When Visiting Bethel 

Standard

We are still on the road so I am writing this up on my phone.  I’m not a gmfan of blogging from my phone…it’s usually messy.    And takes a long time.  

This weekend we visited Bethel church in Redding, California.  If you aren’t familiar, it is is difficult to describe other than, it’s a revivalist church, it’s a healing church, it’s a worship church; sime of the most beautiful worship music has come out of Bethel.  

Here is a link from a song they sang yesterday:  

Many people make pilgrimages to Bethel. Here are some things you need to keep in mind….

1.  Dorothy, you aren’t in Texas anymore (or the Deep South).  The people are nice people but you have approach them.  No one approached us as we stood awkwardly looking around needing help for where we needed to go.  I had to ask about childcare.  They get tons of visitors and I get the feeling they aren’t impressed.

2.  If you want a seat in the main sanctuarty, get there early.  The regulars come 30 minutes early and save seats for each other.  They will let you stand against the back walls during worship and try to grab a seat when it’s time to sit down but chances are you will end up in the over flow room.  

3.  They have four Sunday services.  If you make the trip, go to multiple services.  Different worship teams led at each service and they even played different songs.  My favorite worship time was the 10:30 service, worship was lead by Brian Johnson and Steffany Gretzinger.  On a side note, one of the worship leaders forgot some of the lyrics and told the media team he needed lyrics to the second verse on the back screen.  Everyone chuckled and continued to worship.  Loved this…this happens at every church occasionally and they are keeping it real.  

4. If you can only attend one service, I would go to the 6 pm service.  It’s not rushed so worship is long (over an hour) and Papa Johnson (Senior pastor Bill Johnson) spoke.  After the message, they offer ministry.  They had both a “fire tunnel” and a room to pray specifically for healing.  Take advantage of all the prayer you can get.  We took our kids through the fire tunnel.  They loved it and wanted to go again (I kind of wanted to go again too).

5.  They have childcare for the little ones for ok the services (from what I could tell).  When I picked up my girl from the morning service, they gave me a paper with a prophecy for her.  

I love this!  

6.  There are a lot of young people in attendance.  They are not very churchy. There were both young men and young women climbing over chairs to get to their seats. People would bump into you and not even notice…again, it’s not the South.  The culture is different. 

Main thing to remember….get there early!!! At least 30 minutes. 

Advertisements

sWORD

Standard

While roadtripping yesterday, I caught up on listening to several podcasts. One of my standard podcast subscriptions is Pastor Bill Johnson who pastors Bethal (think Jesus Culture). He quoted Dick Mills (who he mentioned passed away earlier this year…sad news). I had an opportunity to hear Dick Mills at Knollwood Assembly of God about 8 or 9 years ago. Dick Mills was a prophetic voice to a generation. The interesting thing about him was he prophesied the Word. Every prophetic word he gave was a scripture. He knew the Bible backward and forward. He didn’t “look up” a word…he quoted scripture from memory. And when he ministered, everyone received a different scripture…he wasn’t just speaking the same thing over everyone. He was full of the Word. Pastor Johnson quoted him as saying that (and forgive me if I don’t get this exactly right), “Jesus is holding the sword (the Word) and we must walk into it. It is the sWORD that cuts and heals.”. What an illustration. Jesus holds the sword but we must willingly walk into it and allow it to pierce our hearts. When it pierces it both wounds us and heals us. The wounding is only a cutting away of those things that shouldn’t be. Good stuff to meditate on, on a Monday morning.

Have a blessed week, readers!

Living on an Expired Word

Standard

In my post on Monday (or was it Tuesday?), I used the expression, “Living on an expired word.”  That is such an inaccurate statement in some ways.  You could be “living on an expired word” if you still living on a fully fulfilled word from years ago.  The thing about a word (a specific prophetic word from God for your life) is even if it has come to pass, it can apply to new seasons of your life too.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she had received a word and at the time it was being given, it was being recorded.  She took her recording and transcribed the word on to paper…she told me I had recommended this method to her years ago.  That made me smile because I still do that and I still have prophetic words from years ago that I transcribed so I could meditate on them and the paper is very literally falling apart.  The word is still good.  Not long ago (last month) I pulled that word out and read it again.

If you have been keeping up, one of my themes lately is God reminding me who I am….who He created me to be and the plan He has for me.   That is what one good prophetic word will do.

I don’t believe a word should tell me something new so much as confirm what God has already been impressing up on my heart or telling me Himself in my own prayer time.  A good word should confirm and affirm what you already know.

One of the lines from that word, given so long ago, said, “You are a woman of grace, a woman of substance and a woman of authority”.   Now that I know these things for sure, I have to live them out…that is my responsibility.  A word from God must be responded to.

My friend asked me how long do you wait for a word to be fulfilled?   My answer was “until”…you wait and you wage a good warfare (This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare -I Timothy 1:18).  In my mind waging a good warfare means you remind yourself and you remind God what He said.  He always keeps His word.

On the 4th of July we went out to see the fireworks and met up with some of our friends from our church. It was pretty crowded and one of the vehicles next to us was playing a Journey CD…not just one song but a while Journey fireworks experience.  What is interesting about that is 1. I knew all the songs 2. Now I have this line stuck in my head “Don’t stop believing”.

How fitting.  “Don’t stop believing”…hold onto what God has told you until you see it fulfilled.

You don’t have to stay in a dead place.  By that I mean you don’t have to live there forever.  Sure, we all have seasons in our lives but we don’t have to stay there.  And in those seasons we don’t have to lose faith. If you have been living in a dead place…where no word can grow, then something has to give.  You simply will not grow there.  Dry season cause a tree to put down deeper roots but deserts kill trees.  Consider if you are in a season or in a desert.

That first prophetic word that I have written down (I know I received other prophetic words in the past) also said that I had “been believing that I was just rolling dice and was going to get whatever is left.” That is what I believed more importantly, that is what I believed I deserved.   No matter what I was thinking, God had a plan and He had something in mind that was so much more than “whatever was left”.  While I am special, I am no more special than you are.  God has something incredible planned for you too.  Inquire of Him.  He will show you the way.

Get a fresh word because God has something to say to you today.  Whatever that word is, wage a good warfare with it.  Know who God says that you are and live up to it.

Dont’ be a Donkey

Standard

For the back-story read this.  Emily asked if I would go into the subject of the prophetic being off course.  Here goes Emily.

First of all, I am not at all sure David was “off” in the instants of Bathsheba.  I believe several things led to his fall. 

  1. David was at the wrong place at the wrong time.  David was a warrior king.  He was a prophetic psalmist but he was definitely a warrior.  Tradition tells us that the springtime was the time for war.  The rest of his army was out fighting.  Why was David sitting at home?
  2. David was bored.  My mother-in-law says that boredom is demonic.  That may be taking it a little far but all of David’s mighty men were out fighting and he was sitting at home bored.  Boredom can lead to some foolish decisions.
  3. All of David’s mighty men were out fighting which means, he had no accountability.  Who would know? 
  4. There was also some assumption involved…he assumed without consulting anyone that his timing was right. 
  5. David clearly wasn’t spending as much time with God as he should have been.  (see #2 boredom…he had time)
  6. Last but not all at least, David’s pride began to show.  He assumed because he was king, he could have anything or anyone he wanted.  He assumed that because he was anointed of God that God would approve whatever David wanted.  He assumed that because God approved of him in general that God would approve of his unrighteous actions.  He assumed because he heard from God that he was special and could do whatever he wanted.

Interestingly, almost every one of these scenarios is common to those with prophetic giftings; pride being the most common issue.  (Pastors frequently fall into this one too).  Here is the thing, when you hear from God you begin to think that because He speaks to you, He approves of you.  Not necessarily. 

In general, those with prophetic gifts tend to be forerunners.  They (not sure if I should say “they” or “we”) tend to be agents of change.  Agents of change are often controversial and unwelcome. 

Just because God tells you something, unless He directs you to do something with it, wait.  Wait for further instructions.  Don’t assume He wants you to share it.  Don’t assume He wants you to do something….JUST WAIT. 

Cindy Jacobs wrote in her book, Possessing the Gate of the Enemy (I think…if not, then it was in The Voice of God) about how prophets and pastors often clash.  She said if you give a flock of sheep to a pastor and send him up a mountain, he will take years to arrive at the top.  He will stop to tend to every wound, bruise and scrape.  He will arrive at the top of the mountain with all the sheep in pristine condition.  Give that same flock of sheep to a prophet and send them up the mountain, they will arrive in record time but they will have lost several sheep and the ones who do make it the top are pretty ratty looking (these are my words…).  So God places both the pastor and the prophet together to so they will take the mountain in a timely manner with most sheep in tack. 

The prophetic gifting very often causes, as Ezekiel describes, a sense of “fire shut up in my bones”.  It feels urgent.  It feels like “I must say this or do this right now”  Or this must happen ASAP. This is why WAITING is so difficult at times.   This is also why we are all a part of the body of Christ and we all have different gifts and callings….it cause a balance of sorts. 

From the prophetic point of view, life can often feel frustrating.  We see and we know what should be or what will be but we just aren’t there yet.  At times we feel we are constantly pulling, pushing or prodding. 

Another thing Cindy Jacobs said in The Voice of God is, “Not every intercessor is a prophet but every prophet is an intercessor.”  What this means is, we often hear from God for the purpose of praying.  Old timers used to use the term “praying trough”.  I think in terms of “giving birth”  At times, the Spirit will place a seed of sorts in your spirit and you must pray until you see that word begin to bud.  Prophets must get back to their intercessory roots.  Instead of feeling frustrated and pushing, pulling and prodding…..PRAY.  (The Word also says to covent-desire and seek the best gifts- so if you want to prophesy, the best place to start is by becoming an intercessor).

As for the potential pride issue… I often remind myself of the account of Balaam and his donkey…keeps me humble.  When God wants to communicate, He can even use a donkey.  I don’t have to be donkey for God to communicate through me but if I am a donkey,  He can still use me.  However, it is a lot less fun for me when I am being a donkey.  Don’t be a donkey.

I welcome questions so feel free to ask.

Speaking of Testimonies…

Standard

I had a good reminder this past week.  While I was in Big Spring for my baby niece’s birth, I had a chance to visit with Esther Whitmore.  For those of you who don’t know Esther, let me give you the skinny.  To begin with, her mother is a spiritual warrior.  That is a great linage to begin with.  Sister Mary epitomizes what a Christian woman should be.  She is kind, gracious, speaks the truth, and always has an encouraging word.  And the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Seriously, I love being around these women because you always leave feeling refreshed.  I aspire that my own presences would be considered refreshing.

Ester came up to the hospital to see baby Devri.  At the time she came, the nurses came in to check up on Jenny and asked us all to leave.  Esther walked me out to my vehicle.  I was telling her about a prophetic word Dennis and I received in January from Bishop Tudor Bismark (www.jabula.org) about having children. 

She began to tell me her story.  She and her husband Scott wanted children.  When you meet Esther you know immediately she was designed by God to be a mom.  She has a sweet mom voice.  They had tried for years to have a baby.  The doctor’s reports were not positive.  Throughout the years Esther received prophecy after prophecy that she would have children.  She said after 10 years, her faith was fading.  After 10 years of trying in September of 2000, Esther did get pregnant.  She and Scott were so excited about the pregnancy they had already shared the news with EVERYONE they knew.  This was progress but the pregnancy was not carried to term; she lost that baby.   I cannot imagine the disappointment Ester and Scott must have experienced bot be so close and not see the fruit.  Esther described this time as “very tough” but said that God was so amazing during that time and they both emerged with more faith than they ever had before.  In July of 2001, Esther received another prophecy about having children.  She was said she was so tired.   She told God, “I just can’t get there today, Lord, and I”m sorry. I believe… but help my unbelief”  Two months later she found out she was pregnant with her oldest son, Nathanial.  He was born June 1, 2002.  By that time, Esther and Scott had been married for 15 years.  A few years later, the Whitmores welcomed Nicholas into the world. 

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare                                                                          I Timothy 1:18

Paul told Timothy that we are to wage a good warfare (that’s prayer!!) with the prophecies spoken over us.

While traveling home from this trip, I listed to several CDs in a series aptly named “Faith Burst”.  Bishop Bismark said reading the testimonies in the Bible and hearing the testimonies of the saints should INCREASE our faith.  If God will do this for Hannah or Ester (Whitmore) than He will certainly do it for me as well.  Most of the time, we disqualify ourselves from the good things God has stored up for us.  It is our unbelief; our lack of faith that slows things down in our lives.

Bishop also said that Faith is the currency of heaven.  God is not moved by need.

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Faith is what moves God.

If you just can’t do it….pray Esther’s prayer, “I just can’t get there today, Lord, and I”m sorry. I believe… but help my unbelief’.”

God Spoke…

Standard

In some religious circles they call this a “Thus says the Lord” but I am just going to call it “God spoke…”

Recently, John Ragsdale visited our church.  If you aren’t familiar you can check out his blog on my blogroll.  When it comes to ministry, John is outside of the box.  He is a prophetic psalmist with and apostolic anointing.  In the future, I fully expect him and his wife to walk in the office of the apostolic (overseeing ministries, Establishing churches, etc.) . When John ministers at our church, we never know what will happen. 

This service was no exception.  John led worship and then sang several songs that will be released on his new album (available in May).  Then he prayed for people and even prophesied to several people.  At one point, he called a young woman out of the congregation and gave her a Word (a message from God specific to her).

One of my friends happened to be visiting me the Saturday that John and Kristin ministered at Promiseland San Marcos.  My friend would be categorized as “Baptist” in other words, she has not been all that exposed to Spiritual gifts.  She says she is open to it but….I am not entirely convinced.  Over the years of our friendship, I have shared with her times when God has spoken in my life including when I have received a Word through another person.  She wants to believe that someone can give you a Word from the Lord.  She is not totally convinced.  (I guess that part of her that doesn’t believe in it must think I am a huge liar or insane).  Anyway, we were talking about the service on our way home and she cried.  She was so disappointed that she did not receive a word from God.  She was hoping John would call her out of the congregation and speak a Word over her life.  Keep in mind, John opened the alter for anyone who wanted to go forward for prayer.  I went but she stayed in her seat.  I didn’t point this out to her.  At  times, receiving a Word requires some act of faith or worship on our part. 

I’ve been thinking about all of this for a week.  So many people I know, have heard from God in such a way that it changed their lives.  I want my friend to hear from God in such a way that there is no doubt that it was God and there is no doubt it was specifically for her.  To spark her faith in this area, I want to put together a book simply titled “God Spoke…” with stories of inspiration and faith.  If you have a story about a time in your life when God spoke to you and the results of that event, I would love to hear them.  You can either post in a comment here or email me at cbgrace71@yahoo.com.   

C.B.

A Message from the Lord

Standard

Have you ever watched the Vegitales Jonah movie?  There is a very catchy tune when we meet Jonah, he sings a song called “A Message from the Lord”.  It’s all about getting a message from the Lord.  Have you ever had a time in your life when you really needed a message from the Lord?

I certainly have.  Once you hear from God, it becomes addictive.  You find yourself wanting to hear from God all the time, about everything.

In 2000, I visited a very interesting church/ministry in Destine Florida called Christian International.  The Bishop over this international ministry is Dr. Bill Hamon.  He has written many books and one series is on prophetic ministry.  Christian International has a school that teaches prophetic protocol and use of spiritual gifts.  It is all based on  Scripture.  (yes, I am a stickler for that). 

So I visited there in 2000 and received prophetic ministry.  What they do is pray/prophecy over you.  They record the message and give it to you recommending you pray over it and even share it with your pastor or spiritual leadership.  (Again, they are very cautious about recommending you run off and make big changes in your life based on the prophetic ministry you receive).  The Word I received was very good.  They woman who ministered came back and said, God will provide new transportation for you and the wheels will be good.

At the time I had just bought the red Jetta and was pretty happy with it.  On the drive home, I had a blowout near Houston.  I actually have had two blowouts in the Jetta (on on I-10 and one on I-65).  In general it has had some wheel issues – it has very nice aluminum wheels that seem to cause the tires to leak.  It’s a constant thing.  At one point over the years, I acquired a new bike and thought maybe that was my “new” transportation.  Weirdly enough, the tires on the bike seem to leak air too.  (as always, this is going somewhere).

Then there is Dennis.  Several years ago, Dennis had a Saturn.  It was in good working condition and he felt God lead him to give the car away.  He fought it.  He thought he would sell it instead.  The long and short of it, he gave the car away and walked everywhere for about 6 months.  Later, a couple from our church in Big Spring, gave him a Ford Truck.  It was a 92 and had been a ranch truck.  He drove it for over two years and this past August, he told me he felt God leading him to give the truck away.  This would mean we would be a family of three (my sister-in-law was living with us at the time) with only one vehicle.  When God asks you to do something (as Matt Brock would say) you don’t write Him a memo asking for details…you just do it.  So Dennis gave away the truck.  Six weeks later, our car broke down.  A lady Francis from our church gave us a ’85 Capris which we drove while our car was being fixed.  The Capris has some issues of it’s own.  (It needs some work).  We fixed the Volkswagen and were back to one good vehicle.  We knew we needed something knew.  We started looking at Jeeps.  Dennis has always wanted one.  I’ve had opportunities to purchase the vehicle I wanted so it’s his turn.  We have had some reservations about purchasing a vehicle.  We attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class and he is all about buying with cash.  It’s a good plan but we were going to break the rule.  Then I unexpectedly lost my job.  So we didn’t need a second vehicle.  Sort of.

Lately, the Word I had received eight years earlier was coming to my memory.  So I started reminding God of His word.  Isaiah says God’s Word is never void.  He said it and He will do it. 

A few days before Christmas, my mom called and asked if we could go somewhere with her on Tuesday.  We said sure.  (If someone you trust wants to take you somewhere, go!)  So she tells us the day of, we are going to Mammacitas (Mexican Food) for lunch.  My dad meets us there and my sister, brother-in-law and nephew.  We thought that was the big surprise.  They live over 200 miles away and we do not get to see them as much as we would like.  Plus, my sister is having a baby and we wanted to find out what she is having.  They planned it all very strategically so we wouldn’t see them arrive.  My sister gives me and my mom a little present to open and tells us to open it at the same time.  My moms gift revealed the gender of their baby.  My gift was a piece of paper…a title.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out.  They GAVE us an Expedition.  A slightly used, fully loaded, Eddy Bauer Edition Expedition.  We still cannot believe it.  We were blown away.  My sister, Jenny, tells me at one point that the tires are very good, they were very expensive.  God is in the details.

Jenny and John are two of the most humble people we know.  They have been BLESSED over the years with some nice things.  I have witnessed them tighten their belts during lean times yet never slow down their giving.  I’ve seen them give and give and give…not just to church but to people they know; some believers and some unbelievers – where  ever they see a need.  They are destined to succeed and to be richly and abundantly blessed because they always demonstrate the heart of a servant.

There is more to this story.  When Dennis gave his truck, he had several people at his job ridicule his decision.  He never had the intent of sharing with them all the details of why he gave it but they kept asking him.  One co-worker told him he was stupid to give out of his need….that you should only give out of your abundance.  That co-worker told Dennis, “Don’t ever ask me for a ride.”   Dennis says this gift was a “Blessing slap” from God; so unexpected, so lavish we couldn’t have  imagined it.  It is a testimony of God’s faithfulness to provide exceedingly abundantly above all that we can think or imagine or ask.