Monday, February 28, 2011

Evidently God Has Wings

Recently, Psalm 91 has been really ministering to me.  Understanding context adds texture to a psalm....I want you to see David nestled in his canvas tent, one inch away from the ark of the covenant, right next to God Himself, seated under the shadow of the wings of the cherubim.  Watch him pull out his pen and write these words:  "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1).

Here is what jazzes me about this Psalm: You've got to be close to something in order to be under its shadow!  Did you hear that?  David was very close to God.  Consider some of the other words he wrote: 

"I will dwell in your tabernacle all the days of my life, and I will trust in the covering of Your wings." Ps. 61:4

"In the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge." Ps. 57:1   

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings." Ps.17:8

"Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings will I rejoice."  Ps. 63:7

I just LOVE THIS stuff.  I'm not sure I really get this but I know I want some of it.  I want to crawl right up under the wings of God and find rest my rest there. 

The other day, in CPx session, they asked us to get away and pick any Psalm and rewrite it in your own words.  I chose Psalm 91.  Here it is.  The NIV (Noah Inspired Version)

If we come under God's lead and covering, he will take magnificent care of us.  We will say to God; You are my everything, I can trust no one and nothing like I trust you.  Then, God will protect us in a complete way....we will avoid traps, sickness, fear, destruction, evil, enemies and even things that are just annoying- like a fly.  Just let him lift up his arms and you step right in and be held by feels so perfect. When he is holding you no one and no thing can get to you.  Oh, by the way, under God's power you will even be able to step on lions and snakes like they are nothing.  The reward for coming under and into God also includes this: He will get you out of trouble, he will Honor you, you will live a long time and you will be SAVED- from what-- from hell on earth & eternally!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One year ago today...

One year ago today...we were intensely desperate to hear God's voice for our future as a family. I felt like a terrible Husband with no idea how I would lead my family. All I knew is, like Abraham, we had to go!
One year ago today...I met with my mentor, Glenn Kauffman at 8am for what would be a God-ordained and prophetic conversation. In it, he (as my friend, Bishop and the GM Director of EMM) asked if it may be the Lord's will that we join into a church planting movement called All Nations.

One year ago today....we heard the Lord (through Glenn) speak the words "South Africa" into our future.
One year ago today...I picked up Tricia, took her to Olive Garden for lunch and said..."how about we follow God to Africa?" I thought she would throw a breadstick at me.

One year ago today...she said yes! And we have not looked back yet.

One year ago today, we went to bed knowing that we would be in South Africa tonight! And we are. And it is right where God wants us to be.

PLEASE Pray for Kremer Family!!

I am asking every Christian that reads this to join in prayer now for this situation...

Ebel and Lora Kremer are Dutch Missionaries in Kenya and also very dear friends of Aram and Debbie DiGennaro (our friends and fellow EMM Missionaries to Kenya). Ebel was just shot and killed in front of his wife and 2 kids and Lora was assaulted. I believe that they are now with the DiGennaros in Nairobi (or were). 

Our hearts are so broken this morning for the Kremer Family. Pray also for the DiGennaros during this intense moment of ministry to a devastated family. 

Trusting Jesus...

Friday, February 25, 2011

One year ago today...

It is hard to believe this, but one year ago today....We had NO idea that South Africa (or any International Living for that matter) was in our future.  


One year ago today...We were seeking God harder than I think we ever have about our future because we knew 100% that the Lord has released us from CCF and was calling us into something new.  


One year ago today....I contacted several people and asked them to be praying for a very important meeting that I would have the next morning.  


One year ago today....our hearts were wide open to what the Lord would say tomorrow...


And I will tell you more tomorrow...



A Tax Return for the Kingdom

It is the wonderful tax time back in America where some of my dear friends and family are freaking out that they owe money while others are dancing over their good refund. Last week, I got a note from someone that we paying their full years's missions support for us out of their tax refund.  And it got me thinking. What a great idea.  


We want to make you aware that our family has still not raised our full budget.  We are about $25,000 short and if we do not raise it, we will be coming home earlier then we feel we are supposed to.  


So, my question to you is simple: If you are getting a tax refund, might you consider clicking HERE and sharing some of it with our cause for missions? 


Thank you for considering us in your giving to the Lord. And if not us, than give to your home church or another Kingdom cause!  I think it is pretty cool to use some of your tax refund for the Kingdom.  We plan to do the same!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stop asking God to do your job!

Here is something that the Lord has been showing me over and over again in different ways...and I feel I am to share it with you.  
Stop asking/expecting God to do your job!

We do it all the time.  

We say: God, would you help Sally with blah, blah, blah?  
God says: YOU help Sally with blah, blah, blah. I did not place you in her life to pass that job off to me.
(Mark 10:45- "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.")

We say: God, would you reach out and touch our town?
God says: No, I sent YOU!  Hello?! YOU reach out and touch your town. It is one of the most urgent things I asked YOU to do.  
(Matthew 28:19- "And therefore, GO....")

We say: God, would you heal Bill?
God says: YOU heal Bill. I left YOU the power and tools to do, do it!  
(Luke 9:1- “Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.”)

We say: God, will you speak a word to Mary?
God says: No, YOU are me.  YOU speak a word to Mary.

We say: God, would you provide for the need that my Mom has?
God says: How rude.  That is your Mom for crying out loud.  YOU provide for the need.  She gave you life.
(Acts 2: 45- "They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.")

Look...the same sprit that dwells in Jesus dwells in you (Romans 8:11).  Believing this or not makes all the difference in how we live out our faith.  Remember, God is not "up there" he is right here!  And He wants to us you for Greater things (John 14:12).

Note: I DO know and believe that it is ultimately God doing things through us, but I think we need a good dose of understanding how he wants to use us.  We ARE Him!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Prophecy; A New View

A change happened inside of me today and I want to tell you about it. For reasons I cannot really put into words, prophecy always kinda scared me, put me off and made me feel unqualified. Due to observing abuse and personal lack of knowledge, I was sure that I was not a Prophet and was just fine avoiding it.

Well, I'm changed. A solid day of Biblical teaching and meeting with God offered me a new set of eyes for this spiritual gift. I now know what Prophecy is and what the Bible teaches about it.

Prophecy is encouragement. Period. I Corinthians 14:3 says this: "The one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort." As a result of this discovery, I learned that I have operated in the Prophetic hundreds of times and never even new it. I just would have never called it that. Now that I know, I can increase in it and see it move to new levels in my life so that more people can be edified.
Watch this...

Here is what I thought prophecy was:
1. Prophecy is only for Prophets to speak.
2. A word of prophecy will often call people out in their sin (hence, causing embarrassment and discouragement). 3. Prophecy is a word or insight only for the future.
4. Prophecy is scary.
5. Most people that speak prophetic words are either whack jobs or way more spiritual than me.
(Note: None of this is actually Biblical-- it is just what I thought even after years of running in Pentecostal circles.)

Here is what the Bible actually teaches:
1. Prophecy is for all Christ Followers to engage in.
2. Prophecy is encouragement from the Lord. It is speaking up about what the Lord is saying.
3. Prophecy is to encourage and edify, not to embarrass or discourage. The Bible offers specific instruction on how to correct or rebuke, and it does not belong in a prophetic word. Example: In a service, some "prophet" says "Sir, in the blue shirt! The Lord is saying that you are in a immoral relationship!" This is NOT prophecy. This is condemnation, judgement and not of God. 4. Prophecy should be exciting and uplifting, not feared.
5. If normal believers would adopt a proper understanding of prophecy, they would do it much more frequently. You do not need to be a whack job or super spiritual to prophecy.

Today, during CPx, we actually broke into groups of 4 and practiced "spontaneous prophecy". I know it sounds wild, and it was. But, basically, we were told to finish the following sentence for each person in our group: "John, when I look at you I see........" That's it. And 40 people did it. And the room was full of the presence of God and encouraged and uplifted people. It was amazing. That is prophecy. And I did not know that until today.
Another was of looking at it is this: Prophecy is basically the human report of a divine revelation meant to encourage. It is also a reporting on something that the Lord had spontaneously brought to mind to build another up.
Caution: Never insert your questions or concerns about someone into a prophetic word. Ask the stinking question and get the answer. This may be about sickness or sin. Also, beware of people that separate themselves from the local church to run a "prophecy ministry"! The Bible says that Prophecy and the church are connected! Prophecy is for edifying the church, not some side ministry.
Also, take some time to study 1 Corinthians 14 thoroughly to learn for yourself. I will be too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

From Eternity to Here

Over the last week, I read the book "From Eternity to Here" by Frank Viola. Let me start by saying that I think this is by far the best book Viola has penned (yet). If you have only read Pagan Christianity or Re-imagining Church, you are missing a LOT of his heart. In this brilliant book he beautifully and biblically describes:
1. The Bride of Christ. (my favorite part by far)
2. The House of God.
3. The Body of Christ & the Family of God.
The first section about the Bride of Christ had me breaking down in tears and overwhelmed by the Spirit of God as I thought about how much Jesus is in love with me. I wish for you that you could read this one day. I do not think that I will ever think of the "bride of Christ" the same again. And I see the love that Jesus has for me in a far brighter light than I had before. In addition to part one of the book (which I will blog more of later), I thought the Afterword was extremely powerful. In fact, here is the link to it verbatim: Take the time to read it. You will be so glad you did.
High impact read for me. My heart seems to be more tied up with Jesus than before. His love for me is no fairy tale. It is the real deal!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Huge Progress

I just wanted to offer a quick update for those of you that read my post from earlier today.
We went into Masi to be church, to bring church. The result: our church was able to meet many seekers. We made new and returned connections with multiple people. And we scheduled FOUR Discovery Bible Studies for this week!! We are thrilled about this progress. And this all happened in 2 hours (after much prayer of course).
This is whack. Makes me wonder what would have happened if we tried this back in the USA?
Learning lots already...hard to put it all into words.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Photo Shoot with Davis

Davis and I are pretty tight. I am really, really pleased with the relationship that I share with my son. It is exceeding the expectations I had of being a Dad. This evening, I got him all pumped up for some "you and me time" (as he calls it). We took a drive up into the mountains for a photo shoot. Just wanted to try to capture some shots of the Lord's magnificent creation here in Cape Town. We had a great time. He actually took some of the pics tonight. Then, we came home and he helped me edit them. It was too cool.
Here are some of the pics. I do not have a great camera, but you get the point.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I know that for some of you, this will be hard to understand, but this week, we were broken up into churches. Yes, after months of not having a regular "church", we do now! Our church is made up of eight adults and four kids. They are great people from three continents and five countries. Today, our church went on mission together for the first time. Our main goal: to practice Luke 10 and Matthew 28 and just going into places that the Lord is calling us. The township that we will be ministering in throughout the next several months is called Masiphumelele (You will hear us call it Masi for short). Many stories will be flowing out of our time in Masi. Cannot wait to share them. Today, the Lord already started opening up doors. There are several people that I look forward to following up with again tomorrow. Have your way, Lord.

Pics below are of our church (missing a few people, including Tricia and Davis) and a few other shots around Masi.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ee-Taow (The Truth)

Watched this video today and was moved deeply. Tricia and I just wept and prayed. I encourage you to take the time to watch it. Please read this sentence: there are billions of people without Jesus!! God needs us on mission---sending and going!

EE-Taow (The Truth)

Watched this video today and was moved deeply. I encourage you to watch it. Please read this sentence: there are billions of people without Jesus!! God needs us on mission---sending and going!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Organic Church

Only 12 books made it with me to South Africa. Some that are my faves. Others that I had not read yet, but wanted to. Over the last three days, I read "Organic Church" by Neil Cole. Been throwing some tweets out from it over the last few days, but I thought I would offer a brief review. Overall, great book. Frankly, I liked the first half more than the second half. Seemed to summarize the essence well in the beginning. Then, told stories at the end. Here are a few highlights for me:

Most warm blooded things living things grow to a point and then reproduce. And church is no different. Organic churches are grass roots churches that begin with a few people where Jesus is at work and then multiply themselves as they make disciples. They lead together and are not afraid to empower new followers of Jesus.

I appreciated the way that the author never proclaimed a certain size, style or model of church to be the best. He simply laid out several principles that he thinks needs to be present in Biblical church.

The driving idea here is the we bring Jesus to lost people...instead of what we are so accustomed to....bringing lost people to Jesus.
An organic or simple church, more than any other, is best prepared to saturate a region because it is informal, relational and mobile. The focus of Organic church is to reproduce healthy disciples, leaders, churches and movements to fill the earth with God's Kingdom.
That is a very basic summary. There are several other poignant concepts that emerged for me in addition to this. I will post those soon in dedicated blogs. PS- If you like movies, you will like this book. The guy uses loads of movie examples to make his points.

Monday, February 14, 2011

At Peace

At peace tonight...

It's one thing to THINK you hear God and to move out in faith. It is quite another to KNOW that you have heard Him. Up until January 14th (the day we landed here), we were sure that we had heard God and that he called us here to South Africa. But anytime you do something scary like this, something that is destined to fail without God, you always have some fear that you may have missed God.
Since arriving, it has been confirmed over and over that this was indeed God's intention for us. We are sure that we are sure that we are right where God wants us to be. We see proof of it all around us. I just wanted to let you know in case you wondered. And more importantly, I want to give God the praise for being a God that still speaks!! Tricia and I encourage you to follow the Lords leading in your life, however crazy it may seem.

At peace,


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mind Your Business

I have lost track of how many times I have heard someone say something to this nature:

"Mind your business!" or "Why are they all up in my business?" or "They jsut need to worry about themselves."

You have probably said something like this yourself a time or two. And while there are times that people certainly could afford to pay more attention to their lives, there is also another Christian reality that is tough to swallow. It is this:

If we are in Christ, your business IS my business. And my business IS your business. You are my brother or sister and I am your brother.
Romans 12:5 tells us that "We belong to each other."

I Corinthians 12:25 encourages us to "have equal concern for each other."

Ephesians 5:21 tells us to "submit to one another."

There are close to 50 "one anothers" in the New Testament. It is obvious to me that we ARE to be minding each others business!

Think about may not like it, but you may want to take a moment to ask the Lord what he thinks about the matter. Is your business really just your business?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My $100 Pillow

I know that someone is going to think that I've lost my mind to blog about a pillow, but seriously, if I can help even just one person out there with a bad back, it is well worth it!

I am not proud to say that for most of the last 5 years, I have slept about half of every night in a recliner (making traveling extra fun). I would wake up between 1am and 4am with back discomfort and the only solution was to not lay flat any longer. When there was no recliner, I would have to prop up on a couch. When we moved out of our home last year, we knew that this was going to be a problem. I could not take a recliner to South Africa. Something would have to be done.

If I had endless money, I would own one of those beds where one side can automatically raise up while the other stays flat. Not happening. Then, I had the vision of a pillow that would allow me to sleep...either at an angle...or with my legs propped up...anything to take the pressure off my back. Well, my wife is persistent. She searched and searched for something that would keep me in the bed with her. And she found it. At Brookstone. Here is the link to it: It is like a really, really firm memory foam that actually holds me up. I seem to flatten most other memory foams I have seen (and they wish not to "memory" me).
Below are some pictures of me and the pillow.

Let me just say this. It works!!! I sleep the first half of the night on my back with the pillow under my legs. I sleep the second half of the night with the pillow behind my back at about a 30 degree angle. And I wake up feeling like a million dollars. Ok, maybe a thousand dollars. ;-)

Price tag for the pillow: $99.95! Yup, you read that right. When Tricia came home with it back in November I almost flipped. Now, I think I would pay $500.00 for it. For real. HUGE endorsement for the Brookstone Bed Wedge Pillow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Caution Against "Investing"

I hope the title captured your attention. That was my hope. The other day, we were having breakfast with a new friend. His name is David Hain. David has spent years of his life ministering to inmates. He shared something that really captured my attention. In a nutshell, he said this:

Stop "investing" in people. The Bible never asks us to invest in people. An investment is when you pay something out expecting a return on what you gave. We do not give looking for a return. Instead, Scripture is chock full of mandates to spend our lives and to give our time, talent and treasure expecting nothing in return. Instead of investing, try loving. Instead of investing, try giving. Instead of investing, try spending. This line of thought really served to humble me as I have thought and prayed through it the last few days. Too often, I have looked at myself as an investor into people. I'm reminded that I'm not in charge of the increase or return. So, let me just plant and water and leave the rest to God.
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow." I Corinthians 3:6

Thursday, February 3, 2011

YWAM Reality Show

After almost a year of anticipation, we wondered what it would be like when we arrived in South Africa. Tricia had booked us in the same guest house we stayed at in September. When we arrived here at the Silver Palms Guest House on January 14, we were greeted in the lounge by a group of 11 young adults here in South Africa for an outreach phase. Basically, this place is an 18 bedroom house-ish place with one common living area and one common kitchen. The YWAM team and our family share the place (along with 5-10 other rotating guests any given night).
We were not sure how this whole thing would go, but we have had a blast and have had some really neat moments of connection with these guys and gals. It has kinda felt a little bit like a "missions reality show"! Seriously. It has been neat to watch them be tested as they live in tight quarters and Tricia and I have enjoyed ministering to them these weeks. We even cooked dinner for them the other night. You would have thought we gave them each a new car...these poor kids are eating rough.
Just this morning, I drove half of the team down to the shore for one of the girls to get baptized. It was so neat.

PS- We are really, really impressed with YWAM and the caliber of these young people. Go YWAM and a big shout out to the training base in Kona, Hawaii. You are doing a great job training people for mission. Their leaders are in the picture. They flew in yesterday for a pastoral visit. Great folks.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

God’s Purpose or Mine?

"He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side . . . " Mark 6:45

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see "Him walking on the sea" with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see "Him walking on the sea" ( Mark 6:49 ). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

(This is an excerpt from Oswald Chambers. It was sent to me by a friend, believing it was a word from the Lord for us. She was right! This has blessed us more than words can say and I hope it blesses you too!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wait for it

I'm sure you have heard the saying "good things come to those who wait". Well, I am finding that to be true. We are also learning that frugality requires patience and discretion. One of the things that has been the hardest for me in our living situation is that our room has no chair. I love to sit and read. In addition, my back is not appreciating all the sitting in the bed I have been doing. We have been looking and waiting patiently for the right price. Furniture is one of the things that is quite expensive here in South Africa (along with cars, electronics and ethnic foods). Well, today we found a second-hand shop and found this (old) chair with a mauve cushion (in honor of my late Nanny...her favorite color)! It is ugly, but comfy! We also found a little stool for our feet. We were so excited. If that was not enough, we also found a beach chair and an awesome solid wood bookshelf (which we knew would really make our room feel more like home).

So, check out our deals:
Chair- $9.70 US
Footstool- $1 US
Beach Chair- $3.30 US
Bookshelf- $15 US

This may not sound like a big deal to you, but for furniture in SA, we made out today!! Here is our "corner"-- the only furniture we own so far. ;-)
We are finding that our stewardship and frugality have stepped up a notch since landing here. We are stewards of many people's Kingdom Investment and we are taking it seriously. Not the same as collecting a salary and spending it as you wish. God is teaching us some cool stuff...and it is actually fun! We even go to various food stores when we shop to get the best deals on everything. It is all a part of discipleship. Life and scripture need to meet up...and they do in the small decisions we learn to make. If you need (or want) something, wait for it. You will know it when you see it. Or you may talk yourself out of it.