|Posted on February 11, 2014 at 8:25 AM||comments (1)|
If you have been connected with my website for awhile you will notice that the website has changed.... AGAIN ! Part of the reason was that I like to keep things fresh. But the big reason why I changed the look and feel of this site was because one day as I sat at the desk looking at the website, I asked myself the question, "What is the purpose of my website ?" And the second question followed - "Does the website reflect the purpose ?" In the beginning the site had images that reflected the realtiy of spiritual warfare. And while I have lots of experience with spiritual warfare, and have lots to teach on it, spiritual warfare praying is only one aspect of prayer. Later I built the site around an image of a flowing stream. At that time I was focused on contemplative prayer and praying for revival. Again, these are two aspects of prayer. There is so much more. My ministry has been built around the components of prayer, preaching, teaching and mentoring. All of these are for the purpose of helping the members of my congregation grow in their prayer relationship with Jesus. I wanted to bring those components into my website. That is why the original purpose of my website was to provide a place where followers of Jesus could be equipped with the necessary tools, guidance, direction and encouragement for growing in their prayer relationship with Jesus. Prayer is a journey and it is an adventure. Prayer can be very intimidating, like exploring new territory. That is why I changed the images to map and a compass. My goal is to provide a website where tools, guidance, direction and encouragement are shared with those seeking to grow in their prayer relationship with Jesus. For those of you who are members of this site, this site is for you. I have streamlined it so that it is easy to navigate. You can interact with others on this site, it has social media capability. This is for you to use. There is also a page with resources that might be if help to you (Links page). If there are questions concerning prayer that you would like me to address, feel free to let me know. I will do my best to answer those. Peace.
|Posted on February 11, 2014 at 7:40 AM||comments (1)|
The other day I received a message from someone on Facebook with the simple statement of "most times I just don't know how to pray". That honest statement made me realize, that some times when we have been doing something for so long, that we just don't realize how complicated we make things. This got me thinking about how we teach prayer in Sunday School. If you have struggled with just trying to start praying, perhaps this simple tool will help you. Using the hand as our guide, the thumb reminds us of who we are talking to -"Our Father". The index finger reminds us to say "we thank you...." At this point we pause to give thanks for all the good things in life, and for all the things He has done for us through the cross. The middle finger reminds us of our petitions as we say, "we ask...." - then we make our prayer requests known to God. The fourth finger is the reminder to say "In Jesus name" and the pinky is "Amen". This is essentially the simple structure of prayer. Prayer is this structure coupled with the understanding that prayer is simply talking with God. As you become more accustomed you will find that other elements will be added to your times of prayer. Your times of giving thanks may turn into times of confession. Your asking may turn into times of silence and reveling in His presence. Prayer just requires a simple structure with simple but sincere words. Prayer is not rocket science, it is simply spending time with the one who loves you and has created you for this relationship. We may need a Phd in rocket science to find the time to spend with the Lord, but that is another issue to deal with. I encourage you to embrace this simple structure of prayer and invite you to simply start praying. Peace.
|Posted on August 12, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (5)|
In the familiar hymn, Breathe on Me, Breath of God, we read the words- "Breathe on me breath of God, Fill me with life anew". What is this life ? Its not biological life, because we are physically alive while asking for this "life". If it was biological life, we would be dead and therefore wouldn't be able to make the request, "breathe on me breath of God". The question remains, what is this "life" that we are asking for in this hymn. From the context of the hymn it is the work and person of the Holy Spirit. In John 20:22 it says that Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, "receive the Holy Spirit". I have been thinking about this activity called breathing. To breathe means that we inhale and exhale. Biologically we inhale and we exhale. The action of inhaling/exhaling is not the breath itself, but is necessary for the breath to sustain life. If we held our breath long enough, we will pass out. If we are choking because the breath is cut off we will die. It says in Romans 8:26 it says that the Holy Spirit will also help us in our prayers. Praying is the inhaling and exhaling of the spiritual life imparted to us by the Holy Spirit. We inhale the diserment, guidance and wisdom of God through prayer, and we exhale by praying into thosesituations. Breathing the breath of the Holy Spirit through pray should be just as natural as breathing with our lungs. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. When we fail to see the connection between prayer and our spiritual lives, we will die spiritually. In order to become alive again, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to "breathe on me breath of God" and we need to start praying consistently. Even biologically, if we don't stay healthy, our breathing will be affected and life becomes difficult and then it becomes necessary to exercise. The spiritual discipline of prayer (all types) is what get us back in shape and enables us to live again. How is your breathing ? How is your discipline of prayer ? Is it becoming easier, as natural as breathing ? Be reminded of verse three of the hymn we started with: "Breathe on me breath of God, Till I am wholly Thine, until this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine". Peace.
|Posted on June 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM||comments (4)|
If you have been a member to this site for a while, you will have noticed that it looks different. Before, the site depicted some very nice armour, chain mail, helm and sword. Also, the site was called - Prayer Warrior. No I have not abandoned any sense of being called as a prayer warrior. Rather, I have been taught by Jesus, another form of spiritual warfare praying. Until Jesus completes the fullness of His Kingdom, there will always be a spiritual war between the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of darkness. I want to explain this form of spiritual warfare praying and perhaps then you will understand why I changed the site to reflect this understanding.
For years I have, under the leading & anointing of the Holy Spirit, been engaged in very intense spiritual warfare praying. I say intense because I have at times, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, found myself in the heavenlies engaged in literal hand to hand combat with demonic entities and hosts of demons. I say literal, because at times when I have come out of from the anointing I have had bite marks, scratches, bruises and injuries. Keep in mind, this was all enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I never went looking for this. I would be worshipping the Lord with the guitar and would be aware of things happening in the heavenlies. These times of prayer might only last a few minutes, but sometimes happen day after day for months and months. Here is an example. For months the Lord had me praying in what looked like a violent desert. I spent all my time in prayer digging a ditch from east to west. There was much violence over this ditch. Then one day this prayer stopped and I heard on the news that the referendum for seprarate the Sudan into two countries was happening. That border went east to west. It was very interesting. This kind of praying, whether for people, my congregation, my city, or ministries has been like this for over 16 years. And then almost two years ago this kind of activity almost stopped completely. It was very difficult to adapt to this. I thought the Lord had abandoned me, or that I had done something terrible to offend the Lord. Then in July of 2012 I found myself being placed into a different place. I watch a lot of war movies and historical movies. And sometimes when the Lord wants to teach me some Biblical principles he will enable me to experience truth by actually being in a movie. This is what happened. I had watched a movie about the tribal wars that would occur between the Russian Cossacks (Russian Orthodox) and the Poles from Warsaw (Roman Catholic). In the movies the Poles had attacked and wiped out a Cossack camp. The Cossacks attempted to retaliate by attacking Warsaw. The only problem was that Warsaw was a fortified city and the Cossacks were nomadic and had no idea how to engage in seige warfare. Eventually they decided to build seige towers and eventually (after many many months) they took the city. When the Lord put me in the movie to learn a battle principle, this is what I learned. When the seig tower door dropped down, I didn't jump out and fight. Instead, I found myself manning a huge water hose. All the seige towers were equipped with these hoses and we just simply flooded the city and drowned out the opposition.
This same principle was portrayed in the Lord of the Rings movie. In one scene, the Ents (tree-like beings) were attacking Saruman's stone tower at Isengard. This physical attack wasn't effective. One of the Ents pulled down the dam that had been built to stop the river and flooded the Tower and won the victory.
Over the next few weeks the Lord began to download some things from scripture to give me understanding as to what He was trying to teach me. I have always taught that Jesus' ministry was governed and shaped by prayer. In John 5:19 Jesus said "every thing I do I do because I see the Father doing it". It is obvious that when Jesus is spending time with the Father everyday in prayer, that He is getting His daily assignments. I have also taught that we are seated in the heavenlies with Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). As we are seated with Him, the Holy Spirit enables us to hear and see what Jesus is praying because Jesus himself continues to pray the Father's will (Hebrews 7:25). But the Lord has added to this paradigm. In Hebrews 9:24 we have the picture of Jesus entering the heavenly Temple to make present His blood for the atonement. See this - this is the real, orignal Temple in the heavenlies. Furthermore, flowing from this Temple is the river of God that brings healing to the nations (Revelation 22:2). This river flows to the nations to bring healing. I began to see another form of spiritual warfare praying - praying the river.
Shortly after this experience of being in the movie, the Holy Spirit brought me into the heavenlies - just like before. I found myself, in the heavenlies looking over India. And nothing was really happening. So I said to the Lord, "what do you want me to do ?" And He said, Iike I was supposed to understand, "Pray the river". I had no idea what He was driving at so I just began to ask the Holy Spirit to flood the nations with the light of Jesus. And from there prayer just began to pour out of me like waves. As I look back, I have realized that praying the river is simply praying the character of Father, Son and Holy Spirit into the situaiton or into the nation. How can the adversary possibly stand against that river. I have found this form of spiritual warfare praying is very simple and is very powerful. In this form of prayer I have experienced push-backs from the enemy, but nothing like before. Spirtual warfare praying has become exciting once again.
I have changed my website to reflect this fundamental change in spiritual warfare praying. While we may be clothed in the full armour of God, we are riding a battleship on the river of God. The focus in prayer has become praying the river of God to move powerfully among the nations and people groups.
Another interesting development is that we at Knox have been seeing a river flowing in the sanctuary into the city. And other congregations have as well. Spiritual warfare is not just about warring directly against the devil, it is also about overwhelming the enemy with the victorious reality of Jesus Christ. The song by Darrell Evans, Let the River Flow, plays in our sanctuary 24/7.
Now you know why I have changed the website. Blessings and Peace and may you too experience the joy of praying His river/presence into all situations.
|Posted on April 3, 2013 at 8:35 AM||comments (5)|
Last Friday evening during our 24 Hour Prayer Vigil that runs from noon Good Friday to noon Saturday, the Lord spoke to me. It was during my hour of prayer from 9 pm until 10 pm. Over the last couple of weeks I have been wrestling with the Lord over some theological issues, trying to understand some perspectives from scripture and trying to get a handle on some personal spiritual issues. As I sat at the Communion table engaged in worship and then moving into a time of deep silence I heard the Lord speak to me. It was from deep within. He simply said, "Be patient, you'll get there." I was encouraged and have since then been able to relax and be patient. This morning I recieved from scripture an insight on how He wants me to be patient. The lectionary reading for this morning was John 15:1-11. This is a very familiar passage. This is the "I am the vine, you are the branches" passage. In these eleven verses the "remain" is used ten times. To "remain" in something implies a continuity; to stay close, to remain connected. And that is what Jesus is implying. If we remain in Him (stay close, connected etc.) we will experience His fruit (v.4), His power (v.5), His words (v.7) and His love (v.9-10). And so our challenge is to remain constantly in Christ. The Greek work that is used here comes from the Greek word MENO. And it means to abide. From this word we have the word ABODE - which gives us further understanding that to remain in Christ is to "live in Christ" and Christ lives in us". Furthermore, the word MENO also means to wait. And this is where I got my clue this morning. As I stick close to Jesus, as I stay connected to Him and allow myself to wait upon Him, I begin to get His answers, His Words, His thoughts. His power. I have always engaged in the discipline of listening prayer, but the only way I can describe this is the discline of yielded silence. It has been amazing. Today if you are wrestling and waiting for answers, remain in Jesus, wait upon Him in silence, yield yourself to Him and the answers, guildance and power will come. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you learn this. Peace.
|Posted on March 5, 2013 at 12:45 AM||comments (7)|
I remember a long long time ago a conversation that I had with a member of a congregation. And this person explained that the reason why they didn't go to Bible study was because they didn't understand the Bible. After recovering from my initial shock and confusion, I asked, "Well, do you read and study it on your own ?" "No," the person replied, "I told you I don't understand it so I don't bother. I get what I need on Sunday." I was incredulous ! I was also incredulous when another individual said similar things about prayer. They don't pray because they don't understand prayer. That would be like saying "I don't talk to my wife because I don't understand what it means to have a conversation and I don't want to learn." That would reveal the depth of my relationship with my wife. Our unwillingness to be engaged in Bible study and prayer is a good measuring tool for our relationship with the Lord. In the Season of Lent, in which we engage in a 40 day period of self examination to root out sin patterns and obstacles to growth, it is important that we discern what roadblocks we have towards the study of scripture and to praying. In Acts 6 it says that the Apostles "devoted" themselves to prayer and to the word. the Greek word, proskarteresomen that we translete as "devoted" means "to be contant", "to pay steadfast attention", "to continue all the time in a place", "to persevere" and "to adhere to". To be devoted to something is more than a casual committment. It becomes everything. The reason it becomes everything is because of who these things point to. The study of scripture is not for the primary purpose of knowing infomation but knowing the Messiah-King, Jesus Christ. The purpose of prayer is not about getting stuff, but is about getting real close to Jesus. Prayer and the study of scripture are the measuring sticks of how devoted we are to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. What is needed is not more information on how to study the Bible, nor more teaching on how to pray. What is needed is that we change our mindset and be DEVOTED to the things of prayer and the study of His Word. Just devote yourself to the effort. By being devoted, prayer and scripture becomes the air we breathe. In this Season of Lent, ask yourself this question: How devoted am I to prayer and to the study of scripture ? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you become more devoted !
|Posted on January 8, 2013 at 7:50 AM||comments (13)|
Yesterday morning I had an encounter with Jesus as I was praying in the Sanctuary. As I was praying for the congregation I found myself lamenting about what seems to be an inability of the congregation to engage in intentional evangelism. This led to a number of things regarding Church growth and outreach. As I lamented, the Lord drew near and spoke. The Lord said, "Seek first the Kingdom." I countered with, "but Lord that is about finances, and worrying about what we are going to eat, drink and wear." To which Jesus said, "that text applies to everything." I was stunned as the implications and applications began to hit home. We all know this, it is not about doing the stuff (like Martha) it is about being with the King (like Mary) as He does the stuff through us. Seek first the Kingdom is about seeking the presence and reign of Jesus Christ who is the KIng of this Kingdom. It has become abundantly clear that when worship focuses on exalting and lifting up Jesus, Jesus will enthrone Himself upon the praises of His people and if there are those who are worshipping for the first time they will see and hear the risen Christ. As we spend more intimate time with Jesus, worshiping Him and exalting Him, He will become present in our daily lives and others will notice. Jesus said in John 12 that when He is lifted up He will draw all people to Him. So when we grow in intimacy with Jesus, which is a form of lifting Him up we will only want to do what He wants done. When we seek Him and love Him and lift Him up, we will be willing to tell others about Him.Another thing that came to mind, was instead of always harping on Church finances and givings and tithing - teach the people to love Jesus the King, and the financial things will look after themselves. The problem is that we have substituted intimacy with ministry and management. Seek the King and His Kingdom, grow in intimacy with the King and these other things will be taken care of.
I reflected on this concept throughout the day and when I saw how the Lord had used this principle of Seeking the Kingdom, I was able to recall a number of times of how the Lord used me to share Him with others. Seeking the Kingdom is about seeking the intimacy and Lordship of Jesus Christ the King. When we stick close, we will demonstrate what Jesus did in His own ministry. Jesus was so close to the Father that in John 5:19 it says that everything Jesus did He did because He saw the Father doing it. If this is true for me as an individual, it can certainly be true for the congregation as well. The challenge now is to develop a corporate sense of seeking the King and His Kingdom.
When the Lord said "Seek first the Kingdom" in response to my laments, I felt liberated from a load of expectations that are not necessary. Be encouraged today, Seek first the Kingdom and all the things you are waiting for, they will be taken care of.