Thursday, December 31, 2009

Stitches In Time...

Hello! My name is Jeff Brown and I'm with the Vineyard Ministry fellowship and Outreach Center in Doniphan,Mo. We've rented the old Ben Franklin building on Washington St. and we're in the process of establishing an ongoing ministry there centered around supporting people with drug and alcohol addictions in their efforts to find deliverance by establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ. As God allows we'd also like to expand into other areas including couples counseling and helping people dealing with depression. I'd like to tell you why I feel as though this is a vitally important undertaking, and why I feel as though it's something that all of us should be concerned with.

Most of us are familiar with the expression "A stitch in time saves nine" It simply means that to deal with things now can prevent a small problem from becoming a big problem later. A stitch in time can save nine, it may even save 900,or even 9000, depending on it's location the impact of that one stitch can be huge! My parents were divorced when I was nine, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago that my mother confided in me that the problems they had in their marriage were in fact actually very minor. I'm left to wonder what kind of a difference "a stitch in time" might of made to everyone in my family.

Some people have misconceptions about counseling or psychology and when they hear either term concerns arise as to their real value or even if they're something the church should be involved with at all. This is a valid concern because some of what secular psychology has to offer is in contradiction to basic Christian beliefs. It's important that we understand where the two part ways and stick to what Gods word teaches.

As an example, a few years later when I was twelve I was caught selling drugs at my Jr. High school. One of the results of that was my being referred to a psychologist for counseling, I met a wonderful man who I know cared a great deal about me and who I'm sure would've done anything to help me. I'm not saying he didn't help me at all, perhaps he may of kept me from careening off of some precipice but despite seeing him continuously for several years I continued to us drugs. He simply didn't know how to reach me, and despite all of his endeavors to rebuild my shattered self esteem I believe they failed because I simply wasn't buying the idea of my being worth loving. His therapy fell short because it's success hinged on my acceptance of something my worldly perceptions showed me to be false. Would it have made a difference if he had shown me in Gods word that it was because of His great love for me that God had sent His son to die for all of the things I hated so much about myself ? I can only speculate as to the different effect it might of had if he would've told me that God had a wonderful plan for my life and that He wanted to have a personal relationship with me. If, instead of trying to convince me to love myself despite the mess I was, he would've helped me to see how much I was already loved, and encouraged me to allow Jesus into my heart what a difference it might've made!

When I'm counseling a young couple with marital problems I think about my own parents and what I wish someone might have told them about the far reaching ramifications of what they're contemplating.

When I talk to a young man struggling with his identity who has chosen to hide who he really is behind drugs I can tell him about where that took me and help him to understand that there's a much better choice available to him.

All of my years of people watching have taught me something important and that is, "Where people are concerned, things are seldom what they seem”. Peoples outward behaviors seldom reflect their true feeling’s or tell the real story of what’s happening on the inside. And while that may sound complicated it’s really as simple as understanding that every one of us is just trying to be loved! And because we may never have experienced what that truly means I think that I can say without any qualification that it is without a doubt the most confusing aspect of life and that it’s the primary cause of all of mans problems. Following a trail of lies left by our enemy we’re drawn into a myriad of dead end streets strewn with broken glass and other garbage that we’re willing to ignore if we believe that in doing so it might bring us this elusive prize. We seek it out in substances like drugs and alcohol, dysfunctional human relationships, of course material possessions, all of which have the habit of leaving us empty and unfulfilled, some of which leave us dead.

I want people to know that God loves them!

As I see it, there are only two kinds of people. Those who have been greatly blessed by the presence of mentoring relationships in their lives and those who have greatly suffered as a result of not having them. If you're in the first category, It honors the memory of that person who helped you to "pay it forward"and be that person in another s life. If you're the latter, it's a sacred thing to reach out to people in an effort to keep someone else from making the same bad choices you did and perhaps from suffering the same consequences.

What has God done for you? What barriers did He have to patiently wait for your consent to remove from your life even while it caused Him so much pain to watch as you needlessly suffered?

The story of God and man is a story of love and of redemption; it’s a story of a creator and His rebellious creation and the extraordinary lengths that He’s willing to go to reach them. In Gods word He goes into detail as to the lengths He’s willing to go to in showing us His love.

John 3:16-17

16For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

I purposely included the 17th verse, because it breaks down any excuses I could possibly have to not be doing something to reach out to a world in bondage to ignorance, pain, and evil, with the love, redemption, and deliverance of Christ! When we choose to see ourselves and others as God see’s us, with compassion, it’s then that we can begin to understand the life changing power of Gods love and it's there that we can be "convinced" as the reality of what Paul stated in his epistle to the Romans.

Romans 8:38-39

38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I’ve said all of this in an attempt to explain to you why I’m doing what I’m doing but most importantly, I’m saying it out of my own personal gratitude for what’s been done for me! Many people considered me a lost cause; they saw me as a no good drug addict and told me I’d never amount to much. But praise God it was a loving savior who spoke truth into my life and made me see the lies of the enemy and all of the weapons which were formed against me, It was Jesus who reached out a hand to me and showed me my own self as He saw me, Who lifted me up out of the broken glass and garbage I was in and gave me hope and faith that because of His love for me those weapons would not continue to prosper against me, that I was somebody very special in Christ, because of His love for me!

What, if anything, could I ever do in return to show my gratitude or to show how much I love the Lord?

Matthew 25:35-40

35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

If we as the church are to have the impact on this world that God has called us to we're going to have to make some stitches where people are injured and bind up some wounds to heal the brokenhearted. We must do it now while we still have the opportunity, in time for it to make a difference. I'm asking you to join us in this undertaking, that it might become an overtaking victory for the sake of Gods kingdom and in the name of Jesus The Christ!

Luke 4:18

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised

Matthew 16:19

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Ezekiel 34:16

I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Something About Faith

If asked, many Christians can to some extent explain the basis for their faith. What they say may seem intangible,because it is by nature "unprovable", but in their hearts, it is fact. They've never seen the Red Sea part, or manna fall from heaven. Never seen a blind man given sight or watched an altar be consumed by fire. What they've seen are very personal revelations of God in their lives, an answered prayer or an unexplainable peace in a time of trouble. A timely blessing or provision of some kind but nothing that couldn't be perhaps explained otherwise by someone with a mind to.

John 20:29

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Faith is an interesting thing in that the more of it you have, the less of it you need. Faith brings such abundance into our lives that we see the substance of it manifested, and furthermore, we know that based on the faithfulness of our God that His provision having been seen in both the past and the present is tantamount to proof of it in the future.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The story of the prodigal son is the story of man. Who left his first estate to wander in rebellion and ultimately found himself in squalor. Upon his return, he sought only to be a servant considering himself unworthy, but instead his father welcomed him back as a son with great joy! It's our knowing who we are in Christ and that the Father isn't mad at us, and mostly that we are still loved that form the crucial basis for practically everything about us! Our faith is simply the acting out of these beliefs!

I'm saddened that so many Christians have instead chosen to continue on as the servant. Don't misunderstand me, I am a servant as well, but the relationship I'm lamenting is one which denies our real identity and birthright. Paul described himself as being a "bond servant" which is someone who serves out of love, not obligation! Christian people who serve under a feeling of unworthiness or condemnation will seldom ask of the Father the things that a son would because they don't believe they're entitled to ask let alone to receive them. Faith rests on the knowledge that we ARE entitled not only to ask but to receive all good gifts and blessings from the Father through our adoption as sons which was the purpose of Christs work on the cross!

At this time of the year, and in this economy, most of us are thankful to have a few presents under the tree. Why is it that we have sold so short Gods gifts and his intentions toward us? Perhaps we're not expecting anything great from Him this year. I believe He wants us to pray for peoples healing's, and for all blessings, not as "beggars" but as representatives of the reality of His love in this world!

I was inspired to write this message by the reality of it's truth in my own life and circumstances. As we've continued on in our ministerial endeavor Gods purpose and provision continues to unfold before us in some very amazing ways. It's encouraged me to experience more and more of what God has for me, and wants to do through me! There truly is "something about faith" that lifts us up out of this fallen world and into an unimaginable world of possibility which is made possible merely because we believe that it is so!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Exciting Work of Ministry!

Catchy title don't you think? okay, maybe not so much but I am starting to get really excited thinking about where all of this hard work is leading! For all of us that are involved in this venture it's the culmination of the dreams, prayers and purpose's in each of our lives. I believe that we've all been uniquely prepared to fulfill this aspect of the Lord's plan, and that it's not only for us but for many others as well!

It's been a very long journey for me, wandering through the desert for the last forty years. If you've ever been lost you know what I mean, you think your heading in the right direction but with very little confirmation it's cause for anxiety. When you see a sign that tells you how much further it is or you recognize something that you were told to watch out for a sense of peace replaces the panic. Ironically, in my current circumstances most of the things I've been told to watch out for are not good but I'm happy to see them because it means I must be on track!

More exciting ministry work!

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Speaking of being "on track", in the last week we've got a phone, designed and printed some brochures and cards, done some clean up work, and Lord willing we'll have electricity later this week! Tonight my partner Gerald told me that they're delivering some carpeting and a little bit of furniture which includes a desk, next I'm looking for about twenty or thirty chairs, enough to have meetings with. We're currently working on a newsletter, and I'm looking into various signage options for our front glass. I'm also starting to work with our website So yeah, it is busy but it's fun and exciting!

Based on what I've just described I can already tell that this ministry is going to stretch my boundaries and allow me to wear many different hats, some that I've kind of worn before, like in the area of public relations. Others, like being involved with drug and alcohol cessation meetings and one on one counseling are more familiar to me.

Earlier I mentioned being lost in the desert for forty years which you may of taken as a metaphor but it's truer than you could know. I was saved at age nine and I'm forty nine now. To me it's an interesting similarity, so now am I ready to cross the Jordan into the promised land? I've stepped out in faith, and based on what the Lord's done for me in the last forty years I know that all of His promises to me are real and that He'll continue to abide in me as I abide in Him now even more than ever! He continues to give me a vision of what He wants to accomplish through this work and of how to go about it. For me thats as good as it gets, it really is exciting to be a part of !

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's All About Jesus!

After a few weeks of holding my breath, yesterday I was handed the key to our building! (exhales) Now, I've got to get insurance,utilities of various types,and of course nearly everything else that will be needed. I've put up an add on Craigslist of Southeast Missouri soliciting donations of office furniture,partitions,and used carpeting. My partner and I are planning to talk with some of the local ministers to let them know what we're trying to get going,we definitely could use some help! Our mission is to bless as many people as possible with the services we plan to offer, but I think that it's going to be just as much of a blessing to those who decide to help us. I've inquired around at a few of the local help agencies and apparently there isn't any sort of open drug or alcohol abuse support group meetings currently being held anywhere. It occurred to me what a great opportunity it would be for us to pursue, and also for many people in the church to act as mentors! The one "saying" that's been going through my mind is...

"All that's necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand idly by and do nothing"

In the last fifty years or so the church has lost so much precious ground! I don't feel like there's anyone who doesn't know that! I also know that church's do lots of great work in this country and all over the world but unfortunately here in the United States they're perceived by many as hypocritical and judgmental. So much of the work done by church's happens outside the country while the spiritual needs of our own go unmet. Sure, we have sanctuaries everywhere but I'm afraid we're following in the footsteps of Europe where the majority of the church's are empty, empty because they had a "high on the mountaintop" attitude,because they tried to keep Jesus all to themselves and away from the masses,because in the end, despite the gilded rituals and dry dogma they really didn't have much left to offer anyway.

The Dead Sea

It reminds me of the Jordan river, it flows from the sea of Galilee which is full of life into the Dead sea that isn't,because it's incredibly salty and there's no outlet. The Spirit of The Lord is like electricity, it won't flow through a connection that's not connected, or through a people who won't reach out for those whom The Father loves and wants so desperately to reach.

Like many of you I've felt overwhelmed by the size of the powers and principalities that we're at war against. Of all the weapons that have been formed against me personally in my life, I feel that the one's that have done the most damage are hopelessness and discouragement. I found these verses in 2 Kings that have given me hope and encouragement, and emboldened me to walk even more so in faith...

15And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

16And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

17And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Elisha wasn't alone or outnumbered,and neither are we! When we come together as the body of Christ it's no contest!

And that's definitely what it's all about, reaching people for Christ! Introducing the people of a fallen world to a risen Savior! Through the compassion and understanding we can express through this ministry we know the victory has already been won, that hearts can be touched and strongholds of the enemy can be brought down.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Your Hearts Desires

Psalm 37:4 (King James Version)

4Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Twenty eight months ago I wrote a blog on Yahoo 360 entitled,

"When I live my dream"

It was about what I wanted to do with my life, here's a small sample from it,

"So dream a little dream with me, I'm sort of going out on a limb here I know but like they say "if you're not living on the edge,you're taking up too much room" here goes, I want to open up my own counseling business, I'd like to hang out a shingle here in the 2 horse town in which I live".

Here's a link to the entire post if you care to read it...


Since then I've really done nothing to move towards the realization of that goal. Oh I checked into some online courses but never pursued it any further than that. Instead I continued to write blogs and witness to people online and to those I came into contact with personally. My feeling has always been that my calling is to people who are hard to reach and that my place of ministry was to be "in the trench's" so to speak. But when I was recently presented with the opportunity to take my game to a whole 'nuther level I didn't hesitate, it was much more than merely an answer to MY simple prayers, it was a vision of a much greater plan for me than I ever dreamed!

If the ultimate freedom is to be who we are,

then the ultimate power is to know who we are "In Christ"

John 8:32 (King James Version)

32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

For me, that's what it's all about and that's what I can't stop trying to get people to understand. That's what I'm trying to understand more myself. Perhaps attempting to understand it is a dead end in that it's approaching something that's entirely spiritual and attempting to make it "square up" from our worldly physical perspective. It's something that despite our best attempts to control or intellectualize ultimately can only be experienced in the moment. To realize our true orientation, like the difference between being a physical entity on a spiritual journey and a spiritual one on a physical journey! In many ways it does "occur" in our everyday lives, in common experiences each of us have. Our instinct is to reach out and grab it but it's like sand, it slips through your hands...

When an athlete plays at the pinnacle of his ability they're said to be "in the zone", Ministers proclaim Gods word under the "anointing" artists paint great works of art and musicians write beautiful songs because of inspiration! Our creations flow from our passions, but what are they compared to the passion our heavenly Father feels for His creation?

I say, "find that thing you can do in this life that allows the one true God to manifest His perfection through you to the rest of the world and you will find purpose and peace and love and joy and you will find God! Then you will know why you are here and be ever so thankful that you are. Then you will turn to the one who has created you and praise His name out of an overflowing heart!"

front door

What my partner and I would like is to establish a place where people can feel comfortable. A facility where we offer a variety of opportunities for them to come to know Christ. We'll set a table, and then invite hungry people to come in and sup with the King of Kings, and the Lord Of Lords!

For far too long many churches have been a stumbling block to helping people come into a relationship with Christ. Instead these churches present a rigid religious "institution like" atmosphere where there is no freedom, where the doctrine and the rituals are held sacred above Gods commission to GO and seek the lost. At The Vineyard Ministry Fellowship and Outreach Center, we want to change that!

building shot

This is the front of the building as it is now, our goal is to open to the public by the first of the year! We're very excited at the speed in which our progress is being made so far, things can happen quickly when they are directed by "God Speed"! We know that our Father is not merely willing to provide for us all that we need, but that He's eager to really show Himself to as many as have eyes to see!

interior shot

We want to partition the inside of the building for various activities. In one area there will be bible studies that are ongoing, a gospel message being given in another. We'd like to have a comfortable common area or lobby for people to relax with refreshments and enjoy fellowship. We plan to offer group and individual Christian counseling designed to break the bondage's of the many forms of abuse perpetrated by the enemy against those who God loves!

Our mission is to be a resource, not a church,to equip people to be effective ambassadors of the gospel, not to become "members". We want to be used by God to free the captives and lead the lost into saving relationships with the risen Savior. As ambassadors, we seek to convey the great desire of our principal to His intended through whatever opportunities or means we are availed, to present His terms and make His case, that some might receive Him and be saved! I believe that there's always room for something different, and that if what you're doing isn't working you should try something else instead. It's our hearts desire to fulfill what we know to be the commission of our Lord Savior and King, to fulfill the desires of His heart...

John 3:16 (King James Version)

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gods Timing...(belt)


I'm aware that many people have a problem with the notion of an omnipotent, omnipresent, God who loves each of us so much that He's concerned with the circumstances of our individual lives. Perhaps even more mind blowing to them is the further contention that He would put His Holy Spirit in the midst of our circumstances with the intent of working out the details of His great purpose through each one of us.

That's precisely the reason I've got to tell this story, and while I know that there are some who won't share my vision, I also believe that there are many more that have personally experienced similar and much, much greater "coincidental" circumstances than mine that will see it and who will recognize His work.

Where to start? I guess I'll just pick it up on that Monday morning twenty five days ago when my car refused to start. Internal combustion is really a simple thing, it's air and gas mixed together with a spark applied to it. This working knowledge is the basis for troubleshooting any automotive problem. All three things must be present for a car to start. I'm not very mechanically inclined, instead I rely on people who are and on the advice they so generously give me to fix my car. The first idea I heard was that my fuel pump was probably not working, and so after some research into how to replace a fuel pump and shopping around for one, I went about replacing it.

But that wasn't the problem...

So there I was, already into this thing for almost two hundred bucks and not much closer to even knowing what the problem was. It was through the further advice of well intentioned friends and the elimination of fuel as being the problem that my attention was focused on spark. Timing actually, which regulates the combustion process by using a belt driven cam shaft to open and close the valves of the cylinder in sync with the application of the spark and fuel in the cylinder. Whoever came up with the idea for a timing belt must of gotten the idea from God, no doubt inspired by His ability to be the power and the drive that keeps everything in sequence and brings order and harmony to so many different things that work separately and yet together. It was at this point that I fully knew that I was in over my head mechanically, and that I had done everything I personally could to fix my car, that's when it became "God's timing belt" problem!

What did God have in mind? Was He wanting me to look for a newer car? Was He making some other arrangement's that would require me to just be patient for a time? I was trusting in that being the case but I didn't really have any more of a clue!

My day to day life and transportation necessities were thankfully being covered by my brother in law who I live with, but here's where it gets a bit complicated. His car's transmission had been acting up, it constantly slipped at certain speeds and it had no overdrive, which is related to another previous circumstance that's very significant. A few weeks ago I was in a library computer lab, I noticed a man who was having trouble inserting his flash drive into the USB port of the computer so I went over and tried to help him. We had a brief encounter and I remember thinking to myself what a nice guy he seemed to be.

A week or so later as I was getting out of my car at Sunday night church, I saw this same man walking into the church with guess who? My brother in-law! He had been occasionally attending my bro-n-law's church and on that particular evening had decided to attend our church because he and his wife were riding in my Bro-n-law's car, that decision was mostly a dictate of the transmission problems and the closer proximity of our church. That night after service's I introduced my wife and myself to him and his wife, and he remembered me too! They invited us to come to their bible study group on Friday night's and we accepted. Since then we've been getting to know them better and have been attending regular bible studies with them that my bro-n-law had been going to so we just hitched a ride with him. WHEW! (takes a deep breath)

As I became acquainted with him he shared with me his vision of a ministry he was trying to get going, he wanted to train people to be evangelists and to provide the people of his community with christian based counseling in several area's, he was also looking for someone who could write blogs for his ministry website...Gee,what a coincidence! I believe that our meeting was by God's appointment, and that it might never of happened if my bro-n-laws car hadn't of been acting up! Oh, by the way...the problem with his car miraculously fixed itself a few day's later when he discovered that his OD switch on the shift lever had somehow been pushed in, which was telling the car to try to shift into a non-functioning OD gear at certain speeds. When he let it out, the car began to function normally (still no overdrive, but without the constant slipping) just as it always had since he'd owned it. He had driven it at least a thousand miles that way and seriously thought that it was going to completely quit on him!

I had talked about my car with several people, some gave me advice, others seemed indifferent, and still others offered me actual help! I've found that when someone really want's to help you they'll always find a way even if that means just somehow letting you know they care. To me, it's a very big deal to tell someone I love them, I may say it casually but it still means a lot to me. It means I know you at your best and at your worst and that I make no distinction between them in that I'm always going to care for you and about you in all your circumstances.


Anyway, back to MY car problem! It was my recently acquainted friend that offered to bring his friend to my house to look at my car. At first he thought it was the belt too, but when we got the cover off it was okay. I've got a few plug wires that aren't in too good of shape so we replaced those, still no good spark. When they opened up the distributor there was a lot of corrosion and the rotor bug was broken, we really thought this would fix it but no, it didn't. There's only one component of the electrical system left, the ignition coil, so I ran into town to pick one up.

This morning, I took that ignition coil and installed it inside of the distributor cap, it was difficult for me but I was able to figure it out! I twisted the key and VOILA! it started. What can I say? It's been a process during which I've had to give it to God, who then brought some Christian brothers alongside me to do some of the things I couldn't, but He saved the last piece of the puzzle for me to provide because it was important that it happen that way for my sake. Twenty six days without a car, but being set apart has also been a blessing because in the midst of my lacking God showed me a lot of things, some old, some new, but all of them on His time!

The Three Are's

We've all heard about the three R's of education, reading,righting,and rithmitic. As a boy I used to hear that expression used occasionally by folks as a retort to some confusing modern curriculum, it was based in a belief that kids were learning all kinds of new stuff in school but perhaps weren't covering the basics. What I'd like to do is draw a few comparisons between the three R's of education and what I see as being the three "are's" of living a Christian life.

Reading, it's number one for a reason. The ability to read and more importantly the level at which you can comprehend what you read is everything. You obviously can't write without being able to read and doing math in the traditional way would be quite difficult as well. When we read, we take the word's into our mind where they can be received into our intellect,our memory, and can serve to entertain us, inform us, and yes even change us! My first "are" is...


#1. Are YOU washed in the blood of Jesus?'

It's first because like reading it's the most important thing ! Without the blood of Christ we've really got nothing, all of our righteousness is as filthy rags, none of us could do for ourselves what Christ did for us! Like reading, which opens up our minds to receive the written word, our salvation, which is personally receiving what Christ did for us, opens our hearts up to His word and His great love for us.

It changes us, our understanding of His sacrifice for us and of what it saved us from is the "Pearl of great value" that is His gift to us,our possession, but not to keep because it's just too good not to share with others! That brings me to "are" number two,


# 2. Are YOU, eager to share the "good news" about our Lord and Savior? Eager because of the forgiveness you've received and your compassion for people who don't know Jesus as their savior who are just like you were at one time. Does your heart break for people who suffer under the lies and deceptions of the enemy that tear their lives apart? Just like writing, which is an expression of whats on our minds, telling others about our victory over sin through Christ is an "expression" we share with others out of the gladness of our heart! Knowing how to write doesn't do anybody any good if it's not used to meet a need, similarly, If our faith in God is without works then our faith is dead! I'm so thankful to have this blog to share my faith with others, because if I didn't have it I think I'd bust! I feel as though the Holy Spirit is constantly pouring into me and what I'm hearing is just such great stuff that I have to write it down here! Like I mentioned before, if you can't read, writing is out of the question...likewise, if you're not washed in the blood there's not going to be any God honoring motivation for you to share Christ with others. You might be the pastor of the biggest church in town, but if your ministry is got more to do with you and lifting you up than it does with really desiring to serve God you'll start to notice the odor of a "dead church".

I've already began the third "are", and like mathematics, it's the one that gives folks a lot of trouble!


#3. Are YOU living a God honoring life?

There will always be different opinions theological interpretations as to what that specifically means, and also of our ability while in this cloak of flesh to fulfill them. Some people believe in a very uncompromising definition while others not so much, but Rather than get into all of that I'd just like to share with you a few of my answers which are of course in the form of questions and illustrations.

Gods perfect plan of salvation is perfect because mans only role in it is to either accept it or reject it. Why would God have made our salvation contingent upon our own abilities to be obedient when He knows that even though we have the Holy Spirit as a guide and counselor as long as we're in this flesh we're going to fall short?

Last Sunday my family and I had church at home because of our car not running. My 8yr old daughter brought the message which had to do with how to have a relationship with Christ. She actually did a pretty good job, we also did a bible study during which I was compelled to expand on her understanding of what it means to know Christ. Because my daughter has SO much stuff and her room is SO small, cleaning and organizing it is practically impossible for her to do. I asked her, "If Jesus cleaned your room, completely,perfectly, and put everything in it's place for you, and you knew for sure that it was Him who did it would it affect how you play? If you believed that He was standing in your doorway watching you, would you make more of an effort to keep it clean? If not, then I have to wonder what type of relationship you see yourself as having with Him or weather you really know Him at all".

I know, that's heavy stuff for an 8yr old but she understood it and I don't think that a more complicated explanation is nessesary...

What about you? If you were accused of being a Christian and then put on trial for it would there be sufficient evidence to convict you?

Or would you be like the pharisee's and look good from the outside but be dead on the inside?

One thing that I'm really thankful for is that Living a life that honors God isn't as hard as mathematics, here's a little formula I found that I can understand...

One savior + three nails= forgiven!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Lucky Ones

lucky people

I don't believe in luck as most people would define it, that's it's just some random happenstance that occurs for no reason or that its a personally directed act that involves leprechauns or rabbits feet. Instead, I prefer to think of most "luck" as being what happens when preparedness and opportunity meet! "Lucky" is a word sometimes used out of jealousy toward others that seeks to diminish the hard work that's been invested in a successful project or to express stunned disbelief at some sudden windfall of good fortune that can't be readily explained otherwise. There's lots of other ways the term luck is used, beginners luck is when we try something without any preconceived ideas of what works and what doesn't and approach something without prejudice. I've heard people say... "Nobody told me I couldn't, so I just did it!". Personally, I believe we have angels that watch over all of us, others will say that it's just luck when people go through a bad car wreck or some other accident and aren't seriously injured.

The word luck sure does cover a lot of stuff!

I've heard it said that if God did not exist people would have to "invent" Him in some way in order to explain "what is life ". Because of mans ego, the concept of "luck" was necessary in order for men to be able to justify their atheism and avoid believing that God DOES exist, that he is alive, and does intervene in mans affairs.

My purpose in writing about luck is primarily to expose it for the superstitious lie that I believe it is. It can start off simply by putting faith in mere objects like clovers or rabbits feet, not only is doing that misplaced faith, it also takes away from us having a true saving faith in God! Ironically, being "lucky" can turn out to be a very real obstacle or stumbling block to people. One of the worst things that can happen to a young man is to get big time "lucky" at the horse track one time because then he's hooked for life! Have you ever had a car with an intermittent problem, one that would only malfunction part of the time? And of course, when you take it to a mechanic it'll never "do it" while you're there! It's really hard for a mechanic to diagnose a problem like that let alone fix it. Appearances are deceiving and a casual glance seldom if ever tells us whats going on inside.

I was born with so many advantages in life, and that made it hard for me to admit I had lots of problems as a young man. There were people in my life who's job it was to help me to sort them out, but because I was a "high functioning" drug addict I could keep up a fortunate facade and pass myself off as being no worse off than any other typical teenager so I never really got the help I needed. I don't know for sure, It may of been that the only person I was really fooling was myself. Regardless, being outwardly fortunate didn't turn out to be so lucky for me.

If our afflictions are obvious to everyone including ourselves and we're forced to confront them in such a way that we loose our illusion of somehow being the only ones who need help or that asking for help is something shameful or embarrassing we may not appear to be very lucky, but we almost always get the help we need. Could it be that one of Satan's most common deceptions is to convince us that we're different or separate from other people? That we're much better off to stay safe and hidden on our home base of "self" and not reach out a hand to others to help or be helped by. It's pretty basic strategy to use camouflage to hide what we don't want to be seen, to "divide and conquer", or to suggest the presence of a much larger and more powerful military in order to deceive.

I'm not one of the lucky ones, but I am fortunate that the circumstances of my life have brought me to a place where all of my problems are in plain sight. You see, my Heavenly Father knows all about my situation too, and I believe He wants to use it to show Himself faithful in His own time and way. I know that It may get worse before it gets better, but I can already see things falling into place for God to show His grace through me to lots and lots of people and not only will that make everything I've been through much more than worth it!

Who needs luck?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I can't believe it!


My father was married six or seven times, I'm not sure exactly I lost interest after number four or five. Obviously my father wasn't good at maintaining relationships but one thing that he learned well was how to end them. I recall having a conversation with him on the subject, he shared with me his too often tested criteria for deciding when to end a relationship. He told me, "Once you get to the point that you say to yourself, That "expletive", I can't believe she did that, it's over!" My father went on to say that he couldn't understand being friends with an "ex" either, his feeling was that if you could tolerate them at all then you probably should've just stayed together. My father had some serious boundary issues with women, by giving them everything they wanted he would eventually create this "monster" who then began to value only what he could provide for them. It was his way of being, to each woman he was with, the best thing that had ever happened to them. When you've been married several times you feel the need to distinguish yourself with your partner in some way, as if to say "Remember me, I took you on that vacation to Florida, or I bought you that furniture you always wanted that your ex didn't". Yes, it was all sweetness and light until one day, or more likely after many days, he came to an always painful realization that he had been used again, the first clue to this is when people quit asking you for stuff and just start helping themselves to whatever you've got without so much as a thank you.


In my life I too have had relationships of all types that I've suffered under or that have "used" me. And while I certainly am not condoning how my father handled his relationships or his not taking responsibility for fostering his own problems, I have been able to use his technique to rid myself of things in my life that required nothing short of change on a wholesale level. When we come to see how sin has "quit asking our permission" and has taken control of our lives, or how it's not only affecting us but also the people around us we all may need to have an "I can't believe it" moment. If I did believe it, I would be extremely upset with whoever or whatever is responsible for the stuff that's going on including myself. Dealing with my own complicity should be my first move, accepting my responsibility and understanding that when I find myself in a hole, in order to get out the first thing I must do is stop digging...and then, I can focus on my extraction! Like it or not, we all have a relationship with sin in our lives. For most of us, it's lost it's pretense of being our "friend" or the courtesy of asking our permission that it once had and has shown itself to be the cruel taskmaster it really is.

Okay, it's time to use the lessons my father taught me!

My heavenly Father is in control, and Satan can't do anything that God doesn't allow him to do so naturally I have to wonder why a loving Father would allow death,sickness,or tragedy to occur. This is my conclusion, how we react in our free will to these circumstances determines who is glorified through them. If we allow them to paralyze us with fear and steal our joy in life Satan has made a profit off of us, but if we decide that what God said in His word was absolutely true and that "I CAN believe it" and decide that we've simply had enough we can decide to rise up and turn on our enemy and command it to leave. I didn't say ask it nicely and patiently wait for a response...I'm talking about serving it with the divorce papers baby! You are outta here! and your little band of demons too! When we finally decide that we've had it with Satan's game plan to kill, steal, and destroy and get mad enough to MOVE we can start by saying, "Satan, you are done messing with me, my friends, my family, and I'm making a stand right here! Oh, and I also want everything you've stolen from me back right NOW!" guess what? We discover that through Christ we're infinity more powerful than him and when we use that power God is glorified by it!

I think God is up in heaven looking down saying,

"Somebody please pick up that baseball bat and knock that devil into the next millennium!"

When any of us do that I think He smiles, and says "THAT'S MY CHILD!"

From as far back as I can remember, to this very minute, I have loved my father. I loved him with a love that couldn't see his many short comings and failures. I just simply didn't know how NOT to love him. There were also times as a young man when I dis-respected and abused our relationship, but it was during those times when I found out how much he loved me!

Our Heavenly Father has no short comings or failures, His love for us is unconditional, it would be contrary to His nature to not love each and every one of us no matter what we may do! He's also seeking to have a relationship with us but unlike my father, He's not going to just give us everything we want and then get mad when we don't love Him back!

If by chance you're someone reading this who feels as though they've never personally experienced unconditional love then this is for you. If you're struggling today in your life with any health problems, physical or emotional, or experiencing financial hardship's, please listen...perhaps you are wondering, "why am I here" or just know in your heart that your current situation cannot be all that life's about? (you're right, it's not!) Then your day has come! In the very face of the spirits of doubt that may be surfacing in your mind right now as you read this, begin by thanking God for continuing to love you through all of your rebellion against Him and ask for His forgiveness. In the midst of your affliction, cry out to Him as Abba Father in your time of need. We might be tempted to ask for His help but It's going to be much easier to fix your problems if you will simply lay them at His feet. Ask Him for His strength and His courage to be continuously victorious in your life, and for His Holy Spirit to guide you in all things. We also need wisdom to see the snares that the enemy sets for us to step into everyday. It takes plenty of light to see them, and the experience of someone who knows what it's like to walk in our shoes, and that's who Jesus is! I sincerely ask that you to do what I've just suggested with an open heart and let His love be poured out on you! And then you too can say "I can't believe it!" except that this time it'll be because of the great blessing He has given you!

Ephesians 1:2-10

2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Knowing and Growing!

Just about everybody knows that one of the hardest things to do in this life is to be objective or to see yourself and who you are with honesty. To understand yourself as others do, to see the things they see that our own "too close up" perspective prevents us from seeing. If for just one day we could read peoples thoughts that we interact would it affect us?

Of course we're no different, everyday as we interact with others we withhold our observations. We think of it as a "kindness" we're extending not to tell them about some deal breaking aspect of their personality, we just smile politely and let it go, we'd rather not broach the topic at all based on our own "assumption of futility." There's always the risk that sharing our observations with them might open us up to some unwanted emotional reaction or foist us into the role of quasi-therapist based on the nature and severity of their observed behavior or personality quirk. The reasons not to engage people are abundant and valid, however it's often through this personal scrutiny by others that we have the opportunity to learn some very important things about ourselves. It's the stuff that we're too thick headed to pick up from the subtle hints that people drop about for us.

The realization of our own ignorance is always painful, and in my experience few things have the same power to motivate me to change as much as feeling as if I'm somehow the "Last to know".

If we could know, or see, exactly who and what we are, and know the truth about the hindrances that keep us from experiencing all the many blessings God has for us here in this world I think you'd see a stampede of people heading for the same place! I don't think that any of us would be able to get to a church altar fast enough or request nearly enough people to join us in praying for our deliverance from "whatever this thing is that's on our back".

That I might be enabled to be who God has purposed me to be,the joyful, healthful, bountiful, wonderful, totally fulfilled me!

2 Peter 1:3
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

The all important first step we take in truth is realizing our need for a Savior. We start by being convicted by The Holy Spirit of our sinfulness and having a sincere desire to repent and turn from our rebellion back toward God! We accept Christ's sacrifice as being for us then we can be "born again". Then we can begin to grow spiritually in a new relationship "In Christ" based on His atoning blood and the grace which was shown to us that we might wear His breastplate of righteousness.

Psalm 5:12
For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

Ephesians 6:11-13
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

If we could see our tormentor, our oppressor, in the light of Gods glory, for what he truly is, I think we'd all be astonished, not only that we allowed this abuse to go on for so long but that he was able to so deceive us and mankind as a whole at all.

The prophet Isaiah had this to say regarding our enemy Satan...

Isaiah 14:16
“ Those who see you will gaze at you,
And consider you, saying:

‘ Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,

I once saw a Tom and Jerry cartoon where Jerry stood in front of a flashlight behind a sheet to cast an imposing shadow so that Tom would be frightened of him...It was funny!

But are we just as easily frightened by our enemy who has no real power over us other than what we give him?

His only real power is in the deceptions he's able to convince us to believe!

I can tell you, that when the lights finally come up someday, and they will... I definitely don't want to be found cowering in fear there in front of a mouse behind a sheet! Like I said before, I hate being the "last to know".

I want to KNOW! Not just to keep from looking stupid..

But so that I can GROW! in all of the ways that please my Heavenly Father...


What about YOU? Would you like to start all over with a clean slate and a new life free from fear and lack and hopelessness? If you're sick of the scare tactics and the manipulation that Satan is using against you then in the name of Jesus walk up and pull down that sheet and see for yourself what's had you down, and sick, and depressed and anxious and then...

give him the boot!
It's HIGH time SATAN, that you know you're not welcome here anymore!

Jesus is the Lord over my life and I've been empowered by Him

to cast you out in HIS name!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Life Sentence

I don't think I'll get an argument from anyone that we aren't living in "troubled times". Whats that you say? That it's all about money and that rich people have it made...That must be why celebrities are so happy then, they're rich and famous! I felt so badly today when I heard about Patrick Swayze's death. And while of course I don't know him personally, the few times I've seen him and his wife Lisa together on television I could see how much in love they appeared to be.
Photo credit Alan Light
I live pretty far off of the beaten track, my yard is a community of animals! Dogs, cats, chickens, and a few others that are thankfully only visitors like the skunks. Among all of those animals I have my favorites. I have a kitten who gives me such enjoyment to watch him play that he's found favor in my eye's.

I feed him before I feed any of the others, I let him in the house, I look after his needs especially among all of the others.
Yesterday, one of my other cats gave birth to three kittens and it appears as though she has abandoned them. I feel badly about their inevitable death but at the same time I can't justify an intervention on my part because I already have too many cats to feed. I guess that may seem cold hearted, but I just really can't take on that commitment.

I also have a chicken that likes to jump up onto the window sill by where I write and boldly ask me for food in her own way. To me, there's something about any created thing that has the courage to overcome it's fears and stand up in a world it has very little understanding of to earnestly seek the fulfillment of it's individual needs. I'm compelled to feed her simply because she's come to the right place and has asked me...I'll most generally feed that chicken whenever she does.
I don't know what if anything all of these stories have in common. I wondered if maybe they were some kind of parable explaining our lives or how God looks at us. Perhaps this, that death truly is the great equalizer, and life is for those who truly live it, for those who will ask for what they need or want from whomever or whatever they feel is able to provide it.
All of us are here under a sentence, unfortunately its not a life sentence. I hate to spoil all of the cute animal stories and celebrity news but I've got bills to pay. Did you know that the wages of sin is still death? And that all of mankind is under the curse of that death sentence because of our sin?
Whoa,whoa, whoa, right there Alton...Easy killer, you kind of hit me over the head with that! I mean, one minute I'm sittin here reading your blog about your pets and that dirty dancin guy n' the next minute you're telling me that I'm cursed and that I'm gonna die...I suppose next you'll also tell me that after I die, I'm going to go to...that place! won't you?
I mean, what about all of that "God is love" stuff ?
You know, that's what I don't get about the whole "God thing", He puts us here in this world and tells us how much He loves us, but what does it get us? sometimes it gets us abandoned to die like those kittens! Or we end up feeling that we're not Gods favorite because otherwise He would've blessed us like He does others. This is a tough world that's full of hurt and pain! And God has His nose all out of joint because we're "sinners" give me a break...
Who does He think He is? oh, that's right He is God. Okay, wait a minute...So what your tryin' to tell me is that just because He created everything in the whole universe, that He has the right to make all of the rules for everybody? I understand that He's God and all but why can't He just make a place for all of His children and a different place for everyone else where they don't have to follow His rules? Yeah, I do remember we sort of covered that already...that's the other place, that by refusing to choose what Christ did on the cross as being "for me personally and my sin's" that people will go to on account of the wages of our sin still having to be paid by someone. Hmmm, It's starting to make more sense to me but I read it in the Bible where it says that God is no "respecter of persons", but it's kind of like that cat story you told, doesn't God play favorites? I mean we all know that the Jewish people are "His People" It's almost like it's not a level playing field or like the rest of us don't have the same opportunity to be blessed because they're always up in the window gettin' fed just like that chicken, So He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? I guess that makes sense too, Kinda like that chose him because he was joyfully blessed by what you had already provided for him instead of just hanging around waiting on the next meal to be provided like the rest.
He's a Holy Sovereign God, whose judgments are just and whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours. He has a personality and feelings, and He responds to people who reach out to Him in pain because He first reached out to each of us through the unthinkable sacrifice of His own Son here in this brutal and barbaric world so that you and I might have a hope of an eternity other than the "unthinkable" one we would be facing otherwise. Would you be so bound by our enemy here in this world and by your pride, your "intellect", or by fear that you wouldn't accept His offer of salvation? The ramifications of this one choice will echo in your mind through eternity weather it's yea,or nay! You had the opportunity to respond either way, to choose a death sentence...OR
A Life Sentence...(need a minute?)

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Jesus' Name

Who hasn't called out Jesus' name in the midst of some threatening circumstance? I've heard people who by their own admission weren't believers let it slip when they were frightened or startled. I've also noticed it's His name that people most commonly use to announce their frustrations over someone or something they feel disgusted if to say "Lord, please deliver me from the vexation of this"


People trade on His name and spend it like a currency to convey the justness and importance of their petitions to others or to make a dramatic point. I've seen it used manipulatively at times to engage the emotions or conscience like a "hotline" to peoples' hearts. In that moment, nobody denies it's effect or challenges it's power even if they openly doubt His existence. why is that?

I think that it's because on some deep level of our consciousness there's an acute awareness of exactly who Jesus is and just how powerful His name is!

James 2:19

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

I'm pretty sure I've felt that trembling inside of me before!

I'm not advocating taking the Lords name in vain, quite the contrary. What I am saying is that we should use the authority it holds for exactly what it was intended because of all that Jesus did to give us that power and authority over sin, sickness and death!

"In His Name"...

John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Luke 9

1Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.


What might happen if more Christians were to approach their own circumstances and those of others wielding His name with the same boldness and authority as the apostles did. Not vainly, but with the same familiar sincerity some unbelievers seem to have. If we could, after hearing of some needful or hopelessly unfortunate situation pause for a moment of reflection, and then feeling no hesitation or doubt, place the matter in Gods hands by praying over it in Jesus' name!

I'd love to find out!

Of course many of us do some or all of those things already. We'll claim the blood and the authority given us through Christ Jesus faster than some can say,

"No thank you, I really don't believe in all of that hoo-doo mumbo-jumbo"!

I think too many Christians are scared to step out and claim the authority we have as heirs of Christ. It's not something that's taught in a lot of church's, maybe because most Christians are too spiritually immature and they're afraid that if they do they'll end up with a "wildfire" on their hands of people doing all sorts of off the wall stuff "In Jesus' Name'...

Better a wildfire than no fire.

2 Timothy 3:5

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

There's great power in Jesus' name! As Christians we all have a responsibility to understand that and to respect the power of His name and definitely not take it in vain! I also feel as though it's a privilege to share Christ with people and to act as His ambassador to "whosoever" will listen to me. As it was with the disciples, I don't feel as though our primary mandate is to perform miracles of healing but instead to preach the kingdom of God. Neither do I feel that the time of miracles is past or that we shouldn't always pray for peoples' healings and deliverance's. It was clear to Jesus that He couldn't perform any miracles in Nazareth because of the doubt of the people there which supports the idea of our primary function being to "free the captives" of sin first. When we pray in Jesus' name, we're asking for His will to be done in the people or circumstances we're praying for. But The Lord isn't going to violate anybodies freewill either! That's The commission, to show people the grace and love that's not only being offered to them by God for eternity, but that's all around us everyday. To tell people of Gods great desire for them to come to know Him! While we're doing this, we're called to lay hands on the sick and see them healed, and to not hesitate to take authority over demons wherever we find them, all of these things we're called to do...

In Jesus' Name!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When I Pray

In the mid nineties a book was published entitled "Conversations With God". I thought the title was interesting and I heard great things about it so I bought it. And although I wouldn't recommend the book for various reasons heretical piece of trash I'm still intrigued by it's title. Having a conversation with God sounds so much more casual that prayer, and for many "too busy" people it's a good fit. It's our inner dialogue when we're asking for direction in our lives or when we need answers. It can be us turning to God in sudden desperation and knowing that He's there. Prayer is a conversation with God, one in which we do most of the talking... although I have heard His voice speak to me before but that's a whole other story. I've read in other places that prayer is the lifting up of our desires to God and hoping that they match His, and I can see the truth of that. To many, prayer most commonly happens in what we think of as being the traditional way, In a church or in a private place, heads bowed and on their knee's. How we choose to relate to God is a personal thing to each of us, but regardless of how it happens we're called to...
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

So what is prayer and how can we do it without ceasing?
Isn't it all of those things I mentioned and so much more?
Proverbs 3:6
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
As Christians, It's at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with Christ. It's the acknowledgment of our brokenness and of what Christ's death on the cross means to us. It's how we are to live our lives in His presence, abiding in Him and He in us. When people ask me if God is real, or how do I know He loves me I often tell them "Why don't you just ask Him?"... "Start a conversation with Him and see where it goes!"
Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
We can pray in the Spirit, speak in tongues, or with the tongues of man and of angel's. Prophesy in His name, cast out demons or call Him Lord, Lord! We can worship on Sunday, or Thursday, or even on alternating Tuesdays...

But it's only what's in our hearts that matters to God!
I've written this to myself and maybe to other people who may feel somewhat discouraged at times about their prayer life. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the people and things that really need to be prayed over in my life. At one point I was carrying a note pad in my back pocket to write down my prayer requests. I stopped because it was a "hassle"...oh boy, I have no defence for that! I know that our enemy is clever, and that he's always looking to lay down some ground work so that at some point we might think,
" How could you NOT carry a note pad around in your pocket, don't you care? You're a "bad Christian" lol...or this one, "I'm just no good at this, I can't pray like so and so, it's so beautiful when they pray!", This goes for bible reading as well, "I just fall asleep when I try to pray at night, whats the use?"
Prayer is an expression of the heart... We can use it to praise God! We can use it to lift up others into the presence of God, or to tell God the details of whats going on with us and to ask how we can bring our lives more into line with His will. I think whats critical is that we talk to God about whats most important to each of us, whatever that might be! That we do acknowledge Him in all of our ways and seek His council as to our lives. I've "prayed" in cars, and I've prayed for cars! I've whispered a quiet word and I've screamed at the top of my lungs! Most of the time I wake up and drift off to sleep in "prayer" thinking about how to live in Gods purpose more fully,or how to know him more intimately and serve Him more effectively. I know that if I had only "prayed" in one way I would've never been able to "pray without ceasing." I don't think that God wants us to view prayer as a task that we must perform, or as an empty ritual thats done solely for the approval of others who may see or hear us. I don't think He's impressed with anybodies great oratorical skills or commanding "King James Version" vocabulary. My problem is that I tend to become "religious" about prayer and that mostly has the effect of taking all of the fun out of it. What gives our prayers "umpfh" is the faith that's behind them. I like to think of faith as being a conduit between us and God through which all bussiness is done.
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Giftings


James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I believe that everyone comes into this world with a gift to share that was given to them by God. When I think of someone who's "gifted" I think of people who are very intelligent, or who are obviously talented in some way. What I find interesting about the idea of gifts is what they all have in common, whether you're an artist a mathematician, or just have the "gift of gab" we're fascinated by them because they're all an expression of the perfection of God. Knowing what our spiritual giftings are can take time to understand, or some just know it all at once! I don't think that knowing what our giftings are represents the greatest challenge to people, the challenge is in how we use them.

Romans 11:29
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

The gifts that God gives us are ours to do with as we wish, of course that doesn't mean that everyone uses their gifts to honor God. Some intellectually gifted people become enamored with their gift, and make a considerable effort to convince the world that they alone are to be glorified through it. They make a god out of "intelligentsia" or the acquiring and expression of knowledge which has the effect of distinguishing their separateness from other people. In my opinion, the sign of real intelligence is to understand how little we actually do know and to have a perspective which can conceive of how small the differences really are between ourselves and those who we may see as somehow less intelligent.

Speaking of being "glorified" through our gifts, I want to pose a question or a scenario for you to consider...

Our relationship with God the Father is often explained or illustrated by using examples of our earthly familial relationships. I came across this example several years ago and it's stuck with me ever since...Imagine a young boy who has been invited to build a car to run in a race, he approaches his father with the idea and together they build this car. Of course the father is the one who suggests the design of the body and the one who advises the boy to use graphite on the axles to minimize drag. He also encourages the boy to paint the car his favorite color and to pick out the number he puts on it. On the day of the race the father goes with him, and when the boy's car wins the race he steps forward to accept the trophy. As the father, we want our children to have this moment of pride over whats been accomplished...after all, they did play a role in it! But when the child received the trophy he said "I thank you for this recognition, I want to acknowledge all the competitors here today who also worked very hard on their cars and who on another day perhaps might've beaten me, but today is mine and I shall cherish it. None of my accomplishments here today would've been possible had it not been for one special person in my life, that person is my father!" And the father smiled even wider as he wiped away a tear of pride over some greater good that was established by this race, never once feeling slighted by his son's moment of pride.

Never let being afraid of what will happen stop you from using your giftings, even if you're afraid that you'll be too puffed up with pride as a result...Never hold back your giftings because you aren't able to control how others react to them...Our enemy has this whole world bound up and the only thing that has the power to break those strongholds is the releasing of our giftings for others to see. I want everything God has for me, I want to let His light shine through my giftings, and I'm not going to let the enemy lie to me and tell me that I shouldn't do it because I may not be able to "handle it" or because of the approval of other's!

Romans 9:16

It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

WOW! The big lie is that it 's US! Satan can always count on mans ego...

All we're doing is setting the car on the track and letting go of it!

The work has already been done FOR US!

It really gives a new perspective to the phrase,

"What would you allow God to do through you, if you knew that HE couldn't fail?"

This is powerful stuff, and our enemy will fight you tooth and nail to keep you from acting in your giftings because he knows how powerful a person who knows who he is IN CHRIST is, he saw what happened that day in Jerusalem when Pentecost broke out and the power of Gods Holy Spirit was loosed and he really doesn't want to see anything like THAT happen again...but it's going to, and then the fullness of the Gentiles will come in, the age of the church will be over and Jesus will come back for His bride.

Too simple? yeah I know...even my 8yr old get's it!

Many have tried to make it complicated...Or even told outright lies about it

Sorry Mr. Paine, but there's no need for "The Age of Reason" not then, not now...

Mr. Dawkins,The real delusion is yours! It's not all about "Meme" or even you-you!

I serve an awesome God, and I'm proud to serve The King Of Kings and Lord Of Lords!

He's a God who loves to give us gifts, because He loves us so much!

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 2:38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 4:7
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

2 Timothy 1:6
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

1 Peter 4:10
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Let It Begin


If you should attend an American Christian Church it's likely that at some point you'll hear the term "Revival" used. In conjunction, you'll probably also hear the word "Evangelism" spoken as well. These words conjure up images of fiery preaching that takes place in a tent on a steamy summer night by a traveling minister of the Gospel. Or perhaps a man standing on a street corner passing out gospel tracts to passersby attempting to engage them in a one on one discussion as to the eternal destiny of their souls. Everyone who calls himself a Christian has been commissioned to "go out into the world and make disciples" by whatever means is available to them. To that end, Americans give enormous amounts of money to support our local church's and overseas missionaries. Some of us are also involved in various capacities within the church or are busy conducting outreach ministries. With all of these ongoing evangelistic endeavors I wonder why the church is still in need of revival. What I mean is, given the number of Christians in this country and all of the efforts being put forth by them I would think that we would have folks standing outside the doors of our church's waiting to get in but of course that's not the case. Instead, statistics I've seen say that for every church that opens one closes and that most of the new members added are simply people who became dissatisfied in some way with their previous church.

It's really not that difficult to get new people to come to your church. As I mentioned previously, Some congregations offer relevant targeted programs designed to be of interest to people outside the church to get them inside the doors. There are door to door invitations that are extended to people and even personal canvassing of one's own friends and extended circle of influence. All of these are good and you'll almost always get some response from them. And while you may see a bump in the attendance numbers for a few weeks too often that's about it! While this is perhaps an acceptable scenario if one is selling Amway or some other multilevel marketing product to people, I don't feel as though it's an outcome that we as the church should be satisfied with.

Being able to keep what you have is a critical principle of heating and cooling that's accomplished by using insulation, we can get all of the people we want into the church but without having Jesus to meet them and keep them there we're wasting our time! If we're NOT living in victory and demonstrating to them a genuine and powerful life changing faith empowered by His Holy Spirit or offering them a hope that's beyond this life and showing them the love that's been shown to us then exactly what do we have to offer them? If people who come to our church's can't see Jesus in us then we have a much bigger problem on our hands than how to fill our sanctuaries. If weve not crucified our flesh or died to our"selves" then that's about all they'll see is a bunch of hypocrites! The devil will make sure of that...

I believe that we as the church have got to put our own spiritual house in order if we truly want to be the vessel God uses to bring revival in our nation! It's our personal choice to make whether we want to be the church of Laodacea or the church of Philadelphia, I say personal because each of us is a walking talking "church of something" we're all "selling what we're living"! I say "choice" because God gave all of us a free will, and we're free to decide which area's we do and don't give over to God. We each must individually choose to make Jesus Lord over everything in our lives! The alternative is to presume that the Holy Spirit is going to cohabitate with a bunch of dirty stinking rotten sin that we're still holding onto in our lives...or even worse, that He's unable or unwilling to deliver us from it... which is a lie straight out of the pit of hell!

That's living in defeat, not victory! We're called to Holiness which is the highest expression of love toward Jesus,Others and Yourselves! It's also the greatest aversion to everything which isn't holy, that means that we as individuals should have no tolerance for any form of sin in our lives! It is to be rooted out and dealt with. No exceptions, no blaming or finger pointing at each other, no excuses as to why we just can't do that or why "That stuff just happens" ...We've been empowered by the blood of Christ to be that Holy, spotless, bride of Christ and we're either going to pick that up and run with it or we're going to let the Devil deceive us into "Not being so unrealistic" or perhaps he'll convince us that by doing that we'll be "over our heads" and might find ourselves in places we've never been that are scary! Oh they're scary all right, but not to us! they are however terrifying to the demons we're harboring and if you want to see the devil squirm and panic build an altar in your home and then use it! Keep a prayer log of things you've prayed for and the answers you've gotten, or how about getting rid of that "portal of sin" known as a television!!! OOOHHHH! you really hate me now! You choose! blessings or curses, excuses or victories, ourselves or Jesus, our will or the Fathers, We've been deceived into believing that we can have both by the liar and we most certainly...cannot.

More than anything, I want to truly be crucified with Christ, to be a new creation that the Holy Spirit would find willing, empty and ready to be filled, So let it begin with my surrender!

I can't change anybody, but I believe that if I die to myself and am filled with the Spirit then ALL things become possible with Christ!

John 12:32

"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

He said that by His death, which happened when they lifted Him up on a cross after nailing Him to it...that all men would be drawn unto Him.


You want a revival so great that you won't believe it? Do you want to see a move of the Spirit like what happened at Pentecost? I'm looking for it to happen at least one more time before He returns for His church, and I believe that when it does happen it's going to stun and bewilder the entire world! I want to work that harvest, and even though it's late in the day I'm signing on...Will you come too?

This is my first move!

Father God,

I humbly ask your forgiveness for my pridefulness,my arrogance, and for all of the ways that I have fallen short and sinned against you. Father, search my heart! I ask that you would send your spirit again to convict me of all the sin in my life that has to go. Even though I'm so unworthy of it my desire is to be a surrendered vessel filled with your Holy Spirit. To be empowered to victory over those sins by the atoning blood of my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus who was crucified,died, and rose on the third day. Father, I'm so thankful that you sent your son that I might receive His righteousness and be restored In Christ to a right relationship with You. Help us as your children to be obedient that we might be worthy of your calling and to call you Father God.

Father we ask these things in the name of Jesus!


In All Things (give thanks)


To me, one of the great things about reaching the stage of life I'm at now is my ability to look back at my life with a much kinder perspective than I had before. Which also allows me to see my present circumstances in a more positive way. I've heard the term "experience" described as "the ability to recognize your mistakes when you repeat them"... Of course that's not the ideal, but it is true enough to be humorous so I thought I'd throw it in,well... it seemed funny when I read it on a sugar packet.

I was browsing through some profiles on Facebook the other day and I got off into my High School graduating class. I found so many people that I used to know, people that I haven't seen in over 30 years! One thing that I noticed was that a large part of them are still friends (at least on facebook) with a lot of the same people. This sort of hit me hard,wondering why I'm the "Lone Ranger is not a new issue with me but I tried to see it with "fresh eyes" and I was surprised by what I saw. It's true that I have some pretty substantial intimacy issues with specific people who are close to me and I understand why. Ironically, I'm also a very open,vulnerable, person who's greatest love in life is talking to people who are struggling with the same issues I've dealt with and that I still grapple with today, although to a much lesser extent than I did at one time, which is where the "giving thanks" part begins...

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (King James Version)

3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

I'm really thankful, for all of the years I spent wondering what was wrong with me, and wondering why I didn't seem to have whatever it was that other people around me did. I understand what it means to be alone and why people make some of the most irrational choices that they do to "fix this" because I made a bunch of them myself...I don't have to ask or wonder,

"What were you thinking?" I know...

I'm at least a country mile ahead of people who don't know when it comes to helping people to feel as though it's not pointless telling me about their feelings. I once heard a therapist in a group session tell someone that it wasn't necessary for him to throw battery acid in his eye's to know it hurt's...the person he was talking to got up and walked out of the room!

I just don't think the therapist knew how much it hurt, or he would've never said that.

(can I still bill him for the whole hour?)

I'm not entirely sure why I wrote this, I woke up the other morning with the title and first sentence stuck in my head. When that happens, I start writing... I was hoping that I'd be able to uncover some semi-profound meaning in all of this, tie a bow on it and hand it to you to ponder over for a few introspective minutes.

Here's my best attempt at that...

In life, we're told over and over that "poop happens" and boy does it! That you just have to feel like poop about it for a while, and then if you're capable of it you bury it in the backyard of your subconscious so that you can enjoy some erstwhile happiness and prepare yourself for the next event. Which has the effect of making you anxious about the future while you long for the past before the poop started happening...meanwhile, today is a bust!

That doesn't sound too good, it reminds me of the song "Born in the USA" by "the Boss" Bruce Springsteen, who's lament is that you,

"End up like a dog that's been beat too much till you spend half your life just a coverin' up now"

I remember hearing that song when it first came out, When he sang this line I used to look around to see if anyone was looking at me! It's okay, you can laugh...I am, now.

As the years grinded by a singular thought perpetually presented itself to my consciousness.

"When does the poop STOP happening!?"

I mean, I'm just exhausted with all of this covering up! There are also a myriad of complications involved with it such as having it to come uncovered at a later and inconvenient time. Or even reaching the point that I no longer even cared if I covered it up and how embarrassing that can be....(and the odor, who can bear that?)

I needed an answer, a solution, a one size fits all excuse perhaps? Sure, that's what "poop happens" was supposed to be, but it was merely a quip, a touch of brevity to make me laugh, and to sometimes keep me from crying out loud.

I dabbled in psychology, I thought surely the real answer would be easily found there and it was, at least part of it was anyway. I learned that our feelings are a product of our thoughts, (which we choose by the way) and that our thoughts are a direct result of our perceptions of the events and circumstances of our lives!

EUREKA! Change your perceptions and you'll change how you feel.

Sweet mystery of life at last I've found you!

Only just a few glitches here...

Firstly: It's a long process to retrain your mind to think differently, it's hard work at times especially without help. I've been working at it for 15yrs so far!

Secondly: The key to long term motivation is love. Why would I do all of this work? for me? wouldn't it just be easier to just go back to "poop happens"? You've got to have a real unconditional love for yourself to see this through! It's the essence of true self esteem.

Thirdly: Here's a doozy for you, you need the unconditional love, but in the mindset of this world you can't really love yourself unconditionally until you've become what you'll become after you get the love! Talk about a "Circle Jerk"!

Modern psychology says, "Fake it till you make it" but you never do "make it" just get better at faking it!

Gods word says "Believe it till you see it" the difference is in who/what you believe in, and in the truth about who/what "they/it" are/is.

I know it may seem complicated and confusing, you may even think I'm an idiot...

That's okay, because as a reward for reading all of this I'm going to tell you what I believe is the simple answer to this conundrum!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (King James Version)

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Romans 12:2 (King James Version)

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 8:28 (King James Version)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9 (King James Version)

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

My belief in Gods word means a lot of wonderful things to me, not the least of which is that there is no more "poop" that happens! Okay, so that problem is solved...

So, When does poop stop happening? When the grace of God happens!

Thats a change of perception I can get right with!

When we can find the grace within ourselves to lay down our will and pray as Christ did in the garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:42 (King James Version)

42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Lets deal with the love/self esteem issue while we're at it,

John 3:16 (King James Version)

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Of course "whosoever" includes you, and since there's no asterisk next to it or any fine print attached where the conditions are explained it's unconditional! And brother, If knowing that the omnipotent God who created the universe and the fullness thereof loves you isn't something you can hang your hat on everyday then in my opinion you really don't believe it! If you did, you'd know just how precious you are to God...self esteem? brother puuullleeezzzee! you're rootin around here in the world trying to find some bogus reason to feel good about yourself when you've got the only real reason to staring you in the face?

That's freewill for you, and what happens to it when it's clouded by the deceptions which are brought to us to accept as truth by our enemy Satan.

This is one of the longest blogs I've ever written, so if you're still reading then perhaps I must of done something right. It's also gratifying to me that it's the longest because it's basically everything I know, that I've learned, or been taught, that in my estimation is of any value at all.