One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field and said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew–I’m starved!” Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” On oath Esau traded away his rights. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. Esau ate and drank, got up and left. (Genesis 25:29-34, The Message Bible)
We have a wonderful birthright from God in Christ. We are God’s children and heirs, temples in which His Spirit dwells, priests and kings who reign with Christ. Sadly, we are more like Esau than many of us care to admit because we have traded our birthright for even less than a bowl of stew.
Evidence that we have traded away our birthright can be heard in what we say. For example, how often do Christians refer to church buildings as the “house of God” even though the Bible teaches us that we are His temples and “God does not live in houses made by men” (Acts 7:48 and Acts 17:24)? Continue reading
The Lord gave me a prophetic experience one spring that went a long way toward dealing with the guilt I’ve felt over NOT being successful in bringing change to the institutional church I attended for several years
I need to share a little background – I was born and raised in a suburb south of Seattle and lived there for 42 years before the Lord directed me to move to the rural Midwest. The good ol’ boys had themselves quite a time kidding me about being a city boy and I often joked about corn, bugs, stifling heat, and hog farms common to the area. I’ve written song parodies about farm life and sang them for the locals, along with the inspirational and worship music I write.
That spring, my musician friend, David, visited and he’d suffered through enough of my corn and hog jokes and parody songs, that one morning he woke and requested I drive him to a farm so he could have his picture taken with a hog. David must have thought our little town was like “Green Acres” where the pig Arnold roamed Main Street and was included in the population count. Continue reading
When the Lord prompted my wife and I to move to the mid-west from the Seattle area back in 1999, He gave me a dream which I did not understand until after we had left the institutional church the Lord sent us too.
I was driving a white 1965 Mercury Monterey convertible with light blue interior. Ahead were the gates of what looked like an old west log fort. The gates swung open and I drove in. The church the Lord sent me to was near the back of the compound. After parking in front of the church, I exited the car and went around to the trunk to collect the gifts I’d brought for the church. From everywhere it seemed, child-like dwarfs emerged and surrounded me. As I began to show the gifts I’d brought, they began snatching them from my hands, treating them with disrespect, grabbing gifts from the trunk and throwing them back after handling them carelessly. Several were letting the air out of the tires and kicking the side panels, while others were jumping up and down on the seats.
Frantically I was trying to take back the gifts and put them away, while chasing them out of the trunk and car, Continue reading
The Lord gave me a dream several years ago, wherein I was fishing from a large rock that extended into the river. There was someone with me, but I do not remember who it was – a faceless friend would be a good way to describe my fishing buddy. I was using my steelhead pole with a level wind reel, cast the bait into the water and reeled in slowly to work the bait along the bottom of the river where the big fish are.
With the first cast, I reeled in too quickly and the bait did not reach the bottom. My fishing buddy suggested I reel in more slowly and keep my rod tip up to achieve more depth. With the 2nd cast, I felt the sinker bumping along the bottom of the river and I waited for the hesitation that would tell me I had a bite. When I felt what seemed like a bite, I set the hook and began to reel the fish in quickly. My ‘fishing buddy’ instructed me to slow down and take my time reeling in the fish, as a slow retrieve is better for landing Continue reading
My outlook has changed from one of striving to do works and looking for God’s approval after the fact to one of resting in Christ and trusting the Holy Spirit to direct me in concert with God’s work. It is not unlike Peter who fished all day and caught nothing, who at the end of the day followed Jesus’ instructions and hauled in an huge catch. The former was Peter’s effort without Christ’s direction, the latter was Christ’s doing through Peter’s obedience. The lesson in that? Action without direction is fruitless.
One way I see things differently now, is through the gardening metaphor so often used in scripture. Working in my vegetable garden Continue reading
For 18 months I applied myself to various church jobs, hoping to spark something, anything, that resembled revival. Yet it seemed the harder I worked, the worse the situation became. Finally the Lord said to me:
Get out of the way and let it fail.
His words blew me away. In fact, I questioned whether or not it was the Lord speaking to me since I felt it was blasphemous to suggest that the church should fail. But the Lord showed me the church was not a building, nor the religious institution with all its programs most people identify as the church, but simply the children of God coming together as family to live in community with God and one another. The Lord went on to speak to me about building on sand and that He is doing as He has always done: sending wind, rain and waves to test our houses for whether or not we’ve built on the Rock. Continue reading
Jesus calls each of us to fellowship with Him because He loves us. He wants to spend time with us and teach us His ways. Getting to know Jesus takes commitment and discipline on our part to spend time with Him daily. But how should we go about getting to know Him?
I once thought knowing Jesus was as simple as reading Christian literature. There is no shortage of Christian devotional and study guides, topical books, and even fiction for entertainment. As if that weren’t enough, there are thousands of blogs and web sites devoted to spreading the Gospel, and an abundance of subscription services to deliver daily prayers, scriptures, and devotionals directly to my email address. Continue reading