Saturday, April 29, 2006
Dispatches from the other side of the tracks...
Here is a short video of our new building that our church is moving
into. We are converting it into an art house, acoustic cafe and
coffee bar and ministry center for our church to gather at.
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.
Last Wednesday was our official last youth church meeting at New Hope Christian Center as youth pastors. It truly was anticlimactic to say the least. After almost 9 years of pouring our lives into the youth of this city through this church, I couldn't help but leave feeling kicked in the gut. Good words were said by some and those words will be forever treasured in my heart. But the lack of much of anything else was painful.
Our family has served with passion, sacrifice, integrity and deep love for years at a high cost to ourselves in too many ways to count. We have done it willingly and unto Jesus and in love towards those we have been honored to serve. I will forever be grateful for all the beautiful words, memories and moments that we have experienced here. I know that God holds all that has been done in His heart and when I stand before Him, my reward will be waiting. I have never given myself to anything like I have this youth church and body...I have poured out my life as an offering on the service of your faith. I know that God will call the past to give an account and I shall not be ashamed on that day.
But, that doesn't mean that there has not been some extremely disappointing and devastating parts of this transition too.
This has been a really tough season and it seems like so many people are so caught up in their own difficult choices, worries, fears and issues that they have seemed to forgotten that there are other people that are mourning as well.
All the caustic words, the distrust, the painfully wrong assumptions, the character slams, the lack of integrity, the gossip and back biting, the negative pronouncements, the doom and gloom, the false words, the bitter attitudes and poisoned tongues, the dagger looks and behind closed doors bitching fests, is flat out wrong and a black eye to the name of Christ.
I am ashamed at the tone, the conduct and the conversation that has permeated so much of this transition. All the pretending, the blowing sunshine, the smiles to my face and the knife in my back, the cold indifference and being ignored in the halls, it's all so childish and ridiculous to me.
I don't say this with burning anger or bitter soul, I am simply sharing my utter disappointment in it all. But life moves on and wounds heal, churches mend, ministries still grow and we realize that Jesus didn't fall off His throne.
But we also learn a lot and more than we wished we had to about the human heart, the church and the machine. It makes me weep.
I have learned more than I ever wanted too.
let us remember, Jesus warned that all that is said in secret...will be proclaimed from the house tops.
I wipe the dust off of my feet.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
There will be change because all the military have are guns".
-Aung San Suu Kyi
"This is our home" Standing for Freedom in Burma
Front Films, 4 minutes, 12 seconds
This is the work my brother is involved with, please keep him and his
family in prayer.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
You restored Jacob's prosperity. -Psalms 85:1
God is so faithful and it is so amazing to see Him providing what is needed as we seek His face.
We meet with Melissa our realtor/landlord tomorrow to sign the lease and pay the money needed for renting the facility that we are going to use to meet at as Jacob's Well!
Our new church raised all the money above and beyond what was needed for the move in amount; and thanks to the generosity of the owners of the building we also got a months free rent to put towards clean up and preparations of the building. They also are letting us lease it for 6 months at a time with no rent change, which is a real miracle for a commercial lease. God is good.
But what is really awesome is what happened this afternoon. A mother of one of the young people that Christian brought to youth church and has recently given his heart to Jesus, came over to my house to see me. She came with her son, she is a single mother and very sweet and grateful for his friendship with us and all that has been going on in his life. I am pretty sure she isn't a Christian yet, but she is a very loving and gracious woman.
She thanked me for the change she is seeing in him and how he came home last night after the meeting with Jacob's Well and was so touched about reaching the disadvantaged. She works for a low income housing organization and has a real heart for the poor. She was amazed how a new sensitivity and interest for these people had been awakened in him through his involvement with us. She was obviously touched as she shared her joy about it. Then she gave me a card with the words Jacob's Well written on it and inside was an offering for the ministry we are beginning!
God is at work and I am sure she will soon be brought to the place where she will see it is the heart of Jesus that she sees in His church and will be drawn to Him.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
We will be hosting a viewing night at Jacob's Well for this film, stay tuned for details.
(excerpt from the website)
Jacob: the boy who cried
On the first night in Northern Uganda the three filmmakers met Jacob at the bus park. Jacob, a former child soldier, was taken from his home, and robbed of his education. After escaping “the bush” at 14, he dreamed of returning to school to become a lawyer, but did not have the means to do so. At the end of the “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” Jacob says, “I have nothing. I don't even have a blanket. We don't have anything to do with food. Maybe we can eat once a day… so it is better when you kill us. And, if possible you can kill us, you kill us. For us, we don't want now to stay. …no one taking care of us. We are not going to school...” Immediately after saying this, the filmmakers cried with him.
I don't think LeeElla and I have ever seen or heard a more haunting moment in film then when in the documentary "Invisible Children" the above boy started to cry and then like a wail from hell and heaven themselves, his little broken soul broke on camera. The crying was THE MOST tragic moment I think I have EVER seen or heard on film. When the shot starts to end and you hear the film maker crying too, it simply shattered my heart. Brutal reality forever tattooed and seared into my heart like a smoldering coal right out of heavens altar. That is why God gave us filmmakers.
I now know why the scriptures call the Lord a "Man of sorrows," and why there shall be no more tears in heaven after His return...because all the tears of heaven shall have been wept after centuries of watching the horror of what His creation has done to His children on Earth. God weeps and longs for the day when His own wailing shall end. The angels sing continually in heaven to try to soothe the broken heart of our heavenly Father.
But the day of weeping is soon to end and the DAY OF VENGEANCE is to come. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that justice is smoldering in the guts of heaven, like a deep volcanic surge waiting to explode. His love demands action!
But until then the river of justice in Revelations is a river of tears for the suffering of earth. The trees planted in heaven are said to have leaves for the healing of the nations. After seeing this film I know that the Lord agonizes for His church to grab those leaves of healing and "bring good news to the afflicted" and "bind up the broken hearted" and "comfort all who morn" and "give to them a crown of beauty instead of ashes" (Isaiah 58 & 61).
Once you have seen...you are forever responsible...because love always acts.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
I find no words more true to me in the bible than these. All other words require faith, but these speak of something I know.
Words fail to really express the love and support that I find in LeeElla...she is my rest.
If she was the only person at my side in the days ahead...I know we would prosper.
You amaze me Lee, I feel like I am the richest man in the world...you are a perfect jewel for me and this family and for Jacob's Well...I am proud to have such a noble, wise and beautiful woman and partner at my side.
You are my love...
Friday, April 21, 2006
I truly believe that as believers we are called to pray that His kingdom and will be done on the earth as it is done in heaven. That means that we will have influence on the land that we call home. There are promises of God waiting to be brought to reality for those willing to go after them with vision and selfless love.
Lives can be touched when we step out and be the people God has called us to be and love the place He has told us to serve.
It's not about a project but about people.
Here is a shot of the basketball court next to our building. What a perfect place to have fun with our neighbors in the community around Jacob's Well.
but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell.
Is this not what I require of you as a fast?
To loose the fetters of injustice,
to untie the knots of the yoke,
to snap every yoke and set free those who have been crushed?
Is it not sharing your food with the hungry,
taking the homeless poor into your house,
clothing the naked when you meet them,
and never evading a duty to your family?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn...
So often the "fasting" that the modern Christian thinks of or the church teaches by example or inference is focused on the individual Christian. It is all about you and saying NO to you. But the heart of the gospel is more about turning towards something or someone than putting the emphasis so heavily on turning from something.
The gospel of Jesus isn't about you saving you, it's about Jesus rescuing you, giving to you what you could not give yourself. A true fast is about grace. It is about receiving freely and in the spirit of generosity, cheerfulness and abundance not bowing ones head, deprivation and standing in the spot light of some holy roller sin search light.
The fast of God isn't about you.
The gospel celebration, the kingdom Jubilee is about announcing the good news that love has triumphed over judgment and God's house is open and all that the Father has is yours.
Jesus said He is the door and that door is open to all who would enter.
When you become the focus of all your spiritual primping, a religious OCD like preoccupation takes over and soon eclipses the true calling of Jesus which is to simply love others in very real and practical ways.
Standing in a sanctuary and praying for the world is really baby steps. Anyone can go out in the wilds and worship God and feel close to Him but that isn't the call of the gospel as Jesus lived it out. The true question is can we find Jesus in the wounds of our city and in the face of our neighbor?
Prayer is often just an excuse to not love.
So many people are waiting for God to move because they have become blinded to the reality that He is actually all around them but He has hidden himself in the hardened sinners, the broken and wasted, the indifferent and rebellious, the addicted, the underprivileged and poor, the vulnerable, the numb and complacent and the forgotten within our community. Anyone can love their friends but who will love their enemies? Anyone can serve the beautiful but who will befriend the unlovely? Everyone invites the funny guy but who will feed the difficult and odd? Everyone wants to talk to the superstars but who will sit on the street with the chubby kid that has no one to play with?
Can we hear heaven's worship in the cries of a drug addicted baby in ICU?
Can we hear the whispers of angels in the quiet voices of the elderly, left alone in the dark halls of a suburban nursing home?
When will the church wake up and stop being seduced by the spirit of this world that continually abuses the hearts and lives of people that Christ died for?
We seek to put on the very boot that is crushing the face of the poor.
There is no dawn in that path, only chasing after the wind.
Christ is here, among us, around us and waiting to be found by us.
Will we choose to open our eyes and really meet Him face to face or continue to pray to the heavens for God to come down again?
He might be sitting right next to you on the bus...
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
These are times of great insecurity where “love is now mingled with grief”
(Galadriel in “The Fellowship of the Ring” by Peter Jackson.)
As of yesterday, LeeElla and I were officially released from New Hope Christian Center by the board and pastoral staff. Our Goodbye service is on Sunday morning April 30th at 10AM.
The letter said:
"...we would like to release you, as of Easter Sunday, to begin your ministry."
We feel this letter is a good thing and will help both New Hope and Jacob's Well to move forward and pursue the purposes of God in this city with a focus on the future.
So with that officially said, I am free to be open and communicative about the direction and passion the Lord has laid on our hearts and the emerging church (Jacob's Well) that we are gathering in East Central Spokane.
Though there have been many elements of this transition that have been difficult, we all feel this is the Lord's direction and best for all involved. So with that, we bless the past and treasure the amazing journey and all the fruit; and with renewed vision and exciting anticipation we turn and face the opportunities that lay ahead.
We are so excited to share that the Lord has provided an amazing answer to prayer for all of us! We will be signing a lease (probably next week) on an amazing facility down in East Central for Jacob's Well to meet at as a church body and to pursue the vision of a local community art house, music venue, coffee shop, book store and practical ministry location.
The building was bought and designed to be a college age coffee house by a Christian couple that had a dream to create a place for the young adult community to gather together. Unfortunately due to some situations they were not able to proceed beyond purchasing the facility, renovating it completely with new wiring, paint, alarm system, handicap bathrooms and 4 rooms/offices as well as the main room and side music performance room. It is 2700 square feet of dream living opportunity! Located right in the heart of the poor urban community we feel called to love and serve as a church community.
Things have been moving fast but as I have said in previous posts and sermons, I have known that this was the season to "ACT PROMPTLY" (2 Samuel 5:24). We have purposed in our hearts to not “Strike the ground only three times” (2 Kings 13:18-19) but to keep moving forward in this season with courage, purpose and prayerful but bold action.
Without prayer we do not see it, and without obedience we do not seize it.
But trust me, this is not a new vision but an unfolding of years of prayer, dreaming, hard work and painful but persistent push; as well as the ministering of gospel focused destiny into the hearts and minds of core people who have become increasingly bonded together for Christ's work that is growing in and through all of us in this city and with us personally as pastors.
We can't save the city but we can love it…and with all of God's peaceful purpose we will do that with joy in the days ahead.
Thank you everyone who had endured the heat and trouble of this season. Thank you my dear friends and family that have supported us, loved us and empowered us to dream and live the dream with open eyes in the daytime.
Thanks to all the people of Jacob's Well, that are creating an atmosphere of faith, possibilities and practical action. You all amaze us. We are blessed to be among a group of believers that are dreamers and doers. I know that the purposes of God that lay within all of you are uniting together in a powerful God ordained synergy that will produce abundant fruit in our community.
Thanks to everyone at New Hope for being the fertile ground from which we were able to emerge and become all that God has called us to be. Our work will be part of your crown to the glory of God.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
then your light will rise like dawn out of darkness.
I am not sure how to really put into words the grace that I was able to experience today but I will try.
It came in a wretched package, one that was hunched over, dressed fairly shabby like, over grown beard and smelled like he had craped his pants. He came into the sanctuary in the typical way most disabled people do…skittish and slightly frightened.
I don't know what it is about people like him but I am always drawn to them. I find myself deeply moved to just make them know they are welcome and noticed. It is as if the whole room of people fades into the background and they become all that I see. A grace takes over and it is as if Jesus himself embodies those moments and a very real compassion warms my previously cold heart. I come alive with His perceptions and become motivated to be whatever is needed for them in that moment.
His name was Mike and he came with two other ladies and another gentleman, all from a special needs home down the road. He suffers from a hunched over back that makes him look down to the ground. In order for him to look at you, he cocks his head and looks slightly up at you in a painfully submissive way.
He came to watch Jesus in the church Easter play and I ended up watching Jesus in him.
He sat in the front row right in front of Micah and I. He stunk so very bad and it made me gag. It was awful and it was obvious that people were struggling with his presence. But even with the stench I was drawn to his childlike fascination and praise of the play. At each juncture of the play when something emotional or dramatic happened; he would clap his hands and pump two thumbs up in the air. It was priceless and really the best expression of heartfelt worship I have seen in a long time. I was humbled.
As the drama unfolded his friends who were sitting behind me were obviously moved as well. During the crucifixion scene while Jesus was on the cross, the woman behind me sobbed deeply. I had overheard her telling someone that she was an ex-addict and had suffered a stroke and was very grateful for being clean. As she sat there weeping fairly loudly, I was again humbled by her visceral reaction to the truth being acted out in front of her. I was numb compared to her…she experienced it from the gut and I experienced it from my head. I appreciated it and she encountered Jesus in it. I enjoyed it and was touched…but she worshipped.
It never ceases to amaze me where I end up stumbling into Jesus. There in a cloud of noxious odor, nestled among a bunch of peripheral nobodies…I encountered Christ in all His hidden disguise.
I deliberately shook Mikes hand afterwards, painfully aware of the surprise he expressed at even being recognized. I agonized internally for him and couldn't help but feel a twinge of pain and anger at the seemingly unjustness of the life he had to endure. As I think about it, it seems much like leprosy. People avoid such uncomfortable oddities. Often it is done consciously but more often, it's just a unChristlike pattern of learned callousness that hardens over our middleclass suburbanized hearts.
Sometimes I really wonder if Jesus is even attending our religious programs and after tonight I realized that maybe He rarely does. Because I saw Him vividly in Mike and realized that what I most often think is Jesus, more than likely is just too easy to be Him. But tonight I saw the God who is only found in the burning bush. A burning bush of flesh melting fire, that when approached, sears off your carnal eyelids and opens you up to true vision. The, he who has eyes to see…kind of seeing.
I have been blind for far too long.
It was nice to shake your hand tonight Jesus…I will be looking for you again.
in order that TIMES OF REFRESHING may come from the presence of the Lord.
Jesus said that he came that we might have LIFE and have it MORE abundantly (Jn. 10:10).
As I prayerfully walk into the season ahead, I go with the understanding that spreading this life that is found in Jesus is the main purpose of His church in this city.
There are so many people that simply have not had the ability to taste and see that the Lord is good. The vats are full, the storehouse of the Lord is overflowing with bounty and it is our privilege to host a feast in this city for the thirsty and hungry!
There is plenty to eat and drink in the house of the Lord for Spokane. His table is lavishly prepared through the loving sacrifice and grace of our Lord. There is no lack, there is always one more seat at the banquet. Everyone is invited, no one is to be left out. The invitations are for all who hunger and thirst.
Like the miracle of the loaves and the fish…if we dare to feed, he will meet the need.
Because it isn't about us but about the hunger that only He can fill and that is why we are in this city.
So bake and break bread church!
Pour the wine of gladness!
Prepare the table, invite the guests, find pleasure in eating again.
Cast off the fear of lack, of poverty, of empty water pots, we serve the God who can turn mere water to wine! Its isn't about what we have but about who we serve!
He is able and willing…let the party rage!
Eat, friends; drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers! (Songs 5:1)
"I am sending you grain, new wine and oil
enough to satisfy you fully...
He sends you abundant showers
both autumn and spring rains as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil...
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord God
who has worked wonders among you..."
-Joel 2:19, 23-24, 26
The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm,
I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;
Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.
But those who harvest it will eat it and praise the Lord;
And those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
They will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastation's; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolation's of many generations. -Isaiah 61:4
How does this happen?
It first and foremost begins in seeing the "new creation" take place in the human heart. True community transformation takes place from the inside out. A changed heart leads to a changed family, which can lead to a changed community. Light dispels darkness...addictions, dysfunction, character issues, brokeness and deeply ingrained sinful life controlling patterns all can become undone in the presence of a loving God, a Spirit empowered church and a grace filled gospel.
But it also happens through the simple path of good works. A church that understands that it is in the community for the community as a visible and touchable expression of the love, compassion and justice of God; will be a fruitful expression of God's redemptive power.
I long to see the Lord restore the "Crown of Beauty" to our cities. (Isaiah 62:3 & 61:3)
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
-Mark Driscoll, Seattle pastor, Mars Hill
Read the whole post here:
I watched the news this morning and it was image after image, story after story of child suicide bombers, nuclear weapons, unstable nations, threats of pandemics, murder, rape and violence. There is truly a “great wind on the sea” a “great storm that is about to break up the ship” -Jonah 1:4
Like the sailors on Jonah's ship, many today have become “afraid, and every man is crying to his god” in vain. But where was the prophet of God? “Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.” -Jonah 1:5
I fear that many prophets of God have fallen asleep in the hold of the ship. They are not present to help direct the vessels of our communities but have grown cold, tired and complacent about their commission from God. They no longer burn. Our world is looking for answers to the storms and winds that are pulling their lives and cities and nations apart and the prophets have found a quiet little nesting place in the arms of the church.
Like that rusty old captain on Jonah's cruise, these modern day Jonahs need a sailor boot in the butt and the same rebuke: “HOW IS IT THAT YOU ARE SLEEPING? GET UP! CALL ON YOUR GOD. Perhaps your God will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.” -Jonah 1:6
Yes, it was true then and it is true now, “the lot fell on Jonah.”
We need these prophets thrown into the sea of humanity again. Cast them into the deep where all prophets belong. Back to the abyss where you will find your voice again. In the “depth of Sheol” you will find the place of prayer once more. Let all the “currents and breakers and billows” pass over you and “wrap around your head” until you are awakened again to the purpose of your life.
Let the Lord appoint a “great fish” that will swallow you whole and in the belly of its digestive juices you will find that hard shell of indifference and rebellion eaten away. In that dark place you will see light again. Down to the very “roots of the mountains” you will find faith to be who you were born to be.
God is going to puke out some prophets again. Out of the very bowels of this world are coming some regurgitated men and women that are going to find themselves vomited onto the very shores of their destinies. God is going to take you by a way you would not have expected. In your running away, you will end up at your destination with an unexpected power that can only be found in the womb of the pit (Jonah 2:1-10).
It isn't the first time that LIFE ascended from DEATH. In fact in all great apocalyptic moments of history, when judgments are wracking the earth like birth pangs, a clarion call goes out, the book of LIFE is opened and it's resurrecting power beckons the dead in the seas again:
“Another book was opened, which is the book of life…and the sea gave up the dead which were in it…-Revelations 20:12-13.
I too stand on the shores of this great sea and prayerfully scream out to the deep to give up its dead prophets! Jonah arise out of the depths of depravity, backsliding, distraction, and deception. I call for the great fish appointed by God to swallow them and carry them to their divine appointment with “great cities” to puke them out onto the sands of Spokane.
We want the fish dwellers, the slimy prophets that need a bath.
Give us the forgotten ones and the ones who have forgotten themselves.
Jonah, I call you from the deep!!!
Here are two opposing articles on the issue of contemporary worship, I
found both to be mentally stimulating and both had excellent points. Oh
the tension of truth, it never seems to let you dominate. It reminds me
of a quote that said truth is like a lizard, when you grab it so
tightly, it will leave it's tail in your hands and scramble away to
grow a new one. I know that sounds a so anti-absolute truth and I do
believe in absolute truth but the interpretation and application of
truth is a slippery little issue sometimes and it seems the Bible often
makes it so on many subjects.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
When I was 15, I got saved.
In prayer before my baptism I asked the Lord for a few things: one was to be baptized in a river on a sunny day. Another was for it to be at a place where I could get away afterwards and be alone and that the Lord would speak to me in His word about what He wanted to do with my life. All those prayers came true and after my river baptism, this is the scripture the Lord spoke to my heart through on that day. I knew from that moment in that park, what I was called to do with my life.
It's been a long journey since that sunny afternoon and I sure had no idea where that time of prayer would lead me in the years ahead! But I thank God that He saved this punk and filled me with his Spirit and called me to preach His word. I am forever grateful to know what I am here for.
I remember a dark moment in a suburban bathroom in middle-class America when I was around 14. I had come off a night of acid tripping and I was deeply depressed and empty. My life felt like it was going nowhere and darkness was so present that I simply just didn't want to live anymore. Life seemed so bleak and meaningless. I remember taking a razor in the shower and looking at my wrists.
I stood there on the edge of life and death looking at my life and seeing no purpose for living. I thank God that I ended up not having enough nerve to slit those young veins open. I thank God that God's purposes were at work in that small apartment shower. That God's love was protecting me from myself before I even knew His love. It wasn't long after that until I met the One who saved me and realized that He had been my savior many times before I even Knew He was there.
Drugs, suicide, emptiness, anger, failure, divorce, screwed up sex life, absolute pointless existence all in middle-class suburbia.
I realized this morning as I have been going over and over in my mind about where to do church in this city that it isn't really about place. It's not about on this mountain or that mountain as Jesus said to the woman at the well....it's about people and people are lost without Jesus, no matter where they live.
The Lord summed it up to me in this phrase:
I SENT YOU TO...YOU.
I thank God that the Lord found me in my middle class hell and rescued me from my complete and utter spiritual poverty and captivity and brought me into His freedom of grace and love...no matter where I lived.
Open my eyes Lord, I need to see me again in the streets I dwell. Help me to find the one who is, who I was, in these mundane and deceptively nice suburban homes. Let me hear the sighs of purposelessness that are rising from aching hearts in these cheap apartment complexes and perfectly manicured lawns. Help me to stop always looking over THERE to help someone, while I step over someone who is right in front of me. Deliver me from the mirage of ministry that is always out there somewhere instead of in the immediate surroundings where you have called me to live out life.
Help me to find the shadows in my day to day life and bring the light of LIFE into those places whereever they are.
Monday, April 10, 2006
'The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!' " "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock (Lit. The house of wine), in the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely."
Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom."
My beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of Bether."
-Song of Solomon 2:10-17
These verses are packed full of prophetic voice for Jacob's Well. As I have been sharing them and praying them and studying the words and phrases, I have been richly blessed with unfolding light. Many words of past seasons have come together in the above passage and though it is all purely voice of the Spirit to the immediate situation and not historical, it has been potent with the fragrance of life.
I want to share a little light that I have been getting from the Lord in these verses and I pray that it will illuminate the path ahead for others too.
First of all, the word of the hour for us has been: Arise!
It is the time for movement, for awakening, for coming out of slumber or complacency. It is a divine moment of action not hesitancy, we must face fear and the unknown with bold faith not timidity. It is time to strike the ground more than just three times.
Second: winter is past, the rain is over AND GONE, a changing of season has ushered in, the signs of LIFE are here. You can see the unfolding signs all around, prayer increasing, stirring up of peoples spirit, the call of the Holy Spirit to fresh levels of faith and obedience, an increase of prophetic flow and anointing.
Third: a time of pruning is here. The sons or vines need pruning at the beginning of the signs of life in order to redirect the flow of life to the branches that will produce the fruit for the season. The natural mind has a real hard time with pruning. Mercy gifts have a hard time with this season too. It seems crazy to chop a tree to bits right when you start to see signs of life returning to a long dormant tree. When spring is awakening on a tree, most people don't want to take an ax to it's tender beauty but if you really want LIFE and FRUTIFULNESS than you must go through the process of pruning. It is hard but necessary.
Fourth: God is releasing a new song again in the land. If you have ears to hear, you can hear a new sound. Those who have not sung in a long while are starting to sing again. Joy is returning to sorrowful and tired souls.
Fifth: figs are on the tree. Fruitfulness is returning, food will be on the table and delicious delights are being served to hungry souls. No longer will you find signs of life but no fruit in this season. Disappointment will not be found when you reach up expecting to find food under the leaf.
Sixth: If you want the wine, you must traverse the “steep pathway” to the House of wine that is located in the clefts of the rock, in the secret place. The wine is free for those who will go to the house of wine. You must “come along” to where He leads you. Your wine is in your house. Don't be fooled into thinking that there is no steep pathway to your house of wine. Sometimes like Jonathan and his armor bearer you may have to climb on your hands and knees to get to live out the place of your victory. We all still have to obey the call to “follow Me”.
Seventh: The Lord wants to see the form of the body as he intended it to be. The church, the bride is a beautiful vision to behold. The Lord loves to see her arise in all her beauty. He wants to hear the many voiced voice. He is looking for you to become visible, come out, show yourself, be not ashamed, arise and walk freely and visibly and proudly for your Beloved calls you.
Eighth: Let God catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyards. Don't be fooled into thinking that there is no snake in the gardens of God. They are always small things that can be so deadly. It usually is the venom of the mouth that ruins the vineyards. Don't speak poison, speak life. Don't begin to chew on the vines but eat the fruit. Too many people gnaw the vines and ruin the vineyard with their mouth. They dig up and tear up the roots instead of simply eating the fruit in its season. Wisdom is proved by its fruits. Let the vineyard grow and in time wisdom will be vindicated.
Ninth: God will pasture His flock among the lilies. Let Him lead us to a place of lilies. A lily is a sign of a new season, of new life, of spring, of resurrection, of life instead of death. LIFE is the focus of this season. He is pasturing His flock in the fields of His Life not in the fields of division, backbiting, negative conversations, gossip, critical finger pointing etc. Turn from the barren fields of death and start to eat in the lily pastures again. Do this and you will find the place of communion with God that will be fresh again, like the cool of the day. Shadows will flee and reality will be revealed. You will step into the sun and out of the shadows. You will walk in the kingdom that is at hand, that is here among and within us.
Shadow land is living for something that isn't yet. In Christ there is on shadow but the light of LIFE! Gone are the days of catching shadows or striving to run after the One casting them. We have apprehended the One or better, we have been apprehended by Him! He is fully embraceable now. And as you turn from waiting and shadows to reality in Christ you will ascend in your thinking, your praying, your living and your spiritual passion. Mountains that used to be unable to climb will be scaled in Him.
These are the days of good news because of Christ and His finished work. Rejoice that the winter of the law is past and the fragrance of LIFE is flowing in the land of God!
Arise and come along church!
Saturday, April 08, 2006
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with LOUD CRIES AND TEARS to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Interesting peek into the prayer life of Jesus. Submission involved loud cries and tears, interesting isn't it. Often we think of biblical submission as always quite, internal and non-confrontational. Jesus spoke out his heart and his will clearly and with emotional intensity but...yielded the outcome to the Father.
I think there is much to talk about in the idea of submission and the biblical vs. cultural way to live out the real characteristics of it. Most teaching on Authority and submission comes from the Old Covenant not the New. Most people don't know that there are Greek words for authority that the New testament almost never uses in relationship between believers and each other, husbands and wives and leaders and members!
I loved a sign I saw on a business the other day, it said: Leadership is action not position.
When you look at leadership from that point of view you can see the power of leadership as Jesus taught it. It is manifested in servanthood and becomes open and accessible to anyone. All can become leaders if we are willing to serve. All can become great instruments of influence when we understand that those who have to have a title most likely don't have the heart of those they desire to lead.
Influence is power and it flows through humility, love and service. Not to say that there isn't an aggressive drive in pursuit of accomplishing God's will and work, it just circumvents the normal route to the throne of power. It is given authority freely because it understands that authority is GIVEN FREELY and never exercised OVER someone. It is a gift given out of love and trust not a right demanded...that is Old covenant. You HAVE authority and it is yours to give to someone freely and take back freely, you are not a slave but a son. Remember the words of Jesus: I no longer call you slaves but friends.(Jn 15:15)
It is best to read what Jesus said about the outworking of leadership and the ideas behind titles and positions instead of bringing a gentile or King mindset to the New testament.
Submission isn't slavery it is freedom, personhood and it's powerful in it's peace.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? Shall you sit while others go to War?
(Num 32:6 KJV)
Now why are you discouraging the sons of Israel from crossing over into the land which the Lord has given them?
One of the Greek words translated "discouraged" means to break the spirit, remove life's passion, to crush. The English word "discouragement" has at it's root the French word for the heart (coeur). Dis-"cour"-age-ment is to take away the heart. A metaphor for the robbing of a sense of purpose or the inward ability to overcome with purpose.
-Excerpt from the book "Silent Killers of Faith" by Dr. Stephen Crosby
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I so loved this last weeks teaching from Dr. Steve Crosby on the new
covenant and ministry from a N.C. perspective. It was some of the most
biblical and meaty teaching I have heard in a very long time. It made
my spiritual mouth water, especially because he ministered truth from a
Christ centered perspective, meaning, he unveiled Christ and the
fullness of His work that is already accomplished. He tore to heck the
constant "next move" charismatic paralysis, the proverbial "carrot"
before the horse that happens in so much of the charismatic church.
Always "waiting" for something instead of delving into all that we have
and will ever need in Christ!
You are already as close to God as you will ever be if you are in
Christ. How closer can you get if you are in Him?
If the Spirit of God is already poured out...what move are we waiting
If Christ is everything, what more do we need?
His seminar helped get me out the charismatic neutral and engage the
gears of truth...he gave me traction from truth.
I am so tired of the "wait four months until harvest" mindset that has
hamstrung the church into always thinking something is right around the
corner. Always having their eyes on the future instead of on Christ.
Always waiting for something more to add to what God has already done
in Christ and makes available through His word and Spirit for the
believer to enter into now by faith.
The kingdom of God is at hand, it is among us who are in Christ. We
are seated with Him in heavenly realms and minister from that position,
perspective and reality! Praise God I don't need more than I already
have in the SON, I simply need to be taught the riches of Christ and His
inheritance in the saints. I need revelation not about the future but
about the person of Christ. Heresy comes in when we start thinking we
need more than Christ. When we start to add to His finished work and
come to think that we need something more than Him. When we start
putting our hope and faith in something to come instead of Someone who
is already ALL in ALL. I don't need another move of the Spirit, another
teaching, another revelation, another gift, another season, another
prayer, more time on the discipleship plantation, more this, more of
that...on it goes...don't you see that in that line of thinking it
You are never good enough, spiritual enough, old enough, gifted
enough, empowered enough, holy enough, prayerful enough, biblical
enough, righteous enough, loving enough, fruiter enough...NEVER! YOUR
EYES BECOME FIXATED ON YOU not on the glorious supremacy of Jesus. You
end up always evaluating your resources not His, your abilities not
His, your spiritual temperature not His etc...
Jesus is the center of the church not us...thank God, what a relief!
Come all who are weary with charismania hype and constant unfulffilled
expectations and find rest in who Christ is, what Christ has done. Let
the fullness of Him fill up the empty places. Embrace the power of
ressurection and the finality of the cross and all it put to death and
destroyed and removed and put an end to. Rejoice in the new creation
that is NOW! Sing praise that you are acccepted by Christ's work not
your own works. Put an end to the questions of being worhty enough and
walk boldy back to the throne of GRACE again. I know you are tired of
trying to be good enough, patient enough, holy enough, gentle enough
and long to lay your burdens to be like God down and find LIFE grow up
from the root and bear it's fruit through you in a natural, life giving
way. Let the death of the cross put an end to your striving and
liberate you from a man centered religion that looks no different
than mormonism or some other moralistic religion that works men into
an introspective lather.
So be filled with His Spirit and walk in His Spirit and work from His
Spirit and live in His Spirit today.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
The fruit of a healthy church is life being born.
So for us to be born into a greater sphere of ministry for the gospel is a good thing.
The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few and the Lord said to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out laborers into the harvest and that is exactly what is taking place for us.
As for the details of how that is taking place, that is fairly sensitive at the moment due to the transition at New Hope and our desire to emerge from this body in a healthy and life producing way to the best of our ability. We are walking boldly but we also desire to honor the work that has sustained our family, blessed our family and been a tremendous training ground for the Lord's will for our lives and ministry.
We believe that we are walking out a divine plan. He is unfolding His purposes and inheritance for us all as a family. Our lives our linked in more ways than even some understand. God is a God of generations and His plan spans many generations and involves the prayers, dreams and life work of linked generations. It is His work, His ministry, His gospel and His church in this city and we are all simply servants to that greater kingdom that is growing in beauty in Spokane.
We don't own it or control it, or direct it...we serve it with our lives.
We submit to it, pray for it and with all the power of the Spirit of God within us we all live to see HIS KINGDOM COME AND HIS WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS DONE IN HEAVEN. We have no King or Kingdom but King Jesus and His kingdom and all our plans, dreams, visions and ministry must grow out of that reality. It is His church in this city and we may be blessed to gather it together in certain locations and love it and serve it with our gifts but ultimately it in His church not ours.
For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things...
To Him be the glory in the church!
Saturday, April 01, 2006
and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Those from among you shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In."
-Isaiah 58: 11-12
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations;
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
LeeElla and I have been attending an amazing seminar by Dr. Steve Crosby on prophetic and apostolic reformation. It's basically 4 days of intense biblical teaching on reestablishing the Charismatic church on a solid foundation of Christ and straightening out all the kooky theology and weird practices and all the Old testament mindsets and practices and returning to new covenant truth and Spirit empowered practice. It has been so meaty, deeply challenging and so refreshing and confirmed so much within ourselves about the role of the Spirit, the prophetic/apostolic and the community of God in a healthy, balanced way.
It has also been extremely revelatory too. So far for the last two days God has been downloading His will in energizing clarity and pulling pieces of destiny together that we have never fully seen clearly but now understand with new prophetic urgency and joy. God has been opening our ears and speaking so clearly to us about our future, Spokane, New Hope and the emerging church.
The path ahead is being bathed with light.
Those who have been carrying a burden of prayer over this last season, can rest assured that the Lord is unfolding His will for all of us in such a way that will bring rejoicing, understanding, excitement and the fulfillment of years of sowing.
An inheritance in the Lord and in this city is going to be apprehended by faith, courage and new thinking.