Thursday, January 31, 2019

Slowing Down - Seeing More

In the area where I live there are a couple of decommissioned police cars parked on busy streets. The police cars get people's attention and cause them to slow down. It works for me.  Even though I actually prefer driving the speed limit, when I see either of these decommissioned patrol units, my foot comes off the pedal and I check my speedometer.

Besides the possibility of getting into a wreck or running over some innocent pedestrian, unchecked speed does something else. It narrows our field of vision. The faster we go the less we can actually see. As our speed increases, we are only able to focus on objects far out in the distance that are rapidly entering our narrowed field of vision. When we slow down, our vision opens up and returns to normal. Slowing down, we are able to see a more panoramic field of view. 

I know people who have blown by spiritual and emotional warnings signs erected to slow them down. By ignoring those signs they paid a tragic fine in their family, business and calling. We can move at such a fast pace that the significant people and opportunities standing on the roadside of our life become only a blur in our pursuit of personal success. 

The problems begin when we chose to believe the lie that tells us we need ever-increasing speed if we are going to make it to the finish line.  Crossing the finish line of anything worth our time and effort is only crossed by those who made the choice to slow down. These wise ones will arrive at life's destinations happy, healthy and with their most important relationships still intact.  

We need to proactively include places in our life where a Sabbath rest is created to help us reduce our life-speed. This is not limited to a scheduled day of rest. It is finding places of rest every day, every hour and within every moment of our existence. When we choose to slow down, rest and allow our field of vision to open up, those who were speeding forward with us will blow by us as we stand in our place of rest. At that moment, we will see the limitations of speed and the blindness it creates.

In the slowing, we will be able to see the warning signs, potholes and sharp road edges of an unrestrained and unrested ambition. That myopic way of living has caused good people to run off the roadway of their calling. 

In the blur of speed, we can miss the sound of a child’s voice, a spouse's need for an affirming embrace or a word from the Lord spoken in a still, small voice. These are the important things in life. Don't allow them to become regrets that stood on the roadside of our lives unnoticed as we rushed by in the blurring speed of our forward progress.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

These Two Things

Three years ago, the Lord took me on a journey to discover the impact of reformation, both within the Church and within the culture. Like others interested in the subject, I began to study, write and speak about the different spheres of cultural influence and what it would be like to have a group of Spirit-led believers working together to bring about a righteous cultural transformation within each of those spheres. The more I studied the subject, the more I came to realize two things would transpire in the process of our engagement with the subject of reformation.

First, our current understanding of eschatology (the study of the end of time) would be challenged. Many of us grew up with an ominous outlook at what we called the “end times.” We were taught a dark culmination of time was coming. We did not realize another option was even possible. We thought God’s judgment was a form of punishment instead of something good to anticipate. The judgment of God could be anticipated because it made the wrong things in this world right. Under the old mindset, we saw the Earth reduced to a pile of smoldering ashes and its unrepentant inhabitants brought to their knees by an angry God while the Church flew up and away into glory leaving the decaying world behind. I have come to see that God had something else in mind.

As reformation gains more traction and as each sphere of culture is being transformed, we will see the world is actually getting better in both the quality of life and the integrity of its institutions, not worse. Social statistics, not just the statistics of those within religious institutions, are now revealing that reality.  Many followers of Jesus Christ are no longer waiting to be ejected from the challenges of this world. They are beginning to work in concert with God’s Spirit to form Kingdom alliances to make this world a better place. Jesus would never have instructed His disciples to pray, “on Earth as it is in Heaven” if that were not a possibility.

Second, the structure of the Church – its wineskin – will change. No longer will believers be content to sit Sunday after Sunday in a worship gathering to engage yet another Monday morning without being able to bring significant change to the brokenness they see in the world. Many have left that singular expression of the Church but they still retain their faith. They have not left the Church. They have left the narrow expression of the Church we presented to them that, in its current form, cannot fulfill the Great Commission because it is not actively and purposefully discipling nations and the institutions of those nations. These people are looking for and desiring to be engaged in a culture-altering move of God’s Spirit that will transform the world in invisible and measurable ways. 

We are in the middle of a tremendous alteration of the form and thinking of the Church. Like a garment that needs to be altered to fit a changing human body, so it is with the Church. Our shape must change if we are going to fit into the garment of our mission.  Our mind is being renewed. God is bringing us back to His original intent that is life, not death in any form, even the death images of our cherished but misguided views of what is to come at the end of the age.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Awakened Ones

Years ago, I got up early in the morning while it was still dark and thought I was late for work. I hustled out of bed, showered and got dressed. After I was fully dressed and still thinking I was late, I looked at the kitchen clock and it read 1:30 am. I was not a happy camper. 

At the moment I realized my mistake, I considered heading back to bed but knew I was now fully awake. I got enough sleep to probably toss and turn for the next few hours if I did return to bed. I had another thought. 

I got in my car and headed to an all-night diner and had an early breakfast. As my car moved toward the diner my disgust at a premature awakening began to fade away. Once the issue of my early rising was resolved, I settled down and started to enjoy the vacant streets. I could see things in the night that were not there in the day. In a strange way, it felt like I was on a special assignment. The breakfast at the diner was great. I got to see people who lived in the night that did not appear in my normal schedule of life. When I finally arrived at work, I was fresh and ready to go while my co-workers were still trying to shake off the night.

Some of you have been prepared spiritually for a long time while those around you continue to sleep. You have been waiting to discover the reason for what seems like a premature awakening. You are about to find out the reason and then you will understand. In the meantime, the most important thing you can do is to adjust your attitude to your new circumstance. God has awakened you for a reason. Being awake, not asleep, is your calling. 

In your awakened state you will see what those still wrapped in spiritual slumber do not see. This is your time of prayer. You have been awakened to watch and pray. The dawn of your situation is coming. When it does arrive, you will have seen what God wants you to see and you will have invested in that insight with prayer. When the light of day finally illuminates the issues of your life, you will not panic and run around like someone who was awakened b a rude alarm clock. You will be ready to move in a level of confidence only available to those who have been awakened and prepared by the Spirit.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Gimme Shelter

In 1969, the Rolling Stones released an album titled, Let It Bleed. In the album is an iconic song, Gimme Shelter. It is a song expressing the angst of my generation. Cultural change was taking place with rapidity. Our prejudices were being exposed and confronted. The Viet Nam War was in the news each night. We were a nervous and unsure generation. Our cultural institutions no longer provided a sense of security. When the Stones sang Gimme Shelter, in some ways, they were singing for a culture crying out for a place of shelter in the stormy sea of cultural upheaval. 

I remember being touched by God in a significant way during that time in the blossoming Jesus Movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Many of us stepped away from the naked fear being expressed in our culture into the shelter of a relationship with Jesus Christ. It was a simple time when structures, programs and unquestioned forms of religious tradition left us feeling alone and uncertain. We made these departures because in a time of rapid social change and shared social vulnerability, they failed to provide us with a place of spiritual and emotional shelter.

The lyrics of the Rolling Stones song, Gimme Shelter, speaks of a person encountering the storms of life and if they don’t get some shelter they will feel like “I’m gonna fade away.” The song also sings about the effects of war, rape, and murder as “just a shot away” expressing the vulnerability of imminent death or harm in the conflicts of life.

Today is beginning to look a lot like the ’60s and ’70s. The wise among us will listen to the songwriters, the poets, and the playwrights. These people are expressing the angst of culture. Do not dismiss their creations even if what you hear and see may be offensive to your beliefs or worldview. Step over your offense and listen. What these cultural interpreters produce will help us understand the emotion of our mission. While they may not provide the path to shelter they will help us understand the language needed that will reveal the path to that shelter.  

In that place of shelter surrounded by the love of God, people will not fade away. They will discover their true identity. In that place of shelter, the cruel shots fired by an insensitive culture will not find a target. Our world is waiting to discover their place of shelter. We have been entrusted with a message that will lead them to that discovery. Craft your words with wisdom and discernment. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Great Unraveling Has Begun

I heard the Spirit say, “A great unraveling has begun.” We are about to see dark agendas unravel and spill their deceptive contents into the public square of our nation for all to see.  Several recent events have initiated this unraveling. Many people previously convinced these evils were permissible will become horrified when they realize they were duped into believing lies and delusions. This will not be the work of a political or social agenda. It will be a loving work of the Spirit opening the eyes of a nation. It will be God moving upon all people across all social boundaries.

This unraveling will take place because God can no longer bear to see people suffer in the binding shackles of deceptions that defy logic and the created order. This unraveling will accelerate over the next two years. 

Not all will see the truth made visible in the unraveling, but many in America will be awakened to reconsider what they had previously discounted and dismissed. This awakening will create a center of mass of revelation that will move social agendas and public policy in a new direction toward the heart of God and the promise of His Kingdom being manifest on Earth. 

Always Free

There are times when escape is not the will of God. We can bend our theology and our understanding of spiritual life toward the demand for freedom in all circumstances when escape is not always God's plan. Some of the greatest manifestations of God’s power and expressions of His love are revealed when we are at peace when bound in the prison of a challenging circumstance or relationship. 

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are arrested after delivering a demon-possessed slave girl who was making a lot of money as a fortune-teller for her masters. After the girl’s deliverance, the slave masters incited a mob against Paul and Silas. They were beaten and thrown into prison. The jailer put them in the inner prison and shackled their feet in stocks.

In the middle of the night, a massive earthquake shook the prison. The cell doors opened and the chains of every prisoner fell off. The jailer was awakened by all the commotion and assumed the prisoners had escaped. He was about to take his life with his sword when Paul shouted from his cell, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” As a result of the miraculous event, the jailer and his entire household were saved. Before daybreak, they were all baptized and the jailer took Paul and Silas to his home to care for them and feed them. 

What most people miss in this story is that after receiving food and care in the jailer’s home, Paul and Silas returned to their prison cell to await the coming dawn. The next morning the city officials arrived having found out Paul and Silas were Roman citizens who were put in prison without a trial. They apologized and begged them to leave the city. An unrighteous attempt at escape would not have allowed the miracles and salvation that took place that night.

Before you try to escape from that place in your life where you feel trapped and wrongly accused, ask God what He wants you to do before you start developing an escape plan. Lay down your expectations and demands for freedom and wait for your instructions. 

Before the earthquake came, Paul and Silas sat in a dark and damp prison cell in shackles praying and singing hymns as the other prisoners listened. Perhaps those two activities should be our first option instead of trying to plan our escape and miss a chance to be part of something truly amazing. 

I am thinking the midnight prayers and songs of worship released something miraculous into the environment of the prison. That miraculous intervention would not have taken place had Paul and Silas thought a circumstance of life had the power to imprison them. They would continue to live as free men no matter where a life of obedience would take them. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Consequence of Redefining God

With the glut of self-appointed social media theologians, one would think God was neurotic and had a personality disorder. He has been described in a variety of ways. Some of these descriptions give angels pause.

God did not change between covenants. There is no Old Covenant God and a New Covenant God. He remains the same in His nature through all time and eternity. He is the unchanging One. What changed was how he relates to us in the New Covenant through grace instead of law. The law would eventually kill us. Grace gave us another chance.

Yesterday, I read with horror the barbaric decision made by New York lawmakers regarding late-term abortion. When I recovered from my real sense of nausea, I wanted to lash out, grab someone’s collar and declare my disgust. I wanted justice. I did not see justice. In my nightmarish imagination, I saw a sea of dismembered, full-term babies floating atop a system of law that allows this insanity and calls it democracy. 

There are several ways the justice of God will be experienced this side of the final judgment while we are living in the New Covenant and horrible decisions are being made. One of the ways justice comes is through consequence. God can remove His protective hand over individuals and nations, not as a loveless gesture, but to allow the consequence of sin to visit our decisions. A consequence is allowed to give us a realistic perspective and hopefully motivate a change in our behavior. God allows consequence as an act of love, not as punishment. This line of thinking can trainwreck some theologies that have defined God into an unresponsive corner. 

When the doors of darkness have been opened and a culture accepts the invading hordes of demonic delusion as just another acceptable worldview, a consequence will arrive if we continue to ignore repeated appeals by God for us to change our ways. When our hearts grow so hard we no longer see our atrocities in the light of truth, barbarism will become the law of the land in more than just the issue of “reproductive rights.” These are the sad results of the consequences we released in our midst, not the hard hand of an angry God. 

In a strange way, how the world gets better and improves can, at times, seem like it is getting worse. We need to keep the long game in mind while the death of deception is taking its last gasp of polluted intellectual air and kicks violently in the throes of its own demise.

What we are seeing being played out in our culture is a combination of decades of biblical illiteracy, every person doing what is right in their own eyes and fulfillment of what Paul said would take place in this time of human history. You and I need to walk with wisdom in this unwise and deceptive time. That wisdom only comes from God, not our opinions. Ask Him for wisdom. Let your wisdom become acts of spiritual courage that are visible and verbal so that in the end you will not be one who went quietly into the night of cultural darkness.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cutting the Cord and Moving Forward

Each day, I write words that are prophetic in nature hopefully bringing encouragement and instruction. These words do not contain graphic imagery. Today will be different. The image used to carry this word is graphic. It is not meant to offend. 

Twice in the last week, the same image came to me. In the Spirit, I saw a woman stylishly dressed. She was attempting to walk but was struggling to gain momentum. She was straining and leaning forward as she walked because she had given birth to a baby. The child had died after its birth but was still attached to mother by an uncut umbilical cord. The mother was dragging the dead child behind her as she struggled forward.

The shock of the image broke my heart. I looked at the mother’s face. She was attempting to hold her composure together. She knew something was wrong but was not sure what to do. She felt her only option was to keep moving. The denial that a birth had taken place and the child was now dead was being expressed by a look of shock on her face.

I then saw the Lord enter the scene. He lovingly embraced the woman causing her to stop moving long enough for Him to speak. He said, “We need to bury this child. I had plans for this life that you did not realize. I want to heal you and give you hope. When you are healed, you will give birth again and this time I want to show you how to care for your newborn. This loss and sorrow will be overcome by the new life I will bring.”

When the image was finished, I knew I was looking at something that could be interpreted on many levels – personally, for a ministry, or on a wider scale regarding the image of the Western church in its current form. God has planted seeds of revival, renewal, and reformation in each of us that need tender care in the womb and when finally birthed. Without that care, something will die. The delivery of these promises do not always come at the most opportune time or in a way we thought was actually God. Historically, some of these births were ignored and we attempted to move on without properly carrying for what we were given. 

We talk and prophesy a great deal about the future and what might come by the power of God. In order to receive these words and bring them to term, we need to first bury what God conceived, faithfully birthed and we ignored. Like the woman in the image, the Lord has entered this moment in our history and He is stopping us to embrace us. In that embrace, He will ask us if we would be willing to have a memorial service for what was birthed with joy but in our ignorance or fear was allowed to die. 

God has a limitless supply of second chances. He is not meager in His giving. New life is emerging. Before the new arrives we need to stop and invite Jesus into our place of sorrow. With Him, we can grieve, cut the cord on the past and release everything into the loving hands of God. In that exchange, we will begin to feel the movement of a new life that God is preparing for delivery. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

You Are Seen

Almost every time I drive to town, I see a red-tail hawk sitting atop the same telephone wire looking down on the terrain below. He remains faithful in that position no matter what the weather or the time of day. His is unnoticed by the majority of people who drive past his location.

The hawk reminds me of many of you who occupy an unnoticed place of faithfulness unseen by those that fail to look up and who quickly pass by your life without taking notice. I want to assure you that you are seen by those of us who know what to look for but more importantly, you are seen by God. 

Don’t allow the loneliness of your assignment to cause you to fly away prematurely. You have been positioned by God in that place for heavenly purposes. Because you have been faithful to remain in your position, the Lord will show you things others will miss because they have not been willing to assume the high and solitary place of revelation and prayer that is the life of those whose assignment is to watch and pray. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

God is Removing the Scales of Our Unbelief

The eyes of people with whom we hold deep disagreement over social and spiritual issues are about to be opened. When their eyes open, they will be able to see what was not previously seen due to the obstructions of prejudice, misinformation, and unhealthy religious tradition. These people are being set up by God to have a Damascus Road-like experience similar to that of Paul when he was set free from the effects of his religious bigotry. These encounters will not be the result of the person’s faith, but an intervening work of God.

In Acts 9, Paul, who at the time was known as Saul, was in route to arrest, imprison and in some cases, put to death, the followers of Jesus. Up to the Damascus Road encounter, Paul was convinced he was right and the Christians were wrong. It would take a supernatural event with an accompanying personal word from Jesus to deliver Paul from his deception.

Shortly after Paul's encounter with Jesus, a man named Ananias went to a house on Straight Street under an assignment from Jesus to lay hands on Paul so he could receive his sight. When Ananias laid his hands on Paul the text tells us, “Instantly, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he regained his sight” (Acts 9:17). As soon as the scales fell off, Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit. God had to blind Paul with the brilliance of His revelation on the road to Damascus so he could be healed and receive a new kind of sight only available after an encounter with the risen Lord.

What fell from Paul’s eyes were not actual scales, they were “something like scales.” The word “scales” is translated to mean, “to peel off the rind or husk from something.” A scale is anything that hardens our heart to seeing and believing the truth. Until those scales are removed we are not able to move in concert with God to accomplish the goals of His Kingdom.

What fell from Paul’s eyes were those things that blinded him from seeing the heart of God for those he was persecuting. Scales of unbelief, dishonor, and division fell onto the floor of the house on Straight Street. Until those scales were removed from Paul’s eyes his true calling could not begin.

Many of us have been asked to take positions of division against those with whom we hold deep disagreement over the issues of faith and culture. When we assume those postures, we become blinded by the scales of a religious spirit and are separated from the very people whom God desires us to co-labor with in the future. In the coming days, expect to see scales fall from the eyes of our greatest opponents.  We will be able to see that transformation only after we have allowed God to remove similar scales from our eyes. 

We are in a season of miraculous personal transformation on both sides of what appears to be impossibly entrenched social, political and spiritual issues. Jesus is interrupting ungodly missions of division, malice, and hatred with heavenly encounters. These interruptions will create new alliances for future Kingdom advancement not thought possible until the scales fall from our eyes. Only God has the power to intervene in these cases and bring this kind of change. These transformations are not possible by human effort.  It will be God, not our arguments or organized opposition, that will bring about this kind of sight.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


Without a transition plan, you will be found grasping the doorframe of your current life assignment, afraid to let go and move into the new season God has for you. 
Fear can cause us to freeze and become immobile. When faced with a transition, we can sometimes find ourselves holding on to our current assignment in fear of what might not come. 

This kind of fear can paralyze us. Instead of believing for more, we settle for less. We grasp onto only what we know, not what we have been asked to believe. Our fear becomes a limiting testimony of how we see God. 
In these situations, we stand in the doorway of something new without ever actually stepping across the threshold. God already has your new place prepared. He is simply asking you to let go and trust him. When you let go, God is free to lead you toward your new and unexplored future.

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Copy That

When I was a cop on patrol and received an assignment via my radio, I affirmed the message was received by giving my call sign and speaking the word “copy.” My response let the dispatcher know I understood my assignment. When on the move as a SWAT team member and I received a verbal command from the team leader I would say back to him “copy that.” It meant I heard and affirm the instructions given. 

I did something similar as an instrument pilot waiting for an IFR clearance to fly into the clouds and navigate safely through inclement weather. I would file an instrument flight plan before my departure and then when I taxied out and during my preflight check, a radio call would come with my clearance. I would write down the instructions then be asked read them back verbatim to verify I understood my assignment and direction of flight. Whether as a patrol cop, on a SWAT mission or flying through the clouds, people’s lives were at stake regarding the clarity of the information I received. I needed to make sure I heard correctly before I moved forward with any fatal assumptions.

A lot of us are moving through life at warp speed. We can find ourselves living this life on the run. In this blurring occupation of our time, we rarely stop to verify anything we hear assuming we heard the information correctly the first time around. Our assumptions filter what we thought we heard and then we move forward with partial information and eventually collide with a mountain of misinformation hidden in a cloud of assumption or fire a fatal comment at the wrong person.

We owe it to everyone to get our facts straight before we do or say anything. Some friendships would still be alive today if a friend confirmed the intent behind an offhanded comment made without taking offense. Business ventures have failed because a vital part of a plan’s execution was not read back correctly and an error of judgment was executed. Someone sitting in a church pew thought they heard a pastor’s remark accurately in a sermon, but instead, they took offense and quietly left a church without honoring the relationship and taking the time to personally approach the pastor and ask for clarification.

We owe it to each other and to God, to make sure we hear things accurately. Relationships and our mission can be negatively impacted by misinformation. Take time to get the facts straight before you speak or act on what you think you heard or read correctly. Lies are looking for a place to germinate. We do not want to give them any possibility for life through our undisciplined communication. The devil is the father of all lies and miscommunication. None of us want to partner with him to produce the offspring of separation that can lead to the spiritual death of a relationship. Be careful out there. It is a dangerous spiritual environment and we need to walk in wisdom and compassion before we act prematurely on our assumptions.

Friday, January 18, 2019

You Will See Hidden Things

In the coming days, some of you will walk into familiar settings and God will open your eyes to see what was previously hidden. When this revelation takes place, give God a moment of pause so He can unpack clearly the reality of what you are seeing. This will not be a time to become aghast or sidetracked by your emotions. What you are about to see will carry a prophetic assignment. You will need to keep your spiritual cool and not let your emotions take over or succumb to the fear of what other people think. God will empower your faith with the courage required to announce what you have seen.

The announcement will set in motion a chain reaction of events. You are not responsible for what takes place after the announcement is made. Your assignment is to pray, stay humble, and faithfully reveal what you saw. God will assign the timing of your response. Obey His direction.

Ask God for a higher level of discernment. You will need this new level of discernment to know how to properly steward what you are about to be shown.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Prophetic Food Chain

The most significant prophetic voices are not always those who capture the most social media attention or get invited to speak at conferences advertised with garish slick-page ads or who sell the most “product.” That is a narrow arena of Kingdom influence many times over-inflated in its effect. 

The most significant prophetic voices can be the unrecognized ones who live at lower levels on the advertised and promoted ministerial food chain. They live in the invisible and neglected trenches of life where pain and suffering are unvarnished and raw and where a prophetic word of hope helps a person choose to live another day. God has the uncanny ability to place these people next to individuals who carry cultural influence. These encounters appear to be coincidental but they are strategic placements by the hand of God.

These unrecognized voices speak prophecies of hope setting in motion a chain reaction of cultural breakthrough that will end up on the news announced as a major development. As the effect of these words become evident, their source can become lost in the shuffle. They may be lost to undisciplined eyes and ears, but not to God. God remembers His obedient ones and He will reward their faithfulness.

Someday, the Lord will retrace the prophetic steps that led to solutions and innovation that became prominent on the world stage. At that moment, we will see it was not the most visible and dramatic ministries whom the Lord will choose to honor, but the unknown ones who took the first step of obedience and spoke a simple word that set in motion a supernatural work of God. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Landing in Unexpected Places

On my drive home, I noticed that a paraglider had landed in a vacant lot in town. It was obvious this was not his intended landing spot. As I drove past the pilot, he was gathering up his fabric wing and harness and walking toward the street. He looked fine and uninjured. I assumed he would soon make a phone call to have a friend come and pick him up.

As soon as I passed the man, the Spirit nudged me to gain my attention and shared an interesting word.

Some of you set out on your flight of faith following the wind of the Spirit. You had a destination in mind, but then the wind shifted and you now find yourself landing in an unplanned destination. This is not a mistake or an error in judgment. God will use this unlikely landing zone to reveal the next stage of your calling. Repositioning you has a larger Kingdom purpose that will be revealed in the coming days.

The Lord is changing the wind currents of His Spirit. He is moving some of you to places you did not plan to land or even knew existed when you first launched. If you could see what is taking place outside your context you would see other people touching down in equally unusual landing zones. This is happening because God is divinely repositioning His people for the next expression of His will on Earth.

A fresh wind is blowing and its direction is not predictable. You have not wandered off course. You have been in the flow of the Spirit and God is repositioning your life for greater effectiveness. If you are still airborne expect a safe landing. Enjoy the flight. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Invisible Armor of Love

Yesterday, while scanning a few Facebook posts, I came across two profound comments. Both comments were about two long-time friends of mine. These are real friends I have processed the challenges of life with face-to-face.

One friend, David, was being honored by his daughter on his birthday. His daughter said his presence in her life was “like wearing invisible armor your whole life, knowing that you are protected and loved no matter where life takes you.” When I read those tender words of honor from a daughter about her father, I realized my friend did a good job as a dad. I also saw the protective power of love expressed by a daughter who knew her father was always with her no matter where life took her.

My other friend, Stan, was speaking to a group of leaders from across America who were assembled in Los Angeles to choose the next leader of the Foursquare Church. One sentence spoken by Stan was recorded by someone in the meeting and posted on Facebook. In the meeting, Stan said, “Anything minus love equals nothing.”

Those two comments struck a deep chord within me. I began to see the power of love in a new way. When we love people our love becomes an invisible armor that covers them when they are away from our presence. It is also the single ingredient in life that takes our relationships and our life-investments from nothing to something. Love is not ethereal and untouchable. It is tangible like a garment or an investment commodity. Love has substance.

If we have experienced love we will never stand naked before the challenges of life if we know we are loved by someone. We will always feel clothed even when life strips us bare and leaves us alone. If we have experienced love we will never be tempted to make life-altering decisions without the presence of love to determine the quality of the choices we make. Love has the power to transform the nothings of life into something of value under its guiding influence. 

Love is the most powerful armor we can wear and it is the most valuable investment we can make in this life. I am grateful for two friends who helped me see love in a new way.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Headline of Your Life

Those who write the headlines do not always portray the truth. This applies to the news, but more importantly, it applies to you and how you think God sees you. What others broadcast about you is not the real story of your life. Only God knows your heart. He is the true and accurate source for your story. Subscribe to His revelation service when attempting to define your reality. His is the only headline worth reading and believing.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Paying Tribute to a Great Woman of God

I want to pay tribute to an exceptional woman of God who entered the Lord’s presence yesterday at the age of 96. Jean Darnall was a prophet who moved in the rare air of supernatural revelation. She was mentored by her pastor, Aimee Semple McPherson, at Angelus Temple. Under Aimee’s influence, Jean’s prophetic gift began to develop and mature. Jean would go on to become a trusted voice not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom. While living in the United Kingdom Jean was a significant influence during the Charismatic Renewal, especially within the Anglican Church. She was revered for her words of hope and Kingdom insight wherever she traveled.

During a conference in the Netherlands 22 years ago, I walked off the platform and a hand reached up and caught my arm. It was the hand of Jean Darnall. As she gripped my arm she looked into my eyes and said, “Young man, you will write for God.” I smiled and tucked that word away not knowing what it meant. Ten years later, I walked into Bethel Church in Redding, California to attend a Leader's Advance. During that gathering, I had a life-transforming encounter with God that ignited the word Jean gave me that laid dormant and unactivated for ten years. That encounter with God in Redding was seven books and almost 2,000 blog articles ago. I haven’t stopped writing for God since. 

When Jack Hayford invited me to speak at his conference in Van Nuys, California several years ago, I stepped onto the platform and looked out across the audience. There, in the back of the auditorium was Jean Darnall. She came to hear me speak.  It was an honor to single her out as the person God used to prophesy a significant part of my calling. I will be forever grateful for the life and obedience of Jean Darnall. She modeled a depth of maturity, humility, and honor I hope to attain someday before the Lord calls me home. Rest in the peace of God’s presence, Jean. You have been a good and faithful servant of God.

God's Promise Clock

This morning, I got down on our living room floor to do a plank workout. I do this every day to strengthen my core. When I do planks, I use the stopwatch function on my iPhone to measure the duration for each plank I perform. Today, I went to set my stopwatch and noticed it was still running from the day before. It was just coming up on the 22-hour mark and counting. I had not reset the stopwatch yesterday when I was done working out and it kept faithfully measuring the time until I hit the reset button.

My stopwatch reminded me of the words of hope and promise we all receive from time-to-time. We can easily forget them when life gets busy or we become emotionally derailed. The time of fulfillment for every promise was set in motion the moment God spoke them into existence. They are still moving forward even when we forget. God has not forgotten any of the promises He made over our lives. The moment He uttered them to us, Heaven’s promise clock was set in motion. 

Today, check the spiritual timers that were set in motion for the promises God made about your life. You will discover that God’s clock of promise is still running. The time of fulfillment is approaching.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Actionable Prophecy

I am sensing a prophetic release is taking place in our nation. Unusually detailed prophecies are being prepared for delivery to unlikely sources. A prophetic special ops team is being assembled with detailed plans for deployment against unseen and deeply embedded deceptions. The resulting action of these words will be the rescue of individuals and systems of culture held captive under their deceptive influence. 

This word came to me while I was listening to an interview of a Navy SEAL team leader describing a successful operation.  The SEAL team was tasked with the rescue of a downed pilot. After capturing an enemy combatant and the completion of a detailed interrogation, they were able to gather enough actionable intelligence to plan a rescue and get the pilot out of enemy territory alive. Actionable intelligence is information that has enough substance and verification to reduce the risk to the rescue team and increase the probability of a successful outcome for the operation. 

As I considered the words “actionable intelligence” the Lord said we have entered a time when detailed actionable prophetic intelligence regarding works of darkness will be delivered to the Church. This is another level of prophecy that will move beyond words of encouragement and comfort. This will be a tactical form of prophecy with a mission goal to uncover the secrets of evil activity that are functioning contrary to the will of God. It will announce the plans of the enemy in time to launch surprise rescue raids to recover those held captive in places of spiritual and social imprisonment.

The successful delivery of this kind of prophecy will require a depth of character in the ones who carry these words. This actionable prophecy must be handled with great humility so that its delivery and execution is not sullied by human pride and self-promotion.

Actionable prophecy will require courage to publicly deliver. These words will be akin to Noah announcing a coming flood that no one believed possible or took seriously. When delivered, deeply embedded culture-wide deceptions will be unearthed shifting the lines of authority of the entrenched power structures within our economy and politics. 

Unlikely voices will be called to the prophetic microphone in the coming days. The actionable prophecy delivered by these courageous ones will bring glory to God because no human prediction could have revealed the detailed paths of rescue these words will deliver.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

When Life Heats Up

When Jan and I visited Venice, Italy we did what most tourists do, we took a gondola ride, ate great Italian food and enjoyed the unique architecture of a romantic city built along beautiful canals. During our time in Venice, we also took a water taxi to the island of Murano and toured the glass factories where beautiful blown glass creations have been made for the last 1,000 years. The photo I attached is a vase we bought from one of the factories.

As I watched the artisans create their blown glass masterpieces, I was amazed that melted silica, when exposed to intense heat, could become such beautiful works of art. I watched the craftsmen blow air through steel tubes while balancing a glob of hot melted glass at one end inflating and expanding the glass with their breath while forming the object's shape with special tools and adding touches of color. 

The process reminded me of our lives and how in some seasons, we can feel like we have been reduced to a hot glob of unformed glass not knowing what the end product will become. Life can heat up and melt what we have come to know as our definition of reality leaving us feeling formless and not at all like a potential work of spiritual and emotional art that someone would buy and take home as a treasure.

If your life is heating up and what you have known has melted under the intense heat of opposition, loss or an imposed change, remember this, God is always up to something good beyond your ability to imagine a beautiful outcome. 

During the process of reforming your life, God will be faithful to recreate in you what does not seem possible in human terms. He will breathe His breath into your soul inflating you like the craftsmen on Murano did when they created our vase. A capacity you did not know was possible will be given to you when this painful time is finally over. 

With God, there is hope that when your life heats up and melts before your very eyes that something beautiful is possible. When God is finished recrafting your life you will become a priceless work of grace having spent time in the skillful hands of a loving God.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Where Lost Things Go

Yesterday, I took Jan to see the movie, Mary Poppins Returns. The film was delightful, full of color and childlike wonder. In the movie, Emily Blunt sang the song, The Place Where Lost Things Go. The song was tender and the lyrics were profound and meaningful. I could see the audience engaging emotionally as Emily sang. One section of the song’s lyrics read,

“Do you ever dream
Or reminisce?
Wondering where to find
What you truly miss
Well, maybe all those things
That you love so
Are waiting in the place
Where the lost things go.”

As I listened to the song, I thought of many of us who have lost someone or something we dearly loved. That separation can create deep sorrow and a longing to be reunited. I thought to myself, where do the lost things in this life go? The only answer I could come up with was that all the lost things go back to the heart of God – to the place from which all goodness originates.

The lost things in this life are held securely in the heart of our loving Father. What we consider lost always returns to Him. He receives them back and holds them safely until we can be reunited. This is the God we can trust when life makes no sense.

Going to the movie helped me stop and pause long enough to consider once again this good God we serve that never loses anyone or anything. All lost things of value are not really lost in the greater scheme of things. They are simply repositioned. When their time is done they will always find their way back home to the heart of God. That is where the lost things go.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Thin Places

You have probably heard someone say, “I feel thin”, as in feeling weak, exhausted or powerless when faced with a challenging situation. As I thought of the thin places in my own life, the Lord began to unpack a word of encouragement.

The thin places in our lives actually carry the potential for the greatest revelation and breakthrough. In the thinness, we are at the end of our emotional or spiritual rope. We have nothing left to offer. We have been thinned out by a challenging circumstance. In these thin places, the voice of God can be heard with a unique clarity not always available when we are insulted by the thickness of success, personal fortitude or a season of outward blessing when trouble seems far away.

In these thin places, we are actually closer to answers and breakthrough than at any other time. There is less distance between us and a resolution or a needed revelation. 

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he described one of his thin seasons and shared a dialogue he had with Jesus, “And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9). The use of the word “grace” in that verse refers to Jesus personally assisting someone who is in a weak (thin) place. 

If you are in a thin place, I want to suggest something. Stop trying to figure out the reasons why the thinness has taken place. Tell the Lord you know He is present and assisting you even if the thinness has caused you to lose a measure of hope. As a result of that recognition, Paul said a beautiful contentment would enter your heart because you know you are not alone. Contentment is the breakthrough in the thin places of life.

Monday, January 7, 2019

What's Your Location?

My first night as a rookie-cop-in-training, I was lost in many ways. It was all so new and unfamiliar. I was thrust into another world. With so much coming at me I felt like a thirsty man trying to take a drink from a fire hose running at full blast.

That first night on patrol, my training officer Glenn asked me, “Where are we?” I said, “What?” He spoke again in a hurried tone, “Quick, I’ve just been shot and you need to call for help. What is our location? Dispatch needs to know!” I had no idea. I felt foolish.  Immediately, I began trying to remember what street we were on while listening to the radio and trying to take in all the newness of the job. I was still lost. My mind had not yet been conditioned to multi-task as a cop.

A few hours later, Glenn asked me again, “Where are we?” Again, I had no clue. He pulled our patrol car to the curb and we had one of the many “talks” a training officer will have with a rookie. After a few days, I had trained my mind to be constantly in touch with my location. Eventually, Glenn stopped asking me questions about our location. He could see that my head was now on a constant swivel trying to catch a street sign or mile marker as we zoomed through the dark night. After those first few days, I always knew my exact location. To this day, my head is still on that same swivel.

A lot of print and preaching comes our way about knowing where we are going. While that is important, it is secondary to knowing where we are in this moment because all we have is this moment. 

My wife, Jan, will occasionally ask me, “How are you doing?” To be honest, sometimes I don’t always want to talk when I feel stressed or defeated, but over the years I have found I need to be brutally honest and tell her exactly what I am feeling. When I reveal to her the true location of my emotions, sometimes hidden under my masking mechanisms or a dismissive attitude, she can bring to our conversation the support and honesty I need to help me gain a new perspective and move forward.

If we don’t know the location of our emotions and true spiritual condition, we cannot get help to our current situation when a real and spiritually life-threatening need arises. Businesses can fail, dreams can die and our personal lives can slip into a season of decay because we missed the street signs of our actual condition and were not able to get help moving our way when our life takes a negative turn. 

Put your spiritual head on swivel mode as you move through life. Check the streets signs that brought you to this place. If an attack does come and you are wounded your spiritual backup units will know where to find you because you were able to tell them your true location. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Perfect Fit

I have some friends whose daughter is a professional fit model. A fit model is someone with perfect physical dimensions used by clothing designers to check the drape and fit of the clothing they create. The fit model is, in essence, a living mannequin. Fit models are not voiceless or robotic. They give valuable feedback to a designer for how a garment fits, feels and wears as the model moves about while wearing the designer’s creation.

The Church only has one spiritual fit model – Jesus Christ. In every revival or reformation in history, the Lord has handed back to the Church ill-fitting garments we have imposed upon Him to wear.  Just before each historic move of God, the Lord will remove an old garment and invite the Church to create something new to more accurately express the dimensions of His heart in fresh and creative ways.

We can get too comfortable in the current garments of the Church.  Our comfort creates assumptions and demands that cannot be worn by successive generations. 

In God’s Kingdom, the garment does not define the model. The model defines the garment. The beauty of the Church can only be seen when her expression is hung upon the frame of Jesus Christ. He defines us and nothing else. It's not what we do in His name, the hopes we have of a great move of God or our personal ambition that brings this definition. It is Christ alone. He is the Perfect Fit. He defines the expression of His body.

We are in the midst of a garment change in Church history. Many are sewing new garments with the dimensions of God’s heart in mind as the single design influence. These new garments will walk down the runways of culture and draw an entirely new clientele into God's Kingdom. If we create these new garments with the fit of Jesus’ heart in mind the resulting creation will be stunning. Listen to the voice of the Lord as He informs you about the fit of what you are creating in His name. He will be faithful to tell you if what you are creating can easily be worn by Him and if it truly represents His heart.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Prophetic Couriers

A prophet is a courier. Like couriers who deliver documents between clients, so it is with a prophet who delivers a word from God. When we see ourselves as more than simple couriers, we will eventually feel the need to create a public platform highlighting our style of delivery and a ministry industry to promote our prophetic product. In the end, this will draw attention to the courier and not the One who employed our delivery services. 

We have entered a time of adjustment in the prophetic movement. Some things people hold dear are being dismantled so they can be reassembled for the glory of God. Do not fear these adjustments when they come. On the other side of this adjusting work of God there exists the release of a greater prophetic anointing and an increased depth of character for those who are willing to let God have His way. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Year of Unusual Rescue and Deliverance

In the coming year, many of you will experience unusual and unimagined rescue and deliverance from deep and entrenched places of spiritual warfare. Until your release takes place the spiritual conflict will intensify and in some cases, become overwhelming. Your options will appear to be few, but God has another plan.

When you find yourself pinned down by spiritual enemy fire and can no longer move forward in any direction you are not without hope. In those moments when it feels like you have run out of options and you are about to be overrun and destroyed, the Lord will reveal His plan of intervention and rescue. When all hope seems lost, you will be asked to employ your greatest weapon in spiritual conflict - trust. This is not a trust in your abilities or the abilities of others to rescue you. It is your trust in the Almighty God who promises to never leave anyone alone on the battlefield of faith. Trust will become a place of supernatural revelation. Trust will reveal the way forward through the conflict when no way seems possible. If you can trust God in these engagements, you will spiritually live to fight another day.

As you continue to do battle the rest of us will begin hearing the sounds of worship coming from within the foxhole of your faith. These sounds will be the evidence that you have discovered the weapon of trust. Your act of worship will begin to announce victory in a place where the odds were stacked overwhelmingly against you. Your trust in God and the resulting sound of worship will dissolve the enemy’s target of fear on your chest and give you the courage to rise from your foxhole and run forward in courageous faith to secure your future.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Discipline of Silence and Separation

From the moment our first cry was heard when we left our mother’s womb to the last sound we will make as we exhale our final earthly breath, our sound has always let the world know we exist. My time of social media silence disciplined my life in an area I did not know needed discipline – my desire to make a sound. We all live a life of sound. It’s not evil or wrong. It just needs discipline from time-to-time in order to remain true and pure.  

In my time of silence and separation, I would read things other people wrote that stirred my emotions. I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings. I felt drawn to respond to some of those stimulations with either a comment or introduce a line of thinking to help steer people toward another consideration. 

There were times when almost unthinkingly, I reached for my keyboard only to remember my commitment to silence. The time away was like a room I was asked to enter and close the door behind me. The sounds of life and social interaction were taking place just outside the door of my self-imposed seclusion. I wanted in on those conversations. The door of my isolation continued to invite me to turn its knob and go back outside, but I resisted.

When I wrote the book, The Leadership Rock, I included a chapter titled, Margin Time. I shared how our lives need to have margins strategically positioned to buffer the bone-on-bone realities of life. These margins can take the form of silence, Sabbath or any planned interruption in the normal routine of life. These margins become spiritual buffers where we cushion ourselves to outside input so we can hear God more clearly. Silence and separation actually become a place of rest, revelation, and reset. Without these margins, too much of life will run together without a pause and clarity is lost.

As I now return to writing and posting content on this first day of 2019, I feel like someone who has tasted food for the first time after a prolonged fast. My writing palate has been cleansed. My thinking has leaned out. My spiritual garments fit better. My creative process has been refreshed. I am ready for a new season.

In the noise and busyness of life that will surely come your way in 2019, at some point, give God a sacred space of silence and separation. Create margins. Go there and listen. What you fear might be lost in your absence will be displaced by the release of something new. In that sacred space, fresh insights are awaiting your arrival. You will begin to hear things not easily recognized in the constant clamor of a connected life.