Jun 14 2019

Supernatural Anniversary

This week is the seven-year anniversary of when we had our first major encounter with the power of God that launched us into the supernatural lifestyle we are living today. It was the first of many encounters that have marked us for something none of us ever deserve to be a part of—partnering with God to change the world. We track our encounters with God, just as many of the patriarchs did in the Old Testament. They are points of remembrance, and reminders of what God will do in our lives as we continue to pursue him above everything else. The past seven years haven’t looked like what we expected, but they have been a wild and exciting ride through the mysterious ways of God that brought so much healing and restoration to our own lives and to the lives of so many others. Allow me to encourage all of you that there are always seasons of life that we need to go through in order to be in the right place at the right time for God’s purposes to be fulfilled. Sometimes that right place is a state of mind, sometimes it’s a physical location, and sometimes it’s a place of receiving freedom. Whatever, or wherever it is, it’s important that we trust the process our King takes us through, because being properly prepared is the only way that we can be successful in our next season. It may not happen on our desired timeline, or in the way we expected, but that doesn’t mean God is unfaithful or unable to do what he said he would do. He always does what he promises! Your journey may not look like ours, but I promise you, you are one encounter away from moving even closer to what God has planned for your life!

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Jun 7 2019

The Spirit and Power

I had a conversation with a young man this past week who practices Muslim religious beliefs, and as we talked I realized an even greater truth behind what we read in 1 Cor. 2:4 – “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” He was convinced, based on a set of teachings, that his way of life was good and that his practices were going to get him to some form of paradise when he dies. The irony is that he was completely high while he was having this conversation with me; something that is very much against the teachings of Islam. He then went on to brag about the time he spent in prison for committing murder, and that he felt like Islam helped to change him into a better person. As followers of Jesus, we have to be so reliant on Holy Spirit that we don’t just preach the gospel, but that we back up the gospel that we preach with power. There is a big difference between the two. Anyone can come up with a good list of how someone should live their life, and there are plenty of religions that claim to offer peace, happiness, or something great in the afterlife—and a lot of people fall for those tricks. But the persuasive words of those belief systems are all based on a lie. What we have is the truth. And when we back up our message with a “demonstration of the Spirit and power” people quickly recognize that it is real. A few days after this conversation, we met another woman who was completely bent over a walker while walking down the street. She didn’t need a conversation about how good Jesus is. She needed an encounter that showed her how good Jesus is. And while several people stood around watching, God showed up and demonstrated his love through the power to heal her back. If you haven’t already seen it, you can watch her testimony here. We cannot accept a watered-down gospel. We cannot accept a gospel without power. Neither of those will change the world. Too many churches are playing it safe with feel good messages every week that don’t fully equip believers to do the work of Jesus. We can’t change the world by playing it safe. We have to be willing to take some risk and expect God to back us up. Our Muslim friend didn’t receive Jesus that day, but we will see him again, and we are confident that he will have an encounter with the power of God that will change his life forever.


May 24 2019

Jesus is worthy of every sacrifice

Five or six years ago, I heard someone say that part of our mission as followers of Jesus is to “get Jesus everything he paid for.” I was thinking about that statement this week and it reminded me of the statement made by the Moravian missionaries who, as they left on a ship headed for an island full of slaves, they shouted out “may the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His sufferings!” What a great perspective. Having a desire to sacrifice everything so that Jesus can receive what he paid for and being willing to do whatever it takes to introduce people to Jesus is the perspective we all need to have. This will look a little different for all of us. Some are called to be part of the five-fold ministry we see in Ephesians 4, while others are called to work in different spheres of society, but we all have a responsibility to share the amazing story of Jesus. Many years ago, I heard a pastor tell the congregation that their job was to get people into the church and his job was to get them saved. That sounded like a nice idea on the surface, but really, it’s not an accurate picture of the mandate Jesus has give us. I think we can sometimes get caught up in the notion that evangelism is too hard or too risky, but when we look at it from the perspective of the Moravians, it should shift our own perspectives to recognize that we have the exciting opportunity to bring people into the Kingdom of God. We don’t need to concern ourselves about what people may think, or how they may react. None of that really matters. What matters is that the direction of an eternal soul can be changed with one simple conversation, and that a person can never fulfill their true potential or purpose on earth without Jesus. The building of His Kingdom is more important to me than anything else, because the simple reality is this: Jesus is worthy of every sacrifice.

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May 10 2019

The devil doesn’t get to win

My heart has been stirring for the past few months around the idea of a greater need for salvation accompanied with deliverance. The chief goal of the gospel of Jesus is for people to give their lives to Jesus, to be saved from their sins, to enter into the greatest relationship that they can ever experience, and to know the incredible love of God. It’s like we have this secret, and if we just share it with them, they can have encounters with God. We encounter people every week who are looking to every other possible pleasure or form of escape to avoid their problems or make themselves feel better in the moment. But we know those pursuits only lead to addiction and spiritual bondage. Our job as believers is to pull them up out of that place; Psalm 40:2 testifies to the power of God pulling us out of a pit of despair, out of sticky mud, and placing us onto solid ground. We all have a roll to play in this process. We get to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s not enough to feed the homeless and go home. It’s not even enough to pray for healing and see miracles happen. It’s bigger. We have to bring people an encounter with God so that they can be radically transformed, step into the fullness of their true identity, and fulfill the purpose for which they were created. Someone I know refers to this as robbing hell; I like that description. We can literally rob hell and destroy a piece of the enemy’s kingdom by leading one person to Jesus. But we have experienced situations where people have fallen into such a state of addiction that they can’t even think clearly enough to know that they need Jesus. And on the other side of the coin we have people battling mental illness who tend to have the same problem of not knowing how to receive the freedom and healing that they so desperately need. My prayer this week is that God would show up in such a powerful way in every one of these encounters that there would be instantaneous deliverance like we see in the pages of the Bible! I want to see the Kingdom of God violently dispossess the territory of the enemy and firmly shift the reality of individuals, communities, cities, and nations. I refuse to let the enemy win!

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Apr 19 2019

The Best Guide

I had a chance to spend time with my Great Uncle this past week and had another opportunity to see what a life sold out for Jesus looks like. He is 94 years old and still on fire for God! He told me some new stories I haven’t heard before, about many of the revivals he led, different churches he planted, and even about a time where the power of God hit him so hard that someone else had to preach for him—and he laid on the platform during the entire service! One thing he reminded me about was the importance of following Holy Spirit. Jesus taught about the importance of Holy Spirit, about how he would will lead us into all truth, and even show us the future (John 16:13). When we follow closely after Holy Spirit, we are sure to run into truths we have not yet discovered and catch glimpses of what God has planned for us a little further down the road. Our society today has advanced to the point where we can find a lot of the answers we need, or we think we need, by reading a book, taking a test, or putting some type of process in place. Some of these methods work, but they are often substitutes for what Holy Spirit can teach us, if we are simply willing to listen to him. We often teach on the importance of developing such a deep intimacy with our creator, that we are able to hear his voice in any situation and follow the path of his footsteps wherever he leads us. It’s not always a quick fix. Sometimes it’s a journey that leads us to a place that we could have never reached using any other method. It’s not always easy, and sometimes we look a little foolish, especially when those around us don’t understand this simple principle. But one thing I have learned is that there is no one better to follow. Even if I don’t understand where he is leading me, or how long it will take to get there, I will follow him anywhere. That’s the life we are all called to live. There really is no better guide who can not only get us through life, but can do it in a way that enables us to fulfill every purpose and destiny for which we were created. If you are trying to figure out your next steps, if you are going through a season of difficulty, or even if you are in a great place right now, ask Holy Spirit to guide you, and get ready for the greatest adventure of your life!

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Mar 29 2019

Simple Instructions

We started a reading plan this year with the goal of reading through the entire Bible in chronological order in 90 days. You tend to notice the thread of God’s grace a lot easier when you read at this pace, and you tend to recognize one common theme throughout the Old and New Testaments which is pretty simple and straightforward: do what God tells you to do and everything will be OK. Actually, better than OK, God promises that we will be blessed when we are obedient. It’s amazing what God will do in our lives if we simply choose to live according to his word, and not allow anything apart from his word to have an influence in our lives. It almost seems too simple. But the reality is that the gospel of Jesus is very simple. We tend to complicate it, but it really just comes down to following our King wherever he leads us, and that can be through the written word of God, through the Holy Spirit’s leading, through messages delivered by angels, or even through hearing God’s audible voice. I have found that when we give his word precedence in our lives, he speaks to us in amazing ways. The problem, of course, is that there are so many other competing voices that want to have influence in our lives. We all tend to look for the quick fix or the quick answer, especially in this fast food age where everything we need is at our fingertips all the time. But Jesus wants us to do something different. He wants us to sit at his feet. He wants to keep it simple. He wants us to focus on the guidance and direction that he gives. And a great place to start is by reading and studying the written word of God, and applying each of his principles to our lives. A verse in Galatians 6:14 jumped out at me a few days ago; “The world is crucified to me, and I to the world.” I have come to the point that I really don’t care what the world has to offer. It used to interest me, but not anymore. I just want more of Jesus, so I can have an even greater impact in the lives of people I encounter every day. I remember someone telling me a long time ago about how the Bible could be thought of as this acronym: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Simple instructions, but a powerful message. And when we apply it to our lives, we are able to live in a way that honors the sacrifice of Jesus. By the way, if you are interested in our Bible reading plan, you can find it on our resources page here.

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Mar 1 2019

Spiritual Maturity

If we look back at our childhood and teenage years, from the perspective of an adult, we can quickly recognize how much maturity we gained as we grew older. We can also recognize how the influence of others may have helped or stunted our maturity, or in many cases, how our youthful obstinate attitudes slowed the maturation process. We all seem to mature at different rates, and this is also true with spiritual maturation. Just like physical maturity gives us a greater understanding of how to make healthy choices and behave appropriately in society, spiritual maturity also helps us to do the same when it comes to spiritual choices and interaction within the spiritual realm. If we look back at our spiritual journey, many of us can recognize when we went through seasons of growth that increased our maturity in a way that enabled us to make adjustments to the way that we think, believe, and live. 1 Cor. 13:11 speaks to this reality, that as we mature, we need to put away childish perspectives. As children, we don’t understand why we need to behave in certain ways, but as we mature, we learn more about what appropriate behavior looks like. This is the same thing in the spiritual realm. As we mature, we learn to put away perspectives and practices that are not appropriate for the children of God to allow into our lives.

We meet with people throughout each week, and often receive questions about healthy and unhealthy spiritual practices. Spiritual maturity helps all of us to recognize unhealthy spiritual practices. But those who are not spiritually mature have a difficulty in understanding the wisdom of God, and just as we were as children, we have to grow to a mature state and avoid obstinate behaviors that can slow the spiritual maturation process. We all need to recognize that unhealthy spiritual practices can create ungodly spiritual influences in our lives. As we become more spiritually mature, we become more spiritually aware of the importance of this danger. Sadly, for many believers, it’s not until the later years of life where we begin to figure this out. Part of the reason for this is because, in the past few hundred years, the church has not served us well in teaching about the spiritual realm or the supernatural ways of God. As a result, many believers have pursued supernatural encounters through ungodly processes. Some of those processes are overt, such as fortune tellers, psychics, or Ouija boards. Others are quite covert because they have non-Christian spiritual roots that are not immediately obvious to the spiritually immature. Some examples here are Yoga, Enneagram, Mindfulness, and Reiki; all of which are rooted in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other mystical beliefs that are anti-biblical. These fall into the category of the “childish things” we see mentioned in 1 Cor. 13:11 because they are actions born out of an immature spiritual state. And they are dangerous practices because all non-Christian religious practices are influenced by demonic spirits, who are seeking to create ungodly influences in our lives.

Another question we often receive in this realm is about why some Christian leaders support the notion that these other religious practices are perfectly fine to participate in and even teach that they are helpful for a follower of Jesus. That answer eluded me for a short time until the Lord revealed the reality of spiritual maturity to me through a friend and local minister. I realized that we can be mature in some areas and remain immature in others. I think we can see parallels to this in the physical realm as well. Someone can be mature in some areas of theology, and be immature in others, because they were never properly trained or discipled in those areas. This goes back to my earlier point about the church not doing a great job at teaching about the spiritual realm. We don’t know what we don’t know. Unfortunately, immature spiritual areas of our lives become very susceptible to deception from the enemy. It’s easy to be deceived when you don’t know better. And once you are in deception, you rarely know that it is happening. Spiritual immaturity can also lead to self-righteous attitudes forming in our hearts, that keep us from accepting the possibility that we have been tricked into believing a lie.

For me, all of this comes down to a simple perspective. It’s not about theological positions of judgement vs. grace, legalism, or allowing believers the liberty to form their own doctrinal opinions; it’s about pursuing a lifestyle of holiness. Jesus taught us to “seek first the kingdom of God,” which means pursuing what he has for us above all else, and not looking to anyone or anything else to define our identity or provide us with spiritual experiences. We are called to be set apart, to be in the world but not of the world. We are called to pursue Jesus with everything we have. As we pursue Him, we grow in spiritual maturity. As we grow in spiritual maturity, we more easily recognize the “childish things” we shouldn’t allow into our lives. And as we set aside those things, we continue to reach greater levels of maturity. It’s a journey we are all on together, and we need to have grace for everyone as we grow through the different stages of our spiritual maturation process. Now here’s the secret to accelerate your spiritual growth: let Jesus be everything and every answer for you, and don’t let anything or anyone else ever take his place!

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Feb 15 2019

Checkmate

In the game of chess, many games can end up in a situation where the strength of one of the players causes the other player to be in an unwinnable position. This typically comes about by the stronger player using a better strategy or employing more accurate tactics to force their opponent into a passive defensive roll. In this situation, a player, when recognizing they can no longer win, can choose to resign the game and no longer delay their inevitable fate, or they can make moves that delays their loss causing the game to continue for several more moves. I have found that the enemy of our soul likes to use similar delaying tactics against us. He knows that he has already lost the battle, but he tries to throw things into our path to slow us down from arriving at the place God has planned for our lives. He can’t win. He has already lost. But too many believers don’t fully live as if this is true. And this allows him to put things in our way. OK, so what does this actually look like? It looks like lies that he tricks us into believing. It looks like fears that he whispers into our ears. It looks like a myriad of other things that he knows we are susceptible to just so he can throw us off guard. I’ll say it again, he can’t win. So if we just ignore his stupid antics and focus on “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” we will be successful in the mission God has given to us. As long as we toss aside his distractions, he can never be victorious in our lives. The easiest way to do this is to practice being in the presence of God every day. Practice listening to the voice of your Father. When you do, you will quickly recognize when it is a different voice and toss it aside. You have something the world needs. The devil wants to distract you so that you can’t be who God created you to be. Don’t let him do it!

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Feb 1 2019

Crazy Ideas

I have a lot of crazy ideas every year. Some are ideas for inventions, some are ideas to help people that we regular meet with, and some are ideas for what the life of a Jesus follower should look like. If you have been around us for more than a few days, you already know that living a supernatural lifestyle is a major component of our lives. I think there is a nuance to this type of lifestyle that believers who are not on the same pursuit may not realize. There is a cost to being used by God, it costs everything, but the result is worth so much more than anything we can ever pay. So, my crazy idea is that when we give our lives to Jesus, we need to give him everything; we can’t hold anything back. The world needs believers now more than ever, and God is willing and able to use anyone, but I tend to think that if we are willing to put everything on the altar, we will see God do even more through us. I have found that the closer you draw to God, the less you care about the stuff that doesn’t really matter. The more we are in his presence, the less interested we become in what the world has to offer. And the more we strive to be like him, the quicker we are able to recognize areas in our lives that need to be placed on the proverbial altar, so that we don’t have anything for the enemy to use as a foothold for temptation or manipulation. It’s not about trying to be holy, Jesus already made us holy (see Hebrews 10:10). It’s about living out a life of holiness that doesn’t allow anything else, not even the smallest idea, to take our eyes off of Jesus. If we can do that, we can carry the heart of the Father into every city, every situation, every life, and see transformation every single time. This is the kind of crazy idea I can get behind. Who’s with me?

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Feb 24 2016

Buckle up and enjoy the ride

I would describe myself as adventurous.  I like roller coaster rides, especially those that go in loops.  I used to be afraid of them until I was in middle school and a friend talked me into riding one.  I was hooked after that first ride.  I was terrified and then the feeling of the adrenaline hit and it was so much fun.  I immediately wanted to ride again.  thus began my love affair with amusement parks and roller coasters.

Now, as much as I love roller coasters, I do not like ups and downs of life.  Well, at least I didn’t when I thought that I had to be in control of every aspect of my life.  Let me be clear- I like a certain amount of control, but I have definitely learned that life is more fun if you just buckle up and embrace the ride. Life is more fun if you just buckle up and embrace the ride.

God is the ultimate adventurer.  In order for us to see His creativity, just look at the aardvark and the diversity of the fish in the sea.  I think that God wants us to enjoy life and have a great adventure.  Following God and living while listening for His voice and obeying is definitely an adventure.  Once you know that you hear His voice and then do what He is asking you to do is just as exhilarating as that first roller coaster ride- terrifying and exciting at the same time. Hearing God’s voice & obeying, is like a roller coaster ride- terrifying & exciting. He didn’t create us to live a mundane existence.

The ups are exactly like the best times of your life and then the downs are the parts when you throw your hands up and scream!  You’re screaming because you are terrified, but it releases all of your emotions and it brings that adrenaline that you need to get to the next climb.  If we look at those downs as a way to regain momentum to get back to the top, then that changes our perspectives.  So the next time you feel like you are barreling down hill, take a moment to ask God what He is preparing you for as you are re-charging for the next mountaintop.  It’s even ok to scream a little and throw your hands up 🙂