Monday, June 18, 2018

Healing Our Outlook

When we are delivered to a new place in life our tendency is to try and define what we think we see. In that new place, wait for the Lord to speak before you begin to craft your definition. You will have brought with you the fears that created the negative, fear-based outlook in the old place. That outlook and its accompanying false definition of reality need to be healed before you can fully enjoy where God has placed you. That healing will be more important than your arrival in the new place.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Don't Be Surprised

I just heard the word “surprise” in my spirit. Each time I hear this word a surprise takes place either with a dramatic change in a significant leadership position or a turn of events that completely flips conventional wisdom on its ear. As you move through the busyness of your day be like one of the 300 soldiers of Gideon’s army that drank water from their cupped hands raised to eye level instead of lapping water head down like an animal. The 300 would not be taken by surprise because they remained watchful of their surroundings.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Those Who Ponder

Every dream began when someone stopped long enough to ponder a new reality. God is inviting each of us to a place where we can ponder with Him so He can reveal what has not yet been imagined. From within that place of availability to God, dreams will be released that would not have been seen had we not stopped to ponder something more.

I know a man who worked for IBM in the infancy of the company. His job was to meet each day with a team of five others and ponder possibilities. He said he was paid to look out a window and consider unrealized possibilities and applications for the technology being considered. This group would then send the results of their pondering to another team who would distill the thoughts and images down into some of the products we use today, products that came into being because someone took the time to look out a window.

A dictionary definition for the word “ponder” means, “to think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.” There is a benefit to having times when we ponder spiritual matters beyond what we confidently think we fully understand. Pondering gives God a place to come and reason with us and show us more.

If we are not careful we can assume and even make it appear to others that our current understanding of life and reality needs no further input or development. This is not the mindset of one who ponders the expanding edge of God’s revelation.

God is inviting you to ponder with Him dreams that exist beyond this moment waiting to come through the portal of our pondering to become a reality. If you can pause and allow yourself the time to ponder, you will begin to see something so much larger, something only seen by those who ponder.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Erased Lives

Something unusual just happened. I was putting the final touches on a word I wanted to post on my blog and social media accounts when my cursor began to backspace uncontrollably deleting everything I had written. It was like the Pac-Man icon on steroids. I frantically punched every key I could think of to stop the carnage. It was too late. My cursor backspaced and consumed each word I had written. I was left with an empty word document.

Immediately, I tried to recapture my thoughts and rewrite the story. As soon as I began to type the article a second time, the Lord spoke.

“Do not try to rewrite the story at this time. That will come later. I want you to use the erasure to speak to some of my loved ones who feel like the prepared script of their life has been erased through human failure. Talk to them. Give them hope. Tell them I am about to write a new script for their life to replace what was lost. The rewrite will be better than the original.  I have each erased word held securely in my heart. Nothing has been lost.”

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Our Premature and Uninformed Assumptions

If you pause and take a moment to ask people why they are doing something, especially when what they are doing seems strange and out of the ordinary, it might actually make sense once you become informed. Ask before you make any judgment, especially when it comes to an act of faith. Asking is an issue of honor. It will safeguard you from making a premature assumption.

Your One True Option

Right now you only have one option available if you are going to do this right. Hidden opportunities will become visible once you get past this important decision. When this decision is finally made, what seemed like a mystery will suddenly make sense. What seemed like a distant impossibility will become your personal testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Your Spiritual Elevator Ride

In the last couple of years, I have been spending more and more time riding elevators. Usually, this happens in a hotel where I stay when I teach and minister. 

Yesterday, I saw the image of an elevator in a video. In the video, a person extended their finger and pushed the button for the floor where their room was located. As I watched the video and saw the person rise to a new floor, I began to think about riding a spiritual elevator. 

A high place described in Scripture can be a place where an encounter with God happens that releases revelation or gifting. Think of Moses ascending to the top of a mountain and being enveloped in a cloud of God’s glory to receive the word of the Lord or the first disciples waiting in the Upper Room and receiving the empowerment of the Spirit. You don’t get to these high places without choosing to ascend even though at the moment of making that decision we really don’t know what to expect. At some point, each of us has to make the deliberate choice to go higher or we will remain on the current floor of our spiritual life-experience and not believe for more of God or from life itself.

High places are experienced because a choice was made to leave something behind. Not everything will be able to fit in the elevator of decision with you. What is standing in your life-lobby expecting to rise with you? Some of your current relationships and past choices cannot ride higher into the next season because either their assignment has been completed or they might create jeopardy to your calling and legacy. 

When the elevator door finally slides opens, step inside and press the button of belief and let the door close. Get ready. God wants to take you higher. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Draining Away

Delusion and deception are beginning to drain away to reveal the truth of God. A deluding spirit has been sowing deception in the hearts of people for a very long time. This deception is so great that those held under its spell have been blinded to an emerging reality. They are no longer able to celebrate the smallest victories of hope or the first steps toward reconciliation no matter how obvious those things may appear. 

Jan and I lived in Berlin, Germany just 6 years after the Berlin Wall came down. At the time, the city was in a massive rebuilding project. Our apartment was located in a neighborhood called Lichterfelde (“field of light” in German) on Am Pfarracker (“on the pastor’s acre”). Our apartment was #23 (Psalm 23 is the shepherd's Psalm). I am not making this stuff up! We only found out about these meanings after we moved into our apartment and learned a little German. 

The Berlin Wall ran right through the heart of the city. East and West Berlin stood in stark contrast to each other. One commentator said when the wall came down it was as if someone had drained a lake. When the draining was finally over, a bright and colorful island called West Berlin emerged with its beautiful structures and streets filled with prosperous shops and smiling people. That image of freedom stood alone surrounded by the gray and depressive architecture and subjugated populace of East Germany. 

That contrast was still very visible when Jan and I lived in Berlin. I could ride my bicycle a few blocks south of our apartment to cross no man’s land where the wall once stood. In that passage, I went from bright-colored homes and streets into the still lingering muted grays and browns of failed Communism. After the wall came down and freedom filled the nation, it was East Berlin that needed to be rebuilt, not West Berlin.

Each of us has a choice to make as events unfold around us. God can use whomever He desires to bring about these events – even people from the opposite side of the political aisle or people who do not believe as you believe. When the draining of delusion and deception is done and the completed work of God remains as a stark and undeniable piece of transformational evidence, how will you respond? 

Are your political affiliations, your educational credentials or your current relationships demanding that you continue to deny what is beginning to stand before your eyes? Choosing to believe the best when believing the best has not been in fashion is an act of courageous faith. The future belongs to those who see with the eyes of faith.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Side-Tracked Bravery

Don’t become so focused on your current understanding of reality that you begin to believe the way forward will only be discovered by a continuation of the status quo. Some of the greatest advancements in human history have taken place because someone was willing to walk the path of a diversion, a side street not considered possible within the confines of an established opinion held by the dominant group currently in power.

The Choice of Fullness

I have noticed the life, vocabulary, and behavior of people who know they are blessed is defined by words like, thankful, grateful, peaceful, hopeful and joyful. The common thread in these words is the suffix attached to each noun, “ful.” It means to be full of something.

In a crass use of our language someone may say, “Oh, he’s full of it!” The “it” is not a positive definition of the person being defined rather it is a way to say someone is not honest, truthful or genuine.

How do we arrive at a place where our lives are defined by thankfulness, gratefulness, peacefulness, hopefulness, and joyfulness? It is the result of having disciplined our thought life. A negative experience may take place and instead of allowing our life, vocabulary, and behavior to follow that negative experience and pull the drain plug on our faith leaving us empty and in despair, we make a different choice. We can choose to redirect the effects of these painful experiences and demand they come under the influence of our greater reality in Christ.

Not one of us who follows Jesus Christ has a legitimate reason to allow our lives to be defined by anything other than filled with the 5 examples I listed in the first paragraph. The world we live in wants to drown us in painful definitions to the point that we are submerged in despair. The end of that sorrowful journey is an empty soul. You were destined to live a full life no matter what pain your encounter. In the pain, choose to be full.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Spiritual Sight

There is a powerful proverbial statement that historians believe was first spoken by Erasmus, “In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is king.”  The phrase reveals the impact that revelation can have no matter how small that revelation might be. 

You do not need to have a panoramic prophetic insight to have a significant impact on an individual life or in the affairs of the world. You just need to be faithful to deliver what you see or hear and discipline yourself to go no farther. 

There are times when a revival or a reformation might begin with the delivery of a very simple word that contains minimal content. You and I are not responsible for encyclopedic prophetic insight. Deliver faithfully what you have been given and let people learn how to struggle well with God's Spirit for its personal application. 

When you have faithfully released what God has asked you to deliver, it is time to rest and return to a place of listening. Let the critics slice and dice your prophetic word all they want. Any word worth its Kingdom salt will draw some form of opposition. 

Even though you only saw in part, like the one-eyed person in the proverb, at least you saw something. Revelation in a time of cultural blindness, no matter how small or limited in its scope, will always reveal the way forward in the darkness.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The First Sign of Your Breakthrough

Remnants of your breakthrough will begin to appear before the actual breakthrough is experienced. Something is taking place out of sight and above your circumstance. God is trying to get your attention. He is sending the remnants of your breakthrough as the first evidence of something that has already transpired in the realm of the Spirit.

I almost missed it – the fragment of a robin’s egg. It fell from high above me from somewhere within the branches of one of the trees on our property. It was only half a shell. A newborn robin had just broken through the thin blue shell that fell at my feet. As I held the fragile half shell in the palm of my hand, I looked up into the branches of the tree and knew that somewhere above me and out of my line of sight was a nest where new life had just emerged. 

True breakthrough does not happen first in the physical realm. It is birthed in the Father’s heart in the realm of the Spirit and then it arrives in this world as either an unexpected gift from God or in response to an act of faith. It is like the time in Scripture when four men broke through the roof of a house to lower their friend down to Jesus. The debris from that event began to fall as an announcement that something wonderful was about to happen. When all the debris finally settled, a man was healed. 

The debris of your breakthrough will be the first sign that something good is about to appear. Pick up those remnants with expectation. Look up! Something good is about to arrive.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Beautiful Mercy

God’s mercy is non-partisan. It is not prejudiced, nor does it belong to a single faith-affiliation or live only in one stream of revival or reformation thinking. Mercy knows no boundary, restriction or human limitation because it reflects the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love. 

God’s mercy recruits emotionally and spiritually healthy people to release its beauty and redemptive potential. It is an unimagined gift we bring to those written off by the merciless as unredeemable. Mercy-givers will lose friendships and a connection with the existing power structure.  Resources that once flowed from those relationships will begin to dry up because mercy-givers will appear to emotionally and spiritually immature people as traitors to a cause birthed out of division, separation, and exclusion. 

A redeeming history is always written about those who followed the path of mercy.  Walk in it and you will find beauty, clarity, and freedom. In that place, new relationships, a new resource base, and a new future are awaiting your arrival. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

North Korea – History Will Fast-Forward and Prayers Will Be Answered

I just watched a powerful video from Lance Wallnau. In the video, Lance shared a piece of history from the family line of Kim Jong Un, the current leader of North Korea. Kim Jong Un’s great-great-grandparents were Christians. 

A Wikipedia reference says of Kim Jong Un's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the First Supreme Leader of North Korea, “According to Kim, his family was not very poor but was always a step away from poverty. Kim said that he was raised in Presbyterian family, that his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, that his father had gone to a missionary school and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that his parents were very active in the religious community.”

A recent article in Charisma Magazine written by J. Lee Grady reported that North Korea will be opening their borders to Christian missionaries. We are on the precipice of something unexpected. I believe God is about to fast-forward the Christian history and the prayers of Kim Jong Un’s believing ancestors for fulfillment in this moment of history.

Dust off your faith and begin to believe for the impossible. There are many cynics who will have “rational” reasons why a miraculous turnaround cannot happen in North Korea. Those same cynics deny other supernatural works and turnarounds accomplished by God in human history. This is a time to believe and expect that impossibly gridlocked situations in our world can take unprecedented turns toward breakthrough because God is at work. 

Keep Moving - Your Next Open Door Is Just Ahead

An open door is not a destination. You need to keep moving once you enter a new place because that new place is only one point on the map of your life-journey. It was never intended to be your final destination.

The same faith that allowed you to see the first open door will be there for you once again as you move through this unfamiliar territory toward the next doorway that is not yet visible. 

A life of faith does not produce destinations where we are allowed to become stationary. We need to keep moving, not as a neurotic version of a life empowered by human works and the need to always have to produce something, but as someone who lives in a moment-by-moment willingness to respond to the leading of God's Spirit. The Lord is always drawing us deeper and farther into the things of the Spirit. 

There is a new doorway just ahead of you that God will ask you to open. Keep moving forward and deeper in your faith and you will see the next doorway at just the right time. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Unexpected Growth in Unexpected Places

I walked by the walnut tree in our backyard and noticed this little limb with leaves growing out from the base of the tree trunk. This is not the normal place for new growth. New growth happens up in the branches and limbs. As I looked at the miniature limb, the Lord spoke, “There will be unexpected growth in unexpected places.”
While appearing small and vulnerable, the little limb carries all the DNA of the large walnut tree and a potential as thick and strong as the trunk from which it grew. 
Today, do not measure the potential of what God has asked you to do by the first signs of life. Those first signs can appear small and fragile. Measure potential with the eyes of faith. Faith will help you see what was not expected.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Your Opportunity

Your calling and the fulfillment of your destiny will be realized and experienced when a Spirit-directed timing and opportunity converge. What you do while you wait for that convergence is important.

A righteous convergence is not something you can make happen. If you try to do this by the strength of your will, it will become unhealthy, premature and short-lived. You can, however, prepare for its arrival by developing your character and ministry skills. As you prepare, avoid the pitfalls of self-promotion and a resulting fear-based positioning of your gifts and talents. These two pitfalls have derailed the calling of many gifted and talented people.

The opportunities offered by God will not pass you by if you have disciplined your soul with humility and rest. The opportunities offered by God, those fashioned and empowered by Him and for His purposes, can only be seen and experienced from a place of humility and rest. Train your eyes to see through these two lenses and your timing and opportunity will appear at just the right moment allowing you to step into something you would never have never thought possible.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Place Called Wonder

When I stand under a warm summer midnight sky and look into the heavens and see the stars, I wonder. When I wake up from a dream, I wonder. When I view photographic images from the Hubble telescope of a distant galaxy, I wonder. When I see a newborn baby that just minutes before had emerged from a mother's womb, I wonder.

When any of us think we have our life of faith all figured out we begin to lose a sense of wonder. At that point, we can begin to make self-confident proclamations about what we consider to be absolute. A loss of wonder and the desire to explore the depths of truth can become a demand that other people must see life like we see it through the narrow lens of our understanding. 

I have noticed this is particularly true in the realm of theology. A person who demands to prove every point of their theology as absolute will not be filled with wonder or with a desire to explore any further. When a point of theology becomes part of a system of belief it loses its personality and becomes a systematic set of cold and harsh facts created and conditioned by a predetermined mindset. A lack of wonder and inquisitiveness stops our spiritual and intellectual forward motion and parks us in a place of motionless personal conclusion. At that juncture, we begin to look and sound small because we spend our time defending our position and declaring it as something unchangeable.

The God we worship is beyond our ability to fully measure and comprehend. While He is so tender and approachable that a child can come to Him, the depths of who He requires that we are willing to explore things about Him that are not yet seen or understood. Have you ever seen the eyes of a small child viewing something wonderful for the first time? Like the revelation of God's Kingdom that is always expanding, so it should be with our understanding of Him. That expanding revelation will produce a child-like wonder in the most hardened person if they are willing to open their heart and mind to something more.

God will not be held hostage to our theology about Him no matter how well-educated and well-defined it may have become. Many continue to live this life thinking their understanding of God is unchangeable and absolute when Scripture tells us only Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Standing Up To Bullies

I was about 8 years old when an older kid who was 9 began to push and shove my little brother who was only 6. My brother had a look of fear on his face as the bully began his attack. I didn’t like what was taking place so I stepped between the bully and my brother and punched the big kid in the gut. The bullying stopped while the older kid tried to recapture his breath. 

We all continued to live together in the same neighborhood. The bully never messed with me, or my little brother ever again. It would have been interesting to see the attack take place a few years later when both boys were in their teens. My little brother, Dwain, ended up standing 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing in at 260 pounds in his prime. He played center on our high school basketball team.

We all need an older brother presence in our lives. This is someone who will stand between us and the bullies of this world and say, “If you want this one, you will have to come through me!” 

A lot of people feel alone and vulnerable. They have no one to stand between them and what is coming at them with overwhelming force. Yes, people will eventually have to stand up for themselves, but until they learn how to do that, they need help.

Look around at what is taking place in your surroundings today. Bullies stand in checkout lines and give checkers a ration of dishonor while people remain silent. Bullies prowl our schoolyards, run corporations, marry innocent girls, and at times, pastor local churches. 

Not everyone needs a punch in the gut. Some do, but for the most part, just you and me standing between the bully and the victim to let the bully know they are seen is all that is needed to end a barrage before it escalates. I have seen little old ladies take on bullies. It is not your size or your station in life that gives you the courage to step into the fray. It is the courage of Jesus Christ that rises up when you see injustice and make the choice to stand between the bully and the victim and say, “If you want this one, you will have to come through me!”

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Door of Trust

Protecting a place of personal brokenness at the expense of healing exposure will put the things you fear losing in a place of even greater jeopardy. Honorable people are able to handle your disclosure more than your fear would lead you to believe. Look for these trustworthy fellow travelers and open your life to them. Trust is the hinge upon which your breakthrough swings. Reach for the knob of this door and you will be amazed at what God opens up before you.

Framing the Revelation of God

God is adjusting our frame of reference for the release of increased levels of impact for prophetic ministry. Like a frame that surrounds and enhances a piece of historic artwork, the Lord has always desired to have us frame His revealed word with the unique wisdom and creativity of the Spirit. The result will be a delivery that is pleasing to the eye and a blessing to engage.

Most of us have written something in the margin of a book or a Bible. As we read along, we jot down thoughts and observations in the margins of the text that defines the text in a personal way. There is actually a term for this: marginalia. 

Marginalia originally described the intentional designs in the margins of medieval illuminated manuscripts. The margins of these manuscripts were filled with beautiful patterns and images in gold and silver that helped illuminate the text. The text would not be complete without the framework of the marginalia.

We can attempt to deliver a prophetic word prematurely and toss it out without the framework of the Spirit preparing its delivery. This framework was described by Paul when he defined the fruit of the Spirit to the Galatians.

But the fruitproduced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patiencethat endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.” (
Galatians 5:22-23 TPT).

While the gifts of the Spirit may expand the Kingdom, it is the fruit of the Spirit that governs the Kingdom. We may release a prophetic word and the message of the word is true, yet its intended impact can be diminished because we did not allow the fruit of the Spirit to frame and govern its presentation. 

People are watching and listening to the words we deliver. They are walking through the gallery of prophecy discerning the verbal and visual artwork being presented. What hangs on the wall of these galleries is intended to be a blessing and carry greater authority when the message is surrounded by divine love. 

Before you release a word for public display, pause to allow the Spirit to give you the framework required to enhance the message of the word. Just as it can be in a high-end art auction where a work of art created by a master starts a bidding war, so it will be with a prophetic word framed by the heart of God and the fruit of His Spirit. People will be drawn to the beauty of a wisely framed message.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Returning Fire-Starters

People are leaving certain expressions of the Church. Depending on how you see this exit, it can create concern or expectation. 

On the different summits of culture where God is doing His work of reformation are embedded some of those who had previously walked away. They are waiting. Many do not know they are candidates and untapped participants in the reformation that is unfolding in this moment of our history. God is about to issue a call to those who walked away. 

This call will deliver a reminder of God's love and an invitation. When heard, the call will ignite their hearts once again creating a fire of passion for what they thought was lost when they departed. This personal ignition will set a fire of reformation where they currently stand on one of the 7 summits of culture - Government, Religion, Education, Economy, Arts and Entertainment, Media and Family. 

This will not be a move of God like those in the past. To many, it will be unfamiliar because it will not look churchy or sound religious. Systems of culture will experience a Heaven-directed shift outside the sanctuary walls and the existing culture of the Church. The 7 mountains of culture will become a new sanctuary for the Spirit. 

This reformation is setting a fire in the hearts of people and systems that now seem to be burning alone and isolated, but over time they will join together in a conflagration that will produce sweeping reform, both within the Church and culture. 

Those who walked away will return with the fire of God in their hearts and the new thinking needed to reform our concept of a faith community and its role in the world. These returning ones will evangelize the minds of those still within the old structure and mindsets of the Church. That evangelization of thinking will ignite a fire that will begin to burn the underbrush and debris from within the current manifestation of the Church creating a new vision and a greater mobility of our mission.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

In the Blink of an Eye

In the last month, some of my friends have experienced the suddenness of life and death. One friend was on a flight with his wife when a woman sitting behind them died. They had to finish the long flight knowing the dead woman’s body would accompany them to their destination. Just last night, Jan and I found out the husband of a couple we were getting to know passed away on Memorial Day unexpectedly. We met them for dinner just a few months ago and listened to all the plans they had for their future. I could tell similar stories of when unanticipated and deeply painful experiences suddenly take place in the blink of an eye.

I felt it was important to encourage some of you with the promise that God has a plan for these moments in your life. We can’t really plan for the sense of loss and separation we will feel in those overwhelming experiences. God knows what we will come up against when we receive the news we never wanted to hear. That is why He has a plan. Our plan is to make sure we have adequate insurance and that the affairs of our lives are in order. That is part of being a wise, loving and forward-thinking person. 

God’s plan really simple. It is trust. Trust must be developed. It can’t be purchased from an insurance agent or promised as a financial return on an investment. It is developed and matured each time we think of the unthinkable. The thoughts that take our breath away when we consider their harsh possibilities must be addressed and told where to park in our thinking. Trust will reformulate our concept of future loss.

God the Father is intimately acquainted with grief. He knows just what you will need when you face your last moment on Earth or when a loved one breathes their last and you stare death in the face and feel its cold and granite-like finality. As Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father to release resurrection life in His dead body, so it needs to be for each of us who follow Jesus Christ. We must trust that somewhere in the very real pain of a future loss, a resurrection will be the ultimate reality. That is our only real hope in this life. It is the only place where trust can be experienced.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Fool's Errand

If someone continues to run with a fool they will spend their life running a fool’s errands. It takes courage to discern and eventually back out of these relationships. Many have learned this important lesson the hard and painful way. It is a lesson worth learning.

It is important to know what a foolish person is to avoid the sad experience of the life they offer to those who follow their example. A fool is someone who does not see the beginning and the end of all things. In their decision-making, they do not recognize the reality that they will stand before God someday to answer for the choices they made. A fool lives a reckless life without boundaries. They can even try to associate that recklessness and lack of boundary with faith deceiving the spiritually naïve.

Fools live an uninformed and undisciplined life. Uniformed about the ways of God and undisciplined by any outside source apart from their own vision of life. Scripture uses the word “fool” to describe someone who is “senseless” or “without reason.” There is no filter for their response to life. A fool’s foolish thinking will eventually lead to foolish conclusions that will deposit foolish people in foolish destinations.

It takes courage to disengage from a fool and the foolish errands they ask you to run for them. This is especially challenging if that fool is embedded in a community of faith.  This kind of Spirit-empowered courage gives you the freedom to become your own man or woman who stands before God and answers only to Him. It is a courage that will at times upset the course of your life, especially if the foolish person with whom you are associated is unaware of the error of their ways. They will announce your departure as an act of betrayal.  If this happens, stay strong. When you walk away from fools and their foolishness errands, Wisdom will be waiting to embrace you and walk with you into your place of destiny.

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble” (Proverbs 13:20).

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Power of Revelation

The farther we move away from the historical details of an event the more some people will take license to create a new and false narrative of that history. This is where the presentation of fact, while still true, will not steer the debate and bring about a correction of the error. In times of deep and entrenched disagreement, only a revelation of the Spirit has the power to steer the human heart toward truth. 

Don’t spend your time trying to argue with detractors of truth. Ask God to increase your ability to receive and transmit His revelation. When these revelations come and you faithfully deliver their content you will become someone God will use to help steer individuals and culture toward a place of spiritual, intellectual and emotional health. That is the power of revelation.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Disaster Thinking

I just returned from a ministry trip along the northern coast of California. I was driving through Eureka and stopped at a supermarket to buy some food when something strange took place. Before I share the story, I need to give you some background.

While driving along the coast, I noticed tsunami-warning signs were posted everywhere. I was advised when I was entering a low area susceptible to a tsunami and when I was leaving. These coastal communities are aware of a tsunami threat and have made appropriate preparations. 

I did some research on the subject and the warning is a real deal. A 700-mile long fault line called the Cascadia Subduction Zone is about 50 miles offshore and runs north from Eureka, California along the coastline of northern California, Oregon, and Washington and into parts of southern Canada. When the Cascadia Subduction Zone ruptures, as it has done many times in history, it will produce a 9.0+ earthquake that will shake the Pacific Northwest with devastating results and produce a tsunami that will decimate the coastal communities.

Back to the supermarket. While shopping, I was enjoying some classic rock music being played over the in-house sound system. A song came on that unbeknownst to me had a loud siren playing in the musical score that sounded just like a tsunami siren warning people to flee to higher ground. I noticed the other shoppers weren’t responding. They just kept shopping as if life was normal.  I started to move toward the exit of the store and out the front door when the song ended and another song came on. It wasn’t a real tsunami warning. It was only a soundtrack mimicking the real thing. I tried to quietly return to my abandoned shopping cart as cool, calm and collected as I could without looking too foolish.

That experience taught me something. While traveling along the coast with the knowledge that an event like the rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a reality, it offers a person two choices. One, which I did, was to pray the Shalom of God over the coast and the fault line. The other was to manage the subtle fear that wanted to come and paralyze me so that I would miss the beauty of God’s creation and live on edge 24/7 while on the trip. We can get so wrapped up in preparing to exit a potential threat to life that we miss living in the beauty of the moment. 

The reason the people in the store were not moving toward the exit when the siren in the song was playing was that they knew what a real warning siren sounded like. They were free to enjoy an afternoon of shopping. To them, it was just a song. To me, it was the approach of disaster. 

In the end, we all need to be prepared for the potential outcomes of life, but not allow our preparation to morph into a paranoia that can cause us to live in a mindset of perpetual fear.  Fear is a thief who robs us of our peace. Plan your life-strategy to keep safe. Always have an escape route to get to the higher ground of God’s peace when danger comes. Have a spiritual go-bag filled with the essentials of your faith packed and ready to grab when a real-life emergency comes and you have to move fast. Do all you need to do to be prepared to take action should you be faced with an event beyond your control, but never live in that preparation as a prisoner bound in the shackles of fear. That would truly be the greater disaster.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Thunder of God's Voice

Last night a powerful thunderstorm rolled through our area. It was so powerful that I received a FEMA warning through an app on my iPhone. Right after the FEMA warning was displayed, a clap of thunder exploded over our house. I have lived in the Caribbean and lived through some very loud and intense storms, but to be honest, this was the loudest and most house-shaking thunder experience of my life. Jan and I were stunned when the thunder shook our house to the foundation and sent our cat running for his life.

This morning, as I reflect on the storm from last night, the air is now still and calm. No sound of a storm remains, but the memory is still fresh in my mind. It reminded me of the writer of Hebrews trying to explain the power of God and the sound of His voice that will shake what is not secure in His Kingdom and defined by His love. 

“The earth was rocked at the sound of his voice from the mountain, but now he has promised, ‘Once and for all, I will not only shake the systems of the world, but also the unseen powers in the heavenly realm!’” (Hebrews 12:26) 

Every political and social condition not in line with God’s heart will experience a shaking like the thunder that exploded over our home with unimagined power. This shaking will expose and destroy each dark and malevolent power that rules individuals and culture from behind a veil of deception.
Most of us want to see God as a tender, gentle and compassionate God. He is all of that. But He is more. He is also powerful, almighty and consumed with a passion for His people and the Earth He created. There are times when this tender, gentle and compassionate God will roar out in His holiness against those things that try to separate His creation from Him. When God’s voice becomes a clap of holy thunder and shakes our world, He is not trying to destroy people. He came to save, not destroy people. He is reminding us and warning the powers and rulers of a dark and unseen kingdom that He will not allow them to go on forever controlling and deceiving.
We are about to experience the awe of God - an awe-inspiring revelation of His holiness that will stop us in our tracks just like the thunder that shook our home last night. This will not create an unhealthy fear in a follower of Christ. Neither will it create a list of people who we choose to see only as our enemies. The thunder of God’s voice will shake us free from our foolish pursuits and short-sighted determinations and bring us to a place of awe and worship in the God of Heaven. That encounter will change everything.
“Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights his heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe”(Hebrews 12:28).

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Feeling the Pressure to Perform

To encourage someone to suck it up and "just take the next step" is not always wise counsel. There are times when people need to know where to place their foot before they take the next step. In these situations, where theirr foot comes down is as important as taking the actual step. 

Don't feel pressured to prove to someone that your life is going somewhere. Creating a state of continual motion is not evidence of your spiritual maturity or that you have a vision. It can be the evidence that you have not yet learned how to rest, trust and wait for the Lord to speak before you move forward. Avoid the pressure to perform and you will avoid the pain that comes from making a hurried and unwise decision.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Honest Faces

I walked into the hotel lobby where I am staying and passed a sign that read, “Please show your room key.” Showing my room key was to gain entry into the hotel’s breakfast buffet. As I walked by the front desk the man working behind the counter didn’t even raise his eyes to look in my direction. I paused and went back to show him my room key. When I said, "Here's my room key", he glanced up front his paperwork and looked directly into my eyes and said, “I don’t need to see your key. You have an honest face. Have a nice breakfast.”

I don’t know how honest of a face I have, but like you, I want to be perceived as an honest and honorable person. It was 6:00 am. I was dressed in a baseball cap, hoody, cargo shorts and hiking shoes. I needed a shave and my morning shower.  I looked more like someone who just walked in off the street trying to grab a free breakfast than a patron of the hotel who was in town to speak at a local church.

Those who carry the Spirit of God reveal more to those around them than their attire or life-circumstance can transmit. I have seen the depth of God’s countenance carried in the eyes of a tattered homeless person and failed to see it in a well-dressed person of privilege. It is all about the heart being revealed through the eyes, the window of the human soul.

Most of us spend time trying to look presentable and keep in at least a semblance of good physical health. We are a human temple of worship with a body, soul, and spirit created to house and express the presence of God. These three elements of our being are designed to work in harmony with each other. It is the inner peace of God that is picked up by people in the most unexpected moments – especially in a pre-dawn journey to a hotel breakfast buffet before a shower and shave were able to do their magic. If you are at peace with God and with people it really does make a difference. No matter what is going on in your life, your inner peace will transmit a message. It will reveal your true identity in the most unusual moments when you were least expecting it.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Heaven Has No Coincidences

As I sit here in a hotel room in Eureka, California, I find it by no coincidence that several things are happening all at once on the same day. Later this morning, I will take the short drive to where I am scheduled to speak at the First Baptist Church of Arcata, California. The church is physically located next to Humboldt State University.  Thousands of students attend this university. Twenty years ago, Bill Johnson spoke here and prophesied the next Jesus Movement would be birthed in this church. 

This is Pentecost Sunday, the day in Church history when we celebrate the coming of the Spirit in power. I also happen to be staying in the same looking over the same courtyard described in my book, The Sound of Reformation. During that previous stay, as I watched koi fish swimming in circles in the courtyard pond, the Lord said the circle-swimming fish resembled a religious pond of predictability that has invaded the thinking of some in the Church. It is a resulting way of living birthed from a mindset where we no longer expect more. The koi fish are still here doing the same thing they were doing during my last visit. Nothing has changed. They are still swimming in circles. 

God has another plan. He wants to free us from our ponds of predictability and transplant us into the freshwater current of His Spirit where we will experience personal and corporate revival and a resulting cultural reformation.  

This specific day on the calendar of 2018, the koi pond revelation and Bill Johnson’s prophetic word are not a human coincidence. They are divine indicators that God has a plan to execute that no coincidence of human logic could ever imagine.

Today, remove the limited thinking and faithless conclusions of coincidental thinking. Let God lift you out of the pond of predictability and fill you with the same expectancy I have of what God is about to do this morning. You and I are not responsible for outcomes. We are responsible for the measure of faith we carry into situations where supernatural outcomes are possible. Let faith arise and the enemies of God be scattered, especially any faithless expression of faith.  Every day is a new day with God. See today with the eyes of Heaven and you will see the new thing God is releasing upon the Earth.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Fruit of a Double Portion

Yesterday, I brought home some cherries. As I was eating the cherries, I noticed most of the cherries in the basket were double cherries. It was hard to find a single cherry in the basket. In all my life, I had only seen a double cherry a time or two. I stopped eating and said to myself, “I need to get a picture of the remaining ones just to show people this actually happened.” It was then the Lord began to speak.

“Don’t allow what surrounds your life to determine your vision or define what your future holds. I am releasing double portions and double blessings to those who have the eyes to see as I see. This double portion will clarify your vision and redefine your future. The double portion is already in your basket. Look again. This is not blurred double vision. It is the double portion of goodness I have planned for you before time began.” 

Today, look again at your life – your friendships, resources, hopes, and dreams. Look at all of your life through the lens of faith, hope, and love, especially those areas where you may have lost hope. Clarity will begin to come. You will begin to see as Heaven wants you to see. That is the vision you need to have in order to step into your future with confidence, trust and expectation.

“Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours” (Isaiah 61:7).

Friday, May 18, 2018

Measuring Your Dream

Lately, I have been seeing objects lying on the roadway at intersections. Last week, I wrote about seeing the head of a claw hammer on the ground at an intersection ( Later, in another intersection, I saw a measuring tape, the kind that spools up the metal tape inside a small enclosure.

The significance of both objects was their location. Seeing these things in the middle of an intersection infers a coming change. An intersection is a place of decision and new direction. When I wrote about the hammer the Lord was telling some of you to no longer allow your life to be hammered by people who disapprove of your decision and then voice their disapproval with blows from the hammer of condemnation. In order for a new season to unfold, we must deal with the sound of these voices in our heart and mind before we can move on.

Once we transit the intersection of condemnation we will arrive at the intersection of measurement. In this intersection, God wants you to begin dreaming impossible-sounding things not imagined in the intersection of condemnation. 

In the image the Lord was unfolding, I saw a person stop and pick up the measuring tape. The one I have on the workbench in our garage only measures 25 feet. It comes to an abrupt end and lets you know in no uncertain terms it cannot measure past its designed distance of measurement. When the person in my vision began to unwind the measuring tape, I saw them pulling and pulling on the tape with no end in sight. Like my 25-foot tape measure, they thought it would come to an end, but it kept unwinding as long as they continued to pull. They were surprised and delighted. There was enough tape inside the roll to measure the depth and substance of any dream God gave them as long as their faith continued to pull on the tape.

Every dream has a measurement defined by Heaven. God will provide all the tape you need to measure the cost and summon the resources required to make your dream a reality. He has brought you through the intersections of condemnation and measurement to make you ready to experience the next leg of your journey toward the fulfillment of your dream. All things are possible when condemnation is silenced and when you are measuring your dream with Heaven’s measuring tape. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Discerning Hidden Messages

Jan and I live at the edge of our small town close to the forest. It is not uncommon to see all kinds of wildlife. We have seen deer, wild turkeys and on a couple of occasions, a cougar. Last night, I was awakened shortly after midnight to the loud howling of a coyote. He was close – just across our street and up the hill. The howling went on for a few moments.  

This morning, I researched the vocalization of a coyote and realized what I was hearing was a howl from a coyote separated from his group. He was howling to be found. Coyotes have 11 different vocalizations. People who study these animals can tell you what each howl, bark, and yip means. They are able to discern the coyote's message within each sound they make.

It is important for us to be able to discern the message hidden within the sounds being made by individuals and culture. What can be written off as only a complaint may be an appeal for something authentic. A negative comment may hide a wounded heart. An overly gregarious response to life may hide a fear of engagement.

A prophetic person is not just a mouthpiece for God. People who carry a prophetic anointing must be able to discern the message hidden within the sounds of culture in order to accurately discern what is taking place before they speak. Last night, I had no idea what the coyote's message was until I studied the wisdom of those who work with these animals. God wants us to study the wisdom and revelation of the Spirit for the audience of our words before we deliver them. A surface understanding will not reveal the heart and motivation of a person.  Without this depth of revelation, we could easily misinterpret what is actually taking place. 

When the howling of the coyote stopped last night, I wish I could have seen through the darkness. I would have been able to see the coyote rejoin his family unit. The other coyotes would have discerned his appeal at a level my neighbors and I would have missed. That reunion is a goal of prophecy - to reunite separated people with the heart and will of God. 

In life, there are times when people will make strange sounds as they begin a journey toward wholeness. A prophet motivated by love will try to interpret the message hidden within the sound of someone’s voice before they speak.   Seek to understand their message before you deliver a word and God will be able to use you in profound ways.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Living the Dream

A few weeks ago, I was shopping and struck up a conversation with an employee. I asked, “How are you?” The woman said in a cynical tone, “I’m living the dream!” After a few moments of conversation it was obvious she was not living her dream. Some of what she shared was painful. Her life condition had placed her on a long and lonesome road of despair. The look in her eyes conveyed to me the depth of her daily struggle. 

At the end of our conversation, I spoke a word of hope to her. It was like cold water was splashed in her face. Her countenance changed immediately. Literally, a different person was looking back at me. She reached out and gave me a big hug and said, “I never saw my life that way before.” After that initial encounter, I went on to do more shopping. A few minutes later, the woman left her department in the store to track me down and said the words of hope I spoke to her had changed the direction of her life. You could see a transformation beginning to take place in how she carried herself and in the lightness of her step. Hope gave her the ability to see her life differently. 

The greatest ministry of the Church is the release of hope. The resurrection gave the early disciples hope when they thought death was the only option available. Hope has been the coin of Heaven’s realm for the last 2,000 years. If you want to know where the next revival, reformation or breakthrough is going to take place, listen for the sounds of hope. Hope is the dream.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Distant Sounds

Distant sounds capture my attention. There are times when I am sitting in my writing chair next to the open window that I can hear those distant sounds. The horn of a train sounding as it travels through the city. A dog barking a warning or birds singing in the darkness of the predawn. I remember the tug on my emotions the first time I heard the call of a loon echo across a mountain lake or the call of a foghorn cutting through the dense coastal fog. 

These distant sounds gently capture our attention to remind us of things outside our immediate reality. The Lord will do the same to gain our attention. These sounds of Heaven are an announcement. A testimony, an unexpected blessing or a sense of something approaching not yet fully defined, raise our awareness to look beyond the moment to anticipate the arrival of something new.

The Lord spoke to me this morning when I heard one of those distant sounds. I know the following word is not just for me. It is for some of you. He said, “The new thing I want to do in your life will be announced before it arrives. My announcement will be like a distant sound.  I am releasing this sound to gain your attention. When I gain your attention you will be offered a choice to believe. Once you believe, a connection will be made to what the sound is announcing. Just as certain sounds in the natural realm create a beautiful longing in you so it will be for what is coming. That longing in faith is what I need to perform what I have promised.” 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Teach Your Daughter Well

One of the most important things a father can teach his daughter is to know the difference between truth and a lie. The truth will guard a daughter’s heart when well-crafted lies are whispered in her ear. A daughter will first learn the sound of that truth or the lack of it when she listens to her father interact with her mother. A strong woman is a discerning woman. Teach your daughter the power of discernment and she will grow up to become a strong woman.  

When the Winds of Change Begin to Blow

In every revolution of culture, the first people to be attacked are the poets, artists, writers, and musicians who express the discontent of the people through creative expression. These voices must be silenced by those in positions of authority if they want to remain control are to remain in power. The same can happen within the Church, 

-  when an Apostle reveals a heavenly blueprint that exposes a weakness in our current expression of the Church.

-  when a Prophet announces the blueprint and that announcement reveals something new and unfamiliar.

-  when an Evangelist recruits people to the blueprint who don’t look, sound or act the same way as our current demographic.

-  when a Pastor rearranges a community of faith to align with the blueprint to ensure a future of life, health and the possibility of growth.

-  when a Teacher explores the details of our belief system to discover and challenge our sacred cows and then invites us to see and understand the blueprint with new eyes.

When God begins to do something new, refuse to join in with the first wave of critics. Many times these critics are motivated by a fear of change or the loss of control. Take time to experience the craft of the spiritual poets, artists, writers, and musicians. In the common thread of their message, you see a glimpse of the next move of God.