Dec 15 2017

New Awakenings

We have been in some interesting seasons of the church these past few years. It seems a lot has been shaken away, as God postures us for the next season, a season that I think is going to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to the earth in amazing ways. Earlier this week, the Lord began to speak to me about how many people are now being awakened to their destinies. I don’t think this is isolated to those who are already believers, but that non-believers are also going to be caught up in this awakening, and it is going to put them in a position to be used by God just as much as long time believers, if not more. People need to be awakened in the church, and outside of the church, to the reality of their true identity, and we will get to watch that transition unfold. I also sense that we are moving into a time where demonic activity is going to be more overt as a result of believers carrying a greater measure of God’s presence. I think we are going to see more activity like what Paul and Silas encountered in Acts 16, and the authority we have been given is going to cause the enemy to be silenced, and bring freedom to the oppressed. We have seen plenty of crazy demonic manifestations over the past few years, and have witnessed a recent increase when we minister in Southeast D.C. So, let all of this be an encouragement to you this week. God is releasing something new, and it has the enemy so scared that their activity is becoming more overt. This is a good thing, because it makes them an easier target! Pay attention to what God is speaking to you this month. He may be shifting you into something different, or inviting you to go to a higher place in him. Either way, it’s going to be a lot of fun!

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Dec 8 2017

Promises

How important is a promise? Does it matter who made the promise? What if God made you a promise? How important would that promise be? I suspect that almost anyone would agree that a promise from God carries more weight than a promise from any person. And since God is the only one in the universe able to ensure that 100% of his promises come true, that would make his promises the most important ones that anyone can receive. We all make promises, but we are not always able to keep those promises, and actually make them happen. With God, this is different, if he made a promise, it has to happen. There are no other alternatives. There is nothing that can keep him from bringing it into our reality. If God said it, it has to happen. Any other possibility would challenge his omnipotence and sovereignty. If God has made you a promise, you can be assured that it will become a reality. It may not happen along the timeline you hope for, but it will happen. And it will happen exactly when God intended it to when he spoke the promise. There is nothing you can do to stop it. There is nothing anyone else can do to stop it. Ezekiel 12:25 tells us that everything God speaks will be performed, and Jeremiah 1:12 tells us that God watches over the words that he speaks to make sure they are performed. He doesn’t just make the promise, he keeps track of it, and monitors it, to make sure it is performed in the proper time. If you are holding onto a promise (or promises), keep holding on. We can take comfort in our waiting seasons by knowing that there are many promises in the Bible that still haven’t occurred. One great example from current news is the promise God made to Abraham about the promised land. This still isn’t fully complete. And there are many other prophesies in the Old and New Testaments that have not yet occurred. But they will all happen, just like every promise he made to you, in the proper time. If God said it, it has to happen. There is no other possibility. Rest in the assurance that his promises are guaranteed.

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Dec 1 2017

Count the cost

“I need to count the cost;” That’s a phrase in Christianity that I hear sometimes when someone is trying to decide whether or not they should step into a ministry position or make a change in their lives that requires some form of sacrifice. It’s this idea that we need to know what serving Christ will cost us before we decide to make the choice. I get it. We have a need to know what we are getting ourselves into. But, really, it’s the wrong perspective. The cost is irrelevant. All that is relevant is what God has directed us to do. If God says go, we need to go. There may be a high cost involved, but we need to be willing to give up anything and everything to pursue what he has for us, to go where he sends us, and to do what he has created us to do. Giving up everything to serve him isn’t an easy task, but over time, it should become clear to us that nothing else matters in comparison to what God wants us to accomplish for his purpose during our lives. Jesus gave up everything to come to earth, teach us the principles of his kingdom, show us how to represent him, and most importantly, to die for the sins of the world. He gave up everything for us. So, what cost is there really to count? God has created each one of us with a purpose that can transform a part of the world to look like his kingdom. Jesus taught us to pray for the kingdom to come to earth. It is so important to him that his kingdom be established on earth that he made it part of the model prayer. My perspective on this is a little different from most people, and maybe that is because we have already given up everything to see the world around us impacted by his kingdom. The expansion of his kingdom is far too important to be concerned about what it will cost me, and Jesus is far too good to let me fail. He won’t let you fail either. Don’t worry about the cost. Just say yes. He is more than able to take care of everything else.

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Nov 17 2017

Non-Traditional

I was thinking today about how our path to ministry is completely non-traditional and different from most people who go into full time ministry. We never went to a bible college, attended a ministry school, or have any formal education in theology. My background is in computer science and Lauren’s is in the social work field. And yet, we each had encounters with God that shifted the trajectory of our lives into a new direction. The fact that it was so non-traditional has actually helped us to develop strategies and visions that are very much outside the box of what is typically seen within the mission of a church. Several years ago, someone prophesied that the new movement in the church was going to trend towards smaller home-based meetings as opposed to, what has become the traditional meetings, in church buildings. And we have seen some major movement in that direction already with Francis Chan walking away from his megachurch to start a house church movement. We have also witnessed a lot of home-based gatherings popping up more dynamically around the nation as people are feeling the need to have more intimate gatherings with believers. Most of these movements are also very non-traditional ways to gather believers, build community, and worship God. Even the idea of ministry schools is non-traditional in comparison to seminary or other bible college programs. Here’s what I love about all of this, Holy Spirit is so creative, and it seems as if he is shifting the paradigm of church, ministry, and ministers to be defined and developed in a whole new way. I feel like we have only just begun to see the non-traditional overtake the traditional, and that we will continue to see even more of this over the next few years. If you feel like God is calling you into something that you have never been trained or qualified to do, be encouraged, he loves to do things in non-traditional ways. Forget about whether or not you are qualified, and follow where Holy Spirit is leading you. Some people will think you’re crazy, lots of people seem to think we are crazy, but we just keep following Holy Spirit and he gives us new adventures every week. New adventures are waiting for you as well; are you willing to look a little foolish to do what God is calling you to?

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Nov 3 2017

Small is the new big

While ministering in California last week, we had a chance to take a night off and attend the revival meetings that have been ongoing in San Diego for almost 500 days straight. As we arrived at the church, I expected to see a large room full of people who were hungry for what God was doing, but instead we found ourselves in a smaller room with just a handful of people. The presence of God was so strong in this place, and even though the room filled up during the time of worship, it was still a relatively small crowd compared to what I was expecting to see. About a week later, we were ministering at a small church in San Antonio where, once again, the presence of God was so thick in the room, even though the attendance wasn’t very large. I have been to plenty of small and large churches throughout my life, and what I am starting to notice is that the hunger for more of God in these smaller groups of people is so high that the presence of God seems to be much stronger in these services, than in many of the larger events or churches. I don’t think it is about the size of the church, or the number of the people, but there is something about the hunger level of people who will gather together to worship God on a night in the middle of the week. There is no doubt in my mind that hunger draws his presence. And I suspect that these smaller groups of people tend to have less skeptics in the room, and people more focused on worshipping their king. I’m reminded of a prophecy given a few years ago where it was declared that the next big church movement was not going to be in large building with large crowds of people, but in smaller gatherings occurring in homes and in small churches. If you are hungry for more of God, or if you feel spiritually dry, go find a meeting where a small group of believers are pursuing his presence with reckless abandon. I think you will find yourself refreshed much quicker in these environments than in larger settings where it can be harder to connect with people or plug into what God is doing.

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Oct 27 2017

Stop It

We have a problem in the church, let’s just be real for a minute, we have a problem of letting culture impact what we believe and how we act. Too many believers are allowing the ideas and systems of the world to become normal in their own lifestyles and, as a result, are compromising their core beliefs. Allow me to be blunt for second; Stop it! Jesus told us in John 15 that we do not belong to the world. We have been set apart. We are supposed to impact culture, not the other way around. Disagreeing with the world’s perspectives doesn’t make us hateful, it’s called standing firm to what we believe. We can love people without compromising the lifestyle Jesus taught us to live. We shouldn’t stand on a street corner with a megaphone telling people they are going to hell, but we also shouldn’t completely change the way we believe because society has decided to normalize something that is opposite to biblical principles. We have to stop compromising our beliefs in the name of political correctness or out of a fear that someone’s feelings might get hurt. Here’s an extreme example, would you compromise on your belief that murder is wrong simply to avoid hurting a murderer’s feelings? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. But we do it in so many other ways. The church has to make a stand. The world needs us to make a stand. We have sat in our comfortable buildings for far too long, judging everyone on the outside, without actually living out the life Jesus died for us to have. 2 Corinthians 4 tells us that Satan is the god of this world and that he has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe in Jesus. Jesus died so that people can be free from Satan’s influence. Compromising our beliefs doesn’t lead them to a place of freedom, it pushes them further into Satan’s grasp. Don’t compromise on the truth for anyone or anything. Live your life in such a way that Jesus gets everything he paid for on the cross. That’s how we change the world. That’s how we change culture.

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Oct 20 2017

Dead to me

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’re dead to me”? One of my pet peeves with Christians is when I hear a believer refer to themselves as a sinner. It drives me nuts because that is not the true identity of a believer. In Romans 6-8, we have this discussion about sin in the lives of a believer and it slowly builds to a crescendo of the reality that we have died to sin and now live victorious lives as a result of the work on the cross. Here’s a newsflash for you: if you have given your life to Jesus, you are no longer a sinner. This same passage in Romans tells us that our flesh has a sin nature, so we are born with a natural propensity to sin. But when we surrender our lives to Jesus, something changes. Instead of being a slave to sin, we become a slave to righteousness. So there exists this conflict in every one of us. Our physical body has a sin nature that wants to pull us in one direction, and our spirit has a righteousness nature that wants to pull us in another direction. Our bodies are dead as a result of sin, but our spirits are alive for righteousness. This is why we are encouraged to live our lives from the perspective of the spirit and not from the flesh. When we turn back to our sinful flesh, it’s like we are trying to resurrect it from the dead. Your sinful flesh is dead to you! We don’t have to listen to those desires anymore and we don’t have to follow back down that old path that we gave up when we turned to Jesus. Sin no longer has any control over us because it is dead to us. My encouragement to you this week is to view sin as something that died a long time ago and is never coming back. Live from the spirit, listen to what Jesus is speaking, and ignore all the other voices in the world that would try to convince you to resurrect that old sinful nature.

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Oct 13 2017

Simple Faith

How much faith do you have? Is it enough to believe for miracles? Is it enough to see someone raised from the dead? These questions may seem a little intimidating if you don’t think you have this level of faith, but if you understood the fullness of what Jesus did, you would realize that you, and every other believer, already has enough faith to do everything that Jesus did, and more. Jesus’ death on the cross to provide the world with salvation is the greatest of all miracles. Nothing compares to it. If we never saw anything else supernatural happen during his walk on earth, or during our own lives, this one supernatural salvation event would still be the greatest thing to ever happen in the universe. But before Jesus died on the cross, he endured an excruciating beating at the hands of the Roman soldiers. Isaiah 53:5 says, “…by his stripes we are healed.” The death on the cross paid for salvation, but the stripes, the beating of Jesus, is what paid for healing. And that payment was made before Jesus was ever hung on the cross. So, if salvation is the greatest miracle, that makes healing a lesser miracle. Now pay attention, here’s where the faith part comes in. I’ll ask again, how much faith do you have? Do you have enough faith to believe for salvation? If you are a follower of Jesus, the answer is definitely yes! You have already exercised enough faith to believe that Jesus died for you and receive the salvation he offers. And since you have faith for the greatest miracle of all time, that means that you also have more than enough faith for any lesser miracle. If you have enough faith to be saved, you have enough faith to see the sick healed, the dead raised, and any other supernatural event God wants to do through you, because they are all lesser miracles. This is why Jesus could compare our level of faith with a mustard seed, because it takes very little to believe for amazing things to happen. The gospel really is that simple. Now, what are you waiting for? Go exercise a little faith and watch how quickly God shows up!

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Oct 6 2017

Unity

I have been thinking about unity a lot lately. The body of Christ is so large and there is so much we need to accomplish, but it often seems like we are disjointed and not working together as well as we could be. I was excited to hear that Christian organizations were doing more for the victims of hurricanes than the federal government, it was encouraging to me because it was a glimpse of what we could pull off, if we were willing to cross denominational lines and work together on solutions to the world’s problems. We have been given the mind of Christ, every solution to every problem is available to us. And since each member of the body plays a different role, we have to come together to fully represent the answers that the world needs. It is almost like God has given us different pieces to a puzzle and we all have to come together to see the puzzle fully put together. I believe the walls between the denominations are coming down and the believers are starting to work together in ways that will show the world how to solve the major problems we face. We are seeing more churches and leaders meeting with each other, movements shifting from large congregations to small house churches with a focus on actively changing culture, and ministry networks being formed to encourage forming a bond of unity. These are the types of actions that will allow us to more effectively change the culture and beliefs of those outside of the church. And I believe that, if the church would lead the way, the rest of the world will follow.

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Sep 22 2017

A place for Jesus

As we walk out our daily life, I find it incredibly important to make sure no person, no thing, and no activity ever takes the place of Jesus. It’s easy to let life get so busy that we forget about being intentional with, what should be, the most important relationship in our lives. And it’s easy to let other people or stuff fall into the slot that Jesus should be occupying. I recently heard someone share a story about how they discerned a young lady was emotionally distressed after a bad breakup with her boyfriend. He looked her in the eyes and told her that the reason it hit her so hard is because her boyfriend took the place of Jesus in her life. And now that space was empty again. We can’t afford to let anything else take that place. When we do, it can throw everything else off balance. Whether that space is filled by other people, activities, work, etc., if it isn’t Jesus, we will never find true fulfillment. Everything we do in life has to flow from a place of intimacy with Jesus. When we keep him first, we hear from him more clearly, and are able to minister more effectively in everyday life. So, I intentionally make sure I have time set aside every day for just me and Jesus. Usually that takes place early in the morning, and then again at several points throughout the day. By keeping him first, I will always be ready to represent him in any situation or environment. There is a proper place for everything, let’s keep Jesus in the number one slot.

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