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  • Pastor Tom Cunningham


"Declare among the nations, proclaim, and set up a standard; Proclaim—do not conceal it…” ~Jeremiah 50:2

It is impossible to be complete [as a person] until you are sufficiently right with God. We are physical, emotional and spiritual beings. All of those parts make up the whole. That means you can be beautiful, smart and talented, but if you are not in right relationship with Jesus Christ you will NEVER be happy… It really is that simple. You can be physically fit and emotionally stable, but if you are not contrite in your spirit, you will never find lasting, authentic happiness. And, if you are never happy, you will never succeed in making impact on anybody else’s life — let alone getting reasonable control over your own! We have everything we need to make a difference as the church of Jesus Christ and we should be setting the standard and declaring the victory to the nations —but even as the people of God, we insist on bringing ‘the standard’ down to a more accommodating level. It’s easier that way — less intrusive. It is time to stop living for the average and demand of ourselves a higher standard. Revival begins with each individual, not the entirety.

The world is wrought with excuses for why society is failing. While maliciously erasing God from public life, society looks at all the symptoms for the answer to the disease. Leaders fail to raise their own standards of morality and alternatively find it more opportune to bring others down. By successfully affecting the lowering or ‘dumbing’ down of societal morality, they are composing an artificially increased view of themselves — thus feigning the taking of the personal ‘high’ ground, howbeit fraudulently. They in actuality walk in defeat and so in turn find it necessary to purposefully defeat others so they do not have to walk alone. They are limiting themselves to their own inadequate strength and talent when God wants them to be transcendent creatures in His limitless power. Seek the Lord and walk in His strength. Raise the standard by which you will allow your life to be governed and by what measure you will set your goals.

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” ~Isaiah 40:28-31


While walking through the forest one day, a man found a young eagle that had fallen out of his nest. He took it home and put it in his barnyard where it soon learned to eat and behave like the chickens. One day a naturalist passed by the farm and asked why it was that the king of all birds should be confined to live in the barnyard with the chickens. The farmer replied that since he had given it chicken feed and trained it to be a chicken; it had never learned to fly. Since it now behaved as the chickens, it was no longer an eagle.

“Still it has the heart of an eagle,” replied the naturalist, “and can surely be taught to fly.” He lifted the eagle toward the sky and said, “You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”

The eagle, however, was confused. He did not know who he was, and seeing the chickens eating their food, he jumped down to be with them again. The naturalist took the bird to the roof of the house and urged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”

But the eagle was afraid of his unknown self and world and jumped down once more for the chicken food. Finally the naturalist took the eagle out of the barnyard to a high mountain. There he held the king of the birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. You belong to the sky. Stretch forth your wings and fly.”

The eagle looked around, back towards the barnyard and up to the sky. Then the naturalist lifted him straight towards the sun and it happened that the eagle began to tremble. Slowly he stretched his wings, and with a triumphant cry, soared away into the heavens.

It may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens with nostalgia. It may even be that he occasionally revisits the barnyard—looking down upon them with pity. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to lead the life of a chicken. ” ~Theology News and Notes, October, 1976, quoted in Multnomah Message, Spring, 1993, p. 1.

We are eagles, created by God to soar, but often we spend too much time with the chickens. Every church and every community has its chickens; clucking here and clucking there — the cackling of self-importance — living a small-minded existence inside the fence of their own making: the little barnyard. Yet, by the cackling and the noise they make, you’d think they rule the world — when they don’t even rule the barnyard. The fate of chickens is preordained: Chickens always end up in the slaughter — or laying eggs for someone else to take. They are a bird species of sorts, but tragically and pitifully not even able to fly! Be careful if you find yourself stuck in the barnyard — it is possible you may forget who you are and that indeed you were meant to soar.

If we are living for God, then all of us are called to a higher destiny and purpose that is intended to raise us above the average, to a new potential, beyond those around us — soaring above the mountain tops. So, when we do see a barnyard in the future, let us in pity, seek to raise those inhabitants to the high hills as well.

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