UAC 56 | Unconflicted Life

 

Conflict starts internally. To live an unconflicted life, we must learn how to live fearlessly in our true identity – that precious gift that God gave out of his love for us. Armed with this powerful, faith-centered philosophy, Jamie Winship spent decades bringing peaceful solutions to some of the world’s highest conflict areas. The same philosophy powers Identity Exchange, a training and consulting company he cofounded. In this conversation with Thane Marcus Ringer, Jamie tells powerful stories of radical faith that brought him closer to God and his true identity, as well as his thoughts on the growth process, the role of fear, the conflict narrative, the need for forgiveness, and so much more. Learn how a deep understanding of God unleashes our true identity, eliminates internal conflict, and enables us to smash the conflict narrative that pervades the world we live in.

Listen to the podcast here:

Jamie Winship: Living An Unconflicted Life: Stories Of Radical Faith In Unleashing True Identity

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This is an interview with Jamie Winship. He has decades of experience bringing peaceful solutions to some of the world’s highest conflict areas. Starting with a distinguished career in law enforcement in the Metro Washington, DC area, Jamie earned an MA in English and developed a unique process based on the Identity Exchange premise which is identity transformation is the key to acquiring new levels of learning and creativity in any field. His unconventional efforts to bring about societal and racial reconciliation led him to Indonesia, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel and now Seattle. Jamie has worked with leaders in a variety of sectors from police departments, pro football teams, churches, and other faith-based organizations.

Along with his wife, Donna, Jamie is the Cofounder of Identity Exchange, a training and consulting company committed to teaching people the transformative power of living fearlessly in their true identity. This is an amazing conversation and in this interview, we talked through many things, including always being in a growth process, the reality being God’s best friend, breaking your “jar,” how to maintain hunger, experiential knowing, the role of fear, Jamie’s own journey to discovering his true identity, the conflict narrative, how forgiveness is essential, what it looks like to hear from God, questions to ask yourself and so much more. It was such a joy to listen to Jamie, his stories and amazing testimonies of faith. Please read the whole blog. It was well worth my time in doing and it will be well worth your time in reading. Follow along with what Jamie’s up to and the life that he’s living. It’s transformative.

If you want to find out more about Jamie and his work, be sure to visit their website, IdentityExchange.com for all the resources they offer there to help people on their identity journey. The most popular is their Knowing Rediscovered video series which is designed for small groups but also available for individuals. For those who want more personal training, they have a team of Identity Exchange coaches that offer online coaching sessions. Jamie also does his work in non-faith setting through the corporate arm of his company, Identity Method. For more information, visit that website. To stay up to date on all the latest resources and events, please follow on Facebook and Instagram @IdentityExchange, @IdentityMethod and @TheJamieWinship. You can subscribe to receive emails through their website. Be sure to check those resources out. Please sit back, relax, and enjoy this interview with Jamie Winship.

Jamie Winship, welcome to the show.

Thank you. I’m glad and excited to be here.

It’s going to be a fun conversation. I’m doing research and every single conversation or interview that I heard from you was unique and you told a story I’d never heard of before. One of the references I talked to said that your superpower is storytelling. That will be on full display now. Speaking of storytelling, I had a little plug that I thought might be interesting to begin with. Someone mentioned that it would be good to ask them about the Bedouin tent story and the sand dunes. What is the Bedouin tent story and the sand dunes?

I don’t even know which one they’re talking about. The one that comes to my mind is we were working on this project and I was on a small team. There were three of us on the team. The other two guys on my team are very high-level professionals in what they do. It so happened that all three of us were believers in that little situation, but we believed differently about God and the supernatural. I would say the two guys with me love God but they were a bit skeptical about the miraculous and that kind of thing.

Back in the States, they had challenged me on that topic because they’ve heard me tell stories about it. I said, “Why don’t you come with me to a place that I don’t even like to go to and let’s see what happens?” We’re working there. In my experience I don’t think any of it is supernatural. It’s all part of reality and the kingdom but the level of God’s intervention in scenarios depends on the level of the scenario. The more intense it is, that’s the more intense God becomes in it. We went in this situation and we were out in the middle of the desert in another country. It was just the three of us.

I told the guy that when we get into this place, this is the customs of how they work. We have to go in at night, alone, unarmed and we’ll spend the night. When we wake up in the morning, they’ll set a table in the tent. These tents are huge. They’ll set a table in the next room of the tent. It will be on the floor. They’ll set food for us and they’ll wait for us to finish eating before they come in. They won’t come in. It’s rude to sit with your guests and watch them eat because then your guests won’t eat as much as they want. That’s their custom.

Reality is God’s best friend. To try to remain the same is counter-intuitive to what reality is all about. Click To Tweet

We get up and there are three of us. The table is set on the ground and there are four plates. Every meal that the three of us have together, there are four plates set. One of the guys with me kept saying, “Why are there four plates for three of us? Is it a custom?” This is my fifth time in this place. I said, “No, I’ve never seen them do this before. I don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not sure.” It was driving him crazy and the other guy didn’t care. We get into these intense meetings and we would be considered enemies by them from foreign policy and religious standpoint. We are polar opposites of one another.

Our job is to bring reconciliation and get them to not be part of any insurgency movement in the region that was forming. These guys were good fighters. They were tribal and we knew that if they got involved in the fighting, it was going to be a bad situation. Our job was to help stop that from happening. Our way of doing it is with the kingdom. That’s how we operate. We’re all in these intense meetings and in the fourth night, we’re sitting there drinking tea with the leaders. They’re cool, hearty and tough people. My friend said, “I’m going to ask him about the plate.” I’m like, “Go ahead.”

He can speak the language and he’s asking them, “Why do you set the fourth plate?” The leader said, “Because there are four of you, why else would we set four plates?” My friend looks at me and he goes, “Why are they saying there are four of us?” I said, “I don’t know, ask him.” He said, “Why are you saying there are four of us?” They said, “There are four of you. There are three of you and your security guy. Isn’t that your security guy?” We’re like, “Our security guy?” They said, “The one that stands guard all night while you guys are sleeping. He’s outside right now. He doesn’t come in with you as your security guy. He’s not part of the team in terms of the negotiations. He’s just your security.”

I knew exactly what it was immediately, but the two guys with me were like, “We don’t have a security guy.” The tribal guys started laughing and whispering among themselves because they realized that we couldn’t see him. They switched the words they were using. This group has a weird Arabic blended language, but they use the Arabic Quranic word for angel, Malaika. They started saying, “It’s Malaika, it’s an angel. You guys have an angel security guard.” They got all into it and excited about it. We got excited about it. My friend said, “What does he look like?” He was dying to know like, “Why can’t we see him?” They described him. They said, “He looks like you but he’s bigger than you. We knew he was security because he has a sword.” That’s what they said.

They were all in awe of our security guy’s sword. They thought it was cool that he must have been good at hand-to-hand close combat and he carried a sword. It’s like a Gurkha security guy would do. When we left that night and we were back in our end part of the camp in the tent, the guy with me was so freaked out. He was like, “They’re seeing things around us that there are four of us that we can’t see.” To whose benefit it is to know that we have a security guy?” We already have that sense but it’s for their benefit. After that, when we would go into these meetings, then the leaders that would come into the meeting would know that we were sent by God because God put his own security with us. It made the process move. What it did in the personal lives of the other two guys was so dramatic and beautiful. It affected their marriages and all kinds of other things because it raised their own view of God.

That is remarkable. I want to dive into this theme that is one of many that I hope we can cover. The theme of raising awareness and enlarging our view of God. I want to go back in your own life and your story. In our prior conversation, we got to talk a little bit about your process through the police force and then going into your work beyond that. There’s a moment with a friend that was pivotal even in discussing whether you’d go forward outside of the police force with the CIA even. In your journey with God, when was this shift from what you’ve been taught to what you’ve personally experienced?

My wife and I were even talking about it because you’re always in this growth process. To me, the most attractive thing about following Jesus or the life in Christ is the constant transformation and renewing of our mind that’s supposed to be the normal part of it. We’re not conforming to patterns that we encounter in the world but we’re being transformed constantly by the renewing of our mind. That transformation process is occurring all the time because things that are growing are constantly transforming. Reality is God’s best friend. No tree is the same from year-to-year. To try and remain the same or in control or find a formula is counterintuitive to what reality is all about. It’s moving, in motion, has beginnings and going towards something.

The big moment is when you realize this is a journey of transformation. If I think I get God or I’ve got this whole thing explained, it means I don’t get it. That was a big stunner for me. It was when I would meet these people that would talk to me like, “You think you get this? Do you think you get God? How can you?” My challenge for me was like, “I do think I get it. I’ve got it. I know who the good and bad guys are. I know the right prayers to say and I can explain scripture. I’ve got this thing locked up so how do I use it to my advantage?” It was always these individuals that you intersect with in your life and they break your jar. They see your container and they smash it. The reason they do it is so that you’ll get a bigger jar because your jar is full and there is a lot more to put in it. That’s why Jesus is a very beautiful opening to the whole Sermon on the Mount discourse, get empty and blessed are the poor in spirit.

If you don’t come empty, then you can’t receive. If I come to God full already of all my knowledge, understanding of wisdom and theology, there’s nothing that I can receive from Him. If you follow the Beatitudes as a process and not as a sermon in the West. The beginning of the process is get empty because that’s the kingdom. Yours is the kingdom. If you’re coming to God empty, you will never be full. This is the beauty of it. It’s what gives us joy. The emptiness leads to mourning. You’re asking Him, “What do you want me to mourn for or long for?” He goes, “I want you to long to live in remote places with Muslims. That’s what I want you to long for now because I will comfort you in that journey.” If you’re longing for security and whatever, there is no comfort there. You can try and find it there, it is not there. You have this progression which leads to meekness, hunger and thirsting. What do you hunger and thirst for? What is right and true about me and my relationship with Christ?

I’m hungry for it every day. When you’re not hungry anymore, it’s over. Not because it’s over, it’s like a champ working his way up to the championship and he wins it and it’s like, “That’s that,” but the next hungry guy will beat him. The hunger drives and Jesus is challenging. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst all the time for what’s right because I will fill them like manna, not once for all but every day. Come back hungry tomorrow, but you’re not going to starve. I’ll fill you and blow your mind, but then we’re going to do it again tomorrow and it produces transformation all the way up to you beyond persecution.

Persecution won’t even slow that hunger, thirst and mourning. It won’t even slow. It won’t even kill you. We got past that long ago or you’re going to fail. That’s all part of the process. You’re past that stuff. It’s not that you’re brave, you just know what’s true. There is no death. It’s individual. That’s what I call it. They kept breaking my jar. I learned this new thing about Christ and I’d be exploring it. I get like, “I think I get this.” You’re living it. Out of his love and mercy, he keeps saying to the disciples, “Did you get that? Let’s go.” “We’re not staying here?” He breaks your jar so that you can get free again to move, “You’re too fat, lazy, and slow, you can’t move. Move.”

UAC 56 | Unconflicted Life

 

For you personally, how do you maintain hunger? I love that idea of, how can I be as hungry every day as possible? What is it for you that helps you remain hungry? It’s a daily process as you said.

It seems like what you want to do is get to a place where you’re safe, you got it and you’re okay. That’s the life of the enemy like you’ve made it, you got there, and it’s okay now but that’s never scriptural. How do you stay hungry? For me, everything is about experiential faith and knowing with God. It’s not about intellectual knowing but it’s experiential. You should experientially know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Not just intellectually know it, you live it. God’s word is now your flesh. I was working on this book project in 2019. I woke up one morning and I was fearful. The fear is the thing that’s telling me I’m afraid of the hunger. I don’t get hungry anymore. I want to be full and the fear is warning me.

It’s a beautiful warning. I said to the Lord, “Search me, know me, and reveal to me where is the fear. What’s my fear? Lead me into what’s not true of you or offensive to you. What am I believing that’s not true that’s producing fear in me?” The response was, “I’ll never finish this writing project. It’s too big. It’s never going to get done.” My confession to God then is, “Here’s what I believe to be true right now. I will never finish this.” The Lord always says to me, “What does that say about you then? What’s the identity statement in that? I am what? What do you believe about yourself?” I said, “I am a person who doesn’t finish things.” It almost broke my heart to say it out loud. That’s confession. I’m not saying I’m sorry. I’m saying this is what I believe about myself, that I’m not a finisher.

The Lord said to me, “I want you to say everything in your life that you started and never finished.” I was like, “I don’t want to go that deep in it. I don’t want to dig down in that truth.” The guy that mentored me was like, “Don’t play a game. If you want to play, you play but don’t goof now. You asked for wisdom and He gives it to you, do it. Don’t ask Him and then try and decide. It doesn’t work.” I did it. I started with first grade. I went through and it was painful. I’m not even out of bed. I’m doing it because the spirit is leading me in all truth. It’s challenging wrong belief and leading me in all truth. That’s what the spirit does towards into Christ. I went through everything up to the present tense and it was painful. It was almost tear-producing in me. I finished and I’m like, “That’s everything I know that I’ve started and never finished.”

That’s confession. Now comes repentance, the beautiful part. Now let God say something. That was me talking. I came into my office here and I said, “Lord, you say what’s true.” This is what He said to me, it’s beautiful. He goes, “Nothing is ever finished.” It was like, “Oh my gosh.” He said, “Are you ever finished being married? Are you ever finished being a parent? Are you ever finished following me? The book will never be finished. You might get tired of writing it, try and send it to a publisher, but it will never be finished. Will it? If it’s finished, then what else is there to think about?” It was so beautiful so I wrote it down here. I never finished anything, confession. Repentance, nothing is ever finished, walk into a new way. He said, “Except one thing is finished.” Jesus said what it was, “This separation is finished. Don’t ever bring that up again.” That’s how I stay hungry knowing that whatever I’m doing, it’s not finished.

It’s profound. It’s so helpful. I was thinking about this. I’ve been practicing a bit more golf for a little qualifier I’m playing in. I haven’t competed in a couple of years. I’m excited but also a little nervous. I can feel the old tendencies of identity creeping in of hanging on or playing out of fear. It’s been a more frustrating week with my game because of that. Seeing those lies come in and to know that it’s not finished yet that you’re always in process, it practically applies to everything. It frees us up then to live not out of fear but of empowerment and freedom. It’s such a beautiful reality when we do live in that, which is such a hard thing to be consistent in. The question then is, when do you feel like you’re not being consistent and living in that reality? What do you see as the things that cause that inconsistency?

The whole thing is what Jesus is doing, and what the whole Bible is showing in these beautiful case studies of all humanity through all-time at every age, gender and everything. We call it the game. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Infinite Game Theory Versus Finite Game Theory. If you’re playing a finite game, it means there’s a beginning and an end, there’s a winner and a loser, and there are boundaries. You don’t want any mystery. You want to know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, how to win and no surprises. That’s the world we live in. That’s the lie that we live in every day which we call the lie, Satan, the prince of the air. It’s this idea that you’re in a game and you’re either going to win or lose. It’s going to end. You have a time limit, there are boundaries, and the goal is to win. Everything we do is built on this lie.

In the infinite game theory, the goal of the game is that everyone plays and the game goes on forever. That’s the goal. There are no boundaries and no end time. There are only horizons that you’re moving towards and horizons keep moving. They’re there and you can see them. You can go towards them but you never get to them. That’s the beauty of a horizon. God is saying to us, “Trust me, you don’t want to get there. That’s not what you want.” The liar comes in and was like, “You’re never going to get there. You’re never going to be a good parent and husband. You’re running out of time.”

That’s the lie. We have bought into that lie hook line and sinker. We teach it in leadership training and in church. It’s all this like, “There are winners or losers, my friend. You have enemies in this world that you’ve got to beat.” In our mindset, we measure progress by control. How much have we gained control of everything? First of all, you can’t control everything. That’s not even true, but in the infinite game, it’s all about surprise. That’s what we want. We want mystery. It scares us but to be free, alive and operate in joy, we need mystery and moving horizons. We know what happens when you make it, you get the medal, you win the game, and you get the million.

What do we start doing? We’re finding something else to do. Whatever it is that we’ve got to do, Jesus is quite simple on this. It’s a very beautiful journey. The way you know you’re on the journey is you’re motivated and activated by love. Another beautiful progression that Paul gives us is that love produces joy, joy produces peace, peace produces patience, patience produces kindness, kindness produces gentleness, gentleness produces faithfulness, faithfulness produces self-control, and you’re almost back to blessed are the poor in spirit.

The process is quite simple. Seek first the kingdom. There it is. The lie is very insidious and it looks so good. It looks nice and safe, “If I could get there and I wouldn’t have to worry about this.” You grow up in it and you breathe it every day. It’s two stories. It’s who I am or my story, and then the world story. What’s my true identity? I’ve got to discover that before anything else. How does that true identity work in a scarcity model lie world? That’s what we’re trying to bring transformation to. It’s the scarcity lie that we’re dying and perishing in it.

Don't define life by death. Define death by life. Click To Tweet

I want to come back to that, as well as the infinite game theory, but I want to go back and touch on what you began with. It was breaking your jar or having someone break your jar. Could you give an overview of the different jars that have been broken within your own faith journey?

It’s interesting because I can do it by relationships that came into my life. The human longs for a joyful relationship in the present tense. That’s what every human wants. That’s how we’re built. The lowest level of our brain is seeking attachment in the present tense based on joy. That’s the goal. That’s why the greatest commandment is to love God, love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself. That’s a joyful, love-based, other-focused relationship. That’s what it is. In my life, I remember these events more by the person than what occurred because what occurred is never-ending. The first person I encountered that ever shared the gospel with me in a way that made me wish I could be a believer is a nurse.

She broke my main worst jar that God is mad at me, that most of what I think is sinful, selfish and dirty. Jesus died for me and he took some of the rafts but certainly not all of it. Every thought of my heart is continually evil and I’m deprived. I have to ask Jesus into my heart every day because I was so concerned about how evil I was. This amazing nurse sitting next to me in a hospital room starts communicating to me an accurate and truthful picture of God. I’ve never heard of it. There’s an alternative view than the wrathful, vindictive and retributive God. This amazing person who’s not a pastor, a theologian or an expert is causing something to occur in me that I can’t even stop even if I want to. It’s called love. That’s what she was doing. She was loving me. I was pushing as hard as I could against that love. It was like sticking my arm into another dimension. My arm would vanish and she’s still there.

I couldn’t push her where there was nothing to push away because she was absorbing my hostility. I’ve never seen anyone do this before. I was cussing her out, calling her names, doing everything, and she would absorb it. That’s the way to say it. She would absorb it and it would go away. Her love was far more powerful than my anger, but not in a verse and a theory. She was doing it to me. I was experiencing and she was living it out in front of me by absorbing my hostility. She would tell me she was doing it. She did it for five days in a row. I was discharged from the hospital. That is the first time I ever said, “I want to be exactly like her.” It had to do with Jesus because she kept telling me that. She kept saying, “I’m only here in the capacity that I’m in because I’m a single mom. I’m from West Virginia and I had to go to night school.”

She’s telling me all these hardships in her life but she’s saying, “Look at me, I’m here in this role and vocation as a nurse to heal your soul and spirit.” I was like, “Her vocation is nurse but her identity is healer.” That’s the first time I ever saw a true identity in a vocation. She’s bringing identity to the vocation and not getting identity from the vocation. I couldn’t articulate it well. I was seventeen and this is what I prayed when I left. I said, “God, I want to be a police officer like she’s a nurse.” That’s the only way I could say it. Whatever she’s doing in her vocation, because there are a lot of great nurses on this floor, nobody is reaching inside of my heart and healing me. She’s the only one doing that. She’s not doing some cliché gospel presentation. She’s doing surgery on me and I want her to. She was the first and that’s where I met Christ was through her. I started pursuing that.

The next one was a wrestling coach in college who taught me how to be contemplative. It was these most unlikely people. For me, that was important because I was raised in a religious world. God has always spoken to me outside of that world. It’s been very beautiful and precious to me that that’s how He’s done it. That’s not for everyone at all. I’m just saying that in my identity, He’s always made it clear to me, “When I come to call you, I will not come to you in the form of the church because I don’t want you in church. I don’t want you part of the church.”

The nurse, the wrestling coach, then it was overseas. It was the guy that trained me to work with Muslims. He’s the next one that blew up my world by teaching me that I didn’t know my identity. Since then, it’s been more of a journey on my own deep relationship with the spirit of God. Those particular individuals shattered my jar. It didn’t take five years. They did it in a day. They busted it open. Richard Rohr talks about, “You have order, it gets smashed, you go into disorder and then reorder.” We just want the order part. We do want reorder but we don’t want to go through disorder, but you can’t reorder without disorder. There has to be the death before the resurrection. We want it but we don’t want to die to it.

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to who you’re in a relationship with, even in a moment in a day like, “Who is this person? What is this? Is there something here?” It’s not always but there are times when, “Wow, what that person is doing and pouring into.” I would say those were the three biggest. It’s how I came to Christ. That’s how I learned to hear God which I use all the time as a police officer and then it was okay. Now that I can hear what about identity? The right view of God, then how to hear that because I didn’t want the angry God. Why would I want a life of hearing the angry God? I then met the true God. I was ready to learn how to hear that God. The wrestling guy taught us how to do that. He taught his team how to do that. It was okay and now that I can hear him, what does he call me?

I love that because that’s so helpful. I’m curious to hear what you think. Do you think this is a universal process? Do you think that those are the stages we all go through?

Yes.

First is knowing the true God, you’re hearing God and then getting your identity from God. I want to focus on the first one here because we share some of that background. My history is knowing God through the Scriptures as intensely and deeply as possible, which largely if not entirely leaves out the experiential knowing. You haven’t been in America that long. You grew up and you were gone for about twenty-plus years, then now you’ve been back. I’m thinking about the American church. You can view it however you want in this question, but in the Christian of this world or in the American church, where are the largest discrepancies of what we think is God versus the true God?

UAC 56 | Unconflicted Life

There are a couple of things when I think about that. It’s interesting because these discussions are ongoing all the time. We always need to be asking God, “What do you want me to know? What do you want me to do in relation to this? Are we on the right path? My wife and I were doing it like, “Are we doing what you have for us to do? Are we living inside of our identities?” We’re always asking those questions together because it’s a never-ending, beautiful and fascinating discussion with the Lord.

Number one is the whole idea of the retributive God. The God who’s isolated, solitary, angry, and not relational. He’s that guy over there. That whole idea and everything that happens is like, “If we would repent, this wouldn’t be happening.” It’s like everything negative that happens goes, “There you go.” That hammer is always waiting to fall on you. The angry father that has to kill his son to pour out his anger and that whole thing. I was raised in it and the key to all of that wrong view is you can’t have Jesus inside of that wrong view. You have to make Jesus stand over there so we can maintain this angry God. You can’t have the gospels. You can only have the Old Testament and selected parts of the New, but you can’t have Jesus. He ruins the whole thing.

You then have to have Sola Scriptura. You have to have the text. You can’t have Jesus talking to you or the spirit because Jesus is going to say to you, “Do you see that enemy over there, that person that killed your entire team in Mosul? Love him. They’ll find biblical ways to kill him, die for him.” That’s hard in the lie that we live in, the finite game that we live in. The whole victory becomes self-preservation and self-promotion. That becomes the victory of the angry God world. It’s interesting because you’re mostly protecting yourself against this God. You have to protect yourself against God.

I’m not serving God because I love him, I just don’t want him to be mad at me. You have Sola Scriptura but then the problem you run into is that the Bible is not the word of God. Jesus is the word of God. That’s like, “Do you want to talk about the word of God? There it is right there. It’s not here.” If you want to talk about who’s the foundation and the cornerstone of everything I believe and understand about God, it is not the Bible, it’s Jesus. This is what the Bible is telling us. The foundation of this whole thing or the cornerstone that was rejected is not the Old and New Testament, it is Jesus. That’s one part of it. We have to move away from the isolated, lonely, separated God. There’s a big chasm between me, God, and all of that. We have to walk across the Jesus bridge over the flames. It’s a very clever imagery if you’re the enemy but it’s not true.

That’s one side. How do we come into it? You have this very beautiful relational watching Jesus. The author and perfecter of my faith is Jesus, not the Bible. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. That’s a high bar rather than like, “We need to have the backbone to stand against the evil people.” That’s not a high bar. A lot of people can do that one. To consider joy, to go and die for your enemy, despising the shame, that’s a high bar. When Jesus dies, God doesn’t forsake Him. Even in death, He lives and He released the captive. He’s saying to us, “You’re not going to die.” We get this out of the way right from day one, you are not going to die. You need to live this life not trying to avoid death. Don’t define life by death. That’s what we do. Define death by life. It’s a part of life. It’s beautiful, don’t be afraid of it, embrace it. That’s one thing. Staying in that beautiful trinitarian balance of the love relationship between father, son, and spirit which God is the relational God whose identity is love. That’s the balance of it.

The enemy is smart. He’ll keep you back there but if you want to go this way, he will overdo this one. You then get way into this dramatic supernatural thing that gets way out of proportion. My experience with Jesus is He’s quite not dramatic. He’s funny. The Holy Spirit is not this super theatrical dramatic. Not in the life of Jesus. The spirit is like, “Let’s go out in the desert and meet.” There is the spirit. Let’s talk about what’s true in the world. Let’s talk about how do we live Christ up in this scenario. It’s not this super dramatic power encounter thing, yet the Lord is quite intense when the intensity level is high. Stay in that beautiful simple, calm, incredibly profound mystery but not trying to make it into something. Let it calm as it will to you. They are beautiful and when it needs to blow your mind, it will.

What I love about that is how you speak to the balance of simplicity with mystery. That is necessary because we can air on either side of the fence way too far. We all do every single day. To be on top of the fence versus on my side of the fence is such a challenging place to live in but that’s exactly where God is. He’s on the fence.

It’s like they say, He’s the cruciform life. He’s the intersection between the vertical and horizontal all the time. He’s right in that place, in the paradox and mystery of it all. That’s how we should live. We want to live in the intersection of all those different things and not get out too far out on either any of them because extremes always comes from fear. It’s always a result of fear. I’m afraid no one is going to come, follow and read my book or whatever. I’ve got to make it as dramatic like the times in my life like with that angel story I told. One of the guys, if you ask him about that story, that will be the last part of it he’ll tell. What he’ll tell is what happened in the tent that night when he learned and realized that the God above loves him so much that He protects him out in the desert. This guy didn’t do anything to get it to happen. He didn’t even believe in it. When he understood that, it made him ask God a question about his marriage. That was the life-changer for it, not the angel.

What you brought up has got to be the crucible for that false versus true God. That is fear and the scarcity of fear. How do you talk through this with someone who is stuck in religion and believing in God but not necessarily the true God? They’re striving in the structure and system of religiosity. How do you explain or help guide to comprehension and how do you use fear in that?

I never like it when people think because this person disagrees with me or they’re out of bounds, that they’re dumb or evil. I don’t like that thing. For all of it, it’s simply this. We believe something that’s not true. If I’m with a person who’s stuck in that world, my question is always along the lines of conflict and here’s why. We call it a conflict narrative. If you ask the text or the scriptures and reading the narrative, what’s the cause of conflict in humanity? There’s only one cause, there’s not multiple. James says it in James 4, “The reason that you have wars is because you have a war in yourself.” That’s it. That’s how complicated all that is. The reason you have an external conflict is because you have an internal conflict. A person with no internal conflict will never have external conflict. They’ll only have external challenge. It will not be a conflict to them.

Jesus is the only human we’ve ever seen that is completely unconflicted internally. Even in the garden where he’s wrestling with something, He doesn’t move around with internal conflict. The question for us then is, what does Jesus have that we don’t have? What produces internal conflict in a human? What produces internal conflict in all humans is fear. They’re afraid of something, no matter what scenario I’m in when the person that I’m with wants to go to war with me, if I’m with a believer that wants to argue about gay rights and abortion, they just want to go to war. My question to them is, why are you in constant conflict? This is not how Jesus operates. This is not what He does. He’s not boycotting people. We’ve got to get the right leadership and empower Him. That is never how He talks because He’s playing the infinite game. He’s not trying to win a political battle and not trying to put a company out of business because they disagree with him. He’s not doing any of that because he’s unconflicted inside.

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He’s not afraid of Caesar, government, taxes or any of that. Why isn’t He afraid? Because He knows exactly who He is. He doesn’t get His identity from anything external in the world. What He has, what He does, and what people think about Him. He gets His identity from God. In that identity, He knows who He is and that informs his vocation. He’s the son, His vocation is Messiah. He lives in unconflicted life. I did this with a company. I don’t have to know the person or explain anything to them, I just ask them this question, “What is the main negative emotion you deal with on a regular basis?” That’s all I ask them.

When they tell me the truth, all they’re saying is, “Where the internal conflict is.” That’s all they’re going to say. Most humans, their main negative emotion is fear. They’re worried and stressed out. What are you afraid of? I’m afraid that my business is going to fail. I’m afraid that I’m going to die of COVID. You’re zeroing in on what’s the source, false identity. What does that mean? What does it mean you’re going to die of COVID? Say it in I am statement. “I am what? I am going to die. I am going to fail. I am unprotected.” That’s the identity statement. I am the unprotected one. What are you going to do with that identity?

I’m going to protect, and then there you go. Here comes the conflict because you can’t protect. You think you can. You can try and tell yourself but deep down, you’re afraid because you know you can’t do it. You’re in the lie. How are you going to protect yourself? I’m going to accumulate money. I’m going to get secure and make sure my kids go to the right school. It’s all the lie and it can never get out of the conflict. You get the school but what if you don’t get them on it? What’s pointing to the conflict? It’s negative emotion. Negative emotion is our beautiful gift. It’s the indicator light on the dash saying you better open the hood right now. It’s not telling us exactly what it is. It’s saying you better start looking because something is wrong. Lord, what is this? What am I afraid of? Search me and know me.

When you are doing that with the person, what are you afraid of? This is what a young man says to me, “That God is against me.” “What does that mean about you?” “I am completely unprotected. Not only does God not protect me, I’m not sure God is for me.” You have to say you’re afraid that you’re unprotected. The fear of falling and loud noises are our only two human innate fears. All other fear is learned. Where did you learn to be afraid of the fact that you are unprotected? Where did you learn that? Who taught you that? It’s not true. There it is. I am the unprotected one. I am the failure. I am the one who disappoints. We have to cope with all of these.

We’re going to dress them up in religion. “God is not just mad at me. He’s more mad at,” and then you start naming the bad people. We’re mad at them and I’ve got to prove that they’re bad to make myself good. I’ve got to go to war because I’m at war inside myself. I’ve got to cope with this war inside myself and the fear drives the war. The fear is not trying to drive the war, the fear is trying to tell you to go the other way and find out, what is it that I believe about my world, myself and others that’s not true? That’s what fear is telling you. Any human, the fear is telling you it’s the inverse of the great commandment. The fear is telling you that God is not for you, that something is wrong with you, and the other is a competitor to you. It’s the inverse of love God and love your neighbor the same way you love yourself. It’s the why version of that.

That’s all you have to do. Why are you so upset? What’s that emotion that’s like, “We’ve got to stop this in our country?” What’s that emotion? It’s anger but anger is secondary. What’s the first one? You’re afraid they’re going to take over this country, aren’t you? What does that mean? Their God can’t stop them unless you do it. I would lay in bed at night terrified all the time. Jesus didn’t say go into all the world and stop evil and fight crime. He didn’t say that. He said, “Disciple the nations in everything that I showed you and taught you.” About what? Love God and love your neighbor but you can’t love them unless you love yourself. You, my friend, do not love yourself.

That’s a fascinating point because this is something I’ve been curious about. There is a resurgence in loving yourself. This idea of loving yourself and how important it is, then there’s the unhealthy version of that, which is narcissism and that’s self-centeredness and selfishness. I want to be able to communicate and think through this with others and myself. How do you think about loving yourself that’s healthy and not narcissistic? Where does that lie in the process of healing and living in light of our true identity?

Narcissism is all fear. It’s not love. It’s this obsession with, I’ve got to prove that I’m amazing. When people stop looking or saying, “You’re amazing,” that person will die. We’ll go back to love God. I find this more powerful to people than anything we’ve done lately with people, both believers and people who wouldn’t consider themselves believer, Christians, is this commandment. If we could boil the whole thing down as Jesus does, what are the two great commandments? He says, “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” My question is, do I love God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength?

I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know if I love my wife with all of my heart, to be truthful. Do I love my wife every day with my heart? No. I can honestly say that I don’t. How do you love the unseen one with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength? Is it like there’s a guy over there and you’re supposed to love that guy? That’s impossible. That can’t be what it means. What is Jesus saying? We have to go back about what is God. God is love. It’s not like God is loving. God is love and God is spirit. Everything that God does is motivated by love.

It is love and that’s what Paul says, “If you do anything without love, it’s a waste of time. I don’t care what it is. We love Him because He first loved us. It’s all love. This is what Jesus is saying. We’re limited to words. He’s saying, “Love love with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.” God is the ground of all being. He’s not just one dude somewhere, which is beyond what we can think. He’s omnipotent and omnipresent, but we can’t think about what does it mean to love love? How do we love love? Jesus says, “Let me tell you how to love love.” It’s by participating in it and abiding in it. “Abide in me. As I am in the Father, the Father is in me. We are in you. Abide in love.” How do I do that? By loving what love loves. What does love love? Love loves you. The greatest act of worship that I can do every day is to love what love has done in creating me. It’s loving the true me.

It’s very humbling. It gets you on your knees, “Lord, I love who you’ve made me to be.” Not what you need me to do but what you made me be. I’m loving what love has done when love knit me together in my mother’s womb. What do I want to do with that? I want to love that and other people. When I love me and I’m like, “I’m going to look for that in you and I’m going to love that in you.” It means you don’t have enemies. It means you even love enemies because the enemy is not an identity. God didn’t knit together an enemy in their mother’s womb and put them there in front of you. He knit together a beautiful work of art that doesn’t know it yet who’s in opposition to you out of their fear. Love them. Love what God made in them because I love what God made in me, which means I’m participating in them. Can I love that with all of my heart, mind and soul? We can get there. Does it make me narcissistic? It’s the opposite. It makes me other-focused and sacrificial. It makes me unconditionally want the other to love them because we’re participating together in love. If you do anything without that love.

UAC 56 | Unconflicted Life

 

I want to repeat that framework because it is beautiful. What does it mean to love love? It’s by participating in it and abiding in it. How do you do that by loving what love loves? Love loves you but it’s loving the true you who God has made you to be. Because of loving the true you, then you want to love that true identity in other people, which means there are no enemies. That is true freedom and true joy. It makes perfect sense because it’s so simple yet it’s always this dance and mystery. I want to insert here a story because it’s easy for us to hear this and say, “That sounds great.” We can know the right word but that doesn’t mean that we’re doing it and what that looks like. You brought up the story of loving this guy who killed your whole team. That’s a real-life story. I’m curious if you can share that as somewhat of an illustration on how this played out in real life and how you’ve experienced it or lived it out in yours.

That one is a little broad. I have an even more specific one that leads up to that when I was working in a country and this was early on. In the kingdom of God and the kingdom of love, the oxygen we breathe is forgiveness. Forgiveness is the greatest example of love. It’s canceling the death. God demonstrates His love to us in that, while we were His enemies, Christ died for us. Forgiveness is the absolute air we have to breathe in the kingdom. It is what love is. Whoever is in a position to forgive is the person with the greatest power, so keep that in mind. I’m teaching at an Islamic university. Some of my students were radicals inside the university, working and stirring up the student movement. There were other great people in there. I’m teaching this class and by far the smartest guy in the class was one of these radical leaders.

One day in the class, we have been working hard. It was very difficult. I’d already been arrested and put on trial in this country. One of our team members, they had broken into his house at night, held him up in front of his kid, and stabbed him multiple times, and left him for dead. He got medevaced out. He survived but his kid wouldn’t talk for two years because of the trauma. The third guy on our team, his wife had a nervous breakdown. He had to go, so me and my wife were alone. We were the only ones left. We’re working in this very intense situation. One day in class, this student stands up in the class. This is an Islamic classroom so there were very strict rules on the authority of teachers. They were like gods. He stands up and he says, “Can I say something? I think I understand what you’ve been trying to tell us all along.” I’m like, “Okay.” I’m teaching discourse analysis.

I thought he was going to talk about discourse analysis, but then he goes, “You’re talking about God a lot and you want us to understand that Allah wants us to know that He loves us.” This is one of the most radical mean guys. I’m like, “That’s exactly right.” He said, “You’re saying that Jesus is the expression of God’s love to us.” I’m like, “Here we go. Here comes the people movement. I said, “Yes.” He goes, “The love of Jesus is the love of God being poured out for us on the cross. He died for us.” “Yes.” He walks up to me in the class and he goes, “I want to tell you what I think about that love,” and he spits in my face.

A couple of students in that class liked what we were doing. They jumped up because if that was an Islamic Muslim professor, that student would have been killed. They would have killed him on the spot. This is the way the culture worked in where we work. There are often people caught stealing or something and they were killed on the spot by the people. Two students jumped up like this is not allowable. For me, in this moment, what does love do? I know what the retributive God would have done. I could have easily hurt that guy very badly and quickly. Not only would it have been justified, it would have been considered honorable, but what does love do?

What does the God who He described do to his enemy, to someone that spits in his face? This is where we’ve got to tell Jesus to leave the room. “Can you leave the room right now because we’re going back to Leviticus? We can’t have you here. I’m sorry. We can’t turn the other cheek because then it’s weak.” In an instant, it’s in my mind. That’s when you have to hear God. That’s what takes the inner conflict away. Jesus says it, “Do you want to know how I live in an unconvicted life? I can hear the Father and I can see what the Father is doing.” There’s no conflict in what to do. I know what to do. The question is, do I want to know what the loving God would do? I know what He would do. He would turn the other cheek.

The problem was in that culture, if you turn the other cheek, it shames you and the people that want to defend you and honor you. The guys jump up and I’m like, “No.” They’re looking at me like, “Then you do it. We will stand here. We’ll watch the doors and you do it.” That guy knew that that was going to be the cost of what he did, but he believed I wouldn’t do it. I had to make a decision on the spot. I folded up my stuff and walked out of the room. I hated doing it. I walked away and I was like, “God, there’s nothing good about what happened there. They’re all bad in every way and the enemy won that one.” I left and the news spread like wildfire, “You are a coward. The Christian won’t do anything.” The guys I knew in the class were dishonored by it. Here’s what I thought about it. I thought about Peter watching Jesus let them take Him. He’s watched Jesus all along. People ask him questions and he gives the best answer. He can walk through a crowd that wants to throw him off a cliff.

All of a sudden, he wimps out of everything. I think this is why Peter denies Him. Peter is not afraid of anyone. He’s like, “I don’t know that guy. The Jesus I know would have stood up to this. He walked through it. He wouldn’t have bowed His head like a coward and let them take Him away. He healed the guy and I defended Him. I caught that guy and he healed him. That’s an insult to me personally.” On honor culture, that’s an insult. I think he’s hurt by it. I pray like, “Lord, if you’ve got a plan on this thing, I know in my heart it was the right thing to do, but it doesn’t feel like it.” Three months later at night, I get a knock on the door. It’s the same guy. The first thing I think is, “I’m alone with you now. I can do what I want to do to you.” I let him in.

He said, “I got awarded a scholarship in another country but the scholarship won’t pay for me to get to that country. I don’t have any money.” He was the leader of the militant student organization. He said, “I don’t have any money. I’ve asked my Muslim friends and no one will help me.” I was like, “You’re kidding. You’re coming to me to ask me to pay your way.” That’s what he asked me. He said, “I feel like you’re the only one that might help me. Will you give me the money to get to this full scholarship in this other country?” The Lord said, “Here you go. You want to win an infinite game, then you need to do it. Not only forgive him but pay his way, and do not ask for it back. Do not let him repay you because I didn’t ask you to pay me back. All the times you insulted me, spit in my face and mocked me.”

I gave him the money. I gave him cash and I said, “All I want you to know is that when you take this money, the one who’s giving it to you is Jesus. I want you to say that you understand it because you saw your own friends said no. I want you to know that it’s only because of Christ that I can do this.” That’s how he came to faith in Jesus, through that action, and I’ve never seen him again. He vanished into the night and he went. I’m sure he’s wealthy somewhere. We had been praying, “Lord, give us a way to be in a position to forgive these people so they can understand you.” That’s a dangerous prayer. That’s in a position where we can forgive them on their offense in order that they understand you. That’s what happened. That hostility can be deep. If we had been able to do that in Mosul before that event happened, that event would have never happened but it was too quick.

Thank you for sharing. That is such a powerful testimony. It shows that love and action. I love what you said that in the kingdom of God, forgiveness is the air we have to breathe. Before we come back to the overarching framework of knowing true God, hearing God, and getting our identity from God, I want to unpack some more of that with you. I want to hear more because everyone I’ve talked to and everything I’ve heard from you after having twenty-plus years overseas, primarily in the Middle East from what I know, it’s rare to find or to have people that have the experience and know how to speak truth without creating friction, offending or being argumentative in a way that people can’t receive it. That’s something that unarguably you’re exceptionally gifted at through God’s gifting and experience, particularly with Muslims. I’m curious how you approach that goal and how you think about it in a way that helps you be loving and see real transformation in partnering with God through that.

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I’ve heard William Paul Young speak on this and I’ve been with him alone when he’s talked about this. He says, “In the Bible, the word responsibility doesn’t exist.” Your responsibility doesn’t exist in the scripture. God never looks at someone and goes, “This is all on you. This is your responsibility to do this.” The word that’s in there is the ability to respond which is a very different idea. It’s the idea of God inviting us into things where it’s on Him. He’s inviting us to respond. When we went to Iraq or wherever the places we’ve lived, we didn’t go there thinking it’s our responsibility to win the world.

I know that’s how it’s taught a lot. That’s not right. We were invited to respond. God said, “I’m going to do something in Iraq that your identity would love to be involved in. Will you come? Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men. I’m inviting you into becoming fishers of men.” Who’s going to make us that? I am. You ask a person, “Who’s going to make you a good parent.” They think, “I’m going to have to make myself a good parent.” “Who’s going to make you a good spouse?” “I’m going to have to do it. I’ve got to go to seminars. I’ve got to read books.” That’s not true. “Follow me and I will make you become a great spouse.” He will make your true identity into a great spouse.

He won’t make you into the model of the person at the seminar. He doesn’t work this way. When I’m talking to a person that’s counter to me, disagrees with me or wants to argue with me, here’s what I know. It’s not my responsibility to convince them of anything, but I can invite them to respond to the voice that they’re going to hear right now if you’d be quiet for one minute. We listened together. I’m not going to change their view on women’s reproductive rights or gender. We always say, “Don’t tell a person what to know, teach them how to know how to know.” We learned and it took a long time.

As I’m telling you, we were in a lot of conflict in the Muslim world in our first five years. It’s brutal. It was not fun and joyful until I met the guy who said to me, “You don’t know your true identity.” That turned the whole thing around. I knew how to hear God, but I didn’t know who I was. We came to this place so then you experienced it. Is it possible for God to communicate to a Muslim the divinity of Jesus without me explaining it to him? Do I believe God can do that? If I don’t, it’s on me to do it. It is hard to do. To explain the hypostatic union of God-man is very difficult to do to a person that thinks it’s idolatry and he’s going to go hell if he believes it. That is a tough call.

Either you have to go for people that already hate Islam, fringe people as we call them, and get them but you’re never going to get the hardcore. You’re never going to get Saul of Tarsus. How did they get Saul of Tarsus? He heard God. He heard Jesus. They didn’t tell them about Jesus. That’s a whole other style. I wasn’t taught that in campus crusade and all those other great organizations, but I’m going to present the truth so compelling, it’s going to blow your mind. We decided, “Let’s ask God if he can talk to a Muslim without me doing it, and we’ll invite them into the relationship like John the Baptist will remove all the obstacles to meeting Jesus and then we’ll get out of the way.” It’s like, “You want to meet this guy. You don’t want to meet me. I can tell you about this guy. It’s not going to be anything listening to him. I try and explain it to you, it’s going to be limited. How about I introduce you to him, I’ll be quiet and you listen to him.”

We thought, “That’s what John the Baptist is doing. Why aren’t we doing that? Let’s keep moving the obstacles so the person can meet Jesus and then we’ll let him listen to Jesus in the spirit.” How do you know? We tried it in the Middle Eastern country. I told our team like, “Let’s try this and see if this works. If it works, we’re going to do it. If it doesn’t, we’ll ask the Lord, ‘What do you want us to know and do?”’ This is a mystery. There’s no formula. The first person that we did that with is another turning point. This Muslim guy comes back to my apartment with one of the young guys on our team. He’s a smart guy. He’s a Palestinian Master’s degree in Linguistics from Moscow University. He’s next to me. We’re talking and he says, “Jamie, I have a question as a Muslim about Jesus and you believe Jesus is God. What’s your view of Jesus?” I said, “I could tell you my view, but what if God can tell you a way to think about Jesus? Wouldn’t you rather listen to God or me?” He said, “I’d rather listen to Allah.”

I said, “Let’s ask Allah about it.” The reason I wouldn’t do that is because I’m afraid that God won’t show up. That’s on me. I’ve got to explain it. Where in the Bible does God not show up? Not only does He show up, He’s always there. He’s never not there. We sing all these songs, “God, please come.” Where do you think He is? He’s right there. We got down on the floor because that’s how he was praying. I had a young guy with me to watch and I’m like, “I’ll try it. If it doesn’t work, I’ll take the blame. We’re not going to die.” We pray and I said, “God, my friend here wants to understand Jesus. Would you help him have an understanding about Jesus?” I never said another word. The guy starts to cry. We’re there for a few minutes. He sits up, we sit together on the couch, and he’s wiping his eyes. He goes, “Wow.” I said, “What happened?” He said, “When you ask God explaining about Jesus, I saw myself as an infant lying in the dirt, in the mud. The Christ comes along, picks me up, washes me off as a baby and tells me I need to be born again, and then it stopped. What does that mean?”

I get the Bible because the scriptures are corrupt. I show him the story of Nicodemus. He cries his eyes out and he goes, “I am Nicodemus. I know my religion but I don’t know Christ. I’ve never been born again and I want to be born again now.” He was the first guy that became the leader of this movement. What that did in that short time, we were together an hour or whatever, he changed his view of Jesus and the Bible. All of it changed. It was a long journey forward from there but you should have seen him stand up in a room full of Muslims and say things like, “How many of you think Jesus didn’t die and was raised again?” They’re like, “We’re Muslims. We don’t believe that stuff.” He goes, “Let’s ask God about it right now.” He would lead the room in it and God can defend Himself. It was very not dramatic. If they didn’t come away with the conclusion that we hope, it’s okay. We’re not getting our identity from the success of the event. We’re free but let’s do what we do.

That has to be one of the biggest obstacles in America. It’s that culture of achievement and success. I don’t know how much of a fan you are of the Enneagram which I’m curious to hear, but I’m a three on the Enneagram, and being in America is fuel on the fire. You try to live out the faith without the metrics of success. It’s like I’ve been living a different type of faith a lot of times. If we understand that there is no such thing as success that we take credit for in the reality of God, then it does free us up to be okay with whatever.

I’m a seven but the guy that trained me on identity was a three. He was a three to the max. It was beautiful to watch him because, talk about hunger and thirst, he worked way out in the crazy places when he was training me and he would come back. I would say, “How did it go? He would say, “It goes well. We had the head of the mosque come to faith and all the people in the mosque come to faith.” He burst into tears and I would say like, “Are you crying with joy?” “No.” “Why?” “That was only 70 people. There are 3,000 people on that island.” He would weep for the others. That’s a three. He was like, “If I die, we’re doing it.” He never saw that it’s on him. He’s like, “I’ve been invited to win this game and we’re going to win.” I’m a seven so I’m like, “Let’s try something different. Let’s see.”

We worked well together. Those numbers are healthy so no man seeks first the kingdom and these other things come. That’s the promise. It’s not like, “Don’t pay attention to any of that other stuff.” For me, if God is going to call you into being a person who attacks conflict, then do it at the highest level that you can possibly be doing it. When you do that, certain things come with that, position and prestige in that field or whatever. That’s fine but it’s not my goal though. My goal is the kingdom. Jesus said, “These other things come with it.” The enemy will go either way on it. It’s like, “Come on, let’s go and get all the riches,” or “You’re getting rich off this. That’s not right. You’re selfish.” He’s an accuser. I’ve seen very good people leave their position because they think they’re prideful and they’re not. It’s the enemy and they think it’s God. Who’s saying you’re proud?

UAC 56 | Unconflicted Life

 

This is an interesting idea. As a rule, anytime we hear accusation, it’s the enemy and anytime we hear advocacy, it’s God. Do you think that is a safe rule to follow?

That’s where that beautiful emotion is. It’s like a warning or a force field around you. When it gets violated by what’s false, it goes off. It’s like, “I feel like I’m so prideful.” That’s not how Jesus talks. He doesn’t come in and accuse people of things. When you have this thought, how does it make you feel? It’s kids’ kindness that leads us to repentance. He’ll turn you but He’ll do it with His kindness and His mercy. He doesn’t come in and go, “You’re the most arrogant person I’ve ever met.” He won’t do that. He says it to the Pharisees because they won’t tell the truth. He’s like, “Tell the truth. What you’re saying is hypocritical.”

He’s not saying, “Your identity is a hypocrite.” It’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying, “This whole thing that you’re presenting is not true and it’s hurting other people because they think it is.” Even if you told the truth, you would say it’s not because you know it’s not. When God speaks and says to me, “Jamie, you’re thinking too much about money.” I can already tell because I’m already anxious. My spirit has already gone off. He was like, “Why are you lying in bed?” He said to me, “Stop counting things.” I’ll say, “What am I counting?” Think of the things you’ve got. You count money, people and hits on the website. Stop counting things because whatever you count, you start counting on that thing. top counting other things. Let the other things come and they will, but count on me. That’s what you want to count. You can’t serve God and money.

That’s such a good word. When you’re counting, you’re going to be counting other things. It’s universally true. Going back to the simple jar breaking framework of knowing that you’re hearing from God and getting your identity from God. The one that I know I still am grasping at and so many people that I know would struggle with or try to understand better is that second one of hearing God. For people that either come from paradigm boxes that say that’s impossible or from people who had never experienced it, what will you say to encourage them to listen and hear from God? How do you explain it?

You want to try and keep it as uncomplicated as possible or as simple as possible. We think of it like this. Hearing from God is the free flow of thoughts that come to your mind when you fix your eyes on Jesus and ask a question. That’s what it is. I even think that’s narrow but that’s a good way for people from a Christian background to think about it because it scares us. We think that the enemy is going to be the one talking. How often should we be fixing our eyes on Jesus and asking Him a question? All the time. That should be what you’re doing. That’s praying without ceasing that Paul is talking about. We should be doing that all the time. Practicing the presence and abiding. That’s what you’re doing. When I’m doing anything, I’m like, “Jesus, how would I think about that one? Is there another way to think about this?” Jesus doesn’t talk all the time. He’s like, “I told you what to do in this. You have a brain. Go figure it out and enjoy it.”

He loves for us to figure stuff out. He’s not standing there like, “Turn left.” We never see Jesus doing that. When you have a question, come to Him. It says, “The disciples came to Him and asked him. He explained everything fully to them.” If they asked about the parables, He explains the parables. If they don’t ask Him, people walk away going, “That was a dumb story.” The ones that come back and go, “I didn’t get that part.” He’s there to speak. He wants you to know the deep mysteries but He wants you to come and ask Him. It’s those beautiful free flow of thoughts. When I’m driving down the road and my fists, my blocks or my rationalities are down. I’m drifting around and very beautiful intuitive mind. The intuitive mind is the way to know God. That’s what it’s for. Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is the master creator. The rational mind is the servant.” We have made the servant the master because we don’t like mystery.

We want to know five ways to be a great leader. That’s all we want to know. Rationally, tell me how to do it and I’ll do it. No discovery works that way. It’s all intuitive because discovery and invention are going out to what’s not known yet. That’s the intuitive mind. You want to live there and then keep bringing it down to the rational. How would that work? The other thing people say is, how do you know it’s God? If it’s God or thought from love, it produces certain emotions in us. It produces joy, peace, patience, goodness and faithfulness. Faithfulness means you start to hunger for it. You become faithful to that idea like, “That will work.”

It energizes, pushes and moves. It domesticates your passion. It will aim like, “I’m worried about this.” It focuses you. That’s the result of truth coming from love. A thought that’s not from God that’s accusatory produces other emotions like fear, guilt and shame. “I’m a procrastinator and I’m lazy.” You’re already off Jesus now. You’ve already drifted away. You’re accusing yourself. One of the things I’ll say about that, “If I’m praying with Omar, my Muslim friend, and I ask God to speak to him, how do you know Satan is not going to speak to him?” Here’s my answer to that question. That’s a fair question. Where in the Bible have you ever seen a person ask God a question and Satan answers?

That is the most not possible thing ever to happen. In fact, if you research it, anyone that takes glory from God, He never tolerates it. I’m like, “What kind of God do you have? You ask Him a question, He let Satan answer it and let you think it’s Him.” That does not happen. That itself is a lie. All that lie does is makes us afraid to ask God a question and it works. Ask God a question. Does that thought come to my mind? Do they violate the text in any way? No. Do they produce fear or guilt and shame in you? No. Do they give glory to God? Yes. Do they energize you? Yes, then move on it.

When you’re saying that I remember I took a class on Job in college. What was fascinating to me is the only time that you see in that story is Satan talking in response to God. It’s only in response like God will summon him or God wants to initiate. It’s funny how we get it mixed up. We have them on a higher plane than it deserved.

That’s one of His great strategies. We give the enemy either way too much credit or no credit. It’s a balance. That’s the beauty of the text is you can watch Satan through the narrative of the history of humanity and you can see the limits, what’s possible and not. That’s why you want to know the scriptures. Here are 52 case studies on Satan. Read them, understand them, learn from them but don’t give them more than that. He goes by rules and he has to follow the rules.

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The free flow of thoughts that come to your mind when you fix your mind on Jesus and ask Him a question. What a beautiful synopsis and so actionable, which I love because that is the key. Faith requires action if we’re going to walk by it. That’s always the scary part. That’s where fear comes back in. That’s where it leads to our third process which you spoke about, which is identity from God. I know that in the last couple of years, a big part of the transition that you’ve been making with your wife is this new vision called Identity Exchange of the work you’re doing. I would love to hear more about how that came about and what it’s brought for you guys as you worked in that realm. With that, I’d love to hear how you approach people that are believers or followers of God versus people that have no context, understanding or knowledge of God.

The beauty of the way you’re doing this is great. You can see these very clear themes through everything like God is so thematic. You want to know the themes in your own life so you can keep looking. Do I see the theme there? Is the theme there a good play or something? They have the theme song that runs through the whole thing. You want to be able to look at your life and go, “Where’s the theme?” That helps you to know, am I following the theme or am I way off on something else? I ask people all the time, “What’s the theme of your life? What’s the rhythm of your life? What’s the theme of how God communicates to you?” He doesn’t speak to me in the church.

There’s nothing good or bad about that. It’s not how He deals with me because I’ve realized He doesn’t want me. I could have very easily ended up in some full-time ministry position but He didn’t want it. He doesn’t talk to me there, so I won’t get stuck there. He wants me over here, but for other people, it’s different. Identity is asking God, “How do you see me? What are you calling me? How do you refer to me?” Not just a big onetime identity like Gideon or someone like that. That’s fine but even in certain situations, I like to ask guys who I’m talking to, “Ask Jesus.” The reason we focus on Jesus as opposed to God is because God is too big and Jesus is the exact representation of the invisible God. That’s why we fix our eyes on Jesus because He is God.

It’s not that Jesus is God that’s so amazing. It’s that God is Jesus. That’s what’s amazing. That’s what God is like. That’s what people don’t understand. We’re trying to prove Jesus is God. That’s not the big point. The big point is that God is Jesus. That’s who you’re praying to. They are not different. It’s not a good guy or bad guy. That’s God right there. How does God treat enemies? I’m sorry. You can throw the whole Old Testament at me and I still can show you where He’s doing it out of love. Ask Jesus these questions, “Jesus, when you look at me as a parent, what do you see? When you look at me as a husband or whatever, what do you see?” Let him tell you what your identity as a parent. People are afraid to do that with Jesus because they think He’s going to criticize them.

There’s the old image but what Jesus says to people all the time is like, “You’re an amazing spouse.” Anybody won’t leave it there. We need to get to the next level of amazing. That’s how He does it. It’s so beautiful. It’s His kindness that leads us. “Let’s cut down on the drinking.” That’s how He talks. “Let’s end the alcohol because why aren’t you doing that anyway? You’re afraid.” It’s very beautiful how He does it but it cut true. Truth always liberates. For myself, especially when I’m fearful about something like, “What do I believe about myself? What do you say about me in this scenario right now that I’m in?” He says fascinating things like, “You’re my voice right now. Speak and talk about this.” That’s gone after that incident. You’re in this constant fixing your eyes but you might have a big thematic identity like healer or militant peacemaker’s mind. It’s this continuous journey with Him.

When I’m praying with believers or people from a Christian background, this is why we call it Identity Exchange, you can’t hear the true with the false. You have to empty out the false, sweep the house clean, become poor in spirit, get rid of the false, confess the false before you can receive the truth. There has to be an exchange. The cross of Christ is an exchange. It’s our fear, guilt and shame exchanged for the truth of who we are in the righteousness of Christ. It’s not a covering, it’s an exchange. The first part is always we have to be able to say as clearly and truthfully as possible what we believe about ourselves that’s not true. It’s painful as it can be. I believe about myself that I disappoint people there. You learned that. You were taught that. You may have disappointed some of them but it’s not an identity. You’ve got to be able to confess it because the Lord wants to take it away.

That’s the beauty of confession. It should be done regularly. With a believer, it’s a negative emotion. How does that make you feel? It makes me feel stupid. That’s an identity, I am stupid. That was the first time in your life you learned that you were stupid. You had to be told you were stupid. You had to accept that as true. Now you’re living in it even though it’s 50 years later. We’ve got to get to that route. I believe I’m stupid. It was in third grade, whatever. We’re going to give it to Jesus. Let Him have it. Watch what He does with this. I love doing this with people. Watch what He does with the “I am stupid” identity and Jesus gets rid of it.

He separates it from you as far as the east is from the west then remembers it no more. That’s what he does with that. He gives you or tells you the true that’s always been there. It’s always been true. It’s not suddenly new. When was Gideon a mighty man of valor? From the day God knit him together in his mother’s womb. He didn’t know it or believe it. The angel says, “Go in the strength you already possess and lead these people. I’m not giving you some special new dramatic. You’ve always had it. Live in it. Let’s go. I’ll lead you in it and then it will be different day-to-day.” That why we called it the Identity Exchange. The beauty of that is Jesus is doing it with everyone that He talks to.

He’s calling out the false by only speaking to what’s true in the person. You are not a prostitute. That is not true. That is not an identity. That is the symptom of a woman who is isolated from her true self and the God who loves her. That’s what a person does when they believe that about themselves. “They call you prostitute, you call yourself a prostitute, men call you prostitute, I don’t. I call you daughter. Here’s the challenge. Go and live like a daughter would live. Thank you very much. Have a good life.” That’s all He says to her. A daughter would never be doing this. What would a daughter be doing? Go and live like a daughter. That’s how He talks to people but she is bringing the false to Him and giving it to Him. He won’t take it. I love it.

He’s like, “That’s been rough. You’ve been nasty as a prostitute.” He doesn’t even want to touch it because it’s not true. He speaks the truth. With believers, you can walk through those examples with a person that doesn’t know the Bible or doesn’t like the Bible or whatever. You go back to love. I’m doing full course with a company that’s completely non-Christian. The curriculum writer that’s working with me on it is phenomenal. She gets it and she’s done this process. If you asked her if she’s a Christian, she was saying, “No, not at all.” That’s not what it is. Jesus is not making Christians. He’s calling out the true identity in everyone He talks to like Romans or Samaritans.

For the person that doesn’t have the Christian language, I do the same thing. What’s a negative emotion you’ve often experienced? Where does it come from? What does it say about you? Tell me what it says about you. Make an I am statement. They make the statement. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to hold that I am      statement. I am a victim. Hold it in your hand. Imagine you’re standing and unconditional love is in front of you. Give that name to love and tell me what love does with that name. Love does what love does and it separates them from that name as far as the east is from the west. Ask love what love calls you? Love would never call you that.

UAC 56 | Unconflicted Life

Unconflicted Life: The intuitive mind is the way to know God.

 

What does love call you? Truth or lie or whatever. They hear it because God is love. God is light. Jesus is walking around going, “I’m the door, I’m the way, I’m the bread, I’m all of it.” Here are all the words you can use in reference. David says, “He’s like a shepherd.” Isaiah said, “He’s like a King, high and lifted up.” All of those great voices said God has 1,175 ways to reference God in the scriptures because he’s all words. He’s every word that could ever be said about what’s true. He’s love and light. We do the exact same process. The key is we’re not telling the person what to be, do or hear. We’re letting them hear and then they know it’s not themselves doing it. The way they know is they hear words about themselves that they would never have caught themselves. It’s embarrassing to them. It’s too high.

I tell the story about this one guy. His identity when we were praying together was internationally famous academic. He was a middle school math teacher with a stuttering problem. Here’s what God called him on the day we prayed together. “You’re an internationally famous academic. Say it out loud.” He goes, “This can’t be right.” I was like, “Do you call yourself in there?” “No, I would never call myself that.” “Would Satan call you that?” No. “Who would ever think of you that highly?” It’s the love for it. “Here’s love’s challenge to you. Why are you a middle school math teacher?” That’s great. That’s okay but did you stop there? He’s an internationally famous academic. That opened up his whole future to him. That’s what he’s always been.

I love this and I’m excited personally because these are things that I’m going to be sitting with. I’m excited for more of what God is going to bring in that. As you mentioned in that whole story, your identity as a militant peacemaker, I’d love to hear if you’d be able to share the story of when that became clear for you and what that means to you.

It’s an interesting journey because it’s even become more and more clear than that name. good friend of mine, Abby, called me and I have it in my wallet. She gave it to me from a verse in Mark and it says, “He was a teller of stories and untier of knots.” That’s it all the way down to the bottom. Militant Peacemaker is an untier of knots and it’s a description of Jesus in Mark. I do it through narrative. I do it through walking people through their own story, telling them a story to get them to move. The guy that broke my identity jar was watching me talk to Muslims. I’m a fast learner in those environments. I knew I could do what he was doing and I could do it well. I didn’t have the same impact he did with people so I was frustrated with it. One day, he was watching me and he pulls me aside because I was hurting his achievement level.

He says, “You don’t know your identity, do you?” I was offended and I do what all good Christians do. I lied and said, “Yes I do know my identity.” He goes, “No, I don’t think you do.” I said, “How do you know?” He said, “You’re imitating me. I’m already here. We don’t need me. We need you, but we need the real you. We don’t know who the real you is and neither do you. We’ve got to do something about that.” It hit me hard. How much of our life is trying to imitate someone else? He said, “If you’re a musician and you love a certain band so you imitate the band to practice and get good. If you don’t become your own sound, you’re just a cover band for the rest of your life. You need to know your own identity so you can tell us what it is and we know what to do with it.” That rang true. I said, “Okay.”

He sends me to this other guy who was their identity guy. I’m from a very traditional background. This is a little bit weird to me even that far into my journey. I go to this guy and I’m thinking, “What is this going to involve?” He sits with me and he doesn’t do an exchange. We’ve developed it since those guys, which I love. He said, “We’re going to ask God what’s the block for you here in understanding your identity or something like that.” We do that and the Lord says to me, and it scared me. He said, “You worship what you know about me more than me.”

That hurt my feelings because here I am in my sixth year overseas in these awful conditions. We’ve gone and put on trial, and all this other stuff. He’s like, “You don’t even know me.” For some reason, it caused me to cry my eyes out. It cut my heart. I had this image in my mind of this bookshelf of all my theology books, being shoved off the shelf because it was an altar. It was a high place. At my high place, I worshiped John Piper and John MacArthur. That was my altar shelf. That’s not God. It’s like a Buddhist having an altar shelf.

It’s the exact same thing. I’m praying to these guys that you have got. There is no one before me, nobody beats me. I don’t care how much you love and respect them. You come to me. I could hear God and this was another level he was calling me up to. He’s like, “We’re getting rid of the high places in the country now. I want all of them gone.” It was heart-wrenching to me. I went through this thing in my mind where I saw him shoving all these theology books off the shelf because I was not looking up high enough. I was looking and stopping there. He’s like, “Keep going.”

I looked up at him and he said, “You are my warrior.” It’s very moving to me. It made every theme of my life line up. Every place the enemy accused me of something, the enemy would say, “You’re a disappointment. You’re not brave enough.” That was always what he said to me my whole life. It is always counter to true identity. I can name the people that said it to me. My dad was one of them. My dad said to me the day I came to faith when I came home from the hospital and said, “I’m not playing sports anymore. I don’t need them. That’s not even what I want to do.” He said, “Yes because you were injured and you’re not brave. You’re a disappointment now to me.” That’s what he said.

The greatest statement of my life is I met Christ’s disappointment and you use it as a coward. Until that day I met with that guy, that was killing me. I proved to men older than myself that I was not afraid that I was not going to disappoint Him. We both know the level of moving into excellence and I wept. He said, “Don’t you ever believe anything different than that?” He’s never called me being brave because I’m not. He said, “You’re courageous in the sense of your encouraging.” I began the journey of what kind of warrior and battles and then it gets more and more specific. It’s before moving horizon. I’m now down to, “You’re the teller of stories and the untier of knots.” I looked back and I’m like, “That’s what I’ve been doing the whole time.”

It’s so affirming to hear that because one of the questions I always ask people when I talk to them in background calls is, “How would you describe Jamie in two words?” One of them said militant peacemaker, but the other words were courageous messenger, fearless advocate, relatable and purposeful. It’s not that you saying it. It’s other people saying it that know you and love you deeply. Another question is asking them, “What is Jamie’s superpower?” One of them said along with storytelling, which speaks directly to that.

Joy is where the spirit is. Fear is where the enemy is. Click To Tweet

The other is building people’s faith through his encouragement of them, encouraging them to go further and deeper than they thought they could go, and speaking the truth in a way people can receive it. To continue to affirm you, that is directly in line. This is what I want to touch on before we wrap up. It’s the one thing we haven’t talked to much and I haven’t heard much on. It’s the other superpower that someone mentioned. They mentioned your other superpower being Donna. I’d love to hear what life with Donna has brought for you and how you’ve been able to walk together in this work and even in your faith journeys individually but also together.

We met when we were nineteen. Number one I can tell every young couple is Donna has never gotten her identity from me. That is so important in relationships. You do not engage in a relationship to get identity from the other person. First of all, it can’t work and it will put pressure on the relationship that can’t be met. When I look at her and say, “I got recruited to move overseas and we’re going to go to Egypt.” She’s Jewish. I never was afraid that she would say either, “I don’t want to but I’m going to do it because I’m going to be submissive to you.”

I hate that kind of thinking but I never had to worry that she would be afraid and say no. She did say no at first because I’m a seven and she’s a six. She thinks about all the ramifications of it. Because she moves in her own identity and she can hear God on her own, I know that when we get back together to discuss something that she’s going to come with her own identity and capacity to hear God. What she’s going to say is going to impact me. It’s going to affect me and vice versa. I’ve never laid in bed at night going, “This is going to ruin my wife because her identity is independent of me.” It’s a great relief and then your kids don’t get their identity from you either and you don’t get your identity from your kids.

It allows freedom in there. That’s one of the biggest things about her. For a Jewish woman to spend 27 years of her life in militant Muslim locations, it taught me more about forgiveness and grace than anything I’ve ever seen. She would work with women and men that would insult Jews all day long because they didn’t know she was Jewish. They would tell jokes about Jews and how they’re out to kill Jews. In some situations, she would walk out of their room and cry, dry her eyes and come back in the room and engage again. It’s called forgiveness. It might be a year later when that person encounters Jesus and she tells them that she’s Jewish. It explains the whole thing to them about what this is all about.

How do we break down walls for forgiveness? Grace. Loving you in spite of the fact that you hate my guts and everything that I represented, so my people every day, and you don’t even know what you’re doing. It’s like what Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” I’m seeing her do that and raise her Jewish kids in a Muslim world. I’m not going to God like, “What do you do? You’re ruining my kids.” Trusting God that not only our kids would maintain their faith in Jesus, ethnicity and Judaism, and their commitment to that tradition while being in schools where all their friends are Muslims for most of their lives. Trusting God is able to do that. I was a Christian, it didn’t affect me. Watching her do that was like having someone share the gospel with me every day. My joke was always like, “I get to work with the kingdom and then I get to go to bed with the kingdom. It’s incredible. I’m with the kingdom all the time.” We’ve had our times, dark spells and all of that but her faith has always astounded me.

I love what you said about never getting your identity from the other. I’m not too far into a marriage or partnering with a spouse but I can already see how important it is to let each other be who we are. As much as we are a union now, we still have two individuals and that is that dance of the fence. I’m curious hearing you talk about both of you pursuing God together, listening to God, and partnering with each other in that. What advice along with that would you give to young couples who are beginning on that journey? They are both pursuing and receiving from God those identities, but then partnering together to support each other in that dance.

I would say two things on that. I never speak publicly on marriage, parents or any of that stuff because it’s so unique to the identities involved. I don’t like when patterns are given out for marriage. There are some amazing couples I’ve met and they’re so different, the way they relate to one another and God. It’s the beauty of God’s whole unique and beautiful world. The enemy is always trying to make things into patterns and formulas. It takes all the beauty out of it but there are processes that are important. One is to hold each other accountable to living in your true identity. All humans should be doing this with each other, but Donna will look at me and she’ll say, “This is not the true you.”

Accountability is not a holding people accountable to scenarios and avoiding scenarios. It’s holding them accountable to what’s true about who they are. We did it with our kids all the time. It’s like, “Where’s my real son? What happened to him? What is this false identity that wandered in here? We’re not going to let the false talk in here. We’re not doing it.” That’s one, and holding each other accountable to be in the name that God calls you. I’m not calling you that, He calls you that. I’m here to help you be that because that identity and my identity is what’s the gates of hell can’t stand against. I’ve only married a few people in my life and done the ceremony, but I will only do it if they let me join them in their true identities. I get to say it out loud, “I am the timeless life-giver to the pioneer of the faith.” Those two together are what’s going to change everything. The other one I strongly suggest to people is always tell each other what you’re most afraid. Don’t hide fear because that’s where the enemy is.

Jamie, we’re going to have to do round two sometime because there are two more hours at least in here. I’d love to end with a few short one-offs here and then we’ll be done. The first is this is an interesting question and it’s a challenging one. Which of your views or beliefs are most likely to be wrong?

It’s a touchy one because I came from a police background and I’m in a different world. I’m wrong about how I view the United States of America.

That’s a big one and that’s a whole other episode.

UAC 56 | Unconflicted Life

Unconflicted Life: Accountability is holding people accountable for what’s true about who they are.

 

That’s a deep one I know. I rest with that one right now.

There are a couple of interviews I’ve heard of you. One shared some powerful illustrations to give more context to that police work that people that have read this would benefit from as well. What question do you ask yourself the most?

What am I most afraid of? That’s the question. That fear question is a question I ask my kids all the time when I’m talking to them. I was like, “What are you afraid of?” That’s where the enemy is lurking. Other question that I ask them and myself is, do you have joy? Those are my two big questions. Joy is where the spirit is. Fear is where the enemy is. If you don’t have joy, something is off. If you have fear, you want to check it.

Those are phenomenal. What book or books have had the biggest impact on you?

I wish I had it with me. I’m reading a book called The Christian Imagination and I can’t think of his name. He’s a black author. It’s the history of how the Jesuits used the Bible to justify marginalizing people groups in countries that the Spanish and the British were conquering. It’s stunning. It’s broken my heart even my own people because my mom is white and from the South for many generations. They were fierce loving Jesus and incredibly racist. How can you do that? How can you love the Bible and own another human? That was a tremendous book and white writers don’t write about it. That’s been good to me. Richard Rohr’s book, What Do We Do With Evil? I love that. It’s a short book. It’s a fantastic book about the lie systems that we’re in and our wrong view of evil.

I’m going to have to check those out. Those both sound great. The last question and the question we ask every guest that comes on the show is, if you could send a morning text reminder to every Up and Comer out there, what would you say and why? It would be a short message they get every morning from you.

It would be the question God asked Hagar. The only woman God spoke to since Eve in scripture. The first woman that has an appearance of Jesus and her child is named by God. One of seven is Hagar, the slave woman, the Egyptian woman, the marginalized. He asked her these questions, “Where have you come from? Where are you going?” Those are the questions. Where have I come from? That’s identity. Where are you going? That’s destiny. Where have I come from? How did I get here? Where am I going? Those are the questions.

Jamie, this has been a blast. I can’t thank you enough for coming on and being so generous with your time, experiences and testimonies. I’m stoked about it. Where can people find out more about what you’re doing and connect?

We have two websites depending on your background. IdentityExchange.com, it’s heavy Christian language terminology. That’s the language of my people. We have IdentityMethod.com, which is the language for people that didn’t grow up in the church or the Bible. Those two are good places to start.

Jamie, until next time. Thanks again. This has been such a treat and I’m grateful for you and your life.

Thanks for having me.

For all of you reading, we hope you have an up and coming week because we are out.

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About Jamie Winship

UAC 56 | Unconflicted LifeJamie Winship has decades of experience bringing peaceful solutions to some of the world’s highest conflict areas.

Starting with a distinguished career in law enforcement in the metro Washington, DC area. Jamie earned an MA in English and developed a unique process based on the Identity Exchange premise: identity transformation is the key to acquiring new levels of learning and creativity in any field. His unconventional efforts to bring about societal and racial reconciliation led him to Indonesia, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, and now Seattle.

In recent years, Jamie has worked with leaders in a variety of sectors, from police departments to pro football teams to churches and other faith-based organizations. Along with his wife Donna, Jamie is the co-founder of Identity Exchange – a training and consulting company, committed to teaching people the transformative power of living fearlessly in their true identity.

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