God’s Big “If”

God cares intimately about our lives. He heals. He is real. People get up out of wheelchairs when He moves His hand. He is real, and our lives matter to Him. He loves us and desires us to love Him back. He has warned, though, when He walked the earth, that there is a way that leads to Him – it is narrow, and few find it, and it is only through Jesus Christ, and that there is an alternative road that is broad, and that it leads to destruction. Jesus said that there are many, many, many who will come to Him on That Day and they will say to Him “Lord!” and they will boast about what they did for Him while they lived their lives on this earth. However, He will say to them “Depart from Me, worker of lawless/iniquity, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7) This is the pinnacle of the Sermon on the Mount. After this, Jesus says that those who build their lives on the Sermon of the Mount are like the man who builds his house on the rock – and those who don’t are like the foolish man who built it on sand, and when trouble came, the storm washed it away. He meant for us to live out the Sermon on the Mount. Go read Matthew 5, 6, and 7, see for yourselves

Do you know Him? Jesus prayed before going to the cross in John 17. In this prayer He said that eternal life is to KNOW Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? Scripture says that we know we have come to know Him when we keep His commandments (1 John 2)
This is in line with Matthew 7.
Do you know Him?
Many are saying “Jesus just told us to love,” and this is true. This is very true. But what did Jesus say about love? He said that it is the summary of the commandments. The commandments are not burdensome, they are instruction to love God and to love others. We know we have come to love God when we love others, and we know we truly love others when we know the love of God. How can I say I am being loving when I am walking around despising someone else in jealousy, accusing God of not being a good provider and hating someone else for what God has given them? The commandments are instructions to love. They are the way to love. Jesus said love, and the commandments show us how.

It matters to Him, you matter to Him. He loves you. He loves enough to reach down out of heaven and heal a girl out of a wheelchair, simply because His people asked Him to.

He has asked something of His people, as well. He’s asked us to keep our eyes open, and to see when He is shutting up the heavens and sending a drought over the land, to see when He is trying to wake up a nation, and to respond accordingly: humility, repentance, seeking His face, and prayer.

What will you do, then? What is your response?
Will you stop up your ears to the shout of God, the very heavens crying out for us to WAKE UP, to follow the instructions He gave thousands of years ago – WHEN I shut up the heavens… WHEN… WHEN… WHEN… IF My people, who are called by My name… IF… IF… IF… IF they will humble themselves, seek My face, turn from their wicked ways, and IF they will pray… IF… THEN I will hear from heaven and heal their land… IF… IF, THEN. When, if, then. He has laid it out plainly. What will your response be?

Walking By Faith

Dear beloved blogosphere,

A few thoughts on walking by faith.

Earlier this year, I set out on a journey by faith. Really, that journey goes back much more than just this year, but for the sake of brevity, I am going to start at what has happened this year.
For the past two years, I have been living in Kansas City and have been involved with the International House of Prayer in a volunteer capacity. I know that the Lord has called me to full-time ministry – one must be fairly certain to take a fork in the road that is either medical school or ministry! It has been an arduous journey to walk it out, though. This past spring, through several situations in which “fleece” a la Gideon had been confirmed, I knew it was time to make that transition fully. I left my job and I enrolled in a training program called “Intro to IHOPKC.” Months later, I emerged from the program, ready to hop on IHOPKC staff in a full-time capacity.

Except there’s one more thing: Every member of IHOPKC staff has both the wonderful privilege and faith-building responsibility of raising their own monthly financial support. This helps us keep the prayer room free, the webstream free, our yearly Onething conference – you guessed it – free. It also functions to bring others in to the ministry we are doing, for one plants, another waters, but God brings the life. It is a ministry in itself! Our partners are just as much a part of what we are doing as those people on stage leading the prayer meeting, as those people off-camera running the sound and technology that allows us to broadcast to 200 nations, as those driving shuttles making sure the people who come to hear teachings have a way to get downtown to the Onething conference!

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. In order to walk on water, one must step out of the boat. So step I have, and I shall continue stepping until I have sought out and claimed the provision the Lord has for me.

One step of faith I am talking is in posting this blog entry – I know many of you have been blessed by knowing me or stirred by various thoughts I have shared. I want to ask you to prayerfully consider being a part of my partnership team. If this has stirred you, please look over on the menu bar at the top of the page and follow the “Support a Missionary” link to further instructions about how you, yes, YOU can become a part of my ministry team and help the incense of prayer and the songs of worship arise before the Lord day and night, night and day, until we see Him face to face.

Bless you and thank you

An Analysis of Self.

I learn quickly.

If I were to sum myself up, every aspect of myself, in one short phrase, that would be it. Beyond any talent or intelligence… I learn quickly.
First, a look at what it means to learn. In essence, it means to acquire knowledge or skill and/or to commit to memory. Method is irrelevant – study, experience, exposure (by being taught or told…)
The point is that learning is defined as becoming acquainted with something. Learning is knowing and remembering. Learning complex things is easier when one learns quickly, seems like an obvious point. The more quickly you pick up the basics, and more importantly, remember the basics, the easier it is to compound more complex knowledge upon that foundational knowledge base.

So throw a few decades of that in there, and you’ll have a person who appears very talented and appears to have achieved much. Mostly it’s not raw talent, it’s just an ability to learn and apply knowledge. This is wonderful when applied to music, or art, or writing, or physiology and describing biochemical processes.

It’s not very wonderful when learning certain things, for the learner.
It’s not wonderful when one’s brain makes concrete associations very quickly for the one who must live with these cemented materials stuck in their head.
For the heightened learner, not only are every day tidbits picked up and solidly implanted in their memory… But, like everyone, traumatic events, fearful events are remembered at a heightened level. For the normal person, traumatic events stick out. Flashbulb memories. Touch, taste, smell, sounds, feelings, emotions, fears… Heightened cortisol and epinephrine makes things stick so vividly… Even more so in the one who already remembers everything.

I learn quickly. This can be wonderful. It can be terrible. I learn and remember things about people easily. This can be grand. It can be frightening. I don’t mean to know as much as I do about the people around me. But I remember tidbits that are passively shared. People don’t realize how much they reveal, because they’re not revealing it all at once. Then, when one remembers and pieces together the tiny details, it frightens the one who did not realize they shared as much as they had. Imagine living a life where you passively memorize peoples’ schedules and license plate numbers and other various tiny little details of their lives. Passively, mind you, this is passive. It’s unintentional, yet because of your capacity to learn, these things just stick once they are discovered, and your mind easily pieces them together to form the big picture without giving thought or intent. Like the class you found easy, where simply attending class was enough to remember all the material for the test. Perhaps not everyone has that experience of a class they have found easy and simple attendance provided all of the information for a test. I am trying to say that, I was able to remember the various enzymes and how they act and the shapes and names of the chemical compounds they broke down and the methods for digestion – in depth, intricate types of human physiology – simply by attending class, without studying. So how much simpler are little facts about people, especially given that many people end up in patterns and routines…
It’s not intentional. It does alter the way I relate to people, though. I am painfully aware of it. I learn too quickly, just through being. Then I am faced with the dilemma of how to act based on the information I have acquired.
I remember a conversation in high school with a girl who I sort of knew. I mentioned something about how she was one of 3 people in the choir who was assigned the high note in a particular section of a particular selection we were singing. That’s weird. I know that’s weird. I just remember these things, and they come to mind when I see people. List upon list of information about that person. Passive observations that are committed to memory. Not by any intent or purpose on my part. Yet the information is there.

I think I also have hypervigilance. I’ve considered the idea that I could have PTSD. Not that Wikipedia is the best of all sources, but according to several of the potential causative factors for PTSD listed there, I have multiple experiences that could contribute towards me having such a condition. I know I have certain triggers that cause me to enter vivid emotional states that are basically a re-experiencing of a past painful experience.

I am trying to find the balance between really understanding myself, my experiences, etc. while not taking anything upon myself that I shouldn’t… trying to see who I am in His eyes, trying to hope in Him and believe He has good for me… and know He made me and formed me and made my mind the way my mind works… but not give my mind too much credit either because we’re all born in sin… and trying to not give the old man too much credit, and live in the life of the resurrection of Christ… yet these things happen… are they attacks, or are they simply the refining fire of God? And aren’t those two sometimes one in the same? He is sovereign, so even attacks are allowed by Him. In Deuteronomy He even causes prophets to come and speak real things, and then to tell the people to follow after other gods, simply as a test of the people. He is much different than Sunday preachers make Him out to be. Who are You? You are not who men describe You to be. You are good, and I believe it. You are not in a box, though. Yet I will trust You.

The Law which produces sin

Quick short thought. I’ve been pondering Paul’s talk about the law lately, and what he meant by all he said.
Right now I’m sitting in the prayer room. I’ve ushered in here before so I know all the little rules that come with te prayer room. They have them posted, but not everyone may notice that when they first get here. The rules are for good – minimize distraction, manage a place that has many people in and out from all sorts of places in all sorts of seasons (physical and spiritual).
I don’t really personally care about all these rules, some of them are things that don’t hurt me individually if someone breaks them, yet I know they are in place. So here I am, sitting in the prayer room, observing some visitors sitting near each other. It’s distracting me from prayer, not because what they are doin is a distraction… But because they are unknowingly breaking the rules by having their shoes off, and one is laying down across 3 or 4 chairs.
Interesting how something so pointless is proving so distracting, only to those of us who live in this place and know the law of the land. Other visitors don’t care! Others who live here are looking in awe, though, at these barefoot nap-takers.

How interesting…

I have emotions… Or a lack thereof.

Warning: brutal honesty ahead. I told you in advance. This isn’t a very happy post.
Continue reading

I Have Dreams

This afternoon, I took a 3 hour nap.
What occurred after I laid my head down… Well. I am not entirely sure if it is a mix of earlier events in the day or not, I have a pretty good feeling it’s a combination of things I’ve taken in over the past few days.
Namely, a conversation this morning about video games, in which HALO was specifically mentioned.  A video I watched on YouTube of a few piranhas eating a frog alive. An article I read, with an included photo, about a new fossil that was discovered of a small dinosaur theorized to be a carnivore.

Enter dream.

It all began as a group of people playing HALO. A huge group of people. I was more interested in watching and apparently taking photos of the hyper-realistic landscape. I didn’t have my XBox controls with me.
Blah blah somehow fast forward and it’s a smaller group of people, playing some new version of the game. It’s, as I said, hyper-realistic and I feel like I am in the game. I’m walking around in a facility inside, I go exploring outside a bit because I see a girl I know, not wearing any armor, playing down by the water. It’s dusk. I go out to try and say hello. I get down to the shore, and I hop to a rock that gets me partly across the deep water. I see that there’s huge piranhas in the water, stirring it up when they sense me near, and so I’m like heck no and get out of there back in the facility to let my comrades know there’s a girl out there by these piranhas. I get in and they’re like “why the heck did you go out there. We don’t know if this is a secure area.” Something like that.
We’re looking around, there’s these occasional weird looking alien things. Oh, forgot to mention earlier. Saw a picture online of closeup pictures of dog’s noses where only the very front part of the nose was lit, and they look like angry aliens. We happened to be fighting some angry aliens that looked just like the dog nose alien faces. Go figure.
Now, we’re still playing the game, somehow, but it’s like I am in the game, except for moments here and there where someone is instructing me things to do on my XBox control. Weird. Long story short, we hear some noises, and look out the huge bulletproof windows, and they lock down the building, and I grab a stronger gun off a gun rack, and the guy is telling me right a bout now I ought to save and I was having issues and accidentally loaded a new profile,  at the worst timing because it was right as this huge monster emerged from the area of the swamp I was just previously standing. I miss out what happened next because of the accidental load game thing. Which, I forgot to mention earlier, I found my gameboy BUT the game that’s in it doesn’t properly save/load and that has been making me sad 😦

So, I’m suddenly back in the game, back to where the guy had saved, he’s frustrated and makes me a new profile and sets me up with gear because we’re not playing on my console so I was just signed in as a guest or whatever, but he decided that as not in anyone’s best interest. So I’m suited up, have all the right equipment, and we’re back at the monster things. These monsters, what do you know, really resemble the bone structure of the picture of the dinosaur fossil I was looking at earlier.

That’s all the relevant details.

It’s really crazy to think about how everything we take in manifests itself in our life in some way. The whole “you are what you eat.”
In IHOPese, it’s beholding –> becoming. My mind was clearly moved by little snippets of life taken in here and there, enough to form them into a storyline which I just spent a few hours playing out in my sleep.

It’s frightening and sobering when you think of it that way.

Spin doctors

Today I saw one of those chain letter status updates that make their way around Facebook. It probably resurfaced due to the recent headlines about Whitney Houston’s death and the subsequent comments people made about a celebrity death being in the news but soldier deaths apparently not being in the news.

Here’s the chain letter:
“R.I.P. To the 31 U.S. Troops who were killed in a Helicopter crash in Afghanistan yesterday. I bet no one cares enough to re-post for Respect. This is a real reason for flags at half staff! I have only seen this posted one time, if it was a celebrity it would have been blasted all over the place, what a shame.”

You haven’t heard about it because it didn’t happen. Check your facts, folks. Soldiers are people. Celebrities are people. The soldiers on the other side are people, with real mothers and fathers and spouses and children waiting at home for them. Children, adults, babies, elderly, all people. It’s sad when any of them die. Headlines are for events that are uncommon/rare/out of the norm. We’ve been in conflict for a decade. If you really cared THAT much every time that soldier deaths were mentioned in the news, you’d remember that the heli crash where 31 died was back in August.

I’m not trying to be mean, but I really hate sensationalizing ANYTHING for the sake of gaining off a guilt trip, especially if it’s based on false info.