Sunday, July 19, 2009

Keys to Honoring God

At Cliffdale Christian Center, we have been focusing on the issue of honor for many weeks. This was initially stirred as a result of attending a conference at Bethel in Redding, California.

While there, I asked the Lord what was behind the revival culture that has been sustained there for so many years. The reply was very clear and simple. I believe it came in a single word and that word was "honor."

So now we have been delving very deeply into this issue and have discovered some impressive truths connected to honoring God and honoring others.

I want to briefly hit on two ways we honor God. These are probably the most evident, and yet at times, the most challenging areas in a believer's life. We honor God largely through honoring His Word and His Spirit.

Keep in mind that honor is the value we place on something or someone. Therefore, we should ask ourselves, "To what degree do we honor God's Word?" Do we really give the Word a place of high honor as we go through our daily lives? Do we honor the Word enough to seriously study to show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15)?

Does the Word of God govern our decisions? Is the Word the standard by which we live?

These are some of the questions that can help us understand the degree to which we honor God by honoring His Word.

Next we will look at ways to honor God by honoring His Spirit. If you are interested in listening to the series regarding "Honor," sermons are available at Many testimonies have been received in regard to how this message is changing lives and relationships. Glory to God!

In Him,

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Foundation

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Bethel Church in Redding, California. As many of you know, Bill Johnson is the senior pastor of Bethel. For approximately thirteen years this ministry has experienced a unique move of God. In fact, they live in what is called a "revival culture" at Bethel. One night during the conference, as the Spirit was moving in a very intense and exciting way, I took the opportunity to just stand back and observe.

God was surely moving and lives were being touched and transformed in a powerful way. As all the excitement was filling the room, I sensed there was something profound working behind the scenes. I asked the Lord what it was that was opening heaven over this place and causing such an outpouring of the Spirit. The response came very simply and clearly. It was, in fact summed up in a single word, and that word is "HONOR."

Bethel is building on a foundation of honor. I recall asking the Lord to teach me about this most precious principle, the principle of honor. In the weeks that have followed, the Lord has been faithful to reveal several aspects of this most important aspect of Kingdom living. In future blogs I will share much more in regard to this topic as it has the potential to change our lives like nothing else. It is all about seeking to honor God and people.

There is plenty more to come!

For His Glory,

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Code of Honor

Recently, while preparing a message relative to Mother's Day, I began to deeply ponder the issue of honor. It is blatantly clear that honor is lacking and has all but disappeared in many sectors of Western Civilization. Unfortunately, this includes the church.

Yet it is equally clear that honor is a primary pillar of God's Kingdom. In fact, it is the very reason for which the Father sent His Son and the Son sent the Spirit.

Jesus came first and foremost to bring glory and honor to the One who sent Him. In like manner, the Spirit was sent to testify not of Himself, but rather of the Son. There seems to be a chain of honor relative to Kingdom life.

We live in a society which has lost its compass as a result of lacking a high level of honor. This is evident in any realm of our society: business, family, government, etc.

Honor is tied to the very first commandment with promise.
"Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: (Ephesians 6:2).

This is a direct reference to Deuteronomy 5:16 and Exodus 20:12.

The Word of the Lord carries great promise for those who honor others. This is especially true in regard to family life. If we will commit to a lifestyle of honor, God says our days will be long, and it will go well for us in the land He will give us.

There are three primary areas wherein honor is established in our lives. These three areas are: thoughts, words, and deeds.

In days and weeks to come, we will discuss this issue much more in-depth. For now, let's commit to being more conscious of how we think about others, what we say about others, and how we act toward others (actions and attitudes).

If we will commit to living a life of honor, we can expect God to bless and reward us with good life even in the midst of adversity.

More to come . . .

In Him,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Sound From Heaven

“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven . . .” (Acts 2:2).

There is a sound from heaven that is being heard on the earth today. God is speaking, moving, and shaking kingdoms of this world. Just as it is written, sons and daughters are speaking with prophetic unction. Young men are seeing visions as older men are dreaming dreams. The Lord is pouring out His Spirit on His menservants and His maidservants. There is a sound being heard by those with ears to hear and hearts turned toward heaven.

Think it not strange when you look at all that is going on in the world around us. It seems there is chaos, confusion, and restlessness. Frustration and anxiety are evident; this is apparent in the church as well. We live in what will be recorded as one of the greatest times in history. There is a shaking taking place. People of God should be listening, preparing, and taking action for this is not a time to sleep and slumber. Christ is clearly calling His Body to awake, arise, get it together, and advance in the earth. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us, and His anointing is being released upon us just as it was upon Jesus when He walked the earth in physical form.

It is crucial for believers to cease faltering between two as in the days of Elijah. If Christ is our King, then we must be willing to lay down our life, take up our cross, and follow Him. Now!
If something or someone else is more important than Christ, then we should serve those things. However, know this: we will each receive our just reward. The time has come to choose whom we will serve and what we will give our lives to.

The sound from heaven can be heard! The Lord is calling His people into a relationship of co-operation. Just as the “3 in 1” Godhead functions in perfect unity, believers are being called to walk, talk, and act in partnership with Him.

The Lord promises provision for those who believe and choose to follow Him. This means to OBEY Him. We must commit to live in submission to the authority of God’s Word and the power of His Spirit. Jehovah will supply grain, new wine, and oil, even in the day of famine.

Let’s allow God to stretch and strengthen us in order to release a fresh anointing in us. Turn your heart toward heaven—listen for the voice of the Holy One—He is speaking. Arise apostles, prophets, sons and daughters, menservants and maidservants. Receive the fresh breath of God as this mighty wind from heaven blows.

In Him,

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Where Is This Jesus?

As my wife and I were engaged in our daily Bible reading a couple of days ago, I had a very pointed question enter my mind. We are involved in a Bible challenge at our church that includes reading through the entire Bible in a year. Vickie was reading from Mark’s Gospel account when the question popped up on the inside of me: ‘Where is this Jesus today?’

I am speaking of the Jesus described throughout the various Gospels. I am talking about the Jesus that went about doing good and healing those who were sick and oppressed (Acts 10:38). There seems to be many versions of Jesus being preached, sold, and marketed in our society. We have a “Jesus 12-Step Program” for nearly anything that ails humanity. In our attempt to be ever more popular with the world, we have grown fearful of demonstrating the true power of Christ to heal and deliver. In the early chapters of the book of Mark, we see Jesus healing great numbers of folks. He is casting out demons and even violating the traditions of the religious community. Christ was not seeking acceptance of men; rather, He came to fulfill the will of His Father. As a result, many people were astonished and even more came and began to follow Him.

So, where is this Jesus today? Perhaps we need to ask ourselves this question. Is the New Testament church the “Body” of Christ on the earth, or are we just a religious community that meets regularly in a vain attempt to have needs met? Is Jesus really the “Head” of the church, or have we done things the way we have seen fit and simply respect Christ as a figurehead?

Early in His ministry Jesus is seen imparting His anointing to those who were commissioned to go. As they went, they were instructed to do the same things the Master had been doing. We live in a time and culture that is void of real spiritual truth. What the world needs now is love, love, love . . . seen in a demonstration of power and authority. The Church has been granted both. We have the authority of God’s Word and the power of His Spirit.

This is a season of great impartation and release for the people who truly know the God of the Bible. We need and have available fresh impartation of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of impartation is empowerment. As a result, we are released to go into the highways, hedges, marketplace, and everywhere we conduct daily business. As we go, we are to manifest the power of God; signs and wonders will be the result. May the Church arise in a demonstration of the love and Spirit of God, and may the people who know their God do great exploits.

In Him,

Friday, January 30, 2009

Change the Atmosphere

God seems to watch over the earth, looking for certain places to manifest His presence in unusual ways. This is clearly illustrated throughout Scripture as the Lord chose where, when, and through whom He would perform great wonders.

Today, as much as ever, the God of creation desires to pour out His Spirit and manifest His glory in the earth. And although the creation showcases His wondrous works and displays His glory, it seems God chooses specific times and places to demonstrate His presence in unique and powerful ways.

The Spirit of God moves more freely where His presence is neither despised nor hindered. As a result, we, as God’s ambassadors on the earth, can cultivate an atmosphere where the Spirit moves freely and God’s glory is manifested in a greater way.

If we, the people of God, are going to take seriously the need to create an atmosphere where God’s Spirit can freely move, we must engage in some personal examination and scrutiny.

God’s anointing is poured out where unity is found (Psalm 133).

The Psalmist makes clear that the oil of God’s anointing is poured out where His people dwell in unity. The oil is seen flowing down the beard of Aaron and continuing down to the hem of his garment. Thus, the entire body is covered. In addition, there is a refreshing that comes as the anointing freely flows. There has never been a time in history when there was a greater need for such anointing and refreshing than there is today.

With this in mind, let’s consider the following:

Strife and division hinders the anointing, or the pouring out of God’s Spirit. Apostle Paul makes a remarkable statement to the believers at Corinth in his first letter to the Corinthian church.

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

This strikes me as one of those near impossible biblical injunctions. There was clearly some degree of discord in the house of God and the lives of God’s people. It seems this has always been the case. Yet, Paul writes that believers were to think, speak, and act in one accord. How could this ever be accomplished?

The only way men could ever hope to think, speak, and act in agreement is when they drink from the same source of knowledge and wisdom. Only when the Word of God becomes the basis of judgment and information can the Church hope to walk in such agreement.

The apostle even cited specific cause for strife and division in a later portion of the same letter.

“For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men” (1 Corinthians 3:3).

Paul addresses the issues of envy, strife, and divisions. He states that the people were “behaving like mere men.” The implication is that as citizens of God’s Kingdom, we are no longer to conduct ourselves as mere carnal or earthly men. Rather, we are to walk according to the Spirit and in subjection to the Word of God. Much of this carnal behavior can be attributed to a lack of true spiritual discernment and sound biblical judgment.

Romans 12:1-2 becomes all the more clear when we consider that God has not recreated us in order for us to continue to think, speak and act as those who have not experienced regeneration.

In order to know and do the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God, we must be transformed through the renewing of our minds. Believers must come to a place of submission and surrender to both the Word and Spirit of God. As we put away childish disagreements by receiving the wisdom of God, there will be a change of atmosphere in our hearts, homes, workplaces, and even our churches.

Let’s purpose to walk together in subjection to the Word of God and put off carnal thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. As best as we can, let us walk and live in peace. This means experiencing peace with God, ourselves, and those around us. Let’s make an effort to cultivate an atmosphere where the Spirit of the Lord can freely move and miracles can take place.

In Him,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Time Of Our Lives

What an exciting time to be alive and serving Christ here on the earth! Throughout history there have been periods of unique challenges and opportunities. We are living in such a time today. The year 2008 is behind us, and a brand new year lies ahead. If we look around, it is clear that we are experiencing some new and different things. Government and business leaders seem to be scrambling in an attempt to correct the course and bring some stability to a very uncertain situation.

Yet, all the while, God is hardly mentioned or even acknowledged. We can be sure that the Lord still upholds all things “by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Regardless of how much mankind attempts to ignore God, He is still Almighty and the only Sovereign One.

We, as citizens of God’s kingdom, have a wonderful opportunity in the midst of apparent chaos. The Spirit of the Lord is moving in near unprecedented ways. We must not allow our lives to be captivated by world events or even personal challenges. It is in situations such as these that God desires to do exceedingly great and awesome things.

Our intent is to create an atmosphere where God’s presence can dwell and His power can be more fully released. Throughout Scripture, we see the Lord of Hosts moving in times of adversity and despair. Now is a perfect time for God’s people to seek Him and yield our lives more freely. Now is a perfect time for God to arise and cause His enemies to be scattered (Psalm 68:1). In fact, it is a perfect time for God’s people to erect a holy habitation for the glory of God here on the earth.

Let’s seek to create an atmosphere where the glory of God can be revealed and His miracle power can be released. A few things we can do:

* Submit our lives (spirit, soul, body)
* Believe God for miracles
* Pray with boldness
* Praise God with confidence
* Worship God sincerely
* Thank God daily

As believers step up and move out, a fresh wind will blow, and God will pour out His Spirit. The knowledge of God’s glory will be revealed in and through the glorious Church.

Habakkuk 2:14: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

In Him,