Untill we have faces

Faces.

They’re everywhere you look. Magazines, TV, YouTube, FACEbook, everywhere. Usually the first thing you will see or at least really notice are faces. Your own face looking back at you from the bathroom mirror is probably the first thing you actually look at when you get out of bed. And  getting said face into shape via shaving or make-up is undoubtedly one of our most cherished and important morning activities.

When you meet someone for the first time, their face will be the center of your attention. It gets the major role in first impressions. It will be how you remember and are remembered when you meet again. Our countenance can make us either beautiful or ugly.

What makes the Mona Lisa so mysterious? Her face. What launched a thousand ships? The face of Helen of Troy. A model can make a fortune from her face alone. In fact, it’s probably safe to say the human race is extremely face-centric. And we should be.

We show our emotions through our facial expressions. The eyes are the windows of the soul. We speak with our mouths and also with our eyes. Our faces, in short, are our communication centers. And we all have one.

Or do we?

We try to put on our best face before we leave the house. When we have an important meeting or interview, we put on our ‘game-face’. If we’re ‘facing’ a problem, we set our face ‘like flint’. If there’s a situation we’d rather not talk about, we ‘put a good face on it’. We’re told to keep a ‘stiff upper lip’, and our chin up. Never let them see you cry.

During the course of your average day, how many different faces do you suppose you wear? There may be one for your spouse, another for your boss, maybe several for your various co-workers, and if you’re a christian, there’s one more. Your ‘church-face’.

You know the one I mean. We all do it.

It’s the face that always smiles, never says anything that could be even remotely interpreted as base or vulgar, and agrees with everyone else in the immediate vicinity. Generally this face is always ‘fine’ or ‘blessed’ when asked, and never utters a discouraging word.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for keeping things positive, uplifting, encouraging, and agreeable. What I’m addressing is the fear of what others will think if we drop our guard for even a moment. And this is what it’s really all about, isn’t it?

We change our faces because we are afraid.

We are afraid of what others will think. We are afraid of how we’ll ‘look’. We are afraid we will not be found worthy of friendship or fellowship, and be rejected. We are afraid that if people knew the ‘real me’, that would pretty much be the end of it.

You see, we really don’t have faces. Not faces of our own, not yet anyway. None of us has found his or her true face. There is one thing we lack.

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Jesus isn’t just talking about acts of charity here, but rather a mindset and a lifestyle. It’s in the act of putting everything else aside, and laying everything down that concerns ‘me, myself, and I’, and living for others. This is where you will find your true self. This is what you were created to do. We are not here just to take up space. We are here to heal the broken-hearted, and speak freedom to the captives.

When we stop living for ourselves, and start to live for others, we can stop wearing all those faces. It won’t matter any more what other people think or even say about you. You will be free of fear. As you become more like Christ, you become the real person you were intended to be. You and I will have our own face, our true face, and that face will be reflected by the face of God.

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birds as black as night and other stories…

Sometimes we need a warning, maybe a little nudge, to get us to consider the condition of the world around us. Maybe a reminder that God desires that all would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. A call to open our eyes and see that the way that leads to destruction is very wide indeed… and that those around us need the light as much as we do.

I am standing at the edge of open fields where a great battle has been fought. The day is coming to an end as the light begins to fade towards a pale sunset. Overhead, flocks of crows, ravens and larger carrion birds, wheel and circle in the sky, all are as black as the coming night. As the sun sets, a chill breeze stirs, and I hear these words; Turn to God. Only He can save. Only He can shield you from this place and time you see before you. Turn to God and seek Him only.

Like Jonah, the ‘world’ is running as far away from God as it can get. It is running headlong to its own ruin. We need to extend Gods gift of forgiveness and grace to as many as we can, before their time runs out.

The enemy of your soul wants you to feel insignificant. Yet one person can talk to one other person about Gods grace, and that person can talk to ten. If they talk to only 5 each, that’s fifty. What if only one of the fifty talks to a thousand? And one of those ministers to millions? You have a part to play. God has a place for you in His plans. You are only ‘insignificant’ if you let the enemy convince you to do nothing.

Somewhere west of the Mississippi river, a man is standing in a freight yard consisting of mostly wooden buildings. It is sometime in the late 1800’s. He is wearing a black shirt and black pants, with a brown suede vest and a brown hat. As he waves a horse-drawn wagon into an open warehouse, he calls out, (rather surprisingly), ‘bring it back! Bring it back in. Bring back the ANOINTING!’

This country has had many ‘awakenings’ and revivals. Many took place in what we would now consider fairly rural settings. But they were real. They started out small, with a few people who had to have God in their lives, and spread.  It starts with people who are hungry enough for God to set everything else aside and pray and press in and seek His face. It starts with you and me. That’s the anointing we need to bring back in.

More stories coming soon…

what WOULD Jesus do?

It May be time to put away the cute bracelets, and peel off the bumper stickers. We, as Christians, have been saying this for years, but have we actually considered what we’re talking about?

What do most of us do when we see a crippled person or a blind man?

Have you  ever Interrupted a funeral  and brought the dead back to life?

It’s time to start healing the sick. It’s time to start raising the dead.

That’s what Jesus would do. That’s the answer to the question we’ve been asking.

We are the living temple of God, and It’s time to overturn the tables of the money changers, and clean house. It’s been said we need to count the cost, but do we?

We need to pray about this like never before. It’s time to seek the face of Jesus Christ, and climb inside His will for our  lives. He has a calling on you and I. There is a purpose for each and every life. Will you walk in that purpose? He is waiting eagerly for you to respond to Him. Pray. Press in. Seek His face, and look into His eyes of fire. He is asking you to lay EVERYTHING down at His feet. Both the things you hold dear, and the things you are ashamed of, and everything in between. Lay it all down. Contend for this. Strive for this. What He has for you is so much more than you could ever imagine.

Jesus has a question for you; What will YOU do?

It is time for the true church to rise up, count the cost, and pour ourselves out. If we do, the lame will walk. The dead will live.

LIGHT UP THE SKY


“As I was on the road, approaching Damascus about noon, a very bright light from heaven suddenly shone down around me. Acts 22:6
“I was blinded by the intense light and had to be led by the hand to Damascus by my companions. Acts 22:11

Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee, a virtual Bible scholar of his day. He had been brought up in the ‘church’ and taught by an esteemed leader in the Sanhedrin. Saul, or as he later became known, Paul had every reason to believe he was on the right track, as he systematically went about trying to destroy what he thought was a dangerous and blasphemous cult. He was on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus to persecute the Christians there, when something happened along the way.

Paul went blind.

Far from the grand entrance he might have been expecting to make, Paul was pitifully led into town by the hand, utterly helpless.

We as humans, like to think of ourselves as being ‘right’. We know our facts, and we have things in a proper perspective. Truth be told, though, we need more than facts and perspective. We need God.

Paul knew the law and the prophets intimately. His knowledge of scripture was impressive, to say the least.

But he didn’t know Jesus.

He probably knew that God is the Father of lights. What he didn’t realize was that Jesus brought that light into the world. Jesus is, in fact, the Light of the world. It is His light that has been imparted to us. It is His light that we are meant to carry with us wherever we go, and it was His light that blinded Paul on the road to Damascus. After this experience Paul became the apostle who would write more than half of the new testament. He became a disciple of Christ in the fullest sense, pouring the rest of his life out as an offering to God.

Sometimes we just need to be blinded by the light. We need Jesus to lead us ‘by the hand’.

You might have the entire Bible memorized forward and back. You might have a chapter and verse ready for any occasion that might come up. Maybe you’ve even been to Bible college, or even preached a sermon or two in your time. But here’s the deal; You have to know HIM. Not just about Him. Millions of unbelievers know about Him, and unfortunately, that’s not enough.

Paul thought he had it all figured out when he left for Damascus. Maybe sometimes we do to. I know I don’t want to be one of ‘those people’ who go around all pumped up and self righteous, telling everyone else how it is. I want to carry the true light of God with me everywhere I go, bringing life into every situation. My prayer for the body of Christ today is for us to be blinded to our own preconceptions, so that the Holy Spirit can lead us ‘by the hand’ into the true light; an ever-deepening relationship with God and His son, Jesus Christ.

God was at the party, but you missed it!

Paul said it best in 2 Corinthians 11; I hope you’ll be patient while I go on like a fool!

I’ve served the Lord for over 25 years. I’ve seen my share of moves of the Holy Spirit. Some times people do get a little carried away. They might bark like dogs, or go pee in the corner for all I know. But that NEVER EVER means that God Hasn’t been moving. That doesn’t mean He’s not moving now. There’s an old expression, and I’m afraid it’s true; Some people throw the baby out with the bath water. They are afraid of things getting out of control. They are afraid of losing members. They are afraid.

Like the prodigal sons’ brother, they don’t want to go into the party. Unfortunately, they don’t want you to go in either.

But some things speak for themselves. I’ve seen miraculous healings. Recently, not years ago. I’ve seen people set free, and not just emotionally. Not superficially either, they’re still changed the next time you see them, and the next time after that. I’ve seen Gods people worshiping and celebrating His presence for hours.

Now I’m all for ‘solemn assemblies’, and if you feel that’s where you need to go in the season you’re in, then that’s what you should do. But you should feel Gods joy and strength even then. This is, after all, about Him.

It’s not my Intention to come off at all cocky, or to talk down to anybody,  that’s something we all need to avoid. But there’s a truth that needs to be addressed, and it will not be served by silence.

God IS moving. A radical reformation of the church in our nation is at hand. No man can stop it. You can drop out and sit on the sidelines if you want, and ‘play it safe’. You can close your eyes, but it’s not going away. We need to be ready as Individuals and as congregations, for what God wants to do in our midst.

Don’t miss the ‘party’ out of fear or resentment. Scripture is full of accounts of how Gods glory and power fall in the midst of what some would consider a ‘party atmosphere’.

God had made the people very happy, and so on that day they celebrated and offered many sacrifices. The women and children joined in the festivities, and joyful shouts could be heard far from the city of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 12:42-44

The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.
Ezra 3:12-13

I will celebrate and be joyful because you, LORD, have saved me.
Psalm 35:8-10

MAKE A joyful noise unto God, all the earth;
Psalm 66:1

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:1

A river and its streams bring joy to the city, which is the sacred home of God Most High.
Psalm 46:3-5

You have turned my sorrow into joyful dancing. No longer am I sad and wearing sackcloth.
Psalm 30:10-12

This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Nehemiah 8:9-11

There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son.
2 Chronicles 30:25-27

The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town!
Joshua 6:15-17  (There is power in this kind worship/obedience.)

And all the people followed Solomon into Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound.
1 Kings 1:39-41

The next day  there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.
John 2:1-3

Have you Invited Jesus to your celebration? Some churches won’t let Him in because He messes with their schedule!

Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus:  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” Rev 5:11-13

This is the heavenly model. Millions of angels, and every created thing  joining in worship. What more needs to be said? Don’t miss the party. I know I won’t.

Time To Heat Things Up!

Today, I have an amazing (and young) guest blogger who is on fire for the things of God. Somehow, between playing on multiple worship teams, practicing, and eating tons of peanut butter, Aaron has found time to become a pretty good writer. You can read more of his blogs at  http://twofridays.wordpress.com/   ….enjoy!

There is a coming revival. A move of God is coming that’s going to be unlike anything yet. God is going to reconstruct the church from the inside out. People are going to encounter Jesus like never before. The Holy Spirit is going to move in huge ways. The worship, prayer, teachings, and every other aspect will be spirit lead.

Now, naturally, Satan is NOT looking forward to this. He is going to do everything in his power to stop this from happening. He doesn’t want the people of God to get lit on fire for God. He’ll try every trick up his sleeves to keep us divided. But the Devil and all of his demons can’t stop Christians who are burning from the inside out. We’re going to burn through every effort Satan makes against us.

Our job as Christians, and as the church, is to get in God’s face, and let him light the flame until we are BURNING UP! And then we need to keep that fire ablaze day and night until it spreads EVERYWHERE! It’s time to step it up! We need to give our all to God. In worship, in prayer, in our study of His word, in all areas of our lives. Saying we want the fire of God to come upon us is one thing, and actually contending in prayer and worship for it is another. And if we won’t do it, God will find others who are willing. We can’t let age, gender, race, denomination, fear, pride, or anything else get in between us and our Lord.

The question is…are you going to burn like a wild-fire and go after God like never before?…or sit back in the shade and watch other people spread the fire and do the work because you might have to get out of your comfort zone? Are you going to contend for the Holy Spirit to move in our lives, or shy away because sometimes, things can get a little crazy when we give him control?…Are you going to move in your gifts?…or not move in your calling because of what others might think, or say?

There is a choice, that we as this generation have to make…To go after God like we’ve never done before, or be luke warm and get spit out of God’s mouth cause he can’t use us. We all have a calling God has on our lives. We can do this! Let’s do this! Let’s burn this thing up! You are called!   : )

Weapons of a warrior

Recently, I had a dream in which I saw a warrior, or more like a knight, in full armour. He was holding a bow and had a quiver full of arrows. He was being waited upon by a pair of squires, who took away his bow and arrows and instead placed a large sword into his hands. Here the dream ended.

A bow can be a most effective weapon. It has been the deciding factor in numbers of battles throughout history. But it is best employed when the enemy is still some distance away. As the enemy closes in, it becomes less proficient.

At close range, hand to hand, a sword is much more desirable. And the enemy is much closer than we think.

I believe there is something very proactive in the bow and arrows. It is a way to weaken or even halt an attack. Prayers for peace and protection before the conflict do more good than we probably realize. But once the enemy closes in, we need the sword, the living Word of God. (Eph. 6:17)

We need to pray and speak the word, but most importantly, we need to believe the word. Just reciting scripture will not win the fight. It has to be who and what we are. It has to be in us for the power to come out of us. Then the enemy is confronted by the authority of Christ and he flees.

We are at war, and we must be warriors. To do battle, we must put on our armor, pick up our shields, and take up our swords. It is the power of God in our hands.