I want to plant a seed for you to ponder with the Lord. Does your ministry or area of influence reflect that of mothers and fathers caring for God’s family, or is it set up to function more like managers running a business? The latter will never produce the kind of fruit God wants His family to bear. If we are managers running a business, we will only promote those who make us look good, are excellent at what they do, and make little messes. We will choose people just like us who cause little friction. We will have success and image as the goal, not the journey. We will raise successful spiritual orphans who have learned that performance matters above character and capacity development. Sadly, this promotes rockstars of the hour, but they are not equipped to deal with the long-term weight of what God wants to do through them because they have never dealt with the issues in their foundation. If we lead from the position of mothers and fathers, we will allow God to bring to us whoever He feels best, even if that means a development process for both parties. We will judge our success by the fruit of a life transformed, even if it means there were messes made. We will value what He values, not the world. We will give those under us the gifts of a mother and father, such as being seen, heard, valued, instructed, etc., because a person can only really be their best when healthy mothers and fathers cover them. Managers may win awards and achieve success, but only mothers and fathers gain eternal rewards. Ask Jesus to show you if there is an area of your leadership and authority where you have functioned as a manager rather than a mother and father. Repent. Ask Jesus to show you how to model your leadership/influence after His. Enjoy the fruit He wants to grow and develop through your eternal legacy!
Hurt In The Church
I messed up big time, and it wasn’t the first. And it probably won’t be the last. Sigh! The older I get, the more I see people, especially leaders, hurting people not because of their wounds but because they fail to have the revelation of who they are. It isn’t their wounds that hurt others. Their lack of walking in their identity, their power, and the fullness of who God created them to be has hurt others. I call this orphan leadership. Years ago, I was starting to lead people on my team, which was a new experience for me. As much as I wish God would perfect us before letting us put our toes in the water, He often puts us in situations, knowing full well they will stretch us, allowing us to GROW in our capacity. I roared when I should have remained silent. I disconnected when I should have fought for them. I assumed when I should have listened. I jumped when I should have waited. I blew it, and I hurt them. On one hand, I was justified as a leader for dealing with the issue that needed to be addressed, but it would take me nearly two years before I could see my contribution and where I needed to become more like Jesus in my leadership. OUCH! The process was painful. I wanted to reach out to this person but had a million reasons why it was too late and would just be weird. I kept hearing God say, “There is no expiration on forgiveness.” I sent them a message of ownership for my part and asked for their forgiveness. I could barely get through their response with the tears in my eyes. They wondered if I had missed them as much as they had missed me. The presence of God is strong when there is unity amongst His children.
Friends, is there someone you have hurt and need to make it right with? You WILL be reconciled with your spiritual family one way or another, as there is no strife, pain, and disunity in heaven. But here’s the deal – you give God glory and honor by reconciling with someone ON EARTH that you can’t give to Him in heaven. Ask Jesus, “Jesus, will You please show me if there is anyone I need to make something right with and ask forgiveness?”
One mom messaged me after watching our video saying she sat in the parking lot of Target and wept as she heard God speaking to her for the first time in eight years after getting profoundly hurt in the church. Parents, it’s time to deal with the hurt and come home again!
P.S. Do you have friends who are nursing hurts? Send this link to them in a private message with a word of encouragement that God sees their pain and wants to help them heal. Hurt in the Church – YouTube
Have you been hurt in the church? Of course, you have. Why? Because we are FAMILY, and family is made up of human beings on a journey to becoming more like Him. Hurts, mistakes, and choices make messes, sometimes big ones. The point is not that you got hurt. The issue is: #1. Understanding the PURPOSE of the hurt. #2. What do you DO with the hurt? Why are we talking about this? Because nothing affects the next generation more than having parents who endured hurt in the church and are nursing wounds, confusion and pain and who have AMPUTATED themselves from the Body. We are talking about this because that is what HEALTHY families do. They talk, they get real, and they address what is attacking the family SO THAT they can deal with it, mature, and overcome it. Honor has been interpreted as silence, which is the enemy’s tool to keep pain trapped. You don’t need to take your hurts to social media, but if you want to heal, you have to be honest with yourself and God about your pain.
I created this video teaching to address this issue. As you walk through this, I realize there will be things to process, so I have taken the time to cut this hour-long teaching into bite-sized segments, which can be found on our YouTube channel. You can simply listen to it if you do not have time to watch this. Either way, honor your own heart by giving it a voice.
Click here to find the segments: Lisa Max – YouTube
As a parent, how does this story make you feel? Johnny walks up to his younger sister, minding her own business, punches her, and then tells her she doesn’t belong in the family. OUCH! What if mom walked in and got all the other siblings against Johnny, making him feel like the outsider, as if his bad attitude meant he no longer belonged? This is the recipe for some serious family dysfunction and pain. Johnny’s behavior clearly needs to be addressed because it is not in alignment with God’s heart, but he is operating out of being an orphan and needs the love of a Father, not rejection. This would not be okay in our family and should not be okay in God’s family. Can’t you see? It is not a gay/straight, John/Beth, He said/She said, Kanye/Church, Pastor/Flock issue. This is a dividing issue from the enemy bent on destroying God’s family. DO NOT PLAY THE GAME. Do not pick sides. Do not pick a winner because if there is a winner, there must be a loser, and we do not treat family that way.
There are only two camps of people – those who are Sons/Daughters and those who are still operating as orphans (even Christians can be orphans). If Johnny does not have eyes to see his sister’s worth, then he needs a revelation from God. The Bible says people cannot see because they have scales on their eyes. Isaiah 44:18 reads, “They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.” Your prayers that the scales from a brother’s eyes be removed will be more effective than your social media posts against him. If you are taking sides and have not prayed for the scales to be removed from his eyes, then you could very well be just as guilty of participating in dividing God’s family. We are ONE family. ONE Body. If a brother and sister argue, they need love, not sides. I ache over the words spoken against family members, but I want to be an agent of restoration (through prayer), not further division. Which side are you on? Neither! We are on the same side, serving the same God as ONE Body.
After doing our video on Hurt in the Church, I received numerous messages from people saying, “I am going to return to the church.” It is super brave to come back home after being hurt, but the truth is you will never find full healing being amputated from the rest of the Body. We need you! We want you! We welcome you!
Do you have loved ones, friends, or co-workers who have been hurt by the church or maybe have walked away? May I encourage you to privately share this post with them? They will not find demands or accusations, but rather a balm for their experiences.
IT’S TIME – It’s time to come home! Months ago, God said to me, “You have taken the Let the Children Fly message and applied it to your family. Now I want you to take it to Mine.” I knew He meant the church, and that terrified me. Homes and churches are two totally different lanes. I battled deeply for three long days. I finally told Him He had my YES! I sat down to hear His heart, and in one sitting, He gave me this message but told me to wait. All hell broke loose after that, including deep betrayal, finding a tumor, losing a dear friend, being judged and misunderstood, etc. It only strengthened my resolve that the enemy does not want us to talk, but we need to. We need to have a conversation. We need to bring things into the light for healing. This is what family does – they call a family meeting and talk things through no matter how painful. Jesus sets us free when we walk in truth, not silence. He has given me the green light to share it with you now, and out of obedience and trust, I move forward to carry this message to you. If you have been hurt in the church, it is time to talk because it is time to come home. If unhealthy interactions sidelined you, it is time to talk. If you are bruised at the hands of those who were supposed to protect you, it is time to talk. If you have left the church because of the things you have experienced, it is time to talk. It is time to talk if you are isolated and alone in your battle. If you are afraid and concerned, it is time to talk. If you are silenced, it is time to talk. If you were judged and found unfit, it is time to talk. If you were told something was wrong with you, it is time to talk. If you were told you needed to change your life in order to be worthy of attendance, it is time to talk. It is time to talk because it is time for you to come home. May there be a flood of healing in the Body as we are willing to be honest, and deal with the pain and heartbreak that so many are walking through. The homecoming will be worth it!
The kids and I were praying for a friend walking through some deep hurts from their church. It was painful to see them hurting over what feels so unjust. We were reminded of some of our own experiences with imperfect leaders. Interactions with those in authority shape our spiritual development. One of the kids said, “Mom, really, what’s the point of church? People can just go to Jesus on their own.” It was a real and honest statement from a child who has seen the ‘ugly’ side of the church. I was moved to tears and said, “No, no, no, child. The church is Jesus, and we come to worship Him, not man. Just because man has been imperfect in leading like Jesus doesn’t mean we turn on the church. We love, honor, and respect the church, AND we walk through hurts, disappointments, and being misunderstood.” I realized in that moment how many children grow up resenting the church, not just from their own experience but from witnessing the church bring pain to their parents. If being hurt by the church is something you have experienced, it is imperative that you walk through it with your children so that they do not gain a warped view of the church. I explained that the church is Jesus’ Body, just like we have a liver, spleen, nose, eyes, hair, arms, etc. The church is made up of all sorts of different people. Just because the liver is weak doesn’t mean we give up on the whole body. We pray for the liver to be healed and whole, but we don’t give up on it. The church is family, and we do not discard family just because they are imperfect. We owe it to the next generation to invite, bridge, and restore them to the church!
Christians can often see/feel the spirit behind things yet are so ill-equipped in discernment (the ability to judge well), they respond negatively to the person instead of the spirit realm. To expect acceptance would mean to violate what they are seeing. People often attack the behavior, but what they are really standing up against is the spirit that their spirit knows is not right. We hurt people when we attack them instead of helping them. Those who have walked in isolation and believe the enemy’s whispers about their identity are fed up with believers who were powerless to help them, failed to validate the deep isolation and then demanded outward performance. If it is a spirit issue then the church should be ones to HELP and instead we have been the ones to accuse, blame and shame. Let me use this word picture. If a child is being tormented by a spirit of fear and reacts to it with yelling and crying the parent will FEEL the spirit in fear in operation yet they don’t always have eyes to discern (the ability to judge well), but they can feel it (and without discernment it normally riles up the parent too). Getting mad at the child, disciplining, isolating, scolding them or telling them to ‘stop’ is pointless because it isn’t just about their less than pleasant behavior, as in bad character. It is about something going on in the spirit realm that is influencing them. They need HELP to resolve the issue in the spirit realm before their behavior will change. The enemy’s goal is outlined in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” He comes to STEAL community (isolation), oftentimes in our own homes, he then whispers lies to KILL their identity (who they were created to be) and then DESTROYS the thing that we all long for – community and connection. The church should be a safe place to resolve spiritual issues, but because they have been so ill-equipped to discern the spirit and have focused solely on behavior modification, we have actually furthered the agenda of tolerance and acceptance. We have forced the world to accept what we have not been able to respond to well and help resolve. There is a time to rise up as parents and leaders in our authority, not against the child/person but the spirit behind it. Parents need to be equipped with tools to walk in discernment when this spirit is in operation in their homes. Children who are being influenced by this spirit need HELP to resolve it.
I have been stewarding this dream for years and believe it is the time to share it. God was teaching me about family and, ultimately, the church because leadership should reflect good parenting. In my dream, the kids and I arrived at our new housing. It was a unique round building with a gorgeous custom kitchen and living room in the middle. It was designed with the intention of people doing life together. Off of the living area were master suites with private bathrooms. We walked in, each carrying a different-sized suitcase, like the ones that were passed down from parents or grandparents. There was no check-in station as it was designed to be set up like a family with connection between the occupants, not run like a motel or business. We were aware there were people gathered in one of the rooms. I knew in my dream they were aware we had arrived and were waiting, but they didn’t come out to greet us or give us instructions. I didn’t want just to assume which room was ours, so despite traveling a long distance, we waited joyfully. The landlord walked in to greet us like a mother eager to see her child. I felt at home when she hugged me. She began to flow with tears. It wasn’t an anxious, wounded, or fearful cry. Just tears of genuine sadness. She said, “I want you here, but you can’t stay. You would be a model tenant, but they were here first and don’t want you here.” It didn’t feel like personal rejection as much as just the way things were done there. The sincere compassion I felt for the landlord for having renters who did not honor her desires for her own building made it easy to take my eyes off of myself and put them on her. I hugged her and assured her we would be okay, even though it meant we would be ‘homeless’ once we walked out the door. This tender moment morphed into me, saying firmly, “I will go (to honor her), but I will not leave until I have taken a shower first.” I was so aware in my dream it was 4 in the afternoon, and I was already clean. I went to take my shower and noticed a line that went all the way out the door. End of dream. I woke up at 4 with a deep pang in my heart over what I had just witnessed in my dream. I got out of bed and sat in the dark living room, where I began to unpack the dream with God. He said, “Ask me who the landlord was in the dream,” and it was revealed she was Holy Spirit. I immediately fell on my face and wept. To witness Holy Spirit being grieved grieves me. To this day, I still can’t talk about the dream without tears coming to my eyes. I will never forget the genuine sadness in her eyes. The round living area represented what should have been a family room (not an empty living room). The people in the bedrooms were the parents/leaders who had authority just by ‘being there first.’ The dream highlights the need for instruction and guidance from them. Their closed room door and unwillingness to come out represents a wall they have built to shut out what they don’t want to enter. God sends children into families and people into churches carrying certain things (suitcases) because He knows what they need is inside of them. It grieves Him when we reject the ones He has sent to us to BLESS US. When we begin to run our families/churches according to our own agenda, we miss out on what He is doing in them. The lack of concern from the parents/leaders felt unloving, prideful, and downright rude, but the Lord showed me later that they were protecting something. Oftentimes when a parent/leader has wounds, hurts, jealousy or insecurity will, they will shut out the very ones God brings to them to help them. Just by their presence, a child/person can trigger the parents/leaders wound and cause them to ‘shut the door.’ This is a greater reflection on the parent/leader but often feels to the child/person like something is wrong with them. Parents/leaders can argue that what they are doing is right because they are ‘protecting’ something, but God never called us to be self-protectors. That is His job. I was aware in my dream, due to the uniqueness of the circle building, that the people in the closed room were at the 11 o’clock position. 11 can represent imperfection, disorder, disintegration, and chaos, which is exactly what happens when parents/leaders are unwilling to open the door, communicate clearly or welcome what those under them carry by God’s design. My shower represented my awareness that this interaction slimmed me, and I needed to rid myself fully and completely of any hurts, offenses, judgments, or bitterness. I assumed the words “you would be a model tenant” meant we were faithful financially, which is important to a landlord, but the Lord showed me that the word ‘model’ meant we, as a family, carried a model. There are five people in my family, and we all just happen to represent a different part of the five-fold ministry. We have an anointing in the area of family, and God has given us an anointing on how to model our families after His. We came into the family room, bringing that model with us. This is super important because we ALL carry things and that God wants to release through us. The vintage suitcases represented what has been passed down from each generation. We never meet someone with an empty suitcase. God has been setting things in motion in each family line for centuries. We carry what our parents, grandparents, and on did or didn’t complete on earth but may have sowed into. Each person’s suitcase is filled with valuable keys, solutions, and tools to build His Kingdom. My shower was at four which confirmed to me that I was FOR them, even though it wasn’t received. Taking a shower was about me, but FOR them as not to carry the offense against them. God also woke me at 4 am. Children are born FOR their parents until they are taught otherwise. Ironically, God woke me up at 4:44 am to release this dream. The long line indicated this dream wasn’t just for me but a corporate one, as many were slimed in the process of being shut out. This is a key and strategy of the Lord. We must clean ourselves of hurts, offenses, and judgments before we are fully free to move on.