People of His Presence

When Moses was speaking to God in the book of Exodus, chapter 33 he spoke candidly and honestly. The Bible calls this speaking to God face-to-face (verse 11). Later Moses is literally in a heated discussion with God and tells God that if God is not going to go with them when they enter the promised land then He did not want to go. He spoke on his own behalf but included the people of Israel as their spokesman before God. He said, “If your presence does not go with us, we do not want to go. Because, if your presence does not go with us how with the other nations know that we are different and that You are our God.” Good point.

The people of Israel were known as “the people of His presence.” Some say that they early Church was also known by the presence of God. I believe today that we – true disciples of Jesus – are still the people of His presence. Paul speaks about this when he writes: “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creature…” (2 Corinthians 5:17). To note here is the phrase “in Christ.” I believe when we read this verse almost everyone immediately subconsciously thinks and hears “Christ in you.” Of course, when we are born again the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in us and then we can say, with Paul, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” But this is not what the verse is expressing.

This verse about being a new creation is expressing a truth about us when we are “in Christ.” When we are walking with Him and live ‘in His presence’ as the people of His presence. As we live “in Christ” then we are changed, transformed, and become involved in His cause of seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10). As we work in the family business that Jesus established – as we walk in His presence – we then experience experience His power without which we cannot do what He has called us to do (see John 14:12).

I believe it is time to rediscover this truth about our life “in Christ” so that we can be transformed and not just informed. As we rediscover this truth we will hear the Word of the Lord and not simply receive more information in our heads but we will be transformed as the Word dweels richly in our hearts where all change originates. I believe that only then will we live up to the potenti8al the Lord offers to us as true disciples who have experienced conviction with godly sorrow and repented (see 2 COrinthians 7:8-10). Then we will truly live life and experience life abundantly as Jesus promised.

My Word Is Life

Jesus said, “My Word is spirit and it is life” (John 6:63). So, as His Word goes into our spirit the end product should be life. This life is the very life and nature of God (‘Zoe’ in the Greek). This life of God is why Paul could state that “it is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.” The life of God is the very essence and nature of God and it lives within us – producing, for example, the fruit of the Spirit which is “love” and al the attributes of love listed in Galatians 5.

This “life” comes and grows when we receive revelation. In other words, you can read your Bible every day and not experience this life. The words are simply black ink on white paper. But, when the Holy Spirit speaks to you through the Word then this “word” is, for you, life and will lead you into freedom and liberty in Jesus. For example, I was reading the Gospel of John one morning while ministering in Russia and the Lord stopped me at John 1:4 which reads, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men.” Note as I did that day that Jesus is not the light; the life of God in Him was the light of men.” This, for me, was a revelation. Life was released – I could literally feel the difference in my spirit.

Some months later I was in Armenia ministering and reading, at that time, the Gospel according to Matthew. There in Matthew 5:14 I read Jesus’ words to His disciples: “You are the light of the world.” I remembered my conversation with God about the life and light and the Holy Spirit again spoke and said that it was the life of God in me that made me the light. On my own I was not “light” to anyone or anything at any time. This ‘life in me’ comes when I read His Word which is spirit and life.

This is what we mean by God speaking to us through His Word. This is what is called “revelation.” This is why Paul prays: “…that the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” would be ours. In other words, the more we know Jesus the wiser (wisdom) we are because, of course, we have the mind of Christ. Then we can walk in godly wisdom and not worldly wisdom. This then allows God to trust us with more revelation because He knows we will handle it correctly. And, in this way we can work hand-in-hand with Jesus as He builds His Church – because He is building His Church by revelation.

Just a thought to brighten your day and maybe change your life.


Many years ago I sat with my mentor Dale and over lunch he commented that apostles, when they teach, should impart life to those who hear them. We talked about that. His comments included that we are looking for life change or transformation when we teach and not just the imparting of more information. As we discussed this further we recognized that this means the target of the teaching is the heart and not the head. A terrific revelation – a great conversation.

I asked him how do apostles do this. He was honest with me and said that he didn’t know. He just knew it to be true and that this revelation must be acted upon. Now, thirty years later I have seen that this is possible and actually how it is suppose to work and does work. So, I have “discovered” the interpretation of this truth. I understand John 6:63 where Jesus states: “My Words are spirit and they are life.” I have experienced and seen the difference between just teaching information and imparting life into those who are listening. In many ways it is still rather raw and in the developmental stage. It is rather hit and miss. I can never guarantee that what I am teaching and the way I am teaching it will impart life as my mentor said it should. But, I do have the “application” and can see it work at times. I even had fun sharing this with several apostles and a prophet today at a meeting we held over coffee and then lunch.

The next generation – those I am sharing the revelation and interpretation with – will truly be the ones to apply this revelation and see it working in the lives of their people on a regular basis. This third generation will have the “application” and this will become a regular part of life no longer just a revelation or a interpretation of the truth with the occasional application that works. But, an actual way of life and ministry.

This is the way with much that God restores to His Church. Apostles were simply a revelation in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Then some of us began to walk in this revelation interpreting the revelation. The next – the third – generation will walk in the fullness of the calling and receive the full benefit of the restoration of this amazing revelation regarding apostolic ministry and the role of the apostle.

Just thinking through ‘out loud’ something the Lord really showed me clearly today. Sorry if I have not expressed it well but it is still fresh manna for me. Feedback and your thoughts are always greatly appreciated.

The Christian Walk

Anyone who is a disciple is on a Jesus journey. We don’t follow a set path with particular steps to take along the way. We follow a person. Jesus Pilgrims are people who don’t always know how to follow or where they are going, but they know who they are following and going with. In fact, for Jesus followers, the path is not a trail, the path is a person.

The discipleship path, sometimes known as the Emmaus Road, is not meant to be hard: “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” But we are warned that the road will be narrow, like a narrow bridge, tightrope walk, or jungle path. We should not expect the opulence of wide, cleared swaths or eight-lane superhighways. If Jesus is our only Pathfinder, we should expect to hack new walkways through deep underbrush and encounter teetering suspension bridges. But only on this road do we encounter daily Emmaus revelations, where we suddenly realize that Jesus has been walking alongside us on the way.

The Emmaus Road is a lifelong pilgrimage that is meant to be a shared, not a solo adventure. Not a once-and-done determination, discipleship is a daily walk of daring that takes the pilgrim on strange paths and untried paces but always on a journey of change. But for all, the art of walking the garden with Jesus keeps us growing and changing from birth through death. There is no such thing as the status quo when you are a disciple of Jesus.

A fly is the perfect example of the status quo. Young or old, a fly doesn’t change, and it remains the same size throughout its adult life. Even after death, it does not rapidly decompose. Too many followers of Jesus are living a “fly gospel” that produces nice people rather than saints; that stands for convention rather than adventure; that is respectable rather than passionate; that calls for guarded, take-care living rather than heroic, take-risks living; that is more at home with the status quo than with living on the fly.

God is calling His people to walk with Him. To stand up and step out in faith. When they do He will show us and show off demonstrating Himself strong on behalf of His people and His Kingdom.


I am currently in Russia ministering. I love this nation and the people. They are amazing and wonderfully warm and friendly. Of course, I am working with believers and they all have the gift of hospitality and we spend many hours fellowshipping and sharing. I work hard as the average day is 18 hours of meetings, services, and talking to individuals. It is such a blessing to be called to minister in this nation. Already I have two more “two week” trips scheduled for 2015 just to this region of the nation. Others have asked as well but I have not even attempted to fit them into the calendar yet.

Here is what I have noticed both on previous trips and on this trip:

1> The majority of leaders are seriously dedicated and deeply in love with Jesus. They are not doing this for the money or the fame. There are exceptions but they are few. This is not a nation that encourages the Gospel of the Kingdom.

2> The churches are usually small in numbers but big in hope. They have tremendous dreams for their ministry and powerful visions usually given to them prophetically.

3> They are open to the moving of God’s Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and love to see others blessed and receive a word. They sit, listen, and celebrate with each person being ministered to. They are “family.”

4> There is a great deal of training needed for the leaders as many really love Jesus but do not have a good grasp on church history, the dynamics of the Kingdom, good theology, and the Bible. (I am asked questions continuously about these subjects…

5> The average church is much like those in other nations. There are many who are “holding to an outward form of the religion but deny the power of it.” They are truly born again but are not walking fully “in Christ.” Of course, there are also many cultural Christians who heard the gospel of salvation, said a sinner’s prayer. and think they are saved. There is much work to do to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom.

6> Every city here could use many more new churches. In a city of 1.5 million people a pastor friend commented that there are 13 born again churches, mostly small. There is a need for a church planting movement in Russia – a multiplication of each existing healthy church.

7> The people need to be trained and equipped. Similar to many nations the people are being taught information but not equipped to minister and evangelize. For this to happen local leaders need to be trained and equipped first. Local training schools need to be formed (I will be helping do just that this coming year in the city of Kazan).

8> The church in Russia is a mixture of very young and very old. There is generally a missing generation as there is in nations such as my own (Canada). The young are hungry and ready to serve going into all the world. The older members love Jesus and are mostly unable to uproot and go into the world to expand the Kingdom’s territory.

9> Much of the bandwagon Christianity of North America is quickly absorbed here. Teachings such as the current “Blood Moons” nonsense are known and believed to be true. The internet is having a profound and usually negative effect on the life of the Church here in Russia. The American prosperity gospel is embraced, the strange and demonic manifestations of many recent “moves of the spirit” can be seen, and every heresy we know in the west is here as well.

10> There is a great need for the ministry of the apostle and prophet – and the full five-fold ministry team in each and every region and church. Hundreds if not thousands are needed to work closely with local churches to establish a biblical foundation for healthy churches and growth.

The Church worldwide is becoming very much a global church where all the same issues and problems are experienced in every nation. The same false teachings are impacting churches in every nation. There are differences in the nations but mostly due to culture, politics, history, and geography.

Please pray for the Church in Russia. Alive and well but needing some serious guidance and direction from mature, well-balanced, five-fold ministers who are not running a business but are simply helping Jesus build His Kingom.

God Has a Wonderful Plan For Your Life – Part Three

Remember to read Parts One and Two first…

In short, God’s love is not a plan but a story, a story of love that is stronger than death. What makes the story unpredictable is that God invites us to author parts of it ourselves.

That is not to say that God is some distant, deistic being who has abandoned the love story. I trust that God is up to something BIG in this theodrama, and that we fit into that larger story in some way that will always escape us. I trust also that God will intervene and act and love us personally; that anything small enough to worry about is big enough to pray and talk to God about.

“God is in control.” Well, yes, that’s called Providence. But Providence doesn’t mean we can’t mess things up terribly, and ruin our lives, and destroy other people and the planet. “God is in control” only means we know how the story ends.

“Everything that ahppens for the best.” Not true. Everything that happens is decidely not for the best. But the providence and sovereignty of God can ring to the best everything that happens.

What’s better than a divine plan? Divine providence, divine protection, and divine promises. A life of adventure lived with these in mind and caution thrown to the wind. There is a tremendous daily encounter and experience with God waiting for us ‘out there’ if we will simply leave “in here” – the place of safety, security, comfort, and a planned life.

God Has a Wonderful Plan For Your Life – Part Two

Remember to read “Part One” first…

US Army Special Forces training is now based on how to improvise and find your footing in unstable circumstances, not on how to devise and adhere to a plan. This has become so much more evident with the Ebola outbreak and the attempt to have a force that can respond within 72 hours to whatever the outbreak might look like and wherever it may occur in the nation.

Everyone who understands economics is in retreat from the dangers and constraints of a “command economy.” In China, the preferred expression is “planned economy” (jihua jingji) according to CNN Business Report. But it really means the same thing. And the Chinese are becoming more entrepreneurial and quick on their feet than those “western capitalists.”

A “planned” life works no better than a “planned” economy. In a world where the half-life of information i steadily decreasing, the road to hell is paved with strategic plans and best practices. God’s plan is to always be there to pick us up. No matter how many bad things happen to us, God can turn those bad things to good – according to Scripture. Grace turns the very things that brought us down into the means of lifting us higher to help others see broader vistas of God.

So, try this. If it doesn’t play, try that. God wil lalways be there for you. We all fall. But when we fall, we have a fallback. God will be there – in, with, and under the stuff of our lives -every step of the way, for as long as it takes and as many potholes as we hit. That’s THE PLAN – that we will arrive eventually and never be alone as we journey along the way. That’s the plan: “The losses and the crosses are better means to growth in grace than when everything is according to our liking” is how John Wesley put it.

God’s plan, simply stated, is this: “I’ve got you covered. I’ll be there for you.”

No matter how bad things are or how big a mess we make, God’s plan is to never leave us or forsake us. In other words, God’s ‘plan’ is really a “promise.”

But we can’t leave it there. We love the promies but forget the particulars. Yes, Jesus promised, “Ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you,” but those words are framed by an important context. Here’s the full quote: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” So, “It shall be done for you” (1) in God’s good time – hence “abidance”; (2) for God’s good pleasure; and (3) for the purpose of our bearing good fruit.

The Bible is not the story of how to plan or what to expect in life, but the story of what not to expect in life – dead men walking, water turning into wine, missions impossible, and so on. The Bible is not the story of “great expectations,” but “great unexpectations.” This is why it is so frustrating when critics say, “But dead men don’t walk, but you can’t turn water into wine, but that makes no sense…” They are missing the whole point. The Bible is not the story of how to live life “normal” and by a plan, by the numbers, by the book. It’s the story of how to live life by the Spirit. The Bible is the story of what it is to live an anything-can-happen life.

More next time…

God Has a Plan For Your Life – Part One

One of the biggest cliches in the church today has provided legions of people with untold comfort and consolation: “God has a wonderful plan for your life.”

This is a good cliche, but when truth becomes captive to a cliche, it is time to hack our way through the underbrush of presumption. Here comes the whack hack… Thee is no plan. God didn’t give us a plan, but a purpose; not a map, but a mission; not a blueprint for tracing, but a blue sky for exploring. God’s plan is for us to spend our lives doing whatever unlocks our teat ducks, makes our throats deep with song, keeps the gales of laughter surging in our souls, and turns our feet to dancing.

What next?

If you can answer the question for your life, based on your reading of Bible, go ahead and plan. The verb form of the word ‘plan’ means “decide on and arrange in advance.”

If you can’t answer to question, ‘What next?’, then enjoy your vocation as a partner in providence. Nothing happens as planned. Or in the words of an ancient sage, “The mind of man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps.” So, prepare, prophesy, hold on to your seat, and play to your strengths as you delight in God.

God did not create us to live out a “life plan” or a “master plan.” There is no one plan with definite specifics. God has made us with special gifts and blessings, with the expectation that we enjoy using them in God’s mission in the world, the “reign of God.” Or as Augustine put it in such memorable form, “Love God, and do what you will.”

When we kiss someone, we don’t left brain it; we right brain a kiss. We don’t analyze a kiss before we do it, or plan it out according to some rule of thumb. We just make it up as we go along, following the signs, signals, and feedback loops of the one we are kissing. We “kiss” life the same way.

At certain times in our lives, the journey will be more Canterbury Tales than Pilgrim’s Progress, but if we don;t know where God is calling us to go, we might end up someplace else. And where God is calling us to go is always and everywhere towards the Christ who is always anywhere and everywhere. The course of our lives is charted by the coordinates of Christ, and as any navigator will tell you about the headings of a course, the coordinates must be checked consistently – at least hourly. We don’t need a map (a plan for our lives) when Jsus is our GPS (God Positioning System).

Just as there is no requirement that a river flow a certain course to be true to its source – a true course, whatever its path, is simply one that flows to the sea – – – so, too, has God set us free to flow, to play, to take pleasure in our relationship with God, and to glorify and enjoy God. That freedom allows us to take risks and enjoy the journey.

More next time…


In the Garden of Eden Adam, the first man, invented the game of “hide and seek.” After he sinned he hid from God because he knew he was naked. God came seeking him calling out “Adam, where are you?” not because He did not know but because He wanted Adam to know what he had done and the consequences for his actions.

Jesus, the Second Adam, came to replace the game of hide-and-seek with a new game – “to seek and save the lost.” Jesus calls us back to God with the voice of the Great Shepherd and there we find forgiveness and acceptance. In His arms we find value and meaning. In the safety of His presence we know we are safe and secure. From this place of confidence and assurance we can then move back out into the world (our new and bigger garden) with God and seek and save the lost.

This “new game” is almost always ignored by those who come in out of the night into the light. Once safe and secure in God’s arms they settle in forgetting what it was like ‘out there’ without God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness. This is not as it should be. Once saved and walking with God we must recognize that we are no longer the centre of our existence – God is. He must be our focus. This is such an abrupt difference from our unsaved condition where it was all about us and only about us. Regretfully, often this switch is focus is not forthcoming after someone’s salvation and the person still remains the centre of their universe and the focus of their new walk. Their relationship with God is still self-centered and all about them – their needs, their wants, their hurts, their dreams, their desires, their comfort, their safety, their security… and on and on the list goes.

There is something wrong here. When we come into a relationship with God through a valid salvation experience of godly sorrow and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10) our focus will truly change. It will no longer be “hide and seek” but it must become “seek and save.” If not, then God is here to serve us and we are really still ‘lord’ of our own life and He is not Lord, only Savior – which, I don’t believe, is a biblical possibility. You cannot separate Saviour from Lord. He is both or He is neither. And, if He is Lord, then His agenda and His will is what it is all about and not our will, our needs, and our agenda. Salvation includes the losing of our self-centredness and the taking up a wider picture and understanding of the plan and purpose of God – seeing our role in His Kingdom because we are no longer focused on our own personal little and insignificant empire.

So, maybe, just maybe, many who claim to be Christians but who are still self-focused and playing the “hide-and-seek” game are really not converted and born again. They are simply using and abusing God for their own benefit and supposed gain. Maybe, we have a great number of people who believe, sincerely believe, that they are saved and thus okay with God when, in reality, they are not and are simply holding to another form or religion – but religion just-the-same.

This was brought home very clearly last night at Bethel Church in Moscow. I prophesied over a young man about his future – the opportunity God was offering to him, the potential God sees in Him and what God wants Him to grab hold of and become. It mentioned that he must become involved in winning the lost and seeking those of his own generation whop were lost. He is just a young believer and someone who has only recently begun to attend the church. He is not all fixed up, healed, and mature – he is simply a true believer. Well, after the service ended he went up to another young man who was attending the service for the first time having come with his girlfriend. And, because of his word just received he shared his testimony and the Gospel of the Kingdom and led the young visitor to the Lord.

That is what it is all about. Giving up ‘hide-and-seek’ and picking up ‘seek and save the lost.’ What game are you currently playing?

These Christians – See How Hard They Work!

God is not interested in showing the world how hard we can work. God is interested in the world seeing how we can love and, as a result, how we handle His gift of life. The mark of the early church was not, “See how hard they work!” but, “See how well they love!” When our Christian faith becomes all about beliefs and works (what we believe about Jesus and what we accomplish for Jesus) instead of relationships, then what we are really in love with is our own thoughts and opinions and doings.The focus is no longer God but us.

The height of this problem is when we trust God in order to get something. This is not faith, although it has been called the faith message for many years. This is simply self-interest and people attempting to “use God” for their own benefit. True faith is trusting God because of who God is – trusting God when there is nothing to get, when everything is gone, when only God is left. True faith is always focused on God, our heavenly Father and is not effected by our circumstances and situations. True faith in God propels us outward, away from our self-centered existence and focus so that we see others the way Jesus sees them – and we are then drawn to love them as Jesus loves them.

So, we need to go back to a foundational truth which is still an issue in the lives of many disciples today. We simply need to “believe that God is,” as the book of Hebrews states. That He is love; that He has loved us while we were (and are) yet sinners; that He first loved us and thus enables us to love Him, ourselves, and others – and, in fact, commands that we do so. As we walk with Him who is love (and we do so by faith) we will sense and experience faith, hope, and love rising within our born again spirit – and, as 1 Corinthians states, “the greatest of these is love.” Knowing and experiencing His love allows us to have hope. Hope in the future then gives us power in the present. Again, as Paul writes, without this hope (based in His love) we are much to be pitied. And, as Paul states in Philippians, this love grows and overflows splashing out first on other believers and then on non-believers. This is then ‘faith in action.’

So the Christian faith is not about “works” but about love and life. How we view life and how we live life. We must view it as a gift from the Giver of Life and then “live life lovingly.” This, of course, cannot be accomplished outside of relationships – our personal relationship with Jesus and then our relationships with others – Christian and non-Christian. The Christian faith is a daily, ever-deepening, dynamic, unique, personal love relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent. This is empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit and lived out in long-term committed relationships with others in a family called the local church. It is here that our ‘works’ (of love) are seen. It is from here that our ‘works’ (of love) touch others who have yet to join the family of God.

The Christian faith and resulting life-style is not about us but about Him who is love. It is not about what we can get by applying our faith but about what we can give because of His love. It is not about having to do things (works) but wanting and getting to do things so others can come to know and experience the fellowship we have with the Lord. Faith is about life – eternal life as found only in Jesus!