Prayer MIssion Revival Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 64644177 The Beauty of Jesus’ Humility Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:04 +0000 Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth In Jesus first public sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, He emphasized…

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Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

In Jesus first public sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, He emphasized meekness as one of the core values of the Kingdom of God. At the very onset of His message He made a shocking statement, it’s not the strong, rich, or accomplished who will reign with Him in His Kingdom, it’s the meek, lowly, and humble. This statement didn’t only fly in the face of the leaders of His day; it stands in direct contradiction to leaders in virtually every culture the earth has ever seen. People love strong leaders who exude confidence and power. They especially love when someone looks the part as much as he plays the part. Jesus’ statement, however, is the antithesis of what people look for in leadership. This is the truth of His kingdom, not many noble, not many mighty, and not many powerful people are the leaders in His kingdom; it’s the meek and lowly that He chooses (1 Cor 1:26 -27).

If you’re like me you love the idea of meekness and you probably even value those who act humbly. At the same time you probably realize that you fall woefully short of Jesus’ example. If you’re like me, when you get past the surface of these truths and look deeper into your own heart you realize you don’t’ really resemble the meekness that Jesus taught and live. What’s worse is you have probably realized you can’t just do meekness. Humility and the fallen human heart are completely incompatible. Here we are, you and I, stuck with hearts that are deeply stained by pride and Jesus requires humility from those in Kingdom. We know we can’t fake it. How do we change? Here is the bottom line; you and I can’t truly be humble without God transforming us. Sure we can act humble for a moment, an hour or a day, but to live our lives loving humility, loving being least, last, and lowest takes a complete change of heart only available through the power of the Holy Spirit. Transformation of this kind doesn’t happen because we try harder, it only comes as a product of God’s powerful grace released to our soul.

Jesus taught us to come to Him to learn meekness (Mat 11:28-29). It’s the only time He directly tells us to learn a topic from coming to Him. Paul tells us that as we contemplate Jesus’ we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). Here’s the point: if we want to grow in meekness we have to come to Jesus, admit our pride, and ask Him to transform us. As we ask for change, we must consider and reconsider Jesus, the One who is meek and lowly, and He will impart grace to our hearts to transform us.

Think of it. Jesus is co-equal with the Father. He is from everlasting. Uncreated. All Powerful. He who is most highly exalted put aside His divine privilege in becoming a man and submitted himself to human weakness, humiliation and death. Though He is so great, all that He was and is as a man expresses perfectly His core identity. He didn’t become a man as a “humility assignment”, He is humility. He didn’t have to try to be humble, He simply expressed His core nature.

As we continually consider who He is in humility, it will have a powerful transformative effect upon our hearts. I encourage you to continually consider Jesus astounding humility, ask Him to teach you of Himself in this way, and the power of God will transform you.

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The Un-American Jesus Tue, 16 May 2017 14:00:09 +0000 In thinking about Jesus and thinking about America it’s hitting me hard how un-American Jesus actually is. Even the statement that Jesus is un-American…

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In thinking about Jesus and thinking about America it’s hitting me hard how un-American Jesus actually is. Even the statement that Jesus is un-American strikes many people as irreverent or rebellious. I assure you I am in no way being irreverent or rebellious. I am however calling out a deep-seated American nationalism that colors our mentalities about Jesus and His values. Unintentionally we imagine that Jesus is an American and is for America in all of her exploits. Even within our country’s political structure people at times imagine that Jesus has allegiance to one of our political parties. The extent to which we hold these mentalities is the extent we misunderstand His nature and values.

I honestly believe that we can’t overstate how un-American He actually is. He said the same through Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways are my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” He wasn’t kidding, nor was He exaggerating. The truth is, nobody natively thinks like Him. It would be sheer hubris for us to imagine “The American Way” is somehow exempt from His exclusion.

For arguments sake let’s take a cursory look at some of the beatitudes to identify a few key differences. I see the beatitudes as the core values of the Kingdom of God. They are not just values that we should live by, but they are values that Jesus embodies and actually lives Himself. They are His values.

Blessed are the Meek – Ask yourself when was the last time you heard an American political pundit espouse the virtue of humility and meekness in leadership ? Or better yet, when was the last time you saw authentic meekness, not posturing for a media moment, displayed by one of our national leaders?

Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness – We hear much about desiring a better America, a more prosperous and powerful nation, but it’s exceedingly rare to hear political leaders ever mention desiring a greater righteousness in America.

Blessed are the Pure in Heart – This speaks to the issue of ambition. The impure heart is the one that lives for self and is ambitious for promotion. The pure heart is the one that lives for the pleasure of God and the furtherance of His kingdom in the earth.

Blessed are the Persecuted for righteousness – Not only does this not play well on a national level, it doesn’t play well in the Church. We are so attuned to the American value of the “pursuit of happiness” that even in the church we imagine anything that doesn’t make for our own temporal comfort and pleasure to be a curse. Jesus said the opposite.

This is such a small token of thoughts that illustrate how different He is from us and from our national values.

But what about things like freedom? Doesn’t He value liberty? Absolutely, yes! But the liberty He values is one that is experienced in the heart and leads to an expression of righteousness behavior. It is a liberty from the bondages of sin. It is not a human centered liberty that gives freedom of expression to every wicked passion of a fallen heart. His motives are always God-centered not man-centered and thus His agenda and tactics are thoroughly different from ours.

What do you think? Is Jesus an American in mentality? How is He different? How have we created Him as a God in our own image, similar to the children of Israel with the infamous golden calf.

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10 Reasons to Develop a Culture of Prayer in Your Ministry Tue, 09 May 2017 14:00:38 +0000 Over the last decade I’ve had the privilege to travel around the world visiting some extremely remote villages as well as some of the…

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Over the last decade I’ve had the privilege to travel around the world visiting some extremely remote villages as well as some of the world’s largest metropolises. From China to Australia, Jordan to Germany, Israel to Australia, and Kenya to Hong Kong it is absolutely clear that God is raising up His house of prayer. It looks different depending on the culture and language but no matter where you go throughout the earth, you will find people whose hearts are burning with a desire to worship Jesus night and day.

This groundswell of prayer cannot be attributed to any individual organization or any concerted mobilization effort. It’s a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible gives us a clear picture of an end time prayer movement in passages like Malachi 1:11 and Isaiah 62:6-7. So it should be no surprise that we are seeing in our day the emergence of a prayer movement the likes of which the earth has never experienced.

Perhaps no other passage so clearly identifies the Lord’s desire for His people to live in a culture of prayer than Matthew 21:12 – 13. It’s here that Jesus overthrew the moneychanger’s tables and made the statement “My house shall be call a house of prayer”. Though there are many implications to this passage, In my opinion the most prominent is that it’s a declaration of the Lord’s expectation for the outstanding cultural behavior His people are to possess: Prayer. Jesus was clear, unrelenting, and zealous over this issue. He wants His people to practice prayer as the defining element of all our activity.

Even though the prayer movement is gaining ground worldwide and biblically speaking though Jesus’ zeal for a culture of prayer among His people is evident, the reasoning behind a culture of prayer may still seem out of reach for some leaders. The following list gives 10 reasons why we must give ourselves to establishing a culture of prayer in our churches and ministries. My prayer is that these points would form a basis for you as a leader to make the necessary shifts in your ministry to see a culture of prayer established.

10 Reasons to Establish a Culture of Prayer

1. Jesus prophesied it and thus prescribed it (Mat 21:12-13)
2. Jesus is extremely zealous and deeply desirous of it (Mat 21:12-13)
3. No kingdom work is established lest it’s first established through prayer (Psalm 2:8)
4. A culture of prayer is what the Father and Son practice (Psalm 2:8)
5. A culture of prayer centers the church around the person of Jesus instead of programs
6. A culture of prayer requires us to fast from our strength, slow down, and lean on the Lord’s ability (Prov 3:5, Eph 6:10, 18).
7. It’s the clear historic culture for the people of God (Tabernacle, Temple)
8. The church is the corporate temple, built together as a dwelling place of God (Eph 2:22)
9. We are firstly called to be priests, ministering to the heart of God (Rev 5:10)
10. Jesus’ worth demands that His Bride be firstly and primarily preoccupied with Him (Rev 5:10-14)

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Entitlement & Giving up My Rights Tue, 06 Jan 2015 17:08:28 +0000 Here at the onset of 2015, the Lord has freshly impressed upon me the dangers of having an entitlement mentality. You know, the idea that we…

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entitlementHere at the onset of 2015, the Lord has freshly impressed upon me the dangers of having an entitlement mentality. You know, the idea that we are owed something or that we deserve better than what we have. I’m face to face with my own propensity to believe I DESERVE comforts, things, honor, etc. The problem is I don’t deserve anything better than what I have, in fact, truth be told, because of my rebellion against God, all I really  deserve is hell. Anything I receive one degree better than hell should be considered a huge blessing. So, I’m turning to the Sermon on the Mount again to gain perspective and help extinguish my entitlement mentality.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus deals with the issue of entitlements. He addresses five areas that people generally feel entitled. One of His main points is that the citizens of His kingdom are not actually entitled to anything. Instead, they are called to give up their rights and trust Him as their provider and vindicator. This is incredibly challenging, especially in our society, where we have such an emphasis on individual liberties and personal rights.

The language can be a bit confusing for a person living in the 21st century because Jesus uses examples from His day that His hearers understood. Let’s unpack His examples and identify what He was communicating.

Mat 5:38-42  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39  But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

1) “AN EYE FOR AN EYE?” – This deals with the issue of Retaliation. When we are wronged, most feel entitled to strike back, instead Jesus gave us an alternate perspective.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’

The phrase “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” originally comes from Exodus 21:24 & Leviticus 24:20. The intent of Eye for an Eye, or tooth for a tooth, was that it would set a limit of recompense for someone who had suffered injury. The point was to prohibit an individual from exceeding the wrong they had suffered in retaliation. It was a restrictive commandment to be used by the courts to prevent escalation between parties who were in a feud.

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees not only allowed it to be applied in a personal way, but they required men to bring retribution upon one who had wronged them. Rather than seeing it as a concession they saw it as a command.

Jesus on the other hand teaches us not to retaliate against someone who has wronged us but instead serve them and bless them. Is your flesh burning yet?

2) “TURN THE OTHER CHEEK” – This deals with the issue of your Reputation. Oh how we love to stick up for ourselves. Jesus had a different idea.

“If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

When Jesus said, “turn the other cheek” He was specific talking about the issue of personal insults. Just as a “slap in the face” is an American idiom that transcends cultures and time. The same is true of “turn the other cheek.” It was a figure of speech that meant don’t defend or vindicate yourself when someone insults, humiliates or degrades you.

3) “WHOEVER TAKES YOUR TUNIC, LET HIM ALSO HAVE YOUR CLOAK” – This deals with the issue of your Property. Nobody likes people to mess with their stuff. Once again Jesus flips the script on us.

“And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.”

The Tunic was an inner garment. The Cloak was an outer garment that actually doubled as a blanket at night. Exodus 22:26-27 describes the cloak as a basic human need.  Jesus says, give it away. The point is don’t exalt the value of property over the value of a person.

4) “DON’T ONLY GO ONE MILE, GO TWO” – This deals with the issue of your Time. Time is a commodity that everyone would like to have more of. Look how Jesus calls us to offer our time to others, even those we wouldn’t prefer to be with.

“If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles”

Jesus was specifically addressing a custom where a Roman soldier could command people to carry their goods from town to town. The Roman law said a person only had to go one mile with a soldier. Jesus says if they make you go one mile, add another mile…go two. In doing so you serve and love the other by giving your time to them.

5) “GIVE TO THE ONE WHO ASKS YOU” – This deals with the issue of your Money. Here Jesus hits at the greed in our hearts.

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

The issue at hand isn’t the wisdom of giving in certain situations (drug addict, professional beggar), the issue is the heart posture of liberality, generosity and the giving up of rights. It’s about being available to have a free heart to give. Freely receive, freely give.

In general Jesus’ call is for us to give up our rights, we don’t have the right to retaliate when wronged, or the right to prop up our reputation. We don’t have rights to our possessions, time or money. Ultimately, He owns us and all that we have, including ourselves, is His. He will care for us and provide for us. In light of this He asks us to trust His leadership and provision rather than demanding our own. Oh, how I want to be free from an entitlement mentality and demanding my own ways.

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Why Consumer Christianity is Killing Us Tue, 01 Apr 2014 14:59:43 +0000 By “Us”, I mean all of us who name the name of Christ; us, the Bride, the Church. Consumer Christianity is KILLING US. You…

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Consumer ChristianityBy “Us”, I mean all of us who name the name of Christ; us, the Bride, the Church. Consumer Christianity is KILLING US.

You understand consumerism. America is made up of consumers. Companies make stuff and we consume it. That’s the cycle of economics which is based upon the law of supply and demand. Demand drives the process. And who does the demanding? Consumers…also us…people. Consumerism is predicated upon our choice to purchase things based on our preferences and needs. If we have a family of six and we need a vehicle which can carry all of us together – Mini van here we come. Healthy consumerism drives a healthy economy and the freedom to choose is at the core of this. That’s why capitalism thrives in countries where the people are free to make their own choices. Consumerism, however, does not make for a healthy church.

Consider this all too familiar scenario. We start off in our walk with Jesus with a fair amount of idealism. Not the pie-in-the-sky kind, I’m talking about the healthy kind that causes you to lay awake at night praying and dreaming about the crazy stuff God wants to do in and through you to change the world. Your heart burns to make a difference and go on a wild journey in God, changing nations. Somewhere along the line you realize that God’s desire to change the nations starts with you. The process of world reformation slows down and zeroes in on your own heart. With the addition of a spouse and family, your needs grow rather than diminish. Through people challenges, church challenges, money challenges, family challenges, faith challenges, job challenges, and the like, your passion to turn the world up-side-down lulls to a near halt while you find yourself just hoping to pay the bills, get the kids to school on time and maybe, just maybe, make it to small group this week.

Amazingly the same messages about changing the world that pierced your heart in your twenties, don’t move you in your thirties. What you really need is a Church that understands you and is focused on meeting your needs. And Thus the search is on for that full-service church family that is has an amazing kid’s ministry, challenging men’s ministry, inspiring women’s ministry, a vibrant youth group, touches the poor, the lost, the shut-in, the nations(you still want to change the world, a little bit at least), classes for marriage, financial stewardship, parenting, small groups, singles, seniors, counseling and the list goes on and on and on. Once you find the “perfect” place you make a few concessions because deep down you know, no place is perfect. “The worship isn’t that great, but the kid’s ministry is”, and so you settle in to the church that will most meet your needs.

You add church to your already busy schedule. You connect to a small group and an extra class or two (when you can make it), and you attend Sunday service a couple times a month. You find yourself at thirty-five laying in bed thinking about the days in your youth when you wanted to change the world and you wonder what happened to you. You could chalk it up as youthful zeal, foolish idealism or you could examine your current status and wonder if this is really what God had in mind for you. I vote for the latter.

What happened? You became a consumer and didn’t realize it. Trained by a culture that worships at the altar of “my needs and wants” you actually fell into the same trap and applied it to your relationship with Jesus and His church. You chose a church based on how it would meet your needs rather than how the Lord wanted you to fit in the body. The reason this is so deadly is that it’s exactly opposite of Jesus’ dream for His Church. God is the one who sets members in the body as He wills…that’s not our prerogative (1 Cor 12:18). The church was never to be an inward focused people looking to meet their own needs. We were to always be an upward focused people looking to love God and others extravagantly.

When we approach choosing a church the same way we approach where to buy our groceries we step into a consumer mindset which we carry with us during our entire lifetime in the church. We will then complain when the “goods and services” offered are not up to our liking. We will look to “management” to make changes to satisfy our needs. And if our needs are not met, we will vote with our feet, because everybody knows, “the customer is always right.” Is this Jesus’ dream for His church?

We then go from church to church looking for the latest thrill or best programs to meet our needs and the cycle of consumerism goes without end. It’s just killing us, beloved. Rather than the church being the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15) we largely resemble a fickle customer base susceptible to the latest marketing appeals. Rather than us being the “ecclesia” (the governing body of heaven on earth) we tend to look like a self-focused, self-help group boasting that we have something to meet everyone’s individual needs. And oh how we languish.

The Church is the global community of the kingdom of God. It exists in smaller local congregations. These congregations are to function as spiritual families, dedicated together to teaching, prayer, fellowship, & community (Acts 2:42). The natural overflow of a church that carries these dedications is outreach, discipleship, miracles, and heavenly awe (Acts 2:43–47). The church was never supposed to be a consumer oriented environment. Don’t get me wrong, when functioning properly, the community of the church is a powerful need-meeting organism. However, those who would join the church are to come with one need in mind, their need for Jesus. This is the basis for admittance and continual requirement for membership in the church.

Jesus, the head of the church, is the One from whom life flows into the body. When we come together to love Jesus, we will, in turn, love one another. It’s the natural product of a heart that has been touched with love (John 15:1-13, 1 John 4:20). Intentionality is critical. In other words we must choose to love others in practical ways. And in the end, our love for one another is the basis for all evangelism. John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

It’s impossible for a body to enter into this kind of life and love when the chief question on everyone’s mind is, “What’s in it for me?” Consumer Christianity derails us from the original commission of the Church (Mat 28:18). We get so self focused that we forget the Head and His heart. I propose if we look upward, rather than inward, we will find fresh idealism, regardless of our station in life. Can a thirty-five year old home school mom be fiery for Jesus? ABSOLUTELY. Can a forty year old, corporate-America-working dad continue to carry the passion he had in his twenties? WITHOUT QUESTION. Jesus has not changed. The One who lit you on fire at twenty is still lighting fires today.

The church is to be a people brimming with passionate love for Jesus and others, flowing in the power and values of the kingdom. This is our portion in life, to engage with God and function as an extension of His Kingdom on the earth. The purpose of the Church is to communicate to a lost world, through a myriad of ways, what life in the Kingdom looks like. In the church we are to experience this life together and then call others into it, always emphasizing this single critical issue – Have you come to Jesus to meet your most critical need, salvation?

I encourage you to ask Jesus to give you a fresh vision of what He desires for His church. Ask Him what your part is in it. If you find that you’ve been unknowingly sucked into a consumer mindset, repent and ask the Lord to give you His perspective. Unquestionably, He wants to meet your needs AND He wants to fill you with an idealistic passion to change the world.

I know I likely raised more questions then I answered with this blog. My goal here is not to address all the issues, but rather call us to refocus our gaze on Jesus in relation to our participation in the community of the Kingdom, His Church. Feel free to comment. I’d love to interact on this topic.


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Lets Not Call it Revival Thu, 13 Mar 2014 15:24:53 +0000 As early as I can remember in my Christian walk I was fascinated by the subject of revival. My fascination compelled me into  avid…

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sparkAs early as I can remember in my Christian walk I was fascinated by the subject of revival. My fascination compelled me into  avid study and ultimately birthed a hunger in my soul to see a true, God-birthed revival in our day and time. I love the stories of the old revivals – Cane Ridge, Wales, the Scottish Hebrides, Azusa Street, and so many other places. Each story is a a precious pearl in the history of God’s movement in the earth – a continuing testimony of the wave of kingdom power that continues its course throughout the ages ultimately pointing us to the final outpouring of the Spirit that will precede the Lord’s return (Acts 2:17-21).

I’ve honestly lost count of how many books I’ve read on revival…somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty, I guess. In the last fifteen years, I’ve also had the amazing blessing of being a part of two smaller, localized revival movements. Both seasons were times of incredible blessing. Hundreds came to the Lord in repentance and God moved in power with signs and wonders and healing. In both cases the church was convicted of sin, the lost were saved, and many were refreshed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

These experiences along with the testimony of the historic moves of the Spirit have brought me to the following definition of revival – Revival is when God restores life to the church, through mass conviction, repentance and refreshing of the Holy Spirit. Notice I specifically identified the church. The reason is that revival, by definition, means that something that was once alive has regained its vigor and vitality. Revival is a word that identifies God’s activity in resuscitating His church. In times of revival the lost do get saved, but revival is primarily a work of God to re-awaken His Bride. Real revival has a sweeping affect upon the church in a region, nation or the nations, over an extended period of time.

There’s a different word that describes what happens when the lost come to know the Lord in mass numbers – Reformation. Reformation is when God brings masses of unsaved people to conviction, repentance and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. In reformation the society bends under the weight of God’s glory. Laws change, culture shifts, and public policy is transformed. In reformation, God literally reforms the society in accordance with His values and kingdom, by His power.

Often revival and reformation go hand in hand. A revived church can make a powerful impact upon society. The Welsh Revival of 1904 and the Hebrides Revival of 1948 are good examples of this. In both instances the church was touched so powerfully that it spilled over and affected society in mighty ways. In Wales, for instance, many of the local pubs were closed because the number of patrons had greatly decreased as a result of them coming to know the Lord through the revival.

True God-birthed revival is a precious gift from heaven. The outstanding feature of every revival is that God draws near. His manifest presence is unmistakable and men wilt under the power of His presence. The signs and wonders He does in revival are wonderful. The salvation of the masses is glorious. But the most precious part of revival is His nearness. In revival God comes down. Everything else takes a back seat as He takes the stage.

In light of all this, I have a concern regarding revival and the way the term is being used today. Often I hear people referring to happenings as revival, that just are not. I’m not talking about the country church that puts “Revival this Wednesday through Sunday” on their sign. I’m talking about how those who long for the real thing treat the idea. I want us to be very careful not to dumb down the meaning of the word by calling everything that God does revival. We’ve misused the word revival and in affect lost it’s meaning. At times, too often, we’ve exaggerated what God has done and called something revival that wasn’t. It was a spark, not a bonfire. Our tendency to exaggeration ends up being a great enemy of apprehending the real thing. Here’s a couple reasons why:

1) If we call something revival that is not, we inadvertently instruct others that the sparks of God’s presence are THE bonfire. If we believe a spark to be the bonfire, we will not seek God for more because we believe we have all that is available. A spark is awesome. It can start a fire. But let’s be honest, a spark is a spark. It’s not a fire.

2) When we exaggerate by calling something revival that isn’t, we give people a sugar high that wears off in a short period of time and leaves them in a funk. I never want to be guilty of exaggerating what God has done. And the truth is, you never have to exaggerate God. He’s well able to manage His own reputation.

Since I briefly identified what revival looks like, let me give a few thoughts on what it isn’t. These are things that are great, but let’s not call them revival.

1) Evangelism and salvation – Believers doing evangelism and getting people saved are normative parts of Christianity. We should all be regularly sharing our faith and the outcome of that should be salvations. After all, the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. If we share it, people will get saved. It’s glorious, but let’s not call it revival.

2) Signs and Wonders and Gifts of the Spirit – The activity of the Holy Spirit in manifestation should also be normative in our assemblies and through our lives. Prophecy, Word of Knowledge, Gifts of Healings and Miracles, should be operating through the lives of Spirit empowered believes. Let’s pursue love and desire spiritual gifts as Paul admonished (1 Cor 14:1), and celebrate when we see them, but let’s not call it revival.

3) Large Conferences – Large gatherings of believers are often wonderful. Many times God moves in great ways when many are gathered to seek Him passionately. I love when God touches a conference with His power and presence. But just because a lot of believers gather to a meeting and God moves, let’s not call it revival.

Don’t mistake my purpose for this blog. I’m not here to criticize, but rather help my friends be a little more precise in what we call revival and what we’re believing God for in our day and time. I’m jealous for the real thing. I want a God-birthed revival of epic proportions. I want to see the church alive and in love moving in the power of the Holy Spirit. I want to see the lost come to the Lord in masses. I want to see society changed by the unleashing of the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to settle for less and I don’t want you to run to a false finish line. I never want to exaggerate what God does. I’m convinced if it’s a real revival, everyone will know.

I encourage you to read some of the historic accounts of revival and calibrate what you call revival with what God has done historically in revival. Let’s believe together for the real thing, celebrating every activity of the Holy Spirit along the way. I am convinced that God wants to send a Third Great Awakening to the United States. Let’s believe for the greatest move of the Spirit the earth has ever seen.

Lord, we pray, send revival in our day and our time. Send Revival, Send REVIVAL, SEND REVIVAL!

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When a Hero Dies Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:03:16 +0000 In the last two weeks there have been two heroes whom I’ve known who passed from this life into glory – Steve Hill, the…

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In the last two weeks there have been two heroes whom I’ve known who passed from this life into glory – Steve Hill, the evangelist who led the Brownsville Revival and Brady Clark, a trusted friend and comrade. Steve fought a long and courageous fight against cancer and lost. A month ago Brady suffered multiple heart attacks, looked to be on the mend, but his organs simply could not recover from the incredible trauma and he also passed. I knew Brady much better than I knew Steve, but I knew neither of them as well as I would have liked. Each were heroes in their own right…One well known, one not as much. A hero is by definition: ‘One who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.’ Those who live godly in this present wicked age are heroic in their faith and admirable for their courage. Any who finish their course faithfully are heroes in my book. Both of these men exemplify the definition of a hero. And both left a wake of influence that will continue to compel people into the the kingdom for decades.

I remember the first time I watched a video of the Brownsville Revival. Steve was leading a baptismal service. Those being baptized testified of the dramatic change that Jesus had made in their lives. Many had come out of lifestyles of drugs and addiction and were now set free. As they went into the baptismal pool several of them looked like they were being struck by electricity, shaking violently as they were baptized. I had never seen anything like it. And there was Steve Hill on the platform, giving glory to Jesus for the RADICAL change He had made in their lives. “Sweet Jesus! Sweet Jesus!” I knew I had to go and check out the revival and immediately made plans to visit. Those visits would change my life.

I’d never heard a preacher preach such a powerful salvation message. Steve boldly compelled the masses to give their lives fully to Jesus. “Friend, You can go to hell in a choir robe! You can go to hell holding your church membership card! You can go to hell with baptismal waters on your face! I’m not asking if you know about Jesus, Do you KNOW HIM! Do you wake up in the morning with Jesus on your heart? Do you go to bed at night with Jesus on your heart? Do you eat, drink, sleep, breathe Jesus? If not I question your salvation!”

His appeals were the boldest, most passionate, in your face, intense appeals I’d ever heard. And when He called people to come to Jesus, they literally ran to the altar by the hundreds. The whole seen was shocking to the senses.

After the service during the ministry time Steve and others would pray for God to fill people with the power of the Holy Spirit. Steve prayed for me that first visit and the only way to describe it was I felt like I got struck by lightning. The power of God literally shot down my body and coursed through me with a distinct heat and jolt. It didn’t hurt, but it did leave a mark. Those were life changing days.

Steve would go on to lead hundreds of thousands of people to the Lord through the meetings at the Brownsville Revival. Untold millions were impacted by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that God started through Steve’s visit to that Assembly of God Church on Father’s Day 1995. My life was dramatically changed. That revival gave me a firsthand taste of what it can look like when God comes down. I’m grateful for Steve Hill’s life and ministry. Much of my passion for revival was shaped and formed in those early days at Brownsville.

My Friend Brady was also a preacher, but not nearly as well known. The last decade of his life He spent bi-vocationally doing ministry and contracting work. He was literally building churches physically and spiritually. Most recently He was part of the leadership team of Classic City Church in Athens, Ga. A church that bloomed to over a thousand in just a few years, no doubt partially due to his labors.

My relationship with Brady was one of the most unusual relationships I’ve ever had. Have you ever had a friend who always treated you better than you treated them? Who always called you first? Always remembered your important details? Always took genuine interest in everything about you and almost never asked for anything in return? That was Brady.

Brady exposed my cynicism. I remember the time I asked him, “Why are you taking such interest in me? Is there something you want from me?” He just smiled and humbly said, “No, not at all. I just want to be a friend to you and an encouragement in your life.”

At his funeral I was extremely surprised to hear that this was Brady’s relationship with virtually every person in the room. He spent his life loving well. He gave more than He took, offered more than he asked, and encouraged everyone along the way. Hundreds of friends and family gathered together to celebrate His life and we all left desirous to be more like him and more like Jesus.

Both of these men were heroes but in far different ways. One was catapulted into the spotlight of the largest revival the U.S. has seen in the last century, the other faithfully tending the field the Lord had given him. Both leaving a legacy that continues to impact and inspire people. Both were heroes. Which brings me to my main points:

1) Being a hero isn’t about being epic or hitting it big, it’s about being faithful in the field the Lord has called you. The size of your sphere isn’t up to you, it’s up to the Lord. Neither Brady nor Steve chose their sphere…God chose it. Your legacy is a product of your faithfulness. Faithfulness is the key to your impact. If you are faithful to God’s calling, He will use your faithfulness to make the impact He desires. Those who make an impact are hero’s in His Kingdom, notable for character and courage. Be faithful and you’ll be a hero.

2) When a hero dies there is a silent cry for other heroes to arise. It’s like the voice of their history beckons us to embrace their best qualities and live heroically in our day. Their memory echoes to us, probing us, “Will you be the next hero?” When a hero dies their legacy prods us to leave a legacy. When a hero dies our loss is gain as long as we are compelled forward by their example.

I don’t tend to handle untimely death well. I always feel like there is so much more a person has to offer. The loss of these two men stings – pungent and raw. There’s a bit of inequity in that we mourn while they enter into pure pleasure. Though the pain of loss is real, I’m allowing these losses to compel me, by the grace of God, into their best attributes. Due to Steve, I want to burn for the lost more than ever and due to Brady I want to love well, always giving more than I take.

Ultimately being a hero isn’t about being or doing that which is heroic in the eyes of men, it’s about living faithfully to whims of  the HERO, Jesus. Only eternity will tell the story of the heroic exploits the people of God have done through the enabling grace of God. Oh the stories of faith that will be told on the day we gather on the sea of glass, all the to praise of the glory of His grace. I’m learning to love the hero I see in others and recognize whatever is heroic in them is a reflection of Jesus. I’m also learning that when a hero dies, even in the pain of loss, to all their legacy to spur me on to greatness in this age.

I pray for us all that we’d truly know the Hero and live heroically by His grace in this age.

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Waiting on the Lord – The Crucible of Purification Fri, 21 Feb 2014 10:30:33 +0000 Waiting is a crucible. Almost nothing causes your flesh to burn like waiting on the Lord. Bob Sorge recently tweeted, “There is no hotter…

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crucibleWaiting is a crucible. Almost nothing causes your flesh to burn like waiting on the Lord. Bob Sorge recently tweeted, “There is no hotter flame than waiting on God. That’s why God calls you to wait—He’s refining you.” Bob knows what He’s talking about, having walked a path of waiting few of us have ever experienced.

When we understand that God uses waiting as a means to purify our hearts it gives us courage to persevere, though we may wait long. We know that the outcome of the waiting is ultimately for our good and blessing, though the pain of the waiting can be excruciating.

In Leviticus 8 we see the process of sanctification the Old Testament priests had to go through. The process was intricate, involving multiple sacrifices, washings, and offerings. Once the entire process was complete the final phase was waiting. For seven days the priests had to wait to fulfill the purifying process. It is the same for us today in that there is a required waiting for all believers that will produce the necessary purification the Lord desires. Without waiting we will remain fleshly. Through the waiting God purifies us and makes us fit for His own purposes.

Below I’ve listed three ways that we can agree with the Lord while we are in the waiting process that will enable our hearts to embrace His dealings with us rather than reject them.

1. We must agree in the waiting that His leadership is perfect – God always has our good in mind. His perspective is far superior to ours. Often we think we understand all that is at stake, but the truth is that we only see in a limited way the actuality of any situation. God’s perspective is perfect and His leadership is flawless. He knows how to fashion our hearts through the waiting in ways we would never choose, but that ultimately form in us a greater depth of intimacy and holiness. Agree with Him that He knows what He’s doing, though you may wait long.

2. We must agree that the waiting itself is redemptive. God uses the crucible of waiting as a refining measure to conform us to His image and will. Waiting is an important part of the process in the formation of our hearts. If we skip the process of waiting we short circuit the activity of God in our lives and thereby forfeit in some way the desired destiny He has for us. The waiting in itself is working for us, “A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor 4:17).”

3. We must agree to stay hopeful in the waiting – Most often the process to answered prayer is wait-obey-DELAY-blessing. We are so accustomed to microwaved answers that we have no fortitude to wait for diamonds transformed from coal, over time, through pressure and heat. A delay is not a “no” from God, it’s simply part of the process. Our posture is that we must hope in God while we eagerly wait and never get embittered.

Sometimes believers point to Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but the desire fulfilled is a tree of life” as a justification for being depressed in times of extended waiting. Deferred hope is not simply delayed hope, it’s delayed hope that ends up being cast off. The key to not getting into heart sickness in waiting is renewing yourself in hopeful expectation, knowing He’s a good leader, who has your best interest in mind and is purifying you through the process of waiting.

Waiting is not easy. It flies in the face of everything that is native to our flesh, which is why the process of waiting is so critical. God’s use of waiting as a means to purify us is His kindness towards us and evidence of His commitment to not leave us as we are but to gently and graciously call us into His destiny for us.

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Waiting on the Lord – Defining Waiting Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:09:58 +0000 When the bible talks about waiting on the Lord, what exactly is it talking about? Waiting is quieting yourself in stillness with hopeful expectation…

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Waiting on the LordWhen the bible talks about waiting on the Lord, what exactly is it talking about? Waiting is quieting yourself in stillness with hopeful expectation of the Lord’s leadership and action in your life. It’s ceasing for your own ways to allow the Lord to accomplish His will through your life in His way. Waiting is not idleness nor laziness. It’s not in opposition to work. It is actively choosing to pause, maybe for an extended period of time, in order to allow the Lord to show Himself strong on your behalf.

Waiting and Hoping are synonymous. Consider Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.” When we wait on the Lord we position ourselves in hopeful expectation of His activity in our lives.

There are multiple components to waiting on the Lord. Here are a few that helped give me clarity as to what waiting on the Lord is really about.

1. Waiting on the Lord is about Breaking Your Soul – The process of waiting is the breaking of the soul. Just as a horse has to be broken from directing it’s own course and running according to it’s own will, so too the Lord breaks us in waiting. In Psalm 32:9 it says, “Don’t be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding…” A horse runs ahead and a mule will not move. They have to trained to follow their master. So too, we have to be trained to follow His leading and the requirement of waiting is a key means the Lord uses to train us.

2. Waiting on the Lord is Fasting Your Strength – Though we may believe we know how to get a thing done, too often we bypass the necessary waiting on the Lord and act in our own strength. Instead of waiting on the Lord to show Himself strong we produce our own results, by our own strength. When we wait, we choose to trade our strength for weakness, which in turn is the pathway to experience the strength of the Lord (2 Cor 12:8-10).

3. Waiting on the Lord is about Trusting the Lord – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Prov 3:5-6).” Ultimately waiting is about trust. If you don’t trust God to lead, direct and deliver, you won’t wait on Him. If you don’t trust Him, you will short circuit the process of His deliverance because you don’t believe He will come through. Trust the Lord and learn to wait.

4. Waiting on the Lord is about Growing Up Spiritually – The smaller a child is, the less capacity they have to wait. A baby simply cannot wait when it’s time to eat, they will cry until they are fed. A small child will be impatient, but they have the capacity to wait. And though a teenager may want immediate satisfaction, they are able to wait long periods of time if necessary. The more we learn to wait the more mature we become. Waiting ultimately causes us to grow up. Jesus is not going to marry a bride who is an infant. He is going to marry a fully mature partner, one with whom He can be equally yoked. Waiting is critical to the maturing process.

5. Waiting on the Lord is about the Produce of Your Life – Waiting is not primarily about making the small decisions in life, though it applies, it’s more about the overall produce of your life. There is a day coming when all our works will be reviewed before the Lord; the produce of our life will be examined as to “what sort it is (1 Cor 3:13).” Without the necessity of waiting, the produce of your life will be much more man-made than it is God-made. We must learn to wait, so that the Lord can produce through us works, that when tested by fire, are shown to be gold, silver, and precious stones, not wood, hay, or stubble.

Do you run ahead and force things to happen or do you wait on the Lord? Are you willing to wait even when it’s awkward, even when it burns your flesh, until He moves for you? The Lord wants a people whose hearts are supple, easy to lead. He is after a people who are so staid on Him that they would much rather wait on Him than produce anything on their own. Oh Lord, teach us to WAIT ON YOU!

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Waiting on the Lord Tue, 11 Feb 2014 15:07:54 +0000 One of the chief story lines of Scripture is the struggle between the arm of the flesh and the arm of the Lord. The…

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Better Be Prompt! One of the chief story lines of Scripture is the struggle between the arm of the flesh and the arm of the Lord. The arm of the flesh speaks of the strength of man while the arm of the Lord speaks of the strength of God. The struggle between the two is a repetitive theme throughout the entire bible – humankind’s unwillingness to hear and obey God’s voice and God’s answer with power to show humanity his utter and complete need of God. Mankind tries to prove, albeit horribly ineffectively, how much he can establish without God, while God shows humanity that without Him we can do nothing.

It’s ultimately rebellion in the heart of man that causes him to attempt to assert himself against God. Fallen humanity loves to try to prove that he doesn’t need God, that he can take care of himself and accomplish all he wants without God.

The struggle between the arm of the flesh and the arm of the Lord is not only the story for unbelievers, its a key issue for believers as well. Let’s face it, before we came to the Lord we became accustomed to living life our way, getting things done by our strength. Once we got saved we wrestled with trusting the Lord to accomplish His desires in and through us. Its difficult to overcome our habit of making things happen on our own. Many times believers become ineffective in their walk because they are unwilling to allow the Lord to accomplish His will through their life, on His terms, in His timing. Instead of waiting, they produce their own desires through their own means. They may look productive, but in the end, if the produce of their life is not heaven breathed and heaven birthed it’s worthless in value in the kingdom of God.

God’s answer for thwarting the strength of our flesh is His command for us to wait on the Lord. Waiting is painful. Nobody likes to wait. Most of us don’t do well at a drive through line that takes more than five minutes, how are we supposed to live life waiting, over potentially long periods of time, on the Lord? Our challenge is this, we are so accustomed to the immediate gratification of our every desire that we have almost no stamina to persevere through weeks, months or even years of waiting on the Lord. I find that many Christians stumble over this issue and in the end it causes much turmoil in their lives and even shipwreck.

I’m going to take the next several posts to develop the idea of Waiting on the Lord and how critical it is to our walk. Ultimately, waiting on the Lord, determines whether the produce of our lives is man-made or God-made. I guarantee you this, Jesus is not looking for a self-made bride. He is the author and finisher of our faith and desires to be the fashioner and framer of our hearts over the long haul. Waiting is the necessary crucible that will ultimately bring us into conformity to His will. For now I’ll leave you with this admonition from David, “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”(Psalm 27:14)

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