Archive for July, 2009

Getting Closer To God By Learning How To Trust God

…Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 4: 2, 3

Have you ever been stirred deep within your spirit?

Now what I’m asking here is not the same thing as having a deeply emotional experience (either positive or negative), so getting jacked up at a conference where the worship and preaching were awesome doesn’t count.  No, I mean stirred to action; stirred to change; stirred to boldness like never before in your life?  And not in a way that brought guilt or shame either…but in an encouraging, uplifting and empowering way?

The answer for me was no…until about a year or so ago.  But in the last 18 months or so, I’ve been truly stirred deep within my spirit on at least 3 occasions, the first of which happened when I went to The Creation Museum with my family about as long ago.  Now, unfortunately, I can’t go into all that God did for me on that trip here, but suffice it to say that He gave me a MAJOR paradigm shift that day and it changed so many things such as my parenting, my foundational faith in the scriptures, and my view of the world that I live in to name a few.  BUT, it mainly caused me to realize that after 10 years at that point of following Jesus, I hadn’t pressed in very hard or close to my Lord  It caused me to want to make time where I hadn’t made time before to study and read my bible, pray and listen to God more.

Which was a great thing…God needed to stir me up a bit.

The next stirring of my spirit came when our friends showed us the videos that I wrote about in the Day 3 post which as I discussed in the post, caused me to want to take a closer look at the times and seasons in which we live and be a watchman.  And the 3rd time was shortly after that evening when those same friends brought over a movie called Finger of God.

If you haven’t seen the film, I HIGHLY recommend getting your hands on a copy and inviting as many Christian friends as you can fit in your living room to watch it.  At any rate, at one point in the movie, Darren Wilson (the director and creator of the film) goes to Redding, CA to show you what some kids at the Bethel Church and School of Ministry do for fun on a Friday night and I was blown away.  Now the whole movie is amazing and so while not taking anything away from the rest of the movie I was “stirred” when I saw what these kids were doing.  They get together, pray, ask God to show them where to go and give them words of knowledge or direction, then they write what they feel God has given them, compare notes and set out on a journey to pray for people’s healing, salvation and everything in between!  To see a snippet of this go to http://www.fingerofgodfilm.com/ and click on the fingerprint over California.

Why Don’t I DO This Stuff Too?

This stirred me to ask myself the simple question…if I believe, why don’t I do this stuff too?

So one afternoon my family and I along with some friends (same friends mentioned above and in know God more post and not long after that night actually) are on our way to enjoy one of my favorite treats, ice cream, at a local ice cream festival (pays to live close to the home of Velvet Ice Cream…apparently they have whole festivals to celebrate the stuff)!  My friend Dave and I were discussing the Friend of God movie and suddenly he says, “Hey, why don’t we all pray for opportunities to pray for people to be healed today while we’re at the festival!”  I must say, it’s a shame that I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, but I was glad he did and so we all prayed.

Now while I wanted to and believed God would answer this prayer, nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.  No one had eaten, and so that was the first order of business.  So we all stood in line forever and got our own greasy concoction and met up at a picnic table next to the main walkway in the festival.  There were two and only two spots remaining at the table when two ladies walked up and asked if they could sit there.  After they sat down, someone from our crew introduced themselves and asked their names.  This is where it gets cool.  The older woman of the two told us her name and her daughters name and immediately (literally they were the next words out of her mouth), began to tell us how her daughters husband had died recently and then she found out she had a terminal illness.  I know, if it hadn’t happened to me I might doubt it too, but indeed…it was real.  So we prayed.

Then we finished our meal, said our goodbyes to these ladies and began to walk around the festival.  I kid you not, we had taken only about 30 steps when we saw a life squad up ahead.  As we got closer, there was a woman in a wheelchair the medics were attending to, and so my buddy Dave and I reached out our hands and prayed for the woman while they finished up.  Later, Dave went back to the woman, asked if he could pray for her and when she said yes, he said the Holy Spirit was intense as he prayed for her.  She said she felt it and thanked him.

Do you trust Him....really?

Do you trust Him....really?

Reasons We Don’t Step Out In Faith

Now I tell you these stories to make a simple, but important point:  why don’t we ask God for more opportunities like that?  Why did I go through over 10 years of knowing Jesus before I finally prayed for God to move like that?  I would suggest 3 reasons Christians don’t step out in faith like that more:

  1. Haven’t Been Taught
    While it is true that very few churches actually “teach” practical ways to help you bring the rubber of your faith to meet the road of your life, I don’t believe this is the primary reason.  Also, here is that it hasn’t been modeled for us outside of scripture.
  2. Fear/Worry
    What will people think of me?  They’ll think I’m stupid or they’ll think I’m a weirdo or freak.  Ok, so I know this could be a big one, cause this requires boldness to the nth degree.  However, again, I’m not sure this is a ROOT cause of the problem but rather a symptom of the root.
  3. Lack of Faith/Trust In God
    That’s right, the one thing I would attribute most to not boldly going out and “doing greater things than these” as Jesus said we would.  I mean really, if we trusted him completely with “child-like faith”, wouldn’t we want the sick among us to be healed and His people to be set free from bondage and saved?  I’d say the answer should be YES!

I can tell you that even though I would not have wanted to admit it at the time, that is what held me back prior to this.  I did not have because I did not ask.  Now let me share one last thing from that scripture in James with you that blew me away.  First he goes onto say that “…even when you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” and then in verse 4 he continues with “don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” and finally in verse 7 and 8 with “7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you.”.

You MUST Make A Choice

Do you see it?  You can’t be sucked up in the activities, busy-ness, stuff of the world and have time, energy or fortitude to press into the things of God.  You must choose.  And when you do, “…He will come near to you”.  In addition, Matthew 7: 7 & 8 says:

7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Then he follows that up with proof using us earthly fathers as examples saying, if your son asked for good things who among you would give him bad things (paraphrased).  I just love this picture of how richly He’s telling us He wants to bless us and how all we have to do is ask and He’ll give us all we can handle and more.

Christians Everywhere Need To Wake Up!

But with all this great news and inspiration to dig deeper into the things of God, let me close with a warning.  The very next 2 verses in Matthew (13 and 14) say this:

13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I truly believe we need to take hold of this and wake up as Christians in America today.  Maybe the missionary from India who told our pastor once that the USA was much harder to serve Christ in was right.  Are we too rich, too self-sufficient, too engrossed in us and not God to notice he wants us to be doing more of the super natural; realizing and walking in the spiritual gifts more?  I know I was.

So if you feel that way, let me ask a question; what must He do to wake you up and get your attention?

Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few find it.  Don’t get lost in the world trying to find that narrow road and remember, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Know God More – How It Started

Knowing God More

How To Know God More

How I Started To Want To Know God More…And Why You Should Care

A little over 2 weeks ago, this blog came into being and my first post was born.  But if we go back a bit before then, it will help lay the foundation for what God has been doing in my life and how you can recognize it when He does similar things for you.

So about 6 months ago, give or take a month, we had some friends over to the house who were in the mortgage industry and we were discussing business among other things.  Now before I go on, you should know that prior to this point, I have not been one to care about financial matters enough to even know the basics of the markets, industries or anything else for that matter as it realtes to finances.  So given that backdrop, they share these amazing videos that they’ve recently seen and how we should watch them too…right then.

So being a sucker for drama and loving “a good God video” I obliged and hooked the computer up to my TV.  We all sat down and he played me this video (the video is broken up into small chunks to have them on YouTube so the video we watched is made up of the following videos):

Something Amazing Happened To Me

So what’s the short version of what happened to me?  I was deeply affected.  And the reason is because I have always clung to the famous statement in Matthew 24:36 when Jesus was discussing the signs of His “coming, and of the end of the world”: ”

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

But after watching this I became convicted not of the date of the return or even so much of the specific teachings here, but rather that God wants us to be watchmen.  He doesn’t want His church to be asleep as I had been.  And that most of all that I needed to wake up and start to treat my spirituality differently; take it more seriously, dig deeper with God and most of all, know God more than I did at that moment.

It was around the same time I started watching Perry Stone and became extremely interested in the Jewish feasts (diving appointments) and how much the scriptures seemed to come alive when you knew the customs, history and most of all the Jewish feasts and their meaning.  I realized how very little I actually knew about my Lord and saviour, the bible and the signs and times we lived in.

Time To Get Serious For God

It was then I made the decision to get serious.  I decided that there was no reason my DVR couldn’t be just as helpful for me to watch 24 and Lost as it was to watch Perry Stone, Sid Roth and John Ankerberg (just three shows I picked out that deal with the supernatural and prophecy).  It was then that I made the decision that set me down the road I’m on now.

Now if I’m being honest, I will admit that I got a tad bit attached to the dates mentioned above in the video and started speculating…not in a serious way but just “what if that’s when Jesus comes back” type of thing.  And it was distracting…mainly cause it caused me to look to Mark Biltz for more answers and Perry Stone and not to the Word of God.  But shortly thereafter I stopped worrying so much about the exact dates and more about being awake with my eyes wide open and that led me to another interesting passion/hunger.

Put simply, I wanted to know God more, to know more of God, to press into the things of the Lord and the Kingdom of God, to seek Him and to Find Him and for Him to find me!

Oh Man Did God Wow Me!

And ya know what I did, He did.  Example?  My buddy Dave and I go to a local festival together and before we get there, we pray for opportunities to pray for people and possibly to pray for physical or emotional healing.  Not more than 20 minutes after that prayer closed, we were at the festival sitting down to eat.  Two ladies (a mom and a daughter) sat down in the only two seats left around us and within 30 seconds after introducing themselves proceeded to tell us that the daughter had just lost her husband to cancer the week before and she was very sad and lonely.  WOW!

So we prayed for her, rejoiced in God and moved on down the fairway…only to find literally 5 minutes later a squad attending to a woman in a wheel chair about 100 feet ahead.  Again, we prayed for the woman and God moved and was powerfully present as we prayed for her physical healing, she was touched and we were astonished at God and how awesome He was to us.  Finally in that one day right after that, we saw a demonstration of a sheep dog hearding  (not sheep but chickens) and how they do it.  Too much to go into here, but suffice it to say, seeing it in action is very symbolic to our faith.

Now this is just one example and a very powerful one at that, but God started to move.  So you would have thought I would press in even harder right?  I wish I had.  Truth is, I let the world distract me and take me away from God, quiet times and devotionals and prayer more than I should have for several months.  My job started to consume me in more ways than one (not so much the actual work, but the stress of dealing with the company).

Finally, on June 5th, during a men’s retreat with my church and several of my close buddies, God worked on some stuff with me (too much to go into on this already long post, but things I will be sharing here).  Not the simplest and most basic of which was a journaling method for my devotional time and bible study time with God.  I LOVE it and have been using it ever since.  In doing the journaling, I started to formulate the idea for this blog and wondered would this be anything anyone else would even like to read or care about.

Now at the same time, I started attending a home group doing a study on the prophetic with a book and workbook called You May All Prophesy.  Very good book to teach you how God speaks, why prophesy is important and help you understand all the myths surrounding prophesy.  Another guy in the group also attended and was deeply affected by the mens’ retreat and we wanted a way to make sure we didn’t lose momentum with God and also to make sure we could hold one another accountable to some degree.  I told him about the idea for this blog, he liked it and WHALA, Live2Worship.net is born and the How To Find God, But Are You Looking post is up along with the Why Live2Worship.net page?

How Can All This Help You?

So why did I share all that.  2 reasons really.

  1. So that you’ll know, no matter what God chooses to do to me, for me or through me that less than a year ago I was just an average american who was too busy, too stressed, too broke and too passive, but Christian nonetheless.
  2. So that you’ll see how God prompted me to raise it up a few notches, how He blessed us when we stepped out so that you might know if/when He does that for you and what the appropriate response is (and not cause I always chose it).

Ok, this post was really long, but it gives you nice backdrop to all this that’s happening on a daily basis.  BTW, had some REALLY cool things shown to me by God last night, today and tonight.  Will be sharing those things really soon.  Till then..Live2Worship!

How God Speaks To Us…Are We Listening?

How God Speaks...Hearing From God

Hearing From God

Have you ever missed an appointment with a friend or colleague?

I mean, a time when you really blew it; scheduled the lunch with a buddy at 1pm on Wednesday, confirmed on Tuesday and then simply lost track of time and was a no show/no call?

I have.  In fact, I remember such a time when I found out later that I left someone waiting on me alone in a restaurant for over 45 minutes until they finally ate lunch alone and left.  I remember that feeling when I remembered and then again the feeling when I found out how bad it was for them to wait so long, feel stupid, then get mad and finally leave.

In my case I really like the person that I accidentally did this too and it really hurt (and was REALLY embarrasing) to appear that irresponsible and flippant.

Or what about a situation where someone is talking to you but you don’t realize it and you appear like you’re ignoring them until finally somehow they get your attention (usually in an unpleasant manner I might add) and you realize what’s happened.

So have you?  Remember the situation, circumstances and feelings for either or both of those types of situations.  Remember if you can how you felt, and how the other person felt.

Got it?  OK.

Now realize this.  The Almighty God, creator of the heavens and the earth, everything that ever was, is and ever will be, maker of the universe and everything in it communicates with and speaks to you all the time – or trys to.  There has never been a time or point in history when God stopped speaking to His children.  From scripture we learn:

1 Corinthians 2:10-12 (NIV)
10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Now don’t just read over that quickly or skim it…seriously you DON’T want to miss this so read it again, slowly and let the words sink in!  Do you see it?  God has FREELY revealed His mind, His thoughts, “even the deep things of God” through the Holy Spirit (God) living inside us – or put another way…He wants you to know what He’s thinking.  He wants to reveal His innermost mysteries…His deepest thoughts.

Even the definition of the word reveal is helpful to contemplate here.  Here is the definition of reveal, thanks to the good ole Webster’s dictionary:

Reveal
To make known through divine inspiration

To make known (to tell you), through divine (of God or Godly) inspiration (influence).

Also, just to be clear, all who are born again have the Holy Spirit in them working as an “advocate” or “one that pleads the case of another” according to Jesus in John 14:

John 14:16-17 (NLT)
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

Jesus then defines the role of the Holy Spirit living within us as leading us into the knowledge of God:

John 16:13 (NIV)
13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

So let me get back to the question we posed in the title of this post which is this…

Are We Listening To God?

We have clearly seen that the question isn’t does God speak, but rather are we paying attention and listening.  Are we fellow-shipping with the Holy Spirit.  I know I haven’t been nearly enough.  As bad as it felt to stand up my friend, it feels INFINITELY worse to know that God’s been trying to talk to me and I’ve been ignoring Him.

I said in my first blog post that I was going to try to “show up” for God cause He’s always there and that this blog would be a detailed record of my journey as I go through the process of seeking Him like I’ve never sought after God before.

As you can probably tell by the dates of this “day 2” post I’m not doing so hot in my attempt to stay faithful to daily posts, insights and, being totally transparent, even my daily devotional time with God.

But what I cannot do and what none of you can do is to give up.

As Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14:

Philippians 3:13-14
…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

First he says “Forgetting what is behind”…don’t let your past, failure, or sin become the biggest obstacle for your future.

Second he says “straining toward what is ahead”.   AKA, this road isn’t gonna be easy, but Jesus didn’t say it would be easy, just that I wouldn’t go it alone.

So that is what I intend to do…forgetting what is behind, straining toward what is ahead which is Day 3 and more time spent with the Lord learning and sharing.