'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full"

Luke 14:23

Friday, December 16, 2011

December Update

I have been taking Ki-Ki into the city with me. He has been begging me to go preaching. At first I was apprehensive, but it has ended being up  some incredibly precious time together. He is technically still in diapers but is nevertheless extremely excited about proclaiming the gospel. The second we get off the bus he says, "can I preach first"?

His message is pretty simple: "Come to Jesus, and He will give you rest;" but its biblical, and I am very grateful to have this opportunity to disciple him. Go proclaim His glory Ki-Ki, and let "no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim. 4:12)

I had the privilege of preaching in Times Square a few weeks ago. It really was a dream come true and quite difficult to put into words. Its impossible to truly know the power of the gospel until you see it reach people's hearts even in that chaos. Several people were arrested by the word and sought council from folks in our group. We also had many, many Christians greatly encouraged to see the word being publicly heralded. A few minutes after I started, the most gracious, young, African-American man said to me, "I thank you so much for doing this. Can I buy you a cup of coffee?" He came back a few minutes later with a hot drink and a very generous gift certificate.

Beyond that, the preaching continues in San Francisco unabated. I am grateful for every opportunity to "Declare His glory among the Nations!" (Psalm 96:3).  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guns, Devils, Eggs & Brooklyn

I have not updated for a couple of months as I have felt too busy. Generally I let the blog sit until someone specifically asks me to update it. That happened twice today, so here goes:

Our main ministry continues to be the streets of San Francisco. This is a dark city and that makes preaching Christ there all the more wonderful.


A few weeks ago myself and Chuck were waiting for Jim to come and pick us up and head into the city. Robin was outside cleaning the car when all of a sudden she ran in. The reason why was because three cop cars had the neighborhood on lock down as they were ordering the man that lives across the street out of his car at gun point. After the 30 minute ordeal the cops let him go: mistaken identity.

The man's wife came over very shaken and talked to Chuck and I. We prayed for her and she began weeping profusely. Lesson learned: in preaching the gospel to the masses, don't forget the one hurting soul that may live next door. Jesus didn't and so now I'm glad Jim was late.


In other news, John Crowder came to Petaluma recently. Mr. Crowder is the possibly the worst false teacher alive who claims the name of Christ. He makes Benny Hinn look like John Calvin. You can see him here but I warn you; it's demonic.

Two of my close friends were going to attend his 'service.' There was no clear plan. Basically they were going there in order to pray against it, etc. I told my wife that I was invited, but that I really did not feel like going. She rightfully chastened me: "This is why these false teachers have free reign - because the church sits around and talks about how awful it is, but then does nothing." I felt convicted, so I went. I knew I needed to be there.

This is what happened in a nutshell: Got there at six (the official 'service' started at seven) and started praying. At six thirty a couple Crowder-disciples came spilling out of the venue; 'drunk in the glory' (see video below at 2:17).

At that point I saw how completely unprepared I was to enter into that vile temple. My friend said that it looked like I had seen a ghost. My chest got real tight and I told them that I needed to go for a walk and be alone and that I would meet them in there.

When I finally went in the 'service' was about to begin. How do I explain it? There is no way to. If you want to know what it was like, I would simply ask you to read Exodus 32:1-6.

After they continued their 'drunken-glory' dancing for about half an hour (see 2:17 into this video) I told my friend that I was going to take off in a few minutes. It just did not seem that I was doing anything but getting defiled. As I was about to leave, something very providential happened. The man who was setting up the microphone system for Crowder did something wrong and it made one of the loudest 'booms' I have ever heard. The 'drunken-glory-dancers' sobered up right away.

What happened next was uncanny. In the flash of a second I imagined all these people before the Great White Throne - eternally sobered - saying to Jesus, "But Lord, Lord, did we not dance in your name, and spread the drunken glory in your name?" You know how the rest goes... (Matt. 7:21-23).

I will not go into great detail about what happened next, but the organizer of the event came over and grabbed me by the neck and just about everyone in the meeting rushed over to escort us out. I felt like the gates of hell had been opened and every demon was coming at me in fury.

For the glory of Christ, and the protection of your own soul in these last days, I would invite you to listen very carefully to what happened next: Two women pushed through the crowd and began to lay hands on me and flatter me in every way possible. Clearly, clearly, they were operating under an unclean spirit.

Every time they would lay their hands on me I would push them off. Finally one said to me (with a look in her eyes I could never quite describe) "You have such a beautiful, powerful voice. I bet you are a street preacher - yes, you are a street preacher in San Francisco - Oh that's wonderful." It was so clear what was happening - a demon was telling her information about me (Acts 16:16).  Immediately I rebuked it and exposed it for what it was. About twenty minutes later she went on to tell me things about me that she could not possibly otherwise know. Dark days are coming, church. Are we ready?

I want to put on record what happened next - just in case anyone doubts the spirit that this (Crowder's)ministry is working under; and what I am about to say was witnessed by dozens of people.

By some miracle, they let me back into the meeting. My friend Tim said to the organizer, "Why did you kick my friend out?" The man said he didn't. Lie. Scores saw him grab my neck and push me out. What Tim said next was so wise that it must have been from the Lord: "Well, if you didn't kick him out, then why don't you let him back in?"

What was the guy to say? Tim had called him out in front of a lot of people. Unbelievably, he said OK. The sea of people parted and in almost what I would describe as an out-of-body experience I found myself making a bee-line towards Crowder himself.

He is a big man, but he was hunched over and would not look up at me. I bent down and said, "Sir, do you know that you are a devil?" He walked around his pulpit and put his arm around me. I immediately felt incredibly defiled. What he did to me next goes beyond the bounds of Christian modesty so I will just leave it at that - but everyone in that meeting saw what he did and if they continue to follow this man then their blood will be on their own heads (Ezekiel 33:9).

I will say what he whispered in my ear though. Seemingly in the voice of Lucifer himself he said "If you want to stay, you have to play" (which brings us back to Exodus 32).

Anyway, enough of this. I went home, took the longest shower of my life, had my wife anoint me with oil and went to bed.


Jim and I hosted our first 'Preacher's Breakfast' this morning. About twelve or thirteen guys showed up. We all ate together and then headed into the city to proclaim the gospel. It was a glorious day indeed. We prayed with about twelve people and several men who have never preached before, 'Declared His glory among the heathen' (Ps. 96:3). A fire is spreading in Sonoma County.


Finally, I am heading to New York with the 360 gang to preach the gospel and visit two of the most powerful local churches in the country: The Brooklyn Tabernacle and Times Square Church. It should be absolutely amazing: Please pray for traveling mercies and a fruitful visit...

God bless you as you simply and sincerely tell people about Jesus....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Punched or Praised?

In Philippians 1:29 Paul reminds the Christians in that city that as surely as they have believed in Christ, so they will also suffer for His name; as they walk in a manner worthy of the gospel (v. 27).
And just so they completely understood what he meant by 'suffering' he explained to them that it would be 'the same conflict that you saw I had' (v.30).

So I ask myself, what was that suffering and conflict that the Philippians had observed in Paul's life? Acts 16 tells us. Essentially, it was that he was beaten - physically. First by the local businessmen, then by the crowds and finally by the magistrates (Acts 16:19-24). This, of course, was how Paul was treated in every city he went (Acts 20:23).

Yes you say, but that was Paul. He was not talking about or to the average Christian. Yes he was; for that is not only the immediate context of this passage but also the proportion of the entire New Testament. A servant is not above his master. If they hated Jesus then they will hate you as you follow Him.

So I offer this question to Christian men in general, but specifically to those who claim to be called gospel-preachers: When is the last time you have been punched, kicked, spit on or beaten for simply heralding the gospel?

You say, "Well never; the times have changed you know." Yes, times have changed - but the devil has not, nor has this world and neither has the prideful, rebellious heart of man. Perhaps the gospel has changed? Not, of course, that the gospel could ever actually change; but perhaps rather the way you are preaching it?

May God raise up a generation of young men who will judge the success of their preaching not by how many times they have been praised but rather by how many times they have been punched.

"...and they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name" (Acts 5:41).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Calling & Anointing

One lesson the Lord has been teaching me of late is the difference between calling and anointing. All Christians have a calling but not all Christians have an anointing.

A calling signifies the place you occupy in Christ's body. Some people are the mouth (speakers), some are the hands (servants) and others are the eyes (prophets), etc. In Romans chapter twelve Paul refers to these callings as 'gifts.' Since all Christians are members of Christ, all have unique callings. And since you can never be taken out of Christ, you will have this calling or 'ministry' for the rest of your life and possibly throughout eternity.

An anointing is something completely different. This is how much of the Presence of God refracts off your life in general and off your ministry specifically. The word 'anoint' literally means 'to smear or pour oil over.' In the biblical worldview, oil is almost always symbolic of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13) and thus someone who is 'anointed' has the Holy Spirit 'all over' them. Simply put, an anointed person or ministry will be overflowing with the presence of Jesus.

So why are some Christians anointed and others are not? The first reason should be obvious enough. Most Christians have no overflowing presence of Jesus in their lives or ministries because they are never themselves in the presence of Jesus. There is simply no heart devotion. This is sad but common and I have been there times without number. Christians who don't continually place themselves in the presence of Jesus through prayer and worship will soon lose this 'anointing.' Remember what we are told in Acts: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).

The second reason why Christians would not have this anointing is equally obvious and I would offer myself as an example: I am called to preach the gospel. I know this. I will preach it till the day I die even if it means that I am killed in doing so. I have no doubt whatsoever of my 'calling.'

I have noticed, however, over the last five or six months; less and less of an anointing on my preaching. Less loving, more crass. Less of a witness, more of an advocate. Less assurance, more striving. Less joy, more angst. Less power, more flesh. Less sincerity, more hypocrisy. Why?

Last week the Lord showed me. It became very clear that I still had feelings of resentment towards a brother. It had been so long and I had become so used to my sin that I hardly even noticed it anymore. My deceitfully wicked heart had got one up on me.

Recently I saw the brother expected the normal small talk that we so often have. Just enough exchange not to be rude and then off we go. This time, however, it was very different. I could tell immediately that he himself was a new man. The thing was so obvious. The presence of Jesus - the anointing - was all over him and as soon as I saw that all my bitterness and resentment completely lifted off of me...never to return.

It was only then that I understood how much this one sin had almost completely eradicated my anointing. I bless God for His mercy and realized afresh that if we want Christ's companionship we can harbor no willful sin - no matter how justified we believe we are in doing so (1 John 1).

As I was driving into the city today to go preach the glorious gospel I was literally weeping over the goodness of God. I got my anointing back simply through another brother getting his back. The presence of Jesus on his life had 'washed away' my sin of resentment! I was so filled with faith and wonder I could have lept for joy. Thousands heard the glad tidings. Indeed, it was the most wonderful day I have had preaching in a long time.

Dear brother or sister...I know you are called. The question remains: are you anointed?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

June/July Update

Several weeks ago the entire family went into the city with me. The kids got to see me preach outside a church for the first time. Ki-Ki is still a bit young but a couple of times he got on the box and it looked like he was going to start proclaiming Christ. Hannah was extremely interested the whole time and gave me several texts to expound. Robin offered some much needed advice that I trust, if headed, will make me a better communicator of the good news.

In late June we preached at the Sonoma County Gay Pride Parade. I have a lot to say about that but I can't spend the time right now commenting and developing the points I want to make. Suffice it to say that if evangelical churches continue down the path of cowardice then our lampstands will be removed entirely (Rev. 2:5).  The institutionalization of sin must be boldly confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just to give you a glimpse of where we are at; this particular gay pride parade ends every year with a 'Interfaith Service.' Notice that 11 of the 16 faith representatives are professedly Christian. The implication is clear - those who dare to call homosexuality a sin are fast becoming fundamental fringes even within Christendom. Think hard about this brethren, for it is our children who will perish in Sodom's gates and on Gomorrah's alters if the silence continues.

The last several Sunday's I have preached 'alone.' Alone is in quotes because God is always so faithful to bring brethren along to encourage and exhort me. Two weeks ago this happened in an exceptional way. I noticed when I was preaching that a young mom was standing next to me the whole time. It appeared that she was nursing her baby under one of those giant bibs. Anyway, she said that she really appreciated what I was doing but exhorted me to not use 'theological laguage' that she felt was getting lost on my hearers. She also strongly encouraged me to speak more of my own personal testimony. I really took to heart what she said. After she left, her husband (who is a Vineyard pastor) came over and gave me some really anointed encouragement and prayed for me right there. I can't really explain it, but the whole exchange was an extremely powerful experience.

Finally, a young woman named Madeline approached me when I was preaching this last week, truly seeking salvation. Join me in praying for her. That's all for now. May the Lord continue to bless you as you 'Declare His glory among the Nations.'

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Come, Let Us Reason Together (SF - 5/28/11)

Reasoning is a critical part of preaching the gospel. God says through the prophet Isaiah “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Isa. 1:18). It is not going too far to say that the primary job of the evangelist is to reason with his hearers.

All throughout Acts we read things like, “And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but [Paul] went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews” (Acts 18:19). Oh to have heard one of those sermons. We can see Paul’s reasoning powers clearly enough in the book of Romans but to have seen that logic set ablaze during the preaching event would have been a sight to behold.

Reasoning is basically the process by which we draw conclusions from a premise or from a set of premises. If I told you that the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 then from that premise you could conclude that the Yankees did not (among other things).

In preaching, reasoning is essentially exposition. You take a biblical text in hand and you expound it – or, if you prefer – explain it to your hearers. You want to help them draw conclusions about what you are saying. Take for example Jesus’ statement “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). How could a text like this be expounded?

On this particular day in San Francisco I spent quite a bit of time explaining to my hearers what slavery to sin entailed. For example; sin has dominion over people. It rules them. In other words, no man just flirts with pornography. If he looks at it at all he is bound by it. It controls him and masters him. Or take the liar. No liar lies once, but whenever the need for falsehood arises and until truth is no longer recognizable. Such is the nature of sin - to exhaust itself like a parasite on its host.

Secondly, sin is deceptive. It is patient and spreads the net slowly. I once saw a documentary on wolves in Alaska - how the hunters caught them. They would stick a knife - blade up - into the ground and place a piece of meat on it. The wolf would lick through the frozen meat and eventually start lapping the knife itself. Finally it would bleed to death. This is always the goal of sin - to slowly lead its victim to death.

Finally, sin is hard. “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked” (Isa. 48:22). Most slaves will say that their lives are hard. The slave to sin is no different. Oh what a burden jealously is. Oh what a horrible taskmaster is pride and covetousness. Oh what a hard bargain sin drives and what diminishing returns.

So this is how I preach on the streets of San Francisco. I reason with people; and if they have followed me this far; that is, if they are willing to reason with me (and some are) then I give them the Glorious News: “But  if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36). (!!!!!!) Oh what a glorious gospel!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Market and Stockton (5-14-11)

It would be untrue and harmful if I gave the impression that every time I preached the gospel, heaven was rent in two and a direct beam from the courts of glory pierced my heart as I rapturously proclaimed the glad tidings of the eternal God.

As glorious as the gospel is, my heart is anything but. Left to itself it is cold, unfeeling, unloving and totally indifferent to the things of God. As horrific as it sounds, that is the condition I found myself in for most of the day. Nevertheless, Saturday came with many, many blessings despite my unfortunate condition.

About a year ago a man donated a very expensive (and powerful) piece of sound equipment to our ministry. We had never used it but for whatever reason Jim decided to bring it out on this day. We gave it a whirl and it was amazing. It amplified our voices powerfully without any of the 'shrill' of a bullhorn (which we never use unless absolutely necessary).

In a wonderful providence and with our new equipment in hand - we 'stumbled' across a new location that, almost unbelievably, we had never before considered. The crossroads is Market and Stockton. The amount of foot traffic is staggering and the potential for gospel proclamation is limitless. Indeed, this was a most wonderful development for our ministry.

While Jim was preaching I would often run across the streets and intersections doing sound-checks to determine the range of the new equipment. When I would stand at a crosswalk, I was amazed to hear the people waiting to cross talking about the preaching. If I were standing next to Jim I never would have guessed that. I would have assumed they were talking about their lunches or new shoes or whatever. It made me realize how many seeds are being planted as we proclaim Christ.

It was time for my last preach of the day. We had to leave in a few minutes in order to get home in time for me to make an appointment. Jim said, "last preach of the day; plead with them." Finally, the clouds broke and my cold heart was warmed by the glory of the gospel. Revival sprang forth for a few minutes and I was pleading and preaching Christ in earnest.

Paul told Timothy to 'stir up the gift' that was in him. It turns out that this was all that was necessary to lite the fire again: the realization that this would be the last preach of the day and possibly of my life. The realization that I am a dying man preaching to dying men. The realization that preaching the gospel is not a matter of life or death - it is a matter of heaven or hell.

"A preacher can be sincere on the low ground of prudential ethics and morals, but he becomes earnest only when he seeks the salvation of the souls of his hearers" (Macartney)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ventura College (4-26-11)

I got to the school around 10:30 AM and went right to the campus police center to see if they had a free speech area.

Officer Castro told me that the whole campus was a free speech zone and thus I walked away very excited at what appeared to be an open door to proclaim Christ to a lot of people.

After about forty minutes of scattered prayer, jittery Scripture reading and serious heart- searching; students started pouring out of their classes and thus I started to preach.

I started with 'the cross as the foolishness and weakness of God' (1 Cor. 1:18-25). By God's grace I immediately felt the glory of the text and began to preach in earnest. After about ten minutes a gentleman came over and told me that I could not, in fact, preach on the campus. I explained that I had already checked in with campus police and that I had received a green light from them. He then said that he was the vice president of the college and thus I would have to listen to him and stop preaching. I told him that I would be happy to if an officer asked me to.

As the VP walked away I could tell he was torn. He would walk away to the police center and then stop and walk back towards me. He did this a couple of times. Finally he came back with Officer Castro. The officer explained to me that although I was not doing anything wrong I should go to the 'Civic Center' office and register with them.

I did not really understand what that meant but I was happy to comply. I went to the office, spoke with Elouise and explained that I was told to see her about formally registering to speak on campus. It turns out that this whole goose-chase was about renting the amphitheater right across from where I was already preaching on the quad. She explained that I would need to fill out the lengthy application, pay the fee and show proof of a million dollar insurance bond. They would let me know in two weeks if I was approved! Things were starting to get complicated.

I went back to see Officer Castro and explained that there must have been some misunderstanding; I did not want to rent the amphitheater and put on a show. I simply wanted to preach the gospel. I asked him plainly if it was against the law to do so. He said it was not, but that 'some people' were having a problem with it.

I went right back to my spot. A couple of Christians asked me what I would be preaching on now. I told them 'Christ the Good Shepherd.' They stood by me. The campus came alive. Christians were giving support, others were starting to jeer, several hundred were listening. The gospel was going forth. It was glorious.

A small crowd had gathered around me. One of them was a young man with a red shirt and a tennis racket. He asked me, 'how do I get my sin forgiven?' I explained to him the gospel. He wanted more clarification and then asked, 'but how do I actually experience this forgiveness?'

I told him to go cry to God for mercy. He asked me how he would know if he received it. I explained to him that he would know....'you can't be raised from the dead spiritually and not know it young man.' The Christians standing around me encouraged him. I pray that the Jesus brought this sheep home.

Finally Officer Castro called me over. It was getting too hot for him. The whole time I was preaching I saw him across the quad on his phone. He said that he was getting too many calls and thus it would be best if I stopped. I agreed. We shook hands and I departed. Here's what I learned:

1) The First Amendment, glorious as it is, means next to nothing. Open doors to preach the gospel are from God - period.

2) Although I have preached the gospel alone on many occasions, I have never actually been alone. The Lord has always sent Christians beside me to encourage me and help me. I am so grateful for this.

3) Preaching Christ must flow out of a heart of worship. I feel the glory of Christ when I preach, but I must feel it so much more. His glory must absorb and control the preacher.

4) When Christians proclaim the gospel they have the full resources of God at their disposal: "All authority in heaven in earth has been given to me....go."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Market and Powell & Union Square (4-16-11)

I have been publicly declaring the gospel now for about fifteen months and if there was ever a day that I wish I could somehow put into a bottle and save, it would have been this Saturday in San Francisco. I am aware of how selfish that sounds. The gospel is all about the glory of God and the salvation of souls - period. And yet the sheer joy I receive from declaring Christ to the masses is so overwhelming that at times that I am tempted to feel guilty. Yesterday was one of those days.

We got to the city around noon and set up camp at Market and Powell. The preaching went like this: "Good afternoon San Francisco. We have come here today to tell you the good news about Jesus Christ, for that is what the word 'gospel' means, literally, 'glad tidings of great joy' and as I am preaching this gospel to you, you should be struck with a sense of the glory of it; it's freeness; it's grace; it's accessibility to even the worst of sinners. And as I preach, what should flood your mind are words like 'liberty' and 'emancipation' and 'forgiveness;' but, if instead, words like 'religion' or 'condemnation' or 'judgment' are coming to your mind as I am preaching, then you are not hearing me nor the gospel correctly."

I then went on to explain to them the desperate condition of man, his depravity, and how great that depravity is, especially when compared to the utter perfections of Christ. Then onto the glory of God in the person of Christ. The glory of His character, His miracles, His patient dealings with sinners; His glory before Pilate; His glory before the Sanhedrin; the glory of His cross; the glory of His words on the cross 'It is finished;' the infinite glory of His resurrection and subsequent ascension to the right hand of the throne of God. The glory of His gracious promises "whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (maybe my favorite), etc., etc.. Then I implore the people with everything in me, 'come to the Savior, fly to Him...He will not cast you out, etc."

Even as I write these words I pant for a street corner to herald them from! Oh what a message we have church! Arise and declare His glory among the heathen!!

Jim preaching at Union Square

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Market & Powell (4-9-11)

We had a glorious day preaching the gospel yesterday. I have included a video and a few pictures below to give you a better idea of where exactly we preach. When I see how ideal the location is - it becomes clear to me that the Lord had planned on Market and Powell being a very special crossroads for proclaiming the message of salvation.

Over to the left is a 'Forever 21' flag. We preach under that most weeks.

Steve preaching to the trolly line and to all those who pass by.

About ten thousand people can hear the gospel from us on a busy Saturday.

I opened up my last preach of the day saying, "San Francisico, I am now taking the Lord at His word. Jesus said that if He be lifted up He will draw men and woman to Himself...so here goes...." The greatest joy I have (or close to it) is proclaimg this Jesus to the masses.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

...And Now A Word From One Of Our Sponsors:

To call George Whitefield the greatest Christian since the Apostle Paul would hardly be hyperbole. Here is what he says about street preaching:

"Let the love of Jesus constrain you to go out into the highways and hedges to compel poor sinners to come in. Some may say, 'This is not proceeding with a zeal according to knowledge;' but I am persuaded ... the Gospel must be propagated in the same manner as it was first established, by itinerant preaching. Go on, dear sir, go on and follow your glorious Master without the camp, bearing His reproach. Never fear the scourge of the tongue, or the threatenings that are daily breathed out against the Lord, and against His Christ. Suffer we must. Perhaps, we may sing in a prison, and have our feet in the stocks; but faith in Jesus turns a prison into a palace, and makes a bed of flames become a bed of feathers."

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Would Happen If....

Some really good questions and answers about what would happen if solid preachers once again hit the streets...

Well, This Is Refreshing.....

Some rare, positive comments on street preaching by a well respected scholar.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jesus Both Our Mast and Sail

The center and fulcrum of all gospel preaching must be the cross, and the center of the cross is self-substitution of God for the sins of His people. This is the crucifixion within the crucifixion. A couple of days ago I wrote a hymn celebrating the glory of the atonement. I hope you enjoy.

Jesus Both Our Mast and Sail

Fastened to a bloody deck,
the Mast of our salvation
It drives the ark that bears Your church
o’er the world’s damnation.

Jesus both our Mast and Sail,
our Shelter and our Friend
Thou Ark for sinners tried and true
our haven without end!

The Sail now raised and full doth charge
to the centre of the storm
Where love and law and sin collide;
that glorious Friday morn!


The Sail now furled is torn and shred
beyond all recognition
The Lighting Rod of God’s just dread
has wrought its awful mission.


The Mast now stained with crimson red;
has met the dark cloud’s fury
Into port it sways and stands
and hails the Father’s glory!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Revival Must Come

The nearest I have ever come to experiencing 'revival conditions' was late in the summer of 2010. A dear friend of mine (Jay), who has been my prayer partner for the last 10 years, came out to visit from rural Georgia. It was only the second time I have ever seen this brother but we have spent countless hours in prayer together over the phone.

He got in on Tuesday and then we spent much of Wednesday night preaching at a local event. Later that night about five of us headed up to the Lord's Land in Mendocino, CA for two days of fasting and prayer.

The 'Lord's Land' is an old hippie commune that was converted to Christ during the 'Jesus Movement' revival in the 70's. It is now under the leadership of YWAM and continues to be used mightily of the Lord as a place of shelter and refreshment for weary pilgrims.

Upon our arrival we met a young man who recently came to Christ, who was temporarily calling the LL home. He spoke highly of this wonderful place and exhorted us to try and make it to the 8 AM staff prayer meeting.

Jay looked at me and said, 'I want to go to that. What a way to start our time here.' It did not sound like something that I would want to go to. We would not know anyone there and it seemed fairly awkward to show up at a prayer meeting where we did not know anyone.

That night we went to the cabin and engaged in worship for a couple of hours. It was very powerful and we all got to bed real late. The next morning Jay wanted to go to the meeting so I reluctantly did. When we got there it was simple enough: the husband and wife that ran the LL were there along with several twenty-somethings who were on staff with YWAM. The most conspicuous thing about the meeting was the presence of Christ. It was one of those meetings when you just walk into the room and His presence quietly overwhelms you so your heart warms like wax and tears stand fast in your eyes.

We introduced ourselves and the prayer meeting quickly commenced. What happened next taught me more than anything I ever learned in over seven years of formal theological training. The Lord came powerfully into that meeting and every one present was soon praying 'in the Spirit' (Eph. 6:18; Jude 20).

The power, freedom, unction and assurance was overwhelming. Like the man made of water climbing out of a pool on a ladder of water - I knew, for the first time in my life, what the Scripture means by 'praying in the Spirit.' He became the very atmosphere of that room. He was inspiring our prayers, empowering them, and giving us the complete assurance of their acceptance by God through Christ and thus the absolute confidence of their being answered. Moreover, (and this is the most difficult part to explain) everyone in the room seemed to be praying with the mind of the Holy Spirit - it was as if we all were sharing His consciousness. All the promises of John 15 were exploding and setting that meeting ablaze, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (vs. 7-8). As powerful as that meeting was, it would turn out to be only a harbinger of what happened the next morning.

When we got to the prayer room the next day there were a few additional people. There was much more an air of business as they were in the thick of planning for their big discipleship program when teachers and students from all over the world would come to the LL for three months of intensive training. They were writing names on the white board, working out different scenarios and talking about this and that. Jay and I just silently watched and listened.

The prayer time was mainly focused on all the needs of their ministry. It started off very 'normal.' No overwhelming Presence, etc. Then a brother began to pray for this one minister who they were really hoping would come and teach at their training school but said he would be doubtful because of a sudden unexplained sickness. We all started coming against this mysterious aliment and soon the room was filled with power and assurance like the day before.

This went on for about 20-30 minutes and then one of the brothers grabbed a guitar and started to lead us in worship. Again, this began 'normal' enough. Soon though the Presence of Jesus Christ flooded the room. We were all on our faces before Him, bathing His feet in rivers of tears. Worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth. O what a foretaste of glory divine! At times I think back to that day and it still fills my soul with such joy I can hardly contain it.

We left later that morning and the presence of the Lord was still dripping off of us. I will never forget the 2 hour car ride home with Jay. Sweeter fellowship this side of heaven I don't realistically expect to have. I hope I am wrong. I have never spoken of divine things - or had them spoken to me - with such joy, unction and longing. Again, that sense of fellowshipping in the Spirit was overwhelming. The truth that in Him we 'live, move and have our being' took on a whole new reality.

Our prayer meetings for the rest of the week took on a new power and our street preaching was graciously attended by the Spirit of God. We preached at a local college - lifting up Jesus - and His presence among us was obvious. The whole place came alive. Even the chair of the religious department came over and spoke to us - 'asking us' to no longer speak in His name.

I long for a full measure of what we experienced that week. We have to have this unction on our ministries my beloved brothers and sisters. This reality of the presence of God. Revival must come.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paul Washer

Paul is an inspiration to me. If you want to be greatly encouraged in the Great Commission watch this short testimony of God's faithfulness.