Enrich Culture – Freedom to love and trust one another

A healthy culture is a safe place where people can identify who they are and why they are here. Spring is here and so too is the pollen that comes with it. As the trees start to bloomMan blowing his nose in canola field and the pollen gets airborne, people begin coughing, sneezing, scratching the throat, and rubbing the eyes. Lots of people have terrible allergies and infections during this season and some literally have to stay indoors to avoid the elements of the outdoors. They become sick and weakened because the environment is unhealthy.  So too it is when we are in a spiritually unsafe environment, we get spiritual allergies. Spiritual allergies prevent us from becoming spiritually mature. The environment exudes un-forgiveness, bitterness towards God and others, mistrust, dis-unity and emotions could explode at any moment.

Danny Silk describes the freedom we feel in an opposite culture where people are free to love and trust one another: “A safe place is where the fear of misused freedom doesn’t get to rise up and intimidate us out of risking trust and love in our relationships with one 101_0751another. The essence of love is safety and connection. In Isaiah God says “The mountains and the hills will be removed, but My kindness shall never leave, you nor shall My covenant of peace with you ever be removed.” In other words God is saying “I want you to be completely sure of My attitude towards you…My kindness and My covenant of peace will never be taken away.” This security allow us to be free everywhere we go. The Hebrew word Shalom means safe, well, happy, friendly; health, prosperity, and peace. Our covenant with God is a safe place. The power in this reality is that we as human beings blossom in safety. This is why shalom also means “health” and “wholeness.”His covenant brings peace, happiness, safety, health and wholeness, and it will never be taken from us. When God shows up, His presence is a safe place. When the Lord shows up, His atmosphere is charged with peace.”

“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health, yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it” ~   Patrick Lencioni

Healthy Culture – A Life of the Spirit

Essential to having healthy sons and daughters is the notion that we should have healthy parents and a healthy environment to grow in. Today, fewer children can say they grew up in a healthy environment with parents who are loving, caring and attentive to their needs. In the Cross & the Switchblade, David Wilkerson describes the culture and his envisioned future for the Teen Challenge Center (C & S, p. 129):

     “The Teen Challenge Center would be located in the heart of the roughest part of the city. It would be headquarters for a dozen or more full-time workers who shared my hopes for the young people around us, who saw their wonderful potential, and their tragic waste.Kevin & Sandy with girls2 Each worker would be a specialist: one would work with boys from the gangs, another with boys who were addicted to drugs; another would work with parents, another with Little People. There, in the Teen Challenge Center, we would create an atmosphere that was so charged with this same renewing love I had watched on the streets, that to walk inside would be to know that something exciting was afoot. They would live in an atmosphere of discipline and affection. They would participate in our worship and in our study. They would watch Christians living together, working together; and they would be put to work themselves. It would be where they were prepared for the life of the Spirit.

To sum up the TC culture – it is an environment preparing our sons and daughters to live the life of the Spirit. When Wilkerson awoke from his first night at Rev. Ortez’ home, he said ” the next  morning I spent in prayer; what was going to happen now, I could not imagine, but I wanted to hold myself as flexible as possible, ready to step out in whatever direction the Holy Spirit should point” (C & S, p. 77). This is the life of the Spirit.

The Life of the Spirit is one spent in prayer –  talking to God, listening to Him and meditating on His Word. Prayer is the work. “I had long ago discovered that too much running around, without a base of quiet meditation, produces little value” (C&S, p. 143).

How can you slow the pace at your center to allow everyone time for prayer, reading the Word and meditation?

The Life of the Spirit is one that is flexible – listening to the Holy Spirit and being open to…well just about anything. “We were driving slowly along when suddenly I had the most incredible feeling that I should get out of the car. “I’ll be back in a while, Miles; I don’t even know what it is I’m looking for.” “Hey Davie. Preacher!” A group of six teen age boys were leaning against the side of a building.” If you want to meet the gangs, why don’t you start right here?” (C&S, p. 28-30).

You don’t need to know what you are looking for necessarily, only – “where is God leading me right now?”

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The Life of the Spirit is one of action – demonstrating the power of our faith by acting out our belief. We believe God for the miraculous. “I decided to take a first step toward making my dream come true” (p. 64). “I would speak to these boys, trusting the Holy Spirit to reach them where I could not” ( C &S, p.65).

Ask yourself “how can I partner with God and be a vessel for the miraculous?” What are some indicators that you are producing sons and daughters prepared for the life of the Spirit?

“A strong working culture helps to create satisfied people who feel cared for, trusted and respected, which increases engagement and ultimately leads to better productivity.”

~ Ken Blanchard (Ken Blanchard Companies)