Receiving a Prophecy

In a prior post, I wrote about how to approach prophecy, but in this post, I want to take it to a different level:  the psychological processes that receiving a prophecy releases in those who take prophecy seriously. I received a word recently, and have finally come to a place in my walk where I can reflect on it a bit more objectively. I remember when I was younger, when I would receive words, I could get really messed up. I remember one time the prophet told Jaime (when we were engaged) that Read more [...]

Ministry of the Incarnation – Part II

Today I was driving in the car, and started thinking more about what it means to live as the incarnation. About two months ago I had this thought: "What if you were who God sent to save the world?" What if you thought of the entirety of God's mission as depending on you? How would it change your mindset? What if you thought of yourself like Jesus thought of himself: as a man on a mission. A man sent by God, to bring God's presence to the earth. Not just as a contributor to something larger, but as Read more [...]

Ministry of the Incarnation

God has been speaking to our team more and more about the incarnation. Jesus was God, in created form. He was incarnated. He was God on earth, and his mission was to bring God on earth. "Your Kingdom come, as it is in heaven." Jesus was bringing the kingdom by being here, first by being the Kingdom, and second by creating it in others. Now there is really a lot to this if you think about it. The direction of movement is from heaven to earth. God is bringing something to be real here on the earth. Read more [...]

The Prevailing Heart

Anyone who has spent time with God knows there is so much more in store for us than we currently experience. We all want to move forward in our relationship capacity for God and others, and yet there seems to be times that we feel like we are at a dead end. One reason we feel this way is we don't see the possibilities because we have already crossed out options in the subconscious. I'm trying to use nice words and give a deeper understanding to what we call excuses. "I can't do this because of ‘x’." Read more [...]

The Inner Court

Recently, I was reflecting on the impact of our ministry compared to the impact of other ministries. Like everyone else in a ministry context, I want to have a bigger impact than I am having. However, I don't want to have it by compromising, and yet as I pursue truth, I keep getting farther away from the mainstream positions that allow you to have a large following. And as I was sort of putting this thought before God and reflecting on those who were on the margins in terms of their beliefs and yet Read more [...]

Being Religious

We like to throw the term "religious" around a lot. It's super popular in American Christianity right now to accuse everyone of being religious. I am here to tell you that if you like to call people religious, you are religious. We think that religion is whether or not you relate to God through a set of rules, and it's true that this is one manifestation of religion, but you can religiously relate to God by no rules at all. Religion is not a system, although it is often enforced by a system. Religion Read more [...]

Growing Up Clean

When I was a young man, my father took me aside and told me that masturbation was not something to feel guilty about. This was not because he was an overly permissive man or was encouraging it, it was because he clearly didn't want me to go through a long adolescence of guilt. The funny thing about this talk was that something about it actually convinced me that masturbation was wrong. Which, I'd be sorry for my dad to know led to, well, a long adolescence of guilt. I kept making the leap between Read more [...]

Does God Test People?

I'll give you a hint. This is a trick question. Just like the word "love" the word "test" has multiple dimensions of meaning. Many ministries want to answer this question "yes" or "no" but because of these multiple dimensions of meaning, you can't just give a simple answer. You have to separate out the meanings to get a true Biblical teaching out. First, right out of the gate we know that God does not test anyone in the sense of "tempting" them with evil. The Bible is explicit in saying this in Read more [...]

Infant or Believers Baptism and High or Low Church

It has become more clear to me recently how tightly the the mode of baptism ties to your view of Christian cultural engagement, and how both of these are correlated to where you live on the high or low church spectrum. Here is the simplified version. For most of Christian history baptism was practiced on infants. Now, from a Reformed viewpoint, this is a debate about covenant theology -- are the children members of the covenant or not. From a Catholic viewpoint, its about something similar, but Read more [...]

Eating your Spiritual Vegetables

So I have become aware that I am an excitement addict. I need things to be exciting. In fact, I come from a generation of excitement addicts. We basically have continuous entertainment opportunities all the time. We are raised from the beginning on this excitement diet. Whether it be video games, sex, food, or even things in the church the bottom line is that we want it to be exciting. This is because we were raised to chase a high. This concept has recently been ported over into the Christian world Read more [...]

What The Devil Says

We continue to wade deeper into the waters of demonic deliverance. And I certainly don't have "the answers" as it comes to this topic, but I learn more and more all the time. Talking to other people about how their bondage works has definitely been eye opening about how to get more freedom myself, and even others who are “healthy.” Jesus says that “my sheep hear my voice.” This is a great promise, but the problem is that we also hear the devil’s voice, and we have to learn to totally reject Read more [...]

Faith and The Word of Faith

A recent commenter was trying to understand why Charismatics seem to be particularly open to the Word of Faith movement and assume that if you are anti-Word of Faith you are anti-Charismatic. When I was in high school, before I became Charismatic, I remember staying up late with my brother and watching one of the TV ministries with my brother. It was completely ridiculous. I had a hard time even recognizing it as Christian. Yet these guys are raising enough money to stay on the air. It was several Read more [...]

The Theology Of The Possible

After years of study, I feel that I am finally starting to get a hold of an idea that has eluded me. I did a long paper in Seminary so that I could clearly understand eschatology. Separately, I've been trying to understand how Charismatic preaching and Bible interpretation works. This leads ultimately to an examination of our Charismatic practice to find the "way forward." There are a lot of groups offering us a false "way forward" in the church right now. The whole "Emergent" movement is capturing Read more [...]

Deliverance Versus Repentance

Since coming to Cincinnati we have been working with guys who are in recovery from various serious serious issues including substance abuse. Our initial approach centered on having a deliverance "encounter" with each person when they arrive. This would last for at least 4 hours. These sessions have been very effective in breaking the "first wave" of issues that people bring. This includes deep wounds from the past, unconfessed sins, anger with God, etc.  Exposing these things has enabled people Read more [...]

I’m back

After 6 months of good ministry here in Cincinnati, we've hit a little bit of a breather, and I have felt the call to begin thinking again.   More specifically, I am getting a sense of a definite call to use my life to develop certain "reformational messages" in the church.   This is because I believe I have discovered a basic principle of the world's epistemology:  the truth is almost never what the mainstream believes, and it is almost never what those who are reacting against the mainstream Read more [...]

Freedom Manual – Coming Out of the World

In the Garden of Eden, it was not only Adam and Eve’s rebellion at work, they were deceived by the devil who appeared in the form of a serpent. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1) He was the one who tempted them to disobey God, and because they obeyed his voice instead of God’s they came under his authority. When you are born Read more [...]

Freedom Manual – Salvation

The Problem Christianity is unique among all of the world’s religions because its portrait of the nature of man is so dim, and its remedy so dramatic. In Christianity, getting right with God is not a matter of self-improvement or even self denial. It is not a matter of offering some kind of sacrifice to God to appease Him. Christians recognize that every human problem ultimately goes back to one thing: sin. Most people are quick to say “Nobody’s perfect,” but looking around us, and inwardly, Read more [...]

Five Levels of Demonic Oppression

The perennial question is Can a Christian have a demon? There are those (mostly non-Charismatics) who say categorically no. Usually, however, these people are also those who don't really believe much in demons at all. In reality, most of us deal with demons and their effects throughout our lives. I'd like to propose this scale: Possession Oppression Familiarity or "Stronghold" Externalization Victory Possession is what only a non-believer can experience. Where the demon can actually Read more [...]

How to Preach In The Spirit

Definition of Preaching When you go into a church for the first time, you can never be sure what is going to be offered from behind the pulpit as "the sermon." There is quite a wide spectrum of what is considered appropriate, depending on the speaker and the context. Often times what it called "preaching" is not really preaching at all. Here are seven different kinds of message you may hear in church: Moralizing -- If the speaker is not born again you will get moralizing. Two major messages Read more [...]

The Trinity

The Trinity is one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity and yet one of the hardest. It seems to involve a paradox: one God, three Persons. How can that be? How do we escape tritheism without nullifying the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit? The paradox is ancient. The Early Christians had many heretics who professed doctrines which either avowed tritheism or stole deity from the Second and Third persons of the Trinity. Even before the Early Christians, Neo-Platonists had grappled Read more [...]

Works

I recently got delivered from works.  At the request of a friend, I thought I'd reflect a little. Ever since I got saved, I knew I was saved by grace and not by works. Not anything I had done (except refusing to believe) had kept me from Christ.  And nothing i did (except agreeing to believe) had gotten me in. I knew my good works were like "filthy rags" before God and I was not supposed to be proud of them. But I also knew God expected His children to do good works for some sort of heavenly reward Read more [...]

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Once saved, always saved (OSAS). A popular tenet of evangelicalism, but is it true? Many books and articles can be found on the subject, but I believe a lay reader of the Bible will find Scriptures and concepts that make 'once saved, always saved' doubtful. In my opinion, it is an extreme position and a reaction to another unpalatable extreme position. 'Once saved, always saved' maintains you cannot lose your salvation. You cannot undo the work God has done or the seal He has given, even if you Read more [...]

Freedom in Christ

The gap between the daily experience of most Christians and the potential experience of Christians is so great that it poses a bit of a puzzle. Aside from lamenting it, is there anything we can do to rectify it? Neil Anderson has developed what is probably the most advanced model available for helping believers experience the fullness of who they are called to be in Christ: Breaking alliance with the demonic realm and it's many inroads Renouncing Lies Forgiving Dealing with Rebellion Dealing Read more [...]

Things to Understand About Prophecy

Prophecy and Your Walk with God Many Christians are uncertain or inexperienced with personal prophecy, but I have found that prophecy can fast track your walk with God if you utilize it properly. If I speak a word over you, I want you to have a healthy, positive experience, so here are some guidelines to help.   The Purpose of Prophecy Prophecy is someone listening to God so that they can speak his heart over you. All prophecy, like all ministry, however, must pass through a human vessel Read more [...]

The Fire and The Altar

I've been doing a lot of study of the history of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement lately. As I look at the current state of the church I feel a real burden to do something about it, and I know God is calling us forward into that, but it hasn't taken shape yet. It's in the preparation stages. Part of that preparation for me has been examining what has happened in the past 100 years. How did we get here? Revival dynamics are often talked about in terms of wine skins. The Holy Spirit moving in Read more [...]

Exercising the Gift of Discernment

A lot has been said in the past 15 years about prophecy and the prophetic. There are numerous books and teachings on hearing the voice of God. These often focus on the Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, and Prophecy, but little is ever said of the Gift of Discernment. I have repeatedly heard people over the years say "Where is our discernment?" however. Perhaps what this is indicating is that the Gift of Discernment is something that has not been restored to the church in the fullness that the others Read more [...]

Signs You Might Have Pride

On two separate occasions people have confronted me directly about having a "pride problem." The first was when I was still in High School by a youth leader who was concerned about me. She meant well, but I really had no capacity to understand what she was talking about or suggesting to me. Later, after college, a friend called me out on the same thing. By this time I was able to hear it, and although I don't remember the specific examples he used, I accepted his assessment and allowed that to start Read more [...]

The God Who is Near

In 1998 I was in a Paul Cain meeting which radically reshaped my life. Why did it affect me so? Because the way he used his gift was so dramatically revelatory of the love and nearness of God. Suddenly, in one moment, you realize that any goodness or nearness you had previously understood of God grossly underestimates His true glory. For a lot of people, including me, it's actually more than our character is capable of handling. Although I did not want or intend to, I became too stuck on Cain himself, Read more [...]

The Role of Imagination/Fiction in Christian Living

With the advent of the Christian movie industry, especially "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and "The Lord of the Rings," more and more Christians are getting into fiction and fantasy. This has some people worried. Tales with magic, imaginary creatures, and unreal environments often bring the temptation of fundamentalism close to many of our doors... "It isn't of God, don't get into it!" But is this necessarily the case? Let's momentarily put aside the fact that there are good reasons for Read more [...]

Reflections on Growing in Prayer

I just have a couple of thoughts on prayer. When I was younger I remember a friend saying that she was a Bible person and I was a prayer person.... My prayer life at that time was non-existent minus the few times when things got so bad that I would actually spend more than a few minutes asking for help. Now this was not because I did not believe in prayer, but because I really did not have any broader experience of prayer. Then I read a book by Jim Cymbala which posited prayer as the answer to most Read more [...]