Monday, December 21, 2009

Extravagant worship

I was listening through a old podcast by Mike Pilavachi today and after spending an incredible night at RiverStone where extravagant worship erupted, I felt led to share a little from the podcast. I'm not going to add anything to it. It should speak for itself:

In Matthew chapter 2, we read of the extravagant worship of the Magi. They came to bring the new king of the jews extravagant worship with extravagant gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. When they arrived in Jerusalem they asked King Herod, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." This was a BAD mistake...telling the current king of a coming king that will replace him. The king's response was, "As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." But he wanted to kill him, not worship him.

Extravagant worship also has an equal and opposite reaction in some hearts. Those that cannot call Him king because they want to stay king of their own lives, sometimes under the guise of worship, they want to kill.

Then we read at the end of Matthew's gospel the story of the sinful woman pouring the expensive perfume on Jesus' head. She was showing extravagant worship of Jesus. What happens when she does this? The very next scene is Jesus eating with the 12 disciples [the Lord's Supper]. While they were eating, Jesus says that "one of you will betray me." Then the disciples were in disbelief saying one by one, "Surely not I, Lord" (v. 22). Each disciple said this until Judas. Judas says, "Surely not I, Rabbi" (v. 25). Why does Matthew put this in? To tell us a story. The story is, 11 disciples knew Him as Lord and one didn't. That is why Judas betrayed Jesus. At the beginning of Matthew, the extravagant worship of the Magi led to Herod, under the guise of worship, to try and kill Jesus because he didn't know Him as King. At the end of Matthew, the extravagant worship of the sinful woman led to the Judas' betrayal of Jesus to have Him killed because He did not know Him as Lord.

How does Judas betray Jesus? With a kiss, an act of homage, an act of intimacy, an act of worship [but it wasn't]. So Jesus goes to the cross and on the cross He offers the Father perfect worship. Why? Because the worship of the Old Testament, central to the worship of the old Tabernacle and Temple, was sacrifice. Jesus offered the one, ultimate and perfect sacrifice. Through Jesus' perfect act of worship of the Father on the cross, we too can come to worship and we too can come boldly before the throne. And as we do, as we gaze into His presence, we touch the Holy of Holies.

In Exodus 29 it says, "If anything touches the holy things that are not holy, it defiles the holy things. But if anything unholy touches the Holy of Holies, it becomes holy."

The woman who was bleeding for years, who was ceremonially unclean, touched Jesus, she was made clean because she touched the Holy of Holies. When we come to worship, we touch the Holy of Holies. We are cleansed, we are made whole and we become the people of His presence. And that is THE hope for a broken and hurting world...the ONLY hope. We don't need to get smarter, or more equipment, or better looking, we need more of Jesus! And then, we will be a light to the Gentiles.

Worship is the best evangelism and our greatest example of worship is Jesus. I long to have the aroma that comes with extravagant worship; that comes with spending loads of time with Him in His presence. When alone, or in congregational worship, or when we are out amongst the poor, feeding them and praying for healing. The call is to engage in extravagant worship without considering the cost. There is nothing more useful than spending time in His presence. Because if we don't, when we go out, all the people will be touching is us...and us isn't good enough. If all people touch is me, then they are in big trouble. We long they touch Jesus in us. We long they touch the Treasure that is in our little jars of clay.

If we love Him, then it will come out of every part of our being. We will not be able to shut up about Him. We will bore the world to death [in the best possible way!] talking about the One we love. THAT is what worship is all about!

Worship is the best evangelism.

Grace and peace. Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Head Scratcher

So I have been pondering something for a few weeks now of an encounter me and Biddle (my roommate) had a few weeks back. We were at the As Tall As Lions and Mute Math concert (which was stinkin' awesome by the way!) and as we were trying to decide what to eat, a homeless man name Derrick came up to us to help us out. We knew right away what his motives were. He wanted to show us a good place to eat so that we would give him a few dollar bills. Well, as we were walking behind him, we noticed that he walked with a significant limp. I immediately felt that the Lord wanted to heal him...because God is good like that! Amen?!

Anyway, we reached our destination (some diner down by the Tabernacle) and Derrick asked for some change so he could go down to Hooters and eat some wings. We approached him and asked what happened to his leg. He proceeded to tell us that when he was younger he got shot in the leg and has walked with a limp ever since. Biddle and I both shared the Gospel with him and that God, in His vast goodness, grace and mercy, wanted to heal him. We asked if we could pray for him because the Lord WANTED to heal him right then and there. Then, much to my surprise, he said no, but repeatedly asked us for some money so he could go down to Hooters! What?! We said that what the Lord wanted to do that very moment was SO much better than a few dollars; yet, he still said no! He would rather go to a restaurant full of debauchery instead of having the power of God rush over his body and be able to walk normally without any pain! I just don't get it?! Maybe some of you can offer some only guess is that the enemy has a hold over him and has blinded his eyes to God's goodness and mercy. The Word says that the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Or maybe it was just too foolish for him to imagine that he could be healed that very instant? Because the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). The cross, where everything was purchased (our salvation, our healing, our power, our lifeline, our reconciliation to God, etc), was foolishness to him...

So again, I just don't get it...thoughts? So we prayed for him as we continued to walk to the restaurant that the Lord would heal his leg. And again I ask right now, Lord, for Your glory and for Your fame, will you heal Derrick now in the Name of Jesus. Lord move in power right now in his life, bring healing, bring restoration and I ask that salvation would spring up from the ground so that his name may be written in the Book of Life! In Jesus Name...

Grace and peace

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Long overdue

Hello all (or all 2). I feel like I am a broken record when I say that it has been a long time since I last blogged. So kill me. A lot has been going on, but I will start off with the mission trip to Scotland. I've had several people ask me to post a synopsis. I will do my best to summarize and hit the key points without being too long-winded!

Where to start?? Ok, let's start with some of the miracles that happened while we were there. A young man, let's call him Thad (random I know but go with me) hurt his back during the obstacle course on Wednesday where he could barely stand up, walk, his ribs hurt and he could barely breathe. Leading up to this, the Lord was definitely moving in his heart. Anyway, we stopped the obstacle course and prayed for Thad. Immediately his ribs stopped hurting and he could get a full breath of air, but his back was still hurting and he couldn't walk. We pressed in harder in prayer and I had my hand on his back. As we prayed, I literally felt his back move, almost as if the Lord was realigning his back. When we finished, he was able to walk back to his room and the next morning had ZERO pain. Praise the Lord! The next story is about a girl named, we'll call her Lucy. She had been dealing with an injured leg for several years, so much so she could not run or do the activities she was used to doing (sports, etc). One night during worship (Tuesday I believe), some of our team prayed for her and took her outside to test her leg. Before then she could only run a very small distance before her leg would start hurting. After they prayed, she was able to run all over the grounds there without any pain or discomfort! She even ran the obstacle course the next night! Praise be! The other miracle that happened during the week was that several of the youth there gave their lives to the Lord. They realized that God was real and He loves them with an unending, unrelenting love! All of heaven was rejoicing (having a party) in heaven over these youth!

Worship. Was. Intense! Every year the Lord blows me away in His goodness when it comes to how He is so faithful to show up during worship! He completely honors His promise that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. Before we left, a very good friend of mine prayed over me and prophesied that the songs that we will sing will be songs directly from His heart. Fast forward to Tuesday of camp. That day I was taking a walk with Lord, talking and listening to see what He wanted to do during worship. As I walked, the Lord laid on my heart several songs He wanted me to do. Excellent, right? Well...not so much. You see, the songs HE wanted me to do were very intense songs. These songs had full bands...we had me on a guitar, 2 BV vocals and a beginner percussionist (who did great for being thrown into the fire so to speak! - Way to go Walker!). So how was I going to pull off a set list consisting of songs that almost have to have a full band. The set list included You Never Let Go by Matt Redman, Awakening and Like a Lion by Daniel Bashta and The Anthem by Jake Hamilton. Intense, huh? I was talking with Tom Tanner before the service started and I told him that the worship was either going to be amazing or it was going to be a complete bust! I prayed and pleaded for Him to show up because if He doesn't, it was going to be really bad. Well I'm sure you know how the story ends...the Lord definitely showed up! It was as if the Holy Spirit provided the energy a full band would provide. We worshipped in complete unity how God has not forgotten Scotland (more specifically, the youth of Scotland) and how a light is definitely coming! Then we joined together and sang prophetically how God was bringing an awakening to that nation and how heaven is roaring over Scotland and revival is going to fall! Then came the most intense song of the night. Here are some of the words:

"Wake up child, it's your time to shine. You were born for such a time as this."

"This is the anthem of our generation! Here we are God, shake our nation!"

"I am royalty, I have destiny, I have been set free, I'm gonna shape history!"

Can I get an amen??!!

Then, after Tom spoke we had some great ministry time. After a few songs into it, heaven came even closer. The time was around 11:30 pm and "lights out" was supposed to be at midnight. I asked the leaders what they wanted to do...keep going or end it. Then some of the youth started yelling out "worship!" For the next hour and a half or so, we worshipped and danced all over the meeting hall, crying out for this generation!! It was beautiful!!!

Afterwards, the pastor of the church we partner with came up to me with tears in his eyes. Listen to this...he tells me that when I started singing "wake up child, it's your time to shine" the Holy Spirit overwhelmed him. He said it was as if we were singing the heart of God!! That was word for word what my friend prophesied over me before I left! Man how the Lord is faithful!

Worship the rest of the week was equally as amazing. I hit just some of the highlights. Scotland is near and dear to my heart. Even more so to the Lord! Revival is coming to Scotland (again) and it will be a burning flame engulfing the hearts of both young and old alike. I believe it with all of my heart. I love those youth and cannot wait to see them again. Greater things are still to be done in their hearts and in Scotland!!

Grace and peace.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scotland here I come...

So in a few short hours (9 to be exact) I will be leaving with a team of 20 others to Paisley, Scotland to put on a youth camp. This will be year number 3 that we have done this. I am super excited about going back! Seeing old faces and meeting new ones. The Lord has BIG things in store for this camp. This youth. This country. Be praying for us as we go overseas and partner with God's heart to bring revival (again) to Scotland. We believe (like truly believe) it is coming and it is coming through the youth of Scotland.

If you want to check out more of what we are doing in Scotland (more importantly what the Lord is doing in Scotland), then check out the BLOG.

You will also be able to watch the services online through the blog. So hopefully everyone will tune in!

Alrighty folks, can't wait to share what the Lord is going to do over the next couple weeks! Until then....

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The Lord has been doing some pretty interesting and sweet things in my life recently. I'm not going to bore you with all of them but I do want to share some thoughts that I've had recently [or that the Lord has given me].

The word potential has been a key word lately. This word has both positive and negative connotations attached to it. The positive side is usually associated with younger children or teenagers. "Bobby Sue has so much potential...". On the flip side, the negative aspect of the word potential typically is used when talking about older folks. "Stan had all of that potential but blew it when he did...(fill in the blank)".

I will add a third category of potential...Kingdom potential. This goes much farther than your Kingdom destiny or calling. Here's how: In Genesis 1 and 2, God gave Adam the authority over everything on earth. Genesis 1:26: "...let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." God then put the man in charge of the Garden of Eden [2:15], which to me is a HUGE responsibility. Man was in charge of the grounds where God walked and talked! Anyway, in chapter 3 we read where Adam and Eve are deceived and the fall of man occurs. Adam had all of the potential yet he blew it! He had authority over everything and in one decision he brought a curse to mankind.

Now the rest of the Old Testament was God setting up the coming of His One and Only Son [the "Second Adam" - read 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5] to come and fulfill all of the potential the first Adam had and lost. Jesus walked with the authority of heaven...perhaps the same authority Adam could have had. Read all through the Gospels and you read where Jesus healed every sickness and disease, cast out demons, set the captives free, made blind eyes see, made deaf ears hear, turned water into wine, walked on water and so on and so on.

Now we, as co-heirs with Christ [Romans 8:17] and who walk with the same power and authority Jesus did, are called to fulfill all of the potential the first Adam had [just like Jesus]. It is in my opinion that God is raising up a generation that are to be known as "fulfillers of the Kingdom potential." A generation that will encompass believers walking down the streets performing signs and wonders through the Holy Spirit. Some will be preaching the Gospel with the fire of heaven in their bones and unction in their words. To some, the gift of worship and prophetic singing is released. To others, prophetic utterances and words of knowledge. And some, because of their unquenchable love for Jesus, will become martyrs for their faith.

However, this is not just for some. Every Believer is called to fulfill this potential. But to do so, we need to live by the culture of the Kingdom, not by the culture of this world. No longer can we tolerate the things of this world [abortion, murder, slander, gossip, fornication, idolatry, etc]. We must live by the culture and value system of the Kingdom of God that is soon coming. This value system is found in chapters 5-7 in Matthew's Gospel. Billy Humphrey of IHOP-Atlanta says that these chapters not only describe what Jesus is like, but they also describe what Jesus likes! These chapters unveil God's heart.

There are 8 core values of the Kingdom which are described in the Beatitudes. We must be poor in spirit knowing that Jesus is all that we need and that He alone provides for us. We must be ones who mourn [or long and ache] for His return just as Jesus longs and aches to be reunited with His Bride. We must be a humble people. We must hunger and thirst for righteousness, holiness and the pleasures of God. We must be a forgiving people full of mercy. We must live lives of purity and not condone the acts of this world. We have to be a people that bring peace and live a life full of peace because this world is about to get a little hairy during the end of this age. And beloved, we must be prepared to be persecuted. A time is coming [and has already come] where many are ridiculed, beaten and put to death for their belief in Christ. In fact, more people have died because of their faith in the past 100 years than have died in the previous 1900 combined!

We must be cheerful givers and lovers of the secret place with God. We must be a people that bow our hearts and bend our knees to seek the face of God in prayer, fasting and supplication. In doing so, we will undoubtedly hear the voice of God and learn what is burning on His heart for today.

So I encourage each and everyone of you to study chapters 5-7 of Matthew. Take it slow. Digest it. I also recommend Billy Humphrey's book, "The Culture of the Kingdom." It is a valuable resource and study guide for the value system of the Kingdom of God.

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


As a little comedic interlude between Revelation discussions, check out this amazingly funny bit from a comedian named Brian Regan. If you haven't heard of him, do yourself a favor and search him on youtube and watch some of his clips. You might have to change your underwear....

Grace and peace.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Conclusion of Revelation 1

Alright, so we are down to the final 2 verses of Revelation 1:

"Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches."

Growing up, or I guess I should say, in my early years of being a Believer, I always avoided reading the book of Revelation. I avoided it because I thought there was way too much symbolism for me to understand. But as I've studied it recently, I've realized that yes, there are a bunch of symbolic figures and visions, BUT I've found that most of them are explained right in the text. And we are seeing that here. In these 2 verses, Jesus is explaining to John what the vision of the seven stars and the seven golden lampstands are. A few verses earlier John sees "someone 'like a son of man'" walking among the lampstands and having seven stars "in his right hand."

The seven stars, according to Jesus, are the "angels of the seven churches." The word angels could also mean "messengers." Now there are 2 explanations for the word "angels" [or messengers]: It could be taken literally and that these seven churches actually had angels assigned [I guess that's the right word?] to their churches. Then I guess you can assume that there could be angels assigned to churches in today's time? The other possible explanation is that the word messenger refers to the pastors/preachers that are over the churches. I tend to go more with this explanation, but that's just me...

One of the most encouraging parts of this vision is Jesus ["son of man" - which is how Daniel described the person in his vision recorded in Daniel 7] walking among the lampstands. Here we can imagine Jesus walking between each lampstand, probably stopping by each one with a smile on His face. Maybe He reaches out and places His hand on the lampstand. You see, Jesus longs to be with His church, loves to reach out and touch His church, and for sure He loves it when His church welcomes Him in. The sad part is that there are many churches out there that have four walls, but Jesus is not found in them. The Holy Spirit is not taught on and He is certainly not allowed to minister. These churches are dead. They have the appearance of being alive, but in fact are quite dead. The Spirit is not living and dwelling within them! These churches have the fluff and flattery [ie. seeker-friendly] but lack the truth. It makes me so thankful to belong to a church where the Lord is free to do what He wants, when He wants and how He wants. I pray that the Lord would grab ahold of the messengers of these dead churches and put a fire in their bones to preach the Word, and to preach it boldly! If not, then it is my opinion that these will be the ones to fall away during the End Times that Jesus talks about in Matthew 24 [see also 2 Thess 2, Revelation 17]. Wake up churches!!

So I pray that wherever you are at, that Jesus would walk near you and reach out His mighty hand to touch your life exactly where you need/want Him to. I pray that you would see Him smile at you! There's nothing better...

Grace and peace.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Musings and Revelation 1 continued...

As I have been sitting by the ocean the past several days, I've been in awe of how amazing my God is! He is so infinitely huge yet comes down to man to speak to him, to encourage him and to love him...speechless! I look out into the expanse which is the Atlantic Ocean and I can't help but imagine God holding all of the water on earth in the palms of His hands...ok, that's crazy BIG!! The second thought that comes to mind is the overwhelming knowledge that God thinks about me; that He has engraved my name on the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16) and His heart is ravished when He sees my name and when our eyes meet. Psalm 139 comes to mind as I sit on the beach:

"How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand."

Ok, I'm not always good at math, but that is a LOT of thoughts. So today I did a little experiment. I picked up a handful of sand on the beach and I tried to count the grains (I wouldn't call that being bored, just taking a break from reading and trying to bring this Scripture to life!). The key word here is "tried." I was about 1/500th of the way through the sand in my hand and I was already higher than I've ever counted before, plus I'm not accounting for all the grains of sand that sifted through my fingers! And the Lord just quietly and gently encouraged me, "I love you, my thoughts for you and only you outnumber the grains of sand on every beach on earth...and each one is good and makes me smile!" The unfathomable beauty of it all is that He can say that about each and every person...and that includes you!!

The third thought that came rushing through my mind happened yesterday while I was out surfing. I sat out there watching wave after wave come in, some I rode while others I just floated over and watched as the white water refreshed the seashore. The Lord said, "A wave is coming. A wave that has never been seen before in history. It is going to be big and powerful, but if you love me and rest in me, you are going to see it coming and building. But, will you ride it with me or will you just watch? You can't control the wave. You must surrender to its power and let it take you." Wow! As we study Revelation, we see that a new, fresh, never-seen-before wave is coming (and is coming soon!). Many are going to see this wave and either just sit and watch or they are going to get out of the water altogether. A few are going to see this wave coming and are going to get excited about the possibilities. Just as a wave breaks and refreshes the seashore with new grains of sand, in the same way this Wave is bringing with it restoration and renewal. The Wave is bringing with it the Kingdom of heaven to earth!! It is going to be powerful and it is going to be scary, but I can promise you it is going to be exhilarating and for lack of a better word, good.

So how does this relate to Revelation 1? Well in verses 12-18 John vividly describes his vision of Jesus. It is the same vision Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1), Isaiah (Isaiah 6) and Daniel (Daniel 10) had. This Wave that is coming is bringing with it a clear Revelation of who Jesus is! A Jesus that is "dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest." A Jesus whose "head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire...feet like burning bronze in a furnace." And this last description brings it back full circle, "And His voice was like the sound of rushing waters." A voice that is so thunderous and full of power that every other noise is drowned out. Imagine Niagara Falls multiplied by I don't know, some high number! : )

One of my blog posts would not be complete if I didn't mention something that relates to worship. This vision and portrayal of Jesus is one that most of us don't regularly think of. Let's be honest, when I think of Jesus, I see a caucasian male with a beard, wearing sandals and a smile. This may be true and all, but when we come into a worship setting, we need to have the same picture of Jesus that John (and others) describes. A picture of royalty and majesty; of power and of someone that shines brilliantly with glory and light! We need to focus on Him majestically walking throughout the aisles of your church with a double-edged sword bursting forth from His mouth ready to pierce our very beings and change us for eternity! I'll wager a bet and say that our worship experience will be completely altered once we have this image etched into our minds and hearts. Agree?

Anyway, thanks for reading my random musings...until next time...

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Revelation 1

Ok I'm back and we are on a mission. We are going to go through the book of Revelation, starting from the beginning. least I hope to go through every chapter. I may skip around a little bit...don't hate me!

We are going to start by looking at the first half of chapter 1...

It is important to understand first that the book of Revelation was written about things present and about the things to come...both in the near future and in the distant future. The first 3 chapters are written about the things present.

In verse 1 John addresses one of the things I cannot stand right off the bat..."The revelation of Jesus Christ...". Like I've said before, this book is about only ONE revelation...the Revelation of Jesus Christ! This is not the book of RevelationS. That's one of my pet-peeves (spelling?). I literally cringe when someone says Revelations instead of Revelation. The main focus of this book is to reveal the Father's heart for the Bridegroom (Jesus) to be reunited with His bride (us, the church), and for us to come to the realization that we must fall deeply in love with Jesus!

Verse 3: "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."

There are 3 crucial things a Believer MUST do when it comes to this book: 1) Read it; 2) Hear it; and 3) Take it to heart. The last imperative there means that this book must alter how we live our lives. Believers have to take this book to heart and change the way they live. We must live as love-sick brides longing for the return of our Bridegroom!

Verse 4: "...Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne." The "seven spirits" is also translated "sevenfold Spirit." So what is the "seven spirits?" We find the answer in Isaiah 11:2, which states, "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him (Jesus) - the Spirit of wisdom (1) and of understanding (2), the Spirit of counsel (3) and of power (4), the Spirit of knowledge (5) and of the fear of the Lord (6) - and He will delight in the fear of the Lord (7)."

Verse 5: "...and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth." The firstborn of the dead refers to Jesus being the first One ever to be resurrected from the dead and who is the King of Kings. He will soon rule over the entire earth with His iron sceptor and every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is Lord of heaven and of earth.

We will skip down to verse 7 which describes Jesus' descension and earthly procession:

"Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen." The Bible tells us that Jesus is going to return the same way He left. After He was resurrected and walk the earth with His disciples, it says that Jesus ascended up into the clouds. So, we know that this is the same way He is going to return...with the clouds. When He does this, every eye is going to see Him. To me this is crazy to even think about and there are opinions being tossed back and forth as to how this is going to actually look. Some say that every person on earth is going to see Jesus at the same time. I know that He is God in the flesh, but this seems rather hard to process. It is hard to imagine that every living person on planet earth is going to see Him at the same time.

I have a thought of my own here (well maybe not my own but it's backed by Scripture). In Malachi 1, verse 11 it says, "My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun." It is the rising and setting of the sun that serves as a symbol of how Jesus' triumphal procession is going to look!

Want another reference? Psalm 19:4-6

"In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat." The bold there is to emphasize my point. This basically says that the sun is our day-to-day example of how the bridegroom is going to run his course when He comes again! To maybe try and make more sense of this, take for example the sun rising. Nowadays, the sun rises around say 6:30 in the morning here in Georgia. In California, the sun rises at around the same time; and the same goes for people in Hawaii, Australia, India, etc. So in essence, we will all see Jesus at the same time, but not at the exact same time. Make sense?! I hope it does.

And I would love to hear your thoughts!!

In that same verse it says that "all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him." This may have several meanings. One may be the type of mourning described in Matthew 5. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." We as Believers must mourn (ie. long or ache) for His return, and we will be comforted when we see Him coming on the clouds because we would have just gone through the worst time period in history...the Great Tribulation. Also, people are going to mourn because they know their names are not written in the book of life and they are now going to spend eternity in hell, apart from Jesus.

Can I just say here that I cannot imagine how crazy unbelievable His return or procession is going to be. Imagine now the Son of Man, riding on the clouds in all of His glory with all of the resurrected bodies with Him, cruising around the earth! Man, it gives me chill bumps even thinking about it now. Since Jesus is fully man (and fully God), one would have to think that the cloud He is riding on will have to be close enough to the ground in order for us to recognize Him...maybe? Thoughts?

Jesus then is quoted in verse 8: "I am the Alpha and the Omega...who is, and who was, and who is to come, THE Almighty." We all know that Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter of the alphabet. So Jesus is saying here that He was the first (He was there WITH God before the creation of the universe - John 1) and He is the last (He is coming back to reign forever). Jesus then sums it all up by saying that He is THE ALMIGHTY! There is none like Him; none past, present or future. He is above ALL! He is so completely other!

So there you go, the start of our study of the book of Revelation. Again, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments as we proceed.

Until next time...

Grace and peace.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A must needed "pause"

I've been out of the blogging world for the past week or so, but it has been such a needed and sweet time for me. During my time away, I've dealt actually, the Lord has gotten rid of...a lot of misconceptions [and lies] I've had about life and myself. I must say here how refreshing, joyous and life-giving it is to hear the Lord speak to you and speak encouragement and truth over you!! There is nothing better in this world...His love is better than life! How many of us can honestly say this; that deep within our very being we know and walk in this very truth? For a while I knew it in my head but there was a big chasm between my head and my heart. Anybody out there feeling me on this?! BUT, the Lord totally mended a secretly broken, I feel alive again!

So I will give a huge shout-out to the SOZO ministry and to the amazing leaders and ministers of His truth and grace at Riverstone! If you don't know what SOZO is, then check it out at Bethel Church's website [from Redding, California -- Bill Johnson's church] or at Riverstone's website []. Every believer needs to do this! If you have baggage, and let's be honest...we all do, then you definitely need to check this out and sign up for a session. You will leave there hearing the Father's heart for you. Who wouldn't want that?! Doors of lies that the enemy has opened in your heart will be shut and walls that are keeping you from the fullness of all that God is will be torn down!! Enough said...

Alrighty then, well I will be picking back up with some discussions on the End Times. We will go over some chapters in Revelation and maybe hit Daniel up another time or two. So stay tuned...all of the 3 readers out there!

Grace and peace.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Honesty is the best I've heard...

James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

I'm just going to be honest with y'all right now...I need some wisdom seriously. The past month or so has been one of the weirdest and toughest seasons of my life! I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel of apparent darkness (or maybe cloudiness is the best word) and I know that I will look back at this one day and say, "Oh so that's what You were doing!" However, in midst of the mire and muck, I find myself easily discouraged and easily frustrated and maybe I'm not so fun to be around (I don't know, you will have to ask those that hang out with me...). But seriously, it has been a season where a lot of the things I felt so sure about and so confident in, have been in a way taken from me. Or I guess the best way to put it is that things are not working out how I thought they would. Yes, yes I know what I just said and I am not claiming that I run my own life. Nor am I saying that I don't trust God's sovereignty or His leadership...I'm just being real.

Right now (and maybe some of you out there) I am struggling to find my role in a number of different situations (church, worship, relationships, etc). I'm the kind of personality that thrives on feeling value. I need affirmation. Lately, that has been lacking. Maybe it's just a season where I'm taught to find my true value in Him, or maybe it's an attack from the enemy. Whatever the root, I'm constantly trying to remind myself that God likes me! God likes me! Hey in case you forgot, God likes you!

There are moments where I wish it could be like the movie Click where Adam Sandler fast forwarded through all of the bad stuff and only lived out the good stuff. But where would the lesson be? And where would the refining and purification be? It would be just a thing that happened with no deep-rooted, heart transforming revelation. I don't want that! I need a revelation. I need wisdom from the Lord.

Ephesians 1:17 - "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better."

So God, that is my prayer. I'm asking for wisdom and revelation. I want to know You better. I want to know the purpose behind this season better. I need wisdom that can only come from You. You promised to give it to us IF we ask for it. Your move.

(Note: I'm not angry or bitter)

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Seventy "Sevens"

A good friend of mine posted a comment on one of my last blogs about explaining what the "Seventy 'Sevens'" are that Daniel mentions in Daniel chapter 9. So I will do my best to offer some insight into this prediction that was inspired by a prophetic word given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel.

To best explain this portion of Daniel 9, we are going to take it a verse at a time...

To start off it is necessary to clarify that the term "weeks" in this passage actually means "years." So if you do the math, then Seventy "sevens" equals 490 years...roughly. I say roughly because the actual number depends on what calendar you use, even though the difference in years with the two different calendars is miniscule. The Babylonian calendar is 365 and a 1/4 days, whereas the Jewish calendar is 360 days. Therefore, you can see where the number of years will only be off by a few years in the grand scheme of things.

In verse 24 Daniel is told that "seventy sevens" are decreed for Israel in order "to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

Then in the very next verse the angel Gabriel broke down 69 of the 70 "sevens." He says, "From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One [Jesus], the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens' [7 + 62]

It is not sure which "decree" Gabriel is talking about but most believe it was the decree made by Artaxerxes mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah which allowed the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Other decrees that it could refer to is the decree made by Cyrus that began the return of the exiles in 536 B.C. or the decree made by Darius, which allowed more of the exiles to go back. So most believe that the first seven "sevens" mentioned is the actual rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple.

To take this a little further and boggle your mind even more, if you fast forward 483 years [which is the 69 - sevens], then you land on the time period around either Jesus' birth or His baptism. Note, some say it could be His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. To me, it doesn't matter. It's just simply amazing to think that Daniel, through the words spoken by Gabriel, was able to predict the coming of Jesus some 500-odd years before it was to happen!!

You might be asking, "Then why didn't he just say 69 'sevens' instead of breaking it down as he did?" I believe [and others] that the answer lies in that same verse [25]. "It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, in times of trouble." The time period for Jerusalem and the temple to be rebuilt and function as a city, according to Nehemiah and Ezra, was 49 years. Also, it was built after the Babylonian captivity [troublesome times].

Verse 26: "After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One [again, Jesus] will be cut off and will have nothing [or, but not for Himself]. Now stick with me, my hope and goal is not to confuse you with too many numbers! If you remember, the end of the sixty-two 'sevens' will end with either Jesus' birth, baptism or triumphal entry. Again, it is in my opinion and others that what Daniel is referring to here is the CROSS! Jesus will be cut off, but "not for Himself." It was the Father's will for Jesus to be crucified for the sins of the world. Look at the words of Daniel again...."AFTER the sixty-two 'sevens'...". It was AFTER Jesus' birth, baptism and/or triumphal entry when He was crucified!

The latter part of verse 26 talks about the "city and sanctuary" being destroyed. This is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. It also talks about the "end" coming like a "flood." It has been described that the Romans "flooded" the city with soldiers and destroyed it!

It is also worth mentioning here that Daniel says, "The people of the ruler...". The "ruler" here is referring to the Antichrist. So, some believe that the Antichrist will be of the same people, or in this case, of Roman descent. Interesting stuff!

Daniel then writes, "War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed." Here he is describing the interim period between the 69th 'seven' and the 70th 'seven.' I believe we are living in this interim period now due to the amount of wars that are occurring now and that have occurred in our recent past.

Another question you might be asking is why is the Lord waiting on this last seven year period? One possibility is that the Lord is giving us humans time to repent and accept Him as their Lord and Savior [hello? He is gracious and compassionate!]. Another possibility is that He is giving time for us the saints to hasten the day of His return because we, and I mean all Believers here, will be partnering WITH God in bringing about His judgements.

Therefore, we are still awaiting this final 'seven.' In the next verse, verse 27, Daniel describes this final 'seven.' He writes, "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

The "he" mentioned here refers to the Antichrist. As discussed in previous posts, there is going to be a universal peace treaty that is established on the earth which will put an end to wars for the first time in history. Also, along with this universal peace treaty, there will be the establishment of a one-world religion based on no absolutes [see last post]. The signing of this peace treaty will mark the beginning of the final 'seven' [or the final 7 years of this age]. Right smack dab in the middle of the 7 year peace treaty the Antichrist will put an end to the treaty AND put an end to this universal religion. No longer will there be the idea that it doesn't matter what religion you declare or what god [or God] you serve as long as you focus on being a good humanitarian and feed the poor. Instead, the Antichrist will force people to worship Him and will set up the "abomination that causes desolation" in a wing of the temple in Jerusalem.

From this point, we know that we are starting the final 3.5 years, or "42 months" or "time, times, and half a time" as described in Revelation [aka the Great Tribulation].

"...until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." To me this coincides with the final 7 bowls of wrath being poured out on the Antichrist's empire and his followers you can read about in Revelation 16.

The end result is the defeat of the Antichrist and Jesus reigning forever! Praise be!!

Alright, I know that was a lot of information to digest, but read it, pray and ask God for clarity because you know He WANTS to tell you about the things to come. See Amos 3:7; Matthew 24:6, 25; John 13:19; John 15:15

Grace and peace.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


After reading my post a few times I feel like I need to go into a little more detail regarding the "woman" to bring everything together...and hopefully it will make more sense.

This "woman", or Harlot Babylon, will have one purpose: establishment of a one-world religion that focuses on peace and humanitarian aid, but all for the wrong reasons. There will be false peace and wars will cease for the first time in history. She will have incredible influence (albeit Satanic influence) that many will become "drunk on her fornication"...even her worship will be seductive and captivating, but it will be demonic in origin. Leaders all over the world will give money to support what she is misleading them with. At the same time, she will be given support by the Antichrist, which is represented by him carrying her [which we talked about last time].

This woman will be carrying a golden cup of abomination and filth. Filth means moral perversion and abomination is idolatry (hence the term "abomination of desolation" which will be an idol the Antichrist sets up in the temple).

But the Antichrist is only using her for his gain. This false religion that she promotes revolves around no absolutes. The driving theme will be to throw off any denomination, religious belief, etc and focus on feeding the poor and offering humanitarian aid. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, etc will be deceived by her because a big focus of religions, especially Christianity, is to feed the poor. The Antichrist is using her and this false religion to set up his own world religion, which is worship him or die [Revelation 13].

The woman is a forerunner for Satan's influence on the earth. The Harlot Babylon will open up hearts to tolerance and no absolutes [or truth], and then the Antichrist will then set up a religion with zero tolerance and will kill anyone who doesn't worship him.

II Timothy 4:3-4 : For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables…

If we are to "stand firm" then we need to be lovers of Truth! Enough said...

Finally, once the "woman" has served her purpose, she will be killed by the 10 kings who become jealous of her. According to the end of Revelation 17, these 10 kings will "burn her flesh". This will occur 3 1/2 years into the false peace time period. Her murder, along with the establishment of Antichrist's religion of intolerance and the setting up of the abomination of desolation, marks the beginning of the Great Tribulation and God's judgements are released.

I hoped this addendum helped. I read the previous post and realized the "woman" needed more explanation.

Grace and peace.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The vote is in...

Well, just as I suspected, I had one person offer their opinion as to where to go next on our journey through the End Times [thanks Kurtitos!!]. So the plan for the next however many posts will be to take some Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, and relate them to the Last Days.

With that being said, we are going to start with a portion out of II Thessalonians 2...verses 1-12:

Paul starts off by correcting a report that was floating around then that the "day of the Lord has already come." From what I have researched, at that time, the people of Thessalonica were undergoing some intense persecution. And since Paul had taught them that the last days were to involve intense trouble and persecution, they were convinced by others [and evidently by a false letter supposedly written by Paul] that the Lord's second coming had already happened.

Paul corrected them by saying "that day will not come, until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness [the Antichrist, 'the man doomed to destruction'] is revealed...". Paul goes on to say a few verses later that the lawless one will revealed when the "one that is holding him taken away."

So what is Paul talking about?

Well first off, the "rebellion" Paul talks about is the massive falling away that occurs during the last days [which we read about in Matthew 24]. This falling away is termed, apostasy. The word apostasy is defined as "departure, an abandoning of a position formerly held."

The next major event Paul describes is the unveiling of the "man of lawlessness." This person is the Antichrist. This person [and it will actually be a person] will "oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped." He will set up an idol of himself in the temple, which we know is the "abomination of desolation." Paul says that the "coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing." He will make everyone worship him and will claim to be God [Revelation 13]. The prophet Daniel [which we will go into greater detail later] describes this Antichrist in very intense detail. In Daniel 9 it says that this lawless one will sign a counterfeit universal peace treaty and 3 1/2 years into the false peace he will break the treaty. This, and the setting up of the abomination of desolation, will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

Now what about this restrainer Paul talks about in verses 6-7? Some say that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit; that the Holy Spirit is the One who is holding the Antichrist back and then one day He will step out of the way and let the Antichrist do his thing. Now this may be the case, but I have a different idea.

I will pause here and say that these are MY thoughts. Please get into the Word, pray and ask questions as to the validity of what I am writing. If you have a contradiction, post a comment and we will discuss. I like discussion!!

I believe the one that is "holding him back" comes out of Revelation 17. The woman described here is a False Prophet that the Antichrist will use to gain his stronghold on earth. Another label this woman has is the "Harlot Babylon." This woman, or "prostitute", "sits on many waters." The angel that is showing John these visions says that the waters here are "peoples, multitudes, nations and languages" [Revelation 17:15]. It says that the prostitute "sits" on the waters and that the "inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries." To me this means that this woman is going to be very influential on earth. In verse 4, it describes her appearance: dressed in purple and covered in precious jewels. The color purple indicates royalty and the fact she had a lot gold and precious jewels on her could mean that she is very rich as well.

Also, it says in this chapter that the prostitute was riding on a "scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns." The beast once was and "will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction", which Paul writes about back in II Thessalonians 2. The beast will be "overthrown with the breath of His mouth and destroyed by the splendor of His coming." Anyway, back to Revelation 17, the fact that she was riding on the beast means that they will be partnering together during the first 3 1/2 years of the final 7 years of this age. They will be partnering together in bringing about this false peace.

The ten horns on the beast's head are 10 earthly kings who will eventually give the beast all of their power and authority in order to "make war against the Lamb." These 10 kings will hate the prostitute and together with the beast/Antichrist will kill the prostitute [verse 16].

So, now with the prostitute out of the way, the Antichrist and all of his evil are revealed and unleashed. The false peace on earth is over and the Great Tribulation begins.

Comments are encouraged!

Grace and peace.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Since I have gone through Matthew 24 in regards to End Times, I need some help from my 2-3 readers as to where to go from here. There is an incredible amount of information to cover and if you want me to, then I want to. We could do this a number of ways: I could go through some important chapters in the Bible that are about the End Times (non-Revelation books) and discuss those, or I could start going to through parts of the Book of Revelation or I can open up this blog to questions and then answer them one at a time?

So there you go, it is in your hands now. And if I don't get any responses (which is highly likely), then I'll just quit blogging altogether!! Haha...I'm just kidding...or am I?!

Let me know what would be most beneficial for those who want to know more about the Final Days and the Father's heart (because that's what it all boils down to!).

Grace and peace.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Matthew 24 continued

Ok, so we are back on track of walking through a little bit of some End Times Bible studying. Sorry for the break in action, but someone decided to leave a car in the middle of the interstate for me to hit. Anyway, so here we go...

I believe the last thing we/I talked about was some of the signs of the end of the age (false christs, famines, earthquakes, Global timing indicators, etc - click HERE to read the previous post). Then Jesus begins to answer the disciples 2nd question: "What will be the sign of your coming?" There is a statement floating around most churches and maybe even houses that we will not know the exact hour or day Jesus will return. To this I would say that you might be right and/or that you might be wrong. It does say in verse 36 of Matthew 24 that "no one knows the day or hour...only the Father." So obviously, that would be the argument in favor of that statement. However, Jesus did not say that the Church would not know the day and hour in the generation the Lord returns and neither did He say that we could not know the season or conditions surrounding His return. We all agree that only the Father knows when Jesus will return. But as we learned in Amos 3, "surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret" to us His friends. The Lord revealed a very specific number of days to both Daniel and the Apostle John as to when Jesus will come again.

Please read Daniel 7:25 and 12:7; also read Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 13:5, 14

The Lord made it clear that the Messiah would come EXACTLY 1,260 days after the abomination of desolation. So Jesus answered the disciples question as to what will be the sign (and the when) of His coming by reminding them what was written by the prophet Daniel. Once the abomination of desolation has been set up, then we can flip ahead 1,260 days on our calender (roughly 3.5 years) and circle that day as THE DAY!

But what is the "abomination of desolation?" I will hopefully get into this more in the future, but basically it is an idol that the Antichrist sets up in the temple in Jerusalem and it has the power to "speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed" (Revelation 13:15). This occurs right in the middle of the final 7 years before Jesus' return where a false universal peace will be over the earth, and this will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation (final 3.5 years of this age). This is also when the 7 seals will be opened, the sounding of the 7 trumpets will occur (Revelation 6, 8-9), and the 7 bowls of wrath being poured out on the Antichrist's empire happen (Revelation 15-16). All of this I again hope to cover soon...there's just so much!

Scripture references: Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4, Revelation 13:11-18

Starting in verse 21 of Matthew 24, Jesus begins to describe the Great Tribulation, which he describes as "great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again." Jesus goes on to say in verse 22 that if these days were not cut short, then "no one would survive." But there is a blessed hope Beloved! Daniel 12:1 says, "But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book (is yours?) - will be delivered." Hallelujah!

Jesus next says that "immediately after the distress of those days," everything will go dark, the stars will fall out of the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken (verse 29). THEN!!! the Son of Man will appear in the sky with "power and great glory!" The rapture then begins and the final battle ensues. We will take a more detailed look at what this will look like later! So hang in there!!

Just as back then they knew when summer was near by the fig leaves coming out, we will also know that His return is near when the above things take place. Jesus tells us that we will know the hour and the season and He also tells us that the days of Noah will be like the days when He returns. What does that mean? Well Noah was told 120 years before judgement was coming to the earth in the form of a great flood, and then the Lord reminded Noah 7 days before the impending judgement on the earth (Genesis 6 and 7). Again I refer to Amos it, pray it, live it!

Paul taught that the Church should know the times and seasons related to the Lord's coming:

"Concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. But you, brethren, are NOT in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. Therefore...let us watch and be sober." (1 Thess. 5:1-6).

So what was Jesus' concluding command? "Keep watch." We need to keep our lamp stands filled with oil!

Grace and peace.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thank you Francis...

Here is a recent article by Francis Frangipane that encouraged and challenged me. If you want to read more of his articles (I suggest you do), then check out his website, Francis Frangipane Ministries.

The Cup
Part Two: Christ Living in Us
by Francis Frangipane

Having a true vision is not the same thing as having a godly motive. A person could have a vision directly from God, yet be driven by self-promotion and ambition in seeking to fulfill it.

Jesus preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. This is vision. But He also taught: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross" (Matt. 16:24).

If we will follow Jesus, notice we each have been given our own unique cross: "let him take up his cross." God has a cross specifically designed to crucify our fleshly ambitions en route to reaching our vision.

Consider Joseph: God had given him a dream of his future, but rather than quietly ponder the divine experience, he exalted himself to his ten older brothers. He assured them that one day they would each bow, like stacks of wheat, in subservience before him. His fleshly immaturity awakened a fleshly, even diabolical plot among his brothers: they sought to kill him. Joseph's vision was from God, but his motives lacked character, and his actions nearly cost him his life (see Gen. 37).

Yet, God was with Joseph, even in his lack of spiritual knowledge. And, we should rejoice for God is with us as well, even in our immaturity and ambition. Yet we should also understand: A true vision will kill you before it will fulfill you. Joseph had to learn to trust God in whatever circumstance or injustice he found himself; he had to become patient, serving others until the time arrived when his dream bloomed into reality.

"Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him" (Ps. 105:19).

Consider: the Almighty could have certainly brought Joseph to Egypt by a less threatening route. Joseph could have grown to maturity among his family without being sold into slavery. Since he was given the gift of dreams and interpretation, the Holy Spirit could have simply given him a dream and told him to move to Egypt (as He did another Joseph centuries later). Once safely there, Joseph's fame at dream interpretation would have reached the ears of Pharaoh at precisely the right time, say the morning after the king's night of ominous dreams. Joseph, the "dream merchant," would have been positioned in the right place at exactly the right time.

Instead, God brought him to Egypt thirteen years earlier than needed. The young man had to face and overcome repeated experiences with dying inwardly to self. He faced betrayal and abandonment; he was enslaved, tempted sexually, slandered and imprisoned. How hopeless could his situation be? Yet, he then faced the challenges of being forgotten. In spite of all these things, Joseph trusted God and grew in both wisdom and spiritual integrity.

God didn't merely want a man to interpret dreams, but a man who could rule his heart when it suffered abandonment, injustice, slander and rejection and betrayal, and still remain the man of God regardless.

Joseph kept his heart free from the bitterness that overwhelms the soul when one suffers repeated heartache. Yet, Joseph never let his wounding cause his heart to harden or keep him from trusting God. He was a man who wept when he finally saw his brothers. These were the men who laughed while he cried to them from the pit, then would have left him to die a long, agonizingly slow death had not a caravan passed by and Joseph been sold to traders. Joseph could have had his revenge - off with their heads! But the scriptures record that five times Joseph turned away and wept in the discourses with his family; once he "wept so loudly that the Eyptians heard, and the household of Pharaoh heard" (Gen. 45:2).

Joseph was a man of character, a man whose ambitions died but whose vision lived. He drank the cup given him by God, and his dream became a reality. Jesus drank the cup given Him, and we experienced salvation. But each of us has a cup to drink en route to our destiny. There will be no shortcuts to power. We will swallow the full dregs and though it kills us, we shall live. Yet, it shall not be us, but Christ living in us.

Grace and peace.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oh to be alive...God is so good...

Folks, I just want to say that I love each and everyone of you! I felt the need to say that because one, you need to hear it, and two, my life was spared this week. On Monday night on my way to work, I was in an accident...a very bad one! Without going into too much details (if you want them, ask me the next time you see me), a car was left abandoned in the middle of Interstate 75. I changed lanes and did not see this vehicle and I smashed right into the back of it. Just saying "crashed into it" would not do it justice. I SMASHED it! So hard in fact that the car (or small truck) flipped! The airbags were deployed but I did not lose consciousness...amazingly. Several good Samaritans ran to my car and one guy pulled my door open and immediately began talking to me, asking me questions like what is my name, where do I live, is there anybody he could call, etc? From the tone of his voice I knew it had to be bad. I felt a lot of pain in my back but I remember telling myself to wiggle my toes and fingers, which I could. The fire department got there and started to assess the situation and me. They made sure I stayed still and calm. One guy pushed my door all the way back the other direction. The best way I could describe it to you in written form is when Chris Farley backs David Spade's car up in Tommy Boy and the door extends the opposite direction.

The ambulance arrives and they immediately stabilize me. One of them got into my back seat and placed a neck brace on me and held my head tight against the head rest. The other person took my vital signs and made sure I could feel my hands and legs. They slid a board underneath me and lifted me out of my car. They taped my head to the board and immoblized my arms and legs and immediately put me in the back of the ambulance. One of the paramedics, who was great by the way, told me that as soon as he got to my car he was expecting to find me either unconscious or dead. All that I could see was a deflated air bag and a shattered windshield, so I had no idea the extent of the damage. He again checked all of my reflexes and mobility in my arms and legs...everything was good.

To the emergency room we went and once there, I was placed in a room where I laid, strapped to the MOST uncomfortable backboard in the whole wide world for at least an hour and a half. I, of course, chose one of the busiest nights at the emergency room to get in an accident. Luckily, I had some amazing friends there. They were with me the whole time...yes the entire 7 hours! Granted them seeing me strapped to a board immobilized probably wasn't the most soothing of sites. The doctor finally came and evaluated me, palpated my spine and localized an area of concern to the thoracic portion of my spine (funny, cause that was the area that hurt most...). He removed the backboard and body restraints, but left the neck brace on. He asked if I wanted oral pain medications, an injection into my muscle or if I wanted the pain medications to be given through an intravenous catheter. Immediately I said IV. The nurse came and placed an IV catheter and gave me some really, really, really good drugs. Hopefully I didn't say any incriminating things! They then took me to have some x-rays taken of my back and neck. The doctor finally came back into my room and said he sees a fracture of my 5th thoracic vertebra. Being in the medical field, I honestly was scared...actually freaking out but not outwardly. Back fractures have the potential to be very bad, very fast. The doctor ordered a CT scan of my spine/vertebra and when he left, my friends laid hands on me and prayed for healing and that there would be no fracture. So I was carted off for the CT scan and after an hour or so, the doctor came back in and said that he did not see any fractures! Praise the Lord!! I started feeling pain again so the doctor gave me more of that wonderful pain medication...ahhhh! I will say that I had to be helped to the car...I was a little woozy!

I was discharged from the emergency room and the doctor told me to expect to be very very sore the next day. He prescribed me a narcotic and prescription strength Ibuprofen. I was totally expecting to not be able to move the next day. But the Lord is faithful and I was hardly sore at all. There was only a mild amount of discomfort in my back, but that's it! I haven't had to even touch the narcotic yet. I've only taken the Ibuprofen. The Lord is the ultimate Healer!

The next day I got a call from my parents who said they were on their way up from Macon and we were going to go see my car and get my belongings out. Once we got there, the lady at the counter said where my car was located and she said that this is location for cars that are really jacked up! But I didn't expect to see what I saw. We walked up to my car and I immediately started to cry! I should not be walking today. Heck, I shouldn't even be alive right now! My mother of course started crying too as we examined my car. I have attached some pictures below to show you how the Lord saved my life! Sorry if they are a little disturbing.

So it's with a thankful heart and renewed spirit, I say:

Grace and peace.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Matthew 24

To really understand the Book of Revelation [not RevelationS as a lot of people say because it is only one Revelation, and that is the Revelation of Jesus Christ], I believe Matthew 24 has to be the backbone and crutch to truly move forward in the knowledge of the end times. So, I'm going to touch on a few key points from this passage over the next several posts. Note there will be some overlap in the information provided, so don't get angry with me and say that I keep saying the same things over and over...

A little history: Jesus' disciples knew Jesus was the Christ, but there was one thing they could not comprehend. There are 3 instances in the Bible where Jesus prophecies about His death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21; 17:22; 20:17) and every time it is either responded with the disciples rebuking Him or just simply thinking He was a little crazy. They assumed that because He was the Christ, then He was going to go to Jerusalem to overthrow the Roman government with force.

Now we pick up in Matthew 24:

The chapter begins with the disciples asking Jesus 3 questions and Jesus then spending the rest of the chapter answering their questions. Their questions:

a) When will these things be? (speaking of the buildings of the temple being destroyed so that "not one stone will be left on another."
b) What are the signs of Your coming?
c) What are the signs of the end of the age?

I will go over their last question tonight and cover the others later. Otherwise, this post will be super long!

Jesus does something interesting here and answers their questions in reverse order. He starts with explaining the signs of the end of the age. Jesus says, "For MANY will come in my name, claiming 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." As discussed in my previous post, there has been an huge rise in "new religions" this century (Branch Davidians, Jim Jones and that nutty guy in Miami who actually claims He is the Christ!). Many have been deceived by these people, some so much so that many have killed themselves for their false claims. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has 100,000's of followers believing every word he says, including his claim that he is the man Christ Jesus. Again I will say that a lot of his followers are getting the numbers "666" tattooed on their bodies!

Jesus then mentions "wars and rumors of wars" and that "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." If you look through history over the past 100 years or so, you will see that this has been one of the most bloodiest centuries in human history. Over 150 million people have died in wars in this century alone! The Greek word for "nation" is ethnos. The word ethnos specifically refers to those of different racial groups and ethnicities rising against one another. Ever heard of the word genocide? This term describes the destruction of an ethnic, racial or religious groups. There have been close to 50 million people that have been killed in genocide during this past century. The Nazi Holocaust alone saw 6 million Jews killed by Hitler's regime. "Kingdom against kingdom" not only refers to earthly kingdoms, but also the opposition of spiritual forces (ie. kingdom of darkness versus the kingdom of light). The degree of spiritual activity (ie. spiritual warfare) I believe has increased exponentially in the past 10-20 years.

Jesus says, "There will be famines and earthquakes...". Other translations include pestilences, or incurable diseases. The Greek word for earthquakes is "seismos," which can also be translated into "tempests" or storms. Scientists believe that there has been a dramatic increase in seismic activity in the past century, but this can also be attributed to the development on better detection devices, but still, the fact still remains that there has been an increase. Also on the increase is the amount and severity of storms that pummel the shores of many nations (ie. Katrina, tsunamis, etc). The AIDS virus has killed over 25 million people in 25 years, and over 40 million people are infected. Researchers say that in Africa ALONE, the AIDS-related death toll could reach 100 million by the year 2025! And now we have this "super bug" (MRSA) that is claiming more and more lives.

Jesus then goes back to the subject of false prophets saying that they are going to deceive many. He also says that the level of wickedness is going to increase so much, that "the love of most will grow cold." To me, this is scary. This basically means that many "believers" are going to fall away and follow Satan. These "believers" will be those who do not seek after the heart of God and His truth, and their love of Jesus will fade away.

Finally, Jesus concludes his answer of the disciples' 3rd question with this: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." A few weeks ago there was a conference called "The Call2All", and it involved hundreds of missions oganizations and prayer ministries. They got together to come up with a strategy to fulfill the Great Commission. During the conference, the president of Campus Crusade for Christ made this very bold statement:

"Absolutely, the Great Commission can be fulfilled in our lifetimes; from the way God is moving today, even without some terrific eye of faith, I have been persuaded it will be fulfilled in our lifetimes and I personally think in the next decade."

Jesus is saying, "Get ready for I am coming soon!" Don't just take what I am writing as the ultimate truth. Research, study, pray, get into the word, and see if the Lord confirms it in your spirit. But the point still remains, we need to fall in love with Jesus. All of the signs are pointing to this generation being THE generation that is going to see and play a vital role in the second coming of Jesus Christ. We must "stand firm to the end" and to do so, we need to understand the Father's heart and the blue prints He has laid out for us.

I'll say it again, we must fall in love with Jesus! Jesus has to be the life-blood of our very being. We cannot stand for the mediocre any more. The soon-to-be Revelation of Jesus MUST alter how we live our lives!

Next up: The disciples 2nd question...until then...

Grace and peace.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Revelation of Jesus

So I realized as I was fiddlin around on my computer that I haven't blogged a "real" post in a while. I sat here and stared at my computer screen for a while and pondered what I should write. Then the thought came to mind to just write something about what's on my heart lately. But what? There are a lot of things that I have been thinking about and even wrestling with, but I decided to write a brief post [not so much...sorry!] on a subject that is of utmost importance in this day and age...

I realize that I can't write about this subject and make it brief, but I will do my best to save your reading eyes...and your interest.

So what's the subject? Well, get ready and try not to get scared, but the End Times. Woah! Heavy stuff, huh? Yes. But, for every believer it is vital [VITAL!] to read, understand and act on the soon to be coming Revelation of Jesus [Revelation 1:3]. Brothers and sisters, He is coming soon! I believe [and this is my opinion...and I'm not predicting what year] that Jesus' second coming will be in this generation. Meaning that either I will see it with my own eyes or my kids or grandkids will see it.

Revelation 1:3 - "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart [ie. act on it with how they live] what is written in it, because the time is near."

Like I mentioned earlier, it would take a forever long post to explain everything in the book of Revelation, but I will try and put out some very key points. Heck, who knows, maybe I'll start a little blog series on it [please note: I haven't been too successful in following through with claims I've made to write a series of blog posts on a particular subject].

As it states in Revelation 1:3, blessed are those who read, hear and take the Book of Revelation to heart and live their lives according to it. This CANNOT be just a book in the Bible that you read to check it off your list of books in the Bible that you have read. Study it and get it into your very being because the time is near my friends. Yes there is a lot of verbage in there that may be confusing, but if you take the time to study it, then the Lord will show you His heart and the urgency of the time we live in. He wants to which is the crazy good thing! In Amos 3 it says, "Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servant prophets [us!]. As a result, you will alter how you live and pray and worship. There will be an unction to your words, prayers and actions. Your lamps will have oil and you will be ready and longing for His return! "Blessed are those slaves [or believers] whom the Master will find on the alert when He comes {or Jesus' return]" (Luke 12:37)

First of all, I must say that the book of Revelation is scary, but it is very exciting too. It is described as being the "great and terrible day" (Joel 2:11). Just read it and you will see how it will be terrible, but the great part is that the earth will experience the GREATEST revival in history! Isn't that exciting?!! The awesome part is that you may be an actual participant and you play key roles in ushering in His coming Kingdom here on earth. Amazing!

So what I will briefly touch on tonight is the timing indicators which will explain why I think He is coming soon. First Jesus describes these timing indicators as being the beginning of birth pangs [Matthew 24]. He describes them as birth pangs because just as a woman's contractions increase in intensity until the glorious birth of a child, in the same way the wrath that is poured out will increase in intensity and result in the glorious Kingdom of Heaven coming to earth.

Matthew 24:34 - "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all of these things take place."

A Biblical generation lasts about 70-100 years. What are "these things"? They are the challenges that Jesus identifies in verses 9-14 in that same chapter [massive falling away of believers, many false prophets, increase of wickedness, etc]. Jesus is referring to the Great Tribulation which will occur during the last 3.5 years of this age and will culminate with the Second Coming of Jesus. The 3.5 years is described in Daniel 7 where he writes of a "time, times and half a time" [time = 1 year].

I know this is getting long already but please hang with me. This is very important!

There are 3 prophetic time frames mentioned in the Scriptures related to the final days: 1) beginning of birth pangs with wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:4-8). This will precede the final 7 years of this age. 2) The increase in labor pangs in the first 3.5 years of the final 7 year period. This will be characterized by a counterfeit world peace (1 Thess 5:3, Daniel 9:27). 3) The hard labor pangs in the final 3.5 years which is called the Great Tribulation.

Ok, now that there is somewhat of a baseline, here are the global timing indicators:
1) Israel - Back in Genesis God makes a covenant with Israel through Abraham. In Matthew 24:37-39, Jesus makes it clear that His covenant people [Israel] will NOT see their Messiah again UNTIL they say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Meaning that Jesus will not come back until they recognize Jesus as their Messiah and in order for them to do so, Israel must be restored as a nation and Jerusalem a city. Back in 70 AD the Romans took over Jerusalem. It was not a city and Israel was not a nation until 1948 when Israel was reinstated as a nation after World War II, and then Jerusalem was reestablished as a city in 1967. Now, since they are officially a city and a nation, they can say "blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." This is a tremendous prophetic signpost of the hour in which we live. So if we take a Biblical generation and add it to 1948, then we could be looking at His coming in the next 20-40 years.

2) Gospel going forth to all Nations - Matthew 24:14 - "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." Folks, we are on the doorstep of this actually happening. Leaders of YWAM and Campus Crusade have said [even as recently as within the past month] that this could happen in our lifetime. They say that if missionaries do a really bad job at preaching the Gospel, then it will go forth to all nations in about 30 years. If they do an "ok" job it will take 10 years, and if they do a really good job, then around 2-3 years! Hello!!

3) Beginning of Birth Pangs - Matthew 24:4-8 talks about the beginning of birth pangs - wars, false christs, famines, earthquakes, travel and knowledge (I mean look at what all we can do at a click of a mouse!), pestilences (ie. incurable diseases - AIDS). We are seeing these birth pangs today and in our not so distant past. Look at all of the deaths related to wars, disease, famine, etc. Also, there are and have been some wackos who have claimed to be Christ (David Koresh - Branch Davidians, Jim Jones back in 1978). Heck, there is even a guy in Miami with a strong Latin American following who claims to be Christ (Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda) but He has yet to perform any sign or wonder! In fact he himself, and many of his followers, have gotten tattoos of "666". What the.....?!

I will end this for now with this, all of this information is not meant to create some completely fabricated story or something that isn't real. We must discern the times in which we live and these are mere facts to help us do so. This is for real people. A lot of folks have the fantasy misconception that we will one day turn into a chubby baby with wings and play harps for the rest of eternity. Not so. We are called to be alert of His coming and timing indicators and dig deep into His word and His heart, because we as believers are going to be partnering with God in ushering in His Second Coming. His heart is love and He does not want anyone to perish! The Revelation of Jesus is there to spark in our hearts to fall more and more in love with Him. So much so that we LONG for His return, so that we will see Him and eventually reign WITH HIM forever and ever.

Sorry so long, but we must be made ready. We have a reason to celebrate because we are going to see Him one day!

Grace and peace.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Amazingly Awesome

A friend of mine sent me this video and it is incredible! I want to definitely try this one day...anybody else with me?!!

Grace and peace

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Worship in Motion

So I just got back from an evening stroll over to Birmingham, Alabama and it was incredible! Why Birmingham you ask? Well, there was a night of worship led by Daniel Bashta, Jason Morant and Rita Springer. One word...AMAZING! Ok, there are other words too...powerful, intense, encouraging, Holy Spirit-ladened, crazy, fun (or crazy fun), unpredictable (cause that's what the Holy Spirit is), beautiful, sweet (or beautifully sweet) and inspiring to name a few. The energy in the place was tangible. It makes me excited, and a little nervous and anxious, for what the Lord has in store for Riverstone. I will say that if you like any of the above mentioned descriptive words, then you better come check out Riverstone in the near future. I'm sure some people are going to be turned off and made a little uneasy, and they are probably going to want to leave. If you do, then you are going to be missing out for sure! People better get ready, because Jesus is coming! And He is going to shake some things up and it is going to be so good...I promise!

Grace and peace.