Who Ignites Movements?

Our vision at All Nations is to "train leaders and make disciples to ignite church planting movements among the neglected peoples of the earth." We want to see massive moves of God like what started in the early church. And it is our dream to accomplish the Great Commission in our generation. Today, the Lord showed me something deep into my spirit through listening to Jackie Chen share in Taiwan. It is one of those things that you say over and over again, but do you really actually believe what you are saying? Like this...

Leaders do not ignite movements.

Disciples do not ignite movements.

Trainers do not ignite movements.

Trainings do not ignite movements.

Missionaries do not ignite movements.

Pastors do not ignite movements.

Seminaries do not ignite movements.

Churches do not ignite movements.

Missions Organizations do not ignite movements.


Holy Spirit is the ignition and fuel of movements.

Holy Spirit ignited the first church planting movement.

Holy Spirit will ignite the last church planting movement.

Do you believe what you just read? Really? Are you sure? If so, how does it change what you do and how you live? What more does the Lord have in his heart for us?

Life of the Beloved

IMG_1259Well, I know it has been a LONG time since I blogged. Along with a lot of other things, I have had to lay it down in this last season due to my schedule. That is about to change. Some of you know that Tricia and I are in a very tender time of hearing the Lord about the intensity of our life and schedule. We (more me) are hearing VERY clearly from the Lord that it is time to cut way back on our DOING and find rest in him. That sets some minimal stage for this story and book review. The Story:

I spent last week in China. One morning I decided to take the morning off for rest, reflection, prayer and reading. Just the night before, my friend, hearing where I am at personally right now, suggested I read a book called "The Life of the Beloved" by Henri Nouwen. I wrote it down. So, the next morning I was searching the Kindle store for the book and realized that it is not available on Kindle (always bad news for we international people).  Literally, the second the screen said, "not available in Kindle",  there was a knock at my bedroom door. My host/friend, Kristin walked in with a book in her hand saying "I thought maybe you would want to read this while you are here."  I will let you guess the book. Yup. "The Life of the Beloved"!  God has better auto-delivery skills than Amazon any day of the week.

Please, catch this....in China. Pressing into the Lord. Wanting to read a certain book. Look for it. And it is hand delivered to my room at that second. This was not coincidence. To me, it was as if God himself knocked at the door and said: "Hey Son, you  TRULY are my beloved and I will come find you anytime and anywhere when you want me!"

Needless to say, I read the entire book within the next 24 hours and it was like water to my soul. What a fantastic work by Nouwen. And so very timely for me. As is typical for me I took notes (using Miss Siri). They are long, but I thought I would share them. They are just some of my favorite quotes and ideas.

Be encourage, that YOU TOO are the Beloved of God and on you, His favor rests.



The Life of the Beloved

When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. Sure, popularity and power can present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection.

Maybe you think you are more tempted by arrogance and by self-rejection.  But isn't arrogance, actually, the other side of self-rejection? Isn't arrogance putting yourself on a pedestal to avoid being seen as you see yourself? Isn't arrogance just another way of dealing with the feelings of worthlessness? Beneath our arrogance their lives much self-doubt, just as there is a great amount of pride even in our self-rejection. Whether I am inflated or deflated, I lose touch with the truth and distort my vision of reality.

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the beloved.

That soft, gentle voice that calls me the Beloved has come to me in countless ways. My parents, friends, teachers, students, and the many strangers who crossed my path have all sounded that voice in different tones. I have been cared for by many people with much tenderness and gentleness. I have been taught and instructed with much patience and perseverance. I have been encouraged to keep going when I was ready to give up and was stimulated to try again when I failed. I have been rewarded and praised for success… But, somehow, all of these signs of love were not sufficient to convince me that I was the beloved. Beneath all my seemingly strong self-confidence there remained the question: if all those who shower me with so much attention could see and know me and my innermost self, would they still love me? That agonizing question, rooted in my inner shadow, kept persecuting me and made me run away from the very place where the quiet voice calling me the Beloved could be heard. I think you understand what I am talking about. Are you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don't you often hope: maybe this book, idea, course, trip, job, country, or relationship will fulfill my deepest desire. But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you'll go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burnout. This is the way to spiritual death!

We don't have to kill ourselves. We are the beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us. That's the truth of our lives!

When the deep reality that we are the beloved of Jesus sinks fully into our hearts, what follows is that it has to become visible and tangible in the way to eat and drink, talk and love, play and work. When the deepest currents of our life no longer have any influence on the waves at the surface, then our vitality will eventually ebb, and we will end up lifeless and bored even when we are busy.

There are four primary words that I have used to identify the movements of the spirit in our lives. Those words are taken, blessed, broken and given. These words summarize my life as a priest because each day, when I come together around the table with members of my community, I take bread, bless it, break it, and give it. These words also summarize my life as a Christian because, as a Christian, I'm called to become bread for the world: bread that is taken, blessed, broken, and given. Most importantly however, they summarize my life as a human being because of every moment of my life somewhere, somehow the taking, the blessing, the breaking, and the giving are happening. Only gradually has their meaning become known to me, and I feel that I won't ever know their full potential. They are the most personal as well as the most universal words. Express the most spiritual as well as the most secular truth. They speak about the most divine as well as the most human behavior. The reach high as well as low, embrace God as well as people. This is simply to express the complexity of life and embrace it's ever unfolding mystery. They are the keys to understanding not only the lives of the great prophets of Israel and the life of Jesus of Nazareth, but also our own lives. I have chosen them not only because they are so deeply engraved in my being but also because, through them, I have become in touch with the ways of becoming the beloved.


We are taken… Chosen. But, often I have tried to show or prove that I was just me and that I have no desire to be put on a pedestal were treated as a special person. When you you treated as the chosen one, you are as liable to be persecuted as admired.

Here's a great spiritual mystery: to be chosen does not mean that others are rejected. It is very hard to conceive of this in a competitive world such as ours. All my memories of being chosen are linked to memories of others not be chosen. To be chosen as the beloved of God is something radically different. instead of excluding others, it includes others. Instead of rejecting others as less valuable, it accepts others in their own uniqueness. It is not a competitive, but a compassionate choice. Our minds have great difficulty in coming to grips to reality. Maybe our minds will never understand it. Perhaps it is only our hearts that can accomplish this.

As long as we allow our parents, siblings, teachers, friends, and lovers to determine whether we are chosen or not, we are caught in the net of the suffocating world that accepts or rejects us according to its own agenda of effectiveness and control.

The great spiritual battle begins-and never ends-with the reclaiming of our chosenness.

When we get in touch with our own chosen status, we are then able to truly see how others are chosen and to celebrate and draw their gifts as well… Leading to indescribably beautiful friendship.

Your life and my life are, each of them, one of a kind. No one has ever lived your life or my life before, and no one will ever live them again. Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence - priceless and irreplaceable.


We all need and value blessing. Literally means speaking well or saying good things of someone. We all need some of that. We often talk about the need for affirmation. Without affirmation, it is hard to live well. To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation.  It is more than words of appreciation, it is more than pointing out someone's talents are good deeds, it is more than putting someone in the light. To give a blessing is to say yes to a person's belovedness. More than that: to give a blessing creates the reality of which it speaks.

One day we feel great, the next we feel miserable. One day we are full of new ideas, the next everything looks bleak and dull. One day we think we can take on the whole world, but the next even a little request seems too much for us. These mood swings show that we no longer hear the blessing that was heard by Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah and Rachel, and Jesus of Nazareth and that we, too, are to hear.  When we are thrown up and down by the little waves on the surface of our existence, we become easy victims of our manipulative world, but, when we continue to hear the deep gentle voice that blesses us, we can walk through life with a stable sense of well-being and true belonging.

We practically work out and claim our blessedness through prayer and presence.

I have read and written much of prayer, but when I go to a quiet place to pray, I realize, although I have a tendency to say many things to God, the real work of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me.

This might sound self-indulgent, but in practice, it is a hard discipline. I'm so afraid of being cursed, hearing that I am no good or not good enough, that I quickly give in to the temptation to start talking and to keep talking in order to control my fears. This focus is very hard work. It is not easy to enter into the silence and reach beyond the many demanding voices of our world and to discover that there is a small intimate voice saying "you are my beloved child and on you my favorite rests."  It's not to say that this will ever be a voice you will hear with bodily ears. I am not speaking about a hallucinating voice, but a voice that can be heard by the ear of faith, the ear of the inner heart.

Many people get very distracted in prayer. But if you will spend 30 minutes per day listening to the voice of love, you will gradually discover that something is happening of which you were not even aware.

We must also be present in order to receive blessings. They are all around us! But we have to actively choose to "waste" our time to receive them. Are we too busy on our way to important things to receive the blessings that Jesus is built-in for us each day?

Once we accept fully that we are chosen and that we are blessed, we are now ready to embrace ours and others brokenness.


The leaders and prophets of Israel, who were clearly chosen and blessed, all lived very broken lives. And we, beloved sons and daughters of God, cannot escape our brokenness either.

Our brokenness is always lived and experienced in a highly personal, and unique way. I am deeply convinced that each human being suffers in a way that no other human being suffers. Sure, we can make comparisons, we can talk about more or less suffering, but in the final analysis, your pain and my pain are so deeply personal that comparing them can scarcely bring any comfort or consolation.

Our brokenness is truly ours. And truly unique. Just as we have to claim our unique chosenness and unique blessedness, we have to do the same of our unique brokenness. Physical suffering pales in the face of a broken heart. It's the brokenness of heart we are talking about and that most impacts the earth.

The first step to healing is not a step away from the pain, but a step toward it.

The deep truth is that our human suffering need not be an obstacle to the joy and peace we so desire, but can become, instead, the means to it.

As strange as it seems, we must embrace our brokenness and step into it… For we are not alone.

The great spiritual call of the beloved children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing. We must allow the blessing to touch us in our brokenness. Then our brokenness will gradually come to be seen as an opening toward the full acceptance of ourselves as the beloved.

I never realized that broken glass could shine so brightly.


Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.

It is sad to see that, in our highly competitive and greedy world, we have lost touch with the joy of giving. True joy, happiness, and inner peace come from the giving of ourselves to others. A happy life is a life lived for others.

There is a mysterious link between our brokenness and our ability to give to each other. The times of our lives where we feel like we have the least to offer are often the times that make us able to give more instead of less. Our brokenness opens us to a deeper way of sharing our lives and offering each other hope.

Just as bread needs to be broken in order to be given, so, too, do our lives!

Think of how we share meals together. If there is conflict, the meal is torture. But where there is beautiful relationship the meal is a life-giving honor.

Don't you think that our desire to eat together is an expression of our even deeper desire to be food for one another? Don't we sometimes say: "that was a very nurturing conversation. That was a refreshing time"?


1. Giving yourself in life...

The real question is not "what can we offer each other" but "who can we be for each other"?

There is a big difference between talents and gifts. We have a few talents, but many gifts. Talents focus on what you can do while gifts focus on who you are. The true gifts that are in us often remain buried beneath our talents.

2. Giving yourself in death…

For those who know they are chosen, blessed and broken to be given, dying is a way of becoming pure gift.

Yes, there is such a thing as a good death. We ourselves are responsible for the way we die. We have to choose between clinging to life in such a way that death becomes nothing but a failure, or letting go of life and freedom so that we can be given to others as a source of hope.

Are you years on this earth are like a little seed planted in a very rich soil. For this seed to bear fruit, it must die. We often see or feel only the dying but the harvest the abundant even when we ourselves are not the harvesters.


The world is evil only the when you become enslaved to it. The great struggle facing us is not to leave the world, to reject our ambitions and aspirations, or to despise money and success, but to claim your spiritual truth and to live in the world as someone who does not belong to it.

The world may be a source of survival, but it will never be a source of life.  The world and its strategies may help you survive for a long time, but they cannot help you live, because the world is not the source even of its own life, let alone yours.

We must live the life of the BELOVED!

Thirties :: Demotion to Formation

I am in my early 30s, contrary to what many people guess. And the truth is that it feels like I have learned more in the last 4 years than in the preceding 30 combined...though I know it isn't true. Another reality is that I interact with, relate to and disciple a number of leaders in their 20's and 30's. Over the last few years, I have developed a suspicion that has now turned into a solidifying philosophy. Disclaimer: I think that what I share here applies most specifically to leaders, particularly those called into Christian ministry/leadership (or at least that is the crowd I am addressing here). Though the ideas may apply more broadly too. 

Here is how I think things typically go...

In our 20s...early promotion:

  • We are pretty immature on the inside but we now look mature on the outside. We are in charge of our lives fully now without the wisdom and experience to manage it very well.
  • We make many financial and relational mistakes and function out of our own strength...and we have plenty of it at this point.
  • We are energetic, optimistic and able to tackle anything. And we are all about outward results! We want to prove a lot of things to a lot of people in a short amount of time....but mainly we want to try to prove some things to ourselves in a quest to establish our identity. Little do we realize at this point, that identity is built on the inside, not from the outside. 
  • We experience what Author, Bobby Clinton calls "early promotion." We are placed into roles or positions bigger than we are and we see some results and growth. Things look good. And we think it has a LOT more to do with us than it actually does. God allows this for very specific reasons; mainly 1) to taste the destiny of our future and 2) to pass time and keep us out of too much trouble until we are ready for what God wants to do with you on the inside.
  • For most leaders, they are not self-aware enough or mature enough yet for God to put His finger on character issues and formation concerns. They would not listen or respond very well. So He waits.

Then something happens. Pain. Loss. Fall. Transition. Something. Something that gets our attention and gets us ready for the next season. We just get unsettled, unhappy, an unwilling to keep going on with the same ole thing. You are getting ready on the inside now. You are starting to see that if anything lasting is going to be built, you're going to have to slow down and look in.

In our 30s...demotion to formation:

  • We become more ready for the deep stuff. The Lord begins to put his finger on our sin issues, broken places, and heart diseases. We are ready to start facing stuff. Perhaps slow at first, but something feels different on the inside. 
  • We begin to see what we have done over the last 10 years and realize how much we knew then and how little we know now (insert sarcasm here). This also means that our attention starts to shift from everything wrong about everyone else, and onto ourselves. It's humility time. 
  • Now is the time that we start to focus more on who we are becoming on the inside and less on what we are doing on the outside.  
  • Foundations can only NOW start to be laid for the house that the Lord wants to build through the 40s and 50s and beyond.
  • It is in our 30s that we start to learn the urgency of intimacy and the requirement of dependency...usually when we start to actually realize that we cannot do it on our own anymore. Unless the Lord builds the house, those that labor, do so in vain.
  • Depending on maturity, a wise 30s leader will know that they are in a season of submission and formation and as such, it will not pass fast. They settle down, sit back, hand the reigns over to Jesus and let him drive.

In full disclosure, this has been my journey! But the crazy thing is that I have seen it be the journey of a host of other leaders and friends that I have walked with over the last several years. I know that it won't apply to everyone, and perhaps the ages of your journey have been a bit different, but I bet the principles are/were the same.

Thoughts? What has your experience been?

Awkwardness in Mission

Over the last several weeks, as I have visited with folks in America and interacted myself with many people. And I have started to see something... Awkwardness is one of the biggest hindrances to mission in the USA. Weirdness. It seems as though there are all these unwritten rules of the culture that are steering people:

  • Faith is personal. Don't get into their personal life. 
  • This person will not like me anymore if I bring up God.
  • People will think I am a weirdo and this will mess up any chance of real friendship.
  • It is culturally inappropriate to evangelize.
  • I am not perfect yet and they know it...so I probably ought not talk about anything too spiritual. They see me screw up on the regular.
  • If they wanted this, they would have asked me already. They know I "go to church."
  • I do not even know what to say or where to start, anyway.
  • And on and on....

First of all, most of the above are not true. They are enemy lies against your assignment and you have chosen to believe them. Second, even if they are true, most people have convinced themselves that the awkward or weird outcomes are not a price they are willing to pay for the gospel to take root in the people around them. Seriously?  Many believers have given their very lives in death for the sake of the cross and we won't suffer some awkwardness and break through a little bit of fear. God, help us!

Can I encourage you that the Lamb of God is worthy of the suffering and sacrifice that is due Him!! He is worthy of our lives and certainly our sense of ease or comfort.

Can I encourage you in that there are many, many people in your sphere who are desperate for Jesus and probably do not even know it! And they need you to be courageous enough to risk some weirdness for the sake of their future!

And here is a simple little piece of advice: The only thing worse than awkwardness is awkwardness that is not addressed and removed. If it feels hard or weird to bring up God, it probably is. So start there. Name it. Reveal it. Break into it. Something like this, maybe:

This is kinda hard to bring up and feels weird or scary because I know you may think I am a spiritual nut trying to force my faith on you, but.....I have encountered Jesus in so many ways that have changed my whole life that I cannot NOT tell you what knowing him and encountering him might do you for you too. There is actually nothing in the world more meaningful to me than Jesus and I would be stupid not to take the risk and tell you about my relationship with him, regardless of how awkward it may feel or how weird you think I am.

Sharing Our Need

IMG_5694Being a missionary and serving in the center of God's will is one of the greatest privileges one can ever experience. Raising financial support for your family to live abroad and serve the Lord is one of the hardest things one can experience. It is just not easy. This blog is not easy. Living under a constant burden of fundraising is no fun. But then the Lord has a way of reminding me of the GREAT JOY and precious honor it is to serve the Lord in Africa and to be a part of the disciple making movements that the Lord is igniting on the continent.

People often ask me, "how do you all make a living....where do you get your funding?" They are often surprised to learn that we must raise every dollar of support from people that believe in God's call on our lives and the work we are doing.

We are SO BLESSED with about 12 churches and 75 people or families that support us in our missions work. However, living overseas and in South Africa is NOT cheap. We live in accountability to EMM regarding our funding and report for every dollar.

At this stage, we are still about $1,500 per month under-funded. In other words, we need to find $1,500 more in monthly support to cover our expenses. Failure to do this will impact the length of time we can stay on the field.

This is part of my task for this trip to America. To raise new support. So, here are a few specific questions we would like to ask you to consider:

  1. Are you presently giving? If so, would you be willing to increase your current support amount? Email me and I will help you. 
  2. Perhaps you are not a donor. Would you be willing to start supporting our family? $20 a month is a BIG deal to us. Email me and I will walk you through it.
  3. Might you be able to make a one-time gift? You can do so online here: http://www.emm.org/donateform
  4. If none of the above, might you be wiling to pray with us that we can raise the funding we need in the next 2 weeks?

We are so thankful for you. Thank you for reading this. And thank you for your partnership in the gospel.

Noah, Tricia and the Kids

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?

Don't Follow Me

During my first 10 years of ministry, I read more books on leadership than any other topic. I loved to learn about the life and influence of leaders and hoped to grow in my own effectiveness. Over the last several years, many of my views of leadership have drastically changed. Much of what I would have agreed with and believed in my first decade of ministry is now almost embarrassing. Here are a few examples of some things I see differently: I once thought that leadership requires a position from which to influence. Not true. Leadership positions are meaningless without natural and spiritual authority.  I wrote more about this HERE.

I once thought that the leader needs to be the one who knows the most about the topic at hand. I now know that a good leader is one who simply knows and admits what he does not know and allows others to arise and shape things.

Finally, and most drastic is this: for years and years, I have heard leadership authors teach that "you are only leading if you have people following you." And for years I thought that the goal of a leader is followers....people that look to them, trust them and follow them. And there is nothing necessarily wrong with that. But it is a terribly incomplete understanding of leadership...

I actually don't have followers as a goal anymore. Instead, I think the greatest calling of a leader is to equip, encourage and empower others to lead! Inspire and motivate leaders to flourish and run! They go. They lead. They soar. They don't follow. I would rather follow them, not have them follow me.

I just think leadership is WAY more about sending and launching others who can go send and launch others than it is gaining followers. If we are to reproduce and give away our gifts, than leaders need to make leaders, not followers.

Yes, I know that the Apostle Paul says "Follow me as I follow Christ" -- and that should be true of all of us. But a brief glance at Paul's life and you can see what he meant...and it was certainly not that everyone would be led by him. He released leaders all over the place!

So, this is what I devote a lot of my time to these days. Making leaders, not gaining followers.

A Prayer Invitation

Something significant happened in our lives over the last week. The Lord made it exceedingly clear that he was asking us to substantially increase our prayer network and mobilize more intercessors! The stakes are getting higher. And the enemy attacks are not getting any lighter. God spoke to us and said: rally the troops or you won't win the battle!  So, we are responding.

We are placing this public invitation out for people to join us in a new prayer network and campaign that we are launching in the next week. To be very clear, here is what we are looking for by way of expectations:

1. Be on our prayer email list and receive prayer emails from us regularly (those with no email get a call from someone else we determine).

2. Pray passionately, intentionally and specifically for us, our family and our ministry at least 5 days a week OR commit to pray extensively for us 1 day per month (one or the other-- you tell us. If it is one day per month, we would like you to tell us which day). Sometimes we may need warfare prayer, fasting or other intense intercession. We are looking for people to stand with us at that level when we contact you.

3. Two way communication. Communicate back with us any verses, words from the Lord, visions or pictures from the Lord, warnings or encouragements. We also would love to hear prayer needs you have so we can remember you before the Lord as well.

Here is a video I filmed today telling you more of our heart:

If you would like to join with us in this way, simply contact me indicating so. Comment, email, FB, SMS...whatever you got.

In about one week, we will launch a new prayer list and prayer campaign. We are excited to see who the Lord will ask to join in with us. We are asking God for 100 serious people as a step one. Eventually, we know that we will need 10,000!

A Week with a Movement Igniter

My life will not ever be the same after this week. Let me share why. For the last six days, I hosted a leader in my home. He was our speaker all week at CPx. I will change his name to Pastor John for security reasons.

He lives in West Africa. He is responsible for the planting of over 21,000 churches. They average 47 people in size. You do the math. And this has only been since 2005!! He texts with his President. He influences governments of nations. He serves amputees and plants churches among beggars. He is one of the most respected leaders on the continent of Africa. He has been arrested multiple times. Most recently four months ago in the Middle East. There are books written about him, though his name will be changed in the books for security reasons. The main book is called "Miraculous Movements" and you can buy it here.

I could go on and on about the credibility and accomplishments of this guy, but by far the greatest of all his accomplishments is that he oozes humility and refuses to steal any of God's glory. He loves Jesus and you can see it. He has been used mightily by God. He does what we dream of here...he ignites movements to Jesus. We just spent the week with a movement igniter. Honestly, it is the closest I have been to the action I have read about for the last few years.

He measures success in a very simple way:

1. Disciples making disciples

2. Leaders making leaders

3. Churches making churches

Reproduction. That's success in the Kingdom. So that more people would know of Jesus and the glory of God will cover the earth.

I learned a lot this week. A LOT! But, if I had to tell you the single most transformational thing I learned, it is this:

Prayer is our only hope! It is the foundation on which the house Jesus is building will stand. Nothing of significance happens without it. Most of us are terribly weak at prayer. We prop our feet up, sip our coffee, take short naps, and call it prayer. We need God to fill us up to overflowing through prayer.

Pastor John has been used mightily by God. I promise you. It is the real deal. But, get this: he prays 3-5 hours a DAY! And he has mobilized a prayer network of 3,000-4,000 intercessors. NO WONDER they are taking a continent for Jesus.  You and I can do it too, if we would only pray!

Lord, help us not to look at anyone else right now, but to start praying ourselves.

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?

4 Challenges from Jesus

Here are the four most crucial challenges to us from our Lord Jesus: The evangelistic challenges:

Mark 16:15: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

Luke 24:47: “...that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."

The discipling challenge:

Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

The missional challenges:

John 17:18: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

John 20:21: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

The global challenge:

Acts 1:8: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Missions. What will you do?

This past week at CPx, we focussed on Movements to Jesus.  We examined what the Lord has done on the earth since the first church planting movement in Acts all the way through to today where over 100 people movements to Jesus are happening around the world. This week, my passion for those that do not yet know Jesus got stirred up in a big way. There are yet still millions and millions of people across the earth that have not been introduced to Jesus. This video lunged me to start doing more about this. I have committed in my heart to lead my family to adopt, believe God for, and pray for an unengaged people group. We will draw a circle around them and claim them for Jesus.

Please take a few minute to watch this video and ask the Lord what you are supposed to do about it.


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.

My Dad

Many of you have been praying for my Dad. Some of you may not know.  Dad (Joe Kaye) has ben experiencing some significant health scares through the last two weeks. They have detected cancer in his glands and maybe lungs. He is in the midst of undergoing many tests. We are presently awaiting results from a Biopsy he had yesterday. For those of you that know my Father, you know how special he is! For those that do not, this BLOG POST HERE tells you some of how we feel about him.

Would you join in prayer for Dad? And for Mom? We are confident in the Lord's healing power. And we are also comfortable in his grace.  Dad remains optimistic as he does in any circumstance, really. So, that is something we are thankful for.

Thanks for praying!

Please Pray for John

John Machava is from Mozambique originally, but has lived in Masiphumelele for about 8 years. He is a dear friend and disciple of mine. John is a powerful leader and gifted gatherer. I saw that in him the day I met him in April of 2011. For over a year he has been the glue that holds a group of new Jesus followers together. I have been to John's home in Mozambique (read this). You can read another amazing story about John by CLICKING HERE.

Many of you have heard me speak of John before. The road for him has not always been an easy one. He has faced struggles and worked hard to surrender all of himself over to Jesus.

For the last five months, John has become increasingly sick. He is now very, very ill. He is only in his late 20s. He can barely walk. Barely talk. Barely eat. He is weak and basically bedridden. This means that he cannot even work to provide for his family. Today we were able to get him out to join the church gathering for us to pray. Several of the guys anointed John with oil. We cried out to God for His healing and spoke God's heart over him.

I asked him if I could share the need for prayer with you. He was keen to have as many people as possible praying for his healing.

Would you pray for John? For his healing and strength. And for his family. Pray also that he would hear God loud and clear. It is my sense that there is a major calling on John's life in the Kingdom and there are many great reasons that the enemy would want to destroy him. Let's pray!!

Thank you! I look forward to telling you of his healing some day soon!

A Kidnapping God Story

We are privileged to work with some radical Jesus followers...people who suffer and sacrifice for the gospel.  And we get to hear a lot of crazy stories. Our friends Jason and Liana Stone are traveling East Africa right now and recently had something scary and powerful happen to them. They have told the story and given me permission to share it. So, here it is. It is a nail-biter and a powerful God encounter that will encourage you. Enjoy.

I caught a glimpse of myself a few days ago. The person I am; the person I aspire to be. And I saw my husband blazingly alive, more than usual, radiant in anointing, fearlessly wielding the gifts God gave him. What happened, you might ask. What grand thing brought about this change? What unique and special opportunity gave way for you to live more alive? (Which is really what we all want, isn’t it?) Well, to put it simply… we were kidnapped.

We spent four long but lovely days on the train from Zambia (where we said our goodbyes to my parents) to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Arriving at the train station at about 8am, we hit the streets with our 50lb. backpacks. We walked for over an hour, turning down three or four different taxis along the way, all quoting us exorbitant prices to take us to the Catholic YMCA Youth Hostel, which we knew should be only about 10 minutes away. Finally, waiting at a bus stop and watching bus after bus roll by overflowing with humans, we struck up conversation with a nicely dressed, well-spoken middle-aged guy named Stephen going in the same direction, and decided to share a taxi. The three of us jumped in the next one that came along. For the next 10 minutes while we drove he told us about the city, the corruption in the government, his small taxi business, and that his uncle actually worked at the YMCA, who he then called and let us talk to, just to confirm that rooms were available.

He was on and off the phone and conversing with the driver, all in Swahili, of course, while we drove and before long we were in what looked like a pretty shady part of town. He must have heard Jason’s murmurings, because he quickly assured us that we were just on a slight detour due to construction, which we had noticed along the way. Before long we turned down a side street. (Let me just say that by this point Jason’s red flags were up all over the place and mine, trusting soul that I am, were still completely stowed, buried deep under my unwavering hope in the human race. I have learned that I really don’t have very many gut instincts that should be trusted…) Our friend pointed to a gigantic Catholic church looming at the far end of the alley and told us that was the church that ran the hostel. Jason discreetly raised his eyebrows at me and I said, “It’s just a side street.” He muttered, “Yeah, the kinda side street you wake up on the next morning in a cold bathtub with your liver for sale on the black market.” We were just circling the church when the car stopped for a guy in the road who spoke to our friend then jumped in the car. Also well-dressed and well-spoken, he introduced himself as James and smiled broadly as he squeezed his (easily) 250 pounds of bulk in beside me. At this point Jason started playing with his door handle and found that the child-lock must be on and noticed that the lock on my door was completely buried- unable to be opened. As we drove past the church and turned into an alley the windows rolled up and the new guy next to me (James) said, “Why is he trying to open his door? What is he doing?” to which I responded with a chuckle, trying to downplay the growing anxiety, then with some confusion when he said, “We are not good men. Don’t you know we are not good men?”.

By this time there was some commotion in the car and the temperature was skyrocketing along with our heart rates. The men started raising their voices and in an instant Stephen turned around in the front seat and with sweat already pouring down his face he screamed, “F*** you, we are the mafia! Do you understand me?! This is the mafia! We own this whole part of town and you’re gonna do exactly what we tell you!” At this point the driver, still driving slowly, switched on the stereo and the remainder of our time together was set to a blaring reggae soundtrack. We pulled around a corner, with general chaos in the car, and two big black cars came out of nowhere and blocked us in, front and back. Men came pouring out of them and soon there were six or seven swarming around our car. At this moment I experienced one sharp stab of fear to my heart, realizing how completely vulnerable we were, then it left me, and I did not feel it again. Jason and I both felt an incredible sense of calm. (He afterwards told me that I looked like I could’ve fallen asleep! I guess I was pretty peaceful.)

The next five or ten minutes were spent mostly just yelling and sweating, the majority of that coming from Stephen, turned around in the front seat, with my own little personal waterfall of his sweat pouring off his chin and cascading directly down my leg. Occasionally some of the men circling around our car would stick their heads in and do a bit of shouting. Jason, as you know, is not one to be trifled with, and though he was compliant with them, he also pushed back. (I think he was a pretty perfect blend of strength and submission.) Thankfully (and oddly…) once the initial assault to the senses subsided they gave up most of their leverage by telling us they would not hurt us or take our passports, electronics, or belongings- they only wanted money! We emptied out our handbags in our laps and they took the $300 that we had, which didn’t quite appease them, as they said they would have to give this to their leaders and it’s not enough for them. They then told us they would take us to an atm and we must draw more cash for them, then they would let us go. We verbally wrestled on that point for about 15 minutes, insisting that we’d already given them all we could. (Jason tried to prove that to them by pointing out the holes in my dress and bag. “Do you see this??! Do you see these holes?? We are not rich people!!”…) Finally Jason said, “Okay, you know what, we need to pray.” I started speaking in tongues and Jason was immediately calling down justice from heaven- “Convict these men right now!! We are under your authority, God!! You rule over all things!! We ask for your justice!!!”… after a few minutes of that Stephen stopped us, “Okay okay okay! Yes. Okay, maybe God answers prayers. Maybe God has heard your prayer today. Now we must let you go.”

But that’s not all! Before we could respond to that, James, the “big guy” next to me, pointed at Jason and said, “You, when you prayed, I heard something that I need in my life, and I need you to pray for me.” I thought he might be mocking us, and I chuckled back to him, “What do you want from God, James?”. “No,” he responded, adamant, “I need a new life. I don’t want to live this way anymore and do these things to people. You must pray for me.” Jason slapped his hand on his shoulder and started praying boldly over James. Immediately Stephen lunged back from the front seat to get in on the prayer! Jason prayed conviction and courage for change over them, then proceeded to call out destiny in both of them. “James, you are a man of influence. People will listen to you, and follow you. God created you to steer people, to lead them into good things! There’s a new life for you if you choose it. Stephen, you are an evangelist! God made you tell people about him! He gave you a gift with words to use for his sake. Don’t waste it! Change your life!” and so on. Both of these men sat quietly, caught in the torrent of Spirit-words. Then, after a slight lull… Jason said, “You need to choose right now if you’re going to change your life, and if you want change, you need to give us all our money back.” These big, scary men who had been screaming profanities in our faces just moments before were flustered, fidgety, confounded by this new dilemma. Jason launched into the story of Jesus telling Peter to throw his nets in the water and how life-change can never start without obedience. Both men became nervous and distracted, even a flicker of fear shadowed their faces. Eyes darting from the $300 in his hand to the other car parked behind us, Stephen began insisting that we leave. Jason continued to press for our money back, and Stephen became increasingly nervous. Finally he said, “We cannot give you this money because of those men there. You have to leave right now. Quickly! But please, find me on facebook! If you come back here I need you to visit me. I need you to keep praying for me!”

We pulled our packs from the trunk and Stephen pressed $20 in J’s hand, “For a taxi,” he said. We slipped down a side street just as one of the black cars approached them. We left our $300 (well, $280, actually) in the alley, but I believe we walked out of there richer people for the miracle that we saw.

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. 

Quit or Surrender?

During an inspiring time with our All Nations Family this morning, the Lord spoke deep into my heart through others. Here is some of what he said... There is a big difference between quitting and surrendering. Understanding the difference between the two can be the difference between life and death for the next season of your journey. Surrender is a beautiful exchange! Think about it. We give up our limited resources and faulted plans for the unlimited riches and beauty of life in Jesus.  Quitting can lead to sadness. Surrender leads to exuberance.

It says in John 12:24 that unless a seed falls to the ground and dies it remains only a seed, but if it dies it produces life and fruit! Let us have our seeds die in surrender, not in quitting.

The Lord would be honored if you would lay down your destiny, your opinions, your preferences, your ways, and pick up the plans of Jesus for your life.

Dad, "The Idol"

My son, Davis (6) and I have a very special relationship. So far, I am going the no-regret-fathering route. I am no perfect Dad, but I try super hard to be very intentional about discipling Davis and teaching him about Jesus. And so far I have no regrets. We often have some pretty stunning conversations about faith and life. Tonight, after reading some of Exodus together, he asked me: "Dad, do we still have idols today?" I explained to Davis that we certainly do. I told him that an idol is anything in our lives that becomes more important than Jesus. I explained how dangerous it can be. Then, I asked Davis to think about his life and whether he has any idols in his life above Jesus. He thought for a moment and said "no, I don't think so."

About 10 minutes later I stepped outside to get something and he came (after the wheels of his mind and heart had been spinning) and banged on the window to get my attention...."Daddy, daddy.  You, Dad, you! I think you could be an idol to me!"  He said it with such urgency and revelation. I wish you could have seen his little face. I froze that moment deep in my heart. At least two things significant were happening in that instance this evening:

  1. He was understanding idolatry in a real way for the first time.  At 6.
  2. And he was expressing his deep love for me as his Father. And of course, that felt great.

Well, I came inside and invited him to lap to finish the teaching moment. I proceeded to explain to him the risk is seeing Daddy as more important than I am. I explained that I wanted to be the best earthly Daddy that I could be. But there is only one perfect Daddy.  He is the heavenly Father. And he will never let you down and never disappoint you.

Being a father to this young man has been one of the greatest joys of my life so far. And tonight was one of those precious defining moments.