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blogs, books, and platforms….. and the criticism I’ve taken this week

Funny that when you step out to do something  you’re passionate about, you  are instantly questioned.  I mean, I knew it was coming.  It took me half a  year to tell the general public that I’m writing a book for fear of being misunderstood.  What does everyone want to know?  “Are you trying to build a platform for yourself?”  “Do you think you’re a rockstar?”

Very simply… no.

All I could think was, “this is only the first week of the launch of the new blog?  Is this going to be my life for the next number of years?  What happens when the actual book comes out?  No wonder women struggle stepping out.   This has fired me up inside about another rebellion….

a rebellion to the idea of the platform.

What a stupid concept (no offense).  I really think the idea of a platform is an old concept that needs throwing out.   Why?  Because it gives the impression that one person gets to invest in their God-given skills while the rest are only worthy of watching.   The result is a bunch of star-struck, awe-filled people in their own prisons, longing to do something of significance but blind to the radical concept that they, too, are more than capable.   A platform has room for one person, maybe a couple, but certainly not the whole crowd.  It can easily create the “us four no more” mentality.

Now don’t hear what I’m not saying, I’m not saying that having a platform is wrong.  We all have an audience that needs our life-message.  No audience, no impact.   What I do have a problem with is our concept of the platform; that what we’re doing doesn’t matter unless it goes national, better yet, international.  Unless our book gets on the “best seller” list.  Unless our blog has a certain number of readers.  Unless we have this many facebook friends or twitter followers…. unless (fill in the blank)

Stuff and nonsense.

What I suggest in contrast is a flatform.  A place where, yes, you can be heard and use the unique voice God has given you, but also where others are empowered to do the same.   As a leader, sometimes I lead, but I also follow.   I know when my voice is needed, and when another’s is the one contributing.   A flatform is made up of those who know that their message is needed, AND they are also willing to cheer for others as well.  They’re not consumed with their own empire alone, but also with what others are doing that enhance God’s dream for His earth.

A flatform leaves no room for nay-sayers, jealousy, strife, envy and questioning.  I can’t tell you how many snide remarks I’ve had about my adventure to write a book.   What I FEEL like saying is: “If its in your heart then WHY NOT YOU TOO?!”   Geesh.  You matter too, now can we move on?

A flatform will put your motive to the test; are you ok to never experience the glamor of “international exposure?”  Are you ok to bring the best of your voice to even the hundreds?  The dozens?  The one?….   Can you still believe no matter the number that what you have to offer is significant?

It doesn’t mean you don’t try to stand out.  For heaven’s sake somebody please stand out!  Do what you can to throw your message out to the masses to find out who needs to hear your voice.  Don’t be ashamed of letting people know through social media channels such as blogging, facebook, twitter.  It doesn’t mean you’re high on yourself, it means you’re creating space to serve.

The idea of a flatform provides all with an opportunity to serve.  Isn’t that what we all long for?  It’s you inviting people into a “deeper story” as blogger, Jeff Goins wrote just the other day.  To be productive for the greater good?  Can you and I allow others around us to do that?

The stage has been flattened.  That’s my rebellion.  I’m not out for rockstar status, I’m out to make a way for voices to be heard…. for rebels to rise.  I challenge YOU to be one of them and leave the platform in the dust.

what you do during the toughest times of your life….

You stand there.  Don’t let anything move you.  When wind of doubt threatens to throw you off your place, you plant your feet firmer. When obstacles hurl themselves towards you, duck but don’t back down.  Stand there.   When you are about to be pushed over by the weight of hardship, lean in and push against it.

 

Its harder to stand than to move.   Try standing in one spot and not move for fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, an hour…. it’s hard.  Likewise, it’s hard to stand and  face your doubt square in the face.  To be honest with your inner emotion, to have the courage to hand it over into the hands of a loving God…. to believe.  To still believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that what He says He is, He IS.   It goes against the very fabric of our culture to stand and still believe when the message everywhere is to run to things that will help make it all better; shopping, another coffee, a promotion, a night on the town, the image a group of friends can bring, a new shade of lipstick…. but all it does is keep us in its grip, only to repeat the cycle again, and leaving us empty.

 

Can you still believe He is love, He is good, kind despite what’s been happened to you?  Can you have enough faith to believe in God’s complete ability to restore your life?  Even further, can you have enough faith to believe that in the meantime brokenness can bring life to you greater than you’ve known; fellowship with Jesus and His sufferings.

 

Suffering?  There’s a word that our culture avoids at all costs…. because it goes right against the god of self.

 

Do you blame yourself?  Do you think its because you somehow haven’t met God’s ideals?  Do you feel you fell short and he’s punishing you?   I went through a season like that.  I lost a job I loved, my father passed away suddenly from cancer, three months later, I lost my grandma who I was very close with unexpectedly to heart failure.  All I was left with was doubt.  The next few years I lost more; my grandpa, my hip hop business I started from the ground up, almost all of my friends, and the hardest hit of all; moving to a new city, bringing me to the loneliest place I’ve ever been.  I thought God had left me.  I was numb.  I wanted to live for Him, but felt I was no longer invited.  All I could say to God for two years was; “I’m so sorry…”   I could only pray He would hear me.  Too bad I didn’t stick around long enough to hear his response.

 

What do you do when your life isn’t turning out the way you thought?  Where’s God??  Maybe there’s more to suffering and this life than we think?   Looking back, I can see the depth brokenness and hardship created in my life.   That depth wasn’t there before.  Mountain tops give great views, but it’s the climb that builds the muscles.    You can’t always have the spiritual-high.  At some point, tension needs to make you stronger.  So, back to the question: will you stand and stay standing?

 

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way”.  (James 1:2-4 The Message)

 

It takes guts to stand through the challenges without falling for the culture’s typical remedies.  And just because the verse says the end result is being mature and well-developed doesn’t mean you can’t be honest about the journey.  Once I finally realized God didn’t hate me, I was truthful with Him about my emotions; my grief, my disappointment, my pain, my anger…. and He was able to handle it.

 

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10)

 

When we “participate in His sufferings”, we know Him more.  Is that the cry of your heart; to know Him?  Are you willing to allow suffering to bring you closer to Him, rather than cause your heart to run from Him?   Are you willing to see suffering as an advocate rather than something to detest?  That’s probably one of our biggest challenges as culture rebels; to have the guts to participate with Christ IN suffering…. and to do it willingly.  Who DOES that??

 

It will take more courage than you know you have… but you DO  have it.   Don’t quit.   Dare to stand firm and let nothing move you.

 

And when you have done everything to stand…. stand some more.  That is the marking of a rebel…

 

(this blog is from a devotional being made ready for History Maker students in British Columbia)

Where does the rebellion start? (and announcing the winner of the book!)

Thank you for all your comments on the blog yesterday and for stopping by, even if you didn’t read the blog.  I wanted to announce the winner of our draw by highlighting her comment.  (I didn’t base the winner on the content of the comment, but drew names from one of my cereal bowls….classy, eh?)

 

The winner of the book made this comment: “A Culture Rebel doesn’t just rebel against culture, they offer an alternative.” I love that! So many times Christians want to rebel against the status quo but don’t really think about what a biblical alternative would or could be.”

 

That’s a very interesting observation.  Are we just rebelling for rebellion’s sake?  Because being a bit of a rebel is the newest fad?   Just to say we did?  What’s the point of rebelling against the status quo?  What are we really wishing to achieve?  Its an enormous amount of effort, is it worth it?

 

To be all talk and no action (the alternative) will get old fast, and the hype will die quick.   Being the rebel is actually the easy part.   It’s what to do in response that’s the part that takes something deep inside the heart to spring up.   You see, we can have the best intentions, but as I discovered not too long ago, whatever is in my heart is what’s going to end up showing up… no matter how great my ideals are.   Bad heart, bad results.   The alternative I show with my life has to flow from a heart that has been through the ringer…. and still beats soft.   Still is willing to love when hate is permissive.  Still willing to cheer when others are hating.  Still willing to forgive when “karma” is wished for.  Still willing to listen to the One with greater wisdom…. and obey.

Transparency in a world of facade.

Honesty (when it hurts) in a world that encourages to do whatever it takes to get by.

Contentment in a world that encourages gratification NOW through means of credit.

 

The condition of the heart is where the alternative is born.  Imagine for a moment what a heart softened and formed by the Father could do in this world?

What alternatives would that bring?  Share your thoughts!

 

(oh, and by the way, the winner of our book draw was Debbie Thunberg!)

What on earth is a Culture Rebel??

Well, here we are! The first day of an exciting new journey!  Thanks for being a part of this special launch day of the Culture Rebel blog!  I hope you’ll stick around for the whole journey!   There’s a lot of ground to cover and some amazing people to meet.

 

“Culture Rebel”….Interesting term isn’t it?  I’d love to hear what your first impression of the term was as a comment! (remember, everyone who comments on the blog today will be entered to win the amazing book; Grumble Hallelujah by Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneria) here’s the link to her book on amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/Grumble-Hallelujah-Learning-Love-Your/dp/1414338015/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318858391&sr=1-1

 

For me, I first discovered this term when reading the book; “The Missional Mom” by Helen Lee.  In this book is a chapter called; “The Missional Mom is a Culture-Rebel”.  Her book really impacted my life so I found myself reflecting on the depth of her words for months after reading.  I completely forgot about this term “Culture-Rebel” until after somewhere in my sub-conscious I pulled the term out, fell in love with it and determined to have it be the name of my book series.  When I remember where the inspiration had come from I was thankful she gave me a big “go for it”!

 

Everywhere we turn, messages are being preached to us through TV, billboards, magazines, newspapers, music, movies, school classrooms, offices, radio, print advertising, etc.  We can’t escape the messages constantly entering through our senses of hearing and seeing.  Have you ever stopped to ask yourself “why?”  Why do we think that way?  Why do we believe that?  Is it really true?   Is this really the way things “just are”?  Or are our value systems a result of these constant messages penetrating our brain-waves?   Is it all really “good” for us?  Is it all “bad”?

 

A Culture Rebel isn’t afraid of the question, “why?”

 

A Culture Rebel isn’t a puppet.  They don’t just fall for the norm.

 

A Culture Rebel doesn’t do status quo

 

A Culture Rebel gets out of the North American “bubble” and has a world-view that has brought some reality back home.

 

A Culture Rebel isn’t afraid to step out and be different.

 

A Culture Rebel doesn’t just rebel against culture, they offer an alternative.

 

A Culture Rebel brings transformation to society.

 

A Culture Rebel is a rebel WITH a cause

 

A Culture Rebel is living on the right edge (I’ll explain that later)

 

A Culture Rebel is a Culture MAKER.

 

 

Without overwhelming you with the pages I have in my mind, lets leave it at that today.  Do you stop to really think about what you’re hearing? Seeing? …. And doing as a result?   It’s time to start questioning; “why”.  There is the beginning of a Culture Rebel.

 

How about you?  What do you believe is the making of a Culture Rebel?

 

It’s finally here! Here it is revealed!

The word is out; I’m writing a book, a series of books actually, called “Culture Rebel”.   I’m thrilled and scared beyond belief at the same time.   The  idea behind Culture Rebel is deeply embedded within me through situations I’ve experienced over the past ten years.

I found myself in a dark place after experiencing a series of losses; loss of ministry position, loss of my father to cancer and then my grandmother three months later.  Loss of a business I had birthed from the ground up.  Loss of friendships I thought were loyal.   Moving from a city I loved to a city I could only tolerate.  Loss of all that was comfortable and known to me.   Some of these I lost because life just brings loss; case closed.   But much of what I lost was because I was stubborn and determined to succeed, to live on the edge, to dream and to live for my own ambition.  I became known for being a rebel; but I was a rebel without His cause in my heart.  I was building my kingdom.

Through the brokenness of my kingdom crashing down on me, I had no where else to look other than up at the One who I felt had abandoned me.  To the One I thought was so disappointed in me that He left me out to dry; to get what I deserved.   I had to face Him strait in the eye and ask for Him to take whatever was left of my pathetic life and somehow forgive it.    He did more than that; He restored it.   It took a long while for me to feel I was back on my feet, but after praying every day for one year for God to return my passion for Him back to my  heart, He did; and it came back with a force willing to embrace His kingdom and forever surrender mine.

You see, deep with in me (and I believe all mankind), is a desire for significance.   I wanted an edge to live on.  The edge of ambition, approval addiction, and success only left me in the dust.   The edge of becoming my own woman; building my business and dancing my nights away in the club only emptied my soul.   I was on the wrong edge.  I was a rebel without a cause.

If I’m going to be a rebel then I’m going to be a Culture Rebel: being rebellious to the negative messages culture preaches from all its mediums.  To stand-off to the status quo; busting out of mediocrity, and doing a full-on sprint to the edge of a new ideal: His ideal.  His dream for His kingdom to come on earth.

Are you ready to join me?  On this blog, I will be telling more of my story and the stories of other Culture Rebels out there.  If you’re one of them, send your story to me!  culturerebelonline@gmail.com

Subscribe, tell your friends…. its gonna be one heck of a ride.

 

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