Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Age of Rage

Not too long ago, I was reading an article that described the culture that we are living in as "an age of rage." Apparently, one in seven of us are right now on the verge of exploding in an act of rage.
At his moment, I am sitting in a room filled with 27 people...that means that roughly four of us may be ready to blow our top when pushed.
I guess I better be careful!

Most people recommend that people who struggle with anger issues receive "anger management" treament.

Is that the best we can do? Manage our anger?

I believe that we can experience healing for our anger. One of the keys to this experience of healing is this: refuse to presume someone else's motive.
We are often really ticked at someone because we have played out the whole scenario and we assume that we know exactly why someone treated us badly.

Train yourself not to presume motive. You can never really know someone else's heart.

But the best key to anger healing is this: real forgiveness. It's not's doing what you know is right regardless of how you feel. It's always harder than the sermons make it out to will be miserable before you are free. But once you push through as an act of your can be healed of anger!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means to Me!

I've done a lot of weddings over the years, but as I prepared to give a meditation in my son's recent wedding, I saw something that I had never seen before.
In Ephesians 5, one of the challenges given to the bride is to "respect" her husband. What does that mean?
The definition that most of us are aware of has to do with admiring or having esteem for someone. But what about the literal definition?

The Latin root of respect means to look and to look back again.

Think about that. . .the same Latin root is in our word: spectacles (eyeglasses). Wives have a major responsibility to watch and keep watching their husbands. What should they see? They should see a husband who loves his wife just as Christ loves the church.

Who you think the husband then has to be watching over and over again?

Wow! Respect is huge in marriage! Where is Aretha when you need her?

Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (just a little bit) A little respect (just a little bit)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Jacob, it's in you!"

I think it was the best wedding I have ever been to. I'm probably not objective. I officiated as pastor, and it was my son's wedding. OK, I'm definitely not objective.
Lena, the bride, was sweet, holy and radiant. The crowd was reverent and engaged. The worship was powerful. Jake's grandfathers (both pastors) had authority in their prayers. The vows were heartfelt.
My meditation focused on Paul's words to husbands and wives from Ephesians. When I got to the charge for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, I looked right into my boy's eyes and reminded him of this: "Jacob, it's in you."
When he was young his favorite movie was Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood." I'm sure he loved all of the swashbuckling action. But do you know what his favorite part of the VHS movie was? This was the part that he would fast forward to or rewind to watch again and again. . .
He loved the Bryan Adams video of the song "Everything I do, I do it for you" that came at the end of the film. Still today, he says that it's his favorite song.
What an awesome, sovereign God! I believe that as a boy, God was putting within Jacob an understanding of the kind of love that He had for him and the kind of love a man is to have for his wife. Some of the lyrics to that song are:
Take me as I am take my life
I would give it all I would sacrifice
Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it there's nothin' I want more
Ya know it's true
Everything I do, I do it for you
Over and over again, while Jacob was young, he encountered through that video the kind of love that Jesus has for those who believe. A love that was willing to give His life for the one that He loves.
Is an understanding of that kind of love in you?

Under the Fountain

Here's a quote from D. L. Moody:
"A great many think that because they have been filled once they are going to be full for all time. But oh, we are leaky vessels! We have to be kept right under the fountain all the time in order to stay full. What we need is a fresh supply, a fresh anointing, fresh power. And if we seek it, and seek it with all our hearts, we will obtain it.”
Have you positioned yourself so that you are continually receiving from the Holy Spirit? A past experience with Him is not enough. As Moody put it, we are leaky vessels! You receive from the Holy Spirit in a number of ways: prayer, worship, scripture, service, fasting, tithing. . .
But the most amazing way to receive is simply to ASK. If earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, HOW MUCH MORE will the Heavenly Father give His Holy Spirit to His children who ASK! (Luke 11:13)

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Apostolic Mission School

Preparing a generation to serve the
end-time purposes of a Sovereign King

We are in the process of interviewing our first class of students for The Apostolic Mission School at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. These young people are signing up for three years of rigorous training in missions and prayer. They are signing up to spend 10 months of their training in a middle eastern nation learning Arabic so that they can impact the Muslim world. They are signing up to be a witness for Christ and a messenger for His Kingdom. The Greek word for "witness" is the root word from which we get the word "martyr."
These young people are signing up to give their all to Jesus. I am not worthy to be running with them.
But Jesus is worthy of their sacrificial love!
I know that He is watching with glistening eyes and a beating heart. He is going to pour out His favor on these precious forerunners.
Will you sign up to pray for this first class first class? You can join Team 1:11--A prayer network for The Apostolic Mission School. It's based on Malachi 1:11. We believe that through intercessors like you and students like the ones we are accepting, the earth will be filled with the glory of God.
For more info on Team 1:11:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Changing Church in America

When we talk about the church today, we can no longer use the same old denominational categories. It's no longer the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals and Catholics. The Church in America has a changing face.
Here are some thought-provoking statistics from a study of the church in America that included the years 1990 through 2000:
Islam increased by 42%
Buddhism increased by 109.5%
Hinduism increased by 237.4%
Wicca increased by 1,575% (that's not a typo!)
Over this same period, the Christian church in America continued to decline. What has happened to a movement that had as few as 25,000 in AD 100 and grew to up to 20,000,000 in AD 310?
If we keep doing what we are doing we will end up where we are going. Something has got to give! Will you join me in believing that God is changing the expression of the Church as we approach the end of this age? Will you pray with me that there will be a remnant who are alert, sensitive and willing to risk everything to see the Bride radiant and powerful as we prepare for Christ's triumphant return?

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Devil's Tactics

After the fall in the Garden of Eden, God prophetically declared that His seed (Christ) would wound the head of the serpent. Maybe you remember that powerful scene in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," where Jesus stomps on the head of the snake in the Garden of Gethsemene. I shouted in the theater when I saw that the first time!
I think one of the outcomes of that head wound is a little bit of brain damage...
The devil is dangerous and he is certainly out to destroy as many as possible. But he is not very creative. He uses the same strategy over and over again. He has three main weapons that he uses against the church, they are the three prongs to his evil pitchfork: persecution, theological error and immorality.
"In every age it has been the same. The devil's tactics do not change. As we look round the world today, the same pressures are harassing different churches. In some areas of the world open hostility to the gospel is accompanied by physical violence. In others, the church is wrestling in intellectual combat with an insidious idealogy or a materialistic philosophy with which it cannot come to terms. Elsewhere the struggle is in the moral field, as the world seeks to cajole the church into comformity to its own ways." (John Stott, "What Christ Thinks of the Church")
How is the enemy working in your church? Which prong of his pitchfork is against you? You are not meant to sit idlely by while he seeks to destroy Christ's precious bride. Today, put on God's fighting armor and defend Christ's church. As we approach the end of this age, the church will stand against persecution, error and immorality and she will march over the enemy's gates.
Let's begin today.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Blind Beggar. . .

There were two beggars in a crowded city with several things in common, but one thing that was very different. They were both completely blind. They both located themselves on a busy corner of a very busy street. They both had a big tin pot to hold the money that those passing by gave them. And they both held signs asking for contributions. The one thing that was very different was the amount that they received daily in that tin pot. One barely made enough to live on and the other was provided for generously. His tin pot overflowed.
What made the difference? It was what was printed on their signs. The beggar that barely scraped by had a sign that read: “I am blind.” And the beggar that had an overflowing cup had a sign that read: “It is springtime and I am blind.”

Are you surrounded by signs of spiritual life, but unable to see them?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Next Step

I have been greatly influenced by John Wimber (Founder of The Vineyard movement). I admire his commitment to "do the stuff" that Jesus did and his pursuit of a life characterized by faith (spelled R-I-S-K). This quote has been a catalyst for some of the most important decisions I have made:
“The economy of the Kingdom of God is quite simple. Every new step in the Kingdom costs us everything we have gained to date. Every time we cross a new threshold, it costs us everything we now have. Every new step may cost us all the reputation and security we have accumulated up to that point. It costs us our life. A disciple is always ready to take the next step. If there is anything that characterizes Christian maturity, it is the willingness to become a beginner again for Jesus Christ. It is the willingness to put our hand in His and say, ‘I’m scared to death, but I’ll go with you. You’re the Pearl of great price.’”