The Universe

“This is God’s universe, and He is doing things His way. You may think you have a better way, but you don’t have a universe.” J. Vernon McGee

So often we want to do things our way. Afterall, we know what we want, where we want to be, and what we want to accomplish in life. We are fairly intelligent and believe we are quite capable of making wise decisions to move us towards our goals in life. So, much of life can be lived without any thought of God – as if He lives in His universe and we live in ours. Once in a while we acknowledge that we need Him and seriously want the two universes – His and ours – to collide so that we can have His help. But, most days we can live fairly well without His intervention. He does things His way and we do things our way – as if we actually have a universe of our own. But we don’t!

When we live like that we are living like Christian athiests. We believe in God and understand that we belong to Him but we live our lives as if He did not exist. Because of this, I believe, we live far below our potential as believers and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result we don’t fulfill His call on our lives nor even touch His plan and purpose for us. We live as if we are in a parallel universe to His and He has no place in our universe unless we hit hard times and need help. In other words, He can enter our private universe only when we ask Him to.

I believe that God is calling His people to leave their private little world wth their non-biblical little “god” and move into His universe and become involved in what He is actively doing today. Instead of praying our will – come to know and become involved in His will for our lives. Instead of doing our thing we should repent and become actively engaged in His thing. Instead of being satisfied with the church that man is building – we should become involved in the Church that Jesus is building. And, it looks a lot different than the one most believers attend today. The church that man has built exists in man’s universe … the Church that Jesus is building is part of God’s universe.

It is time to wake up and recognize that we are living in a man-made, make-believe universe with a powerless and irrelevant ‘church of man’ that may be serving us and meeting our needs fairly well. But, it is simply not the Church that Jesus is building. He is calling us to “come on over” and have a look at what He is doing – recognizing the season we are in and responding to the call that is on every true believer’s heart.

Time to shut down your universe and engage with God in His … regardless of the cost and level of commitment demanded by The Lord of this universe. Have a look at your life and your church and decide for yourself which universe you are living life in. You many be surprised to find out you are simply doing your own thing on your own planet. You will be surprised what life will be like should you choose o live in the real world – and live in His universe… His Kingdom.

Wow or Whoa

When I was first saved I lived in a state of “wow.” Everything was exciting; everything was awesome; everything was powerful… people were getting saved, people were healed and delivered, the churches in which I worked were growing and the people were also experiencing a sense of “wow.” It seemed that God was real and evident, making His presence known every day, all day.

But, in time, the sense of “wow” because a sense of “whoa.” It happened subtly – the wow just slowly turned into a whoa. I began to wonder if what I was about to do was God, I began to question some of the apparently stupid things we were doing asking myself if they were really acts of faith or simply something we were doing in the flesh.Things became bogged down in planning and organizing and were no longer spontaneous. Excitement turned into boredom. Daily change and adventure turned into stability and sameness. And we had moved subtly from “wow” to “whoa.” I found that we were telling God”whoa” and that we were no longer willing to risk and walk by faith. Safety, comfort and security because the norm. Hot had become lukewarm. And people looked at us and stated that the reason they didn’t attend was boredom and then irrelevancy.

Remember, the church in Revelation 3 where Jesus looked and saw a lack of passion and excitement. They were neither hot or cold – simply lukewarm. They had lost their “wow” and were well into the “whoa” state. They had forgotten, as have many of us, that we are called to be extreme and to live extreme. Many believers, over time, lose their extreme passion they once had for Jesus and subsequently their churches become mediocre, maintenance churches. God calls us to an extreme passion for Him and for the lost, and this is the attraction to those looking on from the outside.

No one starts our lukewarm. But, they slowly drift and the drift is subtle. They slowly slide from “wow” to “whoa.” So, I ask, where are you at right now? Are you still excited and passionate about Jesus, your first love or have you allowed time, circumstances, and life to turn your wow into whoa? If you have, what are you planning to do about it?

Columbus Airport – On My Way Home

I am on my way home. Always a good feeling. I have worked for 10 days in Ohio with 4 churches and impacting 7 or 8 in the process. God has been good to me and this ministry that He has given to me. It has been awesome, powerful, overwhelming, and very tiring. Early mornings (6:00a) and going to 1:00a most nights (mornings). It has been different than any other ministry trip into Ohio in the past. More powerful and more fulfilling. Things seem to only get better and better.

I will be returning to Ohio in January to continue working with several of the new churches I was introduced to this trip. As well, I will spend ten days ministering at River of Life in Butler – the original open door into Ohio. I am looking forward to continuing to build relationships here and to move the churches I am involved with a little further into their apostolic-prophetic future.

I have picked up several new people who have asked me to mentor them. One is a pastor of a very prophetic church and the others are men in training to be apostles. The number of people I mentor here is growing and God is, in many ways, stretching what I know and how I do things so as to better train these young people. It is not true that old dogs can’t learn new tricks – I am!

There is much follow-up work to do here as is true after every trip. Many things need to be forwarded to those I promised things to; people need encouraging; new teachings need to be researched and written so as to answer questions that I have been asked during the ministry trip. So, many hours of follow-up work and prayer needed to wrap up the visit after arriving back home. This too is normal.

Thanks everyone for praying and having a very powerful and important role in all that was and will be accomplished here in Ohio.

In and Out

Arrived home at 1:00a and fell into bed. Long day that started at 7:15a. The evening service in a young church called The Upper Room (it meets in the basement) was a powerful example of what happens when peoples’ hearts are open to God regardless. It was one of the most powerful services I have been in in the past decade. Powerful – and so easy to teach and preach. In fact, I can’t remember when I enjoyed preaching as much as I did last night. And, powerful words over people.

Again, I called a young man out to prophesy over him – an apostle (in training). Later I went and spoke with him and he is a pastor who was formerly United Methodist (a very liberal denomination) and three years ago left to form a church. His church is called Apex and is located downtown in the city of Marion. I preach in Marion today but in another church that I connected with this past week as we fellowshipped for a few hours. So, another connection and another part of the net that works – a network of young apostles who are moving in the things of God and who are in every nation that I work in. God is doing something and is certainly preparing us, His Bride, for a new move of the Holy Spirit and a great harvest of souls.

Tonight I am back in Mount Vernon for a service hosted by the Upper Room and held jointly with Overcomers Christian Church. This will be my last official event. Tomorrow I leave for Columbus (an hour away) and the airport to head home. On my way I will have my last meeting with my host pastor, visit the iStore to pick up several items for my office, and have lunch. Then the long trip home (2:00p to almost midnight). It will be good to be home.

Thanks to all those who have been praying for my ministry during this trip. Your prayers were answered and many lives were touched and will continue to be transformed because of all we have done as a team. Only when we reach heaven will we see all that was truly accomplished. However, I am blessed to hear the reports of lives changed even since my last visit to the area a few months ago. Truly we have a faithful God and I thank you for faithfully praying for me during these past ten days. Blessings.

Picture: Young couple who pastor Apex Church in Marion whom I prophesied over last night…

There will not be a blog tomorrow… Tuesday we return to the regular blog format.

Friday Moving Forward

It is mid-afternoon Friday as I write this. I left early this morning for an appointment with a Church of God pastor and one of his leaders. They were asking about how to grow a church and especially how to attract more young people. It was a 2.5 hour conversation. Lively and interactive. Hopefully they went away with lots to think about – power, the supernatural, redesigning the Sunday service, evangelism of younger people and how that is different than 10 years ago, encountering God and experiencing His power, structure, message and method… I know those who were also in the meeting (a young couple I am mentoring and working with while here) learned a lot.

Then 3.5 hours with Jamie and Ruth discussing the things we have been talking about and the new insights into themselves and their ministry as well as what The Lord is doing today. They feel “wrecked” by it all because it has been like taking a drink of water from a fire hydrant. They feel overwhelmed by all they have heard and what they are learning about themselves, ministry, and the church. They are great students and easy to mentor – always coming with questions and making maximum use of every minute not wanting to waste time or even pass the time – they are wanting to grow and develop and mature in the things of The Lord. A pure joy to be with and to teach.

Tonight I am having supper with two leadership couples from the local church with whom I have been working all week. An in-depth discussion of the many changes they have been going through as a local church since my brief visit in the summer (2.5 days with them) and then all they are seeing since the changes began to take effect. So, a great evening to cast vision and move some of the leaders along a bit in the transition to an apostolic-prophetic model of the Church. Hopefully home early (before midnight) as the nights have been later and I am getting tired.

Saturday (for prayer):
7:15 Breakfast with the former senior pastor and a deacon who is no longer functioning as a deacon. Discussion arising out of a night meeting earlier in the week.
10:00 Meeting with the former pastor and his wife and the new pastor and his wife to discuss the transition and some of the decisions made earlier by a retiring group of older leaders
2:00p Preparation time
4:00p Meeting with my hosts and driving to evening meeting (1 hour away)
6:00p Evening service
12:00 midnight – end of day…

9:00a Travel to Marion, Ohio
10:00a Service
1:00p Lunch meeting
3:00p Drive to evening service location – Mount Vernon
4:00p Preparation time
6:00p Evening service in Mount Vernon, Ohio

I have received several invites to minister in other churches the next time I am here… the list of churches I am working with as an apostolic voice and advisor continues to grow. Please pray.

Thursday Night

Had coffee and then lunch with Newton and Sarah today. They pastor New Hope Christian Centre in Orrville, Ohio. It was a time of good fellowship and an opportunity to come to know them as this was the first time that we had met. It was a great time as Jamie and Ruth joined us as we met in their home and he is my host for these ten days. I will be preaching at Orrville on Sunday morning and then sharing fellowship with them afterwards over a meal. Your prayers for this service and time with leaders are greatly appreciated.

Tonight, as you read this, I am meeting with one of the brothers of the new leader. He is the drummer in the worship team and a great brother in The Lord. I am sure there will be things he will want to discuss and talk about as we continue the initial steps of transitioning this local church. However, I am simply looking forward to talking with him, getting to know him, and seeing what role he might be playing in the future of this church. Your prayers for this evening together would be greatly appreciated as well.

Tomorrow in the early morning in will be meeting with two men from the local Church of God – a denomination that does not believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. They asked for this time as they are desperate to see their church come alive and grow. Hopefully I will have opportunity to talk about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and supernatural evangelism. Again, your prayers are important. In the afternoon I will be meeting with two leadership couples. In the evening supper and a evening of discussion with another leadership couple. Prayers appreciated.

Much has been accomplished in a very short period of time and I am amazed at how God has orchestrated everything. His presence and His grace have been very evident in every meeting and I have ended every day amazed and awe struck at the way He is moving and touching lives.

Thanks for your interest and your prayers… Picture is of Newton and Sarah, pastors in Orrville, New Hope Christian Centre.

Wednesday Already

When working on an apostolic trip time goes by very quickly. There is no routine. You start work as soon as you are awake and end work as you fall into bed. If there is a little time between meetings, appointments or services you take out your iPad and continue building the lists: things to follow-up on, things to talk to so-and-so about, things to think through, things to discuss at the next meeting… And so the minutes, hours, and days gallop by very quickly, too quickly. And, suddenly you are half way through the 10 day trip and working on the second half and the downhill slide to towards the trip home.

Today I have a meeting with a young apostle-in-training that I have prophesied over several times. He has some questions. The pastor and his wife will be involved because they are an apostle-prophet team and they too are interested to learn and grow. Then some time with the host pastor and wife and more questions. The lunch meal will give me opportunity to come to know them better and to build relationally. Later in the day, working into a supper meeting and another evening of talk and prayer, I meet with the pastor and his wife from The Upper Room located in Carrington, Ohio. I will be ministering to their people on Saturday and Sunday night. I have prophesied over them both during this trip as well as the last trip. We are building relationally as well as looking into their words to see what they are to do next and to help them to move forward into their divine destiny.

A full people day Please pray for Mark and Diane, Jamie and Ruth, and Jake. Your prayers are appreciated and are touching this ministry powerfully.

My apologies for the regular blogs disappearing after Monday but time has not permitted me to record my thoughts and ideas since arriving here on Friday… they will return as soon as possible.

Picture: Jamie (apostle-in-training) as we walked and talked in the State Park for several hours yesterday.

Tuesday and It’s Busy

My apologies for the late posting. We have been adding events every day since I arrived. Yesterday was to be a quieter day as you saw from my blog. It ended up going from 7:00a to 11:30p and then an hour to catch my breath before heading to bed. Today I started at 7:00a and will go to midnight again. All the spare spots on my schedule are fast being filled and I could use several extra days to fulfill the requests being received.

On Sunday night I prophesied over a man at Overcomers Church in Mount Vernon who was a pastor from the city of Marion, Ohio. This morning I had a wonderful two hour breakfast with him as we began to build a relationship with each other. As a result there is an invite to meet with his senior pastor and then opportunity to maybe minister some time in early 2014 at Marion Christian Centre. And, while talking with my host – pictured above – we received a call from his wife who had just been called regarding an opportunity to meet with the Church of God pastor and another man (her father) to speak abut changing their non- pentecostal church so it can attract more young people. So, a fifth church is now opening to meeting with me and hearing what God is doing when His people are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Again, the gaps in the daily schedu7les are being amazingly filled o overflowing as people see and hear what God is doing today.

By mid-morning I was spending time talking with my host and relaying all the information and insights I have been gaining as I spoke to leaders individually and in several meetings in the last two days. It was an opportunity to walk through the state forest here, seeing several small waterfalls, a creek or two, and a terrific river. It was a two hour walk – talk and much was accomplished both in feeding back insights and observations but also in continuing to build the relationship between Jamie and myself.

Then lunch and a LARGE coffee at a great restaurant in Bellville, Ohio before heading to where I am staying. During the coffee I discussed the possibility of Jamie coming on a trip with me in June. He has never been overseas or on a mission trip. The possibilities look good.

Tonight I am in Mount Vernon having supper with a great couple – Andrew and Tanya. I have known and loved them for several years and was one of several who prophesied over them at their wedding 14 months ago… It will be good to see them again.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): A morning breakfast meeting with Jason who is a prophet in training and needs a kick start. We will be discussing what he can do to start the ball rolling and see his prophetic word from 6 months ago (my last visit) come to pass. I will be joined by an apostle and a prophet who are new to all this as they too want to hear what I will say and what he should odo. They are hungry to learn more. Then a time with Ruth and Jamie to speak on some of the other insights The Lord has shown me since I arrived… they are the leaders of the local church here where I am ministering most of the time. Then several hours to do emails followed by a supper and evening with Mark and his wife (pastors of the Upper Room). I prophesied over them on my last visit and again on Sunday night. They want to ask questions, seek input, and also build relationally. Ruth and Jamie will also be at this meal and evening as they are friends and the common factor in all of this. On Saturday night I will be at the Upper Room which Mark pastors and he and his people will join us on Sunday night at Overcomers Church.

All in all a good day today and a terrific day tomorrow. God is blessing this trip beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Thanks for praying.

Monday – Praying for Tuesday

I am in meetings most of today as mentioned in yesterday’s blog for this trip into Ohio. Thanks for praying. Tomorrow I have a day to spend with my mentor, Bill Lewis in whose home I am staying for this entire trip. It will be an informal day followed by supper out as a thank you for hosting me even when I am not ministering in their church. Bill has just returned from a two week trip into Africa and so I am looking forward to hearing what took place and the growth in the ministry there as this was not his first trip o this area.

Pray for the time I have with my mentor. I highly respect this man of God – the most righteous man that I have ever had the honour of knowing. I will also be spending some of my time on Tuesday simply reading my Bible and having some “down time” where I can gather my thoughts and plug in to recharge – recognizing that I am an introvert and need quiet and space – personal time. Not always easy to find on trips such as this one.

Your prayers are appreciated – the next five days are busy and packed with opportunities to impact lives and three churches – Overcomers in Mount Vernon, The Upper Room in the city Cardington, and New Hope in the city of Orrville, Ohio. Thanks for praying….

Sunday – Monday Is Tomorrow

Thanks for your prayers for the service this morning – please be praying for tonight’s service. There will be many people there from other churches including some pastors who are hungry for more of God and a word from The Lord prophetically. Pray for open hearts and more power than anyone has ever seen in a service before.

Tomorrow – Monday – I have a day with Jamie Overholt (my host and someone I mentor as he is called as an apostle). We will spend the day talking and growing our relationship. I believe that all ministry arises out of relationship and so everywhere I go to minister I invest time in developing and deepening relationships. It is a good Kingdom investment. I have several hours later in the afternoon to rest (and read my Bible) and then the evening is a meeting of the full elders and deacons board of Overcomers Christian Church being held in a home. No topic has been assigned to the meeting so I could use your prayers for guidance and grace – that the Holy Spirit will tell me what to share and guide me as I answer the many questions that will certainly be asked.

This is a church that is in transition. New leadership, a younger vision, a change is format of daily operations as well as Sunday services. They are moving towards being a regional apostolic church and this requires massive changes. The major change being in the way the leaders think of Church and their understanding of their roles in the church. Please pray for all these wonderful young leadership couples that they would grasp the magnitude of what God has begun and the journey they are now on.

As always, your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.