Looking for a splendid twirl into the depths of creativity? Wanting to release your inner artist? Happily artistic and wanting to step out in more confidence? Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, you should COME TO THE SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL CREATIVITY at Bethel Church! It is going to be INCREDIBLE!!!!! Tell your friends! Get a group and hop over to Redding! Be refreshed in the Presence of Father God!
Come Come Come! May 24-27!!!!
This includes: visual arts, writing, fashion design, theatre, photography, dance, media, film, etc. It will be inspiring!
For More Information and to Register:
I have been thinking a lot lately about bravery and doing what has never been done. Amelia Earhart is one of my heroes. I once saw her in a vision in which she looked intently in my eyes and said, “No one understands what I am doing.” Then she hopped in her plane and flew away. That moment was pivotal for me. I knew what she meant. I imagined the flak she received for her “foolish” confidence and her grandiose vision. I thought of the eye-rolls she must have endured when sharing her dreams. Yet, she knew there was more in her breakthrough than herself – there was a future full of millions of people. She made a way through flight. Now, most people think little of flying – and thousands of people do it daily. In some sense, Amelia saw this. From far off, from eighty years ago, she SAW it. She knew she was blazing a new trail that would soon become well-traveled. Her “unthinkable” dream, has become our norm.
And so it shall be for peace and flourishing in the Middle East.
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”
(I painted the above painting in worship at BSSM one lovely March day this year. It’s called, “A Brave New World.”)
Friday I returned from a two week trip to Central Asia. That night I slept 15 hours – an intense 14 days and jet lag were holding opposite ends of a jump rope and swinging in out-of-sync mayhem much too chaotic for my legs. I’m now feeling rested, but also wide awake at 1am – my internal clock jumping to the rhythm of a place 15 hours ahead of my bed in Redding, California.
I’m also really excited about the salvation of the nations – which sometimes keeps me up at night, like a newborn baby or perhaps a baby in the womb always moving about. I am attentive to the stirring of nations to be born.
As one might calm a baby, I’m going to tell a bedtime story.
Feel free to grab a stuffed lamb or a teething ring if that helps you fall asleep. Or grab God’s finger with your itsy-bitsy baby fist. He likes it when you do that.
About 80 of us went on a treasure hunt the first week of our trip. A treasure hunt is a format for finding people God is highlighting in a place through clues the Holy Spirit gives. (For more info see this book: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Treasure-Hunt-Supernatural-Evangelism/dp/0768426022/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302509304&sr=1-1 )
I was leading a team of five, myself included. We took about ten minutes and wrote down things we felt the Holy Spirit was bringing to mind: articles of clothing, activities, locations, and unusual items. When the five of us compared our lists over dinner a few things stood out: people eating ice cream, green carpet (astroturf), umbrellas, someone wearing red, and a problem on the right side of someone’s body. Then as we stood looking out a large second story hallway window, we spotted something surprising: green astroturf next to the ceiling in the building below us! We laughed, thinking it was a particularly “unlikely” clue and yet, there it was! AND the place was an ice cream shop! AND there were umbrellas outside! Immediately we were down the escalator and rounding the building into the front door of the shop. There were two people inside wearing red. I was drawn to a man in the back wearing a red sweater so, three stayed behind to chat with the woman in red nearby as I walked to the back with a translator.
I felt it was the man’s right ear that needed healing. We struck up a conversation. The girlfriend-ish person with the man spoke English well, whereas the man did not speak any English. We explained we were on a treasure hunt with clues and red clothing was on our list and, “Do you have any problems with your right ear?” “Well, yeah! I had an accident years ago!” “Would you like us to pray for your ear and get it healed?” “Yes!” We prayed. The man explained he didn’t have any exhibiting symptoms, it was a sporadic trouble. I replied, “Okay, I’m going to pray again and this time you are going to feel something happen around your ear. You are going to feel it getting healed and you won’t have any more problems with your ear.” I prayed. “I feel a sensation all around and in my ear,” he said in surprise. “Great. Your ear is healed,” I said. From there, the woman was fascinated. “How are you doing this?” she inquired. “We hear from God and heal through Jesus,” we explained. “You mean you hear God or Jesus speak to you?” she asked. “Yes. And you can hear Him speak to you too. Just ask Him to any time. He will speak to you. He wants to speak to you,” my translator friend explained.
Then we prophesied over the man. The woman was amazed. “Can you tell me about my future?” she queried, “This is like a fortune teller.” “No. We aren’t like a fortune teller at all. We aren’t listening to any kind of spirit, we are hearing from God. He loves you.” Then we prophesied over her. I gave her a word about starting a new job dealing with putting things in order. She laughed and clarified she recently completed university and started a new job as an editor. Her face showed the delight in her heart. God knew her and He sent us to let her know. We smiled with her joyful countenance.
That is when she artfully stated one of my favorite responses to encountering God, “Thank you. You have changed my view of God.” I laughed merrily. What a brilliant summary! From this point my translator friend asked if she had a Bible in her first language. “Yes, I have one,” she answered, “I have read some of it.” Now it was our turn to be elated! My friend explained more of how to get to know God and the woman was open-eared and eager-hearted. On top of all this sweetness, in a store full of ice cream, was the whipped cream of the Father’s love, dotted with a cherry of personal revelation.
We bid farewell to the woman and her friend, still glowing with the light of feeling known.
It was all really easy and really fun. There we were in a city of 11 million people and Papa God led us to TWO individuals. He demonstrated His great knowing and His great love in an ocean of streets, stores, lights, and cars. He took one woman and one man by the hand and swung them on His portable swing set, making them sandcastles in His heavenly sandbox. He so loved the world! He SO loved the world! He so LOVES the world!!!!!
Ah the sweetness of who He is! Sometimes I look up at the stars, the constellations in the night sky, and I am quite sure I have the world’s longest eyelashes, the tender innocence of an Eden-raised child in awe of Her Father’s strength and in wonder of His beauty. “Daddy, throw me up into the sky! I want to fly! Again! Again!”
He is gorgeous. To give Him my devotion is a weak-kneed deep drink of drunken love. The world grows blurry, His eyes engulf me. It’s bliss to know Him and it’s bliss to be known by Him.
That sweet woman in Asia said, “You have changed my view of God.” haha. I think everyday God Himself changes my “view of God.” He’s got more facets, colors, and jokes than the most sparkly star or exquisitely cut diamond.
In the words of Kristene Mueller, “All my devotion belongs to this man!”
All of Asia, sing along! All the nations, sing along!
It is time to change your view of God.
He is infinitely better than you think!
And HE LOVES YOU!
Last year I went to Mexico on my official missions trip with Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. We saw hundreds of healings and we had an absolutely joyfully catalytic time increasing the blaze in La Paz, Mexico.
THIS YEAR I AM GOING TO CENTRAL ASIA!!!!!!
Let me tell you how I found myself headed so far east:
A couple months ago it was time to choose my top five choices for missions trips. Central Asia was not on my mental list. Then I felt prompted to ask a friend where he felt I should go. He instantly said, “Central Asia.” “What?!!! Why? That’s nowhere on my radar!” I exclaimed, thinking his discernment was wacky. He said he didn’t know why, but he felt like it could be the Holy Spirit dropping ideas into his head. haha. So I began asking God if there was anything to this notion.
That weekend I went to Central California to a friend’s wedding. He married a woman from Uzbekistan. As she stood there at the altar looking at him I began to cry. “It’s the Central Asian bride!” I thought to myself (and the Holy Spirit). “She’s going to fall in love with Jesus and marry Him!!!! Oh my goodness! I don’t remember ever feeling this way about Central Asia!!!! What’s going on? Uh oh… I think I might be going there in March!”
And that was it. Central Asia became my first choice for my missions trip. And lo and behold I was chosen for the team. And now I sometimes tear up when I think about this trip. I’ve never been so far east. I’ve never been in a Buddhist area. It feels abundantly too good to be true, or so good it must be true. haha. I feel exquisitely honored to be going to this region and to become part of her bright future.
I will be investing in the lives of forerunners in remote Buddhist areas. The trip will be from March 25-April 8.
I am full of expectation for a radical explosion across the heavens and through the earth in Central Asia! Central Asia is part of Jesus’ beautiful bride!!!!!! Yahoooooo!
UPDATE 02/11/11 THUS FAR,
$965.50 due February 18
TOTAL COST: $2,750.
If you would like to be a part of the group hug around Central Asia, you can make a tax-deductible gift here:
I also need $193.01 immediately to renew my passport. If you want to give toward that, email me and I will send you my home address. Thanks!
If you’d like to join the facebook group, you can do so here:
THANK YOU for supporting me in my journey
and for loving the people of Central Asia!
There’s going to be a wedding!
Central Asia will be there!
What if you were on a fishing boat on the ocean and suddenly the water’s surface opened its mouth and a scuba diver popped up and said,
“Hey, we’re having a party down here, wanna come?”
Would you go? I mean, if you instantly knew how to scuba and you had the gear?
Sometimes, I feel like I live underwater. Other times I am nearly convinced of it. I love my home under the sea. I swim deep into darkness and I find secrets. Sometimes I meet colorful fish in the midst of their own family gatherings and sometimes I meet grey eels living in loneliness and defensiveness. I look at all of them with curiosity and wonder. I travel with God’s hand leading me. The creases in His hand press against the cracks in mine. The roads of my life blending with every road ever.
I have great chats with huge lobsters, feeling their way around with their massive television antennae. I read books leaned up against firm, but sensitive coral. I float through the Bible with each blink because the glory is palpable and visible and stunning. I pull ancient maps from brass tubes in shipwrecks. I see the red “X” where hope is buried, where treasure waits, and I resolve to pick up where that captain left off. The passage of time, the waiting of the vast treasure, does not diminish my expectation. If I remember how the nightly news reports that particular treasure’s discovery is a lost cause, I am not deterred in my pursuit, but instead inspired. There is a reason we have the phrase “worth fighting for.” It is because we know that for massive victories, there will be a massive fight. It might be a fight won through rest, praise, and trust, but it is still a fight. It might be a fight won by angels cheered on by the hearts of men, but it is still a fight. It might be a fight to drive lame enemies off of something that already belongs to you, but it is still a fight. In fact, the main fight may actually be the first one: believing the thing IS worth fighting for.
So, fins on, I’m swimming.
And I’m inviting you to the underwater festivities.
P.S. I added new music to the sidebar on my blog’s home page – outrageous hope you can download & sing along to.
I’m very tiny or very gigantic, depending on how you look at everything. And I see myself travelling through a blueberry muffin. What I mean is, I’ve been trying to sleep for over an hour, but I taste the sweetness of God’s goodness and so, I can’t seem to sleep. I am departing my house at 4:45am tomorrow/today to head to the Redding airport in order to fly to Texas. I’m going to Texas as part of the ministry team for Bill Johnson while he does a series of 5 meetings at a church next to Austin. (http://www.churchofthehills.org/Bill_Johnson.html )And I would love to sleep, but I am inevitably meditating on my Father’s goodness, which is keeping me very excited and awake.
It’s like I am an itsy bitsy person inside a blueberry muffin. Yes, it’s just like that. Haha. And as I travel along, I eat the bread, which is okay, but I also chew into lots and lots of very succulent blueberries, which are astounding every time I run into them – even though it’s a constant encounter (after all, it is a blueberry muffin).
It’s His goodness, these blueberries – these unavoidable accents, these things which make the blueberry muffin a blueberry muffin, as opposed to a chunk of bread. I mean, really, what is a blueberry muffin if there aren’t any blueberries? And would anyone really desire to eat such a “muffin?”
I can’t separate God from His goodness. His gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooodness. All those o’s are blueberries.
Sometimes His goodness keeps me up at night. And up at day too. Haha.
A couple weeks ago I was in Michael’s, the craft store, and I saw a hunched woman pushing her cart. I approached her and asked her what was wrong with her back. Pretty quickly she was crying and telling me about her father’s death and the deteriorating illness torturing her back and the rest of her bones. We talked for about 20 minutes: about hope and God and life and purpose. Her eyes opened and shut in awe, like a manual garage door that won’t stay up. We talked about dreams she has. And I got to pray for her back and her right leg, which was a center of pain. A lot of the pain left her leg, which she thought was really outstanding and then she said, “I think I am standing up straighter!” I laughed hard. Sometimes when people get healed it’s like you told the punch line to the joke, but the person didn’t get it until sometime later. When that person gets it, you laugh even harder, because the epiphany of truth looks so beautiful on them. “Wow, that truth looks so good on you! It really brings out your eyes!” I asked the woman if I could hug her and she very merrily accepted. She said something about the meeting making her day and her life looking up again, and then she said she would go the Healing Rooms at Bethel that Saturday for more healing prayer. That punch line really got her good. HAHAHAHAHAHA! GOOD. And sweetly, after the pain significantly left her leg I could tell she suddenly thought that the rest of what I’d said was probably true as well – the bit about God and life and purpose – because God demonstrated His goodness by tracking her down in Michael’s.
What a lovely blueberry.
Also about a week ago I saw a man in a wheelchair outside a building in Redding. I made eye contact with him and said, “hi.” He smiled back, but I saw tears creeping up in his thunderstorm eyes. “What’s going on?” I said, walking toward him. “I’m dying,” he answered, rain clouds in his soul darkening. “What do you mean?” I asked. “My heart is detaching from the rest of my body and the doctors say I’ll probably die soon” he abruptly responded. “Well, that’s ridiculous,” I said, looking him in the eyes, pushing back the darkening with the violent light inside me. “I’ve seen lots of people healed of lots of things. Do you want me to pray for you?” I asked. The clouds in his eyes dissipated, as if he was presented a new option he had not considered. “Yes” he said. And I prayed. And I asked him how he felt. He told me he felt much better, like maybe his life would be long. I told him everything changed that day, it was a new year and he would live in full health. I explained that I had to go because I had an appointment to keep, but I blared sunlight into his sky with the words, “You are incredible. You are going to have an incredible life” and then I clapped and cheered for him. And I went inside.
What a wonderfully sweet blueberry.
Recently I had to call my internet provider because we were having technical problems with our internet service. After about 20 minutes of back-and-forth about our internet connection, we resolved the problem. She said, “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” I responded, “Well, this might seem odd, but do you have a son?” “Yes…” she responded, not knowing what else to say. “And are you having difficulty with him lately and you don’t know what to do?” “Yes, how did you know that?” she said, her voice growing hushed and shaky. “Sometimes God shows me things about people and I feel like God wants to encourage you that He is moving in your son’s life. Even though you feel stuck, God is bringing order. And God has a purpose for your son. I see him drawing and He hasn’t found the right use for his drawing yet, but soon he will be at a youth center teaching others to draw.” The woman began to cry. “My son is 16 and he has autism and just this morning we had a huge argument and I don’t know how to deal with him anymore. I was just asking God today for some direction or something because I feel like I can not do anything to help him and I feel overwhelmed because I am working so much and his father isn’t around anymore and it’s so hard for me to raise him alone.” “Wow” I said, feeling every high and low point in both w’s, compassion buckled me in like a seatbelt. I told her I knew of autism being healed and I asked if I could pray for her son. She leapt from weary mom voice to strong mother hen voice, “Yes! Please!” I prayed for her son and prophesied over his life. She cried and said, “I just don’t see how you know all these things…” “It’s just God. He shows me things about people He wants to encourage. He wants you to know you are a great mom and He loves you and your son very very much; and hope is real.” I told her a story from the Bible and she said she would look it up later. Our conversation lasted about 15 minutes and by the end she had transitioned from a faceless customer service operator to a courageous mother who was holding out hope for her teenage son to find fullness in life. I was honored to “meet” her. We exchanged names and thanks and laughs and said our goodbyes.
What a sensationally serendipitous blueberry.
I am really in love with God. His goodness stains my tongue blue; the more I taste Him the more I speak Him. The more I speak Him the more I love Him. He is good, exquisitely, scrumptiously, lavishly goooooooooooooooooooooooood.
mmmmmmmmmmmmmm… yum yum. Good night, everyone. Blueberries! hahaha.
Where is usually more tied to journey than what.
When you look at the flight board at an airport you see city names, not what the places are known for.
London isn’t “Posh / gate A37 / 10:42” and Delhi isn’t “Vibrant: gate D4 / 18:38”
And when you get to the gate the flight attendant welcomes you to the gateway to your destination, not the contents of it. He doesn’t say, “Enjoy your trip to Atlanta. You will find a great bookstore with an elephant statue that makes you laugh and think of your fourth grade trip to the zoo. Then you will think about the idea that ‘elephants are forgetful.’ You will wonder if that’s true, which will make you think about forgiveness. When you think about forgiveness, you’ll think about your mom; you’ll be grateful parents usually demonstrate great perseverance with their children, and then you’ll think of Jesus and how He alone makes real forgiveness and real redemption possible. And your heart will flutter remembering the way He takes your breath away, feeling the squeeze of His love on your shoulder there alone in a bookstore in Atlanta. You are only in Atlanta for a seven hour layover, but by the time you leave, you’ll be ready for an experience you will have eight months from now when that epiphany in Murphy’s Books in Atlanta will be used to bring peace between two of your married friends. The revelation in the bookstore, the one that starts with the elephant statue, will lead to a revelation in your friends’ marriage which will lead to newness in her parents’ marriage, which will lead them to start a course for married couples at their church in Illinois, which will become a curriculum which within 2 years will be in 43 churches in Illinois and one in Michigan. That marriage course will restore and enliven marriages in 44 churches within two years.”
The attendant simply says, “Enjoy your trip to Atlanta.” And the word “Atlanta” gives no indication of the realities alive and waiting in that place. There is more than meets the eye.
We are all on a journey. There is much more than what appears – more than names and wheres, there are whats and whose. As we fly, walk, hike, and rest we all move forward toward the future. We choose daily how to direct our experiences, how to respond to our circumstances, and whether our trip to “Atlanta” is just a trip to Atlanta or if it’s moving toward something – at the least a serendipitous blessing, at the most a pivotal epiphany that grows who we are and readies us for the destiny ahead. Living with intentionality is powerful – expecting that even a “chance” moment in a bookstore might lead to transforming lives is part of living a hope-charged life.
I believe in vision.
I believe in purpose.
Since I was 16 I have burned with a few primary dreams.
One began in hours alone weekly on my floor praying for the Middle East.
One began in the book “Azusa Street” by Frank Bartleman.
One is the fusion of those two, born of passion and long talks with the One who first created and dreamed.
The Middle East will FLOURISH: she will live in peace, abundance, hope, and LOVE for her savior. I have championed the Middle East and believed for her fullness of destiny with an otherworldly fuel for 15 years now.
Every tongue, tribe, and nation will fall in love with Jesus and signs and wonders will be normal on earth as they are in heaven. My vision for revival has led me by the heart with the words I clearly remember crying into the light green carpet in my teenage bedroom: “I have to have revival or I will die.”
I will be a key part of building and transforming nations – entire nations. I do not mean making them so-so, relatively peaceful, decently prosperous, and moderately happy. I MEAN WHOLE NATIONS IN LOVE WITH JESUS: creative, free, healthy, doing “impossible” things constantly, redefining every realm of society with HEAVEN: family, religion, economy, education, government, arts & media, and science & technology. And the infusion of those things, the reality that I am meant for a purpose infinitely more than what I see , has kept me on track and inspired and willing to sacrifice ever since then. I am too in love to move from the vision the Holy Spirit sparked in me back when no one knew the dreams germinating in me.
I have seen it. I can not let go. For fifteen years, I have seen it. I have tasted it.
Vision will inflame you to do things you don’t want to do.
Vision will quicken you into discipline and a love for divine order.
Divine order is meant to GIVE freedom, not control you. It’s meant to make space for love, not take it away. People often think of order as legalism and limitation – that’s not heaven’s idea. Eden reflected order, like the tabernacle of Moses, and like the temple Solomon built; and like the heavenly Jerusalem.
Vision will keep you steady, focused, and joyful.
In Hebrews 12:2 it reads,
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
For THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross.
His sacrifice was infused with vision for what was to come – for what that single action was creating a foundation for.
His love for joy and His love for us compelled him to create an infrastructure for more joy. The price He paid set up an entire system of salvation and redemption and re-unification with God and WHOLENESS.
Vision will knit you to supernatural patience, peace, and laughter.
Vision will move you across the country, the city, the world, and back again – if necessary.
Vision will give you the courage to smile when your journey looks like wandering to those around you.
Vision will become an immovable chunk of granite love – something that makes you happy to pay close attention to how much the apples cost so you can save a little money; something that gives you peculiar delight when you walk from inside a building to a rainy sky and you think of RAIN in a desert far away that yearns for rain and how you KNOW the RAIN is coming; something that magnetizes you with desire in moments to go through the drawers of your life and find something, anything else you can glorify Jesus with. haha. “Hey God, I’m going to draw a happy face on my rent check because I’m so tickled that I get to pay rent, live in a free country, and one day see entire nations give you their own little happy faces. haha.”
Vision, real vision, the kind that is so saturated in Jesus, you can not separate it from Him, nor would you every think to, will make you mad – like crazy mad, but in a perfectly crazy way.
I once heard a quote, “Do you know anyone who changed the world who wasn’t at least a little crazy?”
And “If people don’t laugh when you tell them your dreams, you aren’t dreaming big enough.”
And “If you can complete your dreams without supernatural help, you need to expand your dreams.”
Vision will also grow in you maturity to know how much of the vision to share when and with who. Vision will make the waiting worth it. Vision will make the process an honor, and as much a destination as the “destination.” Sarah and Abraham had their promise for Isaac, they tried a shortcut through Ishmael, and that did not go well. Still, Isaac came and Abraham with the wife “beyond childbearing years” became a FATHER OF NATIONS. And, to think, Sarah LAUGHED when God told her that promise. NOW that is the mark of a good dream, it is kissed with “impossibility.”
I’m going to write more snippets of dreams of mine, at least loosely framed, in an upcoming blog, but I’m not at a point where I feel it’s time to go into much depth. I have learned supernatural resolution via holding closely the secrets of God until the right time. And many secrets will always be secrets. Having said that, there is a fresh stirring in me to share some of what I am learning about vision, establishing infrastructure in one’s life for longevity, the rewards of focus, and the courage it takes to be YOU excellently. Mostly, YOU are the only human who will ever know how much flourishing you live in – one person flourishes when he sets aside an hour to read a history book every week, one person flourishes when he dares to tell a friend “no”, one person flourishes when she truly believes the paintings she does are beautiful, one person flourishes when she becomes radical enough to take responsibility for her own life daily, one person flourishes when he steps out and prays for a stranger, one person flourishes when she moves to Denmark and opens a home for homeless youth.
You must know what you burn for.
You must know you can walk toward your fears and destroy them.
You must know nothing is impossible.
You must know you were made to have vision, to dream, and to fulfill that vision.
You must know that change is possible. You can do it.
You must know you are powerful, to change your life and to change the world.
You must know you are amazing.
You must know you can love YOURSELF, just like Jesus LOVES you.
You must know THANKFULNESS is key;
and vision will provoke you to be thankful for everything from clean water to your friend’s eyelashes.
You will see potential, grace, love, and impossibility made possible in every thing.
Ahhhh… as the day of thanksgiving slips itself around your life today, be blessed with vision.
As you look at the incredible people around your table, on your welcome mat, in your arms – welcome to the world of vision. Be encouraged to dream. Jesus saw all that goodness when He was headed cross-ward. God saw YOU when He spoke the universe into being.
YOU were His vision.
And what an ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL AND INSPIRING VISION YOU ARE!
For some vision-casting, I recommend these books:
This is a fantastic set of questions from Bob Hartley. Well, really, from God. We are invited to sit and chat with our Maker, the One who knows all and accepts us ENTIRELY. Come close. Give Him some time. Give Him an hour for each question over the weeks and months ahead. He LONGS to commune with YOU. He is passionate about you – more than you’ve ever realized. Open up, give Him time. Sit with Him. Your relationship with Him is irreplaceable to HIM. : )
<Oh God, my heart wants to be aware that it truly remains in Yours in every second. Your love is the greatest thing. Your love undoes me with beauty. Thank you. I love you and with love I give you my whole life. I am too lovesick to do otherwise. I adore You, Father.>