Wednesday, June 28, 2006

So Long (for a bit)

We will be away in the far country (North Dakota) for a week starting tomorrow morning. Going to see relations and friends. In some cases they are the same people. (that’s a joke now)

Your lowly correspondent will be out. My next post will most likely be on July 8, 2006. (Unless my itchy keyboard finger causes me to find somewhere to send off a post). I am not taking my laptop. I will be unreachable except by cell phone. If you need me, 630-421-5100. Leave a message. I have lots of minutes to use up. I'm going to try to see you Jack. So don't be a big shot, Take my call!

Whilst I am away, I want to recommend for your perusal.

My favorite Blog is Say Anything. Very political and pretty brutal sometimes.

I read these every day:
Barry (Occasionally Religious Stuff)
Keith (Moderately Religious stuff
John (Kind of Religious stuff)
Blessed Economist (Pretty Challenging Religious stuff)
World Net (The world Thru a Catholic Worldview)
Julie (I’m not sure what to categorize this as)
I reviewed my favorites list. Honestly, those get the bulk of my attention. Other than Drudge and occasional looks at a few others I’m stuck in a rut. What’s that all about?

What I really would recommend is for you to read the whole 9 part REVOLUTION series I posted this last week. Just scroll down from here and you will find 1 of 9. Then 2 of 9 etc. Read the whole thing.

If you read and heed it will change you forever.

Revolution – Epilogue (#9 of 9)

I am a student of Shakespeare. In the play, Julius Cesar, Cesar has just been murdered. Brutus (of et tu Brute’) is giving a talk at his funeral in eulogy. He says, “Lowliness is young ambition's ladder, Whereto the climber-upward turns his face; But when he once attains the upmost round, He then unto the ladder turns his back, Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees By which he did ascend”.

Even in spiritual things as a person goes higher and experiences more there is a potential to look down on those who are not where you have come to. I will not do that. My desire is to say as the Glorified Jesus in Heaven said to John in Revelation 4:1, “Come up Here”. I wish every person could experience what I am. That’s why I wrote this.

I didn’t get here alone. I am here by the grace of God and because so many faithful men and women of God helped me along the way. Now some of those same people need to be encouraged to “Come up Here”. Thanks to Curt, Rod, Todd, Pr Dan, Barry, Tim, Dr Lyon, Dr. Carpenter, and so many more I could name.

This is only the beginning of the beginning. We know in part, we prophecy in part but the Glory is being revealed. Let he who has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit says.

You can live like this

Revolution – The Enlarged Heart (#8 of 9)

Over 30 years of this walk, 27 with the Holy Ghost, 3 without, have helped me frame what is happening to me right now. I am moving thru a new level. My heart is becoming enlarged.

Thanks to Todd Beery’s influence in my life, I experience Worship and Prayer as two sides of the same coin. Heaven’s economy spends the coin of intercession no matter which side (heads or tails) is presented.

There was a time for me when Prayer was hard work. Now it happens as spontaneously and continuously as if I were breathing. I don’t sit and contemplate my navel while praying. Sometimes I kneel. Mostly it happens as I walk, drive, think, sleep, read or visit with my wife. It is as present as the air around me. I’m not unique. Millions are now entering this realm. It’s where you always wanted to be. It’s where God intended you to be. The bar is raised.

This prayer is wrapped in a musical covering. It makes Prayer passionate and passion prayer. It makes prayer a joy. Prayer had been tedious at times for me in the past. This takes that stigma off and allows me to enter in at a higher and more continual level. It plays over and around in my head all day long. He is always on my mind. I can still pray in a more conventional way, but now when I do I hear music. I pray with power. I pray with authority. I pray with faith. Without ceasing.

I am able to do that because of Intimacy. The price of moving in power in life and ministry, faith and authority is intimacy. With whom? The Fullness of the Godhead. (I am fully Trinitarian). We must know him in all his fullness. It’s more than a good idea. It’s a demand.

I am more and more convinced that the Trinitarian view of God is like the Sabbath. It was meant for man. God is one. But we must worship him in Spirit and in Truth and that means we must do our best to comprehend him in all his fullness. That takes Trinitarian theology. Jesus said, Man was not made for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made for man. The Trinity may be like this. I am not going to try to cover that here; you can chew on that for yourself.

So how is Intimacy in Prayer/Worship preparation? When Jesus says, “Depart from me, I never knew you” he’s talking about intimate knowledge. What a friend I have in Jesus is a good song. But Jesus lover of my soul is better. The Song of Solomon 1:2 (Bride says of the Bridegroom) “Let Him Kiss me with the Kisses of His Mouth”. He is our Bridegroom Warrior King and we are the bride. Too intimate for you? If so go tear this book out of your Bible. It's not too intimate for Jesus. He wants to KNOW you. Nothing less will do. Take a look here. Can you know Him like that? YES!

This was hard for me at the beginning. I’ve never been a big fan of “Jesus as my Boyfriend” Songs. Let's see the demarcation. Songs that are just Jesus as boyfriend are rooted in a lack of real intimacy. It’s like a 14-year-old girl’s crush versus the passion right after a birth. I’ll never forget the Kiss right after our second son was born my wife and I exchanged. That was intimate. I wasn’t her “Boyfriend”. I was her lover. Her Bridegroom. I am frankly nauseated by the Jesus as boyfriend songs. I want to know the one who loves me more than life itself. I am a romantic. I’m in love with love. I am also a warrior. I run to the battle. I believe battles can be won. For that reason I am more fearless the older I get. I wish more men in the pews were swashbuckling romantic pirates set at taking back ground from the enemy for their lover. That’s the image I believe men were created to be. Loving Jesus at that level isn’t about Gender. Get over it, in God’s economy you are a bride, now strap on your sword and act like the Warrior for your lover you were destined to be.

This syndrome is like World War II. Men at the front in Europe and the far east carried letters from their wives or girlfriends. They carried pictures. They thought about them. They fought valiantly because they believed doing so would make a better world for their lovers. Men that didn’t have a girl or wife back home had a picture of a pinup girl. They were doing exploits for LOVE. Romantic exploits. They were heroes who fought and sometimes died with the name of their beloved on their lips. Remember the movie “Saving Private Ryan” or “Braveheart”. Men fighting and dying for love. Does Jesus deserve less?

The concern about women dominant in the Church will be solved as men alight on fire in Love with Jesus live as passionate warriors. The reason so many are apathetic today is they aren’t in Love with the Lover of their souls. Too many men are working too hard being burned out in the church of today because of a lack of JOY. I identified with the character Worf in Star Trek Next Generation. He had joy in the battle. The most attractive men are better looking as they are sold out to Jesus in passion. The good news is there is a new sound of war in the land. Read what Rick Joyner said about this new generation of warrior leadership.

The bar is raised. It’s now about Jesus. Do you really love him? Nothing less than total commitment will do. Jesus is all there is. My friend Tim Campbell used to say, “Jesus plus anything is a cult”. It’s true. Jesus is all there is and Jesus is all you need.

When Jesus says, “Depart from me, I never knew you” its obvious he is talking to people in ministry. They respond, “But Lord, didn’t we heal the sick, cast out demons, preach, run churches, even raised the dead all in your name”? It’s who you know, not what you do that matters. They were working without intimacy. Cold dead works conducted by cold dead people. Oh they knew all the “Moves” but they did it without intimacy. And they were cast out. Don't be there. You were destined for Glory. You were destined to do conquests. You were destined to win.

Even the precious gift of Tongues can be vain repetition without the intimacy required to pray in the spirit. Certainly English will fail. I can listen to a person pray and in 10 seconds tell you their level of intimacy. Ministry without intimacy is wood hay and stubble. It’s not enough to just do it with the Jesus name on the door; you must do it with Jesus in you and where you are just the flesh and bones he works thru.

Years ago Howard Cole was a friend of mine. A Lutheran Pastor. Our two marriages were not going well. He counseled me. He said that I needed to have experiences with my wife to make our marriage work. I was working hard, making a lot of money but not investing time in my experiential relationship with Peggy. He was right. I took a right turn. Peggy quit everything and we went off for 6 weeks together to experience each other.

His marriage didn’t make it but his advice was good. People who know nothing on a practical level about being married do lots of marriage counseling. They can’t do it but they can tell you how you should. Do as I say not as I do.

It’s exactly like that for many people in ministry today. They have been to Bible School, they know all the right concepts, they have read all the right books and they have been to all the right seminars. The problem is they are not experiencing the joy of the Lord they are trying to lead others into. Oh, some get there anyhow. Like Howard, the info is correct and if followed by a hungry heart will produce results. It’s just not spontaneous or real on the part of the minister. It comes from a book of how to. Not from the creative heart of God. They just do a buckshot ministry with lots of stuff they read and hope for the best. And luck for them now and then a blind sow finds an acorn.

I don’t question their dedication, devotion or desire. I know they are missing so much more God has for them. One on One all alone intimacy in the spiritual bedroom of Jesus. Into the Kings Chambers he brought me says the Shulamite.

Development of this profound intimacy is more important than Bible study, more important than seminary, more important than working hard for God. In fact many people get so busy in ministry they lose the intimacy God desires for them and they miss the whole thing.

John Piper is a father of this movement. He says this, “Missions exist because true worship (Intimacy) does not”.

You can say the same thing about evangelism programs, stewardship drives, and a hundred other man made implementations designed to get results only intimacy can produce. Lovers of God work harder, give more, go more joyfully to the mission field, do better evangelism, become ministers, and love others better than those who are just putting in their time. Get a worship-prayer vocabulary in your life and the rest will become more joy filled and much easier. Do less better.

Jesus talked a great deal about the need for this. He went away when the crowd pushed in around him and prayed. Do you think he prayed from some prayer book? It was passionate and personal. There was the time when his disciples couldn’t cast out a demon for a young boy. He said to them, “This kind doesn’t come out except by prayer and fasting”.

Every time Jesus ministered to someone he prayed first. Then he ministered. He didn’t pray for people except in intercession. He never prayed for the sick. He prayed a prayer of preparation then he spoke to the mountains to move. He prayed a prayer of intimacy before he raised Lazarus from the dead. But we think we can minister without that level of intimacy and it falls flat. Time to change. The bar is raised.

That’s exactly what he requires of us today. Preparation. You and I were designed by God to move mountains. We were to have dominion. We are to be the head and not the tail. We are to have authority over demonic things. But that takes intimacy. The Church of the Vision God gave me for this area is a great deal like a recent Church described in the last Charisma Magazine article by Matt Sorger on Intimacy. The worship was spontaneous, people came to the altar, the preaching was prophetic utterances of Gods heart toward his people “Words of Love”, and people were made whole in His presence. The bar is raised.

I see this coming up on the horizon like Gehazi, Elijah’s servant. A cloud the size of a man’s hand. I smell the rain and I hear the sound of abundance coming. I have hope fully in God that is driving me forward with a vision he gave me 11 years ago.

Stir it up in our Hearts Lord, Stir it up in our Hearts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Revolution – Wave after Wave after Wave……………(#7 of 9)

In the ministry God has entrusted me with, I operate in the realm of the Prophetic. As such I have experienced certain “Moves of God” in a different way many do. I am often able to see things in the spirit others might miss or dismiss. I may not always be particularly gifted, I’ve just lived my life as never too cynical or too gullible about anything. I operate on the principle of Gemalial. If it’s of God, you’ll know. If not it will die a slow painful death. So, when the train goes by I may or may not jump on. Mostly I let a few freight cars go by to see.

27 years of living in Pentecost I have seen plenty of “Waves” come that were predicted as something that would “change everything”. Few did. Very few ever really do. Most are programs of men, good godly efforts but not God. You’ve seen them flash in the spiritual pan too. Jabez, Purpose, Promise, and a dozen more. Not wrong, just not real winds of the Holy Ghost. So even today when someone wants to explain why this or that is a new wave I’m just a little slow on the uptake. That doesn’t mean I don’t check it out. I just want to be sure what I commit myself to. Life is too short to run after fads and waste time doing so.

Rodney Howard-Browne was a move that was real. Howard-Browne was sent by God from South Africa to America to bring revival in the early 80s. He did. From that wave of the Spirit he carried there was initiated the Toronto Blessing, Brownville, Gray, and hundreds of living breathing Churches that are still benefiting from this wave of God. They may not know the genesis of it all but it’s still there. All this happened with a spark that became a fire that is being reignited over and over again. Nothing is the same as it was since the early 1990s. Every free worshipping church in America with new passion owes it’s existence to Howard-Browne. What’s interesting is he is now sidelined. God will share his glory with no man. If you offer to be used of God expect nothing in return except himself. He is his own reward. That is and should be enough. He may use you again but if you become offended with him he may not. It's best to trust him with your life and not worry about your glory.

A second genuine wave is the Prayer Movement as commissioned by God to Mike Bickle. Once again this wave is globally changing the body of Christ. He was given a vision and a dream of God to fulfill. He is doing it and the movement is reverberating throughout the Body of Christ. There are now thousands of these bonfires in American and Europe. More spring up every day. They provide something that "Church as usual" cannot provide. Preparation of the saints thru intimacy. Here is a woman who had experienced just one such from Bethany Fellowship in Minneapolis. Her story is really worth reading to grasp what is happening in this vital move and the importance of preparation thru intimacy.

Another who is in the middle of one of these fires in Indianapolis. Read her bio. Click on some of the links. This is what is going on. It's marvelous. Reading both of these gives you a flavor of what is happening.

In both cases much of the traditional denominational and many non-denominational churches initially rejected these moves. They were too far outside the box. The laughing and howling at Howard-Browne’s meetings put most of them off. It wasn’t 3 hymns and a her with a 10 minute sermon read by a half dead preacher and closing with a poem from the readers digest. Traditions broken.

Bickle’s vision in implementation by the International Houses of Prayer worldwide has been vilified by many. This comes from a lack of understanding that worship and prayer are one and the same. They wonder about the 24/7/365 days per year prayer model. The concept of prophetic spontaneous expression however that was ushered in by the House of Prayer movement is now being used by good churches as a fresh new worship model. In Rockford IL at Faith Center they have an outstanding worship leader, Corey Pelley who operates in this with great depth. He can go on prophesying in song for 15 minutes straight. It is extraordinary. It speaks to people with a dimension not found otherwise. It’s all birthed in intimacy. You can’t do this without a deep passionate one-on-one relationship with Jesus.

This all grew out of the Prayer Movement. There were spontaneous songs before but not at this level. Todd Beery who is the leader of the House of Prayer in Bolingbrook IL once told me that he believed the day would come when most worship would be spontaneous song with prophetic words. I am really looking forward to that day. Let’s sing a new song.

As a discerning observer of this whole scene I have see a sea change coming that will usher in new depths in prayer and worship not yet experienced. Typically these changes in methods and style come because a critical mass is reached. I this change has taken place.
It will now move thru the Body of Christ. This will indeed change the face of Christianity in one generation.

There has been as a result of this move of God an accumulation of a vital new vocabulary in the Spirit never heard before. Words and phrases in music. In earlier days men and women of God spoke to each other in King James English to communicate spiritual things. That was good, but now new expressions of God are coming out. David the Psalmist carved words that we still use to this day. Those phrases and passages are of great comfort and hope. This new thing does not take away from that modality. It enhances it. This is a new day of Psalms.

This is about intimacy, passion, prayer and the prophetic. Exactly like David and the Psalms. Except David didn’t have CD’s Drums, Electric Guitars and keyboards.

There is a worldly parallel. I remember as a teenager when the Beatles came on the scene. Up till then we were all 3-cord wonders. They changed everything by the influence of the British invasion. Rock and Roll was never the same again.

But the real sea change came a few years later. Eric Clapton and Cream in Disralei Gears, a much harder rock sound with much more electronic innovation raised the bar much higher. You could never go back again. Even the Beatles had to adapt.

But this isn’t about musical style; this isn’t about music at all. This is about new prayer expressions coming to maturity and implementation. The departure CD I have identified is just one of many, but it’s the one that most definitively represents this. Misty Edwards new one (a leader at the Kansas City House of Prayer), “Always on His Mind”. This is that kind of radical departure. What’s interesting is everything up till now has been a spectrum of development. Some pushing one way, some another. Now there is a culmination that causes me to say, "look where we are". A fine tuned focus of what this new thing looks like. If we went back 5 years in the prayer movement in a time machine we would not recognize where we are today. Now this is beginning to manifest in the Churches. When Paul said, “Pray without ceasing" this has been a challenge. With this you can, forever and when you step from time into eternity you won’t miss a beat”.

Does anyone really think that we’ll play pool in heaven or sit around and tune our harps? NO, it will be eternal praise to the King. And we’ll never get enough. So, If Jesus told us to pray, “On earth as it is in heaven”, How is it in heaven. What's going on there right now. 24/7 (eternal) glorious praise to the King. Why not here, why not now, why not us?

Get ready for this wave of impassioned prayer couched in musical worship in a fresh vocabulary. It will change you forever. It will be glorious.

How far will you let us go Lord, how abandoned will you let us be?

Further and More I’m Guessing.

Take me away, (BUT HURRY)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Revolution – Hiding in Him (#6 of 9)

After the Church and Business collapsed I was wounded. I wanted to hide out for a while. I maintained a relationship with Todd and the House of Prayer in Bolingbrook. He was going thru turmoil of his own at that time. This resulted in people leaving, re-orientation. Frankly he wasn’t in a position to be more than a friend.

What was worse was I wasn’t working. No money coming in. God always provided. But it was hard. For spiritual food we would go to Rockford to Faith Center from time to time. It was always good, always encouraging. But I am a local church guy. I’m committed to the local church, traveling one way for an hour to church is not local.

I know my gifts and not exercising them is just not acceptable. We considered our options. I did not want to begin attending a church that didn’t share my conservative spiritual beliefs. Read this article to understand more. I didn’t want to attend a church where I couldn’t be used of God. I’m a use me or lose me kind of guy. I don’t have eternity on this side of the age. If I’m not in the saddle I get off the horse.

We had visited Lord of Life Church from time to time. Mostly on Good Fridays. I liked what happened then. We had friends who attended there who we thought would benefit from our encouragement. So, we began hiding out at Lord of Life. At first I didn’t know how long. It was after all a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. I thought at least it will be familiar. But it was not exactly like the Mo Synod church I remembered from Childhood. No liturgy. No hymnals. Guitars, keyboards and drums were the worship leader’s tools. Chad Negley was the brand new worship leader the first Sunday we began attending. Wally had left the week before. The music was fresh and familiar. They were the same choruses we had sung at New Life. Some of the same music Rockford used at that time. Some of the same music from the House of Prayer. Familiar.

Not Pentecostal but not all that overtly Lutheran. The important thing to me was it was a conservative church. I am not interested in relativism. I’m pretty much a every word is true in the Bible kind of guy. I’m pretty fundamental. I could live with the doctrine (with only a couple hesitations). I could embrace this Church.

I liked the Pastor. Barry Kolb. He was my age. He had been kicked around in life as I had been. He was from the Midwest. I found him genuine and appropriately standoffish.

I know what that’s all about. Lots of people with promise come in one door and out another. As a pastor you have to test them, watch them, deal with them and then after a period of time begin to use them. At the beginning I wasn’t sure why we were at Lord of Life. I was actually quizzed by Pentecostal friends of mine as to why I was there. I had one local pastor call me and offer to share his pulpit if I would join up with him. Not a huge church (a hundred or so). I wasn't ready to go back to that again.

I wanted to hide out. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. I was done ministering for a while. I went to Barry and told him I was there to hide out. He told me later he didn’t believe me. He thought there was some reason I was there. I shared some things I was working on like my book on marriage. I gave him a galley of it before it was published.

We talked, I did a bit of teaching. I shared some insights. He did the same. I was intentionally free in worship. Raised my hands. Danced a bit. Hollered Hallelujah. I note I’m a bit less expressive lately. Maybe that darn Lutheran thing is wearing off on me. I hope not. I Need a breakthru.

Barry has a well recognized gift of an apostle. He’s not a pastor even if he carries the title. He’s an apostle. Thru and thru. He is learning to wear the mantle well. It needs a nip and tuck here and there to fit but as he becomes comfortable in the role he grows in God.

After we had been attending and after I had spent time communicating with him in certain areas I came to him and said, “It’s been 3 years. It’s time. Put me in coach, I'm done warming the pew".

He did. I was released to run amuck in ministry in the Church and run amuck I do. I stay under submission, I make sure there are not any blindsided issues that come up, I stay committed to the vision of the Church. I see it converging with the vision of God regarding the Church he wants in the Fox Valley.

I see something pregnant in the Spirit. I smell breakthrough at Lord of Life. Only man can stop it. IF man does, God will take his bat and ball, put Ichabod over the door and move on. If that happens, I’m going with God. I have a sense so will Barry. So will a lot of people.

So, my Pentecostal Friends, why in the heck do I stick around? It’s not about Barry. He’s a great guy but there are great guys everywhere. I have a sense in my spirit that I am exactly where God wants me. I don’t know and can’t articulate exactly why. I do know that God’s plan for Lord of Life is for there to be much more than where we are now. All we need to do is walk it out. Deeper water Lord.

The question I keep asking is, How far will you let us go, how abandoned will you let us be? Further, More Lord More.

Peggy and I go to Rockford or Bolingbrook to get our Pentecostal fix. I’m believing that day will end soon. I’m believing that the Vision God gave me 11 years ago is beginning to manifest at Lord of Life. I want the full experience. Breakthrough, Lord, Breakthrough.

A prophecy was given Barry by another prophet (not me). He told Barry that he would be a disturber of denominations. I don’t think it is any accident that the largest growing Mo Synod Church in the whole of the USA in Nebraska (King of Kings) is using the same worship model that Lord of Life does. The old is past, behold all things are become new. I loved liturgy, it just lost it’s meaning. Time to reach a new level. Disturb em Lord. Disturb come from the word stir. Paul told Timothy to STIR UP THE GIFT. It’s time in the Lutheran Church to stir it up.

I operate mostly in the ministry gifting of Teacher and Prophet at Lord of Life. Teaching and encouragement. There is so much more that can and should be done. I’m impatient. God has so much more for Lord of Life. I find mostly my teaching is Prophetic. And My prophetic gift is instructive. It’s a hard gift for people to cope with. I’m not a pastor. I can be brusque. I’m impatient. I’m abrupt. I can become angry. I’m pretty out there with my dealings with people. But the nature of the Prophet is to yell at Saul when he burned the offering out of order. To cut the heads off the conquered Kings. To confront the Davids when they fall. Prophesying isn’t always comfortable but it’s necessary. Primarily the prophetic gift operates in the area of encouragement, edification, and challenging the status quo to go higher in God. It also requires that if I see something that doesn’t line up with the word of God as revealed to me that I am required by my gift to address it. It’s usually not a deal breaker. But if I don’t speak up I am quenching the gift God put within me and I run the risk of having the anointing taken from me. Fortunately my personality doesn’t worry too much about risk. God placed the gift of Creative Discontent in my spirit. I’m never ever ever satisfied with where I am in God or where I want to be. The same for the Church with which I am working.

I will stay and work my tail off to help bring about the vision of the Church God showed me. I will do so until and if the Lord says stop. My flesh wants to stay. It has the capacity to be comfortable. My obedience must be immediate. Like Barry if famous for saying, “Before you ask Lord, the answer is yes”.

I don’t know how this will all come out. I do know this. When a wonderful experience in God takes place people want that same experience again. When a really great service or event takes place people wish we could do that again. “I wish every service could be like this”.


I don’t ever want a do over. I want a do better, more. Every time we get together as a congregation the service should be better than the last time. Is that too lofty a goal? I don’t think so. Every meeting, every service, every event should be better then the last one. They should never go backwards. Or we are saying God’s not creative enough by his Holy Spirit to allow us to do better. After the last Men of God Meeting I got a call from a participant who said, “That was the best ever. Every time it’s better than the last time”. IT SHOULD BE!! We must expect nothing less.

Whenever those flashes of wonder take place Rodney Howard-Browne’s words come back, “You can live like this Gene”.

Lord of Life can live like this.

I’m going to exercise my ministry giftings to whatever extent I can to make it happen.