Saturday, May 31, 2008

Worth reading

Rick Joyner:
"The Difference Between Wealth and Riches"

Rick JoynerRecently we discussed how the most successful in any field are usually those who do the basics the best. I am sure you have noticed how I repeat some of these principles. I may try to say them a little differently, using different stories, but they are nevertheless the same principles. I am trying to make the teaching interesting and effective. Repetition is required in developing any skill, including Christian character. The wise embrace repetition and are always those who are the most serious about training and practice. The wise never waste an opportunity to review a truth and practice it.

In our ministry, we have quite a few gifted musicians, songwriters, and worship leaders. Our School of Ministry seems to attract many very gifted musicians and worship leaders every year, and lately we have been astonished at how these extraordinary gifts seem to be increasing dramatically each year. This is a great encouragement to us, but we also know it is a great responsibility.

MorningStar worship CDs have become known around the world. I hear songs written by our worship leaders and students played almost everywhere I go, even in some of the most isolated, remote places. This is gratifying because those songs have a message that is being carried forth, and even more importantly, they are helping people to worship the Lord. However, this did not just happen. We began with probably the most unimpressive worship on the planet. How did this change?

There can be a great difference between wealth and riches. Riches tend to come easily and quickly, but also leave just as easily and quickly. True wealth is the result of diligence, hard work, faithfulness, endurance, and character, all of which help impart to the one who has the wealth and the wisdom to help preserve and expand it. The true treasure of the Kingdom is the same.

Fruit Requires Cultivation

One of the true treasures of the Kingdom is having our names written in Heaven, where we are known there. It is a great treasure to be trusted with the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit and to be given authority and influence in the Kingdom, all of which is built on character, which is called "the fruit of the Spirit." Fruit is cultivated and grown. You cannot plant a seed and expect it to just jump out of the ground as a mature tree with fruit on it.

I confess to getting impatient with people who ask me to pray for them and impart my gift of writing to them, as if this could be done just by me laying hands on them. It has taken me four decades of hard work to develop the skills that I have. We can be given the gift by God, but like the muscles He gives us, they will remain small or grow dependent upon how we exercise them. Imparting spiritual gifts is not like waving something like a spiritual magic wand over people and giving them a gift that is instantly powerful. It is true that gifts can be imparted by the laying on of hands, but if we impart something to someone who does not have the discipline and devotion required to develop it, we have helped to bring judgment upon them--the judgment of the "wicked, lazy slave" (see Matthew 25:26) in the Parable of the Talents who buried what he was entrusted with.

I have often desired a gift or power that would allow me to lay hands on people for instant spiritual maturity, but I do not find that anywhere in the Scriptures. Wisdom comes from a devotion to knowledge that is combined with experience with the humility to learn from our experiences and others. It is a mentality.

I will confide this to you: One of my greatest disappointments and a grief that I carry is to have watched some of the most spiritually-gifted people fail, backslide, and bury the great gifts that they were given. Because my calling is to build people, the "talents" I have been entrusted with are the people. Though I understand that God has given people freedom to make their own choices, I still carry a grief for those who fail. I cannot help but to wonder what I could have done to prevent this.

Don't feel sorry for me or try to alleviate this feeling because it is basic that with authority comes responsibility, and I am not concerned with feeling better as much as I am with doing better. The only way that I will feel better is to see improvement, and I think that we are, but I also do not want to just sweep our failures under the rug. I want to learn everything I can from them so I can do better with the people the Lord entrusts to us.

On the other hand, we have many success stories, and I get as much joy from hearing of their growth and success as I do grief from the failures. With every success or failure, I feel that I have learned different but priceless lessons. I want to pass these on. Though I may not be able to lay hands on people for instant maturity, the truly wise, who are the truly humble, will learn from other people's lessons, whether mistakes or successes.

Passion Plus Practice Makes Perfect

I have seen one common denominator with all who I consider to be failing to produce fruit with the great gifts that were given to them--they all began to feel that they were so gifted that they did not have to work hard; they only wanted to do the fun part, which for a musician might be something like just playing before large crowds. After a while, we learned that if one's personal discipline in private was not growing with their fame, then their fame would bring them down.

Once when I was going out to speak at the International Church of Las Vegas, I asked a friend of mine who had been a great NBA basketball player to come with me. His name is Armen Gilliam, also known as "Armen, the Hammer," and he was one of the elite players of his time. On the way out, Armen told me about one of his college teammates that he felt was the greatest basketball player he had ever known, but who never made it in the NBA and had never been heard from since. Armen played in the era of some of the greatest basketball players of all time like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. When I asked Armen if his former teammate was better than them, he assured me that he was and that when some of them had played together in summer leagues, this man, John Flowers, won the MVP award.

Like Armen, I wondered how such a great player could just disappear like that. Then, while I was in the green room of the church preparing to speak, Armen came back and said he saw his friend, John Flowers, sitting in the audience. I asked him to bring him back, which he did. I told John what Armen had said about him, and he quickly agreed that he was the most talented player, even more so than all of the other greats of his era. When I asked him why he never made it in the NBA, his response was immediate--he felt that he was so talented that he did not have to work hard, so those who worked harder quickly passed him by. He was now a doorman at one of the casinos downtown.

I, too, have learned over and over that those with the discipline and focus to work hard will quickly pass those who may have much greater talent but do not have the discipline or focus to work hard. Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have obvious talents, but what really separates them from the rest is that they also have a discipline and work ethic. Michael Jordan refused to let anyone get to practice before him or leave after him. Teammates and coaches asserted that he practiced with more zeal than most played the games with.

Run for the Imperishable Prize

Think about this: Any one of you reading this could become God's best friend in these times and do the greatest exploits for the sake of the Gospel. Nowhere does it say that any one of us cannot do what Enoch did--get so close to God that He just takes us straight to Heaven without passing through death. In fact, it could be that this is what the real rapture is--the Bride, the Church, becomes so perfect, without spot or blemish, and so in love with Him that He just takes her.

If great athletes have such devotion for a sport, how much more should we be giving ourselves to run for the wreath that is imperishable?

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

"Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." I Corinthians 9:24-25

Rick Joyner
MorningStar Ministries

Why I don't believe in Committees and Councils

There is an inverse relationship between oversight and management and productivity.

Ever see Office Space??

Peter Drucker had it right:
Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their jobs done. ~ Peter Drucker

Evangelistic Men of Genius

Maybe this might be just one reason I don't reach as many people for Jesus as I wish I could:

Worship as a Social Event

Last night at the House of Prayer I was disciplined  by the Spirit of God.
He said to me, "For you it's less important that you worship me in intimacy one on one than gathering together with others and entering into corporate worship".  Worship has become a social event for you.
It was true.  I knew I had been instructed.  I'm so busy trying to engage and help others enter into worship and find the deep things of God that sometimes my own quiet time, my own seeking after God suffers.  Like the Shulamite in Song of Solomon.  I'm so busy tending other people's gardens my own goes to weeds.
And, I pay a big price to put myself in a place of corporate passionate worship.   Drive long distances.  Find blazing bonfires of Holy Ghost explosion and jump in.
What I came to see last night is it's not about us, it's not about we, it's not about the congregation, it's about ME.  More accurately it's about HIM and ME.  In a way, in HIS eyes I should be in ME church.  There was a funny video some time back that Ben showed called ME CHURCH.  I don't mean that.  I do mean that His concern is my relationship to HIM.  One on One.  Just Me and HIM.  Don't worry about the beam in the other guys eye, get worship right one on one.
I can do nothing about anyone else.  They have whatever one on one with Jesus that they have.
The old worship chorus, "I love you Lord and I lift my voice to worship you Oh my soul rejoice"  had been replaced by "We love you Lord and we lift our voice to worship you oh our souls rejoice".
Worship of God has become a social event, a corporate endeavor.  RELIGIOUS EXERCISE. There I did it again.  I am imputing  corporate worship to represent what is really my issue.
I am going to stop singing US, WE, OUR songs,  stop saying US, WE and OUR Prayers and start saying I, MY and ME.  It's become too easy to duck behind the Congregation blaming them for a diminished spiritual fervor.
The Hebrews 10:25 doesn't apply here.  There we come tot ether to encourage each other.   The 1 Corinthians 14 doesn't apply here.  We edify one another in that passage.  Nothing about Corporate Worship.
In fact, I'm re examining the personal pronoun usage in the "Lord's Prayer".
Maybe it should be:
My Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give ME this day MY daily bread
and forgive me MY trespasses
as I forgive those who trespass against ME
Lead me not into temptation
But deliver ME from evil
I'm not sure, but I kind of think maybe that's what Jesus really taught.  It's more meaningful.  More intimate.  More accountable.  Think about when we pray it corporately, Forgive us our trespasses (I'll bet that other guy really needs this)" 
as opposed to
Forgive me my trespasses, I really need this.
It's not about US, it's About ME and YOU in intimacy with HIM. 

Friday, May 30, 2008

MSNBC's Report on the Revival in Lakeland

LAKELAND, Fla. – "Holy Spirit fall! God is here! We want more! More, more, more!"

That's what Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley yells out nearly every evening to the thousands who gather to hear him preach. The 32-year-old Bentley looks more like a biker than a minister, with body piercings and tattoos all over his arms and neck. But the crowds don't seem to mind how he looks. They just want what they believe Bentley has – the ability to heal them.

Image: Fresh Fire Ministries
Courtesy Loren Brown
Todd Bentley at the Lakeland Convention Center in Lakeland, Fla. on May 21.

Bentley claims that God has used him to supernaturally heal hundreds of people of diseases ranging from glaucoma to diabetes to even cancer. How to explain it?

Bentley said in an interview that he doesn't know exactly why now, why him, why Lakeland, and he does not promise that everyone who comes to him will be healed. But he does maintain a pragmatic posture toward prayer.

"I say, you have nothing to lose but your sickness. If the doctors can't help you, why wouldn't you give God a chance?"

Growing crowds
"If you want God, just come get some," he shouts on stage nearly every night.

Bentley has repeated a version of this invitation daily since April 2 when he and his team from Fresh Fire Ministries, which he founded in 1997, first arrived here from British Columbia, Canada, for what he thought would be five days of "revival" meetings in a local church. But those plans changed, he said, because "God is moving...and people know something is happening here." His meetings have been extended indefinitely.

While Bentley and Fresh Fire Ministries are not part of an organized Protestant denomination, his beliefs tend to follow Pentecostal, charismatic traditions.

He claims that God has used him repeatedly before this revival to heal the sick, but added that this series of revival meetings is unprecedented in his personal experience as a minister.

The meetings have outgrown four venues, including a local convention center that seats roughly 7,000. Now they meet under an air-conditioned tent that can accommodate 10,000 on the grounds of the local airport. Organizers estimate that more than 140,000 people from at least 40 nations have attended meetings here.

In this country, the self-billed "Florida outpouring" has generated mostly local media attention. But word of the revival has been generating plenty of buzz online, taking Bentley’s message and claims far beyond Florida.

So far, according to Fresh Fire Ministries, 1.2 million people have watched live streaming broadcasts of the meetings on the Internet. The meetings also are carried on the religious satellite channel, God TV, which transmits Bentley's healing services to more than 200 nations. In this country, God TV is carried on DIRECTV.

Not everyone is comfortable with this expression of Christianity, including some Protestant theologians. R. Douglas Geivett, a professor at the conservative, evangelical Talbot School of Theology, is deeply skeptical of the "Florida outpouring" and does not believe Bentley’s claims of supernatural healing are consistent with Christian doctrine

"I don’t think it fits neatly into any branch of Christianity," said Geivett. "Mr. Bentley’s worldview appears to be a mixture of New Age notions, an obsession with the paranormal, and an untutored grasp of Christian theology."

Image: Fresh Fire Ministries
Courtesy Loren Brown
A woman named Deborah, who suffers from scoliosis, prays with Todd Bentley in Lakeland, Fla. on May 5 as David Tomberlin looks on and Russ Roderick acts as a “catcher.” Afterwards, she claimed her illness was healed.

Claims of healing
Still, what seems to be drawing all these people of varying ages, ethnicities, and classes is a clear hunger for what Bentley's meetings are offering: the hope of healing and some sort of touch from God.

David Tomberlin, an evangelist who's been dubbed the "Ryan Seacrest" of these meetings because he serves as an emcee of sorts, tried to explain the claims of healings, saying, "The Bible talks about Jesus healing sick people. It says he was moved by compassion, so part of it is God's heart of compassion."

So every night, Bentley and his ministry team take to the stage and try to call heaven down to earth.

That's when the sick are urged to come forward for prayer and healing.

In many instances, Bentley places his hands on someone's head or area of infirmity and cries out for the power of God to descend. In response, some people may stand and physically tremble, while others may literally fall down to the ground in what they call "falling under the power" of the Holy Spirit.

Bentley’s associates say that this is not a painful experience, but rather one of being physically overcome by the loving presence of God. Anticipating these sorts of responses, one of Bentley's staff members stands behind each individual to serve as a "catcher" to gently guide the person down to the floor. Skeptics claim this "falling" can be the result of being overcome with emotion or a learned behavior.

At a recent meeting, Stephen Godula was brought on stage to tell his story. He testified that he had been healed of multiple forms of cancer by watching the meetings on the Internet at home. He plans to return to his oncologist in Philadelphia to document his healing.

Patsy Wallingford traveled from Arkansas in search of healing. Since a tractor-trailer plowed into her mobile home three years ago, Wallingford has been bound to a wheelchair because of nerve damage in her legs and feet.

On a recent night, Wallingford took to the stage and received a prayer from Bentley. "I felt like what was a warm water flow from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet," she explained.

And that's when, she said, she could feel something cold against her right foot; she decided to step out in faith and step out of her wheelchair in front of clapping and cheering crowds.

As she pushed her wheelchair off the stage, she paused to answer questions from one of Bentley's staff members, who filled out a one-page form detailing the claims of miraculous healing.

Bentley and his staff say they welcome as much documentation as people are willing to provide after they return home.

What about the money?
Bentley and his ministry do not charge an entry fee for his meetings. Each evening, four hours into the service, at close to 11 p.m., white plastic offering buckets are passed around.

They asked for money only once and strangely, on the night this reporter was there, they took their offering so late at night that the crowd had thinned-out. Bentley also receives donations directly through his Web site.

The ministry said that the average donation per person is $3-$5. While some people were reluctant to talk about what they gave, one visitor from Finland said he was only able to put in a few dollars because his travel costs were so high.

A spokeswoman for the revival, Lynne Breidenbach, said the offerings have covered their enormous operating costs. Before the move to the airport grounds, she said the ministry paid a daily rental fee of $15,000 for the local convention center, as well as comparable fees for use of a stadium. His spokesperson didn’t know how much the current setup costs. The offerings, said Breidenbach, have not contributed to a significant infusion of cash for Bentley or his ministry.

According to Breidenbach, Bentley "continues to draw his standard salary, set by his board, from his office in Canada. It is a modest salary and is in the five-figure range." The ministry said that their financial records are subject to an outside audit every year.

Bentley said he was willing to open Fresh Fire Ministries’ bookkeeping records for the Lakeland revival meetings, but has yet to provide the documentation to He said that he welcomes media attention and scrutiny because the "outpouring" is a work of God and he has "nothing to hide."

Taking the notion of any potential criticism head on, he said, "I don’t have time to debate whether revival is happening or not. I don’t have time to nitpick the reasons why God might not be moving." Instead, he said, his greater concern is to move as fervently in faith to see as many people healed as he can during this time.

And indeed, Bentley’s claims have stirred up debates within and outside the church.

Erik Thoennes, also a professor from the Talbot School of Theology, offers a more accepting, though still cautious stance, than his colleague Geivett.

Thoennes believes many Christians today are open to the idea that God might move in miraculous ways, even if they don’t embrace movements like Bentley’s. And, he offered specific advice to non-Christians who may be confounded by such reports: "I’d hope they wouldn’t get distracted by movements that seem odd, or by how goofy Christians can be, so that they miss seeing Jesus as the most beautiful, good, loving, just, true, person there is."

If the phone doesn't ring, it's me

One of the difficulties in life is trying to convey God's view of temporal situations from His eternal perspective.  A prophet is witness to events (sometimes in advance) and reports what he or she sees. 
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Herschel  who died in 1972 wrote this:  The main purpose of Prophetic activity is to bring the world into divine focus.
Sometimes that means differentiating the meaningless and unimportant (but apparently urgent thru the worlds eyes) from the important but unrecognized (and apparently able to be deferred).  The urgent overshadows the truly important.
This is a difficult task, not easy.  And it offends.  God is in the business of offending.  He takes our comfortable world and turns it upside down to accomplish His purposes back on track for his destiny for us.  He is unwilling to allow us to remain as we are in our self made world.   Our destiny will never be accomplished in a world we create for ourselves.
Only when we have put roadblocks of our own bias, purposes and constricts does God's purpose in our lives become an offense we can't overcome.  Since we can't be angry with God we get angry with the messenger.  Or in some cases the messenger's taxi driver.  We decide that if that guy didn't exist in my life I wouldn't have any problems.  He's a troublemaker.
Of course that's absolute baloney.  You will be in just as much pain if you don't listen, you'll just be further down the road to nowhere before you hit the wall. 
I understand when the phone doesn't ring.  No one likes news that might upsets an apple cart.  What's worse is if your apple cart is firmly on the ground, full of apples and you believe that nothing can upset it, you don't know God.  He loves you too much to allow you to rely on yourself.
If my phone doesn't ring, I understand.  It will.  God will cause you to pick it up.  I just had such a call.  Life turns on the heeded prophetic.  It collapses on the rejection of the prophetic.
Here's what God says in 2 Chronicles 20:20:
Jehoshaphat's army went out into the Desert of Tekoa early in the morning. As they were starting out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, people of Judah and Jerusalem. Have faith in the Lord your God, and you will stand strong. Have faith in his prophets, and you will succeed."
Most people have no problem with faith in God, they don't have to deal with him speaking directly to them.  So they stand strong.  When the Prophetic voice speaks and they heed, he clears the way and points out the obstacles that need to be moved for success.  If they ignore him they set themselves up for failure.
Sometimes good Christians live in a religious construct (like the Matrix) that means they can stand but never succeed.  That is living below the destiny God has for you.
Have faith in the Prophets and you will succeed.  Pick those whose prophetic voice you will hear, but hear them.  If they are true prophets they will say the same things other true prophets are saying.  False prophets will only tell you what you want to hear and you will fail.
Unless you are being irritated sometimes, it's not probably prophetic.  The prophetic will initiate change and encourage you to make those needed changes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rick Pino

A couple nights ago in the revival in Lakeland Florida Rick Pino was the worship leader. I had never heard of him. I have now.

I'm really touched. This is probably a little over the top if you are religious.

But, but this will really grab a believer by the throat if he's not.

I hope he will come and lead worship in the area. SOON!

The song I really like a lot that every Church should do on Fathers day is, "We have the best dad in the whole world"

Go to this page and look at the music player. You'll find it. In fact listen to all of his music. Great stuff.

The Recession called off, and now that darn price of OIL is falling

The recession seems to be waylaid.

Now the Oil prices are getting confusing? Dropping.

OH, you didn’t know. Course not the all Bush bashing all the time networks failed to mention things like a good market, a lower oil price, a healthier dollar and good news from the war front.

Oil is now ten bucks off it’s high.

The word on the street is that the bubble is bursting.

When the Chicago tribune finally begins to recognize the bubble that is oil we are about to see Seventy Dollar Oil and 2.50 at the pump.

It’s a good time to buy an SUV

Words that I heard God say thru Kim Clement on Friday and Saturday.

In no particular order, these are things I heard. I will admit that what he said and what I heard may have some subjective interpretation. People Stood for over two hours during this meeting. Maybe they were more meaningful to me.

  • God is saying that I am waiting for a people that will shout until the walls come down. The walls of religion and witchcraft.
  • This is the territory that will bring renewal, we are like Egypt in Grain and Oil. Out of us will come renewal and Satan falling like lightning from heaven.
  • I will give you a renewal of radicals. The prince of Illinois will be brought down.
  • Decadence and corruption will be brought down.
  • You will be radical in your amazement of what I am about to do.
  • Seeing Satan as if struck by light
  • Witchcraft, racism and Passivity are the marks of this area.
  • A renewal of amazement and reverence in this region
  • God is about to restore what the enemy has stolen
  • There are those who have surrendered but I will send the rain as a holy answer
  • Worship has become a social occasion, something we do together but not in passion for Jesus.
  • God is making his declarations to the nation
  • God is looking for those who will prophesy to the valley of dead bones
  • What do you see, BONES or an ARMY. Prophesy, Children LIVE
  • We will live as we prophesy to dead bones
  • Sickness result when we turn our worship upside down in religion
  • I am ready to surrender to the one who opened up the heavens
  • There is a changing of the guard – do not fear
  • There is a revival, not only spiritual but an economic revival
  • Let the voice of the prophets be heard, they are witnesses to an event unseen by most
  • Oil will no longer be your downfall
  • It was because of the prophetic voice that there was grain in Egypt. Joseph.
  • We must be in fellowship with the feelings of god
  • No more isolation of inspiration – inspiration to come from wanting your will to be done.
  • We don't want just revival, we want something all new, a new destiny
  • No drift in my church or my People
  • When you connect with the prophetic anointing around you, you will never be the same
  • Things have been speeded up in the spirit
  • The radicals have taken over and that's good
  • It's being born in this very room – Rejoice, it's time to be ready. Signs, weapons and miracles.

That's a short list, I will publish more over time. They are many many many....

More to come!

Observations from Last weekend

When we participated in the Kim Clement meetings at Pheasant Run in St Charles I had several random observations I wrote down.
I'm glad I went and I will go again.
Here they are in no particular order:
  • Really Loud and very Rocky.
  • Pastor Lyon and Ben Peters sitting right up front, old guys rocking out
  • Ladies of Color in Color all Orange and an Orange hat
  • Half Dozen Shofar Horn Blowers - All Shofar all the time
  • Age ranges – 16-25 and 45-infinity (where is the Middle age crowd?)
  • The crowd was such that no one knew where the platform stopped and the congregation began with dancing and demonstrative worship
  • Sound Problems are everywhere, or maybe it's my hearing
  • 70% on Friday Nite were women and girls, More balanced on Saturday Nite 
  • Not too surprising the number of women, led by a woman pastor
  • Comment by a friend of mine, You finally got your church plant in St Charles even if for only 2 days.  I guess, but it's not enough.
  • A third were black and Hispanic
  • Not coming for what they get, but what they can give in Singing Dancing and Banners
  • Parking lot was full. IL, IA and WI.
  • Cost $10 per service to attend.
  • And an offering was taken
  • Half were from the local area by a show of hands.
  • About 3500 people
  • The worship and music was all spontaneous, no words up on a screen but people caught on and sang
  • Band played people sang in all spontaneous worship
  • Many had just returned from Lakeland Florida.
  • I used to know everyone at these meetings. I've been hanging around the wrong people, I only saw a few dozen I knew.
  • Maybe women came because it's a handsome long haired prophet was there. I don't qualify in that department
  • Most of the people old and young are there to seeking a hope and a future by the Prophetic Word
  • Hardly any preaching per se.
  • Not one song was one anyone had ever heard of before ever, all new, all spontaneous
  • Sing the new song, send the oil
  • Any smell of anything religious is repulsive to this crowd of people.
  • Things seem upside down when you lose control and that's good. He turns them upside down for you
  • Not many Cadillacs or Mercedes in the parking lot, but no junk either
  • Contending for a word or for healing happens in the Glory.
  • Very unfamiliar, kind of scary, thunders and lightnings, The presence of God is moving, even terrifying.
  • If it was familiar and comfortable it wouldn't be God
  • People there were hungry for God, full of Faith and Hope because they have little else.

Sometimes this is how it really feels

Sometimes I get Depressed

Mostly I'm up and positive.  It's the nature of the beast.  I try to be encouraging. 
Sometimes I get discouraged.  I become depressed.  I've been reading Jeremiah and Lamentations.  I understand him.  I understand how hard it is to pour yourself out in trying to bring God to a people in fullness and it falls on deafened ears.  It made Jeremiah weep.  Me too.
I thought I was alone in this.  Then in a conversation with a house prophet from another church he expressed the same frustration. 
Maybe that is the nature of the prophet, wanting more for those who he or she interacts with and being frustrated when they don't "Get It". 
Some might say, "Don't force it, some people don't want that, not everybody worships the same way, people don't have to be exactly like you think they should." 
I agree.  Here's the issue, if I have any discernment I can spot shallow.  I have catholic friends who love Jesus with more passion than anyone else I know.  I have Pentecostal friends who are a mile wide and an inch deep.   All show no go. 
Then there are those I have been hoping to encourage to go deeper in God.  They don't seem to want to go deeper.  They are happy in the familiar religious comfort zone they are stuck in. 
They want nothing that might upset that house of cards called religion they live within.  It's too scary to step outside.  Maybe the thing Christians need is to be scared a little bit.  Maybe that whole fear of the Lord thing is what's needed.
It's always been that way.  At mount Sinai the Children of Israel told Moses that God Scared them and they didn't want to hear from him any more.  They told Moses that he should talk to God and then come report what God had said.  From that day forward Relationship was replaced by Religion and God never spoke to them directly again. 
Deut 5:25-27  "But now, why should we die?  This great fire will consume us,  and we will die if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer.  For what  mortal man has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as   we have, and survived?  Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says.  Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you.  We will listen and obey." 
 Heb 12:19-20  "those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded."
That's what's happening today.  God is speaking and people are unwilling to hear.  It's scary. Instead they rely on dead religious systems.
God is not pleased, I don't even have to be a prophet to say that.  Bring your fires of Revival Lord, bring it now.
Maybe that's the wrong prayer.  Some people can't be RE vived because they have never been VIVED.  They have no first love to go back to because they haven't yet had first love.

Where's my Check?

Over the last few years in the debate about the religion of Global Warming and Radical Environmentalism I have equated the observations and doctrine of those advocates to those who practiced human sacrifice to appease the weather gods in central America.

Now, today, a writer by the name of Roy Spencer comes out with the same concept. The same examples. The same ideas.

I'm not saying that
ol Roy read my blog and plagiarised it. I am saying that if he did I want a check. He's a real writer and makes a living doing so.

I'm an
lowly blogger and it costs me money to do this.

So, Roy, send money. Did you get paid for MY IDEA??

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Don't ever ever ever pay Hewlett Packard for Support

I just paid $50 to HP to have my computer repaired.  They did NOTHING.  NOTHING.  NOTHING.'
Some guy who wasn't from  here told me that my hard drive needed to be reformatted and a new operating system installed.  WHAT??
For that piece of wonderful information I paid fifty bucks?
Don't ever pay Hewlett Packard to support your system.  They are stupid and know nothing.
I'm gonna take my machine to the Geek Squad and let them fix it.  They know what they are doing.  I wish I had done that earlier.
I'm operating in Safe mode, but I'm not happy about that either.  No sound.
It's such a bummer.

Vista Sucks

I have had this computer less than a year.  It came with Vista.
Vista, Microsoft's operating system, is buggier than you can possibly imagine. It only works in safe mode now.
Microsoft, if you had a clue, you would fix this mess you created.
There are no repair tools either. 
I want my XP back.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Case of Spiritual Indigestion

Over the last few years I  have invited several of my Pentecostal friends to come to our little Church on the Corner.
I grew up in the denomination so I get it.  I can get past the show stopper that keeps them from coming back.
I think anyone who grew up or spent much time in a traditional evangelical church can get past the show stopper.  We can worship even if the atmosphere is stagnant.
For the tongue talking radical Pentecostal there's a problem.  In our little church we can't offer what they want.  It's not within our power to do so.
It's not about the music, although the music must be worshipful and passionate.  The most radical Pentecostal services today sing exactly the same songs we sing at the Lutheran Church.  They even sing hymns.  It's not skill, it's anointing, passion.
It's not about the preaching.  Some of the messages preached at our little church would be welcome in the Pulpits of the Holy Ghost fire baptized.  It's not that.
It's not about the fellowship and warmth.  People are warm and accepting at our little church.  In fact very warm and accepting.
It's not the building.  We have a great building.  Even the flawed sound system isn't that terrible. 
NO, it's none of those things.  I  wish it were.  It would be easy to fix.  This weekend as I sat in some radical Pentecostal services I did I came to realize what it is.
It's religious predictability.  Religion is a really bad word that leaves a bad taste causing all kinds of indigestion.  We still have lots of that at our little church.  Not that we serve more than anyone else, it's just easy to become so routine and predictable, predictability equals religion.
So when friends have come, when other Pentecostals have been part of the fellowship, they eventually get up and leave.  We can't keep the Pentecostal.  In fact one young man who comes to our little church can't actually stand to be in the services.  I understand.   I think he's being narrow but maybe I'm the religious one here.  I have watched several Charismatic's leave over the last few years.  They just can't stomach it any more.
There is such a deep distaste for religion that it causes a spiritual indigestion.  When you know exactly when you should stand, sit, recite some written words, follow an order of service, and get out in 55 minutes it can make a people sick to their stomach.
This isn't judgmental.  This is a case of not wanting to be fed where it will cause indigestion.  I know that feeling.  When it gets too religious I have to purge myself spiritually and get in the presence of God in freedom.  Only then will I feel better.
If you went to a certain restaurant and every time you came out you were sick to your stomach, you wouldn't go back again.  You'd find somewhere to eat that didn't cause indigestion.
I don't know how to fix this easily.  Maybe there is no hope.  That's too bad because there are hundreds of unchurched Pentecostal Christians in our area and after tasting our fellowship go home unfed or sick.  We can get them to come but we can't keep them.
Religion is a horrible food.  I hate having to eat it.
The essence of good spiritual food is freedom and spontaneity.  Yes services are planned.  Music picked out. But, there are always possibilities that anything can happen.  And, often anything does.  That's what the Pentecostal among us is looking for.
I love being in a Church Service where anything can and will happen and often does.  Where the service looks more Like 1 Corinthians 14.  Where everyone participates at every level.  I know that at First Assembly years ago sometimes I expected to see angels appear, Jesus to show up bodily, beams of light to fall or some Ananias to drop dead.  Didn't happen, but the atmosphere was one where it could have.
When in the conference over the weekend I came to realize that people were there not for what they could get, but for what they could give.  People blew the shofar, danced, ran the aisles, hopped up and down, screamed, yelled, spoke in tongues, sang, knelt, raised hands, clapped, cheered, waved flags, banners, signs and all sorts of other engagements.  People were involved.  Giving.  Oh, and it cost ten bucks to walk in the door and an offering was taken.  Even that was unusual.  People held up the envelopes and waved them at God.  A wave offering. Try that at church next Sunday.  See if you get several thousand out as was there this weekend.  With almost no promotion.
I know full well that if a free Pentecostal service was available in our area with all the anticipation that it can offer, people would come, participate and be part of it.  Almost all of the sponsorship was from Churches outside the Fox Valley.    There is not much of a vital Pentecostal work in our area.
Even when we had New Life in Geneva we had some who would dance, some who would give messages in Tongues, some who would prophesy, some who would blow the shofar.  Some who would get up and give a testimony without prompting.  It was pretty free.  Still too constrained but not too bad. 
That all happens and it can seem to be chaos, but it was in perfect order at all times.  People were healed by the unexpected. Set free in the anointing that came in the unfamiliar.
If you are questioning the religious nature of your ministry, ask this question of yourself:  How ready are you to connect with the unfamiliar.  Jesus never ministered healing the same way twice.  Unfamiliar.  Moses was chastised for hitting the rock as he had in the past (familiar = religion) versus speaking to it as God had instructed. 
When something is familiar it becomes religious.  Familiar predictable singing, familiar predictable preaching, familiar predictable sacraments, familiar predictable offerings, familiar predicable everything.
If you want to break the back of religion in your church, begin the ministry of the unfamiliar.  Create an anticipation of the unexpected.  Then the demon of Religion will flee, people who are hungry will come and they won't leave with and such an upset stomach.

Taking a Stand

On Friday and Saturday night in our home town Kim Clement was here in St. Charles.  We were there.  So were several thousand others from this area.
Kim Clement is a modern day prophet and his prophetic gift is not only tested, but fulfils all the purposes of Prophecy after Pentecost.
Encouragement and Foresight.
The church that sponsored this was Praise Ministries of Geneva IL.  I have never attended a regular service there.  I don't know the people there.  I have friends who attend there but that's all I know of that.  I wrote them and thanked them for bringing this to town.
What was interesting about all of this was the catalog of churches and ministries who were sponsoring or cooperating churches.  To sponsor or cooperate means you promoted the meeting in your church, financially helped, sent people to work as ushers and encouraged people to come.
Looking over the list was revealing:
  • 4 Independent Charismatic Churches
  • 2 Assembly of God Churches
  • 2 Vineyard Churches
  • 3 Para Church Ministries
  • 1 Baptist
  • 1 Reformed
  • 1 Covenant
  • 2 Lutheran Church Mo Synod Churches
Let me be very clear.  This was uber Charismatic shofar blowing dancing in the aisles radical Christian expression.  Black white Hispanic and Asian in large numbers.  Very wild stuff.
I do wonder where the Presbyterians are, the Methodists, the ELCA or others.
There were a lot of Catholics there.  Even Nuns.  Tough for the Catholic Church to take a stand.  St John's Neumann has a strong Charismatic Community and I wondered why they didn't take a stand.
I think this is what heaven will be like. 
I also think that the debate going on over at John Armstrong's blog between Confessional Lutherans and the rest of us has already been answered.
LCMS churches and pastors who have the courage to take a stand did.  This gives me hope.  God is on the move.
I will review all the prophetic utterances I could grasp that I wrote down here.
I also have finally figured out why Pentecostals won't come to my Home LCMS church.  It took me a while but in those meetings it hit me why hundreds of Pentecostals who love Jesus with all their heart will visit but never come back to my Church.  It's not about them.  It's not about us.  It's indigestion. More later.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Watching the Lakeland Revival once again

It's been 50 something days. I can't get enough. It's so precious. or God TV channel 365.

I know there is many many good people who are speaking out against this revival.

They spoke against Toronto, Pensacola. Every move of God is spoken against by people who can't understand a fresh move of God.

God isn't in the business of being understood.

I'm so excited that God is doing what he is doing.

It is so dangerous to speak against the Power of God. I won't link them, but many are doing so.

God will not be mocked. Be very very careful of speaking against what God is doing. It's better if you stay silent.

Never Ever Forget

I saw this picture. It broke my heart. I also set my face as flint that his good man did not die in vain. We will not be defeated, we will not back down. Bless her,

I mourn with her.

Condescension and Disdain

Small change.  That's what it's like to be treated like this by anyone.  It's particularly difficult for some when those are people who are supposed to be representatives of the most high God.  When they act like they are just at the left hand of the Father. 
When someone in clerical robes does it, there is  much said about who THEY are than who you are.  I have no respect for such men.
I have been treated as small change.  By peanut sized people.  I have learned to ignore them.  Others just end up wounded.
There is an inverse relationship between how a person treats others and what kind of a person they are, If they treat someone like small change it says a great deal more about them than the person they disdained,  particularly those who have no claim to anything other than being who they are.
So, for those, I will treat them as they deserve.
Like small change.
Turnabout is fair play.

I have seen a GREAT LIGHT

I have been stuck on Isaiah 9. Matthew refers to it as well in 4:16 as prophetic evidence of Jesus as the Christ.

The fact is, the church is in darkness. The world is in darkness. Christians who name the name of Jesus are still living in darkness.

There is a GREAT LIGHT.

Look up and see. He's coming. In fact He's already here:

Isaiah 9

A New Day Is Coming
1 But suddenly there will be no more gloom for the land that suffered. In the past God made the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali hang their heads in shame, but in the future those lands will be made great. They will stretch from the road along the Mediterranean Sea to the land beyond the Jordan River and north to Galilee, the land of people who are not Israelites.
2 Before those people lived in darkness,
but now they have seen a great light.
They lived in a dark land,
but a light has shined on them.
3 God, you have caused the nation to grow
and made the people happy.
And they have shown their happiness to you,
like the joy during harvest time,
like the joy of people
taking what they have won in war.
4 Like the time you defeated Midian,
you have taken away their heavy load
and the heavy pole from their backs
and the rod the enemy used to punish them.
5 Every boot that marched in battle
and every uniform stained with blood
has been thrown into the fire.

"Life conspires to beat the rebel out of you."

That's a statement from Alex Bugosky. Microsoft has hired him to make Microsoft look cool. He's the guy that did the APPLE PC ads. The article linked above tells all about it. Worth reading.

What made me think when I read this was how true it is.

I remember as a teenager being advised to not go against the grain. Don't defend the unpopular. Go along to get along. It doesn't pay to fight the establishment.

Life was conspiring to beat the rebel out of me.

For a while I might have succumbed. Maybe I did. Now as the grey in my hair is battling the brown I find that fighting to find that rebel is more important than ever.

I must fight against the life conspires of the news media that try to pound me into a mould I know instinctively is wrong. In fact most of the news media most of the time is wrong.

I must fight against the life conspirators who tell me that I must be of this or that political tenor to be acceptable. I don't. I have that rebel alive and well in me.

I must fight against the life conspirators in my spiritual walk who tell me this or that is wrong, acceptable, unacceptable, must, don't, do, are obligated to do or not do. What I can or cannot believe. I won't back down. I have seen a great light and if you haven't seen it I must be a rebel and struggle to help you to see it.

Jesus never let life beat the rebel out of him. He stood against a corrupt religious system that took his life. He stood against sickness and oppression. He stood against hopelessness. He stood against everything that the devil would use to come against people and their destiny.

Mark Batterson:
One of the things I love about Jesus is that He remained the rebel his entire life. He didn't bow to the Pharisees. He didn't bow to Pilate. Truth is, He didn't bow to anyone except His Heavenly Father. That is what it means to be a spiritual rebel.

In the words of Dorothy Sayers: "To do them justice, the people who crucified Jesus did not do so because he was a bore. Quite the contrary;
he was too dynamic to be safe. It is has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have declawed the Lion of Judah and made him a housecat for pale priests and pious old ladies."

In fact, in a soft way, everything that tries to beat the rebel out of you is at it's core satanic.

From Charlie at Christian Thinker:

This reminded me of Romans 12:2 (I’ll quote the JB Phillips version because I love the language he uses):

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

We Christians are role models, often when we don’t even realize people are watching. Most of us are immersed in the secular world in our jobs, our schools, our families, in the places where we shop and travel. And especially, in our blogs. We’re all under relentless pressure to conform: in speech, thought, values, and actions. But Christ calls us to be non-conformists. Christ calls us to live true to him, at all times, in all circumstances. And when we do, others notice.

So, don't let the world beat the rebel out of you.

Jesus didn't and we can be like Jesus.

Christians - stand up and say
No to the world.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Testy Relationships

I have many people I consider friends.  I believe many of them consider me a friend too. 
I have many people who I frustrate and irritate in a big way.  Most of them are the same people who I consider and who consider me their friend.
How is that possible.  I don't think I have any friends who I don't irritate sometimes.  That's the price of relationship.  If you aren't frustrated by them sometimes you are not in relationship, you just have an acquaintance. 
I'll go so far as to say if you have a relationship where there is testiness from time to time it's probably a relationship sent by God.  That kind of relationship will increase your holiness. The acquaintances you have do nothing for your holiness. 
It's the tension between you and the other person that sharpens you. 
I've been married for 42 plus years to the most wonderful woman in the world.  We have never ever had once cross word between us.  If you believe that I have land in Florida to sell you. 
Our early years of marriage, the middle years of marriage and in fact this last couple years of marriage have helped me become more holy. 
So, if you are my friend, if next time I irritate you, if next time I frustrate you, consider it a prophetic gift. You tick me off some too.  As we work on and resolve our relationship we both become more of what God wants us to be.
In fact, I worry about a person who is unwilling to enter into a relationship and expect to never have tension in the relationship.  That's not a relationship.  Without that pressure, no holiness results.
So, next time I say or do something please forgive me, because I'll do it again, and again.  It's just God.  Working things out in both of us.