Monday, July 31, 2017


Each time I pass by Jan I make sure to touch her. It may be a loving pat, a hug or simply making sure to brush up against her in passing. I do this because I want her to know I have an enduring passion to be with her. Jesus does the same with each of us. He is constantly touching our lives in some way. The busyness of life can dull us to His presence if we do not actively engage Him in each moment of every day. Just as it is in a marriage between and a man and a woman, so it is in our relationship with Jesus. A tender touch, affirming words and thoughtful expressions of love from both sides of the relationship will keep the flame of love burning.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

What's That Sound?

As a teenager growing up in the 1960’s, I remember the great folk-rock classics of that era. I can still sing many of those songs from memory. One song that always created an emotional response in me was written by Stephen Stills and performed by Buffalo Springfield. It was titled, For What It’s Worth. One line in the song seems have been prophetic to that time and for the time in which we now live.

“It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound everybody look what's going down.”

A lot is going down at this time in our history. It is today as it was in the 60’s. Cultural battle lines are being drawn. Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong. Young people are speaking their mind. Paranoia is striking deep into the hearts of people. In the middle of all of this cultural upheaval, the Spirit is making the sound of reformation in the Church.

We are standing on the threshold of a doorway into a future we never thought possible. We are being invited into something new. Our admission ticket will be empty hands and willing hearts.

Those who hear and heed the new sound the Spirit is making will enter into a place of relevance and manifestation that Paul wrote about in Ephesians 3:20 - a place where things will take place beyond our wildest imagination and our craziest sounding prayer. The coming reformation of the Church belongs to those with ears to hear what the Spirit is saying in this moment of history. There’s something happening here!

Giving Apostolic Feet to Prophetic Hope

One of the things I enjoy about this season of my life is seeing younger leaders rise up and step into new and previously unexplored places where our faith can find expression. When I use the word “younger”, I do not mean younger as in inexperienced. It simply refers to chronological age. A full and mature anointing is resting on these younger men and women. They are some of the most energizing voices speaking to the Church in this hour if we are willing to listen.

Each generation builds upon the ceiling of accomplishment of the previous generation. We are in one of those building moments in the Church. Assumptions and misunderstanding are giving way to a fresh understanding of the original context of Scripture and the ultimate assignment of the Church.

This week, Jan and I had the honor of being part of two gatherings that preceded the Heaven on Earth Conference hosted by Eagle Mountain in Bend, Oregon. Eagle Mountain’s Senior Leaders, Bobby and Becky Haaby have created a unique ministry vision, one that seeks to transform the city of Bend. I am familiar with this kind of vision because it is being developed in my home church, Living Waters, in Medford, Oregon under the leadership of Ryan and Kate Rhoden.

While in Bend, I was reading through Eagle Mountain’s literature and saw the phrase, “Putting Apostolic feet to Prophetic hope.”  I stopped reading and pondered the reality of that statement. We have had a very long season of hope-filled words coming from the prophets. Those words are welcomed and needed to help us move forward. But something else is beginning to take place. God is reminding us of a forgotten element of our calling. In order for the words of prophetic hope to become a reality, we need to provide a practical application to our hope. We need the insight of apostolic leadership to help us see where and how to gain traction in culture with the hope we carry and declare.

Continue to speak words of hope but remember this, the hope you carry has a place of practical application. A word of hope was never intended to produce only a warm feeling in a distressed heart. God wants our words of hope to find an apostolic foothold somewhere on the pathway of cultural transformation.  The voices proclaiming this fuller image of our calling are worth listening to because they are providing us with a glimpse into our future.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Passing Through the Dark Tunnels of Life

When Jan and I lived in Europe we traveled by car when air and rail travel was not an option. Driving across the Alps and entering a tunnel that is several miles long was a very strange and unnerving experience. Most of the tunnels in the United States are short – you can see the end. The European tunnels are so long you cannot see the end. It is like you have entered a dark hole with no hope of exit. Spatial disorientation can take place causing a person to lose their ability to orient themselves to their surroundings.  Claustrophobic feelings also come to visit when you are speeding along in a car in such a confined space while under the massive belly of a mountain range.

Today, I thought of those tunnels and some of you who are traveling deep into emotional and spiritual tunnels. These are intensely dark places where your faithfulness has committed you to a course of action where no way out seems possible.  It feels as if it all could close in on you at any moment. What was once solid and knowable is now closing in on you like a tunnel. You feel caught in the grip of emotional spatial disorientation and claustrophobic feelings within the confines of your situation.

Your only way out of this situation is to keep driving forward in faith. There is no reverse. The end of the tunnel is coming though it is not yet visible. Stay within the lane of hope. Hope will guide you through these strange and uncomfortable feelings.

When you finally break out of this dark transit you will move into the bright day of a completed season. The feelings that accompanied you in the dark tunnel will no longer have the ability to influence you because you will have finished the safe passage that was promised when you first set out on this journey. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Getting Burned

When I was 13-years old, my buddy and I had a bright idea. On the back of his family property was an old cave. One day, we thought we would explore its interior. We got some tree branches and wrapped them in old bed sheets and dipped them in gas. Our plan was to walk into the cave as far as possible with available daylight then light our handmade torches to continue moving into the unexplored depths of the cave.

We got about 50 feet inside the cave when it got dark enough to want some extra light. My friend took out a book of matches and lit his torch. We would then use his torch to light mine and move deeper into the cave to find any hidden treasure. We saw this done in an old movie. Well, that was the plan. Unknown to our undeveloped intellects was the fact that gasoline gives off fumes that had been filling the cave as we moved deeper into the interior. When my friend lit his match he ignited the gas fumes creating an explosion. After the ball of fire flashed, we ran out into the light of day minus our eyebrows and with hair that looked like someone used a butane torch to attempt some cruel form of hairstyling. We looked at each other with soot-covered faces in disbelief at what had taken place. I think our torches are still somewhere inside that cave waiting for a future team of archaeologists to discover them as proof of the existence of an early civilization of cave dwelling people in the area.

I thought of that story this morning when I was contemplating the relational expeditions of life. We enter friendships, marriage and business arrangements not taking into account the reactive potential some of these relationships have. We need outside input to say to us, “That is really a dumb idea!” I am sure had we mentioned our expedition to my friend's dad he would have offered us flashlights. 

Some things need to be left at the entrance of our relationships – things that have a negative explosive potential that could harm the participants. Unhealthy demands, premature judgments and dishonoring words are ignition points the cannot accompany us if we want to move deeper into a relationship and discover the hidden treasure that only love can reveal. Explore life with wisdom and ask for help. It will keep you from getting burned.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Two Promises

My wife, Jan, said something if understood and lived out would offer us tremendous freedom and peace of mind. Jan said, “We are only promised this moment and eternity”.

Understanding the reality of that simple statement would remove much of the fear and angst we carry in our lives. The first disciples lived within that reality and their lives were a witness of great faith and hope. We have the opportunity to walk forward with that same kind of faith and hope if we do not live in fear of a future that has not yet arrived or in the prison of the painful mistakes from our past. The moment is a where God promises to encounter us. It is in this moment where He is speaking comforting and encouraging words if we will listen.

What shows us whether we understand this or not is expressed in our ability to trust God.  Trust is powerful. It has the ability to cast out fear from the present because we know our future is secure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Crossing Over - From Dream State to Reality

Over the years, I have had unusual dreams. I once had a dream where I was speaking fluent German and understood each word of a two-way conversation. In another dream, I was flying a high-performance military jet aircraft completely comfortable and confident performing the duties as the pilot-in-command. I yet another dream, I was walking between tall skyscrapers and simply leaned forward to soar high into the air as a human flying without wings. I could go on listing the various dreams I have had over the years that allowed me to perform tasks in the dream I could never perform in waking life. At some point, when God is involved, we can actually experience a crossing over from a dream state into reality. This is where our faith is either stretched or abandoned.

I have heard the stories of missionaries sent out in the early years of revival and God literally gave them fluency in the language of the nation to which they were sent without any previous language training. I wonder what some in the Early Church thought of Philip’s testimony of being supernaturally transported to Azotus? If we believe in the God who is able to do the miraculous – profoundly miraculous things – then why would we join the ranks of religious cynics who roll their eyes at the mention of such a possibility?

When miracles and unusual demonstrations of God take place it is the result of His alignment of our lives with His timing. When natural time is short, God steps in and releases supernatural acceleration and placement of his people to serve His purposes. He doesn’t wait for a cynical spirit to come into agreement with the plan of God before He moves. He looks for willing people who possess a childlike faith.

If you have been experiencing unusual dreams don’t dismiss them as having a slice of pizza late at night or the result of an over-active mind. God could be revealing to you the supernatural exploits He has planned for your life in the coming season. God may be asking you to believe in His ability to perform what He reveals and not be held back by your lack of training or the need to possess a measure of faith larger than a mustard seed.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Discovering Your Spiritual Sensory Perception

In the small town where I live there are several very good restaurants.  One of those restaurants has an Italian name and serves continental cuisine. In the middle of the morning when the chefs are prepping for the day they begin to melt butter and sauté garlic. I know this because I can smell it when I walk by the kitchen. By mid-morning when breakfast is becoming a distant memory that smell is torturous to a hungry soul. I have come to realize anything can be made into a gourmet dish with enough butter and garlic and imagination.

God gave us our senses as receptors. Each one can receive a natural message and each one has the potential to be used by God to transmit messages from the Spirit. A human sense is a physiological ability that provides us input for perception. Each of our senses, sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing can be used by God to alert us to an incoming message from Heaven. He put all five of our senses in us at the moment of our original creation for a purpose larger than just a natural way to perceive our surroundings. On the Day of Pentecost, a sound was heard that caught the attention of those assembled and helped them see the Spirit being manifest like flaming tongues of fire. Throughout Scripture, human senses are used metaphorically to help us understand God and interpret our surroundings.

There is another level of perception that is available to us when God uses our natural senses to convey a message or alert us to something beyond the obvious. I have smelled the effects of demonic beings in a room. I have felt the physical pain of a person I was praying for before they shared its presence with me and used that input to know how to pray.  I have seen supernatural script appear on the foreheads of people telling me what bondage held them captive. Our entire being is a communication tool that can be used by God if we will simply pause long enough to ask Him if there is more going on than just smelling garlic and butter being cooked.

Today, as you walk through the familiar sensory perceptions that will come your way, ask God to help you understand if more is being transmitted to you than just a smell or a sound or a touch from a natural source. You will be surprised at what you sense if you sense it in the Spirit.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Message from a Departed One

I am waiting for you
in the glory.
They are all here,
those who left before us,
the ones we loved.
I look so much different now than
you could ever imagine.
Whatever that perfect age was
in the Earth-life
I am there and more.
I am forever young
in an eternal way
perfect in a time
that will never end.
As I watch your life
through the eyes of God
I am experiencing such peace.
I have come to realize
that my time of prayer for
you is now finished.
I am in a place
of complete and absolute fulfillment,
a place without need.
I see your current struggles
but they are not overwhelming
because I see them through
eternal eyes.
When you finally make the passage
the first face you will see
will be His
followed by mine.
Until then
believe the best.
Never allow despair to have a place
in your life.
What is waiting for you
and for us,
is far beyond
all that we could ever have
dreamed, hoped or expected
in our wildest imagination.

Adapt and Prosper

Empty chairs in a sanctuary are not always an indictment against a church or its leadership. Empty chairs can actually send a message to leadership that people are finding a meaningful church experience outside the walls of a passing model that no longer meets their deepest needs.  On the other hand, never allow yourself to think that a full sanctuary is an indicator that you are in the middle of God’s will. Leadership is not for the faint hearted. Change is your only constant. Adapt and prosper.

A Total Eclipse of Hope

On August 21 a solar eclipse will cross the United States from Oregon to the Carolinas. Darkness will cover the cities in its path for over 2 minutes. Viewing a map of the United States and the eclipse path it appears as if someone took a large marker pen and drew a line diagonally across the nation.

In the west-to-east path, this eclipse will enter our nation at the Pacific Coast in Oregon and track eastward. Predominate cities in this moving display of complete darkness will be found along the path of the cities of Salem, Idaho Falls, Casper, Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, and Charleston. 

As I viewed a map depicting the eclipse route, I saw something else that will take place in the Spirit. As natural darkness moves across our nation, I saw angels following the trailing edge of the eclipse event planting the seeds of unusual demonstrations of God’s presence in the hearts of people. These angels carried seed bags on their shoulders and sowed the seeds in wide flowing arcs like ancient farmers moving across a freshly tilled field. The seeds began to sprout as the darkness passed and the full light of day returned. The ebbing darkness and returning natural light will be a signal in the heavens to begin the germination of the seeds.

The angels were careful. They picked out uniquely created seeds with distinct regional assignments that would germinate and sprout into great moves of God. The seeds contain a specific spiritual DNA that will come to life within the unique spiritual soil conditions of each region where they are planted.

I saw believers standing in the darkness. Rays of supernatural light surrounded them as the eclipse passed over and darkness descended. This will be a supernatural demonstration of Heaven’s light on Earth. Those who see this light will reestablish their faith in the God of wonders. When the darkness passes over them they will experience firsthand what the Psalmist meant when he said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” (Psalm 119:115).

Begin to pray and position your life for this coming event. When the natural darkness takes place you will hear the cries of fear and dismay coming from people overwhelmed by the darkness. As the eclipse deepens they will see your light and will begin to move in your direction. Be prepared to release the testimony of God's hope that you carry. Hope is the only light with the power to eclipse darkness.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Rituals of Love

Every marriage has little rituals. One of our rituals takes place every morning. Each day, I rise a few minutes before Jan to start the coffee and get set up in my writing chair. When Jan walks into the living room I stand and we hug. I usually kiss her on the neck and say something about my love for her and make a short declaration over our day. If for some reason Jan gets busy in another room, I go looking for her to collect what I call, “My morning hug”.

These small rituals of love program our lives and give us a sense of stability. Their expression is not limited to marriage. They are the essence of all healthy relationships. Any relationship that attempts to exist apart from these love rituals is in jeopardy.

There is a huge difference between rituals of love and rituals of law. Law says you have to do something or else. A ritual of love is an act of freedom. You don’t have to love - you get to love another person.   

We are surrounded by ritual.  The sun rises each day as a form of ritual. Seasons come and go in a God-ordained ritual. The rhythms of life follow a ritual of expression. We were created and placed in a world of ritual. 

A healthy relational ritual provides a record of our willingness to love beyond self. When these rituals breakdown and cease to exist it is the evidence that something in the relationship has stumbled. That is the reason why we need some form of ritual in the expression of our love. It helps us see where and when we stopped expressing love. It also exposes the falsehood that says love can be something we experience without involvement and practiced commitment. Embrace the God-rituals in your life. Inside that embrace will be a person waiting to feel your touch of your loving commitment. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Purpose of a Mountain Top Experience

In my 50th year, a friend invited me to climb the tallest mountain overlooking our region. Mount McLoughlin stands 9,499 feet. For the last almost 8,000 years it has held prominence in our area. Before that, it lived in the shadow of the volcanic peak known as Mount Mazama. When Mount Mazama erupted its 12,000-foot peak vanished removing a mile of its elevation leaving a huge pit that is today known as Crater Lake. The eruption of Mount Mazama was huge – 42 times as large as Mount St. Helens.

Working my way up the slopes of Mount McLoughlin brought me a sense of expectation. It took several hours. It was more of a hike than actual mountain climbing. It did it in tennis shoes. Once on top, I turned 360 degrees stunned at the vista. I pulled out my cell phone and noticed I had enough reception to make a call. My first call was to my wife, Jan, to let her know I was looking down on her, and would be home safe and sound later that day. I also called Mary, our church secretary to let her know I thought I could see the area where the church was located. When you finally make such a climb, you want to share the experience. I had no flag to plant, just two phone calls to record the event.

17 years have gone by since I made that ascent. I doubt I will ever go back. Each time I look up at the peak of Mount McLoughlin, I think of that day on the summit. From that experience,  I learned something about mountain summits. You don’t get much done there. They are lonely spots, windswept and rocky places above the timberline. Nothing grows there. Earthly summits are places where two things happen, you gain a new perspective on your surroundings and you get to say you were there.

Some of us look forward to mountain top experiences in a spiritual sense. We actually need them from time to time. There is nothing wrong with desiring them. They give us needed perspective on the beauty and largeness of life. They also help us realize that real life is lived in the valley. Valleys are where we encounter broken people and challenging circumstances. In these encounters of real life in the valley is where we discover the value of having experienced a spiritual summit. The perspective gained on the summit helps us look over and beyond our current struggle to see what is possible.

Now, when I look at the summit of Mount McLoughlin, I think to myself, “I was there!” I take that thought with me throughout the day knowing that I have seen my life from a higher place. Perspective is powerful because it can be soothing when life is painful. 

You and I live here on planet Earth but we are also, at this very moment, seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father looking over all that is under the feet of His overwhelming authority. That is the kind of mountain top experience that will help us navigate the struggles of a valley life with courage and faith. Today, take a spiritual hike to the summit of your faith and from your place in Christ gain a fresh perspective on your life. It will change how you see everything.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


There are a few things that will elicit an emotional, gut-wrenching and sometimes sobbing joy in me. This happens when an unnoticed underdog rises to a place of freedom and victory before an audience of doubters. It can be a timid singer on a talent show stage who never thought they had what it takes or the unlikely kid at school who gets picked last and becomes the team hero by scoring the winning touchdown. If you feel unnoticed or sidelined, God sees you and the greatness you possess. When your day comes, you will rise to God's opinion of your life and you will amaze all the doubters. On that day you will be cheered and your onlookers will shed tears of joy at what your life revealed. With God, all things are possible, even the greatness you do not yet see.

That Felt Good!

A few days ago someone made an honoring comment about me in reference to something I wrote. They did not direct the comment to me personally. The person was writing to the people who follow their ministry. I found out about the comment just because I stumbled across it on social media.

I came away from reading those affirming words feeling a gentle touch of love - a touch that was not anticipated or expected. To be honest, it felt good. From time to time undiscovered words of affirmation will make their way back to us and when they arrive they are like spring rain to the soul.

Be that kind of person. Find something good and affirming to speak about people. This is the sound and flavor of a Kingdom conversation. The heart of a prophetic life is affirming and encouraging and it will always invite people to something higher and better. I can think of nothing more uplifting to the human spirit than hearing unexpected words of affirmation and love.