Doubt

•June 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

If you’re a Christian, the devil has one very effective weapon against you, doubt. If he can get us to continually beg for mercy, forgiveness, love, acceptance, healing, etc., then we will rarely see that Jesus has given us these things through his victory on the cross. Don’t get me wrong, there is a healthy desperation to have the “Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph 1). Meaning, to grow into our understanding of what he’s really done in us and for us and what kind of life is possible now.

So many of us think that practically, what Jesus did is either too good to be true or unattainable in our everyday practical lives. This is exactly what the devil wants you to believe and he will work hard to plant thoughts that reinforce this. Our circumstances will often contradict God.

Our greatest weapon for this is keeping our thoughts and affections on Jesus and learning to wield the Word of God (called the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians). This is what Jesus did…well, he focused on his Father rather than himself. :)

So when I feel rejected, I put my thoughts toward Jesus and declare, “He has made me accepted in the Beloved.” — Ephesians 1:6. In fact, we are “now called sons of God.” Eph 1:5

If I miss the mark (sin), not when, but if…I declare that “we have an advocate with the Father…Jesus Christ…he is the sacrifice that took away our sins” 1 John 2.

If I don’t understand why something is happening and it’s really frustrating, I turn to Jesus and ask him to help me “trust in him with all my heart, and lean not on my understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

If I need healing in my body, which I do. I declare that “he bore our sickness and carried our pains.” And “by his wounds, we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
I know that this is hard one. But despite my lack of breakthrough in my life and my friends’ lives, I refuse to let my experience trump what Jesus says is paid for. So I’m continually asking God to help me grow up in this amazing truth of what he’s done for me because it’s the “truth that sets us free.” I don’t condemn myself for not getting it yet because there is “no condemnation for those in Jesus.” Romans 8:1 But I “hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6). Meaning, hunger and thirst for your righteousness (right standing, restored innocence) in Jesus that he gave you through what he finished on the cross.

So my encouragement to all of us, including myself, is don’t let the enemy continue to dupe you. “Take every thought to obey Christ.”

Read this: 4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” 1 Corinthians 10:4-6

Jesus, may we walk in everything you paid for us to be!

Conferences Are Crucial

•October 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

A few years back, I sensed the Holy Spirit urging us to pursue conferences here at the Vineyard, and after prayer and consideration of the staff here, we launched our first More Love More Power Conference in 2011.  Since then, we’ve had 5 amazing conferences that have been life-changing and purpose-giving for the hundreds that have attended.  But why are conferences so important?

I’ve always said that any time you take several days in a row and say, “Jesus, have Your way with me.  Move me further into my calling, my purpose. Help me know You more,” He takes you seriously!  In a nutshell, conferences help serve that purpose.  They are intense catalytic events that empower and equip you to walk out your calling and thrive in your relationship with Jesus.

Personally, in almost every conference, I have experienced an intense boost in my connection with Jesus and have received a deeper understanding in what I was made to do.  I’ve also received some major breakthroughs.  I remember one time in particular.

Early in my relationship with Jesus, I was struggling with depression.  Every time I was alone, everything spiraled downward.  I didn’t want to be around people.  It was bad.  The last thing I wanted to do was go to a conference.  At that time, we would periodically host young adult conferences and there was one going on that weekend.  I sensed strongly that the Holy Spirit wanted me to go, but I argued.  I didn’t want to be around people and I didn’t think anything would help me.  However, the sense from the Holy Spirit was strong so I decided to go.

In the very first session the conference speaker described his journey of and deliverance from depression.  It was like he was talking directly to me, and of course, I was trying to hold back from losing it.  Needless to say, God had my number and that night I was totally set free.  It was amazing, to say the least!  This is just one of many stories I have personally experienced during conferences.

It’s important to note that conferences aren’t everything.  What you do in your daily walk with Jesus is just as important, if not more!  However, conferences play a crucial catalytic role that will significantly propel you forward.  And when you’re able to implement these empowering times into your daily life, you will see amazing fruit!

How do we treat people, no matter what?

•March 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

How do we treat people, no matter what?

The answer to this question can be found in Jesus’ relationship with Judas, who eventually betrayed him. All along Jesus knew that Judas would betray him. He knew the words he spoke earlier to be true:

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 ESV)

Jesus knew that eventually, what was in Judas’ heart would manifest. And yet, Jesus didn’t treat him differently. He chose Judas as one his close twelve. He gave him authority to heal and cast out demons in His name. He shared the secrets of the Kingdom with him. Jesus didn’t hold back anything, even though he knew that “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

What can we learn from Jesus? You see, Jesus never treats people differently. He loves everyone… Everyone! He can’t treat people differently because He is love. And no matter what we do and what’s in our hearts, he extends, invites…He loves. And he so loved the…world… that he gave himself.

We tend to hold people at a distance, especially if we sense there is something off with them. I’m challenged to treat people like Jesus treats them, even if they may betray or slander me. You see, I believe Jesus had hope for Judas, just like he has for us. I want to be like that no matter what the circumstance. Holy Spirit come and empower!

Sustaining Momentum

•February 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

After an amazing encounter with Jesus, which I had this weekend at the Youth Retreat with Todd White, it’s very easy to get discouraged when you go back to your routines of life. How do you sustain the momentum that you started after 3 days of seeking Jesus?

A simple key is found in the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6). This bread is really Jesus (Bread of Life) and His transforming word (Word made flesh).

Even after a powerful weekend, Our Father has fresh bread for us today. It will be just what we need. You can simply just ask him, “What do you want to show me today?” Or even better, “What do you want me to remember and believe today from the powerful encounter this weekend?”

We don’t need to earn anything, for He will freely give you this bread. All you need to “do” is ask. :) And it’s fresh every single day. You will amazed at the momentum that continues in your life. Don’t just ride the weekend high when there’s so much more each day!

Thought of the day
To sustain spiritual momentum, daily ask the Father to “give you this day your daily bread.”

Worship on the Quad

•June 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This past April at the Furious Love Conference, I felt challenged by Jesus to start worshiping him outside of the normal venues, like church, small group, etc.  Specifically, I think he wanted me to go to the Quad on campus.  I don’t know if this happens to you, but sometimes I say yes to words, then my life gets busy and I can rationalize that the things I am doing trump everything else.  After all, this is all for Jesus, right?  Ha.  Yeah, well, the Holy Spirit is good, faithful, and I’m grateful that he continues to nudge me toward his plans. :)

As I mentioned in a previous note, my mini group is going through Power Evangelism.  Let me tell you, this book is challenging, great, practical, and actionable.  Read it.  Do it.

Last night, we decided to go out to the Quad and just begin to worship, and see what else Jesus wanted to do.  If you’ve seen any of us worship, then you know that at a level, this is risky in itself.  I many times lift my hands, dance, clap, shout out to Jesus.  Lately, I’ve tended to laugh, overcome with joy.

When we began to worship, it was like you could feel something shift.  At first, I couldn’t lift my hands because I was playing.  But Tim did.  You go boy!  The worship was authentic, Jesus’ presence was thick.  It was a pretty amazing time.  There was something about us not being ashamed to worship Jesus, to sing to him in public.  To worship him above everything else. To declare his name!

On a side note, there was an ironic type of sacrifice as I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes.  I guess literally blood, sweat and tears. ;)  I think I have 3 bites on my face alone.  Nice.

But you know, it didn’t matter.  We were actually worshiping him, unashamed, with abandon.  I sensed that we were sowing things into the foundation there.  Kind of weird and mystic sounding, but that’s what I think was happening.

As we were walking away, we were just talking about how much bolder we felt.  Like, this is what we were made for.  We’re going to continue to worship on the Quad and invite others to join.  I know we will go and pray for people too!  Can’t wait to see what Jesus wants to do!  Come Holy Spirit!  Can’t wait!

Most People Like and Want Prayer (Praying at the Union)

•June 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday, me and Chris Colon went to the Illini Union to pray for people.  This came out of a conversation we had had the previous night about learning to be bold with our faith and what our role as a disciple actually is.  As we had this conversation I said, well let’s just go do it…so we did. :)

Chris Colon’s excitement impresses me.  He got there a little early and texted me saying, I’m here early prepping the place with prayer.  I love it!

We began to walk around the Union just asking the Holy Spirit what he wanted us to do.  I actually prayed out loud while we were walking.  Sometimes I think, maybe someone will hear me praying and just want prayer. ;)  That didn’t happen. Ha.

Sometimes you don’t know who to pray for, how to approach people, etc.  The interesting thing is, I find I’m much bolder when I’m with other people doing this.  When I went out to pray alone last week, it wasn’t the same or as fun.  I do think Jesus broke something off me last week too cause I feel much freer now. ;)

Prayer #1

We passed this one guy and I thought, that’s who we should pray for.  It was just a thought, but I went with it.  I said, “Hey, How’s it going?  We’re out praying for people and you were just highlighted to me.  Would you like prayer for anything?”  Sometimes, you just have to get right to the point. ;)  He said, “Ummm, sure, like right now?”  I said, yup.  He was said he was really stressed about his research.  And then he stood up to receive prayer.  When he stood up he said, “I’m Muslim, is that ok?”  I said, sure, that’s fine with me.  As soon as I said that, I heard Jesus say to me, “A-hem, what about me, I’m the way to the Father.”  So I said to the guy…”Actually, we like to pray to Jesus, is it ok if we pray to him?” (There’s a back story to this question).  He was like, “Sure!”  Awesome. :)  So I prayed a simple prayer, that Jesus would relieve his stress, give him insight and wisdom.  In the middle of the prayer I asked the Holy Spirit to bring him peace, and he jolted a little an opened his eyes.  I think he was shocked that I mentioned the Holy Spirit.  Oooops. ;) Maybe he got a little jolt from Jesus.  I can see it now, Free Jolts from Jesus! :)

It was a great prayer encounter and it was cool that he was open to receiving Jesus’ love for him.

Prayer #2

We continued to walk around the Union, asking the Holy Spirit was else he wanted to do.  I actually wanted to pray for physical healing, but there was no one around with any visible ailments.  Chris had actually saw a picture of someone with an earring and had been looking for someone that matched that description.  He did mention he saw someone in a wheelchair, but no earring. ;)  He thought about praying, but decided no.

When we went outside, we saw the guy in the wheel chair.  Again, I just had a feeling or sense to pray for him.  So as we were walking over, I said let’s ask him what he would like prayer for, and not assume that he wants prayer to be healed and able to walk.  Jesus would often ask people what they want, even if it was obvious.

I used the same approach…Hey, we’re praying for people and you were highlighted to us.  Would you like pray for anything?  He actually smirked when I said highlighted; I’m sure thinking we wanted to pray because he was in a wheelchair.  But he said yes!  He wanted prayer for a job.  He also laughed and said he wanted to find his soul mate.  I was like, cool, we’d love to pray for that.  This time we asked if we could put our hands on his shoulder, and he agreed.  Again, a simple prayer, asking for provision, that Jesus would reveal himself, that he would be filled with Spirit.  Chris shared a picture he got for him.  It was a very simple, but cool encounter. He said he was really grateful for the prayer!

It’s amazing to me that people just so readily accept prayer when you ask, even someone who is Muslim.  I love it!  I’ve asked Jesus for more prophetic words during these prayer times.  I want to be able to really speak into their life, call out what God made them for, that they would be really encouraged and know that Jesus loves them and sees them.

Insights I’ve learned:

  • People like and want prayer
  • Just asked directly: We’re praying for people, would you like prayer?
  • Don’t assume: Share the words you got, but also don’t assume they want what you think they want.  Ask them… Jesus did it that way many times.
  • Go in twos.  So far, this is the best for me.  Jesus sent people out in twos also. ;)  It’s also a great way to train and equip others.

Looking forward to more!

Encouraging Waiter at Applebees

•June 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Katie and I went on a little date to Applebees on Thursday.  We decided to see if we could get some encouraging words for the waiter.  Katie got something she called simple.  I thought, simple is great!  When she told me the word, I thought it was really good.

So we had our dinner and just chilled, waiting for a time to encourage him.  Throughout the evening we chatted with him a bit, asking him about his life.  Then toward the end, Katie said something like, Hey, I feel like God wants you to know that he has great plans for you, and will really help you succeed.  There’s more coming.  You could tell he was really receiving it well.  Who wouldn’t, really? :)

He said thank you and that it was really uplifting, and then paused for a moment.  You know those times where you sense…Oh, there’s openness to more here.  I was sensing that.  I thought, we should pray for him.  Katie was like, thanks for letting us share and then he walked away.

I thought it was a good and naturally supernatural encounter.  Proud of my wife! :)  I’m looking forward to us doing more of this together.  :)

I do know the next time, I will jump in and ask to pray when I sense there’s more. :)

 
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