• Prayer changes the atmosphere

    Prayer is the atmosphere of passion! When the atmosphere is correct it will rain, or snow! The atmospheric conditions allow for certain kinds of natural manifestations to occur.

    The spiritual atmosphere creates the conditions for certain spiritual manifestations to happen. Prayer changes the atmosphere! The way we speak of and to, not only the Lord but to each other is a powerful thing. What we are aware of or not determines so many things.

    Yesterday I spoke of my own passion to “know Him” and to “encounter His power.” Prayer is so much more than the voicing of our concerns, worries or needs to the Lord. Prayer a relationship of humble dependence upon the One who has come to share His life with us.

    He does not exists to bless our plans we exist to cooperate with Him in the fulfillment of His plan. Prayer is the on-going constant conversation between a lover and the be-loved. Prayer is a lifestyle! It is the rhythmic music of two lovers.

    Between the exchange of love miracles of restoration are the norm. To live aware of Him and of His love for you and for all of creation is part of the calling upon the life of a believer.

    To live in the sound of His Word and in the breathe of His Spirit is to be fully alive. To be alive with revelation of the Christ and the realization of His Power.

    If there is one thing that we all could do that would have an impact on the world… it would be to pray. In fact to become “Prayer.” To allow every moment, every word and yes every action be prayer.

    “Several weeks ago I took my Grandson to Lowe’s with me. We were standing in one of the isles when two men standing down the way started telling a story! The story was filled with very colorful discriptive words. 

    As I was trying to move Bubba away from the conversation he picked up on some of the language. Instantly he looked up at me saying, “Pappa, they said a bad word, tell them not to say that…. Jesus doesn’t like that!” I tried to shssh him but he simply repeated himself.

    Needless to say not only did the two young men hear him, but so did everyone in the surrounding area. You know what? The atmosphere changed. The two young men scurried from our presence.

    Your words can change the atmosphere. Your awareness can alter the conditions of your life.”

    What kind of atmosphere are we creating? What are the changes in our daily lives that would be more conducive to His Presence? These are two small questions that might help us to know Him and to encounter Him more and more!

    Christ Have Mercy!

    Lord Have Mercy!

    Christ Have Mercy!

  • The Christ-Formed Life

    So everyone knows that “gravity” holds us to this spinning planet. Without gravity we would all be flung out into space never to be seen again.

    Most of us grasp the importance of maintaining a “center of gravity.” Even walking requires a sense of understanding the “center of gravity.”

    Maintaining this “center” is what empowers athletes. If they do not instinctively know how to use the “center of gravity” their performances are affected.

    I believe that your “imagination” is the “center of gravity” for your life. If your imagination is formed and shaped by the Kingdom of God then your identity and life will follow the King’s design. We were created in the “image of God,” therefore we are “image-bearers.” The image that we bear flows out of the center of our imagination.

    Far to often we have surrendered our imagination to the world and not to the Kingdom of God. If the “center of gravity” shifts even slightly it affects our ability to live abundantly. The culture has great power to form our imagination, I believe that we need a serious response to this attack on our imagination.  A “counter-formation” of our imagination.

    We are entering into the season of the Lord’s Passion! This is a great season to find the “center of gravity” within our own imagination. This is a wonderful opportunity to allow our imaginations to be recalibrated by the “Story of Christ.”

    I have watched too many Christians lose their sense of “gravity” and go flying through space. Every year God has called us to remember His Passion, to remember the death, the burial and the resurrection of the Christ.

    We who were created in the image of Christ and who are called to be image-bearers need to take time to be Christ-Formed people.

    We are called to live a “Christ-Formed Life.”

    Paul tells the Galatians, “My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pains until Christ is completely  and permanently formed (molded) within you.” (4:19)

    The “center of gravity” for us is the “formation of Christ.” I want to encourage every believer to be pro-active this year in the formation of Christ in you. Which as Paul reminds us is “the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27).

    I am going to be ministering on the “Christ-Formed Life” beginning Sunday and moving towards Resurrection. I hope you get to follow along on our journey of reforming our imagination around Christ.

  • Change!!!

    “To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ. William Blake tells us that our task in life is to learn to bear God’s ‘beams of love.’” (Foster)

    Change, we all would like to see change, in ourselves, in others, or at least in the world around us. David wanted changed, Martin Luther demanded changed, John Wesley searched for change. There were many before us who longed for change just as we do. It is said of George Fox that “Above all he excelled in prayer…”

    Prayer proceeds change. All change, no matter if it’s personal or cosmic begins and ends in prayer. We can jump up and point out the wrongs of the world. We can cower in our own shame or we can enter into the prayers of the Saints. Change is and has always been the results of prayer.

    If it is in prayer that we learn to be “beams of love.” It seems to me that we should take the time to learn something about it.  There certainly are a lot of other beams being swung around out there.

    You can change your life starting today. Right now…. Go ahead! Start talking to the Lord. See there is change! You stopped —something to pray! Good for you!

    I recently heard a coach shout “if you can’t run a mile don’t jump into a marathon.” I have prayed, I have led prayer, and taught prayer. The main thing that I find is that people expect to pray a full marathon before they can run a mile.

    Just try jogging this morning!  You’ll change! The world around you … well lets talk another day!

  • The Season of the Supernatural!

    Sunday night confirmed for me that we are living in a “Season of the Supernatural”!

    As America participated in what is being described as another national holiday, it was obvious that strange and unusual things were unfolding before our very eyes.

    For the first time in several years the “Super-bowl” was truly “super.” No one, including yours truly, could have imagined the twists and turns of that contest. There were moments of shock and awe! And then there were those absolute “surprises” that not even the players or the coaches could have predicted.

    Who knew? The ball seemed to have a mind of it’s own. Inflated or deflated, it seemed as though the ball was choosing it’s own destination. Great athletes, great coaches and all the fans in the world were stunned in one surprising moment.

    I celebrated, there in my down stairs living room. I celebrated, not so much because “my” team won, but because no one saw it coming. Everyone had already determined what was about to unfold. Seattle would win! It was a “given.”

    Over one hundred million people (or at least half of them) were groaning in defeat. Someone should have told the rookie! He didn’t know what the rest of us knew. I doubt that he thought about how this moment required a “supernatural” play from him. I think he simply kept playing.

    Supernatural things happen in the lives of people who simply do what is natural.

    In the middle of doing the natural things of life, the supernatural is revealed. It is in these moments that we realize there is more to our lives than what we can explain.

    Those of us who enjoy football had forgotten that we should expect  “super” things to happen  in a contest called the “Super Bowl?” When I stopped dancing around in front of my TV, I realized that I should live in expectation of “the supernatural.” I should expect the unexpected all the time.

    Those of us who are Christ-followers are living normal natural lives. However, we also know that we have been infused by the life of “another.” As we simply live our natural lives the possibility of the revealing of the supernatural is always present.

    I’m dancing again! The human life is a “Super Bowl.” We are living a natural existence with hidden latent power. Let’s remember to expect the unexpected “supernatural life” to break forth in any moment.

    Wait for it…. wait for it! SURPRISE!!!!

  • What I learned from Pluto!

    My favorite pet was a Cocker Spaniel named Pluto. Pluto always had his nose up in the air or down to the ground. He was always sniffing around for something. He never walked or ran in a straight line. I would call him and he would start across the yard and suddenly he would turn this way and then that way. That dog ran in a zig-zag pattern all the time. I don’t think he ever went anywhere in a straight line.

    He had an ADD sniffer. He could get so excited about some of the most insignificant things. He would find joy in the most insignificant things. However, his greatest joy was when he found me. He always came to me! Generally after a he had ran all over the yard. Exhausted he would come, yapping for my touch. Moaning with delight as I stroked his back (or tummy, he wasn’t picky). I still miss that silly dog. He taught me a lot about living in the moment, finding joy in everything, and patience.

    He and I formed a bond. A bond that really went beyond what I thought was possible with a pet. I had a number of pets growing up, but not like Pluto. We shared life with each other. We enjoyed each other.

    In spite of the manying warnings (from my wife) I fed him continually from my own dinner plate, (he was very fat). I would protect Pluto from what I viewed as unkind behavior. I really could not tolerate people talking bad to him or about him. I did not like it if you hurt his feelings (and he had plenty of them). He was my friend.

    A friend that could take the most interesting paths into my arms. And yet no matter what his journey, no matter how long it took, I was always filled with joy when he arrived. I loved to hold him and reward him with his favorite food.

    Know one else could do with Pluto what I could. Even though I really never did get him to do tricks or train him (I wanted him to catch a frizbee, but NO). I formed him with love. He knew who he was, he was my dog. He knew I loved him unconditionally (and he me). Even though other things would divert his attention from time to time, ultimately he knew my love was the best thing ever. He was formed in and by that love. When he went to heaven (oh yes there is), I was a mess. I still miss him.

    For a few years I was resistive to another pet, in fact I had to be tricked by my children to “love again” (that’s a whole other story). However, now I call Lilly and she looks up and starts towards me — then she darts off after the squirrel or something!  I smile and wait, because I know she’ll soon remember me and come back my direction.

    She’s on a journey (not the one she thinks) back into my arms. She’s being formed! She’s being formed by love. It’s a good, (no a great) journey into the mystery of love. Love that doesn’t teach you tricks, or train you, but forms you, gives you your identity!

    I smile, I hear His voice, and I start towards Him. What was that, I look (run in that direction), it’s got my interest, it’s … – but wait – I remember, that voice! I turn my head towards that voice — there, here, in this Presence, I’m being formed. I’m discovering who I am … as I’m discovering who He is… the I AM!

    Life is really about all “formation.” Whatever, whomever we continually return too is forming our lives. Pluto taught me that. Or maybe Someone used Pluto to teach me that. Life is really a journey that transforms.

    The tricks we learn or the final destination, though valuable and important, may not be as important as who we become. And who we become just might depend on who we love, or rather whom we are loved by.

    Yeah, I just wrote about a dog! I’ll try to return to more “heady” stuff next week.