Thursday, February 28, 2019

Renewing Spiritual Passport

Jan and I had to renew our passports. The new passports arrived in the mail this week. As I pondered our passports, I heard the Lord speak a word for some of you (and for Jan and me). He said, “It is time to renew your spiritual passport. I have places to take you – ports of call for you to enter and borders for you to cross. I have passages prepared that you could not imagine. Your spiritual passport renewal process requires that you trust Me with an increased level of faith. I will open up a way through restricted borders allowing you to enter cultures and relationships that had been previously closed to your entry. The way is about to open up before you. Walk through it. I have made a way!"

Going Deeper – Ministering to Heart of Human Brokenness

Jesus did not minister to the side effects of sin and human brokenness. He pressed through the surface manifestations and went straight to the heart of an issue. Those listening and watching these revelatory events were unaware that something deeper was at play. Jesus did this because the surface side effect of a problem has the ability to mask a hidden lie or misconception that is embedded deep within a life. These embedded issues can only be uncovered and disempowered by a revelatory work of the Spirit. 

This kind of Spirit-led ministry can make some people nervous because these issues cannot be discovered by familiar methods like medication or counseling. These root causes are only discovered by a journey initiated and led by the Spirit. In that journey, the Spirit helps a person press through the surface issues and go deeper to reveal the root cause that is giving birth to the surface brokenness manifesting itself in the form of a side effect. 

This is an uncomfortable journey for some to make because of fear or shame, but it is the only journey that brings true and lasting freedom – a freedom that removes not only the root cause of a life-issue but also the side effects that lead people into deeper bondage. Without this freedom hopeless can take over a person’s thinking leading them to a life of despair.

There are people out there who can help us make this journey. My wife, Jan and our friend, Gail Perry, are two people I know who are gifted in helping people go deeper to discover these hidden issues. There are others out there who also carry this gifting. If you or someone you know continues to come up against a wall in their search for freedom, it would be wise to find those who know how to help people disover this kind of freedom.

Medication can help balance our body chemistry and wise counsel can help us learn how to manage our lives, but true and lasting freedom is not found in either of these remedies. Only when deeply embedded lies and misconceptions are discovered and exposed to the love of God can true freedom be experienced. That is what Jesus offered to people held captive to a life of side effects. It is a freedom that only comes when the truth of God's love is taken deep into a human soul to displace the lies that create a life held captive to the bondage of side effects.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Engaging the Civil War

Some prophetic voices are warning us of a coming civil war in America. That civil war will not start sometime in the future. It is here now. It's not a war of bullets and bombs. It is social, political and moral combat taking place right before our eyes. We can see this conflict if we are looking with the eyes of the Spirit.

To those living in spiritual slumber, this kind of talk sounds ignorant, unhip and something only those on the fringe would consider. It can appear anti-intellectual and uncool and unable to survive an espresso bar conversation without eyes starting to roll. 

In an attempt to not ruffle the feathers of anyone, we can become a dull tool in the hands of God unable to cut through the deception holding our culture captive. Turning away from evil in any form and hoping it will go away and not bother us is not the way of Jesus the carpenter God-man. Our Savior turned over the tables of the deluded religious establishment of His day. He made tough statements to shocked listeners. He confronted the assumptions of covenant people who had allowed a lesser kingdom to define the reality of their morality.

Do not allow your theology to be reduced to a theory without a response even if that response will label you as a nutcase and drive you into social isolation. John the Baptist cried out from a wilderness place for his culture to repent and following the sound of his voice, a great move of God appeared. 

We are in a John the Baptist moment of history. God is calling and releasing uncompromised voices to declare His heart to the surrounding culture with wisdom and compassion. Be one of those voices and you will not have to live with the sorrow and regret that comes from a life of silent disengagement.

When the Gossips Gossip

The negative and demeaning conversations that take place behind your back and outside your presence are typically based on assumption and misinformation. These conversations are called gossip. Do not align your concern with an attempt to correct these sad conversations and don’t expend your limited energy trying to correct the sin of a talebearer. That is a ploy of the enemy to draw you away, drain your strength and corrupt your heart. 

When unfounded gossip is flying about unrestrained you have a choice. You can plan to retaliate and become part of a larger problem or you can thank God for the mercy He extended to you when you did the same thing in your moments of weakness. That thankfulness will keep you humble and separate from acts of vengeance and retribution. 

Bless your accusers when you hear their whispers. A blessing has the power and authority to destroy a dark agenda. Blessing our enemies is a potent weapon of spiritual warfare.

In the process, stay focused on God. He is your only safe refuge when under attack and He is the One whose opinion about you matters most. If you can focus on that opinion when the blade of gossip tries to cut into your heart you will come out the other side of the experience a better person emotionally and spiritually. If you can navigate these attacks with wisdom and compassion, you will receive a supernatural gift. You will be able to look your accusers in the eye and forgive them and really mean it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Summit of Our Fears

For the last few years, I have loosely followed the career of the rock climber, Alex Honnold. He is super-human in his ability to scale what appear to be impossible rock walls. His most notable climb was made alone without ropes and climbing gear up the face of El Capitan in Yosemite. The climb was filmed in a recent documentary titled, Free Solo. In a trailer for the film, Honnold addressed the issue of fear. He said, “I work to expand my comfort zone until there is no fear there.” This week the film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Scripture tells us that perfect love casts out fear. I used to think if I had God’s love, fear would have to leave. I have found that is not true unless my faith is involved in the process of casting out the fear. The casting out is not some magic phrase we utter and fear has to run away. It involves something more. 

I have experienced plenty of fear while the love of God was all around me. The fear never left unless I was involved in its expulsion.  In order for our comfort zone to expand and overcome our place of fear, we must involve our faith with God’s love to scale the impossible places where fear is entrenched and stands before us spiritually as El Capitan stood before Honnold when he climbed its vertical rock wall.

There are times when the promise of God is waiting just across a Red Sea experience or at the top of a summit of a challenge that looks to us like El Capitan. At first, it seems impossible to make these passages and ascents because between us and the promise lies an obstacle we cannot comprehend overcoming. When you find yourself looking at a promise and saying, “I’m not comfortable with that” know that you are in the right place. No promise is easy. In your moment of uncomfortableness reach out and take the first handhold you see and begin to pull yourself upward. God will faithfully reveal each crack and crevice you will need to make it all the way to the top. 

In the ascent, you will be confronted by your worst fears. As you continue to rise higher with each act of faith, God will ask you to exchange your fear for an act of personal courage. This process is what will cast out fear and help you continue to move higher as love pushes fear out of your way.  There will come a moment when you finally reach the summit of the challenge you and others had previously thought impossible. That destination is available for anyone who is willing to exchange their fear for the kind of faith that can rise above any obstacle. This is the kind of faith we thought impossible before the journey began and our comfort zone was defined by our fears. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

God's Light of Revelation

Last night, after a full night of sleep, I awoke early in the darkness. As I was lying in bed, a notification was sent to my cell phone at 3:30 am. The message lit up the phone’s screen and that little bit of light faintly illuminated the bedroom just enough for me to make out where all the furniture was positioned. 

As I looked around in the illuminated darkness, I sensed the Lord begin to speak. “Your decision has been surrounded by darkness. It is not the darkness of evil. It is the darkness that surrounds a circumstance without My revelation. I am sending the answer you requested and that answer will have enough illumination to help you find your way. When the light comes, rise up and move forward. At that moment, you will know that I have made a way.”

Just as I was in total darkness in our bedroom moments before a message lit up the screen of my cell phone and illuminated my surroundings, so it will be for some of you seeking an answer for the next step in your journey.  In the darkness, wait in hope. God will be faithful to answer you and bring the needed illumination that will arrive with His revelation. When His word comes, swing your feet out onto the floor of an unfolding new season and take your first step into a new day. What was a mystery will no longer be a mystery because you will now see what the Lord wanted you to see but remained hidden in the darkness.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalms 119:105).

Sunday, February 24, 2019

25,240 Mornings

This morning I awoke to my 25,240thmorning on Earth. Lord willing, I will awake to number 25,241. I have prepared the coffee pot, planned a BBQ and scheduled some errands for tomorrow. As the evening approaches, I am asking the Lord to reveal the assumptions He wants me to shed before 25,241 arrives. Everything taking place today that we think will continue on tomorrow uninterrupted is an assumption if it’s not connected to the love and eternal goodness of God.  Be at peace. Sleep well. God is with you.

Retrieving the Promises

Every season in your life will have a promise assigned to it. The children of Israel entered the Promised Land with a promise. The Early Church did not leave Jerusalem until the promised Spirit came. You will not move successfully through life without a promise. Everything given to us is the result of a promise God has made.                                                      

Promises are powerful because, when spoken, they become a gathering point to assemble the supernatural resources of God that make the promise become a reality. It is important for you to actually speak out the promises of God. Spoken promises interrupt the environment of the status quo and call forth something new. A spoken promise can become the turning point in a life-transition.                                                                                                     

If you feel like you have no promise, you have not been listening close enough to what God is saying. Ask God to share again with you the promises he has made over your life. As you wait, you will hear things that may sound presumptive or border on the absurd. You can trust God that He is good and has wonderful promises ready to release into your life.                                 

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Making Challenging Decisions

Recently, I communicated with a friend who is entertaining several options that will change the direction of his life. I said God is waiting for him at the destination of his choice ready to welcome him with blessings that have been prepared for his arrival. If you have sought God in your decision-making process the advice I gave my friend also applies to you. Don't be afraid of making challenging decisions. God is not nervous about the outcome of your choices and neither should you. Trust Him. Rest in Him. Follow the peace and make your decision. It will all work out because God is with you.

Who or What is Driving Your Life?

Jan’s Subaru Impreza is 9 years old and my Nissan pickup just celebrated its 15th year. They don’t have lots of gadgets and features. Both vehicles are plain vanilla versions of their respective brands. The best feature on both of our cars is one not provided by any dealer. It is a feature called “Paid Off – No Car Payments.” I recommend this feature above all others being offered. 

I was looking at some YouTube videos about new cars and their technology just to be up to speed on what’s out there in the event that someday we need to buy another car. The features some of these new vehicles come with are amazing. The list includes adaptive cruise control, rearview cameras, pedestrian warning, dash lights letting parents know if the kids in the back seat have their seat belts fastened and the list goes on. It is truly amazing. 

The one piece of technology that creeps me out is the lane assist function. The car’s computer reads the white lines on the sides of the road and turns the steering wheel to keep the car within its lane. I recently drove a friend's new car with this feature and didn’t like it. I like to drive my car. I don’t like a car to drive me. That is one option I would either disconnect or not consider as important in a future purchase decision.

The lives of some people remind me of the lane assist feature. Someone or something seems to be driving them. They have taken their hands off the steering wheel of their life and a separate decision-making entity is doing the navigating.

Alongside God’s love for us, our free will is our next most precious gift. God gave us a free will to make choices no one else can make for us. There is no faith lane assist function for our spiritual life. God honors our freedom to make our own decisions, good or bad. God wants our hands on the steering wheel of life, sensing the nuances of our faith and the surface of the unique road He has called each of us to travel.

If someone or something is calling the shots on the roadway of your faith, turn off their influence and put your hands back on the steering wheel. Your faith is not supposed to be a robotic experience where you are only a passenger along for the ride. God wants you to make the turns of your life in concert with the direction of the Spirit. That is the safest and most freeing way to travel through life. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Preparing for a Smooth Landing

Last night, a memory came to my mind of the time when our family lived in the Caribbean. The kids wanted to see Kingston, Jamaica from the air.  I had not flown in a couple of years and wasn’t current so I could not rent an aircraft. I called up a local charter company and arranged an hour flight in a Cessna 182. The pilot and I sat in the front seats and my kids sat in the back and off we went.

After orbiting around the city for the better part of an hour it was time to head back to the airport. During the flight, the pilot and I talked and he found out I had been a flight instructor and charter pilot. To my surprise, he said, “Do you want to take it in?” I said, “Sure.” I had not landed an airplane in several years but knew I could land without a problem. It was my refined skills that were rusty. As we approached the airport, I wanted to execute a good landing to keep my piloting pride somewhat intact.

When I turned from base to final, the air was still and thick. My airspeed was right on the money. When we crossed the numbers, I eased back on the yoke and held the nose up as the airspeed bled off and the Cessna gently touched down. The landing was so smooth we did not actually feel the wheels touch the runway. It was that perfect. The charter pilot turned to me and said, “Now, that’s how to land a 182!” I tried to act like it happened all the time when in reality it was one of the best landings I had ever completed - even when current and flying frequently. God was kind to an out of currency pilot that day.

The key to a smooth landing is the result of learning how to hold an aircraft off the runway during the last moments of flight just before touchdown. This is where any excess airspeed is allowed to bleed off until the wing stops flying and the airplane touches down. It is the part of a flight where the smallest adjustments can bring the greatest results. Flying an aircraft thousands of feet up in the air is not a real challenge – touching down safely and smoothly is where your piloting skills are revealed.

When the memory of the flight in Jamaica came to mind, I knew it would apply to some of you reading these words. You are approaching the final stages of what God has assigned for you to complete.  At this point, impatience will be your enemy. You need to bleed off some of the speed that has carried you this far. It has been a long flight of faith. Don’t rush these critical remaining moments. There is no need for a rough landing. Hold onto to your faith for just a little longer. 

It would be easy to rush the landing because you have worked hard for this moment and you can see the completion just ahead. Like a pilot who has learned to not rush a landing, so it will be for you. If you can be patient for just a little longer, you will touch down gently and wonder how everything worked out so smoothly. Happy flying!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Getting Unstuck

A vision for a business, a ministry or a personal life that has become stuck and lost its mobility can turn its adherents into managers of the status quo. It takes courage for someone to rise up and challenge the direction of a vision and make the hard choices to realign the vision with God’s original intent. The managers of these stuck visions will construct strict parameters and controlled outcomes like moats around a castle to keep the vision isolated from evaluation and moving forward in a predetermined direction. This happens because those in charge see no other way. There are times when the way forward is not actually forward but back to the drawing board or laterally in order to intercept and engage a move of God that could pass by unnoticed. Vision is not always linear and forward.

If you are called to disrupt the direction of a stuck and short-sighted vision, the greatest work you do will first be done in your heart in the area of your motives. The anger, disgust or frustration you might feel about how things have been handled cannot be allowed to formulate your choices or guide your actions. To partner with the Spirit to bring about the course correction of a stuck vision requires a unique blend of humility, wisdom and Spirit-led action. Ask God for those three gifts and allow Him to examine and purify your motives.  If you do this He will be able to use you in remarkable ways to not only steer the heart of a vision but to help steer the hearts of those involved. Only God can bring this kind of transformation to a vision. Trust His ways and He will make a way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Time of a Woman

For the last 45 years, I have witnessed the beauty of time as it works its magic on the life of a woman committed to God. With each passing hour, the hands of a woman’s life-clock become the chisel strokes of the Master Sculptor. These strokes reveal the hidden prize of a deeper beauty that lies within each woman. Fear wants to mask this unfolding beauty not realizing the work of God-art it conceals.

If you are a man, give a woman permission to live in the freedom of her maturing life. If you are a woman never allow anyone to cause you to think you are anything less than magnificent with each passing year.

We live in a delusional world. These delusions are friends to the airbrush, the dyes, and the nip and tuck. Never compromise with these delusions in your God-ordained process of maturing. “The best is yet to come” is not some cute compromising statement of resignation to settle for something less. The best is always ahead of those whose life journey is an ongoing celebration as they move through each stage of life’s maturing process.

Off in the Distance

Make the small course correction the Lord is asking you to make. It will be an important decision at this point in your journey. If you have the faith to make this turn and align your direction with God’s voice even though you still do not see the destination, it will eventually appear in front of you and you will be set up for a safe landing. If you do not make this small and seemingly insignificant heading change your destination could be missed and pass by you somewhere off in the distance unnoticed. Trust the Lord with this adjustment and He will bring you safely to a place that is still out of sight and beyond the horizon but drawing closer and closer each time you exercise your faith.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Your time of compression is coming to an end. You have been living under tremendous weight. A process of decompression has arrived to relieve the pressure. Like a diver returning from the depths of the ocean, you will need to decompress before you return to the surface of your calling. Give God all the time He needs to complete this cycle of decompression. Your spiritual and emotional health depends on your willingness to wait and trust God’s timing. In the waiting, you will see more clearly the weight that pushed you down into a dangerous depth. God is bringing you back to the surface. Rise patiently with Him. When you finally come back to the surface a fresh breath of the Spirit will be awaiting your arrival.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The New

The new ways are the old ways. The new ways are not new, they have only remained undiscovered in this generation. All things, both past, and present are always new in the heart of God. Pursue His heart and you will be current and contemporary no matter where the present moment may appear in the course of human history.

Softening a Hardening Heart

When I find myself not particularly liking someone or when I sense the first pulse beat of a hardening heart toward them I will go out of my way to affirm the person. I might pray and ask God to bless them or hit a “like” button on their social media account or send them a supportive message. This choice and its resulting action align me with the mercy of God. It is a subtle form of spiritual warfare that has the power to disarm the enemy and foil his plans before they have a chance to breed suspicion and division. The cost of a hardened heart is too great a price to pay. 

Over-Controlled Lives

When we over-control our lives, we lose a sense of wonder and mystery. Some people have so over-planned and controlled every aspect of their lives they have taken on the sole responsibility for the realization of all aspects of their future. To the natural mind, this makes sense. In the spirit, it becomes tragic. 
God is creative. His creativity did not end when he created the world and said, “It is good.” He is still creating. He is creating new futures. As he creates a new future for you, he is also inviting you into the creative process where new and unexpected things take place. Some of these creative moments can be quite surprising—full of wonder and mystery. These are the surprises that take place when we are in a relationship with the Living God. 
The longer we live, the more we realize the importance of holding this life loosely—and the plans we make even more loosely. When we tightly grip our spiritual steering wheel and try to force a turn to the left or right, we can end up over-controlling our life-transitions and actually cause the process to lose traction and spin out. 

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Impartations of God

With the recent passing of the prophet Paul Cain, Jan and I were talking about his life and calling. As we continued our conversation, Jan said, “Do you remember the time at a conference in the 1990s in Switzerland when Paul Cain, Rick Joyner, and Bobby Connor prayed and prophesied over us and a small group of pastors?” To be honest, I had forgotten that experience. Immediately, I began to recall the conference and what had taken place on that special occasion. 

Jan and I received an impartation that day.  Impartation was an unfamiliar concept for us at the time. But soon after leaving Switzerland, we began to experience a higher level of sensitivity to the voice of God. Spirit-birthed encounters also came our way that we could not have imagined. I believe some of what Jan and I are walking in today can be traced back to that moment of impartation.

I want to encourage those of you reading these words to understand God has moments of impartation planned for you. When an impartation takes place you will receive what cannot be gained through natural talent or human effort. It will be a work of the Spirit releasing from one person to another a special anointing for service. Paul did this with Timothy. It took place between Elijah and Elisha.

Once an impartation is released we need to steward its presence with wisdom and humility. Our character and integrity become the vehicle that carries an impartation and its anointing into new and unexplored relationships and encounters with God. 

I believe I was reminded of our time in Switzerland to remind me that fresh impartations are coming for Jan and me, and for others, in preparation for a new season in Church history. We need the anointing these impartations will bring in order to accomplish the Great Commission. Stay open and remain teachable and you will receive amazing empowerment that will enable you to accomplish the greater works of your calling.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Evaluating Our Maturity

I have noticed an interesting phenomenon taking place in the Church. We like titles. Using a descriptor like “pastor” is comfortable for most people. Even “teacher” and in some cases “evangelist”, if you are a bit more evangelical. When words like apostle or prophet are used to describe a person’s calling eyes will begin to roll and so do the subtle remarks about the danger of pride and self-promotion that might be associated with those functions. Apostles and prophets are not the only people who experience the temptation of pride and self-promotion. In our pastor-driven American church culture, I have seen plenty of pride and self-promotion in lots of pastors – including me.

In circles of fellowship where education is valued the initials of a person's educational accomplishments will either precede their name as in “Dr. so-and-so” or follow them with the designations of M.A, M.S or any variety of alphabet soup. Education is valuable and wise, but it does not require God to achieve these designations – just hard work and dedication. If you don’t think so, attend a graduation ceremony from an institute of higher learning. Not everyone walking in cap and gown follows Jesus. They were just good students.

If the Church is going to express the kind of maturity Paul described in Ephesians 4 that will only come from sitting under the influence of the equipping gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher, perhaps we need to ask our selves a question. Why are so nervous about certain titles/functions or give more credence to an educational achievement than we do to a gift given by Jesus to equip and mature the Church.

Maybe we are not as mature as we first imagined.

Removing the Weight of Fear and Worry

In the winter of 1968-69, I was a freshman at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. That year loads of snow was dumped on the city. The snow was measured in feet, not inches. There was so much snow it was feared roofs would begin to collapse under the weight. 

The guys in my dorm had an idea. We cut sheets of plywood into large square sections. We narrowed one edge of the plywood square to a knife-like edge so it would cut easily through the snow. We went around to neighborhoods asking if people wanted the snow removed from their roof. Once we agreed upon a price, we would climb up on the roof and use the plywood squares to section off large cubes of snow and slide them off the roof. It looked like someone building an igloo but in reverse.

What motivated our clientele was the fear of a collapsing roof. Fear and concern are strong motivators, real or imagined. It is important to discern the difference between rational and irrational fear. Rational fear hires a few college guys to risk their young necks to clear snow from a roof. Irrational fear has no anchor in reality and immobilizes people without a rational foundation. Fear is actually a dark spirit at work in our mind.  It trolls our thoughts looking for a place where love and trust are not in control. In these places, our irrational fear becomes the primary motivator for our thinking and behavior.

Scripture tells us the love of God can push irrational fear out of our thinking if we allow love to have its way. The evidence that fear has been cast out is the arrival of a beautiful and unfamiliar peace along with a confidence that assures us God will be faithful to see us through the challenge. Without that peace, the negative affairs of this life will eventually become an overwhelming weight we can no longer support. We will become like a snow-burdened roof just before it collapses on its occupants. 

If worry, doubt, or fear have been weighing down on your life, ask God to show you how to clear away that weight with His truth - the truth revealed in His Word and the truth of His past faithfulness in your life. Fear cannot stand in the presence of truth. When that weight is removed you will begin to experience the lightness of His peace invading your thoughts. That peace will become a warm and supporting presence in the winter seasons of your life.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Living Beyond the Point of No Return

I watched an inspiring video about a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. The recipient of the medal was a pilot leading a squadron of aircraft sent to protect bombers in route to a bombing mission. The distance they had to fly was at the limit of their fuel capacity. As they approached the point of no return it was obvious they had used more fuel than anticipated. The squadron turned back, but the leader pressed on. While dropping his payload of bombs, a dogfight with enemy aircraft ensued. The pilot shot down 5 enemy aircraft. He had to bail out after being hit and having no remaining fuel. After parachuting into the ocean he swam 8 miles to an island where he was eventually rescued.

During the after incident interview the pilot said he could not have lived with himself had he turned around and aborted his mission. He would rather die honoring his commitment than spend the rest of his life regretting his decision.

In each of our lives, there will be a point of no return where we will have a choice to turn around or press through our difficulty toward an uncertain future. This is the place where heroes are born. It is not only true in warfare, but it can also be true for a spouse who commits to remain in a challenging marriage just a little longer. It can be true for a small businessperson who puts it all on the line to survive or when a friend risks a friendship by telling a hard truth to a friend.

Like the WWII Medal of Honor recipient, each of us will have to live with the unknown consequences of the tough decisions we make at the point of no return. We will carry either a sorrow that comes from giving up too early or a sense of honor that only comes when we press on when life required of us the kind of courage we thought impossible before we made our decision. Heroes in any walk of life are those who wanted to turn around but kept flying no matter what the odds because aborting the mission was not something they could live with.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Snake in the Wall

A wall stands in your way and you have been assigned to dismantle its opposing presence. As you engage this spiritual demolition project, trust no assumptions you are carrying from your current assignment or relationships. This is between you and God and no one else. Unpack the Lord’s instructions with precision and discernment and you will be safe and able to move ahead without jeopardy.

While the wall is assigned to come down, hidden within the wall are things that can harm you if you are impatient and unwise. Some have been bitten in a demolition process by unresolved personal issues that crawled ahead of them and were positioned in the wall awaiting their arrival. Solomon wrote, “…the one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake” (Ecclesiastes 10:8). Examine each brick before you pull it down but only after you have examined your own heart and motives.

On the other side of this wall is the path into a future you only imagined. It is currently being guarded by deception and ruse. Don’t give the serpent a chance to sink his fangs into your life. Be wise. Be patient. Be courageous. The wall will come down.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Speak to the Ashes

I saw the image of an urn holding the ashes from a dead season of life. The urn was reluctantly placed on the mantle of someone’s personal history thinking they only had one chance and that chance had died. In their grief, they saw their future as nothing more than lifeless ash. Just as speaking to dead bones can bring back the full measure of life, so it is with the ashes left over from a season of sorrow and regret. God is calling people to rise from places of sorrowful resignation and speak to the ashes of their deepest failure and command new life to come forth. God wants to show us He is God Almighty and nothing, not even an emotional urn filled with the ashes of failure, regret and sorrow can withstand a declaration of faith fueled by hope.

The Roller Derby Women of Faith

As a kid, I remember watching a television show called Roller Derby. The show depicted women on roller skates racing as a team on an indoor track against an opposing team. I had never seen women act so tough. At age 8, I thought, “Man, I would never mess with any of those ladies.” When the memory paid me a visit so did a word from the Lord. 

While the actual Roller Derby was a push and shove match without much decorum, it did give me a picture of how a woman of faith responds to the lies and obstacles hell places in her path. A woman fully ignited in her faith and realizing she has a calling from God and a mission to execute is no one to mess with. Some have unwisely assumed a woman is always to be gentile and chiffon-like as her mark of womanhood.  There are times when that aspect of her identity is appropriate, but there are other times when a woman will be called to act like a Roller Derby queen and kick the butt of darkness aggressively out of her way. It's the momma bear thing. You don't want to get in the way of that kind of woman and play foolish games with her. I know. I am married to such a woman.

When I watched Roller Derby, I would see the winning team take a victory lap after a long and brutal race. These victory laps revealed breathless and physically spent winners rolling around the track in an exhausted peace where just moments before they had become visibly tough overcoming every hindering presence on the track. 

Some of you reading these words have been in a very challenging and emotional race. The race may have involved the fulfillment of your calling, the spiritual survival of a loved one, or in some cases, the fate of a city or nation. In the race, you were bruised and wounded, but you endured and pressed through every obstacle. For those of you who faithfully remained in the race, your victory lap is coming. So is a change in your attire. 

After the victory has been secured it will be time to be refreshed and change out of your garments of battle to put on something more in line with a long and romantic candlelit dinner. This will be a meal of fellowship you will have with the Lord. As you sit at the table, He will look into your eyes and smile knowing you had discovered the fullness of your womanhood. At that moment, you will know you are both a warrior and a lover.   

Never forget the devil and his minions see you as one tough chick. In Christ, that is your reality.  Once you realize who you are the devil's bluffing and bullying will have no effect. Your toughness and endurance in a race of faith come from the One you carry inside your heart, not how you look, your age or status in life. No lie or dark opposition will be able to stand in your way because you have learned to race with the promises of God as your strategy and your empowerment. You are tough. Race like it!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Unsolicited Criticism

In this life, you will receive unsolicited criticism and suggestions. Everybody has an opinion. Choose to be large enough in your spirit to be willing to review each of these, even those that appear absurd. Embedded somewhere in such suggestions may be the very thing God wants you to hear. Ask the Lord: “Is there anything in that comment you want me to hear?” 
Sometimes, a critical piece of information we might need in order to make a healthy life-transition can be packaged in the most unlikely form. God may place a piece of information inside the comment of your critic to test the condition of your heart. Having the right information is not enough. We need a right heart attitude in which to house the wisdom we receive. 

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Cultural Eruption is Taking Place

In the Spirit, I saw the image of multiple cultural volcanoes beginning an eruption cycle. This eruption cycle has not been detected by natural observation. These volcanoes have been smoldering inside each of the 7 mountains of societal influence (Government, Religion, Economy, Education, Arts & Entertainment, Media and Family). They have been activated for an eruption at this time in our national history. 

The fire of God’s Spirit has been heating up and exposing the hard rock of opposition to His will that has remained hidden within each mountain. Soon these hardened opposing forces will begin to melt under the heat of God’s transforming love. Their remnants will erupt and run down the slopes of each mountain like hot lava as a sign that God will not be mocked or His will opposed. 

Get ready. A rumbling is taking place. An eruption is imminent.

Finding Hope in a Dark Place

In our many years of living life together, Jan and I can speak with confidence (in the Lord) when it comes to navigating through the unexpected and fearful changes that life can bring. In the beginning, the challenging and unplanned interruptions in our lives felt as if we had entered a dark and ominous room without doors or windows. We did not know which way to turn. Our emotions were raw and frayed. Our future began to look like a train that jumped its track and was bouncing out of control across a dirt field and finally overturning. 

The first time this happened to us, it felt like we had no options. In the middle of the fear and confusion, we decided our only option was worship. Hand in hand we walked into our bedroom and knelt down beside our bed and told God, in raw and honest terms, what we were feeling. Our hearts were broken. The plans we made had been crumpled up by dark hands and tossed away. 

As we attempted to worship it was a challenge to find direction. Finally, without knowing which way to go with our worship, we began to worship God simply for His goodness. That one change in the substance of our worship began to direct our attention toward a life-altering discovery. 

When we worshipped God for His goodness, a shift began to take place. Our fear, dismay, and uncertainty were replaced by a glimmer of hope in God, not in any change of our circumstance. Like faith, sometimes our hope can be as small as a mustard seed until it sprouts under the nurturing presence of worship and finally begins to grow. At that point, Jan and I began to turn all our focus onto that single seed and began to deposit each negative thought into a garden of faith where hope had a chance to grow. Today, whenever we encounter something negative in life, after the initial shock of the news, worship is our first response before we try to figure things out or take any action.

If you find yourself in the dark and desperate room of an unexpected life-transition, your only way out is to find the hope. Your seed of hope will be discovered when, in your desperation, you choose to shift your focus from the pain of the situation to the goodness of God through worship. Hope is always present in your darkest place. Never give up looking for it. Seek hope through worship and you will always find it.

Ever since that first painful experience, Jan and I have never entered a subsequent dark place without growing anticipation that somewhere in our pain hope was waiting to be discovered. If you can do this, at some point, a door will open in the darkness and hope will show you the way forward. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Discerning the Purpose of the Hobble

My father wrangled horses in the Arizona desert in the 1920s. From time to time, he would place a hobble on his horses. A hobble is a short line tied between the legs of a horse to limit their mobility. Under the restraining influence of the hobble, a horse doesn't wander away. My father hobbled horses out of love to keep them near to him when a corral was not available. 

The hobble taught me a lesson about life in the Spirit. There are seasons of life when God will hobble His children. To the immature and impatient this hobbling can be misunderstood. Some see a life of faith through the cloudy lens of zeal without the clarity of wisdom. They think every day of faith is meant to be fast and always moving forward. Others think they can run at full speed whenever they desire across the sagebrush plains of life naively assuming no potholes or cliff edges exist along the path of their faith-gallop. After they experience a few broken legs and nosedives, they eventually stop to ponder the reason why life is not working out as they had imagined.

God hobbles us to train us how to rest in His presence and not foolishly run after the unrestrained and undisciplined passions that can put us in a place of unnecessary jeopardy. Sometimes He hobbles the expansion of a vision to bring clarity to the vision. He will hobble an impatient spouse who needs to learn what sacrificial love looks like in a marriage. A young person might need to experience the restraint of a hobble because they have not yet learned what it means to honor other people. God never hobbles us to harm us. His hobbles are restraints of love that teach and train us how to discover what real freedom is like. They also keep us near to our only true source of life while we are learning our lesson.

The limitations of mobility in your life are not always the devil. Sometimes they are an act of love from God. We need to learn how to discern the difference. Without discernment, we will try to run when we should walk or struggle to get free from the hobble when our assignment is to wait and trust. If we always struggle against a hobble, we can miss the deeper lesson God wants us to learn. That is the purpose of the hobble.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Our Worship Response to the Great Commission

God is preparing to release supernaturally-empowered strategies, key relationships, and abundant resources for projects aligned with the Great Commission. Until that alignment takes place through a conscious decision on our part what we attempt to accomplish will remain in the shallow stream of human achievement, limited funding and natural empowerment.

I find it interesting that part of the instruction Jesus gave to His disciples that we call the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), was made following an introductory note in the text that reads, But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated” (Matthew 28:16). When they arrived on the mountain and saw Jesus some of the disciples worshipped Jesus and some of them doubted. While I realize Jesus instructed the disciples to go to a physical mountain, the use of the word “mountain” caught my attention.

Every believer has an assignment on one of the 7 mountains of cultural influence – Government, Religion, Education, Economy, Arts & Entertainment, Media and Family. Many believers have yet to understand they have a Great Commission assignment on their mountain and continue to follow the lead of those currently in power on the summits of the 7 mountains who are setting policy and direction for the nation. In that disconnect we lose traction with our mission.

When Jesus reveals Himself and our place in the Great Commission, we have a choice to worship or doubt. Our act of worship will not look or sound like traditional worship in a sanctuary. Our worship will allow our life-assignment to be crafted with the instruction of the Great Commission in mind to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” That single act of worship will align our life and mission with the will and resources of Heaven.

A Great Awakening is taking place. That awakening will involve individuals and institutions from each of the 7 mountains of culture that brought their plans and projects under the anointing and direction of the Great Commission. Those moving in the flow of this Great Awakening will be led by the Great Commission mandate to disciple nations. Our sights must be set on nations in order to accomplish the command of Jesus while realizing national transformation is accomplished one person at a time. 

When the 7 mountains of culture are being influenced for the glory of God, we will begin to harvest the fruit of the Great Commission. That fruit will be an awakening of individuals to the presence of Jesus at work in their culture. Even then, some will doubt, but many more will worship.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Season Has Changed – It’s Time To Reposition

I have a group of friends who have invested months of detailed planning and strategized for a project of immense potential. The scale of this Kingdom enterprise is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Non-Disclosure Agreements have been created and honored in the process. My friends have done everything they can do. Now comes the waiting. A time of waiting is always filled with emotions of every sort.

In a recent conversation, I said to my friends in their time of waiting, faith is the only substance they can trust. They have planted all the seeds God commissioned them to plant. They have done everything with excellence throughout the process. In order to navigate into the next season of the project, they will need to change roles from that of a seed planter to a midwife in preparation for the healthy delivery of their project. In natural births, midwives are present to calm fears in the delivery, give timely encouragement, and provide wise instruction in the process of birthing. The same is true for anyone involved in the delivery of any Spirit-birthed and Spirit-empowered high stakes Kingdom adventure whether it is the investment of finances or human resources.

Our dreams and visions have seasons. Each season will have a new role for us to assume. Make sure you know the current season of your dream. For every dream, there is a time to till the soil, a time to plant the seed, and a time to harvest the fruit. Different seasons will reveal different roles. Ask God for the wisdom to define your current season, your assigned role in that season, and where you will need to stand at the time of harvest. When the time of fulfillment comes, you will be standing in the right season and in the right place. 

Because you have properly discerned the season and faithfully transitioned your various roles along the way, you will have the honor and privilege of seeing the purpose of God being birthed before your very eyes. Someday you will hold a fulfilled dream in your arms. At that moment you will worship the One who first commissioned that dream as just a small seed of faith that, against all odds, became a reality.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Commissioned for Beauty

My daughter, Anna, is a formally trained and accomplished artist. Her paintings hang in galleries around the world. From time to time, she will have a work commissioned by a client. Under a commission, Anna will create an original work of art to present to the client. I’ve had the privilege of hearing some of the comments made by her clients. They were amazed how Anna was able to create something they were not able to imagine but the final work was just what they wanted.

A commissioned person is someone who has been entrusted with a project granting them creative license. It is a work of artistic freedom. A commissioned work allows the person under commission to use all their gifts and talents without reservation or the need to seek permission. The word commissioned has at its root the word “commission.” The word commission comes from Medieval Latin meaning “a delegation of business.” It also carries a deeper meaning, “to unite, connect, combine or bring together.” 

When a commissioned artist is given the freedom to express their gift without restrictive oversight, the unique beauty of their creative work has the ability to bring people together. The client, artist or anyone who passes by the hanging work of art will be drawn together around the beauty being expressed. The art becomes a connecting point. It has a uniting potential that would have remained dormant had not the commissioned one been given unhindered freedom of expression.

Jesus gave the Church the Great Commission. To employ the creative diversity of the Church to fulfill that commission does not make Jesus nervous. Our commissioning was granted for us to reach nations with the Gospel of the Kingdom in a variety of unique and creative ways.  It is not a commission to reproduce sameness. It carries creative license that must be released or the full potential of the Church will not be realized. 

Commissioning someone with creative freedom is fearful consideration for individuals in positions of authority who have not learned how to trust others. To them commissioning someone and granting them freedom is the equivalent of losing control. In the group or an organization, the choke point for future expansion becomes the fearful leader, not the team.

Not every believer, business team member or expression of the Church should appear the same – even within the same team. If you are in a place of authority, God may invite you to lay down your assumed rights and grant creative license to those on your team. This will be a test of your integrity. It will confront a common bondage a driven person can have of needing to control and micromanage every aspect of a mission. 

If you are a leader, the breakthrough for the dream you carry may not be something God will have you do, but rather, it may be a work you commission in another person who will present to you a beautiful solution for a challenge your giftedness was not able to imagine or create.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Take Another Shot

During the Super Bowl, I heard an announcer use a short phrase not commonly used. The announcer said a player had made "a miscue." The words brought back a memory from a time in my life many years ago. When I heard the words, I also heard a promise for those who might feel like they only had one shot at something important in their life. 

For a summer during my college years, I managed a pool hall. It was an interesting experience and revealed a part of the world I never knew existed. I got to see first-time pool players struggle to hit the ball. I also saw professionals play high stakes games where hundreds of dollars went to the winner.

The phrase used by the Super Bowl announcer comes from the world of pool and billiards. A miscue happens when the cue ball is improperly struck and sent in the wrong direction. To execute a shot, pool and billiards players use something called a pool cue or cue stick. It is a wooden or composite stick with a piece of leather glued to the tip that a player uses to strike the white cue ball. Players add chalk to the leather tip to increase friction between the pool cue tip and the cue ball.  Once struck, the cue ball is sent to a target ball to knock it in the pocket. If a player fails to properly align the cue stick with the cue ball they will create a miscue sending the cue ball spinning in the wrong direction. 

I’ve watched professional hustlers in high stakes games actually jump a cue ball over another ball in the way of their target ball to make what appeared to be an impossible shot. Expert players can also perform something called a masse shot. When a masse shot is performed a player strikes the cue ball at such an unusual angle that it puts a radical spin on the cue ball causing it to travel in a curved path on the table moving around another ball that stands in the way of the shot. These unusual shots are what is called putting some “English” on the ball.

The word miscue has come to mean more than a missed pool shot. A miscue is described as a mistake or a blunder. That was what I heard when the Super Bowl described a player error.

Some of you may have miscued certain elements of your life. Maybe it was a promise from God, a relationship or a business endeavor. You took your shot but miscued your effort. You intended the result of your decision to go one direction, but because you did not properly set up your “shot” the result of your decision went the wrong way, and in some cases might have jumped off the table.

Just as a pool player has to start somewhere and learn the finer touches of the game, so it is with us. God has picked up the miscued ball you sent in the wrong direction and brought it back to you saying, “Try the shot again.” He will do what I saw professional players do with willing first-time students in the pool hall I managed. They showed the student how to properly set up a shot and send a ball to its desired target. Some of those fledgling students went on to become excellent players performing shots that seemed to defy gravity. 

Be patient with yourself after you experience a miscue. God is eternally patient when you make mistakes. He knows who and what He is working with. He has other shots for you to perform and He needs you at the table of life learning from the Master. Don’t walk away when you are just getting started. Come back to the table and let God show you how to make your next shot. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Check the Wind of the Spirit

As a pilot, I used to fly into airports without a control tower. On my initial flyover, I would check the airport windsock to see which direction the wind was blowing and adjust my approach accordingly. A pilot always wants to land into the wind. It reduces your airspeed and makes for a slower and safer landing.

Some of you are flying into a new season. Before you land, you will need to know which way the wind of the Spirit is blowing before you assume the direction of your landing. You don't want to land downwind with excessive speed and run off the runway of your calling. Those who are flying with you in this adventure are trusting your piloting skills. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Finding Your Voice

Allowing our intellect to remain immature and reactionary while trying to have intelligent and compassionate conversations is like getting into a kayak for the first time without the discipline of training and choosing to slide into Class V rapids thinking you will survive. In these foolish attempts, our argument and credibility will get overturned and our reasoning drowned in self-delusion. Wisdom doesn’t happen overnight. Neither does a developed intellect. We need input and help from others to test the quality of our argument, the depth of our reasoning and most importantly, the condition of our heart. Ask God to show you the people who have matured in these areas. Listen to how they communicate. Watch their lives. These are the people you want to emulate. They are the ones who will help you find your voice.

Into the Empty Places

There are times when I need to go to an empty place to be filled. Once, I searched for a night sky empty of light pollution in order to experience the wonder of a panoramic sky of stars that spread from horizon to horizon. In the clarity of that night, the stars appeared so close it felt as if I could reach up and touch them. Another time I found myself traveling into a waterless desert to irrigate my soul with the beauty of a dry and desolate place. I found a similar feeling early one morning while walking the dark and empty streets of downtown Los Angeles several hours before the city awakened. In each of those places, I discovered a sweet vacancy that caused me to pause and reflect on things a busy and constantly occupied life does not consider.

Above our home is a small, elevated valley that deflects the noise of the surrounding community from within the stillness of its tree-lined enclosure. Whenever I hike into that small valley, I stop and experience what I call the hush. The unique location of the valley erases outside auditory input. The noise of people, cars, and leaf-blowers are absent in the hush. The hush silences any hurried thoughts I brought with me on the hike. In the hush, I get in touch with the deeper and more important realities of life.

Each of these places, a dark night sky, a dry desert, deserted city streets, or the hushed silence of a secluded valley, fill me in a beautifully strange way. What I  sense is Heaven’s nearness – a Kingdom closer than we realize. Some have called these locations "thin places." A thin place is where the distance between the spiritual and natural realms narrow and we see and hear things not considered in the normal routines of life.

Discovering these empty and thinned places is important to the health of our soul because they remind us that being emptied is the preparation for being filled. We need to find empty places and safe relationships that allow us to occasionally pour out the content of our lives to see if what we are carrying is from God or not. These places of safe solitude help us empty out things that pollute our thinking and make us fearful and faithless.

An empty place also gives us a sense of peace in its solitude and provides us with a reminder that life is not always about productivity, activity or trying to fill our experiences with anything beyond the experience itself. In these places, we can be still and know what is not realized elsewhere.

Friday, February 1, 2019

A Perfect Fit

Like most people, I buy my shoes at a department store. I know my size so I pick from what is available on the shelves. I did the same with a pair of western boots I own. Some people call them “cowboy boots.” Like any shoe, it takes a while for boots to mold to your foot. That is the problem with off the shelf boots or shoes. They are not an exact fit – ever.

There is another kind of western boot that is a dream of serious boot wearers. These boots are handmade. To produce this level of craftsmanship the bootmaker doesn’t work from your known size. He actually measures your foot – every square inch of it. Not just the length and width, but every imaginable curve, bump, circumference and unique dimension particular to your two feet. When he is finished the boots become like a pair of leather socks perfectly fitting over your feet. Add to that some beautiful design on the boot shafts along with a preferred toe style and you have a custom creation. Some of these boots cost thousands of dollars and the waiting list to take a pair home can be a year or two or more. No wonder these beauties cost a lot of money.

God loves to create a perfect fit for us whether it is a spouse, a ministry assignment or a place within a team working on a project. He knows our spiritual and emotional dimensions. The best part is that He does it all for free. Our only commitment to ensure this perfect fit is that we allow Him to assume the position of Lord in all the affairs of our lives and take His measurements, not work off our assumptions. 

Today, take inventory of your spiritual and relational footwear. The best fitting marriages, friendships, and Kingdom assignments are those where the Lord was allowed to take our measurements and design what we wear. If He was given permission to construct our relationships they will always work out in the end because they were created with all the uniqueness of our spiritual footprint in mind. Once the Lord is done creating these works of Heaven art, He will surround our lives with His creation and ask us to walk around and tell Him how it feels. That kind of creative love will always produce a perfect fit.