Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Disarming Hell

When I was a cop, I had to disarm people who wanted to kill an innocent bystander or me. As a Hostage Negotiator, I disarmed people using words crafted from proven negotiation tactics. When I worked as a street cop and later as a SWAT officer, I disarmed people at the end of my pistol or rifle barrel. To survive the mean streets, I had to learn how to disarm violent people on a regular basis, or I would go home in a body bag.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to disarm people spiritually. We do this by choosing to respond in a spirit opposite from the one being exhibited by our assailant. What disarms people and disempowers their harsh attacks takes place when we choose to love them instead of crafting a response in retaliation. We disarm hate with love and fear with faith. When we came to know Jesus, we holstered the spiritual weapon of God's unconditional love. God expects us to fire its power and beauty into the heart of every person we meet.

Like my Marine buddies say, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” Those of us who served in police work will say, “Once a cop, always a cop.” I would like to suggest a phrase for all who follow Jesus, “Once a believer, always a believer.” Don’t allow any situation in your life or another person’s negative response to disarm you and take away your love. Guard love with all your strength. It is the only thing you have that can effectively disarm any situation and help you come out the other side of the encounter spiritually alive and able to live another day for the glory of God.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Soon, But Not Yet

Yesterday afternoon, I walked by clusters of grapes hanging from one of the vines on our property. Grapes grow well in this region. For the early French settlers, our valley reminded them of the south of France. We have excellent soil and a climate able to produce outstanding wine grapes. 

As I passed by the vines, the Lord drew my attention to a cluster of grapes still weeks away from maturity. When He had my attention, He spoke and said, “Soon, but not yet.” Immediately I knew what He meant. Some of us have promises that are hanging in plain sight ready to mature and be harvested. For the early French vintners, this would be the time of year to get ready for the harvest. Crushing vats would be prepared and barrels would be assembled. They would make sure they had enough bottles and corks to house their prized wine.

The promises of God in your life are coming to fruition soon, but not yet. In this short season of waiting, God will bring together all the elements required for a successful harvest. There are things you can do in the meantime. God will show you how to capture the goodness of your promise to enjoy for yourself and to share with others. The grapes of your promise may still be green, but God is beginning to change their spiritual chemistry making them ready for the time of harvest and future consumption. It will happen soon, but not just yet. Wait in confident expectation in this time of preparation, and soon you will taste and see that God is good.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Moment Just Before

Have you ever contemplated the moments in life just before everything changes? The moment just before you met your significant other or your best friend. That moment just before you lost a job or got a new one. What about the moment just before a loved one passed away or that moment in the future just before you leave this world and enter eternity? 

Life is filled with these just before moments. They remain unrecognizable because we cannot discern their existence before they arrive. Right now as you read these words somewhere out ahead of you is a “moment just before” making its way toward you.

Solomon wrote, “For everything, there is a season.” These moments are the precursor of change. Placed within you are the seeds of a new season that you carry unknowingly. Like a seed buried deep in the soil, you cannot fully know the moment your seed will sprout and break through the restricting surface to encounter the new season for which you were planted. 

One of the most powerful things we can do is live in each moment of life with expectancy. Living with an expectancy of God’s goodness and His faithfulness is what prepares us to embrace whatever comes our way with faith and courage. It shifts the environment of our waiting. In the presence of expectancy, fear will not find a place to dwell in the moment just before the next season of your life arrives. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Finding the Peace

A lot of challenging and stressful things are taking place. An abundance of difficulty is moving across the lives of many people. I have friends and ministries in Redding, California who are being devastated by a fire that has been labeled, “Out of Control.” A friend is in Budapest, Hungary for routine surgery and due to complications from the surgery is now in jeopardy and could lose sight in one eye. Our culture is at war between groups who hold opposing worldviews. In all of this, we need to find the peace. The peace of God is not the resolution of these things even though we continue to pray for deliverance, healing, and calm. His peace is something we carry as we walk forward into these yet-to-be-resolved issues.

Like any family, Jan and I have our challenges. When surrounded by unresolved personal issues and the painful things happening to our friends, we do something that gives us a unique strength in the Spirit as we contend in faith. We take communion. As is our routine, we take communion almost daily. It is our time of marital devotion. It does not get rid of our pain or the struggles of others. What it does is help us gain a renewed perspective on the issues of life as followers of Jesus.

Are challenging things coming at you with unprecedented force or are you standing in the midst of the painful testimonies of your loved ones? Today, stop and take communion. As you receive the bread and wine, declare the goodness of God, decree the victory of Christ, and finally, open your heart to a fresh word of revelation that will guide your steps in the coming season. We are never without hope even in moments when it feels like all hope is gone. This is our time to commune with the One who is our Peace no matter what is taking place. The fruit of that communion will change everything.  

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Falling Dominoes

Yesterday some strange things began to take place in our home. I won’t go into detail, but after two events manifested, I realized hell was at work. I literally stopped what I was doing and commanded those things to cease and desist their activity. What was taking place finally stopped, and life returned to normal.

This morning, the event from yesterday came to mind. I saw an image of dominoes. These dominoes were not placed in a tidy straight line. They were on edge all across a table in what appeared to be a random pattern. The dominoes represented elements and institutions within our culture. As the image developed, I felt the tedious nature of the dominoes standing on edge. I knew they were about to fall. No one could predict which domino would fall first because the Lord held that domino in secret.

When the first domino fell it would appear to someone not seeing the unfolding event through the eyes of the Spirit as a series of random and disconnected acts, but I knew it was not by chance. It was a purposeful collapse. There was a heavenly design not only in the placement of each domino on the table but in the sequence in which the dominoes were assigned to fall.

The ignition point for this chain-reaction will be hard to detect. It will be like my rebuke of the interfering and frustrating spiritual presence in our home. I did not feel connected to anything beyond what was happening in our kitchen.  At that moment when I exercised authority over what was taking place, my domino fell. It fell along with others who were in that same moment releasing the authority of Heaven upon the Earth.

What is your domino? Don’t just go along with any work of hell in your life that is contrary to the will and heart of God. Do something with the authority God has given to you. Exercise it! Though the act of your obedience may seem small and disconnected from the larger scheme of things, it is not. Your individual role is important. Your falling domino will play a vital role in the Spirit-inspired sequence of the larger collapsing puzzle. When all the dominoes finally fall it will reveal the way forward not only for you but for the culture at large.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I'm Going - I'm Gone

It is interesting to experience the tug in our heart when we visit a place that holds significance in our personal history. In 1981 as a young couple with two little kids and a couple of cats, Jan and I left a known life in Oregon to embrace a new and unfamiliar life in the Flathead Valley of northwest Montana where we planted a church. God took our naivety and what appeared on paper to be very insufficient funding and mixed it with His faithfulness and our growing faith and a church was birthed. 

Last week, Jan and I returned to Montana for a week on Flathead Lake. It was a time of rest. This was not our first return. We had returned many times before in the last 37 years. When we got home, I listened to Ray Hughes song about Montana. The song "just appeared" on a friend's Facebook wall. I thought the timing was interesting. One part of the song that touched me in a deep place had these lyrics, 

“I’m going, I’m gone, back to Montana. Where the pines stand like angels and point to the throne. I going, I’m gone where the sky is forever. You can stand anywhere and always hear home.”

As I listened to Ray’s poignant lyrics, memories flooded in as they had done on each return visit. Our time in Montana many years ago had moments of personal struggle and disillusionment. But those challenges were used by God to form us and prepare us for this season of life. With God, nothing is ever lost. Memories are never wasted when God has them in His hands. They become the extension of his fingers as He molds us for His purpose. 

Today, become aware of the things that stir your memories. Step inside them and let God show you what He sees. He is able to use a song, a poem or the song of a meadowlark to remind you what is truly important and memorable in this life. 

(If you would like to listen to Ray's song about Montana, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_Kc56fBGCc)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

God Have Mercy

Nothing in a life of faith works without God’s mercy. Through the course of our lives, each of us will make both good and bad decisions. Some of these decisions will hurt others. The response to our failed choices can also wound us. No one will have a perfect track record on either side of a disputed issue. As the human will is exercised in imperfect ways creating painful results, each of us will have an opportunity to discover the powerful reality of God's mercy. Mercy has the power to make everything work out for the good if we choose to walk along its path of freedom. 

If you are questioning a decision you made, you are not alone. Everyone who has a heart will examine the quality of the choices they make. In the middle of the questioning, choose to shift your focus away from sorrow and regret to face in the direction of God's mercy. In that shift, make the choice to exchange your pain for the promises of God. This is only possible if you believe that God remains forever merciful even when you may have been the perpetrator of another person’s pain. In that shift and resulting exchange, you will find the elusive peace you wanted when everything began to fall apart. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Overwhelming Power of Love

Learn the art of Godly influence. This is not an influence achieved by status or position, but a Spirit-empowered influence that seeks the highest good of an individual and a culture. It is the influence of love.

It was an influence gained by the power of love that allowed God to use the early Christians to cause the collapse of the Roman Empire. The failure of Rome was not achieved by a misuse of military might, a lack of funding or the loss of political dominance. It was achieved over time by the on-going and never-ceasing influence of love. 

Julian the Apostate, the last pagan ruler of Rome, said, “These Galileans (Christians) not only feed their own but ours also; welcoming them into their agape, they attract them as children are attracted to cake. Whilst the pagan priests neglect the poor, the hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity, and by a display of false compassion have established and given effect to their pernicious errors.  Such practice is common among them, and causes contempt for our gods.”

It was the influence of love and loving acts over time that shifted the hearts and minds of Rome. This victory was not the result of military conquest or a political party gaining power and control. This love was so powerful it caused the citizens of Rome to consider the reality of the one true God. The influence of love is what changed the Roman culture, and it will be what transforms our culture for the glory of God. 

The dying words of Julian revealed the power of love's influence, “You Galileans (Christians) have conquered.” 

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Corral of God's Restoring Love

Jan and I just drove through some very remote sections of eastern Oregon. This is a place where the term “wide open spaces” could easily find its definition. You can travel for miles before you see any sign of human settlement. What I did see were roadside caution signs like, “Open Range – Watch for Livestock on Road”. I also saw remote wooden corrals with loading chutes and ramps. These corrals are used to round up cattle that have lived on open rangeland. The corrals are not abandoned. They are used at various times in the year for cattle ranchers to gather their herds.

After passing several of these corrals, I began to think of prodigal children, wayward friends and other disconnected relationships that God wants to restore. These disconnected ones have roamed freely in the open range of their free will yet they live in an unrealized bondage having pulled away from the ones they once loved.

God has placed a spiritual corral on the open range of these loved ones. He knows how to find them in the distant outback and round them up to corral them for a moment of restoration. God’s corral will narrow their options and in love allow their own choices and consequences to force them into a narrow loading chute and up the ramp to experience a reconnection of relationship. 

Get ready to be called by the Spirit to pull your rig up to God’s corral and experience a Spirit-led reconnection with those you thought were lost forever. God knows where the people you love are roaming in rebellion. He hasn’t lost track of anyone. He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one because the one matters to you and to Him.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Confronting Inadequacy

Not every dream we have makes sense. Some dreams can be inspired by the Spirit of God or by a work of hell. Still, others can be the result of an over-active imagination or too much pizza right before bed. We need discernment to understand what is taking place in our mind when we dream. I had a dream I believe was inspired by God’s Spirit not only for me but for some of you who are reading this article.

In the dream, I sent my car into the shop to get new tires for a new journey. When the car was returned it was delivered atop an earthen dam. The dam was holding back a large reservoir of water. There was a problem. The new tires were those skinny low-profile tires that I knew could not navigate the rough terrain of the future. I sent the car back to the shop and told those servicing my car to install a set of large, knobby-studded tires. The car was eventually properly outfitted and delivered once again atop the dam. That was the end of the dream.

As I debriefed the contents of the dream the Lord gave me several impressions. If the Lord gives you permission, make the dream your own. 

God wants to move us past a timidity that fails to confront inadequacy. This inadequacy can be in resources like enough money or personnel needed to accomplish a God-ordained mission. It can also be in the way we think. Inadequacy is an equal opportunity dismantler of hope. If the spirit of inadequacy is not dealt with we can resign ourselves to just go along with less and falsely label it as something spiritual and assume a false humility. When in reality, we actually need more, not less, to make the journey of faith and accomplish the Kingdom purpose for which we were created. 

The car sitting atop the dam holding back the water was a significant image in the dream. While the Lord wants us to move in partnership with Him, He also wants us to get out ahead of the implications of a move of the Spirit so we can be in a position to welcome and minister to those who will become inundated by the flood of God’s presence. That is why the inadequate tires would not work. Some of the things we will have to move through will be the embedded obstacles in culture and within the Church that will cross our path in the unfolding process of revival and reformation. None of this will be an easy road. Inadequate tires will stop us dead in our tracks.

All feelings of inadequacy are created by a fear that is birthed when we have a skewed image of God. In fact, the majority of our dysfunction in matters of faith is sourced in this single issue. If you know what God has called you to do there should be a fearless confidence to ask Him to resource the vision and mission He has revealed to you. To remain atop the dam of potential not properly outfitted because of fear is not where you want to be when the dam breaks. You won’t drown but you will become like many believers in past movements of God who were found floating along with the rest of culture bobbing up and down in a failure of their faith. You don't have to accept that definition or that end result. 

God wants to get us out ahead of what is coming. To do that, we need adequate tires on our faith. Those tires will be the evidence that we believe and trust God to do all He has promised because He loves us and knows that without His provision none of what He called us to do will take place. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Our Place of Unity and Our Way Forward

As I travel and minister, I have the opportunity to visit many different expressions of the Church. I was recently in a gathering populated by tremendous thinkers and theologians. In that mix were differing opinions on major topics of theology and God’s Kingdom. The people loved Jesus and had given their life and treasure to Him, but some shared different understandings about truth and how it is applied.

During one evening session of worship, I looked out across the hundreds of people gathered. The worship had reached a point where the glory of God was manifesting throughout the sanctuary. Some of those worshipping were expressive in their worship and others were more sedate and meditative. Then it hit me. I was seeing the only place where the Church will ever have a single point of agreement. That agreement will be in our worship of God, not in our points of theology, or how we should worship or what constitutes an authentic church service. Worship is the only place where each of us makes the choice to focus on the One who is worthy of our love and affection. He is our shared point of agreement.

That night in worship, I saw the Church as one, united in focus on Jesus, not on diverse points of theology or opinions that many times can separate us.  I came away from that evening more at peace about the future of the Church than at any time in recent memory. 

When you find yourself in a place of frustration about an opposing opinion regarding a matter of faith, get to a place of shared worship where those who are creating your frustration are worshipping next to you and choose to focus on the Savior with them. As you worship in the diversity, open your eyes and look around. Like me, you might come to realize the image of that single focus of worship amidst diverse opinions is where the love and oneness Jesus spoke about will have its beginning and its greatest chance of survival once we leave the sanctuary.  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Witchcraft Must Exit

Jan and I were driving through Spokane, Washington on freeway I-90. Jan was born in Spokane and I did a couple of years at Whitworth University, so the city holds a special place in our lives.

As we entered the city traveling westbound from Idaho, up ahead I saw one of those large mobile digital signs positioned on the freeway to alert drivers. There is only so much space on these signs so the person who programs them must economize the message because they only have so many spaces on the sign to insert their phrasing. 

I was doing about 80 mph (the speed limit is 75 on that section - I like to fudge a bit). At that speed, I took a quick look at the sign in passing. It actually read, “Wtrcraft must exit” meaning watercraft must exit the freeway to be inspected for invasive waterborne insect species. What I thought I saw was, “Witchcraft must exit”. I took a double take. 

On the second glance, I realized my error. At that moment, the Lord impressed upon me it wasn’t a mistake in the Spirit. As cool and urbane as we in the western Church may want to appear, in that pursuit, we can dismiss the spiritual reality of darkness and relegate it to those unrefined folks who handle snakes and dance on sawdust floors in worship somewhere out in the sticks. The folly of our dismissal does not negate the reality of those who work in partnership with darkness to cast spells on human minds and release interfering works of hell against individuals, families, and cultural institutions. 

When I “mistakenly” read the road sign, I believe it was a promise. The works of darkness initiated against you personally, against your family and against our nation are being commanded to depart the roadway of our future. God wants you to know there are dark agendas taking place in the unseen world that you may never come to realize as you go about the normal affairs of your life. These things are at work with an assignment to destroy you and your loved ones. God knows this is taking place. He is commanding these dark influences to remove their grip from the thinking and decision-making of individuals, cultural institutions, and national politics. A witching presence is being told to depart the highway at the next exit. This departure will become exceedingly evident in the days to come.

God does not expect you to see and understand everything that is taking place in the spiritual realm. The roadway of your future is being cleared of a hellish influence by a compassionate and understanding God. He is clearing the roadway into the future for you, your family and our nation. Trust Him and keep moving forward without fear.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Faith Collisions

This morning, I saw two robins flying erratically around a tree just outside a sliding glass door. A few moments later,  I heard a loud thump as one of the birds collided with the window. The window was reflecting a false reality of blue skies and freedom that lured the bird into the glass. The bird hit so hard the collision knocked him out. I was sure he was dead. After about 20 minutes he righted himself and while still trying to gain his bearings. Two hours later, he was finally able to fly off. Not all birds survive such an impact. 

Be careful who and what you follow. Like the bird that crashed from blindly chasing the lead bird, not everyone will accurately or wisely interpret the course of your life. That is your decision. Each of us has to be responsible for taking the lead of our individual life of faith under the direction of the Holy Spirit with the instruction of Scripture. No one should stand between you and the Spirit or the Scripture no matter how gifted or charismatic they may appear. 

Faithfully follow Scripture, and the leading of the Spirit and you will not collide with a false reality interpreted by someone who may not navigate through life with the same integrity and beliefs you hold to be true. To remain airborne and free in your faith, you have the responsibility to make sure your course of flight is free and clear of obstacles.  God will never ask you to blindly follow a person, the vision of a ministry, a political platform or anything else that may be offered to you no matter how exciting the pursuit of those invitations may appear. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Confronting the Demons of Culture

We are at a point in our national history where the hot-button issues we currently face appear like the demon-possessed man Jesus met in Mark 5. The demon was the real problem, not the man who carried the dark presence. The fearful culture tried to chain the demon-possessed man but that natural solution failed. It was not until Jesus arrived and confronted the powers of darkness with the light of truth that real and lasting change took place. Today, the possibility of a demonic element at work in our politics and culture makes some in the Church feel uncomfortable. That uncomfortable feeling may be part of our problem.

Just as the demon-possessed man complained to Jesus that His presence was torturing him, so it is with anyone who holds a position and social posture different than the demonic agenda. We are seeing an increase in bizarre manifestations and confrontations taking place against truth in the public square. This is not just a reaction created by opposing positions and worldviews. Demons and dark agendas are reacting to the presence of light and truth.

Each of the influencing demons affecting our culture has a name. That is why Jesus asked the demon within the man to identify himself. That identification is necessary because it uncovers the influencing presence and identity that is controlling people and helps us see them as victims, not as perpetrators. If this distinction is not made we will continue to fight in the arena of a flesh and blood conflict, not in the realm of the Spirit where real and lasting change is possible. 

When the demons were sent into a herd of pigs and the possessed man was finally set free, he came back and sat at Jesus' feet dressed and in his right mind. I believe part of the reformation taking place in our culture will have a deliverance component. Individuals and institutions will emerge from a season of cultural insanity, delusion and demonic deception and sit before us as someone who has awakened from a nightmare. If you and I have been able to see the conflict as spiritual and not personal, those who eventually come to sit before us, spiritually clothed and in their right minds, will become our allies in the mission of God. That alliance will be the greatest affront to a demonic agenda of darkness.

The Way Forward

Some of the most profound answers to your prayers are waiting on the other side of what appears to be an unrelated question or a random act of obedience. You may find yourself processing something that is so important it is consuming all your time, energy and mental concentration. In the middle of that intense focus be careful to not dismiss what you might prematurely label as an interruption to the assumed process. It is easy to dismiss an interruption, especially an interruption that appears to have no connection to what you are processing. The greatest turnarounds and open doors can appear out of nowhere and may not be on your current list of considerations. These things are not an interruption. They are the way forward. Ask God for the wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Something

Signs announce something. Shadows reveal something. Prophecies declare something. Welcome the signs. Study the shadows. invite the prophecies, but only build your faith on the Something, not the signs, shadows or prophecies no matter how exciting and inspiring they appear to be. 

There may come a season when you will be without any outward indicators to support your faith. In those times, your faith will be strong because you remained faithful to trust only in the One who is your Something, not in the evidence about Him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

These Boots Are Made For Walking...And More

Recently, while attending the Hub Nation conference in Bend, Oregon, I took a short walk around the parking lot of Eagle Mountain Fellowship where the conference was being hosted. In an adjacent retail complex is a business called The Boot Barn. As I walked by the front entrance of the store, I sensed the Lord say, “Go into the store and buy some boots.” It was an unexpected request. I have not had a pair of cowboy boots in over 40 years. I hung a right turn and entered the store. After trying on a few pairs of boots, I settled on some Ariats and out the door I walked, two inches taller with new boots on my feet. It just so happened that I was wearing a pair of blue jeans long enough to make the boots work and not look like an urban western wannabe with high-water pants.

While still processing the “why” of the boot purchase – they are expensive – the Lord began to download some thoughts to me and maybe for some of you who are reading these words.  

The Lord began explained two things about the boots. One, He actually enjoyed seeing me wear the boots. He was sharing my joy. Secondly, the boots were a metaphor for the needed preparation of our hearts as we enter the coming months. This preparation will need to take place if we are going to be a reforming presence in culture. 

Paul told the Ephesians part of their required armament for spiritual warfare would be to have their feet covered with the gospel of peace. To walk with the spirit of a peacemaker will become one of the most powerful preparations we can make for navigating the increasing turmoil in our culture. Those who choose peace will literally walk over the plans of the enemy crushing division and destruction. True peace is never a compromise to the truth. Peace reveals things that the two sides in a heated dispute may not yet realize. Peacemakers are cultural prophets who reveal what anger, wrath, and malice cannot see. 

It was comforting to walk back into the Hub Nation conference with new boots on my feet. The boots felt strong and secure. Our spiritual strength and security will not come from flowing in and partnering with the turmoil-creating atmosphere currently taking place in our culture. It will come when we yield to the Spirit’s presence and walk in the ways of peace through the battlefields of life. Your spiritual boots were made for walking into the current cultural upheaval to leave the footprints of God’s heart. Get your boots on! You have places to go and people to see that only peace can reveal.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The One Simple Thing

This is a time for you to pay close attention to the small details. Your ability to connect with what the Spirit is doing will depend on precise accuracy, complete obedience, and a new level of sensitivity to the voice of God.

I was away for a writing retreat and not using my familiar Internet connection. The productivity of my time away depended on a solid Internet connection in order to do my research and connect with people for various writing projects. It was a real downer to not be wired. I tried everything I knew. Finally, I contacted customer service and after listening to elevator music for half an hour and having to call yet another number, I found the problem. The owner of the place where I was writing had left the Internet account information but used a capital letter instead of a lower case letter for one part of the password. That one misstep wasted an entire day of my devoted project time. 

While we live in a grace covenant there are particulars God will give us that we must align ourselves with or we could miss a vital connection that will make everything work. If something is not working in your life, review what God has asked you to do and complete His assignment. Assignments that are not getting traction may be the result of you not completing that one simple thing God asked of you. Do it and a connection will be established that will reveal what has been hidden in the time of your disconnect.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Circuitous Route of Love and Life

In August of 1969, I was driving north on I-5 in my 69 VW bug to return for my sophomore year at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. I was reporting early for football camp. As I drove north, I was listening to the song White Bird by the band, Its a Beautiful Day. The song really struck a deep cord of emotion in my soul. I had just left a relationship and felt lost. My 19th year was tough. Little did I know that in the storm of my loss and despair, God was navigating me toward the love of my life - a love I did not know existed. 

Driving north I had no idea the coming semester would be a closure to my time at Whitworth. The Lord would have me return home to Los Gatos, California where I would have an encounter with God in the middle of what would become known as the Jesus Movement. That encounter would take me north once again, this time to Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon where a beautiful young woman named Janice Jean Parry was waiting. Neither of us knew the other person existed. God knew and he would direct both of us along the circuitous of love and life to find each other.

Sometimes we must be cut away from what was to experience what can be. In these moments of painful release is where we have an opportunity to encounter God in a new way. In these encounters, when we are in a state of mourning about what no longer exists, is where God shows up to reveal to us something beautiful and profound. 

If you feel cut away and drifting in an ocean of loss and despair, you will not be adrift forever because God is leading your life. He uses every feeling of loss and each disappointment as rudders to steer you forward to something new and completely off your current radar screen. God is always leading you to a new place of wonder and beauty.

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Dangerous and Promising Prayer

One of the most dangerous and promising prayers we can utter is, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” It is dangerous to the works of darkness and promising to the one who utters its invitation. The challenge comes when the Spirit finally does arrive and He must work through our assumptions and predeterminations. We can assume the Spirit will manifest in the same way He did in our previous experiences with Him. We can also predetermine who He will touch or how He will touch them and even how they should respond. 

Scripture says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Those words are not meant to become a devotional wall plaque. They describe the very nature of God whose newness knows no boundary of expression. He is truly new every day and so are His arrivals in answer to our prayers.

Pray the dangerous and promising prayer, “Come Holy Spirit, come!” but before you pray give the Spirit permission to orchestrate His arrival in any way He so desires. Offer all people to Him along with your assumptions and predeterminations. Let Him arrive in any way He chooses. These unique and unhindered arrivals of the Spirit are what have set in motion the greatest revivals in human history. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Spiritual Earthquakes

The most devasting natural disasters typically come without warning. So do the most beautiful works of the Spirit that shift culture toward God and His Kingdom purposes. While some of us move in the realm of the prophetic, on our best day we only see in part and prophesy in part. God has the ability to surprise the most astute of prophets and forecasters of culture.

I like to read a wide range of topics. I just finished reading a book on earthquakes. I discovered a new term, “blind faults.” Blind faults are previously undiscovered fault lines deep within the Earth that contain earthquake potential of devastating proportions. These blind faults are hidden miles beneath the surface of the Earth and do not always reveal their existence through surface fault line evidence. The devastating earthquake of 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand came from one of these blind faults. Seattle, Washington sits atop the Seattle Fault that runs beneath the city of Seattle. The same is true for the Tacoma Fault. The entire Olympic peninsula sits atop previously unknown fault lines. These blind faults were not discovered until 1992 long after the urban sprawl had taken place. The Pacific Northwest is not alone. All the inhabitants of Earth live atop floating tectonic plates that are constantly in motion. As these plates grind against each other they set off earthquakes revealing what had been long hidden beneath our feet.

As I read about natural earthquakes, I began to sense that nations, institutions, and groups who function contrary to the love of God are sitting on blind spiritual fault lines. God has set beneath their over-confidence moments of spiritual breakthrough those currently in control do not sense, see or believe is even possible. At just the right moment a quaking of the Spirit will erupt under the false foundations causing their structures to collapse.

As blind faults are being discovered across the globe in the natural, look to the Spirit to identify the spiritual blind fault lines that lie beneath what to the natural eye seems unchangeable. Surprises are coming. A shaking of what seems unshakeable is about to take place. When the emotional and spiritual dust settles and the devastation is cleared away, be ready to move into the devastated landscape with the love of God to reform and transform the landscape of what has fallen. You are standing on the next great move of God. The tremors are coming.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bigfoot Traps

We can build traps to capture things that do not exist. We can also build traps to capture what we fear.

Not far from where I live is The Bigfoot Trap. In case you don’t know who Bigfoot is (also known as Sasquatch) he is the mysterious ape-like creature that some people believe still roams the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The Bigfoot Trap was constructed in 1974 near Applegate Lake in southern Oregon. It was built in hopes of trapping a live specimen. The trap was baited for the first six years of its existence, but only trapped bears. Bigfoot never appeared. Today, the trap is visited by curious hikers who pause long enough for a selfie before continuing their hike along the Collings Mountain Trail.

Some people create an entire life around Bigfoot-like traps. These traps are perpetually empty of the thing their fear wanted to trap. The only evidence to show up and become trapped in the delusion is an overly active and undisciplined imagination. 

People can become pre-occupied with Bigfoot-like thinking, conspiracy theories and all sorts of intriguing diversions. This happens a lot in culture, and unfortunately, too often within the Church. If we are not careful we can become focused on these illusions instead of on God. 

The next time someone tries to sell you a conference or a book with a garish title and advertising scheme or some strange alienesque spiritual concept, read the following verse before you start building your trap. If the idea passes the test of Paul's admonition to the Philippians then invest your time, money and energy. If not, take a selfie and keep hiking.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise”(Philippians 4:8).

Monday, July 2, 2018

At All Costs

At all costs, choose hope. Hope will reveal a God-shaped future. Hope has the power to heal our wounded hearts. Hope creates forward motion in seasons of life when we find ourselves at an emotional or spiritual standstill. It is Heaven's alarm clock that awakens us each morning from the slumber of our despair to see for the first time the new possibilities that hopelessness had masked. Choosing hope is a profound act of spiritual warfare. No condition of human brokenness or any work of hell can withstand its power and influence. At all costs, choose hope!