Scorecard for the Week of July 6th


First, the good news.

We have another live birth after a long pregnancy!

The first was on Friday the 4th when Sapphire Austria was birthed.  We committed to that project in early January of 2013 so it was a long 18 months of meticulous preparation.  It was a journey of many twists and turns.  I can’t remember a project so rife with drama.  The devil would pull some mean trick and God would do something none of us had ever seen before.  The yo-yo effect was immense.

The battle came right down to the last night.  I spent much of the night, Thursday the 3rd, warring over this situation.  The devil pulled two wicked-mean moves that hurt deeply.  God responded by trumping each of those with awe inspiring moves.

I have pondered much the journey toward Sapphire Austria.  On the surface, it does not appear that God offered much protection along the way.  We would get hit hard.  Repeatedly.

Yet, after a hit, God would respond with some amazing lift the likes of which we have not seen elsewhere.

I wondered why.  Clearly God was in total control.  Clearly God could have blocked the enemy a thousand times.  We have learned to ask the question, “What is in it for God, when we suffer?”

I obviously don’t know the full answer, but here is some of the fruit of our journey, and by “our” I mean Serina and myself.

First, there is little sense of control.  Normally, humans thrive (or think they do) on a perception of safety that comes from the illusion of being in control.  Serina and I got blindsided so many times by the enemy and empowered so amazingly and unexpectedly by God, that the illusion of control is utterly obliterated.  We walk gently, knowing only that over the course of any three months, she has progressed toward the dream but knowing the road ahead will have more zigzags than straight patches.

Second, there is a deep sense of awe of God.  I pondered that.  It seems odd, but the reality is that protection does not produce much awe.  In fact, Moses was clear to the Hebrews that when God provided exceptional protection, they would be most prone to becoming wicked.  Ponder that paradox for a while!!!

Since God intervened so dramatically, so many times, in big and little ways, we have been transformed from the people we were in 2013 to people who worship God with a depth of intensity we never knew before.

Third, the sense of awe of God has mysteriously unleashed a distilled intensity in each of us to possess a certain piece of our birthright.  I am not sure exactly how this happened.  I can’t connect the dots in full.  In part, the more we see of God’s immensity, the more we believe He will invest with us in unpacking the treasures He has put in us.

But deeper than that is a sense of craving to see our own awe-inspiring design become incarnated.  Think of a 14 year old girl who is in the transition from childhood, which can be very cute, to womanhood which can be beautiful.  The teen becomes acutely conscious of what beauty is in others and yearns to discover what final expression her transition will hold.  Who will she be when HER beauty is unpacked?  She wonders deeply and craves to get there.

For Serina, it was the pursuit of elegance with intensity.  She is no delicate porcelain figurine to be  protected by a glassed-in shadow box.  She is a boots-on-the-ground Noble Subject of the Great King, ready and willing to take on the hard task and do the heavy lifting.  But in her heart is the desire for people to know the elegance of God in a new way.

This desire was pushed far to the back by the vicissitudes of life, but in the process of her seeing not only the power of God but endless facets of His nature she had never seen before, the latent wish in her design became a burning fire.  God is portrayed in many ways in this season, but there are few who celebrate His elegance and lead others to the place of awe through this doorway.

Her website is an initial small step in that direction.  It pales in comparison to the immensity of what is in her.  She has launched her business with little more than fire in her bones and a determination that the concept of the elegance of God MUST become everyday language for the people she connects with.

For me, it was the issue of being a trailblazer.  I have certainly known that for years and walked in it confidently, but mostly in the arena of ideology.  However, always in the background was a sense of building something new.  As I grew in awe through seeing the poly-variegated wisdom of God in the last 18 months, that desire has been a determination.

Hence the decision to bring a model of healing through the human spirit to the therapeutic community of Austria, the birthplace of psychology of the soul.  This will be challenging, will be radical trailblazing and will require some formidable building.

I would not have considered it 18 months ago.  Today, I am absorbed in the grandeur of what this could be like because of the journey it took to get here.  I know there is something in me I have sensed by never seen that will only come to the light as I embrace a task of this magnitude, against these odds.

A birth with significant implications indeed.

A week later, Chester the Exhorter emerged from the nimble fingers of Ryan, our game developer.  This pregnancy was only nine months long and lacked the drama of the previous birth, but it packed a punch anyway.

On the purely mechanical side, it was a new venture for us.  One of our greatest strengths as a company is diagnostics, but it is so very hard to mass produce!  So this is an attempt to provide a tool that is widely available and could be used individually to suss out the roots of some common issues.

It is vintage Sapphire in that (so far as we can tell) we are first to market with a diagnostic app for spiritual issues.  It is also LOADED.  In addition to the basic game, there is a wealth of teaching in written and audio files built right into the game.  Just reading and listening to all that material will substantially enrich the methodology of most people.   I took a lot of heat from staff and advisers for the low price of the game.  But in the end, it is part of our brand to give very good value.

Far more significant, however, were two other dynamics.  I became aware that somewhere along the way, very early on, it became Megan’s game.  Her mother invented Chester and drew all the pictures, but Megan fell in love with the little guy and poured her heart and soul into the game.

I watched, wondered, was amused at her defensiveness at times and marveled at the intensity with which she worked on seeming ENDLESS demands from Ryan for more, more, more graphics.

When the game finally launched yesterday, we sat down and chatted a bit over her emotional enmeshment with the game.  We followed the trail of clues and found an old wound in her life that was gloriously redeemed by this process.

Who knew?  We thought it was just an app, not redemption in process for Megan.

It will be fun to watch her drive the process of getting Chester to the ends of the earth.  So far, we fell far short of her goal of 24 nations in 24 hours.  Only seven nations in the first 24 hours, but this will not dampen her passion at all.

For me, it was redemptive in a very different way.  I had never given any thought to the redemptive gift of the app at its inception.  Nor did I specify to Terri that her icon should have any gift.

But shortly after she sent a handful of trial drawings and I picked this one, his personality emerged and it became obvious to the team that he was Exhorter and the app would need to be that as well.

So, I set to work experimenting with teaching in the Exhorter key of music.  Most of the text got written in Prophet in order to clarify the concept, then ditched and completely rewritten in what I fancied to be an Exhorter tone.

The same with the audio.  At least a third of it was recorded a second time because the first time sounded too much like, well, me!

According to initial responses, the Exhorter portion of my spirit acquitted itself well.  The teachings are warm, engaging, lighthearted at times but highly effective in communicating the core concepts.

It feels like a significant vindication of the long hours of hard work I have done over the years pursuing healing of my spirit.

As I am beginning to work on the notes for my upcoming series of seminars in Uganda and South Africa, I find that I will be teaching each one from a different tone.  All I know is that Mercy has stepped firmly to the table and has already grabbed one of the events and is holding it tightly.  I wonder which one she claimed and who will opt for each of the other ones.

Servant just stepped up and said that the Saturday event in Kampala will be hers.  Fun.

So it has been an incredibly intense two weeks, as vast investments of energy have come to fruition, leaving me a changed person.

OK.  Now that I have held you hostage for 1605 words that had nothing to do with last week’s prayer focus, let’s move on to that.

There is good news and bad news.  The good news is that God answered your prayers very precisely.  The bad news is, I am not too happy about where the darkness is in my life, nor am I at all clear on where to go with this.

All week long I have been circling around a particular topic with a couple of friends, trying to put language to something just out of reach.  This morning around 8:00, it came into focus.

The issue is trust.  I have a massive amount of trust in God.  I find it very difficult to trust people.  And foundationally, I do not trust God to protect me from people.

Darkness and light cohabiting within me.

Nuts.

The distrust of people is no mystery or surprise.  On the one hand, I have a lot of people who are overtly proud to be my critics and enemies.  Then there are those who claim to be my friends but let me down 1,000 different ways.  Nothing particularly complicated there.

On the flip side, I have very little experience with people having my back.  Just to use one example, consider the comments on this one blog. There are over 4,000.  The vast majority are really affirming, supportive and loving.  But every year there are a goodly number of cheap shots and downright mean comments made on the blog which I allow to go public and be read.  I don’t sanitize my world.

For all the people who say they love me, respect me, value me, and all those other terms of endearment, they sure don’t protect me.  I can only remember one comment out of the 4,000 by someone who had my back.  Rosa Miller wrote very firmly one time that the person who had made a rude comment about me was flat out wrong in their assessment of my character and in what I meant.

One person.  One time.  (By the way, Rosa, I sure did notice!  Can you tell?)

This is typical.  When I am under fire, I am on my own.  People don’t have my back.  Fact.  History.  Consistent.  Reality.

So, from a soul wound point of view, it is quite natural for me to not trust most people on most things and to feel that most of the time, no one has my back.

No mystery.  No real concern.

My life is a contact sport.  Simple.

But to have an asterisk on my trust of God . . .  I trust Him except . . .

That is not acceptable.

At all.

I trust Him to have my back when I go up against the demonic realm.  It is quite wild the areas I get involved in and the calmness with which I engage because of the depths of my trust.  I’d rather confront a demon than a person any day.  God and I do demons.  I feel like I am on my own with people.

Nuts.

I trust Him with investments of time and money.  I will travel far to pray for a piece of land He sent me to with no concern for how it will all work out.

I trust Him with seemingly failed projects.  We had a table at the CHEA convention this year because I felt He wanted me to.  It was a bust on many levels.  I was quite at peace with it.  And sure enough, yesterday His purposes emerged, and I saw an extraordinary payoff for the Kingdom for that piece of obedience.

This is common for me.  And when I know God has sent me, I am immensely OK with apparent failure, knowing that He works in larger more complex ways than I can see at the moment.

But I don’t trust Him to care for me when it comes to selfish people, mean people, religious people, people with a political agenda and 1,000 other kinds of people.

Nuts.

So ya done good at exposing the darkness that is in the midst of my light.   Tomorrow I need to figure out what kind of a prayer strategy we need to fix this mess.

Meanwhile, I am going to take the rest of the week off.

Copyright July 2014 by Arthur Burk

From the Hub at 6:54 p.m.

This entry was posted in Light Prayers. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Scorecard for the Week of July 6th

  1. Sharlene Dickson says:

    Arthur,

    I remember the short time ago when I felt the rise to defend you and not let negative comments have their power
    One of your last blogs asked for prayer to defend the justice of your cause and the righteousness.
    Before this entry I allowed negative comments to exist partly because it seemed like it didn’t matter to you. ” Let people think what they will, but I will continue on” is the message that I wrongly interpreted. This was also my attitude with people believing things that I felt were – well just off, but effected Gods image and name.
    That blog completely changed my position in terms of how I stand for you and Christianity.
    It was exciting and freeing all at the same time. I can fight for you, really?!. It took a spiritual muzzle off my mouth. It gave me permission to defend not only you but others. And rightfully so.

    I’ve got your back,
    Sharlene

    Like

  2. Elizabeth says:

    “We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors” 2 Corinthians 6:8 NLT

    Been there and it hurts. I appreciate watching you continue to move the ball down the field.

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  3. I am very new to SLG and you Arthur, but as I read this blog I felt the pain of being misunderstood, to know that you may not always be received, may not always be understood. But there is admiration in the eyes of your heavenly father; his heart is proud that you have within you a nothing in the natural or even the spiritual realm will be your obstacle that you have your God who you do and can trust explicitly. With you and God and the power within you all things are possible. I hope you treasure the gift of trusting the Father it makes his heart smile, I have seen and felt the pain of someone who was in the chains of bondage and fear that their trust was greater in people than their God. (I have to trust in Gods love and mercy that he will lovingly bring this someone to know the true heart of the Father for them). Abba Father. I just want you to know that even in the short few weeks I have been blessed beyond measure of the treasures, that have come from your pain, sweat and tears to blaze the trails for us who are trying to discover our true identities to be all that God has called us to be and to become more and more in love each day with our heavenly father. For it is your blazing of the trails that builds the army of God, so that land, people, nations will turn and face our God in awesome wonder and receive Jesus the one and only, the way, the truth and the life, as their LORD and SAVIOR!

    Like

  4. Amy says:

    And to think that all week I’d been questioning God and myself on why I see it as my role to be so defensive of your honor and reputation!! Ha ha. This is the honest truth. You can imagine how funny it was for me to read this critique on the culture. God has been overtly intentional about forming an honoring and protective posture in me towards
    as I’m sure he’s done in others!

    Like

  5. Amy says:

    This is all very beautiful. Thank you.

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  6. kambani says:

    you raise an important point Arthur. as a community who holds honour as one of our core values, that’s worse than a dismal record. we scored less than 0.03% on the test. fact. if we’re honest with ourselves, this is a massive – and massively uncomfortable – area of darkness which we need to confront as a company of people who hold you in high esteem.

    I like you. I want to have your back. I want us to have your back. like Abishai had David’s back when he grew weary on the battlefield and the spear of Ishbi-benob was about to smite him.

    what has struck me as I’ve been trying to figure out how to even engage with your post is the fact that Father expects me to be my brother’s keeper. if someone throws mud at your wall (be it the wall of your house or of your blog), whether I like it or not I have a responsibility to confront them and to help clean up the mess. that the blog is a non-traditional community space does not change the fact that it is a community space and the principles of lifegiving relationship remain the same. while I have a right to enjoy the fruit of your journey, I also have a responsibility to keep watch over the space. mud on your wall affects me too. dishonour devours our social capital and leaves us all impoverished because of it.

    it is nice to say encouraging things to you because you’re awesome, but there is a higher place of stepping up to protect your boundaries because we understand that doing so is life to you (and consequently life to us). sadly, this does not change what has passed in this microcosm of your life. however, it does present us with an opportunity to make a course correction going forward.

    thanks for shining light on darkness I definitely did not want to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SLG says:

      So Kambani, how do we go forward. A number of people have written protesting vigorously that by and large people do have my back and a few snarky comments don’t mean anything. In fact, many in our tribe have felt hurt by my comments. So what does it look like to go forward? If people feel they do have my back, what would that look like on Monday morning? For sure no one will dare to take pot shot at me on this blog for the next fifty years or so, but what about daily life?

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      • kambani says:

        there are two issues. the big, big one relating to the lost culture of masculine honour (having someone else’s back) which I will have to take time to process. and second, the ways in which we give and receive honour. more specifically, what expressions of honour are meaningful to you.

        you are lifegiving. in manifold ways every week, life flows from your posts in transformative ways to us. I feel our default assumption is that telling you how amazing you are and how meaningful your posts have been will be lifegiving to you. however, the excess of our praise has not even left a dent in your world to make you feel like we have your back.

        the problem: we feel it is enough to give you honour on our terms, instead of moving to understand how to honour you on your terms. Rosa managed to honour you in a way that was a touchdown to your soul.

        a solution: we need to partner with your design in the ways we give you honour. which means becoming aware of those areas and ways which we can build into you in a meaningful way. you are quite open about your life. so all it requires is a more attentive and creative approach to how we engage with you in this space.

        Monday morning: pay attention to what acts give life to you. see if and how we can apply the principle in this context. execute. (my guess is that masculine expressions of honour will be key to this process.)

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        • SLG says:

          So Kambani, isn’t that the same as what happened to Jesus? The disciples talked him up big in the good times, but in the bad times weren’t quite there for him.

          Like

  7. Neridda says:

    Dear Arthur,
    I remember reading through your past blogs, back when I first discovered the weird and incredible world of SLG, trying to decide whether this teaching that was so alive was really from God, or some kind of cult. Two things decided me. First was your incredible love and deference for Jesus. Second was your humility. I found one of those cutting comments. Not only had you allowed this person’s comments to go public, but you also invited them to engage with you in a discussion to explain their position. To me that spoke of a person of amazing vulnerability and strength. it was your genuine humility that gave me the confidence to buy in to slg . And I am so glad that i did. To say that your brand is”good value” is a massive under statement!
    May you receive the honour due you, so that you can glorify our Lord in even greater measure.

    Like

  8. David Brown says:

    I treasure your being vulnerable in your honesty, especially in light of being someone who greatly values privacy. You minister to me in your righteous vulnerability as well as in your righteous dominion. I like passing on God’s blessings. By the way, I so do not enjoy the part where I see new “stuff” in me because it brings up where I have failed in the past and where others have failed me. However, you have encouraged me with the earlier prayer about this—“Give us the courage and faith to face each point of darkness in us and to deal with it effectively, with finality.” Yes Lord, some things I hesitate before saying Amen to and others Amen’s I’m leaning into.

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  9. Rebekah says:

    What an exciting season of new birth for SLG!! I took great delight in reading your account of all the struggles, joys, redemptions, and potential that have accompanied these new arrivals. I too have fallen in love with Chester, as he has enthusiastically helped me unravel some stubborn snarls in my life. I am profoundly grateful to you, Arthur, for all the hard knocks you’ve taken (and continue to take) in your trailblazing operations. You have challenged, healed, transformed, and empowered myself and thousands of others around the world. You have exemplified the true heart of God, and helped us to know Him as He longs to be known. You have extended the hegemony of His Kingdom, in your relentlessly tenacious style, irrefutably establishing King Jesus’s rule in the earth. For all this (and a hundred thousand other things) we are indebted to you. I bless you with the blessing of Job 28:3 – May you set an end to darkness, and search out the farthest bounds of ore buried in gloom and deep darkness. ~ Thank you.

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  10. Heidi Colquhoun says:

    When will the game app be available and what platforms will it work on?

    Like

    • SLG says:

      The game is already available. It is on Android and Apple. We announced it Thursday in the newsletter and on the Facebook page devoted to the game.

      Like

      • jillmathur says:

        I am sorry to bother you about this, but I don’t know how to find the Facebook page. I tried a search in the Google Apps Play, and I tried to find a link on the SLG main website. Will you provide a link please?

        Also, I think most of us are afraid of people. That is probably why all of us who support and love you don’t jump to your defense. (I have not see the cruel comments, but I have often not stood up for I believe in other circumstances so I can’t claim innocence). They used to call us the silent majority. Our silence allows injustice, big and small.

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        • SLG says:

          Jill, if you go to our home page on the website, look on the left hand sidebar under “Connecting” you will find a direct link to our Facebook page.

          Just to soften the criticism I made, it is a cultural issue. In our culture, from the pulpit to the talk shows, it is normative to trash people. It is what we do. There is not a culture of defending other people’s honor. It used to be that if a guy made a rude comment about my sister, it would be my job to give him a black eye and a bloody nose instantly, or I was deemed a loser. That culture of defending honor is simply not there any more. So it isn’t just about me. It is a widespread problem. When was the last time you hear anyone, anywhere, vigorously defend someone’s honor?

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  11. Paul says:

    Arthur, nothing hurts more than the betrayal of those who pledge their love and loyalty. But as you already know, you are in good company as our Lord was betrayed by his very own; and Paul experienced the same when he spoke about being completely abandoned and no one standing with him. As difficult as it is, (and I’m preaching to myself here), God is requiring that our trust to be in Him ALONE. It’s nice to have protection and covering from others, but God is wanting us to know that when we have Him, He’s all we need. And if we’re seeking only for His approval (again I’m preaching to myself), then the pain of the betrayal can’t hurt as much. Thanks for sharing your heart with us, and helping us see as well the darkness of our own hearts as we also lack this implicit trust and willing abandon.

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  12. nancy says:

    I am sorry people have been so mean to you. I haven’t seen the “bully blogs”. I know God is reaching out to you in the area of mistrust of people, or He wouldn’t have highlighted it to you. I am sure a lot of this is grounded in jealousy on their part. I, like you, cannot understand or explain how a friend can abandon and mistreat a friendship, let alone a friend. I will say, if processed through a Kingdom mindset, it draws my focus to the WORD of God and what He says about me, and the friend, and takes me out of the soulish realm of my feelings. Well, I could write a blog about this, but ultimately, what resonates firmly, is our trust in God. May it increase. I know that means more troubled waters, but we are good swimmers. I pray for more lifeguards to watch your back at all cost.

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  13. SLG says:

    Not sure why the comment option was missing from this blog. I have not been able to find which setting got accidentally messed with. Possibly putting this comment in through the back panel will change things and make them accessible.

    Liked by 1 person

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