Monthly Archives: January 2013

What is grace to you?

redding sunset 2

Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. –Romans 5:20

Grace… I don’t think any of us fully understand it.  Some certainly more than others, but I don’t think we have the ability to fully grasp God’s grace.  It’s completely undeserved but we are taught to accept it.  With accepting it we are taught not to take advantage of it.  And with not taking advantage of it we are taught that we cannot earn it.  I think the best understanding of God’s grace is to know that it is completely driven by love.  But then we would have to understand love, and we can only understand love from what love we have experienced ourselves.

I read a blog last night that talked about keeping our hunger in balance with our thankfulness.  If either one is not in proper balance with the other we have a problem.   With too much hunger and not enough thankfulness we become dissatisfied.  With too much thankfulness and not enough hunger we become stagnant.

I was convicted by this because I don’t think I’ve been thankful enough lately.  I’ve been plenty hungry but not thankful enough—and I am repenting of this.  I believe my lack of thankfulness is because I do not understand His grace well enough.

So today I just want to make it a point to openly thank God for the amazing grace He has shown me, and the favor He has put on my life.  Thank you Jesus!

What does His grace mean to you?

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The Adventure of Seeking

Acworth Georgia storm doorSee, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. –Revelation 3:8

In the last year I’ve moved three times and each time I’ve moved has been a new season in seeking (and finding) the Lord.  There is an adventure in this.  I love that life in Christ is not the same every day.  God—who is constantly making things new—consistently renews my faith in different ways.  Each new season allows me to find Him in a new way, but also build off what the last season has taught me.   This is the process of getting to know Christ (see Phil 3:10).  The problem with this is when we get hung up on trying to look for Him only in the ways He’s come before.  Sometimes He may come in a familiar way but I think it’s more in His nature to continuously allow us to search out new ways to hear His voice and find His presence.

He is so much more than what we often confine Him down to—which is our understanding of Him.  Sometimes we need to get out of our box—our room, house, office or even church—and go stare at the sky. No matter what your perspective of God is, He is so much bigger than your perspective.  He has designed it for those who are interested to search for Him, and the more we seek, the more we find.  He rewards those who diligently seek Him (see Hebrews 11:6) but note that a diligent seeker does not continue to search where he has already looked.   The reward talked about is Him.  Jesus is our great reward.  He is the hidden riches of secret places (Isaiah 45:3)—a well that never runs dry.

I will pursue you Lord.

Division that burdens my heart…

Jesus Culture - Encounter 2013

Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. -2 Cor 10:7

My heart has been very burdened lately for the division I see among different denominations and movements of God.

Seeing so much division in the church causes doubt among believers and those whom have not yet accepted God’s call. This is precisely the devil’s plan—if he can divide the church and get believers arguing and striving over theology disputes, then there will be less converts. The church will become powerless this way because there is not a strong foundation.

The ways of God are just too big and mysterious for any one man to have all the answers. There are many things in scripture that are confusing and to my limited finite understanding often seem contradictory to other parts of scripture. The man who has to have an answer for everything in this life, will without a doubt put his faith into some answers that will end up being wrong. The Apostle Paul understood this when he wrote, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Rom 11:33). We must approach these issues with humility, knowing that we are never going to have all the answers on this side of the veil! I’ve even heard people say that, “the entire Bible makes complete sense and I’ve never found any parts to contradict each other.” Really? If you’ve said that then I’m not sure what Bible you’re reading. It’s time to get real. It’s time to be authentic and repent of our distrust in God and our need to have all the answers. It’s time to unpack your god box and give the living God room in your life to take control.

It’s time to trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Prov 3:5)

It breaks my heart seeing brothers in Christ pointing the finger condemning one another—and done with the intentions of serving Christ no less. However, I believe that the finger pointing is actually rooted mostly in pride, fear and insecurity of their own salvation. If someone believes something different from what another has been taught, then suddenly their belief system has been threatened and defense mode kicks in. To feel secure and “provide a defense” the finger pointing starts and the three year old theology bickering begins.

My wife and I have recently moved to become part of a community of believers in Redding, California at Bethel Church. Those of you familiar with the church are probably familiar with it’s many critics as well. The Lord had been calling me here through many dreams, visions, circumstances, impressions and prophetic words spoken over the last year. One day in December I received a very clear word from the Lord that it was time to “Go”. He confirmed this three times. At the time He told us to go I had no way possible of moving. In the next week God performed one miracle after the next opening multiple doors to provide the “how” to His command. He took care of every single detail. He got us both jobs in a city where the unemployment rate is very high. He provided a low rent place to live – and even pet friendly so we could bring our dogs. He provided money gifted to us for moving expenses and even a second car to use so we could both start our new jobs. This all took place in less than one week from getting the “go” command.

Anyways, since moving here on Jan 1st I have become increasingly aware of different groups of Christians who have made it their agenda to criticize the church as being under demonic influence. It just seems so ridiculous to me and it burdens my heart to see them speaking so condescendingly. The Lord has been teaching me to let go of my fear of man and live in freedom from being confident in who He is and who He says I am. Through this process He has put it on my heart to get this off my chest and in a sense “come out,” that I am now a part of the Bethel community and I am not ashamed of my new family. As sure as I am in my salvation, I am sure that the Spirit of the Lord is here with us at Bethel and working through the church. There are many things in life and our spiritual walk that we are never going to fully understand. Pointing the finger at something and calling it demonic every time this happens is just plain childish and precisely what the Pharisees did to Jesus. There have been countless miraculous healings and testimonies of transformed lives as the fruit of Bethel. To call these acts demonic is giving the devil way too much credit.

If you are a person who has spoken out against Bethel then know that I forgive you and I love you as a brother in Christ. We serve the same Lord and I pray that His desire for us to be as one from His love for both of us, would compel you to act also in love toward us here at Bethel.

My prayer today is the same as our Lord’s from John 17:20-21

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Only Truth

Redding Oak Tree

Oh Lord, what is it that keeps me from you?

My spirit is in distress and cries out for you.

I am desperate for your truth and for your presence.

There are too many things that burden me to carry them alone.  Please take these off of my load.

I get anxious in my search for you because I sense there is more, but it seems so hard to tap into the deeper realms of the Spirit.  You promise if I search I will find you.  How much longer must I wait?  How long must I search?

You have come before and blessed me but now you seem so distant.  My memory is fading.  I don’t know what to do when I can’t see you.   I cannot live off my past encounters.  Just as a child is not satisfied with one show of affection from their mother, I am not satisfied with only the remembrance of your presence.  You are alive, living and breathing as I am made in your image.  I desire alive, living and breathing communion, friendship and companionship, perfect love.

I can’t do this alone.  So again tonight I go to sleep waiting, in expectation and hope to glimpse your face and catch a word of your voice.

I will stay positive and meditate on those things that are lovely, noble, just and true.

I know you will come again so I will wait patiently as a boy waiting for his father to come home.

Only truth… only the Truth will set me free!

He makes you come alive!

CA Sunset

Take a deep breath.

Everything is going to be ok.

You’ve probably heard this message before but I pray that right now your heart would really accept it.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. -2 Cor 3:17

The Lord says:

“Relax and enjoy My Presence. I have come to give you life and that you may have it abundantly!  I love you because of who you are, not what you do for Me.  You don’t earn sonship, you’re born into it. Rest in Me today and be rejuvenated.”

We have this natural tendency in us to have to earn things, but it doesn’t work that way in the Kingdom of God.  Trying to earn your place only causes you to miss out on His blessings.  He’s breaking down those walls and flooding you with His love right now.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ… -Romans 8:15-17

You are a son/daughter of the King and as an heir of God you get the very privileged opportunity to experience life in a special new way:

Living in FREEDOM!

Don’t worry, I got you!

open heavens

The other night I was praying and seeking the Lord’s will on two specific things.  He showed me a vision of myself looking through a small tube and then it changed to a door peephole.  He said, “I will open and close the doors.”  What this vision meant is that I see things through a limited perspective, while He sees things through an eternal, omniscient perspective.  In a way He was saying, “You can trust me and I will speak through your circumstances.”  Immediately I had revelation on one of the issues.  Then the very next morning I woke up and had a text message that confirmed an open door for the other.

I can’t help but think, “If only He would speak this loudly in response to all the questions I ask Him; life would be so much easier.”  I’ve found that at some points God can be quiet, but have confidence that He will speak when He needs to.  He also speaks much more clearly when we are in a state of rest and stillness.  Actually, I think it’s more correct to say we hear Him much more clearly when we are in a state of rest and stillness.  I’ve been seeking His will on these things for a couple weeks now, and Satan had really been getting me distracted and worried about stuff that I didn’t need to be thinking about.  The negative, downward spiral thinking of my past was creeping back in, but I took notice of it and purposed my thoughts back on Christ (see 2 Cor 10:5).  As soon as I got my head straight and out of that mess I heard from God.

Let this be a testimony that God is in control of whatever situation you are worrying about right now.  You really don’t have to worry and I speak encouragement to you now in Jesus name.   Take those thoughts captive and turn them into praise!

God is saying, “Don’t worry, I got you!”

Lies and Distractions

sunset bella vista CA

It is much more important to study and pay attention to the ways of God than the ways of Satan.   The ways of Satan are lies and distractions.  That is all you need to give attention to.  Anymore and you have fallen for his trap.  He will try time and time again to distract those who are called to impact the Kingdom for the glory of God.  Don’t waste your time analyzing his schemes.  The second you recognize one of his distractions bind it in Jesus name and move your eyes swiftly back to Christ and what God is doing.

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… –Hebrews 12:1-2