Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Coming Flood Of God's Presence

Yesterday, I was hiking the trails near our home.  I crossed a wooden footbridge that spanned a dry creek bed. Weeds and bushes were growing where water once flowed. I felt impressed to stop and take a picture. As soon as I clicked the picture the Lord said, “This is a word for some of my people.”

You have had a long dry season, but that is about to change. There has never been a moment where my presence has not been flowing. What has dried up is your ability to sense my presence. I getting ready to inundate your life with a fresh flow of my Spirit. Go and stand in your place of dryness.  Look and listen. Look upstream in hope. Listen in faith. The sight and sound of an approaching flood is about to arrive once you make the choice to look again in hope and listen in faith.

I am going to flood your thoughts with renewal.
I am going to flood your relationships with healing.
I am going to flood your finances with new provision.
I am going to flood your ministry with increased potential.
I am going to flood your city with signs, wonders and miracles.                                                             I am going to flood your soul with refreshment.

Happy Anniversary To My Wife

Today, Jan and I celebrate our 43rd anniversary. I want to take a moment to honor a most amazing woman. In fact, this is my anniversary card to her. It is just a little after 4:00 a.m. here in southern Oregon. I am letting Jan sleep in a little more before a day of celebration begins with a special breakfast.

I first met Jan when she was 19 and I was 20. It was a “chance” meeting while walking across the campus of what was then known as Multnomah School of the Bible. Now it is called Multnomah University. That first meeting was 46 years ago. To this day when I see her at a distance my heart still does a crazy little “flip”. Its like I am still falling in love with her all over again every day.

Jan was raised in Central America, the daughter of missionaries. She traveled through the nations in that part of the world on the back of donkeys, in four-wheel drive Jeeps fording swollen rivers and was flown to school in a missionary’s airplane from a jungle airstrip. She is adventurous. There have been times when I had chickened out on something when she would say, “Come on. Let’s try it!” She has never complained about anything in all our years together because she learned early on how to be happy with a little.

Jan has taught me about intimacy with God. That intimacy has produced something profound in our relationship. There is nothing I cannot tell her. I have confessed my sins to her with a red face and broken heart. I have never once been rejected. In fact, early on as we learned to love each other this way she said, “Now, I can really trust you.” Amazing! I cannot imagine a marriage without complete and utter honestly with your spouse. I have been given a gift.

After all these years, I really don’t know where I end and she begins. This is the miracle of becoming one. Neither of us lost our uniqueness as a man and woman as God took us deeper into a relationship of oneness. In fact, I found myself as a man in the process. Something very special happens in a marriage that can only take place in a relationship of one man and one woman committed to each other in marriage. It is an ongoing miracle.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart! I could have written page after page and found no end to what is amazing about you. The world, at least my little part of it, is reading your anniversary card. I wanted the world to know what I have been telling you for all our years together. You are a wonderful friend, wife and co-laborer in the fields of God. I love you without end.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Prophetic Crow's Nest

In a moment of worship, I saw a crow’s nest atop the mast of an ancient sailing vessel. The ship was moving across open sea. Immediately, I knew the image was prophetic and carried an assignment for some in the Church.

A crow’s nest sits atop the highest point on a ship – at the top of the mast. This is where a sailor will climb at the captain’s command to take a position as a lookout. Those on the deck of the ship can only see the horizon line available to them at sea level. The person in the crow’s nest can see farther because what they are seeing is a horizon line that has not yet arrived within the field of vision of the sailors on deck.  A horizon line is never stationary. It is continually advancing across the surface of the Earth as a ship sails forward. It reveals a developing future. That future is what the lookout is trying to interpret.

In sailing history a crow’s nest was torturous duty. A slight roll of the ship’s deck was magnified many times over as that motion was transmitted to the top of the ship’s mast. Even seasoned sailors would get severely seasick pulling this duty. While it was a tough assignment for a sailor, it was one of the most critical duties performed aboard ship because the sailor in the crow’s nest would be the first person to see hidden reefs or the top of a mast attached to a marauding pirate vessel.  The images these ancient mariners saw were the first steps toward what would become the highly advanced early warning systems sailors rely on today.

Some of you are being asked by God to climb the mast of revelation to gain a higher perspective of the reality into which we are currently sailing. There are unseen events approaching our culture and the Church that remain unseen by those who work below at sea level.

What you see and announce will not always be understood because the approaching evidence of what you see is still out of sight and hidden. Do not let the disbelief of other people deter you from calling out what you see. Those below who are in charge of the helm need the information you provide in order make the appropriate course adjustments to avert disaster. Your job is to announce, not to steer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Your Furnace of Conflict Will Become Your Place of Promotion

A promotion is coming, but first you will be thrown into a fire of judgment created by those who stand in opposition to what you believe. Like Daniel and his companions when they refused to bow down and worship the gold statue Nebuchadnezzar had erected on the plain of Dura in Babylon, you will be confronted with a challenging decision that in the natural will appear to spell your doom, but God has another plan.

The fires intended to consume you will actually burn away the restrictions placed upon your life allowing you to walk freely in a place planned to bring your destruction. This experience will become a turnaround event for you and even for the ones who threw you into the furnace of conflict. You will walk out of the furnace into a place of promotion. Those who condemned you will see the supernatural hand of God working on your behalf and they will come to worship Him with the same commitment that caused you to fear only God, not the flames of human judgment.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Throwing Rocks - Denting Lives

I grew up in small town America. Our home sat on the border between Campbell and Los Gatos, California in the Silicon Valley before the silicon and crowds arrived. My street was a dead end with only six homes along one side. Our home was surrounded by orchards. Behind our back fence was an orchard owned by Mr. Ashlock. Mr. Ashlock’s son, Ron, was my best friend.

One December a very rare snowfall took place. Maybe an entire inch fell on the valley floor. For Ron and me it was a time to run through his dad’s orchard and have snowball fights. After getting bored pounding each other with fluffy snow balls, we had the bright idea to put a rock inside a snowball and wait behind one of the big pepper trees at the entrance to Ron’s home. Our plan was to chuck it at a passing car.

After a few minutes a really nice red sports car drove by and I wound up like a major league pitcher and hurled my snow-encrusted rock at the side of the passing sports car and scored a direct hit. At the moment of impact two thoughts crossed to mind. The first, “What? I actually hit it?” And the second, “Why is the driver slamming on his brakes and flinging open his door looking so angrily in our direction?” The red-faced, bulging-neck-veined man looked to be about 30 and in good shape. He bailed out of the sports car leaving it in the middle of road at the scene of the crime and took off after us. I knew we were about to be executed. Ron and I experienced a huge dump of adrenal fluid and ran so fast that Usain Bolt would have been proud of our running skill had he been alive at the time to witness the event.

The man was no match for two adrenal-hyped 9 year old boys who knew the orchard like the back of their hand. We finally hid in some weeds as the man blasted by us shouting words my young ears had not yet heard. Ron and I stayed away from the pepper trees for a few days.

That incident of youthful foolishness came to mind today as I consider how the cultural rhetoric and social media postings are heating up as the presidential election is fast approaching. It seems like some people on social media can only post demeaning information about the candidate of their disliking. This is being fueled by television networks, blogs and news outlets that support their particular worldview. People have decided to put rocks in their snowballs because they think kindness and civility will no longer get anyone’s attention.

When this election cycle is over the words we throw at each other with the rocks of our hardened opinion hidden inside will do nothing to change the hearts of people. These hard words will only dent lives and cause people to runaway in fear. This is all playing into the hand of a dark kingdom agenda that wants to hijack the voice of the Church by making us sound as angry as the confused culture. You and I carry the destiny of our nation. Our words and actions should reflect that assignment.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

Saturday, August 20, 2016

At That Point

Some people want God to be a judge until they experience a moment of personal brokenness. At that point they want a God of mercy. Some people want police officers to be a replica of Barney Fife from Mayberry until they are faced with a life-threatening situation. At that point that want a well-equipped, professional and muscular police response. Some people want to control the rights of another person or group until their rights are challenged. At that point they want a free and open society where individual rights are honored.

It is in the space of time called “at that point” where God has the greatest access to our hearts. This is where mercy, wisdom and compassion motivates our decisions and seasons our response to those with whom we disagree. Change outside of this space is forced and graceless. In an unredeemed space our collective ignorance will continue to breed separation and defensiveness.

It is only “at that point” where real cultural transformation is possible – one person at a time. Culture is complex because each human story is complex. Give people time to arrive “at that point”. Until that time review the fruit of the Spirit and let the flavor of that fruit sweeten each and every response you have with those still in transit to a better understanding. Don’t give up your civility. If you choose to live this way history will quote your words and follow your example.