What’s Going On

Today I met with a buddy I’ve known for years to tell him I’ve made a big decision that I’ll talk about in a later post. I highly recommend V’s Coffee Shop at the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo.

Right now my wife, Marianne, and our friend, Javier, are trying to get Youtube up on our TV and it looks like they’ve succeeded! We’re studying prophecy with some friends tonight and now we’ll have real “music television” for some worship time.

Earlier I was starting to memorize Psalm 8.

Before that I met with a coffee shop buddy who’s an atheist at the Blue Mug in Escondido and I shared a little about what I’ve been learning. He’s a very nice guy. He even helped deliver and move a couch into our house (when I wasn’t even home to help!) that another coffee buddy and his mom gave us before that buddy moved to Virginia Beach.

Very early this morning when I woke up from an interesting dream I sensed the song of the day in just a few notes. I “pressed in” and soon I had a little more and then a little bit more than that. That start to my day reminded me of 1 Kings 18:44 when Elijah saw the tiny cloud and he told Ahab to get off the mountain before the rains came.

Here’s “Run Devil Run” by Crowder:

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What’s Your Philippians Opinion?

Until I typed those words I hadn’t noticed how amusing they might sound.
(I’ll give you a minute while you hear someone with your favorite accent ask that question in your head.)

***
Philippians 3:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
***

After reading that, what should we do? I think it’s fairly simple.

Press on. As in, persevere.

Sometimes things are happening that make pressing on seem like a big challenge.

What then?

You have probably heard that we’re not supposed to complain.

***
Philippians 2:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
***

I believe there is definitely one exception.

Complain to God if you need to complain (petition). He’s ready to hear what you’ve got to say. Be honestly yourself with God and be honest ABOUT yourself with God. He’s got your back. And He’s always ready to give you more of the peace that passes all understanding when you seek Him.

What you and I have to do is remember to do what is says in another section of Philippians. We have to “press in” by worshiping, praying and otherwise seeking intimacy with God.

***
Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
***

Keep pressing on. Keep “pressing in” with God.

Press On. Press In. Repeat.

Like on the back of a shampoo bottle.

That is all.

God bless you!

We Encourage When We Share

Most mornings I wake up with a song in my head. I truly enjoy music and during the last six months or so I’ve been listening to a lot more worship music. (I think I even mentioned this in an earlier blog post.)

Here’s how I think it works for me and I believe that means it can work for you as well.

Because I’ve been sincerely seeking to know God better through semi-regular worship and creating a study with two like-minded friends from church, I’ve been led/gone down a different (or deeper) path.

When I was 24 and my mom died of lung cancer I didn’t try hard enough to find help through people of faith. I remember reaching a point where people were telling me that maybe I needed to go to a professional (or semi-professional student counselor at SDSU, in my case) counselor to discuss my grief.

It is not my intention to sound harsh, but maybe what I should have done is found other believers who were willing to meet with me and pray with me (and counsel me) AND if I couldn’t find those believers at MY CHURCH, I should have looked at other churches for believers who would help.

That doesn’t necessarily mean leaving that church, but if that’s what I had to do then that’s what I should have done. As believers we have to take responsibility for our faith. (Check out Galatians 6:5-15 at BibleStudyTools.com which covers a great deal in this area.)

Today my wife and I attend Solana Pres in Solana Beach, California. I started attending a little over two decades ago. We also attend The Fire & Glory Outpouring Revival which is currently hosted at Summit Church in San Marcos, California. This doesn’t mean we are switching churches.

Tonight at 7:00 I expect that we will worship revival-style and tomorrow morning at 8:30 we will worship passionate-Presbyterian (or as close as Presbyterians get to passionate worship?) style.

When I started this blog I hoped to share my journey with Jesus honestly and assumed that a good number of readers would support me when I launch my brand.

What I’m finding is that by worshiping more frequently and continuing to meet regularly with good christian friends I can trust I’m more open to what God is calling me to do.

Evangelism is one of those things. I tell strangers that God loves them and I’m more open to conversations with them about what they want to talk about. Surprisingly, lots of people are open to someone who is sharing enthusiastically about their faith and many of those people are open to me praying for them. Sometimes that means right there on the spot.

If people support my brand when I launch, that’s wonderful. But, there is more to this blog than supporting me in what I do. Who’s supporting you?

Here’s Crowder with that song in my head when I woke up this morning.

God bless you!

Now What? Worship God!

Today is the day after Christmas, 2016.

Are you ready to move ahead or will you wait until January 2, 2017? (There’s all that football and maybe family and MAYBE recovering from the night before on New Year’s Day.)

Will you move ahead while keeping that Christmas Spirit all year long?

We have access to the TRUE Spirit of Christmas if we want it.

Of course, I’m talking about Holy Spirit.

Do you want more of the Holy Spirit in your life, that is, more INTIMACY with Holy Spirit? You CAN have that greater intimacy.

I have a strong suggestion.

Worship God more. In Spirit and in Truth.

This year has been quite a year with Almighty God for me and my family. Things REALLY picked up in April. After Power & Love in Pasadena I shared songs that encouraged my faith.

What I’ve found throughout the year is that I’m learning to love NEW songs that I hear in worship and on the radio (Thanks, Air1!).

Through worshiping God at the Fire & Glory Outpouring AND my home church (Solana Pres) and even watching worship on Youtube I have been stretched by God in my capacity for worship. I asked God to stretch me when I first entered this revival back when it took place in Rancho Bernardo.

Since I asked God to stretch me in worship what I’m about to say may not come as a big surprise, but maybe you’ve never thought of it before. I know I have.

I have wondered over the years what it would be like to bring in the new year worshiping with other believers. That’s what my wife and I will do this year.

Join us and Jerame & Miranda Nelson and a special guest or two at Fresh Awakening at Summit Church (that’s where Fire & Glory Outpouring moved months ago after Rancho Bernardo).

Of course, if you can’t make it to Summit Church in San Marcos you can watch on Youtube!

Again, I urge you to worship God in Spirit and Truth more often.

One way is through music and singing. (Yes, I do listen to more than just Crowder.)

Here’s a gifted helper, Lauren Daigle, to assist you in worshiping God.

How To Hold On

If the title of this post is meaningful to you, I find reading Psalms prayerfully helps quite a bit. I found this translation at BibleGateway.com.

Psalm 32 The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

32 Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
you get a fresh start,
your slate’s wiped clean.
2 Count yourself lucky—
God holds nothing against you
and you’re holding nothing back from him.
3 When I kept it all inside,
my bones turned to powder,
my words became daylong groans.
4 The pressure never let up;
all the juices of my life dried up.
5 Then I let it all out;
I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone—
my guilt dissolved,
my sin disappeared.
6 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
we’ll be on high ground, untouched.
7 God’s my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
8 Let me give you some good advice;
I’m looking you in the eye
and giving it to you straight:
9 “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
that needs bit and bridle
to stay on track.”
10 God-defiers are always in trouble;
God-affirmers find themselves loved
every time they turn around.
11 Celebrate God.
Sing together—everyone!
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

God loves you!

I’m finding Crowder’s “I AM” helpful right now. Take it to heart.

God Will Bless You

Saturday night we had amazing worship as we frequently have at The Fire & Glory Outpouring. I’m not going to share all the details except to say that you should have been there! Many of you have been to concerts and events that you really enjoyed. I certainly have!

One time my friend, Stuart, urged me to go see Fleetwood Mac with him the day after Thanksgiving. I drove quickly to his house in San Clemente and we drove to L.A. and the concert was fantastic! Any other year of my life I would have said that was the concert of the year. Not that year. That year I was doubly-blessed because in September my wife and I went with him and his daughter to enjoy Paul McCartney in Petco Park in San Diego.

After that event I said that seeing Paul McCartney live was not just my greatest concert experience, but the greatest event I had ever attended. That changed in Pasadena in April of this year when I attended Power & Love! I’ll even be bold enough to say that even if you are so conservative in your faith walk that you are concerned about a secular concert, pray and see if God gives you grace to see Paul McCartney and then go! He’s so incredibly talented. God has given him real and lasting gifts and talent and people who see him play live are in for a real treat! In fact, a “treat” is not a big enough word to do justice to the experience.

All that aside, now I know of at least two or three events (not including astonishing family stuff like the birth of our son, also named Stuart) I would put above that incredible Paul McCartney concert. As I mentioned above, one was Power and Love in Pasadena. Another was Saturday night worship at The Fire & Glory Outpouring (Revival!) in San Marcos, California at Summit Church. If you’ve had truly powerful worship experiences then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, well, keep pressing in with God.

Before Saturday night we experienced Friday night. At the end of the evening I was standing in line to buy a book and a DVD from David Herzog, the guest speaker. (If you get a chance to see David, take it, because he is not only a great evangelistic speaker, he’s truly funny.) I felt the Lord nudging me to buy the books and DVD of the lady in front of me. I asked Holy Spirit if it was Him and not just my mind and if he really wanted me to do this. He told me, “I will bless you.” So, I told the woman, who my wife and I had met weeks before, that God was telling me to buy her stuff. It didn’t cost that much and it’s consistent with what’s been happening lately. God’s been teaching me to be more generous and more obedient. The next night was the wondrous worship I mentioned.

This next part is really inspirational and emotionally moving to me. As everyone was starting to leave the same lady who was in front of me in line the night before stopped us and thanked me for buying her the David Herzog items. She told my wife and I that something changed for her. I believe she said that something “broke open” for her after I did that. Something was better between her and God (and I guess, life) because of my generosity. I could see that she was feeling encouraged. That generosity was because I’ve been listening for God and because I obeyed him. I didn’t know these things were going to happen. I should also mention that soon our son called to tell us he got the better of two jobs he wanted to help him on his path to becoming a doctor.

Last night I practiced giving a “word of knowledge” to a couple people online in a group where they let you practice usually one day during the week. I asked for feedback because I’m new at it and the man I chose said that my word about him and his evangelistic anointing was pretty close to right on. Remember, I don’t think I had heard the phrase “word of knowledge” before April.

There was also a woman online who requested a word so I decided to practice some more. Another woman chimed in to give me feedback before the first woman got back to me.

Here it is with different names:

Me (Charles Hicks-Moore)
Please give feedback as I’m new at this! God loves your heart for the poor and you are a light in your community. God loves your example of perseverance and God wants you to know that he has beautiful events for your life ahead.

Rita Lagos
Charles Hicks-Moore – GOD bless you charles for stepping out in faith! GOD wants you to know “you are an encourager”! All it takes is the “one” mustard seed! keep the faith and GOD bless you brother 🙂 …

Me
Thank you for encouraging me! Encouragers need encouragement, too! I hope this blesses you. https://youtu.be/Plngh8SkkA4

Betty Christian
Charles Hicks,: you are so right. He’s said he’s got some surprises for me. All what you’ve said is correct. Bless you.

Rita Lagos
Charles Hicks-Moore – I was giving a word to someone else when the LORD interrupted me and sent me to message you! And to ‘like’ your word to this sister as a confirmation that; that in fact was the LORDS word for her! Bless you brother 🙂 …

Me
Thank you both, sisters! This is so awesome! Bless the Lord! God bless you both mightily so you will be mighty blessings to others in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ! Lost souls will see God working in you, see signs & wonders and believe in Him. 🙂

Rita Lagos
Charles Hicks-Moore Sometimes just a word or a sentence is enough to sustain someone when the word is given! As you continue you will be fine tuned by the holy spirit, who will dance all around you! Now its time to worship for he is good 🙂 Sing brother; sing ♪ ♫ …

God blesses us. He has definitely blessed me and my family over the past few days!

God really loves you!

God will bless you.

(Sing along with Passion/Crowder as they sing How He Loves!)

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!