Intimacy with Jesus

A few weeks ago I got an email from an outstanding young woman who seeks after the Lord with all her heart. She asked me 3 awesome questions. As I answered her, I thought the responses may be helpful for others too.  So here goes...

Define intimacy with Christ.

I would define intimacy with Christ in the same terms that I may speak of my marriage to Tricia. We are only intimate because we deeply KNOW and TRUST each other with all that we are. It is about sharing the deepest parts of who we are with one another. We only get there by communicating...openly, vulnerable, two ways, listening, sharing, waiting, failing, trying again...and in the same way that Tricia and I go in and out of seasons of deeper intimacy, so do Jesus and I.  The only difference is that it can get uglier with our marriage because TWO of us are running away. When things are cold with Jesus, I'm the one slacking and he is always waiting with arms wide open.

When do you feel closest to God? And is it even about a feeling, anyway?

Nope! Not about a feeling. It is about a deep knowing. Honestly, I feel closer to the Lord each year as I learn the TRUTH about how He made me, how He sees me and how He loves me. As I further comprehend grace as it was intended (which by the way is MUCH different from what I learned growing up in the church), I fall further in love with the Lord. The REAL good news (that it was FINISHED on the cross and I can't earn a darn thing now) is so good that it's almost tempting to dismiss as false theology. It's crazy. The Lord is totally and completely in love with us as we are...broken and all. It just feel insane to me. But the deeper I journey into grace, the more my identity is finally getting established. So in short, I feel closest to God when I BELIEVE what he did and what he says and what he has nothing to do with a feeling. It's a knowing. Feelings are nice from time to time, but they are emotional and temporary. Faith sustains us and stands forever.

Knowing what you know now, what do you wish you knew about intimacy with God as a teenager?

I wish someone would have drilled the following into me: do not waste your time searching for or earning a love and acceptance from people who will never do it for you. Instead just LOVE people needing nothing in return (including their affirmation). And instead....take hold deeply of the FULL love and acceptance of the Father that is ALREADY available to you in full and forever measure. Live out of the grace, love and acceptance of the Father and give it away generously to everyone around you. What a waste of energy and years to strive to impress and earn something I never needed in the first place!

Calling or Sending?

(This may contradict the last post in some ways, but oh well, I learn out loud.) Here is what I have observed in missions over the years: generally speaking, people can only "GO" after they've been "called". Get a nation. Get a word from the Lord. And then, and only then, we can send you.

Here is what I see was more common in the pioneers of our faith: We want to GO to this region or that. And so we "send" people to those places.

And I am bothered. Sure, a few people get a clear word to go to a clear place, but most do not.

I am tempted to conclude that we have personalized mission way too much, robbing the church from vision for mission and missing out on a LOAD of people dying to go out, but with no idea where or how because they haven't had a "word" or "call" yet.

My suggested solution: "Send" everyone. Send people to places in our hearts. Ask people: "We would like to send you to Baltimore or Iraq, would you go?" They'll be so thankful. So empowered. So relieved. They'll feel so included. So needed.

Just dreaming here, but I wonder if many followers of Jesus are simply stuck waiting on a revelation they aren't supposed to get.

But this just opens up a whole different can of worms about asking God for things that he already gave us....we are all called, all sent. So, what are we wanting to hear now?

What do you think?

Surprises About Forgiveness

This week we dedicated a full day of our CPx training to matters of the heart. A ministry called "Fresh Start" came in walked us through a biblical view of forgiveness helping leaders to admit and release past offenses, hurts and losses. Through the process there were several surprising pearls of forgiveness that I want to share:

  1. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision and a process. 
  2. Forgiveness gives up all rights to apologies, explanations, fairness and justice.
  3. Forgiveness means Jesus is enough and you owe me nothing more.
  4. Forgiveness is a command and always possible (even if the offender is dead or unwilling). Reconciliation is not always possible...and that is ok.
  5. Forgiveness does NOT equal trust.
  6. Forgiveness does NOT mean you forget.
  7. There is no such thing as "forgiving God" -- he is sinless. It is an authority issue, not a forgiveness issue.
  8. There is no such thing as forgiving yourself. There is no Biblical example of this. This is more of pride issue and learning surrender to the Lord.

Obama vs. Jesus

Yesterday, President Obama visited our little valley here south of Cape Town. It was quite the event. As Americans raising our kids overseas, we take each opportunity we get to help the kids have a little info about the place their parents grew up. So, we ran around all day and got to see Obama land and drive past us--5 feet from us...and he waved at us! Pretty cool! However, a particular discussion took place between Davis and I. Davis is (a wise) 6 years old. When he saw the amount of army vehicles, guards, police, security, secret service, guns, and general protection for Obama, he was so confused.

"Daddy, why are they doing all of this? Who would want to hurt Obama? Why are they protecting him so much? Other people are do not get protected like this!"

I tried to explain how important Obama was and how he was one of the most powerful people in the world. He still did not get it and actually seemed bothered.

I went in for the kill. This had "teaching moment" written all over it.  I told him, "Son, what you are seeing today is a clear example of the difference between the Kingdoms on the earth that people build and the Kingdom that Jesus is building. In the world's kingdoms, we protect our lives and take the lives of others. In God's kingdom we give our lives and protect others. Today, Obama is being protected so no one harms him. But our best example is Jesus. Instead of being guarded because of his importance, He gave his life away and died on a cross for us. His kingdom is so different and so special."

This morning, I read him this:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

It was just a clear moment to see how these things we think are "normal" just are not "biblical."

Obama vs. Jesus. Kingdom of the world or Kingdom of God?

The Sin of Simplicity

Last week I tweeted this: "The Lord has shown me how frugality and simplicity can lead to idolatry and danger just as fast as materialism and greed can." Some people commented asking me to elaborate. Here goes, in simple form. In Matthew 6:25-33 Jesus describes for us the right relationship with the material world: "Seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness" and he will take care of the rest. Bottom line is this: the desire for a simple life becomes idolatry when it takes precedence over seeking God's Kingdom.

It is quite the balancing act for many of us.  Have or have not? Sell it or keep it? Spend it or save it? Need it or want it? Live in the land flowing with milk and honey? Or sell all we have and give to the poor?

It is clear to me that when we live in materialism and greed, it is sin and idolatrous. But what seems to be just as bad is when we are obsessed with our frugality. When we are in love with our simplicity. It is easy for the very thing that started out as obedience and humility to transition to disobedience and pride. It really comes down to the posture and motivation deep in our hearts.

I talked to a 70-year-old leader recently who told me that he has gone down far down both roads (extreme materialism and extreme simplicity) and found that they both lead to a mess. You can live in a shack or a mansion and seek first the Kingdom. It is about your heart. Where is your heart?


Many people worry about their safety and security. We happen to live and serve in South Africa, a country bound by fear and crime and loaded with gates, locks and alarms. But we also serve in a missional community where many people are preparing to go to hostile places around the world where the gospel has not yet reached. So, danger is a very real thing for many of our friends who are counting the cost of giving their lives. Last week, I was listening to Floyd (our leader here) teach on values and he started talking about danger in a way that stirred my heart.

  • Living in constant disobedience to Jesus...that is dangerous.
  • When our greatest goal is to work 70 hours a week for 35 years so we can have a nice house and a pension...that is dangerous.
  • When a Mom and Dad compromise the will of God while their kids watch on...that is dangerous.
  • When you are more interested in insuring your life on this earth (70 years if you're lucky) while you do nothing to insure your life for all eternity....that is dangerous.
  • Wanna hear something else dangerous? Dangerous is when you install gates, alarms and locks all around you and your family while you open your doors wide to the father of lies, the great destroyer and accuser, satan.

Perhaps it would do us all some good to consider the differences between danger in the world and danger in the Kingdom.

More Love

Last week, my friend Viktor walked into my house and said:

I have some really huge news! There is nothing at all that you can do to make God love you any more than he does right now!

There were several of us in the room and we just kinda nodded in agreement. Amen, dude. Amen.

Then we talked about that idea a bit. And then it hit me! We just don't get it! We do not really understand that concept. Almost every Christian would say amen to this idea that there is nothing we can do to earn more of God's love. But, deep down, we do not really believe it and we certainly do not live like it.

I will go out on a limb and say that 95% of Christians would agree to this statement even though they do not really believe it. We only believe something when we stand on it. You do not really believe that a lake is truly frozen until you stand on it.

We spend our days trying to earn more of God's love. We strive. We work. We minister. We try. We wake up early. We read the Bible. We worship. We know God is proud when we do. And disappointed when we don't. Deep, deep down, we actually believe that God loves us a little more when we are acting "right" and a little less when we are acting "wrong." Be honest with yourself.

Now for the crazy part. The love Jesus has for your was fulfilled at the cross. Father's love for you is fully complete....lacking nothing. He has held nothing back from you....ever. So there is absolutely nothing you can do to open up his love valve a little more. It is on full blast already.

This can almost seem like bad news. If this is really true, how can me and the Lord fall any deeper in love?

This is where you come in. Strive! Work! Minister! Arise! Read! Worship! Press in! Why? So YOU can love HIM more. So YOU can know HIM more. We are the ones that have held so much of our love back from him. He died to purchase us. And he still has not received it. It is like buying a car and never getting to drive it. Jesus died to save you and welcome you into a love relationship with Him. He is waiting on you to give him what he longs for.

Bottom line: It is time for ME to love HIM more and realize that he loves me full on, and is waiting for me. 

I still have bad theology!

This morning I got yet another revelation of an area of my life where I still have bad theology.

Confession: Deep down, I still believe that God's feelings for me are attached to my performance and actions. I still allow my ministry effectiveness, behavior and choices impact how I feel. When I am DOING enough for the Lord, he is happy with me. When I miss my devotions, his is upset at me. When I worship, he comes near again. When I sin, he runs away again.


My behavior is not the steering wheel for His love. When I am sinful, he is just as near and loves just as much as if I were sinless. If this is really how the love and grace of God works, than it is not a very special gift. And it is certainly NOT free like I have been told for years. No. I have to earn it to get it. Rubbish!

Paul makes a brilliant, and even angry plea for us to understand this theology in the book of Galatians when he writes to the Galatian churches about law vs. faith.  After the Judaizers told the Galatians that Paul's gospel was messed up because it was missing law, Paul gets ticked and brings the gospel to them again in stark terms. Watch this:

  • 2:16- A person is not justified by observing the law, but by faith is Jesus Christ.
  • 2:21- I do not set aside the grace of God. For if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.
  • 3:2-3- Did you receive the spirit by observing the law or believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?
  • 3:5- Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by your observing the law or by your believing what you heard?
  • 3:18- If the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise...the promise that God gave to Abraham and all of us who believe.

I could go on. But, I hope you get the point.

I know you have heard this 1,000 times before, but let me say it again. JESUS LOVES YOU!! Right here and right now! And there is nothing you can do to tweak his turn it up or turn it down. So stop believing the Devil's lies and thinking Jesus is drifting near and far based on your doing. While you were YET A SINNER HE DIED FOR YOU! He won't change his plans now. Trust me. So receive his love. And while you are at it...check your theology.  Because I can think of 10 people right now who are mature christians and still live like this.  Maybe you do too?

Acts 17- A Prophetic Message

This morning, I read Acts 17 and verses 19-24 really grabbed me. I feel that they are a prophetic reminder for the church today!

Here is the text:

19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.

Here are the thoughts and questions it raised for me:

  1. Paul had a "new teaching". What is our new and fresh message that Jesus has asked us to deliver?  And they may sound strange (v. 20). I know that the stuff we are teaching traditional believers on this training trip are certainly strange.
  2. Are you just listening to the new ideas? Or are you doing something about it? If you are, then what is it you are doing?
  3. What are our unknown idols? In what ways are we a modern day Athens?
  4. How, in the ways we do church, are we communicating the message that God does not live in buildings made by human hands?

I just sense that this passage and the events that happened surrounding it are a message that we need to pay close attention to today.

Is there anything you see that you could share? Feel free to comment.

The Prodigal God

Last weekend I read the book "The Prodigal God" by Tim Keller. The book is about the parable of the lost son. I really, really liked it! It revolutionized my understanding of this parable and touched into some deep places of my heart. Most of the times I have heard this parable taught, the majority of the attention is placed on the wayward son to show us all about God's great forgiveness. Second to the young son, the Father would be most popular for welcoming the son back home after his great dishonoring adventure.

Not so with the perspective of this book. Keller says this story is mainly about the older son and the damaging heart disease of the older son. And its is exactly the "older sons" that Jesus was addressing when he told this story. Read Luke 15:1.

Here's the problem with the eldest son: He was not aware that he was doing anything wrong, so naturally, he had no need for returning to the Father in repentance. "Older Brothers" are impressed with all they do right, full of pride and unaware of the rejection and pain they cause the Father. Older brother syndrome is a deeply dangerous condition. And, if you have been serving the Lord for a long time, it might be possible that you are infected with it.

I highly recommend this book to you.

5 ways to discover the 5 equipping gifts


This week I taught at CPx on discovering the 5 equipping gifts of Ephesians 4. Over the last year, I have been become greatly passionate about seieng people discover who they are in the body.  I personally believe that everyone operates out of at least one of the 5 gifts...pastor, prophet, evangelist, teacher, apostle---and when people get it, they fly to new levels in faith and function.

(I have written about the 5 equipping gifts here, though there are some updates I would make now.)

Then, this morning Floyd followed up today with something that I thought was profound. Many struggle to discover which of the 5 they are. Here are 5 ways to recognize who you are:

  1. Study.  Get to know Ephesians 4: 11-13. Study the scriptures in each place any of the five words/titles are used. Study the people with those gifts in the Bible. Read a book about the 5 fold gifts. 
  2. Anointing. Soveriegn Appointing. God has celarly given the gift to you and is always trying to let you know about it and see you live into it. Listen to Him. He wants you to get it because he gets most glory when you are fully operating as He made you to be!
  3. Confirmation. Listen when people tell you what they see in you. Ask people to share what they see. Others carry keys to God's heart for you. Let them speak to your heart and try to believe what you hear. It may be straight from God.
  4. Modeling. Watch when others operate in a way that stirs something in you. If you are prophetic, prophetic people will stir you!  If you are an evangelist, you may find yourself dreaming to be like Blly Graham. This is one way to know your gift. If it fires you up, it may be who you are. 
  5. Circumstances. Circumstances and experience will simply draw your equipping gift out.  Watch what flows out of you naturally. Pay attention to where you are flowing most freely--especially in difficult or emotional moments. 

In all of this, remember that you do not discover your gift as much by searching as you do by serving. Get on with serving the body of Christ and God will make things cleaer by the day. 

Really, Mr. Winans?

Whitney Houston died. I pray God's peace be with her family. Seems that most of the rest of the world jsut needed something to talk about. No prob. That's cool.  Her funeral was yesterday. I did not watch it.  Could not really get it here.  Not televised and slow internet. 


Today, I saw this clip of Rev. Marvin Winans speaking at the funeral.  He called it preaching.  I call it heartbreaking. A few quotes with some short commentary:

  • "I don't want anybody leaving here thinking God wants anyone here broke!" // Really, Mr. Winans? You were preaching to millions of people. Many were broke.  Flat broke.  What should they do with the fact that you have now told them that God isn't ok with their brokeness? And why are there 300+ mentions of God's love and care for the poor in the Bible you were holding while you preached?
  • Mockingly, he states that folk say "I don't believe in this proserity gospel." To which Mr. Winans responds: "I don't know what other gospel there is!" // Really? I do. It is called the gospel of sacrifice and suffering.  The one that our Lord Jesus Christ modeled so perfectly by pouring himself out and humbling himself even to death. (Phil 2)
  • "If God wants somebody broke, would you tell me who that is? Who's volunteering?" // To answer your question, I guess God wants more than 80% of the world to be poor, since they ARE. I assume most of Africa must have volunteered?!  Seems as though your church isn't volunteering, though.  No one raised their hands.  They just laughed. 
  • "When God brough Israel out of Egypt, everybody came out with something." // Really, Mr. Winans? Where is that in the Bible? And what is this supposed to mean, anyway?  Because I want to tell some of my friends here in Africa who have nothing "in their hands" today how this can help them. 
  • "For you to believe that somebody needs to be broke is to say that God does not have enough sufficiency to supply for everybody." // Really, Mr. Winans? Seriously? I am afraid you are deeply missing some vital principles about who God is and what He is up to. And now millions of other people can be as confused as you are.  
  • "I want you to understand that what God desires for everyone, is for everyone to be healthy and prosperous." // Really? I am sure that this is in the Bible somewhere, but can you remind me of where? And then can you help me administer that reaity to the millions of people on the earth today that are neither healthy or prosperous? 


The prosperity gospel runs rampant in Ameirca and in Africa. It is a false gospel.  It is damaging and painful to our world. The guys propegating it seem must have AWESOME salaries, live in rich areas and must have rarely, if ever, traveled throughout the world.  My heart aches for them, with them and for the many impacted by the pain that their teaching causes. 


And sometimes, I just have to speak up. And so I have.  I wish I knew Marvin personally and could sit with him and challenge him and hear more from his heart. 

Sharing God's Heart


Tricia and I have now spent a year in simple, organic church community.  We are in a house church and have started other simple churches. We are learning so many things we never knew before, as we both spent our lives in larger, organized churches, where learning these types of things are less common.


Here is one really awesome thing we are learning:


We all carry portions of God's heart for each other. There are oftentimes things that you are carrying in your heart for others that God wants you to deliver to them.  And this is church!  This is encourgament.  This is mutual edification.  This is the building up of the body of Christ.


What does this look like?


Simple. Create permission and space for people to walk around the room or share across the circle what God may be saying.  It could be:

  • A word
  • A vision
  • A picture
  • A verse
  • An affirmation
  • An encouragment
  • A hug
  • Etc.

Just last night we were at an All Nations worship gathering that lasted about 2 hours.  Throughout the evening I had words of enouragement for 5 different people- several of which were rather prophpetic and confirming some major stuff in people. And all evening I watched the body of Christ roam the room spaking portions of God's heart over each other!!  It was so beautiful. There was joy.  There were tears. It is what the Body of Christ SHOULD be doing.  


But, are we? Are you? Is your church?


If not, can I encourage you to start speaking up.  I would say that at least once a week you should be downloading some of God's heart into someone else.  If we don't do it, who will? 


"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up!" I Thess. 5:11

I love my wife more than my kids


Lily, our daughter, and second child was born one week ago today. There are a lot of things I am feeling and learning already.  But, allow me to share the one strongest feelings I have had since Lily arrived.


Last Saturday, just after the birth (less than 15 minutes), I told Tricia and her Doctor that this experience has only increased my love for my wife. Listen, I LOVE my kids...with a type of love I have never felt. But, when you have spent 13 years of love and almost 10 years of marriage with a woman you've been through thick and thin with, and she is now giving you your second child, you REALLY LOVE A WOMAN!  My first response to Lily's birth was a deeper love for Tricia, my wife for life!!


She has been faithful.  She has been honoring. She is full of inegrity and honesty. She has followed Jesus radically. She is a woman of noble character.  She believes in me more than anyone on the planet. She serves our home. She sacrifices for all 3 of us. After Jesus, she is my everything.


Growing up, when my Mom would upset one of us kids, we would go to Dad, who, though he administered most of the spankings, was typically softer than Mom. While trying to get Dad to side with us, he would ALWAYS say "your Mother was here long before you and she will be here long after you"! That stuck with me and it formed me.  


Look, I love these kids with crazy love.  But not like I love their Mother.  She is top, my gem, my angel. Has been since 1999 and will be until y'all attend my funeral or we attend hers. 


While you will not find a Bible verse to say this is how it must be, you will find many that suggest that this is how it should be. God never asked you to love your kids like Christ loves the church or to become one flesh with them, did he? (Genesis 2:24 & Ephesian 5:31-33)


PS- I know this easier for Dads to say than Moms. I will leave you to  think through that.  

When Good is Bad


At the center of the garden in Genesis was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This was the tree that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from.  There is so, so much significance to this! The location of the tree, the name of it, the prohibition to eat from it....all carry signiificance.  


I am currently reading a book entitled "Repenting of Religion" by Greg Boyd. Loving it. Almost always love Boyd's stuff.  In it, he is opening my eyes to some new things.  I want to share a few nuggets with you:


  1. We were never intended to be judges, only lovers.  Givers and recievers of the lavish and unmatchable love of God.  We were not even intended to have the "knowledge of good and evil"-- because with it, we die by it. And the knowledge of good is every bit as bad as the knowledge of evil. Boyd says this: "We are not satisfied being God-like in our cpacity to love; we also want to become God-like in our cpacity to judge, which is how the serpent tempts us.  But in aspiring towards the latter, we lose our capacity for the former, for unlike God, we cannot judge and love at the same time." 
  2. Our obsesison with our righteousness misses the point.  This is when good becomes bad.  The goal of the gospel has never been to get your bad behavior to turn good.  It is rather about recieving the love of Jesus, the righteousness of JESUS (not you), and living into his righteiousness. "God is not first and foremost interested in acquiring a people who believe all the right things and act all the right ways. God's first concern, and really his only concern, is to have a people who are united with him in love."
  3. How we treat overweight people in the church versus how we treat homosexuals in the church is a great example of our tendency to live with the knowledge of good and evil at the center--instead of the tree of life. Boyd says: "The sins a particular religous community is good at avoiding tend to be the ones identified as most important to avoid in the mind of that community, while the sins a community is not good at avoiding seem to be minimized or ignored altogether- regardless of what emphasis the Bible has put on those sins." 

There is so much more profound stuff to push out.  But the bottom lins is this:


When we live our lives with our eyes and hearts focussed on the "good and evil" of ourselves and others, we are religious and majorly missing the point of God's plan for us...we are not recieving Christ love and we certainly are not carrying it to others. 


Your journey with Jesus has nothing to do with your righteousness and everything to do with HIS!  That is the genius of God's brilliant plan! 


Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Isa. 64:6

Older Leaders


I want to share some thoughts about older leaders. Why? The purpose of this blog post is to increase grace, honor and understanding for leaders that are further along than you. But a few things need to be said first...


  1. First of all, these reflections are from my own expereince serving under the spirititual authority of older leaders. They may not be consistent with your experiences, but they are mine.
  2. Second, I am choosing to not define "older".  I will let you do that based upon whether you find the reflections applying to "older" leaders you have served with. Of course, these are gross generalizations that you can judge for yourself.
  3. Third, this email is not describing any one leader I have served under, but rather a sampling of a few. And I have been BLESSED to serve under some dynamite leaders. 


Older leaders can seem inflexible. Be careful before you conclude that. What you see as inflexibilty may actually be wisdom and commitment to integrity. They have more years of practice at standing firmly on what they believe in than you do. You would waiver and call it "good" and "flexible".  They just know what they believe in, get it said, and stand by it. What is wrong, is when they communicate their commitments with a pride or beligerance lording over others. 


Older leaders can seem stubborn and unwiling to see and consider other options and opinions. Let us imagine that you are working with a 60 year old leader and you feel that they are acting this way.  Stop and remember this: that 60 year old has had a solid 35 YEARS to learn and form their values.  Their values are based on what they have seen work and fail, please God and displease Him.  So, there is very little conversation when something has worked for 35 years and now you want to try to convince them otherwise.  Sure, there is always a slim chance that their personal value is wrong. But, 1) you will not change it and 2) the chances are higher that they are correct and you just have not had that "class" yet. So, let it go. practice submission and honor and see how you behave in 20-30 years. 


Honor and respect are totally different beasts. You give honor. People earn respect. Honor your leaders regardless of how much they bother you.  Keep pouring out honor as long as you serve them. Leaders often rise to the level of honor they have been given.  You can impact them this way.


Stop taking things personally. When they question something you do or suggest or propose, they are not attacking you. You will do yourself a major favor if you would get yourself out of the center of everything. Most of the time, it is not about you. And even when it is, it is their job to make you aware of it, not your job to assume it.


Stop slamming your leader.  If you are talking negative about your leader behind their back, you will have no confidence when you are in their face and your relationship will never be healthy. Honor them bhind their back. Even with your spouse.  In fact, your spouse will almost always follow your emotions.  If you do not like a leader, she/he will not either. If you honor them, so will they. 


Older leaders are a well of wisdom and stories....but if you are not interested in receieving what they have, they will be mature enough not to just force it on you.  Desire it.  Ask for it. Don't just sit there. You have to ask questions so they feel invited to share what they have.  Older age can be a very vulnerable time....give the leaders ahead of you the confidnce that you care to hear their hearts! 


How do you think I learned these lessons? Yup. The hard way. No reason for you to do the same.  Please share this news with others you know that need to read it. Save them some heartache.

The Apostle


Tonight I tweeted this:

For apostolic leaders, no 1 church is ever enough to fulfill them. Neither is 1 project. Or 1 city. Or 1 state. Or even 1 country.


Shorly after this, a friend emailed me asking me when I first knew that I had apostolic calling and gifting and how people react to that?


I emailed him back.  Then, I realized....what I wrote should be a blog for others to also join the conversation.  So, here goes. 


I used to think that Apostles were freaks and that the very word "apostolic" meant they are full of mess most of the time.  Perhaps it was because I watched Robert Duvall portray an apostle in his movie "The Apostle" one too many times.  Actually, loved some thing about that film.  Did not love some things.  That is for a different day. 


Little by little, I saw use of the term "Apostle" in the Bible and among leaders I actually trusted. Then last year, I read Floyd McClung's "You See Bones, I See an Army" and he described Apostolic Leaders in detail (I am now serving with Floyd here in Cape Town and have the privilege of being personally discipled by him). When I read his explanation of Apostolic leaders, I cried. IT WAS ME!!!!!


That was the first of many moments in the last 18 months where I realized that I AM APOSTOLIC! That is my NUMBER ONE PRIMARY spiritual gifting. Period.


Why have I been afraid of it? Maybe because it is an awesome calling? Sure it is! But the Lord told me as a little boy that he had an awesome calling on my life. Why would I now deny it over a title or jacked up cultural connotation?


Something significant has come alive in me this year as I have allowed myself to develop in a Biblical and practical understanding of Apostolic calling.



First ones in.

First ones out.


Risk Takers.

Say the hard things.

Make the hard decisions. 

See way ahead.

Full of vision.

Always dreaming.

Always itching.

Never satisfied with where we are.

Always see more.

Always think bigger.

Often inspiring and engaging.

Can think so big that they cannot actually take step one to make it happen.

Get carried away.

Fight pride.

Chase good ideas when they should only be chasing God ideas. 

Can run over the Evangelists and Prophets.

Threaten the Pastors and Teachers.

I could go on.  With good and bad stuff.


We could and should look at passages like:

  • Acts 13, 15, and 19
  • I Corinthians 3, 4 and 11
  • Ephesians 2, 3 and 4
  • And a whole lot more.


People may judge you if you use the word, "apostle". That is their problem, not yours. Encourage them to read the Bible a few times and study every place the word is used while at the same time taking their eyes of cultural usage. If we should stop using terms because people have messed their meaning up, then we should stop using the word JESUS too!


Your thoughts?


CLICK HERE to read a post I wrote on the Five Fold Giftings a few months ago.



This morning, in one of my churches, we looked at Luke's the story of the rich man.  The Lord really spoke to my heart about something today through this story.


Here's what happens:

  • A rich man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  While asking him, the guy calls Jesus "Good Teacher".
  • Jesus says something like this: No one is good excpet God. The commandments are-- no adultery, no murder, no stealing, no lying and honor your parents.
  • The rich dude then says: "Hey, I have always done these things."
  • Jesus responded by saying: "You are still missing one thing. Go and sell all you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come follow me."
  • The man gets really sad.  It hurts. He had a lot of money.
  • Then Jesus makes this statement: "It is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle, than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God."

Here's what really emerged for me:

  • God does not want half my heart.  He is not impressed with 75% either.  He wants all of me.
  • Not only does he want all of me, but he wants THAT area.  You know, that one that I do not want to give up.  That one that I think I deserve to keep since I do not lie, murder, commit adultery, steal or dishonor my parents.
  • That thinking is about you being good.  Jesus made it clear that none of us are "good."  Did you catch that part? 
  • Jesus looked into this rich man's heart....he knew his story...and he asked for obedience in the area that was most precious to him...and most difficult to yeild. That area.
  • He loves our total and radical obedience. This story proves it.  Sell it all and give it to the poor.  Total. Radical.
  • I do not think that the point of this story is really about rich people. You can have plenty of money and a surrendered heart. And you can be dirt poor with an unsurrendered heart.
  • Heart.  It is about our hearts.  Jesus wants them, and he is not interested in sharing them with anything or anyone else.  

What is/are the area(s) of your life that Jesus would have picked if it were you in this story instead of the rich man?  Today, I have admitted two areas in my own life. What are yours?  In what areas are your heart not fully submitted and surrendered? 

Jesus for President


Last week I fininshed reading "Jesus For President" by Shane Claiborne (website here). Honestly, I am not even going to attempt to review it here in any detail.  Too rich for that and too deep for that.  It would just provoke a bunch of (controversial) conversation among people who have not read the book....which would be far more fun happening between people who actually have read the book.


I just want to say that it is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. I wept and worshipped my King multiple times while reading it.  I would frequently have to lay it down and sit in silence and conviction for the flippancy with which I live my life. And I promise you that, for most of you, if you would read this book, you will get a picture of Jesus you have never had before.  And you will probably realize that your theology needs some serious attention and revision.


I especially really, really, really reccomend this book to American Christians who like Fox News. And also to anyone who posted gratitude toward veterans on their Facebook wall yesterday (and I am not saying that it was wrong if you did so). Which reminds me....I saw this on Facebook yesterday.  It deeply grieved and saddened me.  If you want to know why, read this book.





Past Time for a Reformation


A freind passed this on. I found it so insightful. What do you think? 


1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.

2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.

3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.

4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.

5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

6. End all spiritual extortion now. Christian television ministries must cease and desist from all manipulative fundraising tactics. We must stop giving platforms to ministers who make outlandish claims of supernatural financial returns, especially when Scripture is twisted, deadlines are imposed and the poor are exploited.

7. No more Lone Rangers. Those who claim to be ministers of God—whether they are traveling evangelists, local pastors or heads of ministries—must be accountable to other leaders. Any who refuse to submit their lives to godly discipline should be corrected.

8. Expose the creeps. Churches should start doing background checks on traveling ministers. Preachers who have been hiding criminal records, lying about their past marriages, preying on women or refusing to pay child support should be exposed as charlatans and shunned if they do not repent.

9. Stop faking the anointing. God is God, and He does not need our “help” to manifest Himself. That means we don’t sprinkle glitter on ourselves to suggest God’s glory is with us, hide fake jewels on the floor to prove we are anointed or pull chicken feathers out of our sleeves to pretend angels are in the room. This is lying to the Holy Spirit.

10. Let’s return to purity. We’ve had enough scandals. The charismatic church must develop a system for the restoration of fallen ministers. Those who fall morally can be restored, but they must be willing to submit to a process of healing rather than rushing immediately back into the pulpit.

11. We need humility. Ministers who demand celebrity treatment, require lavish salaries, insist on titles or exhibit aloofness from others are guilty of spiritual pride.

12. No more big shots. Apostles are the bondslaves of Christ, and should be the most impeccable models of humility. True apostles do not wield top-down, hierarchical authority over the church. They serve the church from the bottom up as true servants.

13. Never promote gifts at the expense of character. Those who operate in prophecy, healing and miracles must also exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. And while we continue to encourage the gift of tongues, let’s make sure we don’t treat it like some kind of badge of superiority. The world needs to see our love, not our glossolalia.

14. Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms. And “prophets” who live immoral lives don’t deserve a public voice.

15. Let’s make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue off-course, entertained by our charismatic sideshows, or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will focus on God’s priorities.


Wow!  See the full post HERE