Spiritual Renewal

Fear of God

September 29, 2014

While the fear of the Lord is what lays the foundation for knowing the ways of God, it is also the thread of preparedness and maturity defining a stable and purposeful walk with Him. It is the factor that enables the finish to go well. It is the glue for unity and stability. It establishes the wall of fire, the equalizer and protection for God’s people that has no parallel. It is the standard for enduring relationships, along with being the crux for God’s criterion for leadership. Even more so, the fear of the Lord is bedrock for times of crisis and the igniter for what we describe as revival. The reality of God is gaining critical mass. The world is looking for the reality of God being demonstrated — through His people. We’ve entered a time Jesus referred to in Matthew 24 as the “beginning of sorrows.” It is approaching a time noted in Luke 21 when men’s hearts will fail due to fear. The determining factor for what’s needed will not be a perfect doctrine, eloquent sermons or some super-elite band of hyper-religious. Nothing short of God’s presence and power will suffice. The fear Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 is totally different from the fear of God. It is the response of those whose hearts do not know God and those whose hearts are divided toward him. Before his ordeal, Job knew God and His ways, in his head. When he emerged, he truly knew God and his ways in his heart. The united heart changes everything.
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6
God has called those known by His Name to be standard-bearers and agents of change. In today’s chaotic and turbulent world, this task is going to take something more. We are to actuate a new dimension, the spiritual climate that establishes God’s Kingdom rule.

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August 12, 2014

One of the biggest, if not the biggest gap in the Church today — is the need for something practical and engaging, to enable each believer to WALK OUT A CALL OF GOD. We’ve emerged at a change of generations with a “me-too” orientation. We’ve confused the tactical with the strategic. We’ve made models out of what may have been simply successful stepping stones for a time, stepping stones never intended as the standard or the model to be followed. Short-sighted misuse of tactical means for strategic ends can impede the unlocking and passage into new gateways. Volunteerism, for example, is not an end in itself, but rather the steps in the path toward its adherents correctly identifying and then being prepared for release to walk out their own callings. Mimicking success, instead of following the move of the Spirit, of the cloud by day and the fire by night, can be a trap. It impedes maturity within the Body needed to rightly discern and engage in God’s strategies for the times. The blind-spot at the core of such subtle snares is akin to the downfall of Shebna, of becoming in-bred and self-serving. This deception short-circuits the big-picture purposes of the Spirit. The momentum for this misaligned zeal is driven by the overuse or misapplication of early-stage successes and priorities. This in-bred myopia can breed lone-ranger congregations. Progressively misaligned priorities result in a failure to interact with, pray with and work together with other believers within the surrounding community. It waters down the important factor of how we seek the Lord together. It results in falling short in mobilizing God’s people to discern and walk out the calling of God for the day at hand. In-bred myopia masks the keys needed to unlock the strategies needed to avoid the mix between the collisions taking place due to the “me-too” and “Shebna empire,” lone-ranger, short-sighted expenditures of energy and anointing.

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August 2, 2014

The story of Louie Zamperini is a story of the colliding — between a life held in the bondage of masks and the superficial — and the reality that only God can provide and bring into wholeness. It is a story of facing your fears. It is a story of becoming a true God-pleaser and embracing reality. We live in a world of illusions. What we refer to as smoking mirrors is employed at the highest levels. The perception has been confused with the reality. Masks define identities. Superficialities drive priorities. Leadership is mistaken for who is in charge. Jesus came to reset the way we look at things. He came to unmask the counterfeit. He unveiled the realities, which redefine the priorities. There’s a major difference between brokenness and humility. Humility is the process of taking the steps to remove the masks and face the fears that the evil one uses in paths to brokenness. In this upside-down world, the illusions warp true reality with the distortions intent on seducing the multitudes into pathways of destruction. Yet, from the beginning, God has had a design for His people. Jesus described this design and raised the bar for what God gave to His covenant people. At its core is the purpose, which God gave to Abraham in calling him out of the world, that he might “be blessed to be a blessing.” The model of economic community with God at helm also came from the way Abraham and then Moses organized community, which in effect, is as a light shining on a hill. He provided the foundations to operate as a culture within a culture, one that makes a difference.

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Touching the Depths

July 14, 2014

For communities of believers bridging the gap with the broader community, one of the most effective strategies to maintain this balance and to release this anointing involves food. Throughout the Bible are spiritually significant instances of eating together or of the provision of being fed. The practice has involved times of settling differences, making peace and establishing agreements. Similarly, are the instances in which God’s people are the catalysts of provision when the world encounters famine and judgment (Isaac, Joseph). In the same fashion, the biblical mandates of the feast-days have their foundations in God’s people coming together and eating, as they are spiritually be refreshed and strengthened. These are God’s strategies that give opportunity for His presence. Jesus’ time with His disciples repeatedly describes significant spiritual times involving food and eating. From multiplying the loaves and fishes, to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who after being with Him, only recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread, to Jesus feeding the disciples on the shore after His resurrection; again and again His power and presence find release through the provision of and the breaking of bread.

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The Unseen

June 8, 2014

The unseen also requires appropriate authority. By the time Joseph faced the baker and wine-taster when in prison, he possessed the know-how and authority that operated deeply in the hidden realm. Going into enemy territory, discerning and preempting the enemy’s intentions, and setting the stage for God’s counter-purposes sometimes call for obedience that only “sees” the next step. Yet, this dynamic is strategic to this hour, in preparing the way for those who follow. Prevailing in the unseen world means discerning, from God, the path to be taken from what is discerned. God always imparts strategy to those willing to pay the cost and prevail in this dimension of reality. Ps 34:7 states that: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them.” God’s purpose is for the community of his people to be restored to operating in this dimension. This will be the result from what Jesus referred to as being a light to the world, a community set of a hill.

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Milestone Words

April 29, 2013

The heroes of faith operated in oneness with the priorities and issues of God’s heart, without any vestige of variation between Truth and what they heard from the Spirit. Their impact on history was defined by their view of things from a big-picture God perspective. They heard from God and they embraced His word, regardless the cost. That’s commitment that requires discipline. It’s also the foundation for maturity. While intimately concerned with the details impacting the lives of individuals, the Lord’s priorities are strategic. He orchestrates things from the stance of generations and the community of His people within a generation. Those at the forefront need to overcompensate for the seductive traps, whether personal, cultural or doctrinal. The bar has been raised. Imparting righteous power in corrupt, defiled settings is not possible without God. We’ve entered a season in which the Western hop-skip-halleluiah model will fall short.

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Misguided Tongues

May 27, 2012

October 24, 1996 is a date our family will never forget. It is the day our 30 year old daughter Trisha Stemple was brutally murdered. Trish, a beautiful young mother of two, was the administrator for an overseas disaster response ministry. She loved the Lord with all her heart. Aa a prophetic intercessor, the morning before Trish’s funeral I asked the Lord for the context of what had been taking place in the spiritual realm. The answers I received have become even more applicable today than at the time we originally faced this tragedy. They reflect a truth foundational not only for those called as intercessors, but for those called to pave new ground for the Kingdom. As I prayed, I began understanding how loose tongues from among those anointed for service create open doors of vulnerability within the Body to attacks from the enemy; attacks enabling him to harness the anointing for his evil purposes. Indeed, they create a catalyst that sets in motion what can become raging firestorms.

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