Saying “Yes” At The Call Florida

UPDATE: go here to watch it live (saturday 10:30am-11pm)

a lot of people have come to my blog looking for information regarding the call florida. so i wanted to post a few thoughts about it.

first, here are the details:

the call florida starts at 10am and ends at 10pm (yes..12 hours!). it will be held at silver spurs arena in kissimmee, florida (click here for map) on saturday feb 2, 2008. we are expecting somewhere between 10,000 to 20,000 people. weather is supposed to be in the mid 70s…so dress comfortable. 🙂

there has been some talk about what is going to happen and what the focus will be at the call. i know we’ll be praying for the ending of abortion as well as revival to start through florida (also a passing of the mantle of derek prince). but i will add one more thing…

i believe the call will be all about love. in may 07, they came down for a rally. after MUCH prayer and no breakthrough, they were wondering what was wrong in florida. then the worship leader john mark mcmillian led us in a song that declared “Your love is stronger”. all of a sudden, things started breaking. people were set free, others were healed. you could feel in the spirit that God was destroying evil strongholds over the city of orlando. they declared at that time (back in may) that LOVE would be the key to unlock florida into the purposes of God.

i found it interesting that they are coming in february (the month of love) and so close to valentine’s day. they are also coming to kissimmee (kiss me…lol).

i encourage anyone going to read up on 1 john and song of solomon. also prepare your heart before coming. the call is not mainly about praying against abortion. the call florida is about coming together as a state and saying “YES” to God. “YES” to what He wants to do, “YES” to Him filling our hearts with love and “YES” to Him casting out the darkness over florida by his love/light.

all God’s looking for is a “YES…cause to Him…that’s how we show Him we love Him.

(p.s. i will be taking pictures and posting them up after the call florida)

what has God been showing and revealing to you as you get ready for the call florida? what scriptures have been on your mind and heart? whatis your prayer for the state of florida?

A Christian’s Thoughts On The Eve Of Election Day

I just finished watching the State of the Union address tonight. Tonight is the eve before election day here in Florida. I get the “privilege” (???) of seeing all the mass bickering and complaining that most of the candidates are doing right now, just hours before the polls open. It has been nice to take the night off from any other labor and just meditate on the kingdom of God. So i just wanted to share a thought or two from my meditation. I have strongly realized one thing in these last few weeks:

I am a Christian.

That doesn’t sound too revelatory, does it? But I’m realizing is what “I’m a Christian” means. It means that I say “yes” to God’s heart and His desires. Sadly I have come to the understanding that the vast majority of our candidates this yearare not Christians…

…they are deists.

Deist/Deism defined is:

The belief in the existence of God, by or through reason; the belief in a God or gods who set the universe in motion, then ceased to interact with it.

There has been great debate this election year about the role of religion in politics. The vast amount of polls show that the majority of Americans (and candidates) believe that (personal) faith should not play a deciding role in politics and should not govern the mind of an elected official.

But if you really believe in what you believe, then there is no way that is possible. The ones who are able to separate their political/economic life from their spiritual one is not true and rooted in what he/she believes. What you believe affects everything you do.

I’m finding out that we don’t believe that God is really in control and is actively moving on the earth today. We have this deist belief that it’s up to us to decide what’s right. But God is still in control of the earth and He appoints every leader and His will cannot be thwarted. God is looking for a people who will say “yes” to what He wants. I promise what is number one on His heart isnot the economy, the defense of terrorism, our health care system or global warming. His primary heart is for the nations (including ours) to say “yes” to Him and He cares about the shedding of innocent blood (by abortion & murder, whether to the unborn or to the old).

I challenge every Christian, as the voting time approaches, to vote (many people died to secure us that right) but to vote solely based on God’s heart. Who does God want in office? Who does God want us to align with? His heart should be your only concern. If anything else besides God’s heart/voice influences your vote, you are saying that God is not the all determining matter in your personal world. Don’t sell your “birthright” for a bowl of economic “soup”.

Don’t be a deist. Let’s align with God and His will. 🙂

And for all of you who thought I was judgmental or intolerant, read this.

Spiritual Discernment & The Key To Discerning Correctly

during these past few weeks our 20’s class at church has been talking a lot about spiritual discernment. we’ve talked about situations and people who have lacked discernment in certain issues.

i know several people like this. what’s interesting is that (for most of them) they are not backslidden or apathetic. on the contrary, they are trying their best to radically pursue God in every area in their life. so how can someone seeking to be close to God be so wrong in many of the choices they make? how is it possible that they can be so undiscerning? what can correct this (or is it even correctable)?

my church just did our annual “week of prayer and fasting”, but this time we decided to take a different approach to it…we called it “ask.”. the focus was to ask God for anything and everything. the two main scriptures we used were matthew 7:7 (ask, and you will receive) and james 4:2 (you do not have cause you do not ask).

i stated during this week that i think almost all of our issues and problems with poor discernment could be solved if we simply asked God about everything. james 1 :5 says that if anyone lack wisdom, let them ask God who gives liberally and without reproach. the problem is that we rely on ourselves for the right answer (and see where it gets us?) instead of asking the One who knows everything and is happy to tell us what to do.

discernment isn’t just about what is good and bad. discernment is about timing. i know many friends who have committed to a “good” thing at the wrong time. they end up worn out, depressed, frustrated, financially lacking and many other negative things. all because they did something at the wrong time. God’s call to christianity is not to do everything you can that is “good”, but to follow Him in everything He tells you to do. you don’t need to go looking for more, just ask Him…He’ll keep you busy and challenged enough.

can all poor discernment issues be corrected by simply asking God what to do? what areas could improve in your life if you simply asked God what to do? what stories do you have about “good thing-wrong timing”?

Random Moments With Friends

i’ve been reflecting on how blessed i am to have great friends. i’ve been thinking about all the memories, random things and good times i’ve had with them. here are a few that i’ve been thinking about:

  • friday night at wonderworks and then finding out that all the gay people work at fridays after midnight
  • hanging at barnes and noble for several hours at a time…then doing it again the next day
  • watching a good zombie movie
  • going to a starbucks even though it is WAY out of the way
  • eating at steak and shake at 3am once a month and still having an hour drive to get home
  • going to jared to help pick out a ring (my diamond sense is…awesome?)
  • taking random mall trips to help friends christmas shop for their spouse
  • skipping sunday school to enjoy a milky-way hot chocolate at dunkin donuts
  • watching skiing on a hgtv on a new ikea couch
  • getting army-styled haircuts in a friend’s bathroom
  • finding out that a “house of blues techno concert” really means “cracked out rave where you’ll be asked for ecstasy”
  • watching friends walk backwards through a mall…and then fall down a flight of steps
  • being pulled over in port orange at 4am
  • having roman-candle firework fights in the middle of the woods during a drought season
  • finding out that cotton candy is easier to get on your body that it is to get on the cone
  • reading the Bible in different accents that make it extremely humorous (it even makes numbers a really fun book to read)
  • finding out that pms also stands for postal mail service

what weird yet fun memories do you have? do you feel blessed when you think of your friendships?

The Difference Between Gifting & Skill Is In The Details

Details.

I believe it is the answer to the long asked question “What determines the difference between born gifting and learned skill?”.

For years people have wondered why knowledge in a certain area of study wasn’t (and still isn’t) the deciding factor. They didn’t understand why people with no learned skill can outperform a student of technical excellence. They couldn’t grasp the situation when a stupid nobody outsells them, or when a new employee suddenly is at the top of the ladder, or even when a product becomes more popular then anyone else’s…even though it does far less than everyone else’s. they couldn’t understand that it wasn’t knowledge that made one person better at something.

It was details.

People who have a born gifting for something naturally see and work in details. It’s the little things that separate them from all the others. It’s the details that make them unique, memorable and in most cases, better than other people.

People with born giftings don’t have a box that they think in. That’s the problem with learned skill. They are taught they have to do this and that. You can’t teach gifting. You can’t get someone to pay attention and focus on all the details. It’s not a learned thing.

My last boss is a great example of the difference between gifting and skill. He is both a graphic designer and a programmer, which as many people know are two totally separate worlds. He has spent years working by designing ads and corporate identity packages and has spent years learning about programming in his spare time. Yet when you look at all the ads he has built, while they look visually pleasing, they do not look visually exciting. There is no intricate details in his design work. He has learned how to build a good ad, but cannot feel and therefore has no idea what would make the ad great.

His programming on the other hand is an entirely different issue. Although he lacks much skill (he freely admits that if a ‘real’ programmer were to look at his work, he would think it was a joke and laugh hysterically), he is incredibly detailed in it. What his programs do but also how they look (coding-wise) is all reflective in this. Someone with no background or knowledge of programming could look at his code and understand what each section of code does. It’s extremely easy to search and read. Why? Because even though he doesn’t have much skill, he has a talent for it and what gives it away?

Details.

Details are what separates a good musician from a great musician, a good artist from a great artist or a good speaker from a great speaker. Now it is incredibly beneficial for someone with talent to learn the skill. My art teacher always used to say “you must learn the rules before you can break them”. But learning the skills is not a requirement cause remember, people with talent will make things differently and more naturally than society’s standards, which are built on learned skill.

I encourage everyone to (1) find out what they love to do and (2) what they are picky and extremely detailed in. Then take those things and perfect it. Have fun with it. Experiment with it. In reality, those things (what I am calling talent) is what makes you different and it’s what you can give to the world that’s different. God gives us all talents, and contrary to what society tries to tell us, you can’t learn a talent.

Piracy: A Consequence Of Not Caring

i was at the movie theater the other day and i noticed that the movie theater had a big campaign going on against movie piracy. it was in posters, trailers and other advertisements that were posted everywhere. now i fully believe that piracy of any kind IS stealing (and i state that STRONGLY) but i started to think and ponder about piracy for a minute and that’s when i came to this conclusion:

even though piracy/stealing is wrong and should never be done, people are naturally evil. it could be utopia on earth and people would still choose to be evil over being good (this fact is proven by the 1000 year reign of Christ…people will still reject God even though the world is under perfect rulership). yet there are things that cause some people to change their standards and morals to more of an evil nature. (ex…we will see more and more gas stealers as the price of gas goes up…especially in a quick dramatic way). so what would fuel more people to steal movies?

my answer is a lack of caring.

how many excellent “must-buy” movies were released last year? out of all the trilogies that came out, i personally only cared for 3 of them (out of 5) and would buy only 1 of them. only 2 i would rent. but what about ALL the other movies that were made last year? i believe the movie industry has stopped caring. we are STILL in a season of stupid remakes. no one seems to have any originality and movie companies are more than happy to fund the vomit of apathetic ideas (strong language i know…lol). all they care is about money, which is ok…but can’t they ALSO care about making a good movie? how is it so easy to make a terrible movie?

i think even if movie companies required the movie to be good (story and all) before they funded it…people would still steal them…but i think a lot less people would. a lot of people are like me…we don’t want to waste our money on a movie that sucks. we have lost our confidence in the movie industry. we don’t believe anymore that they are trying to give us the best possible experience…something truly worth our hard-earned money.

i’m calling for the movie industry to do something, set up some standards or regulations, to gain back our trust. their reward would be more money…cause people wouldn’t have to “preview” (aka steal) the movie before deciding whether to spend their money on it.

it’s all about trust.

what do you think about greed, evil and piracy and their effects on each other? ARE the movie companies partially to blame for the piracy epidemic? what could they do to gain back the trust of movie-goers?

What Makes A True Servant (And A Good Leader)

For the last few days I have been pondering some thoughts on the issue on servanthood. I’m realizing that not all people who may serve at a church are truly servants, just as someone who may work at a business may not be a worker. i think we’ve all met these kind of people. Here’s a revised quote to sum up everything i’m about to write:

Sleeping in a garage doesn’t make you a car. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian…and volunteering for a church ministry does not make you a servant.

We have a serious problem in the church nowadays. The problem is that we think we have rights. We think that we deserve certain things in this life and in the church and we think we deserve them without any testing or proving first.

My church plays what i call “the game”. We have been getting many well-equipped new people/members joining our church. Some of these people have come from impressive ministries. So when they come and join, they want titles, authority, responsibility and people to ask them for their opinion. Now in our church, we have spent years building a good name. Never a scandal, never a curse…we are loved by our city, county, state and nation…with physical evidence for each. Spiritually, we’re on the very front lines pioneering paths into the deepness of God. We have so much that hinges on the morality, humility and purity of our leadership team — paid staff or not. But how can you look at someone and know what kind of character they will have in the long run? You can’t. That’s why my church seems to play a game. This game is all subliminal. We don’t try to do this but regardless, this is what happens time and time again. The point of “the game” is to create pressure and frustration  in all areas possible. This is achieved many ways, but the result is the same. It causes pressure and frustration gives everyone a great look at the inward character of a person.

There are three possible outcomes.

  1. Faithful with little.
    This is the person that comes through with flying colors. They hold on and won’t quit regardless of how they feel about what’s happening. They prove themselves not to stuggle heavily with pride or ego and now can be trusted with responsibility and authority (responsibility without authority is one of the tests…it’s really frustrating) knowing that they have no secret agenda of their own, but they want to do all they can to help people line up under the church’s vision.
  2. Faithful but needs more character building.
    This is the person that everyone can see the potential in, but they’re lacking in a few main areas. The big difference between this person and the one that fails is teachableness. Some people learn slower than others, so as long as you keep learning and want to be taught then you are still in “the game” (lol…this sounds really bad, i just don’t know how to say it any other way). Coming into responsibility and authority is more of a journey instead of a destination with this person. Meaning that it comes slower to reach the fullness of it. It’s like being given two talents instead of five (from the parable).
  3. Faithful?
    This is the person who refuses to submit and be taught. They feel that they are perfect the way they are (whether or not they will ever admit it outloud) and need no help becoming better and more mature in Christ. Usually these people try to get the church to do things the way they have done them in other places before they came here. You cannot put a church in a box. There is no one size fits all mentality that works, and if the person refuses to believe that, then how can they be trusted to be an under-shepherd to the church?

Servants make great leaders. Servants know they have no rights. So if a person can’t serve, how can they be a good leader? Here are some qualities that i think make a good leader/servant and a bad one.

Things that make a leader/servant:

  • Humility – I love what our pastor says…“the Bible says that ‘everyone seems to be right in their own eyes’…God doesn’t care if you’re right…He cares about your righteousness.” God would rather us be righteous than right, and that really comes down to humility, the humility of understanding who you truly are apart from God and knowing that there is no job or judgment that you “don’t deserve”. There never should be a time that you’re too mature to clean toilets or work nursery at a church.
  • Faithfulness – Ultimately, it’s not about how you act once but how you act and respond in the long run. That’s why faithfulness is such a key. We have too many bi-polar Christians in the church who are one way one second and a different way the next. God is looking for people who are steady and faithful.
  • Teachableness – This is a big one. A true leader/servant can always be taught, whether by God or by a person. A person who is teachable will hear whatever and however something is spoken to them. They have mastered the “chew the meat and spit out the bones” approach. They can listen to counsel and not take it as a personal attack.
  • Devotion – I chose this word over “available”. Some people have busy lives and can only give so much time, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. What should be looked at is their devotion in the time that they do give. Do they see a project/job through to the end regardless of its popularity? Will they spend themselves for the task to which they committed? How much do they believe in what they’re doing?

Things that are unbecoming of a servant:

  • Easily offended – It’s like walking forever on thin ice when someone has this. You’re always wondering what’s going to tick them off or when they’re going to pick up the jacks and go home. Offense is a response. It is not the same as frustration. Frustration is a feeling and emotion, offense is more of an action. It’s something that cross the line between “thought and intent” (Hebrews 4:12)
  • Never wrong – I get really worried about someone when I look back and I cannot remember them ever saying “I was wrong”. There is a big difference between saying “I was wrong” and “You were right”. It has all to do with pride.
  • Unsubmitted – I have so many examples of this one. People who are unsubmitted won’t be involved with things that don’t line up to their vision. If someone doesn’t use their ideas, then that person won’t help them out. It’s a big form of control and manipulation and can make a church split quicker than almost anything.
  • Slandering – This is one that I struggle with. Slandering is talking bad about leaders when you yourself won’t pay the price to be one. It is also talking about people (the truth or not) with no redemptive purpose. I have to watch myself cause i have a tendency to attack rather to defend. A true servant is a shield-bearer, not a sword-wielder.