Saturday, December 19, 2009


I have not always loved Christmas. I tried real hard when I was a kid with some successes and some terrible failures. What I didn’t know then but I’ve learned since is that drug addiction and family dysfunction doesn’t take a holiday break….in fact, in ramps up. It can be summed up in the holiday greeting I grew up with, “Merry Kiss My ___”. Lovely sentiment, isn’t it?

But somewhere in life with two little kids and a wife who grew up with a family that relished Christmas, I had a Scrooge-like epiphany. Something, somehow broke into my reality and lodged in my heart and thinking. This life, this world, this one and only shot we have at spreading good cheer, needs Christmas.

And here, I am not talking about the Christmas “wars”. That’s nonsense. If I’m upset about losing influence in the world due to the fact that not enough people say, “Merry Christmas”, it is not a sign that the nation is in a moral free-fall….it’s a sign that I need to regain my credibility.

And, I am not talking about the silliness of others who argue that Jesus’ Birthday is not actually December 25th, or that we need to end the commercialization of the holidays, or that various traditions of Christmas have been borrowed from a variety of pagan rituals or, or, or… Let me borrow a phrase from the Latin; shut up!

This life of multiple disappointments and grieving needs a Christmas break. This world of scary people and hatred needs a Christmas break. This one and only shot we have at spreading good cheer, needs Christmas.

It’s about the insertion of beauty in a collection of far too much indignity and disgrace. It’s about clearing a small patch of ground, declaring a cease fire and singing Silent Night. I looked this up in Wikipedia, so the details might not be completely accurate;
"The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, jam, cigars, chocolate, and the like. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

In a world of reality shows that become real reality, we need beauty. In a world of unhinged ego, we need beauty. In a world where one of my readers presides over a daily parade of human agony in the justice system, we need beauty. In a world where the f-bomb is a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb and artistic musical expression, we need beauty.

Do you understand why I don’t care if pagan paltry has been thrown on top of Christmas? In my opinion, if something is beautiful, it belongs to God. Winter solstice provides a unique opportunity for reflection on dark bone chilling nights. In the mind-set of the Old Testament, if you touched a leper, you got leprosy. But now, on this side of the Cross, when we touch the leper, the leper is healed! Some people just need a bigger God and a far more real Jesus.

Let me tell you about my own personal Christmas tradition that brings me to tears every year. I started this when my kids were tiny. Late on Christmas Eve, after everything is done and a quiet has settled in, I take my car keys (or bells if they are available) and I go outside. I look up at the sky as if to look for Santa, throw my head back, jiggle my keys and as loud as I can I shout, “HO, HO, HO! Merry Christmas!” I’m not kidding. Ask anyone who lives within a mile of me. Dogs howl and the valley around me echoes….and I cry.

I cry because it is my shout for beauty. I cry because I hope some kid somewhere hears me and wonders if there really is a Santa. I cry because I love the moment. In this one and only shot for bringing peace on earth and good will toward all people, beauty deserves 15 minutes of fame every year.

Merry Christmas…HO, HO, HO!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What If the Church Fell in Love?

What if the church fell in love? How would we change? What if we removed all of our shaming bumpers stickers about what we perceive as cultural ills and channeled all of that noise into real, supernatural effort to love? How would our message change if Heaven’s Love became our love?

Would we stop threatening the world with catastrophe? Would Jesus’ Word from John 3:16 through 18 sound different to us if we, the church actually fell in love? How would our message change if Kingdom Love became our love?

Would we be far less interested in end times theories that ramp up the pressure getting ourselves motivated to serve God? Would authentic, passionate love of and for God be enough to ignite our labors? Would wildly loving Christians be far more interesting signs of the times than earthquakes and wars? Would sacrificial love born out of God’s bountiful heart into the lives of Christians be much more intriguing than who the next candidate is for “Anti-Christ of the Year”?

Do we know what spirit we are of when we are in any way pleased or interested in bad things happening to bad people? If hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, diseases and calamities fit into our definition of how unhappy God is have we truly calculated the damage we do to the character of the Father and the true love of Jesus Christ? Have we read Luke 9:51-56 with Christ’s core value of radical love burning in our minds?

Does our definition of love require God to be angry and unsatisfied? What role does fear and punishment play in our revelation of God, especially in the face of Jesus, who told us that seeing Him is seeing the Father? Does our definition of love drain the Gospel of real power? Does our definition of love weaken and possibly neutralize the very Word of God which we adamantly require the world to believe? Are we experts in theology and novices in love?

What would happen if the church fell in love?

I’m just asking questions.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank You

Yesterday was nuts. Without boring you with intricate details, I can tell you that the simplicity of getting an insurance check co-endorsed by my mortgage company to pay the roofer for his work took three days, 300 miles of round trips to the bank, four completed forms with six different signatures, five phone calls, five different checks, five individuals, a notary public and a partridge in a pear tree. The actual roofing was done more easily and faster.

Then this morning I opened my mail from yesterday (a task put off due to the aforementioned fiasco) and I read two amazing stories; one about a friend who just returned from a trip to Mexico and the other about a beggar’s donation to Mother Teresa’s work in Calcutta.

My friend’s story recounted how he was blessed to participate in building two new homes in Reynosa, Mexico in six days. That’s right, two homes built in six days. Here’s the run-down….

One home was for a 74 year old man and the other one was for an 87 year old man. Both men were living in squalor and filth. The more significant of the two was the older man who lived under a tarp. I’ve been to Reynosa and I can testify to the dominance of its poverty. For the American mind that has only seen our version of poverty, it is almost impossible to describe. These two men would likely be classified as the worst of the worst among our homeless population. But for Reynosa, they are more likely to be among the average poor.

So, building two houses in six days to replace sticks, bricks and a rotting tarp was fairly simple. My friend celebrated the crowning touch on both houses….doors.

Then I opened a devotional based on some of Mother Teresa’s life experiences. One story immediately grabbed me. A beggar came to Mother Teresa with his handful of a day’s worth of begging. He insisted on giving it to her. She stood for moment staring at the man and she knew that to take this money would mean he would go hungry and to not take the money would be unfair and painful to him. She received his gift and celebrated the joy that filled his face.

I am suddenly and outrageously thankful for the hassle I went through to pay for my new roof. I am filled with gratitude for the insurance money that paid for 20 to 30 more years of a roof over my head. I love my mortgage company and all the people who make my house a dream come true. I love my insurance agent. I love my contractor.

I love my church family who sacrifice to give week after week and those sacrifices, great and small, make my salary look like a king’s ransom for most people living in Reynosa or Calcutta.

I don’t have construction skills and my back wouldn’t last a day digging ditches. My dad, an earthy east Texas oil drilling, truck driving, Teamster Union loving Irishman, once said (out of his definition of love for me), “It’s a good thing you can preach, because you can’t do nothin’ else.” His world was filled with sweat, blood, bare knuckles negotiations, cursing as second language and Chicago traffic jams. His slice of fame came from a picture on the front page of the Chicago Tribune when his truck slid sideways in an ice storm at rush hour and blocked the Dan Ryan Expressway. What’s my point? I am thankful that I live the life of relative ease I am living just by the sweat of my “voice”.

Thank you, all of you reading this, who have given me irretrievable pieces of your life to read my ranting. I love my extended spiritual family from near and far who speak and give blessings to me for nothing more than my ministry gift. Wow…thank you!

Thank you God, I am over yesterday’s nuttiness. Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Gobble, gobble….

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing?

"There is more hunger for love in this world than there is for bread."
~Mother Teresa~

If what Mother Teresa said is true, and it is, then doesn't it ultimately mean that if the people of God genuinely and authentically LOVE that the world will crash our gates?

I dream this.....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Too Much of a Good Thing is...WONDERFUL!" Mae West

“Too Much of a Good Thing is…WONDERFUL!” Mae West
The Radical Power of Love

I have said for many years now that the greatest unused power of the Church is love. Oh yea, I know…our bumper stickers shout the contrary. “Honk if you love Jesus”, “I love you, and God loves you MORE!”, “We Love you at (fill in the blank with your church name)”. I am personally allergic to bumper stickers. I break out in curmudgeon like sounds every time I see one, particularly embarrassing Christian bumper stickers.

I’m sorry…I verbally did what I physically do when driving my car and seeing stupid bumper stickers…veer off the road and head for the ditch.

Leonard Sweet (E. Stanley Jones professor of evangelism at Drew Theological in Madison, New Jersey) said, “If Christianity really wanted to get radical, the first thing it could do would be to stop privileging Western rationalization.” What this means to me is that we must intentionally take a dive in the deep end of the pool of God’s true character.

For instance, the rational Western theologian looks at a scripture passage that says, “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:3) and deduces that men are the only legitimate power brokers in the church. The problem is that rational thought and the radical love of God are quite often incompatible. The radical love of God proclaims that now, in Christ and His obliteration of the letter of the law through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the Right Hand of God, there is now neither Jew or Greek, male or female, for we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28).

This messes with my head! No pun intended. How can one verse be so permissive of male dominance and the next one explicitly rip that notion right out of my manly hands? It can because now we believers are no longer permitted to be in the lock-down of the law and prophets. Jesus said in Luke 16:16 that John the Baptist was the exclamation point of the law and prophets and now the Kingdom of God, and its radical law of outrageous love is being proclaimed, and everyone is fighting their way into the atmosphere of this new message!

Here’s an instant replay of I Corinthians 11:3 through the rose-colored lens of Love: “Christ is the head of men. He told his believers before He left the earth, ‘you’ll do My works and even greater works than Me’, thus providing that ‘headship’ is love’s empowerment, not the law’s need for external controls. Furthermore, God is the Head of Christ which is easily understood when you know that Christ said, ‘If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father’, and with that Word Jesus lived out His Father’s love with an obedience born from intimate unity. And man is the head of a woman by being so filled with the Love of God that he is not afraid of her empowerment.”

Love goes where the Law stops.

Ah, this love thing might just catch on! Would you like another example that explodes harsh legalistic religious bigotry? OK….any suggestions? What’s that? You two there, waaaay in the back row….say it loud. Ah yes, politics and lifestyle choices… Well, maybe I shouldn’t….but since you asked, I’ll take a stab at it.

Remember that annoying sermon Jesus preached from a mountain? Matthew heard Jesus say something like this, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Here’s something that really juices this up…ready? Jesus literally took an Old Testament scripture, in this case, and tore it to shreds!

The reference is from Deuteronomy 23:3-6. I will spare you the rigid details in this venue, but I would invite you to read for yourself the complete history behind this narrative. Here’s my take; Jesus is saying, “Remember how God told you that you should not seek to bless or support an old political rival with peace and prosperity? Blam…that’s done. Now I want you to pray blessing and prosperity on Republicans, Democrats and Independents all in the same breath! AND do it with your heart completely healed by the irrational reach of real love for your very real enemies. I want people to look at you and honestly wonder what ‘side’ you are on because your love is so completely all encompassing.”

“BUT, if I love people like that they’ll think I’m approving of their lifestyle! If I love like that my Christian friends will think I’m compromising! If I love like that people won’t know what my moral stand is!”

As to “lifestyle” question, Jesus completely loved one group of people so much He was called a “drunk” (Matthew 11:19). As to what my “Christian friends” think, I have found that living to please them is too exhausting and soul draining to matter. And, on the “moral stand” matter, if I am not being perfected in the Love of God, my moral stand is completely irrelevant and without merit. Christianity in 2009 can not afford to be known more for moral convictions than we are known for fanatic love!

There’s a lot of talk in church circles these days about, “world-view”. I have not read it all nor have I had the inclination to do so. What I have seen simply makes me nervous because it takes a squeaky-clean, hard edged approach that our culture and the church is in trouble due to an anemic Biblical “world-view”. Frankly, I think if the church really had a complete revelation of God’s true world view, some church folks might want to have God excommunicated.

The only world view I want is LOVE. God’s value for the world is in direct relationship to the value He holds for His own Son (John 3:16). That love THEN is the same love NOW, for THIS world. Crazy, huh? Yes, it is. But that’s the wonder of love out of heaven’s unlimited bounty. Mae West was right! “Too much of a good thing is WONDERFUL!” Does that make me a friend of Mae? I sure hope so.

Monday, November 02, 2009

2012 is Yet Another Y2K

I’d like to get a jump on the current end of world fad. For anyone who has the blessing of not being in front of a TV set, or has missed movie previews of late, here’s the scoop…the Mayan Calendar has some kind of end predicted within it that points to December 21, 2012. Actually, some have a tick of the clock attached to this…11:11a.m.

I feel fairly confident to announce that I will likely be here, tapping words into my computer at precisely 11:12a.m. December 21, 2012 and beyond. In fact, I plan to be publishing another book…or writing a blog at that precise moment calling on everyone who profited from this fraud to donate all their ill-gotten gains to local food pantries and homeless shelters. I have experience in this kind of behavior. Allow me a moment to elucidate.

When a herd of noisy Christians were advocating that we should be storing food and water for the coming Y2K cataclysm (late in the year 1999), I was busy being a pastor. I told my flock that if they were storing food when their neighbor might be potentially hungry, repentance was the only option. I told people to empty their cupboards, basements, bomb shelters and every secret storage facility they had and give this bounty to the poor. Most people joined me in my good cheer. A few people quietly disagreed and shook their heads in disdain at my ignorance of prophecy.

Our church actually planned a fireworks display on News Year’s Eve 1999. We thought it was a nice touch to illustrate our disgust for this kind of sadness. When the clock turned 2000 without incident it was as if the world breathed a sigh of relief that yet another thief of hope had been exposed.

I am personally committed to the notion that Christianity must completely separate itself from every thief of hope. One of the most common examples of this is the “end of the world” predictions that make a run at us every so often. I hate it when, at best, too many Christian leaders take a stance sounding like, “Well, no one knows for sure” and, at worst, some high profile hucksters seize the moment for raising funds for their ministries and scaring people into faith or church. Yuck!

Let me recommend some enlightening reading for your spiritual edification: “Surprised by Hope; Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church” by N.T. Wright. “The Rapture Exposed; the Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation” by Barbara Rossing. And, “Victorious Eschatology” by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench.

We have ignored the incalculable damage done to the Name of Christ by this junk for too long. We have allowed ourselves to be guilty by association, at best, and guilty by outright manipulation, at worst. I will not stand by, I will not be silent, I can not let innocent hearts be soiled and I decline to accept the end of man (see William Faulkner’s speech in accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1950). There is a far more soul enriching manner in which to read and enjoy the scriptures than to be force fed with the notion that God is focused on His stop-watch.

For the record, the popular TV preachers, Jack Van Impe and John Hagee are promoting an interpretation of scriptures I find completely and egregiously flawed in this regard. It is based on a school of theology that slices and dices the scriptures in so many directions you can hardly trust any verse to mean what it really says. Note, I am not saying these gentlemen are evil or false prophets….I don’t personally know them. I just know that their interpretation of the Bible requires a catastrophic vision of the future. In my opinion, that interpretation is unacceptably damaging to the character of Christ which is the heart and love of God for the world.

Catastrophic events come and go, but they are, by and large, the result of our sowing and reaping and not God’s sadistic thirst for misery just to “get our attention”. The Bible actually promises the complete healing of all of nature. It speaks of every nation being healed and streaming to the people of God for visionary answers. Scriptures predict that all weapons will one day be converted to agricultural purposes and military academies will no longer be required to train for war. God actually set in motion a momentum for the reversal of the food chain mentality, in humans and the animal kingdom. (Isaiah 11, 60, 61, Micah 4)

I happen to believe that our participation in the scriptures has always been required for any promise of God to be activated. From the salvation of an individual to the salvation of the nations, we are co-laborers with Christ. Our will and consent has always mattered!

So, while I am sure that the Mayans were lovely people and ahead of their time in art and culture, I am equally certain that their calendar is predictive of nothing in particular. Some scholars suggest that the 2012 reference in the Mayan calendar is simply a point at which the dates are a “do-over” and not at all a cataclysm. Unfortunately, that interpretation won’t sell movies or promote a ministry.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I love the prophet Isaiah: the book, yes, but even more so, the man. This dude has a clearer and more distinct revelation of Jesus Christ hundreds of years before Jesus arrives on earth’s shores than those of us who have mountains of written material about Jesus along with 2000 years to read it all!

It underlines for me the necessity of my relationship with the Holy Spirit. Many in Christianity today are happy with the Father, Son and Holy Bible… but only the Holy Spirit can truly reveal the Bible so that we can authentically know the Father and Son. There are visions of God, His beauty, His majesty and His destiny that can only be accessed by the Holy Spirit’s dynamic inside us.

Now, back to Isaiah, and specifically chapter 61. This is the portion of wonder that Jesus pulled out and read in the synagogue as recorded in Luke 4. It absolutely drives a stake in the heart of any stagnant religious behaviors, Old Testament and New Testament! It seems that when Jesus took this scroll and read aloud that He was saying, “RENEWAL….HERE… NOW!” (Read my previous blog "")

In fact, Jesus did say, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21). I’m captivated by the words, “…in your hearing…” because something in these syllables suggests to me that I should hear something more than words. I should hear prophetic destiny being constructed in my body, soul and spirit! It reminds me of Ezekiel being dared to voice life to dead bones! (Ezekiel 37)

I marvel today at the inability of some in the church to see the glory recorded in these Words. It seems to me that some folks are so determined to have God in a particularly nasty mood that they simply can not see Isaiah 61 as true. Or, if they see it as true, it is locked up in the twilight zone they call the millennium. My take on their doctrinal contortions is that they see these Words as too good to be true, so outrageous and so demanding of faith that we simply must push them out away from our responsibility to live in deep end of these treasures.

Open a Bible. Read Isaiah 61. Ignore Scofield’s notes. Listen to the Holy Spirit. I dare you to believe every Word in that chapter as True, NOW.

I dare you to seize the promise of every Word of that chapter as your destiny in life. Don’t limit this chapter to a “Promise Box” approach of all the truly sweet things that Jesus has come to make real in your personal life. I believe those promises….but when I read all 11 verses as my personal prophetic word, I am stunned to find out that His healing in me is for the purpose of wildly astonishing healing through me!

Ruined cities are waiting the arrival of a healing army that has been so amazingly healed, they can not contain the flood of healing out of their abundant virtue. Ruined cities are waiting for the footsteps of Jesus stepping out through our feet the radiance of a transcendent dominance.

Verse four says that generational desolations will yield to our faith! The definition of the word “desolations”is, “stunning, amazing destruction”. This says to me that a greater, more stunning and amazing CON-struction arrives when we believe who and what Jesus has redeemed us to be!

Since Jesus has declared this to be true, I agree with Him! TODAY, in our hearing, in our time….RENEWAL…HERE…NOW!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Only the Mediocre...

"Only the mediocre are always at their best" -- unknown Texas preacher

"I would rather fail at attempting the miraculous than to succeed at mediocrity" ~me~

Monday, October 05, 2009

LIfe Shrinks or Grows...

"Life shrinks at the speed of our self limited and self serving cultural choices. This happens when we chose a desired end result ahead of any informed or enlightened process of personal growth. Life can also expand at the speed of enlightened hunger for formation in spite of any casualties to my own opinions." --Pastor Randy Dean--

Monday, September 21, 2009


Through the years I have heard stories of God’s exploits and often, these wonderful testimonies are only as great as they are thousands of miles away from where I am. It is enticing to hear reports about great waves of renewal that are happening in other countries. But, these revivals of epic proportion and culture shaping depth seem to only occur far, far away. Recently I heard of a “global” impact being prophesied for an eastern European nation that would ultimately send missionaries to the United States. I think many of you reading this know what I’m talking about.

I am totally excited about these truthful and genuinely epic moves of the Holy Spirit. I have no doubt of the veracity of the reporters or the prophets who call these things out. “IT” is happening. I have seen “IT” with my own eyes in Mexico, the Ukraine and Russia.

Where I begin to have pause is when I hear of deeply sincere and completely well-meaning believers from the States talking about going to these far away places to experience and enhance all of the above beauties with even the slightest implication that “IT” can not happen here. Too often, these sincere believers are coming from churches and localities in great need for “IT” to be true in the place where the soles of their feet tread everyday. I’ve blessed some to “go” when inside I am weeping for them to stay and light a fire, right HERE.

I hasten to say that I would never suggest that we shouldn’t go to other nations. I have gone and I will continue to go. I CERTAINLY BLESS THOSE WHO SACRIFICE TO "GO"!That being said, however, I have come home numerous times smoldering, internally roaring and fiercely determined for MY nation and MY church and MY region to experience renewal…NOW!

To go anywhere far from where you live JUST to experience the singular enormous pleasure of the Kingdom pulsating on earth as it is in heaven, is to VISIT renewal like it is a spiritual Disney Land….all the while missing the greater possibility of living IN an ongoing state of renewal right HERE, right NOW.

Hear me carefully…

Renewal is NOT being withheld from America because of our sin. “…where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…” (Romans 5:20). Isaiah 60 pounds into the air a command to anyone living anywhere in darkness, “ARISE, SHINE; your light has come!” I don’t have the time or space to elucidate the rest of that passage and its clear commanding tone for us to BE a revival ANYWHERE, ANYTIME renewal is needed.

There is NOT an elusive “to do” list that must be completed before God is somehow convinced to get past His Holy hesitation to light the night sky of the U.S.A. The results of revivals of our history should never be seen as prerequisite for us to GET a nation-wide renewal! The truest of all awakenings occur simply because people decide to end their satisfaction of the spiritual status quo.

Here’s another thought on the matter; “What American Christians need is good old fashioned persecution…that’s the only way we’ll ever be revived!”

I respectfully and vociferously disagree. Persecution is not greater and more powerful than God! Now, I know that persecution has worked for groups and nations in the past, but that doesn’t make it the only formula!

In fact, if it was the only formula then God would have said about Israel going in to the promised land, “Behold, I am taking you to the most awful place on earth! It is a land flowing with rats and pestilence. There’s not a dwelling, a hut, a cave or place of shelter anywhere! You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. NOW THAT will make you serve Me and keep you convinced to stay in line and cling to Me!”

NO! God promised them a land flowing with outrageous goodness, free homes and extreme abundance (Read Dueteronomy 28 – 30)! I believe that God is looking for a generation of people who will enter into His best IN THE MIDST OF incredible days of ease and comfort! Why? Because we aren’t running away from some kind of trouble and woe to be rescued, but we are leaping into His Arms in genuine desire for Him AND HIM ALONE!

Through my years of pastoral ministry I’ve witnessed time and time again when someone comes to Jesus out of misery or trouble only to “fall away” when everything worked out. It’s called “jailhouse religion”. It’s shallow and short-term. God is looking for long term worshippers whose passion is to serve Him all the days of their lives and pass their passion on to the next generation for a doubling of that passion. My ceiling is to be their floor!!

Again, and for the record, I know that persecution moved the early church out of Jerusalem and into all the world when they were otherwise inclined to keep it all at home. But that was not God’s best for them…it was plan B.

Plan A was, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Not a single mention of, “and when you’ve resisted too long and been sufficiently disobedient, persecution will ship you out!” God’s original desire was to overwhelm them with such power and revelation of who He was and who they were so that they could not HELP but to explode everywhere and at all times.

The time and place for Kingdom Come is right here where the soles of my feet stand. The time and place for renewal, revival, awakening and quite frankly I don’t care what you call “IT”….that time and place is NOW!

I am on the planet sucking air so that my life will be the tipping bean of a grand and glorious plethora of spiritual goodness in this land of the living. In America, lives are being majestically renovated and regally renewed! In America, miracles are happening at a dizzying pace through the lives of ordinary “little people” who are lit up like permanent fireworks tattooed on an inky black sky. In America, Jesus is being wonderfully seen and famously heralded as the King Who IS on His Throne….

Oh, land that I love, Come see the glory of God, HERE, NOW in tiny hamlet in western Wisconsin. The township of Forest is on fire with HIM because we stopped waiting for revival, praying for revival and simply started BEING a revival of Kingdom Come!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

School Prayer

Not long ago I saw one of those yellow portable signs in front of a business that implored, “Put God Back in School”. As I drove past this I wondered out loud (I was alone), “Is God short a few credits? Did He drop out? Who was big and bad enough to kick Him out? Is this business suggesting that God needs a better education?” Worthy questions, I thought.

Of course, the signage had nothing to do with those questions. It is one of those tired old protests suggesting that God has been helplessly removed from public schools in America and we must be called to action to put Him and prayers to Him back in school.

I have good news...God never left public schools. I take Him there every time I chair a board of education meeting. I know thousands of students who pray in public schools every day. I know teachers who are speaking “Kingdom Come” on public schools all over the nation. I know administrators who are boldly walking school hallways and touching students with their faith every day the doors open.

Do you think that maybe we should pray FOR schools more than we debate and protest over having prayer IN schools? Is it possible that we’ve been distracted FROM prayer by a silly political dispute ABOUT prayer?

Join me in leaving the “Put God back in school” argument to people who just enjoy fighting. From this day forward, every time you drive past a school pray this, “Thy Kingdom COME, Thy will be done in that school just as it is in heaven”. Or put the Aaronic Blessing on every school bus you see; “The Lord BLESS those students and staff. The Lord KEEP them and make His face shine on them!” The original word for keep drew the picture of an ancient shepherd building a portable coral for his sheep made of thorny bushes. The idea was to keep predators from getting too close to these precious lambs.

Picture this; a typical classroom is filling with students on their first day back from summer vacation. The teacher welcomes them and starts a roll call; “John? Here. Sue? Here. Mary? Here. Fred? Here……uhmm….God?” And over half the class room thunders back, “HERE!”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moral Inventory

Before I dive into this blog, let me lay down three defining principles that will help keep me and you on track:
1. I am using Alcoholics Anonymous’ Fourth Step as the platform for these thoughts. I’ve heard it said that A.A. needs the church, but the church equally needs A.A.
2. Unhealthy introspection leads to nothing…and I mean nothing! If I was the devil (and I’m not) I would have Christians preoccupied with deep and obsessive internal reviews to keep them feeling religiously active and spiritually neutered.
3. Too many people love to use the word, “morals” as long as they can emphasize their favorite ones to the exclusion of a wide variety of other, equally valuable morals. For instance, Romans chapter one lists homosexuality along with other deeds of the flesh such as slander, gossip and being unloving and unmerciful. Once you quote a list like this you surrender the right to pick and choose…its all or nothing.

Other than for taxes or financial reports, when a store conducts an inventory it is quite often for the purpose of simply knowing what sells. They are productively looking for the means of how to serve a larger customer base. When a grocery store notices that sugar coated “Sticks and Stones Cereal” has been sitting on their shelves for months while “Wilbur’s Wonder Cereal” is flying off the shelves, they act precipitously to stock what is selling and lose the dead weight inventory if they want to grow and keep their customers well served.

Galatians 5:19-26 offers a superb grid for a healthy moral inventory and the clarity of defining two value systems: “The deeds of the flesh are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and “things like these…” On the other hand, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Allow me to play a couple of scenarios for you. Let’s say one of my church members comes to me today, stumbling drunk, and says to me, “I got drunk because the Obama administration is taking this country into a socialist state.” I will rise from behind my desk, walk over to them and say, “You are drunk because you are living out of the wrong value system. You are living in the flesh and outside pressures have exposed your erroneous priorities”.

Now imagine another member walks in my office, red in the face with anger, and they say, “I just came back from a town hall meeting and I am just so angry because the Obama Administration is taking this country into a socialist state.” Once again, I would rise from behind my desk, walk over to this church member and say, “You are angry because you are living out of the wrong value system. You are living in the flesh and outside pressures have exposed your erroneous priorities”.

Angry outbursts are no more or less acceptable than drunkenness! They both bear witness to our internal realities. When our internal realities are only within the scope of our own abilities, measured by our human reasoning and marginalized by fear, the “deeds of the flesh” WILL NOT BE FAR BEHIND.

Verse 21 of this chapter says, “…those who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” When our life is lived within the anemic framework of our own resources unplugged from Heaven’s Resources, we will miss seeing the transcendent supremacy of the Kingdom of God happening before our very eyes! The only thing we inherit is our frail limitation.

God is offering us a far, far greater bounty. When our internal reality is steeping in the River of the Holy Spirit’s unlimited power, out of us will rush, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law”.

And when we live this way, we will SEE the Kingdom of God trumping all inferior realities around us. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality”. Conversely, this means that when we amputate truth from the soil of the Holy Spirit, it has the same outcome as compromising the same truth we say we hold dear.

After his home was fire-bombed Pastor King (I love remembering that this hero was just simple pastor) was taunted and admonished to join the radical militants of the civil rights movement. In response, he called the media to his front yard, stood on his charred and badly damaged front porch and proclaimed forgiveness to the perpetrators of that crime. He refused to allow his internal realities to degenerate into the obtuse limitations of the flesh. Instead he chose the unlimited power of the Spirit and His resplendent fruit.

My brothers and sisters, we are in a similar time, though in vastly different political dynamics. When we are wronged, politically or in any other way, we have a choice to transcend or descend. If we truly believe that the Kingdom of God will ultimately triumph over all inferior challengers, then we will live TODAY by seeding the world with the Kingdom’s Fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Firebrand School of Ministry; Year 2!

Last summer I took complete leave of my mind and ordinary thinking and obeyed God in starting Firebrand School of Ministry. Now, with the first year nearly completed I am ecstatic that God gave us this opportunity.

At 11 p.m. last night, after a full day that started at 7 a.m. I was discussing the new second year about to begin September 14th with my daughter Libby and my son-in-law Darren. Darren is taking on an additional teaching load and Libby is starting a new class as an additional instructor (all of our instructors are volunteer at this point). We were brain-storming and agonizing just a bit over some of the preparations for the new year when Darren said, “Can you even imagine our church now without Firebrand and the interns?” We all laughed and remarked that there is no way to fathom being who we are as a church without the presence of Firebrand and our student-interns!

Current western Christian culture is at risk due, in part, to two anemic fixations:
1.“going to heaven” and a related “end times” fatalism
2. Berating and bemoaning the darkness and wickedness of our day

Firebrand School was born to impart a Kingdom Culture in the heart and mind of the church. We intend to raise up a generation of believers who have received a new baptism in fire through the Holy Spirit from the very Hands of Jesus. Our mission is to equip and deploy full time ministers, whose core value is, “on earth, as it is in heaven” into the full spectrum of life; artists, teachers, politicians, entrepreneurs, inventors, home-makers, church workers and servants of every description. Revival will result from their faith as they set out in an authentic passion to change the world through the communication and demonstration of the Kingdom of God. Here’s a thought, “Darkness leaves when light shines”.

While I am typing these words our students are on the streets in a class called, “Treasure Hunt”. Pastor Darren takes the school out at least once a week to serve a variety of towns and cities around us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Before the school leaves the church they pray for “clues” to find the treasure in the hearts of people they have never met. They compile a treasure map (red scarf, grocery store, limping person, etc) and head out on a Kingdom adventure.

Simply put the students are being trained to serve in unconditional love and power. No witness pamphlets, no threats of “going to hell”, no arm twisting to come to our church and zero pressure to “get saved”. Just love people through the heart and eyes of the Holy Spirit. They have prayed for dozens of people at malls, parks, stores and other public venues with incredible results. As an example, imagine in your mind’s eye Darren along with his students standing in the middle of a grocery store aisle, holding a sobbing grandmother who is overcome with gratitude for a simple prayer of comfort.

Joining me as teachers in our school are these marvelous people;
*Pastor Steve Olson – Founder and Director of Impact Ministries (a live-in treatment center for chemical dependency). Steve has a degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling and an amazing testimony of life out of a spiritual grave.
*Pastor Gene Morfitt – A former senior pastor with a MBA and a variety of graduate studies from places like the University of Minnesota and Bethel University. Gene and his family run a retreat ministry that has literally touched families from all over the world.
*Libby Hose – My daughter and our church worship director and women’s ministry leader. Libby has a PhD in life and living! Her powerful and anointed leadership in worship has lifted our church to an entirely new dimension of the Kingdom of God.
*Pastor Darren Hose – Darren has been a youth pastor for 14 years. He has studied at Northwestern College and the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. Currently he is finishing a B.A. in education. Pastor Darren leads our missions outreach at LWC as well and is powerfully gifted as a prophet.

Classes include such topics as; Creating a Kingdom Culture, Worship and Work Ethic, Creating a Prophetic Culture, Culture of Honor and Spiritual Authority, Supernatural Lifestyle, Supernatural Mental Health and many other Kingdom of God inspired topics.
Our second year begins September 14th. Registration is due by September 1st. Applications are available on-line at our church web-site; Go the FBSM link for further information.

Our school isn’t for everybody…but it is for giant-killers, world changers, miracle minded servants and passionate lovers of God. Is that you?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Naked People

Add one naked person to any crowd, anywhere and you’ve got instant awareness; “Hey! There’s a naked person!” Beautiful, ugly, young, old, male, female…naked will turn heads on a swivel. Depending on multiple factors, heads will spin toward, away, up, down and quite possibly some necks will suffer severe sprain.

Five years ago my wife and I spent a few weeks in Jamaica. We found a quiet beach with no kids and no noise which was no small feat. We were pretty impressed with ourselves…until we discovered that it was a clothing optional area. “Ginger! Look at that lady over there!” To which Ginger said, “Randy! Look at me…NOW!” The rest of that story is that we used that section of the beach quite often for the peace it afforded. Our swim suits stayed ON. And yes, I behaved…most of the time.

There was a time in the human experience when it did not matter. There was a time, long, long ago when being naked didn’t even merit a comment. No heads swiveled. God made it that way. Adam and Eve had absolutely no consciousness of their condition. “Naked and unashamed” is the exact descriptor of that state.

This is not going to be some weird nudist admonition. OK? Now, tune in.

The original word for ashamed meant, “not confused or in any way slowed down”. IT DID NOT MATTER! IT HAD NO BEARING ON HOW THEY LIVED THEIR LIVES. Eve didn’t have an eating disorder born out of some disgusting demand on her life to have a certain “look”. Adam was not driven by a broken and unbridled “need” to impress Eve. Body image had no bearing on personal definitions.

What would our lives be like if no external factor mattered, at any level? What source would nourish our value systems, our assessments and our judgments if we were unregulated by the dominance of sensory perceptions?

Does this have anything to do with Jesus commandment, “Do not judge lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1)? I am convinced that it does. I am convinced that the arrival of the Kingdom of God through the ministry of Jesus Christ has re-introduced a climate for freedom beyond our normal imaginations.

The Presence of God was once the glory (weightiness) that made nakedness irrelevant. Now the Presence of God can be a glory (weightiness) that offers a completely new platform for our self-awareness and security.

Let me come at this in another way. God would like to complete us in ways we ordinarily assign to our appearance. This doesn’t mean that I stop shaving, brushing my teeth and combing my hair. It means that when people meet me that they can be immediately and convincingly aware of that God is with me.

More than my power tie, more than my designer suit, more than how much I weigh, more than my complexion, more than my hygiene; there is SomeOne ON me.

God is with me and His Presence in my life makes heads swivel. This is my goal in life and I will live in THAT power suit all the days of my life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


"You can not change your heart and God will not change your mind. But, if you will change your mind, God will change your heart."


Monday, July 20, 2009

Political Power

"It has never been about the size or volume of our political has always been about the height, depth, width and sweeping scope of our hearts in love with HIM. The world will not read our protest signs because we've shown them little, if any, sign of the Presence of God profoundly, WITH US. (Zechariah 8:23)"

Pastor Randy Dean


"If we will learn to welcome God's Presence into our lives in a revelation of Who He always was, we will finally become the people we were always destined to be!"

Pastor Randy Dean

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"I am determined to live a courageous covenant of honest and transparent hunger for revelation that truly feeds people into a momentum of positive and powerful action."

Pastor Randy Dean

Monday, July 06, 2009

Psychedelic Jesus

I’m currently immersed in a series of messages I have affectionately titled, “Psychedelic Jesus”. I am a child of the ‘60’s. I still love the music and the memories (although someone once said that if you can remember the ‘60’s you weren’t there). I believe Janis Joplin was born to lead worship and simply couldn’t find a church door open to her or an authentic Christian near enough to pull her into her destiny.

My generation coined the word “psychedelic” and it that defined a large chunk of our search for meaning. I have found a definition from a medical research point of view that strikes at why I like this word; “Commonly known for perceptions of aspects of one’s mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from ordinary fetters”.

Last week I blogged the quote of President Eisenhower, “…without the yeast of pioneers every human endeavor eventually degenerates into a worship of the status quo”… I’ve gone from “IKE” to “PSYCH” in one week and both terms mean the same thing.

In Ephesians the Apostle Paul calls for us to have “the eyes of (our) heart” enlightened. It’s the only way to ever come to any productive adventure in this life we call Christian. Simply stated I’ve found that far too much of western Christianity has sanitized the faith down to a roll call of good boys and girls when it ought to be a dare to ride the wild side and “kiss the sky”!

Where would John be invited to preach after publically stating that he was, “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day and I heard behind me a loud voice…”? Where would Isaiah hold his next great crusade or festival after walking around naked for three years as an illustration of how arrogance will bring you to shame? Would your church ask David to lead worship after his wardrobe malfunction? Has anyone noticed that Moses was a fugitive murderer who came down from a mountain of thunder and lightening with the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”?

I want to propose to you that an enormous plot of spiritual real estate is waiting for our discovery! I am personally in a full pursuit of the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from ordinary fetters! I think the children of the ‘60’s had it right when they longed for a psychedelic experience but they had it wrong to think it was only available through dropping acid. I think Jesus was the Original Psychedelic and He beckons any eager pilgrim to climb a Mount of Transfiguration that they might become significant vessels of Transfiguration for the World HE SO LOVED!

I love Job 26:14, “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” Whole communities of faith are camped out on the “fringes of His ways…” and piously nod at every “faint a word”. Like Israel responding to the thunder and lightening on the mountain, we have accepted a suburban view.

I’m sick of the spiritual suburbs! Take me to the Inner City! Revelation 10 says that Seven Thunders have spoken and someone is destined to understand and LIVE what they’ve said. “EXCUSE ME, WHILE I KISS THE SKY” (Jimi Hendrix from the song, “Purple Haze”)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Yeast of Pioneers

Recently, my wife and I enjoyed a trip to West Point Military Acadamy where we joined the graduation celebration of one of our church’s young men. A year ago, when he invited us to be two of his ten available “tickets”, we were stunned. Having been there, now we are overwhelmingly stunned and honored.

The commencement speaker was Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. The full text of his speech is available on-line, and it is saved in my laptop…it was powerful. For my purposes here, I won’t go into much detail (it may become a class in our school of ministry, however!). I simply want to use a quote he used from President and General, Dwight Eisenhower; “Without the yeast of pioneers, the United States Army, or any other organization of men” – and today we would add women – “cannot escape degeneration into a ritualistic worship of the status quo.”

The church of America is in desperate need of “the yeast of pioneers”. Far too many of our practices and culture have been allowed a, “degeneration into a ritualistic worship of the status quo”. Status quo is most often welcomed and embraced when pain meets progress.

The spiritual pioneers we need today will have to speak and teach things that will invite the use of the H word….heresy. I’m not suggesting a sloppy foray into pop-theology or a reckless and lazy attack dog style of preaching. I’m talking about a courageous covenant of honest and transparent hunger for revelation that truly feeds people into a momentum of positive and powerful action.

I won’t take too much time here to tell you (again!) how I believe that most “end-times” popular theology has unplugged the passion and soul of far too much of western Christianity. A casual review of my blog site will do plenty of that. But I do need to relate it to the need for “the yeast of pioneers”. Here’s what I mean…
An enormous chunk of the Evangelical/Holy Spirit Renewal Church is either promoting the catastrophic, rapture end-times at worst, or at best, they are “letting a sleeping dog lay”. If this dog was sleeping, I’d leave it alone too. But the problem is, this dog bites and it is blockading an entry into the Kingdom of God. Simply put, when you believe that everything just gets blown up in the end, you will be minimally motivated to be a person of faith who believes for the healing of the nations.

The yeast of THIS pioneer believes for the leavening of the Bread of Life in Micah 4:1-7, “It will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it….they will hammer their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks: Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.”

Crazy stuff, huh? The church will have such influence, such power, such intrinsic Spirit value that our salt and light ends human conflict. But you know what? This isn’t as crazy as wolves and bears grazing with sheep and cows. Or lions eating straw, or infants playing by cobra and viper’s holes. Oh, it’s all in the Book (Isaiah 11) waiting for yeasty pioneers to believe that we truly are people of significance and that God has placed an enormous value in the sacrifice of His Son for the healing of the nations!

Some worshippers of the status quo will tell you that no such dreams are allowed for us mere mortals. They will be quick to note that Jesus must come again to finish these deeds. The problem with worshipping the status quo is that you will always become what you worship. I’ve always said that Satan doesn’t care what you believe about yesterday or the far flung future…he only cares when somebody pulls the scroll off a dusty shelf, reads the passage and says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing!” (Luke 4:21)

That is why I’ve come to tell you is that only dreamers dare pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Only dreamers look beyond wooden theology and reach for signs that will make the world wonder. Only dreamers think of every page of the Bible as a dare from God to live TODAY! Only dreamers have their gaze on Jesus walking on the water and shout to Him, “LET ME COME TO YOU AND JOIN YOUR SUPERNATURAL STROLL!!”

C’mon yeast……let’s do our job!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Randy Dean Ministries

April 27, 2009
“The Kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power”. (I Corinthians 4:20). This is the passion of my life; the radiant outworking of the reality of Heaven’s Domain….the Kingdom of God hits earth with the factual, tangible influence of renewal!

The past several months of my life have been packed with this kind of Kingdom pressure. Dreams are coming true which in turn inspire visions yet to be fulfilled. Since last May:
• We started a school of ministry with 7 student interns.
• I finished the rough draft of my first book, “Radiance; the Transcendent Nature of the Kingdom of God”.
• Ginger and I were called by God to move our ordination to the apostolic covering associated with Bethel Church Redding, California and Bill Johnson. Ginger is now officially, “Pastor Mom”- a title she adores.
• Our church, Living Word Chapel, has caught a momentum of the Spirit that is beyond words or easy definitions. Our services are an adventure, but that is only the opening line of the story.
• Ministries under us for covering and care are growing in both depth and width. I am so proud of my spiritual sons and daughters.

Three years ago, when I started Randy Dean Ministries, I knew that God was putting me on track to form a vehicle to carry the work He was ramping up at that time. I am now seeing that picture more fully. The more I minister here at home and the more I travel to other places, I am more and more convinced that a historic renewal has fallen upon the United States and the world.

Contrary to the gloomy prognostications of some folk trapped in end times hysteria, I say we are under the influence of the open windows in heaven. The only “sign” that is worth our attention is The Sign of the Kingdom; “heal the sick and say, ‘the Kingdom of God has come near to you’”. The transcendent supremacy of God’s incredible sphere of influence is healing any and all interested parties.

Now, more than ever in my life, I have a profound sense of my calling and the epic season in which I am alive. Some quiver, some coast, some make silly cynical prophesies about the end and others are just M.I.A. But I have never felt so alive and eager to serve my King. I was born for such a time as this.

I am posting this letter as a means of enlisting your covenant of prayer and support. Everything R.D.M. is doing has been largely self-supporting. No complaints, however, I simply want to expand my reach:
• My book, whether self-published or otherwise, will be a costly enterprise. I believe this book will be a contribution to a tipping point for a much needed reformation of the church in America.
• Our school is currently taught and administrated by 6 volunteers. I am daily stunned as I watch the level of labor and love that is being freely invested in this adventure. This first year of Firebrand School of Ministry has far exceeded my wildest expectations. I can hardly wait to see what the next school year holds! We need more underwriting for books, materials and staff reimbursement.
• The outside ministry I am invited to participate in is, for the most part, self-sufficient but, needs to grow and evolve in a variety of ways. It has been an amazing honor to be invited to minister in diverse venues, both small and great. However, in order to freely accept more invitations I need a stronger financial base for R.D.M.
• My blog continues to be a site visited by friends and foes alike. I want to enhance and expand the blog for an ever growing audience. (If you are reading this on the internet you already know how to find me. If not, go to

Help me get the Word out that God is satisfied (Isaiah 53:11) and feeling good about Himself. Humanity need no longer cower for fear of random acts of violence and pestilence from the Hand of God. When evil strikes, God is at the ready to overcome evil with His massive good. The Kingdom of God is AT YOUR HAND!

Your financial support would be joyfully received and jubilantly put to work! Our mailing address is 2694 200th Ave Emerald, WI 54013. Checks can be made out to Randy Dean Ministries and are tax deductible. In advance of your prayers and support, I thank you all.

Our God Reigns,

Pastor Randy Dean

Monday, April 20, 2009

Here's a News Flash: President Obama is Not the Anti-Christ

One of the few perks of flying these days is the off-hand chance that you can score a seat in the exit row. This means that there is a good chance that you will have feeling in your legs and feet by flight’s end. I scored just such a blessing a couple of weeks ago. An added touch was that my 2 row partners were 16 year old twin sisters whose combined size and weight were smaller than me. Ahhhhh….I immediately planned a nap.

The Holy Spirit had other plans. He downloaded a wide variety of insight to the treasure of the hearts of these two young ladies. I know better than to pretend to be asleep when the Spirit has other plans. But before I could start a conversation, the girls introduced themselves to me and a two hour verbal flurry began.

Everything I had heard the Spirit speak in my heart, these twins told me on their own…thus eliminating any opportunity on my part to catch their attention with any revealed information. So I listened to their stories, which were very interesting. They were traveling to Europe, had deep interests in art, music, photography, poetry and had aspirations to star in Broadway productions. “So, Mr. Dean….what do you do?”

I’ve answered that question thousands of times over the past 35 years. The answer will either propel the conversation forward or kill it dead. For a few years in my 30’s I tried answering that by dodging it all together. Until one day at a high school when a group of students started to think I was a “narc” (an undercover drug cop). Anyway, back to the flight….

I told them that I was a pastor and that I was on my way to Mexico to lead a pastor’s conference. Both of these teens immediately looked puzzled. “What do you teach?” one asked. “Christianity ”, I answered. “Oh…so you believe that Obama is the Anti-Christ?” Note: this was their first and immediate reflection of what it means to be a Christian in 2009.

The remainder of that exchange was dominated by my apology to them for the loud failure of high profile teachers in the church who routinely mangle scriptures and the character of God to fit their prejudices and cynicism. I told them that the Jesus I know is in a far better mood than that.

These young ladies confided to me that they were a mixture of Buddhism and atheism. Some might wonder if I took the time to lead them into the “Four Spiritual Laws” or if I asked them to pray the sinner’s prayer or if I warned them about hell. I did none of that. My witness to them was one of repentance on behalf of the Body of Christ for whatever it is we’ve done to give two very intelligent and gifted teenagers the distinct impression that Christians everywhere believe that our president is the Anti-Christ.

What I did “win” in that flight was two new friends. I even had the chance to be a comforting grandfather figure when the air got choppy! I told them, “God isn’t finished with me and that makes this a safe airplane!” When we landed the twin nearest me asked, “Can I give you a hug?”

Please read my previous blog entries about ending the end-times hysteria. Go to and order Kris Vallotton’s message, “Apostolic Eschatology”. Read “Paradise Restored” by David Chilton. What ever you do, please keep fresh air flowing through your heart and mind. Let’s RE-present Jesus to world, all over again.

For too long there has been a perverted pleasure for some in the church over the real or perceived bad news of our times. Do you know why? Because it takes no effort and no faith to predict bad things and, you can come off as looking spiritually profound when you point out all the bad things as being a fulfillment of your astonishing insight. Remember Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies? I loved his summation of ignorant people, “Pity-full….just pity-full…”

The narrative of I John 2:1824 describes the antichrist. Interestingly, part of the greek definition for “anti” is to be a contrast. THE Christ went about “doing good and healing all” (Acts 10:38). You see, “doing good and healing all” is hard work. It requires a massive challenge to your faith value system. It demands action in the face of any and all bad news.

The contrast to “doing good and healing all” is doing nothing. Nothing, that is, except to chalk up the bad news to being a “sign of the times”. I John says that “many antichrists have arisen” and that, “they went out from us”. I hope you are following me at this point.

The contrast to THE Christ who went about, “doing good and healing all” are those who go out “from us” doing nothing and healing none. Hmmm…

Thirty some odd years ago, when it was popular in Christian circles to hate Henry Kissinger, he was the anti-christ. The numerology of his name even confirmed it. Now, in some Christian circles, it is popular to hate President Obama. I’m sure the numerology will be distorted to underline the ignorance. That’s just pity-full.

I did not vote for Barack Obama, but I like him, nevertheless. I despise his pro-choice practices, but I love his pro-active mentality. His philosophy of governing is different than my own but the fact that I can put my disagreement in print makes me proud to be a citizen of the United States. I am honored to be alive with the first African American in the White House and I honor him for the guts and the grit it took to get there.

If honoring him puts me at odds with a noisy segment of the church, I will happily accept their disdain. It’s time for the courageous among us to admit that most end-times teaching has done nothing but embarrass us over the past century. Once again, it has raised its ugly head and the Name of Christ is suffering abuse due to our neglect. Half measures to silence this nonsense will avail us nothing.

Its time to own it and apologize for it, and then, move onward and upward toward, “doing good and healing all”….that’s the fruit of THE Christ.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Emotional Recession

Have you noticed how many economists use emotional words to describe the current state of our economy? Investors are worried, families are fearful, businesses are anxious, banks are uneasy, the stock market is troubled and the nation is distressed. We even call one of the worst periods of our economic history, “The Great Depression”.

It seems to me that FDR’s rally cry in the midst of that period of history still holds true; “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”. I’ve learned in my 56 years of life that I can get by without an income, but I can’t live without hope and courage.

My mother and father spent most of 1959 in a hospital. As a result, our family lost everything. House, car, furniture, business….everything but the clothes on our backs. We moved from a home we owned into a $90 a month apartment on the north side of Milwaukee. We furnished that tiny place with used chairs and tables. I slept on an army cot. My mother had a nervous breakdown.

But, the one thing I remember hating, more than anything else, was the palpable fear that things were just going to get worse. I didn’t mind the government issued “Surplus Food”…in fact, I loved the peanut butter. I didn’t mind the small apartment. The old building it was in provided me with hours of entertainment, hiding places and a make-shift pretend fortress in the attic. I didn’t even care that I slept on a used army cot! I could go to sleep at night pretending to be the hero of a thousand battles.

What I despised was that dreaded misery of fear that ultimately lead to my mother’s nervous breakdown. As a little boy, I did everything I could to avoid that feeling, because I instinctively knew that “fear itself” was the real enemy stalking my family.

The most often repeated commandment of the Bible is, “Fear not!”. The will of God for every living creature is to live free of fear. The Bible even predicts the day when, “…the wolf will dwell with the lamb…” (Isaiah 11:6) because God’s intention is for His creation to be fear free!

We will prevail through this economic downturn when we embrace 2 simple words from God; FEAR NOT.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

(Read the previous post before proceeding to this one!)

This is Part 2 from my last blog; "Unlimitied Abundant Life; A Proclamation of Freedom from the End Times Marginalization of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ"

My “word-y” title says so much of my heart and passion as a Christian and a pastor. While we are being offered unlimited abundant life as God’s Kingdom family, we don’t have time to waste on even the most subtle marginalizing of Christ’s finished redemption. “End times” fantasies (a.k.a. dispensational theology) are among the most prevalent and virulent culprits of limiting faith and vision.

This school of thought has fostered a perverse delight that is gift wrapped with the bad news of our world. When terrorists attack, or hurricanes and earthquakes strike, or the economy is sinking, or the “wrong” political party wins an election promoters of this fixation are quick to note how these are “signs of the times”, and “if you think that was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

This cynical vision seizes every season of pain, misery and perceived political “wrongs” on the world scene as an opportunity for proof-texting their prophesies and ramping up the possibility of, “the worst is yet to come”. If you have the stomach for it, randomly tune in to Christian television programming to sample this neurotic fixation, especially right now with the world wide economy suffering as it is. The conspiracy theorists are having a field day, and, I’m sorry to say, they are doing it in the Name of Jesus.

I have stood by and watched this cycle too many times in my 55 years of life and 36 years of being a pastor. It has been successful at derailing far too many people who are otherwise good hearted. I can not respond with silence, nor will I, on the other hand, become only a reactionary, obsessed with fighting error. I will simply and with as much anointed clarity as I know to seize, speak the Word that has been burning in me for the past 25 years.

Through good times and bad, war and peace, the Middle-east not withstanding, Democratic power or Republican bluster, my message is this, “Everything is fulfilled, the Transcendent Supremacy of God’s Kingdom is at your hand! Change your mind! Arrange your life around the Kingdom’s Dominating influence!”

I would rather risk the enormity of Kingdom faith than a lazy slide on the grease of a gravity fed decline. As 17th century English author and poet John Milton said, “By winning words to conquer willing hearts, and make persuasion do the work of fear.”

“…make persuasion do the work of fear…” is a mighty tall order. Fear is an easy work. You’ll get immediate results, especially when a spirit of fear is already in the air. Have you ever been to a “haunted house” in the dark? With absolutely no effort, the suggestion that “something” is about to happen creates the stage and tension. Just add a sudden “boo!” from an unseen corner….viola….results! This is the recipe of most end times formulas.

If you haven’t already noticed, my approach to this subject is not largely based on the categories of doctrinal labels; pre-millennial, post-millennial, a-millennial. I will recommend some excellent books at the conclusion of this blog by some folks who can do a far better job of explaining these designations than I can. My gift as a pastor/teacher/apostle is to feed the sheep with as much wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ as I can. This is my work of “persuasion”. So here’s another shot at some revealed persuasion…

All truth must ultimately find its revealed nature and character in the Face of Jesus Christ. HE is the only reliable translation of the Word, because HE is the Word. This means we must have a Life with HIM before we can have any reliable teaching about Him.

For example, all too often when end times teachers quote Jesus’ Words from Matthew 24:29, 30 they are unwittingly quoting the sheer opposite of what they intend. “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

The sun, moon and stars for the Jewish mind-set that Jesus was speaking to at that time representing the family of Israel and its religious roots. When a young lad named Joseph (Genesis 37) related his dream about the sun, moon and the stars bowing to him his family immediately knew he was talking about them. This family is the root system of Israel.

So, in Matthew 24 Jesus is talking about the end of the world for the people of the Old Testament covenant and the beginning of the New Testament world of the rule and reign of Christ in the Heavenlies! He is prophesying the soon coming day of His Kingdom established in Heaven among the cloud of witnesses, which in turn, begins the destiny of an ever increasing Coming of the Kingdom through the New Jerusalem, the Church (Hebrews 12:22-24).

Now, there is no Jew or Gentile, for we are all ONE in Christ! (The Books of Galatians and Ephesians). Indeed now, “he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…” (Romans 2:28,29) WE are now the truly circumcised, who worship in the Spirit and relish in Christ Jesus with no confidence in mere religious practice (Philippians 3:1-3).

Once I have a full revelation of Who Jesus is and He takes up a living residence in me I am raptured into a heavenly delight of being, once and for all, a member of a new generation and race of people put on this earth for the healing of the nations! There is no plan B. There are no conspiracies that will last for long. Christ Jesus IS reigning and ruling in the Heavens and His Kingdom is hard-wired for a final and ultimate healing domination.

When I am a covenant partner to that, I have a dream and a destiny written in my DNA that is driving my lifestyle and priorities toward that end.

Here is a teaser quote from my soon to be released book, “Radiance; the Transcendent Nature of the Kingdom of God”; “We cannot journey into any significant portion of the Father’s nature until and unless we pass through Jesus. Go through Him and God’s character becomes an open book. Step around Him and hundreds of passages in the Bible look like mysterious spooky eyes leering at you from a dark forest on a scary howling autumn night.

As surely as the ubiquitous (airport) metal detector will find that gun in your pocket, so Jesus’ final sacrifice will detect any and all leftover need in our hearts for that one last blast of God’s wrath on earth.

I have sat through more than a few prophecy meetings with that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong. Scriptures were racing up and down the concourses but I routinely found myself wishing for that transcendent metal detector. It sure looked like too many weapons (one is enough!) had made their way to the gate and I simply let those flights of fancy leave the airport without me.”

We simply must stop all interpretations of Scripture by the measure of news headlines and social studies! Jesus Christ IS the Word made flesh. Don’t understand a passage you are reading? Lay yourself and that passage into a full-on encounter with the Living Christ until He unpacks that truth into the deep end of YOU.

In Luke 9 we are told how Jesus was intent on going to Jerusalem, but also how He wanted to visit some villages in Samaria along the way. He sent messengers ahead who discovered that these villages were not inclined to have Jesus stop in on His way to Jerusalem. James and John, indignant at this news said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”

(On a side note: I love how James and John are talking smack about calling fire down out of heaven when, at this stage of their faith development, they couldn’t light a gas soaked rag with a blow torch!)

Later in Luke 12:49,50 Jesus says, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” Soak in the very Presence of Christ and catch the spirit of these Words! HIS fire is a saving, healing, delivering, freeing ignition of LOVE to consume a world in pain clearly in contrast to a different kind of spirit that seeks obliteration!

Here’s a powerful teaching moment: the conspiracy theorists and end times aficionados are having a field day in this time of economic and political intrigue. Their “spirit” is loosing the thief whose only goal is to steal, kill and destroy. I say unequivocally that Jesus is the exact opposite of that misery and that He has ONLY come to loose LIFE more abundantly.

These are not just words for simple daily devotion. These Words reveal His overarching dominant character. If He rebukes the slightest notion that fire from heaven to destroy is of a wrong spirit then that must be a final filter for us today! If He achingly proclaims a desire to loose a fire that gives LIFE then that must be a final filter for every other theory we are tempted to believe for the collapse of our world.

Dispensational, end times theology has opened a door of ultimate despair, especially in times of instability and pain. This is completely out of step with the character of the Father as revealed in the Life of Jesus. Half measures to close this door will avail us nothing. Either the door is open or closed and I am taking this time of my life and ministry to risk slamming it completely shut.

Why? Because, sadly, as I write these words, a local community is currently suffering the acting out of hopelessness by teenagers with suicides and threats of violence. I don’t believe for a split second that the Body of Christ gets a free pass on these matters when our message is polluted with judgment, wrath, conspiracy and end times scenarios that serve a wrong spirit! That might sound like I am over reaching, but I don’t believe I am. When our light becomes darkness, how great is that darkness.

I understand dispensational theology because my bachelor’s degree was rooted in it. Though it never truly fed me and it always left me with a sense that something was amiss, I loyally defended it. But by the early 80’s I was desperate for truth.

What I discovered then was that dispensational theology was an anomaly on the historic church view of the end times. It had it roots in the mid 1800’s, which for church history sake, is a newcomer. But, being a newcomer alone wasn’t the issue for me. What pressed me deeply was the fruit of this “tree” and the subtle challenges it presented to the Character of God and the Face of Jesus.

As I have been saying all along here, it presumes that God has a deeply troubling nasty side. The “Great Tribulation” locked God into a 7 year need for extreme judgment by binding Him into partnership with our ability to destroy creation. Additionally, it proposes that creation itself will come off the hinges.

Dispensational theology is also founded on the idea that God has two people groups which He considers “chosen”. The earthly, which is national Israel, can only be redeemed through the processes of the “Great Tribulation”. And the heavenly people, which is the church, who are in a parenthetical dispensation now awaiting the rapture.

This is why a well known teacher from this view once said that when Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke 4, He did not read beyond verse 2 of that passage because those promises were for the millennium and Jewish believers at that time. Go ahead and read Isaiah 61:2-11 for yourself. Ask yourself which of these promised beauties you would like to leave on the table of unbelief? I’ll pick just one, “and they will repair the ruined cities”, and tell you that it is no wonder the enemy of our soul wants us to believe that this is for another, unreachable time!

Once my heart was raptured (I love using this word correctly) by the revelation that ALL of the promises of God are potentially MINE, I could not be stopped. When I read in I Peter 2:9,10, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God….”, I have realized that God has ONE new people with ONE new plan for ONE new victory…. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”

There is NO other view of His character than this from which my spiritual roots will draw strength.

Here’s that list of books I recommend for a more a technical and doctrinal discussion:
1. “The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation” by Philip Mauro
2. “Paradise Restored” and “Days of Vengeance” by David Chilton
3. “The Rapture Exposed” by Barbara Rossing
4. “An Eschatology of Victory” by J. Marcellus Kik
5. “Victorious Eschatology” by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench
6. “The Sign of the Kingdom” by George Kouri and Richard Hogue
7. “Reinventing Your Church” by Brian McLaren (special attention to chapter 11 and the challenge to explore a “new eschatology” and why it is so important)
8. “Apocalypse WOW!” by James Finn Garner. Be warned; this book is by an unbeliever. His approach is strictly humorous but profoundly reflective of what the church becomes when we allow the voices of the “left behind” culture to define us all. It’s like looking in the mirror and discovering that you’ve been walking around all day with your zipper down and realizing why people haven’t been taking you seriously.
9. Any Bible Commentary that does not solely privilege dispensational theology like it’s the only way to see scriptures. For instance; New Bible Commentary; 21st Century Edition by InterVarsity Press or “Pulpit Commentary”
10. Use all Scofield Reference Bibles… coffee table decoration and never for an understanding of the “end times”.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Unlimited Abundant Life; A Proclamation of Freedom from End Times Marginalization of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ

Let me start by saying I don’t entirely like my title! It sounds more formal than I am typically comfortable with, however, I simply could not reduce my thoughts to anything more concise.

Here’s what is at stake: the completed redemption of Jesus Christ by His once and for all sacrifice on the cross and His fulfillment of all the Pleasure of the Father in His Resurrection. See why my title is a bit word-y?

I Corinthians 2:1-5 suggests that Paul would walk into a gathering and take a reading-- is there a revelation of Christ crucified in this bunch? Is Jesus Christ crucified their final satisfaction for all wrath and judgment? Or does their God need anger management courses? Is their God as satisfied as Isaiah 53:11 predicted He would be when He looked on His Son's anguish in order to justify the many? Are these people freed by the crucified Christ from any further "need" for wrath? Because if they are, there will be a demonstration of the Spirit and of power and their faith will be in the power of God and not the wisdom of people. This is a place and a people where the Kingdom of God and revival will break out!

We are certainly discovering that to be true out here in Forest, Wisconsin. We are delighting in an atmospheric shift with the fresh air of a satisfied Father who loves to heal and deliver all kinds of messed up humanity.

We are in a covenant with permission granted to just BE in revival because all the price for admission has been paid for by the Crucified Christ. Judgment is satisfied...its time to seize and release the full benefits of Kingdom come….will of God be done….on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

But, make no mistake about it; this kind of faith and declaration cannot be made without an emancipation from the profound, albeit subterranean marginalizing effect of End Times hyperbole. Here’s why that’s true…

For the sake of simplicity I will need to use the most recognizable “handle” of what I believe has caused a spiritual anemia in the Church, not only today, but for many decades. Currently it is best recognized as “left behind”. While this genre has made for fascinating, high end book sales, it draws its nourishment from the soil of a dispensational theology that unwittingly demands 2 tragic and soul draining belief systems:
1. That God needs a 7 year Great Tribulation to finish His wrath.
2. That the entirety of the bursting benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection are not fully available until a time reserved away from today.

If it were not for these 2 demands, I could remain somewhat detached from a need to address this on this level. I would still see the treasury of God’s Word in a far more enriching manner, but I would hesitate from the possibility of entering yet another doctrinal debate where few win anything.

But those who know me best know that I take Isaiah 53:11 as a history shattering revelation for human kind; “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He (God) will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge (Christ) the Righteous One, My servant, will justify the many as He will bear their iniquities.” The context of this verse makes it clear that the prophet Isaiah was carried by the Holy Spirit to see how Christ was injected with all the evil, sinful nature of humankind and how it contorted and devastated even His physical visage. Any further need for God’s wrath upon humans based on the absolute justice of the Law was once and for all SATISFIED IN CHRIST!

To insert a specific 7 year period of wrath and give it a credibility even remotely close to the Suffering Servant of Isaiah’s prophecy is to diminish Jesus Christ and I refuse to allow that thinking anywhere near my thought life, much less, my spiritual nourishment.

This 7 year period, taught by some as the 70th week of Daniel, is an essential component of the “left behind” mentality. According to this theory, God’s wrath will be so complete that He will need to rapture the church out of harm’s way.
Here are my questions; what if God’s satisfaction is complete? What if the notion of a 7 year Great Tribulation has actually been accomplished in the perfect 7 of Jesus Christ and Him crucified? What if our western, rational, linear thinking has reduced the revelation of scripture to charts and time-lines? What if end times fear based teaching has robbed Jesus of the reward of His suffering?

To suggest that God needs to impose more suffering on humankind in order to complete His “plan” is to imply that Jesus did not complete the work of redemption. I agree with Jesus when He said from the cross, “It is finished”, and I also agree with Jesus when He said, “If I be lifted up (on the cross) I will draw ALL men to myself”.(John 12:32)

Let’s move on to #2 from above; that the “bursting benefits” of Christ are not fully available until another time, far removed from our faith.

Dispensational, “left behind”, end times thinking has dark lines drawn around multiple promises throughout scripture. I don’t have time or space to list the promises in this space, but here’s a rule of thumb to find those promises in the Bible; if it’s outrageously good, culture reforming and nation healing, it is for the millennium and not for now. Here again, I refuse to plant my faith anywhere near this kind of irresponsible, convenient detachment from my accountability to be a man of faith.

Even the Lord’s prayer can not be answered on this side of the millennium according to this theory, “Thy Kingdom come…” is primarily for future reference, at best, because, only when Christ returns, after the 7 years of Great Tribulation, will the Kingdom come.

I will write more again next week. To conclude my thoughts today I want to be quick to note that my Bachelor’s degree program was deeply entrenched in this school of dread. I understand its nuances, its Bible proof-texts and its history. I spent an inordinate of amount of my early years of ministry trying to believe it and defend it. In 1983 I was exhausted by the bankruptcy of the lack of its spiritual dynamic.

When I came to believe that God was ready, willing and able to make good on any promise of His Word, my exhaustion was turned to exhilaration! To believe that I could participate in the healing of the nations drew me out of the malaise of a truncated view of a world about to “end”. Micah 4 was no longer locked away in the millennium…it became a faith dare to be a participant in the exaltation of a glorious church that would attract the nations of the world to come and see our Glorious God!

To all the fans of “left behind” I urge you to read Psalm 37, Proverbs 2:21,22; 10:30 and then look at Matthew 24:36-41. In the light of God’s promises that, “the meek will inherit the earth” and “the righteous will remain and the wicked removed”….how can we any longer read that the coming of the Son of Man will be as it was in the days of Noah without seeing that the wicked were removed and the righteous (Noah) was, “left behind”?

Think about it and come back next week for more, “Unlimited Abundant Life; A Proclamation of Freedom from the “End Times” Marginalization of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ”.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

From Blog to Book

Attention, all my loyal blog fans...I have recently completed writing my first book! For Christmas I asked my family for the gift of 2 weeks of isolation. My amazing wife, Ginger came through with a 12 day seclusion at a nearby lake side cabin.

I could not have finished this book without that gift! I have been working on this project for the better part of 3 years. For the past year I have been agonizingly close to being done, but massively stuck at a couple of key points. Sitting in a recliner, the winter sun burning in my face, looking out over a frozen lake with the temperatures no higher than zero most days was just the ticket I needed to complete this book.

The title, right now, is "Radiance; The Transcendent Nature of the Kingdom of God". It is a call to be radiant with God's Flames from another world. To set this world on fire with the radiance of the Transcendent Supremacy of the Kingdom of God.

Five people are proof reading, even as I type these words. I hope to have a final manuscript to the publisher by early March. Please pray. I have a prophetic word from Alice Sharping that says, "You will be amazed at how easily your book is published. It will be a supernatural work. It is much bigger than you think..."

Thank you for your patience in my absence from the blog. I have heard, loud and clear, from some of you that you miss's nice to know.

Stay tuned; I will update you when there is news to tell....