Thursday, June 26, 2008


Jesus they say you taught a lame man how to dance
When he had never walked without a crutch
Well here I am Lord, holding out my withered hands
I'm just needing to be healed! - Rich Mullins

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pease hep the poor, the hunry, the suffing,and the opans in Gagiland

A short while back during our evening prayer time my three year old added to her prayer, " Pease hep the poor, the hunry, the suffing, and the opans in Gagiland..." and my heart swelled with joy. I had not instructed her to pray for the poor, the hungry, the suffering, or the Swaziland orphans. In fact that little fire cracker prays only what she wants to pray for and takes great offense at prayer suggestions. So my joy was the fact that she is hearing our prayers and the prayers of her older sister, to know what at the least we SAY is important in our family.

Claiming that the poor, the hungry, the suffering, and the orphans are important is much easier than living out that commitment. Praying for God's deliverance of these groups on margins is significantly easier than being God's hands and feet to bring His deliverance to the margins. I do not want to create a home where we pray about the God's Kingdom being realized in the least of these. I want to raise my children in a home that participates as citizens in the expansion God's Kingdom to these wretched places.

"Welcome to The Bridge." My daughters shout that with explosive joy on Tuesday nights as we greet the guests of this prodigals return celebration. It is a commitment we have taken intentionally to participate with God, and with our children to befriending and ministering to these people serving in the penal system or caught in the street lifestyle. Going to befriend and participate in worship with these fellow travelers whose struggles are framed and matted for public display creates opportunity to talk about and model Jesus style friendship with the kids.

"Will I die of AIDS?" I am asked by my soon to be seven year old after she hears me tell an audience at the church that a girl under 14 in Swaziland has an 80% chance of dying of AIDS. Our children are well aware we are selling our house, quitting our jobs, and moving our family to care for orphans in this third world country that is burning under the terror of AIDS. She knows soon, she will be a girl under 14 living in Swaziland. She knows that her American reality is ending as we travel to join alongside God's work to these Swazi orphans. We celebrate together as a family how exciting it is to Be Jesus to children with no mommies and no daddies to love them, like our children have.

I am excited when my children, echo the prayers we pray in front of them. I am more excited when our children imitate our intentional work in the places where Jesus' red letters are lived out. Extreme Poverty, is a harsh reality in this world. Taking our children to the places where this poverty is realized, emotionally at The Bridge, and physically in Sub-Saharan Africa so that they can participate with God in his redemption of this horrid consequence of a fallen world. Extreme poverty is best understood by a child who is raised and commissioned to bring the Kingdom of God in to heal the desperation.

><> ><> This post is an answer to the question: "How do you explain extreme poverty to your kids?" It is from the Red Letters Campaign Blog Buzz. To read more answers to this question, and their previous questions visit their website.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

House Cleaning

Growing up Saturday morning was a time or torment and terror. It was house cleaning time. Although we were allowed to watch some cartoons first, the majority of the morning was dedicated to cleaning home for the week. Each family member was responsible for the room of the house mom had assigned them that week. In my memory (I say that because I KNOW my mom will disagree when she reads this post) your assigned area was not clean until MOM said it was clean. Additionally, it would behoove you for an area to be flawless before requesting mom's inspection, because if any part of the room was not cleaned to her standards, the whole room had to be cleaned again. I actually remember (Again she'll say it never happened, but it did) having to dust the SAME ROOM four times in a row, because she found an area I had either missed or performed substandard.

This memory came to the forefront of my mind today as I was listening to a worship leader on a video read Malachi 3:1-5 because here God is cleaning house. To paraphrase the passage God says, "If I'm gonna occupy this temple, you're gonna have to get your mess out!" This made me think of Saturday house cleaning growing up. I was also impressed with how similar his cleaning method was to my own mother's.

Each week, before starting our assigned room for the week, we would have to clean our own bedroom. Everything had to be perfect. Toys had to be in their correct spot, clothes had to be hung up or put in the correct drawer, bed had to be made, all furniture had to be dusted, and the floor had to be vacuumed. After our "house" was in order, we could go on to our part of the general house cleaning.

In this passage, God notes his intent to use this model for cleaning up the temple for his occupancy. "He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them..." God could not move on to the business of cleaning and filling the whole earth as his temple until the priest's of God were refined. God had to clean his own room, or his intermediaries so the world could see his purity. Those people that stood to speak for God, had to look like Go, so that people could know the true character of God.

Now that we are the priests of God's Kingdom this applies to us. We can not wonder why there is adulterery, greed, oppression, exploitation, and abuse present in the world around us, if we have not allowed God to clean us up on the inside. Do not look to make the world look more like God. God promises his manifest glory will fill the earth! Instead allow yourself and your will to be defeated by the refiners' fire, to be scrubbed away by the launders' soap.

The admonition to lose yourself in God is an opportunity to participate in seeing the Kingdom of God inhabit the earth. Recently I was struggling with a fear of what God would ask of me next. I argued with God in my head, "If you keep taking away the things that make me me, then there is going to be nothing left of me." God's peace filled response in my spirit was, "exactly." I gave up the vice he was asking for right there.

I want to be a temple that God can fill. I can not be filled with the manifest presence of God so long as I clinging to the mess that makes my body, mind, and spirit my own. I need the Lord to take away the clutter, and remove all my secret rebellions, so that the world can see Him, filled up inside of me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

How to pay honor to my dad this Father's day. Rich Mullins wrote of his dad, "he worked to give faith hands and feet and some how gave it wings." I have met few people who this could be said of. My father gave us a heritage of faith that has wings. My dad loved God, loved the church, and instilled that love in us. Bill Hybels said of a dad's legacy, "there is not a magic wand you wave there is only a life you live." My dad lived that life.

I do not mean to say my dad was perfect. But his imperfection was made whole and became a source of healing in Christ. When I was 16 years old, my dad sat my brother and I down in the living room, he confessed, repented, and eliminated the sin that had in various ways turned our hearts from him. The humility I learned from that event was FAR more healing than the damage of the sin he confessed.

I have very few close friends, yet truly my dad is one of those friends. I am still honored to learn from my dad as his son, and also sometimes to teach him as a peer. We share the love of being family, the camaraderie of similar interests, and the joy of close friendship.

There are So many people in this world whose parents have not poured their love, and God's love into their children. Mine Did!! There are so many people who have valued education, careers, sports, and other accomplishments over their child's faith. Mine did not. My dad taught us to study, to be servants, to work hard and to value family.

I am an adopted son of Almighty God called to be his hands and his feet to His orphans. I am called to love, disciple and provide for these forgotten sons and daughters. My life and my faith has wings because I am my father's son.

Happy Father's Day Dad!!! I want to be a dad like you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tag, I'm It

The Rules:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 3 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.


What were you doing five years ago?
Working at the same company, with only 1 child who would have been a toddler.

What are five things on your to-do list for today? (I'm answering tomorow since I am on my way to sleep after this)
1. Goto Church
2. Have Father's Day Lunch with my Kiddos
3. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
4. Call My Dad
5. Clean Out The Van :(

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1. Fritos
2. Lays
3. Dry Roasted Peanuts
4. Fair Trade Chocolare
5. Pork Rinds - cuz they're SO good for you!

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. Build An Orphan Village In Swaziland
2. Pay off my parents, my in-laws, and my brother's house.
3. Build more orphan villages and care points throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
4. Hire Programmers To Write a web 2.0 Bible Study site.
5. Get World Race Accredited As Like 12 Hours of College Credit (I am in love with WR and wish it had been around when I was 23!)

What are five of your bad habits?
1. Being Passive Aggressive
2. Biting My Finger Nails
3. Skipping My Bible Study
4. Taking On Too Much
5. Not Calling My Grandmas Enough

What are five places where you have lived?
1. Patrick AFB, FL
2. Scott AFB, IL
3. Landstuhl Germany
4. York, NE
5. Dupage County, IL

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1. Information Technology Director
2. Youth & Children's Minister
3. Country Kitchen cook and server.
4. Jiffy Lube (2 Weeks)
5. Usher - Kerasotes Theater

So my three Tags:
1. Niki, Jeff, and Rob

Monday, June 09, 2008

Out Of The Frying Pan...

In case you thought you were having a bad day, I had to share this story that came across the AP wire.

Stranded divers chase off Komodo dragon on island
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Scuba divers swept away in strong currents survived 12 hours in shark-infested waters before scrambling onto a remote Indonesian island where they faced yet another threat: a Komodo dragon.

The divers — three from Britain and one each from France and Sweden — came face-to-face with the giant, carnivorous lizard on Rinca's palm-fringed beach, and fought it off by pelting it with rocks and pieces of wood, Pariman, a port official said Sunday.
Continue Reading

Friday, June 06, 2008

Wrecked For The Ordinary

Wrecked For The Ordinary is an e-zine I wait for with anticipation every Friday! The articles are always touching, inspiring, and fruitful. The writers are all people who have had their lives wrecked by the awesome excitement of total surrender to making Christ's Kingdom visible on earth as it is in Heaven.

This week, I was even a bit more excited than usual since learning my article was going to be published.

While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. -Matthew 9:32

I wonder who else in the crowd had the eyes to see this mute's bondage? Were there others who felt he was captive to a demonic terror? Did his mother, brother, best friend see him as a captive? I figure most likely not. The crowd that was gathered around Jesus, looked at a physical condition and came to a physical conclusion. Jesus saw past the physical circumstance, and into the Spiritual reality that demanded a God intervened conclusion.

This week my wife and I have been confronted with two situations that demanded our attention to the Spiritual reality that underlay them, rather than the physical symptom that presented. One situation was a close friend who needed a biopsy for numerous "growths" on his liver and pancreas. The other was another friend, who swam to the surface of her drowning pool of depression to admit the abuse present in her marriage.

In both situations the physical indicator demanded the discernment of spiritual vision.
You can read the rest over at their site Wrecked For The Ordinary
and check out all the other of this week's article which I am sure will bless you as well.

Wrecked also has a Facebook Group to create a network between it's readership.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The 42nd Generation

Andrew Shearman has a teaching that I believe will blow you away. In fact I have read it three to four times now and it blows me away and the Spirit is able to speak to me through it each time. I really think if you are looking for something to push you to tht next big step in your faith walk I would encourage you to read this at least once and I would even recommend a few times.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

I also compiled the entire sermon as a single PDF file if you would rather read it in print format.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lakeland and "Falling Out"

Allison Johnston went to the Lakeland revival as a skeptic. After her first two nights she has posted several posts two of which are worth noting for the purpose of this post. She first confessed and repented of her judgmental spirit before arriving in Lakeland. I admired this since I too would hope that I am being discerning rather than judgmental about these things.

The second post was highlighting a comment she received about the Spirit and Lakeland.
If you are truly walking in His Spirit and are willing to put on your spiritual eyes and not your carnal eyes, He will guide you into all truth. Also see Luke 9:49-50 to read what Jesus said about those who where using Jesus name to force out demons. Above all, do not be guilty of blasphemy. God's ways are not our ways, open up your heart and He will show you the truth.
As I looked at her comment I was struck with both concern about her message but more frightening her judgmental spirit against anyone who chose discernment over blind acceptance. Please do not get me wrong... I desire revival... I hope that Lakeland is the real thing... I want a move of healing in the US America...

So where does this bring us. I think for me, it brings me to Mark 13:22-23 "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time." and it brings me to 1 Thessalonian 5:19-22 "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil..

Jesus and Paul's attitude about these things is very different than the ideas of Allison's commenter. Jesus and Paul both seem to argue that one needs to use the Spirit to discern whether any power is of God or of satan. Since it would in fact be blasphemous to the Spirit to assume that he could contradict himself it is useful to use the text of the Bible as a good starting place for a look at discerning these things.

When I began to watch Lakeland online I was immediately struck by the "falling out" in the Spirit. This was an instant turn off to me and was addressed as the commenter on Allison's blog continued,
In regard to the "falling out", I have not found, in the Bible, where anyone fell backward. The usually fall forward. But, I will not say anything against it. I have known many who have experienced this. My son, at the age of 15 experienced it. His comment, "mom, I felt closer to God than I ever have, it was beautiful".....can anyone be skeptical of that?"
I personally MUST be skeptical of any manifestation of Spirit that can not be found in the Bible. More importantly examples of falling backward DO occur in the Bible and a quick look at them should point that we do not want to be on the receiving end of falling backward in the biblical sense.

The first reference to falling backward we see in the text is Jacob's "Blessing" of his children. In Genesis 49:17 Jacob points out that the tribe of Dan's actions will be death for those he encounters his metaphor is falling backward to represent the death. Likewise, in Psalms 129:5 and Isaiah 28:13 reference is made to the enemies of the Lord falling backward to be shamed or broken.

Eli is the first example we see Biblically of a person physically falling backward. This Judge, Prophet, and Priest had allowed the ark of the Lord to be used as a totem for the armies in battle. In 1 Samuel 4:18, upon hearing that God had allowed the ark to be captured, Eli fell backward breaking his neck and dying that same day. Eli's death a manifestation of God's righteous judgment against his folly in regards to the ark of the Lord.

Similarly, in John 18:5-6 when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus they fell backward at the very sound of his voice. Although many translations do not include the direction of the fall, it is evident in Greek that it was backward.

Allison's commenter closes out with the following text:
Skeptical, cautious, should not be in our vocabulary when we are approaching the things of God. Faith and trust should be your words. Trust in the Lord, do not lean on your understanding, acknowledge Him in everything you do and He will lead you into truth!
Although her conclusion feels warm and fuzzy; Again, looking at this scripturally does not lead a person to this conclusion. In Philippians 1:9-10 Paul teaches that one manifestation of the love of Christ exuding out from us is that we are discerning: so that the excellence of God is manifested in our midst. In the same vain the writer of Hebrews points out in Hebrews 5:14 that part of our maturity in Christ is using discernment to sift good from evil. The mature Christian SHOULD approach those claiming to have a message from God with caution and skepticism to ensure that their message is inline with scripture or acknowledging that it's message is to deceive the elect.

Now despite the "falling out" I am not writing off Lakeland. I do not believe people falling backward as God heals them is Biblical. I do not think that the disorder of people writhing about on the ground is Biblical. I also think this might be groupthink and although not "produced" by the Spirit in itself is not a negation that the Spirit is doing something in Lakeland.

The "proof is in the pudding" as they say, and that is a question of theology. I have not heard Todd Bently teach and so as of now, I must remain a skeptic until I am able to test his teachings to see if they are excellent in drawing people into Christ.

I was very encouraged by Allison's own conclusion:
It was very easy for me to sit in my living room and watch GodTV and judge what was happening. It was easy to be turned off by tattoos, shouting, shaking, etc...Walking into the tent the first night my walls came down and it was so easy to slip into worship. There was absolutely nothing hindering me from worshiping my Jesus.

If I all do is worship it is more than enough reason to be here. It is the ONLY reason to be here.
She is right, we exist to bring worship to the Lord. She will be blessed just to be present personally in the throne room of heaven.

I am thankful to Allison for her trip. I hope she let's us all know more about the message of the revival.