Category Archives: Revival

God is Passionate About You

Passion is the driving force in humanity’s pursuit of satisfaction, whether it is in a relationship, a vocation, or an activity. Passion is the fire that causes one’s love to flourish, or one’s anger to seethe, or one’s willingness to sacrifice even their life for a cause. Without passion, love wilts, anger ceases, and sacrifice becomes routine. Passion is the sole ingredient that can ignite the smoldering embers of the life’s fire and cause it to blaze with renewed intensity. The object of one’s passion determines the intensity of the desire.

The object of God’s passion is you. Don’t be startled or embarrassed; the Father loves you with an intense passionate love. His is desire for you and He is a jealous God (“You shall not make for yourself and idol, any likeness of what is in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” Deut. 5:8-9a). You are His bride and the intensity of His passionate love is white-hot.

Perhaps you’ve never considered passion and God together at the same time. Perhaps for you passion is desire out of control and thus evil. The passion of love out of control becomes lust, but the passion of love under control brings life. And life can never be all that God intended unless God is the priority of your passion.

Perhaps you are not totally your Beloved’s. Perhaps the object of your desire is not God. God designed your heart to burn with love for Him in the same way His heart burns with an intense love for you. But often we contaminate the fire of our hearts with polluted fuel like position, power, or prestige. Anything that excites you more than God is contaminated fuel. Oh, a heart fueled by pollution can burn with a passion, but when the fuel is gone the flickering flames slowly recede and leave only the empty smelly shell of unrequited love. Unrequited love is frustrated love. Frustrated love results when the object of one’s love does not respond in like manner.

Thus, the ultimate difference between the Bridegroom, the Lover of our soul, and everyone and everything else is that God’s love never frustrates, instead it always stimulates. God’s love is not the result of a reaction or a response; instead it is the unconditional choice of a heart that truly desires you without regard to who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done. The passionate love of the Father depends on Him not you. And He has chosen you as the object of His love and He will not be frustrated in His desire for you.

When passions of like manner collide, tremendous explosions always take place. When the pure fuel of God’s love is injected into your heart, it will beat with the song your spirit was created to sing. But an intimate God will never force His love. You must invite His presence and His love to burn away the contamination of the world. It is in that moment that you will know His passion for you.

Understand this: He will not share you with another. The choice is yours, His passion or your perversion. Are you frustrated in your walk, in your relationships, with your prayers? Have you settled for less than the best? If so, open the door to the Bridegroom and allow Him to passionately love you and then respond to Him with the passion He calls forth from within your spirit. You will be satisfied and complete in His love and in His love alone.

Overwhelmed by God

Have you ever had a moment when you were completely overwhelmed by God? What happened? How did your spirit, soul, or body react to his touch?

Perhaps you wept…laughed…collapsed…rejoiced…shouted…were totally confounded…or just went silent.  All of us are different and all of us respond somewhat differently to God’s touch. But one thing is for certain, when God touches a person, that person knows they’ve been touched.

Yesterday, as we were ministering to people who came forward for prayer, I saw the touch of God on a shy, blond-headed little girl. The fact that she came forward and waited patiently for her moment of ministry in front of almost a hundred people amazed me.

In fact, when I turned to assist her, I was struck by the matter-of-fact manner in which she stepped forward. No hesitation. No fear. It was as though God himself was escorting her toward her heart’s desire and she would not be denied. This little girl was waiting patiently in line to be hugged and prayed for by a ninety-nine year old lady who had just spoken for about ninety minutes. She carried her burden quietly but confidently, as if she knew somehow she would not return to her seat with it.

Her voice was so soft that the praise and worship music seemed to drown her words out. Ms. Ruby motioned for me and told me she could not hear what the child was saying. So I leaned in and asked her what her need was. She replied very calmly, “My Papa died!” A knot welled up in my gut, and tears flooded my eyes, but I relayed the message to Ruby, who took this precious baby in her arms, hugged her like there was no tomorrow, and began to quietly pray with here. Two people, one ninety-nine and the other seven or eight took a load far too heavy to bear into the very throne room of God and I was an overwhelmed witness of the power of God.

I was transfixed and undone—knowing I was standing in a holy place where all the presence and power of God was being brought to bear on an unbearable burden that was crushing a child. I was afraid to move—it was such a holy moment. I stood still and gazed at the wonder of God’s love at work.

I watched as God embraced this tiny girl because she was his most important treasure in the world at that precise moment. Her burden became his burden as he lifted it off her petite shoulders. Ruby’s arms became God’s arms as he drew her close to his heart. Ruby disappeared, and in her place stood the King of kings and the Lord of lords—the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

I couldn’t think. Or say anything. Or do anything. I was confounded and confronted with the gentleness of omnipotence. I was overwhelmed by God, touched by his power, yet torn apart by the tenderness of that touch.

That same touch carved out the Grand Canyon, dug out the depths of the oceans, and tossed the mountains into place. This touch, that flung the stars throughout the universe and gouged out the pathways of the rivers, had just wiped the tiniest of tears of the cheek of a little girl. His touch had reached deep into her chest and lightened the heavy load crushing her broken heart.

And…I was overwhelmed by God. Overwhelmed…because I know that I know he loves you and me in the exact same manner. He is omnipotence willing to touch frailty and give power to the powerless. He is unbounding grace willing to caress the powerless, the vulnerable, the helpless and the impotent. He is infinite love swallowing up the unlovable and the unwanted.

Oh God, I am overwhelmed by your presence! May I reside here forever more?

Revival Fire

 

Bonfire

 

Revival takes place when the fire of God falls upon the people of God. Revival is not an evangelistic meeting where the lost come to Christ—that is one of the daily mandates of the church. No, revival takes place when the body of Christ is renewed, reinvigorated, and returned from the brink of extinction through repentance. Revival is a sovereign work by a sovereign God. He sends revival when and where he chooses. And yet, the body of Christ (both individual and corporate) is responsible for repairing the altar and providing fuel in anticipation of that divine fire. We are called to be living and holy sacrifices, which are to be offered daily to Christ (Romans 12:1-2). Our preparation does not compel God to send revival, but rather it invites him to come with revival.

Two things are required for fire to burn—oxygen and fuel. And endless supply of one without the other will result in the fire being extinguished. The Holy Spirit is God’s oxygen and the body of Christ is God’s fuel. The body of Christ is you and I. God provides the Holy Spirit without measure, but will you and I be the fuel? When God’s fire comes will there be enough fuel to sustain the flame long enough to create a blaze and attract others to it?

When the fire of revival comes it will do what fire always does. First, revival fire consumes the fuel. Hebrews 12:29 clearly declares, “Our God is a consuming fire.” In true revival, we are consumed by God. As a fire burns, it totally saturates every part of the fuel. Duncan Campbell, who preached in the great revival on the isle of Lewis off the west coast of Scotland in 1949, defined revival as “a community totally saturated with God.” Are you prepared to be saturated—to be consumed—by God?

Revival fire will also change the fuel. The essence of the fuel is transformed into energy that creates heat and light. Heat refines and purifies. Light destroys darkness through its illumination and provides guidance. Will we allow God’s fire to change us into what he desires?

As the fire consumes and changes the essence of the fuel, it always spreads. The more it spreads—the hotter it gets. When revival fire jumps the altar and spreads to new fuel—the lost will get saved and those in bondage will be set free. This fire will get hotter and more intense as it spreads!

God provides the fire. The Holy Spirit provides the oxygen. The question is: “Am I willing to be the fuel that ignites?”

A Simple Request

Sunday was a great day to worship God. What a privilege it is to gather with brothers and sisters and freely worship God in spirit and truth. We should never take that freedom lightly. We must maintain vigilance and guard it with the same tenacity that those who came before us did. Many sacrificed everything, including their lives for the opportunity to worship God according to their beliefs and conscience. America was founded on this treasured belief. Puritans from England, Huguenots from France, Presbyterians from Scotland, Catholics from Ireland and Spain, and a host of religious dissenters from other countries left their families and their native lands for a chance to freely worship God on the shores of this New World, and so they came by the thousands.

Our nation was birthed on biblical foundations and founded on the belief that freedom of religion is essential in the life of a republic. This Thursday we celebrate the birthday of our nation, but our freedoms are slowly slipping away as we sit idly by thinking it will never happen. Those early settlers and freedom fighters fought the battle of freedom for future generations. They were willing to sacrifice everything so their children could live free. What about you? Many in our nation worry only about today and themselves. If freedom of religion or any of the other freedoms we enjoy as Americans are to endure, we must stop living for today and only for ourselves. We must defend and guard our freedoms so that our children, grandchildren, and those children yet to be born may experience the blessings we have experienced.

God says, “If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). God calls on the believers of this nation—his sons and daughters—to go after his heart in humility and repentance through prayer. God is calling us to get our lives right (to return to his biblical standard instead of society’s standard) and then intercede for this nation. If sin freely lurks in our hearts as born-again believers, it will arrogantly strut up and down the streets of our nation. The return of a nation to God is always preceded by the cleansing of Christ’s bride—his church. The time has come for God’s people to stand up by kneeling down and confessing our sins and crying out for mercy. When, not if, we do this, God has promised to hear, forgive, and heal this nation. The responsibility for the healing of America rests on our doorsteps—not on the president, the congress, the courts, or any other group clamoring for recognition and acceptance under the law. The law of man can never bring real freedom to any man or woman. True freedom rests only in a relationship with Jesus Christ where we have surrendered everything—including our fleshly desires.

So as you celebrate America’s birthday this week, please take a few minutes and spend it alone with God. Allow him to shine his light deep into your heart. Acknowledge the darkness he shows you and then do the work of confession and repentance. If you are willing to do this, God will do what he has promised. and both revival and awakening will take place in this nation.

But…if all you do is listen to the naysayers and the gloom and doom prophets declaring judgment while screaming derogatory condemnation as you eat another barbeque rib and fork filled with potato salad, it is likely our nation’s birthdays will indeed be limited and the memory of her hallowed and glorious past lost.

Musings from a Madman: The Reality of Relationship (Part 13)

The Secret Place where God touches you.

Once inside this secret place, you must relax. You are now in God’s presence. This is the place where his heart and your heart were designed to bond. Here you can forget about your trials and troubles for a few minutes and experience the peace and the presence of the One who loves you unconditionally. Here is the place where you don’t have to perform, say the right words, or worry about doing something wrong.

This is the habitation of God, and you have entered the presence of the One who loves to sing songs over you as you draw near. These songs contain the words your heart hungers to hear—the songs that cause your spirit to soar on the wings of eagles. Here in this place you are completely safe from rejection. God will not reject you. To do so, he would have to reject his son Jesus Christ. And that is something God cannot do because he would have to reject himself and that is impossible.

Here you will find your true worth—the value God’s accessment. You will hear his voice. Perhaps it will come in a soft whisper or a gentle word or phrase. One thing is for certain, if you listen closely you will begin to understand who you truly are in Christ. You will grasp the reality of the person God sees when he looks at you, not the despicable creature the enemy wants you to believe is the real you.

Perhaps it has dawned on you that the voices of condemnation, shame, and fear have all gone silent. Their slurs and slanders have no voice here. Truth is the only language spoken at this address. The only shortcomings here are the deceptions you have believed about yourself and smuggled into this tranquil spot. And, if you become a regular visitor to the place, those will soon disappear as the light of truth illuminates them one by one. Then you will see each one for what it really is—a lie. Here in this place, God’s word defines truth. What he says is!

Lay aside what everyone else says about you and listen closely to the words God is speaking. Listen! Learn! And then live out of the identity ascribed to you by God. He cannot lie! You are a son—a daughter—of the King. You are not worthless, unworthy, wicked, or stupid. You are not a failure or a disappointment either. You are the beloved of God!

Listen to God’s voice. Concentrate on every consonant, vowel, and syllable. Let the melody of those words sink like medicine into your wounded soul. Meditate on their full meaning. That healing word you have longed for so long is here—right now!

Stop worrying about what to do next. Just relax and be who God says you already are.

Musing of a Madman: The Mystery of Relationship (Part 1)

The Mystery of Relationship

Have you ever wondered if you might be mad? You know—crazy as a loon, crackers, nut-so, touched in the head, or wacky Jack. I’m not referring to those who suffer from a mental illness, rather I’m speaking of being a person who dreams of things that seems to go against or even defy the status quo of what is commonly taught or believed. I’m speaking of hungering for something God says is possible, but most have yet to embrace or taste. When you think this way, you are often labeled a fanatic, kook, or heretic (this one usually rears its ugly head when those who disagree are unable to mount a real biblical defense and resort to demonizing the dream because it makes them very, very uncomfortable).

I don’t mind the names because I refuse to stitch their labels in my shirt. Those labels neither define who I am nor the depth of my dreams. So I refuse to fly their flag, wear their tag around my neck, or brandish their brand on my hip. There comes a place in your life when you have to push off the shore, paddle out into the deep, and pursue the things God has planted in your spirit even if it appears you might sail right off the edge of the world. That boat ride can be lonely, and usually is until the dream you are pursuing starts to making sense to other dreamers stranded on the shore, who long for more.

God is not into uniformity, even though he loves unity. We don’t all have to think, act, or dress the same to follow God. Uniformity equals boring and God is certainly not boring. He loves diversity, and I’m sure he gets a kick out of the dreamers all the others think are mad as hatters.

One of my dreams is a core value that God really desires a passionate, intimate relationship with all of us. That’s why he created people. I believe he placed us in Christ and has given us the Holy Spirit to enable each of us to experience this mind-blowing experience. There are few who would disagree with the concept, and yet most are unwilling to follow the path that will lead them that deep into the true heart of God. Its cost is far too much. Its pathway is fraught with danger and its steps too slippery. Most would say the cost outweighs the return, but those who would warn you away from this path and discourage you from this journey have never tasted the sheer satisfaction or the utter ecstasy of God’s true presence. Unwilling to pay the price, they have devised their own tales and woven their own stories about all the things God no longer does.

But…there are men and women, wandering pilgrims throughout the ages, who have chosen this passageway and been labeled eccentric, odd, fanatical, mystical, heretical, and even enemies of both church and state. Many were beaten, imprisoned, and martyred at the hands of their own religious leaders, fearful that their little earthly kingdoms might be destroyed if the heavenly kingdom of God envisioned by these dreamers ever truly manifested. Their books and writings were ridiculed, labeled as heresy, and burned because they challenged the ideas and dogma of an earlier dreamer. Their pages may have become ash and their bodies dust, but their dreams and ideas still fuel a fire that cannot be quenched. Those dreams and ideas have their genesis in God, therefore they are eternal. Chains could not restrain them. Swords, axes, stakes, and gallows failed to snuff them out. Armies cannot stop them. Death has no power over them. They belong to God—these ideas are the desires of his heart—ideas, visions, and dreams lent to the dreamer willing to embrace possibility of the impossible.

If—in the depths of your spirit you dream a similar dream or are driven by an insatiable hunger for something yet unnamed, or you just know there’s got to be more than you are currently experiencing—I invite you to walk with me along this narrow pathway for a short distance. I want to challenge you to dream the dream, jump off the ledge, let go what holds you back, grab for the gusto, spread your wings and fly, or whatever you choose to call it. There is far more than we have been led to believe or have yet to dream when it comes to the passionate heart of God.

And…it all begins with this mystery called relationship.

How Long?

How much longer will we, as the body of Christ, hide like ostriches with our heads buried in the sands ignoring the systematic destruction of our nation? How many more catastrophes like the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre will we allow to happen on our watch and do nothing? How much longer will we shed a tear, feel sorry for those involved, duck our heads, and then forget and go on with life, thankful it did not happen where we live or affect our family? How much longer will we do nothing? How long indeed!

 

How long will be refuse to pray—to cry out for the heart and the soul of this nation? Oh, we can debate how the world did not want God in the schools, but the world did not shut the door. The body of Christ turned the knob and slammed it in retreat, unwilling to stand up and contend for what is right. We abandoned the schools, the government, entertainment, music, and everything else now swirling around the bowl and headed for disaster with our feelings hurt because they did not want us. We—the body of Jesus Christ—have abandoned the walls of that fair city on a hill (a Puritan description of America), and allowed pure evil to scale her walls and stalk her streets. We are the watchmen, the last line of defense for the helpless, the hopeless, and those who have no chance apart from a relationship with Christ. We are the thin line of defense (not the police, the military, or the government) that stands between this nation and the anarchy of her utter destruction. We have not been put here based on whether or not others want us or our God. We have been put here to protect them, to love them, and to show them Christ. We have been put here to stand firm! We have been put here to pray—to cry out for mercy for those who don’t even know they need it. Our responsibility has been given to us by Almighty God. And…we have abandoned our post!

 

How long will we run and hide? How long will we pack into our cloistered little communities as hell engulfs the world around us and act as though nothing is happening? During the height of the atrocities of the holocaust in Germany, the Christians whose churches were located along the railways sang louder in their  worship to drown out the cries of the Jews, the Poles, the Czechs, and the Gypsies as the trains carried them to the gas chambers of the concentration camps. How long will we ignore the calamity and think it will not swallow us up as well? How long will we avoid our responsibility? Perhaps—until that same evil comes for us?

 

How long will we not pray? Not cry out in desperation and fasting for God to move? How long will we withhold what is within our power, privilege, and responsibility to do? Or do we really believe the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14? How long will we, those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and forgiven of our sins—who are called by God’s name—not humble themselves, instead of arrogantly acting like the world around us is getting exactly what they deserve? How long will we refuse to pray for those who choose not to think like us? How long will we sit back on our hypocritical hunches thinking those around us are surely getting what they deserve and not seek on their behalf, the face of a merciful and grace-filled God we claim to love and serve? How long will we refuse to repent for the wickedness of refusing to love as Christ loved, to turn the other cheek as Jesus did on the way to the cross, or to die to self, and if necessary in our physical bodies—to spare others who have as yet not come to know Christ? We talk a lot about hell, but we really don’t believe in its horrors or our attitudes and actions would be far different. How long will we sit idly by and not pray? For as sure as God sits on his throne in heaven and his word is true—until the church moves and obeys the commands of her head—God will not hear, the effects of rampant sin will run wild, and our land will die, unhealed. How long will we do nothing and expect anything to change?

 

How long do we think we can continue to act like this and call ourselves the church? How long indeed?