mails, giving orders that contravene Nehemiah’s priorities for them.  Broadly speaking, they are usually ignoring his e-mails and doing what Nehemiah directs them to do.

I have no clue how this battle for control will end up nor how it should.  We have two strong-willed men having a turf war with people as the prize.  Both ostensibly have the same goal – a good product – but they see the world very differently.

And Solomon who has all the economic control (i.e. he can fire anyone) has lost the loyalty and the respect of his people.  Nehemiah who has only moral authority to protect any of his people, has both their loyalty and their respect.  Bodes well to be an interesting battle.

Tension, conflict and pressure are some of God’s favorite playing fields for revealing truth and bringing about transformation.  I have no idea how He plans to leverage this, so I am just going to play it safe and pray the prayer that never fails:  “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.”

As we look at Nehemiah and Mordecai, I am drawn back to the Ark of the Covenant.  This is the 6th of the seven items of furniture in the Tabernacle.  It parallels the redemptive gift of Ruler.

The three things in the Ark represent the three facets of legitimate leadership (regardless of your redemptive gift).

The Ten Commandments represents the moral authority one has from obeying the law he is enforcing.

This is the great governmental crisis in America today.  The law makers and law enforcers tend to be highly lawless, and it causes cynicism and lawlessness in the citizenry.  And this is the battle in the company.  Some of the highest levels of leadership, including Solomon, rule by decree with no pretext of any justification.

They want what they want, when they want it because they want it.  And they are deeply vested in their belief that this is the way the world should be.  They have no concept of their arbitrary demands being considered inappropriate in the eyes of any of the minions below.  They subscribe to the devil’s Golden Rule:  “He who has the gold makes the rules!”

Nehemiah by contrast does not come at his leadership by propagating a religious ethos, although he is quite religious, but he does function within some framework of consistent principles, based on reality.

He requires a good work ethic and rewards it.  He has high standards for the product development but his competence gives him high credibility.

Notice the core issue here:  consistency to whatever the moral code is.

For Moses, it meant following the Law exactly the same as the people did.  For Solomon, it means having the same parameters for his work as he has for theirs and in this, he falls short.

By being consistent in following a basic, secular work ethic, and requiring it of his employees, Nehemiah has gained the moral authority to be their leader and to lead in the moderate push back against an arbitrary set of bosses.

Mordecai is obviously a walking tall believer.  His moral framework is Biblical.  He is not militantly evangelistic in his workplace.  He is consistent in following the mores of the workplace, AND is consistent in living what he believes in.

For both of them, their integrous, consistent living within the moral context they have chosen gives them a respectable following.

I have observed over time that crises will test a leader’s consistency, and – if he passes – will radically increase the level of willingness in the followers to have them for a leader.

In no way am I asking God to create a crisis that will cement their leadership.  That is His business.

But knowing that this is the way things work, let’s pray out ahead that both Nehemiah and Mordecai will be significantly strengthened in their core values through the work of the Holy Spirit, so that when push comes to shove, every battle the enemy crafts will result in their being validated in their leadership, through a rock solid adherence to the values they proclaim.   Justice in Marketplace Noble Subject blog

Copyright September 2016 by Arthur Burk

From Innsbruck, not far from the end of the runway



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Project Life #1

We have a member of our tribe working in a secular company.  At one point the Facebook team provided some prayer support for a particular issue and got some unexpected, mixed results.  After pondering, we have decided to broaden our support.

For those coming into the conversation, all of the names are changed.  “Solomon” is an Exhorter manager with a heavy hand and some non-reality (in our opinion).  Somewhere under him is “Nehemiah,” a Ruler who is contesting Solomon’s decisions.

We paused to reconsider after the first short intervention, and asked the question of whether we should walk away from the situation or lean in.

That is the backstory for those of you just coming into the conversation.

* * *

There are two steps to my problem solving process.  First, I need a justification to proceed with warfare on behalf of a company that is broadly not committed to my King.  Second, I need a focus for my involvement.

As I pondered the first concept, three pictures came to mind.  The first was Jacob working for Laban.  It is legitimate for the blessings of God to flow so robustly in a godless context that the non-believers overtly credit the presence of their godly workmate with the blessings.

We have a variation on that theme with Paul, who, though a prisoner, had so much of the life of God about him that God gave him the lives of everyone on the ship, even though their death had been previously decreed by God.

In addition to our mole, there are a surprising sprinkling of children of the King scattered throughout the company – certainly higher than the average for this industry.  So we can invoke the presence of the whole Christian community.

A second picture is Christ going to Capernaum simply because it was the darkest place He could find.  He did it as a matter of principle, because that is what God does – moves toward darkness – rather than it being a place of strategic importance.  In the end, they were not worthy of His presence and miracles, and because they did not respond with appropriate transformation, they got themselves thoroughly cursed by Christ.  But on the front end, Christ and His Noble Subjects should, as a matter of routine mechanics move toward darkness.

While this company and this industry are far from being the darkest place around, they have enough godlessness to merit attention from the Lord of Light.

Third, we have the pictures of Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah and Mordecai who each worked as expats for hideously wicked leaders, bringing their best administrative skill to bear on expanding the hegemony of kingdoms who would never embrace the supremacy of our God.

So that legitimizes our putting some resources into this project.  It certainly should not become our core focus, but we are big enough as a company to diversify.

The second question is a bit more gnarly.  It is the playing field of a son.  One of the marks of sonship is that Christ can go very silent at times.  Notice both the Dominion Mandate in the Garden and the Great Commission.  Both are notable for their lack of detail.  Essentially God said, “Take over the world.”  He gave very little coaching or instructions up front.

Along the way, He dialed things in from time to time, but broadly, He expects His Noble Subjects to work out of their design.  I have listened for the Lord and heard no instructions.  So, I feel I have both the permission and the responsibility to chart the course.

My first step was to look back and see what God did in our first round of prayers.  What I saw was intriguing.  He diminished the titular leadership and raised up the actual leaders.  So Solomon did a number of dumb things that caused people to not respect him or want to follow him.  They HAVE to knuckle under, but knuckling under is a far cry from following a leader.

On the other hand, God raised up Nehemiah who is a natural leader and positioned him in crisis to have a significant group in the company rally around him.

Third is our mole who is henceforth known as Mordecai.  Mordecai was in place, faithfully doing his job, when God gave him an opportunity to contribute something far greater than his official pay scale.  He could have stood by silently and allowed the king to crash and burn under the weight of his own junk, but Mordecai stepped up into leadership and was life giving, just because he could be, not because he had to.  Real leadership.

So we have two real leaders identified at the moment:  Mordecai and Nehemiah.  Mordecai is undercover.  The company does not know that Mordecai is accessing the power of God for the good of the company.  The other is Nehemiah who is overtly in leadership, taking huge personal risks in order to protect and provide for his staff.

I have called this Project Life.  I have a bucket full of half-baked ideas but for the first few days, just ponder what life giving leadership has looked like in your own life.  Who was the very best life giving leader you ever observed, and what made him life giving?

Take that quality, and bless Mordecai and Nehemiah with being able to walk in those qualities.changing-the-values-in-your-workplace-noble-subject-blog

Copyright September 2016, by Arthur Burk

From Innsbruck, on a night when sleep is far


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Sunday Morning in Innsbruck

My trip over last week was generic with the exception of two small points.  On one flight, I enjoyed watching the grace with which Rene did her job.  Passengers on airplanes are tending more and more toward insensitivity and selfishness, and it takes a toll on the flight attendants.

I marvel at and appreciate flight attendants like Rene who can withstand the wear and tear of gnarly customers and still maintain a genuine engagement with good people.

The layover in Frankfurt was school time for one of my business students.  The city and the airport are rather extremely Ruler in redemptive gifts.  I spent some time on the phone wandering through the airport coaching this other road warrior on some of the things to look for in airports to determine their RG.

I slept through the vaunted approach to the runway in Innsbruck, awaking only when the wheels touched down.  However, from my desk in Serina’s office I watch planes coming in and taking off all day, and have an appreciation for the famed difficulty of the airport, especially when there is a low cloud cover, or the wind is violent and as twisted as a pretzel.

One website had this to say:

“What really concentrates the mind of the flying community, though, is the “Cat C” airports, of which the prime example is Innsbruck. Only experienced pilots who have undergone simulator training and sat in the jump-seat for landing and take-off at the Tyrolean airport are deployed on flights there. 

While the passenger may be thinking “beautiful mountains, lovely church, ooh, look, we’ve landed”, the pilot is facing what Captain Prior describes as “challenging visual manoeuvring within the valley,” made trickier by “low-level wind shear and turbulence associated with high winds and the terrain.”

Tuesday and Wednesday were my usual battle with jet lag.  This time it was more defined by lag than jet.

Thursday we took to the hills to do some worshipful warfare on the high places.  God met us in a rather unprecedented way.  On the left hand sidebar of our website you will see the link to Prayers, which will take you to a landing page which will grow over time.

Select “The God of the Mountains” for the story of Thursday’s adventures.

Friday was recover-and-savor time along with a bunch of admin related to Serina’s new office.  She is in remarkably good position considering she just moved to Innsbruck two weeks ago, but those pesky loose ends take a bit of time.

Then Saturday was our much awaited firstfruits live event in Innsbruck.

This is an Exhorter city which means that its calling is to reveal missing pieces of the nature of God to the world at large.  As a vehicle to facilitate this calling, I choose intercession.  We are going to make Innsbruck our lab for building strategy for intercession for the SLG worldwide.

Obviously we have only laid the foundation yesterday, but I hope to see the day when there is a team of local intercessors who can field emails from around the world, offering wise insight into how to build a strategy for whatever issue is facing them.

But for yesterday, I began with an overview of Innsbruck, our journey, our vision and the role that developing strategy will have in overcoming the Canaanite curse which has a branch office here.

The second hour I used our familiar picture of the widow who needed to evict a tenant, as a tool to model the difference between prayer and intercession.  I chose some thespians from the audience and crafted the play on the fly.  Anja was stellar as an 83 year old widow, who was 1.5 meter’s tall, weighed 45 kilos and had no desire to engage with the ruffian in her rent house.

Then we dug into a couple of real life situations, building strategy for them.  My main point was that we need to start with the will of God, not with our pain, and we need to find people with earned authority to address different aspects of the process, not just demand the product.

Using Facebook, we have solicited intercessors with earned authority in various areas to supplement the local team.  This is an exciting new development for our global community.

The next day one of the attendees wrote the following:  “We were richly rewarded by your seminar yesterday.  My wife sees intercession in a larger image now and received useful knowledge for practice.  For me it was another step to son- and fathership out of slavery. And both we were pleased with your cheerful looseness.”

I mulled over the final phrase a lot.  “Cheerful looseness.”

Yep. That is me.

The spirit of religious propriety takes a serious hit when I show up.

Yet, ironically, I am absolutely sure that almost everyone yesterday left with a significantly higher reverence for God than they came in with.  Their view of God’s nature, His heart and His ways were enlarged.

It intrigues me that I can get to high reverence with cheerful looseness.

I look forward to our first follow up meeting at Serina’s in a week or so to see what the impact of the day was.

The audio recording came out well.  If you want to be advised of the release, you need to sign up for Serina’s newsletter.  Here is the link.

Eventually we will open the monthly strategy training sessions that I will do via Skype, to intercessory leaders around the world.

Innsbruck is an international city.  Our first event had 19 people from eight nations.  We take this part of their heritage seriously and will look forward to sharing their treasures of insight as the years go on.  Fighting Futility Noble Subject blog

Copyright September 2016 by Arthur Burk

From Innsbruck, where the freshly snow-kissed mountain tops are shrouded in clouds


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LAC Blessings #7: Innsbruck

AND the deepest source of joy in intercession is God moving with power and creativity in our lives.

As you know, SLG is a celebrating tribe.  We do glory stories with fierce intentionality, and we plan on building that value into the Innsbruck prayer strategy lab.

There will be regular follow up meetings at Serina’s home.  I will join them by Skype.  My main role will be that of a “God-spotter.”  They will tell their success story, then I will help them disassemble it to show the process, not just the product, and to see God’s fingerprints all along the way.

Hopefully we can work out the logistics for some of you offsite intercessors to join via Skype when there is an answer to what you prayed for.

The firstfruits answer to prayer for someone with a new tool is a very significant spiritual milestone.  And the enemy loves to kill the firstfruits because he knows it belongs to God.

So this one is for all you warriors – especially those who have experienced the devil murdering your dreams and robbing you of your treasures.  Fight big for every single person there to experience the joy of their very own encounter with God around intervention in a way bigger and bolder than they had asked!  lac-noble-subject-blog

Copyright September 2016 by Arthur Burk

Still airborne, but close to DFW

I am delighted to have the week’s project all done so it is not pursuing me across the pond and through the time at Innsbruck.  Good flow today.

Posted in Life After Church | 2 Comments

LAC Blessings #6: Innsbruck

I am passionate about interceding based on individual design.  Each person has God-given strengths.  We need to identify them, legitimize them and show people how to begin their strategy from the place of design, not duty.

It is probable that most of the people in the room will not know their redemptive gift yet.  That slows down the process a bit, but with the grace of God flowing, I should be able to identify two or three design characteristics for each person there.

This will be done throughout the day, as each new person volunteers a problem for us to build strategy for.

Every one of you who has experienced the dignity of an “ah ha” moment, when some facet of your design was discovered has special authority here.  It is an unforgettable experience. Go back to that place, savor the moment, then from that place of worship, ask God to supernaturally surface those facets of people’s design He wants me to see and language for them.

Design-based intercession has vastly more joy to it than duty based prayer. lac-noble-subject-blog

Copyright September 2016 by Arthur Burk

Airborne over Texas – 50 minutes from landing

Can I get the last one done before we get shut down?

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LAC Blessings #5: Innsbruck

For me, a huge part of the joy comes from seeing the abundance of different strategies that can be built.  Imagine playing Scrabble with three letters all your life, and suddenly you are seated at a board with permission to have 25 letters on your tray!

It would certainly open up more possibilities!

That is what I want to do here.  For each strategy, I will show them more resources God has for them.  By the end of the day, there should be huge joy over the fact that they have more resources than they could ever use in a single strategy.

For those of you who have walked in abundance of any sort, this is yours.  If you have abundant wealth, health, friends, favor, wisdom, love, family, land treasures or any other sort of abundance, use that earned authority to batter the poverty spirit into a puddle of mush, and release into their spirits something bigger, bolder, and God sized!

Copyright September 2016 by Arthur Burk  lac-noble-subject-blog

Airborne, an hour out from DFW

Posted in Life After Church | 7 Comments