Archive for January, 2007
1. I want to add a little sub-point to yesterday’s two posts. The most powerful medium in history is the written word, hands down. Know any good music from the 17th century? Me neither. (I know that some of the greatest music ever came out of this era – classical hymns with great power – but few can name them off the top of their head) I can find you some great books from that era, though. John Milton and John Bunyan were two giants of English literature as well as fervent Puritans. Paul the apostle helped lead the greatest revival of the 1st century in Ephesus, of which we would have no clue unless Luke wrote about it. The most powerful preaching in history would be completely unknown to us if not transcribed and recorded in books.
In the IHOP-KC culture, preaching, teaching, and music are often seen as the paragon of one’s ministry call. It’s like that in many, many places in the body of Christ. Because public speaking is the number one fear on everyone’s top ten list (death is ranked number two), those who can pull it off with skill are admired by the masses that feel like they could never do such a thing. Classical Greek culture also exalted the speakers, back in the day (the Areopagus in Athens, where Paul spoke in Acts 17, was seen as one of the premier places to test your oratory skills and ideas).
History bears out, however, that superior to preaching and pulling just ahead of its two-man race with music is the written word. Singing and music will be a major part of eternity forever, and plays a necessary and valuable role in unifying believers around ideas. People sing things that they would never say or even admit! Music will be a central and vital part of our life in God forever. So, I affirm that music is important and its central place in our little house of prayer is absolutely necessary. Music provides a valuable escort into enjoyable prayer. Someone on the platform reading a book would not help me pray. However, when someone (say, a prayer leader) reads a book alongside the music, we have a powerful combination!
More enduring than music throughout the centuries, however, is writing. Ideas in written form have been greatly disruptive - and as we all know “the pen is mightier than the sword”. The pen has singularly orchestrated more revolutions than any other implementation or instrument created by mankind. I say this to dignify the writers in our midst - you can’t carry a tune, can’t play a chord, and shudder at the idea of addressing more than ten people out in the open. You can, however, put thoughts and ideas on paper - or on computer. And it’s the computer part that has come together in a manner that can now transmit thoughts, ideas, and yes, songs, at a speed and to an audience that is truly historic. If you’re a writer, I’m speaking to you. More than any other time in history, this is your hour.
Now get an idea from heaven.
2. Secondly, if you read this webournal…this interjournal…this, um…netarticlethingy…okay, I’ll say the phrase, just one more time: “blog” (ugh - again, bury it in the back yard, folks! Can’t someone out there who’s cool come up with a better term? Everytime I say it I feel like I’m engaging with my phlegm. Blog. Blaaag. Blawwwwg. Ugh.)
Anyhow, if you read this journal regularly, than make sure you read the comments section! Particularly if you’ve asked a question on there. I think I’ve answered almost every one. I also try to sneakily sneakerson (as opposed to stiffly stifferson, for those who know of what I speak) a few extra points on there that add to and and expand on what I wrote. Some ideas are good but don’t work in the flow and theme of what I’m writing, so I sneak them into the comments when appropriate.
I like dialogue, so if you’ve asked a question on here (Ruth, Sunny, I’m specifically thinking of you right now) I probably answered it. In case you’re interested.
I’m enjoying the journey with all of you. Thanks much for reading.
January 31st, 2007
I just decided to just go for it today. If I’m posting too much for you, prioritize the last entry on barrenness and come back to this one later. I’ve decided to be unashamedly grandiose today, and call you to it as well.
I’ve been reading Thomas L. Friedman’s latest book, The World is Flat (A Brief History of the 21st Century).
In this book he lays out the progression of globalization over the last 500 years, and then explains the latest and most stunning phase. He lays it out like this:
Globalization 1.0 - 1492 A.D. - 1800 A.D. This phase is kicked off by the paradigm shattering journey of Columbus to the West Indies - the “large” world became “medium” in a moment. Nations suddenly began to think global, and aggressive colonization of the earth began as a response. The resources of the world were in the balance.
Globalization 2.0 - 1800 A.D. - 2000 A.D. Industrialization and the rise of technology serve to take a “medium” world and make it stunningly “small”. One obstacle after another falls as corporations emerge. These corporations suddenly began to think global, and the aggressive economic shift of the earth took place as a response. The wealth of the nations began to flow through these corporate entities.
Globalization 3.0 - 2000 A.D. to today. The emergence of the digital age has placed resource, information, and technology in the hands of people to take a “small” world and make it “tiny” and “flat”. What began with nations and continued with corporations has now shifted to the individual - the individual is now able to compete on a global stage for the resources and economics of the global economy. Secondly, this dramatic shift will not only be driven by individuals, but non-western individuals from places like India and China. The power structures of the earth are in great flux. This is an unbelievable time in history.
Governments and corporations cannot control this flow of information and finance. New arenas and audiences are available to the individual for the first time. A door has been opened that cannot be shut. It’s breathtaking to consider.
When I did my little series on “people who should be blogging”, THIS WAS MY POINT. It’s not just about hearing the thoughts of cool people that we like. It’s about the unprecedented power and resource available to the individual to change the earth. People, the earth is filled right now with bored people reading the thoughts of boring people with nothing to say. Some do this to gather and bolster themselves in their boredom and anethstetize themselves from the pain of it (again, see my last post). It’s Romans 1:32. Others are yearning and hungry for ideas, thoughts, and concepts from heaven - something with a little bit of life on it (or as we here call it, “reality”). In a vacuum of ideas, a greenhouse of prayer is producing paradigm-shifting thoughts from the throne room of heaven.
Beloved, more than any other time in history, the stage is set for you to change the earth. Obstacles are removed, resources are at your fingertips, and the platform is staring at you right now. That we can digitize ideas and disseminate them immediately is an astonishing opportunity that I believe is equal to God establishing koine (common) Greek as the global language of 1st century Rome. It’s the same as the roads that empire built with security that enabled the gospel to go forth with power in one generation to the “ends of the earth” at that time. We have that unprecedented opportunity again. WE MUST PURSUE SOMETHING TO SAY. From God - divine ideas to the ones who pursue Him wholeheartedly in the place of fervent prayer and fasting.
There are three non-negotiable steps in this process if you want to sign up to change the earth. Technology changes and history moves forward at an unbelievable speed, but God’s methodology never changes even if the medium does. We must, in this hour:
1. Pursue a bonfire on the inside. We must become burning and shining lamps in the place of prayer and fasting.
2. Receive divine ideas from heaven related to the scriptures. We call this the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
3. Then, we wait for God to breathe on our little lives with power that calls the attention of the nations to His message and ideas.
Once the third part of the journey happens, these little ideas will go to the ends of the earth. A revolution called the “prayer movement” will shake the power structures and foundations of the kingdom of darkness. Illegitimate governments and economic centers of the corporate world are trembling right now; racing against YOU to lay hold of this medium before something like this can take place. North Korea is working feverishly to keep this kind of information, these kinds of ideas, from out of the hands of their people. They are racing the clock, governing the Internet with fervency because of the undeniable pattern of history. One man’s ideas transformed the global church through what we call the reformation. One man’s ideas overthrew centuries of Czarist rule in Russia.
There are two responses to what I am proposing. Some may think that I am a bit over the top here - a bit too grandiose and odd. But some of you - you have to be thinking right now, “why not me?” Is it true? Can God really give you a voice in a digital age that surpasses the platforms of the great preachers in history? Can the stadiums of the digital world far surpass the stadiums in the natural? Can the impact of one little intercessor really shift the thinking of millions?
It’s happening right now. A little intercessor that has been praying for 30 years is poised by the grace of God to shift the thinking of millions in 214 nations. Beloved, THIS IS GOD’S WAY. It’s not reserved for Mike Bickle. It’s not reserved for someone else. It’s reserved for the ones who believe that the way of Jesus is right and that the only hope for the nations of the earth is a sovereign breakthrough of the Holy Spirit in power AND IN TRUTH.
You, who already are learning to express yourself on a digital medium, now go get truth. Who wants to change the earth?
January 30th, 2007
I want to share some thoughts this morning on a subject I talked about at the leadership conference this past weekend. These ideas are in the notes and I expand on them in the messages we’ll be posting tomorrow, but I want to discuss them here as well. I shared these with those who lead prayer ministries because it is critical that true shepherds after God’s heart arise in these last days to help believers navigate the deadly pitfalls of barrenness of heart in the place of prayer. We are, by nature, a prayerless people. The difficulties of the reach of prayer when we lack the internal capacity and strength in our spirit man to engage with God are often painful to encounter. Good men turn away from the place of prayer on a daily basis because they come into a surprising and frustrating boredom.
Our fallen nature and deceitful heart demand a wrestling with God in the place of prayer in which we set ourselves to fight and war to cling to the hope of the little breakthroughs that come over time. These bursts of grace to the heart “strengthen us with might through His Spirit in the inner man”, that we might have a greater capacity to stay in the place of prayer and engagement with God for a much longer time. I want, from God, more endurance and grace for tenacity in the place of prayer. It is becoming more and more enjoyable for me as my internal hunger and desires are being transformed by grace. But still I fight. I hit the wall of barrenness and boredom in the place of prayer hard, daily. Often I give in, and engage in more satisfying short-term pursuits. Often I settle for the horrible dullness that takes my heart and shrouds it in a cloud of unfeeling numbness.
There are worse places to go in the battle of barrenness. They are deadly.
I woke up on Saturday morning with this phrase burning on my heart: “The weakness of prayer is an offense block to the proud.” The self-sufficient, independent, prideful heart longs to be known as strong. Gifted. Able. The last thing we want is to be weak, broken, and needy - desperately needy, actually. Only the spiritually poor come into true mourning and pain, yet boldly seek God until they find Him. They have no option, no other place to go for sustenance. Yet I find sustenance in the unsatisfying things of the world all the time. I settle for the short-term bursts of pleasure that come from worldly offerings that help me forget for a moment that I am barren, broken, and in great need of encounter with the Living God on the inside.
Waiting in weakness is the most helpless, dry, frustrating place. The second wave that strikes our heart follows the first - “the weakness of prayer is a stumbling block for unbelief.” There are other responses - all subtle and deadly to our life in God:
(1) Depression – Desire to feel sorry for yourself in the place of self-pity rather than continue to believe and contend for a breakthrough that God desires more than you do. Many believe that they want the internal and external breakthrough of God more than He wants to express Himself in our life and thus become soured in the waiting. Depression settles in when unbelief convinces the believer that this is the way it will always be and tomorrow will be no different. Eternity and the return of Christ are not an internal reality truly grasped and the pain of today seems greater than the promise of tomorrow. This is sin and must be dealt with forcefully – the answer for the believer is true spiritual violence that will fight the fight of faith and not quit.
(2) Compromise – Desire to make peace with our barrenness and surrender to a lesser than place of function and life before God. The pain of delay and contending for the fullness becomes too great – and settling into a place of helpfulness and productivity serves as an appealing compromise to the daily pain of short term “failure” to engage with God on the inside. Productivity and a servant appearance work to form a mask that hides deep boredom and dissatisfaction. This is not true servant-heartedness that flows from true tenderness.
(3) Cynicism – Desire for short term satisfaction at the expense of the long-term marathon pace of a lifestyle of prayer and voluntary weakness; this can often be expressed in church culture as a desire for anything which interrupts boredom – whether it be the activism and busy activity or a pursuit of the subjective experience with spiritual language that props up our soul and hides the truth of our barrenness. This is not true life in the Spirit (power encounters with the living God) that flows from righteousness (Sermon on the Mount obedience in the mundane), peace (the heart settled in confident trust in the leadership of Jesus in the end-times), and joy (the tender heart flowing in love from the place of enjoying God’s affections).
This last one is so deadly, so deceptive - and I believe so pervasive today in the body of Christ. The many multi-faceted ways we prop up our heart in the place of barrenness - the things we hide behind - only lead to disillusionment. You can avoid your need to truly encounter God for so long until the life you have built for yourself in avoidance collapses into a torrent of disillusionment. The sourness and bitterness of the heart in that day is so deadly. How many have become disillusioned because of “encounters” with God that were more cultural than spiritual? How many have become disillusioned because of godly activities (that are done for the purpose of hiding from our barrenness) that produce so little fruit and change after years of labor?
All that we do to try to make our life exciting, worthwhile - spicing it up with “variety” while on the constant search for the new thing. This can even be “variety” in the form of exaggerated, trumped up, or even false spiritual encounters. The end of that journey is painfully, devastatingly disappointing. Our life in this age, like it or not, will be mostly mundane. The externals were never meant to solve this. God’s solution for the mundane predictability and patterns of life was never supposed to be various activities in the externals. God desired and purposed that we would seek an internal solution. He desired that in the midst of the mundane, our heart would be a bonfire in the place of prayer. He purposed that we would be content in any and every circumstance because we are connecting with Him on the inside.
Only when you come to the realization that, long-term, there is no other solution will you stop what you are doing and wait in the place of prayer until something changes in your soul. When there is no place else to go, you won’t stop or quit. When you are convinced that prayer is the only answer, you won’t leave that posture and you’ll come back again to the place of prayer daily, until.
God, help us in our unbelief. Help us stay with this until something moves on the inside. Help us kindle a flame that becomes a bonfire. We need a life in You that anchors us in faith, hope, and love. Amen.
January 30th, 2007
Back from a great weekend with Billy Humphrey, director of IHOP-Atlanta, and Kirk Bennett, director of the Zadok House of Prayer as well as a bunch of cool ZHOP folks that helped serve at the conference the three of us led for those who are involved in leading (or thinking about leading) houses of prayer from around the nation.
80 leaders came to Atlanta for the conference - I posted my notes from the two sessions I did elsewhere on my site for those who are interested. This week I’ll post the MP3 audio files for the sessions I did this year and last year at this same conference. The sessions are hit the prayer movement (and God’s zeal for Zion), shepherding after God’s heart, and pursuing the fullness of the beatitudes, as well as a couple of entertaining question and answer sessions - I think you’ll find them helpful.
All of this will be posted on the “Meditations from a Prayer Room” section of my site - if you have not checked out that section yet I have lots of resources - articles, notes, etc. on a variety of subjects, particularly the end-times. I plan on posting more MP3 audio files in the weeks to come - let me know if these resources are helpful or if there is something else in particular you are looking for. I plan on continually tweaking and improving the site with Josh Hawkins, faithful and diligent webmaster, as we go. A big thanks to Josh for all he does to facilitate this website!
It was a fantastic weekend - I really enjoyed my time with Billy and Kirk (and the ZHOP crew). The ZHOP folks were really fun - wish I could have spent more time with them, actually. The highlight of my weekend (besides getting some much needed revenge on Billy for some past injustices) was having dinner with the whole crew and sharing stories. The other highlight was getting a weekend away with my bride, which was really great for us (and much needed). The leaders that came are my heroes for what it is they are attempting to pull of in their cities - 40 hours of corporate prayer (or more) is a big “win” and better than zero hours of corporate prayer. I love engaging with comrades who carry a passion for the prayer movement.
Still, it’s good to be back. I like to keep travel to a minumum, and I think I’m done for a little while (until I’m done teaching this semester). The next one looks like a trip back out to the ZHOP around April to do some sessions on the end-times with one of my top three on the list of our beloved spiritual families. Whenever we travel to Atlanta or Fort Mill, I’m stunned at how many former Onething Interns are taking their place on the wall in those prayer rooms. My wife and I are blessed every time we see one of our “excellent ones, in whom is all our delight” entering into the glorious calling of the intercessory missionary. We can’t wait to see the many that are dear to our heart in Ft. Mill.
Side note: 24. I’ve decided that I like the slow, simmering build-up that’s happening over the past two weeks. I’m digging the different threads - they all seem to be heading somewhere good. We’ll see…
January 29th, 2007
My wife and I are headed for Atlanta tomorrow, where I am speaking at the House of Prayer Leadership Summit.
I am, by nature of both the grace of God on my life as well as my function for this season of my life, an aggressive student of the dynamics of 24/7 prayer and the people that participate in it. The idiosyncrasies of this unique people, these “Annas” and those who gather to serve with them, and the culture that forms around all of them have been an ongoing fascination for me. Understanding these dynamics helps me serve the elements of our culture that are strategic and necessary while providing leadership to help stem the tide of the unnecessary elements.
As Greg said in the comments section elsewhere in this little journal, we lead a strange life here.
Like anything else, when you become an aggressive student of something you often then are given the opportunity to pass on what is you’ve learned and observed over the years. Because I’m young, inexperienced, and often overzealous, I rarely take the route of “sage” and instead choose the much more natural role of “loud preacher”. Still only 33 years old, I’m too dumb at this stage of my life to know better. So this weekend I’ll probably be shouting some of my insights into a microphone with way more passion than the subject matter demands, as is my way. You can get the CD later, if you don’t believe me.
I’m passionate about the subject because I’m passionate about the prayer movement. As a 72-year-old VIP who passed through here recently took the time to tell me (he’s seen a few things), the Holy Spirit is our only solution to the growing crisis threatening the earth. He wanted to talk to me because he understood the geopolitical situation intimately; he grasped the historical context with stunning clarity, but did not quite grasp the eschatology side of things.
I mostly nodded (trying not to look awestruck) and told him that biblically, his educated assessment of where things are going is right on.
The prayer movement that the Chief Intercessor is orchestrating from heaven is the last and best hope that men have in these last days. So, when I talk about it sometimes, I have a habit of speaking a little loud. And fast. I’m working on that. I know, however, that what I am going to say next may not be well received by many around the nation who are desperate for a house of prayer to be established in their communities. I also know that what I am about to say seems counter-productive for one who claims such a personal zeal to serve the global prayer movement.
But I still have to say it. Regardless of how much property they gave you, regardless of how much it seems like the time is right to do this, you (or the folks you really like) should really consider not starting that house of prayer just yet. In fact, I would shut it down and re-evaluate for a while. I’ll tell you why I think this, and then I’ll tell you where I think you should go from here. If this statement disturbs you, I understand. I really, really do. But hear me out for a minute.
I am a rabid believer in the necessity of Joel 2:15 “solemn assemblies”. I think that they should happen in stadiums across the earth. I think that every believer in every denomination is called by God to both pray, intercede, and gather for days, weeks, or months when they take place to contend for the mercy of God for our respective nations. Again, all believers will participate in these before this age comes to a close. But not all believers are called to be a caretaker of the epicenter of these solemn assemblies - houses of prayer throughout the earth. Put differently, all will be called to gather for a time to the sanctuary to contend for mercy. Not all, however, are called to keep charge of those sanctuaries until the time of the sacred assemblies.
In fact, it is likely that only 1 percent of the body of Christ is called to what we have coined the “Anna” calling. 100 million out of a billion believers, perhaps. While that seems like a staggering number, it helps to keep it in its right perspective - at a successful, well known house of prayer that has been running 24/7 for seven years now, we have only gathered about 700 people from around the nation to keep the charge of our sanctuary. About half of that number are full-time “Annas”. With all of our resources, network, and reputation, we can only gather an infinitesimal fraction of a percentage of the number of intercessors God is calling in this generation.
And, of those we have gathered, we still are sorely lacking in regards to the level of leadership needed to motivate and maintain 24/7 prayer. The difficulty of this endeavor and the simple inertia needed to keep everyone on task - the thankless task of crying out to an invisible God with no immediate reward while encountering much barrenness - takes almost incalculable time and energy. Much of what I do, day in and day out, is teach. Not the classroom kind - but the kind of one on one, small group meeting, leadership training kind of teaching that helps people navigate and interpret the collisions of the heart that take place when they sign up for a life of prayer. To rightly interpret the activity of the heart is to gain courage to stay in the blue chair and not quit. My life is mostly, at this stage, helping idealistic young people not quit.
To sum up: gathering intercessors is hard. Keeping them in the chair long-term is harder. It takes more than a prophetic word, a storefront, and lots of gumption. It takes more than a firm conviction that the prayer movement is necessary and vital for your city. What does it take?
Well, it takes as close to 100% clarity that the Lord has called you to do this (and that now is the time) as one can lay hold of from the Lord. That which is truly the Lord will not be moved by a little blog post. If you were called to do this, however, two indicators would be:
1. You have an ability to draw intercessors from a greater sphere than your city (and state)
2. You have an ability to draw significant leadership to come and help you in this endeavor. In other words, Allen Hood would come and work for you. So would Dwayne Roberts. So would I.
Of course, “this” does not have to mean “24/7 Missions Base”. If “thou be the man” to establish a prayer room in your city, than you must be brutally honest about your God-given “grace package”. What do you have the grace to legitimately pull off from the Lord? If you answer this question wrong, the stakes are high. It is imperative that you lay aside, for a moment, your zeal for the prayer movement in your city and honestly answer that question. Once you know what you are truly capable of, you can set out to build accordingly with integrity before God and man.
Few have the grace from God to establish 24/7 prayer right now in their city. There will come a time in the years to come when that will surely change. For now, many have the grace from God to gather and establish many hours of prayer per week that matter to God and the angels. Many have the grace to establish more hours of prayer than were happening prior to their efforts. We cannot despise the day of small beginnings, and we must be thankful that God has positioned us to serve in the manner that we are able.
Finally, some who are doing this really need to consider what it will really take to pull off their true dream of 24/7. Some will begrudgingly settle into a few hours a week with teeth grit and hearts aflame, longing for the dream of their heart to be realized and unable to rest until it is. What then?
I would suggest that it’s time to go to “medical school”. You want to do more than just be a doctor (intercessor). You want to run a hospital (24/7 missions base). Again, some who aspire to run major hospitals are really called to operate the little clinic down the road - and that’s okay. Those in a neighborhood who benefit from the clinic don’t begrudge the guy who “settled”. But if you have read all of this, and still are burning to run the hospital, then I would strongly suggest you spend some time in one, learning from the chief administrators what it takes to run it. There is so much to learn. There are so many details, nuances, and cultural distinctives to what we do - I’ve never seen an operation like this in my life.
I’ve said this (or variations of this) to many, many people who have asked my advice over the years - and still this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. This is the dream for many around the nations of the earth, to be able to gather and rally night and day prayer for the transformation of their city, state, and nation.
Sometimes however, dreams have to die before they can be rightly realized. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
In other words, sometimes our hearts get so bound up in the dream that it is often difficult to do what is necessary to see those dreams birthed according to the divine order of God’s perfect (but sometimes painful) leadership. I have a zeal for the prayer movement. I have zeal to see houses of prayer established, 24/7, in every major city on the earth. My zeal does not eclipse, however, my loyalty and commitment to God’s methodology and plan to make this happen. The details of this plan are as of yet unclear. When things are unclear to me, I like to default to the best posture one can maintain until the fog lifts and the way forward becomes obvious. It’s the most sagely advice a 33 year old can give to you regarding this subject.
January 25th, 2007
On that note, see you when I get back from Atlanta.
January 25th, 2007
7:30 AM - 12:30 PM: Head to the prayer room, get situated, sneak a coffee in somewhere. Work on new notes for New Testament Survey, mix in a little of the 10 AM All-Staff prayer meeting while I’m at it.
12:40 PM - Book over to FSM, get ready to teach class.
1 PM - 3:45 PM Teach NT Survey.
3:45 PM - Book over to the Prayer Room, set stuff down, grab Bible, go lead prayer meeting.
4 PM - 6 PM - Lead All-Staff Israel prayer meeting, actually pray a little. Clap hands intermittently.
6 PM - 7:30 - Prayer Room Leadership meeting. Say stuff. Listen lots.
7:30 - Type blog about what Tuesday looks like. Mention that at 7:42 you’re still typing stuff. Check email, or actually say stuff about something that needs saying stuff about. Nod head to the music.
8 PM - 9 PM - Hit final hour of Sacred Trust prayer room commitment. Survive. Say a few words to Jesus.
9 PM - Grab kids, load ‘em up in the van. Unload kids, offer a buck if they get ready for bed fast. Put them to bed. Stare off into the distance. Drool.
Side note - 24 was surprisingly not interesting enough last night to even spend too much blog space on today. I’m shocked. I never thought I would think those thoughts about tv nirvana. Even the surprises were only mildly not boring.
January 23rd, 2007
I appreciated a few things about this exercise - that blogging itself has been quite the topic of conversation lately, both externetally and internetally; that a few of us truly despise the word “blog”, as it sounds like something you bury outside of the camp according to Levitical law; and that the IHOP blog world is becoming quite an interesting place.
It’s only natural that this should be the case. Mike has said for years that this little prayer “greenhouse” would produce messengers. He has made many predictions about the sheer number of songs and books that would emerge from the prayer movement, particularly from the beauty of God and Song of Solomon messages. We are, as one of our main mandates, called to communicate a unique set of messages to the body of Christ, and the availability of this medium to grow and mature in that gift is an unexpected but enjoyable surprise.
I truly enjoy reading so many blogs from like-minded people. As a student of current affairs (with an eye towards future affairs) I read too many commentaries by unlike-minded people. It can be a bit discouraging and a little deflating at times to read the line of reasoning that flows from the fallen, broken, unrenewed mind. So to stumble upon the thoughts and meditations of my comrades is a great encouragement to me. Yes, there is a great “get to know you” value of these journal entries that is fascinating (in a “reality show” kind of way, with a knowing affectionate sympathy mixed in). I would say again, though, that I greatly value what is beginning to flow out of this seven-year greenhouse.
As a few others have commented over this past week, there has been a seeming explosion of IHOP blogs. I believe this is part of the “turning point” I spoke of weeks ago. It is the necessary next step in our growth and maturity as a people, and a small transition into the full expression of who we are becoming as a movement. IHOP songs and published materials have markedly increased over the past year - and now there is a marked increase in one of the most powerful resources in the history of mankind: ideas.
Ideas spark revolutions. Ideas bring change. Ideas are a very powerful currency for the human heart.
And these blogs represent the expression of pent-up ideas that have been waiting to be tried and tested while we are still in relatively friendly waters. These are ideas in the making. Many have noted a change in Shawn Blanc’s blog. There is an increase of “spiritual content” lately, according to the commenters themselves. Was this purposeful? Maybe a little on Shawn’s part - and definately a lot on God’s part. The Leader of the prayer movement has been stirring a key messenger to write, and the content of his heart and time in a little room over the last year is beginning to spill over into his normative habit of writing a successful web journal. How could this not happen? It’s as natural as beginning to really love your neighbor because you’re really starting to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. How could Shawn not express the ideas and phrases that are being birthed in his heart when he touches God in the prayer room?
And we all are the beneficiaries of the early formation of ideas that will contribute to sparking a global prayer movement. Shawn is being established in a medium that will be one means of launching divine ideas throughout the earth to fuel night and day prayer - for the Second Coming of Jesus. Where he “cuts his teeth” in writing will transfer to so many other mediums of communication - and he’ll always remember his day of small beginnings when a few hundred people applauded the beginnings of his journey from musician to messenger.
I am committed to serving him however I can on that journey. This is no small thing to me.
That was the reason I wanted to do this. Not to start a conversation about “blogging” for the sake of blogging, but as a pretext to encouraging the many young messengers in our midst who will sharpen their message and ideas here, amongst a community of godly men and women who enjoy encouraging them in the journey. I really want to urge you all who read these (especially the new ones that have emerged) - comment. Speak up in their blogs - give them feedback. Tell them what blessed your heart, and what made sense to you.
You just may be contributing to the formation of a messenger who will someday emerge as a surprising vehicle of divine ideas that will fuel a prayer revolution that changes the earth.
So, here we are - your top five “people who should be blogging”:
(…if you cheated and skipped ahead to this part, I urge you to go back to the top and read through the whole post)
Also, Matt Hartke just missed this list - but I added him to my links. I added him under “sites I like” rather than “blogs I read” because right now his writing is in another league than mine or anyone else. I hope he can keep it up - what he is doing is just outstanding and a huge help to any theology zealots (like me) out there. He really isn’t blogging - he is posting a manifesto, a prophetic bomb blast to the reformed community. I love it. Others that just missed this list incuded Katty Spink, Derek Loux, Stephen Venable, and Danny Hibberd. There were a few “C3’s” that received quite a few votes as well, including Jen Roberts and Shelly Hundley - both of whom I may just try to talk into jumping in the water with the rest of us.
In terms of our top nominees, as you know, I have three to go in my little quest. My wife, surpisingly to me, has expressed great interest in starting her own blog. She would need a computer, of course, so it may be a while. But she is interested - the thing that touched her heart was being able to share her heart as a means of connecting our families back home with what we are doing. I love that.
Josh…well, he can be a bit set in his ways. But if he doesn’t find some vehicle to communicate what he has been cultivating within that gigantic heart sometime soon, he may have to repent. It really is borderline sinful that he isn’t getting his ideas and thoughts out there…and I am hoping he is reading my little guilt trip right now.
So, that leaves Gary Cooper.
I have no idea how I am going to pull that one off.
January 20th, 2007
Islamic Organizations are upset about the current season of 24 (are you surprised?):
Their outrage is recorded here. They are unhappy and worried that their faith will be portrayed innacurately, leading the unenlightened to conclude that adherance to the Islamic faith could lead to violence and acts of terror. This conclusion could then, lead many to believe erroneously that the verses in the Koran actually encourage these actions. There is, of course, absolutely no connection to Islam, the Koran, and radical Islam - and any conclusion to they contrary is clearly bigoted and narrow minded.
Actual quote from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): “The program’s repeated association of acts of terrorism with Islam will only serve to increase anti-Muslim prejudice in our society,” according to their official statement. The statement went on to add that any association of Celine Dion with Canada will subsequently rend the fabric of US-Canadian relations as we know it. They also rallied vehemently for citizens of the U.S. to dissasociate “clouds” from the concept of “thunderstorms”, as the connection between the two has brought a marked increase of anti-cumulous activism in major U.S. cities of late.
In a related story, U.S. Presidents are upset about last season’s storyline, according to published reports. In another related note, oil barons have officially declared their outrage over the conclusion of Season 2. Columbian drug lords could not be reached for comment.
January 19th, 2007
I’m going to do a couple of posts today, because this afternoon I want to continue the conversation on radical Islam that begun in response to my atheism post earlier this week.
Before I get to that, however, I thought it would be helpful to post this for my beloved friends in Fort Mill who represent the various organizations that are building the prayer movement in that part of the country. They are both dear to my heart and they blog, regularly. As such, they may or may not be aware that those blogs are being scrutinized, and so I wanted to call that to all of our attention. This is, after all, a world wide web, and as such we can’t be thrown off by an empty comments section. Most who read these will not take the time to comment, but because we are all representing a global prayer movement that will only increase in profile in the days to come via television and other media, we will increasingly find ourselves scrutinized closely - maybe a bit to close for comfort.
Here’s an example, from a well-known blog that is becoming a safe haven for those who want to rant against the prophetic movement (which actually is becoming a very different stream than the prayer movement for different reasons, that I’ll gingerly examine another day - but we still get caught at times in the cross-fire):
Let me share a little with you. I live in a brand new neighborhood in Fort Mill, SC. I live about 200 yards from the old, well-known PTL (Jim and Tammy Faye’s glorious haven) which is now owned by Morningstar Ministries. Which is run by … you guessed it, the infamous Rick Joyner! But wait, the best parts are still to come. You’ll never guess this one. Kirk and Dee Bennett live on my street. He is now the director of ZHOP (Zadok House of Prayer). Now between ZHOP, Morningstar and TheCauseUSA (and they are ALL connected!)… about 1/3 of our neighorhood was bought up or rented out to them (mind you, only 2 streets are completed in this new subdivision). Most of these 3500sq ft. homes are shared by missionaries and interns belonging to Kirk Bennett!
We just got to witness a weekend long conference involving many of Rick and Kirk’s followers. They hoarded my residential street and this presented a problem when my children wanted to go outside to play! Among other things!
The main event was Mike Bickle here to speak and I know that Bob Jones is somehow associated with this whole thing.
I know what you are thinking… what a wonderful group, it’s so nice to see Bickle, Joyner, Jones and Bennett working together and prophecizing (if that’s how it’s spelled) to our youth. They target 18-24 yr. olds. But rest assured that you will remain safe when the end comes, for Rick Joyner is training our youth to fight the spiritual forces in a civil war of Church. I enjoy seeing a group of 30-40 youth running up the streets at 6:30am as I’m sitting at my son’s bus stop. As long as it’s for a good cause! Never know when you’ll have to use a full-nelson on a demon.
The ZHOP staff who live here do not work… Oh wait, they pray 24/7, that is their mission. But it doesn’t pay for these beautiful residential homes! They’ve been stripped of money and belongings to enter this life of prayer, but now have things given to them by …. hmmm, I honestly don’t know who gives them this stuff but I do know that they have laptops (they need something to keep them occupied when in the prayer room on their 6 hour shift!) Do a google blog search.. just type in ZHOP and many of them tell their own story, heck you can even click right to their very own paypal accounts to give them money and help keep them in my neighborhood! They only occupy about 20 homes on this street, what’s a few more!
Although they just got a fresh new batch of youth for internships who pay almost $5000 in tuition. Sooooo, 18-20 new interns… on my street… at $5K a pop… Wow, Kirk and Dee must be sitting pretty with that income! But hey, you don’t have to believe me… check out their blogs and zhop.org . Oh and if you visit morningstarministries.com and donate $100,000, you will become a ‘LIFETIME’ member there! Sound familiar??
There is a wonderful blog done by a neighbor here, he goes by FatMan…. check it out. His blog will show up in the google blog search for ZHOP.
She went by the name “ticked off in ft. mill”, and obviously had lots to say. She continued immediately after:
Sorry if my last post was a little ‘choppy’… I’m pretty upset that my husband and I purchased this home to raise our 3 children in and suddenly to our surprise we are surrounded by cult-like groups. And I only use the term cult because of the leaders of these children! To teach our youth of today that you don’t need a job to live in a 3500sq ft home is absurd. I’ve never been to a prayer house or meeting of theirs so I can’t talk about what goes on behind closed doors there. I can only talk about what I see and read as a concerned mother. We worked hard to be able to move our kids into a neighborhood with what we thought would be filled with other families. Not with group homes for intercessory missionaries that have barely made it through puberty. Do the men who lead these youth have control issues? Help me understand what drives them (kirk bennett, rick joyner, etc…) into a life of deceiving our youth into living as vagrants and never knowing what ’stability’ means in life.
It really does hurt me to read their blogs and know that they are struggling daily to make their rent here.
As much as I want this group out of our neighborhood, I want these young adults to be saved. And not by kirk or rick or whichever prophet is on duty that day! Don’t they deserve to be taught the real word of the Lord? We used to see them at the coffee shop down the street writing down random verses from the Bible, but never really bothering to understand that one verse doesn’t sum up how you should live. It’s a book, why not read it all and live by the Bible as a whole? Why pull out one line verses and then using those words literally? I could probably go on all night, but I’ve already lost enough sleep over this whole situation. I guess what I fear most is that as my children grow older and if these groups are still this close to us, how do I make sure that they don’t get tangled in the Kirk Bennett web?? We are a Christian family, but children are easily intimidated and persuaded… that’s why the youth are targeted by these men.
I’m sorry if I’m rambling now. If anything came from my posts, it was definitely the fact that I got most of it out and maybe tonight I can sleep peacefully without nightmares about ZHOP!
Thanks for listening:)
After a few back and forths with someone named “Fred” who stands up for ZHOP, and some encouragement from others, she responds. I’ll just throw in the part that I identify with, as those who are familiar with IHOP-KC’s situation with Terrace Lakes can readily sympathize with this:
Thanks for the warm reply. You must be in the Moravian Falls area?? I had noticed before that they were advertising property up there. Our neighborhood is bombarded with ZHOP, TheCause and Morningstar members. Our HOA is now investigating the purpose of these homes that were purchased by certain investors. I had found ZHOP’s “tuition” page for internship fees which include rent, 13 meals, classes etc… and when you read on it tells of the dorm-style housing available with families already living there that are on staff. Hmmm… sounds a bit like my street. It’s amazing to see how they can by up 15 or more lots in a new neighborhood on just ONE street! -which happens to back right up to Morningstar.
One last excerpt:
They had a huge conference this past weekend with Mike Bickle as speaker and our streets were swamped with parked cars. To the point of our children not being able to ride bikes in front of our homes. We had to stand there to make sure they stayed in the driveways. The ministries were congregating in front yards and acting like they owned this street, it’s their ‘base’- as they call it.
Maybe I’m “ranting” once more, but the whole situation infuriates me and to think that the director of ZHOP is making $5000 per intern and getting 18 or so interns per session while these interns are stripped of their possesions… I don’t even know what to say to that. It’s just plain wrong! It’s fishy and that is not how it should be done. Not at all.
One neighbor spoke to a girl and told her that many of the residents are comparing them to a cult. This staff member laughed and said that they have heard that plenty of times before. Okay… why don’t they question their purpose if they are hearing that they are cult-like? I just don’t get it and that leads me to think that the manipulation being used by these adults is very dangerous to anyone in their path.
We could, of course, easily and quickly dismiss “Ticked Off” as someone who clearly had heart issues long before ZHOP ever rolled into town. We could dismiss her as fearful. we coiuld note that she is beginning to feel isolated and surrounded. She is mostly (in her own words) concerned for her kids, which doesn’t always lead to rational thinking. It may seem to us that she is going to think whatever she wants to think, and we could conclude that she would never bother finding facts that negated some of her conclusions.
We can’t, however, as an IHOP community, so quickly disregard someone like Ticked Off. We should never let her sensibilities dictate what we write nor should we suddenly surrender to the fear of man - we have to be who we are. Still, we are called by Jesus to be both gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent. Thus we should never let our sensibilities blind us to the areas in which we need to come up higher. These are the kinds of situations where wisdom means a bit of self-awareness and care in regards to the things that we are writing. They are being read. And those who are reading them can and will use these words against us in a court of public opinion. It’s why Mike, now that he has been around the block, is so careful to qualify and choose his words carefully when he is speaking publically.
If I am going to be indicted for my words, I want to go down knowing that I meant every word I spoke and chose them with care. In these kinds of forums we have a greater responsibility than simply enjoying our freedom to be extemporaneous in the enjoyment of our liberty. We are modeling something for those who aspire to be a part of the prayer movement in some way, and we are representing something for all who would cast a glance in our direction - even if it is a hostile glance.
What does it mean to live out life in a prayer movement? What values are we expressing in our lifestyles, autobiographically displayed for all to weigh? What does the fasted lifestyle look like? What does the living embodiment of the messages our leaders preach play out 24/7? Most importantly, are we taking care not to give our critics the ammunition they need to turn away the sincere seekers of authentic expressions of Christianity in the west?
Hear me in this: I am not critiquing the content of anyone’s blog posts. I don’t read them closely enough, and it is not my place to dictate what should and should not be written. My desire is only to call us to sobriety and care in the manner in which one of us is representing all of us - for better or for worse. We are in this together - and I am proud of that fact, not burdened by it. Yet I am also mindful of both the cost and burden bourne by such a reality, and want to give us all food for thought in that regard.
And in doing so, I am trembling in the hopes that Ticked Off doesn’t read this blog, and subsequently misinterpret the heart with which it is written.
January 19th, 2007