From Religion to Relationship :)

From religion to relationship. Yes, yes, yes…

This was the journey of Saul of Tarsus to become the Apostle Paul. It took a paradigm shift, a transformation of mind to heart. Jesus got his attention, blinded him for days and then gave him new eyes to see! Jesus showed him that it wasn’t about rules, but about relationship!

I read this recently…

“If you believe the wrong thing, it will take away the power of the right thing. For example, if you’re legalistic and think that you have to earn your way to God, the importance of grace diminishes. I think of how before Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul the persecutor operated in pure legalism. When the scales fell off his eyes, his religious mindset was not just broken, but God created a new nature in him. In this new nature, Saul turned Paul was not only freed from the religious pressure nagging him in his inner thoughts, but also his mind was renewed.” (Shawn Bolz, God Secrets.)

Legalism prevents us from intimately knowing the Father in the greatest relationship we could ever have.

Legalism also keeps us from loving others, and stuck in just knowing about others and easily slipping into judgement.

Does learning the truth about others always set one free? Maybe not. I can think of learning a few things that did not bring me peace.

BUT, seeing God’s Truth about others is another thing…

Seeing how God loves someone stuck in legalism/religion, whatever… (and instead seeing HIS Truth available to them), helps to set me free to love them as God loves them, and pray for them.

I’m still learning this.

Yes… there IS the call to wipe the dust off our feet when our gift of peace is not received… When peaceful relationship is not welcomed, keep walking… Freedom is elsewhere. Submitting to religion (or someone’s legalism) is not freedom. I don’t want to be Saul of Tarsus or friends with that guy! I want to journey with Paul and see God do mighty things!! God’s kingdom is about freedom!

Ask God:

Where am I trapped in my thinking?

What do you want to set me free from?

Who do you want to set me free from?

(Friendship is related to the word ‘freedom’. If you are trapped, constantly torn apart, that is not a friendship, that is abusive. One of the hardest things to do is walk away from someone you love who has continued to abuse you, manipulate you, control you… Tough love is no longer enabling someone’s pattern of abuse, legalism, religion, etc. Loving them is showing them that behaviour is not okay.)

God, what promise do you have for me?

What gift do you have for me?

Enjoy a 2-way relationship with Father God who made a way through His son Jesus.

Read and Meditate on His Word.
Ask Him questions.
Listen and Write.
Pray it all back to Him!

Christianity is not a religion (earning our way to God’s love), it’s a relationship (He is love and extends His love to us through His son Jesus who opened the doorway).

 

31 Days of Prayer for the Church in Canada

Hey, Canada! 🙂

Are you ready for God to move in and through you to share His love in your family, your city, your country of Canada?

Join your fellow Canadians in a hunger and thirst for God to move across our land.

Help yourself below to the… 31 Days of Prayer Guide for the Church in Canada

Recognize God’s Power in the Church:
We, the church, are called and equipped to be the fullness of Christ
who fills everything in every way! (Ephesians 1:18-25)

31 Days of Prayer for the Church in Canada

 

My Dream for the Church in Canada

fullsizeoutput_133b2What do you long for, for the Church in Canada or even all of North America?

Come dream with me…

My Dream for the Church in Canada

I pray for the Church to be so blessed by, and hungry and thirsty for Holy Spirit.

I dream of…

  • People hungrily meditating on the Word… not for knowing about God, but for knowing Him personally and for heart transformation, enjoying rich fellowship, breaking bread together with loving hearts, fervent praying, sharing with each other in unity, worshiping God together, joyfully serving together, giving, empowering, with external missional focus, flowing in love and grace.
  • People bearing fruit of Holy Spirit because they are first abiding in Christ, seeking His kingdom (not our own), relying on the strength of Holy Spirit and not on human talent or ambition.
  • God wanting to draw the Church closer to Himself and away from relying on tradition and mere intellect. (People are hungry for testimony and spiritual relationship with a relational God. We are in a post-modern age of people who want to know our story, not how much we know.) God is wanting us to be in love with Him, trusting Holy Spirit, truly doing life with Him that we are willing to hear His voice because we are His sheep, and He is our Shepherd.
  • The Church being a community of dreamers and not dream squashers.
  • Love being the greatest in the Church– because principles without love is legalism / rules without relationship leads to rebellion / because lacking in love and lacking in 2 way relational prayer puts tradition and religion in the way of the Gospel.
  • The Church introducing people to our loving God, and showing His love, with people being drawn to Him and His abundant life within us, instead of spending our energies on arguing, and aligning with the enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
  • The Church understanding that lingering and resting in God’s love is the starting place. We do not earn His love by doing things for Him, nor do we earn other people’s love by serving. We serve out of loving intimacy with our Father – practicing prayer, rest and worship, and not serving out of anxiety, guilt, neediness, and a never-ending to-do list.
  • The Church known as a community that lovingly develops leaders and not as the organization that burns out leaders and volunteers.
  • The Church playing a strong part in bringing God’s love to the world, truly knowing His love and showing His love to each other.
  • The Church becoming a place where broken relationships are restored because of a hunger for righteousness and God’s love far above a hunger to be right.
  • The Church being a place where friendships are forged for building God’s kingdom and not for meeting selfish needs.
  • The Church as being a place of inclusive welcome and not exclusive cliques.
  • The Church being a place of loving, edifying language that is helpful for building up the community.
  • The Church being known for admitting mistakes and seeking to repair and restore hurts previously caused in Church history.

I dream of…

  • Disciples multiplying disciples because they are simply contagious in their faith.
  • Every day, the Church people experiencing Divine appointments and conversations with people on the street, in the marketplace, etc.
  • People who can’t help but bring the presence of God everywhere they go. If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples…If you seek to make disciples, you get the church.
  • Each believer praying for God to give them 3-5 people to invest life in for the next 12 months, and challenging them at the end of 12 months to replicate the process, and watching what God does. Jesus spent 90 percent of his time with 12 men and a few women. And out of that, he focused on three: James, John, and Peter.

I dream of…

  • Men being spiritual fathers and women being spiritual mothers.
  • Men recognizing women as sisters in Christ.
  • Women recognizing men as brothers in Christ and not threats to favour, or competition.
  • Women seeing each other as sisters in building God’s kingdom and not threats to friendship or favour.
  • Women with leadership gifts not seen as usurping Christ’s authority but seen as faithful stewards of their gifts.
  • Holy Spirit not being quenched in the silencing of both women and men.
  • Women finding the Church to be a place of freedom and safety – empowered to bear His image and serve faithfully.
  • Men finding the Church to be a place of safety where they don’t have to be stoic, but can be authentic and vulnerable with other men, with no shame of sharing struggles because Holy Spirit’s love is stronger.

I dream of…

  • The Church being a place of celebration and empowering each other – rather than comparison and competition.
  • A people who seek to bless each other during gatherings – seeing themselves as priestly brothers and sisters partnering with any hired pastors.
  • Children celebrated and encouraged as powerful prayer warriors, worshipers and kingdom builders, that they inspire their parents, their teachers, and their friends with their faith, their prayers, and their unselfish service.
  • Youth so hungry and thirsty to see God at work, that the older generation is inspired and blessed to join them in the hunger and thirst – not caring if their music is loud, their jeans have holes, or arms have tattoos because their hearts are filled with grace.
  • The older generation recognizing the younger as arrows to invest in, craft and shape with gentle loving care (Titus 2 intentional discipleship of the next generation).
  • Families adopting other families into a discipleship lifestyle.
  • Couples mentoring other couples in marriage.
  • Parents mentoring other parents in the journey.
  • Parents discipling their children and partnering with the Church (who is intentionally discipling parents), rather than expecting volunteers and leaders to do it all.
  • Pastors equipping the saints to do the work of ministry, not the pastor or the staff executing all the ministry.
  • Pastors leading with a kingdom mindset – not envious of other leaders/ministry areas.
  • Congregation seeking to bless and pray for leaders and not worshiping them as idols or resorting to devour them when expectations are unmet.
  • Pastors, elders, and congregation loving and trusting each other in transparency.

I dream of…

  • The Church viewing hardship as necessary to rest in our identity and rise up against the enemy’s lies and proving God’s goodness.
  • Leaders resting in patience and perseverance to stand ground in Holy Spirit conviction, not intimidated by fear of people or money. People may choose to leave, but Spirit-led leaders stand their ground.
  • The Church not afraid of people, or money leaving the Church when we stand for truth, because we worship a God who has the largest bank in the universe and we are building His kingdom, not our own. He cares more about our obedience and sacrifice than people-pleasing which is idolatry.
  • The Church believing God is working something out on our behalf.
  • The Church going in with a few small stones and trusting God to deliver as we stand up against intimidation of Goliath or like the little boy with his lunch not expecting to eat a bite only to discover God can feed a crowd and provide leftovers.
  • Fear not being our motivating factor, but Faith!
  • Choosing to fight from victory, rather than for victory.
  • God seeing that He can then trust us, and birth a greater anointing over us and trust us with more.
  • The Church being a church that hires pastors only because Holy Spirit called us to appoint them.
  • The Church not being afraid of bad reports like the spies to Canaan, but instead we trust in God who has promised us the land and His protection.
  • The Church being an apostolic sending station/missional outpost/church planting/kingdom building church – to the city, the province, the country, and around the world.
  • The Church in Canada continuing to financially provide for missionaries while seeing themselves as daily missionaries too.
  • People going out healing the sick, bringing life from death, driving out evil in Jesus name.
  • The Church moving outside the doors of buildings to bring the love and kindness of God to the city and beyond recognizing that Jesus left the building(Interestingly, statistics still indicate that people are leaving the church in North America in increasing numbers to find …Jesus.)

  • The Church seeing the bigger picture together of kingdom building, dreaming and listening to Holy Spirit for each assignment.
  • The Church not limiting who is allowed to spread the Gospel of God’s redeeming love based on gender, or age, or education, etc… but on the anointing of Holy Spirit.

I dream of…

  • Prayer being a main activity because we are hungry for the voice and move of God – in community, not with just one person praying at the front, but clusters in homes, in the gym, in the sanctuary, prayer walks throughout the Church building and neighbourhood, and throughout the city as the Spirit leads because we are commissioned with the building of God’s kingdom.
  • The Church not guilty of silencing God’s voice by shying away from facilitating corporate prayer in gatherings and events because it may cause seekers or even long time followers to feel uncomfortable. I dream of the Church to be unapologetically a House of Prayer where people can take part and listen in on the greatest 2-way conversation we have ever been gifted, and to come away knowing they were in the presence of God and His people.

I dream of…

  • The Church not driven by flesh, or fear, not by arrogance, and not making each other angry or resorting to jealousy, but being a Spirit-led church as in Galatians 5 – being a loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled family who daily die to self, and who live by Holy Spirit.

How do we turn these dreams into reality? Pray them! 🙂
For myself, I’ve chosen to craft a 31 days of prayer guide to ask Holy Spirit to lead and fill the Church in Canada.

We Can Hear from God

We Can Hear From God (Listening Prayer)

listen

Is it possible to come to God like an inquisitive child?
– Mark 10:13-16 – Jesus encouraged the children to come to Him.
– Matt 18:1-5 – Be like little children… (inquisitive, trusting…)
– Gal 4:6-7 – We call God our Father because Jesus lives in us. We are His child.

listeningDoes God answer our questions?
– Jer 29:12-13 – when we seek Him with all our hearts, He will listen.
– 2 Chron 7:14 – when we humble ourselves and repent from sin, He will listen.

Can we trust that we are hearing from God?
– John 10:1-5 – God’s people will hear His voice.

Steps in Hearing from God
1. Start with the Word of God. Read a passage such as one listed above.
2. Invite the Holy Spirit to open your heart and your mind to His voice.
3. Ask God questions, expecting that He wants to give you answers.
4. Test the answer. Then accept or reject the answer after careful testing.

To analyze an answer from God:
1. Is it Biblical? (We need to know His Word.) Think of a verse. Look for one.
(Memorize God’s Word. Put it in your mind to get rid of the negative.)
2. Does the Holy Spirit give you peace?
3. Do other believers agree that it is from God? Ask a mentor/friend.
4. If you accept it, will it bring fruit (Gal 5:22,23) in your life? How?

Accept the Answer?:

Thank God
Believe God
Act on it – God wants me to….
I will tell ____ to hold me accountable.

Reject the Answer?:

Ask God where it came from
Ask God what He wants you to do about it
Analyze the answer

“Be still and know that I am God.” – Ps 46:10a

Now use one of the worksheets below!

Hearing from God. Full teaching notes

Listening Worksheet – Qs to ask God – for Adults

Listening Worksheet for Kids – I love using this with my boys!

Here’s my post on my first experience using this back in 2011…

Discipleship Things We’ve Forgotten

people-praying-together
“Success is not the pastor or the staff executing all the ministry; it’s them equipping the saints to do the work of ministry.”

“If you seek to build a church, you rarely produce disciples…If you seek to make disciples, you always get the church.”

“Pray about God giving you 3-5 men you can invest your life in for the next 12 months, and challenge them at the end of 12 months to replicate the process. And you watch what God does.”

“Jesus restricted 90 percent of his time to 12 men. And out of the 12, he restricted a large portion of his time to three: James, John, and Peter.”

Listen or read the interview notes here:

http://churchleaders.com/podcast/302734-robby-gallaty-jewish-jesus-discipleship-things-weve-forgotten.html

Mind Blown: Amazing Disciplemaking Story

A new missionary friend I met at a coffee shop birthday party the other day, sent me this disciplemaking story that made me weep with delight! She sent…

Hey, check this out!

A guy who was orphaned, drug addict, met Jesus, and grew in being discipled and started a discipleship making MOVEMENT. thousands of groups are all over the world… reaching to 8 generations of disciples!

Reminded me of our conversation the other day about, “What is church?”

(Listen to the full audio interview of Lee Wood and enjoy PDF outline…)
http://moredisciples.com/2016/12/24-wwdjd/

 

Listen to it yourself for the full impact of this incredible story…!
but here are some of my notes…
I’m going to listen to it over and over myself!

Poor deeply into the few!! (Don’t go for the numbers.)
We can suck at it.
But, God redeems and multiplies!!

Coach and train others!

You take care of the depth.
God takes care of the width!

Pray one hour or more before stepping out! (YES!!!)
The disciples asked Jesus…
“Teach us to pray!” They didn’t ask him to teach them to preach.

John 14:21

“Anyone who has my commands and obeys them, loves me. My Father will love the one who loves me. I too will love them. And I will show myself to them.”

He manifests in us.
If you want to see the magic, you just got to do the stuff…
Obey Him. Abide in Him!

It’s His pleasure to give us His kingdom.
We’re praying for His kingdom.
He’s our King.

There is joy in suffering and hardship together.
It’s not processing systems. It’s organic.
People are drawn to Him in us as we suffer together.

In the West, it’s a bad church model.
When we talk about this fast growing movement, people look at you like you’re crazy. Most of us in the West are products of a bad model.

What is the difference between a rockstar and a DJ?
A Rockstar wants the fame, the DJ wants everybody to dance.

He wants us to be faithful, and He takes care of the fruit.

Don’t measure yourselves among yourselves.
Don’t compare yourself to each other.

Abide in Him.
Do not seek to produce fruit.
He is the One who gives the increase.

We don’t see much fruit in the traditional Western church because we have short relational ties. We’re too busy. We have consumeristic and materialistic mindsets. If we die to ourselves daily, we will bear much fruit.

Go.
Tell.
Train trainers.

Do not become weary.
Keep doing what you’re doing.
You’ll get better at it.

We are the family of God…
He redeems!
He uses us.

God is faithful!

Lee’s mentor trained him how to multiply and Lee has trained others.

Here’s access to the training at:

Zumeproject.com

My Process of Healing

victory

“Watching is a vital part of praying. God wants us to seek out the holes in the walls of nations, churches, and individual lives. Just as David and Joshua found out why God’s blessing had dried up, it is our job as prophetic intercessors today to find these gaps and fill them with prayer.” – Murray Dueck

I was standing in the gap…
with the gap becoming wider and wider …
and watching some who once prayed with me, lose their way…

“…Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. But every time he lowered his hands, the Amalekites began to win.” – Exodus 17:10b-11

…and, eventually my body said, ‘enough is enough’ and crashed…

BUT…

The process of healing and renewing my strength…

…(with bits of my story) has been the following so far… 🙂

1. Blessing Prayers and Breaking Curses

2. Heart Wound Healing Prayers

3. Inner Healing Prayers 

4. Bonus: Something I’ve learned about my gifting while resting…My Spiritual Sensitivity and Burden Bearing

Thought: One advantage of chronic fatigue and chronic pain in recovery from ministry fatigue? I feel the Lord’s presence more strongly. I can tell when the Holy Spirit has given me more of His strength. Because I’ve got nothing. It’s like a jet propulsion or something.

Less of me, more of him! 🙂 Sweet Jesus, thank you!

Permission to Do Church Differently

Permission to Do Church Differently with Graham Cooke

Skip to start watching the video at 9:45…

(Source: Permission to Do Church Differently with Graham Cooke at Believer’s Edge from Believer’s Edge on Vimeo.)

Leave your thoughts below… 🙂

Healing Prayer For Harmful Memories

sunrise-sings-at-cross-of-christ-290x300
Have you ever seen something that brought you distress or even traumatized you? Do you have any harmful images you’ve internalized that periodically come back to upset you?

What do you do with these harmful memories and images?

Read: Healing Prayer for Harmful Images (Soul Shepherding)

 

Prayers: Healing Heart Wounds

How can you receive healing in your heart wounds?
If this can be helpful for others, I’m sharing the goods! 🙂

This below is some material that was given to me after I was prayed over by others for 3 hours to break word curses spoken over me that perhaps accumulated over 10 years of being a pastor…

(For part one, see From Curses to Blessing that will open up in a new window.)

Then… this was the 2nd part that I have continued with to find healing and to pray for others…

(These are material I have found for free online…)

1.) Assessment: These below list negative emotions/thoughts/strongholds that could be present in your life (whether in people around you in your environment or in you yourself)…
Discerning a heart wound which needs healing
Heart Issues that could need healing
What is in My Heart? worksheet

2. The basic process that will take intentional prayer focus and time.
7 prayers – Strands

3.) A sample of how to do it…
Prayers That Heal the Heart – 7 Step Model

 

4.) How to pray over others to break these things (after praying for yourself).
7 Prayers That Heal the Heart.intercessors
(This is especially healing to pray over anyone who has caused the wounding in you.)

More info:
To read the full book, purchase on Amazon:

Prayers That Heal The Heart

You can also find videos and audios to assist…
For more info: http://www.cwgministries.org