Caleb Has Entered The Building

Last night was night 450(!) for the Fire & Glory Outpouring and it was night 181 for me. (That’s right, my wife and I are still attending revival regularly!) On the way in a friend and I met Caleb, who has watched Fire & Glory online for four months. Awesome!

Joining worship online at home is wonderful, but Caleb decided to drive from the Ramona area to Heart of God Church in Rancho Bernardo and be physically present with us to worship Jesus in Spirit and Truth. Readers of my blog know that I have done both (including nearly 60 times from our living room or bedroom in our home). I have to give an “edge” to worshiping in the meeting “elbow to elbow” with all the other worshipers. Yet, even worshiping from home is powerful. I was blown away months ago when I first felt the presence of God in my living room while watching/worshiping online. If you are in San Diego County or nearby I encourage you to join us like Caleb did. Last night was night 3 for Caleb. How cool is that!?

What I’ve been told is that each one of us brings something different to worship and I guess that means that worship was a little better because Caleb was there Sunday night. Jerame Nelson also added his voice and preached not long after returning from the revival in London, England! Come and add YOUR voice to our worship!

Here’s one fun thing that’s been happening for me recently:

Maybe a dozen times in the last month the Lord has highlighted a song to me in the early morning. So far, every time it’s been a different song! Here’s this morning’s song – I Won’t Let You Go by Switchfoot.

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Birthday Presents For Marianne

Today is my wife’s birthday so I’ll be short. Please consider giving her a birthday present which you can do on any day you read this or remember.

Here are your choices:

1) Participate in worship at The Fire & Glory Outpouring either live or online.

2) Get yourself a hard copy (or Kindle version) of The Message (Bible).

Read it FREE!

3) Watch an Elisha Revolution video.

4) Check out Ivan Roman (around 1:03:50) at Fresh Awakening during the revival.

Why four choices? Just a reminder that their are four faces of God in Ezekiel.

I really love The Message’s paraphrase of these verses. I shared it with a friend from Lithuania and she loved it! (She and another young woman both came from Lithuania to The Fire & Glory Outpouring by simply trusting God for provision!)

***
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Galatians 5:25-26 The Message (MSG)
***

God bless you!

All About That Grace

When you are stepping out in faith it’s very important to remember grace.

Dictionary.com has seven definitions and I believe they are in the order of how often society uses them. That means #1 is the most popular usage – sort of like a Google ranking.

What I’m talking about today is God’s grace.

Definitions 3-4-5 are the meanings I’m interested in, especially 5.


Grace
noun
1.
elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action:
We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice.
Synonyms: attractiveness, charm, gracefulness, comeliness, ease, lissomeness, fluidity.
Antonyms: stiffness, ugliness, awkwardness, clumsiness; klutziness.
2.
a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment:
He lacked the manly graces.
3.
favor or goodwill.
Synonyms: kindness, kindliness, love, benignity; condescension.
4.
a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior:
It was only through the dean’s grace that I wasn’t expelled from school.
Synonyms: forgiveness, charity, mercifulness.
Antonyms: animosity, enmity, disfavor.
5.
mercy; clemency; pardon:
He was saved by an act of grace from the governor.
Synonyms: lenity, leniency, reprieve.
Antonyms: harshness.
6.
favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
7.
an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied:
The life insurance premium is due today, but we have 31 days’ grace before the policy lapses.
Compare grace period.

When I’ve heard it defined by a preacher, grace is usually defined as “unmerited favor”, which means we didn’t earn it.

Here’s a verse that I hope helps:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Because it’s so easy to make mistakes as human beings I am infinitely grateful for grace. That brings me back to the opening sentence and stepping out in faith.

Some people believe or someone has told them to believe that you have to be so incredibly careful not to make mistakes (or sin) that they simply refuse to leave their worship or prayer “comfort zone”.

What if I’m not supposed to pray for myself? Should I really have an expectation that someone would be healed by prayer in this day and age? Am I being too bold when I pray and command someone be healed in the name of Jesus? Is it really ok to lift my hands in worship? Is it ok to just lay on my bed and talk to God or do I have to be on my knees? How can I be really truly honest with God if I’m not always sure I’m honest with myself? We don’t have the office of prophet in our denomination so are we listening to crazy people?

What if I find out that God wants me to visit San Diego and later I find out I’m wrong? Is Lectio Divina really ok? Is there something wrong with me that it kind of freaks me out to listen truly for God’s voice? What if my blog is not a perfect reflection of Christ’s love? What if less than a hundred people make comments? How will I know I’m reaching people and not wasting my time?

While I do believe it’s important for Christians to understand if the person we are learning how to pray (or other spiritual practices) from is truly following Jesus, surely we can rely on God’s grace if we don’t do something exactly the way Grandma thought we should. We can also check with more than one strong man or woman of faith if we choose!

Even if you have questions, I urge you to trust God. (Some things are hopefully more obvious. I taught my son not to mess around with stuff like Ouija boards because so many people don’t realize that there are spiritual realms. Some things are not a joke and certainly I have never heard of a Christian teaching that God wants us to use Ouija boards. Stay away from them. Do be encouraged, though, by reading verses like 1 John 4:4-6.)

We can also ask Holy Spirit to guide us. Even if it’s new to us, as Christians, we really have access to Holy Spirit. If you’ve sincerely asked God to forgive your sins and asked Jesus into your heart, he has come in. He always says “Yes!” to your heart invitation.

We need to pray for God to lead us into action. When we pray we need to leave time for God to answer. If or when we don’t hear anything, we still need to be taking action in our lives.

When my wife told me she thought it would be a good idea to attend Power & Love in Pasadena in April, I asked two men from my home church with whom I study and pray regularly if they would look at the website and tell me their opinion. They both gave me a thumbs up along with my wife so I felt I didn’t really have a good reason to stay home.

I stepped out in faith in April and all of a sudden I found myself in a style of worship and praise that is more intense than what I find in my home church. I feel encouraged to “press in” to this charismatic style of worship and I continue to attend my home church and love with God’s love there in Solana Beach.

It’s also important to keep in mind that lots of people, churches and denominations have restrictions that God doesn’t require.

Many of you will be surprised to find out that I know someone who was raised in a church where they believed it was ok to sing to God, but they weren’t allowed to use instruments!

If we had a contest to see how many restrictions churches place on Christians that God doesn’t require, I’ll bet we could come up with at least a hundred. I remember a lady I met who only wanted to tell me how her church was right to worship God on Saturday.

(Keep in mind, I didn’t even ask her about this. SHE brought it up.) She didn’t talk to me about the love of Jesus or intimacy with God or salvation, etc…but she wanted to make sure I knew that people at her church gathered to worship God on Saturday because it was the correct day!

I urge you to expand your comfort zone in worshiping God. Remember, those who raise their hands for Jesus or those who worship Jesus less loudly than you are not the same as people who would enthusiastically teach you about Ouija and other occult practices. Why not visit each other’s Christian churches? Worship the Living God together at both your churches. If the One, True God is there does it matter if we’re singing Crowder’s Come As You Are a little (or a lot) faster?

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Psalm 34:8

It’s All About That Grace.

God loves you!

Good Things Are Happening

On the 4th of July I saw my cousin Debi at her brother Kevin’s house in Vista where some of our family went to see the fireworks display from blocks away. She asked me if I am still blogging.

Yes! The drought or writer’s block or whatever is now over!

Last night I went to the Fire & Glory Outpouring for the third time. This is pretty special and I urge you to attend at least three times before it moves on.

This revival started in January when they began with the intention to do four nights of revival. Last night was night #150 – give or take. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY nights so far! If you’ve never been to a revival, this is a wonderful place to start. One of the main speakers, Jerame Nelson, is careful to let people know that this is about God’s Love and commmunion (my word – NOT meaning the sacrament here) with the Holy Spirit.

These worship sessions are also NOT designed to get you to switch churches. Your church is your church. If you have no church, I’d be willing to venture that the Heart of God Church in Rancho Bernardo welcomes you. As a disclaimer I’ll let you know that I’m a member of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church in Solana Beach, California. (We’ll welcome you as well.)

My wife has been getting a lot out of participating in these worship/revival sessions and she’s been there in the neighborhood of 15 or 20 times. (She even speaks in tongues now, but I’ll share about that another time!) I visited for the third time last night and it is really something to have your idea of worship stretched and to leave your comfort zone of what you’re currently doing.

Last night was about 3 1/2 hours which started with worshipful singing & praise for about an hour and 20 minutes and then Jerame preached for what I’m pretty sure was about the same length of time. Then we had some more praise and singing with many of us coming up front and standing.

Why do I urge you to attend at least three times?

Since I was in the Pasadena healing conference a few months ago I’ve been coming to understand more about “practicing” connecting (again, my word) with the Holy Spirit. I love that we can give ourselves the grace to practice even though we might sometimes be incorrect in our understanding of what’s going on in a particular situation. As I see it, that’s freedom. God intends for us to have that freedom as we learn.

My first two times in Rancho Bernardo I was getting used to how these sessions go. Last night I was more familiar and more ready. Maybe you will be ready on day one. With decades in the Presbyterian Church I was not used to these long sessions, but I was and am open to these new (to me) experiences of worshiping God.

I’ve been meeting with a couple men from my church to study and pray for about 20 months and one of the questions I’ve asked is this:

If we are utterly convinced that God would never send us (or anyone) on a trip or mission to Poland (or Vancouver or Las Vegas or Pasadena or Cameroon or Pakistan or Brazil or Ghana, etc…), then how can God ever move us to do that or go there? If it’s part of our basic belief system that God would never call us to leave California, then HOW does he get through to us when he wants us to move to Vancouver, British Columbia?

I believe most of us can see a problem with an assumption that God would NEVER have us do a certain task as described above.

What if you believe that God would never have YOU speak in tongues? I am open to it, yet I haven’t done it. My wife was definitely open to it and now she does. But this post isn’t about speaking in tongues.

What if you believe something like this?

“What extra good could possibly come from a worship service that takes three or four hours or more?”
“What’s the point in having a service that long?”
“What’s wrong with my 75 minute service?”
“It’s just not necessary to have the service go that long!”
“I couldn’t possibly be in worship that long.”

Well, if you believe that you should never attend a service that takes this long, is it possible that you’re missing out?

If you know that it’s about God’s love and interacting (my word) with the Holy Spirit and no one is trying to get you to switch churches, why not stretch your comfort zone and come participate?

Last night (my third time) I felt God help me worship him and he gave me more joy and laughter in the process.

What if I had just stayed home and watched TV?

Check out Jerame’s Youtube Channel. I expect them to have last night’s session up soon, but July 9th is up already and you can see my wife, Marianne, walk up to the front at the 2:46 (two hours and forty-six minutes) mark. You can watch that below:

You can also watch these sessions live over the internet as they happen if you can’t attend or are convinced that you shouldn’t attend or if you live far away.

God Bless You!