Not By Me But Through Me

Today, as I write this, I received an email from Kazakhstan letting me know that a little 5 year old (Elizabeth) whom I had prayed for while there in April had been healed. She had never spoken and was about to start school and this was a major concern to her believing parents. So, we sat with her in the front of the sanctuary in a very small village in Kazakhstan and laid hands on her and prayed that Jesus would heal her. Just several weeks ago on a Sunday she stood with her father in front of the whole assembly and spoke plainly to them. Isn’t God amazing?

Once again I sit here in my office amazed at the God we worship and serve and realize that whatever good I might accomplish is done not by me but through me by Him who came to set the captives free and to give us life and life abundantly. He is so, so good to us and loves us more than we could ever fully know or grasp. And, all He asks in return is for us to trust Him completely, follow Him wherever He takes us, and to obey what He has commanded us to do. He has asked us to love Him with our whole heart, to love ourselves and then to love our neighbors as we love ourselves – which results in reaching out into all the world and making disciples.

As I travel the world – literally going from one nation to another month after month -I am amazed at the variety of churches that exist, the many different approaches to ministry that I see, the amazingly different formats for worship, the variety of personalities, skills and abilities that the Lord uses to touch people with His love. In every nation things are different than in the others nations – even from city to city within the same nation many things are often different. But, the one constant is His love for people and His desire to see all people come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because of this heart for the lost all we need do is open our hearts and hands to the lost, love them as He has commanded we are to do, pray for them and trust Him to answer those prayers and touch people in so many different ways. In this case – healing.

He is waiting for you to pray for people; He is waiting for you to talk to people about His Son Jesus; He is waiting for you to call upon His Name and He will come and work miracles, signs and wonders. There is nothing that you need to wait for – there is nothing more to come. Because we can be baptized in the Holy Spirit we can walk in power and be witnesses for Him regardless of where we are. All we need to do is step out in faith believing God wants to impact lives and supernaturally touch and change people through you. And He does. And He will if…

Building Relationships

Building relationships is absolutely essential for a happy and fulfilling life. It is also essential if you ever hope to have a fulfilling marriage, good family relationships, and a lasting friendship – not to mention, winning someone to the Lord. Relationships are key to just about everything we are about and everything that we do.

You cannot live a fulfilling life without trusting relationships – relationships where you know you can be the real you and share anything and still find love and acceptance. Relationships with others who listen intently and understand; but more than that, care deeply and will walk with you through whatever – never judging but always accepting. Never threatening or demanding. You cannot live without people who truly know you and you know deep inside that they love you and are seriously and forever committed to you.

That is why you should always self-monitor, assess, and work to develop and refine the ways in which you engage with those around you. We are told that our ability to build bonds of truth and acceptance leading to mutually supportive relationships depends on a few primary people skills. I am amazed at how many people – especially Christians are having trouble with these skills. Why especially Christians? Because they are the ones with a personal love relationship with the Lord and so they should have these skills sharpened and working to maximum performance in their lives already.

These abilities include (test yourself to see if…):

1> Read other people’s emotions and mood and don’t focus solely on your’s
2> Listen attentively to what others say and how they say it without thinking about what you want to say in response or in reaction to what you are hearing. Just listen! Listen to understand and not just to respond.
3> Assess, comprehend, and react to nonverbal signals for others – they are always there if you care enough to look and notice
4> Navigate any social setting or gathering with a focus on everyone else and not needing to be (consciously or sub-consciously) the center of attention
5> Bond quickly with others by loving and accepting them as they are
6> Just be yourself – assuming “self” is examined on a regular basis and basically presentable
7> Practice tact and self-control and realize that the sun does not rise and set on your life and your issues.
8> Demonstrate that you really do care for others by being there for them without having to talk about you, your situation, a situation you went through similar to the one they are now working with, or trying to fix the issue when you were not asked to. Just listen and be there…

To build healthy relationships and master these people skills, you must place your own self-interests, concerns, and agendas on hold and dial in to those around you. It’s not about being the center of attention or the funniest person in the room; it’s about engaging with other people on their terms and making them comfortable enough to invite you into their lives.

Try it – you just might like it and even be amazed at the depth of healthy relationships you can achieve in a short period of time.

Jesus Was Not a Christian

I have recently come to the conclusion that if it is complicated it is not Jesus. If it is weird it is not Jesus. If it is flaky – it is not Jesus. Complicated equals religion. Weird equals stupid. Flaky means super-spiritual nonsense. Simple is Christianity – faith as a follower of Jesus. Everywhere I go I find “complicated” or “weird” or “flaky” and it is time we went back to simple. Jesus said “follow Me” and that is what I did. The road map is set out for us in the Bible and easy to understand when read with spiritual eyes and heard with spiritual ears. The Holy Spirit leads and guides as we read it and in areas of life where the Bible is silent. Not complicated – works for every person in every nation.

I like the following … thought I would share it

Jesus was not a Christian.
He never asked anyone to become a Christian,
never built a steepled building,
never drew up a theological treatise,
never took up an offering,
never wore religious garments,
never incorporated for tax purposes.
He simply called people to follow him.
That’s it.
That, despite its simplicity, is it.
He called people to follow him…
It is never more
than Jesus’ call: “Follow me”
and a response: dropping familiar nets
and following, in faith,
this sandaled Jewish man.
It is never more than that.
Two thousand years of words can do nothing
to the simple, basic reality of Christianity:
Those first steps
taken by those two bothers
Peter and Andrew’s theology
was as pure as it gets:
Jesus said, “Follow me.” And we did.

Taken from Don Everts, Jesus With Dirty Feet: A Down-to-Earth Look at Christianity for the Curious and Skeptical.

Change the Planet While You Are Visiting

The late Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing both before the age of two due to illness, but she went on to become a world-renowned author, speaker, and social activist. This great woman said true happiness comes through “fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

What does that mean? Well, I believe it means being faithful to your gifts, growing them, sharing them, and taking joy in them. It means moving beyond the pursuit of self-satisfaction to the more mature search for meaning and fulfillment found only in Jesus and His call upon your life.

The problem I have discovered is that the majority of believers do not know what their gifts are – natural skills and talents they are aware of but the supernatural call of God on their lives and the corresponding gifts they seem to be unaware of. This means they do not truly know themselves nor their purpose upon the earth. As a result they will change absolutely nothing and the planet (and the people on it) will be none-the-better for them having been here. They are simply taking up space and using up precious resources. The Church has failed them.

It is time for the Church to teach disciples who they are in Christ-and how to develop their gifts and calling. Then they will come to know who they truly are and what they are uniquely called to do and how to do it. Then they will have a “worthy purpose” in life and for life and, as a result, true happiness – at least according to Helen Keller.

While waiting for your Church to lead in this area there is no need to sit and do nothing. Everything God calls you to be and then to do is based upon your relationship with Him. So, work on that while you wait for the Church to train, equip and mentor you. Then, walk in the light that you do have – do what the Bible states believers do – share Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom with people. And, then, if you are not being trained and equipped – find a church that will help you to discover your gifts and calling and then actually release you to minister in your calling. Find a church that believes in “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).

This means you need to find a church that believes in and works with a leadership team of five-fold ministers especially apostles and prophets (Ephesians 4:11) and that can speak prophetically into your life revealing God’s plan and purpose for you and then train and equip you to fulfill God’s plan and purpose. Churches like this are hard to find but they do exist and are well worth the effort to find them. Then you can truly be a world changer.

Love In Action

Love, I have discovered, is the conductor of Holy Spirit power; like a platinum wire from heaven to the soul. Paul, the apostle, wrote, “the ONLY thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). Maybe this is why the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) states – “there are three, faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.” The next verse (14:1) goes on to say “pursue love and while you are at it-pursue the spiritual gifts and especially that you may prophesy” (14:2) because these are ways that you can minister the same love you have received to others – even non-believers.

The Bible states that all can prophesy. Of course, you prophesy in love and with no other motive than to bless people and to indicate to people that God loves them and Jesus is alive. That’s pure love not love sprinkled with wanting to look good, be recognized, perform so that ‘God will accept you” – He already does and totally accepts you because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for you. You don’t need to perform. So, move in true love, pure love and speak accurate prophetic words because you have no hidden agenda. Express your faith in God through love – love others and tell them, even show them, how much God loves them.

We can do this in the Church, of course, as Sunday morning assemblies are a good time for the gifts to flow and for the love of God to be seen in action. But, the place that the love of God is really needed is in the streets, on the highways and by-ways … in the back alleys and lane-ways. I like what Fredrick Eddington did … a black preacher from Dallas, Texas he went to the streets with no title, no pay and no pulpit. He said, “When the Bible says to go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that’s what I did. I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to go out and preach. I couldn’t even imagine not doing it – it wasn’t something I felt pressured to do. It felt natural.” His preaching, I am told, was always accompanied by a demonstration of God’s power.

Paul tells us in Romans that if our sharing of the Gospel is in words only we have not fully preached the Gospel (15:18-19). Paul records that God wants to demonstrate His power through us (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) and thus put Himself on public display out in the world and on the streets. But, like the preacher we have to decide to obey the voice of God as recorded in the scriptures. And, we have to say “yes” to being used supernaturally as we go into all the world and share with others the love of God for sinners. There is no greater adventure – no greater purpose – no greater rush.

There is nothing to wait for and no reason to be slow in doing what every believer has been commanded to do. We have everything necessary to be successful when witnessing to others about the love of God as found only through Jesus. The Bible states that we have received “everything that pertains unto life and godliness (1 Peter xxx) and that when we were baptized in the Holy Spirit we received the power Paul talks about. The Bible further states that the purpose of the power is to be a witness for Jesus (Acts 1:8) and thus, like Paul, “fully proclaim the Gospel” with words and deeds, by the power of the Spirit.

It seems we have everything we need -except the willingness to go and do it.

Yes You Can

Around the world the Holy Spirit is moving and healing those who come to the Great Physician for healing. Often these are non-believers whom God touches and heals so that they realize that Jesus is Lord and He is alive and still ministering today through His Church – through true believers who obey His command to “lay hands on the sick and watch them recover “(Mark 16).

Jesus is healing not just physical diseases but also healing those who are in need of a healing touch in their minds, their emotions, their spiritual life, as well as relationally. He is healing and restoring people, getting their attention, and revealing Himself to them so that they will cross the line of faith into His Kingdom and follow Jesus as true disciples.

This means He is inviting His people to step out in faith – even faith the size of a mustard seed – and pray for people asking Him to touch them. As we step out in faith we will see God bring new life to people and change their lives in the process. All you need to do is believe that God can use you to show them His love and then by let Him touch people with His healing power flowing through you.

You are baptized in the Holy Spirit and so have rivers of living waters (His power) flowing from your spirit (John 7). Release the river to flow out from you and touch others. Let others drink of this life-giving water and be healed.

Go on, you can do it. Yes you can!

For Or Against?

I received an email a few nights ago from someone in my city. I have met the man once. He is a believer who attends a church I don’t attend. It was a forward from the American Family Association. I really have no idea who they are… Here is the email as forwarded with the picture you see on this blog…

June 10, 2011

Old Navy is now selling “gay pride” T-shirts in support of President Obama’s proclamation designating June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.”

Old Navy’s rainbow T-shirts are part of its “Love Proudly: Pride 2011” campaign. The shirts reportedly went on sale June 1 and will be available at select stores throughout the country. Old Navy is donating 10 percent of the proceeds to the “It Gets Better Project,” a pro-LGBT campaign.

The T-shirt designs include a white shirt with “Love Proudly” written in the colors of the rainbow, and a black shirt with rainbow-colored stripes.

According to reports, the T-shirts are being sold at some Old Navy stores until the end of June or until supplies run out. Old Navy is already saying they may increase the number of stores next year.


Homosexual activists are encouraging Old Navy to carry more ‘gay’ shirts in more stores next year.

Let Old Navy president Tim Wyatt know his decision to engage in corporate promotion and financial support of homosexuality is a bad idea, considering the number of mothers buying summer and back-to-school clothes.

So, I thought it might be good to jump into the discussion or campaign or whatever this turns out to be. Never one to beshy in expressing my opinion I wrote back to everyone who received the email I received … here is my email…

Hi Name…

You can’t expect a company that exists to make a profit to behave in a Christian manner. Companies cannot be Christian. They are in business to sell products. If you don’t want to buy a gay t-shirt then most certainly don’t. I certainly would not. However, as believers, to make a fuss over this promotion for Gay Pride Day simply reinforces our anti-homosexual reputation that born again believers have. It does nothing to win those in the gay community to true love as found only in Jesus Christ where they would find healing and wholeness. It simply turns them away and turns them off and rightly so.

Why is it that Christians apparently need to be known for what we are against instead of what we stand for. As someone who witnesses to non-believers daily, some of whom are in the gay lifestyle; and as someone who has seem many come to faith in Christ over the years – I believe these “make yourself known” negative campaigns need to end and we need to become known for what we truly stand for.

I wonder how many of those who will write Old Navy about this have even knowingly talked with an active homosexual about Jesus? And how many have even taken the time to sit and talk to them at all, about anything. I for one would never write Old Navy (not that I have ever shopped there) but would sit and talk with someone in the gay lifestyle and let them know I am a disciple of the Lord by my love for them – not by what I stand against. How many people who will write have ever visited a gay bar or a gay club and talked to those who do to know them and understand them better? How many who write in righteous indignation threatening to boycott Old Navy stores on moral grounds then sit at home and watch the pornography that is on late night cable or rent on-line pornography in the privacy of their homes. Why is the sin of homosexuality any more dangerous than any other sin? Why is it being focused on and brought center stage and yet we ignore sins such as bearing false witness commonly known as gossip and definitely a sin by biblical standards. The book of James says all sins are equal and yet we tend to emphasize one and not another.

Just some thoughts I believed I should share. Just my opinion which I felt I could share seeing I received an unsolicited email from you.

Closing thought – not in my email – if the concern is mothers who might buy these shirts while buying school clothes for their children – they have free will to buy whatever they want and if they desire to promote this lifestyle or are ignorant about the meaning of the shirts – well, so be it!

Some Have Died

The Bible talks about sin and judgment because our major problem as human being is sin and sin separates us from God and from one another. We are basically wicked and our hearts are deceitful. There is, according to the Bible, literally no hope within us. But, the Bible also talks about sin and forgiveness found only through the shedding of blood. God sent His only Son to die for us on the Cross of Calvary – to shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. He did not have sin in His life – He was God in human flesh and there was no sin found in Him. But, He became sin for us that we might put on the righteousness of God as found only in Christ Jesus.

The Bible states that Jesus – a fair and just yet merciful Judge of the living and the dead will forgive us if we confess our sins to Him – He is our priest, our High Priest. And if we confess our sins with godly sorrow and sincere repentance He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness – the actual cause of the sin in the first place.

1 John tells us that as we do this we can then share fellowship (close, intimate, personal relationship) with Jesus and God the Father and with one another. Catch that – we can fellowship with other members of the Body of Christ, the Church. Why? Because, like us, they too have been forgiven and cleansed. Stay with me, now…

In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul is talking about the Lord’s Supper – the meal in which we celebrate and commemorate the life and death of the Lord until His coming again. Here Paul states, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (have died).”

Again, stay with me here. This is important. If you eat and drink in an unworthy manner – without having taken the time to examine your heart, mind and life and asked forgiveness for whatever the Holy Spirit reveals to you … then you are not forgiven and you drink and eat in an unworthy manner and are in a bit of trouble here. But, if you examine yourself you are fine and the Lord’s Supper is a serious blessing and a celebration.

Here it comes and worth waiting for as well…For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (have died) ” Here the word “body” is not referring to the element of bread on the Lord’s table but to the Church – the body of Christ – the fellowship we have with one another if and when we have confessed and been forgiven. We break fellowship with fellow believers when we don’t take seriously the Lord’s death on the Cross and the remembrance of that at the Lord’s Table – and this broken fellowship, like Adam and Eve’s broken fellowship with God – causes death. That’s how seriously the Lord takes the fellowship we have with one another through His shed blood and the forgiveness He offers.

Adds meaning and serious room for thought to our monthly celebration of the Lord’s Supper and to the fellowship we share with Him AND one another within the local church.

God is Shaking His Church

I have this prophetic sense that God is shaking His Church and every man-made religious structure and belief system because many are not following the biblical Jesus. They are, however, following a “different Jesus” – not the Jesus revealed in the pages of the four Gospels  – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I first mentioned this prophetic insight at the end of May in my last article.

Paul the apostle comments in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4: But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.  

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What’s that Noise?!

There is some tremendous new music being written by young people around the world. Music is always a driving force in the spirit realm which is why the devil owns so much of the music we hear. As well, new music always precedes a fresh move of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit has begun to bring major change to God’s people – the Church – you see a literal flood of new songs leading the way into the future.

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