Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Anointing of Insight
This evening we had a men's Bible study on the 2nd chapter of Proverbs, it was quite interesting, men shared their thoughts and insights, I was glad that I attended. The leader of the study said something that peaked my interest, he prayed that God would give us an anointing of insight, the ability to see within a thing and gain revelation on the matter. This really spoke to me, I am convinced that to those whom revelation is given, from them revelation is required, yet, not just the speaking of words, not flattery, but a lifestyle of revelation, that we become the Word of God to the people we have been privileged to connect with. The issue of a dark world is that the light within us must become greater than the darkness around us. If we are to change our world it will not be done by programs and sermons alone, it will be done by ordinary people that have had a true conversion, have a real relationship with Christ, and are walking in the light of Jesus to the point that their very existence expresses Christ wherever they are. I'm reading a book by Jerry Cook on being the Monday morning church. The basic theme of this book is our need to become incarnational, that just as Jesus came in the form of man, we represent Christ to men as men, yet with Christ living in and through us. We are not gods, we are God's, we belong to Him, live by Him, and He lives through us, others see Him and we are given the opportunity to express His life to them and lead them into a relationship with Jesus. We have had many conversions, people confessing Christ, but quickly returning to the homes without a clue as to what has just transpired in their lives. The message of Christ was one of making disciples, of developing learners, of turning confession into true conversion by the turning away from sin and the turning to a new life in's a process and a journey, and this must be the mission of the church. It seems at times that we are in a war against evil that cannot be won, and then I remember that the gates of hell cannot defeat the true church, the key is that we remember our war is not with people and other churches, but against a real devil, against a religious mentality that keeps people in bondage. Jesus Christ is able to set people free and keep them free, May He help us to become missional in our thinking and develop people for the Kingdom of God!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flying, Faith, and the Future
Last Thursday I flew to Indianapolis with two of the most delightful ladies one could ever meet. They were both 84, didn't look a day over 65, both had some health issues, one from Florida and one from Michigan. Usually I don't talk much with the people around me, I read or sleep or both, sometimes engage in a very limited conversation, but most often plug in the Ipod and mind my own business...Last Thursday that was not the case! I'm not sure how we got talking, but we talked from the time we got seated until we landed and were leaving one another. We talked about weather, good places to eat, education, children and grandchildren, health, and how to make a good glass of tea. I cannot tell you the last time I've enjoyed flying that much, the girls were great! As we are talking we began to discuss children and what the future holds, one of the ladies very kindly but confidently said, "We've got work to do, we're not leaving much of a world to our children! We must be more positive, do our very best, and then leave them in the Lord's hands!" How true that is, how desperately our children need to connect with older people, sit at their feet, hear their stories, catch their spirits, and gain their wisdom. Our older people have so much to offer, and if we can see the opportunity before to connect the generations in a positive manner, it could be powerful! I think the Lord has this passing on the baton from the generations in mind when He says that the former and latter rain are being poured out together, there's something for everyone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Remember The Touch
When I was a child there was a minister that came to our church to preach, I don't remember his sermon, didn't spend any time with him, in fact, I was only five or six years old and spent most of my time playing with my friend in the pew in front of my mother. What I do remember is that when he gave the altar call he asked for everyone in the building to come and my mother made me go. That preacher stepped off the platform, laid his hand on my hand and I began to weep, it was the first time in my life that I was actually aware of the manifest presence of God. It has been forty years since that night, I have never forgotten it and hopefully never will.
Recently I was watching Oprah and her special guest was the actor Denzel Washington, he was talking about the people that made an impact upon his life, his mother, various school teachers, people that saw something in him and were willing to make an investment in his life. One of those tear jerking moments arose when out of the crowd came a former teacher, one Mr. Washington attributes much of his success to, it was powerful!
As I watched that program I commented to my wife that I pray someone will impact my daughters in that way, that a pastor, a teacher, a person that they respect, will arise, see something in them and pour themselves into my children in such ways that when they are old they will remember them. I pray that someone will stand behind my children in the altars at church whispering prayers over them, speaking encouragement into them, hugging them in the hallway, developing a relationship with them that allows them entrance into their lives. I pray that God will allow me to do the same in others, that those things God has placed in my life will not end with me, but will be passed on to someone that grow and go higher in life than I will ever go.
My mind races to Jan Pennell, a lady in our church who passed away this past weekend, what a warrior, what a special gal she was. One day I was visiting with her and she talked about being in the plan, that it doesn't matter what happens in our lives if we know we're in God's plan. That thought has consumed me, I can see her testifying at church, worshiping and wiping tears from her eyes, smiling as we preach. I can hear her northern accent as she shares of the goodness of God, and am reminded of the night our youth visited her in the hospital and she gave them a life related message from the Lord.
I pray that you remember the touch, the touch of God that is upon your life, and the touch of men and women that have impacted you. I pray that you remember it in the dark times so that it will refresh you, and that you will remember it in the good times so that you can pass it on to others. I pray that your prayer will be, God let me touch others as You have touched me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Leaving Again...
Thursday I'm flying out to Indianapolis where I will then be transported to Danville, IL for a three day revival and then on to Champaign, IL to a church we pastored for seven years. I'm getting in ministry and traveling mode, asking God to give me the words both of these churches and pastors need, to help me be a friend and blessing to the pastors, to allow the weather to be warm so I can wear my new flip-flops, or as the sticker on them said...male thongs...that certainly creates a visual that will sicken anyone that has ever met me! After looking at the weather report, it may be possible to wear my flip-flops, but it will only be a statement of where I now live, because it's going to be cool...Got to take a coat! I'm looking forward to these meetings, have some mixed feelings, I love Champaign the city, the people and the church there, we pastored there a long time, our oldest daughter was three when we moved there and our youngest daughter was born there. I probably grew there in more ways than I realized, so going back is an honor, but it's always hard to go back, for me, I don't want to go back and relive what was but rather I desire to see what is and what is to come, pray for me! When I return next Thursday I'm home for one week and then off to Africa, Pastor James Eason from Leeds, Alabama and myself are going to Kenya for our first Pastor's Conference! Twenty Kenyan pastors are coming into the bush area for four days of teaching and preaching, I'm excited. On Easter Sunday we will minister at Praise Deliverance Church in Eldoret, this is a massive congregation where Bishop George Gichana is the pastor, and then we're headed home on April 8th...racking up the air miles in the next three weeks! Those of you who read my blog, thanks, I appreciate you stopping by, if you don't mind, when you think of me, whisper a prayer for God's protection, wisdom, anointing, and understanding, ask God to give me compassion and favor, and to watch over my family while I'm gone. Thanks!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Is This That?
Everything around us points to the obvious truth that we may be living in the last days, those times leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. We know that these are the last days because they aren't the first days and we as countless thousands before us await the return of the Lord as will generations that follow us if He should return during our lifetime. There is much conversation concerning these times, conversation that speaks of what the church world should be like, what our lives should be like and how we should be living as we await the return of Christ. The scripture indicates that the last days will be filled with warfare, worship, and work, that believers of these times must be on guard, protecting themselves and preparing others. It is a time filled with promise, Jesus taught that the things the He did His followers would do also and greater. He spoke of an empowerment of the Holy Spirit that would enable His followers to defeat the enemy and conqueror the powers of darkness. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came, thousands entered covenant with Christ and His church, a tremendous outpouring followed creating what we now know as the church. The Apostle Peter on that famous day stood declaring that this that which was prophesied, that in the last days the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh. My question is, "Is This That?" Will Christ return for a church that operates in less power and authority than the one He left? Don't misunderstand me, I'm not speaking of emotional manifestations, I'm talking about believers that are living and walking in the anointing and authority of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures! Men and women of God who have encountered Christ for themselves and are able to live victoriously in this present world. As a pastor I often see the same people weeping and struggling with the same issues over and over again, things they've struggled with for years and something in my spirit says there has to be more, is this really that?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

20th Anniversary
This Wednesday will be our 20th Wedding Anniversary! It's hard to believe that 20 years have gone by so quickly. I can still remember the night I met Julie, I was preaching a revival in Covington, KY and she came to visit, I tried to get a revival with her Dad and ended up marrying her. In fact, though I preached for him often, I didn't get revival until after we were married...hummmm! Julie is absolutely the most fantastic person I have ever met, the most beautiful person in the world. We have had a good life together, traveled as evangelist, pastored, and our greatest accomplishment is the two daughters God has given us. I can't wait to see what the next 20 years will hold. Thursday we're off to St. Augustine for a couple of days, just the two of us...can't wait!