Posts by Pastor Mike

From Our Family

January 31st, 2018 Posted by REVIVAL 0 thoughts on “From Our Family”

Pastors Mike & Shari May, with Zoey & her dog, Charli.

We are so glad you visited our website! It has been our family’s great honor to serve many of the amazing families in our community. Today, there are many challenges facing families in our nation.  Very mindful of this reality, we believe strong families remain God’s great strategy to bless nations. If your personal family story has been a source of great pain to you, we want you to know that we get it. We understand and sympathize. It’s not our assignment to judge. Figuring out family is tough, but the rewards are well worth the battle. At Pipeline Church we are committed to rekindling hope, vision & strategy in the hearts of father’s & mother’s, married, single or divorced, and rekindling hope in the hearts of students & kids. Family is God’s excellent idea and a strong family is worth fighting for. Even if you’ve felt trapped inside old family patterns we believe new family patterns are waiting to be discovered & enjoyed! We don’t claim to be a perfect family, but we are very grateful for our family.

If you’re looking for a church family that will believe in you & encourage you as you build a strong family, we’d be delighted to meet you at Pipeline this Sunday.

Revival in our families will bring revival to our nation.

Divine Hydraulics – The Armington Crane

July 22nd, 2016 Posted by Intercession, REVIVAL 0 thoughts on “Divine Hydraulics – The Armington Crane”

Deuteronomy 11:10-12

For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden; but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.

 

Divine Hydraulics is a phrase coined by George Otis Jr. and the Sentinel Group. It’s a phrase that has captured the imagination of my Father-in-law and others as they contend for transformation in their communities. These hydraulics have been put on display in dramatic ways in various places throughout history. One of the occasions the effect of these divine hydraulics was seen was in 1949 on the remote Hebrides Island’s off the west coast of Scotland. Concerned about the spiritual decline they were observing and looming oppressive cultural ideologies, a small group of saints began to press in to rediscover the ancient patterns that release the glory of heaven on earth in an unmistakably majestic way. These moves are marked by deep awareness of God’s holy presence, conviction of sin, leading to heartfelt repentance that leave lasting transformation in those communities sometimes for generations.

The idea of “divine hydraulics” is different from crusades and evangelism and other valuable approaches to outreach. These of course have their place and are very important. In situations where outreaches have been championed, seeds have been sown, yet the spiritual condition of the region remains headed toward lawlessness – this is the ideal climate for divine hydraulics. (Ps 119:126)

Fascinated by these types of moves of God, I have found myself on a journey to understand these ancient patterns or protocols that were revealed to these saints in their desire to see the kingdom of heaven manifest on earth as in heaven.

We’ve visited the Hebridean Islands, we have contended all night in prayer, we have also been part of Solemn assemblies like the Call and the Response USA, that the Lord appears to be using to “teach us how to pray” and help us walk together as we understand and recover these ancient truths.

This past weekend we were in Cleveland, OH for the most recent Response. I shoot video of the events helping document the team’s preparation behind the scenes. The team were staying in the Hilton Garden Hotel within walking distance of the Wolstein Center, the venue selected for the event. Due to some air conditioning issues we had been moved to a meeting room called the Armington room for prep. The team gathered the friday before the event to pray and cover final details. I was certainly caught up in the prayer time. In three days Cleveland was poised to be the scene of the republican national convention. Preparations to lockdown the city center were underway. It had been an interesting political cycle, with much concern regarding the candidates. On the news, racial unrest and violence against police officers was a constant theme, along with a brutal Islamic terrorist attack in Nice and staged political coup in Turkey. I was glad to pray. There was a focus and intensity of agreement to the prayer time that dispensed the fragrance of Jesus into the atmosphere.

As we continued to pray, I was reflecting on this journey in pursuit of “divine hydraulics”, I and many others had been on. Believing the Lord had “another arrow in his quiver” as my father-in-law says, were we wasting our time chasing a revival fantasy? or were we heading in the right direction …

The reason the Armington Room had this name was because it was the location of the Armington Crane a crane that was capable of lifting 15 tons. This historic crane which had loaded electrical power transformers was now preserved and it’s name plate embossed in gold. I was intrigued by our location and stirred by the agreement of the individuals I found myself praying with at that critical time. I asked the Lord if the 15 ton inscription had any significance & felt compelled to read Psalm 15. Psalm 15 is a psalm that speaks to the heart posture of those who are given access to the mountain of the Lord. It is worth remembering that the Psalms are the prayer book of the scriptures. The 5 books of the Psalms are our prayer response to a conversation initiated by the Father in the 5 books of the Hebrew law (or Torah). Eugene Peterson calls prayer “technology” and the psalms “tools”. Tools not so much for doing, but tools for becoming. Intentionally praying the Psalms, I have come to recently believe is the key to us becoming or maturing into the people of God. The psalms reveal the majesty of the voice of the Lord.

I started this blog quoting the verses from Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the law, where Moses is reminding the people that the land he is taking them into will be different from Egypt. It is a land of mountains and valleys a land where they must understand and remain aware of their need of his partnership – divine hydraulics. Trying to do things like Egypt in this land will not have positive outcomes. If they want this holy assistance they must understand they need to love Him & hold fast to him, by keeping his commandments “11v22 for if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do – to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to hold fast to Him – 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you …”.

Deuteronomy 11 is a powerful chapter given to a nation poised to enter the promised land. God is in essence saying if you want access to me and the divine hydraulics you must love me & hold fast to me. The words hold fast can be translated cleave. Here we sat preparing for the Response in Cleveland under the Armington Crane, letting God know that we were not looking to a political party or candidate for the answers we needed. But we were humbly cleaving to Him.

 

 

Lord teach us to pray, like John …

July 21st, 2016 Posted by Intercession, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Lord teach us to pray, like John …”

“Lord teach us to pray, just like John taught his disciples” Luke 11:1

Jesus’ disciples made this request in Luke Chapter 11, it probably goes without saying that Luke Chapter 11 comes after Luke Chapter 10? So what’s the big “Aha!”? We’ll in Luke 10 Jesus had sent out the 70 with authority to trample serpents and scorpions, they came back rejoicing that,”even the demons were subject” to them. They had been sent out with simple yet clear instructions that had them visiting communities and declaring “Peace!”, fellowshipping with the lost, healing the sick and declaring the “gospel of the Kingdom”. Effective stuff, had they arrived? Surely this is a picture of a healthy church!? Out of the four walls, doing the stuff in the streets? There is a lot that challenges me in Luke chapter 10, I’m not convinced I’m even there yet. Am I certain that the demons are subject to me? Not really. So with Luke 10 as a backdrop, I’m amazed that they were asking to learn how to pray in Chapter 11. Doesn’t learning how to pray come before casting out demons? Isn’t the ability to cast out demons evidence of maturity? Maybe this is why this statement from Jesus is also recorded. “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children”(10v21).

“Lord, teach us to pray”, it’s this type of honest request that I am convinced the Lord wants us to make. There is no mask wearing here. We assume prayer is instinctive, it doesn’t need to be taught, surely everyone knows how to pray, it’s entry level stuff. But the disciples request in Luke 11:1  suggests they are not convinced that they can learn how to pray like Jesus or John without some help and training.

I never really paid much attention to this verse until recently. I guess when you are contending for clarity as a pastor you become more attentive to these sometimes overlooked details. So I don’t think I really knew that second part about the comparison to John teaching his disciples to pray was connected to this well known statement. What I think is important to understand about the comparison is John was a Nazirite(not a Nazarite). A nazirite, took a special vow of consecration, during times of crisis. They were prophets not priests and often arose at times when the priesthood had become corrupt and had failed to honor the Lord in their responsibilities. The emergence of a nazirite suggests that the state of the nation was on a slide and had almost reached the point of no return. Nazirite’s were like a final lifeline. It’s my belief that the first order of business of a nazirite beyond the long hair, no wine drinking & not touching dead things, was to teach the people to pray. Where the purpose of the priesthood had become cloudy due to corruption, the nazirite would remind the people of their first responsibility as a chosen people, to pray – ministering to the heart of God. In preparing the people to receive Jesus, John had been faithful in teaching his disciples to pray – and it was worth recognizing and worthy of being noted, in scripture.

 

There is a pattern in the book of 1 Samuel that Dean Briggs brings out in his book, “Ekklesia Rising”. He points out that Hannah, in her barrenness desperately cries out to the Lord of Hosts*. At the time a corrupt high priesthood, Eli & his sons, is on the verge of judgment. God answers Hannah’s prayer by giving her a son, Samuel – a nazirite. God speaks to the young Samuel that he is about “to do something that will make the ears of those who hear of it tingle”. This was probably the judgement of the house of Eli and the captivity of the Ark of the Covenant by the Philistines. Samuel later anoints David as King. It needs to be noted, David is the author of many of the Psalms, the prayer book of the Scriptures. This is important, and often overlooked, it is my recent understanding  that we only mature in the language of prayer, through meditating and living the Psalms. I believe it is important not to miss the role the language of the Psalms played in the ascendancy of the nation of Israel under King David. Eugene Peterson suggests, praying the psalms keeps our prayer from being dishonest and superficial. We might not be able to detect the dishonesty and superficiality, in ourselves, but God certainly can.

In the small book, “Psalms the Prayer Book of the Bible”, Dietrich Bonhoeffer opens the first chapter with this paragraph.

Chapter 1 “Lord, Teach Us to Pray!”

So spoke the disciples to Jesus. In making this request, they confessed that they were not able to pray on their own, that they had to learn to pray. The phrase “learning to pray” sounds strange to us. If the heart does not overflow and begin to pray by itself, we say, it will never “learn” to pray. But it is a dangerous error, surely very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself. For then we confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicingsall of which the heart can do by itself with prayer. And we confuse earth and heaven, man and God. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. No man can do that by himself. For that he needs Jesus Christ.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Psalms the Prayer Book of the Bible”, Augsburg, 1970

I have often heard the frustration, from Pastors, that in many of the prayer meetings they are asked to attend the prayer times become an opportunity for others to “Pray Preach”. The “prayers” are horizontal not vertical. I’m not certain those who resolve to stick it out in the interests of contending for “unity” ever see the fog lift.

I grew up in Scotland and while studying Divinity at the University of Aberdeen, I became friends with a group of young ministers (in training) from the Islands of Lewis & Harris. My first year there we would pray every night in the dorm rooms. They would share stories of a time on the Island of Lewis where, the spirit of the Lord visited the Island at a moment in history where it appeared all was lost. But a handful of saints pressed in, learning how to pray in such a way that the Island was shaken by the holiness of God and deep conviction & repentance filled the Island. The stories were remarkable. Here, 50 years after , the grandkids of these saints had been marked by this move and there was a longing in their hearts for this benchmark to be re-realized by their generation. How did these Islanders pray? I believe the psalms were a big part of it.

For the past year I have had the privilege of serving with The Response. A call to pray for a nation at a crossroads. These events are Solemn Assemblies in the spirit of Joel 2. The more I participate in them the more I believe the Lord is using them to teach me/us how to pray, ekklesia type intercession. I believe Jesus wants to teach us how to pray in order to move us from Joel2 – solemn assemblies to become the Psalm 110 – contending ekklesia on the earth. Could part of the reason these events often don’t have a high attendance be, that the average Christian in America has tasted the victory of Luke 10 and may be under the assumption that we already know how to pray? After all it takes some honesty to be vulnerable enough to ask “to be taught how to pray”, especially if you’re a pastor. If we are indeed at Luke 10, I believe we are headed in the right direction.

Until the Light of Glory shines on the nations like he did on the Island’s of Lewis & Harris, Lord teach me how to pray.


 

(* )Briggs is careful to draw our attention to the name of God used by Hannah in her intercession, “Lord Sabaoth”. Hannah’s desperate intercession is the first mention of this name in scripture. Lord Sabaoth means “The Lord of the Angel Armies”. It would appear this is the appropriate name to address the Lord with in the face of unbridled human corruption. Incidentally the second mention of the name Lord Sabaoth is by David on the battlefield against Goliath. He opposes the philistine giant in the name of Jehovah Sabaoth.

“Briggs’ pattern;

  1. Fervent Intercession brings forth
  2. Naziritic consecration which produces
  3. a clearly prophetic voice by which
  4. anointed destinies are produced
  5. giants are challenged and overcome and
  6. the king is made known”

 

(*) Dean Briggs, “Ekklesia Rising, The Authority of Christ in Communities of Contending Prayer”, Champion Press, 2014

Zero Corruption

January 28th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Zero Corruption”

When the people of Jericho looked at Zacchaeus they saw the problem. When Jesus looked at Zacchaeus he saw the answer.

When Jesus shows up in Zacchaeus’ home town of Jericho, as usual, a crowd gathered. Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector, we are told he was a small man in stature. Along with many others in the town he was curious about Jesus and unable to see over the crowd, he climbed into a nearby sycamore tree.

This picture of Zacchaeus in the tree is important.

Zacchaeus would have paid a high amount to Rome to be the chief tax collector of this region. This job went to the highest bidder, and as chief tax collector he would have been responsible to Rome for a quota. Anything above that amount would have been his to keep. This created the platform for an unfair system of bribes. Those with adequate resources might have been tempted to bribe the chief tax collector for an adjusted tax assessment, those unable to provide bribes would have suffered from potentially unfair assessments at the hands of an unfair tax-collector. The chief tax collector would have further divided his region into smaller regions and placed deputy tax-collectors over these smaller areas. He would incentivize these deputies with similar quotas and by doing this the system of corruption would become thicker.

So into Jericho walks Jesus, and Zacchaeus because he is short but also because he is alienated from the people of Jericho has to climb into the tree to get a look at Jesus.

Poverty is not simply lack of resources. In the book, Transformation, by Ed Silvoso, Dr. Silvoso outlines the four types of poverty, 1. Material, 2. Relational, 3. Motivational, & 4. Spiritual. As we look beneath the surface of this situation in Jericho, we can see these forces at work.

Zacchaeus who is materially wealthy, is forced into the tree because of his relational & spiritual poverty. No one in Jericho really likes him & his connection to Jesus before their encounter that day was probably nonexistent which left him spiritually poor. Anyone without a relational connection to Jesus suffers from spiritual poverty. The people in Jericho were victims of material, spiritual & motivational poverty. Systemic corruption produces systemic poverty which deeply affects peoples motivational desire to put forth any effort. At their core they are afflicted with the nagging question, “What is the point of me making the effort?” This unseen tangled web is what Jesus walks into in Jericho & he doesn’t ignore it.

Seeing Zacchaeus in the tree you might think that Jesus has him in the perfect place to rebuke him for his corruption infront of the towns people, but instead of rebuking he tells Zacchaeus he wants to come to his house for dinner.

When I was thinking about this picture of Zacchaeus the head of this corrupt tax system perched in a tree, I was struck by the idea of a tree of corruption. How do you bring down a tree of corruption? Many might struggle to differentiate the complex branch structure from the root system, but here we see Jesus going right for the heart of the tree. Instead of openly rebuking Zacchaeus, he dignifies his humanity. He meets his felt need for friendship & it so deeply touches Zacchaeus that he responds by giving half his property to the poor & repaying those who have been victims of his corrupt taxation schemes, 4 times what he took from them.

The kingdom of heaven came to Jericho that day. Not only did the Kingdom come into Zacchaeus’ heart but the transformation that took place in the city of Jericho, would have had a very tangible impact towards the elimination of systemic poverty.

 

5 Keys To Being Eternally Wealthy

August 8th, 2015 Posted by NOTES, VISION 0 thoughts on “5 Keys To Being Eternally Wealthy”

I came across a very helpful definition of wealth in the book “On the Destiny of Nations: Resolving Our Economic Crisis” by Dennis Peacocke. There is much in this book that is extremely valuable and I highly recommend it. I will give you the five components of wealth Peacocke describes and then I will briefly explain why I believe this is blog worthy.

There are five biblically definable elements of wealth:

1. Relational peace with God

2. Relationships God has given you

3. Revelational Wealth

4. Time

5. Material contentment

 

Ingratitude is rooted in feelings of lack or scarcity. This is not a healthy heart attitude. When we believe we are without things it is hard to be grateful. Now it is possible to have alot of stuff and still have an ungrateful attitude. Having stuff doesn’t automatically mean you will be grateful for it. Gratitude requires intentionality. When we intentionally remember and are thankful for what we have been given, recognizing the real value of these things we are being grateful.

The power of Dennis Peacocke’s definition of wealth is it refuses to allow us to operate from a paradigm of scarcity. We can’t say, “we don’t have anything” or “we’ve never been given anything”, both statements rooted in scarcity are expressions of ingratitude.

At the top of this list of things that make us wealthy, Peacocke wisely places, “relational peace with God”. I think Elvis Presley once made the statement He would give all the money he had in exchange for a moment of peace. Peace is so valuable. Our peace with God has been made possible only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. There are many who are not aware of this eternal reality and we must continue to get this message out to them. Many more of us are aware of this reality but have only scratched the surface in our understanding all that Jesus’ blood accomplishes. The Scriptures say, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things …”. It is a powerful insight into the unique nature of the blood of Jesus. It is incorruptible. So much of what we conventionally understand to be wealth is rooted in the pursuit of things that perish over time. Not the blood of Jesus, it is incorruptible, somehow it is not affected by the laws of dissipation that corrode and destroy with time. Our redemption through the blood of Jesus is the greatest treasure, and we often take it for granted. We would be wise to take time to understand all Jesus’ blood accomplishes in the surrendered soul.

Peacocke’s definition of wealth is so powerful because it places us on a powerful foundation of abundance. The more we take time to reflect on these five characteristics the more we realize how much we really have to be grateful for. Gratitude produces joy and joy releases strength. Strength is important. It empowers health in our lives, families and communities.

Finally Peacocke says, “Wealth will pass through death, but riches will not”. “Riches are something we have, wealth is something we are”. We are far wealthier than we realize and have so much to reflect on & be grateful for.

Deuteronomy 8:18
But remember theLord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

 

Link to referenced book:
On the Destiny of Nations: Resolving Our Economic Crisis, Dennis Peacocke

Dennis Peacocke’s ministry website:
www.gostrategic.org

God gave them over!

June 28th, 2015 Posted by Intercession 0 thoughts on “God gave them over!”

“The wisdom that comes from above is … willing to yield … “. James 3:17

I believe four of the most sobering words in scripture are, “God gave them over”. It’s found in the Old Testament(Psalm 81:12) and the New(Rom 1:24, 26). God’s preference is for us to trust him & take him at his word, but we are created with a free moral will and are capable of choosing to obey his word, or not. The scriptures are full of accounts of men continually resisting the will of God. The account of Israel wanting to be like the other nations and asking for a King is one example (1 Sam 8:6).

Israel: “We want a King!”
God: “A King’s 2nd best, here is why …”
Israel: “We still want a King”
God: “They are not rejecting you Samuel(His prophet delivering the message), they are rejecting me, give them a King”.

It happens on an individual level too. God reasons with us, “This is the better way, walk in it”, men say, “Why is that the only way?”or “Nah, what do you know? Do you even exist? I’d prefer to walk my own way.” First, God, because he is a loving Father reasons, “That’s not a wise way, ultimately it will destroy you”, but over time and persistent refusal to acknowledge the wisdom of God’s way, he comes to a point where scripture says, “He gives them over.” This is not the end of his dealings with these individuals, and it is not a flippant or callous decision either. It comes with enormous risk & sadness, and there is no guarantee that those who stubbornly persist down their ‘self-enlightened’ path will ever return. But the hope remains in the heart of God that those who are given over will, “after burning themselves on the proverbial stove” come to their senses, see the foolishness of their path, and return to what he from an eternal perspective calls the paths of righteousness.

Jesus told a story about a Father and his son illustrating this process. In sharing the story he wants us to catch a glimpse of God’s Father heart. In the story the Father’s youngest son paid him the ultimate disrespect. Insisting on his inheritance before his Father’s death. Reluctantly and not in agreement with his sons decision he releases his son, with his full share of the inheritance. It’s astonishing that the inheritance is given considering the sons attitude, many might consider this the Father’s approval or blessing, but I don’t think he agreed with his sons decision at all. He just loved his son, and in spite of his son’s great dishonor, he gave him everything he asked for. He gave him over. The story continues that the son squanders it all and ends up in a pig trough eating from the pig slop. It is not until he is eating pig slop with the pigs that he comes to his senses and says the servants in my Father’s house are treated better than this. Upon this revelation he determines to head home. The story also reveals this, upon catching a glimpse of his returning son a far off his father immediately drops everything and begins running towards him. I understand that the nature of the dishonor done by this son to his father, gave the towns people the right to stone the son if they encountered him. The Father was running not only to embrace his son, but to protect him from the towns people. The son’s welcome home party is a greeting reserved for royalty. Along with being fully reinstated with the privileges of sonship the Father demonstrates the ultimate value he has for his son by killing the fatted calf. The fatted calf was a covenant offering reserved for a visiting king. This is a powerful story of one who is given over coming to his senses and returning. Not all who are given over choose to come to their senses, and experience such a happy ending. Some would rather die amongst the pigs.

 

In James 3 there is a contrast between the wisdom from below and above. It gives this interesting insight that “the wisdom from above is … willing to yield …”. This is not an act of weakness by the one who yields neither is it an acknowledgment of error. It takes great strength & understanding to know when to yield and be willing to say, ‘I don’t agree with you and I don’t want you to walk down this extremely risky, potentially fatal path but, I realize I can no longer say anything to stop you, I’m giving you what you insist upon.” The wisdom that comes from above yields because it rests in the sobering reality, that “we don’t break God’s laws, God’s laws break us”. To learn the inflexibility of nature’s laws most prefer to run into them a few times. It sounds dumb, it’s actually insanity, but it is a reality. The tragedy is the risk is so high the first run in can be fatal & others can be lost as collateral too. Not to mention the heartache of family members & friends. After the statement that the wisdom from above is ‘willing to yield’, James 3 says, it’s also ‘full of mercy’. This is a reminder of the character of the Father’s heart, He’s full of mercy to returning repentant children. So if you ever rejected the counsel of God and inevitably find yourself eating pig slop with the pigs and you happen upon a truly sober moment, remember the servants in your Father’s house are treated better than this & your Father is full of mercy.

 

It is only ever with great sadness of heart that “God gives anyone over.” May God have mercy.

 

Heart Armor

June 21st, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Heart Armor”

“Above all else guard your heart it is the wellspring … out of it flow all the issues of life.”

 

This may be one of the most important instructions given in the scriptures. It is found in the book of Proverbs, written by Solomon whose wisdom was renowned. Do we know how to guard our hearts? Some have allowed their hearts to grow hard in the name of protecting them. They have resolved to make themselves vulnerable for the last time, they will not be hurt again. This is not what it means to guard your heart. When we close our hearts off they begin to die. Guarding your heart means to make sure that what flows from your heart is the sweet water of life, not the bitter waters of death. The key to guarding our hearts is accessing the gracious power of Jesus. Always choosing forgiveness keeps the sweet water of life flowing from through the wellspring of our hearts. Jesus demonstrated this extraordinary power on the cross, in the moment of the greatest injustice humanity has ever or will ever commit. That same power is made available to you in the moment of your injustice. To access it we need only believe.

Plumbline

April 2nd, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Plumbline”

On December 7th 2015 Pipeline Church, the church I pastor, had the privilege of hosting the 7th Day of Doug Stringer’s 21 Day Prayer & Fasting Appeal to Heaven. I was eager to participate and was not fully aware of how significant this date would be for our fellowship.

 

This was a busy time in the city of Houston. The city was preparing to host the Reinhard Bonnke Crusade and Doug was honorary local chairman for that event. Doug was also preparing to facilitate the Response Louisiana, a solemn assembly in the spirit of Joel 2 called by Governor Bobby Jindal. In the past few years there has been an prophetic resurgence in understanding of ‘the Appeal to Heaven’ flag. Key Apostlic leaders have been released with this historic flag and are carrying it across the nation, reminding any who will hear of its urgent message. The phrase “An Appeal to Heaven” connotes that when all resources and justices on earth are exhausted that only “An Appeal to Heaven” remains. The flag is white with a single green pine or “evergreen” tree. Earlier in the year Doug had been presented one of these flags in Philadelphia, the nations original capital city. In the spirit of the message of this flag, Doug called a 21 day city wide time of prayer & fastedness at the beginning of December. Each night he and his team would visit a different congregation in the city and together they would ‘appeal to heaven’. Day Seven was at Pipeline.

 

Each of the 21 days were very significant. Infact I started to see a pattern in each day that represented each of the successive letters of the original 22 letter hebrew aleph-bet, but that is a story for another time. In an attempt to paint the picture of my understanding of Somebody Cares roll as a plumb line ministry, I will key in on Day 4 & 7. Day 4 was scheduled to be hosted at New Covenant Church in Humble. This was the same day that the 2nd of 4 regional prayer events mobilizing the city in prayer for the Reinhard Bonnke Crusade was scheduled to be held, also at New Covenant Church(NCC). Pastor Frank Mazzipicca, pastor of NCC is a friend with a sincere burden for awakening and transforming revival in our region & nation. I was aware of the preparation that had taken place in local prayer before this time & had a great sense of anticipation that in the convergence of these mighty streams, God was going to break through and show us something important.

 

In our own personal journey towards transforming revival God had begun to give us a much much deeper understanding of 3 important keys. The keys of covenant, personal consecration & prevailing prayer. It has been shown that every civilization in history has had an understanding of Covenant, unfortunately almost every trace of this covenant understanding has been removed from our modern cultures. This is very sad because Covenant is the language God uses to speak to us in the scriptures. Our authority as believers is established on the basis of Covenant, and it is enhanced with a fuller understanding of what a Covenant relationship gives us access too. The night before our prayer meeting at NCC, I received a phone call from Connie Fisher, a strategic intercessor in our city. I had called Connie regarding the Bonnke prayer meeting in Humble and she was returning my call to share some of her research regarding the spiritual significance of the Humble region. A conversation with Connie is always rich, but one thing she mentioned in the call struck me deeply, she mentioned the seven levels of Covenant. I was intrigued and asked for more insight. She shared it was connected to the Jewish marriage Ketubah, so I asked if she could recommend additional resources* so I could understand this better. What I began to see fit like a pattern over what was happening in our city.

 

Marriage is a covenant, it is one of the few remaining traces of covenant in our culture. The Hebrew Ketubah or marriage agreement is established around the drinking of 4 cups, these 4 cups represent a deeper dimension of Covenant. As the Bride & Groom and their families work through the agreement details they share a meal centered around these 4 betrothal cups. The first cup is drunk by the bride & groom & their families. It is the cup of servanthood. If the Bride is interested in the Groom when he arrives with his Father at her father’s house this cup is drunk together by everyone when her father opens the door and welcomes the groom and his father. The 2nd cup is the cup of friendship. This cup was drunk by the bride & groom and their parents as they vigorously worked through(darashed) the respective details & obligations in the ketubah. The final 3rd cup, is the cup of inheritance. This cup was drunk by the bride and groom only at the end of the meal when the details of the ketubah had been agreed upon. Drinking the 3rd cup was a seal on the agreement. The groom would then leave with his father to prepare a home for he and his bride to be. The completion of the home would be the signal the wedding day had arrived. The bride & her family would prepare her garments remaining ready for the unannounced return of the groom for the wedding supper. Only at the wedding ceremony would the final 4th cup be drunk together by the bride and groom. The 4th cup was the bridal cup.

 

God has been moving his people through this 4 cup pattern of restoration since the fall. In each of these stages their are two parts; God initiates and then man responds, the result is seven stages. After the fall God immediately began to restore covenant with Adam & Eve. He provided skins to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. To get the skins animals had to be sacrificed. Our approach to God is possible, but not without blood because God is holy. This is the first cup or servant cup, signified by blood. We see the response to this stage coming through Noah who demonstrates his love for God through his obedience in building the ark. Noah’s blood sacrifice after the flood & the subsequent sign of the rainbow transition mankind into the next phase of covenant. The 2nd cup of friendship is between God and Abraham. This covenant is sealed with a meal. Salt signifies this level of everlasting Covenant. Jacob responds to this friendship level of Covenant when he wrestles with the Angel of the Lord and receives a name change as a sign of the blessing. The 3rd cup is the cup of Sonship or Inheritance. The symbol for this stage is the sandal. When Moses is invited to remove his shoes for the place he stands is holy, he is moving man into this restored revelation of sonship. Moses is entrusted with the Torah. King David responds to the Lord at the level of a son. Forever Jesus’ throne will be called the throne of David, this speaks of inheritance. In all of these Covenant God has been progressively moving us towards this beautiful bridal dimension. All of these covenants are fulfilled in the New Covenant or Bridal Covenant. At the last supper when Jesus serves the cup(servanthood), eats the bread dipped in salt(friendship) and then washes the feet of the disciples(sonship/inheritance), he moves them through these 3 stages and then goes to the cross to pay the penalty only a lovesick groom might be willing to pay if he discovered his bride was unchaste before their wedding day. Giving his life in exchange for her guilt, rendering her righteous. Interestingly, Jesus also committed himself not to drink of the vine, (the 4th bridal cup), until he returns to collect those who accept his betrothal invitation.

 

This pattern can also be seen in the Lampstand that was in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Moses. This Lampstand was made out of a center shaft and then on each side were 3 branches. This resulted in a total of seven lamps. The central lamp is called the Shemesh, in the sequence it becomes the 4th or central lamp each of the other lamps are connected to it and draw their oil from this center Shemesh. The Shemesh light represents Jesus. It is called the servant light. When you begin to understand this pattern you see its significance in so many things. For instance the Sun in our solar system, is a servant light and it was created on the 4th day.

So what does all of this have to do with Somebody Cares and the Appeal to Heaven? This Prayer Meeting at New Covenant was the fourth on Doug’s circuit, this insight began to open to me on the eve of the 4th day, as we pressed in together at NCC, we tasted an open heaven. By the 7th day, which we hosted at Pipeline, I had started to see the many connections. That Day we presented Doug with gifts representing these 4 Covenant Stages, we even gave him a gift certificate for shoes signifying inheritance. Doug has asked for the nations as an inheritance. Plus we made a Lampstand out of “pipes” signifying these seven stages and also presented it to Doug. We also gave him a towel, plumb line & hammer. The plumb line & hammer are tools of master craftsmen. The original lampstand was hammered by a master craftsman out of one shekel (about 100lbs) of gold.

 

All of this may seem disconnected, but my heart and mind were in overdrive seeing many connections. Here on this 7th day, Doug had included our little “hole in the wall” fellowship on the path of this historic appeal to heaven. This 21 day Appeal was not only important for our city, but it was a time of consecration for Doug as he prepared for the Response Louisiana. I saw “The Response” like an answer to “The Call”, preparing all those who were thirsty in our generation/nation to move deeper into this bridal dimension of covenant. In the last decade God raised up Lou Engle to issue “The Call”, were we watching God raise up Doug Stringer, to lead us in “The Response”? Could these complimentary intercessory solemn assemblies be an important piece of our bridal preparation in our nation.

 

The other verse that helps tie everything I believed the Lord was doing on December 7th is from Zechariah 4:10. Here God gives a picture of two olive trees, a golden lamp stand, some pipes and a plumb line. Zerubbabel, whose name literally means “pressed out of Babel” is working closely with the high priest Joshua to lay the foundations that will usher in a time of restoration. The statement is made, “But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel— these are the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth”. When a righteous governor emerges in the land who understands that like the standard of a plumb line, the eternal standards of heaven are relevant to every generation on earth, their is great rejoicing in the heart of God.

We presented Doug the hammer and the plumb line because he is among those we recognize who operate with a mantle of grace, humility and understanding that is able to bring people together where agreement seems beyond reach. I have watched Doug use “the hammer” to delicately and masterfully bring form and connection to “the Lampstand” of the church in seasons of crisis & polarization. This is the hour where the world desperately needs to see the church shining together in all of our seven fold beauty. We are brighter together, and the ministry of Somebody Cares is like a center servant Shemesh or plumb line that keeps us focused on those things that must not be overlooked in the light of eternity.

 

For further study on these Covenant perspectives;

Rediscovering the Hebrew Roots of Our Faith (Lost in Translation Book 1), Klein, John; Spears, Adam; Christopher, Michael, Selah Publishing Group, LLC, 2007

 

 

 

Staves

December 11th, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Staves”

Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well, sing to it! The princes dig the well, the nobles of the people dig it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. Numbers 21:17-18

 

Staves is a curious Hebrew word that occurs in the Old Testament (OT). The specific Hebrew word translated staves in Numbers 21:18 only occurs here in the entire Bible. In other translations this word is translated staffs. Staves appears in other parts of the OT scriptures (Ex 25:27, 30:4, 37:27) however in those passages it is a different hebrew word than is used here.

When digging a well protecting the integrity of the well is important. This is even true in modern times. Drilling companies invest alot of money to develop protective casing for the wells they dig. These casings help to protect the well walls from collapsing & probably from contamination too. This protective casing can be referred to as a stave.

In a desert wilderness, a well is essential to survival. A well meant water and water was the key to remaining alive. No life no water. As in the natural so goes the spiritual.

The Ark of the Covenant was a type of well. As the throne of God on earth it became the ultimate well. As long as Yahweh’s presence remained on that gold covered achacia box – it was the physical representation of his Holy power/glory. Holy power is the type of power that created the universe. If you are looking for a reference point for the intensity of Holy power, its probably more intense than nuclear power, its not “impersonal” and it may be up to 7X more intense than nuclear power? (Isa 30:26) So you might imagine this ferocious source of Holy power presented a transportation/human interface dilemma? How do we interact with it/Him safely? This dilemma was profoundly accentuated to King David  as he  by consensus tried to transport the Ark into Jerusalem. This ark was Holy and it couldn’t be transported any old way man pleased. It had to be done according to God’s pattern. The incredible thing is God wanted it to be transported. God wanted to be in the midst of His people. He wants his people to have access to the fullness of his strength. In order to transport the ark there has to be a reverent heart posture & surrender to the prescribed pattern of God. It had to be done his way & gladly. The prescribed method for carrying this well of eternal glory on the earth, the interface were staves. (Ex 25:27, 30:4, 37:27) It was the responsibility of the Kohathite division of the Levitical priests to carry the ark on their shoulders using staves, no carts (Num 4:4). Infact all of the sacred furniture of the Tent of Meeting was transported using staves. God’s intent in creating humanity was to carry His glory. When this sacred pattern was honored with the right heart attitude, the well of glory could be transported on the shoulders of his priesthood. In the new covenant this kicks up to another dimension. The mystery revealed by the cross, resurrection & ascension/pentecost is “Christ in you the hope of glory!” Now the Lord indwells the hearts of his priesthood. In an act of even deeper intimacy God no longer rides on top of the shoulders of his priesthood, now he chooses to abide within redeemed human hearts.

Humans are not just flesh and blood they are spirit too. Sometimes we forget this, our culture has at times even tried to minimize or deny the spiritual dimension of mans identity. When we deny this reality we really suffer.

In the same way that we must protect the integrity of a natural well by casing it with staves, for us to contain the glory of the living God we must protect the integrity of our inner man with key staves.

The three non-negotiable staves that must be in place before the Lord will release the fullness of his glory flow through our hearts and lives are; conscience; identity & vision(destiny). When these are in proper alignment we experience a different dimension in the release of God’s glory in our lives. It has been called his fullness. (Eph 3:14-19)

God’s design & desire is to bless us as his children. But he will not violate our will. He offers us life or death, blessing or curse. He goes on I want you to choose life! (Deut 30:15-20) and by implication blessing. The enemy of our souls desires to curse us.

Sometimes we hear “curse” and we think “Harry Potter!” Well long before we empower demonic principalities, a curse is simply; ascribing worthlessness to a human heart. A blessing on the other hand is ascribing value to a human heart. At is core this is the root difference between a blessing and a curse. The enemy wants to curse our conscience, curse our identity & curse our destiny. When he succeeds in doing this he leaves a vacuum for self and other things where God’s presence should be. God on the other hand wants our conscience, identity & destiny to be blessed. God also tells us the choice of whether we walk in blessing or curse is in our hands (Deut 30:15-20)

So the process begins with conscience. Conscience is what helps us determine the difference between good & evil. The discernment of good and evil is the basis of Christian maturity. The enemy desires to impede our maturity so he attempts to pervert our understanding of good & evil. “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good” Isa 5:20. Twisting good & evil is not a new strategy for the devil. However in every generation he appeals to our human pride repackaging ancient deceptions in modern sophistication. The result is each generation like many generations before tend to abandon the “outdated” ancient paths for the “new way”. Our conscience will be in one of six places; good(1 Tim 1:5,19), pure (2 Tim 1:3; 1 Tim 3:8-9), weak (1 Cor 8:7-12), defiled (1 Cor 8:7; Titus 1:15), evil/guilty(Heb 10:22), seared(1 Tim 1:5,19).

Now what is incredible about the conscience is if we repent & turn from our wickedness our conscience can also be cleansed. (Heb 9:7-14).

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb 9:14

To set this process of cleansing in motion, we must be willing to come into alignment with Jesus(repent). It is essential that we allow him to begin to teach us good(righteousness) & evil(lawlessness) as He sees it. When we ask him to cleanse our conscience, we set the first stave and the internal integrity of the well of our heart begins to be restored. When the three staves of conscience, identity and destiny are restored – we can be filled with Jesus’ fullness.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” Heb 1:8-9

Restore! – Twelve Concluding Propositions

October 26th, 2014 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Restore! – Twelve Concluding Propositions”

Isaiah 42:21-22

The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake;
He will exalt the law and make it honorable.
22 But this is a people robbed and plundered;
All of them are snared in holes,
And they are hidden in prison houses;
They are for prey, and no one delivers;
For plunder, and no one says, “Restore!”

 

 

The following twelve concluding propositions are taken from the final chapter of the book “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth” by Jeffrey Satinover, M.D.. There is a way out!

 

“As we have seen, the subject of homosexuality is enormously complex, touching on many aspects of human existence: biological, psychological and spiritual. Nonetheless, we can present our conclusions in the form of twelve propositions, These are:

1. The general condition “homosexuality” is a loosely defined aspect of the overall polymorphism of human sexuality.

2. Given the present state of human nature, sexual polymorphism is natural.

3. Each individual’s homosexuality is the likely result of a complex mixture of genetic, intrauterine, and extrauterine biological factors combined with familial and social factors as well as repeatedly reinforced choices. These create a particular blend of impulses. The role of genetic influence is small, and in any event means very little in terms of compelling an individual to become homosexual.

4. The godly standard of moral behavior is much more narrowly defined than the great variety and natural polymorphism of human sexuality. Sexuality in the state of nature is therefore commonly sinful. Sanctified, it is one of God’s greatest gifts.

5. Homosexual behavior is difficult to modify because, like other forms of compulsive behavior, it involves innate impulses and reinforced choices by which sinful activities become embedded in the brain (“engraved on the heart”).

6. Ethical demands require homosexuals, like all people, to resist their natural sinful impulses.

7. Homosexuality is not a true illness, though it may be thought an illness in the spiritual sense of “soul sickness,” innate to fallen human nature. Its treatment thus opens directly into the domain of the “cure of souls.”

8. Because deeply engraved behaviors are so difficult to modify, homosexuals, like all people, have two choices: to capitulate to the behavior and its consequences or to depend on others, and on God, for help.

9. Secular programs that modify homosexual behavior are more numerous and more effective than popular opinion is led to believe.

10. Spiritual programs that lead people into dependency on God, and support them there, are even more effective. The best of these integrate into their spiritual approach the best that is offered by the secular approaches as well.

11. A pastoral understanding of the “cure” of the soul, which unfolds progressively, over a lifetime, is more than alleviation of particular symptoms; it consists of growing ever more closely toward the divinely ordained configuration that God intended for us from the beginning – and which is largely “unnatural,” not only in the area of sexuality. This process is without question a reality; it is a reality that occurs in secular settings as well as religious ones. It is a reality no less pertinent – and lifegiving – to every person, whatever his particular brokenness, than to struggling with homosexuality.

12. The modern change in opinion concerning homosexuality, though presented as scientific advance, is contradicted rather than supported by science. It is a transformation in public morals consistent with widespread abandonment of the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which our civilization is based. Though hailed as “progress,” it is really a reversion to ancient pagan practices supported by a modern restatement of gnostic moral relativism.”

 

(Satinover, M.D., Jeffrey, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, pp 245-246 Chpt. 16 “The Pagan Revolution”, Baker Books, 1996)

 

Recommended Resources

Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Baker, 1996

http://www.amazon.com/Homosexuality-Politics-Truth-Jeffrey-Satinover/dp/080105625X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414342945&sr=1-1&keywords=homosexuality+and+the+politics+of+truth

 

Andrew Comiskey, Pursuing Sexual Wholeness

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0884192598/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687582&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0830823689&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=09BEZHM14BTS6KZA50JE

 

Leanne Payne, The Broken Image

http://www.amazon.com/The-Broken-Image-Restoring-Wholeness/dp/080105334X