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Anyone else notice the Great Meme War that is underway on Facebook these days? I rather enjoy it and even post ones that sting me a bit. (A meme – for those of you who are secluded from popular culture in some remote cave somewhere – is an image with text, typically humorous and satirical in nature that spreads rapidly over social media.)

Last night I posted this one:

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Shortly thereafter a Facebook friend countered with one of his own:

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And that set me off on yet another rant about how war isn’t working.  Enjoy…

More slaves in the world today than ever in the history of the world. More oppression, genocides pop up every few years, nazism is back with a vengeance. We’ve spent most of my adult life at war in the Middle East and the world is not safer and there are a loads more people who hate us. With every bomb we plant a seed that produces ten more people who hate us. War hasn’t worked and isn’t working. It is not our only alternative. The same handful of international banking families fund both sides of our wars. Of course their sons and daughters don’t spill their blood. We don’t need to spend a billion on an experimental drone balloon that floats away from it’s tethers on its own and gets ruined landing three states away in a grove of trees. Selectively fiscal conservatives are anything but fiscally conservative when it comes to defense spending. They act like there is no waste to cut and that we have an unlimited supply of tax dollars for new wars. One week we are in the sky-is-falling-fiscal-emergency mode closing down national parks for the weekend because of a government shutdown and we can’t afford to pay a park ranger. The next week we somehow miraculously have a billion NEW dollars to send to some country in a never ended civil war and a trillion more to build a new ship for ourselves. We have no confidence our commander in chief is even on our team. Vets are treated like crap when they return but Congress gives themselves raises and a whole different set of benefits. We spent billions arm the wrong people (while moving toward the disarming of our own populace), we only make defense contractors rich spending double, triple and even ten times what should be spent on national defense – and btw, I think service men and women need a doubling of pay. And don’t read this as any indictment on the men and women who serve so sacrificially. I’m the product of a Vietnam vet who came home screwed up (a book called Vietnam wives descries what it was like to grow up in our home after the war). My dad resented our government the rest of his life, deeply. Did that war work? How about any of the ones we’ve been in the last twenty-five years?

Just saying.

 

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The forecast today was 70% rain – we discovered that means seventy percent of today it was pouring down rain. We now have forty Swiss franc’s worth of umbrellas to bring home.

Also, I discovered that if you keep driving for a while after the gas light comes on… it starts flashing at you. Maybe some of you who love to live close to the edge thought the rest of us already knew that. Not so.

We also learned that if you buy a can of corn in Germany, the words “4 stück” on the side of the can means it’s not kernals but four ears still on the cob. All would have been well if the can had 5 stück, but 4 stück means that one of the five of us went without.

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Among other things today we went back to Zurich to the Beyer watch store.  It’s like there is a magnet drawing me there. Here’s a picture of the front of it and here’s what our travel book says about this location; “Banhofstrasse – some call it the finest street in Europe -along its path is an impressive display of wealth – the head offices of the “Gnomes of Zurich” (the five largest banks in Switzerland) – this is the center of Switzerland’s opulence – everything you can never afford to buy is sold there.”

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Since I can’t buy I decided to covet instead. You know, covet, as in the tenth commandment thou-shalt-not-covet. Not to worry, I hardly covet a thing, ever.  But watches are hard for me.  And this one in particular kept winking at me as I went by. I think it’s The One. Kristen says Dream on, she’s way out of my league.

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I have no idea if anyone else is interested in this but I for those who are I want to show you another amazing clock from the Beyer museum.

This one is called Pendulette de table avec Planetarium (aka Planetarium Table Clock). It keeps time.  AND, the earth rotates around the sun in perfect real time.  AND, the other nine planets rotate as well, around, up, down in relation to the etched constellations of precisely positioned stars on the crystal globe, which if you are smart enough will reveal what season it is. (You can see the stars better in this pic).  I have trouble getting my watch’s date feature to not switch at noon each day and here’s some guy back in 1770 had the whole universe gracefully moving in precision.

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Here’s the thing – the universe is a billion times more complex than this mind blowing clock which is unquestionably the product of an amazing mind. I don’t know, I guess I just don’t have the faith to believe even this level of complexity could be in any way random. Honestly I felt like worshipping God after I saw this clock.  And to think kids today are being taught they are just the next mutation in a unguided process. Sad.

I’m teaching my kids they are no mistake but rather they were conceived in the mind of God before the foundations of the world (as the Bible says) and God’s dream for their life only manifest in the flesh at conception.

My kids wonder if anyone else out there besides me who thinks of ways to hammer both on the theory of evolution and abortion while wandering around a clock shop.

We travel all week starting tomorrow AM and are not sure where along the way we’ll have internet. Stay tuned.

Yesterday someone set fire to the governors mansion in Texas. (What a senseless loss for the state of Texas. I hope they catch the guy.) For whatever reason this news item caught my attention. Perhaps because I’ve not looked at the news the same since I read this great book. A couple elements of the story seem symbolic and prophetic to me – fire and the dwelling of the governor. I’m inclined to think Texas represents something but I’m not sure what.

I’ve been thinking about fire a lot lately – the fire of God, revival fires, purifying fires. It hit me as a metaphor or a prophetic picture when I saw this picture of the governors mansion. What if the refining fires of God were to burn in the heart of our national governance?

Phooey to those of you who think religion and politics shouldn’t be mixed and please don’t drop Jesus’ line about his Kingdom not being “of this world” in the comment section. He is the King of kings and the Cross was a political retribution… he laid his life down in the political sphere. His Kingdom certainly IS to be IN this world. It’s not OF it because it comes from heaven. Our work is to daily contend for his Kingdom to come here and now on earth as it is in heaven.

His kingdom is not to be relegated to any sector of society (sacred/secular) but it should permeate the whole loaf – politics included. We can’t keep asking God to BLESS America while we do nothing about putting forth laws and legislators that he can actually bless. His Word says he can’t bless unrighteousness, so let’s set forth righteousness and watch what God does.

We need the fire of God in the dwelling of the “governors!” Guess who the Bible says is to rule and govern the earth? You and me. Don’t misinterpret this and think I’m advocating a theocracy of sorts. I’m not. I am talking about the mandate on the church to influence society. If we don’t influence culture somebody elses values will. I believe God will hold salt-less salt accountable for societal decay. I care about my grandchildren’s world too much to let this nation rot on my watch.

But the American Church is ramping up to November fully clueless on these matters. Today I read some are saying 40% of evangelicals will probably vote for Obama. Meanwhile, those contending for the plight of the unborn shake their heads in dismay. Many leaders in the black church including TD Jakes are lining up behind him (7500 Obama-supporting black pastors met last week in Hampton Virginia). I’m guessing they didn’t discuss how Obama is a prominent supporter of that which has caused black genocide.

And then there is the up and coming Emergent Church. The hip “Emergent Church” is capturing the hearts of young evangelicals to reject the religious right but in doing so they tolerate the separation of righteousness from justice. Friends, the religious right has the righteous message and the religious left is pressing the justice message (except for the unborn). But a Kingdom-minded Church needs to aggressively press BOTH righteousness and justice in the public square.

This is my third post discussing those discussing Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring. If you have yet to read the earlier posts you can do so here, and here. Two weeks ago I ventured down to Lakeland for a few days with some folks from our church. This past Sunday I decided to devote my message to what is unfolding there. Those of you who are used to a 25 minute sermonette each week will need to take this in two parts because it’s 58 minutes long. It’s probably easier to grab it off itunes and plop in on your ipod, or you can get it off the podcast link below which is on our church website. Feedback is welcome though I prefer you read the earlier posts first before commenting as I’m not interested in giving scoffers a greater platform.

Is this that? Relections on the Florida Outpouring – Matthew 11:1-19

The Great Awakenings in early America (that evangelicals love to romantically look back upon) were scandulous and freaky to the mainstream church of that day. The revival leaders were heralded as “false-everything,” the manifestations made the news. Yet today we look back quite fondly on those “special times” God visited our nation. Today, May 1, is the National Day of Prayer. People are gathering all over America asking God to visit us again.

Let’s be honest… if God were to “visit” our churches today in similar fashion, half of yous would walk out and spread a bad report. Am I wrong? Before you judge what is unfolding in Florida, ask yourself this question… what will it look like when God shows up? The self-appointed, unaccountable, anonymous, bitter and fruitless doctrine police on the Internet are already having a heyday with Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Florida outpouring. They shoot their arrows from places of concealment. They sit in the seat of scoffers. They bother me because their methods and message are far more unBiblical than anything unfolding in Florida. The Bible cautions against those with forms of religion but who deny the power. Anyone else want the power? I do.

Come out of your cave and stand there and wait for God to pass by. You thought he’d come in a storm or a whirlwind didn’t you? Nope. He came in a still small voice. To all of you now standing outside your cave waiting for a still small voice, I’m guessing he’ll come now in the storm and many will miss his coming. Do you think he’s forever locked into passing by in only one fashion?

Some of us have been praying and fasting for years for God to come in power. Personally, I’ve been fortunate to have been in some recent outpourings – Kansas City being our hometown, Kristen and I experienced the early years of the Kansas City Prophets and saw God move mightily in those gatherings. We were dating at the time and that’s what we did for dates – go hear Bob Jones! There was good and not so good and, long story short, we bolted to Chicago for a few years to settle into safer ministries. But I love the Narnia line about Aslan the lion/Jesus… “Is He safe? No. But he’s good.” In 1996, the Spirit rocked us again. Since then I’ve been to Pensacola/Brownsville, Toronto, Nigeria and Kiev. Last summer my son Caleb and I, and friend Andy, went on a prayer journey to Herrnhut, Germany to tap into an ancient awakening there.

I believe in cross-pollination, transferable anointing and impartation. Historical revivals spread up and down the east coast of our nation because people traveled. I’m bummed some of the aforementioned outpourings didn’t last or, in any tangible way, transform the city in which they occurred. I believe we are learning more each time about how to steward a move of God. There are God visitations spoken of in the Bible that were soon quenched by carnality, pride and the like. I know we are to inspect fruit, but the Bible doesn’t discount the authenticity of a visitation just because the people afterwards veered off course.

And now something has broken out in Lakeland, Florida. With many others who also have their ear-to-the-track regarding the End Times, I’ve been waiting for something to pop somewhere and for it to go national, indeed global, in just a few weeks through the wonders of technology and transportation. In the 80’s back in KC we held on to prophecies that God would one day fill stadiums with prophetic healing meetings. This is happening tonight in Florida. Meetings that were only intended to go for a couple days have now been ongoing daily for weeks – they are outgrowing every venue they’ve moved into and tonight they will be in Tiger Stadium.

For these reasons I’m watching Florida really close and watching my tongue lest I speak against something God is doing. Friends who have gone have come back powerfully healed. Others report some misgivings. I certainly have some misgivings of my own but they are easily overcomeable. Each night our family has been watching via GODTV. A few guys in the church have talked with me about going. I probably will. I think you should do what Zack Hensley is thinking of doing – driving down with a buddy just to kick your skepticism in the face. Let’s be people who bless not curse. Thanks Zack for this blessing prayer:

Bless Todd Bentley, Bless those in Lakeland Florida. I pray that the Lord continues to give him a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that they would know the hope of which Christ was called. I pray for all those touched by the Lord in healing and salvation that He would complete the work he has started in them. That they would be counted worthy of His calling and that the grace and peace of Christ would sustain them until the end. amen

I’m not worried about being deceived. I trust God’s ability to keep me more than the devil’s ability to deceive me. Here’s what I fear more… missing a move of God because it came in a way that made me uncomfortable.

I share Randy Bohlender’s sentiments

Revival is always a polarizing event and this one is no exception. I don’t feel compelled to answer for ministry styles or personalities any more. I do know this – our friend, Kelsey Hayes, was dramatically healed (is there an undramatic healing?) last week. My guess is her parents didn’t worry too much about the ministry style. Do I wish people did things a different way? Of course…but not enough to reject something if God is in it.

[SH: Read a news report of Kelsey’s healing here. I highly, highly recommend you read this testimony/news report.]

Do desperately hungry people get real picky about how and who hands food to them? No.

Numerous CATGr’s are quite familiar with the main personality in the Florida outpouring – Todd Bentley. A year ago I led a group of 30+ people through a study of his book on the Supernatural World. It was a great upgrade for those of us ready to “set our minds on things in heaven, not on earthly things.” Others have been to conferences where Todd has ministered. Same story… some powerfully touched, others report misgivings.

Personally, a few of his antics and of course, the observables (tattoos and piercings) don’t make much sense to me. But here’s how I’ve overcome that… I asked myself what the 21st century equivalent to eating locusts/wild honey and wearing wild camels hair and a belt might be. What do you think it is? Wearing wild camels fur put John the Baptist in league with the outcasts and unclean. I’m thinking today’s equivalent might be tattoo’s, t-shirts and piercings. Lou Engle once commented about the young generation that God is raising up today that is so full of piercings. Frustrated, he told God… they “look like fishing lures.” God responded something to the effect, “Precisely, and I’m going to use them to reel in the nations.”

What should a “man of God” look like? Do I fit the bill? In other nations, cultures and camps probably not. Twenty two years ago when I entered ministry the “man of God” wore a blue suit and a red tie (that is if you had any holy role on the platform). But I started to move in other circles and discovered a camp where the “man of God” had to have a $3000 suit to show off his anointing. If I’d have shown up with my $100 blue suit/tie they’d have kept me off the stage and cast the spirit of religion off me and tried to introduce me to the new wineskin.

Today we are active in the ARC and in the prayer movement. Last week we were in Birmingham for the ARC conference and repeatedly saw how the “man of God” wears an embroidered untucked shirt with the sleeves barely rolled up, jeans and dress shoes. At IHOP, frankly, anything from Goodwill will work. They don’t care down there because the knees will wear out soon anyway from hours in the prayer room. Dressing like that in the house of God is “offensive” to some – where’s the reverence and respect?! I say, lighten up. In the case of female attire, at least they exude a modesty I’m not seeing in suburban evangelical youth/college ministries. My son Caleb graduates high school in a couple weeks and is heading to IHOP’s Forerunner School of Ministry in the fall. After four years of buzz haircuts for Marine Corp JR ROTC, he told us this AM his hair is going to get longer and that he is thinking about a tattoo on his arm of the Hebrew letters for the word “Nazirite.” I told him to hold off on the tattoo but I was delighted that he has the heart of a Nazirite. Maybe I need a tattoo. When I cut my long hair a few years ago many CATGr’s were relieved. One of our worship team peeps commented to me the day I cut my ponytail off… “good, now I can invite friends again to church!” Maybe I’ll put my earring in again.

One of our praying people at CATG once told me regarding Heidi Baker that “she offends the natural mind before she even opens her mouth.” If you’ve seen her you know about the twitching and jerking. It does… it offends the natural mind – many probably think “this lady is a certified nut.” But, no. No, no she isn’t. God is using her to minister to the discarded children of the world – to start thousands of orphanages and churches. She is going to the hopeless places in the world the scoffer has yet to go and, unlike the scoffer, she is bearing eternal fruit. And, buckle up for this… she is literally seeing things in her ministry like the feeding of five thousand with a single bowl of soup.

One things I know about a genuine move of God, it will offend the natural mind. If you can get past that you can get into the supernatural.


I hope you’ll also read my other posts on Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring.
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part two
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Seat of Scoffers part three
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley and the Angel Emma
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, Violence and the Kingdom of God
Florida Healing Outpouring – Todd Bentley, the manifestations of the Spirit or Kundalini?

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This June, we are planning to partner with hundreds of other churches to do a series together called One Prayer. The series will begin on the weekend of June 7-8 and run for a total of four weeks. The premise of the series is: “If God would answer ‘one prayer’ for the church at large, what would you pray?

This series serves several purposes. Specifically, we believe it will… 1) Promote unity in the body of Christ for the larger work of God in his church. 2) Cross-pollinate our church with other key ARC churches. (Hundreds of other churches are participating but we will connect with others in our network) 3) Infuse spiritual passion into a typically challenging month. 4) Raise money for a mission project as participating churches pool offerings. 5) Simultaneously link our hearts with many others fasting, praying and seeking God.

The general concept is this: I’ll start off the series off, then in the following weeks I’ll pass the baton to other key ARC pastors who will speak at CATG weekend services via video cast. Some of the other ARC pastors who are participating are Craig Groeschel, Rick Bezet, Chris Hodges, Dino Rizzo, Greg Surratt, and Stovall Weems.

A couple thoughts on how God is using technology. It used to be we’d have to spend big bucks to fly-in special guests to benefit from the anointing flowing in other sectors of the Body of Christ. Today, we can stay where we are and still be right in the midst of what God is doing elsewhere.

Having already launched a video campus, video messages are nothing new to CATG’rs. However, it is still new to many and on occasion I hear how it’s “second best.” My main reply to this is that we are so spoiled. In other parts of the world, Christians huddle in fields around appointed rocks to listen to a crackling transistor radio of a Bible teaching coming in over the airways. We need to be thankful that we are in a place where we can have a full-size, full color, front row seat to the key things the Spirit is saying to the church today. Technology is a gift from God and he’s increasingly using it to his glory here in the End Times. Stay tuned for updates.

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