The Age of Adventure

The last three years have been marked with many miracle touches of God. Thousands.

The last twenty years with many thousands more.

A man challenged me one day, “I’ve not seen any miracles.”

I answered, “Where have you been?  Have you been regular in attendance?  Have you given yourself to the work of the ministry?  Have you buried yourself in the closet of prayer and fasting?”

He hung his head and walked away.

He missed the miracle healing of the leg of a dear sister, who went from surgery on Friday to back to work on Monday with no residual.  The doctor told her it would take months.

He missed the miracle healing the legs of the woman, who came crippled and in great pain and left with no pain and all swelling gone by the next morning.

He missed the miracle healing of the woman, who slipped in one time and the snap of her spine back into place shocked the entire audience as she crumpled healed under the power of God.

He missed the miracle financial gift that pays for me to stay in ministry besides a small group of people, who have little to give.

He missed the thousands overcome by the presence of God on a regular basis in the streets and farms and churches of Mexico every year.

He missed the opening of cooperative relationships with an ever increasing number of government agencies coming to us for help.

He missed the personal salvation of one after another in the quiet of the cafe and across the glass at the jail.

He missed the meth addict, who has abandoned drugs and the alcoholic sober for years and both of these helping others.

He missed the baby with the hole in her stomach restored to total health as if nothing ever happened.

He missed. He was busy looking somewhere else when Jesus touched a soul. Don’t follow his path.

2017 is an Age of Adventure.

In just a few days, I will begin releasing short lessons on miracles as a way of daily life.  At Hope Connection in Gainesville, we will include in every service with an offer of miracles.  Miracles are not seen with some heebie jeebie super spiritual seance approach to prayer.  Miracles are seen when God decides and in accordance with His word.

Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

A man after seeing the miracle intervention of God in a service asked me to come into the next service and just start praying for people.  I scolded him.  “We will preach the word.  Faith will rise. Miracles will come.  We will not pray until we have preached the word.”  That evening hundreds filled the outdoor area in which we had services. The presence of God was strong and many saw answers.  Last weekend, a woman came to me after a meeting in a dirt courtyard.  Chickens ran underfoot.  The music team was loud and relentless in a way that distracted faith.  in all the chaos, God touched her.  She left free.  All her burdens were gone and she found me to make sure I knew.

“El peso es levantado”  “The heaviness is lifted”, she declared.

in 2017, I declare the Age of Adventure for Cooke County, Texas.  Miracle presence of God will seem commonplace.

How can that be, Pastor?  How can you be so bold?

Can I hold back any longer?  For three years, I have worked with the Holy Spirit to seed the ground, preach the word of faith, and pray for all.  Now He says, “Go. Release. Do it in Me.” Enough with doubt.  Enough with unbelief.  Enough with religion.

Easy.  Every time we ask in faith, He responds.  I am quite comfortable casting off doubt and unbelief on behalf of the people and entering in to a constant opening to the presence and miracle power of Christ.  I am uncomfortable with allowing the common disbelief of man in the God of Power and Love.  I am uncomfortable allowing religious flesh to strangle the presence of the Holy Spirit.  I am uncomfortable allowing self serving super spiritual Christians to destroy faith with hypocrisy.  I am comfortable bringing light into darkness and joy into despair and hope into depression. I am comfortable with the I Am.

How do I know this is for me?

1 Thessalonians 1:For we know, brothers and sisters[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

This is what we will see with increasing common occurrence. And this book will be out guide.

If you want to prepare yourself for this Age of Adventure, take time to listen to each of these 41 lessons on 1 John explaining the love of Christ.  Perfect love casts out fear.  Fear fights faith.  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAni6D2Vjoqhh0Xk1vDxVjNYLeXlXoq5I

Join me in the Age of Adventure.  Make the drive. 6:30pm Sundays along with interactive online studies at 9am Sunday and 6:30pm Wednesday.  The Mosaic at the Stanford House Sept 24, Oct 29, Nov 19, Dec 17 at 10:30am Sundays. The Morning Moment on facebook daily. Life Skills and Parenting workshops ongoing by registration.

Phil@hclive.org

gracechangeseverything

 

 

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God Cannot Fill A Full Barn: Enjoy His Grace

Photo: for the fatherless- 25 pastors from across the city and across cultures and denominations joined to pray with one heart and one mind

25+ pastors from across the city, denominations, and cultures gathered to pray

Working with a benevolent group, they adopted a philosophy of full grace giving. Over the years, a few had been serving a few. 1500 meals a month were being distributed. And food went to waste. What would happen if we emptied the pantry every time we opened the door? Would there be enough for tomorrow?

With the approach and idea that God cannot fill a full barn, the adventure begain. Within three years of making the decision to give all that was given every time we opened the door, the team expanded to 50 people from a few, services were given six days a week instead of one, a full mission location in the heart of the urban population was opened instead of a piece of a church foyer, 20,000 meals a month were served instead of 1500, and 650 families came a week instead of 20-30. All the supply came when grace was given.

Prevenient grace is a concept that there is a certain free availability of strength to be who we are. In His mercy and love for us, God allows us to live mostly unhindered in this world. We certainly do not deserve such a beautiful and majestic existence, but He grants it in hope we would respond and join Him fully. God has given us a wonderful opportunity to enter fully into His family and receive of Him while we continue in our mistakes.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,

Relational grace communicates that God blesses our world on behalf of those that are united with Him. His family serves Him and serves each other. Those that call out to Him repentant of their mistakes and accepting of His sacrifice and suffering in Christ provide a sort of a bubble around us. Because of them, He withholds an enormous amount of pain and suffering. Wars and famines and disasters are withheld. Surely there are enough that break through as a result of our rebellions. Yet, much more protection is afforded our world than we ever realize.

1 Corinthians 1:3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Accepted grace is the most blessed of all. Accepted grace belongs only to those that enter fully into His blessings in Christ Jesus. Through His blood, we are provided a fullness of grace. His eternal life enters us now and forever. His favor enables us. His peace sustains us. His comfort meets us in times of need. His Spirit guides us and shows us paths of blessing. This world still surrounds us. And He rescues us and blesses us.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)

Enjoy His grace. Enjoy all forms of His grace

Distributed grace is our opportunity. In the hands and hearts of every believer in Jesus is the opportunity to be givers of grace. In our hands is multiplied blessing. When we give it, God gives us more to be given that He might give us more. It is a principle of living. When we give, we receive.

Romans 16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

That philosophy and principle of living permeates PrayerMetro and all of the expressions in prayer and Christian unity and fathering and leadership. Mostly it is just grace received given out. Let not our barns remain full. God cannot fill a full barn. Enjoy His grace in the giving.

  • This week at Tulakes (NW OKC) and Epperly Heights (Del City), we opened the doors for Watch D.O.G.S. in the schools so that children might get a vision of dedicated and faithful and healthy men.
  • This week DADSUniversity went forward another week at Eagles’ Crest in West OKC.
  • This week at the Jesus House, we were honored again through prayer and teaching as chaplaincy to the leadership team that serves so many. Downtown.
  • This week many pastors received personal and private prayer and compassion. All over.
  • This week a group of ministers from across our city gathered in Spirit-led prayer to bless our metro on Wednesday at First Lutheran. Downtown.
  • This week a precious touch of God’s love descended at Tabernaculo De Fe during a time of sharing and prayer. South OKC.
  • This week our golf tourney for the Fall was planned and launched.
  • This week thousands of blessings were sent out and many legislators responded with thanks. Nationwide.
  • This week a sharing of word and prayer and worship with the family at Tabitha was sweet. East OKC
  • This week the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assualt met and planned and received me as the Chair. South OKC

And surely, I lived in His grace in all these settings while working a few small contract assignments as God performed great acts of grace.

2 Corinthians 1:12] For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

There is no way my barn is big enough to be able to be in all these places and perform such a variety of acts as group meetings, leading a ministers’ prayer time, ministering in a Latino congregation, ministering in a mission leaders group, ministering over the phone with ministers and email with legislators, writing business articles, advising in marketing for businesses, planning and organizing a golf tournament, fixing bathtubs and house vents, cutting grass, and just being a dad and husband. My barn must be emptied daily that God might fill it again and again. Your life is the same. Life is limitless as long as you are willing to live in grace and give it all away every day.

Prayer: Father, bring great blessing of grace over my friend. Show Your grace is given most when we give the most. Show how huge You are. Bring supply and bring outlets. Let us live in grace.

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

www.championfatherstourney.org Be a giver. Have some fun. Support kids and fathers.

Meet Jesus: Ill Will Matthew 5:11

9385_554298617946432_1309700350_n (2)Matthew 5: 1: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, … 11: Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

 Reviled, persecuted, falsely accused, and discussed with cussedness is the condition of a follower of Jesus.  Now, that was His condition.  And, now, that is our condition.  It is a strange communion with Christ that we desire.  We want to be like Him in every way except this one.  Sure, we would like to be gracious and kind and merciful and full of miracles.  But, do we want the accompaniment?   Jesus was conditioned to being treated this way every place He went.  Are we?

During the televangelist season of failure in the 1980s, a co-worker approached me on break.  This had been a hard time as many personal failures of Christian leaders were in the media and being talked about in congregations.  Jimmy Swaggart was one of those in the news regularly.  This co-worker made a crude comment about the minister and the accusations in the papers.  True or not, I had no idea.  My retort was to encourage them to find truth before repeating the news lest they find themselves against God.  Even if it was true, why would they wish ill will to the man?  Over years, he had been used of God to bless many.  Now there was a reported failure.  Wouldn’t we want him to be restored?  Wouldn’t we want him to enjoy family for the remaining years of life?  Wouldn’t we want repentance and continued good works?  The co-worker really wasn’t attacking Jimmy Swaggart.  They were attacking the cause of Christ and possible hypocrisy.  That is a dangerous game to play.  Who wants to be one to accuse Christ of inconsistency?

ACT!  Have you ever verbally wished ill will to another Christian?  Did you do it out of envy?  Have you ever heard someone else do this?  Did you participate by listening?  The next time you hear an accusation against a brother or sister in Christ, rise to their defense.  Bless them in your prayers and bless them in the hearing of others.  Don’t entertain the ill will.

PRAY!   Father, this kingdom of heaven is a strange life.  We find ourselves continually beset with accusations when we do good and needing to bless others in the same.  In the kingdom, we are joined in Christ to the same body.  In the kingdom, what affects one affects the other.  Teach us to be blessors, especially when others in Christ are attacked.  Teach us to turn what the enemy means for ill will into something of blessing.  Teach us to walk in the kingdom.

If we can pray for you regarding anything in your life, please let us know.  Our greatest blessing is to bless others in prayer. .  www.prayermetro.com   Phil@shepherdok.com

Meet Jesus: Preacher Matthew 4:23

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Matthew 4: 23: And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

 Preaching the gospel of the kingdom was a continual activity for Jesus.  Throughout the gospels we meet Jesus, the Preacher.  He preached good news.  He preached with conviction.  When I think of preaching, I think of someone passionate about whom they are, what they say, and their mission and message.  Passionately speaking good news is a great description of Jesus.

Preaching is so much fun for me.  Yes, it is pensive.  Yes, it is work and takes great preparation.  Yes, it is sometimes a frustration when the message does not seem to get across.  But, preaching is great fun for me.  It is the fulfillment of call and passion expressed all at once.  Seeing people come alive with the gospel through an illustration or comparison is wonderful fun.

We ought to have fun doing what we are made to do.  God made me to be a preacher.  This devotion is a preaching of sorts.  When it hits home with people, I come alive and thank my Father for His faithfulness.  Seeing someone do what they were born to do is so much fun.  Do what you were made to do.

ACT!  Think on something about which you have passion and conviction.  Does it make your blood stir up?  Jesus gets stirred up about you being in His family.

PRAY!  Father, thanks so much that Jesus gets stirred up about the good news that I can be a member of Your family.  I am so excited about being in the kingdom, in the family of God.  Stir in me that same passion and conviction that others might be able to meet the same Jesus, the Preacher, whom I know.  In me, light the fire to fulfill my call.  That for which You have made me make alive in me.  I commit myself to it.  I joy myself to do it.

Meet Jesus: Taken Matthew 4:5

meetjesustakenMatthew 4:Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

The fact that Jesus would allow himself to be taken anywhere by the devil astounds me.  What was going through His mind at those moments?  Here he was, led by His own Holy Spirit, to spend time with evil.   Here he was entering the beginning of His public ministry dealing with a defeatist devil.  Our present thinkers tell us to feel good and be happy and then minister.  Our present ideologies point to pleasure as the entry to ministry.  Jesus allowed himself to be taken into the presence of evil itself.  This was His entry point into public ministry.  He allowed testing.  He presented himself for inspection.  He was taken.

Pushed to the max, Jim was about to pop.  This was supposed to be his year to get the big promotion.  It began with pain.  Employees were livid with some decisions he had made.  Every emotion in him was twisted.  He had worked night and day and given himself totally on behalf of these.  They turned on him.  The year before, he had handled the torrents of accusations from a disturbed man.  The threats had been against these very employees that now turned on him.  For defending them, he now stood their accusations of being unfair and inequitable.  Was this how to start his big year?

He resigned himself to stand through the accusations.  He remembered that the name, Satan, really meant Accuser.  He remembered, Jesus had stood testing before His big year.  Surely, he could allow the Healer to live in and through him in this critical time.  “Father, forgive them”, he whispered, “They don’t know what they are doing.”

ACT! Testing is never fun.  When God has something big, He can allow life and, yes, even the devil a place to sort out our intentions and grace living.  Is there a place of testing in your life?  Is God preparing you, stabilizing you for the next big thing?  Submit to the test.  Let it prove you out.  Don’t fight.  Let God fight for you.  Take time to pray Psalm 35 and see what happens.

PRAY! Father, I am not my own defense.  When life and the enemy rise against me as a flood, You be the boat of my salvation.  Carry me away from that which is too strong for me.  Deliver me from the hand of my enemies.  Cause in me conviction to repent of those weaknesses in me that could have led to this situation.  Cause holiness to well up in me.  Cause me to crucify any flesh that needs changed.  Let these troubles be a directional that causes me to become closer to You in thought and word and deed.  Cause me to be more like You than ever before.  Then, in the next big thing, I will be able.  I will be founded.  I will be strengthened to do that to which You have called me.  I surrender myself to be taken.

Meet Jesus: Human Matthew 4:2

meetjesusokMatthew 4: 2: And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

 There is a fallacy in meeting Jesus that bears great correction.   At times we approach Him as if He had some special advantage while He lived in that body born of Mary.  Jesus was fully human.  He got really hungry.  He dealt with conflicting emotions.  He lived as a human equipped with the Spirit of God even as He asks us to live.

In being human, Jesus sanctified humanity.  He made it okay to be fully human.  He made it a good thing to be all the human we could be, to live up to our human potential – with God.  Remember, while being fully human, He was fully God.  Our task is to work on being fully human, with God.

Being fully human, for us means being full of mistakes.  Being fully human, means being able to correct those mistakes.  Today I had a great opportunity to change my mistakes.  A co-worker was upset with me about my actions.  I had presumed what I did was okay with him instead of asking.  It was okay.  If I asked.  Not asking was presumptive.  It was inconsiderate.  By repenting and asking, my mistake was changed to okay.  He gave me that grace.  It was good.  Jesus helped me be human.

ACT!  Think of your most human moment this week.  Thank God for making you a human.

PRAY!  Father, thanks for making me a human like Jesus.  It must be really special to you, this human thing.  You sent Your own Son to be one, just to make it special.  Wow!  I really don’t deserve it, but I really appreciate it.  Thanks.

Powerful Healing: Living Large in Boundaries

Psalm 16:The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. KJV

You make my life pleasant, and my future is bright. CEV

The boundary lineshave fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. NIV 1984

Boundaries

Along with every gift comes a set of conditions and expectations.  Giving a BB gun to a nine year old comes with conditions that it is only used with Dad.  Giving a wedding ring to a spouse comes with promises to love, honor, and cherish.  There are boundaries.  There are definitions of the blessing and how to enjoy and conditions to limit and protect and fulfill purpose.

Every job comes with a set of conditions and expectations.  Overlooking a contract arrangement it impressed me I might have to take extra time to really understand how to make this new relationship work.  Conditions and clauses limit and liberate my abilities with the group.

Every call of God comes with promises and extensions.  The call to do something helps define our path and helps us to understand obedience in the path will result in extended boundaries.  Resistance to path will result in confusion and possibly greater limitation in order to get us back to the path.

Limiting Boundaries.

Some boundaries are limits.  Gravity is a limiting boundary.  Jump off a 20 story building and the limiting boundaries of strength of your physical body coupled with the limiting boundaries of gravity will pound your body into death.  Expect it.  Those limits allow us to define actions in a safe and full living manner.

Liberating Boundaries

Some boundaries are liberation.  A grant for an education is meant to expand our knowledge and ability to do more in life.  It is a boundary, but it has an intention to liberate.  It may be restricted to a certain university and course of study, but there are liberties all along the path.  The same would work with an employment contract.  The employer may give us latitude to work and make commissions within a certain product and service.   The boundary can be liberating.

 Healthy Boundaries

God given boundaries always lead to life and health.  Understanding, acknowledging, and living inside them bring us greatness in life, health in our bodies, blessing in our minds, and peace to our souls.  Defining the boundaries of envy, jealousy, strife, and contempt keeps us peaceful with our fellow humans and enjoying our lives.  Defining the boundaries of the power of God focused toward us, righteousness in Christ, full salvation,  and the fruit of the Spirit brings incredible liberation and blessing to every step we take.

Recognize

The smart and healthy and balance Christian sees the right boundaries of call and position in life and uses them to good for themselves and others.  Boundaries can be stretched when obedience is engaged.  Boundaries can be tightened with disobedience is the norm.   It is our choice to study, recognize, acknowledge and activate the boundaries.

Short Story

A friend challenged me on some of my activities.  His best knowledge of me was my gift of organization and administration.  Since I am more active today in birthing and building and developing new works and businesses, he is confused.  How can I be going outside my boundaries and hope to succeed?  The answer is simple.  My boundaries have been stretched through obedience and fulfillment of call.  What fell to my lot before is much bigger today through study, acknowledgement, acceptance, and obedience. 

Had I simply stayed safely in the middle portion of my boundaries and never explored them fully to the outside edge, I probably would have no understanding of the build components God had in my future.  My friend would be right to tell me to stay in my older boundaries.  But the boundaries have been expanded and there is much more life and abundance to be enjoyed.  The boundaries of my future need not be the boundaries of my present experience.

Where Are You?

Struggling with health issues?  Struggling with emotional distress?  Struggling with bad relationships?  Sometimes our best strategy for healing is to acknowledge our present boundaries and begin growing them into future boundaries through prayer, action, and engagement.  The boundary I have today provides a safe place in which to grow and expand and become healthier.

Prayer:  Father, it really can be hard to understand life.  You want us full of health and life and living.  You want us complete in Christ.  Yet, we must grow in grace and power.  We must acknowledge the present and grow into the future.  We must seek You first and Your kingdom to understand how we are protected and given room to grow.  Grow us safely, in good season, and with ever increasing faith and results.  What a Good God You are.