Saturday, November 30, 2019

Spiritual Blindspots

Just a few miles off the California coast near Santa Cruz, a cluster of unknown fault lines was recently discovered on the ocean floor. These seams in the tectonic plate of the planet look like wrinkles on the Earth’s crust. What makes this unusual is this area is one of the most seismically studied parts of the planet. These unseen fault lines are causing concern because of the potential they have for earthquakes and resulting tsunamis that could be released when these fault lines move. In essence, geologists discovered a tectonic blindspot.

There are similar blindspots for people of faith. We have a tendency to view the cultural landscape through the lens of our assumptions. This view is created when we look at life through the narrow lens of our personal history and opinion. We begin to believe our current reality is secure, immovable, and complete when it is really vulnerable to change at any moment. All of us only see this life in part. Outside our narrow field of vision exists a higher reality that remains hidden in our personal blindspots – hidden until God moves and reveals to us what we did not initially see. 

Just as a natural disaster catches people off guard as a terrible surprise, something similar takes place in a positive way when God moves. Each revival in Church history was not a predicted event. Yes, some prophets announced certain aspects of what was to come, but the actual spark point of the revival remained hidden behind a single act of faith. That single act of faith sent tremors through a region, creating a spiritual tsunami that swept across the Church in revival and through all spheres of culture in reformation. 

God is at work, moving in the blindspots of our vision. What will mark this movement will be the unexpected nature of what is about to take place. Don’t be afraid of the unfamiliar tremors you sense when this move of God courses through culture and the Church. All things must be shaken to bring us back to a simple trust in the One doing the shaking, not in the things being shaken. When the shaking is complete, we will see with greater clarity what God has been doing and that understanding will also bring us a greater sense of peace.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Following Your Passion

I recently saw a creative artistic expression posted by a friend of mine on his Facebook wall. I did not know that particular form of creativity was part of his life. As soon as I saw what he created, I imagined a book he could write. My friend is well-educated and known in his field of expertise as an expert and scholar, not an artist. I shared with him what I saw as a creative collaboration of what appeared to be a spur of the moment expression of an unknown talent (unknown to me) and his years of study and teaching. I made some suggestions to spark his interest in the project. If he ever creates the book, I'll be first in line to buy a copy.

My daughter, Anna, just released a book titled “Living Large on Little.” The book idea was not only a surprise to Anna, but she was surprised how easy it was to create once her life-experience and creative talents came together. Anna experienced the merging of a lifetime of wisdom and creativity that released its expression in the form of a book. That is what I hope to see in my friend as well.

God did not give us our passions to become static emotions without expression. Passion releases creativity. A friend of mine, John L. Moore, is a best-selling author who crafts his books around his passion for horses and ranch life interwoven with his unique life experiences. When you read books from people like my daughter and John L. Moore, you catch something not offered in books written without passion. 

This passion-empowered creativity is not limited to books. Another friend, Cheryl D. Garcia, sculpts beautiful steel art forms from raw metal that grace the small town where I live and beyond. I have another friend who is a winemaker who does the same with grapes, and the list goes on. Don’t allow your passion to be defined as a static emotion without release. Explore your passion and follow its leading into something tangible. This tangible quality may not be a book, a sculpture or wine. You might have a passion to serve and your tangible expression will be to show love to others through acts of service. 

Today, ask the Lord how He wants to use your passion to express His heart to others.  Following that passion might create a season in your life you did not know was possible had you not followed your passion into a place of tangible creativity. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Stay on the Safe Road

Not all detours will get you safely around the unexpected delays when life gets congested. Some detours will lead you down perilous paths. There are times when seeking constant forward progress is not the best choice. Waiting for the way to open while cultivating contentment in the delay is many times the wisest choice.

A couple of days ago, we experienced a west coast winter cyclone similar in strength to a Category 2 east coast hurricane. Our storm brought high winds and dumped loads of snow in our region. Interstate 5 was closed from northern California to southern Oregon. Stranded Thanksgiving travelers became a parking lot on the freeway waiting for snowplows to clear the roadway. 

Some travelers became impatient and decided to use their GPS to find a secondary road to get around the blocked freeway. One group took a gravel road not maintained in the winter, and all 13 of their vehicles became stuck. Finally, after hours of exposure to blizzard conditions, search and rescue were able to rescue them from what could have been a tragic incident.

This happens each winter when urban dwellers not used to the reality of winter storms and who blindly trust technology like GPS put themselves in life-threatening situations.  GPS is normally safe in the summer when the roads are dry and clear, but it is an invitation to tragedy in the winter for the uninitiated.

At times, our lives can feel like a blocked freeway in a blizzard. A storm of life may have brought our plan to a standstill, and we want to get moving again. We have places to go and people to see. In those stalled seasons, we might start looking for a way around a relationship, a mistake, or a commitment that has delayed its promise. 

If this is where you find your life, don’t be too quick to leave the current path and explore untested options.  If God spoke and put you on this path, don’t seek another route until God speaks again. The delay in your plans will require patience and trust as the Lord clears the road ahead. Wait for Him to speak. Do not trust an emotional GPS that is luring you onto a side road. The decision to respond only to the voice of God will be free from regret and will eventually deliver you safely to your destination.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Our Future Self

During a recent hike, I came upon an older man who was also hiking. I saw him ahead of me, moving slowly along our shared path. He looked to be in his late 80’s and possibly his early 90s. He was dressed in leather hiking shoes, a red-checked Pendleton coat, and a brimmed felt hat. In his right hand was a walking stick. He was moving slowly, but with purpose. 

As I passed the older man, I greeted him and kept moving. When I finally passed him, I turned around to look at him one last time, at which point he said, “Have a wonderful day.” He issued those words with a slight smile on his face. In that quick moment when I turned around and heard his kind words, I felt I was getting a glimpse of my own life somewhere in the future. 

I hope to be doing what the older man was doing with such an air of peace and kindness and mobility. My ability to reflect the image of the old man is not up to God. It is up to me. God has already made all His decisions about my life, and they are all good decisions. Now, I must be the one to choose a life that reflects that goodness, so I can walk the trails of life with hope and expectancy.

Today, we are creating a version of our future self – the person who will walk the trails of our future. The person we become, whether we walk a wooded trail or an urban sidewalk, will not be created by protecting the illusion of youth. We can try to dye our hair back to a color that long ago departed or get a new wardrobe that is too young for our station in life or try to talk in hip tones. None of those attempts can touch our core. They only reflect activity on the surface of our life. Our future self is created by the investments we make today in the quality of our character, protecting our joy and how we choose to love others. 

When I turned back around and continued down the trail at a younger and faster clip than the older man, I could not shake the impact of that encounter. It was a Spirit-empowered moment. As I navigate through the next decades of my life, I want to remember the expression on the face of the old man. He possessed something of true value that the passing of time could never jeopardize.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Unexpected Arrivals for the Holidays

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, unlikely arrivals may appear at your holiday gathering. Extended family members, prodigals, and those from distant places will suddenly appear without warning. God is bringing friends and families together to experience unexpected moments of reconnection.

49-years ago, today, I stuck my thumb out on a freeway on-ramp in Portland, Oregon, to hitchhike home for Thanksgiving. I was a student at Multnomah University (then known as Multnomah School of the Bible). It was a spur of the moment decision. For days, I was thinking about my mom's pumpkin pie and dad carving a turkey.  

I was broke and had no plans to return home. In a moment spurred on by a sudden feeling of loneliness, I grabbed a toothbrush and left my basement apartment. I walked to the nearest freeway on-ramp, raised my thumb, and headed south. My attire in those days was blue jeans, a green Army field jacket, and cowboy boots. Those were simple times.

It was late afternoon when I caught my first ride. The driver was an older man in a pick-up truck who was a grandfatherly type. He took me south of Eugene on Interstate 5. He gave my 5 bucks when he finally dropped me off at a rest stop. It was raining and after sunset. I looked out at the parking lot and saw a familiar van from my previous college days at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. It was what was called a “hippy van” in those days driven by a guy and girl I knew. I slept the night under the van on bare asphalt wrapped in a thin blanket my friends gave me. 

The next morning before dawn, a diesel truck driver gave me a ride south to Ashland, Oregon, where a college girl picked me up and got me all the way to Sacramento. She dropped me off atop a freeway interchange where a CHP officer cited me for walking in a restricted area. I was so tired that I got the giggles. The cop also started laughing. Another ride took me just south of San Francisco, where I finally called my folks on a payphone and let them know I was coming home for Thanksgiving. Dad drove from our home in Los Gatos to pick me up. The journey home started with an unexpected longing in my heart.

I shared this piece of my personal history for a reason. There are people we love that God wants to awaken a hunger for reconnection. He will use something as normal as a hunger for a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal to spur them on to take the first steps toward home. For me, it was as simple as experiencing hunger pangs and loneliness. Those emotions increased and finally caused me to raise my thumb and spend the next 24 hours in transit. 

This holiday season, expect the unexpected. God may have a loved one making their way home as I write these words. Their arrival will make this Thanksgiving and Christmas unexpectedly wonderful and memorable.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Finding Our Place of Rest

Today, one of the most critical decisions any of us will make is the choice to rest. Our greatest peace and our most significant accomplishments come from a place of rest. Without being able to rest we will create gods in our image that will become taskmasters beating us down and driving us slavishly forward in submission to something far less than can what is produced when we choose to rest in God’s presence.

Psalm 23:2 reads, “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters" (NASB).  “He makes me lie down” is a familiar and traditional translation representing a primary Hebrew root word that can be translated in a variety of ways depending on its application. It can describe an animal resting with all four legs curled up beneath its body like a deer at rest. It can also be used to describe a mother bird brooding over the chicks under her wings, or a lion crouched in waiting to spring upon its prey. It has also been translated to describe sin crouching at the door, waiting to pounce. In each case, the subject has chosen the posture of rest, waiting, or crouching. 

In order to live in the place and posture of rest described in Psalm 23 we must first lay down the burdens we carry while trying to continually live upright in a posture of self-effort. Someone who chooses a position of rest is no longer able to carry anything. The weight of the burden must be put aside to experience rest. The image of God forcing someone to rest is not depicted in the definition of rest as represented in Psalm 23. He isn't making or forcing anyone to rest if they are unwilling.

Some have interpreted the word “make” to mean God forces us to rest. Have you ever tried to rest when you felt driven or go to sleep without changing the worrisome thought pattern that is causing you to not sleep? It doesn’t work. I prefer other translations that reveal the heart of God in more compassionate terms. These translations read, “He lets me rest” (NLT), “He offers a resting place for me” (TPT) or “You have bedded me down in lush meadows” (MSG). 

Rest involves a choice, not by God, but from us. It requires that we make an exchange before we can receive its benefit. God might ask us to give Him our need to control a particular outcome or the desire to control the decision-making process of another person. Control seems to be the issue that creates our rest-less-ness. In that exchange, we will receive back from God the ability to lie down in the green pasture of trust. The exchange unweights us from the burdens we carry and allows us to bed down in a resting place we did not know existed until the exchange was made.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Fruitfulness in a Barren Place

A harvest of fruitfulness is coming in response to your faithfulness. You thought you would be standing in a bountiful place, watching the fruit of your faithfulness grow, but instead, you have been surrounded by a dry, barren desert. You did not realize God was growing your fruit in the realm of the Spirit. He will deliver its treasure to you as a sign He has not forgotten you or your faithful commitment. This delivery will create a testimony and will be seen by all who have watched your painful struggle. The delivered fruit will be a testimony of God's goodness. Fruit eaten in a barren place always tastes sweeter.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Shifting from Complexity to Simplicity

In 2017, futurist David Houle said we had entered what he calls The Shift Age. Houle forecast The Shift Age will take place in the twenty-year period between 2017 and 2037. In those twenty years, cultural change will happen at a rate faster than in any 50 year period of human history.

What does this mean, especially for those representing God to a culture? It means old ways that are cumbersome and overly laden with a religious process will be left in the dust. We are in a Habakkuk moment where our mission and its execution must be simple and able to be communicated on the run. It is a Paul Revere model of ministry able to make announcements from the equivalent of riding on horseback while issuing appropriate warnings to a slumbering culture, and in some cases, a slumbering Church.

God is simplifying all things so that we can live in peace in this time of cultural acceleration. God wants us to simply our message and the content of our faith so it can be easily communicated and lived out in a hurried world. A simplified expression of our faith will become an invitation for people to come and experience the refreshing presence of Jesus. The time of weighing down people with excess religious baggage has ended. A supernatural simplicity is being released. If we can take hold of that simplicity and live it out, God will be able to use us in remarkable ways.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Nets of Promise

Nets of promise broken
contents falling
into the hands of God, caught
never lost, held secure
for another time.

The End of the Teflon Season

With the approach of the year 2020, it is tempting for many of us to use those numbers to speak of clearer vision and greater focus like someone with 20/20 vision. While the comparison is obvious and subject to overuse, it is not without some merit and prophetic importance.

For the last year, I have been sensing we are coming to the end of what I would call The Teflon Season. Teflon was one of the first frying pan coatings that helped food not to stick while cooking. There is a downside to this coating. Using a Teflon coated frying pan at high heat will begin to breakdown its coating capabilities and release toxic fumes into the air. 

The phrase “Teflon Don” was associated with gangster Don Gotti who seemed to always be able to elude prosecution until one day his situation heated up and his defenses broke down like a Teflon frying pan under high heat. 

The issues of justice and fairness have not seemed to stick to some individuals and institutions. A righteous consequence has slipped off their life like an egg fried in a Teflon frying pan slips unhindered onto a waiting plate. This ability to slip away without sticking is about to change. 

The Spirit will be who applies the heat that will cause the breakdown of these defensive barriers, not our preferred vein of politics or our agenda for cultural transformation.  Human heat can only apply emotion to a situation, not a righteous resolution. When God applies heat to a culture, He does so to redeem, not destroy. He forgives the guilty and confronts the remnants of a Pharisee heart in all of us as the process unfolds, and things heat up. God’s application of heat is no respecter of persons. It is applied to everyone and everything on the cultural stovetop.

As 2020 approaches and things continue to heat up, align yourself with the heart of God, not the unbridled passion of people. If you can subdue your emotions and not be led by the demands placed on you for your agreement and alignment, you will begin to see clearly what is taking place. With 20/20 spiritual sight, you will see what God is doing in our nation that is preparing us to witness the most amazing season of national revival and reformation.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Political Spirit

A political spirit does not limit its influence within the realm of politics. It is present wherever compromise overcomes ethics. It is present in churches, denominations, corporations, and organizations where managers, not apostolic gifts lead a group. A political spirit forms its alliances in hallways and backrooms. It then enters a decision-making gathering where the unsuspecting are gathered to be led unknowingly through a process of agreement toward a pre-determined outcome. Those naïve to these manipulations come away thinking their voice was heard, and the process was honored. The sad reality is they were used as pawns to push through an agenda. Apostles confront and remove a political spirit because the heart of God takes a greater priority in their thinking than any alliance and agreement.

Digging Deeper into Your History

While walking along a trail, I sensed a nudge to turn around and face into the sun. When I turned around, I saw where I had just hiked. The sun was reflecting off the leaves, giving the path a faint glow. This is a historic mining area called Rich Gulch. It is lined with glory holes. 

A glory hole is a small hand-dug pit created in the 1850s by gold prospectors looking for surface gold and financial glory. They dug these holes with pick and shovel and quickly moved on. We are told only 10% of the gold was found using this method and that more still exists under these shallow pits. After taking the photo, I turned back around and continued my hike. Then the Lord began to speak. 

Don’t be quick to dismiss what lies beneath the recent surface activity in your life that produced little results. You quickly worked over an area of undiscovered relational and spiritual treasure and moved on. You left behind a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. The thought of returning and working the claim again has no appeal. If the Lord asks you to return to what you have defined and dismissed as a failure, do not let the fatiguing memory of your past efforts or a lack of faith stop you from returning and digging deeper this time around.  A mother lode of revelation and glory awaits your obedience. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Of Leaves and Life

This week, I raked summer shade
into piles, heaps of leaves assembled,
the closure of a season.
This week, two died younger
than me, a friend of a friend another,
the father of my daughter’s friend.
Perhaps, this is aging, dropping
people like leaves raked
into piles of passage, reminding us,
testimonies of warm,
shaded summers when
we sat outside in laughter, not thinking
about our coming fall, of our falling leaves
giving way to our winter.

Rescued by God's Mercy and Grace

I am still amazed at the mercy and grace God displayed when he came and rescued me 40 years ago. In the first couple of minutes of this TV interview, I share my story. Click this text to watch.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Experiencing a Restart in a Standstill Season

I have lived long enough to realize in every area of life, over time, we will need to experience a restart. Each new season requires a fresh encounter with God to get us moving once again from a place of standstill. 
Experience and success in any area of personal gifting will come to a place where we will begin to sense a lagging. This is unfamiliar friction will begin to impede our forward progress and productivity. As we begin to slow toward a stop, we realize our gift or talent is not working like it did in the past. In that realization, we sense a strange, and unwelcomed friction has overcome our forward motion. We begin to realize we are working from a past application and context that was used to express our gift or talent. That context is no more. 

The combination of a gift, talent, and context was given to us to relate to people and situations within a given time frame, not so we could live on through each season of life in an unthinking repetition of what worked in the past, hoping it would continue to work in the future. That way of thinking requires no faith or dependence upon God.
At some point, if we fail to evaluate and correct our assumptions properly, we will eventually come to a frustrating standstill. No amount of commitment or self-effort will get us moving again. In those static and frustrating seasons, the only way forward will be through the portal of a fresh encounter with God. We can miss these opportunities because we are overly focused on self-discipline or gaining a new skill set to get us moving again.  
If any of this is speaking to you, do something I just did as I was writing out this word. Stop, open your hands to Heaven and invite the Lord to do something new. Ask Him for a fresh encounter with His presence then begin to live in the expectancy of that coming experience. It will bring a beautiful and welcomed peace into your standstill, and that peace will abide with you until the Spirit gets things moving once again.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Deeper Sight

A call for discernment has been sent out. Those who answer this call will need to reevaluate what has been presented to them as truth evaluated thorough the limitations of natural sight and human intellect. 

These shallow forms of surface perception can blind our vision to a deeper contest of spiritual warfare being waged between light and darkness. The devil is not a red demonic-looking being with horns on his head and a pointed tail. Neither are the people being used by him to promote dark agendas that we paint with the same brushstroke. We love a Hollywood depiction of hell because it does not require that we look deeper than our prejudice on a particular subject.  The devil is a being of influence who desires to mask his presence to naïve eyes.  Our biases, alliances, and resulting alignments help to create an image of the enemy that can blind us from seeing deeper into the reality of the spiritual warfare currently being waged. 

A great deal of surface fighting is currently taking place in the Church and within the culture.  Each person is doing what is presumed to be right in their own eyes. This shallow form of sight will have us engage in a surface conflict without battling the deeper foundation of deception that is constructing a larger lie. The worldviews represented on both sides of human opinion can be used by hell to rob individuals and entire cultures of their God-ordained destinies. 

The discernment God is releasing will allow us to see through the mirage of hell into the heart of God. Some of that mirage may actually be what we currently see as truth and the only way forward. Discernment will require a willingness to look beneath the surface of our beloved status quo to see from a different perspective than the personal interpretation of reality we have assumed to be God's.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Rested Revelation

There are times when the next step forward is discovered when we simply stop and rest. We live in a culture that continually drives us to experience more and more forward motion. Constant motion is advertised as proof that we have it all together and are on a mission. There will be times that require us to take a step forward, but those times are fewer than we have been led to believe. That is one reason why an increasing number of people are experiencing false starts and deeper levels of frustration. Our next steps are discovered through a process of revelation only found when we choose to rest. This is not an inactive rest. It is a place of active listening that offers insight and direction to those who have chosen to be emotionally and spiritually motionless.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Our Mouthy Culture

I would like to comment on many things taking place in the public square, but in doing so, I would probably scare some people and offend others with my frankness. So, I remain silent and pray. My lips carry multiple scars from years of biting them in an attempt to restrain my desire to respond to the emotional lure of the current hot-button issue.

It feels good to vent, at least for a moment. Some mask their venting under the heading of “speaking the truth in love,” patriotism, being a "prophet" or a  wide variety of other permission slips. If our comments are not motivated by a heart of love and examined by God’s Spirit, we are just another source of negative noise. 

Venting is fed by a cowardly bravado that comes from living an insulated life free of the consequence of our words.  Social media and our TV sound byte culture have added to the problem. Emotional venting is short-sighted and insensitive. It can wound people without having a relational context in which to work things out. It can also invite a punch in the nose when someday the recipient of our unedited comment meets us in a dark alley. In the end, our venting only adds to the descending level of cultural decency we see playing out before our eyes. 

Do I have opinions? You bet I do. But, “you got to know when to hold em’, and when to fold em’” as Kenny used to sing. Today, as I try to do each day, I will take my opinions to a quiet place and let God deal with my attitude before I open my mouth. I wish I had a perfect track record in this area, but like you, I don’t.  Imagine what could happen if we all asked God about the integrity and delivery of our words before we opened our mouth. I wonder what the dialogue in our culture would begin to sound like.

Friday, November 15, 2019


Together, we ran toward a cliff edge hand in hand, confronting our fear. At its imposing edge, we lept in faith, reaching for the heart of God. At the moment of our leaping, wings of mercy and grace grew out beyond our circumstance, and took us higher and higher across a wide chasm that once declared, "This is impossible."

Anchored and Secure

I am not afraid of heights…certain kinds of heights. Yesterday, I was doing a few to-do list things around our home. One item was using the leaf blower to clear leaves from our roof. Jan was meeting with someone in town, so I decided to have the job done when she returned. I grabbed a ladder and hauled the leaf blower up the ladder, placing it safely on the roof, and I followed gingerly. 

After I was all done, it was time to get down.  I shimmied on my bottom to the edge of the roof and froze. If felt like the 8 feet between me and the brick patio below was equal to standing on the cliff edge of El Capitan in Yosemite looking down. The thought of stretching one leg out into open space and engaging the step on the ladder created a paralyzing fear in me. I sat down and thought, “Well, Jan should be home in an hour, so I might as well enjoy the view.“ I had worked up a plan just in case a neighbor saw me and wondered. I had a plan to pretend I was actually doing something up on the roof like a prolonged repair on my leaf blower or just enjoying the view as a confident solitary male scanning the vista of his world. All of these contemplations were taking place as my quivering body held tight to the asphalt shingles near the gutter. 

Finally, I saw an angel. My daughter Anna arrived home. I called out, “Anna, could you come here?” I asked Anna to move the ladder to a better angle and hold it as her almost 70-year old father descended the ladder, promising her I would never pull that stunt again – alone.

All of this is drama was coming from a guy who, in his younger days, did some crazy things. As a young SWAT cop, I rappelled off of high-rise buildings, down elevator shafts, and shimmied along a rope stretched between two buildings. The roof of our home was different. I wasn’t anchored. When I rappelled, I personally tied my Swiss Seat and attached my carabiner. The anchor knot on the rappelling ropes were ropes that I personally checked for their security. On one training exercise, we were rappelling off a ten-story building while the winds coming off the San Francisco Bay caused us to swing from side to side like arching rag dolls on a string. No sweat. It was fun because I knew my anchor point and setup were secure and would remain attached no matter how hard the wind blew.

When the writer of Hebrews wrote, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our soul” (Hebrews 6:19), he was describing an anchor of hope that is secured in eternity. That anchor is our hope in God that He will always fulfill His promises. It is not a hope in our circumstances or a preferred outcome. The line connecting us to that anchor is our faith. We can choose to live securely or not.  Our anchor of hope is set securely in Heaven by the Promise Keeper and will never be compromised no matter what happens here on Earth. We can ascend and descend the most challenging experiences of life, knowing God’s anchor will never fail, no matter how significant the obstacle or how tight our line of faith is stretched. Fear only comes when we live like we are not anchored to something greater than our best efforts and our worst fears.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Fog is Lifting

At our best, we only see and understand the events of life in part. The experience of personal and cultural change has deposited people in new places without their full knowledge of how they arrived or what had actually taken place in the transition. Most of life comes as a surprise after a significant change has transpired. In other words, we didn’t see it coming. 
After these significant events have taken place, we become aware that something different is now surrounding our life even though we cannot yet see the fullness of the change. It is like a person standing in a field surrounded by a dense fog. Insight and vision of the encircling environment only come when the morning sun appears, and the sun and begins to burn away the fog to reveal a previously hidden landscape. This is why Scripture advises us to be slow to speak. Premature announcements are many times wrong. No one knows what the current fog of life will reveal once it lifts.
Until the fog lifts, we are to plant and cultivate God’s peace. Peace is not dependent on what we can see or not see. It has the ability to reinterpret the environment within the fog. Peace will adjust our spiritual eyes to see through the mist to comprehend something greater God is doing outside the realm of natural sight. Peace prepares us to see and properly interpret our surroundings without fear and distress becoming our only interpretive tools. 
The greatest work taking place in the foggy places of life is not the work of the enemy, but the work of God. Choosing to live in God’s peace will help us navigate wisely through a foggy experience. Once the fog finally lifts, we will be able to see the greater work God had been doing all along, not the work of fear the enemy offered as our only blinding option. 

I just heard someone begin to laugh in the fog.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Word of Caution

You can turn off your favorite news outlet for a year and turn it back on again, and not much will have changed except the names of the participants in the news stories. While that can be true, I believe we are living in a unique moment of history.  It is important to rightly discern to what wagon we have chosen to hitch our worldview and theology. There are consequences to these choices. 

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, ‘Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don’t live in dread of what frightens them. Make the Lord of Heaven’s armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble. He will keep you safe '" (Isaiah 8:11-12).

The Lord is issuing a word of caution to all believers, especially to the authors, speakers and those who have a visible and trusted presence in the Church. We can too easily join with a spirit of fear and prophesy a future God does not intend to become our reality. Some prophesying is not verbal, but positional. To become part of the audience of these voices empowers their deception as we join with them in an unthinking head-nodding agreement. 

We are told in Scripture to be as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove. We will need wisdom and a gentle spirit to walk through the corridors of our current cultural discontent with any hope of emerging on the other side of this moment in history spiritually and emotionally intact. Let hope, not fear, lead you forward. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Glove of Faith

Yesterday, I was walking through a sporting goods store and saw some baseball gloves, aka mitts. It had been years since I held a glove. I picked one up and put it on. As soon as my hand slipped into the glove, I sensed the Lord speaking. He said, “Give Me something to throw.” In other words, the Lord is asking us to give Him a target of faith so He can release something that will be a game-changer.  For some issues in our personal lives and within the larger culture, we are living in a "bottom of the 9th" moment. What happens next in our prayer life has the potential to create critical outcomes. 

Raising our glove of faith will require that we go beyond the normal prayers we issue that sound like “God change this” or “change so and so.” We are being asked to craft very specific prayers from the vocabulary of God’s heart, not from our anger, disgust, or a preferred outcome. Our mandate is to pray for His heart to be revealed in the lives of individuals and nations. The encounters with God that will come from these prayers will produce game-changing moments that will be recorded in history.  We cannot even imagine the outcomes of goodness God has in mind if we would pray by His rules. 

At this moment, a runner from hell is sprinting toward first base assured of victory. The Lord is ready to fire an answer to prayer into your glove of faith and when that happens, the game will be over. Raise your glove and pray for the Father’s heart to be revealed. Nothing is over until God throws the final answer. The resulting sting you feel in the palm of your glove will be a sweet confirmation that your prayers have been answered.

Monday, November 11, 2019

When Life is Falling Down

Things will eventually fall into place. In the process of finding that place, it is the “falling” part of the process that can seem confusing, and at times, overwhelming. A final destination in freefall can be undefinable. It will require trust, especially when you and the things you hold dear appear to be falling together without a known destination or outcome. In the falling times, your only peace will come by trusting in the goodness of God. The knowledge of His goodness will be your peace in the turmoil no matter where you end up landing. In this uneasy transit, declare His goodness to your soul and to all the things falling with you. Those declarations have the power to change the environment of an uncertain transition.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Our Flight of Freedom

Yesterday, a sad image was posted of a dead eagle lying face down in a creek in western Oregon. Authorities are seeking information that would lead to the arrest of the person responsible for killing the magnificent creature. When I first saw the image, I was filled with sadness, anger, and disgust. At the same time, I felt it was a call to prayer for our nation at this moment in our history. 

The eagle is a symbol of the freedom God has given to us as a nation. Like any nation, we have done some things well, and in some cases, we have failed. Those successes came because we walked with God expressing His heart for all people no matter what politic or lifestyle they choose. When it comes to freedom, God is no respecter of persons. All are promised freedom. It is that healthy image of freedom that dark forces desire to bring down and portray as the legacy of our nation. 

All nations throughout history rise and fall. Some have fallen before the completion of their God-given assignment. The premature demise of a nation can be caused by many issues. When I first looked at the photograph of the dead eagle and had such a visceral response, I prayed that we would not fall from our flight of freedom because we failed to pray for our nation and those in places of authority, no matter what our political preference.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).

Friday, November 8, 2019

Trustworthy Encounters

Each night, I kneel by our bed and pray for my family that we would have dreams in the night birthed by the Spirit. Last night, I was the recipient of that prayer.

In the dream, I was sitting across from someone known throughout the world, not only as one of the wealthiest people on the planet but as someone who is a social engineer in his particular area of expertise. He kept looking across the table at me and finally asked, “Would you teach me?” In the dream, I knew he was drawing on my background as a combat firearms instructor. He wanted me to show him how to safely and wisely use a handgun. His request was a metaphor for something deeper.  I told him I would take him to a private place in a forest to learn his skill away from inquisitive eyes. A public shooting range would put him in a visible place where unwanted attention would come his way, and as a result, he would not be able to learn.

When the man asked me to teach him, the Spirit informed me through the unspoken language of dreams that he was actually asking me to train him in the ways of the Kingdom. He was free to extend the invitation because he trusted me to protect his identity and not expose him to any jeopardy. I knew the dream was a message for the Church.

Those with apostolic or prophetic anointing are being positioned next to people in positions of power and influence in our culture. If you are one of these people, do not be intimidated by the wealth and power you see. You are not being placed in these opportunities because you have the technical skills or specific training required to move within these spheres of influence.   You are being placed in these opportunities because of your anointing - an anointing that carries the personal and corporate breakthrough these individuals seek.

As these influencers get ready to invite us into their world, we need to ask ourselves a question - can we be trusted? Can we be trusted to care for the vulnerability and privacy of someone with social influence and not treat them as a trophy of our ministry? This is a selfie-free zone that needs to remain secret and not advertised.  The interactions that take place in these relationships will carry significant cultural implications.  Our personal agendas, our undisciplined need for self-advancement, and our slavish social alignments can cause us to violate this sacred trust and close the door on something with the potential to release a significant Kingdom impact. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Distant Sight

I was looking at a photograph of a favorite surfing spot of mine from my younger days in Santa Cruz, California. As a young man waiting for the next set of waves, my attention was focused only on what was immediate and soon to arrive. 

Now, when I look at the ocean, I find myself looking beyond the next set of waves approaching the shoreline to the distant horizon. This is where faith looks to reveal what is approaching beyond our natural ability to visualize. 

This distant sight reveals the tsunamis of faith that are mounting up and beginning their run toward the shore. Don’t get caught up in the obvious, those things that are soon, immediate and close to shore and visible to all. God is asking you to look in faith beyond the obvious to see what is not yet seen with natural sight and intuition. These are the things that will have the most significant impact on your life and an unsuspecting culture. 

God has given you distant sight – the ability to see in faith beyond what others have assumed to be the only reality.  Make your preparations based on what you see with the eyes of faith, and you will never be caught inside being tumbled and crushed under the weight of the unexpected. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

God is Raking the Seedbed of Prophetic Ministry

God is raking the prophetic landscape as a master gardener would carefully rake the soil of a delicate flower bed. He is removing the debris that gets in the way of fully appreciating the beauty of what He has planted. The Lord is removing assumptions we have allowed to craft our message and the invasive species of human pride that could eventually take over the simple beauty of the garden if not challenged. 

In this raking time, some will be surprised at what the Lord’s rake will remove from the prophetic seedbed. We have come through a season where much has been planted in the name of the Lord. Some of these words have come from the seed pouch of the Spirit as an authentic word of the Lord. Others have been formed from human opinion crafted under the influence of a religious or political spirit.  

When the Lord finishes this time of raking, He will turn to each of us who speak in His name and hand us His rake. He will ask us to rake at His direction through our motives to prepare our hearts as a seedbed for the critical words He is about to plant destined to bloom in the coming harvest of revival and reformation.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Breakfast Choices

I do most of the cooking nowadays. Tonight, I asked Jan what she would like for breakfast, pancakes, or cheesy grits, both accompanied by eggs and bacon. Looking across the living room at me, she smiled and said, "Your call." I'm having a cheesy grits thing going on, but the thought of sweet maple syrup and a slathering of butter dripping over a stack of cakes are also making their culinary appeal. For my health-conscious friends, a few mornings each week, we also do oats and blueberries along with few avocado toast offerings tossed in for good measure, so...we will be OK.

Making a Way

In the sphere of cultural influence called Arts & Entertainment, people are being touched by God. Each day more and more celebrities are coming forth and publicly confessing Jesus Christ. This is a Barnabas moment for the Church. Some are concerned with the authenticity of these testimonies. God asks us to embrace any evidence of faith, even a young and still developing faith. When Paul was touched by Jesus on the road to Damascus, many in the Church were afraid to him, thinking Paul was still an enemy and had not changed. I am thankful Barnabas was willing to stand in the gap and open up the way for Paul to enter into fellowship. That introduction made by Barnabas is still having a profound effect on the Church.  

"When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus" (Acts9:26-27).

Monday, November 4, 2019

What Happened When I Stopped Reading The Bible

For 18 months, I did not read the Bible. I listened to it on a Bible audio app. I wanted to experience the Word like someone sitting in a home meeting 2,000 years ago when a letter from Paul was read to the small group gathered. Not everyone present in those meetings was literate. No one had Bibles. I wanted to hear the Word without input from commentaries, word studies, and people's opinions on how to interpret what I was hearing. It was a challenge to hear through the deafness created by my own history and biases.  I wanted to receive a raw and pure transmission of truth. 

At first, I struggled not holding and reading the familiar leather-bound Bible I had grown so familiar with over the years. After a few days, something changed. I awoke each morning and discovered a hunger to hear Scripture with new ears. In some ways, it was like I was hearing the truth for the first time.  

I remember the day the Lord told me the season of just listening to the Word was finished. I left those 18 months knowing something had shifted in my heart, yet, to be honest, I could not tell you what it was. I have returned to reading Scripture, but now I read it aloud. There is something about the sound of God’s Word entering the environment of our home that is creating a fresh visitation of God's Spirit. 

The Lord is asking many of us to entertain different ways to experience our faith for the new season that is unfolding. This is not just about how we receive the Word. It is about all the things we have assumed. Something new is afoot. A reset is taking place. All our assumptions are up for examination. None of what is taking place will compromise the core of truth, but it will make the parts of our lives that have been enslaved by a religious spirit nervous and uneasy, and that is a good thing.

God is Writing the Story of Your Life

When I write a book or an article, it is rarely done in a linear fashion. I am not a traditional author who works from an outline. Donald Miller, the author of Blue Like Jazz, once said of his writing style, “If you want to see where my next book will come from, read my blog.” I am not a novelist who develops character profiles and plotlines. I write like a prophet who is creating a dish of revelation from a variety of ingredients with a dash of apostolic insight tossed in here and there to provide structure to my writing.

The way I write can resemble how we live our lives. Not much of life is lived in a straight line forming a predictable route of travel. Our journey is filled with detours, collisions, and misdirection.  Our lives are a collection of what can appear to be isolated events. These events feel separate and disconnected until God steps in and threads His needle with the scarlet thread of His loving interaction in our life and pulls together each isolated event to create the timeline of our unique story. 

If you are feeling a bit fragmented, I want to encourage you that each stand-alone and seemingly disconnected experience of your life will someday be brought together to reveal a script you could not have imagined nor written. God is the only one capable of writing an accurate account of your life.

Perhaps I am sharing all of this with you because it was just this morning that a writing project finally began to fall into place as God tugged on the scarlet thread, and all the pieces seemed to come together. If we give God the time and space required to knit together the narrative of our story, we will live without the frustration and angst that comes when we try to write our story without the help of His merciful editorial wisdom. Only God can bring together the fragmented seasons of our life and create a bestseller.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Woke Church

After spending 46 years sharing the same bed with Jan, we have learned how to discern the difference between our sleeping sounds and when one of us is beginning to wake up. Early this morning, I quietly called out to Jan, “Are you awake?” She replied, “Well, it sure sounds like you are.” Such is life when the clocks get changed.

In the natural cycles of sleep and becoming awakened, we all make unique sounds. The same is true in matters of the Spirit. The sounds we make with our life will let those around us know our status of awareness. In our culture, the term “woke” is being used with more frequency. The definition of the word can be broad. Simply, it refers to someone who is socially awake to issues of justice, discrimination, and human need. Being a woke person is not a bad idea if we are being awakened to issues that are on God's heart. Many times the term is used to define people who are not aligned politically with a particular worldview. At that level of understanding, little traction is gained, only further division.

There is a spiritual awakening taking place in our culture. The awakening has the potential to be a woke moment for the Church.  Believers who choose to live isolated, nervous, and fearful of a changing culture will retreat into irrelevance. Those not under the umbrella of a traditional definition of faith will toss “woke” bombs at the Church, seeing their irrelevance as a lack of social engagement. This divide is growing wider each day.

The awakening taking place within the Church looks a lot like the ministry of Jesus. He gathered 12 people who were not filled with the Spirit and not yet believers in a traditional sense of the word and called them to be His first disciples. Disciple is a word that defines a person as a learner. Jesus gave His disciples authority to cast out demons, raise the dead, and perform miracles. All of this took place before they would fit neatly into our 21st-century evangelical definition of what it means to be Christian and signing them off on each point of our preferred doctrinal statement. Jesus did the same thing with the 70, and with anyone willing to learn the ways of Heaven. The early disciples belonged before they believed. They belonged because they were invited by Jesus to follow Him. 

You will see evidence of this awakening when spiritually woke believers begin inviting people from outside the familiarity of their community of faith to follow them in the Kingdom's mandate to make disciples of all nations. These woke believers will see people from every walk of life as a potential learner who just needs someone to give them a chance to taste and see the goodness of God. Believers who are willing to do this and risk the condemnation and wrath it will bring are the woke ones God will use to advance His Kingdom. They are the people making the noise of someone being awakened from religious slumber.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Becoming a Trustworthy Prophetic Voice

If you are a prophet who loves and cherishes the Lord's Church, you will see and announce things long before those who hold positions of power and influence can see the need for what you declared. A test of the condition of your heart may come, days, months, even years after you prophesied something and it finally comes to pass. The test will be passed when you no longer have a desire to issue an "I told you so," or claim original authorship when a prophetic utterance comes to fruition. That will be something that will distinguish you as a trustworthy voice.

The Clean-Up and Set-Up

In a dream, I saw a large conference center. It was just used to host a gathering of hundreds of people. When the event was finally over, and all the attendees had departed, a stillness settled over the facility. Looking around the room, I could see it needed straightening up, the trashcans emptied, and the floor vacuumed. The structure was architecturally sound, and its design appealing and inviting. Nothing had changed in those areas. It merely looked used and in need of refreshment. Before the next group arrives, the facility will need a thorough clean up from the past and a fresh set up for the future.

I know the dream had to do in part with the busy season Jan and I experienced in the last couple of years. It has a broader application for some of you who have been running hard. Like us, I invite you to not let the busyness you experienced in the past or the emotional debris that still clutters your thoughts to get in the way of the new events that are approaching your life. God wants to use this time to prepare you to be ready to receive the next gathering He is bringing your way. 

At the end of the image, I saw a lone janitor quietly working through the empty meeting room. He was enjoying the quiet space and the alone time as he picked up trash, straightened chairs, and swept the floor. He was singing a song as he worked, its melody echoing throughout the emptiness. His song was a prayer. 

The last season was filled with the execution of essential plans and activities that will produce significant fruit. This time of quiet work and reflection has equal significance. In this interlude of clean up and set up, God will whisper to you what He has planned for the next season.  He enjoys this alone time with you as much as He enjoys the events themselves.  

Friday, November 1, 2019

God is Increasing Your Spiritual Range of Motion

You feel like you are being stretched to the breaking point. That is not what’s taking place, nor is it the purpose of what you are experiencing. 

God is not causing your pain. That is your response to the rigidity and inflexibility He wants to remove. He is using what is taking place to loosen you up in preparation for a future that will require you to move in new directions. This current season of stretching is designed to increase your spiritual range of motion. 

This new range of motion will allow you to view life with fresh insight enabling you to see from Heaven's perspective. These stretching moments will be repeated again and again in your future as you grow and mature. In the future, they will not appear as daunting as what is taking place at this moment. Your fear will give way to expectation. 

When future challenges arrive, you will be able to reach farther and adapt more easily to the twists and turns they present without breaking and succumbing to fear when they begin to exert their initial pressure and resistance. God is making you ready to fully engage what He has planned for you to encounter in the future. Let Him have His way and you will arrive ready to engage the goodness He has prepared.