Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: Beth Moore

Is It Really Possible To Live In Mental Victory?

(A weekly portion of a book I am slowly writing entitled “Preferring Paralyzation,” which I hope to publish in some form in 2012!)

I want to deny watching Grey’s Anatomy, let alone often identifying with various characters on the adult soap opera to the point that I wonder if Shonda Rhimes is stealing from some secret journal that I forget writing. A few seasons ago, Cristina Yang, an uber-talented surgeon with a penchant for self-destructive behavior in her personal life (HA! I’ve just described myself, most people in their 20’s, and every single character on Greys!), was talking her best friend, Meredith Grey, through yet another personal crisis when she remarked, “Being aware of your crap and overcoming your crap are two very different things.”

Pause TIVO with the emerging realization something profound has just been said. Shake head in the ridiculous of my life imitating a soap opera, or vice-versa. Rewind, suddenly aware that I am no longer passing the time with a TV drama, rather, the Spirit has spoken, breaking into the stupor that is my reality.

A similar experience took place a few weeks ago on my morning run. Shaking off the previous night’s slumber as my feed stumble forward, enjoying the bustle that is life within the South African capital, I observe life moving all around me. Africans catching taxi minibuses to work, haggling over a piece of fruit from the corner street vendor, all the while greeting each other with a sense of communal unity that still unnerves my deeply individualistic tendencies, I often find myself floating through the streets, a ghost temporarily residing among a people who understand relationship far more profoundly than I.

In this midst of this run, I suddenly remember that I am listening to Beth Moore speak to 20,000 + university students at the most recent Passion Conference. As if my awareness and the Spirit’s timing suddenly step together into the same stride, I hear Beth thunder “Is it really possible to live in mental victory?” Pause iPod in similar manner, thunderstruck at the rhetorical question that I often struggle to answer myself. Anticipating that she will move forward content to simply let this question linger, I am surprised when she breathes, then answers her own question.

Of course, Moore says, although most of us life in a manner that witnesses to the contrary. Not only is it possible to live in sustained, consistent, increasingly powerful mental victory, but there is an accompanying freedom that the Spirit intends to become normative to the point that I come to know it as basic to life in Jesus. She then proceeds to quote a familiar, yet misapplied Scripture: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Pretense is “an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true.” Digging into the Latin root, as any good word nerd does (:-)), pretense carries the root definition of “one who pretends,” as if claiming to be someone who we are not in our core. In this light, the Corinthians passage is profoundly illuminative in describing the fight that is on my hands to achieve the freedom that my mind so desperately wants, yet rarely experiences in the course of a normal day. Contextually, Paul builds a cadence throughout this passage that describes the contrarian weapons by which we arm ourselves, a fight completely different from the manner in which the world escalates conflict. Central to his argument is the reality that the battlefield is not actual physical ground (nor one’s family or friends, as he articulates in another epistle), but rather the landscape of the mind that Christ has freed, yet we have to claim as His.

Yet we have to claim as His.

That is the entirety of the challenge, and in a short phrase, the journey we walk into life with Christ. It is our responsibility, through partnership with and empowerment by the Spirit, to demolish arguments and every false claim that goes on the offense against the way of God, which leads to life, peace, freedom and joy. False pretensions arm themselves against one’s knowledge of God, attacking the battlefield of the mind in an attempt to circumvent a life of responsive action in the reality of the freedom Jesus promises us.

The language of these short verses is stunning in its subject matter as well: “We demolish arguments and every pretension.” “We take captive every thought.” “We will be ready to punish every act of disobedience.” Paul builds his case for our participation as not merely the passive recipient of Jesus’ restorative work in our lives, nor as submissive assistants to the Spirit’s control of our actions, but rather as co-laborers with the power of Christ flowing through us. It really is up to us…if we live in the reality that the person of Christ dwells within, and through me. The burden of responsibility falls squarely on our shoulders to claim, believe, deny, believe again, and gradually live into the reality that Jesus already knows…which is that we are free in Him!

Oh how deeply I have lived, remain in, and expect Jesus to do the hard work for me. To be clear, I am not speaking of the salvific work of redemption, cleansing, and restoration Jesus accomplished on my behalf while suffocating to death on a Roman cross. Rather, I am growing in the realization that as Jesus defeated death and then stepped fully back into life, resurrected completely, so must I.

Mental victory is not only possible…it’s the only path forward for all who walk with Jesus throughout life. It’s our new norm. It’s the foundation on which we stand, the new landscape that fills our mind. The journey of transformation I now trod forward in rehearses the freedom that has already been promised to me. In other words, “sanctification rehearses salvation,” (John Coe). I am practicing what is already mine!

Awakening At Passion 2010.

Passion...13 years and the wave of awakening in universities is growing!

I just spent the past 5 days in Atlanta at my 8th(!) Passion Conference as a part of Passion 2010. Joining 22,000 university students from almost every state in the US, as well as 40 countries throughout the world, I am more convinced than ever that the glory of God is rising up in creative, beautiful ways throughout the whole wide world. God really is redeeming all things!

This logo makes me happy, as I know my heart is going to explode with the greatness of God shortly after seeing it.

I thought I’d repeat what I wrote yesterday:

Suffice to say, I return home to San Jose with an awakened heart, a sharpened mind, wide open eyes to the global generation of university students God is stirring to join His work throughout the people groups of the world, engaging worship + justice together in a beautiful expression of a life poured out for the glory of God. I feel centered, slowed, and dependent again on the person and presence of Christ in my life. I am eager to turn my attention forward to the next few months of preparation and fundraising so that I can return to Pretoria, South Africa with NieuCommunities for the next two years. I am called to step out in faith, to believe that God has called me forward, and to obey what is unfolding in my heart as a result of the Spirit’s internal work. I am ready.

Here are a few unedited scribblings, quotes, and thoughts from the past 5 days of FANTASTIC teaching from gifted communicators around the world. I’ll unpack these in greater depth upon a bit of rest and recovery these next few days.

The heartbeat of Passion, the glory and fame of God.

Scriblings from Passion 2010

  • “The tragedy is when we hang onto a little life, believing that Jesus is not the best thing there is. It is good to trade something small (a life I run and am in charge of) for something large (the Grand Epic Story of God, centering on God)” (Louie Giglio)
  • “It is possible that the reason something is happening to me is so the Son of God can be glorified in my life.” (Louie Giglio)
  • “Jesus…wake me up (A powerful prayer). When you get a wake up call, you celebrate the one who woke you up. You invite Him into your home, and pour something expensive over him in worship.” (Louie Giglio)
  • “It stinks behind our gravestone, and yet Jesus is not afraid of the smell. God wants to bring us back to full life (“Unbind Lazarus, and let him go”) (Louie Giglio)
  • “Somehow going through the fire says more to the world than in the normal moments we exist like everyone else in the world.” (Louie Giglio)
  • “At some point our songs must grow legs and move into a broken and hurting world to bring justice.” (Louie Giglio).

The unified cry of 22,000 university students this week (Not my photo).

  • “You will never live a day in the Spirit accidentally. Quit trying to run in someone else’s lane. Run your own race, seeking to imitate Jesus!” (Beth Moore)
  • “I have been given all things pertaining to life and godliness. If I believe this and am living an ungodly life, whose fault is it?” (Francis Chan)
  • “It is always a mistake to decide what we want to do before we become who we want to be. Who you are on the inside completely determines what you will do. Your talent has the potential to sweep you past what your character can maintain. My talent, education, and ability may make my name known prior to my internal world being fully matured. There are no exceptions to this. As an adult, no one will force me to consider who I am becoming. They will focus on who I know and what I am doing.” (Andy Stanley)
  • “Honesty is the foundation of every single relationship. Purity paves the way for intimacy. Generosity insures that the things I own never own me. What are the words I want to define me? These words form an invisible perimeter around my developing character (who I am becoming). If we get this right, we can become leaders worth following.” (Andy Stanley)

The word theme we gathered around (Not my photo, taken from playback).

  • “God’s God-centeredness is a powerful test of our God-centeredness. Is our God-centedness a cloak for our true man-centeredness? If I am a God-centered person I will love God’s commitment to God. Does my opposition to God mean I am truly man-centered (even me-centered)?” (John Piper)
  • “Self-forgetfulness in the presence of Greatness (God) is the capstone of joy. God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is not a thing of ego, but actually is the most loving possible conclusion” (John Piper).

Does Atlanta employ the same sign welcoming committee as St. Louis?