As a leader of people who pursue God, I intend to always create or facilitate an environment where people have two things; 1. Freedom. 2. Purpose. Where these two things exist in spiritual communities, people are free to become who God intended them to be, free to know their identity, free to worship God passionately and thus free to find their purpose or vision in life. If one of these two conditions is not facilitated, it is easy for people to be held back in multiple ways. It is important that we create environments where people are free to succeed in God and are not limited by control.
Success to God sometimes looks a lot different than how it looks to people who do not really seek God. But success is always initiated in environments where people are free to make messes, so to speak, IN THEIR PURSUIT OF GOD. I highlight that last point because it is this context in which I write the following revelation. Environments where people can be messy are environments full of poop and purpose. Likened to farms where abundant crops and poop abounds, our spiritual communities should be the same. But without further ado, here is my sermon on doo-doo.
Sermon on the Poop
We should all be mature enough to understand how the body gets rid of waste. Pooping is one of those ways. In the body of Christ we need to have cultures that understand the nature of bodies or communities in this context, which naturally get rid of waste. Much like our physical bodies, our spiritual lives must know how to process spiritual food, digest it and eliminate waste. Likened to my farm analogy in the preface, our communities must also know how to use waste to fertilize the ground. If this process is not embraced, man-made religion sets in and spiritual constipation abounds, which just makes the body of Christ uncomfortable, irritated, ineffective and thus hindered in living in purpose.
I once heard a message regarding this proverb: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4) The message talked about God’s movements and how it is often messy when He shows up. Messy, that is, to the untrained eye. Man-made religion seeks to control people and make as few messes as possible, and has little to no presence of God in their midst. It seeks to keep the stall clean, which is mainly trying to look good and spiritual on the outside, as if all is decent and orderly, but it is void of God’s works. Jesus called out a bunch of religious leaders for this unhealthy pride. He said they tried to look good on the outside but inside they were full of deceit. (Matthew 23:25-28) They were choosing decency and order over the abundant life that Jesus came to give them.
We need to facilitate environments where God is welcomed in our midst. Where he is free to break in and where people are free to pursue this all-powerful God without fear. We need places where the poop of the oxen is free to work and make messes that will in turn fertilize the ground to cause further growth in our lives. We need to create environments where people can be free on the inside. It is here where performance mentalities fall, false-identities crumble and passion for God surges as true worshippers arise. It is the true worshippers who worship in freedom and truth that change the world no matter how foolish or grandiose they look to others.
Our farms, or spiritual communities, need to be places where people are free to process food. It is in this environment where people learn to discern the food (information and revelation) they eat that comes from learning to hear from God and listening to hear Him through others. Pooping happens naturally when we eat and it is this process of elimination that must be embraced spiritually to cause a healthy body of people to grow. If we do not allow people the benefit of learning to eat the right food spiritually, digesting it and allowing for elimination, we create cultures of constipation where communities are plugged up from letting God flow freely through them. God’s movements cannot be sustained in these cultures where constipation is promoted for they block people from sustaining it. This is how control shuts down God’s heart in a spiritual community. We need to open up the flow of Gods Spirit so a culture that encourages growth in people’s lives through proper digestion and elimination.
What does poop do for the earth? It causes growth when it is used as fertilizer. We must have cultures that promote the freedom to make messes in the pursuit of what is best. These messes only cause maturity in the pure hearted and the soil is fertilized for abundant life to be sustained. I once heard this quote from a successful leader: “Those who fail the most succeed the most.” Just check history and see all the greats that failed over and over only to succeed. They were driven by passion and not performance. Instead of becoming spiritually constipated, they kept eating the food that freed them to persevere in their idea or passion. I think you are getting the picture by now. We should be free to make “messes” in our pursuit of God, which in turn helps us grow because our hearts are fertilized by our experiences.
Many people love living on farms because of the wide open spaces they get to live in and because of the comfort of privacy away from city life. Like farms, spiritual communities should be the following.
1. Safe places where people are valued and honored.
2. Places where people are free to run in the wide open spaces after God with all out passion and abandon.
3. Places that genuinely believe anything is possible with God and facilitate working with Him to see these things become possible.
Performance mentalities die in these cultures and people are free to do their best and learn from their good and bad experiences in doing so. It is in these spiritual communities where people learn best how to serve their cities and nations with purity and power. This is because they learn how to properly feed themselves directly from God, digest that food and properly eliminate waste.
All this talk may make you think that all messes are good. They are not always good but we need to be free to learn from “genuine” mistakes. While most things we call messes and mistakes in our pursuit of God are really looked at by God as strengths (much like a kid learning to walk or ride a bike or poop in a potty), we must be real with some messes that may affect other people if we are wrong in that mess. This is why a lifestyle of repentance and humility is key (see my last blog post on this). Maturity abounds when we can clean up our poop much like those in the city who clean up their dogs’ poop when they poop while walking with them.
KEY POINT: Messes are used as fertilizer to cause growth on the farm (spiritual communities) that will in turn feed entire cities and nations.
My prayer is that you are a part of a community that is committed to God’s best for you and allows Christ to be the Head of the body, where His members worship Him in freedom. I end with 1 Corinthians 12:18-25 from the Preston Hall Translation.
“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the butt, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.”
We need the butts in the body of Christ. We treat these with special honor and modesty because it is in our spiritual communities where people should be protected, honored and free to worship God with purpose. So God, fertilize our hearts and cause growth like only you can do with the things that seem foolish to the proud. It is here where the Church will come to a place where most “messes” are not messes, but are simply people who have learned to eliminate waste properly.
With freedom and purpose,
PS… A few weeks ago our son Kairos came into the world, so we know all about allowing poop to flow and about cleaning up messes that occur naturally as people grow and mature. This post was also inspired by a watching my mother-in-law pick up dog poop in her yard.