Desperate to Restore America – Carl Townsend

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians   3:14

Restoring America

Creative commons: Breaking through

In the movie The Man from Snowy River, Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) makes that incredible ride over the cliff. Tom did the stunt himself (as well as the other stunts in the movie), without having ridden horses much before. In the movie, the rugged ranch-hands and mountain men are chasing the brumbies, to which Harrison’s prize stallion has escaped. A brumby is an Australia term for a wild, free-roaming horse, especially  one descended from runway stock.

You watch as the experienced mountain men  chase the brumbies all over the mountain using a wild, but  objective strategy (“Go at them from the jump,” Harrison has told them.). Finally you watch these mountain men stop abruptly at the top of a cliff as the brumbies go over the cliff almost straight down to a deep valley below. The mountain men stare helplessly at the brumbies far below with no way to reach them. Then they hear the hoof-beats of a horse at full-speed gallop behind them. Parting, they see Jim and his horse continuing at full gallop through them and over the cliff. There is the determined look of authority and faith in his face as he takes the risk.

What you see next is Jim (Tom Burlinson) taking the horse (Denny) straight down the face of the cliff at full gallop in a single, long movie take. I watched this in a theater and my stomach went to my throat.

Just like Jim and those horses, God is also wild. Look at your Bible and the stories there. Sarah was 90 when she bore the child of promise. Moses was 80 when he led a nation to freedom with a series of miracles. There was David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, a virgin that gave birth, and a man that rose from the dead. Pretty wild stories. There is no limit on what God can do.

God created you in His image. That means you are wild. In what way do you see you see yourself as free roaming and wild? Just like that horse Jim was on. We are supposed, however, to run under  the control of our Creator – God. In this analogy, you are the wild stallion and God holds the reins. The problem, to quote C.S. Lewis, is that most men see themselves as geldings, emasculated, and (as the gelding), unable to birth anything.  Yet Christ told us we can do everything He was doing and more in His name. This binding we tend to live under is an illusion from Satan himself. In what way do you see yourself in this war for your heart today?

Stand up, speak out, and act to protect your freedoms. My novel (which you can order from Amazon below) shows how a small church, with God’s help, can turn the nation around.

Get involved – Let’s restore America

Book 1, Breaking Light: Birth of a Hero is already out and and can be ordered from Amazon.com:

Breaking Light: Birth of a Hero (PB)- $11.00 by Carl Townsend More information (“fiction”)
First book in a fictional novel series about what happens in America when the Nehemiah strategies are applied and Transformation occurs. The story is driven by characters who have a vision and dream of restoring America and drive the changes from that.

Read the First Chapter Free

Getting Your Message Through Part 1- Carl Townsend

megaphoneIf your are serious about God’s call on your life, God will give you  a burden, a message. You then begin to respond that call and call other people to join you in terms of that call God is placing on your heart. That is your message. There are many ways to get your message out: social media, a blog, magazine articles, authoring/publishing a book, speaking, singing. and more.  How you share is important, but also here are some issues common to all of these.

  1. Who shares your message? Identify, in contemporary language, who is your tribe? Who also owns the same message? This “tribe” defines others you know that share your burden and message. This identifies your tribe and may exist within your current church, a viral church, your network of churches, or you may need to create your own “Church”. One major pastor shared with me as I left for a new job: “Stay with the vision God gives you, even if it costs your your life. Join a church that affirms that vision. If  you cant find it,, build it yourself with others that share it. As an example, back in the eighties Dr. Joe Aldrich began sounding a message that he wanted to see one city or region anywhere totally transformed by the Power of the Holy Spirit. By the early nineties, George Otis, Jr. had identified a dozen cities in the world where that was already happening.  His Sentinel group published the video story of four of these cities on  a DVD. Last time I talked with Otis, he had identified some 250 cities or regions worldwide, with fires started in some 500 more as this grows. This didn’t make your local newspaper, did it? In my own city. Dr. Joe identified those pastors who wished to see this locally and called them to prayer. We had a database of 1800 churches in our four-county area. In the Christian language, you define the harvest force.
  2. Define your audience very specifically. The “audience” defines those whom God wishes to hear your specific message. To use the Internet, which is very inexpensive, you need to aim at a very specific audience. This is very different from traditional advertising, which casts its net to a very broad audience to get a few people within it taking action. Your audience should be a group of people you are naturally called to. In the Christian language, this is your harvest field.
  3. Define your message. What is your specific message to your audience? What is your burden and passion? In Chapter 1 of Nehemiah, what was Nehemiah’s burden and passion? It was not building a wall. This wall isn’t even mentioned in the first chapter. For example, it might be “Restore America” or “Transformation of America” as the message. Your message should be one that your audience can understand and relate to their heart -need.
  4. Add value to the vision of your audience. For this you need to know the need of your audience. This is heart question. What is the heart of your audience? Now you need to communicate your message in terms of the heart need. With Nehemiah, the heart need was security. Jerusalem, or what was left of it was destroyed and they were surrounded by enemies. Nehemiah was going to address that by building the wall. Their real need was a unity and oneness and spiritual recovery.  He spoke to that by leading them in building the wall. The wall was the vehicle for the real need. Some years ago in Portland we had discovered using powerful mapping tools a Hispanic community without a church and needing one. Their want was ESL classes to learn English so they could get jobs. We started by addressing their need. We can confuse needs and wants if we are not careful. Define each for your audience, then add value.
  5. Define the warfare. What is keeping you from carrying your message forward? Finances? time? education? health? depression? Define your counter strategies for each. If the Lord wants you to deliver this message, He will provide a way if you commit. You’re the “postman”. Your job is to deliver the mail, not fight the dogs.
  6. Go personal. When younger I, like others, kept a journal (still do). I’d  get upset if anyone read it.  Now I journal on Facebook. So does a lot of my tribe. And I want you to read it. The personal posts that I do get read  the most, and are also shared the most.  If you want your posts to go viral, getting your readers to share you is essential. Don’t use Truth to beat others. Build relationships in trust and love.
  7. Evaluate. Make sure you have some type of feedback system to measure your on-going success.

(You may share his post. Please share. We do SEO (search engine optimization), SMO (social media optimization), web site design, and more. Contact us for more information.)

Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality

“For the revelation [vision] awaits an appointed time ,it speaks [as to kindle a fire] of the end [the Karios moment]. Though it linger, wait for it.it will certainly come and will not delay.” Hab. 2:3

get beyond illusion
Look at the Nehemiah story.  Those guys doing the spiritual mapping of Jerusalem were reporting to Nehemiah that there was no vision, no passion, no security, no leadership and that those chosen people there were in disgrace. Is that a picture of America today? So here this one man goes in and turns that completely around in 52 days. Really? Remember this “one man” first spent four months in prayer and fasting. For what was Nehemiah praying? There is no wall mentioned in that first chapter of Nehemiah. He wasn’t praying for a wall. For what was he praying?

Carl’s book. Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality, speaks into this change. Take a look at the Table of Contents, then order your copy from Amazon.com.

 

 

Birthing the Lost Gift of Prophecy

avalanche lily

avalanche lily

Hiking high in the Cascades, I came across an avalanche lily. It was beautiful beyond description, and I just stopped and stared at it. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It was very close to my path. In fact, a careless step on my part could have destroyed the small beauty. The flower only grows in two of America’s states (Oregon and Washington). and is nourished by the pure, glacier fed streams on the mountain. Across the way was what was left of another lily – trampled underfoot and it’s beauty destroyed.

How often we see people around us that are are hurt and wounded and we see only the wound and speak a careless word into that person. You should speak love into that person, again and again. You should speak a prophetic word into that person to call forth that hidden beauty. Again and again until it emerges. You can trust God to do His thing if you love – really love – that person.

I remember years ago watching Dewitt Jones video of the dandelions. Jones is one of the leading photographers in the world. Why? He tells you his secret in the video. First you see a field of dandelions much like those horrible weeds you see in your yard. Then Jones moves to his hands and knees and shoots them from another angle. Wow! Then a third shot shows the camera low again, the sun shining into the field from behind him, and an gentle wind blowing the seeds in a kaleidoscope of color that takes your breath away.  “The secret,” says says Jones, “is how I perceived the dandelions.  The camera catches that perception.”

That is the secret of changing things in the world about you. How do your perceive the people you meet? Yourself? With each person you meet, God wants to create a covenant relationship with that person. To favor them. God wants to birth the avalanche lily or even an astonishing and beautiful dandelion in that person.  Unfortunately, so often it is the church that can’t see that and even the church often tries to destroy the myth that is there and buried  in that person. This is also true of the myth within you. Never fear, you can probably find a few people in that church that DO speak the myth to you. Remember the seed of the beautiful avalanche lily or the beautiful dandelion Jones shows  is within you. Just like the flower, you can’t choose your destiny.  That was written in you by God before you were even born (Ps. 139).

When we prophesy to another person, that often involves the speaking into the other to the mythic nature of their undiscovered destiny. For example, Joyce had been crushed by physical abuse from the father as a child. When she married, she could have forged all of that pain and anger toward men she had stored up through the years on her husband. She didn’t, but rather chose to forgive and was able to receive from her husband the love she had never experienced before from a man. The husband, in turn, constantly spoke of the beauty he had discovered in her and watched her bloom and become that “avalanche lily” he saw even as he courted her. He saw and spoke his vision for her into her constantly, a vision others did not see. Until she became that vision.

Jesus (to blind Bartimaeus): What do you want me to do for you?
Bartimaneus: Lord, that I may receive my sight.
Luke 18:40-43

Journal Dialog:

  1. Who speaks into your own mythic nature, engaging you to the God-given identity to which you are called? (The prophetic speaking into you.)
  2. Who do you speak into, calling them to the God-given identity that is even beyond their own vision and possibility? (Your gifting of prophecy into that person.)


Carl is a researcher, writer, speaker based in Portland, Oregon.

If you are telling your story with Facebook, your message rolls off the first page quickly and you lose 50% of your audience in about 30 minutes. With a blog, you have everything there and indexed by category. Add photos, multimedia, and more. You own your own space and you control it. Contact us for more information.

Praying the Reality Into Existence

We are working with God to determine the future. Certain things will happen in history if we pray rightly.
Richard Foster

Prayer is the great mystery. If God is all powerful, why did He let my wife die? Why weren’t my prayers answered? Why have I lost some of my best friends and mentors to cancer and other horrible diseases?

Here is a God who can do anything. He is all-powerful and now has ultimate authority on earth. He can speak the word and the universe is created. He can raise Lazarus from the dead. Why does God need our help? Why, in fact, did He even need to create me? Or you? Of what use are our prayers to a self-sufficient God? And if God really loves us, why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Or if the unanswered prayer is an illusion, what is the reality of prayer?

In Ezekiel 22:30-31 we find an amazing verse:

“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord GOD.

In this verse we see that an all-powerful self-sufficient God is saying He will destroy a nation and execute judgment unless one man stands in the gap between the nation and God and prays, petitioning for the saving of the land. God wants to save the nation but will execute the judgment unless one intercessor stands and prays for the land. God leaves Himself totally dependent on the prayers of one man.

Here is another example of one man saving a nation:

Fed up, God decided to get rid of them—
and except for Moses, his chosen, he would have.
But Moses stood in the gap and deflected God’s anger,
prevented it from destroying them utterly.

Psalms 106:23 THE MESSAGE

Why did an omnipotent God set up a system that depends on us?

God’s problem is not that God is unable to do certain things. God’s problem is that God loves. Love complicates the life of God as it complicates every life.
John Douglas Hall

Now that is a challenge, isn’t it? The Israelite nation, under the prayers of one man, Nehemiah, experienced a spiritual transformation that changed everything in only 52 days. That can happen in America. But what did it cost Nehemiah? Remember, he spend four months fasting and praying before taking even the first step beyond the prayer and fasting.

It is time for the Church in America to wake up.

from Beyond Illusion, Leading from Reality by Carl Townsend. Copyright 2013. (Yes, you can share this. Please do.)

Writing to Create Change

If you want to be a writer, functionally it is easier today because of the technology available.

  • Printing your book is very cost-effective now. For a few hundred dollars, you can have your book printed in small quantities and distributed through Amazon. Kindle editions of my books now sell for a few bucks on Amazon.
  • Marketing strategies have changed and are now quite inexpensive.Create a strong presence in the social media. With a website, you can move thousands of copies.
  • Distribution can easily be done direct from a website or using Amazon.
Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton writing his journal

That doesn’t mean writing a book is any easier. You are competing with thousands of “would-be authors” who would like to be famous, and the best-selling stuff is more often garbage in God’s eyes. Can you carry a strong message and still cut through the clutter? I’m still learning. I try never to forget that. Believe in yourself.

Here are a few writing tips I have learned:

  • What is the vision for your writing? Why are you writing? What is your burden? Where do you want to see change? Be as specific as you can with this.
  • What are your core values? Where is your reference for these?
  • Write to your audience. What is their burden, their pain? How have you dealt with that? Even if writing a fiction book, build your characters on real people that you know. Develop that character in your book. Where are your conflict issues in your story. Then show how the characters face the issues of those of your audience. Leading authors often spend months or years developing their characters and pre-story before writing their first chapter.
  • Write daily. If necessary, have a mentor hold you accountable to that. Don’t let anyone discourage you. One of the best ways of doing this is to use your own website and blog. In doing that, you own your own Internet space and write to that. Facebook and other social media are great, but use them to point people to your home base, which really should be a website and blog – at least the blog.
  • “A writer, like an athlete, must ‘train’ every day. What did I do today to keep in ‘form’?” (Susan Sontag)

  • Even in writing non-fiction, write using stories. Everyone loves stories. If using real life stories (and these are generally the best), protect the confidence of those involved. Use dummy names or get permission.
  • Use strong verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Don’t say “He walked into the room” if you mean “He staggered into the room”.
  • Be sure you facts are correct, verifying with multiple sources that are reliable. A single wrong fact can destroy an entire argument.
  • In reading magazines, notice which advertisements catch your eyes. Why did these stand out? What graphic were used? What keywords were used in the text? What is the action step asked of you in the ad? Did you take any action step from the ad?
  • If writing a book, experiment with different covers and titles that you create. I often take my samples to a restaurant and put these on my table, watching to see which of these catch the eyes of people passing and then taking with them about that cover sample. Remember: If you book is in a bookstore or displayed on a web page, the cover with your title is all people see and all you have to motivate them to the next step.
  • Include a feedback strategy for your writing. Have mentor-level friends critique your writing. Join a writer’s group. Blog or put material on social media and see the response. I often test stories I use in speaking or writing out in conversations first and judge the response. When writing a book, I’ll have at least three people editing it.Get testimonials. When I’m giving a speech, be careful what you tell me afterward. You may find it later as a testimonial on my web page. I’m always listening from feedback. Incidentally, the most profound compliment anyone has given me cam from John Eldridge in a website interview with a magazine that was forwarded to me. I don’t even use it on my web pages. It’s simply too profound.

“There is a great deal that either has to be given up or be taken away from you if you are going to succeed in writing a body of work.”
Susan Sontag

Carl does professional and affordable website development for people serious about changing their world.

The Search for Leadership

In 2009 I authored a book Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality about leadership. I was really concerned about leadership in America, which seemed to be failing wherever you looked. Unfortunately, since then, it has only gotten worse.

To quote Chuck Colson (a leader himself), “America is committing suicide”.

get beyond illusionSo as we enter election time, we are promoting this book again. Here is the surprise: This isn’t a political book. The American political parties aren’t mentioned in the book, neither are any specific political names. The “thread” story here is that of Nehemiah in the Bible. At that time Israel was without vision, passion, or security.

Like America today. (PS – if you think America is secure think again. It reminds me of the Toynbee quote in which he said 21 of the 22 great civilizations were destroyed from within, not from without. During just the last few weeks it has been a theater shooting Aurora (Colorado), a massacre in Wisconsin, a shooting at the conservative think tank Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, and then a shooting at the A & M University in the news. And I can also name decisions that show moral and ethical failure by our so-called “leaders”. In contrast, Nehemiah led the Israelites through a major spiritual, physical, and emotional awakening in only 52 days. And he was constantly fighting enemies both within and without.

In this book you will see what Nehemiah did to lead that transformation. You will also meet other Biblical leaders as well as some contemporary leaders. You will also read about several (that’s right, several) spiritual awakenings that have happened in America. You will see what will it take for an awakening to happen again.

Take a look at the Table of Contents, then order your copy while we still have them in stock.

Need help getting your message out? Carl is a professional specialist in web site development, social media, authoring, and publishing. Why not contact Carl?

A leadership lesson from Senator Hatfield

Here is interesting article about a speech Senator Hatfield (who died August 7, 2011) gave some years ago at Warner Pacific College.
http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20110821/COLUMN0108/108210326/Rep-Vic-Gilliam-reflects-his-time-Sen-Hatfield

Senator Hatfield

Senator Hatfield

The comments Senator Hatfield in this speech could be applied to many other areas where Christians should be involved: political change, abortion protests, protecting my city parks, etc, – you name it. And Senator Hatfield lived what he is saying here.

Leadership with No Easy Answers

Leadership through command and control is doomed to fail. No one can create sufficient stability and equilibrium for people to feel secure and safe. Instead, as leaders we must help people move into a relationship with uncertainty and chaos. Spiritual teachers have been doing this for millennia. Therefore, I believe that the times have led leaders to a spiritual threshold. We must enter the domain of spiritual traditions if we are to succeed as good leaders in these difficult times.
Margaret Wheatley, Leadership in Turbulent Times is Spiritual

I’ve been doing a lot of study of the book of Habakkuk lately. John Maxwell, in his The Maxwell Leadership Bible, calls this book of Habakkuk “Leadership with no easy answers”. The very first verse of the first chapter begins:

The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.

I have two words circled in my Bible: “saw” and “burden”. What did Habakkuk see? The following verses describe a nation much as America today. Habakkuk then hurls three questions at God. In the first question, he is asking if this is a chosen (or “Christian”) nation, why is all this going on? Where are You in all this? The wicked surround the righteous. Justice never goes forth, and there is strive and contention.

The Lord answers Habakkuk, and the answer is shocking. The Northern Kingdom has already been taken away, and the Lord tells Habakkuk that the Southern Kingdom will be taken away by another nation that is far more wicked than Israel itself.

Habakkuk then asks God what is going on. Do you really know what you are doing here?” (Maxwell) In Habakkuk’s second and third questions, he expresses his confusion to God and is asking how this can possibility be right.

Ever been there in your own life? If God is good and loves you, why would he take that spouse, or that child, or leave you jobless?

What does Habakkuk do? As the second chapter begins, we see that Habakkuk says he will “stand his watch and wait to see what God will do. And watch to see what He will say to me…”

Habakkuh says he will wait. Sometimes the hardest thing for a leader to do is wait. I remember after the Billy Graham crusade here meeting Bob Crider, a local evangelist, in a local restaurant. I knew he was involved in the local and massive prayer summits at the coast where hundreds of pastors gathered at times to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit in Portland. I asked him when the pastors would begin acting, moving beyond the prayer. His answer touched me deeply. “Carl,” he said, “we must wait for the Lord to speak.” It’s hard for a leader to wait.

Habakkuk waited, but it was an active waiting. The word “watch” is used twice in the verse, and a different Hebrew word is used each time. When he says “I will stand my watch”, the word refers to the role or functional gift of the watchman. Ephesians 4 describes the five-fold functional gifts of the Holy Spirit, and here is another functional gift. The watchman stationed himself on the walls of the city and watched 24/7 for what was going on outside the city.

The second time the word “watch” is used, it refers to a motivational gifting (1 Cor 12). It translates as to lean forward, to peer into the distance. It’s an intentional action birthed from passion.

The Lord answers Habakkuk, and the answer is in the second chapter. He is to write the vision on a billboard, so that anyone reading can read it even if they are running. THE JUST WILL LIVE BY FAITH. The third chapter is a prayer of praise and becomes a worship experience on the part of Habakkuk. The concluding verse (and I love it):

The LORD God is Carl’s strength;
He will make Carl’s feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make Carl walk on Carl’s high places.

Several lessons we can learn from this:

  • The healing was birthed from Habakkuk intimacy with God. The for for God used throughout the book is LORD, which translates as Yahweh, the intimate name for a God who is loved, loves, and is love.
  • Habakkuk was a praying leader. We must be praying leaders.
  • We must wait for our answer, but expect it.
  • The action is birthed from a burden, a passion.
  • It’s OK to ask God questions.
  • The greatest leadership principle here is trust. Habakkuk knew he wasn’t in control.

What other lessons do you see?

Remember, Speak, Act

God is in the business of redemption (Gen 1:26). We are created in God’s image. God is eager to reveal Himself to Man in the midst of his or her chaos. What does this verse mean?I am called to remember. This does not mean remembering where your keys are, but remembering your past. Every past event is right, as God gave it to you. To live in the present is to know(1) and understand. The problem with Adam in the garden is that he did not remember. Moses asked the Israelites to remember. The Hebrew word for “male” used in Gen. 1:27 means “the remembering one.” What a strange word to describe a man. It means we have a reason to remember. We are called to remember that God is faithful to His people and that He reveals Himself to us.I am called to speak. Unlike the secular creation accounts with their sex and violence, the biblical account of creation shows God bringing the world into existence by speaking. God spoke order into chaos. Man is called to speak order into chaos in the name of the Lord. Later, in Gen 4:26, we see men beginning to speak with God’s authority as it says men began to call upon the name of the Lord (Yahweh, a personal God).I am called to step into the chaos. Remember the Israelites had to step into the Jordan to get to their Promised Time or Place. Before then, Moses had to stand before Pharaoh – more than once – into his chaos. Jonathan had to stand alone before the well-armed Philistines with only a sword. Esther stepped before the King – the story repeats over and over again. Nehemiah stepped into the chaos when he returned to Jerusalem and say the people there with no purpose, vision, or security.In the story of the first temptation, Romans 5:12ff makes it clear that Adam sinned first, then Eve. Adam was with Eve at the time of the temptation (Gen. 3:6). Yet Adam did not remember the intimacy he had with God. In the Hebrew, it translates as Adam chose not to remember. Adam did not speak and was silent. Finally, Adam did not step into the chaos. For this reason we see Adam sinning before Eve ate the apple.Like Adam, we choose the tragedy. We face tragedy every day. Jesus comes in and doesn’t remove the tragedy, but redeems it.Satan says your story is over, give it up.The Gospel says tragedy is the beginning of the story.When my wife died after battling leukemia, I thought the story was over.God spoke – I was to go to the beach, rent a horse, and race it on the beach.God told me secrets on that day that I still am trying to hear and act on.The story wasn’t over.Which story are you living?(From notes from a message by Don Hudson. Also see The Silence of Adam: Men of Courage in a World of Chaos. Larry Crab, Don Hudson, etc.)1. The Hebrew word for know here is yada, and refers in Gen. 4:1, Jer. 29:11, Ex 13-17).From Carl’s book Beyond Illusion, Leading from Reality (copyright 2010 and available here.