Hide and Seek

Often the believer feels like God is hiding and we need to seek Him. It’s a spiritual game of hide and seek. However, this is really not the reality of the situation. Before you met God – God was not lost – we were. We didn’t seek Him – He came seeking and saving the lost – us! He initiated and we responded. He loved us first and, as a result, we can now love Him in return. This is the secret to our spiritual lives – He initiates and we respond.

So, then a time comes when His presence cannot be felt and you are not experiencing Him in your daily walk. At this point we “go searching for Him” as if He is hiding on us and from us or has moved to some distant place? Why is it that we immediately begin to initiate things – which, in reality, is moving from walking in the Spirit to walking in the flesh?

You wake up one morning and you don’t feel God’s presence. You read your Bible and it seems that nothing speaks directly to you. You pray and it seems like your prayers don’t make it past the ceiling of the room – and they definitely are not making it all the way to the throne room of your God. And, what do you do? You go seeking to find Him as if He was lost. You send out a search party.

You examine your life to see if there are any sins that have crept in recently that might have separated you from your God. You switch versions of the Bible to see if the fresh wording of a different translation will help you get in touch with him once again. You pray – but with fasting this time. You worship more, pray in tongues more often and longer each day, you seek others to help you. But usually nothing works. God remains hidden.

It is as if God has run away and hidden Himself and you now need to go and seek Him. Like the kids game of “Hide and Seek” we all use to play. So, now you initiate and you hope He will respond. Backwards from everything that has gone before in your relationship with God.

Well, I was reading the other day – sorry, don’t remember which author or book as I read three or four books a week and have a dozen or more on the go at any given time. The author mentioned the “omni-hiddeness” of God. That, at times, God just does not allow us to experience, touch, or taste His presence. That God in His wisdom chooses to remove any sense of His presence.

Theology (the study of Theo – God)tells us that God is omnipresent – He is everywhere present. There is not a place in creation that you can go to get away from God’s presence. But, in the quietness of your prayer closet – it is TOO QUIET. God apparently has made an exception and is not present with you as you can’t feel or sense Him. But the Bible says He is omnipresent.

Here is your choice. You can go out and play spiritual hide and seek or you can simply rest in the knowledge that God is everywhere present at all times – even when you cannot feel Him and are not experiencing Him. He is and always will be omnipresent but at this point in time you are not experiencing His manifest presence. The choice you need to make is – that the Word is always true even when you are not experiencing what the Word states. That if the Bible states that God is omnipresent – and it does – then even when, in our experience, He seems omni-hidden the truth still remains the truth.

Many years ago I was pastoring a young church that was growing very quickly and woke up one day to no longer feeling the presence of God as I had been accustomed to doing. Since the night I was saved I could always know and experience God’s loving touch and hear His voice very clearly and without doubt. Now, years later, that all disappeared. Nothing. And it remained nothing for 5 years, 2 months, and 2 days. Then, the next morning I rolled out of bed and boom I was back hearing, sensing and touching God.

I learned in that time to simply walk by faith and not by “sight”. To believe God’s Word regardless of what I was personally experiencing. To stand up and preach (only 3 times a week back then) God’s Word without feeling anointed or empowered. To pray for the sick without a Word of Knowledge or without ‘feeling’ the healing anointing I had been accustomed to feeling and walking in.

It was a tough time and one I cried out to God to take away. But, I very quickly came to understand that this was His will for me and that I should accept the situation for what it was – from God. And, that God caused this because He loves me.

Looking back at it many years later I realize now what a precious time it really was and how many lessons I learned – valuable lessons – during that time. I would not trade that 5 years, 2 months and 2 days for all the gold in the world. Never! It was one of the greatest blessings the Lord ever gave to me.

And, now, thanks to my recent reading I have a word to describe this “hide and seek” experience -“omni-hiddenness”.

Oh, what a night!

I have been back from California 24 hours and am sitting writing this in the quiet of my study next to the ministry office. It is good to be home.

I am always amazed at what God does. I mean seriously amazed. He is awesome to say the least. Two 12 hour days in airports and on planes. Four 18 hour days talking and listening, ministering and sharing, and writing.

New people, a new church, a new area of the globe, different issues to deal with, the spiritual atmosphere of the church and the area, of course, unique and so I needed to adjust to it. Put it all together and a very draining time spiritually, emotionally and relationally. I came home “wiped”. That’s normal.

Today I did some office work, witnessed to a few people on the streets, ran a message or two. Tonight I was going to write – but the tank was empty. Key word – “was”. I walked away from the computer screen and spent some time with the Lord. He is amazing. I was seriously touched by His presence and His power in my study tonight. Touched, refreshed, renewed, revived, reinvigorated, reinvented. He revealed Himself to me and I ended up with my face in my hands simply crying my heart out because He is so awesome, so wonderful, so gentle, so kind, so magnificent, so powerful, so loving, so caring. I cried like a baby. Over and over again as waves of His presence came upon me.
He touched my heart and mind and poured in His strength, His peace, His joy, and His power. It was so real I could feel it happening spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I could feel my “insides” becoming full once again.

Life can be very draining. But God is so gracious that if we will just take the time to “wait on Him” He will and does refresh and renew. He will reveal His love and grace to us. He will pour in wisdom and understanding so we can see things and situations from His perspective. He will even physically strengthen us as we sit still and let His presence touch us.

This coming Sunday I will be, once again, ministering God’s Word. I will bring the Word of the Lord through a teaching – a revelation from the Lord for the church I am in. An apostolic insight. As well, the Word of the Lord will flow prophetically. Then a lunch meeting with the leadership and more opportunity to minister and see lives permanently changed. After I drive back home I will, once again, be drained and empty.

But, I know my God is an awesome God and a God of grace and I can simply go to Him again and be refilled and refreshed. He is truly amazing.

The birthing of an apostle

I have spent 4 days coming to know a man and his family. Jeff and Tammy Bills are the senior leaders of Woodlands Assembly of God Church in Woodlands, California. The Holy Spirit led me to come and simply hang-out with this senior pastor and his family. So, I came and hung out with them and some of their leaders. What a terrific four days of fellowship and sensing what the Lord is doing in their lives and their church. I am tired, but good tired.

Here is a man whom God is going to use mightily and in the very near future. A pastor of a church who is in transition. His anointing or the grace upon his life is shifting so that he can fulfill the ever-changing call of God on his life – that of apostle. He is an apostle-in-training. Pray for him. Pray hard as this is not an easy or comfortable transition.

Training for an apostle means he has gone to hell and back in a basket. And he has successfully manuvered the terrain and made it back in one piece. He has passed a number of personal and ministry tests and come out with some deep wisdom and a “well done, good and faithful servant” from the Lord.

His church has had some problems – so name a church that has not had problems – and he rode the storm and is learning the lessons that the Lord would have him learn. He has been betrayed, neglected, rejected, blamed, ignored, hurt, and stepped on. Sounds a bit like Paul the apostle. He has responded in love, with gentleness but firmness. He has attempted to bring reconciliation but it takes two to tango. He has taken the high road as a leader and shouldered the responsibility for what has happened. He has stayed and has loved the church through the happenings and now is ready to rebuild upon a new foundation. And God is ready to move on his behalf as he enters into a new season for the church he leads and his soon-to-be apostolic ministry.

He is a man with much to unlearn, relearn and simply learn for the first time. Afterall, he is entering a whole new sphere of ministry … going from pastoral to prophetic/apostolic. He is a man well acquinted with the need for intimacy with the Lord – but he will be drawn into deeper intimacy in the coming months and will need to be rearranging his schedules and priorities to spend the extra time with the Lord. He will be excited about this as this is his heart. We spent a some time talking about just this. His face glows and his heart shows every time we headed in that direction and talked about intimacy with Jesus.

When one is born into the world it is a painful process. It is the same when there is a birthing of a new apostle. I was honoured to spend almost 4 days with this man and expect to spend a great deal more time with him in the coming months and years. Our paths have crossed for a reason and there are no coincidences in the Kingdom. This connection is God-directed and I plan to stay pluggd-in. It will be an honour and a great joy to have a small part to play in this man’s first steps as an apostle.

And the wait goes on…

I’m sitting in Sacramento International Airport waiting for the flight to board that will take me to Minniapolis. Almost an hour wait so time to write.

The check-in was, as I feared, electronic. However, with the help of a very kind Northwest employee I managed to get through the check-in with proper boarding passes and my nerves still intact. And, other than having to remove shoes, belt, wallet, etc. I got through the metal detectors without setting the alarms off. Always a bit unsettling when the green light turns red and the buzzer goes.

If you live in the Sacramento area you need to visit one of the neatest churches in the world,I am sure. I attend and minister in hundreds of churches a year and this one is special to God. You walk in the sanctuary and you are immediately embraced by the presence of God. As well, there is an underlying sense or current of God’s power within the worship center. It is a church with great worship. We worshipped for 70 minutes (after a prayer time that included worship of over an hour). Then the pastor ministered the Word of God teaching from God’s Word. That is somewhat novel today as a lot of preachers just use a verse and then jump into their opinion … Jeff, the senior pastor, actually preached God’s Word and not his opinion. Way to go! Refreshing!

The people are warm and friendly – no, more than that. Welcoming and loving. They genuinely care and the compassion and care are real and not put on. This is the real thing and they love you because they know God loves them and they want others to experience God’s love. There was a lunch after the service (and a meeting I was priviledged to attend) and the love was still there and just as genuine. Love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Rare to find – but real and plentiful at this church.

If you are looking for a church; if you are hungry for a place that genuinely cares; if you are looking for good teaching of God’s Word and great worship; if you are tired of “church as usual” and “business as usual; if you are looking for a soul-winning, life-changing church; if you are looking for a spiritual home; if you want to be equipped and released in your ministry giftings; if you are wanting to know more about Jesus and the claims of the Christian faith … have a look at Woodlands Assembly of God Church in Woodlands, California. The pastor is Jeff Bills and the church number is (530) 662-7150 and the web site is www.woodlandag.com You will be blessed, seriously blessed.

Zippadee Do Da

Travel day according to my web site calendar. When you travel from place to place you wake up in the morning and usually have two immediate questions – “Where am I”? (what city or town am I in) and “What day is it”? At times, everything runs together. I think it is because all the familiar ‘landmarks’ are missing – early morning news, breakfast watching the sun rise (4:15 a.m. currently), familiar back porch coffee while the dog enjoys being outside and the flowers cringe because he is out there for a bathroom break after a long night.

Well, it is travel day. Coffee with the pastor (soon to be apostle) after I pack everything up from my temporary home of the last few days – a hotel room. Then to the airport for 10:30 a.m. I am going to be confronted with the electronic check-in I am sure … slide your passport barcode through here and then a touchscreen system of getting boarding passes. Now I know why my elderly mother never got a debit card – all this new fangled technology that is confusing at times, different, and impersonal.

Flight at 12:05 to Minniapolis from Sacramento. A three and a half hour flight. A four+ hour wait then after 9 p.m. I get on another plane and fly almost 2 hours to Regina. Through customs and into the car by 11:00 p.m. 13 hours total.

It will be good to see my wife and family again. I am thankful for modern technology as it allows us to stay in touch all the time (emails, Blackberry, laptop, Gotomypc.com) – it is great. But, nothing like being in person and getting hugged by your loved ones.

However, I do enjoy every day and celebrate God’s goodness whether I am ministering, traveling, or simply have a day to myself. So, I always think: “What a wonderful day” the Lord has given me today!

Here in Woodlands I have had a great substitute family that has made me feel welcomed, accepted, and loved which has helped while I have been away from my own immediate family … see my next blog!

Just One of Those Days

As the old song goes: “It was just one of those days – just one of those marvellous days…”

It has been a full day. Emails over first two cups of coffee. An early morning walk while I ate my apple for breakfast. A prayer meeting at 9:00 a.m., worship service at 10:30 a.m. and then a leadership BBQ followed by a leaders meeting. Then a milk shake with the pastor of the church I am here with, then a diet coke with he and his wife followed by a great night of talking and sharing at their home starting in the early evening. Not “just one of those days” .. But, a great day in the Kingdom and in this local church.

As the prayer meeting was progressing in the morning – worship, prayer, flag waving, dance, one-on-one ministry) I was sitting in the presence of the Lord and He downloaded a number of things that He wanted me to share. I could not write as fast as I was receiving it – but did my best to capture everything the Lord was telling me. Some was based in the two days of conversations since my arrival – but a lot of it was new revelation.

I was given as much time as I needed to talk about what I was seeing as an apostle. So, I shared what the Lord had me write down. I will post the material tomorrow during one of my airport layovers. It was neat to see the hunger in the people to hear what the Lord was speaking over His church. Really Neat! Their excitement and anticipation was contagious. Great people – smaller crowd as it is the Memorial Day long weekend here in the U.S.A.. Never mind, it was taped and, more importantly, God’s will was accomplished.

I was able to tell the church the big picture of what the Lord was about to do and why they had been going through some fairly tough times in the last few years. So some future “predictions” and some past “historical insights” into issues and circumstances that have come up frequently over the past 80 or so years of church life. God was so gracious and kind to these people. I was also given some fairly specific direction for the pastor and the shift in his ministry and calling that is upon his life. Again, God is so good.

At the leadership meeting I was once again asked to share – so I shared briefly on the need to embrace the 5-fold ministry of apostle, prophet, eveangelist, pastor and teacher. As well, the change in the way the church functions from pastoral to prophetic (see the archives for my twice monthly articiles on apostles). And then commented briefly on the testing that the church had been going through which was to see if they really believed the Word of the Lord that had been spoken over them. A few comments on evangelism and winning the lost and then I sat down.

The afternoon meeting with the pastor and then the pastor and his wife was a quiet debriefing of the day and then some thinking and sharing of issues arising out of prophetic words received recently.

On the way out and over to their home for the evening – we all climbed into the van and listened to the prophetic words that Dennis Cramer had spoken over the church and over this couple as well as over them as individuals. I was moved to tears as over and over again things I had shared apostolically in the morning service with the people of the church were there on the tape of Dennis Cramer’s prophetic word to them last fall and early winter (2 separate visits). I am always amazed at the God we serve and seriously astonished when what I speak out as the Word of the Lord lines up so well with another word received earlier. God is so good and uses simple people to bless others.

A great night of conversation and then an hour watching a very good and clean comedian topped off the night. Now it is 1:00 a,m, my time and so time for bed.

Tomorrow – breakfast at 9:00; trip to airport at 10:00, first flight at 12:05. Home by 11:00 p.m. More tomorrow as I sit in the airport in Sacramento and the one in Minneapolis. Thanks for reading.

A Day in the Life of…

Finished my first of three days in northern California. I love being in the United States. There is a spiritual freedom, freshness, and a sense of life here that does not exist anywhere in Canada, my home nation. In Canada we are under a strong spirit of apathy and lethargy. People just don’t get excited about the things of God and are not, in my opinion, generally willing to risk anything for their faith and the Church.

Here in the United States people are excited about the Lord and what He is doing and is going to do. They talk about the Lord openly. They share their lives with other believers openly and open their homes to others. That has been my experience here in California as well as in many other States as I have travelled in this great nation.

After 4 hours sleep the first night I had a full day yesterday. Breakfast with the pastor of the church I am here to serve. Then, over to his home to meet with and talk to his wife. Lunch at applebee’s and another 3 hour conversation. A tour of the church facilites (ready and waiting for a revival), a driving tour of the city of Woodlands, and then more conversation in the back yard of the pastor after meeting his 4 great children. Then, some neighbours from across the street come over. Great conversation about Jesus and what He is doing today – tremendous hope and excitement about the Lord. Then, as it got cooler outside, over to their home for another hour or so of conversation about the Lord. Then I got back to my hotel room and crawled into bed somewhat tired.


1> There is a tremendous spiritual freedom here – freedom in the spirit-realm so that you don’t have to push or plow to minister or sense the presence of the Lord.

2> There is a pioneering spirit about the pastor and his wife. They are willing to do anything and go anywhere for the Lord. But, they do not want to do anything unless the Lord directs them. And, His hand is all over what is happening here (and what has happened).

3> The church building and land has the presence of God all over it. The facilities are more than adequate to house a move of God – either a local move or one with wider impact. God has prepared it for His purposes. God knows what He is doing!

4> The church has gone through a pruning process where alive branches (members) have seen God working in their lives pruning them so they could be more fruitful. And, the church has seen many branches cut off – branches that were non-productive or non-responsive to His Spirit – all in His will and according to His plan. He knows what He is doing!

5> The church is at a place where they are totally dependant upon God to move. The leadership is broken and humble and they are waiting on God. They are also at a crossroads and so God needs to move.

6> Looking at the situation in the natural – the church is in financial trouble and has lost a substantial number of people over the past five years. Seeing it from a spiritual perspective – it is God’s church and He actually knows what He is doing and has moved mightily on this church to prepare her for what is soon to come.

7> All that is happening and has happened is training for a young man who is pastoring the church – as he will soon shift from pastoring to doing more and more work as a young apostle-in-training. This is why I am here. This is what I was born to do. He will eventually travel the world to plant churches and have a substantial network of churches under his authority. The training is painful but the results will be magnificent.

So, it was a very full day – and today will be no different. It is 8:00 a.m. here and I have 52 emails that came in yesterday that need my attention after I shower and before I am picked up for another day of talking – and some great times of prayer with the pastor, his wife, and some of the leadership.

More later…

Sleepless in Seattle

Well really I am in Sacramento, California and not Seattle. Well, to be more exact I am in Woodlands which is 20 minutes from Sacramento. Arrived from Regina via Minneapolis tonight at 11:00 p.m. California time, 12:00 midnight Regina time and 1:00 a.m. Minneapolis time. Any way you shake it I have taken 12 hours almost to the minute to go from there to here.

It is now 3:00 a.m. my body time (Regina time) and 2:00 p.m.here in Woodlands – and have had a great chat with my host for the next three days. Checked in to my hotel and then we sat and talked for 3 hours. Great conversation as we come to know each other better and actually talk to each other other than by phone or email. So, still sleepless… but feeling like it might be time to go to bed as the day starts bright and early around 6:30 for me – devotions and time with the Lord – maybe even a walk as it will be in the high 70’s tomorrow (23 or 24 C) and so a walk before it is too hot would be good. Then lots of talking and eating and drinking coffee. Life on the road – ministry to the saints.

However, thank God I am here safe and sound and I am about my Father’s business of establishing new foundations for churches and recognizing and releasing callings on people’s lives. The next three days will prove very beneficial to the Kingdom and to Jeff and his ministry here at his church. God has promised me as much and has shown me a number of things to watch for, sense and speak into.

I was born for a time such as this in the Kingdom…

Great Airport But…

Well, the Minneapolis International Airport is as it was the last time I flew through here “ big and busy.’ Walked around to get the kinks out of the old body. Flight from Regina to here was short but very turbulent so my underlining and highlighting of the book I am reading is somewhat messy. That’s okay I don’t lend my books to anyone, anyways.

Found a washroom “oh, such simple needs.’ Then found the gate I board at in 3 or so hours. Then, having got my bearings I went for a long walk “I mean miles.’ No, it was not just for the exercise. I needed to find a restaurant where I could eat. Sucks to be me! I walked 5 of the 8 concourses and nothing.

Had just about given up when I passed a small kiosk that had apples. Upon closer examination I found a good sized salad (chicken, bean, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and a great topping. And, NOW HEAR THIS, a gluten-free chocolate brownie that was actually excellent. So, top it off with a diet Coke and a chair in F3 boarding lounge and I’m all set. Eating while I write. Ate dessert first as no one was looking. Hate eating in a lounge with so many others around but too hungry to care at this point.

Well, the big airports are no better “this one is 100% WiFi everywhere. But, try it use it. The airport connection overrides all the others and the airport one requires a monthly membership. As if I am going to be here that long “I just might be with these long waits.’

So, I wait, write, read and eat. Time to go find another diet Coke, me thinks. But first, pay for an hour on-line so I can do some posting on the web site. I’m a push-over for hi-teck systems and things that are new.

Go Figure…

As we were going through a very long security line to board the flight got to talking with the young fellow in line in front of me. Great chat as over a half hour spent crawling forward in line a few inches at a time.

Finally we got up to the front of the security line. He takes his laptop out of the bag as per directions on the sign. Throws his water bottle into the garbage can as directed by the signs. He then takes some electronic stuff out of the backpack and places them in the tray provided. Then they ask him to remove his jewelry especially his watch and neck chain; then his shoes; then his belt holding up his pants. Then his sweater – I am not joking. It was one thing after another. And he turned to me with a look on his face like he was asking for help. Not sure what I could have done. But, obviously, he was concerned bordering on naked.

I’m thinking “if this keeps up he won’t be wearing much of anything very shortly here”. Second thought “wonder if they think he is a terrorist with a bomb strapped to his waist and so a threat to security.” Third thought and even closer to home “what if they ask me to take my belt off.” Could be trouble as I have lost some weight and the old pants might not stay up like they use to. Didn’t happen. Guess I look innocent and trustworthy. Probably just look too old to bother considering me a threat.

Well, both the young man and I were relieved when they stopped having him remove items and let him go through the metal detector. He still set the system off. Go figure!