Getting the Hindrances Out of your life

Felsengruppe Externsteine im Teutoburger Wald bei Horn-Bad Meinberg, Nordrhein-WestfalenEager to get on the way, we loaded the car and began our journey. The crisp Sunday morning couldn’t have been any more perfect. We were scheduled to minister in a church on the south side of Chicago that morning. So we got an early start for the trip from Milwaukee, to insure plenty of time to get there.

We had already gone a good distance when all of a sudden there was a loud noise followed by a lot of shaking. We pulled over to the side of the road only to find the tire was shredded to pieces. Surprisingly, it only took a few minutes to grab the spare and get back in the car heading for Chicago. This little setback seemed only to confirm to us that God had great plans in store for the meeting ahead.

Halfway to our destination, another loud noise came from the tire that I had just changed twenty miles earlier. The car began to shake in the same manner it did earlier. Once again, I pulled off the road and took a look at the tire, finding that it was also flat and ripped to shreds. Knowing that we were all out of spare tires, I began to get a little worked up and agitated. Yet, we began to feel more than ever that it was God’s will for us to be at that meeting. Even though it now looked as if something was hindering us. We began to be stirred up in our faith and began asking the Lord to move in the meeting. Before I could finish the prayer, a car pulled in behind us to help. To Continue reading

It might look good, but don’t drink the Kool-Aid

629461691Remember how you would tell your parents that all your friends are doing something so why can’t you do it? And your parents would sternly say as they looked at you, “If they were jumping off the cliff does that mean you should do it?” Even if you didn’t like when their answer was in the form of a question, it actually made sense. Didn’t it?

To many people just go along with the crowd uncontested, believing that numbers confirm a right moral action. When in fact, that can be a very dangerous way of choosing your course in life. God has given us His written word to follow so not to


The Bible instructs us to do what’s right even if it goes against the majority.  (tweet)


get distracted. In Prov. 14:12 it says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” NKJV When a man’s ways go outside God’s Word it will lead him down a path ending in destruction.

Our nation was shocked at the unfolding of the events in northwest Guyana on November 18, 1978, where 918 people died in the settlement of Jonestown under the leadership of Jim Jones. The outlandish deception of so many people, including children and adults alike sent a fear of mind control to everyone who heard the news. Soon after the murder of a United States Congressman and four others, who had came to investigate accusations from family members of individuals being held against


Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t make it right   (tweet)


their own will. These murders spawned what has been viewed as a mass suicide or as many voices say, including Jonestown survivors as a “mass murder”. This deceptive and murderous act was clothed in a religious tone thinking there was a better life awaiting them if they drank the kool-aid laced with cyanide poisoning.

The evidence is strong that not only were these people coerced, but also many were forced to drink the kool-aid, resulting in over 900 lives dying. This shocking incident of deception and control birthed the saying, “don’t drink the kool-aid” which means to not let anyone deceive you. Yet this phrase shouldn’t be tagged to any authentic move of God. The scripture in 1 Pet. 5:8-9, exhorts us to be alert and Continue reading

Praising God In the Midst of Chaos!

108176885Being beaten, mistreated and unjustly thrown in the inner prison. Paul and Silas began to hold a praise and worship service in the midst of their dirty depressing accommodations. I am not sure that’s the response most people would have in these chaotic circumstances. Being wrongly accused and treated in such a despicable manner, I think most people would be crying with anguish, threaten to sue somebody or even change their occupation. But to have a devoted worship set in the midst of such trouble blows my mind! When things are crashing around us its usually not the time for worshipping our Lord, or is it?

In this story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16:23-35, we are given some real insight for how we should respond in seasons of turmoil and trouble in our lives. They had all the elements for a good blues song or even country song. But chose to focus on their


Responding in seasons of turmoil and trouble with Praise to God!     (tweet)


“Lover of their Soul” their savior Jesus! That very act shows that they were completely confident in Jesus’ leadership in their lives. Now remember that they had been divinely directed to come where they were at in a night visitation. They ministered the Gospel to Lydia and her household who received them and the message open armed.

Anytime we are willing to be lead and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit the enemy will bring distraction and opposition, as we see in this story. Not all individuals want the message of the Gospel to interfere with their agendas. Some people are being directed and even for a time seem successful doing things completely contrary to the Continue reading

Seeing with Eyes of Faith

465104663Are you a person who knows how to pray with expectant faith? In James 5:16–18, Elijah was not superhuman, but was an ordinary person like us. The scripture goes on to say that he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and for three and a half years it did not rain, not even one drop. Then, in verse 18 it says, “He prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”

Looking at this story a little bit closer in I Kings 18:41–45 we see, Elijah told Ahab to go back to his kingdom to eat and drink, because in the Spirit there was “the sound of coming rain. Elijah knew what the will of the Lord was for that season, even though it had been a drought for three and a half years. He had been sent by the Lord to declare there was the sound of abundance of rain coming in the land. Now


We must pray with expectancy and confidence as we see with the eyes of faith, and hear with the ears of the Spirit.       (tweet)


, Elijah had just witnessed the power of God in magnificent force on top of Mount Carmel where God had accepted Elijah’s sacrifice before all Israel.

Now, Elijah is back on top of the mount after he had declared the coming of rain to the king. It says that he knelt down in a praying position and I believe, like it says in James, that he prayed with expectancy. Telling his servant to go and look for the coming rain clouds seven times. Six times the servant came back saying, “There is nothing in the sky.” But on the seventh Continue reading

Hang On Help is on the Way

a0048-000162Most people would agree that the Welsh Revival was a revival of prayer. Often the meetings would go for hours without any type of teaching or singing, only with prayer and travail. God used a young man named Evan Roberts as His instrument, who was a true intercessor and a man of prayer.

The goal for his first meetings was to train and raise up intercessors for the coming revival. In his book, Revival, Winkie Pratney says, “A prominent member of a Newport Baptist Church declared that Evan Roberts had been praying for thirteen months for that wave of revival to come. He related how the young man was turned out of his lodgings by the landlady who thought that, in his enthusiasm, he was possessed or somewhat mad. He spent hours preaching and praying in his room until the lady became afraid of him and asked him to leave.”

God is not a respecter of persons, but is looking for anyone who will yield to a life of persistent prayer. (tweet)

Evan was persistent in prayer, knowing the key to revival was through a life totally surrendered to the Holy Spirit. At times it would seem his passion and persistence in prayer was unnatural. Yet, when you look at the results of one hundred thousand souls saved in six months, you can only rejoice for his obedience. God is not a respecter of persons, but is looking for anyone who will yield to a life of persistent prayer.

As we read the parable in Luke 18:1–8, we see Jesus teaching that we should always pray and not lose heart. He uses the illustration of a widow going before the judge to get justice from her adversary. Due to the widow’s continual persistence, the judge chose to grant her plea. For she was wearing him down through her persistent pleading. In verse 7, the Lord said, “Shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” God wants us to understand that He will answer the righteous who cry out to him continually and persistently! That’s a promise! There is a blessing to those who will not lose heart! Continue reading

Determined to Reach the Summit

605374893Have you ever tried to climb a mountain and felt as though your heart was going to pound through your chest? If you’re like me the answer is more times than I’d like to remember. One of those times was when I was returning back to my parent’s ranch, which is settled in the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I had decided to climb one of the peaks that I had conquered many times growing up. Whether it was self-deception or a shortage of oxygen that made me think I was in shape enough to start


The ultimate prize of every believer is to achieve the prize of the upward call of God, through Christ Jesus.    (tweet)


out in a full stride, I will never know. I guess you could say I was feeling rambunctious and over confident until moments later everything within me began to scream for me to quit! The more air I needed the less I was getting. My heart was thumping in my chest so loud I thought it would explode.

I quickly had an epiphany of the possible health trauma and looming defeat of not accomplishing the summit, so I adjusted from a sprint mentality to a marathon mindset. Taking one step at a time while focusing on shorter distant goals in front of Continue reading

Run Your Race of Faith as to Win

164172477The moment the gun goes off the sprinters bolt out of their starting blocks with one thing in mind, to be the first to cross the finished line. Many times, the finish can come down to several runners pushing with everything they have to thrust themselves past the others to win by inches. Paul exhorts believers to run the race of faith with victory in mind, not to just participate but to win. (1Cor. 9: 24-26)

Yet, so many people get drawn into the catastrophe of just existing and not finishing strong. Many have lost their tenacious spirit to push for the prize of victory. The wind has been taken out of their sails by a society that says, “Everyone Gets a Trophy”. I totally understand that we need to encourage and mentor the younger by rewarding and giving praise. But we also need to encourage them that whether it is in the natural or spiritual, hard work, endurance and discipline will help them achieve the prize at the end of the race. No one likes pain and agony. But for the sake of finishing as a winner the athlete goes through discipline of getting rid of things that will hinder their success.

The Christian also must endure to finish their race. It takes work and much persistence to keep going forward and not quit. In Heb. 12:1-2, the author writes “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”.

As followers of Christ we often allow bad habits and wrong actions to trip us up through our journey just as the athlete. Paul exhorts the believers in Col 3:8-10 to, “put off the old man with his deeds”. In other words to get rid of any anger, lying, filthy language and the list goes on. We must be willing to cleanse ourselves of any conduct of our former lifestyle without Christ and anything that would hinder us from finishing the race.


                  Stop nonchalantly going through life and begin running your race of faith to win for the King.   (tweet)


Jesus Himself at the end of His earthly ministry prayed to the Father in John17:4-5 saying, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” We also see at the end of the apostle Paul’s life he wrote in 2 Tim 4:6-8 to young Timothy saying, “the time of my departure is at hand…I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul ended his race achieving the victory in which he says he would receive a reward by God. Let us have that same mind as we run our race of Faith.

It is an act of worship and brings glory to God when we live our life pleasing to Him. In 1 Cor. 9;25 it says, if those in a race run for a earthy prize how much more should we run to win a imperishable crown from Christ. In Rev. 4:10-11 we get a glimpse of the twenty-four elders that cast their crowns or rewards at the feet of Jesus and say, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor “. They give their heavenly rewards back to the Lord as worship to Him.

As believers when we finish our race victoriously it is evidence of our love and worship for God. So I encourage you to stop nonchalantly going through life and begin running your race of faith to win for the King.

Leave Room For Cream!

coffee and CreamAre you so busy you’re not sure if you are coming or going? Or are you like so many other people that are so schedule oriented that you don’t have any room for God to bless your day. One day as I was ordering some coffee at the shop down the street, I felt God speak to my heart. It was at the moment when I said, “leave room for cream” that as an electrical shock going through me, the realization of God’s heart struck me. His will is for us to leave room for God’s goodness in our day.

Like most coffee drinkers I want my coffee just the way I like it. I don’t want burnt coffee, plain coffee or some kind of coffee drink decorated with whip cream. I like my coffee with some creamer in it; therefore, I ask the server to leave room so I can add the good flavored cream to blend it just the way I enjoy it.

It’s the same in our daily lives; we must leave room for God to bless our day with His goodness.


Stop your rat race and make room for the Father’s good pleasure. (tweet)


Yet, in the busy society that we live in we so often get caught up rushing here and there all day long. We jump out of bed and rush to work, so we can finish and then rush to the kid’s soccer game, all to close our day exhausted and miserable. We are so occupied that we Continue reading

His Love Written in Blood!

165500423Like most young boys growing up we reenacted what we saw on our favorite TV shows. I loved the old westerns and therefore played with my brother and friends dressed in cowboy hats and chaps. I remember just as we saw on an episode, we would make a blood covenant by pricking our fingers and letting our blood mingle. Though we were just young boys playing and having fun, the message that we were reenacting was a realistic method of coming into a strong commitment and sealing it with your own blood. It implied a person was serious about making an agreement and becoming a faithful friend. In Deut 12:23, it says that the blood is the life in the body. Therefore spilling of blood in a covenant represented a commitment of your life.

Paul writes to the Christians in Rome letting them know that when we were all in the valley of hopelessness Christ intervened and rescued us. In verse eight of Rom 5, it reads, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” In other words when you and I were on our journey in life doing our own thing, not even desiring a change, God sent His Son to purchase and pluck us out of the bondage of sin. He illustrated His love for us through His actions.


Jesus’ ultimate gift to mankind… “His love written in His blood!”   (tweet)


Verse nine signifies we are saved and made just in the sight of God through the payment with the blood of Jesus. This was a fulfillment to the Levitical Law concerning the payment for sin with the shedding of the blood of animal sacrifice.

Let me remind you of a story that played out on January 26th, 2005 when a California train derailed. Sadly to say it killed 11 people and injured over 200. One of those 200 was a 44 year old man named John Phipps and his story which…. Continue reading

We Need the Good Stuff!

fresh water1

It was growing up in the mountains, that taught me how thirst quenching fresh water was after a long, hard day. The Spring thaw causes the snow water to roar down the mountain creek with thunderous sounds. The white water flows against the rocks and banks with such power and determination that it brings the water to a pure freshness. It’s good stuff!

People know when they taste the real thing verses some polluted water. In some places, you can hardly call the water refreshing. Jeremiah 18:14 says, Will a man leave the snow water of Lebanon, which comes from the rock of the field? Will the cold flowing waters be forsaken for strange waters?” In other words, will any person pass up the fresh crystal streams of Lebanon to drink from strange waters?

I remember when I was about 11-years-old, I went down behind my aunt’s house to a pond in the woods. It wasn’t until I jumped out of a small tree into the pond to catch a turtle that I realized pond water wasn’t as clean as the mountain streams I was used to.


The River of God brings life and revives whatever it touches. (tweet)


I was thrashing around in the muddy water trying to grab hold of the turtle. It was a wonder that I came up with its tail instead of the head, since it turned out to be a big snapping turtle. I will never forget my family’s expression when I came walking out of the woods covered from head to toe in stinky pond mud and the turtle in hand. I didn’t have time to smell Continue reading

Let’s Quit Talking about It and let’s Fish!

IMG_2453Fishing along the Little Salmon River was incredibly invigorating to say the least. I remember there were days growing up that my father would intentional get off work early and grab me to go down to the river and fish before dust. He seemed to know the right seasons and days that the fish would be biting the best. Thinking back I honestly have to say that those times of fishing were some my most joy filled memories.

Jesus told his disciples that if they would follow Him, He would make them fishers of men. Since Jesus was speaking to men that were professional fishermen it struck home. Jesus was connecting with them through their way of life and how they made a living. We read in Luke 5:6-7 where it says “…they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking“. The disciples after having a bad day of fishing in which they had not even


God wants to turn our vocation into our motivation for winning souls for the kingdom of God. (tweet)


 

caught anything, heeded to Jesus’ direction and went back out to fish again. The result was a net breaking catch. They went from catching nothing to catching so many fish that they needed help getting all of them to shore.

There is a saying that says, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at the office”. If that’s true then we should be constantly fishing. My grandmother always kept her tackle box, a chair and a fishing pole in her car trunk. Why? Because she wanted to be ready at any opportunity to fish that might arise along her daily journey. The scripture tells us in 2 Tim 4:2 to be ready at any season to share the gospel. God wants to turn our vocation into our motivation for winning souls for the kingdom of God.

I am so tired of talking about it, preaching about it, going to seminars about it. Continue reading

Taste Testing isn’t meant to Be a Free Lunch!

186849960One of the five senses that God has given us is taste! We use it to decide whether something is good and enjoyable. It determines whether we want more or not. It’s the way God created us. The scriptures use that illustration in terms of trying out God. In Ps 34:8 it says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” The Psalmist encourages us to taste of God’s goodness and see that He is good. The word taste means to “perceive” and “evaluate” by consumption. So as we consume God we will see how good God really is.


Some people just want to scratch their religious itch, but not commit to a lifestyle change.             (tweet)


Unfortunately, many times people don’t take the time to see how awesome He is. Reality is until we taste and move into trusting God to the point of applying Him to our life, we will never enjoy the full blessings.

            In this day and age taste testing is such a powerful method in marketing. We all have seen tasting stations in most food stores that we shop in where the individual is encouraged to try a product in hopes that they will like it and will then buy it. The down side to this is there are those that go to such stores as Sam’s club or Costco at lunch time and cruise through the different tasting tables once and even twice in hopes of making it their lunch. They have no intentions of wanting to taste and buy, but to taste everything again and again until they have satisfied the immediate need at hand, which cost them nothing. Those people want to scratch their itch but not commit to a lifestyle change.

As I think about it, some people treat God in the same manner. They want the blessings and the immediate gratification of His problem solving, but Continue reading

This Easter what will You do with Jesus…

IMG_2002Bright colored eggs and chocolate bunnies and yes, who can resist marsh-mellow chicks? The exorbitant marketing seems to reach out and not only entice but seems to put some captivating spell on every child around. Dreams of searching and finding the most Easter eggs invade our sleeping little ones. Parents are calculating the added expense of new dresses and bows and baskets for all those attending special services.

Like so many of Judeo-Christian holidays in the past, Easter has been high-jacked by commercialization and turned into a huge money machine. Now, I want to be clear, I enjoy and probably buy more chocolate eggs then most. But I am concerned we are doing a disservice to the next generation by confusing or not defining what we are celebrating.


If we are just playing a religious game of chocolate bunnies, eggs and Jesus, then the power of the Easter story has been deflated and we are miserable people (tweet)


Let me share a story that the late Ben Haden told through his religious broadcast that I think might help clarify what I am concerned about. “A group of young children were gathered in their Sunday school class. When the teacher asked, “Does anyone know what today is? One of the little girls excitedly held up her hand and said,” Yes, today is Palm Sunday.” The teacher exclaimed, “That’s wonderful. Now does anyone know what next Sunday is?” The same little girl held up her hand and said, “Yes, next Sunday is Easter.” Again the teacher said, “That’s fantastic. Now, does anyone know what makes next Sunday Easter?” The same little girl responded and said, “Yes, next Sunday is Easter because Jesus rose from the grave” and before the teacher could congratulate her, she kept on talking and said, “but if he sees his shadow — he has to go back in for seven weeks.” Well, as hysterical as that might seem, it is also very alarming!

We have allowed the commercialization of Easter to muddy the waters of the real meaning of Christ’s resurrection. Even with a warning from his wife, Pilot still became a pawn in the hands of the enemy not having a full grasp of what was going on concerning Jesus. The pressures from the manipulated crown made Pilot defend himself by saying, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Then the crowd answered, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matt 27:22)

In the same way the church is presented with a similar dilemma in the midst of our bunny and egg confusion. We must answer the same question, “What will we do with Jesus”? Is He just another part of the commercial holiday or is He the risen Lord!

In 1 Cor 15:16-17, 19 we read where Paul writes to the church in Corinth saying, “… if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile.” Paul continues on saying, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” In other words if we are just playing a religious game of chocolate bunnies, eggs and Jesus, then the power of the Easter story has been deflated and we are miserable people. But the reality is that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and on the third day arose from the dead for you and me. In Col 2:13-15, Paul declares that through the cross our sin was wiped away and we were made alive together with Christ who has forgiven us of all our trespasses. The message of Easter is Hope and Redemption through Christ Jesus not just eggs and bunnies. So let me ask you, “What will you do with Jesus”?