Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Keeping things in Prophetic Perspective

Being exalted by others in itself is not a bad thing. Not being able to handle people's exaltation is a bad thing. Jesus was able to deal with the demands of the crowd, the constant fawning, the trying to make him an earthly King. He knew what his mission is and focused on that. He didn't give into temptations.

You and I are not so gifted. We can fight against it. We can pretend that it doesn't bother us that people think we are something. We can take the titles and adulation and think they won't become US.

We fool ourselves. We start to expect that people should KNOW instinctively that we are are a mighty man or woman of God walking in all kinds of authority.

We start to think we should get preferential treatment. The fact that people continue seek us out makes us believe we are unique. The devil loves the fact that we might actually believe this. He can really set us up for a fall when we start to believe our own press releases.

When that times comes, kneel down to help a child, sit and pray with a homeless one, wash someone's feet (metaphorically) enter into a world where no one knows who you are. You can remain pure and unspoiled as you do.

Be generous with your time and energies, spend them on people who can pay you nothing. Who don't even know who you are. Stay humble. Stay contrite. Then God can use you.

Sometimes when the Lord has told me something and then it comes to pass I want to say something. After I have gone to the person for whom the Prophecy was intended, I don't dare reveal what or who I told what the Lord was about to do in their lives. It's really hard, I would love to shout it from the rooftops and say, "LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE".

The problem is people think it comes from a man, the prophet. NO, It's the Lord's work. Not mine. This week two different prophetic things I gave people who are leaders have come to pass. They know who they are. They know it happened just as He said it would.

If there is one thing I want you to know, it's not the Prophet, I'm just a messenger boy. The trick is being open to hear and relay accurately. Someone said about me to someone else, "Here, talk to him, he's a real prophet". I was sorta offended. We need prophets. Lots of prophets. Not one man shows. More Lord, More.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Safe Christianity and the Shift

We have been hearing about "SHIFT" for a long time.

Well it has, and it's not good news for many churches who have been left behind.  They have been playing safe with the devil.. and he's winning the war.

The shift means that there are certain things that many church growth books touted that simply are no longer keys to building fellowships.  When I think about the "tools" for church growth there are several which no longer work.  The shift has taken place and too many are using a pipe wrench when a screwdriver is required (metaphorically).

Once upon a time if you wanted to grow a church you brought a loaf of bread.  Or cookies.  Certainly coffee after service.  You preached a series of sermons designed to get people back next week.  You sent out "glad you came" letters.  You did mailers.  You did badly disguised "Surveys" to solicit potential members.  You tried to make your in house band the best at covering whatever K-Love was playing this week.  The pastor did his best to become best friends with100 people.  Of course there was the requisite visitor table, greeters and such to make sure no one escaped alive.

You can add a hundred other things.  The church growth books are full of them.

Not all they touted were wrong. Children and teenage ministry is essential.  Well taught leadership was urgent.  You can't spend too much time on that.

The one thing that churches did to promote growth was sensational special events.  Sometimes a band, sometimes a special teaching on prayer, leadership, wealth building or a worship conference.  All good things, safe things.

The problem is the shift; no one any longer responds to safe.  There is too much competition.  TV, Movies, Shopping and other things that make "safety" ineffective.  Sure there are a few ministries like Joel Osteen who has hit a formula for success that is more Tony Robbins Dale Carnegie than Jesus (eat my flesh drink my blood).   So in order to try to draw a crowd (read that increase offerings) people are replicating the safe they think works elsewhere and does...for a while.

Here's the issue, we don't serve a safe God.  In fact He is a God of infinite power and might.  Creator of heaven and earth.  Mighty in exploits.  He isn't looking for safe, He is looking for overcomers.  Overcoming takes more than being safe.

In his book   "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" CS Lewis has this exchange between Mr Beaver who is taking care of Peter, Susan and Lucy.  Lucy asks about ASLAN (Jesus), "IS HE SAFE?"


“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Yet in today's representation of Aslan on earth (Jesus) we have degraded him to a Safe God.  The world no longer wants what has become a lukewarm activity based Christianity.  We are not reaching them any more.  I have watched this in my 40 years as a Christian.  The drift.  Well the drift has stopped and now the real hunger is for something less safe.

I was part of the IHOP movement for many years. Was there the day Mike Bickle turned the key in the door in May of 1999.  It was a heady time.  I still stop in from time to time when I am in KC.  Yet.. things have even moved from there.  Prayer and worship are safe.  No one is particularly stretched or threatened by them.  No risk Christianity.  If you mess up praying or sing badly God won't strike you dead deaf or dumb.

I have nothing against worship conferences, I enjoy them.  But I'm an insider.  I have nothing against prayer conferences, people need to be encouraged to pray.

They have a familiar pattern. A speaker or leader is brought in.  They most likely have have book or CD series to sell on Prayer or Worship.  They speak on it.  They demonstrate it.  They encourage it.  They may even lay hands on people to release them in the gift.  It's all good.

Yet when in a post from a day or two ago I suggested that we need to do the same in releasing all of the spiritual gifts in the Body of Christ, there was push-back.  People objected to the idea.  Some actually said so.  There has been lots of goofiness.  There has been abuse, but if functionally Prayer and Worship are part of what should happen in a fellowship of believers, isn't there more?

I have a big black book. BIBLE it says on the cover.  I note that there are several things that those mentioned in Ephesians 4 are supposed to equip the Saints in the work of the ministry to accomplish what God wants to accomplish as detailed in 1 Corinthians 12. 

If we are going to get out of the boat and start to walk on water as Jesus calls, it will take risk. It won't be safe.  But it will be GOOD.

Normative Christianity was supposed to have risk.  Prophecy (what if you get it wrong?), Healing (what if someone doesn't get healed?), Word of Knowledge (What if they miss it?), Word of Wisdom (what if it's not always really wise), Discerning of Spirits (What if someone starts seeing spooks everywhere), Miracles (Don't get people's hopes up, it might not happen and they will leave), Faith (Oh boy, we know what happens when hyper faith is ginned up) and for goodness sake, Tongues and interpretations of Tongues, If you want to go there.. OK.. but it's pretty risky.  Some people don't believe in tongues. We sure don't want to run anyone off by emphasizing something that might not get our virtual set of encyclopedias sold now do we?  They need to keep coming back till we have unveiled every chapter preaching to them starting with A and ending with Z.

So none of these are taught.  None of these are focused on in teaching.  None of these have a special speaker come in and testify what happens.  This means we are trying to foist a safe Christianity on people who simply aren't interested.

What if people ARE HEALED, ARE BUILT UP IN FAITH, FOR MIRACLES, BEGIN TO DISCERN SPIRITS WELL, PROPHESY, BRING WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE AND SUPERNATURAL WISDOM.  What if according to 1 Corinthians 14 we began to act less safe.. wouldn't this happen?

12 Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
 22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Will prayer conferences and worship meetings alone bring unbelievers under conviction?  Again I have nothing against them, It's just that we must get out of the metaphorical boat. 

There is a dying world.  The battle requires arrows of truth that transforms people.  We are poking at the enemy with a wet noodle.  It's not working.


Let's start doing the stuff. Let's start preparing our people to do all the stuff.  YOU ARE A PART OF THE ANSWER TO EVERY PRAYER YOU PRAY. So if you are going to pray, then you must prophesy, build faith, speak of God's miracles, discern what spirits are abroad, offer words of knowledge, give encouragement with wisdom -- in other words be more than a prayer.  Minister to them.  Pray in tongues over them.  Be sensitive to what the Spirit of God would have you do, then be BOLD be STRONG.  Shed the timidity that causes you to hold back and be safe. Be Bold Be Strong, for the Lord Thy GOD is with THEE.. 
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 
1 Timothy 1:7
Now GO!  Take off the safety.  You can't hit any mark as long as the safety is on. Ready Fire Aim...













Friday, January 23, 2015

Changing the Culture of Your Church.. Senior Pastors Only

I was in Orlando a few weeks ago.  I heard Apostle Eckhardt talk about this. I asked if he would elaborate.  He did. 

As a leader you are responsible for the spiritual culture of the church you lead.  Don't be a chameleon and try to fit in, be a change agent.

Apostle talked about how to go about doing this.  If you want to give people release in healing, the prophetic, deliverance, miracles, faith, wisdom, discernment of the Spiritual, words of knowledge or any of the gifts that are called on as ministry in the Word of God there is a way to bring that into your church, make it part of your culture, get your people to buy into it, get them activated in it and turn your church into the kind of Holy Spirit led church that will revolutionize your region.

Let's suppose you want to get a release of the Prophetic in your church.  Here's the pattern.  You control it.

  • Begin to teach on the prophetic.
  • Read books on the Prophetic.
  • Learn all you can on the Prophetic.
  • Give books and publications to people on the Prophetic.
  • Bring in outside people as speakers to preach on the Prophetic and Model it.
  • Begin to develop some people in the Prophetic. Use activation to get them there.  Practice.
  • Teach that all people should prophesy, not just called prophets.
  • Impart to those people who want it to operate in the gift.  
  • Give time for those people in your church to prophesy to others.
  • You prophesy less and less. They need to increase.
  • Make prophetic activity a normative part of what happens before, during and after church.  

Your house will become prophetic.

Same with healing.
  • Teach on it.
  • Preach on it.
  • Use Biblical Evidence.  Have books.  Christ the Healer is a great one.
  • Bring in outside people who are developed in the gift to model it.
  • Begin to release people to act in the gift of healing.
  • Make healing a ministry that is normative for your church.
  • Impart Healing Anointing to build faith.
  • Activate your people to become walking healing vessels. Lay hands on anyone who is not well.
  • Be bold.  Be strong.  You will have a healing center very soon.

ALL of the gifts of the spirit and ministry activities can be developed using this pattern.  Just imagine someone walking into your church was exposed to faith for miracles, healing, the prophetic, Supernatural Wisdom, Knowledge that only God could know about them (the movie Holy Ghost is good in this area),  Discernment of situations and spiritual strongholds, People being delivered of demons.  SOON you will need a bigger parking lot.

This is what Jesus had in mind; and that is the most prophetic thing I will say all day.

The Next Revival will come out of the Black Community in America

Long ago I heard a prophet say this.  That the next wave of God's moving, the great harvest, the coming massive revival will spring out of the Black Community. 

I am in this enough to say I believe it, but I also see some things that are going to change.  This move of God will not result in fellowships that looks like the black church in America today.  There is a need to proclaim truths that can transform a culture.  When that begins to happen you will know we are on the way.  It might take a while. I may not see it in my flesh.  God always uses things and people that the world considers weak and foolish to accomplish his purposes.  He will again.

There will be no superstars.  There will be a growth spurt. Many who see the Black Community as lost will be shocked; all at once they will begin to represent a manifestation of the Body of Christ that looks like Jesus.  It will destroy some mega ministries, others will reboot, some will try to stay with the old ways..but there will be no hope.  God will have his way.  It won't look like it did.

Miracles, signs, wonders, visions, healing, deliverance, the prophetic, supernatural wisdom, understanding, knowledge from the Spirit of God, fresh discernment and a love of one another that supersedes not only race but class and culture.

Some will be left behind as God moves.  They will wonder what happened.  There will come a division that separates those devoted to HIM and those who have other motives.  It will be like Azusa street, a simple man like William Seymour will open the heavens.   Once again the flow will come from those most unlikely.  Not from Seminaries, not from deep theologians, but from those of simple profound faith in the Father. 

Much of that which is easily identified as foolishness will be cast aside.  Oh certainly there will be some who have a form of Godliness.. but powerless.   Those fellowships will die a needful death.

When you see people standing strong, independent, without needing anything from anyone but God.. you will know.  When the amount left on your SNAP card is insignificant because you don't need it any more; When the AFDC check isn't needed anymore because sufficiency has come, you will know.  This will transform a community that only the truth can set free.  The lies of the enemy will be crushed as the strongholds are destroyed.  It will be painful but essential.  God's best is a should be that is not yet the reality.  A tearing away from a broken culture will be painful.

There will be no true revival without a deep change of hearts that crushes the poverty mentality, gangs, violence, sexual perversion, unformed families, fatherless children of unwed mothers and damaged marriages that currently are hallmarks those on the outside see.

This will be a struggle, but without the change of hearts, there will be no continuing revival.  Hunger will cause many to long for more of God rather than accepting a less than ideal status quo.  When revival begins, hearts will change and then revival will accelerate.  Revival, Changed Hearts, more Revival, More Changed Hearts and on and on...

After it has come to it's fullness what we see today in the community will be unrecognizable.  It might take a generation, maybe two, but God is not going to allow this to continue.  He will not suffer the people destined to be the root from which new life emerges to stay as it is now. 

There will be a time when it is darkest before the dawn.  It is not yet.  The enemy wants to make it seem impossible. He wants to counterfeit by using programs, government and politics to accomplish what only HE can do. 

God will not be mocked by evil men for long.. HE will have his way and there is a people who will have their day... and it will be glorious.  I have wondered if this won't come from Africa as African Missionaries, from Nigeria perhaps, come and speak truth to the powers of the underworld.  I have spoken to my Nigerian friends about this.  IF so, come and help us.  Help us find peace and rest where unrest is the image most have today.

Prepare your hearts for change.. revival is an inside out event.  You then the church, then the neighborhood, then the community, then the nation, then the world.  Azusa is a meaningful word prophetically:  A-Z (beginning and the end, alpha and omega, First and Last) USA = AZUSA

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How you gonna keep em after they've seen

There was a song sung during WWI about the farm boys who left to go fight in Europe, and in particular France.  It was about the anguish many fathers felt when their sons came back from the war. 

How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm (After they've seen Paree)? 

You probably can sing it.  We treat it lightly today but it was a real problem then.  Returning to a difficult life didn't have much appeal when they had seen something better.   I understand it.

The same is true spiritually.  We all satisfied until a holy discontent drives us forward.   We hunger for more.  We are desperate for something real.  We are no longer willing to settle.  Once we have experienced a level of Glory, anything less seems like spiritual pollution.  

We might tune in to a TV or Radio program and hear something good, for a bit.  But it's not what we really want.  Once in a great while a song will come on the radio and stir us.  Mostly not.  

Quietly and personally we will enter into that place.  Sometimes alone.  Sometimes in a small group.  

Occasionally we will find that place in a church.  A special service perhaps.  A time when God moves and the leader goes where God is going.  Sometimes in a conference.  

When the Glory comes, the light comes, you become unwilling to settle for anything less.

It's the thing that happens when someone comes into your church and "Blows it Up".  It's what pastor leadership fears.  Don't stir up my people, I can't have them running off looking for more.  He's worried about losing members and his members are worried about losing their minds "Spiritually".  They have tasted and seen that the Lord is GOOD..  now they are asked to come back to on moldy stale morsels.   

This is not a condemnation of the Church.  She is precious.  She is holy.  She is a bride.   

Yet, is this the Church Jesus married?  Is this what He destined her to be?  Shouldn't it be about the Glory?  Shouldn't it be about manifesting HIM to the world?  Doing all the Stuff HE DID, and greater?  

IF your fellowship, church, group or whatever is threatened by a move of God breaking out down the street, then you have a glory deficit.  

Teaching is fine.  We need to hear.  We need to grow.  We need to be stretched.  But you can't build much telling people over and over and over and over..

Songs are great, to start with, but when does singing songs end and worship begin?  There is a place of transition and you know it when it happens.  Maybe we shouldn't sing any songs?  Or what?

Fellowship is fine.. but it can't hold people.

Programs and missions are OK.. but most won't be part of those either.  

The truth is people are hungry for three things:

1. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.  Something they can enter into.  Something they can contribute to (other than money).  Something that will give them a chance to be who God called them to be.  Something that will help them make a difference.  Something that helps them see how they fit in the grand scheme of things.  They have no desire to be a spectator, but a participant.  That's what a MEMBER should be.  

2. They want to touch the eternal, the reality that is not temporal, to go behind the veil.. if only for a moment.  They need to sense the manifest presence of GOD.   They need to have an awe.. and awe that hits them again and again.  This is what people hunger for and why they go here and there.  It must be something that takes them places they have not yet been... the unexplored country.  It's a spiritual journey.. yet it is as real as driving 2000 miles.   It never gets old.  It never is routine.  It is as if JESUS HIMSELF might just show up and walk down the aisle.. because He does.   It's as if Angel Choirs enter into the worship and surround the whole.. because they DO.  This comes by a sacrifice.. a true sacrifice ... of praise.

3. They want to see JESUS manifest himself in other people's lives.  They want to be instruments of that transformation as they are gifted and called.  Doing the Stuff:  Salvation. Restoration. Repentance. Deliverance. Defined Destiny Discovered.  Wholeness.  Healing.  Resurrection.  Wisdom.  Understanding.  Discernment.  Enlightenment.  Strength.  Prophetic Purpose.  Forgiveness.   Faith for Miracles.  Provision.  Protection.  Joy and Peace in the storm.  Perseverance in difficulty. AND facing the end of all things in this life with confidence.  That doesn't come by a preacher preaching. That comes as the whole body ministers to one another in Holy Ghost power and authority.  Anyone would be willing to be part of that kind of ministry, church, fellowship, group.

IF you just allow these three things to flow unhindered in your ministry.. you cannot fail and you won't worry about keeping them.  You won't be able to keep them away.

Monday, January 19, 2015

When Glory Comes - Heaven is Revealed

Many of us are Glory Hounds.  Not in a bad way.  We want to experience the Glory of God Here and NOW.  Not in the sweet bye and bye.  Sometimes we do. Sometimes it happens.  When it does... we know it.

I was sharing visions of Glory I have had related to a friend's Father passing.  Suddenly I came to the realization that in peak moments of intense worship and praise we cross over. The Glory is manifested.  We experience it.  Then we are ruined.  Preaching and programs will bore us to death.  We want HEAVEN TOUCHING EARTH.  We want to go behind the veil,  in worship.

Here is what I have written that makes the point.  Everything changes when we enter into this abandoned prophetic worship.  When it happens here and when we enter eternity.. this takes place:

There is a shock into well being.  We suddenly feel indescribable peace.  Beyond all understanding.  It's overwhelms us.  We can hardly take it in.  Then there is the unimaginable beauty.  It is a manifestation of the fullness of Jesus beauty. Every color comes so alive that we can taste it.  In fact we will taste colors.  Music is everywhere.  All at once.  Remember this is eternity where everything is now.  So our experience in non linear.  It's all now.  Hard for those of us trapped in time to grasp, but to get a small glimpse of what that might be like, think back to a wonderful childhood memory.  A good one.  Think of it.  All the color, music, joy, fun, and love you felt. Now let that emotion come over you.  You see it not in linear fashion but as one good memory, all at once.  The parts you really enjoyed come back again and again.  That's a bad imitation of what eternity is like.  All at once, but able to be parceled out.  
 
I hear people ask what kind of music will I hear?  It will be your fullness of joy to experience... whatever fits your moment will be heard. For some hymns, for some chants, for some choruses, for some classical, for some a gospel song, or even a joyful rap.  It's your eternity and Father will speak to you in the context you understand.  You will grasp that it's all one.  Yet differentiable, yet we will not know of the differences others have.

You will have unspeakable joy.  No remembrances from earth that have contain any regret or pain... the pain you had in life will fit into your understanding and there will be no questions.  The Idea that you are going to ask questions of Jesus when you get there will be needless.  You will have full understanding of all.  You will know who you really are.  There will be no more self doubt.  How you fit into the whole while on earth will make perfect sense in a supernatural way.  That is why there is no recognized hierarchy in heaven.  One saint is as another.  Fullness and fitly joined together.  This sudden recognition of your place in the universe will take your breath away.

Your capacity for experience will multiply a thousand times or more.  You will experience heaven as if you had 5000 senses instead of 5.  Every color, every sound, every taste, everything you hear, everything you feel, and the fragrance... it will be amazing.  You will understand what a vapid colorless place life on earth was.  You won't regret it...but wish everyone could experience what you are experience.
You will live without confusion. No question. Your only desire will be to worship.  It will all be so clear.  Bowing in worship, raising hands.  Singing.  The Sea of Glass is a desire hidden in the hearts of men.  We want to be there.  Whatever we do will make all the sense...in heaven.  It will be automatic.  You will want to enter into who HE is so completely as to be lost in Him.  You were created for this.  The beauty of Jesus will be revealed again and again. It will be all one but eternal.  It will never be boring.  Love will be overwhelming. 

You will have a form.  A spirit form.  Yet you will look to others as you were remembered best.  Known as you were known. Recognized... yet it is your spirit that they see.. the rest is construct.  In fact you have only a spirit.  It's hard to explain, but you won't have arms, legs or a head as you know yourself, but to those who see you, you will look as you did to them.  I know that's hard to understand but think of a child who dies young.  Her daddy is 25 years old.  She will see him thus.  His brother who dies at 50 will remember him as about his age and his wife who follows him in death will see that man thru the eyes of love. His mother who bore him and died in childbirth will see him as a young boy.  They will all know him, but all in context and construct.  Its how people who die see grandparents and such waiting for them... as they knew them.


It will not seem an unfamiliar place to be explored.  You will already know all about it.  It will seem normal, someplace you already knew.  In a strange way, heaven was always in your heart.  

You have had glimpses of it.  This is why the idea of reincarnation keeps coming up in false religions.  There is a sense of going back, so people try to explain the origin of all life (JESUS saying let there be) as a reincarnation.  It's not.  But it is a type of returning... Remember, once there, all here is now.  To grasp this scripturally, you are already seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus...yet you are here.  In that way you return to heaven.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Untended Orange Grove

We have been traveling in South Florida. Since I am a Plant Guy I Prophetic in everything.   From time to time as we travel we see abandoned orange groves.  Some are abandoned for reason, others because of expediency. 

One in particular was along the way to a hotel in Orlando.  There was an orange grove on a corner.  It had a for sale sign on it.  Buy this property.  What made it interesting to me was the reality that this grove still produced fruit.  It was untended, weedy and overgrown, but fruit was still there.

This made me think of those christians, those churches where fruit still comes long after the one tasked to steward the property had given up.  To the outside world it looks like a mess, but there is still fruit being produced.  Somewhere along the line whoever took care of that property made sure that the land would produce even after the shepherd left.  The end of the thing of course is it will continue to decline and eventually be sold off.  Abandoned.  Even if a few good fruit bearing trees are there.


Another many examples I saw were those who were past prime.  Ancient wood.  No longer vital.  Standing but no fruit.  To a casual observer, just barren trees.. some still with leaves on them.  But they never flower nor fruit. 

That is like many old cathedrals I saw and visited in Europe.  Ancint.  Sturdy.  A few leaves (members) but no fruit.  Barren. Empty.  The believers simply stand..


The last category is one that was ravaged by disease.  The disease Greening is rampant in Florida.  It has only been here since 2005. It is spread by a tiny Asian aphid. There is no cure. Yet in less than a decade it has destroyed many orchards.  Whole former orchards now stand nude and empty of fruit.  Here and there a stray shoot tries to produce, it might even flower but the fruit never comes to fruition.

That is much like formerly healthy churches and believers who allowed a small thing, an aphid of disbelief or error or division to creep in and destroy the whole.  It's very hard to stop.  The only thing that will eventually help is complete erradication of the orchard, starting over with fresh trees and using diligent aphid control in season to keep out the pests.  The same is sometimes true of Churches and fellowships.

I see these three types of orchards indicative of what happens when a wall of prevention is destroyed.  When the shepherd is no longer diligent.  The whole is destroyed.