Sep 25 2015

Time for change

Anything that tries to keep God in a box or control what Holy Spirit can do is bad. I don’t care if that’s a church program, church structure, or a full blown denomination. I have grown to dislike most organized religion because of the overly controlling structure that tends to form in these organizations–it often doesn’t leave room for Holy Spirit to do what he wants to do. And Jesus didn’t come to create denominations either; they start out with great intentions but eventually grow to the point that nobody can control the organization and the organization ends up controlling the people. This type of control has kept women out of ministry, promoted slavery during the civil war, and kept so many from fulfilling their calling or purpose in life.

Church leaders set the ceiling for what God will do in a church and what they allow usually determines what God will do. God respects the leadership he put into place but I believe it hurts the heart of God when pastors keep people from having an encounter with Jesus because they are afraid of change and overly concerned about their own man made structures and programs. Some of today’s largest Pentecostal denominations were birthed from the Azusa street revival but if the same stuff that happened at Azusa happened in these churches today it would be immediately shut down. So what happens to all the hurting people who cannot receive healing within the church? No wonder they turn to psychics, eastern mysticism, and burning man events. People are receiving advice from demonic spirits because the church is afraid of allowing God’s supernatural gifts to be used.

The church needs to be known as a place people can come to hear God’s solutions for their specific problems and receive the healing that they need. There is a need for structure but when it is used to control people’s encounters with God then it needs to be eliminated. The competition, jealousy, and abuse of authority needs to end.

Godfrey Birtil does a great job summarizing this issue in one of his songs:

“When I look at the blood
All I see is love love love
When I stop at the cross 
I can see the love of God

But I can’t see competition, I can’t see hierarchy
I can’t see pride or prejudice, Or the abuse of authority
I can’t see lust for power, I can’t see manipulation
I can’t see rage or anger or selfish ambition

I can’t see unforgiveness, I can’t see hate or envy
I can’t see stupid fighting; Or bitterness or jealousy
I can’t see empire building, I can’t see self-importance
I can’t see back stabbing or vanity or arrogance 

When I look at the blood 
All I see is love love love
When I stop at the cross 
I can see the love of God

I see surrender, sacrifice, salvation, humility, righteousness, faithfulness, grace, forgiveness”

If we had a little more love all of these issues would start to disappear. What a revolutionary idea.

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Sep 11 2015

People Watching

Wouldn’t you love it if you could hear God’s voice so clearly for others that it would be easy to speak into anyone’s life in any situation? I want to share with you a great way to practice discernment and hearing the voice of God for others. I often like to go to a local coffee shop, find a seat where I can see most of the seating area, and then just watch people as they come and go. As I am sitting there, sipping on my coffee, I will ask God about the different people in the room, situations they are going through, and his plans for their life. If you still haven’t worked up the courage or boldness to minister to complete strangers, this is a great exercise for you. And if you stay long enough you can often see if what you heard was accurate just by continuing to watch interactions and maybe creepily listen to their conversations. And don’t feel like you have to share anything right away, just work on your accuracy in hearing.

John Paul Jackson used to talk about practicing hearing God while watching football games. He would ask Holy Spirit about the types of plays that were going to be used and then watch to see if he heard correctly. Over time he was able to hone his ability to accurately hear God and use it to speak prophetically into other people’s lives. And what I have found is that if you choose to take some time to focus on anything God wants to teach you, he will show up and teach you regardless of the method you are most comfortable with. So I encourage you to find ways to practice listening to what God is speaking and then find a safe place where you can take a little risk in practicing speaking what you think you hear. You just might find it to be a lot easier than you think it is.

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