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Holy Spirit Love Ministry

The Dogs Wanted a Story

3 Dogs – Listening

It was about two months after my wife and longtime best friend unexpectedly and suddenly died. In the middle of the night, I heard my dogs stirring. They had all gotten up – I think I saw the last of their waking up and wandering around. They were walking around and making somewhat pathetic little whining sounds.

I wondered what was going on. The house was okay, no problems or break-ins. They all seemed healthy, had eaten, had water; none were acting like they had to go out.

I wondered what was going on.

They kept milling around, making these little whiney sounds. Which was unlike them. I had never seen or heard them do this, and they never all got up in the middle of the night like this.

I must have asked for help, because what I did next was highly unusual.

I told them some things, and a story. It went something like this.

First, I told them that my wife Britta was gone and they would not see her again on earth. In heaven, likely; but not on earth. Never again.

Second, I told them about something Britta had said to me one day. She asked, “When you get to heaven what is it you want to hear?”

I had never thought about that before. I replied, “Well…probably…well done, you good and faithful servant.” I felt like I had borrowed someone else’s idea, stolen it, actually. But it is the best I was able to come up with.

One or two beats later, I asked her – and the dogs were all standing still now – not milling around any more. Silent and staring at me. I asked her, “What do you want to hear?” I suspected she had really thought about this.

She replied, “All your previous pets are here, waiting for you; wondering where you’ve been all this time. And they are very eager to see you.”

Then I told the dogs about something else. About six people had come to me, telling me they had seen a vision. Of Britta looking down from the Cloud of Witnesses, with either one or two angels by her side. Saying that she was fine, everything was okay – even very good! And sending greetings.

One man, a Pastor of a good friend of mine, told me he’d seen two angels and the power from them was so strong it sent him stumbling backwards.

There was one interesting variation. One person saw Jesus next to my wife. Jesus gave her a puppy. (Something that made more sense if you knew what she first wanted to hear when getting to heaven.)

After I told them that, they each turned around, quietly, each one lay down. And quietly went to sleep.

Categories
Conversation with God Getting Help Ministry

Minister to Yours – Only?

Bible Clip Art: Jesus Walking on the Water Matthew 14:26-29

Ministry goes best, is easiest, and most powerful when we minister to those that God gives to us. Jesus did this. (He ministered to his own disciples a lot. Taught them and saved them. A valuable clue.)

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24; and there are other passages like this.

Woman at the Well, American Gallery

He did make rare exceptions. Such as when he ministered to the woman at the well. A Samaritan woman. He broke cultural and Jewish cultural expectations: he talked with a woman – and a Samaritan, with whom Jews seldom spoke with. Accepted water from her. And he’s previously said he came only for Israel. But she wanted his ministry and desired it strongly! Such was a worthy exception to the norm of ministering only to those who you are called to. It’s sort of a safety exception – allowing unusual ministry.

Minister to those you are called to. How do you know who these people are, what people group it is?

  • First, seek to remember what God has already shown you or told you that gives clues and hints.
  • Second, Ask! Ask God and pay attention to what you experience next; this could be an answer from God. Even if unexpected.
  • Third, if you still don’t know, ask God how to pray for guidance. He will show you an answer – keep praying for it until that answer is in good effect.
  • Forth, notice that you get along better with some people who draw the best out of you. They are actually gifted to receive from you and through you. You are gifted and called to minister to such people.
  • Fifth, avoid temptation: do not try to minister to others unless they want to receive through you strongly, like the Samaritan woman at the well.

If you allow yourself to be busy with those you are not called to, your energy, time and ministry will be siphoned away from those you should be ministering to. You will be tired. You will be much less effective in your ministry. You will be ministering to those whom God never called you to, and disobeying the call God has on your ministry. Avoid such temptations; you will be exhausted and distracted, vulnerable and hurt. And with poor results. Best is to always do as God shows you and tells you to do.

Categories
Conversation with God Hearing God Holy Spirit Journal Ministry Prayer

Trouble Praying?

Photo by Sam Rios, through Unsplash

Does your mind wander? Do you have trouble keeping your attention on your prayer session? Do you get bored or not know what to say and do?

Is what you do or learned to do feel like an obligation that you are not keeping as well as you like?

When you have an honest and sincere two way conversation with God, prayer is empowering and exciting. Jesus surprises and delights; does not condemn. Accepts you and loves you as you are. Jesus equips you with whatever he calls you to do. It is never boring. Your mind will not wander. There is no sense of obligation. It’s natural. It’s supernatural. It’s as easy as a two way conversational prayer with our loving Lord.

How? First, by giving up any obligation or ideas about how you should pray. A good way to do this is to simply ask for – and receive by faith – more of Holy Spirit. Or simply deeply intend, right now, to put righteousness and the Kingdom of God first. Second, by conversing with God, having a two way conversation with our Lord.

Whether wondering how to minister, how to engage in spiritual warfare, or to experience more of the Presence of God, how to lead, even how to follow leadership, how to intercede for others…whatever you seek to pray for, there is a solution that is powerful, effective, simple and easy. If it’s new to you, the initial learning curve is not that long.

Here are valuable resources for knowing about how to hear God better, and how to have an effective two-way conversation with our Lord. Crucial key – alternating rhythms of talking, then listening. Write both down – short term memory, no matter how vivid and strong, can evaporate rapidly.

These approaches are so good that you will do well to learn them.

When you have an honest and sincere two way conversation with God, prayer is empowering and exciting. Jesus surprises and delights; does not condemn. Accepts you and loves you as you are. Jesus equips you with whatever he calls you to do. It is never boring. Your mind will not wander. There is no sense of obligation. It’s natural. It’s supernatural. It’s as easy as a two way conversational prayer with our loving Lord.

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Stop, Look, Listen, & Write

P.S. From Mark Virkler, above, he gives us these Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice:

Very simply stated, the four keys to hearing God’s voice are:

Stillness: Quiet yourself so you can hear God’s voice.

Vision: Look for vision as you pray.

Spontaneity: Recognize God’s voice as spontaneous thoughts that light upon your mind.

Journaling: Write down the flow of thoughts and pictures that light upon your mind.

Virkler, Mark. 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice (Kindle Locations 172-175). Destiny Image. Kindle Edition.

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P.P.S. From the Immanuel Approach above, we have these notes:

Immanuel Approach Pointers – from video notes, he repeats these in each video at the beginning.

-1.  Immanuel truth: God is always with us, god is always glad to be with us, and God always wants to connect with us.

-2. Relational circuits: We have circuits in our brains that serve as the neurological hardware for running relationships.  And we can connect with each other and with God much more easily when these relational circuits are online and strongly active. 

-3.  Positive memories and appreciation: We can predictably, reliably, and consistently get these relational circuits online and strongly active by recalling and connecting with positive memories and then deliberately generating, or stirring up, strong appreciation. 

-4.  Interactive connection with God: We can establish a living, interactive connection with God by inviting God’s presence into the positive memory, asking God to help us perceive His presence, and then noticing whatever comes into our awareness.

-5.  The special value of God-connection positive memories: 

-Our relationships are memory-mapped – our relationships are carried in our memories.

-Reconnecting with memory recreates, at least to some extent, the same mind-brain conditions that were present at the original experience.

-Using positive memories that include an experience of God’s presence takes advantage of these two pieced of brain science. 

-6 Our brains are designed to work best in community: 

-Describing out internal mental content, out loud to another person, helps us to feel it’s importance and to recognize it’s meaning. 

-Including this piece in our Immanuel prayer will enable us to perceive subtle manifestations of the Lord’s presence that we might otherwise miss, and enable us to recognize and receive subtle interactive content from the Lord that we might otherwise miss. 

-7.  Immanuel Approach safety nets: At the beginning of the session we set up a positive-memory, appreciation, connection-with-God “home base” and then we can coach the recipient to go back to this home base if we get into trouble at any point later in the session, or if we run out of time at the end of the session and the recipient is still connected to unresolved traumatic content. 

-8. Splinter-free memories: It is really important to use splinter free positive memories for the safety net.

From Videos in the Resource Page at: https://www.immanuelapproach.com/

Categories
Conversation with God Freedom Healing Joy Ministry Worship

What Does it Mean?

What does it mean when someone has been healed or set free and you see them light up? Is it just gladness for their improvement? Gladness, yes. Being lit up? Might it mean more?

What does it mean when they have Holy Spirit? In biblical terms, in the Greek, they have experienced sozo. Which can mean that they have been healed, set free, even saved. Does that mean all of these or only one of these things? I wonder….

Maybe they just have Holy Spirit on them, helping them heal or be set free. Could be. Like the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, they have Holy Spirit on them just for a bit? Or in them? I wonder…and I do not know, yet.

So I will watch. If after being set free and being healed, they stay lit up with Holy Spirit evident in their lives over a period of time, there is a greater chance that they have Holy Spirit in them and not just on them for a brief time. Meaning it is more likely that they have been saved. I wonder, as I watch for such things, what will I discover and see before me that is obvious? I do not know, and I wonder.

I do know this for a certainty. God is more merciful than we are. God loves more and better than we do. And I do know this: God’s theology is wider, more inclusive and more generous than the theology of we human beings.

And so, I wonder. I will ask our Lord. I will listen. And I will watch people who have received ministry with wonderful success. I will see Fruit of Holy Spirit, or not. I will see obvious evidence of Holy Spirit in them, or not.

And I do not know what will become obvious.

Even if it’s only some ministered to who have such evidence of Holy Spirit, and not all or even most, I will rejoice.

And if I cannot identify any with certainty and confidence that they have Holy Spirit…what will I do? I will rejoice!

For our Lord has saved many of us. Has ministered to many of us. And Jesus is still Immanuel, God with us. And he is coming! Hallelujah!

Categories
Holy Spirit Kingdom of God Ministry

Minister Before You Minister

https://www.findshepherd.com/Jesus-begins-his-ministry.html

Jesus would create a context where ministry could take place, and he often did this first. Before he did what people recognized as his official acts of ministering to the needs of particular people.

For instance, he would preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God and often instructed us to do this and then heal the sick and free the bound.

He would ask questions such as, “Do you want to be healed?

He would clear a room, maybe even a house, of people without faith for raising the dead – before raising the dead.

He would tell stories, parables. He would teach.

As a coach, teacher, leader, father, husband – in many roles and ways, I have noticed that the context seems to limit and control what can happen. If what is happening is not sufficiently good, re-create the context.

He created a context for ministry, with Holy Spirit, and you can, too.

Categories
Conversation with God Discipleship Hearing God Holy Spirit Joy Learning Ministry Miracles

Rest and Dream

Rest and dream. Be inspired. Like Jesus.

Artwork by Greg Olson

Pause. Just rest and watch the sky.

Categories
Discipleship Getting Help Leadership Learning Ministry Prayer

Discipling like Jesus

Jesus had a pattern for making disciples. We can see some of it in Scriptures, and we can make educated guesses to fill in some details. How he taught was common to Hebrew teachers, rabbi’s, in those days.

I’ve spoken with seasoned disciple makers and missionaries who’ve done this, and they helped me get an even better practical picture.

First, as with everything, get guidance. Then pray. Pray with clear prayer targets – such as successful disciple making of disciples who make yet more disciples.

The basic pattern is simple: show, tell, and do. Probably even explain, show, discuss. Repeat until they are ready to do.

When you care, being a disciple is easy. (Good Friday by Anita Brown.)

The pattern is not classroom instruction, reading about or learning about things. It’s being shown, discussion before and after. It’s learning to do what you do. With an explanation. It is not learning about things. Theory isn’t nearly enough.

It might have worked something along these lines:

  • First, discuss what you will do, what they will see, especially so they know what to look for, what is significant.
  • Demonstrate in front of them, so they can see.
  • Third, discuss how it went. How it was as you’d hoped and expected, things that were different. Issues and complications, if any; and especially how it went well.
  • Let them ask questions as part of this discussion. Answer.
  • Maybe show them several times. Is often a good idea, especially with something new.
  • Send them out to go do as you did.
  • Have them report back to you. Let them ask questions. Make comments so they learn even more. (If they rejoice that even demons do as they command, give them the perspective that yes, this is good, and that it is even more important that their names are written in heaven – for instance.)
  • Send them out again.
  • Repeat this cycle until all are satisfied that good learning has taken place.

Disciple making is demonstration with explanation. Then they demonstrate, and ask questions, and you give additional perspective as is useful.

Disciple making is not a classroom activity. It is not talking about things. It’s being shown and then doing as shown. With explanations as is useful.

Additional notes:

  • Train disciples in how to make disciples. They will demonstrate. Disciples multiply by themselves, making disciples.
  • Disciples normally go out and minister in pairs. Ministry is normally in pairs. Always minister in pairs when you can. The more senior is making a disciple of the less experienced person. The less senior person assists and helps the more senior. This gives them something useful to do and provides practical help.
  • When ministering, when one talks, the other prays for the one ministering. Results are much better this way.
  • Grab someone out of a crowd who is watching, if you have no one else. Let them assist you and pray for you while you minister. Help them learn and discuss what happened. Not just ministering, always teaching.
  • A prayer support group is even more helpful. Set one up. If nothing else, find local people who are sympathetic and ask for their prayer support.
  • Prayer support is primarily for the minister, so they are more inspired and do well. They will do better. The people praying will pay more attention as they are invested, and they will learn more. Prayer is not primarily for the person being ministered to, as tempting as this may be. It could be helpful, but not nearly as helpful as praying for the person ministering.

Go, and make disciples. Make mistakes. Admit them and discuss them, so everyone can learn from them: we learn a lot through mistakes. Share the learning, and do not hold back such a wonderful opportunity. And of course celebrate what goes well!

This is the pattern that Jesus used. Go, and do the same.

And, there is a next step….

Categories
Key Article Ministry

Ministering as Jesus Taught

Share the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

In that context, in that situation and with the atmosphere created, heal the sick and free prisoners (do exorcisms).

So simple, but done by too few people these days.

Yet this is the normal pattern of Ministry that Jesus teaches us to start with.

Compassion is key; Jesus modeled compassion for us frequently. Go review how often he did this in the bible, you can use a search engine like Google to do this, which is effective and free.

You have been given power and authority. Use these in ministry. Speak to sickness and tell it what to do, laying hands on someone when you can – to help them connect your faith with the Anointing. To be whole and healed. Speak to unclean spirits and tell them what to do: leave, and not return.

Those who are willing to learn and act on what they are learning – to do what they are learning about – can become disciples, people who learn and act on and do what they have been learning about.

These disciples can gather together, love one another, pray for each other, eat and worship together. Pray for the surrounding community. Minister to nearby people. Healing the sick, freeing the bound. Gathered disciples who meet together become new centers of ministry and love. Who purposely change the culture around them so that the Kingdom of God expands, more people become Christians. Who in turn love and minister to yet others, continuing the cycle of Jesus loving others and ministering to others through you and the people who learn through you and do the same.

Categories
Ministry Miracles Prayer Presence of God Worship

Worship & Prayer

aaron-burden-lPCu8HnGU2E-unsplash

So…prayer is conversation, two-way conversation, with God.

What is worship?

I remember someone telling me that worship is giving highest worth. Highest Worth-ship. So putting the Kingdom of God first is very close to, related to, or maybe sometimes even the same as worship.

This seems to be correct, as I easily found this:

“The most commonly cited definition of the word “worship” is based on the etymology of the English word: “Worship” is derived from the Old English word “woerthship.” So, when we worship God, we are proclaiming (or giving him back) his worth.”

https://thinkingworship.com/2011/04/25/worship-theology-101-whats-in-a-word/

“So, when we worship God, we are proclaiming (or giving him back) his worth.” Wow.

And the experience of worship helps us experience our relationship with God more intimately and closely.

Worship is actually very simple. Powerful. Good for us. Has wonderful side effects, including:

Prayer – two way conversation with God is easier and more powerful.

As we gaze upon Him, it gradually transforms us into becoming more like him.

Healing and other ministry is easier in such a context.

Miracles come more easily in such an atmosphere.

Fellowship and brotherly love increases, easily.

The Presence of God is much more powerfully experienced.

Baptism in Holy Spirit easily changes people forever.

We experience heaven and being in the Presence of God with ease.

The Aaronic blessing becomes real to us!

23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

24 The Lord bless you, and keep you;

25 The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

27 So they shall [a]invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+6%3A23-27&version=NASB

Having God’s face shine upon you and his countenance on you is, I have been told often, a way in Hebrew to talk about the Presence of God.

Experiencing God face to face – so intimately and personally, is this not the essence of being in heaven? Being in the Presence of God so intimately and personally, with such closeness? What can be better?

Categories
Blessings Multiply Church Life Discipleship Ministry Prayer

After Disciplemaking – What?

So now they (disciples) have transformed your Christian life through your learning to and the practice of making of disciples. So much changes when we do this. It’s exhilarating, joyous, fun and very, very encouraging. You learn a lot! You grow tremendously. This is a major step on your Christian journey, and this changes your life for the better. You are more rich for the rest of your life when you are making disciples.

What’s next?

  • Continuing to grow in applying Spiritual Gifts?
  • Continuing to grow in faith and applying faith?
  • Continuing to learn to get to know our Lord more?
  • Continuing growth in learning who you are in him?

Yes! All these are not only good, they interact with each other. There is synergistic growth – growth that multiplies and often grows exponentially. These are not only all good, they each provide what can be a wonderful pathway for a lifetime of growth on earth and into eternity.

And yes, there are other steps after Proclaiming the Good News that Jesus Taught. There is following the progression of things that Jesus taught and showed us so often and so wonderfully well, such as healing the sick & freeing the bound, (cleansing lepers and raising the dead), and the making of disciples of all people groups – all kinds of people. (See The Great Commission at Matthew 28.)

He showed this next step with the 12 and the 70, and more…and Paul showed step this every time he planted a local church.

What is this next step? Community and the expansion of Community. Why? Because it roots all Christian Community into the Trinity Community of Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. Or at least resonates with these Persons. And we all crave community and grow best in community – even us introverts!

Without this next step, churches stagnate and grow smaller. Too many are closing. The lack of this is the major reason evangelization is too often too hard these days, and yields so little fruit with too much work.

Ecclesias! Ecclesias enforce the standards and method of the Kingdom of God and results in the rapid and healthy spread of Christian Community.

Ecclesias made of disciples who encourage, support and edify one another. Who socialize, share Communion, and who serve one another.

Ecclesias are the major driving element that results in New Testament speeds of making new Christians and planting new local churches.

What’s their first gigantic step in serving each other and in serving others, resulting in so much marketplace ministry that the Ecclesias reach so many and transform the people they touch through Jesus and born again into the Kingdom of God?

Prayer. Massive amounts of loving and faith filled prayer. Prayer for one another. Prayer for others they know about. Prayer for community people they network with and can so easily touch. People who need help and have needs. Oh, yes! People with needs who are thus prayer and ministry targets.

What are prayer and ministry targets? Prayer for and ministry to people and situations where you can see the wanted results as the Kingdom of God spreads.

Massive prayer precedes and results in people being sent. Sent to share the Gospel, to minister, to make new Christians, disciples, form Ecclesias that result in the planting of local churches.