Posts Tagged ‘tears’

The Stubborn Heart

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” (Mk. 9:23-25)

It has been my experience, that literally thousands of people struggle with unbelief. Real barriers stand between their desire and the reality of God’s Will! Like this father they hear the words that Jesus would love to heal, deliver or bring hope; but they are stuck. They know the truth that if they could just believe, nothing would be impossible… but there is no believing, no receiving and no “heart” at all. There is just the nagging reality of hopeless effort, tears and shameful discouragement. And worse yet for many, they construct a new theological platform of resolve… “I will choose to not believe any longer, because it just leaves me hopeless!”

The Spirit of Unbelief:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to this frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a “spirit of unbelief”. Lies, deception, fears or offenses can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralyzes the heart in unbelief. This spirit is real and dangerous, it is pervasive and advancing across the landscape of Christianity and it lives in the midst of the “Church culture”… where all is not fine in paradise!

Authenticity:

I receive many emails and calls about this issue and I find it a bit shocking that the problem is so wide spread and growing. Yet in my opinion there is a root cause that we must uncover and shine the light of truth upon… people are living superficial lifestyles. They rarely stop and contemplate the meaning of their existence. To ask the simple question, “WHY!” is not blasphemy, nor is it going to lead us into deception. Perhaps it would even offer a lot more authenticity to our journey!

Jesus said in Matthew 7:7… “Ask, seek and knock… and the door will be opened!”

Authentic communication with God – opens the door of relational truth. Things that are difficult for us to understand, come into the light of His wisdom and love. God is a “father”, He knows how to take care of His children and He is faithful. He is anticipating our needs to be vocalized and to come streaming into His Presence (Heb. 4:16). The Apostle Peter, who seemed a lot like us; said you and I need to be “casting all our care upon Him, because He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5:7). He cares for us… and He knows all about our issues of faith. This idea that we can avoid our problems and they will just go away… well – that is the greatest deception of all! They do not go away, in fact they produce the fruit of disappointment, which I spoke of earlier. We tend to create and believe a false perception of God’s heart toward our reality.

So – here’s the point…

  • Stop living without meaningful communication with God!

Spend time telling God of the frailty of your faith, the brokenness of your heart and the weakness in your perceptions… ask Him “why?!” and then wait… wait… wait… for the doors to open! They will, my friend they will… they will open wide and the King of Glory will come in. Who is this King of Glory… He is the Lord Strong and Mighty! (Psa. 24:7-10)

Loving What Emerges

This post is from the start of the very first Apostolic Training Center…….5 years later God is still up to amazing things.

Sometimes we put our hands to work and we are very aware of the outcome… and then there is the ministry. Its the work of God’s hands! He is the Ultimate Potter, we become the clay and the emerging masterpiece is of His craftsmanship. I love it, I love watching it and being part of it.

The Quest:

There is this wonderful vulnerability where grace, tears, risk and adventure come together. Its like there are no blueprints, no plans to follow. Its just faith in God’s power at work that shapes the mission. We have a vision of where we are going, but there is no quest on earth that so yields itself to the will of another. Not just any “another” but “The Another” - God, Himself holds our attention, our heart beat and our foot prints. And somehow a ministry emerges from our efforts that brings Him pleasure, while at the same time transforms a culture. Wow, what a life changing opportunity to join God in this quest.

Mission Uganda:

In my resent journey into Uganda there was one specific goal that God seemed to be emphasizing over and over; opening the Apostolic Training Center. Our teams on the ground were set and ready to move and I have never seen such passion for God’s Word to be taught. Pastor Francis Wanyama met me at the airport with my schedule in his hand and a fire in his belly. Our driver was not about to waste time with small talk; for he was a pastor as well, already engaged in the process of mobilizing a network of laborers. I could tell this was not an ordinary day… a New Day was emerging in the hearts of these people and all I could say is, “Its just the beginning!”

Apostolic Training Center

March 2012

A Grand Opening:

My schedule was filled with conferences and teaching sessions, but the one event that stood out was the Grand Opening of our Apostolic Training Center. I arrived at about 9 am to about 125 students of all ages, hungry and waiting. Blessed and energized by what I was experiencing, we stepped into the process together… all of us knowing nothing of where God was taking us. One thing we were all in agreement upon… we would not have wanted to be anywhere else. There was a buzz in the room that assured us almost immediately that this was a New Day and that God was doing a New Thing.

The Emerging Wineskin:

For the next 4 days something wonderful began to emerge. A wineskin of sorts was beginning to take shape. It was filled with spiritual substance, Holy Spirit stuff like joy and laughter, hope and expectancy; as well as some tough questions about truth… God’s Truth. And no matter how difficult we imagined this challenge to be, God seemed to be offering a resource. He was doing something I have watched Him do time and time again, governing by peace (Isa 9:6-7).

Just the Beginning:

Now, with over 150 people carrying a dream that no man on earth will be able to sustain. All I know to do is love what emerges. It looks a lot like the vision we had in our hearts when we heard from God, but we could never have taken credit for how it felt to us. It was God’s dream first and it thrills me to have brought Him the glory!

Ministry is like that… its the work of God’s hands. When its all said and done we realize, we are His workmanship and He is shaping our hearts (Eph 2:10).

A Waiting People

Scripture is full of the anticipation of Christ’s coming. Prophets proclaimed it. Songs announced it. Sacrifices foreshadowed it. Sin required it. God promised it. And then it happened; God came to Earth, fulfilling prophecies and responding to the sighs, groans, tears, and cries of humanity since the fall.

When our family first started celebrating Christmas, we would light Advent candles every Sunday evening, read an appropriate Scripture, pray, and sing. On one of those special nights we would sing this song… it still remains a favorite of mine.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Each of the five stanzas begins with the plea, “O come, O come, Emmanuel”. Each ends with the refrain, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel – Shall come to thee, O Israel”. From the plea that seemed so desperate, to the praise that felt so passionate; I found my heart impacted by its sound. Every Christmas now becomes complete when this song has reached my ears, because it pulls me back into the richest application of the season… Jesus coming to a waiting people!

We are still… A Waiting People!

What an amazing sight… it even causes God to lean forward. His eyes are still upon the Earth. Should He not find us still waiting for His return?

Inspired to Receive

From the counsel of my daughter – let this “little story” inspire you to receive forgiveness, hope and love today. Don’t let yourself say “no” because of fear, unworthy feelings or discomfort… it is the Heart of the Father to give you the Kingdom! (Lk. 11:32)

Felt like sharing a little story…

While driving home from the grocery store 30 minutes ago, I saw a nice blonde lady walking from her car into the pharmacy. Without warning, a voice inside of me said, “hey, go buy her groceries”. I questioned for a second if it was the Lord’s idea or just my head, but I turned around anyway and parked in the parking lot.

When I walked in, there she was, holding a box of cold and flu pills.
I walked up to her and, without thinking much, said simply,
“So… I saw you in the parking lot, and felt as though the Lord told me to buy your groceries.”
She looked down at her feet and replied,
“No, no. You don’t have to do that.”
“But, I really would like to.” I said.
She shook her head and said “no” a second time, and then a third time when I offered again.
Finally, I left her, after saying “Jesus loves you so much” and giving her the best smile I had.

Walking to my car, for some reason I fought back tears. I thought maybe I was just being a baby because I felt rejected or something. But then I heard His voice again inside.

“It really stinks when people don’t accept your gifts, huh.” He said… His voice was quiet, and filled with understanding. “I wanted to bless her so much. I was so excited.” I said… a tear falling.
“Me too.” The Lord said.

Suddenly a picture of Him popped in my head… He sat on His throne with tears in His eyes as He looked down on me, and that lady.
“This is why I don’t draw near to the proud, because they never let me!” He said, with tears streamed down His face. “They feel like they have to take care of themselves… and then they never let Me love them.”

Immediately I wept in my car… convicted. How many times have I rejected the gifts of a loving Father? To reject His care is not humility, but pride; and it grieves Him.

Oh, Lord help us.

When Jesus Prayed

“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Lk. 6:12)

There was nothing casual about these moments. Heaven gets pulled into the earth realm by Jesus. While engaged in His earthly ministry, the highest call was fellowship in prayer with Father. Frequently He spent the entire night. The One who has set Himself apart shows us where to find our strength.  And as His disciples, we must step into the example He has left us.

It Requires Our Attention:

In these moments we find His sorrow, frailty and surrender. He felt the power of the kingdoms of darkness in this world. He left the bitter atmospheres of humanity and sought out a familiar secret place. The Mount of Olives was His favorite place. Frequently, after the multitude had left Him for the night, He rested from the labors of the day. While the city was hushed in silence and His disciples had gone to sleep, His heartfelt pleadings would ascend to His Father from the rocky ridges of the Mount of Olives. I can imagine the sight of angels leaning in for assignments.

And Jesus prayed…

  • that His disciples might be kept from the evil influences which they would daily encounter in the world, and
  • that His own soul might be strengthened and braced for the duties and trials of the coming day.

All night…

  • while His followers were sleeping,
  • while the dew and dark of night fell deeply into dawn.

The example of Christ is left on record for His followers. Jesus was Himself the source of Kingdom blessing and strength. He could heal the sick and raise the dead. He commanded even the storm to be still, and it obeyed Him. He was unsullied with corruption, a stranger to sin; yet He endured agony which required help and support from His Father.

With all kinds of prayers…

  • with strong cries and tears,
  • with passion for His disciples and for this world,
  • identifying Himself with the needs, the weaknesses, and the failings which are common to humanity.

More than Words:

He was relentless as an intercessor, faithful to His mission and without equal in compassion and authority. Prayer for Jesus was to assume a position where He could carry what He did not deserve. He was bruised and crushed… carrying our infirmities. He was pierced and stripped, embracing our shame. He was spat upon, cursed and given vinegar to drink… all in the process of satisfying our needs. He made our parched souls… His thirst.

Christ, our Savior, showed us to His Father in every hour of personal distress! He came to the Mount of Olives, not for rest alone, but because it was His “wine press”, where He was laid down. His provision is more than just religious, more that just a story and even more than just an example. His prayer life is new wine for the thirsty.

When Jesus prayed heaven was touching earth… and earth was being offered a drink.

Archives