What Kills My Faith

WHAT KILLS MY FAITH

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  Romans 4:19

When I consider God’s promises to me, they are always outside the veil of feasibility.  If I set myself up to depend on other people to reinforce my faith, that is unwise.  They can be weak vessels.  Because they didn’t experience the ‘call’, their ability to sustain my faith is weak.  Noah, as he built the ark, was cognizant of the fact that no one in his world had ever seen rain.  An ark that would float on water was absurd.  The ridicule he suffered could have been debilitating.  Yet, for nearly 120 years, he believed God. Continue reading “What Kills My Faith”

Do My Efforts Make a Difference?

DO MY EFFORTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

He said, “What’s a good image for God’s kingdom? What parable can I use to explain it? Consider a mustard seed. When scattered on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; but when it’s planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all vegetable plants. It produces such large branches that the birds in the sky are able to nest in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32

         I can give superhuman effort to something and make little difference. Yet, at the same time, I can give small efforts to something else and make a huge difference. Is there insight beyond this parable to help me gauge where my energies should be expended? Yes. Continue reading “Do My Efforts Make a Difference?”

Why I Teach Personalized Prayer Mapping

WHY I TEACH PERSONALIZED PRAYER MAPPING

I am getting to do for you what I wish someone had done for me.  I was imprisoned for forty years, and suffered privately from issues for which I had no hope of resolving.  People who loved me looked on helplessly.  They were mostly sympathetic, yet unable to equip me with the keys necessary to lead to my freedom.  I languished for spiritual direction, for someone to help me assess how I reached such a hopeless place and then help me discover the way out.  I also longed to engage in a kind of intercession that would loose the chains that held me captive.  None of these were to be found.

God said, “Enough!”  He accelerated my process by destroying all my props and bringing me to the end of myself.  Through intensive time in the wilderness, the Holy Spirit became my spiritual director.  He gave me the keys to rebirth during a three year period.  That was 1997.  Since He wastes none of our pain, He equipped me to define this process and package it.  Prayer Mapping was born.

Each of us knows places in our lives that are characterized by disappointment and powerlessness.  Each of us wishes we had the tools to see our situations from God’s perspective.  If we could, we would have hope.

Prayer Mapping is not a formula. It’s all about strategy – and to pray strategically – there are foundational concepts about the soul, residual effects of sin, Satan, and God’s kingdom that are critical to understand.  With knowledge comes new facility in prayer construction.

Overall, Praying Mapping does three things.

1.   It exposes fractures within a person’s relationship with God and tells him/her how to repair the breach.  Throughout the day’s teaching, the reasons for fractures surface and someone’s trust is restored.

2.   It trains a person to discern divine strategy for circumstances, or people, for whom they’ve given up hope.  The strategy enables them develop a customized prayer map, targeted specifically for .

3.   It launches a child of God into a deeper dimension of spiritual life – equipping him/her to live a different way.

As the Spirit of God breathes over each Prayer Mapping Event, the teaching becomes a catalyst that moves a person out of their current box into a spacious place of faith and freedom.  Oh, how I love to teach it and see people come alive to hope.

Prayer Mapping – Learn The Language For Life

Clutching What Is Not Really Mine

CLUTCHING WHAT IS NOT REALLY MINE

“There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” Matthew 21:33-46

         Those who heard Jesus tell this parable understood it well. The hills of Galilee were full of vineyards and it was customary for the owners to let out their estates to tenants. Though the Pharisees understood the illustration, they were offended at Jesus’ implication. They understood it to be prophetic and a direct warning because they knew that God considered the Jewish nation to be the ‘vineyard of the Lord.’ Isaiah 5:7

         The message to them from Jesus was clear. You are not in line with God’s purposes. Though you are proud of your positions and believe you are functioning well as religious leaders, you are really failures. You are abusing good servants and on top of that, you are rejecting me, the very son of the Vineyard owner. My rights threaten your territorial reign.

         Jesus has been so generous to entrust His kingdom to us to rule, in his absence. He has conferred upon us the authority to do so. When He left, He made sure He modeled how to care for it. He set everything in motion for His business to function perfectly. Instructions were complete and all tenants are without excuse. We understand that His leadership style is to serve and His paradigm is always relationship instead of religion, heart over intellect. But are we Pharisaical as tenants?

         I am a tenant of the vineyard. When Jesus, the owner, returns, will He be pleased with the way I handled the assignment? Continue reading “Clutching What Is Not Really Mine”

Even When I’ve Walked Away

EVEN WHEN I’VE WALKED AWAY

And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-28

         Get ready. This parable is comforting. If you need peace that the spiritual seeds you have sown in someone else are still at work, even in your absence, this message is for you.

         I often believe that I need to nag others to do the right thing and that if reminded enough times, they will make that behavior their own. Nagging doesn’t change anyone as it just causes them to modify behavior.

         I’m so glad that the Word of God can truly transform way beyond the effects of nagging. When sown into a person’s heart, it works in secret. God promises that the seed will sprout, then grow into a blade, then blossom into an ear, until one day it is ripe for harvest. Humanly speaking, I never see it working when it’s in the tender stages of early growth. Yet Jesus wants to relate the nature of the combustible seed of the Word of God. He message is this ~ I can count on its power. Continue reading “Even When I’ve Walked Away”

Am I Willing To Do What It Takes?

AM I WILLING TO DO WHAT IT TAKES?

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

         I don’t think any person would say that they’d rather build their house on sand. We all know the outcome. The first storm will begin to erode the foundation. How many storms will it take to topple the house?   Not many. Craftsmanship and architectural creativity will have nothing to do with the outcome. Expensive trappings will all become rubble. Remember the last picture you saw of homes devastated by an F5 tornado? You couldn’t tell the difference between a mansion and a shack. Rubble is rubble.

         This parable applies to so many levels of life. Personally, I need to do what it takes to build my own foundation. Knowing God, knowing His Word, cultivating spiritual disciplines out of passion and desire for God, these are the things that will become my bedrock. I will become like the tree in Psalm 1 that does not move when the storms batter against me. But this parable also applies small groups. It applies to every single church that claims to worship God. It applies to the leader of a home who determines whether his house will be strong against the current of our godless times.

         Will each of us do what it takes to build a rock solid foundation?  Otherwise:

  • I will have no divine perspective on anything that happens to me. I’ll take everything personally and seek fairness, justice, and love from my self-imposed throne. My life will crumble with me at the helm.
  • My home will consist of an ignorant and immature group of adults and children who don’t know the mind and heart of God. We’ll look impressive in good times but when the first storm hits, no one will have a refuge for comfort or a counselor for wisdom.
  • My small group will consist of baby Christians who are battered by life. Self-pity, resentment, and selfish ambition will be the ugly beasts at every meeting. Without strong teaching, we will become a huddled group of sand castles – trying to hold each other up when the wind blows. The outcome is not promising.
  • My church will consist of pews of baby Christians. Church experience will be based on tradition and ritual rather than Spirit-driven worship. People will languish for lack of knowledge from Monday to Saturday and learn not to expect answers on Sunday. The foundation of every, and any, church will erode without a leadership committed to build on the Rock who is Christ Jesus. To refuse to do so is to incur God’s judgment. Spiritual prosperity will slip like sand through his fingers.

Continue reading “Am I Willing To Do What It Takes?”

Letting Down My Guard

LETTING DOWN MY GUARD

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37

         Each child of God knows that he is to love people. He also knows that he is to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Each of these commandments is easy to embrace when it’s vague but each of us has our prejudices. We believe we are exempt from showing love to certain people. We are willing to evangelize the ones we perceive deserve to know Jesus. Jonah was willing to speak difficult things to an audience of Jews but when asked to go to the Ninevites, brutal enemies of his people, he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He didn’t want them to experience God’s mercy. Bloodthirsty, the Ninevites had long exacted forms of brutality against the Jews. Jonah’s heart had its limits. Continue reading “Letting Down My Guard”