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Wheat fields in Egypt

Not long ago I dreamed I was walking through a huge field. It seemed to go on for as far as the eye could see. It was at night, but the full moon was so brilliant and so huge, it took up much of the sky so that it seemed to be as bright as day.

Full moon over the ripe wheat fields

I was walking within the field of ripe wheat, my hand stroking the tops of the kernels. In my mind I knew that tomorrow the combines would come and harvest all the ripened wheat. The stars above me were so brilliant, the sight of them took my breath away. They seemed unusually close to earth.

Passing through the field, I came to a dirt road where a large white van was parked, the side door opened. I climbed in, closed the door, all the while my eyes never left the white field of grain.

Why didn’t I take a few stalks of wheat with me? I thought as we pulled away from the field. I could have kept some with me as a reminder of this place.

Upon awakening, I immediately thought of the symbolism in my dream. I considered their significance. I also felt God was showing me the harvest fields of the Middle East that were on my heart, particularly Egypt. It seems when God puts a nation – or nations – on your heart, He will make sure that you receive all you need to fulfill His purposes.

Egypt is certainly on the verge of an incredible harvest, even in the midst of their storm.

We believe this harvest will affect the whole of the region and we are privileged to be engaged in this process.

In addition, we have been engaged with the people of South Sudan for several years now, beginning in Israel when refugees began to flood in. Since the birth of the Republic of South Sudan recently, God is highlighting this nation with its potential in the whole of Africa as well as the coming harvest.

African Wheat Harvest

Whenever God highlights a nation, I believe it is always an invitation for us to be engaged with God’s purposes.

Ron’s Vision

At breakfast, I began to describe my dream to Ron. Then he relayed to me what happened as he awakened just that morning. He had a vision of a ripe wheat field that was completely white – ready for harvesting! Because he grew up in Wichita, he recognized a ripened wheat field.

Ready for Harvest

We both sat there stunned at the realization that God had given us the very same image within a few hours of each other. This was truly significant, and God had our full attention!

Green Light: GO!

I like what Graham Cooke says: “You have a green light from God, unless He gives you a red light!” In other words, permission has been granted to you, unless you hear otherwise.

In regards to the nations of the world, Jesus already gave us a green light.

Anything other than a fully engaged response to this mandate is an excuse!

I read a blog entry this week by David Sitton that really arrested my attention in regards to our partnering with God’s purposes in the nations.

I was never called to be [a Christian worker in a foreign land], nor was I drafted. I volunteered. No special call was needed. I chose to go; I wanted to go; I was compelled to go. And where I go is always determined by an open Bible and a stretched-out map of the regions where Christ is still unknown and un-praised!

I chuckle when I hear [foreign Christian workers] and pastors talk about “surrendering to the call” of ministry. I always want to ask, “After you surrendered, were you water-boarded, or just hauled off in handcuffs and leg irons?” Was it really necessary for you to be abducted by a heavenly vision before you would go into the work of the gospel?

The [foreign Christian worker] call is not like a prison dog that tracks us down, sniffs us out, and hog-ties us for the nations. That is silly-talk and really bad theology. Nowhere in Scripture is a mysterious (supernatural) call a prerequisite before we can respond to the Great Commission. The opposite is actually true.

No aspect of mission is more bogged down with extra-biblical baggage than the “…call.”  The clear command of Christ “to go” should be, by itself, sufficient to set you on your way “into all the world . . . proclaiming the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). You can’t go wrong by trying to go. Trust the Lord to direct your moving feet . . . If you have it in your heart to go, then go. Then, lean on the sovereignty of God to get you where he wants you in the harvest. Don’t worry about “running ahead of God.” You aren’t that quick! (Read full article. Note: David Sitton is the founder and president of To Every Tribe Ministries.)

The Wheat fields in Ethiopia

What’s Your Nation?

God has put a nation (or a people) on your heart . . . I know He has because He wants to love people through you. Perhaps you are unable to go to that nation, but, if you ask Him, God will bring the peoples of that nation to you!  And, with technology today, you can easily plug in and find the peoples on your heart! God will do this for you in surprising ways, but you have to go after it.

I’ve learned that when you are intentional about following through with what God shows you, you can expect to see Him answer supernaturally.

Yesterday I was considering that everything in my life given to me by God is for this intent and purpose: The Harvest. God has provided every possible thing I could need to be succesful in this task that He is passionate about. And Jesus set the example:

“Then Jesus went to all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and every sickness” (Matt 9:35).

Jesus’ whole message was about good news; He didn’t frame God’s intentions to Israel with a description of how undeserving they were. Rather, He gave them the good news of the kingdom, and then demonstrated it by healing everyone of their disease and sickness. The kingdom of Heaven had just showed up to displace the enemy’s kingdom of darkness and suffering. That’s our message too: The Good news of the kingdom of God, and healing the sick and oppressed.

“When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd” (vs 36, 27)

Jesus was compelled to displace their sadness and misery with joy and healing from His kingdom.  Satan had worn them down long enough.  When Jesus showed up that day, he didn’t wonder if God wanted to heal anybody! It was his mission to destroy the works of the enemy. He demonstrated how to lead like a Good Shepherd: Lovingly care for the sheep by anointing them with healing oil, and lead gently them to eat to their satisfaction.

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest'” (vs 37, 38).

In other words, the fields are white, boys! Let’s go! Come on . . . Get out the combines . . . put on your work clothes! Gather the volunteers, hire some workers to get this harvest in! And, pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out the workers into the hot, dry fields to finish this work!

Lord of the Harvest: Send out workers into Your harvest! Fill them with your compassion!

Then pray this prayer:

Here I am!! Why don’t you send me?

Compelled by Passion!

I volunteered to go to the nations and serve in the harvest over 40 years ago. My service has led me to many, many nations and people groups. Over the years, I became much more motivated by a deep compassion and love for people of all nations, tribes, and languages. Today, I have to say that I am compelled by Jesus’ passion to mine the fields for the treasures that are His inheritance alone. I long to see people love Him passionately and exclusively with all of their mind, heart, strength, and soul.

My passion is to create an environment where His presence and healing are manifested.

When I see the fire in His eyes, I want to embrace someone with that  love. There is no valid excuse not to go when you have a fresh revelation of who He really is.

Unless I see a red light, my bags are packed, my passport is current, and I am volunteering to harvest the next ripe field.

Children From Bethel Church, Redding California, praying for the nations.

A beautiful song called “Serving You.”

http://youtu.be/gZoEnrIelIM

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There is coming a day – and is already here – when others will look to us with an expectation that we lead them to safety. It will be a time where we will already be dressed and ready to serve the needs of many. I call us “First Responders.”

“Be ready for service and have your lamps lit” (Luke 12:35-4 HCSB).

Who are the first responders? These are the ones who have been trained, equipped, ready to go into any situation and rescue the injured. In Israel, the first responders were everyday people who went about their jobs; but in an emergency, they were easily identifiable and ready to move into their trained position – night or day.

We are spiritual first responders. We will be those who have practiced living as victors and not victims in each and every crisis exercise that we have walked through thus far in our life. Our mindset is well established so that no matter what comes along – economic or political shifts, natural disasters, wars, earthquakes, famines, floods, “accidents,” illnesses – our eyes are fixed upon the Lord and we are full of faith for His salvation, healing, deliverance, provision. We know that we live in a different Kingdom, under the economy and provision of Heaven that sets us apart from earthly kingdom’s circumstances.

With recent world events, many of us feel that we have been called to a special “high” alert in these days.

“Those servants the master will find alert when he comes will be blessed…If he comes in the middle of the night, or even near dawn, and finds them alert, those servants are blessed” (Luke 12:37-38 HCSB).

Seek the Lord!

About three and a half years ago, I had an urgent appeal in my heart from the Spirit of the Lord: “Seek the Lord while He may be found!” It was an urgency that came with a sense that I needed to drop everything and be shut away with the Lord to hear what He had to say to my heart. I did that, and the results were nothing less than transformational in my heart and life. I dealt with many issues of my past and present that made way for the future God was moving me into. It was an intense transitional phase of my life.

I got the sense then that only as we heed His urgings to come apart for awhile to seek the Lord will we be adequately prepared for what is ahead that we cannot see, but He can. Whenever the Lord says “Seek my Face!” it is because He intends to show us something valuable in His character that we desperately need. As we see Him with more clarity, this revelation of His character has the ability to transform our heart and be established deep within our core to alter the course of our life by changing our ways, and not simply modifying our behavior.

I have found that a season to seek the Lord opens my spiritual ears to hear Him with a new clarity and opens my eyes to see him as He is. I have come to appreciate a fresh, daily revelation of who God is to me, which fuels a momentum towards His Presence.  Faith to trust Him in today’s impossible situation will be strengthened as we measure it against the greatness of our God.

Called Into His Presence

One particular night in recent weeks, I did not sleep well. I kept waking up about every 2 hours. I was curious about that because normally I sleep very well. But I have come to learn that in such times, I simply commune with the Lord and am drawn directly into His Presence as I worship Him. I was taken by surprise at the intensity that I felt in God’s presence all night long. I got little sleep this night, and when I did fall asleep, the dreams were about the Lord. I awakened with such a sense of the Presence of the Holy Spirit that through many tears, I rededicated my life to Him as I lay on my bed. I was still puzzled about this amazing night in the Presence of God as I got up at 6:30 that morning.

Passing by my office, I noticed that my phone had messages waiting from my eldest daughter in Hawaii. That’s odd . . . Her text from around 1:00 am read: “Evacuating up to the highest point of the island!” My mind could not take in what would have happened that she was being evacuated on Maui! I rushed to my laptop in the living room and read the news headlines about the 9.0 earthquake in Japan and the Tsunami warnings issued all around across the Pacific. Oh no!! There was no cell reception as I tried to reach my daughter.

In that moment, I understood my night. There is a posture that we take in the Presence of the Lord 24/7 that allows God access to our spirit where we come into agreement with Him. Most times as we pray, we really have no concept of the power that is going forth as we are postured before the Lord. I have come to realize that God will intentionally draw us into His presence into a deep season of worship, adoration, and intercession, and only later do we understand the significance of that time spent alone with God in the secret place. In such times, the shalom of God settles upon our hearts that holds us through the stress of the unexpected.

Upgrade Needed

I determined to receive an upgrade from the night of the Japanese earthquake when I laid awake in God’s presence. I would like to have much more sensitivity to what is on God’s heart. So, I came up with a list of questions to ask the Lord in a future similar situation:

What do you have for me at this time?

  • A specific family member?
  • A nation? A city?
  • Is there something you would like to speak to me about?

In this way, we are more intentional as we wait in God’s presence to see the focus He may lead us into. I have learned that a period of adoration of Jesus, and exalting Him above all earthly kings and kingdoms establishes an atmosphere of a high level of praise that is productive against the plans of the kingdom of darkness – routing the enemy of our souls, and our families – without me even being aware of anything specific.

I have had times where God awakened me with a clear impression to pray for a specific family member, only to learn the reason the next day – or days following. He’s just good that way.

In this moment, however, I felt I was in need of an upgrade. I truly want a keener sensitivity to the Spirit of God – with ears to hear, and eyes to see (Revelation 2:29).

The Nations

Following the initial news of the catastrophe unfolding in Japan, I began to move into my familiar pattern of praying for a nation in crisis. Having lived in Israel 20 years, I learned how to “watch and pray,” which often meant, watching the news live, while reading my open Bible with my spirit engaged praying. I prayed this way through countless bus bombings in Israel, wars on Israel’s borders, the Iraqi war, 9/11, etc. In addition, maintaining a 24/7 vigilance in the presence of God as we pray for a friend or family member through a crisis or illness is a solid way of standing for them. Praying in faith means that we often pray opposite of what we see with our eyes! We are crying out for God’s mercy and for Him to work miraculously in the midst of distressing impossibilities.

I have a particular interest in Japan. When I was 18 and in Bible School, I became best friends with an Okinawan girl and since we were both musicians and singers, we often sang together. She went on to become a well-known Christian recording artist in Japan. My friend invited me 3 times to minister and sing with her throughout Japan. I also traveled with her on the West Coast and Hawaii ministering and singing in the Japanese churches. So, this earthquake in Japan was not just statistics for me, but rather, I had specific people I was concerned about. I continued my vigilance every day praying as God led. I’m still praying for Japan, and I know you are too. God loves the Japanese people and I believe they are about to experience His manifested presence in a powerful way. Let’s continue to pray for God interventions on all fronts – spiritually as well. That has been the heart cry of the Japanese for decades as they have never experienced a national spiritual revival.

I believe God wants us to have a heart-engagement with the nations. He loves the people of these nations and we are His connection to them. There have been numerous times when God has given me dreams about nations – prior to some catastrophe, disaster, or war – and I realize it is to bring a prayer focus for the people of that particular part of the world. Weeks before Egypt erupted, for instance, I had two dreams – one about the sun exploding. Around the same time, I had a dream about a huge tidal wave that broke over a coastal city. I’m learning to pay closer attention as God continues to show me things about nations, cities, and families. And, I’m going for an upgrade.

Friends of God

As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, our intimate communion with Him in the secret place as the friend of God allows Him to impress upon us the urgent needs on His heart. We can train ourselves to become very responsive to the Lord. By turning our hearts towards Him 24/7, we are telling Him: “Here I am . . . just to be with You.” God longs to share secrets with His friends in the secret place.

His friends become the first responders.

And, how desperately the world needs expressions of God’s merciful compassion as the first response to disasters, famines, earthquakes, and injustice.

This is dedicated to all the silent heroes who are selflessly serving those in desperate need . . .

http://www.youtube.com/user/devotedworshipper#p/c/E881972681695479/16/gZoEnrIelIM

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Birthday Surprise


Three months previous to my 18th birthday, I had a life-changing encounter with God.

Senior High School

It really turned my world upside down and immediately altered what I would do with the rest of my life.

Jesus Freaks

Jesus People Movement 1970

This was the Jesus People Movement, 1970, and God was sweeping through young people my age on every school campus and church denomination around the world. It resulted in a remnant of radicals that changed the course of history in many ways. It didn’t seem to matter what church you were going to during those days, because the fire of God was after the hearts of the next generation . . . specifically, my generation. At the age of 17, I was looking to experience God in a supernatural way, as were most of my peers. The drug culture of the 60s had set the stage for God’s answer to young people searching for life significance and spiritual experiences with a real encounter with Him.

For three months now, I had been enjoying such a newness in my walk with God, and each day was better than the one previous. I was seeking out “Jesus Freaks” everywhere they gathered, and it was not within the walls of the established churches! Sadly, long-haired Jesus Freaks were just not welcomed there in many cases! So, the Jesus People (as they were called) set up coffee shops, gathered on the beaches of southern California, and booked the Hollywood Palladium for Sunday “concerts.”  Though I was regularly attending my Catholic church on Sundays, and a Baptist Church on Wednesday nights, these other places became my extended local church body from which came a whole new inspiration. One of my favorite publications at the time, targeting Jesus Freaks especially, was the Hollywood Free Paper. Looking back I realized that what we really wanted was to get back to grass roots Christianity – you know, doing it like Jesus did. There was a strong belief in the supernatural ways of God in those days, with a simple faith in The Bible, miracles, healing, and prayer. We, the revolutionary new church, clearly wanted to get back to basics, very much like the radical revolutionary Hippie Movement we were birthed from. We were emerging whether or not society was ready for us.

I feel we are at that place once again . . . don’t you? May we never settle for the status quo, but rather, desire to press onwards and upwards in God.

Back to Basics

The Bible was my companion everywhere I went. I was convinced the world would not be around another ten years and felt it was my personal mission to warn everyone I met that Jesus was coming very soon! They must get ready!! I had many convincing signs, arguments, and a backpack full of Chick tracts, to be sure!  I was singing “I wish we’d all been ready” right along with Larry Norman.

I had joined the Jesus Freaks as a radical and could be seen any day of the week at a local beach joining in a baptism of scores of long hairs! We often took communion together there on the beach with a loaf of unsliced bread and a bottle of grape juice . . . just like Jesus did it. It was heaven on earth, as far as we were concerned.

A Costa Mesa California Calvary Chapel Baptism where I used to go

Jesus People Music

With each move of God in history came a unique musical expression. The Jesus Movement was marked with taking modern rock music to another level in praise and worship of Jesus. Like Larry Norman used to belt out, “Why should the devil have all the good music?”

Because music has always been such an important part of my life, I was happy that God was raising up worship leaders, songwriters, and musicians to write the music that would express the hearts of those of coming into the Kingdom outside of the walls of the organized church. And, He is still doing that! I love the new music as well.

Not long ago I came across this video that showed two generations attempting to come together. Kathryn Kuhlman, representing the mothers and fathers of her generation from the move of God of 1948, invited leaders from the present Jesus Movement so she could experience their worship and testimonies first hand. In this clip, the leader of the music group Love Song shares his testimony and then they sing one of the first songs they wrote.

My 18th Birthday

I believe the Holy Spirit loves an opportunity for a celebration! His personality is all joy, and He had a surprise birthday gift for me on this big occasion that I had no clue was coming.

The weekend custom of my group of friends was to pile in someone’s VW Van and head off to a Jesus concert being held somewhere. This particular weekend was my 18th birthday and the concert was being held at the Hollywood Palladium with a lineup of our favorite Christian groups: Love Song, Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Barry McGuire, and others.

We headed off that evening with a mixed group of Catholics, Baptists, non-believers packed in the van – all friends – excited to be together for my birthday celebration, and ready for another God-adventure.

Hollywood Freeway God-Encounter

I don’t remember how it began, but we were soon all singing a familiar song, worshiping the Lord as the Van drove 65-miles an hour down the LA freeway. Someone began to sing “Amazing Grace,” and there we all were – eyes closed, hands lifted up in praise of salvation through Jesus.

At some point we finished singing all the verses to that song, and we then began to sing a “new song” to the Lord with the melody of Amazing Grace. I was really enjoying this free expression of worship to the Lord and found myself transported into God’s Presence as I continued to pour out my heart of love to Him in my song. By now, I am not even aware of anyone else in the car.

With an ease of water flowing down a hill, I began to sing to the Lord in a heavenly language and felt myself slip into a deep place of worship. At this point, I was before the Presence of God Himself and He was speaking things to my heart that were so deep – and healing. All around me, I began to hear others also singing to the Lord in a heavenly language, and there was now much joy, and laughing, and excitement as God’s presence washed over us in that old VW van. I was experiencing a personal expression of God’s deep love and peace in a way I had never known before. It was like He was drawing me very near to His Heart in an embrace . . . a sweet kiss from Heaven  . . . and it felt really good to be loved in such a way.

In this moment, I felt like all the pain of my life thus far had been drawing me to this one meeting place on my 18th birthday. The Holy Spirit was celebrating my life tonight and giving me a revelation of my eternal place in the heart of Father.

I belonged here.

I have been adopted by God Himself  . . . into His family;

His name was my now my name.

My Father created me . . . I was never abandoned or rejected.

In this moment, I saw that I had always belonged to God Himself, and He had reestablished the value of my life. Out of His love for me, He had actually placed me in the care of all the adults of my life, including the caretakers at 13-different foster homes where I had lived and experienced abuse. (It was a sobering moment when God showed me years later that one day, each one of those adults would stand before Him to give an account of the God-opportunity to love a needy child. I prayed for mercy upon them.)

There would never be any question to whom I belonged from here on. The Holy Spirit had sealed the deal on this my 18th birthday. With His manifest presence came proof of His ownership.

I have no idea how long I was in this place with the Father on the Hollywood Freeway, communing through the Holy Spirit. I only remember that we had finally arrived at our destination and my friends were trying to get me out of the car! But, I never wanted to leave this place of God’s Presence . . . not ever!! I resisted for quite some time, but finally went in to the concert with them.

This was the most glorious birthday celebration I have ever had . . . just to think that God would manifest Himself to me in such a powerful way. This night — my 18th birthday — actually became my default line.

This year, on my birthday, I will be remembering 40 years ago when the Holy Spirit came to celebrate my life with me. He still does . . .

Heaven's Ecstasy

Ode to the Holy Spirit (written 2009)

Shimmering bursts of Color

Transparent and dazzling

Movements of Light

You draw near.

Spirit of Jesus

I feel Your warmth –

Living Words of Comfort,

A Passionate kiss of Mercy and Truth,

Waves of Love  –

Announcing Your Presence . . .

Your eternal Friendship.

I welcome You

Holy Spirit . . .

Come live with me here.

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