Wednesday, December 22, 2010



Then God’s presence appears in the midst of daily life, people’s lives and worldviews are transformed. Worship surrounds God’s appearance. Worship flourished before, during and after the birth of Jesus. Mary, shepherds, angels and wise men were all filled with awe and wonder. A new perspective came into their lives. Mary’s song of worship to God is a rich revelation is who God is and His marvelous works.

“And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.” (Luke 1:50-52)

In worship, self-sufficiency turns to God-sufficiency. The self-sufficient are scattered and brought down. In contrast, the prophet Daniel lived a lifestyle of worship. He worshiped three times a day and willingly bent his knee before God. His life depended upon God.

When I worship, my perspective is clarified. Fear is erased, peace is my portion and I have renewed faith for the future. When facing apparent setbacks in our lives, worship will alter our perspective.


“God fills the hungry and the poor with good things. But he sends the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53)

Christmas is a hectic time. End-of-the-year work stress adds to the pressure. Yet life is not about chasing wealth but giving oneself to those who have need. It is seeing and acting upon the needs around us.

Jesus saw the needs of those around Him. There are so many ways His followers do the same… teaching children, giving your time to others, walking out your spiritual life with others, hosting others, serving without need of position. The Christ follower’s way of life is sharing the life of Jesus with those who are lost.

Worship will enable you to see with God’s perspective, to give yourself to others out of the deep gratitude for what God and other people have done for you. This will give birth to God’s miracle growing in you as you give yourself to a lifestyle of worship.

Let us worship Immanuel and celebrate God being with us. This truth brings a whole new perspective to life.

Friday, December 17, 2010



“The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

God sings my name. Yet we who follow Christ can block out God’s song over us because we know we don’t deserve it. We know our weaknesses and sin. We get lost in life’s distractions and keep our distance from God because we believe He is not happy with us and we are ashamed. When we feel shame we don’t worship. Yet our heavenly Father has placed us in Christ, His beloved Son.

“…This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Jesus is our representative before God. God looks at you just like He looks at His son, Jesus. You are a delight to God.


“For behold from this time on all generations will count me blessed.”

(Luke 1:48b)

God wants you to know He intends to do something in us that will affect generations. We can’t see it because we live in the past. Our past failures, words spoken to us, or our sense of insignificance tell us who we are. We are driven in our careers because of our insecurities. We have a performance-orientation because of past influences. Yet God wants us to know we are favored by Him. “He came to Mary and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28)

We are called to live out of God’s promise and not out of our past. God is with us, we are highly favored…God is growing a destiny in us. God is birthing greatness in us. It’s not me, but what God is doing in me. Live out of the promise of God in your life. We have a destiny in God. Mary boldly proclaimed her future. We need to know God chose us as surely as He did Mary. He truly has a plan for you. God plans to do something amazing through your life. God will use us to change someone else’s world.

In worship, let’s listen for God’s voice singing over us. Let’s live in who God says we are in Christ. Let’s lay hold of and proclaim God’s promise of the future.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is an amazing story of the action of God through ordinary people. Even today God chooses to do miracles through people like us. Each one of us is unique and as a church, we are uniquely positioned for God to work a miracle in and through us.

However, we can miss God’s miracle because of life’s distractions. It seems we daily face distractions and crisis. But the gap between God working and our distractions is not great. Mary, being single with an unplanned pregnancy, is our example. She viewed her circumstances through a God-perspective and her response was worship. After hearing of her imminent pregnancy, she said, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46). Worship in the midst of distractions enables us to see something that others do not see.


In the midst of distractions Mary sang a love song to God (Luke 1:46-55). She first named what God had done for her. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has been mindful of me” (v.47).

Today, a lot of our worship is general, not personal or specific. Worship begins with naming what God has done for you. This is not worshiping in a generality but “God has been mindful of me…from now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me.”

Mary’s worship was specific and full. I can be personal with God and express what He has done for me. God has come into my world. God. God has come into my life and rocked my world.

Worship brings a “Wow” factor in your life. You can’t just sit there when you consider what God has done; you have to do something. God doesn’t just love the world; He loves me. I have to sing, shout, dance, prophesy, testify, bow down, laugh or clap. Mary sang, David danced, and Daniel got down on his face before God three times a day, not caring who saw him.

As Christmas approaches, I remember God has come into my world. He has also brought me into His world. He didn’t condemn me, but made me righteous. He invites me to sit with him on His throne. Wow.

What has God done for you?


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Went Wrong?

Christ, the Church, and the Gospel (Pt. 2)

Let’s continue to explore the message of Jesus Christ and the church he has commissioned to share this good news in order to change the world. When we look at the anemic expression of the church today, one has to ask, “What went wrong with our interpretation?” In order to find out, we have to go back to the message itself. What went wrong with the gospel?

The Domestication of the Gospel
I believe what’s taken place has been a domestication of the Gospel. The modern mindset, with it's value of individualism, has reduced the gospel and conversion to the experience of the individual. The reality of it being “man-centered” is revealed with such common ideas like “receiving Jesus as your personal savior” and “doing your personal devotions”. The apostle John clearly makes the gospel a communal experience…
"What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands" (I John 1: 1).
The gospel story has also been reduced to the experience of death and eternity (thought of in spatial or chronological terms). For example, "Say this prayer so that when you die, you can go to heaven." This all leads to a certain way of doing church. The church essentially becomes a warehouse of people waiting until they die. Eternal life is not now, but future and over there.

This domesticated approach is devastating to our churches and doesn't compel people to become serious followers of Jesus. Discipleship is optional and for the committed few or ultra-committed core. Something has to change from what has become the large crowd of Sunday morning pew warmers to those in the “minority core” (those who attend prayer meetings).
The Church has been devastated by this “discipleship as optional” situation.

Dallas Willard, in his book The Divine Conspiracy, asks three questions:
a.) Does the Gospel we teach and preach have a natural tendency to cause the people who hear it to become full-time disciples of Jesus?

b.) Would those who believe it become his apprentices as a natural next step?

c.) What can we reasonable expect would result from people actually believing the substance of our message?
We must examine whether the gospel we teach has been domesticated and therefore not reflective of the radical message Jesus taught and represents. This effects how people live out the implications of the gospel in real life. We can not and should not live out the Gospel of the Kingdom from the "receive Jesus and when you die…" gospel.

Christians are clear about how sins are taken care of by justification through faith by the grace of God. Lest you fear a works approach or legalism here, we live as a disciple of Christ through the same grace by the power of the Spirit. There are things for us to do, but it is not through merit but rather by simple cooperation with the Spirit’s active work.
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove in vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (I Corinthians 15:10, see also Philippians 3: 4b-17).
People will not move from zeroed accounts of forgiveness into discipleship. A "forgiveness only" message doesn't move us toward discipleship. A rule-bound, propositional approach to the gospel does not have the ability to be compelling or winning in contemporary society.

This domesticated gospel today has easily become linked to the American marketing machine. Remember the slogans, catch phrases and bumper stickers: "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven"? Is this really all there is? JUST forgiven and nothing more?

In reality, the gospel of Jesus is a large, all-encompassing story. But more on this in my following posts…

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bob Stricker: A Friend and Father of Many

In Memory of Bob Stricker

It is with a mixture of sadness and deep gratitude when I learned that Bob Stricker had died after his battle with cancer. Sadness, because I will miss his wisdom, wit and counsel in my life, but having gratitude that I have been privileged to know Bob for 25 years. His influence continues as a result of his investment in so many people and this influence is a mark of a life well lived. Bob was instrumental in starting three different Bible colleges and served churches and leaders in the Midwest and west coast of the United States, as well as in Canada.

Bob served on my apostolic team in Newfrontiers USA for several years. His willingness to move and reside in various cities in order to assist us in developing Newfrontiers churches and leaders has had profound impact on so many leaders. He extensively served several of our churches in the Midwest for protracted periods of time. Many of our leaders were developed under Bob's wise and fatherly hands. Without question our Newfrontiers family of churches would not be where we are today without Bob's patient investment in so many.

I cannot possibly overvalue what Bob has meant to me personally as I planted churches and led our family of churches. Bob was a mentor, a dear friend and a father to me. It was a joy to be with him and share memories this past summer on my trip to the Pacific northwest. His faith and calm demeanor throughout his years of service to us was clearly evident as he faced death. He never wavered, remaining constant in faith and having great courage in the face of suffering. He continued to teach me not only how to live but how to die. I spoke with Bob a few days before his death and, although very weak, his steady voice and words displayed his great faith. As we concluded our conversation, it was a joy to say "I'll see you in heaven, Bob." I am grateful for that opportunity to say goodbye to a true hero who was an example to our family of churches and to me.

Bob Stricker Memorial Mission Fund
Bob Stricker was a dear friend and key member of the Newfrontiers USA leadership team for many years. His mature leadership was a vital resource for the Newfrontiers family of churches. The Stricker family has established a memorial fund to support the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ and this fund will provide support to Newfrontiers USA missional efforts in Zimbabwe and other parts of the world.


Checks may be made out to Newfrontiers USA.

Please write "Stricker Memorial Fund" on the memo line.

Donations can be mailed to:
Newfrontiers USA

PO Box 2626

St. Louis, MO. 63116

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Identity Crisis?


We are living in a time of significant change with a major shift in the way we process information. Ongoing change in communication and the arts reflect the changing values of our society. Structures that housed the modern era for the past five hundred years are crumbling. Some view this as a crisis in our culture. The Chinese character signifying the idea of "crisis" combines two characters, one for "danger" and the other for "opportunity." Crisis is made of both, and so is the current situation for the Church and its message.

As Christ followers, we must examine our roots and assess the true DNA of the Church. Many have attempted to define the Church and its practice biblically. The search for the true New Testament Church is ongoing, yet the process of changing is slow and even nonexistent at times. Many are unwilling to pay the costs required to take us outside the box.

Let’s examine the Church, Jesus and His gospel. We must be committed to a continual re-examining and restoration of the Church as it is revealed in scripture. In my next few blogs, I want to examine the missional nature of the Church and the message we are to carry to the nations.


In times of change, we face some key questions:
  • Is the Church a hindrance to overcoming and, therefore part of, the problem?
  • Is the Church neutral and therefore, not relevant to this emerging generation?
  • Are the message we bring and our method of sharing it relative to this new context?
  • How do we articulate within and to our context? Will our remedy fit?
  • How much has our past cultural framework domesticated the Church and our understanding of the gospel?
  • Is the Church in a crisis?
The Church has been influenced by culture and tradition. Church leadership is a “professional class” and the current American view of Evangelical leadership is often negative. Bob Roberts, Jr. recently tweeted that he has often been told, “You’re evangelical? You’re not like what I thought!" One said, "I thought all evangelicals were mean!"

The Church does what it believes itself to be.

We must re-examine what the essence or nature of the Church is. Craig Van Gelder does a fine job with this in his book The Essence of the Church: A Community Created by the Spirit. He makes the stirring point that the Church does what it believes itself to be. Consider his view of the Church’s true identity and the activity coming from this identity:

"The Church ‘is’ (a unique community of God's people created by the Spirit to fulfill the mandate of the Kingdom of God) before it ‘does.’"

"The Church is God’s personal presence in the world through the Spirit. It is to live as a missionary community under the rule and reign of God."

"The 'Kingdom of God' (God's rule and reign) sent the Spirit; the Spirit created (Acts 2: 1) and leads (John 14-16) the Church; the Church consciously takes up God's agenda in the world in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus ‘mission’ is an inherent aspect of the nature of the Church."

"The Kingdom of God anticipates and calls into existence a people of God, the Church. The Church comes into existence and is shaped by the reality of God's redemptive reign. The Church is possessed by the Kingdom of God. This makes the Church an agent of the Kingdom."

Biblical Metaphors for the Church

Scripture also reveals several pictures of the Church.
  • The people of God (Romans 9:25-26; I Peter 2:9; Revelation 5: 9-10)
  • The Body of Christ (Romans 12: 4-5; I Corinthians 10: 16-17; Ephesians 1: 22-23)
  • The Communion of the Saints (I John 1: 3,6; I Cor 10:6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Phil. 1:5)
  • The Creation of the Spirit (I Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:19; I Peter 2:5)
So we understand that the Church is the presence of God in the midst of a community. It is the representative of Christ in the midst of people. "If you've see us, then you've seen Christ."

The life of God in Trinity is lived out in the midst of community. God indwells the community and the Church is the place where God is manifested on earth. His people are His dwelling place. His presence is accessible among His people.

The Church is God moving into the neighborhood. "The word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood" (John 1:14 The Message Bible). Therefore, mission is an inherent aspect of the nature of the Church. This is not to be understood in terms as something it does, but something it is and thus cannot but do.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fear of Religions?

We live in a remarkable time in which the world has become global as the nations are now living in our cities and next door to us. I believe the hand of God is providing an amazing opportunity to demonstrate the love and life of Christ to the nations. We need not fear nations or religions, as we are a people that should have the utmost confidence in the compelling nature of the gospel. My concern is we miss this opportunity as a result of fear and prejudice. I want to share with you a provoking blog from a friend of mine, Bob Roberts Jr., that addresses this issue.

The Fear of Religions in the U.S.?
Guest Blog by Bob Roberts, Jr. (

It frustrates me - Burn a Qur’an - Build a Mosque - everyone gets all over that and up in arms - try to build a bridge and do something - some people just don’t care. Inactivity in this scenario will lead to more tension and desperate acts that continue to polarize us.

Does it make any sense that we are so ready to bow our backs, express rage, and even take up arms - without first extending a hand? Both can hurt - but only one has a shot at averting a crisis - the one who extends their hand.

You can’t ignore what is going on in the world today - you just can’t. But you can connect and serve others in love and tell them about Jesus and live Jesus out in very real ways. The 8 million Muslims in the US aren’t going away. The 1.5 billion Muslims aren’t leaving planet earth. The 10 million Jews in the US are here to stay - and Israel is not going away as a nation. The 50 million evangelicals in the US aren’t going away - neither are the nearly 2 billion Christians on the planet going away anytime soon. Getting along and building bridges is not an option. The only other option is to be driven by fear. Let’s explore that option . . .

When driven by fear we isolate ourselves from the very people that we are afraid of. It causes us to vilify them, get a wrong image of them, and ultimately it leads to stereotyping. I am happy for the future - that there will never be another generation born in the world that isn’t global. I think that will help bring the tension down a lot. Sometimes I think the biggest thing we have to do is keep everyone 35 and above calm until the younger generation who are more suited for this world can assume leadership. Not saying 35 and above have nothing to offer - I’m in that camp - but we have so allowed ourselves to typecast peoples, cultures, religions, and world - that even if our positions are right we don’t know how to articulate them. It’s like having Witherspoon debate Dawkins on the existence of God. No, we need CS Lewis debating Dawkins.

Fear unaddressed ultimately leads to violence. Our security is in the size of our gun - I’m from Texas - we have some tribal thoughts on things like this. I began to observe a few years back - wars fought repelling tyrants are the only ones that people win. Wars fought out of fear trying to repel ideas and worldviews - never win. Vietnam is a perfect case study. We are becoming so similar in so many ways to Vietnam - but not because of the war but because of economics.

I believe there’s a lot of fear coming and going from every tribe and faith on this planet right now. The only solution is to engage one another. When driven by fear - as followers of Jesus - we cannot love deeply and truly. How can we tell people about Jesus? How we can we show them love? Call me naive - whatever you want - but God forgives us if we don’t do everything we can first to bring down the tension.

We are at a point in history where we fear religion more than God - we are at a point in history where we will either hunker in the bunker and justify our own violence, or reach out and try to first, at least, treat the other person with respect.

How I wish we took Jesus and Paul literally in how they dealt with people of other religions, worldviews, and people caught up in sin. If we did - I believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ would spread and every person would hear, and lives would be changed . . . Naive? Maybe - but here’s the reality - fear or love - you pick it - and you pick your future. Come gather at with people who want to get along who don’t all agree with one another - but want to shake hands and come out serving a broken world together.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Faithful to His Promise – Pt. 5

When contemplating the very character of God, the key truth to be embraced is that God is faithful to His word. This was vital for Joshua when God called him to lead God’s people into the Promised Land. God told Joshua three times to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6-7,9). The Hebrew word to “be strong” means to be unbending and resolute. The word “courageous” carries the idea “to have heart”. These terms reveal that God meant for Joshua to be brave and to be established.

God’s presence is found in His precepts, His commands. God expected Joshua to walk in His word and this was to be a priority in his life. Joshua was not to turn from God’s ways, either to the right or to the left. God’s word was to be in his mouth and Joshua was to declare it. He was to meditate upon God’s word day and night. The Hebrew word for “meditate” meant to hear over and over again, a repeated sound. It came to mean to not only hear repetitively, but also to read repetitively. Basically to meditate is to internalize.

Believers are to speak God’s word to themselves, which produces faith and in turn, worship. Embracing God’s truth helps battle our own perspectives at times. Martyn Lloyd-Jones notes, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” (Spiritual Depression). Meditating on God’s precepts reminds us of God’s faithfulness and to live by faith rather than by our own feelings, thoughts or even circumstances. David practiced this when he declared in Psalm 103, “Bless the Lord, O my soul”. David had to tell his soul to worship because of the truth of God’s faithfulness. God’s words need to be continually placed before us and by so doing we are strengthened and led into worship and obedience.

God’s commands were to be the guiding force of Joshua’s life. It is the same with us today. The gospel has power that transforms both individuals and society. God’s commands are to be life shaping and not merely an intellectual assent. Martyn Lloyd-Jones states, “According to the New Testament, faith always includes the element of obedience. There is no value whatsoever in a supposed faith that does not lead inevitably to a changed life” (Romans: The New Man).

God’s own faithfulness is the essential source of our life of faith. His faithfulness releases us to live radically because we know His word brings real transformation. Are you living in a way that clearly reveals that God is faithful?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Faithful to his Promise- Part 4

Faithfulness is vital characteristic of God. It is also a key component in any deep and meaningful relationship. Knowing God’s presence is an essential part of His faithfulness.

The book of Joshua begins in a context where Israel knew that God had been with Moses. Moses’ face had literally shone with the glory of God when he came down from the presence of God on Mt. Sinai. Upon Moses’ death, Joshua knew God’s presence was critical to his leadership as well as to the success of God’s plan for Israel. Joshua was in danger of trying to take upon his own shoulders the responsibility that belonged to God. Joshua had already witnessed the people’s response to Moses. Joshua needed to know that God was with him.

We can feel like Joshua. We know difficulty both from the outside as well as the inside. It’s the inside battle that looms the largest. We know what we are not. We are aware of our weakness and feelings of inadequacy. Joshua also wrestled with the fear of being alone, of losing God (Joshua 1:5). He faced the fear of wondering if people would follow him after Moses’ great leadership (vv.5-9). Joshua faced the fear of failure and the tendency toward discouragement as he recognized his weaknesses (vv.6-9). We too know that we have opposition and we need to know that God is with us. God’s presence is what makes His people distinct. Without His presence who are we? Ephesians 2:22 proclaims we are the dwelling of His Spirit. We are a people of the Spirit and Jesus sent His Spirit to fill, empower and teach us and to make real God’s presence with us.

God reassured Joshua twice by telling Joshua that He would be with him (vv. 5,9). There are two things to note about God’s assurance. Firstly, God said, “as I was with Moses, so will I be with you, I will not fail you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5). The Hebrew word for “fail” here means to relax or lose focus, to become distracted or drawn away. God is saying to Joshua, “I am not slack. I do not relax where my children and promise are concerned. You are at the very center of My attention.

Another noteworthy thing about God’s faithfulness is discovered in the word forsake. It means to leave, lose, forsake or neglect. Many of us lose things, perhaps our keys, a checkbook, or a cell phone. Ever wish that like your head, which you might lose if it were not attached, you could somehow attach things to yourself? What God is saying is that you are attached to Him, bound to the heart of God by cords of love. God is telling Joshua, “I’m not going to let loose of you; I’ll not forsake you.” In good and bad times we are bound to Him. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of this when discussing our attitude towards material goods. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money; being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5).

Slow down and consider the scope of God’s assurance being expressed here to Joshua and to us. God tells Joshua that He will be with him, “wherever you go” (v.9). We are a people of movement. Wherever your feet are and wherever you step, God is saying, “I’ll be there.” There has never been a time in your life that God wasn’t there. From the day you were formed in your mother’s womb to the first day of school, every moment God has been there.

Regardless of where you are at today, God is saying, “I’m not going to take My eyes off you. I’ve bound you to Myself and in every step of your life, I’ll be there.” This is why we will inherit the Lord’s promises to us. It’s not because of us, but rather it’s because of God.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Faithful to His Promise- Part 3

The value of a promise is directly contingent upon the integrity of the one who makes the promise. Time is not the issue, one’s own inadequacy is not the issue and lack of visible resources is not the issue. God and His promise is the issue.

God’s people are called to entrust themselves to Him. As God’s chosen people, Israel was born out of God’s promise. God told Abraham that he and his descendents would receive an inheritance. Now move forward and we find Joshua and Israel about to enter a promised land full of obstacles and resistance. Much time had transpired since God first gave the promise to Abraham.

Consider the whole process and time span of God’s promise to Abraham. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, went to Egypt with his family, including Joseph, and they numbered about 70 people. As their numbers grew the Egyptians became afraid of them and enslaved them, however the more they afflicted them the more they multiplied and grew. The taskmasters made their work hard and they cried out to God. God’s promise seemed far away.

However, God sent them Moses and under God’s powerful hand, Moses did the impossible and brought them out of slavery. Under God’s direction Moses gave them their constitution, bylaws and culture. They became a people with identity and destiny. Yet the people were complainers, doubters, quitters and constantly fell into unbelief. Even Moses became discouraged! At one point, they even reach the promised land and having turned back in unbelief, spent 40 years in the wilderness. However, two men stood on the promise and said, “Let’s go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it!” (Numbers 13:30). How do you suppose Joshua and Caleb felt during the 40 years still waiting on the promise? They did not give up because they were convinced of who they were, a people of promise, and that God was a God faithful to His promise.

It’s vital to see the faithfulness of God in receiving His promise. Moses died but just because Moses died didn’t mean the plans of God were dead. God reminds Joshua that the promise is dependent upon the God who gave it. God’s promise is bound to His divine nature. Twice God reminds Joshua that He is the divine giver (Joshua 1:2-3).

A few years ago, Simon Pettit, who was one of our outstanding Newfrontiers leaders in Africa, died. One day Terry Virgo and John Lanferman will die. However the promise is not dead. It’s about who God is.

We are on a journey to lay hold of the promise of God to us. He is faithful to His promise to us. He will supply all that is necessary in order that we receive the inheritance.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Faithful to His Promise- Part 2

Christians have heard that God is faithful to His promises. But what is a promise?

A promise is “a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified.” The word “promise” means “to set forth.” God sets forth what He will do throughout scripture. He told Abraham, “…I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8).

God is a God of promise and we are a people of promise. That is our DNA. We are not like everyone else because we have a prophetic birth, we are a prophetic people and a prophetic movement.

God speaks a word and things move and take shape. Ezekiel spoke God’s word and bones came together. We too are shaped by prophetic promise and this gives us direction. His word shapes and creates movement. We are a movement of a particular DNA and we live with prophetic promise.

We must be careful about taking on Saul’s armor. Let us avoid shaping ourselves after others who seem to be getting results we long for. The Church is a demonstration of the multi-faceted wisdom of God and we move along the road of the grand story to God’s fulfillment of His prophetic intention. However, as players on the field we have a particular DNA.

How do we really know God is faithful? First and foremost, God is true to His promise because you can’t separate His promise from God himself. Here is a personal example. In 1965 God gave me a promise… “I formed you and called you. You are mine. You will experience trials…but I am with you and will bring fruitfulness.” That word shaped me, gave me direction, created movement. Promises are not passively received but actively laid hold of. I took certain steps as a result.

Newfrontiers is also an example of God’s faithfulness as we are a movement of prophetic promise. John Groves, one of our leaders in England, gave a prophecy years ago of seeing a herd of elephants running toward an impenetrable jungle and making a path where none previously existed. “There are no well-worn paths. Together you can accomplish more than you could ever accomplish alone.” This word led to the coming together of a family of churches. Terry Virgo changed of name of his gathered churches from “Coastlands” to “Newfrontiers”.

Throughout the years we been shaped and given direction as God spoke promises to us. Promises are a call to action, direction and movement. They shape us.

God calls things that are not as though they were. We become what he calls us. We are people of promise and we travel on the road to lay hold of His promise.

For example, He calls us a “new creation” when we were the “old creation.” He calls us righteous and we are no longer unrighteous. He calls Peter (a reed shaking in the wind) “a rock.” He calls Abram (a 99 year old with one son, Ishmael) “Abraham, father of multitudes.” He calls Gideon (who is hiding his work) a “mighty warrior” and Jeremiah (a youth) a “prophet to the nations”. The Pharisee Saul becomes an apostle to the Gentiles. A people who were “not a people” are now a people through God’s spoken promise.

Promise is what we become and what we are. As part of God’s people, you are a prophetic person.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Faithful to His Promise

I want to discuss God’s faithfulness. Christians today are often exhorted to be faithful to God in sermons, books, etc; however, I’d like to focus on God’s faithfulness to His promises. In fact, knowing this is key to our being faithful. One must know God clearly and accurately in order to have a radical life that displays trust in Him. I believe we can uncover God’s faithfulness in the life of Joshua, Moses’ “right hand man”.

Joshua 1 reveals God’s people in a critical time of transition. Joshua has been Moses’ servant but God now comes and clearly speaks to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead” (v.2). God then tells Joshua, “Now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people to the land which I am giving to them…” This is a statement of responsibility. Leadership is taking responsibility. God is basically saying, “Joshua, you are the man! I have things yet to be accomplished. The land of promise has to be laid hold of.”

Joshua is in a difficult position. It would be difficult to follow Moses! Imagine taking leadership of a people who are accustomed to having a leader that received his call from a burning bush, or could cast down a stick and have it turn into a snake and then pick it up and it becomes a stick again. Imagine following a man who could stretch out that same stick and divide a sea…a man who could get water out of a rock when people were thirsty. Moses was educated, royalty, palace trained.

Also remember these same people, even with such an outstanding leader, were known as a grumbling group. They ended up complaining, backsliding and wishing they were back where they came from time and time again.

Three times God told Joshua to “be strong, and courageous” (vv. 6,7,9). Courage is a vital component of being a Christian and being a leader. I once heard a story about a man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocketknife. When asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied, “Someone had already done that.”

Joshua’s lion was still intact. One must face the lions that challenge our commitment to follow Christ. One summer evening, during a violent thunderstorm, a mother was tucking her small boy into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?” The mother gave him a reassuring hug and replied, “I can’t dear. I have to sleep with Daddy.” A long silence was followed by a shaky little voice, “That big sissy.”

Sometimes we feel like a big sissy. Our inadequacies demand to be the focus and we, along with our inadequacy, become the issue. However neither Joshua, nor the task at hand, nor the people were the issue.

The Central Figure is God.

The fact is this story is not really about Joshua. The lead character of this story is GOD (vv. 3-4). It was God who had chosen Moses and then Joshua to lead this people into the land of promise. It was God who had made a promise over 400 years earlier to Abraham that his descendents would receive the land for an inheritance. These people were people of promise. The first assurance Joshua received is that the central figure in “real life” is God. This is the key starting place of genuine faith.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Presence of the Future: Part 4


We see that God’s presence not only marks His people but the Holy Spirit is the one who stirs His followers to go to every nation with the good news of the kingdom. This is no small task as we see the diversity of nations and cultures today. Every major city on the planet has multiple cultures within its boundaries. The last time we see the nations with one language is Genesis 10. In Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel brings divided tongues, which in turn divides and scatters mankind. This encounter reveals that man attempting to save himself results in racial and social hostility and destruction of human community.

In Acts 2, God came to create a new people, to empower them and to show them His goodness. First, barriers between the races come down. When Jesus was crucified, God tore the dividing curtain in two and we now have access through Jesus. Now as He fills the Church with the Spirit, the sin division which kept nations separated is torn as well. The first sermon was preached in all these different languages to demonstrate that God has come and reversed the curse of Babel and reconnected earth’s community.

The power of the Spirit demotes our nationality and race so that we see ourselves as God’s one family, reconnecting those who were separate. A person in Christ from another culture now has more in common with you than someone who does not know Jesus in your own culture. When God’s Spirit is working in the Church, you get along with people you normally would not. Your attitude is changed toward your money. Your identity, your possessions, and your culture are all transformed.

As Christ followers, we must continue to embrace the living presence of God in our own lives, our churches, our communities and ultimately the nations. The Spirit of God brings us into the presence of the nations, the presence of the future and the presence of the Lord Himself. Have you been filled with the Spirit since you believed? Are you now walking in the fullness of the Spirit? The Spirit has created a strong, new community. This community is overwhelmed with a revelation of God’s goodness that motivates us to pursue those who are yet outside of Jesus.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Presence of the Future: Part 3


God’s presence is what marks His people. Every time God shows up in the Old Testament, there is wind or fire. God meets with Job in a whirlwind, with Abraham as a burning torch and with Moses as a burning bush. At the “first Pentecost” on Mt. Sinai, God came down in windstorm with smoke and lightning.

Now consider the presence of the Lord at Pentecost with a sound of “mighty wind” and “tongues of fire” appearing (Acts 2:2-4). In Acts 2, Pentecost was the living presence of God coming to be with us and show Himself to us. The subjective experience of a transcendent God is vital to God’s people throughout history.

How does this transcendent power come to us? Being filled with the Spirit isn’t an experience with some abstract or naked power like electricity. When the believers are filled at Pentecost, they begin to speak what the Spirit has shown them. What the onlooking crowd can’t get over is revealed at the end of verse 11: “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” When filled with the Spirit, God’s people declare the wonders of God.

The Spirit fills us and gives truth about God Himself, revealing who He is and what He has done. Christianity is neither mysticism nor rationalism. It is far too mystical for rationalism and far too rational for mysticism. Christianity is a deep experience of a deeply rational truth. God doesn’t merely give us a bare experience but comes to fill us with truth about Himself.

Pentecost is looking back to God descending on the mountain and Moses telling God he wants an experience. Moses wants to see something incredible. This is how most of us come to God. God tells Moses He will let His goodness pass before him. For God to give you an experience of His glory He has to show you who and what He is. God doesn’t allow Moses to see all of His goodness because that would kill Moses. God hides Moses in the cleft of the rock to shelter him and allow the back part of His glory to pass by.

Moses wants an experience of power and God tells Moses that the only way to do that is by telling him who He is. He tells Moses He is “the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands and forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” (Exodus 34:5-8)

However, he also says, “…but who will by no means clear the guilty.” This sounds contradictory. The Lord is telling Moses that His goodness demands that He not clear the guilty. Likewise, a judge in our country can’t wink at some great law being broken. He wouldn’t be a good judge. God is good and therefore can’t clear the guilty. Yet in His goodness He loves to clear the guilty and forgive sinners. His good love and good justice come together in Jesus.

At Pentecost the early church had an experience of God’s Spirit coming in great power that caused them to cry out about the wonders of God. Today, God’s Spirit comes to show us His goodness, who He is and what He has done. The Spirit makes the cross electric!

Moses received a glimpse of God’s back, but now through Christ we are brought face to face with God. God’s Spirit came upon a mountain with Moses but now He comes IN us. The result for those at Pentecost was a passion to declare His goodness to those who are not yet saved. The revelation of God’s goodness eradicates any fear to share Jesus. Let us therefore continue to experience His presence and glory today. May we also have fresh passion to speak the good news of Christ to those we meet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Presence of the Future: Part 2

When the Holy Spirit fills people (like the crowd at Pentecost in Acts 2), those present are brought into the presence of three things:
  1. The presence of the future
  2. The presence of the Lord
  3. The presence of the nations
1) The Presence of the Future

When the Spirit fills you, you are brought into an eschatological presence. The word “eschaton” means “the last” or “the end.” It is a taste, an experience of what is to come fully in the future. For example, when farmers went out to receive the firstfruits of the summer harvest they could tell what the harvest was going to be that year. The firstfruits showed the laborers what to expect.

God is saying something by filling us with the Spirit.

Romans 8:18-23 “for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Along with all of creation, we long for this freedom. I look in the mirror and it testifies to my own bodily decay. We long for that day when Jesus comes back and this present world is made new. Creation will be liberated from decay and we will have resurrected bodies on a resurrected earth. The glory of God will come down and make all things new.

Paul writes (Rom. 8:23) “we ourselves… have the firstfruits of the Spirit.” Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit who comes to fill you brings you into the presence of the future glory of heaven. The Spirit gives a taste of the beauty and splendor of God’s glory, a taste of the life, power and joy coming in fullness.

In Romans 8, Paul informs us that we’ve been given power beyond our imagination. Every Spirit-filled follower of Jesus is walking around with something under their flesh of far greater value and power than this entire world. The Spirit is eschatological, bringing you into the presence of the future. The Spirit is the firstfruit, the very Spirit of Christ himself.

Do you know what you have? Do you realize what you have been given? We have been given the power of God which today can work against all manner of decay: social, emotional and spiritual. Give up small ambitions and have hope beyond your imagination for your ministry, church and city.

We have a taste of what’s to come—where there are no more tears of pain and suffering, no more groaning under the burden of sin. It may only be a taste but it’s powerful beyond imagination. We can confront social issues, poverty, injustice, lost humanity because we have this firstfruit power.

Jesus declared, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses…to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8)

Do you know who you are? Do you know what you have?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Presence of the Future

The Church is a miracle, not only because its founder is Jesus but also because of those who comprise it. The Church began with a marginalized group of uneducated, poor, politically powerless, economically challenged followers of Jesus. They were a marginal people living on the fringe of Roman society.

How can we explain that within two centuries this group became the most dominant influence in the world? The Roman Empire toppled without military or political power by followers of Jesus. The Emperor Constantine declared his allegiance to Jesus.

The book of Acts is a story of something that had happened to Christ’s followers after He arose and ascended. They received something that transformed them. They were filled with some transcendent power. It happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) and was a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. It ushered in a new age of the Kingdom that will be consummated with the second coming of Christ. When restoration is complete, we dwell together (a representative of every nation and tribe) with God in a New Heaven and a New Earth.


“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place” (v.1). Why did the Holy Spirit arrive on that day? What was the Holy Spirit doing in them that was so significant?

1. Pentecost was the feast of the firstfruits

In an agrarian culture, harvest was very significant. When the “firstfruits” of the harvest were brought in and eaten, thanksgiving was made to God for their firstfruits and they celebrated God’s goodness. Israel’s harvest happened 50 days after Passover. This is where we get the word Pentecost, as it meant “50 days.”

2. Pentecost was a celebration

The Jews viewed Pentecost as the time when celebration was made for being delivered from slavery. It was 50 days after their redemption that God gave the Law through Moses to His people. Pentecost was a celebration of God meeting Moses face to face to give him the Law.

The Acts 2 event was 50 days after Christ was crucified, which marked the establishment of the Church as she celebrates the true “firstfruits.” The church received God’s power to go into the world as His representatives.

The Holy Spirit’s coming on the day of Pentecost tells us something about the purpose of the Spirit coming and what it means to be filled. When the Spirit fills you, you are brought into the presences of three things. Those present at Pentecost experienced this also:
  1. The presence of the future
  2. The presence of the Lord
  3. The presence of the nations
More about this in my next post…

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Believe and See

Resurrection and Life – Part 4

Which is it? "Seeing is believing" or "Believing is seeing?" How you answer this question is most clearly revealed by how you live life each day. I live in Missouri and we’re known as “The Show Me State.” This is probably how most of us in the Western hemisphere approach life. It’s how one of Jesus’ disciples viewed news of the resurrection of Jesus.

"Now Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (John 20:24-25)

In our world “seeing is believing.” We live with a “Prove it to me” attitude. We need personal proof before we believe. Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks and touch his side, I’m not buying it.” He fits right in with today’s world.

In Jesus’ world, believing precedes seeing. You believe first, belief is translated into desire and desire becomes perseverance in the face of negative situations. Belief will bring us into seeing, despite what we feel, smell, touch, etc. It doesn’t make sense to roll the stone away from Lazarus’ grave. We smell the reality of death. But those with Mary and Martha acted and experienced the resurrection and life of God (see John 11).

Belief isn’t a feeling. It’s an act of obedience. When my dad died in my home as a teenager, I prayed and he came back to life. It was an act of obedience, not a feeling.

At Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come out!” Then the Bible simply says, “The man who had died came out…” (John 11:43-44). The dead moved, got up, responded to the voice of Jesus and walked toward that voice.

You can experience the resurrection power of Jesus today. When you hear the voice of Jesus, you don't always understand what it is, but he draws you. The voice of Jesus in your Spirit, something inside of you, wants to move toward that voice. When I first began to hear the voice of Jesus I wasn't sure about it. However, I just knew it was Jesus. He was dealing in my thoughts. I surrendered to him and my life was changed. When you move toward that voice, He will move toward you. You can experience the resurrection power and life of God.

Jesus told Martha, the sister of Lazarus, “…if you believed you would see the glory of God.” Will you believe? If so, you will begin to see.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do You Believe This?

Resurrection and Life - Part 3

I’ve been stirred about how the resurrection of Jesus can make such a difference in life today. Even when Jesus’ friend Lazarus died, God’s ways were undeterred and still active. When Jesus arrived late, He said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25,26)

Jesus not only said that He was the resurrection, He proved it! This is why we worship Him today. Jesus is saying, "I am the one who has authority and power to overcome the ultimate setbacks." Death is the ultimate setback. If Jesus has power over death then there is nothing He can't do in your life.

Notice Jesus doesn't ask Martha what she's feeling or thinking. There is a difference between what we feel and think, and what we believe. In times of disappointment or struggle, we are often persuaded by what we see or hear. It is easy to be directed by negative people around you. In high school I had learning difficulties and wasn't “college material.” Jesus came into my life my senior year and life changed for me. Jesus gave me a resurrection mentality. If Jesus can raise the dead then there’s nothing He can't do in your life if you believe.

"Jesus came to the tomb. 'Take away the stone,' he said. 'But, Lord,' said Martha, 'by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.’ Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’" (John 11:38-40)

Faith puts God between us and our circumstances. Faith gets us what God knows we truly need. However, it is not always what we want in the way we want it. God is not indifferent to your situation. Yet Martha's reaction mirrors most of us. She was caught up in the circumstances. She saw a dead body, a decaying body that smelled. We often live by our senses. Notice Jesus’ response, "Did I not tell you if you believed you would see the Glory of God?" (v.40)

What is it in your life you can't overcome? Following Christ means we no longer live merely “under the circumstances.” Jesus, the Resurrection, still lives, cares and acts. Do you believe this?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Delay Doesn't Mean Denial

Resurrection and Life - Part 2

Followers of Christ can often experience difficult situations and trials. We pray and our prayers seem to hit the ceiling and go no further. How are we to interpret a God who loves us, has power to help us, but the answer to our prayer doesn’t come? Why is there delay?

We see Jesus dealing with a family in crisis in John 11. He loved Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus. Yet when Jesus heard Lazarus was sick, “he stayed where he was two more days” (John. 11:5-6). Why did Jesus delay in responding?

Our culture values speed. We have microwaves, DSL, fast food, etc. and we demand instant gratification. We are disappointed when things are delayed, especially when God seems to delay! We get disappointed with God when he doesn’t do what we need when we feel we need it. Our desire fades, persistence vanishes and we want to quit.

Permit me a story about someone who handled "delay." Kurt Warner is a Super Bowl MVP and a champion. Kurt expressed how difficult it was when he was on a college football team and just warmed the bench. After college, he was bagging groceries and not playing football. He met his wife, Brenda, when she was a single mom on welfare, trying to raise children on food stamps. They didn’t quit. His answer wasn’t automatic, but he persevered. Today the Warners continue to have a deep faith in Christ, he is still a celebrated quarterback and they have a foundation for children. Delay doesn't mean denial.

Believers must learn to persevere amid delay. Perseverance is an action of faith. Perseverance is not dependent upon your circumstances or your frustrations, setbacks or disappointments. Perseverance is directly pinned to your faith (or lack of faith). Paul said “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14).

Perseverance is action based on the promise of God. If God raised Jesus from the dead, there is no circumstance in your life God can’t turn around. Jesus delayed his coming to two sisters, but he did show up. He will show up in a new way and he will demonstrate his intention regarding the future. He will destroy our enemy, death. He will remove the pain that seems to permanently destroy relationships and bring decay.

All the circumstances of Mary and Martha would say there’s no hope. But Jesus came. Delay is not denial.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Resurrection and Life

Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. When Jesus rose from the dead He changed history. Our entire dating system is based upon His resurrection.

However, the greatest proof that Jesus lives today is that He continues to change lives. The course of my life was changed by Jesus. I never intended on doing with my life what I am presently doing. This is true of all who follow Christ.

In John 11 we find the story of Lazarus and his family. This family is in trouble. The sisters, Mary and Martha, know that their beloved brother Lazarus is gravely ill, so they send word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." (John 11:3). Notice they call Him LORD. They have faith He can do something about their desperate situation.

They also know of Jesus’ great love for people. He had invested himself in their family. Jesus is committed to people. He has invested himself in us. He is committed to you and has the power to change your life. When asked about how to pray, Jesus said to pray, "Our Father…." A father is someone who loves us and gives himself for us. "Who is in Heaven" speaks of God's power to act in our situation.

In my upcoming blogs, I want to explore how we experience the resurrection power of Jesus in our lives today. Often today, people can feel they’ve lost this experience of God. In his book, "Raised With Christ", Adrian Warnock quotes Francis Schaeffer:

“Some Christians seem to think that when they are born again, they become a self-contained unit like a storage battery. From that time on they have to go on their own pep and their own power until they die. But this is wrong. After we are justified, once for all through faith in Christ, we are to live in supernatural communion with the Lord every moment; we are to be like lights plugged into an electric socket. The Bible makes it plain that our joy and spiritual power depend on a continuing relation to God.”

I am confident the love and power of the living Savior is continually active, transforming the lives of His people. Even amid difficulties, Jesus is alive. More on this next time…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010



We’re learning about kingdom focused prayer in the early church. In Acts 4, we’ve seen how the early church prayed so dynamically. Thus far we’ve uncovered:

1. They went to their own friends (v.23)
2. They told God who He was (v.24) “Sovereign Lord…”
3. They told God what He had done (v.24) “made the heaven and the earth…”

Let’s continue to understand how to offer “front-line prayers” from the early church’s example in Acts 4.

D. They told God what He had said (vv.25-26)

Effective prayer anchors on God’s word. His word is a lamp to our feet and light to our path. It is the bread of life and our pattern in prayer. Their prayer demonstrated they knew all power is in God’s hands. When these believers remembered Jesus’ death, they told God that He was able “to do whatever your hand and your purpose predestined to occur.” (v.28)

E. Their Request (vv.29-30)

In the midst of a threatening situation, notice these believers did not ask for survival or escape. They prayed to go forward in mission by being empowered to boldly speak God’s word. They asked for God’s help to go forward in mission by power to demonstrate God’s presence by healing, signs and wonders. Front-line prayer keeps one’s eyes always on the mission of God.

F. God’s Response (vv.31-33)

God’s presence is evident because after they prayed, the place was shaken. This demonstrated His power and presence.

They were filled with the Holy Spirit. These gathered believers received power to see the gospel advance and boldness to carry out the mission of God in their city. Paul declares to all who follow Christ, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the Spirit of love, power and a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

As Christ’s church, we are called to be strong in prayer as we long to see His kingdom increase. To conclude this series on prayer, may Charles Spurgeon’s words stir your own prayer life with Christ…

“All hell is vanquished when the believer bows his knee in importunate supplication. Beloved brethren, let us pray. We cannot all argue, but we can all pray; we cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders; we cannot all be mighty in rhetoric, but we can all be prevalent in prayer. I would sooner see you eloquent with God than with men. Prayer links us with the Eternal, the Omnipotent, the Infinite, and hence it is our chief resort…. Be sure that you are with God, and then you may be sure that God is with you.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010



Prayer is vital to building healthy churches. In Acts 4:23-33 we discover a meeting with “front-line” prayers that are after God’s kingdom purposes. Let’s see how they prayed.

A. They went to their own friends (v.23)

God calls us together into a church community. The Church is not a meeting you attend, but rather a family. Relationships are the key to life. “Two are better than one… for if one falls, his partner may help him” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

Relationships are also the key to multiplied strength. “One can put a thousand to flight and two can put ten thousand to flight” (Deuteronomy 32:30). They lifted their voices in passionate, intense prayer. Power is multiplied when we gather to pray.

B. They told God who He was (v.24)

Notice what they begin with: “Sovereign Lord.” They were driven to prayer by opposition but they tell God, “You are the Sovereign Ruler.” God is over all earthly powers. For example, Caesar’s decree that the world be taxed brought Mary to Bethlehem. God is Sovereign, not Caesar.

These believers prayed God’s Sovereignty. Their enemies thought they were doing their own will; but they were really fulfilling God’s will. What set this prayer meeting apart is that the Church knew He was God.

C. They told God what He had done (v.24)

“You made the heaven and the earth…”

It is good in prayer to remind ourselves of how big God is and all He has done. God has done some very big things. He bent the will of an obstinate Pharaoh. He divided the Red Sea. He shut the mouths of lions. He established your church. In prayer, we recall all He has done. This stirs worship in us and gives us confidence and clarity as we pray.

We’ll glean more from this prayer meeting in my next blog…

Thursday, January 28, 2010



We need to continue to build the church through prayer. In my last blog, I introduced Jack Miller’s idea of “front-line prayers.” Front-line prayers seek God for something much bigger than prayer for our own needs. It is prayer that fully focuses on God and considers His passions and desires.

Previously I began my description with:

1. It is prayer that is focused on God’s power, presence, and kingdom.

Let’s further unfold what front-line prayer is…

2. It is a prayer that asks God for the flourishing of the Church.

You fill prayer meetings to pray for the church to grow and mature, for people to grow in Christ, for worship to be living and vibrant, and for the prayer life of the church to grow. It is praying for the church to get out of apathy, for the knowledge of the gospel to explode, and for the church to shine in the city.

3. It is a passionate desire to know God more and more.

We seek after God’s presence and we ask for Him to open the eyes of our heart so that we see Him more clearly. We begin to ask for His glory. It is going hard after Him when we gather because we want to sense His presence in our midst.

4. It is bold, specific and persistent prayer.

We pray for particular people groups and neighborhoods. We seek out God’s grace for them. We don’t let Him go until we see people coming to know Jesus.

5. It is prevailing corporate prayer

When you spread coals out, a fire dies down. When you bring them together, the fire begins to roar. Likewise as believers, we must pray together to keep ourselves hot for God. We must gather together corporately and pray.

May our churches look to God more fully with such bold and prevailing prayer! May we see many in our communities come into His kingdom as we experience His presence together!

Monday, January 18, 2010



In his book The Heart of a Servant Leader, Jack Miller writes:

“Make the whole ministry center on private and corporate prayer. Do not expect bigger victories in tough areas until corporate praying becomes the complete center of the ministry. The reason? It is in prayer together that we find grace to give up control to the Father, rely exclusively on the Spirit, and see the demons subdued. It is here we get our life, vigor, zest, and authority for the battle…Without constant adoration, thanksgiving, intercession, and confession together, we are going to teach people to rely on our traditions, plans, technologies, and methods rather than on grace.”

Miller then describes the difference between “maintenance prayers” and “front-line prayers.”
  • Maintenance prayers are short prayers in which we ask for our basic needs, health, and for God to consider our personal situations.
  • Front-line prayers seek God for something much bigger than our own needs. It is praying in a way that we are considering God and His passions and desires.
What is “Front-line Prayer?”

First, it is prayer that is focused on God’s power, presence, and kingdom. Instead of quickly moving to “Give us our daily bread…” we stay and pray for “God, your Kingdom come, you will be done” with intensity and often in protracted ways.

Front-line prayer…
  • is prayer for the renewal of the Church and of the city. It is prayer that is larger and more intense.
  • is when people gather and cry out and “lift their voices together” (Acts 4:24) as we pray in the Kingdom of God.
  • seeks after God’s grace and recognizes that nothing can be done without it.
Grace is indeed a key basis for this manner of prayer. When the Gospel becomes more than a concept, the love of Jesus becomes so real to you that Jesus becomes a foundation which holds you up. With such a foundation we can confidently ask for God’s kingdom to come upon our church and cities for His glory.

I’ll look to unfold more about Front-line Prayer in my next blog…

Monday, January 4, 2010


The book of Acts is a story about the power of the Holy Spirit advancing God’s word through the Church into cities and nations. Prayer was the key to the release of the Holy Spirit empowered Church to make effective the gospel of Christ.

Both biblically and historically prayer brings advancement of God’s cause.

Prayer meetings launched a worldwide missionary movement. In Acts 13:1-3, while in a prayer meeting, the church experienced the Holy Spirit calling Barnabas and Paul to plant churches in the nations. The first recorded launch of the gospel in Europe came from the prayer meeting in Acts 16:12-15. Paul was part of a riverside prayer meeting in Philippi. At that prayer meeting, Lydia’s heart was opened to receive Christ.

Prayer has been as a powerful force throughout church history:

  • Jeremiah Lamphier called a prayer meeting in downtown New York in 1857. Within six months, 10,000 businessmen were praying for revival. Within two years, two million people were saved and added to the churches.

  • James McQuilkin and three others met in a schoolhouse in Ireland every Friday evening for prayer. By the end of the year 1858, fifty believers had come to pray and they prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The next year, an estimated 100,000 were saved and added to the churches in Ulster.

Corporate, prevailing, intense prayer always preceded every move of God. People began crying out to God in a way they had not previously experienced. May we also fervently and continually pray for God to move as we look at all that awaits us in the year ahead.