Monday, May 26, 2008

My Day Off Plan
When I was a kid there was a record of Cheech and Chong called "Sister Mary Elephant", a Catholic nun teaching school who asked a student to tell what he did over summer vacation, his summer routine was so boring that the nun screamed at the top of her lungs..."Shut Up!" My day off today may cause some to scream the same, but I'm loving it! Slept in till 8:10 this morning, checked emails and have been watching NCIS and Law & Order all morning. Haven't showered or gotten dressed yet, my intention is to eventually make it up and take the family to Lakeland, see Indiana Jones, eat at BD's Mongolian Grill and drink some Starbuck's! I am thankful for those who have served and are serving for our countries freedom, I value and appreciate their willingness to protect me with their lives!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Our Attitude Toward The End
Take a look at any newspaper, listen to any radio or television station, check your email or just talk with your friends and you will quickly find that people truly believe that we are living in the End Times. Certain current events seem to line up with prophetic scriptures that indicate that we are experiencing the birth pains that will bring about the end of the end times and return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Open your newspaper and you feel as if you are reading Matthew 24, earthquakes in strange places...Mt. Carmel, IL, who would have ever thought, cyclones in Myramar, drought and famine, wars and rumors of war...just this week one of the AM radio talk shows was predicting that our president will attack Iran before the end of his presidency, and the list goes on and on and on!
Believe me when I tell I'm not a doomsday prophet, I'm not about to scream "The Sky Is Falling!", I am telling you that the earth is waiting for the people of God to arise to the occasion and become the light and salt God has always intended for us to be! I submit that this is the time to define ourselves, to come out of our comfort zones, the safety of religion and to allow the life of God to manifest through us in the marketplace!
People in religious circles are consumed with the concept of a last day revival, waiting for spiritual explosion that will cover the earth with the glory of God... I believe that God is already here and that He is already moving, and that He is saving the best for last...but it won't be like we've experienced before and it won't be what we will be all God, and it will come through men and women who are willing witnesses of God's grace!
Think about this, God may have placed you in your job just to win one person, He may have created a table in a wilderness and is using you as the saltshaker that is going to effect an entire community of people. The last revival is not about the religious, it's about the lost, the broken, and the's about being the church not just doing church...the more we pour out, the more He will pour in!
The Apostle Peter said that seeing that all these things must be dissolved what manner of persons we should be! Our attitude of these end times should be one of looking, listening, loving, and leaving: Looking for opportunities to minister while looking for the coming of Christ, listening to His instruction, loving God with everything that is within us and loving others as we love ourselves, and leaving our comfort zones and preparing to leave this world.
This is not a time for fear or panic, this is the perfect time for outpouring and the opportunity for ministry!
Just Thinking Out Loud!

Friday, May 16, 2008

At the first of the year our senior pastor spoke prophetically to me that he believed that 2008 was going to be a huge year in our ministry. At the time it wasn't clear as to what all that meant, but I believe part of that is coming to pass this fall. We have been planning a trip to Kenya in September, trying to get dates set, tickets priced and ready for purchase, deciding who is or isn't going, all the normal procedures for a trip of this size. Wednesday I opened on of my email accounts to find an email from my friend Peter Franz, Peter is a German born evangelist who resides in Kenya, God has used him all over Africa to spread the gospel, he travels extensively through Kenya and into the Sudan conducting crusades, showing the Jesus video and discipling pastors to minister to their communities. This week Peter invited me to come be the morning speaker in a large outdoor crusade in Kisumu, this is the third largest city in Kenya, the home town of Kenya's new Prime Minister...I am honored and elated! To be able to travel around the world and share the gospel, to have the opportunity to share with and pour into the lives of ministers that will in turn change a nation is a dream come true! My greatest passion is sharing the Word of God, it is being a pastor, and I am completely consumed with is my second home! Presently I am working on taking a friend with me and working out the logistics, you know, getting the dates together, figuring out how I'm going to pay for the trip, how long we're going to be gone and where else we'll travel while there. Pray for us, ask the Lord to give us direction and to provide the necessary funds...ask God to give me the right words, to give us souls, and that Kenya will be changed for the glory of God! September just can't come soon enough...I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Borders Are Enlarging!
In 2004 I received the invitation to travel Kenya with Pastors Mike and Tena Sloan, while there God birthed a love in my heart and spirit for that country, a country I now consider home. In 2004 I also resigned my church and traveled to Florida to become the associate pastor to Pastor Sloan, and have since traveled twice a year to Kenya, seven times I have gone to that most phenomenal part of the world, the Kenyans call me Waumbua, which means rain! Today I received an invitation from my evangelist friend Peter Franz, a German born evangelist who travels throughout Africa, lives in Kenya, ministers in the Sudan, and is well known throughout the country...He has invited me to be the morning speaker in a large outdoor crusade in Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, a population of over 335,000 people...can you believe it...they want me! Last March I was speaking in a conference in Eldoret, Kenya for Bishop George Gichana, the theme of the conference came from Isaiah 54:2,3: "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited." Little did I know that God would fulfill this word in my life in this manner. As I write these words I am reminded of two things the Holy Spirit has spoken into my life through my pastor: 1) That 2008 will be a year when something large happens in my ministry; 2) That what God starts in me He will continue and finish through my daughter Kaitlin...I am humbled and honored. I am unsure why God would choose to use me in such a manner, I feel so unworthy and worthless, but am so thankful that He would send me to the nations of the earth to tell others of His love and power!

Friday, May 09, 2008

I read the blog of a friend this week who truly believes the Lord has spoken to him through a recent earthquake in his area. Perhaps you remember a few weeks ago when a 6.5 earthquake took place in Southern Illinois, shaking the area to the point it was felt in Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. My pastor friend stated that he felt the Holy Spirit sharing with him that this earthquake was a prophetic indication of the movement of the Holy Spirit taking place in the earth, of a revival about to take place in certain regions of America.
As I read his words I was reminded of somethings I believe the Holy Spirit has been dropping into my spirit, renewal, revival, and restoration are a vital part of the journey, life is a journey and we must remain refreshed if we are going to be effective in the Kingdom. But revival as we have pictured it, or better yet, as we have known it, may not be the way it comes...God is looking for people that will build on the foundation of yesterday, a tried and true foundation, allow today to be the best days of our lives and ministries, and that will prepare for the future by sowing our very best into the upcoming generation.
From a prophetic eye I see the Lord doing four things: 1) Sifting-To sift is to separate, God separates us from those things that hinder our progress, we separate ourselves from those people and things that disqualify us. Jesus reminded Peter that the dark one would like to sift him like wheat, the enemy of our souls would like nothing more than to cause our loyalties to be divided. Jesus also sifts us, He allows us to go through the strains of life in order that we may be pure in heart, motive, and worship. 2) Shifting-To shift is to adjust, to move gradually, to bring about necessary change. The Body of Christ is in a season of shifting, a time when we must discern who we are, where we are, what we are, and where we're going. It requires our willingness to keep up with God, to move with Him, rather than Him moving with us...everything this is perfect in His time...We are in a prophetic cycle and season...things are shifting. 3) Shaking-The writer of Hebrews speaks of a time when things will be shaken, a time when things movable will be moved and things unmovable will remain. We must not be easily shaken, disillusionment cannot be allowed to enter our spirits...Our eyes must remain focused, fixed on the prize, and we must move forward with a relentless, risk taking faith! 4) Saving-The Bible says that during the time of the Flood, when God rained judgment on the earth, that He saved righteous Noah. Everything about God is redemptive and restorative...It was God who said, "I make all things new!" He said, "I will do a new thing, even causing water and plant life to rise in desert places!" There is a cautiousness is the hearts of people these days, they are wondering how it's all going to turn out...I have the answer, it will work out just like God planned it, His thoughts toward you are good, of hope and of a future! God doesn't want to destroy you, kill you, wipe you out...No, He wants to raise you up as an army, as kings and priests in the earth, people who have been tried by fire and come out like gold...He will save us in the hour of temptation!
Be encouraged and look for the Lord to arrive in your lives, to step into your situations, and to use you to impact the lives of those around you. As you pour yourselves out into the lives of others, God will pour Himself into you!
Just Thinking Out Loud!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Do You Ever Stop Dreaming?
Langston Hughes, the great poet, once said, "That a man without a dream is like a bird with a broken wing, he cannot fly!" Does there ever come a point in our lives when we cease to dream? Do we ever mature to the point that we no longer see the need to dream? Can we ever expand ourselves or our horizons to the point that we settle for what we have and accept our present reality? Are our dreams simply unrealistic figments of a dissatisfied imagination? I began ministry when I was 16 years old, I was going to win the world! Off to Bible College to learn Greek and Hebrew, memorize the Bible, and to pastor a huge denominational church and more! As a college student on summer break I work in the stockroom of Furnas Electric in West Chicago, IL., it was the most boring job in the world, for hours I would stand there working, daydreaming about preaching and ministering, seeing myself as a denominational leader, preaching meetings where multitudes were saved and delivered, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, falling under God's power at the wave of my hand...then as I aged I dreamed of pastoring multi-ethnic churches, places where walls and barriers were broken down, where the multitudes were won, and people came to the house of the Lord and were changed. Dynamic worship, relevant programs, and heart felt fellowship prevailed, I saw churches where the Word of God was enacted on a daily basis, and the church grew daily, just like in the Book of Acts! Twenty-nine years have now passed since those initial dreams: I'm not a denominational leader, in fact, I'm not a senior pastor, but I still dream! I see my children growing up in the fear of the Lord, my daughters dancing before God and touching the hearts of those around them. I listen to my sixteen year old daughter Kaitlin, who with passion declares that she will make a difference in the life of a people, I see eight year old Madison, who knows what life holds for her, but I know she loves Jesus and will express the Kingdom of God in a future generation. I listen to my wife worship, I watch her worship with abandon, no fear of what men say or think, and I know the hand of the Lord is upon her! Me, I understand that dreams are what keep us in the journey, that before you can kill the dream you have to kill the dreamer! I dream of Africa, of the glory of the Lord being released upon the earth, of the people of Kenya prospering and overcoming political upheaval and financial oppression. I see a nation in revival, souls being won to the Kingdom and life increasing for them...not an American increase, but the increase that God has desired to create in their land. And I still see the multitudes worshiping freely, the glory of God flowing, souls saved, bodies healed, hearts and lives changed, churches growing, flesh dying, and ministry happening...the difference is today I'm not the one being seen...I'm just a voice...and a dreamer!