Invite Holy Spirit

You can always invite Holy Spirit into what you’re doing.

That’s what I did before I started typing today.

Loving God with all your heart has practical aspects to it. It’s not simply a set of beliefs. In fact, it’s not a religion.

My nephew and a friend started creating t-shirts a few years ago with this message:

Relationship Not Religion

We as Christians can’t just believe that Jesus is who he claims to be in the Bible. If we look closely, we will see that even demons believed that the Jesus of the scriptures was and is the Son of God. They believed, yet they did not follow him.

The passage below is Mark 1:21-28 (NIV) from BibleGateway.com:

21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Just under a year ago I met a young man named Gilbert in front of a 7-11 in Pacific Beach (a community of San Diego, California) and ended up praying with him. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and promised to give his life to Jesus.

Because I’ve been practicing “hearing” from Holy Spirit more intently the past couple years I felt a nudge to turn left on Garnet Avenue that day. I remember the exact day because I was going to meet family at Comic-Con and it was the day I absolutely knew (for the first time) that I had finished reading the entire Bible. That was July 21, 2017.

How do I practice “hearing” from Holy Spirit? I read the Bible more. I spend more time in prayer in my “secret place” and I invite Holy Spirit into what I’m doing.

God loves you so much that you’re likely to have a hard time believing HOW much.

He wants to spend time with you and just like other relationships, you will grow closer by spending time together.

Be intentional about spending time with God.

Praise Him.

Worship Him.

Invite Him to spend time with you!

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Start The Day In A Beautiful Way

Today started as many days do. I felt a nudge from God about not one, but two songs. Good Morning Starshine from Oliver, the 1963 Broadway show [the year I was born] and Bulletproof by Citizen Way. [Also, I tried out for a San Diego production of Oliver in the 1970s when I was in at St. John’s in Encinitas, California.]

When I’m feeling a song from a Broadway play highlighted I might start wondering if it’s just between God and me. This morning was a little more unusual as I shared Bulletproof with the owner of The Blue Mug coffee shop in Escondido. Not long after that a two-year old came in with his mom, who I believe was the owner’s niece. His name? Oliver.

While I don’t think this is some monumental message from the Lord, I do believe he’s gently encouraging me by reminding me that He’s there, He loves me and cares about even little things in my life. The Lord knows about my love of music and touches my heart in many ways, but music is a big one right now.

After I got home I turned on the TV to listen to some music on Youtube and the first two songs listed there were Good Morning, Starshine & Bulletproof. I should say that I don’t make a habit of listening to just those songs. I’ve been compiling a list of 120 songs or so that I hope to include in my upcoming book. I absolutely love that we’ve got our television hooked up so we can stream Youtube which means not just music videos, but also The Fire & Glory Outpouring, other preachers like Shawn Bolz, Ivan Roman and Darren Stott (to name just a few), Ted Talks, Stephen Colbert, etc…

What I’m getting at here is that it wasn’t inevitable for those two songs to be listed first on my screen. Interesting…

Today’s post’s title was inspired by the seventh song that played automatically after the first two. Here’s the list of 15 songs that played to start my day today:

1) Good Morning Starshine from Oliver
2) Bulletproof by Citizen way
3) The Morning Song by Steffany Gretzinger
4) Tell Your Heart To Beat Again by Danny Gokey
5) The Comeback by Danny Gokey
6) So Will I (100 Billion X) by WorshipMob
7) What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

Many of us can find a way to squeeze the first seven songs into our day. It’s a great set of music. Today is Saturday so I pressed on (and “pressed in”) to include a total of 15 songs to start my day. Here are the other eight songs:

8) Guilty by Newsboys
9) Unfinished by Mandisa
10) We Believe by Newsboys
11) Cecie’s Lullabye by Stephanie Gretzinger
12) Old Church Choir by Zach Williams
13) That’s How You Change The World by Newsboys
14) Run Devil Run by Crowder
15) Overcomer by Mandisa

Give a listen to the song (below) that you might have thought I missed.

Press On! God Bless You!

Merry Christmas!

God’s Timing This Year

Today I was reflecting on how I came to meet a man from another part of the world a couple weeks ago (I believe) because I was listening to the Lord. I understand that some may be skeptical, but I believe we get better with practice and I’ve been practicing. During these last 14 months I’ve been practicing quite a lot. And, it’s more than simply belief when you see the results in your life.

Because I met this man I decided to start a project to send 500,000 bibles across the world to a place that doesn’t have easy access to power and therefore, not much internet usage. That means shipping actual bibles instead of virtual ones.

In order for me to meet this man I had to be where he was in San Marcos before he went back home. He was at The Fire & Glory Outpouring on a Thursday night and a man named David asked me at the end of the meeting if I would give the visitor (who I’ll call Peter) a ride back to the Motel 6 in Escondido. I said that I would do that as soon as I said goodbye to someone.

Because saying goodbye took so long, Peter found another ride home. I caught up with him and the man giving him a ride in the parking lot of Summit Church and he asked if I could pick him up where he was staying the next morning. I agreed and that made all the difference in my weekend.

After the morning Fresh Awakening session at The Fire & Glory Outpouring I invited Peter to come to my house for the afternoon before the evening session with Jamie Galloway as guest speaker. I didn’t realize that my wife wouldn’t be able to spend time with us after she got off work that day. Others in the house were busy as well which meant that 95% of the conversation that Friday was just between Peter and me.

We got along quite well and I found myself offering to give him a ride for the entire weekend, which meant at least 10 more rides including to Solana Beach Presbyterian Church (our home church) at 8:30 Sunday morning. During the weekend I found that he hadn’t secured a ride to the airport so I picked him up before 7 on Monday and took him to Lindbergh field.

Wait! There’s more! We didn’t just ride together, but we worshiped together over and over. I highly recommend this strategy for growing closer to someone. By Monday morning we weren’t just friends, but brothers. He even invited me to preach over Skype sometime which is a real growth opportunity.

You may be wondering why I mentioned God’s timing in the title of this post.

Months ago as I was seeking to hear from the Lord I felt that he was telling me that it’s OK to go to Comic-Con in 2017, but not the World Series of Poker. As I mentioned earlier, because I listened to God I was able to meet and get to know Peter BECAUSE I was in San Marcos, California.

This afternoon I decided to take a closer look at the May calendar to see about God’s timing. You may not even know about the World Series of Poker(WSOP), but I have been there before and months ago I had been sincerely thinking about going after missing this “festival of poker tournaments” in recent years.

If I had decided to go to the WSOP I would likely have only given Peter a ride on Friday morning and then driven to Las Vegas, Nevada after dropping him off back at the Motel 6. It’s very possible that I would have never met Peter because I could have gone up even earlier to spend time with a friend who lives there and be plenty rested before I entered one of the poker tournaments.

It should be obvious to everyone that if I was in Las Vegas, Nevada during late May I wouldn’t have been able to get to know Peter who was in San Marcos, California for just over four days.

Great stuff can happen when we worship God “in Spirit and in Truth”. We might just be able to hear stuff from Him that He really, really wants us to know.

David Herzog is coming this week. Will you be there?

You never know who you’re going to meet. Except Jesus.

He’ll meet you there with His perfect timing!

Spend More Time With God

Today I intentionally spent hours in the presence of God. I know God is immanent (everywhere), but I mean paying attention and listening for God as well as reading the bible and praying [again, praying includes listening].

After having a good conversation with a friend from Tennessee who’s more experienced in gifts like the prophetic I drove to Solana Beach to get a haircut at my favorite place, the Cove Barber Shop.

On the way I felt the Lord nudge me with “Do You Love Me?” and I can even sense that it was the version from the movie, “Dirty Dancing” by The Contours. I discovered The Blues Brothers version first and both are below.

Here’s something to consider:

Is Holy Spirit singing this to the church? Keep in mind that if God is singing the lyrics they would be sung with perfectly pure intentions, unlike how humans often sing them.

Press On, Brothers & Sisters, Press On!

Bold Belief

Here’s another quick post for your edification. What do you feel is an important message in this passage?

***
Mark 2:2-5 The Message (MSG)

A Paraplegic
2 1-5 After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”
***

God bless you!

Habakkuk For Me & You

Last night I was at The Fire & Glory Outpouring for the 65th time (tonight will be my 20th time watching from home).

Have I mentioned that I’ve been practicing hearing from Holy Spirit? Last night we had some time devoted to listening for God’s voice.

It’s important to give yourself grace in this process. It takes practice like anything else. I’m not sure about everything, but I’m pretty sure God wanted me to take a look at Habakkuk. So that’s what I did this morning and I feel that God knew exactly what I needed last night/this morning.

Hopefully this will be helpful for you as well. I’ll share a little every day.

Today is the introduction from The Message.

God bless you!

Introduction HABAKKUK

Living by faith is a bewildering venture. We rarely know what’s coming next, and not many things turn out the way we anticipate. It is natural to assume that since I am God’s chosen and beloved, I will get favorable treatment from the God who favors me so extravagantly. It is not unreasonable to expect that from the time that I become his follower, I will be exempt from dead ends, muddy detours, and cruel treatment from the travelers I meet daily who are walking the other direction.

That God-followers don’t get preferential treatment in life always comes as a surprise. But it’s also a surprise to find that there are a few men and women within the Bible who show up alongside us at such moments. The prophet Habakkuk is one of them, and a most welcome companion he is.

Most prophets, most of the time, speak God’s Word to us. They are preachers calling us to listen to God’s words of judgment and salvation, confrontation and comfort. They face us with God as he is, not as we imagine him to be. Most prophets are in-your-face assertive, not given to tact, not diplomatic, as they insist that we pay attention to God.

But Habakkuk speaks our word to God. He gives voice to our bewilderment, articulates our puzzled attempts to make sense of things, faces God with our disappointment with God. He insists that God pay attention to us, and he insists with a prophet’s characteristic no-nonsense bluntness. The circumstance that aroused Habakkuk took place in the seventh century B.C. The prophet realized that God was going to use the godless military machine of Babylon to bring God’s judgment on God’s own people—using a godless nation to punish a godly nation!

It didn’t make sense, and Habakkuk was quick and bold to say so. He dared to voice his feelings that God didn’t know his own God business. Not a day has passed since then that one of us hasn’t picked up and repeated Habakkuk’s bafflement: “God, you don’t seem to make sense!” But this prophet companion who stands at our side does something even more important: He waits and he listens. It is in his waiting and listening—which then turns into his praying—that he found himself inhabiting the large world of God’s sovereignty.

Only there did he eventually realize that the believing-in-God life, the steady trusting-in-God life, is the full life, the only real life. Habakkuk started out exactly where we start out with our puzzled complaints and God-accusations, but he didn’t stay there. He ended up in a world, along with us, where every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (p. 1272). NavPress. Kindle Edition.

You Are The Salt Of The Earth

Today my wife was having leftovers for lunch and I couldn’t tell exactly what was on her plate.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Steak!” she said.

“I can’t tell because it looks like it has a coating on it. What’s the coating?”

“Salt!”

We both laughed. My wife has always enjoyed salt much more than me. I told her that I need to look up verses about salt and she said, “You are the salt of the earth.”

So here we are.

What does it mean? Good question.

You can check out BibleHub.com for an explanation from commentaries.

You can search Google to find out.

I’ve even included Matthew 5:13-16 from The Message and the New International Version (NIV).

***
Salt and Light
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16 The Message (MSG)
***
Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16 New International Version (NIV)
***

Jesus also uses light as a metaphor here.

I’m not an expert. I’m not ordained. I’m a follower of Jesus.

It seems to me that Jesus wants his disciples (including you and me) to continue to have an impact because of their faith and their character (and likely their power and glory – that is – the power of God and the glory of God in them through the Holy Spirit).

What do YOU think?

I know I’m not covering it all here. If you have Holy Spirit in you, you can ask. AND, you can check with others who do.

I’ll leave you with some sweet music from a man who was the salt of the earth and the light of the world until he went home to God, Andrae Crouch. Last night I felt God nudge me to get up and write down a dream a little before two in the morning and when I searched on Youtube, there was Andrae Crouch and this song.

You are the salt of the earth. (And the light of the world!)

God bless you!