Friday, January 29, 2016


It is a new year, a new season in the Kingdom of God! In seeking the Lord for what He has in store for us in this new year, I felt Holy Spirit say, “Surprises!” When I heard this, at first I thought that this could not be God because it was so simple. But as I prayed through this, I felt that He wanted His people to know that we are not to think that it will be business as usual. I felt He was saying that we are to “expect the unexpected.” Things are not going to be the way we might expect them to be this next year.

Why is this significant? First of all, I believe it is significant because God wants His people to be in sync with what He is doing. I believe He wants us to be focused on His plans and His supremacy over all things. If God’s people are not paying attention to what God is doing we can miss it. We can also fall into being disturbed and confused rather than being confident and victorious. So, as events unfold, it will be essential for us to stand firm when the unexpected happens.

It will also be important because God deserves the glory! When we encounter the unexpected in this next year, if we heed this word, we will be able to step back and give Him glory. If the surprise comes in the form of a blessing, it will be especially powerful to give God the glory and acknowledge that He is the source. When we praise Him and give Him thanks for His gifts, we release the possibility for more blessing. If the surprise comes as something that we would not want, it is even more imperative to give Him honor and recognize that He is in control. As we embrace the unexpected, we can rest knowing that He has said that it would come this year. Then, we will not be thrown off guard. We won’t have to allow fear to come in and taunt us.

The Lord also impressed me that, along with surprises, this year will be a year of fulfillment. Praise God that will be a part of the unexpected! I believe God is showing me that we are going to see the things that we have longed for and prayed for. Many of the desires that have filled our hearts have been straight from His heart. He longs to fulfill these dreams more than we long for them to be fulfilled. As we begin to see God bring things to pass we will be able to tune into His passions and desires. The joy of fulfillment will encourage us and will cause us to grow in our faith. We can then begin to trust God for more because there is so much more! Many of us have experienced hope deferred. Our hearts have known pain because there have been many things that we have not seen come to pass even though we have prayed and longed for them. The enemy can take advantage of our discouragement to tell us to give up. But, this year we are going to see God answer prayer in unexpected ways. He loves to demonstrate not only His incomparable love, but His wisdom in timing and His awesome power to do what seems to be impossible.

So, expect the unexpected and acknowledge it before others when it comes. This way God will receive the glory He so richly deserves!

I hope you'll join us this Sunday at The River at 10:00 A.M. for an awesome time of worship and encountering God. If you can't make it on Sunday, check our website for more great opportunities throughout the week to meet with other people who are passionately pursuing Jesus, worship, and get powerful teaching.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Year of God

Toward the end of our annual week of prayer and fasting, our corporate preparation for the year ahead (2016), I heard the Lord say to me, "This will be the year of God!" At first, I wondered at a statement that seemed on the surface to me to be somewhat obvious and perhaps foolish (are not all years made by God?) and yet at the same time too great to expect to happen. In the Bible, whenever The Lord would make statements like this to His people, He was speaking of things larger than they could comprehend for their day. And so I doubted what I thought I heard from God. 

But as I pondered what this might mean, He opened my eyes to see that He would be breaking out of our boxes of how we view Him and relate to Him. He said to me, "My people have accepted me as their God on certain conditions that suit them. They have accepted a God that is acceptable to them."

At best, this condition in us brings confusion to our hearts—an inability to see, know, and walk with God as He really is. At worst, it is insubordination and idolatry that affords us control in bowing down to what we think will be best for us. We deceive ourselves thinking that we are righteous and spiritual, fulfilling obligations that will secure eternal life and open heaven's blessings to us.

American Christians are particularly given to creating a Christian God/savior who fits their personality and ambitions, that accommodates their failures and sins, that operates in their lives in a manner that is logical to them, and whose love and goodness will "take care of it all." It does not matter to them whether the God of the Bible truly fits their image of who they imagine Him to be, as long as they "feel" good about themselves and their future.

I have heard numerous times over the recent years people, both in the church and out, make statements such as, "If God is like that, then I can't accept or follow Him." They hear something from the Bible about God in His nature and ways that does not fit their agenda or intellectual views of reality, and take a position of power and self-governance to choose their God according to their own criteria. 

And many Christians are doing that today, picking and choosing verses and thoughts from the Bible to form an image of the Christian God whom they will worship and love. They know that God created them and they answer to Him ultimately, but it is easier to fit Him into "my life" if I tweak Him a bit with my spiritual reasoning and wishes. Many forms of grace doctrines and teachings have been birthed out of this womb, and it's teachers are telling us that they have the true view of God in His goodness and love that will set everyone free. 

A concept of God that helps you feel more "freedom in life" and better about yourself is not the true test of whether you are walking with the God of the Bible. While it is wonderfully true that Jesus said "the truth will make you free," it is the truth you come to know by continuing in His word as a fully surrendered follower (John 8:31,32) that releases us from bondage.

One of the most sobering verses in the Bible are found in Psalm 81 where God addresses the deception and destruction among His own people because they did not have a true heart to listen to His voice in order to obey in all things. He cries out, "Oh that my people would listen to my voice and walk in my ways." But since there was not in His people the desire and willingness to do so, He stated that He "gave them over" to the stubbornness of their hearts and to walk in their own devices. This is an accurate picture of what can happen to God's people today. They think they are walking with a God they know and worship, but the condition of their heart is controlling the relationship and they don't even know how far from God they are!

The good news is also stated here in these verses that we can really know God as He is and walk with Him. And that is the cry of His heart, that He might bring to us what He has for us in His love.

It is the mercy of God to not remain in our boxes. He will be known for who He truly is among a people who are willing to embrace Him on His terms according to who He really is. "The fear of the Lord" enables us to really know God, walk with Him according to what pleases Him, displace deceptions of the heart and mind, defeat the enemy, and receive the finest of what God has for us. 

When Moses asked God "Whom shall I tell the people You are that has sent me to them?" God responded, "You shall tell them 'I AM' has sent you." By this answer God revealed that He would be the totality of all they needed in life, but He was also revealing that He is the center of all things and would not be defined by their own perceptions or responses.

And God knew they had no idea Who He is, and that they would not know how to walk with Him, trust Him or love Him. So He began to break apart their boxes of preconceived notions/deceptions before He led them out of Egypt. This was one the purposes for the many plagues on Egypt and the mind-blowing works of God to deliver, protect and care for them as they headed to the promised land. You might say it was in their experience "the year of God."

At first the Israelites experienced some of the plagues in their own land. They got a taste of God's redeeming power and sovereignty over all the earth. He was the God of all gods. "I AM" had the right to rule and reign over all. Egypt's gods and magicians were shown to be false and inferior. And what Egypt had to offer for life, as impressive as it may have seemed, was inferior and not the result of their Pharaoh or gods.

Christians today need a refresher in this same reality. The God of the American Dream is not the God of the Bible. And God is allowing the kingdoms of this world that we may be impressed with and trusting in to crumble under plagues. Our Father God is hoping that we will lift our eyes to see the true King and His unshakable Kingdom and embrace Him alone on His terms, not ours.

But after these initial plagues, God began to reveal His own heart for His people. He would come in power with more plagues, but they would not touch His people in their part of Egypt. God told Moses that He would begin to "make a distinction" between His people and the Egyptians (Exodus 9:4). His people would not be touched by the rest of what was coming because they had been "set apart" unto Him: "that you may understand how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel" (Exodus 11:7). And so the Israelites would hear of what their God brought on the Egyptians, and perhaps got to see at a distance the devastation they were spared from. And the reality of God's heart for them and the promises spoken to their forefathers was becoming evident. He was preparing them to trust in His love and goodness and to enter into a covenant relationship with Him so He might bring them into what He described to them as "a land flowing with milk and honey." 

I believe that in this "year of God," 2016, our Heavenly Father is going to come in ways that we have not seen before. There will be some "shock and awe" in the way heaven releases things. He will not ask our permission. He will not fit into our logic or "spiritual correctness." He will not fit into our favorite verses of the Bible. He will distinguish Himself as all He says He is. It will require us to throw away boxes, move out of our comfort zones and adjust to Him as He is, not as we want Him to be. This is badly needed in the church and America if we are to walk with Him in the turbulent days coming upon the earth.

But at the same time, as we let God distinguish Himself and embrace Him in the fear of the Lord, He will reveal His true love and goodness toward us as He acts powerfully to distinguish us as His unique people/family. During the plague of darkness that covered Egypt for three days so severely that the Egyptians could not even see each other, Exodus tells us, "but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings" (10:23). As a result of the visible and powerful distinctions God made between Egypt and His people "the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt" (11:3). 

I believe we will begin to see the same results among us as we embrace "the year of God." But we must die to self, position ourselves before the Lord to listen to His voice to adjust our lives and thinking accordingly. We must repent of all stubbornness of heart and all the ways we have walked according to what seems right or acceptable to us. Let us cry out as David did when he realized that God was examining his life, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way" (Psalm 139:23-24). 

The Year of God is here and already moving. May we be in the center of it all as we embrace what it truly means to be "the people of God." "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" will be answered like never before in our midst. Amen!

I hope you'll join us this Sunday at The River  at 10:00 A.M. for an awesome time of worship and encountering God. If you can't make it on Sunday, check our website for more great opportunities throughout the week to meet with other people who are passionately pursuing Jesus, worship, and get powerful teaching.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Prayer and Fasting 2016 Day 7 - A People who experience fulfillment of promises

Day 7 – A People who experience fulfillment of promises

Luke 1:45    
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.
·         Thank God that He is a Father who has great plans for His kids and His church
·         Thank God that He is a Father who commits Himself to bring those plans to us through promises spoken
·         Thank God for all the blessing that has been prepared for us through believing and receiving His promises
·         Declare 2016 to be our year of experiencing fulfilled promises
·         Declare “fulfillment is coming!!”

2 Corinthians 1:20
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
·         Thank the Lord for the full extent, the greatness, the multitude of His promises
·         Thank Jesus for all that He has done to position us through His finished work to have access to the throne of grace and blessings
·         Speak out personal promises that God has given to you
·         Ask Holy Spirit to enable you to hear Heaven’s “Yes!!”
·         Add your “So be it – may it be fulfilled” to God’s “Yes”
·         Ask God to glorify Himself through the fulfillment of these promises

Joshua 23:14-15
Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not  one of them has failed. 15 It shall come about that just as all the good words which the Lord your God spoke to you have come upon you, so the Lord will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you.
·         Thank God that He has already spoken words recorded in Heaven concerning you
·         Declare that your Heavenly Father is concerned for you and loves you
·         Declare that His words over you are good and coming to pass and have a fulfillment date
·         Tell the your own heart and the devil that these promises will not fail, not one!
·         Declare that you position yourself to receive this year

Romans 4:17-21
17 (as it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
·         Thank God that we get to stand in His presence as sons and daughters
·         Declare that you receive life from death from the Lord
·         Thank God that He has spoken already in heaven that which does not yet exist yet concerning you
·         Tell God that you believe what is promised in heaven
·         Hope is a maintained certainty that something good is coming into my life: declare your hope!
·         Declare that your present circumstances do not determine your future, only God’s promise
·         Ask Holy Spirit to strengthen you in your faith and belief and expectation of fulfillment

2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
·         Ask God to reveal anything contrary in your life to God’s holiness and ways that would block your ability to believe Him and want His best in your life
·         Renounce any and all things that satan would use to deceive and distract you with compromise
·         Pray for our church to come into a level of holiness/family-likeness that gives us greater access
·         Pray for Jesus to be glorified through our church receiving all that God has for us (Eph 3:20,21)

Prayer and Fasting 2016 Day 6 - A people who may ascend the Hill of the Lord

Day 6 – A people who may ascend the Hill of the Lord

Psalm 24
 The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.
For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
  • Declare the Lord’s reign over all things and people
  • Proclaim His Kingdom coming down over our church and valley

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place?
  • Thank God for and bless the high place of God where His presence and glory dwell
  • Cry out that we would be that people who have access
  • Ask for the knowledge, revelation and wisdom of God to gain the keys

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
 And has not sworn deceitfully.
  • Agree with God in what He is looking for in His people
  • Ask Holy Spirit for revelation in each of these things mentioned

He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face—even Jacob. Selah.
  • Declare your desire to seek Him and be in that generation, that people, who see the face of God
  • Tell God how much you want His blessing and righteousness in your life and in our church

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!
Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!
10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.
  • Worship the King of Glory and welcome Him in our midst and in our valley
  • Speak to the gates and doors of access to open
  • Ask God for angels to war over the doors and to displace false rulers and satan’s kingdom
  • Declare God’s right to reign over this place, in every home and church, etc.
2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1
14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
  • Confess any partnership/alliance with what is not of God
  • Ask God to give us a deeper revelation of His views of these things
  • Profess your desire for complete union with God and His Kingdom

For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.
  • Thank God for His promises to be our God and Father
  • Ask Holy Spirit to show us where we need to come out and separate
  • Ask God for His sanctifying work in your life and our church
7 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
  • Acknowledge the conditions that God has placed on how much of Him we can have
  • Confess the need to cleanse ourselves and our responsibility to do so
  • Repent of any defiling of flesh and spirit, our temple
  • Cry out for God’s holiness to be perfected in us
  • Ask for the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord to rule over our hearts

2 Corinthians 11:2-3
 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
  • Consecrate yourself to be a pure virginal bride with pure devotion to Jesus

Psalm 51:7,10
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
  • Thank God for the blood of Jesus that washes us from all sin
  • Ask God to change our hearts and spirits

Ephesians 4:17-24
17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
  • Dedicate yourself to walk in the new family likeness of Jesus and lay aside those things driven by sensuality, greed and deception

Ephesians 5:1-12
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10  trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
  • Dedicate yourself to fully imitate God in all manner of life, walking in love, as a sacrifice to God
  • Determine that all immorality and impurity will not be seen or heard in your life
  • Declare yourself to be a child of light, full of goodness and truth and righteousness

Matthew 6:33
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • Give your heart to the Kingdom and living in His righteousness
  • Thank God for all that is coming in 2016 that He will supply