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!”