Random Thought 20

God has a different way of looking at things.We look at our strengths, He looks at our weaknesses. We look to where we are skilled and knowledgable and He often looks elsewhere – to where we are weak. Paul wrote, “when (and where) we are weak then He is strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Saul the Pharisee has a life-changing encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9). He is trained in the Jewish faith – but Jesus tells him that he is being called to minister to the Gentiles. Seems strange. Peter who seems comfortable with the common folk, the people in the market place, the working class regardless of their faith … is called to minister to the Jews including the leaders of his former religion. Seems like God delights in using us in the areas of our weaknesses and not in areas where we are strong and confident. Then we are relying on His strength and direction and not on our own ability, education, skills, and personality.

For this to work we must be “broken.” Don’t shut down. I know this is not a topic that sells hundreds and thousands of CDs or breaks the all-time podcast download record. But, like it or not, it is an important concept. This principle needs to be embraced.

If a person is broken he is no longer depending on his own strength, skill set, education, wisdom, or abilities. He realizes deep inside that he is inadequate for the tasks the Lord is asking him to do and that the Holy Spirit is empowering him to accomplish. He is no longer relying upon himself but is relying on God’s direction, empowerment, strength, and Godly wisdom.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 states, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Catch that last part in this familiar passage: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Not exactly what we see in most churches where people play to their strengths and staff to their weaknesses. We tend to hide our weaknesses and flaws; not wanting others to see where we don’t have it all together. We want people to see the good side of us and so we wear various masks to thinly cover the real us so that people will see what we want them to see and think well of us. It is basically wrong because then people see “us” – not the real us but the us we want them to know and see – and never really see Jesus in us.

Again, Paul writes (and the Holy Spirit speaks): 2 Corinthians 11:30 “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”

Because then people will see the power, strength, and wisdom of the Lord working in and through us. They will not look to us as if we are amazing and the strongly anointed man of God. But will see Jesus in all His wisdom and strength and bring Him glory and honour. Then we will walk in power and accomplish, by God’s power,  the tasks He has given to us. We will no longer live and minister in the flesh but walk in the Spirit.

Brokenness is recognizing that “…the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). And no longer relying on our strength and wisdom. It is seeking Him every day and living in His presence and by His power.

To do this you must first come to the end of yourself and recognize deep in your heart your absolute and utter need for Him. For this to become a reality in our lives we most often have to go through a season of serious trials and testing that stretch us beyond what we think we are able to endue so that we then rely totally and utterly upon Him and not our own strengths and weaknesses.

A thought: why not ask the Lord to bring this “brokenness” into your life.


Random Thought 19

Jesus, speaking about the harvest – the readiness of people to hear and receive the Gospel of the Kingdom – said to His disciples, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would send workers into the harvest fields” (Luke 10:1-2). An interesting situation if you think about it.

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'”

He is speaking to His immediate group of followers. It seems Jesus always had a “multitude” following Him. But, the majority followed Him for what they could receive from Him. A healing, food, a great teaching. Others followed Him because He was the current new kid on the block and the latest thing to hit the religious scene. Very few followed Him because of who He was (the Messiah) and what He represented (the Kingdom).

He says to His committed disciples that they are to pray for labourers. So, really, it would seem that He is asking them to pray that they would go into the harvest fields willingly and tell others about Him. After all, these were the committed ones. The ones who understood and followed Him for who He was. So, He is asking them to pray that the Lord of the Harvest would ‘kick butt’ and move them into the harvest fields. That they would see the importance of the season they were in (harvest time) and see and understand that each person was precious and needed to be personally brought into the Kingdom (harvested) through the message of repentance and the Kingdom.

This is a parallel situation to the day and season we are living in. Many people are hungry for a new reality. They are empty on the inside in spite of their current level of prosperity and comfort. They are searching for meaning because they live a somewhat meaningless life of getting up, going to work, coming home, sleep, get up and go back to work. And, in the world situation of one terror attack after another they are searching for something or someone to give them hope. So, the harvest field is ripe and ready and we are in need of believers who will leave their comfort zones and move out into their neighbourhood and town or city and tell others of the King and the Kingdom.

We need to be praying that the Lord of the harvest would “kick butt” and send us – the committed ones – into the harvest field as labourers and not observers. It is time that true followers of Jesus allowed Jesus to “make you a fisher of men” (Matthew 4:19). It is time for us to see the times and seasons we are living in and, like the sons of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32), know what we ought to do to touch lives that are desperate for hope, purpose, and meaning in life.

I firmly believe that in most nations the Christians are too comfortable and need to be shaken out of their lethargy and complacency. That we need to remove the mental and emotional “fog of materialism” and see the reality of a life without hope and a life without Jesus. Christians who are thinking of security and safety need to see that the Scriptures do not promise the believer these luxuries. We need to see the challenge Jesus has given us to ‘go into the harvest fields (the world) and make disciples’ (Matthew 28:18-20). And, we need to respond to that challenge immediately. There is a serious sense of urgency as we see the world in such a mess and the people living without hope and, sometimes, without meaning.

Will you become one of these labourers in the harvest field? Will you leave the safety and comfort of your life (and church) and join the others who are leaving for the harvest fields? Will you rethink your life and the values you have built that life on and move forward into the challenge to win the world for Jesus? Your neighbours are waiting.


Random Thought 18

I was in a tremendous service the other night on one of my trips going east in my country of Canada. It was a powerful night of worship, exhortation, sharing, testimonies, teaching, dedicating a baby, and then prophetic ministry. It was a seriously important night in the Kingdom of God.

My first observation to note … People coming out of a stagnant, dead religion that controlled and manipulated them are hungry for the real thing. People will even come out on a Saturday night if there is life, liberty, and power. People participated, listened and interacted with the teaching of God’s Word, took notes, leaned forward as if actively anticipating ‘manna’ for their spirit. They were, like the Bereans, actively engaged in the process of teaching and learning. Powerful when you are the teacher of the Word in that situation. I pray their hunger infiltrate the ranks of those who have been Spirit-filled and free for many years and who take so much for granted having lost their zeal and hunger.

Secondly, when there is a church leader in the congregation it is good to invite them to come to the front and receive ministry. Often the leader of a local church is the first to arrive to the service in their home church and the last to leave. Between setting up and getting things ready for his people and then praying for them and ministering to them at the end of the corporate meeting he gives and gives. People are blessed and ministered to and then they go home. Seldom do the people or even the leadership team think to pray for the one that was ministering and giving from the very bottom of their heart and soul.

So, whenever I see a main leader of a church in the service I work really diligently to bring them up front so we can honour them, thank them, and pray and prophesy over them. They are God’s appointed leaders and I want to make sure we minister to them and support them.

Thirdly, often someone with a prophetic gift is not asked to come up front and help during the prophetic ministry time. Either they were busy elsewhere, taking care of their children, or others were called upon to exercise their gifts and not them. However, afterwards, they go up to a person and give them a prophetic word. I call this a “parking lot prophesy” and it is not good. The service is over, the recording structure has shut down, and the person is quietly ministering prophetically over in the corner … Wrong!

Prophecy needs to be public in a service so that others can hear and judge the Word of the Lord as it is being given. And, the person prophesying must be accountable to the local leaders of the church for what he is ministering. This cannot happen if it done after the service in a corner of the sanctuary with no one listening or recording. So, the person, in spite of their gifting, is out of order according to God’s Word and should not be prophesying after the service has been officially closed for the day. 1 Corinthians 14 states that the prophetic word should be spoken and others with the gift (or prophets if in the service) should judge the words being given.

I love the local church and appreciate the enthusiasm of God’s people but there is an order to how things work and function within the family of God. And, it really encourages the life of the local church if things are done openly and in a way that honours the Lord and His Word.

Just some recent observations about the life of the Church…

Random Thoughts 17

I have noticed that often our focus when we come to together is somewhat blurred. Both leaders and followers are often focused on a current issue in their life or something that the Lord is dealing with in their hearts. So, they come to a meeting or an assembly of worship not single focused and often preoccupied with their personal issues or concerns. This hinders what the Holy Spirit is wanting to do – in a meeting where there is an agenda to be accomplished or in a worship assembly where we are there to honour the Lord and hear a good teaching from His Word.

As leaders we must be careful that our own personal issues in life do not get in the way of our leadership responsibilities. If we come looking inward then we are not leading. People will note that you are not “all there” and you will, in time, damage your leadership calling. People will see you as unreliable. They will see you as moody. They will begin to wonder, even before they see you, if this is another “we need to walk on eggshells” time with you because of your moods and preoccupation. They simply will see you as someone controlled by their feelings and thus not someone that they want to follow.

As a leader, if you are struggling with something (and all of us do), you need to push the “pause button” and just leave the issue mentally and emotionally for a while and do what God has called you to do – lead! Then, when you have fulfilled your obligations as a leader, push the “pause button” again and begin the thinking and feeling process once again so as to resolve and effective deal with your issues.

If you are called to lead then lead regardless of what is transpiring in your life. We all have issues that need to be dealt with and there is an appropriate time and place to do so. A public meeting that you are called to lead is not that place. So, get a handle on your feelings and don’t let the bumps in your personal or leadership journey prevent you from adequately fulfilling the call on your life.

If you are not a leader but you are actively involved in the life of the local church…Then, here again, you need to learn to push the “pause button.” If you come to an assembly focused on your issues then you take from what the Holy Spirit is wanting to do. You are self-focused and not God-focused.

You come to a service to honour and glorify God and your inner struggle and your outward moods are not helping you and others to accomplish that purpose. You are draining the energy of others and literally causing them to lose focus because they are listening to you as you explain and complain. Push the “pause button” an hour before you come. Get over yourself. Focus on the One who love you and is the real answer to all of your inner and relational issues. This will help you to focus and stay focused when you join others – who also have their individual concerns and issues … surprise, you are not the only one with an issue – and do what you have come together to do. Honour and glorify the Lord together.

Focus is really important in all aspects of the Christian journey. And, in my humble opinion, it is time that believers got over themselves so they can come together and edify and encourage others as they honour the Lord. In other words, live your life like there really is a God and that you really do know Him.

Random Thoughts 16

So, this young man was driving to work early one morning. In front of him was a one ton delivery truck that was moving forward at a decent clip. Due to the double lines on the road the young man was unable to pass the truck. But, he was not in a hurry and so he was content to follow behind the truck.

However, every few miles, at a convenient spot like a stop light or stop sign, the driver of the truck would get out, walk around his one ton vehicle and bang on the outer walls of the vehicle. He would immediately jump back into the driver’s seat and drive on towards his destination. The young man following the truck in his car was curious as to why the driver did what he did. And, then it would happen again. The driver stopped at the side of the road and walked around his truck and banged on the walls of the vehicle, got back into the cab of the truck and drove off. This happened over and over and over again.

Well, the young man became very curious as he watched the driver of the truck consistently do the same thing every few miles. So, having the time, he followed the truck to its destination. When they arrived the driver of the truck got out of his cab one more time and walked around the truck banging on the walls of the truck as he did so. Our friend in the car got out, stopped the truck driver, and asked him what he was doing and why did he do the exact same thing every few miles.

The truck driver was very friendly and explained that it was a one ton truck and that he was transporting two tons of canaries. So, he stopped every few miles  to bang on the walls of the truck because the canaries would get comfortable and settle down thus causing the truck to be overweight. So he banged on the walls occasionally so that half the canaries would continue to fly and then the truck was not over it legal load limit.

Christian church leadership is just like this. You constantly have to be stirring things up to keep half of the church moving forward and flying… so that they are not just additional weight to carry as we move the people of God’s Church forward to their divine destiny.


Random Thoughts 15

In a meeting recently a young regional leader late into the evening stated “growth internal is eternal.” In spite of the late nature of the meeting and all that had gone on as regional and local leaders shared and spoke this one specific phrase really spoke to my heart.

Often as leaders we focus on the growth that you can see immediately. The numbers in attendance, the growth in the budget and the income of the ministry or the local church, the number of baptisms of new believers. It can be a numbers game if we let it become that. However, there is a growth factor that is hard to see and even harder to measure. This is the internal growth of character and maturity inside the believer. This growth is not temporary and worldly like so many other things that we can and do measure. This growth is inner growth of character and purity as we become more and more like Jesus. The Bible calls this sanctification. This growth is eternal and seriously important in the life of every believer.

As a leader I work hard at constructing and building teaching that are godly and challenging for those who are disciples of Jesus. My goal is not to give them more information or knowledge of the Bible. I am not out to be entertaining – however, I do want to be interesting.  My goal is to release the life of God Himself inside the heart of the believer. This life of God (Zoe) is life-changing and will transform the person from the inside out. This life will bring about permanent changes in a person’s character, motives, desires, dreams, and perspective. These inner changes are eternal. They will go into heaven with the believer.

However, these changes are also very powerful in the life we are called to live here before we exit and head to Heaven. These changes on the inside will always lead to external changes. And because of these changes in the way we think and speak, our attitude and the way in which we view and live life – we are then a witness for Jesus among those who do not yet know Him. These inner changes will lead to more effective outreach and bring about a powerful testimony of the life-changing power of the risen Jesus Christ.

So, although most churches and believers measure the success of a church by the budget, buildings, and number of bodies in attendance … God sees success in terms of changed lives. And, lives change from the inside out and never from the outside in. Making resolutions and setting goals never bring about permanent and lasting change. But, the transforming power of the eternal Word of God which is “spirit and life” (John 6:63) brings about permanent inner changes of the heart and mind which then effect the lifestyle, values, and perspective of the believer bringing about permanent and important changes on the outside. These changes are the foundation upon which we can then build effective outreach influencing people and impacting a community for Jesus.

This life of God (Zoe) on the inside because of the Word of God bring taught and received – this “life” is the light of men. John 1:4 states that “…in Him with life and life was the light of men.” The very life of God inside Jesus was the light that drew people to Jesus and the Kingdom way of life. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 “…you are the light of the world.” This tells me that the very “life” of God in us through receiving and applying God’s Word which is “spirit and life” is a light to my world and will draw those whom I relate to to Jesus and and the Kingdom. Inner changes through God’s Word bring eternal changes that releases His life that touches others. Growth internal is eternal bringing about powerful outreach.


Random Thoughts 14

There is something in the Kingdom of God and the Church called a “grace shift.” I have lived through two of them and am on the edge of my third trip through the experience. Let me explain.

When God calls a person to a specific task or ministry within the Church or the wider Kingdom, He grants grace to that person to accomplish what he has been called to do. Grace to pastor, grace to teach, grace to counsel, grace to lead worship. Whatever the call there is an accompanying grace to accomplish that call so it is done in the Spirit and not in the flesh; supernaturally and not in the natural. This grace includes an anointing on personal abilities and skills but also spiritual and supernatural gifts and wisdom. This grace also includes God’s presence and power in and on the ministry and calling.

There comes a time when a person’s calling and ministry matures and changes. As this change happens there is a “grace shift.” So, when I was moving from being a pastor-teacher and moving more and more towards apostolic ministry the grace upon my life began to shift. I was still teaching God’s Word and caring for the sheep in the local church but there was less and less life in the ministry I was doing. It was working and people were being blessed but in my own heart I was experiencing less and less life. I was going through the motions doing what I had always done and doing it well. But, I was no longer satisfied on the inside. The contentment disappeared. The joy disappeared. It was like I was missing the spark that had always been there. The life I experienced while doing the ministry within the current call was gone. The grace had shifted.

As I moved more and more into apostolic ministry – mentoring, coaching, planting churches, and helping leaders in churches in Canada and the United States as well as overseas, I once again began to personally experience God’s life again. The spark, the excitement, the enthusiasm was back. I again knew I was in the centre of God’s will for my life. I was able to ‘go with the flow’ of the Spirit and found my ‘sweet spot’ in the ministry once again. The grace had shifted and now I too had changed what I was doing and how I was doing it and came under the grace once again. The excitement for ministry returned and things began to happen confirming that the change was a God thing and the timing of the change was right.

Graham Cooke talks about this type of change in ministry. He likens it to leaving a very familiar room where you are comfortable doing what you know how to do and do it well. You are on your way to another room (ministry) which is way down there at the end of the hallway. You have to leave the first room to begin the journey to the second room. You have to let go of what you know and what you do -and do well – if you ever hope to reach the end of the hallway and enter the other room (ministry). And, as Graham states clearly, “It is hell in the hallway.” Or, in my terminology, this grace shift (moving from one room to the next, one ministry to the next) is not easy.

Well, I am currently in my third “grace shift” in my life and I admit, it is hell in the hallway. Until now I have juggled the local church ministry (leadership, preaching, administration, mentoring and vision casting) and a growing apostolic ministry (equipping, planting churches, mentoring, working with regional leaders…) and doing as good a job as time and strength allowed. And, I have worked locally and out of province and out of country … juggling these two aspects as best as I can. It is time to let go of many of the things I am doing and focus more and more on the apostolic aspect of my ministry. And, this will require a lot of changes – personally and in the ministry; changes in my mindset and the way the ministry is financed. So many adjustments and outright changes need to be made. Inner changes in my heart and mind; personal changes in my lifestyle; ministry changes regarding priorities, focus, and what I say yes to in ministry and what I simply will no longer have time to do and accomplish … narrowing the focus and becoming more and more apostolic in these latter years of my life and ministry.

This will be a summer and fall of serious rethinking what I allow to occupy my time and what fills my schedule and calendar. Exciting and challenging times ahead. And, a special thanks to Tony in Winkler who shared his heart and listened to me share my heart over a long breakfast meeting at Smitty’s Restaurant last week. Tony, God used you mightily that morning – helping me to sort through what I had not recognized as another grace shift. Thank you man of God. You blessed this old warrior in ways words cannot express.


Random Thoughts 13

I believe that Jesus is calling His disciples to a higher level of commitment than is generally seen in the Church and in the world today. In many way and in many nations today Christians are living and acting like non-Christians and it is hard to tell the saved from the unsaved. Believers have compromised their faith so as to enjoy the comforts of society and acceptance by their culture. Oh, we disguise it well calling it “being relevant” but in reality it is simply compromising the truth to be accepted and considered ‘normal.’

However, there is a deepening sense in the Kingdom and in the Church in general that things are not right. Leaders and followers are beginning to see that in our post-Christian society we need to live a distinctively Christian lifestyle based in Scriptural principles with the foundation to this life being the Great Commission and the need to tell the world the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom. We need a Kingdom perspective and a lifestyle that matches what we believe. We have become too much like those we are trying to reach all in the name of being relevant. And, surveys and statistics are showing us that it has not worked.

I am not suggesting that we become so different in our dress code or lifestyle that we are considered totally irrelevant. We already have many groups and some churches that are like that. In one town where I work every one of the males – young and old – goes to church wearing black dress slacks and a long sleeve white shirt. When they walk into the restaurant or gas station after their morning service everyone knows who they are and literally avoids them – not speaking to them.

After all, the thinking goes, if I became a Christian I would have to dress like them and talk like them. I could no longer wear bluejeans and a t-shirt. And, that simply seems ridiculous. It is. Do we really think that dressing like it was the 1960’s or the 1850’s (read horse and buggy – no modern conveniences – black hats, beards, and solid black clothes) makes us more holy and acceptable to God. Really? And, it certainly does not make our message or lifestyle something others want to embrace. The lifestyle totally defeats the message.

Well, you might say, we are not extreme. Probably not. But if you took a good look at yourself and your lifestyle you will most likely find you are the total exact opposite. You are so much like the people you should be reaching that they don’t even know you are a believer. Forget the clothes and the lingo! How about simply living like a believer. Talk positive, stop talking about how hard your life is and how difficult work has been. Find another topic other than your health issues. Stop gossiping. Stop asking just to each other and avoiding the real world whenever possible. Love people regardless of who they are and how they live. Accept people even if they don’t live like you think they should. And, don’t expect them to live like Christians until they become Christians. And even then, don’t expect them to live like you do because you are not them – they are unique – and you also may not be one of the better examples of how a believer is to live.

As followers of Jesus we need to have open hearts and open homes. We must, like God our Father, be loving and giving – giving generously of what we have … time, energy, money. We must be willing to turn the other cheek (forgive) and go the extra mile (sacrifice). We must stop looking to be comfortable and start wanting to be challenged. Instead of a luxury vacation or staycation we should sign up to go serve overseas helping others who don’t have the luxury of either a vacation or staycation – they simply need to work seven days a week to keep their heads above water. Maybe…

Jesus is asking His followers – we are called disciples – to be like Him and willingly give of ourselves to serve others. Then the world will see we are different AND relevant. So, the call for a greater commitment and a seriousness about the faith is being felt and even heard in the Kingdom and in the Church today. Are you ready for the change? Are you willing to make a greater, deeper, and different commitment than ever before? I am!



Keep Yourself Fuelled and Aflame

John Wesley – a priest of the Church of England – Anglican Church – went to a prayer meeting one night

He had been preaching for a number of years

He had recently returned from a trip to the 13 colonies to convert the indians – a trip which failed miserably

No one was saved – but John came to the end of himself discovering he was not smart enough, strong enough, powerful enough … to accomplish what God wanted him to do

“Go into all the world and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19) Read more

Random Thoughts 12

I met a few nights ago with a young apostle-in-training. Our conversation over supper focused on the call of God on his life and his current feeling of being in a rut. He reminded me of my definition of a rut – a grave with both ends kicked out. He is frustrated, bored, stuck, angry, and simply knows that where he is at in his life and journey with Jesus is neither fulfilling nor going anywhere. He feels trapped by life – he gets up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, has supper, kills a few hours, goes to bed, and then the whole routine repeats again and again and again. His bills are all paid, he has money in the bank, he has a decent job, he attends and is somewhat active in a local house church … And in spite of things working well for him he is not in the least bit happy.

We talked at length about his current situation and the possible reasons he is feeling as he does. And, as we chatted over a decent restaurant supper it became evident that he is suffering from “Divine Discontent.” This is a ‘dis-ease’ that God gives to those of His followers who have camped and stopped moving forward on their personal journey with Him. This ‘dis-ease’ also comes to one’s soul when God is wanting a person to move forward in the call that is upon their life and a giant step of faith in about to be required of them. This ‘dis-ease’ causes a person to want change and actually prepares them for major changes as a leap of faith approaches. Because they are no longer happy, contented, or satisfied they are open to the idea of a change no matter what the risk may be.

However, a decision is required. The person has to decide to move forward in the known will of God for his or her life. They have to say “yes” to the changes that are coming even though they don’t know what those changes are or what will be involved in the changes and required of him as he changes. This is the “faith” part of the next step or the leap that they are needing to take. God does not give us the details, just the big picture. And, when we are feeling this ‘dis-ease’ called “Divine Discontent” the details are most certainly lacking and even the big picture can be somewhat vague. It is the feeling of “Divine Discontent” that encourages and motivates us to move forward into our future – it is the feeling of discontent that encourages us to be open to the changes the Lord is wanting to see us make in our journey with Him.

So, this young man I spoke with for a few hours last week while ministering in Southern Manitoba, Canada simply needs to respond to the feeling I call “Divine Discontent” and embrace the changes that God is wanting and waiting to make. Saying “yes” without knowing the details or the risks involved. Saying “yes” because it is unbearable to stay where he is and live as he is living. This, in spite of how good things are at the present time. It is unthinkable that this inner misery would continue for a day longer. So, bring the change now Lord. This is the inner motivation to move forward with Jesus and begin to see the next step of his personal journey unfold as he is prepared to fulfill the call and divine destiny that has been revealed and spoken over his life powerfully almost a year ago.

I will be praying for him as these transitions are never easy.