God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Chicken Man by Randy Bohlender

Back in the sixties, there was a radio drama spoof featuring a crime fighter in a chicken suit. Yes, it seems silly now…well, honestly, it was silly then too.

The signature sound marked the end of each episode:  A voice over would proclaim “Chicken….Maaaaaaan!, and  a manic crowd in the background would emphatically shout “He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere!”

If you’re completely lost, listen to the original episode here.

So I was in the shower this morning – really, this is where these thoughts come to me – and I began to think about how God’s omnipresence was explained to us in Bible college.

Our professors handed us the mantra “There is no place where God is not,”, which, though technically true, sounds about as compelling as the Chicken Man’s signature shriek.   Combine the two for fun.

There is no place where God is not.

He’s everywhere, He’s everywhere!

I can’t help but think the omnipresence of God means something far more immediate than the ubiquitous whereabouts of Chicken Man.

Interestingly, I can handle thinking about an all powerful, all knowing God being in Chicago, Calcutta, and Catan, because in thinking about Him in those places, I don’t think much about Him beinghere.

With me.

Glancing at what I’m writing.

Taking a sip of tea from my cup as we talk about me taking a sip from His.

I desperately want to live with a greater awareness of the immediate presence of God. Yes, He is everywhere, but He is also near.  He sees everything, but He also sees me.  I want my decision making, my ethics, how I treat my children and how I treat a stranger to reflect what I know about the presence of God – specifically, that I am in it, as I sit at my table or walk the aisle of a big box store.

We’ve mystified the presence of God to refer to those times when we feel His presence in a tangible way.  Whether it’s a powerful sermon or (more likely) that great key change on the song you like, there are times when you feel Him near, but they’re rarely the times when you need to be aware of Him the most.  You need Him most when you feel Him least – in a hundred different decisions made daily.

Yes, He’s everywhere, He’s everywhere.

But He’s also right hear.  Listening.  Speaking.  Wanting.

In your pursuit of the God of the Universe, don’t ignore the God in the room.

What’s In A Name? by Randy Bohlender

History does not tell us if Earnest Shackleton was a particularly religious man, but surely he was prophesying when he christened his ship The Endurance.  Even though he understood the overwhelming challenge he face in attempting the first march across Antartica, so much happened that he could not possibly have anticipated.

How would he have known…

  • That the ice would be early in the fall of 1914, leaving them trapped in the ice, far from their goal by January of 1915?
  • That the spring melt of 1915 would not free their ship, but that it would remain fast until October?
  • That once the ice did begin to shift, rather than breaking free, his ship would be crushed, leaving his men to abandon the craft, only to stand on the ice staring down through the hole where the ship used to be?

How would he have known…

  • That he and his men would spend 497 days either on the ship or on ice floes before they set foot on land once again?
  • That once they found their way to land, it would be Elephant Island, one of the most inhospitable places on earth.
  • That he would be forced to split the party, and a portion of them would have to once again take to their open boats for a fifteen day sail through a storm that sunk a 500 ton steamer?
  • That his portion of the party would include McNish, a carpenter that he threatened to shoot for insubordination, but recognized that he would need his skills later.

How would he have known…

  • That on their second landing, they would put ashore on an island that was inhabited, but find themselves on the opposite side of the whaling camp, separated by a glacier never before crossed by man?
  • That after climbing the glacier with little or no climbing equipment, they would need to slide down the other side through thick fog, sitting in shovels for sleds?  When his men objected, Shackleton is credited with saying “Well, we very well can’t go back…”.

In the end, Shackleton worked to collect each of his men and returned to England having not lost a life in the journey.  How could he possibly have known that when he named his ship The Endurance?

As leaders, we chart the course for our initiatives early with a hundred finite decisions that work together to establish the culture for our ministry.

  • Do you cancel an outreach because it rains?  You’ll cancel it for other reasons.
  • Do you boldly approach strangers or hang back, waiting for them to make the first move?  You’ll hang back your entire life.
  • Do you lead by example, knowing it’s going to be harder – and more rewarding – than you expected?

Ministry – as much as Shackleton’s odyssey – requires an uncommon endurance. The same goes for those of you on the adoption journey.  Going in, you know there’s a lot to it.

You can’t pre-imagine every struggle that will materialize.  At the end of the journey, you innately know it was worth it all, even if it required every bit of your endurance.

You might as well get used to the idea and call it what it is.

Let’s Make A Deal by Randy Bohlender

Let's Make A DealOne of my early childhood memories is of the TV game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” hosted by Monty Hall.  The general idea was that people, dressed up in outlandish costumes, would try and attract attention to be chosen to play some sort of game that involved trading things and making a blind choice of what was between door number one, door number two, or door number three.

In other words, make yourself look goofy, roll the dice and take your chances on the outcome.

Psalm 45 offers another deal…one that seems costly but pays out at a crazy rate.  Verse 10 says “Hear, oh daughter, and consider, and incline  your year, forget your people and your fathers’ house, and the king will desire your beauty.”

In a patriarchal society like the Old Testament, the cost of this is clear.  Forget your people.  Forget your father’s house.  Walk away from all that spells security to you. Take a chance on the unknown when the known is where you draw your sustenance…where you glean your identity.   An unmarried woman may grow old and lonely, but she’d always be taken care of…at least as long as her father was alive.

father and son on a beachIn our world, where fatherlessness is rampant, many people walk away from their father’s house prematurely.  Those with a healthy father/child relationship to point to are far and few in between, and even in those cases, the child does not look to the father for security and identity once they reach adulthood.   In many ways, our own culture has taken place of the patriarchal leader.   We are not told what to do or believe or manage our lives by an earthly father – we learn those things from a television, a movie screen, or the latest music group.  We take our value cues from actors and musicians.  They preach a fatherly message of self worth and self inflation that is the support structure of all sorts of our social mores, including the second house, the third car, and the fourth wife.  We believe in these things more than we believe in ourselves, and we’ll pay any price to get them.  We’re made to believe that these things make us who we are.

To walk away from your fathers house in 2010 certainly means to walk away from all that makes us comfortable and feels normal – to live abnormally, even uncomfortably.  I’m wrestling this one out myself right now.  What do I do, how do I spend my money, where does my time go based on what the culture tells me is important, is a must-have gadget or a must-see tv show.

If we can learn to escape that house, there is a promise – a better deal.  It’s called an audience with the King – but that’s not all.

Verse 16 promises us “In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth.”  In other words, it may cost us our comfort, but the payoff comes in the form of sons.  One translation of the word used there for ’sons’ is ‘children of unrighteous men’.

Which of course, leads me to adoption.   Adoption in not cheap, not easy, and not without risks (although we’re working on all three of those…).   However, even at it’s most expensive, it’s most difficult, it’s most risky moments, if we step beyond the ‘take care of ourselves, feed the machine mentality’, we get an amazing payback.

In adopting, we collect the sons of unrighteous men and place them in the house of prayer.   We make princes in the kingdom of God out of paupers.  Beyond changing destiny, we change their current reality.  Everything becomes different for them – and everything becomes different for us.

The Blind SideMy favorite line from the recent movie, “The Blind Side” came during one of the lunch scenes.  The adoptive mother is having lunch with her friends, who remark “You’re changing that boys’ life!”  Quietly, Sandra Bullock responds “No.  He’s changing mine.”

It’s true.  And all it costs is everything.

Let’s make a deal.

Challenge:

What expense, gadget or indulgence do you have in your life that you could do without. Maybe it’s a purchase you were about to make or a Christmas gift you were going to return for exchange.    As a first step, pray about doing without it – for a while, or maybe forever.  Is it really a must-have, or did you just buy what you were sold by your father’s house?

If you can find it within yourself, do without it and seed it adoption by giving to an adoptive family or setting it aside as the beginning of your own adoption fund – then retweet a link to this or post it on your own blog.  It gets easier to leave your fathers’ house when there are others going with you.


Randy BohlenderWho is Randy Bohlender?

I’m a Christian. I know the vogue phrase is Christ-follower and Christian has a lot of baggage, but so do I. I’m doing the best I can (most days) to reflect Jesus to the world. Some days I get close. Some days, He’s unrecognizable by my reflection, but I’m trying.

I’m a husband. July 2009, Kelsey and I will mark our 20th anniversary. She is an amazing friend who challenges me to new heights every day. I married up. Most men do. In 20 more years, she and I will still be laughing. Maybe at you. Definitely at ourselves and our expanding tribe.

I’m a dad. We have three sons and three daughters with a baby on the way. Yes, I know. We look too young. It’s the internet – it takes ten years off of everyone (ask anyone who met someone through eHarmony). Having a family of this size gives a blogger a lot of material. If you read here long, you’ll learn a lot about my kids. Perhaps more than you’d ask. I make no apologies. I’m learning a ton about life and love from them.

I’m an Early Adopter. And I mean this on several levels…words, gadgets, and children.   Kelsey and I launched The Zoe Foundation for reasons cited here.  You cannot know much about me without understanding my heart for this.

I’m an intercessory missionary. I work with the International House of Prayer and TheCall, laboring in a 24/7 prayer room as well as organizing day long solemn assemblies across the nation.