The Risk of Not Praying

Prayer moves things in heaven to move things on earth. When you don’t pray, you risk missing out on the fullness of all God wants to do.  That’s because you can’t have the full engagement of God unless you’re fully engaged in prayer.

If you’re struggling to pray, ask yourself where else you’re struggling in your faith. Is your belief or your obedience faltering?

How Do I Know My Calling?

When it comes to our personal calling from God, wrestling over what that looks like isn’t a one-time thing. God knows exactly how to position His children where they need to be to fulfill His calling. But as we seek to know our calling, we should remember that our design reflects our destiny. There are six things we can consider when it comes to our calling: our history, our intensity, our capacity, our opportunities, our spirituality and our personality. The pressure is all on God to get us where He wants us to be.

How Do We Pursue a Calling and Marriage Simultaneously?

Before Christians should get married, they should talk all about their respective callings. Our callings are primary before marriage, but once we are married, our marriage becomes primary. If two people with strong callings don’t discuss their callings before getting married, there will be challenges. Figuring out how two callings work together requires compromise, prayer, and a commitment to one another above everything else.

How Can We Distinguish Between Moral Outrage and Authentic Passion?

We have more access to information about what’s going on in the world than any generation ever before. But in our relationship with God, He gives us a heart for certain things. We should have a heart for all of what goes on in the world, but we should only invest in some of what we see and hear. We don’t want to become de-sensitized to what’s going on, but if we find ourselves feeling hollow—if we read tragic stories without much emotion—we need to sit with God and ask for Him to restore our sense of compassion.

What Practices Can Help Get Us Through A Spiritually Empty Season?

When you’re in a spiritually empty season, remember that God is still at work. Sometimes He takes a step back so you can advance two steps closer. During these times, you’ll grow your heart for God and you’ll grow your strength for seeking Him.

Learn to pine for the Lord in your spiritual winter and you’ll gain new insight in your spiritual spring.

How Do We Stay Connected With Jesus?

People commonly believe that a faith-filled life means living in a constant state of spiritual high. That’s just not true. Every Christian will go through seasons of abundance and seasons of depletion – seasons of mountaintop experiences with God and seasons of wandering through life’s valleys.

Ask yourself if there’s sin in your life blocking your connection with God, and if you’re truly seeking Him. If there’s no sin and you’re faithfully seeking Him, your spiritual dry-spell is probably just a season.

How Should Christians Handle Infertility?

When heartache hits, it is healthy to grieve and normal to question God. While we may not ever find a specific answer to our questions, we do know from Scripture that God does what he does so that his glory might be revealed in us, and that it is not consistent with his character to imagine that he is using circumstances to punish us (John 9:1-3).

In your heartache, turn to God, not away from him.  Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to approach his throne of grace with confidence, for there we will receive mercy and find grace to help up us in our time of need.

Ask God about the possibility of medical interventions. Go as far as God gives you permission to go. God might want you to pursue fostering, adoption, or to find other ways to be a positive influence in children’s lives. Lay your desire for a child at his feet and ask him for his direction.

If you have friends who are walking this tumultuous path, stick close by. They will need you to lean on and pray with them.

How Do We Revitalize and Grow Our Spirituality?

There are principles we can apply to grow close to God and press into our relationship. Recognize that every believer has times in their walk when things feel more “dry” – this doesn’t mean God loves you any less or that your salvation is at risk. God may be allowing our faith wells to “dry up” to push us into deeper relationship with Him.

First, it’s important to vary the ways you encounter God to discover new dimensions about who He is.

Second, in order to grow this relationship – as you would any other relationship – you must invest time and effort. When you continue to pursue God, even when you don’t feel it emotionally, you are going deeper than you realize, because spending time listening to God is never wasted time. God’s word “will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

How Would You Guide a Parent to Handle a Prodigal Adult Child?

When a child raised to love God and Christian values makes the decision to walk away from the faith, it’s devastating. PK said once you’ve grieved the loss, avoid condemning your child for their decision. Instead, focus on building a strong relationship built on other shared commonalities. Realize that for a season, these kids may stray (as perhaps you yourself have done at times!), but in due time they may encounter a situation where they re-embrace their faith. Pray like crazy for these kids, so the Holy Spirit will intervene in their lives and draw them back.

With prodigal adult children, focus on continuing to strengthen the relationship, avoiding condemnation and praying like crazy for God to intervene.

Keeping To God’s Moral Compass Today

We must approach questions by first understanding our circumstances: we are an outside-in (God-centered) people living in an inside-out (me-centered) world. The secret comes from Jesus’s high priestly prayer in John 17:15-16:

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

As God’s children, we must be in the world without being of it. That means we must draw close to God and His church, because we must be continually reminded of where our center lies: in Christ alone. When we feed ourselves on God’s Word and His Will, we find the strength to lead from that space as we respond to the culture.

How Do I Know to Keep Praying for Something?

Are there doubts I shouldn’t be having? How do we know when to just let go of a certain prayer?

If you have nothing to make you stop praying or He hasn’t fulfilled the prayer, then keep praying. What messes us up is time, which God operates outside of them.

Prayer is a dialogue, not a formula. We have a relationship with him. Prayer matures us into an awareness of the multi-faceted nature of a God who loves us deeply, can be trusted fully, and is drawing us deeper. Every time we pray, we’re wrestling with our faith, and that grows our roots.

Faith Origins

Two things you need to know about questions and answers in life:

1) You answer life’s questions from your view of God.

Four Big Questions:

  • Where do I come from?
  • Why am I here?
  • Who am I?
  • Where am I going?

2) There is one God and he can be known.

God made you — you cannot make him! You need God — he does not need you! God’s heart is to give and he is near you!

So what did Paul do?

He was not insecure or silent about Jesus.

How Do You Hear the Voice of God?

God doesn’t make us responsible for Him to speak to us first. God speaks first. He spoke through Creation so that he’d be obvious.

The first way we start to understand how God speaks is by studying the Bible. It’s the “universal voice of God”. He made it clear to the prophets that he doesn’t come in a booming voice, he comes in whispers.

You know it’s His voice if it’s consistent with The Bible and it draws you to something that would be like god to do. Just say yes! If we practice that, we cultivate a sensitivity to his voice.

How Do You Live Free From the Guilt of Sin?

There is a difference between felt guilt and guilt for before our Holy God.

We are guilty before God for our sin, and that’s the guilt that Jesus covers on the cross.

There is also a guilt that we feel for hurting someone we love, and when we sin against God, we hurt Him. He forgives us through Jesus and asks us to release that, but remorse does matter.

Remorse demonstrates the authenticity of our love for God that we have to release. If we didn’t have it, there’s something very wrong in the relationship.

The freedom that God provides is the freedom of the consequences of sin eternally. We never before God and through Jesus will carry the consequence of our sins. But on Earth, there are very real consequences in society. We aren’t free of consequences on Earth. This is the reason God says “Don’t sin.” We’re going to be free in Heaven, but the destruction will be felt on Earth. That often destroys marriages, families, finances, careers, futures, and emotional souls.

Sun Stands Still

Big Idea: We can pray audacious prayers.

Learning To Pray Like Joshua:

  1. Pray like you know who you’re talking to.
  2. Pray like you know what He can do.
  3. Pray like you know what’s at stake.

Two Mistakes We Can Make:

  1. We don’t realize the sun is standing still. (Miss God’s miraculous hand at work)
  2. We quit fighting the battles because you don’t realize what is at stake.

 

Chasing the Presence of God and Revival

I want to tell you a story.  It’s not a complete story; it’s a story that’s still in progress.  But before I do, let me set the tone for the story by saying I love the presence of God.  It was the experience of the presence of God that first snatched my attention out of dusty and dry church services and launched me into a life of chasing God.

At first it was just a few sacred moments stringed together where I began to make promises to myself and to God about the direction of my life.  These are important moments that changed my life trajectory but they were just the beginning and only the starting point for experience with God.  Sacred moments have to turn into holy movements.  It has to become more than just single moments of experience  – it has to graduate to a consistent movement in our lives.  This is a serious upgrade in the experience of God’s presence.  This is when it could be said of us, that we are living a life, not just about God, or not just for God, but a life with God.

For the sake of the story, let me say that, short of eternity, perhaps revival is the highest expression of the presence of God.  And revival is the beginning point of the story:

In the summer of 2015 Pastor Kevin Myers was on his study break when God began to speak to him about revival. God told him “Your belief is too small. You need to increase the size of your faith. I’m going to send revival to my church. I am going to awaken my church with a move of my Spirit. If you want to be a part of that movement, you must begin to believe bigger and pray bigger.”

The intensity of interaction with God continued to happen over the course of the entire summer.   So when Kevin returned from his study break in August he had a personal glow and charisma about him that hinted that God had been speaking to him.  He began to share in smaller staff circles at first, and then in bigger environments and eventually to the whole staff that God was going to unleash an awakening to his church.

The first time I heard Kevin telling others that God is going to send revival, I was excited.  But over time he kept talking about it, and really started to ramp up his intensity until eventually I started to feel insecure.

Why insecure? Why was that my reaction?  Because I have a relationship with God, and God wasn’t saying anything to me about this revival.

After 4 months of Kevin’s holy zeal concerning revival, He shared the story again at a Saturday night prayer gathering and I finally decide that I’d had enough of feeling left out.  So, I chased him down after prayer and I cornered him.  I said, “Hey, listen.  Should I be concerned that you and I have been partners in ministry, working side-by-side about every week for many years, and you and God are chatting it up about a move of God that’s coming and I haven’t heard a thing?  If he’s talking to you, I want him to talk to me. Would you pray for me and ask God to speak to me like he’s speaking to you?”

That night, Kevin prayed for me.  He put his hand on my shoulder, and he prayed a simple prayer: He said, “God, would you put Chris under the waterfall of your voice or if not, would you at show him where it is? ”

That was it.  It wasn’t any fancier or longer than that. We went on about our business, and about 30 days later when I was spending time with God in the morning (I was journaling my way through scripture), I hit 1 Kings chapters 17 and 18.  And BOOM.  God began to download thoughts that I’ve never had before.  He began to share impressions from him about revival.  It’s the story of Elijah and the prophets of baal, and the great worship competition that concludes with God sending fire from heaven to consume the altar.  My eyes were opening to specific movements of revival and my heart was starting to catch fire.

I don’t know if God was speaking to me with the same level of intensity as Kevin, but I at least felt like I was in the club, like my foot was in the circle.

In June of 2016, Kevin decided to go public (to the church) with his belief that a revival was coming.  We launched a new series called Awakening, and this was our moment to tell the church that God has said he’s going to do something big.  If this doesn’t sound like a big deal then think about it – this is like Noah coming out and saying God said it’s going to rain.

What’s the risk, you ask? What if it doesn’t rain? Now we’re on record, standing in front of the church and saying revival is coming.

There was a profound sense of God’s presence throughout the series.  In the second week, we actually had some supernatural healings that occurred at different campuses on the same day. People got healed in the midst of worship when they weren’t even being prayed for. That got our attention!  We believe something significant was birthed in the church in that series.

So what do we do next?

We decided to create a prayer movement in the church, to lay a foundation for revival that was rooted in prayer.  We hoped that this would sharpen both responsibility and desire to prepare for the move of God.  As I’ve already said, when sacred moments turn into holy movements then we are headed in the right direction, so our Saturday prayer gatherings would be our first church wide effort to catalyze holy movement toward revival.

I remember the first gathering when over 2,000 men gathered at 7am on a Saturday morning. Pastor Kevin told everyone: “When Noah said it was going to rain, the temptation was to get an umbrella and sit and wait for the rain.  But that’s not what we’re going to do.  We are going to get our hammers and start building an ark.”

And God continued to show that He was serious about this revival.  It was the third or fourth gathering when we sang a Michael W. Smith song with the words “Let It Rain, let it rain.  Open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain.” We sang that song and Kevin stepped up to speak that morning, and as soon as he hit the deck a torrential rain began to fall on the building.  It was so loud that he could barely speak over it.

Here’s the thing. There was zero chance of rain in the forecast that day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when we walked in. In fact, somebody took a screenshot of the weather radar after this event happened and texted It to me.  There was not a cloud in the sky in the whole state except for a little cloud just a little bit bigger than the size of our church.  People that lived a half a mile away from the church got no rain. Zilch. Nothing.

That brings us up to where we are today – as I said the story is unfinished. We’ve been doing that for about a year. What will be the next movement? Well, it’s in process. We’re praying. We’re waiting and seeking God to see what He is going to do. It’s not something you can put on the calendar but it is something you can cultivate in your desire.

What will revival look like?

At the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus has been raised from the dead. All authority in heaven and Earth has been given to him but It’s been a week since the disciples have seen him, and they decide to go fishing.

Peter gets some of his buddies, and they jump into the boat.  You may remember the story – they fish all night and catch no fish. When you are casting nets but nothing is happening, that is a discouraging night.  But then Jesus arrives on the scene.  He walks up to the shoreline but no one in the boat recognizes him.  This reminds me how close the authority, power and presence of God can be without us recognizing it.

The boat was about 100 yards from shore and Jesus shouted to them asking, “Hey, you guys catch anything?” They reply “No, nothing.” Then, Jesus yells back “Well, take your nets and throw them over on the right side.”  Just hours before not a single fish would swim into that net, and now, at the word of Jesus the harvest rushes into the net, so many fish they can barely manage.  I’m telling you, when Jesus speaks the revival is going to begin.

But what happens next is my favorite thing – their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus.  When Jesus gives the word revival will begin but the greatest treasure will be that our eyes will open to experience the presence of the risen Christ.

The scripture says that Peter recognized that it was Jesus and he dove in the water to swim 100 yards to get to Jesus.  Imagine hundreds of thousands of people diving in (metaphorically speaking) to get to Jesus and I believe you are getting a picture of the experience of revival.  Peter left behind the boat, his friends and even the harvest of fish to get to the presence of Jesus as quickly as possible.

That’s the heart of a revival. 

What can we do now?

We can get more serious about the presence of God among us.  When we ardently desire his presence and we courageously live out the Kingdom of Heaven, we are practicing revival.  But one day soon Jesus will call out to us, “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat.”  So get ready.