Sunday, December 14, 2008

"2009 - A Year To Engage The Open Heavens" by Garris Elkins

n 2008 God accelerated His people into a new place. We have been positioned beneath heavens that have been opened by the very hand of God. We are now standing under unrestricted heavens. This is the time to order all aspects of our lives to reflect this reality.

As I pondered this word for 2009 I sensed three assignments for the Church as she stands under the open heavens:

Praise it down! - 2009 is the year that worship will be experienced in a new dimension. Praise is the music that adorns the stairway of heaven that connects this earth with the heavenly realms. As we praise we will be taken into new dimensions of “stairway worship” that will join our voices to the voices of heaven. Praise under the open heavens will allow us to hear the sounds of heaven and bring that sound down upon the earth to displace the sounds of fear and sorrow. The sound of praise will push back darkness and create a new space into which the miraculous works of God will be poured out.

Pray it down! - 2009 is the year to pray down supernatural provision with a greater boldness. Heaven is waiting to hear our petitions. The provision of 2009 is hanging like a swollen water droplet that is about to fall to earth and splash all around. Our prayers will shake loose those drops of promise that will water our communities, our nation and the world.

Pull it down! - 2009 is the year to activate heaven through unusual prophetic acts. These prophetic acts will declare the intentions of God upon the earth before they become visible in the natural. Individuals and ministries will at first look foolish taking these postures, much like Noah did when he built the ark. Endure the ridicule because the rescue of heaven is on the way and heaven's target will be your act of obedience. As the flood waters rose in the time of Noah, so the flood waters of fear are rising in many hearts. Unusual prophetic acts, that at one time looked ridiculous, will become postures of promise.

God is calling His people to “speak” in a language that will be seen more than it will be heard. This is not a year to be timid. Pull it down! Pull it down! Pull it down!

A prayer for 2009 - “Father God, I am standing beneath Your open heavens. You have brought me to this place for a time such as this. Thank You that the open heavens are not effected by a closed earth. I shout out to You, my Jehovah God, Here I am. I am ready to engage Your open heavens! For 2009 I will praise it down! I will pray it down! I will pull it down so that Your Name is glorified upon the earth! I pray and declare this in the Name of Jesus Christ Your magnificent Son. Amen.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"This is the Season for Miraculous Multiplication" by Garris Elkins

As the situation on Wall Street develops many Americans are becoming nervous about their finances and their future. The foundations of financial security are now shaking.

The kingdom of this world functions with a system of mathematics that is based on the equations of natural addition and multiplication. This system draws its data from what can only be seen and understood. God's Kingdom invades what is known and violates the rules of natural addition and multiplication with miraculous multiplication.

One of the most profound narratives in the Word is the feeding of the 5,000. In Mark 6 Jesus takes what amounts to a kid's lunch and turns it into a miraculous feast for a crowd many believe was in excess of 20,000 people, when you take in account the women and children who were also present that day.

34 “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”

These people had been following Jesus for hours and made no provision for an extended outing. Have you noticed that our greatest needs sometimes surface in the most remote and resourceless places? That was what happened in Mark 6 – there were no backpacks filled with camping supplies or stores nearby from which to buy food. People had been following Jesus across the countryside. The place was remote and the need was overwhelming.

Do you have a remote and resourceless place in your life? Has your retirement fund taken a dive? Is your marriage in a challenging season? Are the partners in your ministry diminishing? Are you clueless about the next step in your life? Maybe you find yourself in a remote place and the little resource you have seems ridiculous to meet your current need.

The disciples saw the need of this immense crowd of people and provided their own solution. They said to Jesus, “Send the crowds away...” In other words, we are tired and hungry and our patience is thin – make this problem go away. But Jesus invited the disciples to participate in a miracle that He was about to set in motion. In verse 37 Jesus spoke, “But Jesus said, “You feed them.” “With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”

This is natural addition and multiplication speaking. “With what?” is a phrase that is spoken when we take a look at our remote place, and our lack of visible resources, and assume that the source and supply for our miracle is only what we can see.
Then Jesus asks a question.

38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.” They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”

Miraculous multiplication begins with what we have now. There were thousands of hungry people in this remote place. The disciples went out to see how much food they had to work with. They came back with only 2 fish the size of sardines and 5 loaves of bread the size of muffins. This was all the disciples could find among all these people!

39 "Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred. 41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!"

If you do the math on how many groups of 50 and 100 there were within all these people its not unrealistic to conclude that it would take several hours to distribute this miraculous meal. Can you imagine the cheers of excitement as the miracle begins to sink in! This was not a single moment of miraculous multiplication - it went on and on. When we begin to live in the environment of miraculous multiplication, there will be heard, similar to what must have echoed across the fields that day, shouts of astonishment and joy at what God was doing.

There is coming a season when these sounds of joy will be heard in those who do not yet know the love of God. God will miraculously multiply provision within His Church and then move into the streets where supernatural evangelism will take place. Can you imagine what would happen in our cities if miracles of miraculous multiplication began to take place in the town square? God's goodness is our best advertisement for His Kingdom. The Word tells us that it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

There are two postures we can choose when we find ourselves in remote and resourceless places.


Jesus told the disciples to feed the people. Like the disciples we can look down at the kid's lunch in our hands and ask, “With what?” and only see our lack in comparison with the impossible need before our eyes.


Jesus modeled a different posture - He looked up. Mark tells us that Jesus took the lunch, held it up to heaven, blessed it and then began to give it away. Jesus reached up and away from that remote and resourceless place and touched heaven.
Our provision is not what we hold in our hands. Our provision is not what the current situation on Wall Street reveals. Our provision is waiting in heaven to be laid hold of and pulled back into our lives. Everything we are and everything we need exists in and around God's Throne.

If we believe our provision is only here amidst the current signs of doom and disaster then we will reach towards that limited resource. God is asking us to take our finances, our broken bodies and our failed relationships and raise them towards heaven and choose to bless them. The blessing of a raised need connects that need with the glory of God. His glory is what transforms the little we have into an overflowing abundance. Once our need has touched the hem of heaven's garment we then pull down that transformed need back to earth with the glory of heaven upon it. While the kid's lunch is still in our hands, unyielded to God, it can only remain a lunch and not a miraculous feast.

We need God for miracles in remote places that seem like dead ends. The church can live in fear like the world, or she can raise what she has to heaven and bless it expecting our loving Father to send the little we have back to earth transformed by the glory of God and ready for a supernatural transformation.

Today, take the need you have, no matter how small it may be , and raise it to heaven and choose to bless what you have. Ask God to touch your need as it is raised to His Throne. Then bring your need back into your remote and resourceless place and begin to give it away. Heaven's touch on what you have is never to possess, but to release. What you give away will begin to multiply into a new and on-going provision.

Each time you sense fear trying to raise itself up, say this in the face of that fear, “I have raised this circumstance to heaven and God has touched my need. I am pulling down from heaven a miraculous multiplication of what I have. I am expecting a miracle in a place that the world says is impossible. I am believing that with God all things are possible – even turning a kid's lunch into a feast of miraculous multiplication.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

"God's Hour Glass - He Is Not Done With You Yet" by Garris Elkins

Recently, I was in Central Oregon speaking at a men's retreat. I enjoyed the drive over the Cascades and was looking forward to speaking to this group of men. The previous Sunday, on the way out of the sanctuary, one of the women in our church stopped me and said, "Garris, I believe I have a word for you about the men's retreat - you are to go unprepared." I thanked this faithful woman for sharing this word with me and then I went home.

Later that day I realized what "going unprepared" meant for me. This meant that while I would go unprepared in a traditional sense I would not go without a word from the Lord.

Sure enough in the next few days, while in prayer, the Lord gave me an image that would become the word for these men. I share this image now because it's truth touches all of us. The image was of one of those old hour glasses that measured time by draining sand from the upper compartment to the lower. In the image it looked like the last few grains of sand were trickling downward and the hour glass was about to run out of time.

As I looked at the hour glass I saw the hand of God enter the image, pick up the hour glass and turn it over. Then the Lord spoke and said, "Tell the men that some of them feel like their time has run out, but I am about to change that. I am turning over their hour glass and giving them a new season."

As I thought of this word I grabbed it for myself. Never before, with all the cultural change and financial crisis going on, have I felt like time as we know it is running out. For days I kept seeing that image whenever a faithless lie would try to rear it's ugly head. I kept seeing the hand of God come into the scene and change everything.

Do you feel like your life, your marriage, your ministry or (insert your unique situation here) has run out of time? God is reaching into your situation and His hand is picking up the hour glass of your life and He is turning it over. I believe the church is entering a new season when we will see the hand of God do this very thing on both a personal and corporate level.

There was one final word the Lord spoke concerning this image - as God turned over the hour glass He said, "You have another season - I am not done with you yet!"

Friday, October 3, 2008

"The Purpose of Pruning" by Garris Elkins

When God prunes His people He is preparing them for a coming season of fruitfulness.

Have you ever wondered why God cuts back certain resources or relationships in our lives? Are you going through a pruning season right now and find yourself searching for the reason why you are left as a severed branch? Getting cut hurts. It can make us feel insecure. God wants to change how we see His pruning process.

When I was a boy each year I watched as my father would go out into our front yard and cut back the trees. It was unbelievable how much of each branch he cut back. The trees looked like they would never survive his yearly pruning, but each spring there was an explosion of new life. It never failed. Year after year my father cut the trees and year after year new life came. As I grew older I realized that my father cut the branches back to prepare the trees for new life.

In the culture of the Middle East vineyards are everywhere. Each year vineyard owners would cut away the dead branches and prune back the unfruitful branches. The vineyard owner had a purpose in his pruning - to make the vine ready to produce fruit in the coming season. The pruning was part of the preparation for a coming harvest.

Your life is no different. When you enter a season of pruning the enemy wants you to focus on the pain and perceived loss of the pruning process. God, on the other hand, wants you to begin celebrating because a new season of fruitfulness is coming. God is calling the severed branches to begin to celebrate in anticipation.

In the Old Testament a vineyard is mentioned as a metaphor for the people of God. But each time the vineyard was mentioned in connection with God'ss people the vine was depicted as a degenerate, wild vine.

In Jeremiah 2:21 the prophet asked, “How did you grow into this corrupt vine?” In Isaiah 5:4 a similar question was asked, “What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes.”

The vineyard of God needs tending by the Master Vinedresser or we will become something that is unusable to the Lord. Pruning is part of God's process to make us sweet and usable branches.

Above the gate of the Temple entrance, and draped over the four huge columns of this doorway, was a large sculpted vine overlaid with gold and clusters of gold covered grapes the size of a man. Each time someone would enter the Temple they would have to pass under this image. Each time a person walked underneath this image of the vine they were reminded of what they could be in God. The wild and degenerate human vine would walk under an image of God's promise.

Some of you may think that God has pruned you without reason. He wants to remind you that He prunes with purpose. God prunes us out of love to prepare us for a new season that He is sending our way. To get to that new season requires that we pass through the pruning process. In the pruning God remove what is dead and unproductive in our lives.

The stub that you are left with is not the end of the process. The stub is evidence of God's preparation. The stub is a promise that in the next season God has plans to make you alive with His fruit.

I want you to walk with me underneath the Word of God like the people who walked underneath the gold-covered cluster of grapes at the Temple entrance. As you walk under the Word I believe you will discover the purpose of God's pruning in your life.

In John 15 the Lord said, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”

If you have come through a season of pruning it is critical that you know God's heart for you.


The context of this scripture is fruitfulness. God is not punishing the vine. He is sculpting the vine into a new image. In verse one Jesus said, “I am the true grapevine.” When God prunes us He uses the template of the life of His Son and the pattern He trims to.

At salvation you and I were grafted into the Person of Jesus Christ. We are part of Him. We are not some isolated branch. The pruning of God is His shaping process to make us look like Jesus.


In verse 2 Jesus said, “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”

Fruitfulness flows out of our position in Christ not our activity for Christ. The greatest work a believer can do for God is to learn to rest in the Lord. Rest is the environment where the greatest works of God take place.

Galatians 5:22 tells us,”The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” We can't make this kind of fruit happen. Did you ever try to be patient?

The miraculous works God has assigned for the church to do don't flow from human effort. These works flow from a place of rest where God is free to move through His vine to the world.

There are seasons when God will prune back our activity so we only have rest to offer. This is where the greatest works of God's Kingdom begin to manifest themselves. The tools of God's Kingdom are not human-made or human-powered. When we work from this place of rest it is the Lord who gets the glory, not our style or models of ministry.


Jesus addressed this issue of glory in verses 7-8 “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”

The word “remain” in the dictionary means, “to be there.” To remain means that we get to live out our oneness with Christ. In verse 5 Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” When you feel the Father begin to cut and prune your life what you bring to the process is to simply remain. To press into intimacy with the Father in an deeper way.

The Father is glorified when His branches lay heavy with fruit. This fruit does not come with new and more intense activity. This fruit comes because of our position in the Vine.

What should be the response of a branch that is being pruned? A pruned place in your life or ministry is a place of worship and celebration. God is preparing you for something that only comes on the other side of the pruning process. Why would a pruned life worship? When God prunes us He is shaping us into the image of His Son. The nub at the end of your life that is raw and cut away is an announcement that God is about ready to do a new thing. This new thing, springing forth from the wound of pruning, will bring glory to the Father because the growth will come from something that does not exist in our human strength, abilities or resources.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"Shepherding Revival" by Garris Elkins

The Lord is preparing to call forth the “Apollos Church.” The Apollos church are those groups and churches who have a love for God's Word and an enthusiasm for the things of God, yet have not experienced a powerful touch of God's presence. These people are not resistant to what God is doing, they are simply unfamiliar. God is looking for wise people who will reach out to these individuals and churches who are ready to embrace what God is doing, but simply need someone to shepherd their first steps.

In Acts 18 Priscilla and Aquila encountered a man named Apollos who loved God and His Word and was very enthusiastic. They saw that in the midst of his love for God's Word and his enthusiasm, that Apollos lacked a power encounter with the Spirit.

“24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.”

Priscilla and Aquila were wise. They opened their home to Apollos and loved him. They became vulnerable and took the first step. In this environment of love, Apollos had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed everything in his life. A reading of I Corinthians will reveal the great impact Apollos would have on the Early Church.

There is also a current application of the story of Apollos. As I read through this text the Lord spoke to me and said that He was about to open doors across denominational and relational lines and call forth the Apollos churches, including those churches and denominations who were once known to have moved in the power of the Spirit, but of late have moved away from such an experience. If we are to reach the Apollos Church, and those people who make up these groups, God will ask something more from us. God will ask us to think through and pray about how to wisely navigate this time in Church history.

Recently, I spoke with a group of pastors and suggested some words of direction to help them wisely navigate those times when God's Spirit is being poured out in new and unusual ways.

Discerning Patterns versus Molds

Many hungry people will go and experience the fullness of what God is doing elsewhere and then come back to their place of ministry and try to press others into their mold of personal experience. The results of aborted revival attempts attest to the lack of wisdom in this approach.

Instead, God is calling us to lead by patterns. Each life and ministry has a unique pattern God has assigned to them. When we experience a deeper work of God in our lives, we would be wise to bring back those experiences as new cloth and thread and begin to weave a new tapestry into the pattern God has uniquely assigned for each life and ministry.

Lead by Invitation, not by Confrontation.

In a particular season of ministry God called me to repent of frustration. I was teaching and said something out of frustration wanting people to get on board with what God was doing. I had couched a challenge with a either/or phrase instead of an invitation, causing unnecessary reaction and pain.

In tears, I repented and asked God to change me before I demanded change in others. Invitation gives people time to process what is before them. In some instances confrontation may distance us from the very people God has called us to love.

Discerning the Fire of God and the Strange Fire of Hell

People have been created to have deep experiences with God. Fear has so gripped some people that their fear of the false has become a barrier to the real.

In Leviticus 10, two priests brought strange fire to the altar of God and they died for their error. The fire of God was to have been used to ignite the Temple fires. Strange fire came from a different source than God. Some believe the priests brought fire from their homes, instead of from the altar of God, to ignite the Temple fires. It seemed logical, but it proved fatal.

“How can you tell the difference between the fire of God and strange fire? The answer is simple, you can't - initially. Like the wheat and the tares that grow up together, the fruit will be the proof. The fruit of the fire will bear witness to the author of the fire. Discern the best you can, then trust. God will reveal what is true and false. God's ability to lead us into truth is greater than hell's ability to lead us into error.

Dealing with Resistance

Some who appear resistant to the things of God are not resistant. They simply need time to process what they see God doing in you. People need time to process change. In every season of change there will be those who simply cannot continue the journey with us. Those percentages are small. What is sad is that sometimes we lose a higher percentage of that small group for the lack of wisdom on our part. People need to have someone stop along the journey and explain what is happening. John Wimber, in the early days of the Vineyard movement, was known for this wisdom. He stopped and explained what God was doing. Even those initially fearful eventually came on board because someone was shepherding them.

The Apollos part of the church will be powerful when she is ignited. God is searching for wise people who will take the Apollos church into their homes and introduce them to something new from God.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Praying from the Throne Of God" by Garris Elkins

Our global civilization is in an epoch change cycle. This cycle of change will test everything we know. God is birthing something new in His church to prepare us to minister supernaturally in a world that is exhausted from dead religion and dead political promises. A refreshing wind of God's presence is blowing across the creation. God is asking His people to reposition their prayer altars. He is calling his church to fully realize their position in Christ, not only as a theological truth, but as a position of authority from which to pray. We are being asked to take our prayer altars to the Throne of God and there begin to pray the will of God into existence upon the earth.

Paul defined this position of the church in Ephesians 1:19, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else‚ not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

The resurrection power of God caused Jesus to be seated far above the turmoil and change that is taking place on the earth. When we gain this perspective we will see into the invisible realm with the eyes of faith and then begin to pray into existence what seemed impossible in the natural realm.

Paul went on to tell us what the positioning of Jesus means for us. In Ephesians 2:6 Paul said,”For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

We cannot pray with power, confidence and authority if our line-of-sight is only what we see taking place around us. Our prayers must be created and released from the perspective of heaven. It is from our position in Christ, seated at the right hand of God, that we gain a perspective of prayer that is infused with a boldness that comes from seeing this life from God's perspective. Jesus said that He only did what He saw the Father doing. The same applies to us. To pray the will of God means that I must first see His will.

What does prayer from the Throne of God look like? This kind of prayer is prayed with resurrection authority. “This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.” Death tried to hold Jesus back but the prison door of death was kicked in by the power of Christ's resurrection. When you see death trying to raise its false authority over your situation run to your position in Christ and declare your victory in prayer from the Throne of God. As that kind of prayer is released the kingdoms of earth will be shaken with resurrection power.

This kind of prayer feels the touch of the Father's hand. “And seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.” You and I are also at the Father's right hand because we are in Christ. Ephesians 2: 6 declares, “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

As Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, and as you and I are there together in Christ, we are in that position to experience an intimacy with God that drive will release the prayer of faith. Prayers of faith are birthed from people who know and experience intimacy with God. You are not distant from Him! Ever! Pray with confidence as one who is forever united with your Redeemer.

This kind of prayer is birthed in a place far above the turmoil. “Far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else.” The social, political and economic strains taking place on the earth do not affect this kind of prayer. Prayer from above is not affected by the conditions down below. As you pray from the Throne of God you are praying as a child of God. To a religious spirit you will appear headstrong, maybe even precocious. Don't worry about how other people feel. You are a child of God who has access to the Father at all times. We are positioned with the One Who is far above it all. That should breed confidence in God.

This kind of prayer flows from headship. “God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things.” Praying from the throne of God towards earth will speak to areas in the world system that are living independent of God. Headship brings order. Prayer from the Throne of God will declare headship over the disorder and rebellion that is robbing the earth of God's joy. Rebellion will be subdued, wars will be averted, national leaders will yield to the word of the Lord when the Church prays.

There are social and political transitions that are about to take place that will someday be traced back to prayers that were sourced in someone who was praying from their position in Christ at the right hand of the Father. These prayers will not struggle up in human effort in some attempt to convince God to move, but rather they will flow down with anointing and set in motion supernatural change. Authority flows down from the Head - so should the prayers of His saints. Strongholds that many Christians have thought were too far gone for change will suddenly change. God is about to change what appears to be unchangeable.

God is talking to His Church in this moment of human history to not only realize who we are in Christ, but to understand where we are in Christ. We are dual-citizens of both earth and of heaven.

Ask God to take you to the Throne and ask Him how He wants you to pray in this time of epoch change. As you survey the earth from His perspective - it will forever change how you pray because you are seeing the world from heaven's perspective.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Living in the Green Light of God" by Garris Elkins

Several months ago my wife, Jan, and I had the privilege of having lunch with David and Deborah Crone who pastor The Mission, a church in Vacaville, California. When I get with leaders like the Crones the conversation will usually turn towards a question regarding what guides them in their ministry. I asked David this question and without hesitation he said, “We live in the green light of God.”

I let David's profound words sink deep into my spirit. An adjustment of my life paradigm was making a gentle shift as David's words hung over the lunch table. Deborah added to David's comment by saying that God is faithful to give us the red lights if we will simply live in the green light of God.

After lunch, on the drive home, David's words began to rearrange certain areas of my life and ministry. An impartation of truth had taken place.

The lives of some believers resemble beautiful and powerful automobiles that are running at idle while waiting at an intersection even though the light is green. It has been “green and go” since the Day of Pentecost, yet some still wait, continuing to idle and go nowhere. I sense God is wanting to ask His Church, “What are you waiting for?” The reality is that the heavens are open and the Spirit has been given to the Church. The green light of God is present in His people. It is time to move.

Many of us have forgotten that we really are children of the Most High God. We have allowed lies to be imbedded in us that have created a performance-based relationship with the Grace Giver. Some dear saints of God are afraid to move out in boldness because they still believe that God can only love them if their performance is without fault. This fear has immobilized many. This lie is displaced when we know we are loved not because of our performance, but out of the very nature of God. He can only love. He is love. He is unchangeable.

A performance-based relationship with God will keep a believer forever idling at the intersection even though the light is green because way down deep in their hearts they are still believing that if their efforts for God fail they will be rejected by Him. Fear makes afraid to press the accelerator of faith. In the meantime the signal reflects back at us a brilliant green, but all we see is red. The lies blind us to the reality of the moment.

At the spiritual intersection of our lives, as our vehicles of faith continue to idle on, spirits of fear and rejection jump in the back seat. Fear and rejection can redirect the focus back onto self and when this happens we become the ones responsible for the results. We take on the burden of outcomes. “What if I pray and they are not healed?” “What if I turn to the table behind me and actually give them the word you asked me to give?” If you and I feel that we are responsible for the results of our faith we will inevitably live in the prison of performance. This prison holds your life and faith captive to personal doubt instead of experiencing the open-road freedom that comes from living in the green light of God.

Jesus said in John 15 that He would no longer relate to His disciples as servants. He would now relate to them as friends. The shift here was not simply using a new word to describe the relationship, but rather how the word “friend” would radically change how the disciples would relate to Jesus.

Servants live with a list of things to do. Servants execute lists of performance and when they are done performing then they go back to the servant quarters. A friend is different. They have no lists. They live in anticipation of what their Friend desires. They have a relationship that is powered by intimacy. They don't see intersections. They see an open road and the green light of relationship and freedom.

I love to ride my motorcycle in the wide open spaces of the American West. No stop signs. Sage brush blurring past on long straight stretches of freedom. Its just me and Jesus in the natural reflecting how we should live in the Spirit. This is how is see the church.

In II Corinthians Paul said the following, “18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

Friendship with God looks reckless to people who have yet to realize His friendship. Friendship with God looks reckless because you end up blasting past people who are still parked at the intersection. Friends of God blast right through intersections because they are fulfilling what they anticipate what the Master desires.

You and I live in the green light of God's Promises just like Paul said in verse 20, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. “Promise” is a word that can be translated “to announce upon.” Jesus told the disciples in Luke 24: 49, “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” When Jesus said these words He was assuring His disciples that in the near future God would “announce upon them” the Spirit.

The prophet Joel announced the promise of the future outpouring of the Spirit in the latter days. On the Day of Pentecost timeless eternity announced down upon earth the reality of Joel's prophecy.

God is right now announcing upon the earth His promises. This really is a new day. The fires of revival are sparking and igniting upon the earth on every continent. The promise of God has been announced upon His friends. Heaven is waiting to hear the sound of our lives “peeling out” and the smell of burning rubber at every intersection of life where we have lived in doubt and fear.

If you find yourself parked at idle at some life intersection, pray this prayer-

God, right now, in this moment I ask for your presence to invade my life. I break off the spirits of fear and rejection that have caused me to live a life of perpetual pause in fear of failed performance. In this moment I choose to engage the gears of life and press the accelerator of faith knowing that you love me no matter what happens. From this day forward I will live in Your green light. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

The light is green and the command is go! There are no radar traps, no potholes, no sharp turns that He cannot navigate with you. Go for it! The green light of God is on!

"Extravagant Love" by Garris Elkins

A few weeks ago I did something as a husband that turned out to be pretty smart. I bought my wife a dozen beautiful red roses for no other reason than I wanted to tell her that I loved her. It wasn't Jan's birthday; it wasn't our anniversary, or any special occasion. Very simply I was in a store, saw the roses and thought of how much I loved my wife. Man, did I score some points! Sometimes we just need to love someone extravagantly.

The dictionary defines the word “extravagant” as ‚”to exceed the limits of reason or necessity.” One of the most dangerous things that can affect our lives is to limit our expression of love to God and to other people by human reason and necessity. Christianity without extravagant expressions of love towards God creates a passionless faith.

The Cross of Christ is the best picture of God's extravagant love to us. The Cross is the standard by which we should base our extravagant response to Him and to the world around us. On the Cross He gave it all.

My daughter is a trained and gifted artist. I love her paintings. Each year we have a evening at the church where we do a concert and art sale and the proceeds go to funding a mission trip for the students in our school of ministry. Anna was asked to donate one of her paintings. These paintings bring $1,000.00 in a gallery. In Anna's email to me she said, “Dad I want to donate my favorite painting. I want to give something that I love to God.” Extravagant love is an unusual love.

Have you ever done something completely extravagant for Jesus? Something that exceeds the limits of human reason and necessity? The Lord is looking for extravagant lovers who are willing to risk reputation and life just give Him extravagant expressions of love.

John 12 records an act of extravagant love that took place 2,000 years ago. This act of extravagant love is a model for the Church today. The background for John 12 takes place right after the Lord called Lazarus from the tomb and brought him back to life. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were all still in that wonderful state of shock that comes when Jesus has just done a miracle. They were basking in that warm and wonderful feeling that surrounds us when God has just done something beyond our wildest dreams. The house where these people were gathered was filled with gratitude. Whenever people are grateful for what God has done that grateful attitude sets the stage for the grateful ones to exhibit extravagant love.

Most people wait for the “when I win the lottery” moment before they begin to think about doing something extravagant for Jesus. We wait for unusual resources to appear before we act. With this mentality we end up living lives void of any expression of extravagant love. Mary, the woman in the text of John 12, never won a lottery but she did possess something very valuable. She had a jar of scented oil. Mary didn't wait - she loved extravagantly with what she had.

The oil Mary possessed was called spikenard. It was made from the dried roots of an herb grown in Northern India. The oil was poured into alabaster jars and then imported to the Holy Land. The oil was expensive and was one of the most priced possessions a woman could have. It was part of her dowry.

John records this incident in chapter 12: 1 “Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus‚ the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus' feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. 4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 'That perfume was worth a year's wages It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.' 6 Not that he cared for the poor‚he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples‚ money, he often stole some for himself. 7 Jesus replied, ‚'Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.'”

Most commentators believe that it was at this rebuke by Jesus that Judas left the room and began to bargain his betrayal of the Lord.

We learn some things about Judas from his words. Extravagant was not in his dictionary of life. Everything Judas processed had to do with what he could get out of life. Judas was the center of his world. Judas was a taker.

For Judas the extravagant love of Mary was something to be confronted and condemned. Judas would be the kind of person who would try to remove extravagant love from the lives and ministries of other people. Judas lived with a perverted practicality that tried to stop expressions of extravagant love.

Mary's act of extravagant love is still teaching us 2,000 years later. From Mary's life we learn some things about loving extravagantly.


Verse 2 said that a dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor. Jesus was the center of the evening. They were grateful for what Jesus did for Lazarus. Mary's act of extravagant love gave honor to the Lord. That is what happens when extravagant love is acted upon - the Lord is honored. Mary's extravagant love expressed itself without self-protection and the fear of loss. When we love extravagantly nothing is off-limits. Extravagant loves does not use a calculator.

William Barclay once wrote, “Love does not stop to nicely calculate the less or more; love does not stop to work out how little it can respectfully give. With a kind of divine extravagance, love gives everything it has and never counts the cost.” Calculation is never any part of love.


Verse 3 tells us that Mary anointed Jesus with the oil in the alabaster jar. The complaint of Judas was not that a measured drop was used. His complaint was that the full contents were poured extravagantly upon Jesus. He complained that Mary wasted an entire year of salary on Jesus.

How does someone begin to love the way Mary did? We are able to give our best and give our all when we understand what Jesus gave for us. Most Christians have forgotten what they have been saved from. We are only able to give our best and our all when we understand the depth of love that motivated God to give us His best and His all in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ.


Mary did not complained. Mary loved and then she gave. She stayed close to Jesus throughout the crucifixion and later on she was always found to be near Him. To Mary being near to Jesus was all that mattered. Intimacy with Him was the priority of her life.

Our regrets have us look to the past and wish something had never happened. To Mary Jesus was her dowry - not some oil in a jar. When Jesus was near the only thing on Mary's mind was how she could show her love to Him. Regrets are birthed out of our past. Mary had no regrets. Her past, present and future were all defined by His presence. Extravagant love is not a regretful love - it is a love that is consumed with a passion that requires expression.

I remember when Jan and I were first starting out in the ministry. We sold our home and tithed from our profits. I remember giving with joy to the ministry we chose to bless. Years later, as we struggled through a tough financial season in the ministry, I felt a regret creep into my heart that I did not have those thousands of dollars that we had given. After letting that regret linger for a time I had to come to a place of repentance. My regret was soiling an extravagant expression of love. God had to remove the Judas that wanted to live in my heart. A perverted practicality had entered my heart. I repented and asked God to heal me. When we live in the immediate presence of God regret cannot take hold of our hearts because His presence dissolves the regrets of our past and invites us into the now-moment of His presence.


Verse 3 tells us what happens when we love extravagantly, “The house was filed with the fragrance.” In the natural realm the house was filled with the fragrance of spikenard oil, but in the spiritual realm there also lingered the fragrance that takes place when we choose to show extravagant love to Jesus. Extravagant love will change the atmosphere of our lives because it is His life that we are breathing in.

A question needs to be asked, “When are we supposed to show extravagant love to Jesus?” The answer is simple - whenever He makes Himself known. Mary could have simply sat at the feet of Jesus and done nothing. Something happened in Mary's grateful heart that put action to what she was feeling for Him.

God is calling His people to make choices today to give Him their best and to give Him their all. When we do this, our lives, and the circumstances of our lives, will be filled with the fragrance of extravagant love. The fragrance of extravagant love is the lost tool of evangelism for the church. Today, the people you live and work with are afraid of the world's economic condition. They are afraid of terrorism. They are afraid of tomorrow. The world stinks with fear. God is calling His people to extravagant acts of love so that the stink of fear that grips the world will be displaced by the new fragrance of God's presence.

May I offer a prayer for those who want to be extravagant lovers of God:

Father God, I want to become someone who will love You with extravagant acts of love. I want to take who I am and what I possess and give it all to You in some wonderfully extravagant expression of love. I am tired of living in the fear of people and in fear of the world's hopeless condition. I want You to change me into an extravagant lover of You and of other people. Change me God. I want the fragrance of my life to be the fragrance of Your presence. In the name of Your Son Jesus I pray, Amen

"God's Hidden Purpose In Betrayal" by Garris Elkins

Embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered.

As you read the following list of names what would they have in common? Benedict Arnold, Alger Hiss, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and Judas Iscariot. They were all traitors or betrayers.

The words “betray” and “traitor” each come from the same Latin word. This word means “to lead someone to their enemy by treachery.” A traitor is someone who betrays a trust.

One of the most graphic betrayals in human history took place during the Last Supper. Judas betrayed Jesus in the midst of a very intimate setting. If you are familiar with the section of scripture you know that Jesus is taking time with His disciples to give them His last instructions before His arrest and crucifixion.

Luke's account of the Last Supper reveals just how deep this betrayal was when Luke describes the betrayer as, “one who sits among us as a friend.” Betrayal hurts because it takes us by surprise. The Last Supper was an intimate and safe environment. We don't expect betrayal to happen in that context.

In John 13 the disciples asked, “Who's He talking about?” in reference to the identity of the betrayer. It didn't make sense to the disciples that a betrayer was in their midst.

Long-term relationships are places where we assume we will experience intimacy and safety. In these relationships we can let our guard down and be ourselves. This is why it is so painful and difficult to recover from this kind of betrayal. One of the deepest wounds of betrayal is that many times it takes us by surprise. Even when it is happening we are not sure we understand fully what is taking place. The disciples didn't understand either.

In Matthew's account of the Lord's betrayal the disciples asked as a group, “Is it me?” Even Judas asked this question even though he knew he was the betrayer.

Judas was a deceiver. He was so good in this role that he would steal from the ministry fund and no one had a clue. Judas was the one who criticized Mary for pouring the anointing oil on Jesus. He had plans for that valuable oil. Judas did not become a full-blown betrayer in a single day. He got to that place by living a life of step-by-step and day-by-day compromise.

Betrayal can come in many forms. It can be a spouse who betrays a marriage bed. It can be an employee who steals company funds that were entrusted to him. It can happen to a child who is abused by someone who should have protected them. It can be a friend who betrays a confidence and shares a secret.

In order to deal with betrayal we have to understand one important truth - embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered. Without the hope of this discovery we will be devastated by the betrayal and stop living and engaging life as God intended.

God is never taken by surprise with betrayal. His plan for our lives and ministries is never derailed by betrayal. God's plan for our lives only gets derailed when we let the effects of betrayal rule and reign in our lives.

There are two groups of people who are affected by betrayal - the betrayer and the betrayed.

If you are the betrayer you need to know that the sin of betrayal plans to take you somewhere. For Judas, John 13:30 tells us that betrayal took him “out into the night.” Betrayal will reposition you into a dark place. The only way back into a lighted place is through confession and repentance. Confession is agreeing with God that something is sin and repentance is that shift in our thinking that produces a new direction for our life.

If you have betrayed someone and have truly repented, the moment you confessed your sin to God, you were taken out of that dark place and put back into the light. It may not feel like it though. In the natural you may have to live with the label of betrayer the rest of your life in certain circles of fellowship, but to God you have been relabeled and repositioned.

Restored betrayers need to listen to God more than the words of those they have wronged. The pain of betrayal can shout loud and hurtful things at a restored betrayer. Words that flow out of hurt and sorrow are not what define us - only God defines us.

For the victims of betrayal the spirit of vengeance, that wants to attach itself to you, will try to lure you into the betrayer's dark place. For the victims of betrayal there is a strong desire to see the betrayer punished. Vengeance wants a piece of someone. Hell wants to help you tailor a plan to punish your betrayer. Darkness wants to lure you into the hardness of heart where an unwillingness to forgive exists. You don't have to go there. The choice is yours to make.

What can you as a victim of betrayal do? You can bring that betrayal to Jesus and give it to Him. Let Him own it. Tell Him how much it hurts. He knows the pain of betrayal. Confess your plans of vengeance, punishment and separation. You are the only one who can make the choice about which direction your life will take. Will you follow the pain of betrayal into a dark place or will you follow the Spirit's leading into the light of God's mercy and grace?

Betrayal will lead you somewhere. The choice is yours. The victory over betrayal is found in the response of the betrayed.

In one season of our ministry Jan and I had been terribly wronged by another believer. I remember the night we got the phone call telling us what this person was doing and saying about us publicly. We were hundreds of miles away. We felt helpless. We had entrusted this person with the lives of people we dearly loved. The words of betrayal wounded us deeply.

I remember hanging up the phone that night and taking Jan by the hand and saying, “We need to pray.” We got down on our knees and began to tell God all the pain we felt in that moment. It felt like our lives were caving in on us. It felt like someone had impaled us with a poisoned spear. Our guts ached. In one of those moments of supernatural impartation God gave us one of the greatest spiritual survival gifts we had ever received. He gave us the gift of praise and blessing in the face of betrayal.

As we continued to pray our prayers shifted into praise. We began to praise God for Who he was. We thanked Him for this opportunity to trust Him in our helplessness. We thanked Jesus for this hurtful moment because it was taking us deeper into our dependence on Him. Then we began to bless our betrayer. Over the next few months more phone calls would come from confused saints about how this person continued to say horrible things about our lives and ministry. Every time we thought of our betrayer we made the choice to bless instead of curse. This went on for eight years!

I remember the night we were invited over to our betrayer's home for dinner and, after eight years, he asked for our forgiveness. With great joy I was able to look him in the eye and tell him that we forgave him eight years ago and had spent the last eight years blessing him.

How we choose to respond to the pain of betrayal will determine the direction our lives and ministries will take. Betrayal can be a beginning or it can be an end. There are many gifted and called saints who have been betrayed but are now lying in the enemy's gutter of bitterness and it is breaking the Father's heart. God is calling both the betrayers and the betrayed out of the dark places where the pain and sorrow of betrayal has led them. He is calling people out with His voice of hope and restoration. If you are suffering in a place of betrayal, now is the time to begin to follow His voice. In the end, you will experience the same resurrection power and new life that followed the Lord in His betrayal.

Embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered.