Full Body Makeover

August 25, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King famously quoted, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”  In the Kingdom of God people are coming together like they did in the formative years of the church when Christians would sell property in order to help one another.  Other barriers of separation are coming down as well.  We’re living in an incredible time when God is causing the rest of His body to catch up to the head.  In other words, we’re finally seeing the gap close between church leaders and the people they lead.  It’s fascinating to see “ordinary people” catch the revelation that the same Holy Spirit residing in pastors and leaders is also residing in them.  This has heightened my awareness to another dynamic as well:  That all of us are caretakers of God’s heart and desire for transformation.  I recently read again the story of Moses hitting the rock to get water to come out when he was clearly told to speak to the rock.  His disobedience cost him dearly but it also cost Aaron because he had been right there with Moses receiving the same instructions from God about what to do to the rock.  In essence, Aaron was as responsible for carrying out God’s instructions as Moses was.  They had different roles to play, but Aaron knew what the deal was and should have helped Moses stay the course.  Moreover, the whole nation of Israel should have been a people that valued the word of Lord so much they wouldn’t allow their complaining to create the atmosphere that drove their leader to such frustration in the first place.  Therein lies the rub.  Unfortunately, there has long been the mistaken notion in the Kingdom of God that leaders and heads are the ones solely responsible for God’s word coming to pass and that the rest of the body gets to sit back and enjoy the ride with no real responsibility.  Granted, leadership is essential, and when there are leadership failures the people around them always take a hit. Leaders are primarily responsible for communicating and modeling what God is saying to the people but those people become a part of team that collectively carry the burden of fulfilling God’s plan.  There is no distinction in the mind of God concerning his body.  For example, when you’ve had a pain in your joints you’ve taken some type of pain medication orally with the expectation that the medicine would work it’s way through your bloodstream to the joints that are hurting. It’s the same in God. He has an expectation that words He releases to the head of his body will be digested and properly impact the whole body. Unfortunately too often God’s revelations touch the head but not the toe.  God is releasing words of revival and reformation over whole cities and I’m so excited to be meeting so many leaders and heads that are clearly hearing from Heaven about this, but God wants His whole body to be impacted by His revelations.  What we need is a full body makeover because He is working to raise up a whole people, not just individual superstars to bring His desires to pass.  He wants an army an not an audience.  I encourage you to lock into Godly leadership because that’s fundamental; but don’t merely go to church to be entertained by a good speaker and then relinquish the responsibility of reformation to them.  Pay close attention to what they’re saying and take it into your heart.  In Acts 4 it says “they gave themselves to the Apostle’s teaching.”  The phrase “gave themselves” means they locked into the Apostle’s teaching with such fervor that they wouldn’t allow anything to hinder them from seeing those words come to pass.  That’s what we need in our cities today, a people who will so give themselves to the Rhema of the Lord that the transformation of nations will be a natural byproduct of a such a committed people.

 

Gifted and Strong

July 25, 2012

Most preachers have a real knack for creating little maxims that pack a lot of truth. One common Christian maxim is “We live in an upside down kingdom.” The basic point here is that principles for getting ahead in life in the Kingdom of God usually run counter to what the world advocates. For example, in the Kingdom of God in order to lead one must determine to serve or in order to receive, one must be generous. I guess, if truth be told, I have a little problem with the “upside down kingdom” statement. I think the Kingdom of God is really right-side up and our world is the one that is upside down and in desperate need of a flip. Recently, I’ve been thinking about another one of those right-side up Kingdom axioms and it’s this: “In Christ when you’re faced with trials, rejoicing is actually the proper way to deal with it.” I am so fascinated with how God wants us to manage challenges, crisis, and loss. This truth has become particularly significant to me because we live in a time where revelation and gifts of the Holy Spirit are at an all time high. In the last five years I’ve heard revelations that I wouldn’t have even considered just 10 short years ago. I’ve also seen miracles I used to only dream about. So much is exploding in the Kingdom of God right now, yet the divorce rate of married Christians almost matches that of non-Christians, more people are leaving churches although they aren’t leaving God, and many Christian leaders are falling morally. How do we explain this paradox? I think that even though we have so many gifts and revelations there is a real lack of strength and enduring faith amongst so many Christians. Failures and giving up don’t occur overnight. Usually they happen as a result of a demonic ebbing away at a person’s confidence and faith. These failures simply show us that many people, while gifted, don’t have enough internal strength to endure trials. This isn’t the will of God. The Father is looking for people who are both gifted and strong. In order to be a people gifted and strong we have to learn to manage the tough times. The reality is that every time we step out and do something for God the enemy challenges that act of faith. Unfortunately, most people find themselves unprepared and go to pieces when the trials show up. They don’t see that the difficulties they experience are actually a compliment…it is the spirit world responding to the fact that they’ve chosen to do something significant for God. When we dare to believe God there is always a cost associated with it. The trials are actually evidence that God is breathing all over what we’ve decided to do because Satan would have no need to discredit what wasn’t genuinely born in the heart of God. When the Lord created humans, he said “Let us make man in our image” and He wasn’t referring to facial features. He was saying the DNA of His divinity is hardwired into the operating system of every person on the planet. In essence, we were born to step into these acts of faith, we were born to confront impossible situations and do the miraculous. The caveat is that those things are only accomplished by faith and faith must be tested in order for the breakthrough to carry the spirit world’s validation. Please understand power only respects power and the spirit world is a very powerful place. In order for God’s acts to be established through you those acts have to come under the scrutiny of the spirit world’s testing. Once those tests are passed, your breakthrough manifests but it also carries Heaven’s genuine seal of approval. In America certain foods go through rigorous test to receive the USDA seal of approval. When the public sees this seal they know that food carries the highest quality. Similarly, when your breakthroughs come on the heels of passed test then all of the spiritual and visible world knows your breakthroughs are of the highest quality. Those breakthroughs have gone through God’s quality control test and are established for ages and respected throughout the spirit and earth realm. This is the reason the Father teaches us to rejoice in the midst of trials because when we learn to do that we allow the construction of internal strength; our breakthroughs carry a deeper level of significance; and we come out of those trials mature, complete, and not lacking anything. Isaiah 60 teaches that at the same time of great shining and glory rising in the church there will be a contradictory reality of deep darkness. I believe we live in the time Isaiah spoke of right now and it is our job to make the choice to hold up the superiority of God’s light against the inferiority of the enemy’s darkness. Even though that darkness appears daunting we must rejoice in the face of it and be a people strong enough to carry the weight of God’s glory and see it be established. This is a wonderful time for Christians, it is a time of great gifts and revelation, but it is also a time for our true strength to come forth.

Nitrous Christianity

June 14, 2012


About 8 years ago I had some dental work done that required minor surgery.  I still remember sitting in the dental chair receiving the first phase of the procedure…nitrous oxide.  Otherwise known as “Laughing Gas.”  As they had me breath this stuff in I felt myself become less and less inhibited and more and more happy.  Just before I went to sleep I heard myself singing and laughing and I overheard my nurse saying ” this guy must be one happy fellow.”  Recently I saw a hilarious video on you-tube where a kid came out of his surgery still under the influence of his anesthesia and it was the same thing. A lot of laughter and good feelings in the room.  It got me to thinking, okay maybe I was doing more wishing that actual thinking, but what if pastors were given a special license to give out laughing gas before each church service.  Not enough that would cause people to fall asleep through messages but just enough to lighten everyone up.  What if we were able to stand at the door and after greeting the church members have them pass under a mist machine, like the ones you stand under at Six Flags on a hot day to cool off.  Except instead of giving off a cooling mist this machine hit everyone with a little dose of good ole’ nitrous.  Can you imagine what church would be like?  It would be so incredible!  People who normally sit and do their best gargoyle impressions through worship would suddenly transform into wild worshippers happy to be singing the praises to their God.  Cold disconnected saints would suddenly be the warmest people running to hug everyone in the room.  People prone to complaining would become the greatest prophetic voices in the region, giving out words of strengthening, encouragement, and comfort.  Pastors could preach the simplest messages and people’s hearts would be so penetrated by truth.  Miracles would happen all the time because saints wouldn’t walk in fear and doubt, they’d just believe the word and pray for dead people to rise up and sick people to be well.  Don’t even mention offering time! My God, the stingiest of all would joyfully run to give their tithes and on the way back to their seats pay for some needy kids to get some clothes, food, etc.  Giving would triple in every church and so would the blessings on the saints.  God, being ever-faithful to His word, would be releasing thirty, sixty, and a hundred-fold returns on people because of their generosity. Suddenly we’d hear about Christians throughout the world becoming debt-free, starting businesses that were incredibly successful.  Christians would single-handedly shift the world out of global recession.  The divorce rate amongst married believers would disappear because husbands and wives were suddenly so friendly toward each other. Christian families that had rifts would be reuniting and every church would run out of room because people outside of the Kingdom of God would suddenly want “in” just so they could live like those jovial, successful, loving, happy Christians.  Also so they could get a hit of the good stuff themselves.  People would hear there is free laughing gas available and they’d come in droves all day long.  Folk, on their way to work would just stop in to get a quick shot before they headed into the office for what now was going to be an incredibly happy day. People would start finding their purpose and destinies on a new level because those gassed-up Christians would always be prophesying the heart of God to the people around them.

Sound too good to be true?  It’s not really because Paul said we can have as much of this nitrous oxide as we want.  In Ephesian 5:18 Paul tells us to continually be getting filled with the Spirit of God.  The spirit of God is not only the counselor and comforter sent from Heaven to guide the saints into all truth, but He’s also the greatest joy merchant the world has ever known.  The laughing gas man has created can’t compare to what God has freely given.  I encourage you, the next time you get a chance…breath in the Holy Spirit.  Inhale deeply as possible and allow Him to change your depression and frustration to joy and laughter.  Watch your problems suddenly get smaller in your mind because of the euphoric joy you are now feeling.  Get intoxicated on the Holy Spirit and drop the doubts and inhibitions the enemy has shackled you with through religion.  Do yourself a favor and breathe in some Holy nitrous oxide and meanwhile I’ll look more into getting those special licenses for pastors.


True Focus

May 10, 2012

Lately I’ve been really meditating on Hebrews 11:8-10.  In these passages we learn that Abraham never got hung up on the land because he was always focused on the PROMISE which meant so much more than the ground he found himself sojourning in.  As friends of God there are promises we all carry that supersede our current situations.  This is what engulfed Abraham’s heart.  He was possessed by a promise so the land he lived in, the challenges he had, the ups and downs of his life didn’t become his life.  Abraham embraced this truth  so much so that scripture teaches us he would only live in tents.  In other words he wouldn’t even allow the house he chose to become the permanent fixture and focus of his life.  It wasn’t that he couldn’t afford a house or that settling down was a bad thing, it was just that Abraham’s heart was so fixated on something greater that he never gave his permanent housing a thought.  He was looking to a city that only could have been built by God, anything short of that was unsatisfactory to Abraham and he couldn’t settle for mediocre when he knew greatness was available.  I know it sounds a little extreme but that type of thinking is more wired into your DNA than you know.  We are called seeds of Abraham and he is our father of faith.  Within us is a natural desire to see God’s promises come to pass in our lives.  It is the thing our hearts burn with.  The enemy attempts to bombard us with the affairs of life in order to keep us from our true focus but God knows us better than the enemy.  God knows we can go through our challenges and keep our heart fixed on His promises.  He knows we have the capacity to grow stronger through adversity and become even better conduits of His grace.  The trappings of this world are just tents and God is well able to take care of our tents if we will focus on His promise.  Let’s keep leaning into God’s promises and be people that will exercise dominion on the 7 mountains of culture! That’s the goal…on earth as it is in Heaven.

In Psalms 16 the writer speaks of the total pleasure and joy that is found in the presence of the Lord. When my wife and I began our ministry over three years ago to say we were nervous would be somewhat of an understatement. We were filled with so many concerns about our new step of faith. Would it work, would people be ministered to, would the ministry ever be able to support us? In the midst of those topsy-turvy times the Father would consistently make His presence known and incredibly all of the concerns suddenly weren’t as concerning. I learned right from the outset that cultivating God’s presence in my life was going to be central to our survival. We still have topsy-turvy times but I have learned to handle them by releasing God’s presence into our circumstances and His track record is unblemished. Today, in our “self-improvement society” you can find “6 keys for success” in pretty much any aspect of living. But the Psalm challenges this cultural phenomenon and instructs us to live a “presence driven life.” That presence of God releases His raw power into your circumstances and it carries with it everything you need; be it answers, peace, healing, or financial support. His presence is the most powerful force in time or eternity. King Jehoshaphat learned the power of a presence driven life, when He was faced with an army of three nations all wanting to destroy Israel. The King, in great desperation, was encouraged by a prophet and told to just worship God. The worship of God so stirred up the presence of God that it went into the armies of the three nations and destroyed them all. What a lesson for us today, Jehoshaphat came into this incredible victory through the presence of God and he experienced it under an inferior covenant. How much more should we experience victory through His presence under a new covenant that’s filled with better promises? The enemy works extremely hard to keep our minds diverted from this simple yet powerful truth. All of us are constantly bombarded with suggestions for success, get-rich-quick schemes, smarmy ways of getting ahead, devious ways of avoiding trouble, and yet the presence driven life is the most powerful, pure, and simple lifestyle choice one can make. In His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore. In your drive for life, be driven toward His presence and by His presence.

Recently I had the joy of ministering in Botswana for Pastor Marcdonald Ndlovu. Pastor Marcdonald’s home is very similar to mine…full of young people, incredible energy, and the future of the ministry and a nation buzzing around.  While there I shared a lot with them about my early years as a Christian.  I told them how important to me accessing the wisdom of my spiritual fathers had been over the years.  When the Father has placed you in the midst of a man of God, it is so critical that you not be satisfied with mere familiarity.  Familiarity is often an enemy to your breakthrough.  Familiarity blinds you and causes you to see someone in the flesh instead of seeing them in the spirit.  I often talk to my own children about this dynamic because I never want them to become so familiar with me that they lose sight of my position in the spirit.  I believe this is how Eli’s son’s became wicked.  They dishonored their father’s position in the spirit by allowing themselves to become too familiar with their dad and lose respect for the prophet that he was. An anointing that should have been their birthright was passed on to a spiritual son instead, Samuel.  They devalued their dad’s anointing in their own minds and it cost them severely.  You have to cultivate a hunger in your heart for what your leader’s carry.   God has given each of you a man or woman of God to give you spiritual leadership.  Their benefit in your world is commensurate to the amount of value you place on them.  You must seek after what’s inside the man or woman of God in your life that the Father has given you.  I’m not suggesting idol worship here but I am suggesting a simple recognition of the leaders that speak the word of God into your life.  Paul teaches us that we are to imitate their faith.   Ask questions about his or her vision, what God is saying to him, what he is sensing, how does he see particular bible passages.  Engage who he is in the spirit, stay interested.  Through those types of exchanges you’ll find God releasing more wisdom to you.  That type of hunger causes you to grow exponentially in wisdom.  We’ve been so blessed in our local fellowship with such amazing pastors and leaders.  Most churches take years to develop a core of leaders but we were blessed to start with ten incredible people who serve as pastors and a host of others that are leaders in there own right in the ministry.  I want to encourage everyone to take time with your leaders, engage them in dialogue, pull close to them.  You’ll be so blessed that you didn’t allow familiarity to keep you from accessing the deep riches of God stored inside of them and awaiting you.

A Christmas Mandate

December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays! I love this time of year because there is something “supernatural” that exchanges between Heaven and Earth in this season. Consciously for some and sub-consciously for others we are forced to reflect on the goodness of God. The world may not know they are accessing God’s nature when they give a gift to a friend, express an extra-kindness, or simply say something cheery for the Holidays with a smile; but citizens of the Kingdom recognize the supernatural ways of royalty. We are called royalty with a mandate to rule on Earth and when Christians express extreme love it helps a needy world bring Heaven into greater focus. What’s exciting about this time of year is that our culture, unbeknownst to them; with the caroling, gift-exchanging, and the thanksgiving that goes on creates for themselves an ideal atmosphere for Heaven to invade. Merry Christmas and may the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ be more than a memory…let it be a mandate!

A Gathering Of Angels!

November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving attracts the activity of Angels in our lives. Angels are spiritual beings that surround the throne of God at all times. They don’t have a reference point for struggle, failure, disappointments, and heartbreak. Angels whole existence centers around praise and obedience to the father. They are created beings that never fell, never wavered in their commitment, never stood in need of redemption.

They know our story, as eternal beings that defy time& space they’ve watched us from our beginning and are fascinated with the human condition. According to Hebrews 1:14 they have been commissioned to aid the redeemed. The Apostle Paul instructs us to give thanks in everything. I think he learned something when he was in a jail in Philippi. He must have remembered when he and Silas were locked in the inner prison it was their thanksgiving and praise that attracted the supernatural and caused their release (Acts 16).

So many are imprisoned right now. Imprisoned in their thinking, poverty mindsets, bad relationships, addictions, and other types bondages. I believe the key to their release is simple thanksgiving. Our thanksgiving causes an increase in Angelic activity. Angels gather, because they are thrilled to see people who have come up out of great tribulation still give thanksgiving to the Lord our God. Thanksgiving is a supernatural tool. I believe a gateway to a supernatural lifestyle is our thanksgiving. I dare you to give God thanks in the midst of your day, you’ll feel the atmosphere change, you’ll start to sense the release, your attitude will change, and your heart will become more aware of Him-all of this indicating a gathering of Angels that have come to celebrate with you, look on with joy, and serve your need. I love this time of year, it focuses us on what He’s done and causes us to give Him thanks-this time of year actually sets the stage for the greatest breakthroughs we’ve seen.

When Jesus lived on earth he modeled for mankind a picture of life totally in sync with God.  There was no hocus-pocus in him. He was fully God and fully man at the same time, yet he never utilized his divinity to accomplish his works on earth.  In fact the Apostle Paul teaches that Jesus didn’t consider equality with God as something to be grasped so He emptied himself of all deity (Phillipians 2:5-11).  I don’t know how you work this out in your mind, it’s a mystery to me as well, but I do know Jesus did what he did as a man.

In his own words he tells us that he only did what his father said said do and he only said what his father told him to say (John 5:19,30; 7:17; 12:49).  He didn’t feel like the power was his to exact without the aid of God-“I can do nothing of myself.”  This attitude should sound familiar because it is the very posture we are called to and we are also expected to bring in the same kind of fruit.  If Jesus did what he did as God, I would be on the sidelines cheering him on with no real expectation of myself but just happy to watch the Jesus show. But because he lived as a man in line with God, every human on the planet has an obligation to see Jesus as the standard bearer for the normal Christian life.  What was his secret?  Extreme Obedience.

Jesus lived a life of extreme obedience and the results were the extreme breakthroughs he saw. Heaven literally invading Earth.  I believe we live separated from Heaven’s realities by just a thin membrane than can be pierced by our obedience.  I want things on Earth just as they are in Heaven and I believe extreme obedience is the gateway.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there seems to be a surge of interest in the supernatural.  There are more elements in our culture about vampires, superheroes, witches, and other types of super-charged humans.  For me, I am excited about this phenomenon because of what it actually points to.  While those things are counterfeit and misguided expressions, at their core they are still expressions of the unique wiring God placed in every human to long for the supernatural.

In all of creation humans are the only specie that God said He made in His image.  He wasn’t just talking about outward appearances.  He was actually saying that His DNA, his software, had been downloaded into man.  From that identity Adam began to demonstrate a likeness to God only surpassed by Jesus Christ.  Jesus was fully God yet at the same time he was fully man.  Every miracle He performed, he performed simply as a man in right relationship with God.  John 14:12 is a staggering scripture because Jesus tell us that as humans we would perform the same types of miracles he did and go further in the supernatural than he did.  What an incredible statement -what an incredible responsibility we carry.

One of the great tragedies of western thought is that we’ve learned to analyze scripture but not experience scripture first hand.  We have become a nation that glorifies mental ascent and demonizes real encounters.  So society forces us to ignore our natural instincts.  Our logic keeps us from fulfilling our responsibility.  I have heard stories of small framed women lifting cars off of loved ones who were in an accident to save their lives.  Its unfortunate that we only hear those rare stories of the supernatural in our culture and they only come from adrenaline boost.  The spread of those counterfeit supernatural beings in our culture is really a hidden cry for an experience with that which is authentic.  I believe we are in a ripe time.  1 Corinthians 4:20 says the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but power.  There is a movement of people God is raising that have decided to pick back up their responsibility and respond to the God-given thirst in humankind for an encounter with the supernatural power of God.  These people have said no more words….just let me show you what I am wired to do.