Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Sound of a New Season

A few moments ago, I heard a flock of Canadian geese fly over our home. They were heading south. To me, this is always the first indicator of the coming fall. Listen for the changing sounds of a new season, not just the natural sounds like geese honking, but the sounds of the Spirit that foretell of change. Those who are sensitive to the sounds of a new spiritual season will be able to position, and in some cases, reposition their lives and resources for the most impact once a new season arrives. 

The In-Between Revival

We talk a lot about bringing Heaven to Earth, and rightly so. That one experience can change everything. But, what are we going to do with Heaven once it arrives? Heaven and its accompanying glory do not arrive on Earth so that we can attend yet another impactful worship service or take part in an information-loaded conference without the goal of employing our transformed lives to the task of transforming culture. 

The arrival of Heaven on Earth in any form is a precious gift we need to steward well and then purposefully deliver that experience into each sphere of culture. The next time you walk into a worship gathering, ask these questions – Where will I take this experience once I leave the building and how can it be applied in the marketplace of my life-assignment? These two questions will break the cycle of standalone worship experiences that celebrate Heaven on Earth without an attached mission. 

Jesus said, “Go into all the world.” He said this to people who were already worshipping Him. They had the passion, but hey needed a mission. Right after uttering these words, this took place, “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed” (Mark 16:19-20). This “preached everywhere” assignment was literally everywhere, in each sphere of the culture at that time.

Obedience to this “Go into all the world” mandate may actually be the revival many have been looking for – a revival of personal realization that happens in the in-between space when we leave an encounter with God and return to our place of influence in the culture. This revival of our thinking happens when we discover our unique place of partnership with God, “while the Lord worked with them,” to transform the kingdoms of this world into the Kingdom of our Lord. That is what Heaven on Earth looks like when an in-between revival of our thinking has taken place.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Following the Path of Our Wounds

 I remember the first time I responded to a shooting call as a rookie cop. A family disturbance turned into a violent confrontation. A husband shot his wife in the pelvis with a .22 revolver. Upon our arrival, my partner and I secured the suspect and the scene. We went back into service after the detectives arrived to process the evidence. 

Later that week, as the woman was recovering from her gunshot wound in the hospital, she unexpectedly died. During an autopsy, it was discovered the bullet had entered her pelvic region striking a bone and then glanced upward into her chest. When the bullet hit her pelvis, the impact chipped off a piece of bone pushing the bone fragment out of her lower back making it appear it was the exit wound for the bullet. A larger X-ray scan would have revealed the totality of the bullet’s path and where the bullet was actually lodged, but it was missed. A fatal assumption led the attending physician to believe the bullet had exited her body. The bone fragment was false evidence.

The assumed path of pain is not always the cause of emotional or spiritual death. A harsh word is like a bullet fired in rage, it enters the human soul and moves around looking for a place to create the most destruction. It requires Spirit-led discernment to discover the deadly course of these projectiles and the final destination where they are embedded in a soul. Undiscovered, they will attract lies that will create an infectious slow bleed that can lead to the death of a marriage, a dream or a person’s spiritual health.

Today, as you meet wounded people, make no assumptions based on natural sight or physical evidence. The first evidence is not always the most accurate evidence. Allow the Spirit to reveal the deeper wound paths that your natural sight cannot see. Like a skilled spiritual surgeon, once you see the hidden reality, the Spirit will guide your hand to make a gentle scalpel cut by speaking the truth in love. This incision of love will cut through the assumptions and false evidence to reveal the location of a deadly lie embedded in a person's life. Truth and the reality of God's love will dislodge these projectiles of darkness and allow the process of healing and recovery to begin.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Breaking Free

As I was praying, I saw the image of a pendulum swinging back and forth in long measured arcs. The metronomic sequence was limited in range by control barriers set at both ends of the pendulum's movement. 

As I continued to watch and pray, the pendulum approached the end of one its sweeping motions. When the arm of the pendulum touched the barrier, it broke through the restriction shattering the barrier into fragments. Bits and pieces of the barrier flew through the image in detailed slow motion allowing me to see each piece as they passed by. Once free, the arm of the pendulum became airborne like a hammer tossed by an Olympic hammer thrower. Off into the distance, the pendulum arm flew disappearing from sight. 

Restricting barriers are being crashed. Your pendulum mechanism is being dismantled and decommissioned. What was once a predictable barrier on both ends of your life-spectrum is about to be shattered by an unexpected work of the Spirit. You have lived and planned your life inside the restricting arc of this pendulum and been faithful to its measured vision. All of this will catch you by surprise because while you knew it was possible, you thought that possibility was for someone else. This is your time to break free from restrictions and limitations.

As you fly forward, you will land in a new space emotionally and spiritually. New instructions will come at the place of your landing. In your time of flight into the future, enjoy the ride. This is a work of God. He will determine the course of your flight and the place of your landing. You are in the hands of Goodness. He is delivering you to a good place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Merging the Fires of Revival and Reformation

On July 15, 1,700 lightning strikes occurred in our region sparking fires that will most likely burn into the fall with no immediate end in sight. Two huge wildfires have now merged to create a conflagration of great concern. Our valley has experienced only a handful of clear skies, literally just a few hours each, over the last month. 

As I read the news account about these two merging wildfires, the Lord began to share with me about a coming merger of revival and reformation. Someone once said, “Revival is for the Church. Reformation is for the culture.” I have parroted that phrase myself without thinking it through. While it is correct on one level, it needs to be examined on a deeper and more critical level. 

Revival and reformation are not two separate things. A revived Church will become a reforming presence in culture. Until these two join forces, there may not be a fire of significant size to bring the kind of change required for cultural transformation. The revivalists need to move out of church buildings, conference halls, and stadiums because the culture that is waiting to experience transformation does not live within these structures. Those pursuing a reformation need the heart and passion of a burning revivalist, or they will not have the spiritual energy required to bring change to the controlling summits of the 7 mountains of culture. 

On July 15 when the 1,700 lightning strikes took place, some strikes found a fuel source and became a wildfire. Others struck bare ground where there was no fuel and petered out before they got started. So it is in our spiritual life. The Spirit can “strike” a life, but if that life does not offer God the tender of submission to a greater Kingdom agenda, no fire of revival or reformation will ignite. 

This is how a revival leading to a reformation takes place. Individuals burning for God come to realize they are not burning alone. Once ignited they seek to join with other burning ones to become a Spirit-empowered move of God, similar to the two large fires that merged in our area. Before the fires merged into something more substantial, they remained isolated without the potential of a major, region-wide conflagration.  

We are at a point in time when we will begin to see the merging of two fires sparked by the Spirit - revival, and reformation. This will be an indicator of a new season for the Church. When these two groups are burning toward each other, in the region where this burning merger takes place, something explosive will transpire.

The fire of God is cleansing His people from the underbrush of lesser things that occupy our time, energy and resources so that we will be ready to accomplish more than we ever imagined. Once this fire of revival leading to reformation begins to burn, the wind of the Spirit will move the fire into the streets of our cities and into the boardrooms of corporations and media empires. This fire will be so powerful it will jump the fire lines created by restrictive and fearful thinking and begin to burn in love within the cultural institutions that have remained untouched by the fire of God’s presence.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Seams of Significance

Even though I have been writing and speaking for many years, I am still surprised where my words, either in script or video, end up. With the advent of socil media, it is easy to create a “trophy case” displaying where some of these words have been delivered. That would feed my pride and if not correctly discerned could cause me to fail an integrity check.  When God wants to carry our words to a unique audience, He can find a seam through which the word can pass that no plan of human intellect could predict.

A seam is that place where two fabrics meet and are sewn together. Some of you reading these words belong to neither fabric where a word you shared is waiting to be received. God will give you access to these unfamiliar garments by allowing your word to find your unique seam of significance through which to pass and be received. When God does this, there is no tear in the fabric. When we are the ones doing this, our pride tears open the seam in an attempt to make a way for ourselves. 

This morning, I was shown one of these seams for something I wrote that entered a new audience field that surprised me. The Lord said, “Leave it alone.” In other words, it is not for public consumption. These moments can become integrity checks to see if self-promotion or Kingdom promotion is our priority. I am beginning to see with new eyes my own brokenness in this area. Just when I think I have a grip on it, another seam of significance is passed through, and I get, once again, a choice to choose what I promote.

God has significant and transformative things to say and accomplish through your life. Give God the reins of your significance and let Him lead your gifts and calling into unique and unexpected places. If you can learn to live this way, you will be amazed at where the fruit of your life is being shared and enjoyed. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

When Life Gets Dry

When we moved into our home 16 years ago, our trees were not as large as they are today. One maple tree grows in the center of the lawn in our backyard. As the rotating sprinkler fans out its spray, the trunk of the maple tree blocks a narrow slice of the stream of water. Each time we water, the presence of the tree casts a waterless shadow across one portion of the lawn. That part of the lawn remains dry. It is most noticeable when the rest of the lawn is wet. 

The tree reminds me of our lives. Some things in our lives were not a problem when they were small and still growing. The demands of a career, the needs of the people we are called to serve, and even our individual calling in the Kingdom of God all seemed manageable, and each got watered. In those early seasons, life could work around them without any noticeable detrimental effect. But there came a time, as these areas of life continued to grow that we begin to notice a dry place developing on the landscape of our life. Some areas were starting to die in the dry shadow while the surrounding areas looked alive and vibrant.

If there is a dry place in your life, it may be time to add another spiritual sprinkler. The demands of life that are causing the dry places will only get larger over time and continue to cast an ever-increasing shadow of dryness in your life. God wants all of your life well-watered by His word, wise self-care, and relationships honest enough to point out your dry places. 

Every area of your life has been designed by God to live as a green and luxurious-looking follower of Jesus Christ, not a life of dry and brittle shadows. Do what you need to do to make this happen. Deal with the dry places, and new life will soon appear.