“MORE AND MORE”

I am finding myself, in writing my blogs, using the phrase “more and more” more and more. <g> Why is that? What is it that I find significant in that phraseology that draws me?

1) Richard Swenson, M.D. first brought the concept of “more” as an idea to be considered in the mind. He is a physician/mathematician/futurist who wrote books on Overload and Margin. In his shortbook Hurtling Toward Oblivion (which I first heard about on a “Focus on the Family” broadcast years ago and subsequently purchased and consumed) he had been doing a lot of charts—some 300, if I remember right—that had similar shapes (S- and J-curves and such). He has an epiphany one day while driving and has to pull over to write down some 6 or 7 key concepts that, strung together, point to a conclusion that we are headed inescapably toward some cataclysmic event (he does not predict what). The first of these concepts is “MORE”: “There is always more.” We can say that “production was down on cars this year—we only produced 600,000, as compared to the previous year’s 1,000,000,” but still, there are 600,000 more autos in existence than there were last year. There is never less—there is always “MORE.”

2) Somehow, the 1st “more” is about an area in which God is doing more in my life (e.g., my marriage) and the 2nd about some other area (e.g., my relationship with men). God seems to be adding and multiplying at the same time. And even the multiplying is taking on an exponential base. (Hope that’s not a mathematical contradiction—wasn’t expecting that to crop up as I wrote!)

3) “More and more and more and more….” is a phrase conveying the idea of infinity. I remember a revelation I had many years ago about the scripture found in Isaiah 9:7, a passage included in Handel’s Messiah. It says (in the KJV): “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end….” How do our minds logically process that? We tend to make it mean, “Oh, his government [Kingdom] will never end.” But that’s NOT what it says! It says, “His Kingdom will NEVER STOP INCREASING!” It’s like the “Big Bang Theory” (the red-shift idea of the universe continually, perhaps endlessly, expanding) applied to Kingdom logistics: We, as kings under the King of kings, will never stop increasing the areas of our authority, our empowerment, our enablement! We will ALWAYS be growing, expanding, multiplying, increasing, fermenting, mushrooming—whatever other words the thesaurus might find to express that! We’re never going to stop being, and becoming, MORE! The symbol for infinity (∞) actually represents the Kingdom of God: Ever-increasing, never-ceasing!

George Eldon Ladd developed the concept of the Kingdom of God as both “now” and “not yet,” a concept that John Wimber latched onto and poured heavily into the application of Vineyard theology, believing and teaching that healing and miracles can take place now—but not always as something we can demand on schedule. It sometimes “breaks in,” and if we press in, we can make it happen “more and more.” If you will, picture a time line with a sharp shift upward at a single point, like this:

_________________________

________________________

The lower line represents time. The higher line represents the Kingdom of God when time is complete and “over with.” In between, we have the “in-breaking” of the Kingdom (or “breakthrough”—Derek Morphew, another Vineyard influencer, has a book by that title) with jagged spikes reaching toward the top line that had occurred sporadically prior to Jesus’ coming, but increased radically with his in-breaking into time. Still, we live incompletely as we draw toward that final Kingdom, but if we are really following him in the “greater works” he promised, there should be “more and more” of that in-breaking in the here and now—the “now” should be being overtaken by the “not yet” MORE AND MORE!

4) At the same time, our hunger and thirst will be ever-increasing. I love that song by U2: “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Lookin’ For.” Sure, we haven’t found it—but we ARE FINDING IT! The promise of the Beatitudes (“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled”) comes true, and keeps coming “truer” MORE AND MORE: Our hunger increases as we are filled, and our thirst expands as it is slaked. Yes, we are fed and watered, and we “lie down in green pastures…beside still waters,” but as soon as we’re rested, we’re at it again! There’s always MORE! We are satisfied, but we long for more satisfaction, “another” satisfaction, MORE OF THE SAME! (and more variety too!)

5) There is always MORE THAN ENOUGH. Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries (someone who, if anybody does, experiences the “abundant life” Jesus promised) wrote a book titled There Is Always Enough. There IS always enough, because there is always MORE! No matter what our desire, no matter what our need, there is always ENOUGH because God is always producing and providing MORE! Jesus even said it: “I have come so that they may have LIFE and have it MORE ABUNDANTLY,” and “GREATER works than I am doing they [we] shall do”! There is always MORE, and GREATER, and BETTER!

6) Maybe it’s partly being an American. There is a joke about a guy who gathered the materials for a book on elephants, and wanted to have a ghost writer put it together for publication. He gave it to a Frenchman, a German, an Englishman, and an American. When they handed him their final manuscripts, the Frenchman had titled his The Cuisine and Lovemaking of Elephants; the German, A Treatise on the Philosophy of Elephants; the Englishman, The Empire and the Elephant; and the American, Bigger, Better, and Faster Elephants. Maybe there’s something in the American psyche that wants it that way—who knows? I don’t. But if that’s part of it, hey, I’ll own it!

7) Maybe it’s partly being an optimist. Reading some of the quotes on http://en.wikiquote.org is amusing, but if it takes faith for the creation of anything (after, someone has to envision a product before it can be produced!), then optimism is the only way to go. I remember hearing an Irish group performing at Belle Chere Festival in Asheville NC a number of years back. They had found a particular slogan particularly amusing, as it had opposite meanings on opposite sides of the Atlantic: They had seen a billboard advertising beer with a slogan like “It doesn’t get any better than this,” or maybe it was, “This is as good as it gets!” Here, it means “Great! Fantastic! This is the best!” There, it means, “Things are terrible, and they’re never going to improve!” To Brits and Irishmen, the brewery was saying how bad their brew was! They almost rolled in the road laughing at the billboard. I enjoyed their story, but I’m still glad I’m on this side of the Atlantic, at least in understanding that ad! I prefer “half-full” over “half-empty,” any day of the week! God is not pessimistic, is he? Can you picture him in heaven, slapping his head and saying, “Oh, no, I didn’t plan on that!” or “Could it get any worse? I’ll never make my Kingdom come!” No way! God HAS to be an optimist! He doesn’t do negative!

8) MORE is always a matter of perspective. We see what we want to, and we can’t see MORE until our eyes are opened. The story of three masons working on the walls of a medieval cathedral tells it best: One says, “I am building a wall.” The second says, “I am building a building.” The third sees MORE: “I am building a place to meet God.” God always wants us to look for more. Our perspective is the most limiting aspect of our entire existence!

9) I remember the song “More” from my high-school days! “More…than the greatest love the world has known… this is the love I give to you alone…” Can’t really be true, b/c God’s love is MORE than any love a man could give a woman… Still, it’s a nice romantic thought—maybe it expresses Jesus’ heart for us, and somebody was really writing it on his behalf!

10) “More and more” conveys to me a sense of time, timing and progression. It is sequential and cumulative, and connotes completeness, a sort of fullness of growth and progress, the way the phrase “heart and soul” conveys a completeness of commitment or emotion, or “soup and sandwich” conveys the idea of a complete lunch. It is not, however, a completeness of finality, but rather one of journey, of finally being “on the road again,” of traveling with purpose. (In a previous blog, I wrote on Memory and how it is a function of time and timing.) We may be limited by time, but we are also come alive, are made alive in time, with time and over time. In it, by God’s design and grace, we “live and move and have our being” in him—in his purposes, with an eye toward where we are headed, a destination.

The first “more” conveys a sense of adding on, of moving with purpose, of growing, of enlarging, of progress in a good sense. The second “more” layers that, but not necessarily arithmetically—it can be exponential—if 10 is the first “more,” then 100 is the second; if 100,000 is the first, 1,000,000 is the second, and so on.[My email and screen names that include the term “significant 0” (“significant zero”) come from a dream I had where I saw a whiteboard with the number 1,000,000 on it in bold black numerals. The last zero dropped off and I realized the number had lost 90% of its value. I heard a voice in the dream say, “I want you to be a ‘significant 0’—Hold your place for the One [1]!” and I woke up.]

11) And there are still more ways to interpret it, MORE AND MORE! It’s always growing in meaning. If I can create, then I can expand the meaning of MORE, simply by acting, by being who I was made to be, by finding my calling, by learning how to “BE ALL THAT [I] CAN BE!” There will never be “less”—only MORE—ways of understanding MORE AND MORE!

Why don’t you add yours???

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