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Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

          http://www.jollynotes.com/the-names-of-god-and-meanings/   Click on the link! I put this in the bulletin last Sunday. Found it on the internet! Talk about fodder for your meditation time with the Lord... this could take you all year! Pray over each of these names. Allow Holy Spirit to give you deep, fresh revelation concerning each of them. These are (some/ most) of the names God made Himself known to man as. They're not just titles; they're descriptions of His personality. And as I said Sunday, If they take root in your spirit, God will take up governmental residency and rule your heart in the area that that name means. You want peace? Allow the Prince of Peace to reign in your heart. (get it?) You now have dominion over a lack of peace, not only in your own life, but you get to administrate it to a peace-less world. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe." (Proverbs 18:10)

Safe in the Tower, PJ    

 

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

     More about expectancy. Someone told me today that the coming year in the Jewish calendar, 5775, is the year of "fulfilment." I like that word. It conjures up incredible possibilities in my mind. But don't be short sighted. Look way beyond "this is going to be a year where I finally get mine!". The fulfilment may very well be the realization of your dreams, especially the dreams birthed from the heart of God. But I'm thinking more the fulfilment of God's plans! His end game is the "restoration of all things"! (Acts 3:21) All of creation itself is groaning for that day, and specifically for the day when the sons of God would become manifest. (Romans 8:19) Those sons (and daughters) will rise up in the last days, filled with the power and authority of the Lord Jesus, and partner with Holy Spirit to bring about THE end-time revival. I think 2015 will see major steps toward that end. Let's believe together for a year of "no limits"!

No Limits!   PJ           

 

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

     December isn't the shortest month, but I always thought it went by the quickest. I just recovered from my turkey coma and Christmas is just 3 weeks away! And right on it's heels... 2015!  The reason is anticipation. There is an expectancy not matched at any other time in the year. I'm definitely looking forward to Christmas. This year, all my kids will be home. All 15 of us in our little apartment. It will be enjoyable chaos! But I'm also looking forward to 2015. We just received some incredibly powerful prophetic words from Alan Ross last week, and I can't wait to see them unfold in the coming year. The words over the church were "forerunner" and "Apostolic". I'll be sharing what those, at least initially, will look like on Sunday, January 4th. This is going to be a year of planting and quick harvest! We're moving into unchartered waters, and the only reason I'm not frightened out of my mind is that Jesus is the captain of our ship. Your personal journey can parallel this if you have that ever-listening ear to the directives of The Spirit. 2015. It's gonna be awesome!!   

On the edge of my seat, PJ   

 

Wednesday,  November 26th, 2014

     "It must be an odd feeling to be thankful to nobody in particular. Christians in public institutions often see this odd thing happening on Thanksgiving Day. Everyone in the institution seems to be thankful "in general." It's very strange. It's a little like being married in general."-  Cornelius Plantinga    "It's not so much that I'm thankful FOR, but that I'm thankful TO. If thanksgiving is to mean anything, it has to be directed outward, and what better direction than toward a most generous heavenly Father."- PJ

 Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

      Take a second and read Romans 8:35-39. Now let me give you my version turned outward. "Who shall separate you from my love? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution (even if it comes from you?) or famine or nakedness or sword? No, I all these things I am a conqueror, and through my unfailing love you are also. My love for you will always protect you, always trust you, always hope in you, always persevere with you. My love for you will never fail. Nothing will ever be able to separate us, not even you. Not ever me."

I love you, PJ     

 

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

     "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings." (Proverbs 25:2) I think God enjoys a good mystery! Often He will hide something, sometimes in plain view. He consistently calls for us to search past the obvious to find deeper truth. That's why He spoke in parables. (read Matthew 13:10-17) He is calling for us to be much more than casual perusers of the Bible, but to be like the Bereans, who "examined the Scriptures every day". (Acts 17:11) There are things in there that God purposely "hides", waiting for those who are eager to find them. And once we do find them, their value to us increases, and the hidden mysteries are revealed!

Digging in the Word, PJ 

 

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

     Well. the elections are over! Regardless who you voted for, aren't you glad we get a little break from the endless parade of political commercials?! When events happen that carry this much weight, we need to look at it prophetically even more than naturally. What is God saying through it all? We need to be like the sons of Issachar, who "understood the times", and knew "what Israel ought to do". (1 Chronicles 12:32) I'm praying for all of you who are called to the prophetic to ask the Lord for an increase to bring you to a place where you're not only speaking to individuals, but also addressing the events of the day, and what direction the church needs to be heading. What I got when I prayed about it and considered it all, was that the unexpected could happen, and it could come suddenly! Even in the face of the most insurmountable obstacles, God can change the face of the landscape in a moment, even it seems impossible to us. "The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the Lord; in it's time I WILL DO THIS SWIFTLY!" (Isaiah 60:22) Read Solomon's prayer of dedication over the temple (2 Chronicles 6:12-42) and then read chapter 7:12-16. Meditate on the power of a hearing God who listens to a humble, repentant people. Let it happen again!

If my people, PJ                

 

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

     I know there are a lot of theories as to how to grow a church. There's a whole industry built around demographics, surveys and programs. Many of them produce great numbers and "success". I find it all really distasteful if that becomes our starting point. If we begin with these ideas of man in order to get people saved, healed and delivered. I'm not saying organization and outreach using modern methods is wrong, but Jesus said "seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, and everything else will be added to you." If the base line for everything we do isn't first being filled with the Spirit and seeking His presence then the outcome doesn't matter.... IT'S WRONG! It's just man's strength. So, make it your absolute priority to seek His face, and not to make a move without first bathing yourself in His presence. Truth be told, if our churches were earmarked by nothing else but the supernatural (healing, deliverance, prophetic, love, joy.... the gifts and the fruit) they would all be so full we wouldn't know where to put everyone! Let it be so!

Seeking His presence FIRST, PJ    

 

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

     Just a quick thought... you all know how much of a worship lover I am, but of all the things we define ourselves with, worship should only be a sub-category. The main category would be intimacy, because if worship doesn't lead you deeper into His presence, than all it is is singing. Selah!

A lover of His presence, PJ     

 

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014   

     "The unity of Christendom is not a luxury, but a necessity. The World will go limping until Christ's prayer that all may be one is answered. We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks. A unified Church is the only offering we dare present to the coming Christ, for in it alone will He find room to dwell."     Charles H Brent

 

"If we stay together, we survive... come together... AS ONE!!"     Maximus (Gladiator)

 

As one!, PJ

 

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

  We "rushed" through 1 John 1:5-2:11 Sunday, so I wanted to share my heart one more time. There are two seemingly conflicting scriptures in this passage. 1:8 says that we have all sinned... without exception. 3:6, 9 says the opposite, or so it looks. Let me try to explain... and this is profound and exciting! God is light, and where He is there is no darkness whatsoever. (1:5) John calls us to a place of fellowship with Him, but how is this possible if I have sin in me? Since I also cannot take care of the sin problem on my own, I'm in a bind. Enter the Advocate. Jesus argues our case before God, the Judge. (by the way, the Judge happens to be on our side as well- just look at the sacrifice He made) The basis for His defense is not our righteousness but His own. (2:1, 2) Basically, when we accept Christ into our lives, we are immediately clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and when we enter the presence of God we are without sin. It can be no other way. Since we're not perfect, when we do slip up, Jesus argues our case on the fact that He died for our sins 2000 years ago and nothing else needs to be done. That sin has not separated us from His presence. We ARE the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus right now, so "become who you already are." There is a way we can accomplish this. The "knowing" in 2:2, 3 is the same idea as all the "knowing" going on in the Old Testament. (and Adam knew his wife and she bore a son...) When we fellowship with God as He intends, it is and extremely intimate affair, and something is "birthed" out of it. That's the new creation- us! Now obedience is easier, loving is easier, as long as we stay "listening" (connected) to the voice of God. This idea of love in the Kingdom is nothing new (2:7) but as we continue with a listening ear, the applications are fresh and unending. (2:8) The purpose and power of the cross is not just to forgive sins, but to neutralize them, and to render them powerless. I don't ever have to live in Romans 7 (read it!), but I can live in Romans 8, overcoming all things, including sin. Paul said that if we walk in the Spirit, we won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is GREAT NEWS!!

Walking in The Spirit, PJ                  

 

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

     Rather than me blab on and on this week, just read Isaiah 35. It really blessed me this morning. Meditate on it. Chew on it. Soak in it. There's so much the Lord wants to speak to you through it today!

Drinking from streams in the desert, PJ 

 

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

      When Jesus left this earth, He didn't call for us to go into all the world and make converts. He said that we were to go into all the world and make disciples. But to make one, you have to be one first. So... which one are you? There's one major difference between the two. If you're a disciple, you're growing. So... are you? Be honest now. No one is looking. It's a simple question. Are you growing? Or do you stumble over the same short comings you've dealt with the past 5 years. (or more!!) There's no such thing as staying where you are in your Christian life. You're either growing or you're going backwards. It's kind of like walking up an escalator. If you stand still you lose ground. To help remedy this, we're bringing back two opportunities. The foundational class begins again THIS SUNDAY MORNING at 9:30 am. We'll be firming up our base in order to build strong structures on top of them. We'll be running the gamut of topics from sin to prayer to spiritual authority to moving in the power of the Holy Spirit. On Wednesday nights, beginning October 8th, we'll be ministering on the subject of inner healing. We'll be starting out with live worship, followed by a short teaching, and finishing up with an intense time of prayer. Some of the areas we'll be covering will be hearing from God, forgiveness and knowing your identity in Christ. With these two opportunities, you'll be able to grow strong!! Our goal is still the same... "Strong in the Word, Strong in His Presence, Strong in Love." We don't want those to be just a hollow motto, but an absolute reality for all!!

Discipling at the feet of Jesus, PJ   

 

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014   

     I just wanted to reiterate appoint I made Sunday. A story we all know, but not quite! Solomon was being made king, and God told him he could ask for anything. He asked for wisdom to rule the country. I always wondered why the wisest man in the world made such incredibly stupid mistakes. (worshipping idols, compromising his relationship with God, too, too many women!) It's because what Solomon asked for was not exactly wisdom, but a listening ear. That's what the word literally means. Because all wisdom comes from God, if we keep in intimate contact with Him we'll automatically be wise. What Solomon did was get the wisdom but then stop listening. He died a miserable, cynical old man who was filled with wisdom. Read Ecclesiastes. That's what happens when you cut off the intimacy with God. You can have all the answers but no way to use it. It's all a bunch of useless knowledge which puffs up but doesn't lead to life. So what do you do? STAY CONNECTED TO JESUS!! The Holy Spirit came to AND RESTED PERMENANTLY ON Jesus at His baptism. The Holy Spirit is looking for those who He can rest on. I want to be that kind of receptacle.

Striving to listen 24/7, PJ

     

 

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

     Personally I feel I'm a better writer than a speaker, so I want to put in this format what I wanted to get across in Sunday's sermon. If you were I church this will be recap, but I believe the message to be vital. In all the different examples of God meeting and dwelling with man, David's tent stands unique. It was the only one not given dimensions. It was the first to incorporate 24/7 worship. It's main focus was intimacy. David learned those lessons well on the back side of the desert. In both Old and New Testament prophecy, when God speaks of restoring worship that brings us from time into all of eternity, it's this place He specifically references. Not the tent in the wilderness, not Solomon's or Herod's temples. This Tent of David and it's particular style of worship. The Bible in numerous places calls this the "key" to victorious Christian living. If you possess the authority to wield this key, you can open doors that no man can shut, and shut doors that no man can open. David enjoyed victory wherever he went (2 Samuel 8:14), and so would we if we could pattern our "worship" after the tent of David. All that to say this... just coming to church or even going to Bible study is NOT ENOUGH. (read John 5:39, 40- it'll blow you away!) The power of the word lies in it's transfer from the head to the heart. The "Key" of David is intimacy with The Lord. Worship is not something relegated to a time or a day, but 24/7 in-love fellowship with Jesus. Total abandonment. "Dancing undignified" just like David did. FULL consecration. Only then will we be able to use the keys to open and shut with heaven's authority!!

Pursuing full intimacy/ getting my keys ready, PJ      

 

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

     There's a huge difference between honoring someone and flattering them. And yet so often we equate the two. We feel we can't honor someone for the right in their lives because it validates the wrong in their lives. Big shock... we ALL have wrong in our lives! We're always trying to teach each other lessons. We feel it's our job to assist the Holy Spirit in pointing out everyone's faults. I'm not saying we are to overlook sin. But if we spent the time we condemn to encourage, I believe some would get a revelation of who they are in Christ and rise to the occasion, forsaking their ungodliness. Plus, if we work hard finding the hidden gold in each other, it gives us the right to work on the areas where sin has tainted. People will allow you access into their lives for the purposes of correction if they know you love them first. This isn't flattery, which is praising someone (truthfully or not) with selfish motives. When we honor, we seek to speak the truth, and if we are led by the Holy Spirit, there are praise-worthy things in all men. Some men have never had those gems revealed or lauded. That's the job of honor. That's our job.

You guys are the best (and I'm not just flattering you!), PJ       

 

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

     I know I've been emphasizing the secret place lately, and that it's a place for you and the Lord ONLY, and that no one can force you to live there; you have to be self motivated to seek that place out. But let me show you the opposite side of the coin. "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25) The first part of the equation is absolutely true, but so is the second. We must find a solitary place reserved for you and God alone. Guard that place with your life. But just as zealously fellowship with the saints regularly. There's something that happens organically when we get together. God never meant for us to live alone, so He made the home and the church. As there are things that can only be obtained in the secret place, there are things only found in fellowship; encouragement, ministry gifts, corporate worship and intercession, agreement, the power of "two or three". The two places the devil will steer you from are the prayer closet and the Body. He attempts to isolate you, knowing that one can turn a thousand to flight and two ten thousand. So go hard after those two destinations. Seek after, find and dwell in the secret place of you and God, and knit yourself to the Body, and look for it to mature into all that the Father wants it to be.

Desiring the Body, PJ     

    

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

      "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6) We're still on the topic of King David. This was a man who was hungry for the presence of God. He tasted it more than a few times on the back side of the desert, tending his sheep. It was something he couldn't be without. But there's a price to pay. Jeremiah knew. "And you shall seek me, and find me, when you search for me with all your heart." God will not force feed us! He sets a bountiful table, but we have to pursue. I don't really have anything more to say. Just that what His presence offers goes beyond your wildest imaginations. It answers all your most troubling questions. It empowers you to bring heaven to earth. But it will not happen if your not hungry for it. If all you're ever eating is a snack, that's as far as you'll ever go. I challenge you to daily find the secret place with the Holy Spirit and learn how to feast!

Hungry, PJ   

 

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

     "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek." (Psalm 27:4) (Every time I read this verse I think of the movie "City Slickers".) David was a brilliant man, but he had life boiled down to it's simplest component. The "one thing" was that he would be allowed to "dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life." There's a significant reason David came to this conclusion. He knew that if he lived in that "secret place", it would monopolize his thoughts, leaving room for nothing else. If the battle is indeed in the mind, than that's what needs to be strengthened. Read the rest of Psalm 27 and then Psalm 91. Look at the confidence David has even in the midst of the worst of circumstances. I GUARANTEE that if you fill your mind with God and God alone (Philippians 4:8, 9) you will not find yourself continually falling into the same sins all the time, you'll be totally motivated to read the word and pray and fellowship, and you'll be a dynamo when it comes to bringing the kingdom to a fallen world. You'll walk not in the natural that you've been defined by so far in your journey, but in the supernatural. You'll be "transformed" by the renewing of that mind. You'll be that new wine skin fit for the new wine. And all you have to do is live in the place of God's presence. Anybody tied of their old existence? Anybody ready to rent the U-Haul?

Longing to live in the secret place, PJ         

 

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

   "Hope is a good thing; maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies." (Shawshank Redemption) But our hopes DO die. And what makes them die is our perspective. Are we looking at the size of the problem? Funny thing about that... the longer we look, the bigger it gets. Or are we looking at the solution? By the way, the solution is never us. If we look at us, the problem never really leaves our periphery, and the problem again gets bigger as we get smaller. You know that the solution is God. And the longer we look at God, the bigger He gets! (and the smaller the problem gets... they both can't stay big) So, "fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (or hope!)

Hopeful, PJ            

 

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

      "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." (Romans 8:19) This is NOT a scripture dealing with us when we get to the "other side". Creation is NOW waiting for us to enter into our full identity as Sons and Daughters of God so we can make the fullest impact on a fallen world. There's a movie now out about a woman who accesses %100 of her brains power. (I've only seen the commercials) Imagine what it would be like if Christians walked in %100 of their God-given authority!! Jesus took 12 guys and changed the world. Let God's own words convince you. "Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit Who calls out, "Abba Father." So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir." (Galatians 4:6, 7) ALL authority was given to Jesus, and we are Hid representatives. He promised greater things from us than even Him! It's no wonder even the earth itself is waiting in eager anticipation for us to step into our destinies as the Sons and Daughters of God!       

I'm stepping into my Sonship, PJ   

 

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

      We need "Fathers" and "Mothers" in the church who will nurture those whose souls have been wounded, destroying the "orphan spirit". "Even though you have 10,000 instructors in Christ, you do not have many fathers." (1 Corinthians 4:15) Paul was saying that we have all kinds of people who try to get us to think a certain way (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) but not many who will be moms and dads. A parent (in the physical sense or a spiritual mom or dad) will speak words of life on a consistent basis. They will cheer their "kids" on to their destinies. They will always see their kids in the best light. They will be a constant, never giving the idea that anything can separate, not even failure. After they have convinced the "child" of their trustworthiness, they can even discipline and direct, and those words will fall on the fertile soil of confidence in the "parent". So many have never had an adequate voice in their lives who would speak these things. One of the signs that the New Covenant is come is the restoration of the "family". (Malachi 4:5,6) The good news is no one need be alone. The Body of Christ is also the Family of God. The church should be the perfect place to be reunited with "mom" and "dad"! I believe that we are going to see a great insurgence of "orphans" come into fellowships, trying to find "home". So let's become a nurturing body, taking our cues from our heavenly Father, and help all find their most best destinies!

I want to be a daddy to someone, PJ   

 

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014   

     Why is it we are content with the scraps off the Father's table when His heart is to lavish us with a banquet of good things? Read the book of Song of Solomon. He has brought us to the banquet hall and the theme of the party (if you like themed parties....) is LOVE!! The whole book is an allegory of how His heart is an eternal union with the Bride (us!!) and how He woos us. It was the history of Israel, running after her even when she was unfaithful. Read Matthew 7:7-11. He LOVES to give good gifts to His children. So don't ask for scraps. False humility is pride in disguise. He happens to think you're worth "blowing the wad" when it comes to presents for you. After all, He did give up the life of His Son for you. He wants you to "overflow with hope". (Romans 15:13) He wants you to have the "fullness of joy." (Psalm 16:11) He wants you to be filled with an immeasurable amount of love and His presence. (Ephesians 3:18, 19) Do I need to go on? So just put out your hands. Go ahead, do it! And let Daddy fill you with everything He has for you.

Feasting at the Banquet, PJ  

 

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 

     "Righteousness, peace and joy in the holy Spirit." (Romans 14:17) That's what Paul says defines the Kingdom of God. And yet we think it's "disputable" doctrines like the day we worship or what we're allowed to eat or when we think Jesus is coming back. (that last one is mine!) We've divided the Body of Christ up into little kingdoms that can't get along with each other, and we've shown the world what it looks like when religion takes the place of Kingdom. They either laugh at us or ignore us. Either way we've lost our effectiveness. So the 3 listed at the beginning of this blog ARE the defining qualities of Jesus' bride. We are right before God, an absolute necessity to enjoy God down here and in eternity, not by any thing we've done but by His sacrifice on the cross through faith. We have peace, which is God's promise that every voice in our minds can be silenced except for His voice of hope. We have overwhelming joy because He has lifted the burdens of this life and exchanged it for "Life and Life more abundantly". THAT'S what the Kingdom of God is all about. Believe it! Enjoy it! Live it! Spread the word!

Spreading the good news of the Kingdom, PJ         

 

Wednesday, June 30th, 2014

     Just a recap from Sunday's sermon, in particular the last few verses from Romans 13. Read 13:11-14. As I said Sunday I don't believe this an end-times scripture. There is a day approaching when the church (the mature Bride, the full-grown son and heir, the fully functioning Body) will be running on all cylinders. We will successfully be putting aside the works of the flesh (ie.- vs. 13) and be found walking in the light. That light is us being clothed with Jesus. It will make an impact on this world like never before! (read Joel 2:28-32; Isaiah 60:1-3!!!) Men and nations will be drawn to us and ultimately to The Savior because we are finally shining with the brightness that will dispel the darkness of this age. No, not all will come to Jesus, but I believe a harvest is coming that will be the greatest of all, and will usher in the return of Messiah! And the key is in Romans 12:1,2. As our minds our renewed/ transformed and not conformed to this age, we will think like He thinks, act like He acts, and be like He is. I'm so excited! Let's go for it!

Living in the Light/ believing for the harvest, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

     I want the reality of heaven to be just as real and tangible as our physical world. Otherwise, if we're just being emotional in our worship and "manufacturing" prophecies and healings the world will just see us as shysters, and worse, the enemy AND GOD will see us a powerless. (read Acts 19:1-22) I want prophecy to be the "read your mail" kind, that pierces the heart and speaks to specific situations. I want healing of "impossible" things, not just something that was going to heal any way, or is unverifiable. I want what happened on the Day of Pentecost, where people were baffled when they heard men who did not speak foreign languages speak the praises of God in their own. I want to se the blind eyes opened, the dead raised and all manner of sickness and disease healed. Jesus himself said it was possible, in fact He said we would do greater works than He did. Let's contend for it and let the world sit back in amazement as we take it by storm!

Contending, PJ         

 

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

      The devil never can come up with an idea that's all his. He always has to steal and pervert something that is Holy God's. Take meditation for instance. We equate it with eastern religions and steer clear of it. But it's actually God's idea. He wants us to "meditate" on His word. (read Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 63:6; 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 148) There are more, mostly in the Psalms. David loved to meditate. He would quote or even sing the word of the Lord and then chew on it "10 ways to Sunday." What a great practice! Don't just read the Bible to get it over with. Even if you have to read less every day, read it and reread it and reread it again. Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind. Find out where else that word or thought is in the Bible and put together a comprehensive definition. Apply it deeply to your life. Do this every day. Allow the word to penetrate deeply, dividing "soul and spirit". Let it make profound and lasting change. According to David, if you do this, it will become light in your darkness, and give you the power to live sinless life.

Meditating, PJ       

 

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

     I hope Dennis doesn't mind me using him as an illustration. He told me that he occasionally dreams of the pantry. Some might think this a little obsessive. I don't think he's obsessed. I think he's consumed. To me there's a huge difference. Obsession in my mind always leads to an unhealthy end. But if I'm consumed by something, I give it my full attention and all my efforts. I intercede on it's behalf. I become a representative to the world of it's truest nature. If we're going to be consumed by anything, the absolute highest thing would be Jesus! John Wesley said "I set myself on fire and people come to watch me burn." May we be set on fire of the Holy Spirit and then may men be drawn to Jesus like moths to a flame! A little bonus to let see you see clearly what I'm talking about...

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X-9zI9PFN8

Consumed, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

      There is incredible power in testimony! When I'm at my lowest, hearing what God is doing (not just what He HAS done) in someone else is just what the doctor ordered! You would think that it would engender jealousy in me, but just the opposite. "What He's done for others, He will do for me". So, get around people that are getting a NOW word from the Lord. Associate with those whom God is blessing NOW. And then listen, absorb and receive it for yourself. It's contagious!!

Infected, PJ 

 

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

   "Strong in His Word, Strong in His Presence, Strong in Love". The vision has always been the same, but this is an updated way to verbalize it. Just to reiterate a little of what I said from Sunday, I view the church the lately the same way I view Washington D.C., fractured and impotent. Parties are at each other's throats and nothing is getting done. There is no love lost on Capitol Hill. Neither is there in the church. Some are advocating grace. Others truth. Some want the Word. Others want experience. We're acting like they were in 1 Corinthians 3. (read it!) Stop it already!!! To repeat from Sunday, Jesus said the greatest thing we could possess as a people is not truth or experience or doctrine or anything else, but love. A 1 Corinthians 13 "Agape" is THE foundation for ALL we do as believers. (read Matthew 22:34-40.... read it!!) And on top of that foundation are the secondary stones of the law (sound doctrine) and the prophets (the full spectrum of Holy Spirit experience). Man, if we could get our foundations right, we could change the world! (John 13:34, 35; Galatians 5:14, 15) If the world knows we're His disciples because we love each other, than the converse is true. If we're constantly trying to make our points with no regard for the other, the world will NOT know we belong to Him.

Strong, Strong, Strong, PJ          

 

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

      Something a little different this morning.     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu-nxBFxfGQ  Take the time to watch this 9:45 video. It really blessed me. Enjoy!

Being chiseled, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

      There's that old story in Exodus 17 about when the Israelites were battling the Amalekites and as long as Moses held his hands up the fight tipped in favor of the Israelites, but when Moses grew weary and his arms dropped, the Amalekites seemed to have the edge. Aaron and Hur became his "arm support" and the Jews won the day. "Jehovah Nissi" was the name Moses gave to the altar he built in honor of the victory. "The Lord is my banner." The Lord is still our banner today; our covering of protection and provision and blessing. Interestingly, God asked Moses to lift HIS hands IN FAITH as a physical sign that God's covering was in place. He asks us to do the same in our battles. The problem is is if it's my own battle, my arms feel a whole lot heavier than if it was someone else's. I always seem to have more than enough faith for everyone else. That's where the Body of Christ comes in. We are called to an ongoing "Aaron & Hur anointing", looking for someone who's arms I can lift up in their battles, knowing that they will do the same for me in mine. So be in constant vigilance Aaron! Who's arms are drooping Hur?! It's the Body working as it should, working as a whole that wins the day!      

Looking for my Aaron & Hur, PJ       

 

Wednesday, April 23rd,2014

      Sometimes it's hard to believe what you know to be true. I know that sounds strange, but I think you know what I'm talking about. There are truths that I've planted deep in my spirit where they're almost never questioned. Like the existence of God. But there are times when I have no reason at all to believe a thing or to have any faith concerning it. I can't anchor my thoughts to it and build faith and proclaim it joyfully. But deep down I still have an awareness that it's true, even if all that's in me is questioning it. I don't know if this makes any sense at all. It's the best way I can describe it. We're in a season of new life. We just celebrated Resurrection Sunday, where God raised Jesus FROM THE DEAD! Dead is dead! You don't come back from that. It's as final as final gets. And yet there He was, showing himself to astounded disciples. God brought Ezekiel to a valley full of very dry bones. He did a very thorough inventory and found no life at all. Zero. Nada. God asked him if life could come from this and Ezekiel didn't have a clue, only that God knew. A man brought is demonized son to Jesus. The disciples had been unsuccessful in dealing with it. In their conversation the man admitted he had no faith to see his son set free. He had been battling with the heartache of a father who could do nothing but watch in agony as his son was overtaken. But there was a part of him that believed despite reason, past disappointment and current heartache. When we see "death" with no hope ever again for life, the resurrected Jesus always has the last word. It doesn't matter what my assessment of the situation is. It may be Friday right now, but Sunday's just around the corner!

Believing beyond reason,PJ             

 

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

     Read Colossians 2:13-15; 1 John 3:7, 8 and Psalm 2: 1-4. (I'll wait!) Soak in these passages. Let Holy Spirit be your teacher. Just one thought... LIFE FROM DEATH! SOMETHING FROM NOTHING! That's the message of Easter. Jesus died to kill everything that was killing you. All the schemes of the enemy are NOTHING to Him! He can take something that is literally dead and make life of it. Old things are gone. All things are become new. Impossiblity becomes possible. Hopelessness turns to hope. Fantasy becomes reality. That's the business he's in. And He's pretty good at it.

A life that was once dead, PJ     

 

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

      Just a quick thought... one of the struggles we all have in our Christian walk is discerning the voice of the Lord. When you're in the valley of decision, here are a few things that can help you take the right path. 1. Obey what you already know to be the promptings of the Lord. We want direction for our current situations, and we haven't obeyed that last thing He's told us. Sometimes, He won't go on until we've been faithful with what He's already given us. 2. Use the principles of The Word to give you wisdom, even if your specific choice isn't addressed in scripture. 3.When you're in doubt, stand pat. Better to wait on the Lord than take a guess in your own strength. 4. Develop a lifestyle of intimacy and worship. It's here, in the privacy of the "bedroom" (the place where only you and He fellowship- where He tells you things you can't get access to anywhere else) that you really get to know His voice. Then, even in the most confusing of places, you'll already be accustomed to His voice. It's not just the voice of the One who gives you answers, it's the voice of your Beloved.

Hanging out in the "bedroom", PJ

   

 

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

This isn't anything new, but the word "more" keeps running around in my spirit the last few days. The Lord IS pouring out His Spirit in this hour and I will not sit on the sidelines and watch it pass me by. Read the book of Joel and then Acts 2 and see how far reaching the last-days revival will be, and how incredibly supernatural and powerful. Is this what our churches reflect? Or are we playing games? "And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, says the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity..."(Jeremiah 29:13, 14) Jesus promised a complete filling if we hunger and thirst. But the sign of filling is nothing less than what comes with the overflow. It's the only proof that something is really full. So what overflows from you? Is it just more religious experience, or is it kingdom? John the Baptist was in prison, about to be executed. He was afraid, not so much for his own life, but whether or not Jesus really was the promised Messiah. Jesus sent assuring words back to him. "Go and show John again those things which you see and hear: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." (Matthew 11:4, 5) Now that's overflow! That's what I'm hungry for. More!!

More!!, PJ         

 

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 

      We've started an intercessory prayer meeting that currently meets on Wednesday nights at 7:30 pm. Do you realize that when we pray we partner with God to see His redemptive purposes realized here on earth. God is Sovereign. He does what He wants and His purposes will ultimately be fulfilled. But He doesn't always exercise that sovereignty. He waits for us to act. Or not to act. Why else would He tell us to pray "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done" if His will is done regardless of what we do. He calls for us to pray laborers into the harvest field. He calls for us to be "gap-fillers", standing between God and sinful man, pleading their cases. The fervent prayer of a righteous man is effective! Jesus is the Victor, but we are the enforcers! Jesus is the Redeemer, but we are the releasers. Jesus is the Head, and we are His body! What an awesome responsibility. Don't take it for granted. (read a sobering passage in Ezekiel 22:30, 31)

Standing in the Gap, PJ           

 

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

      Good news/ Bad news dept.- the path of sin that leads to destruction:

Sin is first: pleasing

            then:easy

                     delightful

                    frequent

                    habitual

                    confirmed

                    obstinate

                    resolved

and then you are: ruined!

Good news... the path to righteous living is the same! (try it!)

Ruined because of Jesus, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

   I'm feeing a little greedy today. Why do we have to choose? I want to walk in the fullness of the totality of His grace AND a life of holiness. I want to have the evidence of the fruit AND the gifts of the Spirit infiltrating all of me. I want to be a Berean; daily exploring all the mysteries of the word AND walk out my relationship with Him in a full experience affecting my mind AND my emotions. I want to have truth AND love. I want to be able to look back at all the milestones of my forefathers and rejoice in all that has come before AND have life and not religion in my current walk. Why are we at each other's throats emphasizing one to the neglect of the other? Why do we have to choose? I want it all.

It's not only possible but it is the Father's heart, PJ          

 

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

      Darla and I went to see "Son of God" the other day. I thought it was fabulous! (yes, they did take some poetic license... get over it- it's infinitely better than anything else Hollywood puts out) One thing I would have liked them to put a tad more "umph" into- the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus' death. I'll forgive them. What an amazing illustration. It was symbolic of the barrier between Holy God and unholy man destroyed forever! Before, because we were separated from God by our sins, we had no peace. But now, we have full access, and our sin no longer puts us at odds with Him. We are no longer enemies, but heirs, joint heirs, sons and daughters. Romans 5 is the pivotal chapter in the book. We'll be diving into it on Sunday. Read it. Meditate on it. If you can make it, come expecting a great revelation from the Holy Spirit. If not, download the sermon next week.       

Enjoying full access, PJ  

 

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The pre-eminence of love!!!!!!!!! (1 Corinthians 13) The greatest of these is love!!! Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love fulfills the law. Be devoted to one another in love. By this everyone will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Love covers a multitude of sins. etc, etc, etc.........!!!!! It's all about love. It's ALWAYS about love!!! 'Nuff said!

I love you,PJ   

 

Wednesday, February26th, 2014

Need a lifeline? Find yourself in a dark place? but that's just me!) takes me out of my self and my problems. In your "night", His promise is He WILL give a song! Look for it. Flow with it. Let the words of sung scripture wash over your mind and soul. Find your hope in the darkest of places.

Hopeful, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 12th, 2013

 We're two weeks into our study of the book of Romans and we're having a blast!! What an incredible study of the power of the gospel and grace and life in the Spirit. Read along with us week to week. We're studying chapters 3 and 4 this Sunday. Do you realize the power of your salvation? Don't take it for granted. What Christ did on the cross and through the power of the empty tomb we could NEVER do on our own. He destroyed the power of death, hell and the grave. He changed us down to our DNA, taking us from fallen man all the way to the image of His Son Jesus. Join us as we celebrate the myriad of truths in this incredible book. If you can't be here in person, follow us on this website's podcasts.

Changed by the power of the cross, PJ       

 

Wednesday, February 5th, 2013

Jesus was turning up the heat. He was starting to unpack the truth about what exactly was the cost of following Him. "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood" (John 6) This was discipleship on a whole new level (the "HNL"!) of commitment. Many of His disciples started looking for the exit. This wasn't what they signed up for. (but should it have been?) Jesus turns to the few that were left and gave them the option to bail out as well. Then Peter speaks. Mr. Enigma. You never know from one moment to the next what you're going to get with him. This was definitely one of his better moments. Peter correctly identified what Jesus was carrying as LIFE, and also knew that there was no other source on earth for it. (vs. 68) So he and the others decided to stay, even though the cost of doing so was just revealed to be higher than they first expected. Whatever they were to "lose" paled in comparison to what they were to gain; the Kingdom now and eternal life to come! All that to say this... if you're faced with tough times, hang on to Jesus. What are your options??? You're not going to get anywhere near a better deal than Him.

Free in the power of the Gospel. PJ        

 

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7) I want you to REALLY meditate on these words this week. Ask Holy Spirit to download the fullness of God's intent to your heart, and then quickly and courageously walk them out. 

I love you guys, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2013

  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

 

Wednesday, January 15th, 2013

  Core values that will not be compromised/ that will be our top priorities...

          1. His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven

          2. Agape love and high honor to all believers

          3. Excellence in all we do

          4. An owed covenant with a dying world to bring them Jesus

Hosting His Presence "As One", PJ     

 

Wednesday, January 8th, 2013

  I'm preaching on the subject of "Covenant" Sunday. The subject is rich, but basically a covenant is a bond between parties. The bond does more than bring us together...it makes us one! We can covenant on multiple levels. We can bond with our mates and our families, with our fellowships, and with our God. The dynamics are the same, and the benefits are the same. If we are one, then I have obligations not only to myself, but to the one I covenant with. My life flows through them, and vice versa. All that is mine is now theirs, and all that is there's is now mine. I want you to meditate on this and come expecting Sunday to not only have an increased head knowledge, but to know what it to walk this out. If you can't make it Sunday, listen to the podcast next week.

Hosting His presence "As One", PJ   

 

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

      One of your most vital assets for 2014... Family!! And I have good news. NO ONE IS ALONE! I don't mean the presence of the Lord. I know He's always there. He promised never to leave or forsake us. But I'm talking about flesh and blood brothers and sisters; mothers and fathers. EVERYONE should be hooked up to some kind of fellowship. No exceptions. I know... you've been wounded before. Who hasn't? There are definitely challenges to maintaining fellowship with other people. But the benefits FAR outweigh the difficulties. I'm impressed with the idea of covenant lately. We can be connected together on a very deep level. With that sort of commitment, we can more easily navigate through the rough waters and find all that we need that God has designed from family. If we covenant, all that is yours is mine, and vice versa. Our resources are pooled. We have combined joy, strength, peace and giftings. I have no lack, because all that I'm deficient in is found in others. How cool is that! In the new year, find a fellowship and make a firm commitment to covenant with them. Work through the challenges; don't run from them. It is absolutely God's plan for you to prosper you and for you to find purpose and destiny. "He sets the solitary in families." (Psalm 68:6)     

 

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

  No thoughts today, other than wishing you a blessed Christmas season (a day late!) and looking forward to an incredibly promise filled/ no limits 2014!     

 

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

When the devil speaks, he always uses confusion and half-truth. The lies he speaks attempt to diminish God in our minds. Through worship, the Word and prayer we can see a really clear picture of who God is. If we allow it, that knowledge can turn into revelation and wash over our minds. We CAN have the mind of Christ. We can know what His thoughts are toward us. We can know how He sees all situations. We can hear His voice and know what IS of Him and what is NOT of Him. We can!! Pretty much all of the time when the enemy comes at us he does not identify himself. So we mislabel negative emotions and reactions as justified or even righteous. But if we really knew God, our level of discernment would be multiplied. We could correctly see temptation for what it really was and what the enemy was meaning to accomplish through it. We could shine the light on ALL of his schemes and render them impotent. So, don't be conformed any longer to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and then you'll be able to know what the will, mind and heart of the Lord are.

Leaning In, PJ    

 

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

  Just a simple prayer request today. We're believing that reformation is coming to Long Island. We also believe that it is coming through one voice from a united church. Jesus said that all men would know the legitimacy of our discipleship and message if we had love for each other. The Island will not be won by Baptists or Pentecostals or Lutherans but by a church living out the example of Ephesians 4:3-6. "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." There will be resistance to this, both fro the enemy and from within the church. I'm just asking you to simply pray that the Spirit would fall and breakdown every wall of partition.

Leaning In, PJ           

 

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

 C.T. Studd said "Some people want to live within the sound of mission bells, but I want to run a mission, a yard from the gates of Hell."  Pretty radical! You know, all the great preaching and teaching we've been exposed to lately means NOTHING unless we walk it out. Hosting the presence of the Lord. Being one in heart and spirit. Walking in the supernatural. Living a life of radical worship. LIVES DEPEND ON US GETTING THIS RIGHT!!! ETERNAL LIVES!!! Studd knew that we're on this earth for a purpose, and it isn't to live life. This life is a proving grounds for the next, and yet we put most of our stock in living our lives, in education, in job security, in family, in entertainment and in retirement. "Only one life, t'will soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last." (Studd said that too! Cool guy!) Seek ye first te Kingdom of God. First... primarily... most importantly! How many lives die daily in this world? How many have you been in contact with? (even if it's one!) I don't want anyone's blood on my hands when I stand before God. I don't want to enjoy heaven when there are those who I should have ministered to agonizing in hell. Heavy stuff. True.

Leaning In, PJ      

 

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Don't ever say you have no testimony of the goodness of God! Psalm 119:111 says "Your testimonies have I taken as a heritage for ever." All the stories in the Bible... they're stories about you! The boys in the fiery furnace?... that's about you! The guy in the lions den?... that's your story. All the Scriptures in the Bible... all the promises? Keep reading them until they move off the pages of the book and become yours. That's taking the Logos and making it Rhema. Declare them. Speak them out loud. Let them enter the atmosphere and let heaven, earth and even hell hear them. You'll hear them too. And the words will penetrate your own spirit and transform you. That's the power of the Word of God. So... what are you waiting for?

Leaning In, PJ    

 

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

  Thanksgiving is not just a warm ritual that we perform once a year. It's a powerful tool to help us encourage ourselves. We thank God for His more-than-abundant blessings. They come from a God who can do all things and who gives us gifts beyond what we ask or even think. They come from a great and awesome and majestic God. As we thank our focus stays on Him, and not on us or our circumstances. But God only showers His blessings on whom He puts great value on. SO... He must think you're of great value! AND... He only blesses to bring you into your purpose in Him, SO... I HAVE AN ETERNAL PURPOSE, FUELED BY ALL THE RESOURCES OF HEAVEN, BACKED BY A HEAVENLY FATHER WHO GIVES ME HIS FULL CONFIDENCE AND APPROVAL! Something to be thankful for. All year.

Leaning In,   PJ     

 

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

    At the risk of driving you all nuts with repetition... here are my bullet points from the last two weeks.

    

  • “Better is one day with Him than a lifetime elsewhere (Ps. 84:10)
  • You become ineffective moving in the “foolish” wisdom of man
  • We are contending to be a people who “do Kingdom well”
  • The Kingdom bring life and joy
  • Without it life is performance driven fear
  • With it there is a natural outflow of life
  • “Hosting the Presence as One”
  • The power of agreement
  • We’re building on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets
  • Acts 2:1- “they were all in one accord”
  • Unity is THE indicator (John 17:21)
  • Blessing resides here (Psalm 133)
  • A culture of The Kingdom of God IS the “pearl”   (Matthew 13:44-46)
  • honor dispels fear, suspicion and jealousy
  • Greater exploits, greater anointing, mightier foes
  • Here there is no division and no fall
  • In unity we fulfill our purposes
  • LOVE the idea of ”us” and pursue it (1 Cor. 14:1)

"I am making it my calling in life to relentlessly harass you until you fall in love with me."  :)

Leaning In, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

I'm going to keep hammering this home... The "pearl" in Matthew 13 is the Kingdom of God. The value of it is so valuable, the acquisition of it essential, that everything else in life is expendable. This is because where the Kingdom is, there is the King. And where the King is, there is all authority and all power for everything that pertains to life and victorious living. We must be of one mind about this. Jesus prayer in John 17 reveals Jesus' heart for a degree on unity on a par with him and His Father. It is also THE sign that we are His disciples. It's interesting that it isn't signs and wonders. That's because REAL unity is more difficult to attain, especially in the eyes of the world. We need to be known as people who do Kingdom well. We have to contend for this, because it will not just fall in our laps. There is such an incredible amount of authority that comes with this kind of agreement, that Jesus says we can have anything we ask for if we could get there. Our goal is two-fold... to host the presence of the Lord, and to do it with one voice and heartbeat. More to come....

Leaning In, PJ    

 

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

   "If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." (Mark 3:25) If Jesus' heart for us was the unity exhibited by Him and His Father, we have a way to go. I'm struck by the fact that they were "ALL" in one accord in the upper room. ALL. Maybe that's why out of the 500 who saw the resurrected Jesus, only 120 made their way there, waiting for the promise of the Father. For whatever reason, the other 380 had other things to do. If that was the case, It was probably better they stayed away. The need of the day was unity, and their hearts weren't quite in it. If we are to stand against the full onslaught of hell in these closing days, and not just survive but THRIVE, we need to stand as one. This means a sacrificial laying down of self for the better good of Christ's body and His purposes. But remember, fire always falls on sacrifice!!

Leaning In, PJ  

 

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

      Oh, how Jesus loves His Bride, His Church, His Body! We get a view of His heart when he prays in John 17. We get a view of the number one purpose He has for us. (number one... wow!!) He is calling us to separate ourselves from the world and all it has to offer (sin, sickness, death) and to be one with Him. He has given us tools to accomplish this. He's given us his words (vs. 8), and in them are authoritative instructions on life. He's given us His name (vs. 11), just as a groom gives His to His bride. It's a sign of the shift made from aloneness to belonging, from "once you were far off, but now you are brought near." He's given us the full measure of His joy (vs. 13); a joy so powerful it negates ALL negative thoughts and emotions. He's given us His glory (vs. 22)-- His presence to be in us and transform us and sustain us. Christ in you, the hope of glory! And if that wasn't enough, He gave us one more incredible gift-- each other. "That they may be one AS WE ARE ONE." (vss. 11, 21) I'm taken by the fact that this, more than signs and wonders, more than prosperity and wellness, more than any other sign is what will prove to the world that Jesus is who He says He is. Don't get me wrong. Jesus wants us whole in every conceivable way. But is unity more difficult to attain than even the cessation of sickness? Is it a more powerful weapon against the enemy than even answered prayer? I believe unity was THE KEY to what happened on the Day of Pentecost. Something glorious happens when we stop doing our own things, and unite in full submission under the Head, Jesus Christ. We become a fully functioning body, doing all that the head directs, with no hesitation and no agendas save for one-- His. Now that's power! And THAT will be the most potent witness to a world lost in darkness. More to come.....

Leaning In, PJ            

 

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

  "Death & life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it's fruit." (Proverbs 18:21) We have the power of life and death right in our mouths. There is something about the declaring of a thing that cements it deep in our faith. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45) But the reverse happens also.When the mouth speaks, it confirms what the heart has been mulling over. I guess just the hearing of a ting coming out of our own mouths makes it seem more like truth. (This is true for evil as well as good... say a thing long enough, even if it's a lie, and even we start to believe it ourselves.) That's why we need to know exactly what it is that God is saying about a thing, and then stand in the power of agreement with it, declaring it verbally. There is power in agreement. If I'm living in sin, I look for someone, anyone, who will agree with me. Spirit gravitates to spirit. If someone else agrees with me, it confirms my own suspicions, even if they're wrong. If I stand in agreement with God, a "chemical" reaction takes place, and we're that much closer to seeing Heaven come to earth! So I want to be fashioned after Jesus... I only want to say what the Father is saying, and I only want to do what the Father is doing!

Laning In, PJ    

 

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

     "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter." Do you ever feel like God hides Himself? He does! But it's not the kind of hiding where He doesn't want you to find Him. He just wants you to have a searching heart. The value we put on something is the degree we will hunt for it. That's why Jesus spoke in parables. The disciples asked Jesus why He spoke the way He did, and His answer was not that the stories made the truth simpler, but that it was hidden from those who didn't really care about it. (Matthew 13:10, 11) The parable of the field and the pearl encourage us to dig deep for the deep things. The truths of God are the most valuable commodities in the universe. He's not just going to toss them out as insignificant. When you're on a diet, or have been fasting, or have just not been eating much, when you decide to get back to your regular routine, you can't make your first meal the chinese buffet!You have to ease yourself into it. But if your habit is to eat as much as you can whenever you can, your capacity for food increases. It's that way in the spirit. If you nibble on the things of God, you have no capacity for the big meal of the deep truths. But if your appetite is hardy, God can now trust you with meat! I want the deep things. I want the heavy anointing. I want the astounding influence. I want to do the "greater things". I'm digging deep and continuously. Join me!!

Leaning In, PJ     

 

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

     Sorry, a day late and a dollar short! But this will be worth it. WOWEE has there been open heavens this week! Tuesday I spent THE WHOLE DAY with Jesus. He kind of just cleared my calendar and emptied the church of people. He orchestrated the whole thing. It was sweet. Try it sometime. And then Wednesday night at SOSM (school of supernatural ministry for those of you who are still undoctrinated) the prophetic words coming from the Body were spot on and abundant! I personally have heard more clear words from Holy Spirit than I have in quite a while. God is up to something! The strongest word I keep getting is that if we are faithful in stewarding whatever it is we're going through now, even if it's painful, and stay Christlike and Kingdon minded, He'll be able to trust us with MUCH more! 13 of us went to a conference in Harrisburg over the weekend and we received a massive download! We'll be sharing it in the weeks to come. Suffice it to say God is beginning to break the dam. We're going to see more living from heaven to earth, and not the frustrating other way around. Our authority and influence are going to expand, and all this will be done in a much quicker fashion than it normally would. Ascension! Expansion! Acceleration! WHOAAAAAAAA!!

Leaning In, PJ     

 

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

     I have a sense of urgency. Now, don't confuse that with worry. I'm not worried. I just see that all things are accelerating; good and evil. John Locurto said something profound when he ministered recently. He said the day is fast approaching when the gifts of the Spiri are no longer going to be a convenience, but a necessity. Our health care system will no longer take care of us, and we'll HAVE to turn to Holy Spirit for health and prosperity. "Fast approaching" is an understatment. The days of preparing to walk in that anointing are NOW! We need to tune our ears to the voice of the Father. We need to increase in authority in the areas of healing and the prophetic. This takes time. This takes committment. This takes sacrifice. This takes single-minded focus. The half-hearted church that I so often see will not be prepared for what's coming, but the on-fire church will stick out like a well (not sore) thumb to the rest of the world. When the government  and society in general can give us no answers, they will turn to the church and see the full power of the Kingdom of God. My advice... "pursue love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts." And do it NOW!

Leaning In, PJ            

 

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

     "Yet a time is coming AND NOW HAS COME when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, FOR THEY ARE THE KIND OF WORSHIPPERS THE FATHER SEEKS." (John 4:23) "You inhabit (are enthroned, married, tabernacled, settled, administrating from) the praise of your people." (Psalm 22:3) We're beginning  a new series on Sundays entitled "He inhabits our praises". These two verses sum up our intent and God's. It is from this place of ALL-ENCOMPASSING worship that the kingdom of God is administrated. Think about that for a minute....... (I'll wait)......... Over the next few weeks we're going to explore the most fertile ground for the Lord to bring heaven to earth. Scripture holds the key. And it's not as hard as you may think. Walk with us as we explore the depths of where our praise should arise from, and watch yourself advancing the kingdom!

Leaning In, PJ    

 

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

     "You have been going around this mountain long enough!" (Deuteronomy 2:3) Someone said once that a rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out of it. Do you feel like that's where you are? Do you feel, like the Israelites, that you've just been marching around in circles? Can I say something that sounds cruel, but is not? What's got you in that place IS NOT GOD, BUT YOU! God's plan is always for increase. He wants us to go from glory to glory. If you're stuck in limbo, it's because you refuse to learn the lesson of the moment, and the Lord refuses to take you higher when you're ill-equipped. I know people who "circled" until the day they died because they would not learn the current lesson. There lives ended in frustration and bitterness against God and man. Instead of increase and honor, they finished the race unfullfilled. There's a simple solution for all this. Humility and teachability. "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6) So if you feel like a hamster in a wheel, ask the Lord what the lesson is. Or just as good, ask a mature Christian who you know and who will be brutally honest with you. The time is NOW to get out of that rut!

Leaning In, PJ      

 

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

     Lately you know I've been signing off my correspondences with "Leaning In." I know this is repetative, but we need constant reminding in the face of human nature incessantly trying to drag us back to mediocrity. Our posture ought to ALWAYS be in excited anticipation of what God's about to do. His mercies are new every morning, so why not His opportunities? I'm not going to be one to slouch in my chair and almost dare God to do something. I want to partner with the Most High, and be on the cutting edge. One of the best gifts I can give Him is quick obedience. I am leaning in, with my ear perked and sensitive to Holy Spirit's slightest suggestion. This is such an exciting lifestyle, going from glory to glory! Would you join me as we all find ourselves.....

Leaning In, PJ   

 

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

     "As they experience a powerless gospel, they create a theology that sanctions that experience, a theology where Heaven is a lot like earth, God is a lot like them, and the outcome of their lives is predetermined. Fate is called "God's will" and a life of limitation and powerlessness is called "humility" and "perseverance". These are virtues to live up to and model-- after all, it's in the Bible, so it must be true." (Danny Silk- "Culture of Honor") Jesus said that it is the "violent" that take the Kingdom of Heaven "by force", and yet we mostly take whatever comes our way, accepting it because we think it's creating character in us. THIS IS NOT HOW JESUS LIVED! He lived always looking for opportunities to bring heaven to earth. He healed sickness whenever confronted with it. He never accepted things the way that they were, but looked to restore back to the original design. "If you don't know God, he'll end up looking a lot like you." Stop forming God to make Him fit into your circumstances. Look to be transformed into His image. With God there are no limits. With God, all things are possible.

Leaning In, PJ  

 

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

     Doubt attempts to attack me sometimes when I think how radically we are pursuing Jesus and His Kingdom. I wonder if apologies are necessary when visitors come into our worship. Do we need to explain that this may be quite a bit different than they're used to? Should we tone down our enthusiasm, as so many churches are doing, just so we don't "freak out" people coming to us for the first time? NO! and NO! What's happening here is not emotionalism. "This is that spoken by the prophet Joel." Some may, as they did at Pentecost, think this is drunkeness, or foolishness. What brings me comfort is this... If we are pursuing the Kingdom, and it's really manifesting itself, then it is LIFE! Jesus said that if someone found the pearl of great price, he would sell all he had to purchase it. Even if they can't verbalize the need, what all men are looking for is LIFE. What they are NOT looking for is yet another religious experience, no matter how it's packaged. If someone totally unfamiliar with anything spiritual were to come into an encounter with Kingdom, say a word spoken directly about his circumstance, or a miraculous healing or miracle, they would know where it came from. Their spirit would leap within, tasting the water of life maybe for the very first time. They would never be the same again. This is how Jesus did it. This is what we are contending for. And we make no apologies.

Leaning In, PJ      

 

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

     I wanted to recap what I spoke on Sunday because it's vital if we are to move on in the direction we're supposed to be moving. It concerns how we react when there's "sin in the camp." It's in our DNA that when someone breaks the rules, we have to make sure they don't do it again, so we have to teach them a lesson. We do this either by separation, anger or punishment. We feel pain is the greatest motivator towards restoration. Not discounting the fact that pain has been my teacher on many occasions, in a culture of honor love and the power of a "heaven to earth" church is by far the better and more lasting way. After listing the spiritual gifts and their functions in 1 Cor 12, Paul even calls it just that. (vs. 31) Proverbs 10 tells us that love "covers a multitude of sins".Not that it covers them up, but if we really have an invested love in someone, we have more grace for them, and more of a desire to see them restored. Jesus in Luke 9:51-56 rebuked the disciples for moving in a spirit contradictory to the real Spirit of the Kingdom. Paul warns not to turn back to the ways of the law once we take citizenship in heaven. (Galatias 3:2, 3; 5:1) We have been permanently set free from the law of sin and death. We have to trust God that this means not only from sin initially, but forgiveness when we falter afterwards, and the power to be able to get lasting victory. This is a package deal... SOZO is forgiveness (and victory over) sin, deliverance from torment, and healing for our bodies!

Leaning In, PJ     

 

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

     "You are enthroned in the praises of Your people." (Psalm 22:3) I want more than anything to be where God is, because in His presence is fullness. This verse tells me that I can bring Him to me! I can create an environment where God is welcome, and where He WANTS to set up shop. Praise! In a few weeks we'll be beginning a new series on just exactly how this happens. We'll be able to not just pray "Your Kingdom come", but we'll be able to see it and live in it. Don't wait. Start now by developing a lifestyle of continual praise and fellowship with the Most High. Welcome Him into your full existance; your emotions, your body, your mind and your spirit.

Leaning In, PJ  

 

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

     SOSM! Our school of supernatural ministry kicks off with an innagural meeting tomorrow night at 7:30pm. We are so excited! We're on a journey to increase in the "Kingdom Arts". (prophecy, healing, miracles, deliverance, evangelism, etc...) This will be a school in the truest sense of the word. We start off with full-on worship, followed by 15-20 minutes of intense teaching on a single subject, and the practice! Our heart is to develop a supernatural community. Supernatural in the sense noted above, and community in the sense that our goal is for there to be one heart beat and mind. We want our body of ministers to be conected to The Head, Jesus Christ. There are no limits to the fruit we're going to see. Long Island needs to see the reality of the Kingdom of God, not just in talk, but in power!! We're going to "sharpen" each other until we've "all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." (Ephesins 4:13)

 

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

     The King James says "Without a vision, the people perish", but I like the way the new King James translates it better. "Where there is no revelation, the people cast of restraint." (Proverbs 29:18) We are in a time of great revelation, if you'll open your ears and your hearts. The Spirit of the Lord is doing great things in these days! The Bride is being prepared. Signs and wonders are prevelant. The church is rising up in power and authority, even in the midst of great darkness. These are some of the most exciting days in history. Press in to lay hold of it all. Be in the center of this "Last Days" revival. We will be a people with a defined vision for the days ahead. Our revelation will be from the Lord. It will be detailed and accurate. It will be mighty and effective to the pulling down of all opposing strongholds. We will live in wholeness, victory and abundance. We say YES!! to this!

Leaning In, PJ       

 

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

      Life! I've just seen it at it's inception again. My daughter gave birth to her third child, and we made it just in time! Momma Darla was there, and I saw baby Logan just minutes after he came int the world. What a miracle! We look forward to theyears ahead, when we will follow his growth physically,emotionally and spiritually. Life in the Spirit is just as much a miracle. I love to see the absolute transformation that takes place in the life of a person that meets Jesus. I love to see the initial excitement that eventually changes to full-blown maturity. And if it brings joy to my heart, how do you think Daddy God feels? We're in Ephesians 4 right now, and growing into maturity is the goal. (see the 7/3 blog for the acronym) The Father is preparing a Bride for His Son. She will not be tarnished, or unfinished. She will be white, without spot and wrinkle. As maturing saints, we submit with quick obedience to whatever directions we get from above. The goal is to move in power and authority, advancing the Kingdom. But more important, the goal is to become the "soul-mate" that Jesus will spend the rest of eternity in love with. To Life!

Leaning In, PJ           

 

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

     "We don't fight for victory, we fight from victory." It may not seem like a big difference, but it is. It's all about our mind set. The victory was completely accomplished 2000 years ago. The outcome is assured. There's nothing we have to do to earn it. God doesn't live in past, present and future. It's all the same to Him. So since our future is assured, so is our present. It makes the "fighting" take on a whole new face!

Leaning In, PJ   

 

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

     B.R.A.C.E. yourselves!

          B- Be submitted to the local authority of a fellowship and to each other

          R- Rest in who you are in Christ

          A- Accept correction and reproof as a way of life/ live unoffendably

          C- Community

          E- Everything done in love

This is the preparation we're currently undergoing in advance of the breaking of the "dam"!

Leaning In, PJ 

 

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

     "A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment." (Proverbs 18:1-NKJV) My new favorite verse of the week! EVERYWHERE you look in Scripture, you find God's heart for fellowship... us with Him and us with each other. "It is not good for man to be alone!" It is dangerous for man to be alone. It is not scriptural or Godly for man to be alone. If we're hearing anything these past few months, it's that we are to function as a unit. If we are to mature in the spiritual gifts, it will not happen if we proceed alone. Maturity ONLY happens in community. "Until we ALL reach UNITY in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God AND BECOME MATURE, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:13) Jesus' heart of hearts... "that they may be one, Father, just as You are in me and I am in You." (John 17:21)

Leaning In, PJ   

 

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

     Favorite quote of the week... "God never wastes anything, and He's always preparing you for something."-- Paul Manwaring   I don't believe sickness or trouble comes from the Lord. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." (James 1:17) But The Lord is always speaking to us, even in the "valley of the shadow of death." Whatever your situation, hear what God is saying through it! And understand that He's ALWAYS preparing you for a brighter future. "From glory to glory"!!

Leaning in, PJ  

 

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

     "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple." (Psalm 27:4) One Thing!! And yet we relegate this one thing to the bottom of the "to do" list until we get every other "pressing" issue addressed. THIS IS THE PRESSING ISSUE!! Out of this One Thing flow all the other issues of life. I speak to myself on this matter. I write a list every day of all the things I have to do, and then the lie comes to me that I have to get right to it, and my time with the Lord will come later in the day. The problem is is that it never does come back. See what I mean. Everything flows from The One Thing. EVERYTHING! Don't listen to the lie. Don't get caught up in the mundane and postpone the primary. Seek FIRST the Kingdom, and all other things will be added!

Leaning In, PJ      

 

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

     One of my new favorite Bible verses (to add to my 1000's of  other favorites)... "He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet." (Proverbs 27:7) New Testament version.... "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6) A fresh move of God is never completely orderly or neat, mainly because humans steward it. But I'm so hungry for that fresh move, I would rather have "wild fire than no fire." I want to cultivate an atmosphere of safety where people are ok with making mistakes, because they so want to learn how to move in the Spirit. If my spirit is full of religious trappings, when the Spirit blows I'm alright with not following it because I have a false sense of satisfaction. The big fear is falling off into error, so we stay in the boat. The solution? Burn for a continuing sense of His presence. Stick your neck out, but gladly embrace correction from God and from others when you've stuck it out too far or in the wrong direction. And keep your ears tuned to the voice of the Spirit of Truth. At the right time, He'll give you the discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Leaning in, PJ       

 

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

     "The goodness of God leads you to repentance." (Romans 2:4) Yes, the fear of eternal hell fires will also, but I'ld much rather be bowled over with the miraculous touch of resurrection life! Once I know-- really know-- the promises in the Book, and how they apply to me personally, why would I want anything less? So our job is to tap into the power of Jesus, and bring that power to a lost world. It'll make anything they're playing with now be revealed for what it is-- empty.

"Leaning in", PJ 

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

     Don't you find it strange that some of those who "prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name" are not allowed access into an eternal heaven? Jesus gives the reason in Matthew 7. Those people did all those wonderful things, but never "knew" Him. (vs. 23) Jesus wants our hearts first and foremost. Then He takes our sanctified hands, mouths, minds and talents and uses them to advance the Kingdom. Unless we have "known" Him in the most intimate way (spiritually akin to the act of marital consummation), you are using your gifts out of carnality, and your motives aren't totally pure. Only when you are one with Christ, can He and His indwelling Spirit be the driving force behind all you do and say. (hence John 17:21-23)

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

     "Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, and said of him, 'Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!'" (John 1:47) What an admirable quality. I would love for this to be said about me. A man without deceit. The reason is is that lies permeate our society. "Untruth" is everywhere, including Wall Street, Washington and even the church. Where there is falsehood there is nothing but a weak foundation that is subject to inevitable destruction. Jesus is Truth. If you build on anything else BUT Jesus... well, you know the story. (and you can use any euphemism you want, a lie is still a lie) I want to be a man of my word. I don't want any hidden agendas. I want my "Yes" to be "Yes!" I want to be a man in whom is no deceit. God help me!

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

     "Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers." (2 Timothy 2:14; also 15, 16, 23)) I know some people who study the Bible like they're loading a gun. They're not interested in the transforming power of the Word of the Lord, but in finding things to argue about. Or, they're just looking for "information". What does it matter how much data you can obtain if there's no life? Indeed, the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. The only way to read the Word is by asking the Holy Spirit to make it rhema to you, allowing it to pentrate down to the bone. (Hebrews 4:12)

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

     The last couple of Sundays have been AWESOME! (and no, it's not because I didn't preach) Josh brought it two weeks ago when he spoke on how to get your prayers answered, and Matt spoke Sunday about being doers and not hearers. It's all been flowing from a word the Lord has been giving us all lately about stepping it up in all areas of our lives. The Bride of Christ is preparing herself, becoming all that the Bridegroom is looking forward to. We WILL be without spot or wrinkle, moving in power and authority! It all starts with "soaking" in His presence. 15 minutes a day... it's not much to ask. But it will change everything. Please don't put it off. Place it at the top of your list of priorities. Push everything else aside and just do it. Join us on our path to maturity and victorious Christian living!  

Keep the Faith, PJ

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

     I must have blogged on this verse before, but I'm reminded of them again today. "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." (Matthew 11:12) Why is it that we are so accepting of whatever comes our way, lulled into lethargy, too weary to get ourselves out our current situations? One of my friends on Facebook the other day extolled the virtues of "balance" when it came to the Christian life. NO! NO! NO! NO! The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17) But the attaining of those blessings and more belong only to "forceful men". If we sit back and wait for things to fall into our laps, THEY SELDOM COME! Our praise ought to be fanatical. Our prayer lives ought to be radical. Our witness ought to be passionate. Our devotion to Him ought to be total. Our energy put into finding the fulness of the Kingdom ought to be without measure. Let me ask you a question, is ANYTHING in life more valuable to you than God's abundant life now, and in the future the promise of an eternal love story with Jesus? I already know the answer. So be forceful and lay hold of all the Kingdom has for you.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

     I have nothing to say that would even come close to what the Holy Spirit has to say to you when you spend time soaking in His presence. Most of you know that we're spending time with the Lord for 15 minutes every day. So do it and get your weekly blog right from the source.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

     Man is pretty creative. Just take a look at the areas of science, medicine and philosophy. Books have been written, movies produced and songs sung encompassing the farthest reaches of man's ingenuity. For instance, the "imagineers" at Disney never say that things can't be done, they just go to the extreme of their imaginations and then figure out a way to make it happen. And yet for all of His brilliance, man can't even begin to realize the immeasurable intricacies of eternity. "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived- the things God has prepared for those who love Him- these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit." (1 Cor. 2:9) Throughout all eternity we'll be united with Christ in a way not yet experienced, and we'll be exploring all the mysteries of God and His universe. I can't wait!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

     "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22) Apply this to intimacy with the Lord. (the most vital thing you can possess... "In His presence is fullness...") It just doesn't fall in your lap. But it's also something you don't have to earn or strive for. It's simple yet profound. The secret is..... here it is.... ready for it.... spend time with Him. And it's not time spent asking. "In all your ways acknowledge Him." This acknowledging is the same word as when Adam "knew" his wife and she conceived. Just hang with Him, looking for nothing else but to know Him better. WORSHIP!!! THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT! Let that alone give birth to intimacy, and in that place you'll automatically be released into fullness.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

     The resurrection. You know the story. SO WHAT???!!! It's not enough to memorize the tale, you have to know what the power of that event means to you right now. The cross eliminates our sins. The empty tomb proves that the Lord has power over all dark forces, even death! If I walk in the power of that resurrection, NOTHING can separate me from victorious living! (Romans 8:28-39) Make it more than something you heard in Sunday School. Tap into the power of Jesus' life. Walk in His power and authority. He is Risen!!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

     "In Your presence is fullness..." (Psalm 16:11) This sounds like a contradiction to last weeks blog, but it isn't. WHY DO WE STRIVE IN ANY AREA OF OUR LIVES??? People of God, I plead with you. Find the place where you and God connect, and live there. His fullness will invade every part of your earthly existence, and transform it. Full purpose. Complete joy. Perfect love. Fullness of ALL things! Make finding and dwelling in His presence the absolute number one priority in your life. NOTHING else even comes close to importance.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 

     I'm putting this on the church sign today: "Save your best striving for when you're striving to find God." Darla found that quote the other day. It reminded me of something I read in Isaiah 43. In verse 22 God comments that we hadn't gone out of our way to seek the face of God. If it didn't fit into the normal course of events for the day, we just didn't do it. "You have not wearied yourselves for me." But we DID weary the Lord! We wearied Him with our sins and offenses. (verse 24) We strive for so much in life, except when it comes to our relationship with Him. And then when we Do come to Him, we have all this baggage. The baggage is the reason we even came to Him at all. Once we deal with that weight, we're good until the next time. What the Lord is looking for is for us to come just to hang out. And to weary ourselves in the finding. I guarantee if we make this a regular practice, we'll seldom ever come to Him with baggage.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

     "And the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them." (Exodus 16:4) I've blogged on this thought before, but it bears repeating. It would have been real simple for the Israelites to shop for the whole week, but God wanted to test them. Manna was a gift from God to sustain the Jews during the 40 years of wilderness wandering. The Lord was very specific as to how they were to harvest it. Only enough for today- except on Sabbath eve, and then shop for the Sabbath as well. The rule still applies somewhat today. What you need from the Lord for today is available today. Don't think that coming to the buffet on Sunday will get you through the whole week. God never intended for us to feast at the table occasionally, but daily. It really is the only way to maintain a consistent, victorious Christian life.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

     This is real quick, but it's good advice. You can't expect the blessings of the Lord if you're straddling the fence for the control of your life. Either He's in control, or you are. There is no middle ground. And the blessings only come on His side.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

     "He has taken me to the banquet hall, and His banner over me is love." (Song of Songs 2:4) Like a marquee over a store, the sign defines what's inside. It reveals the contents. When the King (and since He IS the King, He has the authority to proclaim this) puts us under His covering, he announces that we are not only enveloped with His love, but we are also infused with it. It courses through our veins, identifying us as the beloved. It's HIS love that is referred to, and hence it is perfect. And remember, "Perfect love drives out fear." (1John 4:18) We don't have the capacity to fully understand this, so Paul prays in Ephesians 3 that we might "have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Vss. 18, 19) At this very moment, His immeasurable, knowledge-surpassing love is our banner. And what it is currently accomplishing is the destruction of all fear so that we can be totally freed to walk into our destiny as fully Christlike. Wow!!

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

     One of our favorite roles we see Jesus take on is that of The Good Shepherd. One of our favorite Psalms is the 23rd. Zechariah received a vision that expanded on the heart of that Shepherd. In chapter 11, we find that we were marked for "slaughter". An evil shepherd basically used us and then looked to discard us. The Good Shepherd took control and specifically sought out the "oppressed". The two staffs used to pasture them were called "Favor" and "Union". I love it! The two things here that Jesus brings the broken are His divine favor (Grace!) and union with Himself (Intimacy!). Could there be two more perfect gifts? I like the way Psalm 23 reads in the Amplified... "The Lord is my Shepherd (to feed, guide, and shield me), I shall not lack!"

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

     Our men just came back from another awesome retreat in the Poconos. John Barilla shared Saturday evening on the Biblical way of reading the word/ praying. The Latin is Lectio Divina. It has four steps. First you select a passage and slowly and attentively read and listen to the voice of God. Second you repeat the passage and reflect on it. Third you respond to that passage by praying it back to the Lord. Finally you rest in the new-found revelation by abiding in His presence and communing with Him. That's the simplified version. David said it this way... "my delight is in the law of the Lord, and in that law I meditate day and night." Incredible revelation awaits those who will stop treating God's word as the menu in a speed reading course, and learn how to savor each verse as it were a gourmet meal.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

     There are many different analogies describing our relationship with God in scripture. Potter and clay. Sheep and Shepherd. Servant and Master. Child and Father. Co-laborers. Friends. But the one the Lord ultimately wants to draw us into is that of Lovers. There is no higher calling. He'll stop at NOTHING less. That's not to say that the others are wrong, just inadequate. In all the rest we could coast without engaging our hearts. Only in the intimate chambers behind the bedroom doors are we face to face. Only there can we reach our full potential. Only there can the Lord share all the secrets of His heart. Press in with all your might. Don't settle for anything less.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

     The Divine Exchange! That's what Isaiah 61 is. We're all familiar with the first two verses ("The Spirit of the Lord is upon me...") but the rest of the chapter is incredible! Item after item of the old life done away with, exchanged with the glories of heaven. One in particular hit me this morning. I will bestow on them "a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." (vs. 3) Despair. Anxiety. Depression. The medical catchphrases of the day. Rampant not only in the world at large, but inside the walls of the church. This shouldn't be! But the Lord gives us the prescription, and it's here in verse 3- Praise! When I'm at my dryest... when I'm at my lowest... when I'm at my overwhelmiest (I know, it's not a word)... I (often mechanically) plug in my earphones, shut out the world, and allow the melodies of worship lift me up out of the mud and into His presence. And something I've learned in the past few years- there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, so I don't have to make excuses why I'm not worthy to be in His presence, and I don't have to spend most of the time apologizing for not being there enough. If there's sin, I confess it, claim the power of the cross and run into His expectant arms. It ought to be a quick journey from the outer court into the Holy of Holies since the "veil" was ripped in half 2000 years ago. Once there, the focus is ALL on Him and His glory... and once I leave, my mind and spirit are renewed and the despair is replaced. Read Isaiah 61 today and spend time engaging in "praise that brings the presence". Become a recipient of the Divine Exchange.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

     You're looking for strength. You go to the "gym" to work out. You're not "doing" enough, and that's why you're not strong. It doesn't work, and so you sink deeper into weakness. Don't get me wrong. Going to the gym and doing are not bad things. God knows I could use a little more time there in the natural. But in the spiritual, strength isn't internal. "The joy OF THE LORD is my strength". He's the source of joy, and so of strength. In His presence if the fullness of the stuff. So hang with Him. Stop always doing. (I said stop it!) From that place of intimacy and connectedness comes joy and all the strength you'll ever need to do all that He ever calls you to do.   

 

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

     "I'm a lover of Your presence!" That's been the theme of late. Is there anything more important? Is there any place else we need to be running to? "In His presence is fullness...." Of joy, of healing, of power, of love, of security, of purpose, of wholeness, of peace! If you do NOTHING else as this new year begins, spend quality/quantity time in the "bedroom". He's wooing you there, you know. He knows better than we that if we'll just be with Him, He'll rub off on us. You can't become like Christ studying a text book. You can't become Christlike "clocking in" at church. The ONLY way to become like Him is to BE with Him! And the more you become like Him, the more you get to be a joint heir of all that He bought and all that He is. You get to live "in the fullness."

Keep the Faith, PJ

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

     January 1st. A fresh start! Actually, it's more like an exciting continuation. 2012 was a great year, and 2013 promises to be even better. The Lord has begun to break open His promises concerning healing. What He promised years ago is now a reality. Let's have faith for the impossible, and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14)

 

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

     We're going to transform our city! That's the word the Lord has given us for 2013. Just to remind you, here's how we're going to accomplish it. 1. Praise that brings in the presence of the Lord. 2. Overwhelming generosity directed to our neighbors. 3. True Biblical Koinonia (fellowship that knits our hearts together). The formula comes from Hebrews 13:14-16. We will pursue these three with whole-hearted intensity. We will not skimp! I want you to pray now for strategies on how to accomplish this. 2013 is going to be a banner year!!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

     12/12/12..... No, I'm not joining conspiracy theorists believing that something sinister lies behind these numbers. I'm not packing my bags waiting for the Mayan calendar to run out. I just like the number 12. It's the number of God's government. (tribes, disciples, etc...) So... "Let Your Kingdom come... on earth as it is in heaven." Join me in praying this prayer today.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

     This is not new news. If I scrolled back to past blogs, I would probably see it there. But as I come out of my time with the Lord this morning, I sense it's importance. Here it is.... "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) Sometimes we allow the familiar to become meaningless. Don't let that happen with this verse. Everything around us is in a constant state of flux. EVERYTHING! It makes life unsettling. I don't like that feeling. It happened during Sandy. We all got the rug pulled out from underneath us and the natural response was to retreat and wait for the storm to blow over. But what happens if the storm doesn't blow over? We begin to believe that there is no safe place; there is no refuge. I just wanted to remind you that there is One constant in the universe... but only One. He is and always will be your Refuge. "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand."

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

     You would figure a thought like this would come from a musician, but my prayer is this would translate even to those who "can't carry a tune in a bucket". "He gives songs in the night". (Psalm 77:6) What a precious gift. In some of my darkest hours, I knew God was with me. Often it was because a song rose in my heart. It might have been one I already knew, or it may have been one of those "spiritual songs" Paul talks about. Music is an incredibly spiritual language. There's something about it that speaks directly to the soul. Madison Avenue knows this. Hollywood knows this. The music industry knows this. Satan knows this. And God knows this, because He invented this gift for our benefit. Even as I face things inherent to the "Valley of Death", fear is absent, because I know He is with me. Very often it's because of the song. There's something about the flow of the song. You know what I'm talking about. You get scared when a movie plays ominous chords. You feel pride when a march is played. Romance, anger, courage, joy... they can all be enhanced by the song. Why not let the Originator of the song give you one when you need it most. Allow the song to do what it was designed to do, usher you into the "bedroom" of the One who sings the song to you, and Who is wooing you to a most intimate place. "In His presence is fullness...."

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

     "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise." (Psalm 100:4) Why do we consistently drag ourselves into His presence, hoping for a little spiritual energy boost, and then when we get it, leave to begin the futile cycle all over again? Why can't we just remain in His presence? Why can't we go from "glory to glory"? (2 Cor. 3:18) Every time we "enter" His presence (and we can get to the point where we walk/ live in the Spirit) it ought to be with gifts of thanksgiving and praise to the One who gave us all, and chooses to abide intimately with us!

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

     What an incredible time in the presence of the Lord we had last week! We realized the scripture that affirms there is fullness of joy when we dwell with Him. Now what? Simple... steward it! Exercise it like a muscle. Go deeper. Seek more and more anointing to "preach the kingdom, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper and drive out demons". This is not a hill to come off of, but a step up to higher plains. We're going higher, and you're all coming with us!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

     After the Hurricane and the Nor'Easter, we need to take a breath and collect ourselves. But this is not a time to retreat! This weekend will be one of the most important in our church's history! We've had some pretty incredible guests in the past few years. John Locurto, Jose Dross, Henry Washington, Ed Corley, Alan Ross, Chuck Parrey and the guys from Bethel. This weekend's guest trumps them all! This week we seek Jesus and His presence alone! Friday we meet at 7pm and Josh is speaking on the subject of the Ark. Saturday we fast and pray all day, and then gather for a "Tent of Meeting" at 6pm. Sunday I'm speaking on "Walking in the Spirit"; the sequel to last week's "Dividing Soul & Spirit". If we can grab hold of this one thing... if we can find the place of His abiding presence and then live there, there will be no limits! Let Your Kingdom come! And by the way, if you can't make it out, you get to benefit just as much as if you were here. Read Numbers 11:16-30 and Matthew 10:40, 41. If you're an Eldad or a Medad and you happen to miss being here, we claim a "tribal anointing" over you and may you receive all that we do this weekend. You're a part of our tribe, and you get to reap all the benefits!   

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, October 24th

     "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:44-46) Let me boil this down real simply. NOTHING is more important in your life than HIM! If it keeps you from Him, get rid of it, move it somewhere else, postpone it or give it away. God responds to hunger. He calls those blessed that go after Him with all that they have. How much of God do you want? You can have all you want and more!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

     "Give me liberty or give me death." Doesn't sound like Patrick Henry had a "Plan B"! We need to follow the Lord like this. There is no alternative. Give me Jesus, and I'm NEVER turning back! We need to burn all the bridges back to the old life. Follow the example of Elisha. When Elijah called him to uproot himself to become his apprentice, he literally destroyed his source of income and jumped in full steam. (1 Kings 19:19-21) Our attitiude should be that if this Jesus thing doesn't pan out, I have no where else to go. (by the way... it always pans out!)

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

     I know I preached this Sunday, but it is so important it bears repeating. What society deems acceptable is not usually what God sees as acceptable. The world's reality is that there is no real set standard for truth. Ethics are situational. Sin is an archaic word. "Live and let live". And since we are an evolving civilization, today's truth will not be tomorrow's. God has a certain reality that never changes. But even Christians don't always see as He sees. Otherwise we would NEVER fear. One of the names for the Holy Spirit is "The Spirit of Truth." The closer we draw near to Him... the more intimacy we embrace... the more we allow the Spirit to fill us... the closer we draw near to truth. Our reality transforms into God's. We become Christlike. We become impactful. As God's reality becomes ours, we change the atmosphere of our world just as He did. We put the world on notice that there's a renewed reality coming! And maybe what's more important, the "rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" are put on notice that a renewed reality is coming! (Ephesians 3:10) The reality is this... "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14) "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow." (Philippians 2:10) "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

     Take a look at Revelation 12:10 with fresh eyes. "They overcame him (the "accuser of our brothers") by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." Satan not only incessantly accuses us before God, but delights if he can get us to nip at each other's heels. But we are aware of his schemes! We are not accusers, we are intercessors! We stand in the gap for each other. Our love for each other "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:7) Know how to cast down the accuser. Don't listen to the lies he spews, even if they're have a degree of truth in them. They may have some truth but not THE WHOLE truth. That is summed up in the FACT that the blood of Jesus was shed for us and those we are tempted to accuse, and that perfect love covers a multitude of sins. The word of our testimony concerning each other should be prophetic! It should see with the eyes of God. What does the Lord say about those we are in conflict with? Does He see them as broken and vengeful, or whole and sanctified? And finally, our love should be "to the death". You may not be called to martyrdom, but what about the death of your pride in giving honor to another above yourself? If we can realize these three points deeply in our own lives, we take the claws and fangs out of the accuser's arsenal, and all he has left are empty threats.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

     "The territory of an uncrucufied thought life is the beachhead of Satanic assault in our lives." (Francis Frangipane) You've heard that it was all in your head... that's absolutely true! There is a battle going on right now and it's for your mind. The enemy dwells and reigns in darkness, and he desires to have you live there as well. Don't give him an inch. Bring it all into the light. Allow Jesus access into every area of your being, in order to transform it into His mind. (1 Cor. 2:16) Allow every attack on your life to bring you closer to the Lord. Let the very methods of the enemy bring about the plans God has for you. Once the devil sees this, he'll flee. (James 4:7) Remember, the ultimate goal in your life is NOT the defeat satan, but Christlikeness formed in you. You don't have to force your spiritual authority down the throat of a situation, you just have to be at rest in Jesus, and bring the kingdom with you wherever you go.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

     In wandering the wilderness for 40 years, God did not leave the Israelites to starve. Among other things, He provided them with manna. The trick in harvesting it was you couldn't take more than the needs of that day. If you tried to get enough for tomorrow, it would spoil. The only exception was that it would miraculously keep through the Sabbath. Today's manna is His presence. Why do we treat it any different? You can't stockpile it and hope it will get you through multiple days or even weeks. To maintain life, you have to come to Him DAILY! If you're wandering through a wilderness right now, this is especially important advice. You can't skip a day, hoping yesterday's fellowship will get you through. It will not. Meet with Him today. Before your head hits that pillow, meet with Him.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

     I was praying in the park early yesterday and just began to look around and notice the morning activities. People busy opening their businesses, getting to work, getting to school. Cars and trucks already making Larkfield a congested street. The sound of the train in the distance getting the masses to wherever it is they're going to. I wondered how many of these people knew Jesus. I pictured most of them eternally lost. I thought of the book of Ecclesiastes of all things. Solomon had all the wisdom he would ever need. He was one of the richest men of his time. Because he had no limits, he tried everything and found it ALL useless. People's lives are very complicated with all they have to accomplish. Much of it, if not all of it is eternally useless. I'm reminded of a quote from Thoreau... "Most men lead lives of quiet desparation and go to the grave with the song still in them." Their lives are a haze of nothingness and they don't even realize it. And what's much worse, they're bound for eternal separation from Christ. We have the glorious opportunity to shine the light of truth in people's lives. We get to show them the reality of the Kingdom of God; that it can revolutionize their lives now and forever. We get to introduce them to their true purpose in Christ. This is the heart of evangelism!

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

     David and Israel had sinned greatly against the Lord. The Lord sent a plague that killed 70,000 men. David repented and desired to build an altar to stay the plague. A man named Araunah offered the land and all the materials, only asking the King for a token offering. David refused. "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24:24)        (pause for moment of reflection....................) What are the offerings we bring to the Lord? No, I'm not talking about money. I'm talking about you. "Offer yourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord as an act of worship." (Romans 12:1) DON'T DARE OFFER HIM YOUR LEFTOVERS! He deserves the absolute best, right off the top. David refused the easy way out. He knew what was required of him, and to Whom it was to be offered. He gave us His very finest. We can do no less.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

     "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so!"

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

ednesday, August 15th, 2012

     "You provide the fire... I'll provide the sacrifice." (read Romans 12:1,2)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

     "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." (John 1:51) This is the day of open heavens!! The veil was ripped in half at the crucifixtion, signifying the destruction of the barrier between God and man. We have total access to the throne and to the heart of God. One note... the price has been paid! Confess your sins, repent and walk in to the fullness. If you mess up, "there is no condemnation!" The enemy wants you to waste time in "purgatory" before you're good enough to reenter. LIE!!! This isn't about you. He paid the price that you could never pay. Receive His forgiveness and walk to the front of the line.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

     In John 17, Jesus gives us 4 things in order for us to "steward" the presence of God: in order for it to be possible to maintain constant communion with Him. 1. His Words (Vs. 8) 2. His name (Vs. 11) 3. His joy (Vs. 13) 4. His glory (Vs. 22) So... hide His words in your heart and use them often. Speak His name continually. Choose joy over heaviness and speak words of life. Spend time often in praise, just seeking His glory and presence, not asking for anything, but just desiring to be with Him. Make this your life's habit and you WILL enter into His fullness!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

     "In His presence is fullness of joy." (Psalm 16:11) I'm of a mind anymore just to say that in His presence is fullness. All of life's answers are found with the King. He IS health. He IS deliverance. He IS joy. He is acceptance. These attributes define the Kingdom of God. Let's not relegate the Kingdom to just heaven and eternity. "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand", Jesus said often. Where the King is, there is His Kingdom. So......... Be with Him! Seek Him, know Him and fall in love with Him. Practice the presence of God so that it is natural and continual. Walk in the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It's in that place of His presence where there is fullness of all things!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

     "Neglect not the gift..." (1 Timothy 4:14) "Stir up the gift..." (2 Timothy 1:6) Steward well the gifts God has given you. Other's ceilings are your floor. When you pray, God always does something. Don't focus on what God isn't doing, but what He is doing. The kingdom of the enemy is lies, lack and limitation, but the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

     Wow! Wow! Wow! Did we have an awesome weekend or what? The Bethel Team was with us from California, and the Spirit of the Lord fell like I've never seen it before. Many were healed miraculously, and lives were changed! Thank you Chuck, Kris and Francesco for your faithfulness in ministering. This is the kind of move I've been yearning for all my life. Not just talking about the Kingdom, but seeing it in action. Now, what do we do with it? The Lord has given us great seed, and we need to "steward" it. One thing I know, We're not turning back, and we're not going to let it fizzle out. We need wisdom in where to go from here. The Lord will supply it, and all His authority and anointing. Buckle your seat belts... it's going to be a wild ride form here on out!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, July 5th, 2012

     We just celebrated our country's independance yesterday. Growing up, one of my favorite gospel songs was the Couriers' "The Cross is my Statue of Liberty". I just found out the other day that it's author, Neil Enloe was asked to use the song in a very prestgious national event, if only he would take out some of the more overt Christian references. He politely declined. Last year I put the title of the song on our church sign out front. Thousands of cars drive by every day. I got in a little bit of trouble. Someone in town took offense that I equated the cross with the statue. He wrote a complaint in the local newspaper contending that the cross represented hypocrisy, bigotry and the worst that religion has to offer. I wrote a rebuttal. We went back and forth a few times until I felt our continued correspondance would be fruitless. He just wanted to argue. The fact is, the cross IS the symbol of all that is good and righteous. It is THE symbol of the great love God has bestowed on us. It offers us a level of freedom that statue never could. "I am free at last from the law of sin and death. I will live in grace all my days. My resounding song will forever be He washed my sins away"!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

June 27th, 2012

     "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)    Life. All mankind is looking for it, but few know WHERE to look. Jesus is the source of life, having conquered death. It's as simple as that. The disciples knew it. When asked if they would follow the crowds and abandoned Jesus, Peter replied "to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68) 1 John tells us we actually pass from death to life. Most people don't even know they're currently dead. (spiritual zombies!) Think about this. Jesus is life, the only source of life, and the possesser of nothing but life. When we establish relationship with him, all that He is becomes us. His anointing. His wisdom, His strength. We begin the process of becoming Christ-like in every way possible. Breathe in the fresh air of heaven! You have been "predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son." (Romans 8:29)   

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

     What a colossal waste of time! Solomon tried everything under the sun, and found that it was all meaningless. For the wisest man in scripture, he should have seen the outcome from the beginning. When I say he tried everything, I mean EVERYTHING! Read Ecclesiastes. (not when you're feeling low, though- it's really depressing) Not until the END of the book does he get it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He had already established this in Proverbs- isn't it interesting that things we know we sometimes doubt and have to learn them all over again! End of story.... develop a personal relationship with the Lord where awe and respect and honor and obedience are the priority. And by the way, it's not because you're afraid of heavenly lightning bolts, but because you're so in love with Him, that you'ld never imagine violating any of His laws, that all have their source in His great love and holiness.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

     "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment." (Matthew 12:30)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

     'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." Quickie.... no matter how difficult the walk gets, it still beats the alternative. The enemy would discourage your walk with Jesus and distract you somewhere else, but the only place you can find the words that lead to eternal life are in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

     The healing team from Bethel Church, Redding California (Bill Johnson- Sr. pastor) is coming to The Refuge July 6-8! We are believing for great things! Take another look at the directive from Jesus on last week's blog. This is the good news of the Kingdom; God wants us to be whole! I've grown up hearing amazing stories of healing and deliverance from missionaries in other countries, and was told that we don't see it here in America because we have other options and we have too much money. While there may be some validity to this assumption, mostly I respond to it... BALONEY!! I believe this is a critcal time for the Body of Christ and this church. While seeker sensitive churches are stearing away from the supernatural, I believe the heart of the Lord is to embrace it even more. The Bible is clear about what the New Testament church is supposed to look like. Let's not settle for anything less just because it's more difficult. That said, we have a responsibility. We have 5 weeks and 2 days before the team arrives. We need to set the table in prayer, so that whatever seed is planted falls on fertile soil. Right after we came here, the Lord gave us a specific word concerning our future. It would evidence in two waves. The first would be an increase in the prophetic. That is well on it's way. The second would be an increase in healing. The Lord told us that these two would lead the way to a great harvest of souls and an unprecidented impact on the community. WE NEED TO PRAY! WE NEED TO FAST! Go to prayer NOW and ask the Lord what your part is in all this. Join our prayer meetings on Sunday at 6pm. Find a fasting scedule for yourself. "Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you!" (Hosea 10:12)

Keep the Faith       

 

Wednesday, May, 23rd, 2012

     "As you go, preach this message: 'The Kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give." Why have we watered down our message since the days Jesus walked the earth? We preach self-help, loss counselling, marriage/ financial/ parenting/ etc. strengthening, how to study the Bible (by the way... ALL great things to know as Christians!), but we never do the scary stuff. It's frightening to pray for the sick and expect miracles. It's scary to address demons and take authority over them. And what about raising the dead??? Has this message passed it's day? Or have we just lost the anointing, and settled for a simpler, "safer" message? I think it's time to take Jesus at His word, and do the works He's called us to do. Let Your Kingdom Come!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

     Consistency. When I see people in trouble, it's the one thing that they usually lack. When I receive an antibiotic, it does no good to take half of the dosage. I need to finish the prescription. It's foolish to think that I should approach God only when I'm in trouble. I've built no relationship with Him. I don't recognize His voice. I don't know His heart. Through His great mercy He does answer the "fox hole" prayers, but don't expect it to happen always. If I want to see His Kingdom really manifest in my life, I need to seek Him daily. My time with Him has to habitual. My time with Him has to be priority. Look at anything in nature. Consistency always trumps tears and fervor when our backs are against the wall. Build a strong fellowship with Him in the plentiful days, so when the lean days come, you're storehouses will be full.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

     "You will remember that the location where Jesus was crucified was called “Golgotha,” which meant “place of the skull.” If we will be effective in spiritual warfare, the first field of conflict where we must learn warfare is the battleground of the mind; i.e., the “place of the skull.” Indeed, the territory of the uncrucified thought-life is the beachhead of satanic assault in our lives. To defeat the devil, we must be renewed in the spirit of our minds." (Francis Frangipane) I love this! Read Eph. 4:23-24. Allow the Spirit and the Word to wash your mind. Look to be disciplined in your thoughts. It is possible! He has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a SOUND MIND!!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

     "But the end of all things is at hand." (1 Peter 4:7) So if that's true, what does Peter tell us to do about it.   1. Be sober   2. Pray   3. Love   4. Be hospitable   5. Use your gifts   I'm very interested in what people think is of utmost importantance. To know that, look at the last thing they ever said. The above is most important to Peter. John 17 is Jesus' last teaching. "That they may be one". Of all that Jesus ever taught, this is what He wanted to leave the disciples with. That they may be one. The Body of Christ put into action. All we have and are sustained by comes from our relationship with God and with each other. If Jesus thought this was so important, maybe we ought to double our efforts in exploring the depths of the subject.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

     Garfield says "Today I'm doing nothing, 'cuz I started doing it yesterday and I haven't finished yet". How much time we waste, ESPECIALLY when it comes to pressing in to the deep things of the Lord! There is such an incredibly supplied banquet table where the things of heaven are served up. And we are satisfied with the scraps that fall from that table. Pull up a chair. Feast on all that heaven has to offer. Healing! Provision! Wholeness for the whole man! Intimacy with God! Authority! This is an all-you-can-eat buffett where you'll never be chased away for eating too much!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

     "And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today." (Luke 5:26) You've heard it said "God works in stange and wonderful ways". He does this for a number of reasons. First, to prove that He's God and we're not. Secondly, to offend us. We fall back into our religious spirits on a regular basis. We get lazy. We coast. We like the familiar. When that happens, we don't seek God. We don't need to. We have our "familiar". So God does something "strange" to knock us off balance. He purposly offends our sensibilities. We feel out of sorts with our lives, and run to Him for stability. The moral- trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding. (Solomon said that- smart guy!) Cast off the religious spirit that creeps up in all of us, and run where God runs when He runs, no matter how strange the destination or the method. Whatever He says to you... DO IT!!

Keep the Faith   

 

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

     Spiritual battles were never meant to be fought alone. We read Ephesians 6 and think that all we need to do is put on our own armor and we'll be victorious. The whole context of the book of Ephesians is BODY, not INDIVIDUAL. If ministry can not be accomplished alone, because we need all that everyone else has to function, why should warfare be any different. Just as in earthly warfare, I possess specific fighting skills. But I need yours as well to fight the enemy. I may be good at a frontal assault, but you're better at espionage. Plus, no war was ever won by one soldier. We need an army to be more than conquerors. And we have that, if we war as a unit, not as separate entities. We take our orders from our Captain, Jesus Christ, and we join hearts to fight and win against the enemy of our souls.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

     WARNING! THIS IS NOT AN EASTER BLOG! (gasp!) Is there anything better than being in His presence? No! Not a great church. Not a strong family. Not your health. Not "blessing". Not answered prayer. Nothing.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

     Carefully read 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. You may be familiar with it. We all want to be victorious in spiritual battle. There are two ingredients here to success. First, fight with the weapons God gives. The world's weapons are all human-based: ingenuity, strength, charisma, knowledge, influence, trickery, alliances. Just take a look at the TV show Survivor. The spiritual weapons at our disposal are the Blood of Jesus, our testimony verbal and lived-out, and our lack of self-love. These are honed in only one place... on our knees. Second, we need to radically change the way we think. About pretty much everything. Every thought that sets itself up above Jesus. Everything that is anti-Christ. If you want to know what that looks like, read the list in Galatians 5:19-21, and the OPPOSITES of the list in verses 22-23. Also, take a look at Philippians 4:8. These are not girly attributes. These are not to be looked at lightly. These are weapons. They are mighty to the pulling down of strong holds. They assure our victory.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

     I know it's human nature, and I've done it myself, but why do we fight with God, and why do we complain that God has somehow slipped in His duties? HE'S GOD, for crying out loud! He makes no errors in judgement. He never is caught sleeping on the job. He doesn't forget. He's able to do all things. Nothing is a mistake. Nothing is beyond His sight or His ability. And on top of all that, everything He does is goverened by holiness and love. So if something is amiss, it's not God's fault. "Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you." (Job 22:21) This isn't a magic formula for having everything you want. I hear way too much of that on Christian TV. This is all about total submission to the "only wise God". If He is who He says He is, and we get in line with His plans, only ultimate good can come of it. Period. So stop complaining and rejoice that you are found in the center of the plan of God for your life.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

     "Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." (Galatians 5:16) Oh, the unnecessary struggles we have with ourselves! We could be winning the battle with sin. We could have victory over fear, depression, anger and jealousy. We could stop complaining that we are our own worst enemies, and live a Christlike existence. We could see the truth about ourselves and walk in God's revelation. All we need to do is walk in the Spirit. Surrender completely to His voice. Don't question His directives. Just obey. Seek out the Scriptures and allow the Spirit to reveal the depths of your wicked heart. WANT all the changes that God has for you, and sell ALL you have to get them. Count the cost and give Him all. See yourself as a slave to the Spirit of God. A love slave. Through this kind of abandonment you can have freedom once and for all from the sinful nature!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

     "A man reaps what he sows." (Galatians 6:7) There are certain immutable (unchanging) laws that God has set in motion. This is one of them. Paul has two lists in Galatians 5. You know them as the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. It's pretty simple, and NO ONE can EVER circumvent it. If you participate in the first list (read it!), the result is destruction. If you give yourself over to the Spirit to cultivate the second list, the result is eternal life. Our society usually doesn't work in absolutes.  There are many shades of grey. On this subject, there is no wiggle room. Sobering news for the "fleshers", great news for those walking in the Spirit. "Don't become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (6:9)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

     Don't come to the conclusion that just because you're in a tough spot, the Devil is victorious and God has forgotten about you. Sometimes, it's that very God who put you in that tough spot. God allowed Job to suffer. God allowed Joseph to be put into slavery. God allowed Ruth to become widowed and destitute. God allowed Daniel to be potential food for the lions. All of these stories were to bring about a better ending, and to show the power of the Lord. All of them were better off at the end than at the beginning. We still retell all their stories thousands of years later. Trust God with all your heart. Don't lean on your understanding. He is God, after all. He knows what he's doing. He's redeemed you by the blood of His precious Son, and so has too much invested in you to ever forsake you.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

     "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35) Jesus knew the importance of being with the Father; communing; reenergizing. Real simple... if Jesus NEEDED to do this, how much more do we? So.... DO IT!!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

    There is something in our spirits that attracts us to one another. That is the essence of the Body of Christ. Short and sweet.... our joy ought to come with anything that brings us together, and whatever tears us apart ought to nauseate us. Don't be the rebellious, cancerous cell. Submit to the head Jesus, and the authority that He places in the Body. Look to do all you can to make the Body as healthy as it can be.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

     We've just begun taking a fresh look at Watchman Nee's "The Body of Christ- A Reality". What a great insight this man of God had into the depth of what it means to be a member of Christ's church! As I've been studying, I am reminded of all the people who've been wounded by the "church", and who have excused themselves from having anything ever to do with it again. Pity. No, Tragedy. No, disobedience! Who's idea is the church anyway? It was God's all along. I agree wholeheartedly with Brother Nee when he says that a person who does not gladly embrace the idea of the Body of Christ can not be a Christian! I'm not speaking of organized religion, but of the connectedness the Lord wants us to have with Him and with each other. We were created NOT to be alone, and those who carry disdain for His Body don't understand it. You want some good reading on the subject? Google the title of the book. I found the entire text on line. Through his writings, brother Nee has given new hope for the Body to be and to do all that Christ has called it to.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

     I was watching the history channel the other day and they had a show entitled "Prophets of Doom". Experts from different specialties met together to discuss reasons why they all felt the earth was headed to certain and imminent destruction. It was a two hour special. They were extremely concerned about such things as overpopulation, lack of food, water, fossil fuels and global warming. Not once did they show any concern over the idea of sin. Of course they wouldn't. But why do we spend so much time attempting to save ourselves from natural disasters, and not any time at all about our eternal destinies? You already know the answer to this. Just food for thought. "What is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26) 

 

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

     We all want to hear from God. How much simpler things would be if the Lord would just speak plainly to us. Here's the key... allow God to touch you with His holy fire! In Isaiah 6, there was a confrontation between Isaiah and the Lord. He met Him in all His awesome glory. The temple shook at it's foundations. Isaiah compared himself with God's holiness, and found himself coming up short. (to say the least!) An angel came with a live coal from off of the altar, touched his lips and declared him forgiven of his sins. (I want you to see the significance of all of this) At that point, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord. Get it? If you want to hear Him, allow Him to confront you, burn you with His holiness, change you. "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Such is the generation of those who seek Him." (Psalm 24: 3-6)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

     It's a shame, but pain does have purpose. Pain tells us that something is wrong. Why is it that we don't do something about a situation that needs changed until it hurts? We don't stop sinning, even if we know it's wrong, until we get caught. We'll ignore a situation until it's annoying. It would be much easier if we listened to the voice of God and obeyed instantly, but we usually wait until we can't bear up under it any more. Pain is God's grace. We just have to listen to it, and do the right thing to alleviate it.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

     For those of us who have given up on the political process, and maybe even our country........      http://frangipane.org/cgi-bin/gx.cgi/AppLogic+FTContentServer?pagename=FaithHighway/Globals/DisplayTextMessage&PROJECTPATH=10000/1000/728&sermonid=textsermon_1324524539913&customerTypeLabel=Weekly&sermontitle=Even Sodom!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

     Have you ever prayed and felt like whatever you were saying was bouncing off the ceiling and getting nowhere? Deuteronomy 28:23 states that at those times the heavens seem as "brass". We're praying just the opposite for the new year. We're declaring this a season of open heavens! Jacob dreamed of a stairway to heaven (NOT the Led Zeppelin song) with free access coming and going. It was here God promised great blessing on Jacob and his descendants. Jacob named the place Bethel; the "House of God". This is the kind of relationship I want to have with God... friendship, intimacy, communication, access. It's certainly what God has wanted with us from the beginning of creation. So pursue it strongly! Remove every man-made obstacle. Discover God's promise of open heavens!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

     We just survived another holiday season! At least some of us did. I suspect there were some who spent the holidays alone. Not the way God intended it. From the beginning He said it was "not good for the man to be alone." That still applies. And I'm not talking strictly about marriage. "A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, He sets the lonely in families." (Psalm 67:5, 6) The Body of Christ is that family. Yes, the imperfect church is the perfect place for us to find family. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (Ecc. 4:9-12) The Lord never meant us to be "lone rangers". It is difficult to work out the logistics of being together. "Iron sharpens iron." But in the working out our relationships, the benefits far outweigh the struggles. It's the way God intended it from the beginning.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

     I quote from Wikipedia... "Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggy but hardy Boswellia tree by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Frankincense trees are also considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow directly out of solid rock. The means of initial attachment to the stone is not known but is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk. This disk-like growth at the base of the tree prevents it from being torn away from the rock during the violent storms that frequent the region they grow in. Tapping is done 2 to 3 times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic content." Frankincense is one of the main ingredients of the holy incense found in the tabernacle. It represents our prayer life. (are you getting this yet??) It is very costly and highly aromatic. So is our prayer life. There are times and places where "stripped" and "bleeding" and the tears are flowing. We think these are bad times and that the Lord has forsaken us. Actually the opposite is the truth. The Lord is looking for the "spice" of our prayer lives. Only when we tap into that high-quality fragrance can we find stability in the most violent of storms. And notice that as we continue to be pummeled, the fragrance gets more powerful. Meditate on this for a while and allow the Holy Spirit to take you to the hard places in order for "the fragrance of the knowledge of Him" to be the aroma that most pleases Him and most influences the world.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

     I just can't get this out of my head... your conversation with the Lord changes depending on "where" you have it. The convo in the kitchen is not the same as in the living room, and definitely not the same as in the bedroom. If you want answers to those nagging deep questions, you have to go to the bedroom. You have to become a lover of Jesus. How much of God do you want? If it's a casual following, all you'll get is kitchen talk. It's up to you.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

     "His disciples came to Him, and He opened His mouth and taught them." (Matthew 5:1, 2) The heart of the disciple yearns to just sit with Jesus and hear Him teach. The amazing thing about it is we could sit there all our lives and still hear something fresh every single time. I have so much to learn from Him! I need to know more about the Kingdom of God. I need to learn all the little nuances of His grace. I need to be strong in HIS strength so that I can stand up against all the darts of the enemy. I need to dig deep into His heart of love for me. I need to start yesterday and put off all else to make quantity time, because I can't cram this stuff like I did the night before college finals! This is life-changing! This "soaking" in His presence is THE key to my success as a Christian.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

     I know you hear things like this all the time, but I believe that 2012 will be a year when the church MUST abandon it's "churchy" games and enter fully into the design that Christ had all along. I don't know completely what that's supposed to look like, but what the church is supposed to be about is equipping believers to function in every way possible as kingdom people in this imperfect world. The Body must function "on all cylinders", be unified in it's calling, display deep intimacy with Jesus, stop acting like babies and grow up, and be a reflection of the fullness of Christ to each other and the world. (Ephesians 4:11-13) This is not going to be accomplished unless we lay aside the current church model and be the New Testament church once again. I'm tired of the anemia of days past, and WILL NOT be a part of it any more. Fasten your seat belts! It's going to be a wild ride!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

     You might be a redneck if the pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than you do! You might have a religious spirit if you're judgemental, unmoving, stuck in the past, self-righteous, prideful, critical, perfectionistic, divisive, argumentative, falsely holy, at fear of losing your salvation or intolerant. Jesus came against the religious more than any other group. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Walk in the Spirit!!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

     When you are wounded, it's not a battle between you and your enemy, it's about maintaining love in the midst of injustice. This is the nature of Christ!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

     "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city." (Rev. 22:18, 19) Either this book is real in total or it isn't at all. I get frustrated with people who pick and choose to satisfy their own personal theology. The warnings are clear. I choose to believe it all, despite the inconvenience it brings me. I have to change to fit the book, not vice versa. And I also choose to believe that miracles, signs, wonders, healings, and ALL authority are for the church today! I am allowing the Lord to stretch my faith to not only verbally assent to that, but to see it with my own eyes.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

     Read Song of Solomon 2:16,  6:3 and 7:10. The progression is subtle, but there is a journey from it all being about her to it all being about him. The Lord's desire is to bring us from a place of acquaintance to co-laboring to friendship to lover. From the "outer court" to the "Holy of Holies". From head to heart to the deepest parts of our soul. Once we really arrive at that place, sin ceases to be a debilitating issue, healing comes naturally and the Kingdom finds a place to take deep root. Keep pressing in deeper and deeper!

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

     Read Philippians 1:12-30. What an incredible attitude Paul had. He really didn't care what his personal state was as long as the Gospel was being preached. He could even be reviled as long as Jesus was lifted up. Peter said that if we can maintain a Christlike attitude while being religiously persecuted that the glory of the Lord is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-16) That's exactly why happened when Stephen was being stoned. (Acts 6,7) The glory of the Lord was reflected on his face and I believe affected Saul/Paul later on for his own conversion. We have been praying for the glory of the Lord to be revealed. If He is "lifted up", He will "draw all men" to Himself. So if the glory of the Lord can be revealed through my bearing up under persecution, bring it on!!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 

    "You can mimic the crucified life, but you can't mimic the resurrected life." (Bill Johnson) WOW!! So true! You can live an entire life defined by self-sacrifice, denial and humility, and you can do it all in your own strength. If you don't believe me, read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Speaking in tongues? Check! Prophesying? Check! Faith? Check! Benevolence? Check! Martyrdom? Check! Living in the fullness of Jesus' new Kingdom life? Not necessarily! You can do all these things IN ABUNDANCE and miss out on Kingdom living down here and ultimately heaven. (just ask Pharaoh's wise men in Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7, or read Matthew 7:22, 23) The true resurrected life CAN NOT be mimicked, because there is only one source. That's when we die to ourselves and allow His new life to take it's place. What is the resurrected life? Seeing the blinded eyes opened, the lame walking, the dead raised to life, captives of every kind of prison cell being released, real hope shattering the malaise of hopelessness, AND having the Lord Jesus Christ as the center of it all. That can't be bought, mimicked or duplicated. (Acts 19:13-16)

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

     We've been studying the Tabernacle of Moses on Wednesday evenings. Bottom line... the focus and centrality of the entire tent was the holy of Holies; God's presence. The GOAL was the holy of holies; God's presence. Anything short of that was insufficient. And yet we stop short of full fellowship with God all the time. As long as we're saved....  As long as we're full of the Holy Spirit....  As long as we have a good working knowledge of the Scriptures....  As long as we have an active prayer life.... All of these things are great! But they all are a means to an end, and that end is intimate fellowship with God. "Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8) THIS is God's heart and the ultimate end for ALL that He does! He wants fellowship with us. Just like Adam and Eve had. Just like we'll have for eternity. So, don't camp out wherever you find yourself in your Christian walk. Press on until you find yourself dwelling in the Holy of Holies!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

     Just a quickie... you can't stand on God's promises if you're not fulfilling the requirenments.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

     In Bill Johnson's book "When Heaven Invades Earth", he states that, according to the Matthew 6:9-13,  prayer consists of two things; intimate worship that brings us to a place where we really become one with Jesus (John 15) and praying the Kingdom down to earth. When we worship, our hearts should begin to beat as His. We should be able to weep when He weeps, laugh when He laughs, and have our minds function as His does. We should be able to accomplish what He set out to when He walked this earth. "Hallowed be Thy name". The rest of the prayer, save for the final phrase, asks us to pray down His Kingdom, in all of it's authority. This includes daily provision, forgivensss and protection. Stop for a second and consider this......................................... Question- how does this match up with our current prayer life?

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

     When the lame man asked for alms in Acts 3, Peter & John offered them much more! The world is in dire need of a greatr many things. But their vision usually only extends to their physical needs. Pater saw past this and offered something of eternal value. My question... what do you offer those whose hands are outstretched? Something temporary and carnal, or something eternal and God-sourced? When we reach out to a world in need, we had better have the goods. We don't want to make the world feel better about itself, but to see the "Kingdom come". Jesus came with divine insight, a healing hand and heaven's authority. He gave His church the keys to the Kingdom, so we should be continuing all that Christ began. So when we say "silver and gold have I none", what DO we have to offer them?

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

     Joy!!!! That's what we experienced in church this past Sunday! The Lord did something unusual, and I pray not as a one-time event. We concluded the service with some "organized chaos". Communion was a celebration this week, as opposed to the usual somber practice. (not that there's anything wrong with the that- see 1 Corinthians 11:17-34) There was dancing! There was exhuberance! There were children and adults waving flags and pounding on drums! There was freedom! There was joy! It was refreshing, and anything BUT religious. (Acts 3:19) I believe the time is now that the Lord is blowing a breeze through the church, in order to bring His voice, His healing, His joy and His authority. It will be so authentic that the greatest skeptics will not be able to call it man-made. It will be for the salvation of many, as well as the establishing of the Acts church. Hold on to your seats... it's going to be a wild ride!

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 

     Real quick... read Ephesians 4:11-16... do we practice these verses fully? Do we believe them? THE BEST way to be the church Jesus envisioned is to put these verses to practice IN FULL. Lord restore the 5-fold leadership in the church! Cause us to grow together into maturity and to be the impactful presence in the world you want us to be! Amen!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

     "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) Do you hear what Jesus is saying here? Wow! We forfeit access to the Kingdom if we don't get this! We are hosting Vacation Bible School all week. I'm tired already and it's only Wednesday! The kids are great. And honest. And hilarious. Art Linkletter was right, kids really do say the darndest things. (I know, I'm dating myself) There's something refreshing about the way they handle themselves. Not the childishness, but the childlikeness. The wonderment as they approach God. The ability to drop offenses quickly. The simplicity of their lives. I believe these are the qualities Jesus was looking for. Qualities that fit a Kingdom mentality.

Keep the Faith, PJ    

 

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

     "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) Do I need to say any more?

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, July 20th

     "They that wait upon the Lord will; renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:31) The word wait doesn't mean to sit back and twiddle your thumbs, getting annoyed with God when things don't work out as you envisioned them. It means to wait in hopeful anticipation, KNOWING that God WILL come through. That kind of confidence gives you strength. It comes from a word that means to gether together (like sticks for a fire). What we're gathering is an ever growing revelation of the glory of God; his power, His presence and His love. If we can get these things cemented in our brains, it builds faith, and the ability to soak in His presence to get strength.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, July, 13th, 2011

     There comes a day when ALL heaviness will be lifted for the people of God. I can only imagine what that will feel like. It's kind of like being blind all your life, and then suddenly be able to see. There's no context for that. Isaiah calls it a joy that will last forever. (35:10) At that day, we will be overwhelmed by gladness and sorrow and mourning will "flee away"! "In Your presence is fulness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Psalm 16:11) The good news is is that we don't have to wait till heaven for this. If there is fullness of joy in His presence, then we need to get in His presence. It's in that place where the heaviness is lifted. It won't be to the degree of eternity, but it's a great place to start!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

     It's time to grow up in Christ! When we were kids all we could handle was a rule book. Don't cross the street. Don't touch the stove. Go to bed when your told. Eat all your vegetables. We didn't have the capacity to formulate our own values, so someone did it for us. Then puberty hit. We thought we were sophisticated enough to know right from wrong. Our parents suddenly lost their luster. Problem was, we were ON OUR WAY to being able to decide for ourselves, but had not actually arrived yet. Now that we're adults, living off Momma's milk is unthinkable. But that's what we still want. We'd rather just follow the rules than be mature enough to have an honest relationship with the Lord where we give Him everything: heart, soul, mind and strength. Just let me clock in and out of my Christian experience. Let me do my duty. (see Isaiah 28:9, 10) The Lord's goal for us is Christlikeness. That doesn't happen following the rule book. In Jesus' day, the Pharisees would have loved to continue their existence following the rules. Jesus came along and built a Kingdom where everything was a matter of the heart. It wasn't enough to look good outwardly; if there was lust or anger or greed in the heart, it had to be dealt with. It's time to become a man. It's time to start acting like a woman. It time to put childish ways behind us.     

 

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

 There's no getting around it... unity preceeds empowerment! We can't be at each other's throats and expect the Holy Spirit to move in an "Acts" sort of way. Jesus understood this. Just before He died, His epic intercessory prayer revolved around this central theme. He gave His church 3 things to bring them into unity; His Word, His Name and His Glory. We don't necessarily have to agree on every subject, but we do have to have a common faith in the Bible, inb the name of Jesus and all that that means, and the present work of the Holy Spirit and His revealed glory. (John 17:8, 11, 22) If we can be on board with each other in these areas, I believe we will see Acts in our day!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

     There is no substitute for the presence of the Lord. But because of the price to aquire it, we conjure up cheap alternatives. We make sure the music is a professional tight "set", we work diligently at hooking the visitors from the moment they drive on to the church property. We anticipate every one of their needs, and develop strategies to accomodate them. We live by statistics and demographics. Was Jesus seeker sensitive, or did He just bring with Him the Kingdom and it's power? How did Jesus achieve such success without any of the trappings we feel are necessary to church growth today? Answer- He healed the sick, He cast out demons, He raised the dead and He preached the simple yet uncompromising message of the Kingdom. People came in droves. They experienced real life, where previously all they got was religion. While Madison Ave. would tell us in detail how to attract the world, Jesus just lived out the prayer "Your Kingdom come , as in heaven, so on earth". What's the price? Absolute surrender. Total sensitivity to the Holy Spirit- a willingness to think outside the box and go where the Spirit leads.  A brokeness that takes no personal credit for any victories won. Quality AND quantity spent on our faces before Him, even to the negelct of church "busyness". Simply put, do what Jesus did when He walked the earth. And don't ever take the short cuts!

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

     "Satan dines on what we withhold from God." (Francis Frangipane) You give him an inch, and he'll gain a foothold, and then control of your life. So give it ALL to Jesus! Leave no leftovers for the enemy to enjoy.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

     "Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consumated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts" (Francis Frangipane) Real quick... don't even think about wielding the power of the Holy Spirit until the fruit of the Spirit is evident in your life. Once the government of Jesus is fully functioning in us, all of the authority and benefits that Jesus possessed automatically follow.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

     "You give a tenth of your spices-- mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-- justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former." (Matthew 23:23) Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees. People who prided themselves with getting all the details of religion correct, but forgot about the heart of the details. Jesus was all about the heart, not the letter of religion. We don't clock in our religious day, and clock out when we've checked everything off the "to do" list. God isn't impressed with what we've accomplished, just that our hearts are pure and passionate for Him. If we have an honest passion for Jesus, we will do all that the law requires and more. We are to love mercy. We are to pursue love above all things. We are to be fervent in the application of Kingdom principles in our own lives. "Beware the leaven of the pharisees." Don't major on the "spices", and forget the matters of the heart.

 Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

     "In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. No prolonged infancies among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love." (exerpts from Ephesians 4- The Message)

Keep the Faith, PJ

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

     The badge and the gun. I can't get away from it. I've mentioned this a few times in church recently. Policemen have two weapons at their disposal. The badge signifys authority, and for most it is the only deterant they need. When the badge is displayed, the offender submits. But there are times when the badge is not enough. When authority is not respected, the power of the gun is brought to bear. Our authority is the name by which we are associated. We are Christians. We are Children of the King; Heirs and Joint Heirs; Kings and Priests. But bearing the name is not enough. We must also wield the gun... the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Look at the difference between the stories in Acts 3 and 19. Peter and John used the name of Jesus to bring healing to a lame man, but 7 brothers, using the same formula, were TOTALLY unsuccessful. The reason, the indwelling Holy Spirit. As we're moving into a deeper understanding and application of the Acts church, understand that we need both; our position in Christ, and His Spirit in control within us.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

     We're taking a closer look at the Acts church; trying to model ourselves after it a bit more. I've noticed that they had two initial ingredients that made them hugely successful- a sense of real unity and the power of the Holy Spirit. Real simple- let's try to secure these two things, and then we'll get on to the rest. Acts 2:1-4 and 2:42-47. Let's REALLY walk them out!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

     Two scriptures to blow your mind... "If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you." (Romans 8:1) "For in Christ, all the fullness of the Godhead dwells, and you have been given fullness in Christ." (Colossians 2:9, 10) The promise is that we can have the fullness of the Spirit in us; the same spirit that we see on Easter Sunday. The most powerful force in the history of the universe is the power that raised Jesus from the dead. At the moment of His resurrection, death itself was destroyed. The enemy's greatest weapon was made powerless. And that power is available to us; not just to be at our disposal, but to actually dwell IN us. With that kind of power, we canreally do "all things through Christ who strengthens us."

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

     "But he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:13) Pastor Henry was with us on Sunday and shared a challenge concerning the end of days and the great deception brought on by the Anti-Christ. The whole of Matthew 24 and then in subsequant chapters bears this out. The end times will be days of unprecedented calamity. But we need not fear. There are two simple things we need to do. One, be lovers of the truth. This will put us in a good position to combat any false doctrine. The other is to stand firm in the faith. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and Righteousness". That's where our faith lies. If we can handle these two, we "will be saved", even though all hell is breaking loose!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

     By far, the greatest responsibility we have as Christians is bear the name of Jesus to a world in need. We have this "treasure" in "jars of clay". Both of those descriptions could'nt be more true. Think about how precious is the name of Jesus, and it's saving power. Think about how inadequate we are for the task of bringing the message. It's little doubt we are commanded to wait in Jerusalem until we are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit. Then and only then are we prepared to be witnesses. Just like American Express, don't leave home without it!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

     "I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves me!" (from the song- "How He loves") I really needed the Lord's help Sunday when we went to the altars. I felt very inadequate in diagnosing each persons individual needs, and also in describing the magnitude of the love of the Lord to meet those needs. But when we began to pray, and the words of that worship song began to ring out, the faithful Holy Spirit took over and did what we all could not. We're meditating this week on 1 John 4:18. Take this verse and just think about how much God loves you. Don't use your feelings as a reference point, but the Word of God. Just do it. Think about it. Deeply. Go ahead.... I'll see you next week.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

     I want to weary myself for You, Lord! I don't want to burn quickly and then fizzle out into uselessness because of my own pride, but I want to shine "ever brighter till the full light of day". I don't want Isaiah 43 spoken over me, especially when instead of wearying myself on His behalf (vs. 22) I have wearied Him with my sins and offenses.(vs. 24) What are the number of my days down here? How much of my time has been spent on things that won't last the day/week/ month/ year much less eternity? I don't want anything undone that the Lord has laid out for me. I want to push myself past the point of  convenience in order to accomplish the great things. I do not want to coast. I despise mediocrity. If greatness were easy, everyone would be doing it. In the end, I want to be fully spent. What, am I pacing myself?! I want to weary myself for You. I want to burn for You.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

     "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...... (Isaiah 40:28-31- my life verses!) The choices are clear: stay intimately connected to the Lord and have success wherever you turn, or neglect that relationship and face certain failure. Anything in the middle ground is mediocrity. (Yuck!!) My guess is that's where most of us live. Sometimes fervent, sometimes lukewarm, sometimes absent altogether. Can I challenge you? Nothing of any great spiritual significance will ever be accomplished if we are not "on fire". (trite, but true) So get off your backside, light up the fires and burn bright! Quality AND quantity time DAILY spent in His presence. Growing exponentially! Advancing the Kingdom violently! Actually making a difference with your life! Very cool!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

     "Comfort, oh comfort my people," says your God. "Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem, but also make it very clear that she has served her sentence, that her sin is taken care of—forgiven! She's been punished enough and more than enough, and now it's over and done with." Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God's arrival! Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God. Fill in the valleys, 
level off the hills, smooth out the ruts, clear out the rocks. Then God's bright glory will shine and everyone will see it. Yes. Just as God has said." (Isaiah 40:1-5)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

     "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morningstar rises in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19) We've been talking since the beginning of the year about receiving a clear word from the Lord. One of the greatest results of all this is confidence. Peter calls it a SURE word. No doubt! Do you think God experiences times when doubt and worry enter His mind? Scripture says we can have the mind of Christ! (1 Corinthians 2:16) Imagine a life free from indecision! Once we've established this kind of stability, there's a world out there in darkness that needs us to shine the light of Christ. We receive a sure word for ourselves, and then we receive a sure word on where to take it, and what to say. No doubt! Abundant harvest!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

     How do we know if the voice we're hearing in our spirits is God, and not our own wishful thinking? The answer isn't as confusing  as you would think. First, make sure your heart is pure before Him. That's always been the prerequisite to be found in His presence. God is faithful in revealing all that is offensive. We have to be ABSOLUTELY TRANSPARENT if this is to be effective. No "sacred cows" here! Get familiar with His voice through prayer, praise and time in the Word. Get to know His nature. The more adept you get at this, the better you'll be able to differentiate between God and other voices. Finally, make sure you don't filter the Lord's voice through your own woundedness. I can make God say pretty much anything if I have an agenda. But I should want the pure voice of the Lord even more than I want Him to take away my pain. Good journey!

Keep the Faith, PJ    

 

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

     In our pursuit of intimacy with Jesus, we are given access into the "Most Holy Place". Why then, are we happy spending time in the "outer court"? Why do we hold the Lord at bay, content with a relationship that could be so much more. One thing we've been practicing here at The Refuge is developing a conversation with the Lord that's first person and two-way. We don't want to talk ABOUT the Lord, we want to talk TO Him. And guess what? He talks back! From Eden until the present, The Lord has desired this kind of relationship. Try this... speak the Psalms of David as if they were your own. Hear the heart of David and feel the breadth of emotions he felt. And then hear God return to you as if you had His full attention. Let Him speak to you in the first person. "I love you, and have a great plan for you." The Spirit of God is calling you to a deeper place. Answer the call.

Keep the Faith, PJ      

 

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

 "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63) The whole purpose for meditating on single verses is to go beyond the obvious and allow the Spirit to take you to the heart of the Father concerning a verse of scripture. I hope you've doing that this week with this verse. Pretty profound! The thing that jumps out at me immediately is that more and more we need to make sure we're not trying to accomplish things in our own strength, intellect, ingenuity or resources. Hear what God is saying to you NOW, and apply those words to your life. The result is REAL Kingdom life, not the cheap substitute we too often settle for.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

     "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) Such a profound statement! The Lord is speaking to YOUR situation. Stop striving. Stop worrying. Get a picture in your spirit of God in all His strength and grace, and then see Him by your side. This is what the Lord's been revealing to The Refuge in this new year. Our scope of vision needs to be filled with all that God is. That could take a while! The knowledge of the Lord has to move from our heads to our hearts. We're talking relationship here, not mental understanding. If we could uncompromisingly guard our daily time with the Lord, stilling ourselves before Him, allowing Him to speak to us and not just the opposite, receiving a full revelation of who He is, hearing clearly His voice............  WOW!!!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

     "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:37-39) As we keep pressing in at the start of the new year, we want to hear the voice of God clearly. Think about this for a second. What would change if that happened? Answer... everything!! What would it have been like to actually walk and live with Jesus 2000 years ago? Did the disciples have an unfair advantage over us? No! We don't have the physical Jesus with, we have something better; the indwelling Spirit of God! If we come and believe, the Spirit of God wells up from within us, flowing out to bless God, us and others. Everything changes. If the Spirit of God lives in us, His Spirit speaks the heart of God to our spirits, and we can have clarity, knowing the voice of God in every situation. Beautiful!

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

     At the beginning of 2011, our emphasis is to be able to clearly hear the voice of God. Why is that so important? Duhh! (the Duhh is for me, not for you) This is God we're talking about... the one with all the answers. ALL THE ANSWERS! So we seek His face. I said His face, not his hand. The key here is to develop relationship with Him, because out of that everything else flows. My eyes see more clearly, my ears hear more clearly, my mind and my will and my emotions are more like Jesus'. The Kingdom of God is more fimrly established within me. I have more power in my prayer life. I have a better understanding of what's happening in my life and what God has to say about it. This isn't "God, answer my requests", this is "Christ, be formed in me until your image is firmly established in me". From this, everything falls into it's proper place. (Matthew 6:33)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

    "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10) May you receive full understanding of what it means to walk in the fulness of God's full life! Make this your goal for 2011!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

     "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means 'God with us'". Meditate on that thought and let the indwelling Christ lead you to the truest meaning of Christmas. Comfort and Joy from the Steffens' home to yours!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

     "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." (St. Bernard) I meet more people every day who can't seem to find any normalcy or routine. They start off well, but VERY quickly get distracted, or lose interest, or lose heart, or lose energy, or find something more pressing to attend to. I suppose it's a sign of the times that we can't seem to stick to anything too long. When I was younger (here we go!) it wasn't uncommon to hold one job your whole career, or stay in one town or stay with one wife! These days we find it hard to commit to anything. We have so much drama in our lives, that even a steady relationship with the Lord seems out of reach. We need to fight for normalcy. We need stability in our lives. We need to guard our time with the Lord, and our time with other believers with our lives. Theseare our life lines. If we can stabilize these two, the rest of our lives could be in total upheaval and we could still come out victorious.

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

     Bones & Breath. That's what Ezekiel 37 talks about. The valleyof dry bones. The Lord told Ezekiel to speak to the bones to come together. God's plan. But He wasn't done. Breathhad to bring the bones to life. After that, a mighty army fulfilled God's plan. We need bones AND breath. The bones are the disciplines in our life that we do "religiously", you know, Bible reading, prayer, church attendance. These things in themselves don't get you saved, or get you points withGod. They do however set an inner strengththat stands firm in the middle of the strongest storms. Habits that we don't have to think about, but are brought back to our remembrance when we need them the most. But these things alone just breed legalism. We still need the breathof God so that we walk not in our own might or power, but in the power of the Spirit. We can then accomplish things that are spiritual. Bones & Breath. We need them both. Just ask Ezekiel.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

     God speaks! He really does. We just spent a great weekend with Brother Alan Ross. Not only did the Holy Spirit use him greatly in personal prophetic words, but the whole weekend spurred us on to be a people who hear from God regularly. From Genesis to Revelation, God's heart has been to have a deepening relationship with us, to the point where our heart beats as His, and we become so familiar with His voice that when He speaks, we have no confusion as to what He's saying. What a great thing that would be! Press in as never before, and see what happens.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

     In a sermon at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Gary Wilburn said:

"In 1636, amid the darkness of the Thirty Years' War, a German pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried five thousandof his parishioners in one year, an average of fifteen a day. His parish was ravaged by war, death, andeconomic disaster. In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table grace for his children:

'Now thank we all our God / With heart and hands and voices; / Who wondrous things hath done, / In whom his world rejoices. / Who, from our mother's arms, / Hath led us on our way / With countless gifts of love / And still is ours today.'

Here was a man who knew thanksgiving comes from love of God, not from outward circumstances."

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

     "Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me! Break me, melt me, mold me, fill me, use me!" "I need Thee, Oh I need Thee!"

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

We live far below our reality of Sons & Daughters of God. "Creation waits in eager expectation for the Sons of God to be revealed. Creation itself will be liberated from it's bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Once we start acting like legitimate children of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit we can affect great change. We receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on us, andwe then become a witness to the world of what can happen when we step up to our full potential. Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Come out of your mediocrity andenter into the fullness of the Spirit filled life. Live out the book of Acts in today's world! Make a change that cannot be made in your own strength.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

     I took the grandkids to the movies the other day. We saw an animated movie about owls. It actually was a pretty good movie. They filmed it in 3D, so we had to wear those cool glasses. The effect was OK, but I remembered going to Disney and watching 3D on a REALLY wide screen, and the effect was so much more compelling. I've been thinking about our eyesight, and where we place ours. The Bible has much to say about what we keep in our field of vision. The more we keep Jesus as the center of what we see, even in the periphery, the stronger we will become. We may have the Lord as the main focus, but those annoying distractions and sins haunt us from the wings. Switch to the WIDE screen, and make Jesus the ONLY thing you allow in your line of sight, and "the things of earth will grow stangely dim".

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

     "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Mathew 24:35) The Word of God doesn't change because society is now more enlightened than we were a generation ago. The Word of God doesn't change because it's content is uncomfortable. The Word of God doesn't change to fit our lifestyles. You can't take out your editing pen and remove the parts that don't fit your current understanding of things. Either we call it all God's Word, or none of it. We have no right to pick andchoose. There are strict warnings in Revelation to those who mess withthe content of The Book. (22:18, 19) The fact is, we line up withGod's heart, not the other way around. And lest you think this is legalistic or unreasonable on God's part, He only sets the bar high and unwavering because He loves us, and wants us to walk in righteousness, not desiring us to feel the current pain of what HE describes as unholy living, or to suffer the eternal consequences of justified and unrepented of sin.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

     It's not sacrifice unless it costs you something. King David found that out when he went to build an altar to the Lord, and the land he wnated to purchase was offered to him at no charge. He refused. "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Samual 24:24) Jesus calls for ALL who follow Him to a life of sacrifice. (Matthew 16:24-26) So what do we offer Him? Is it the convenient leftovers from our self-absorbed lives, or is it something that "hurts" when we give it? Trust me, there's nothing in our lives that we can't do without. The Lord will always give back something that is far better. If we don't learn the lessons of self-denial, we will never experience the bounty of all that the Kingdom of God offers.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, September 29th

     "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:31) But I don't like to wait. Our society doesn't really pride itself on it's patience. On the otherhand, I really need God's strnegth right now. What to do!! The word wait comes from a Hebrew word that gives the picture of collecting some cords andtwisting them together. We need to be "twisted together" with the Lord, hoping on and trusting in Him to be what He is and to do what He promises. Read verses 28 and 29 to give more detail on those two things. Meditate (take time and really mull over) on the indisputable facts that He is the Everlasting God, Creator of the universe, who never grows weary andwho's understanding goes way beyond ours. Standon the promise that He does give strength to the weary. Tie your heart to His until the words in Isaiah come off the page and become personal revelation to your spirit.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

     "May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it." (1 Thess. 5:23, 24) What a great promise! This week we started a series on inner healing. It's certainly God's design for you to be whole in every area of your life. Deliverance from the chains the enemy puts on us is part of the heritage of the sons anddaughters of God. But deliverance comes witha price. Someone quoted me something profound this morning; when we pray for deliverance, many times what we want is relief, when the Lord wants change. If all we get is relief when we pray, the problem will surely return, and most times worse than before. If we come to the Lord for deliverance and hold nothing back, willing to be changed into His image no matter what the cost, then we will indeed find the deliverance we prayed for.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

     "(Hey, You!!), bless God! From head to toe, bless His holy name!" (Psalm 103:1) In the King James it tells us to give Him ALL that's within us. So...... are you??

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

     "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day." Coward! Oh, I know it's a whole lot easier to run from adversity, and we can even rationalize why staying away from harm is a good thing, but especially when the Lord calls you to fight, then FIGHT!! King David, for reasons unknown, stayed at home when it was the time of year "when kings go off to war". Alone in the palace, he spied, lusted after and ultimately committed adultery with Bathsheba. When she found out she was pregnant, He manipulated Uriah's death on the battlefield. He suffered the consequences for the rest of his life. This was all because it was easier to run than to fight. When the Lord leads us into battle, victory is always assured. He never leads us into defeat. It may be a rough road, often filled with setbacks, but in the end we are promised to be "more than conquerors" through Christ.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

     As much as I despise politics in government, I despise it even more so in church. We're fast approaching  yet ANOTHER political season. (or is this just an extension of the last one?) I expect those running for office to say whatever they need to to get reelcted, but the church ought to be the place where truth is always spoken, andwhere people honor one another above themselves. The Body of Christ needs to maintain a high degree of selflessness if it is to survive. Don't get me wrong, a local fellowship needs to have structure, but if that structure becomes so rigid that the love of the brothers takes a back seat, it's crossed the line. I love what David said in Psalm 85 10; "Love AND faithfulnessmeet together; righteousness AND peace kiss each other". (emphasis mine) We CAN have both structure and mercy. Our motivation for why we gather needs to be pure. No back room antics. No maneuvering for prominent position. No people on pedestals. Sadly, this will never be a reality in Washington, but it can be in God's house... I've seen it and am striving for it at The Refuge.

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

     "Love puts up with anything, never loses faith, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end." (1 Corinthians 13:7,8) Simple question... is this how we love each other?

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

     It's been a few weeks since my last blog. It's been a crazy summer! You'll want to check out the photos on the web site to get an idea of what we've been up to. But on to more important things... Have you ever been too busy doing things for the Lord, that you didn't have time to spend with Him first? ("guilty!") You literally could spendthe rest of your "christian" life that way. It would kind of be like sitting in your car, making believe you're going somewhere, but just sitting in the drive way. The presence of the Lord is the gas that gets you to where He wants you to go. It's also the roadmapthat tells you where you need to go. Moses understood this when he cried to the Lord "If your presence does not go withus, do not send us up from here." (Exodus 33:15ff) Pastor Cho from South Korea is a VERY busy man. (his church runs over 1 million- no kidding!) He looks at his schedule for the day, and then goes and spends hours in the presence of the Lord, knowing that nothing will be accomplished without it. Moral- if you're too busy to spendtime with the Lord, you're too busy, and your priorities are out of whack!

Keep the Faith, PJ    

 

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

    "But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." (Psalm 73:2, 3) I know it's easy to bemoan the state you're in, especially when someone else is prospering and seemingly "getting away with it". Don't! Scripture is clear that the ultimate end of the arrogant and wicked is eternal separation from God. NOBODY EVER "gets away with it". Seek the Lord first in your life, and everything else will fall into place. (Matthew 6:33) Let God sort out everybody else... He does a much better job of it... I have enough just taking care of myself!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

    "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"- Jesus (John 8) Just a quick thought... Biblical knowing is not just a mental agreement, but an application to the deepest recesses of our beings. If the truth of Jesus isn't allowed to penetrate All of you, it is not truth at all, and CAN not set you free!

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

    When's the last time that we "put ourselves out" in pusuitof the Lord? We live in a society of ease. I love technology, but to some degree it's made us soft. I can drive to half a dozen stops around town andNEVER get out of the car! If I have other obligations on Sunday, who cares if I miss church? If I've been too busy this day, I'll have my private time withthe Lord tomorrow. Why is it He always gets the scraps. Doesn't he deserve the "first-fruits"? This is not as new thing. Isaiah saw the trendwhen he noticed that we "wearied" the Lord with our offenses, but not ourselves FOR Him. (43:22; 24) Why not go the extra mile for Him today? The fruit is immeasurable.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

    Why is it that we always have enough faithfor everyone else, but never for ourselves? Think about it for a second... does God change just because we're the ones going through the difficulties. Just because something's personal to us, doesn't diminish God's abilities. Our desperation level increases, so we worry God can'tcome through for us like we believe when we're praying for someone else. GOD DOESN'T CHANGE!! The same big God that can do all things for someone else is exactly the same God who will be there for you. Take that faith you have for others, and apply it to your situation, and...

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

     "At the moment God removes our burdens, He removes our excuses as well." (Thanks again Bro. Francis) That's probably the reason why people are so hesitant to have the Lord free them completely. Misery loves company, and if there's no misery, we feel at a loss. We take ownership of our problems to the point that they identify us. We get sympathy from others if the subject is raised. We love the attention. David Got to this point. He wallowed in his difficulties, ultimately crying "this is my infirmity". (Psalm 77:10-KJV) If you ever wanted to find David, he was camped out in his problem with what he thought was no way out. But if you read the rest of the Psalm, when David began to remember, the Lord turned his whole situation around. Why not allow the Great Burden Bearer to remove your burdens, and then let Him give you a new identity defined not by your problems, but by His limitless abilities.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

     "They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength." (Isaiah 40:31) Waiting is a little scary! We don't like to wait for much of anything. Something happened in service on Sunday that at first made me a little uneasy. I thought worship was about through but Matt continued to strum away on the guitar. I thought I would just say something and end it, but the Lord impressed me to wait. It seemed like an eternity, but in reality it was probably only a few minutes. And then people started ministering in the gifts, and we ended up having a great time of healing in the pews and at the altar. None of that would have happened if we had ended the worship when I thought initially we should have. MORAL: Wait on the Lord, and don't put any time constraints on it.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

    I am the worst evaluator of me. I need to turn to the Lord and allow Him to take the "veil" off my eyes, letting me see as He sees. The only time in my life when real transformation takes place is when I stand before His glory UNHINDERED by ME! "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!" (2 Cor. 3:16-18)

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

    "Desperation is God's hammer: it demolishes the stronghold of fear and shatters the chains of our excuses. When our desperation exceeds our fears, progress begins!" (Francis Frangipane) Thank you brother Francis... 'nuff said!

Keep the Faith, PJ

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

    "Fortune favors the bold". Why can't we take that attitude into Kingdom matters? Why do we often sit back and take a "whatever happens" approach? Jesus himself said that only "forceful men" lay hold of the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 11:12) It doesn't just fall in our laps, we have to go after it. I was listening to a teaching CD the other day, and the speaker mentioned that no where in Scripture does it encourage us to "be open" to the things of the Spirit, but to "eagerly desire" them. (1 Corinthinans 12:31) Those that are mearly "open" will be waiting a long time. If you find a pearl of great price, there is no cost to great. "Sell all you have" and go after it!

Keep the Faith, PJ    

 

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

    "But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him." (Genesis 39:20) What a comforting thought! In my deepest trials, there the Lord is. (sometimes we wish he could be with us a little more in the green pastures and the still waters!) More than that, He USES those trials to bring us into greater blessing or to keep us from disaster. Read the life of Joseph and see the hand of God leading him through really tough places in order to bring about God's ultimate plan. The promises to Joseph are yours as well!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

    "No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." (Calvin Coolidge) The entire infant Christian world was destitute. This was the state of the church in the years following the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. You'ld be hard pressed to find too many beleiverswho were considered rich. But one group was REALLY struggling... the church at Jerusalem. Whatever the reasons, this particular group was at the bottom of the heap. The Apostle Paul urged the church in Asia to send what they could out of their own meager means. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 tells us how to give. Do you want the grace of God to be over your life? Do you want to receive His "indescribable gift"? Then obey what Paul writes about in this passage. Our own church, The Refuge, is hurting financially just like so many others. I asked them to give an offering this past Sunday to assist another one of our families. It was generous and almost to the penny exactly what the family needed. It's so cool when the Lord orchestrates something! I believe those that participated will be blessed of the Lord, because it really is more blessed to give than receive, even when (and maybe especially when) we feel we can't but think of ourselves and our needs. It's a strange paradox, but this is how the Lord works.

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

    If you're a believer in Jesus, you are automatically a member of the Body of Christ... so findyou're place! If you think Christianity is a private matter, to be kept to yourself, think again! The idea of the church came from God, not man. Even though we get it wrong very often, scripture still rings true: "It's not good for man to be alone". (Genesis 2:18) "Don't give up meeting together." (Hebrews 10:25) One of the apostle Paul's favorite subjects deals withhow we interact with each other as Christians. We are in desperate need of each other if we are to use our gifts, grow as individuals, and even glorify God. He designed it to be impossible for all this to be accomplished on our own. Paul also encourages us to find our specific callings in the Body and, knowing that we are ALL vital, walk out that calling. I need you! And if you decide that fellowship is not all that important, you deprive me of the gifts that the Lord has placed inside of you, and vice-versa. Think about it. Act on it.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, April 14th, 1020

    The words I want to hear more than any others... "Well done, good andfaithful servant." What better thing than to have God put His approval on your life? Think of all the other epitaphs you could clip on your tombstone... "He was a self-made man"... "He died with the most toys"... "I told you I was sick! (Yikes!!)... "He cured cancer" (really great, but think about it; temporal, not eternal). No amount of accompishments, gain, knowledge, pleasure, prestige or relationships can match the person who finishes by being able to say with Mary, "Whatever He said to me, I did it". Simple, but it's all the Lord ever asks of us. All it takes is a lifetime of committment and obedience.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

    "The louder he talked of his honor the faster we counted our spoons." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Why is it that we feel we have to blow our own horns all the time? You know, the more we brag about our accomplishments, the less people believe and respect us. (see Ralph's quote) Jesus admonished us to take the back seat, and let His will bring us to the front if and when we're ready. (Luke 14:7-11) He also told a parable of two men at the altar. One, a Pharisee, spoke great platitudes in prayer about himself, (probably so everyone could hear!). The other, a tax collector, (apologies to all who work for the IRS) couldn't even raise his head, but humbly asked for the mercy of the Lord. Jesus said that the second man was the one who was justified before God. "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:14) Find your whole worth in God's eyes, and don't worry about what man thinks. If it's necessary, you'll be exalted at the right time.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

    The Resurrection is proof that you can try to put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there! Over the centuries since Jesus walked the earth, men and governments and even "churches" have attempted to completely wipe out (or worse dilute) the message of the cross & the empty tomb, to no avail. The famous deist Voltaire bragged that the Christian church would become defunct by the end of his lifetime. His house was used to print Bibles after his death! If you can't keep a good man down, than you certainly can't keep the best man down. The message, life and influence of Jesus of Nazareth is as powerful today as it ever was. The cross & the empty tomb are rallying points for us. They provide for us complete relief from our past sins, strength for the day, and the promise of an eternal home. Nothing in heaven nor earth can silence that message of hope! Blessed Resurrection Day!

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

    "He has delivered us from a great death, and does deliver us,  and we trust will continue to deliver us." (2 Corinthians 1:10) Blow my mind! He's got my past, my present andmy future! The work that Jesus accomplished on the cross continues. It's a deeply penetrating salvage operation. I once was helplessly overcome with darkness and lostness. His love has never and will never cease in searching out and destroying the pain, and the rebellion, and the sickness of my inner man, and continues to offer me healing and deliverance. (Ed Corley) What He did on the cross was thorough! And lest you think he'll leave you in a lerch, He promised to carry on the work whose goal is your COMPLETE WHOLENESS until it is completed on the Day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

Keep the Faith, PJ          

 

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

    This is real quickie! "The gift of God IS eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23b) But if you think eternal life is all we get out of the cross, think again! Go to last Sunday's sermon on the web site (Sin- part 3) and look at the second half of the notes. See the promises there (this list is NOT exhaustive!). These come also as a result of the cross and Jesus' great love for us. Enjoy the FULL benefits of Calvary!

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

    "Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done." But if we're bringing the kingdom just in talk and not in power, we're not really bringing the kingdom at all. (1 Corinthians 4:20) Jesus preached the good news to the poor, bound up the brokenhearted, proclaimed freedom for the captives, release from darkness for all prisoners, the year of the Lord's favor and the day of His vengeance. He comforted all who mourned, and spoke of the Divine Exchange; a new life for our old ones. Does that sound like what we're accomplishing, or are we playing church?  Paul also said in Romans (14:17) that what the Kingdom of God looks like is if we're living righteously (our backs turned from sin and living in obedience to God), experiencing the personal peace of God in even the most dire of circumstances, and walking in the joy of the Lord. That's the kind of kingdom I want to be a part of! That's the kind of kingdom that will change the world!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

    In a post-modern world, is holiness outdated? I DON'T THINK SO! You can say whatever you want to about the subject of sin. It may not be very "PC", but it's still relevant. I recently googled the question "Does sin exist?" andcame up with some really bizareanswers. Many think that it's just a lack of enlightenment. Some believe it's man's inhumanity to man. The Bible (that IS still our rule of faith, isn't it??) is very clear on the subject. Sin Biblically defined is literally "missing the mark". That mark is God's law, and sin is willful disobedience to that law. Human nature is ever seeking for loopholes. We take the pathof least resistance when it comes to obedience. (Whatever we can get away with and still call ourselves Christians) Jesus goes in the opposite direction. He didn't come to make it easier to call Him Savior, He just made it more comprehensive. He doesn't want you to compartmentalize your life and give him pockets of who you are, He wants your entire life. (Read Matthew 5:17-20ff) Not only is the Bible clear on the subject of sin, it's clear on its consequences. "The wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord. Pretty big stakes. I guess we had better get it right....

Keep the Faith, PJ 

Wednesday, February 17th, 1020

    Oscar Wilde said that consistency was the "last resort of the unimaginative". Oscar Wilde was an idiot. (He was also a pervert and a reprobate) One of the things that we run away from, but need desperately, especially in the Christian life, is consistency. It's not boring to do the same thing day after day. What it is is the developing of  habits that eventually become part of our nature. I'm concerned and alarmed at the inconsistency of some Christians. Daily attendance on God's word and prayer, and a  regular lifestyle of gathering with other believers won't get you saved, but they may KEEP you saved. I was speaking with our ladies prayer group this morning about the characteristics of the "greatest generation". (those who went through the Great Depression and fought in WWII) As a rule, they didn't make excuses. They went to work sick. They understood sacrifice. They didn't succumb to the "having to have it now" mindset. They never made alternate plans on Sunday... that was the Lord's day. They nurtured their families. They believed in and defended their country. Where did that go??? Is it too old-fashioned to think that those attributes still work today? I think part of the reason we're in the mess we're in is that we've forsaken consistency. We're "free spirits". We're not tied down to anything. We change directions on a whim. If we face any resistance or discomfort, we bail out. We make excuse after excuse. We wouldn't know sacrifice if it bit us in the backside. Little wonder our spiritual lives are anemic. Great news though.... If we fight the good fight; if we finish the race; if we keep the faith... we can turn the tide and not only bring ourselves into a place of strength, but make a difference in our world.

Keep the Faith. PJ  

 

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

    We were never intended to surroundourselves in Christian fellowship solely withpeople we get along with. Naturally, we gravitate to like-minded people, but some of the best lessons I've ever learned, and the most personal growthI've ever experienced, has been through the "sharpening" of people that sometimes rub me the wrong way. (Proverbs 27:17) One reason is that friends aren't always the most honest with us, while there are some who are more than happy to correct us when we're missing the mark. It may sting, but what if their correction, despite their motivations, is right? Also, what better way for us to mature to the fulness of the measure of Christ (Ephesians 4:13) than, instead of bailing on everyone who annoys us, to try andfigure out in Jesus if there's any way to fellowship withthem. It's easy to get along withour friends. It takes maturity to get along withthose who we naturally wouldn't get along with. It sounds like something Jesus would do.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

    Here's a great paradox to run your life by... allow God FULL access to help you brutally honest with yourself, and NEVER forget how much He loves you and will NEVER leave you or forsake you. If we can get the second firmly established, we know that whatever He sends our way is ONLY for our good.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

    "Many religious people are troubled that the world is not Christian, yet are untroubled that their own hearts are un-Christlike" (Francis Frangipane) I love this. I hate this. (cuts too close to home) We get so bent out of shape because Islam is on the rise. Cults and spiritualism are on the rise. Christianity, in some areas, is floundering. Herein lies the problem. You can't legislate Christianity. You can'tcoerce people to believe as you do. The greatest evangelistic weapon we have is a life lived in total dedication to becoming totally Christlike. If you really want to delve into this, read Francis' book "The Power of One Christlike Life". Can I give you some very concise bullet points on what "Christlike" means? An unwavering faith in God, genuine humility, a living prayer life, a true grounding in God's Word and a yielded dependence on the Holy Spirit. WWJD (what would Jesus do) is not a trite motto; it should be our life's goal in all things. Oh, and by the way, BE troubled when your heart isn't as Christlike as it ought to be.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

    Just a quick request rather than a thoughtful blog... unless you've had your head in the sand the last week, you've heard of the devastation in Haiti. If you're already doing something, GREAT! Here's an opportunity if you're looking for one... Bernadette Kummerhas been a member here at The Refuge since the 70's. Her husband, Dr. George Joseph, lives in Haiti, and runs a 100+ child orphanage, a clinic andachurch. His facility was relatively unharmed in the earthquake, but all around is flattened misery. He gave out 9000 meals in the first two days. He needs our help. We are collecting an offering THIS WEEK. If the Lord puts it on your heart, contact the church immediately. God bless you in however you react to this pressing need. Let the church rise to the occasion!

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

    If you know me, you'll know that I can be a bit unconventional. I'm not religious, and try not to use "lingo" that wouldn't be understood by normal people when it comes to spiritual things. That said, there's this old ditty that someone penned long before I was born. It may be trite, but boy, is it ever true. "Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last." Have you ever taken stock of the amount of things in your life that have absolutely NO ETERNAL VALUE? I know a VERY few people in my life that have taken this all to heart. They've given up everything that most other people scratch and claw to attain. Their lives are fully dedicated to sharing Jesus with others, and living according to the principles He laid out for us. Most of the rest of us are more like the guy in Matthew 18. He kind of wanted to serve the Lord, but he wasn't willing to pay the price. Just understand that when you make the choices that will dictate the direction your life will take, what will survive under the scrutiny of God's eternal balances, and what won't amount to a hill of beans. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

    It's been a few weeks! Hope your holidays were blessed. Can you believe it's 2010! A new year! A new decade! I always look to get something fresh from the Lord, but especially at the beginning of the year. The Refuge is once again putting together a "Shepherd's Rod" of prophetic insight. Members of the Refuge will be sharing words they've received, songs, poems, scriptures and dreams. It's always very exciting to hear what the Lord is saying through the members of the Body. One word I've been hearing is "excellence". I'll be preaching a series on the subject starting January 17th. Christians are NEVER called to mediocrity, but excellence. And not just in spiritual matters, but in all we do. Take a deep breath of fresh 2010 air, and with the slate wiped clean, let's make this a year where we follow the admonition of David and bless the Lord with "all that is within us". (Psalm 103:1)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, December 17th, 2009

    From the "not trying to reinvent the wheel department"- Josh told me of an observation that Andy Stanley had of the geneologiesinMatthew 1 concerning the lineage of Jesus. It's certainly an impressive pedigree, but did you notice the 5 women mentioned out of all the men. All of them had dubious pasts. Tamar slept with her Father-in-law Judah. Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth was a Moabitewidow. Bathsheba slept withKingDavid while still married to Uriah. Mary was found to be pregnant before she was married. All imperfect- all in the direct line of Messiah. And that's the point- God doesn't look for perfection before He can use someone. He finds those who have a heart for Him, despite their shortcomings, anddoesgreat things for His own glory. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. God deliberately chooses the base things of the world in which to prove His own worth. Good news for all of us who are less than perfect. Despite what you think you are or are not, offer yourself to the God who can take you just as you are and make something spectacular.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

    I know I've shared this before, but it bears repeating... we REALLY need to simplify our lives. I almost lost it sitting in LOCAL traffic for a good part of the afternoon. I'll make you a bet... if your life is too complicated, the thing that gets compromised first is your time with God. You'll get around to it later, but later never comes. We make choices all the time, but never think about the consequences. Why are our lives so tangled? Could it be that we have made the choice to crowd our schedules, and the result is a life devoid of power, purpose and direction? What does it profit a man if he wins the world but loses his soul? (I've heard that somewhere before!) Stop making excuses and REALLY put the Lord first in your life. Everything else WILL fall into place.

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

   Tiger Woods was found to be unfaithful to his wife yesterday. The only way you wouldn't have heard about this is if you lived in a bubble. The way the media is treating it, you'ld think it was a sign of the apocalypse. Why do we do this? Why do we put people on pedestals, setting them up for the inevitable fall, and then bemoan their imperfections? NO ONE should ever be put in a place where their moral failings affect our spiritual walks. Anyone is capable of any sin given the right circumstances. To keep ourselves out of those circumstances, we need to get our eyes off of celebrity and fix them on Jesus, the "author andfinisher of our faith". You can'tever go wrong if your faith is based 100% on the Lord. You can save your prayers for the fallen, knowing that "there, but for the grace of God, go I."

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

    "I will publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works." (Psalm 26:7) Have a blessed, Christ-centered Thanksgiving!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

    I'm sitting here watching WWII in HD on the History Channel. The color pictures are some of the most graphic I've ever seen on TV. I am incredibly moved by the sacrifice of the "Greatest Generation." Knowing that many of them would die, out troops nonthelesswentheadlong into the fiercest of battles. They believed in what they were fighting for. They literally "did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." (Revelation 12:10) And I think... do we have near the resolve today when it comes to spiritual warfare? John said in Revelation that the only way we would ever become overcomers would be to have that same disregard for the mortal part of us. "Though you slay me, yet will I trust you." (Job) "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Paul) Our problem is we are such self-preservationists, we 're afraid to engage if the cost is too high. If our fathers and grandfathers had this attitude, a Nazi flag would be flying over Washington. Fight the good fight. Finish the race.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

     Click for a simple blog.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 

    "Fear is the path to the dark side." (Yoda)    Smart little guy, that Yoda. Fear makes us do things we ordinarily wouldn't do. Afraid we'll lose a boy/girl friend, we cross the line of fornication. Afraid of being exposed, we lie. Afraid of lack, we cease to trust in God and lean on our "own understanding." So, a simple question... how do we get rid of fear? Ask the Lord for a fuller understanding of His love for you. "Perfect love casts out all fear." (1 John 4:18)  It's because of His love that he only gives the best gifts. We don't have to strive when we lack, because God always provides. If a relationship doesn't work out, trust that, because of His love, he has something better. Even if discipline comes when we fail, it's only because He loves us and wants us walking down the best paths. Find where the word "love" appears in the Bible. Meditate on those passages, and let the Holy Spirit convince you of God's great love for you. And then watch the fear leave!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

    The church shouldn't be looking to Madison Avenue for it's authority. What it should be doing is walking in a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. That way, our faith rests "not on men's wisdom, but on God's power." (1 Cor. 2:4, 5) It greatly concerns me lately; the games we play in church. We market the gospel like we're producing a superbowl beer commercial. We figure that if we can tickle the interest of the public, they'll "buy" our product. I'm not against using modern technology (I am writing this on our church's website and forwarding it by Facebook& e-mail!). What I can't understand is that we put an excited face on the Kingdom and leave out most of the substance. We dumb down the message of Jesus and water down the requirements to follow him, and what we get are anemic disciples, more interested in playing church than being salt andlightin the world. When the apostle Paul visited the Christian church at Corinth, he didn't come with hype, but instead he showed that the real power of God could heal the sick, take authority over evil, andtransform lives. He knew what the fight was all about. (2 Cor. 10:3-6) You're not necessarily going to find this authority in the latest "how-to" book, but on your knees! What this world needs is not a commercialized, palatable church, but one that looks just like the one in the book of Acts.

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

    How's your health these days? I'm not talking about physically, but spiritually. The U.S. spends BILLIONS on health care every year. How much time and effort is spent on the eternal part of us? When I was a kid, we had encyclopedias (that's how old I am... we didn't get our info off the internet but out of books!). The one I liked the most was "H", because it had the section on the human body. Layers of clear plastic could be peeled back, displaying another system of the body. If those systems functioned as intended, you were healthy. Did you ever consider the correlation...

                                Skeletal- the "bones" of you... your foundation... a strong relationship with God and a grounding in His word (the Bible)

                                Muscular- your abilities... relying on God's strength and not your own

                                Digestive- the ability to process the things that come into your life and the wisdom to take in only those things that are healthy for you (God, give me wisdom)

                                Respiratory/ Circulatory- the "life-givers"... Jesus is the way, truth and life... He promises life abundant!

                                Nervous- your ability to sense God speaking into your life

                                Reproductive- the responsibility of sharing withotherswhat you've found

My prayer... "that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you." (3 John 2)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

    "I shall be anointed with fresh oil." (Psalm 92:10) Isn't that just like God?! He never gives us the leftovers! (now, I don't mindleftovers, but If I had my choice, I'd pick a fresh meal any time- did you ever have leftover Mexican??????) The Lord's mercies are "new every morning". (Lamentations 3:22-23) Since we've been on this "Daniel" fast, we've tried to come up with varied ways to consume fruits and vegetables, but after a while it all tastes the same to me. (what I wouldn't do for a Quarter pounder with cheese!) We come to the Lord on a daily (or worse- weekly) basis, and after a while one event blends into the next and we've lapsed into a mere religious experience. Can I tell you, that's not the Lord's fault. Our mind set is that when we do come to the Lord, WE are the ones bringing the leftovers. We're coasting; conducting our spiritual lives built upon something that happened in the past. We become comfortable, anddon'texert the effort to find the "fresh oil". Oh, but it's there! I promise you this; if your heart is fresh before the Lord, His will most definitely be towards you, and in abundance! Test Him and see. When you ever come into His presence, you'll never have to take the Saran wrap off of it and pop it into the microwave!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

    There are certain victories that will NEVER be won in our lives maintaining our current devotion to Christ. Some things take extra effort. A man brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus' disciples, but thet could not help them. Jesus came, and witharebukeof the devil, the boy was instantly healed. The disciples were dumbfounded. Jesus chided their lack of faith (even a little would have been sufficient) and advised that there were certain things that did not happen in the Spirit without prayer & fasting. (Matthew 17:14-20) I've been thinking a lot about that lately. I don't know about you, but there are HUGE obstacles in my life andinmyministry. The devil must get a good chuckle when I attempt to tear them down with a "Daily Bread" devotional life. But instead of a knee-jerk reaction, fasting only when the alarm bells go off, why not try a "fasted lifestyle"? Why not make a lifestyle change, forever forsaking some of the things in this life that rob us of the authority that Jesus promised (John 14:12), and FINALLY becoming the Christian or Church that it will take to defeat all the great giants in these last days? RADICAL!!

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

    For a smart guy, Solomon did some pretty stupid things. 1 Kings 11 tells us that even after God specifically prohibited intermarriage with women who worshipped other gods, Solomon "held fast to them in love." Not known for being a man of restraint, he ended up marrying 700 of them, with 300 girlfriends on the side for good measure. Do you wonder what started Solomon out toward this ultimate state of deceit? I think it may have stemmed from the incredible prosperity he accumulated. In his own words, he tell us that there wasn't really anything that he denied himself. He was a man of excess in every area of life. "If it feels good, do it" sounds like a great life philosophy, but it ultimately bears damnable fruit. Jesus encourages us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him. One of the many reasons for this is that the flesh needs to be crucified, and the spirit brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. Solomon never learned that lesson. You may envy all the things he had, but his life ended in futility.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    "You can learn this the easy way, or you can learn it the hard way." You've heard that old adage before. Now, normally you'ld think that everyone would chose the easy way, but most times that's not the case. Because the easy way is always God's way (see Matthew 11:8-30), and we have a natural tendency to do our own thing, we usually pick the hard way, and have to take our lumps before we come to our senses and decide that what God had in mind really was the right way. Does that make sense? Read Daniel 4. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream interpreted by Daniel, and was given a choice to repent of his pride and certain judgement, or continue on the track he was on and face the consequences. He chose the latter, and spent the next seven years learning the lesson he could have learned in an instant. Do yourself a favor. Live in obedience to the Lord. He's pretty smart. If He gives you advice, it's probably the right course for your life.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Did you ever watch a war movie where the good guys were trying to breach something "unbreachable"? They pushed, and were pushed back. They pushed and were pushed back. Finally, as the moving, patriotic music is coming to a crescendo, they give it one last effort,  the breach is broken, andthedayis won. Have you ever found yourself in a rut? (who hasn't?!) Discouragement comes when we push once but victory isn't attained. We get alotof calls on the 24 hour prayer line. Some of the people who call are looking for that "magic prayer" that will instantaneously release them from their prison. The problem is is that it usually takes m0re than a simple prayer to findthe answer for the messes we findourselvesin. It takes repentance. It takes lifestyle change. It takes waiting on the Lord. Jesus himself prayed in the garden. The disciples had given in to their weariness, but Jesus pressed in until he found what he was looking for. DON'T GIVE UP! If you're hard pressed on every side, know that you're not crushed. If you're perplexed, know that you're not in despair. If you're persecuted, know that you're not abandoned. If you're struck down, know that you're not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9) DON'T GIVE UP! Keep pressing in until the breach is broken. Victory is yours in Christ Jesus!

Keep the Faith, PJ   

 

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

    You've heard of the dumbing down of America as it relates to our public schools, but I think there's also a dumbing down of Christians in regards to our churches and what they're teaching. Is it me, or are we afraid to preach all that's in the Bible? Because we don't think believers or seekers can handle it, we don't get to the depth of the Word. It's kind of "Gospel-lite". Once we get them in the door and hooked in, then we'll lay on the heavy stuff. Maybe. Let me tell you something. There's not a thing in all of Scripture that's not incredibly relevant to today's situations. We don't have to be afraid to walk the whole truth out. In fact, the thing that will attract people to the Gospel more than anything else the power of the Gospel itself. (1 Corinthians 2:4, 5) Do you think people would come to a fellowship where people were getting healed? Would they come where God spoke directly to them through the gifts of the Spirit, or through prophetic preaching, or through someone praying specifically into their lives? People are looking for reality and anointing, not hype and fluff. Pray for our churches, that they don't succumb to the modern trend of watering down the Gospel, but that pastors and leadership would speak and live out the uncompromising, powerful, timeless message of Jesus and the power of the cross.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

    "Solid food is for the mature, who BY CONSTANT USE have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." (Hebrews 5:14) For the past couple of weeks, and for a few weeks more, we'll be exploring on Sunday mornings how to hear from God. This verse gives us the main key. If you are spending not just quality, but quantity time with the Lord, you willbecome familiar with His voice. Putting yourself in a position to hear from Him is vital. Getting rid of competing voices that are drowning  His out is essential. Living holy so that you can receive a more pure word is necessary. Developing relationship, not just going to Him when you're in trouble, is the bottom line. The most frusrating thing about the Christian life is our inability to hear from the Lord. But it doesn't have to be this way. There are no short cuts, no other ways into His presence, but the Bible states that His sheep "know His voice". Is there any greater thing to aspire to? There are so many times when I need to have a clear word from Him. I will pursue Him, and inquire of Him,  as David did!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27) The Lord's heart has always been for the poor. One of the mainstays of the church has always been to look after the poor. I have just one quick, pointed question... in all that we do that is labeled "ministry", how much is focused directly on the poor? Swish that around in your head for a while. Let's stop playing church and do what Jesus called us to do.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

    This one goes out to ministers ONLY. (by the way, that's everyone who calls themselves a Christian, not just the guy standing behind the pulpit!) It's just a continuation of last week's blog. There is a world of difference in ministering in your own strength and ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit. I could go to school for years, accumulating all kinds of degrees, and not be able to bring change and hope to even the simplest of problems. But a person filled with and moving in the power of the Holy Spirit can move mountains. We were in El Salvador a few years ago. I preached for 5 minutes and 95 people gave their lives to Jesus. I guarantee it wasn't the sheer power of my preaching. It was the fact that the missionary we were working with and his people had been praying for that service for weeks. We walked into a situation already prepared by God. We don't know the background of deacon Stephen, but Acts 6 tells us that the opposition "could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.(vs. 10) He had given himself over fully to the Lordship of Jesus, and then sat back and watched the fireworks! I wan'tresults! I want to see lives changed! I want to see the sick healed, the bound up delivered and the prisoner set free! I guess I just need to do what Stephen did.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

    What's that in your hand? Whatever it is, why not ask the Lord how it could be used for the Kingdom. In Acts 3, Peter & John didn't have what the crippled man was asking for, so they gave them what they DID have; healing for 40 years of being lame! How is it that they came across this authority? Some magic incantation? A church seminar? The latest teaching CD? NO! They had Jesus in them- filledwith the Holy Spirit (fresh off the day of Pentecost). That was much more powerful than silver or gold. I was watching Star Wars the other day, and Darth Vadar said something to the effect that even the ability to destroy an entire planet was incomparable to the power of the force. That's Hollywood (andEasternreligiousthinking). The truthis the power of Jesus living in you is of far more value than any other gift or talent you could possess. That kind of "force" can move mountains and raise the dead. So, let the force be with you, Luke!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Tough lesson to learn... I think you know the story. David lusted after, andthen slept withBathsheba. He then had her husband killed. Nathan the prophet confronted him by sharing a parable concerning a rich man andapoorman. The rich man confiscated the only lamb the poor man owned to feed a house-guest, when he had plenty lambs of his own. Upon hearing the story David, burning with anger, spoke judgement over the rich man, deciding that he should pay the debt back 4 times over. Of course Nathan revealed that David himself was the man. David repented, but the sentence would be carried out. The child of his illicit affair died 7 days after being born. His daughter Tamar was brutally raped by his son Amnon. She would live out her days alone and in disgrace. Amnon was murdered by his brother Absalom, who was eventually murdered by Joab, the captain of David's army. 4 lives destroyed because of one murder. Prophecy fulfilled. The second commandment states that God punishes "the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourthgenerationofthose who hate me, but [shows] love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:5, 6) The moral: when you make the decision to disobey the Lord andsin, you never only affect yourself, but others as well. The flip side is true also. When you decide to walk in righteousness, future generations are blessed. Your sins are never hid, but are revealed in the lives you love the most. Read Deuteronomy 30:11-20. The Lord sets before you TODAY life and death; blessing and curse. CHOOSE LIFE!!

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

    "Only one life, 'twill soon be passed, only what's done for Christ will last." It's an old, overused ditty. It's true. My grandkids are here for a week. I look at the three of them and wonder where the time goes. It was only yesterday that MY kids were their size, wasn't it? I want to dovetail on last week's blog. We don't have time to waste!!! (!!!) Days turn into weeks turn into months and years and we haven't accomplished what we intended to, especially for eternity. Parents, YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TO PUT OFF EVEN FOR ONE WEEK POURING JESUS INTO YOUR KIDS! Husbands, wives, witnessers, ministers, Christians- the same goes for you. "TODAY is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2; also John 9:4) Stop using excuses and pour heart and soul and mind andstrength into the Kingdom NOW! Who knows how many days are left.

Keep the Faith, PJ          

 

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

    We've been out of touch for a few weeks. It's been crazy here! First, our church took our yearly trip to El Salvador. We had a great time! Many lives were touched, including our team's. Then the family and I took a few days off for vacation. BUT NOW WE'RE BACK AND ROLLING! Here's my thought for today... I heard a statistic this week- 25% of all traffic accidents are due to distraction. Frankly, I would have thought it was much higher. While driving, there are so many different things that draw our attention away from that which is the most important thing- driving! The same happens to us spiritually. Someone said once that "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing". That "main thing" is Jesus! And yet we get so distracted, often by legitimate "other things". (family, work, recreation) I don't know how it is where you live, but it's BUSY here on Long Island. By the time we get done with all the things we HAVE to do, there is little or no time left for the main thing, Jesus. We really do give Him the "scraps" off our tables. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord with ALL our hearts, souls, minds and strength. (How's that going?!) "Seek first the kingdom of God, and all other things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) Do any of the things that take up the vast majority of our time have any eternal value at all? What good is it if we get it all done and lose our own souls? My challenge to you is to figure out how to get the main thing back into the place of being the main thing. Guard your time with the Lord (privately and in the church setting) and let nothing be substituted for it. If you do, "everything else will be added unto you."

Keep the Faith, PJ      

 

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

    We just got back from El Salvador the other day. Praise the Lord! It was another fruitful missions trip! Thank you all who gave and prayed. One of the highlights for me was an impromptu kids service on the street corner where about 15 kids got saved. It was awesome! Later on in the afternoon we connected them with a local pastor. Pray that they continue their new walk with the Lord. I just wanted to encourage you all. You don't all have to come down with us on our next trip to Central America, but you ALL have to get plugged in somewhere to kingdom work. Your mission field could be right around the corner. It could involve handing out Bibles, handing out food, or handing out the Gospel. Somewhere the Lord has a work for you. You may not think it's significant, but whatever talents you have, USE THEM! (Matt. 25:14-30) Even a "cup of cold water", given in the name of Jesus, has great impact. Pray this prayer: "Lord, show me what part of the harvest field I'm supposed to be in. I don't want to sit on the sidelines. Here I am; send me."

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, June 24th

    When you get a chance, read Exodus 33:12-23. I don't know what the glory of the Lord "looks" like, (does it have to "look" like anything natural in particular?) but boy do I want it! Moses pleaded withtheLordthat if he was to lead Israel, he wanted the presence of the Lord or it wasn't going to happen. I like his reasoning. "How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and withyourpeopleunless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" (Vs. 16) I want to be different! I want to make a difference! But how can I accomplish that if all I'm about is just religion or hype or emotional manipulation? The Lord has sent us into all the world to bring a message of hope and love. How could we possibly make any change at all if the presence of the Lord doesn't accompany us? The prophet Zechariah knew that nothing could be done by human might or power, but only by the Spirit of the Lord (Zech. 4:6) So we plead with Moses for the glory! And the Lord will reply "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

    I picked up a really nasty virus the other day. No, not medically; in my computer. It was from a company that blocked every one of my programs EXCEPT to get on the internet and order their product to solve my problem. Pretty slick, huh? To solve it, I had to erase my entire hard drive  and start from scratch. It's been a bit of a pain trying to get things back to normal. But I was thinking; isn't that what Jesus does for us... takes our sins and wipes them clean! "As far as the east is from the west" And He doesn't ever bring them up again. They really are wiped away by the power of His blood! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins andtocleanseus from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) That kind of love could take care of any virus!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

    For the next couple of weeks at church, we'll be focusing in on the SECOND greatest commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself". 1 Timothy 1:5 says that it ought to be the goal "from a pure heart". I like simple things. I'm a simple guy. So when Jesus gives us just 2 things to cue in on for life lessons, I can handle that. Love God; love everybody else. Passion for Jesus; Compassion for people. Everything else hangs on these two things. (Matthew 22:40) If you read 1 Corinthians 13, Paul gives us a list of some very lofty ideals, ALL of which are totally worthless unless we get those two essentials right. Don't bother DOING anything for the Kingdom of God until you get those two first. They are the foundation andmotivationforall in life. Personally, I think it's easier to love God than to love man. Man gets on my nerves. So, to help me with some practical ways to accomplish loving man, we'll be studying Matthew 18. Read it. Meditate on it. Ask the Lord to personalize it for your life. And then boldly walk it out. Check out the podcasts for the full sermons.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

    Boy, do I need wisdom! I make many decisions throughout my day; a lot of them are trivial. But some of them are serious. Some of them have eternal consequences. Some of them affect other people. I have to get this stuff right. Paul prayed for the Ephesians that they would possess a "spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better." (1:17) We are desperately in need of the mind of Christ. Paul's prayer gives us the reason- so that we may know Him better. There is a strong connection with wisdom and the knowledge of God. The more we really know Him, the more we stand in awe and "fear" of Him. (Isaiah 11:2) Solomon said that the fear of the Lord was the beginning (foundation) of wisdom. Once we get the order of things (He's God- we're not!) everything falls into sensible order. Pray Ephesians 1:17 today. Ask for an increase in the fear of the Lord, and watch wisdom come as a natural byproduct.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Among other things in Psalm 51, David pleaded with the Lord that He not take His Holy Spirit from him. He understood the absolute necessity of having God not just WITH him, but IN him. Let me recap from last weeks sermon. There are many things that an indwelling Spirit does for us THAT WE CAN NOT DO FOR OURSELVES! (you can fill in the blanks and follow the scripture references by clicking on the sermon "You will receive Power"- part 2 right on the home page) The Holy Spirit:

1. Convinces us of sin, righteousness and judgement

2. Empowers us

3. Strengthens us

4. Transforms us

5. Helps us in prayer

6. gives us His gifts

7. Leads us into all truth

8. Comforts us

9. Brings us into a deeper level of intimacy and fellowship

10. Teaches us Kingdom authority

11. Helps us in spitiual warfare

12. Helps in our sanctification

So what are we asking this week?.... just a simple yet desparate6 word prayer- "Fill me with Your Holy Spirit!"

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

    David developed intimacy withtheLordlong before he ever became king. When you're all alone on the hillsides of Judea tending sheep, there isn't a whole lot more to do sometimes than press in to know Him more. In our world we sorely need those times. Instead of trying to cram every waking minute with activity, why don't we try simplifying our lives to make way for those "times of refreshing". If David learned nothing else, he came to know his God. And it certainly wasn't a textbook understanding. It was first-hand fellowship. He was an "FOG". (friend of God!) He was a man whose heart beat like God's own heart. This relationship served him well years later when he actually took on the mantle or rulership. I was reading the Psalms the other day andcameacrossa "simply profound" description of God. David said in Psalm 62 that God was strong and He was loving. (vss. 11, 12) If you knew nothing else, that would be enough. By His great power He can accomplish anything, and He wields that power from His heart of immeasurable love for you. Stick that in your gums and chew on it for a while. (That's all.... just meditate on those two verses)

Keep the Faith, PJ     

 

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

    The Lord never leaves a job undone! We talked about this very thought last week in Bible study. We all have projects around the house and in our lives that we began, but never quite finished. Maybe we lost interest, or steam, or finances. Maybe we were overcommitted and moved on to more important tasks. God NEVER finds Himself in those positions. It's not part of His nature. Whatever He begins, He finishes. (Philippians 1:6) This ought to be a really comforting thought to you. Often we look at the circimstances of our lives andwonderwhere God ran off to. "There's no way that what I'm going through now is part of His plan for me." But the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, is working out all things with the ultimate goal of good. (Romans 8:28) He promised He'd never leave us. (Hebrews 13:5) The Good Shepherd will always lead us in the right paths (Psalm 23) He is able and willing to keep us to the very end. (Jude 24) Trust Him!

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

    There's a reason that Paul prayed what he did in Ephesians 3:16-19. (Go ahead, read it. I'll wait.) The Lord knows our hearts better than we know them ourselves. He knows what we need at any certain time. He knows when we need a good kick in the pants. He also knows when we need to be embraced in His arms of perfect love. (guys, don't get macho on me- you need this too!) We need to know that NOTHING (NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING!) can separate us from that love. (Romans 8:35-39) We need to realize down to our core just how wide (the breadth of it- it reaches to all men, at all times and  in all needs), and how long (the length of it- it changes our past, keeps us stable in the present and will last until the end of time and into eternity), and how high (the height of it- it reaches to the heavens and the mercy throne of God), and how deep (the depth of it- there's no hole deep enough that we've dug for ourselves, no depth of despair that His love can not pull us from) is the love of Christ. We need to know this when all other knowledge is brought into question. When all else is being doubted and argued and analyzed, this can not be! Paul prayed that (think about this!) from the infinite abundance of His power a strength would come that would get down into the deepest parts of your roots. It would settle there and allow you to really understand this love and make it the bedrock of your existence. From the bottom, this love will fill all the cavities in our lives until we overflow with it! I pray this for you today.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

    It must be nice to be convinced of something. The dictionary defines the word as "being successfully won over in mind and will in order to produce a certain action". That's a mouthful! What it means is that I'm so thoroughly persuaded about something, that it dictates not only what I think but what I do. All my fears, desires andambitions are filtered through that mindset. Paul used the word "persuaded" more than once in his writings. He was fully convinced that God had the power to do what He had promised. (Romans 4:21) He was convinced that NOTHING could separate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38, 39) He was so convinced in God's ability that he entrusted his very life into His hands. (2 Timothy 1:12) That assurednesscamefrom Paul's intimate relational knowledge with his heavenly Father, and the fact that he had given himself over to a life in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the One Who settles this knowledge in us by administering God's word. (John 16:7-14) My prayer for you today is that the Holy Spirit would be rich in your life, and that the fulness of that Spirit bring you to a place where you know that you know that you know that the God of all power and love is for you and in you.

Keep the Faith, PJ           

 

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

    God loves daybreak! Did you ever notice how many times things changed in Scripture when the sun rose? Jacob mends his relationship with Esau. Passover ends and the exodus begins. Jesus rises from the dead! "For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day." (Psalm 30:5; 46:4, 5) I just want to encourage you with this thought... you may be in a night time, but the morning is coming! The "Son" already has risen, and hope is here! "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go forth, and leap like calves released from the stall." (Malachi 4:2) Jesus is the light of the world. May He shine on your life today.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

     Last Sunday, we handed out scraps of paper, asking people to write down their fears. The list was extensive. Tune in next Sunday to hear the Lord's answers for the questions that we have. Suffice it to say for now, we need to increase our level of faith andourtrust in the Lord. I mentioned Proverbs 3:5, 6 as one of the "essential" scriptures that we have to have hidden in our hearts. If we can make this our "default" position, instead of what we see with our eyes, the power and love of the Lord will trump any situation. There is a reality that superceeds all earthly realities: and it is the Living Word of the Lord; a message straight from the heart of the Father, energized by the Holy Spirit, and exhibited in the life of Jesus. Here are just a few of those nuggets that we need to get into our DNA. John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Philippians 4:7, 13, 19; 1 John 1:9. There's plenty more where that came from!

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

     Hope! That's what we possess because of the empty tomb. Jesus is alive and we have the offer of resurrection power now and eternal life to come. Paul spent most of 1 Corinthians 15 waxing eloquent about the magnitude and scope of that resurrection. If the crucifixion bought us salvation and destroyed the power of sin, then Jesus rising from the dead destroyed the power of death and gave proof that He was more than a good teacher or a prophet. He really was the Son of God, sent by the Father as the ultimate love gift. Because of the "passion of the Christ", death has no victory; no sting (vs. 55). Satan used the most powerful weapon in his arsenal, and it fell powerless. He has none else but lies and distraction. He is nothing more than a harmless, barking annoyance. "Therefore, (because of all of chapter 15) my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (vs. 58) I will stand firm! I will not be moved by anything! I am a man filled with hope because Easter is more than just colored eggs and chocolate bunnies. It is the day we moved from thinking death was the end, to a sure knowledge that we now have life, life abundant and life eternal. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! Don't give up, but....

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

     "Concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: there is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin." (Psalm 36:1,2) We've all, at times, looked at our own sins as treasures, not liabilities. They are, in fact, "pleasurable" for a season. David puts the man above in a very dangerous position. The wicked man here does not hate his sin, and doesn't even identify it as sin. How can we ever find forgiveness and salvation without confession and repentance? At the root of this whole problem is a lack of what Solomon calls the "beginning of wisdom". Because this man does not fear the Lord, his own sinfulness is not that serious an issue. "God is a god of love- how could He ever judge me?" There's no fear of offending a Holy God. No fear of missing His grace completely. No fear of the consequences of our actions. No fear of hurting someone else. What comes directly after Solomon's well-known adage states "but fools despise wisdom and discipline". If you want to develop a healthy, deep fear and reverence for the Lord, walk close to Him. Explore His holiness and majesty. Receive His discipline gladly. He only brings it to the ones He loves. He wants you far away from the things that are destroying you; body, soul and spirit. Let Him develop in you an ear and an eye to detect the roots of sin, and the strength and courage to run from  them into His loving and holy arms.         

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

     "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly andto love mercy andto walk humbly withyourGod." (Micah 6:8) This is certainly a timely scripture! These days, if there's a shortage of anything, it's not oil or food, but truth, mercy andhumility. We've heard some recently about the "three legged stool" being the answer to our economic woes. Using the same analogy, I see the three of these, in balance, being the need of the day. Listening to the news from ANY source, I can'tfindawhole lot of justice. We're falling into the same trap that Israel fell into. "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 17:6) There IS a single source of truth, and it is the Holy Bible! We line up with IT'S truths, not vice versa. But justice without mercy is legalism. We who love the truthneed to temper it withAgapelove, looking with an eye toward the restoration of all people. And if we minister in any capacity, we need to walk humbly before the Lord, knowing that HE is source of all good things, and we are totally dependant on Him sustaining, teaching and guiding us. "I can do all things through Christ" (phil 4:13) andnothingwithout Him. Truth. Mercy. Humility. It's a pretty good recipe for Kingdom living.

Keep the Faith, PJ  

 

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

     When you pray the Lord's prayer (specifically the part that goes "Thy kingdom come"), what is it that you're asking? Are you praying for a quick end to this life, so that you can get on with the eternal one? That's not what the Lord was getting at. He was encouraging us to see the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth "as it is in heaven". Jesus spoke and acted with the full authority of His Father. (Mark 1:21-28) Every situation He walked into, He invaded darkness with light, evil with righteousness, and death with life. He was always on the offensive. His anointing came from much time spent with the Father, and a life of holiness and simplicity. He paid the price, and the results were earth-shattering. John 14 ought to blow you away. Jesus said that we would do EVEN GREATER THINGS than He did! In particular, look at verses 9-11 to see the incredibly intimate relationship that Jesus had with His Father. That was the secret of His authority. Let me ask you a question... what kind of life do you aspire to? Would you like to see the miracles and have the anointing that Jesus had? We ought to see EVERY situation we encounter and EVERY person we meet as an opportunity to establish the government of the Kingdom. But to see the results Jesus received, we need to pay the price He payed. I fear that our time spent with the Lord is WOEFULLY inadequate. Our lives are impure and distracted. Only when we deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him, will we see what God had in mind when He gave us the Lord's prayer.

Keep the Faith, PJ 

 

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

     "To obey is better than sacrifice." (1 Samuel 15:22) We don't usually equate the word "sacrifice" with the easier road, but many times it is. We "sacrifice" to impress the Lord, when what He really wanted was simple obedience. We write a big check, when all the Lord wanted was holiness in our financial affairs. We attend church "every Sunday", but the Lord wanted to be a part of our day to day. We skip the big game to attend the ballet with our wives, but she really wanted to know without any doubt that we loved her. "Man looks on the outward, but God looks on the heart." (1 Samuel16:7) We wouldn't have to play catch-up with those big, outward shows of our "devotion" if the Lord had our deepest affections. King Saul was unwilling to walk a holy life, so he tried to compensate for it with one big church service. The Lord has already mapped out His desire for our lives. He doesn't want bits of us- He wants it all. All we need to do is continually be in the place of seeking His will, not ours. We need to make a lifestyle out of going His way OVER ours, no matter the cost. The result is ALWAYS "better"!

Keep the Faith, PJ    

  

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009    

     Have you ever lost out an opportunity? We all have. The culprit many times is called procrastination. There's a story in Luke 14 (vss. 15-24) where a great banquet was the opportunity, but various excuses robbed many from enjoying it. I believe one of the most dangerous words we can allow into our vocabulary is "tomorrow". The Lord is looking for people with hearts of "ready obedience". These are the ones who do great exploits for Him. These are the ones who eat the "first fruits", not the leftovers. This is good advice in ALL of our affairs, but especially spiritual matters. If the Lord is impressing something on your heart, do it! Don't put it off until tomorrow- it may be too late. For additional scriptures, click this link.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009    

     You know the story; the sin of Sodom was detestable in God's sight, so He planned to bring destruction. (Genesis 19) The Lord gave Lot and his family a chance to escape, but only he, his wife and two daughters heeded the warning. He told them specifically NOT to look back at the judgement raining down on their old lives. Lot's wife disobeyed andwasturned into a pillar of salt. Let me just share what I get out of this... (ready, this is profound)... DON'T LOOK BACK! It's the same lesson the Israelites would fail years later when they complained that the road was too tough in the wilderness, andyearnedfor captivity back in Egypt. If the Lord releases you from something, you don't want any part of it ever again. The deception is always forgetting the bondage of the past, with a selective memory only for what tickled your fancy. There's a reason God made a way of escape; what you were in was killing you, and what God has planned for your future is life. Don't fix your eyes on the roughness of the road that leads to that promise, but fix youreyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:1-3) Don't be like the dog that returned to it's vomit. (2 Peter 2:22- lovely metaphor!) Move ahead! Forget the past; behold, He makes all things NEW!!

Keep the Faith, PJ       

  

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

     "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer andpetition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:4-8) We're going to take our attitudes to the "HNL". (whole nutha' level) Try something for the rest of February... mix all you do andall you think withthanksgiving. Paul says this is God's will for us. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Do away with complaining and dissatisfaction and self-centeredness andkeepyour eyes fixed on Jesus. Cram your brain with all the things that are "true, noble, right..." and then watch how guarded and strong your mind will become.

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

     My first blog! I feel so "hip"! (actually, by using the word "hip", I prove I'm not) Today is Inauguration Day, and we swear in President Barak Obama. This is an historic day, no matter what your political stripe. But what of the future? Where are we heading as a country- as a world? Despite the man in the office, are we drawing closer to the inevitable end prophesied about in the Bible? Regardless of the future, we need to be three things: ready, busy and unafraid- ready to face our Creator, busy about His business and our callings, andunafraid of the unknown. All three of these can findtheirsource in a deep communion with the Lord Jesus. From that place, we realize His heart and mind and plan, and we experience His unlimited love andpower. With all this in place, we can add our voices confidently to what John penned, "Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20)

Keep the Faith, PJ

 

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