Saturday, December 29, 2012

Comment on Hidden in Plain View

Thank you for your book, "Hidden in Plain View" (Unlocking the Mystery of Tongues) in pointing out the value of the power of the Holy Spirit expressing Himself through the gift of tongues and how practicing speaking in tongues releases the power of the Holy Spirit in the earth.
Your book both taught me new things and confirmed that which I already knew. I know that it will help me articulate to those who do not believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit through gifts, the sense and value of "earnestly desiring" those gifts.
I especially enjoyed the linking of the Old Testament prophetic truth with the New Testament. Great Read! I would enthusiastically recommend the book to new believers, as well as, old believers like me. I pray that it would receive widespread distribution and the acclaim that it deserves. -Larry, New York

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Check out this excerpt from the preface of my new book: Hidden In Plain View, Unlocking the Mystery of Tongues. Order your copy today at my website

In the work of Christianity it is easy to forget that ours is a spiritual business. So much emphasis is placed on form and function we tend to look through our western lens for the immediate, measurable payoff of any spiritual investment. If we don’t see fast profit in terms of our own needs and desires, we quickly sell the asset and look for something more lucrative. We expect spiritual payoffs to be something akin to Wall Street day-traders or even lottery winnings!

I remember the story of a young guy who, for a time, trained hard spiritually. He memorized lots of Scripture and made a pact with his buddies to spend his life as a warrior for Christ only to become deeply disillusioned when he found out how hard it is to be a full-out Christian. It was like he had passed basic training in the military, then was surprised on the battlefield when the enemy returned fire with real bullets. When this man fell down a couple times he concluded, “It doesn’t work.” He abandoned hearty, passionate Christianity for a half-hearted imitation of “Telly Monster” from Sesame Street. A melancholy Christianity where folks wring their hands and the pure fire of the Holy Spirit is undermined by fear, indecision, frustration, and cynicism has become in vogue.

On the other side is the brand of Christianity offering positive mental attitude where a relationship with God is defined by the splendor of the arts, use of technology, the natural charisma of the preacher, and hearing a litany of thought-provoking, well-crafted messages. Polished packaging replaces spiritual weapons to fight the devil with. This kind of experience builds self-esteem without offering Holy Spirit-empowered relief from destructive demons and familial, cultural, and personal sin. Worship in some cases becomes more a sensual theatrical experience rather than an encounter with the living Jesus.

WWJS – What Would Jesus Say?

Jesus was crystal clear in His teaching of the Kingdom of God as a mustard seed. He promises that although it begins small—crusty and unassuming—it will grow over time to be the greatest tree in the garden. So then, like all of God’s living creation, the Kingdom of God is organic: farm work not factory work. One does not change during a summer of memorizing Bible verses or sitting through a thousand great messages, but throughout a lifetime of pushing up through the dirt, challenging sin, reaching always toward the Son, enduring long seasons of hot, cold, rain and drought, and submitting one’s self to the Father. The Holy Spirit is central to this process and the gift of tongues is a critical tool. Christianity is spiritual business requiring supernatural power, sustained faith, hope, and love. None of these ingredients can ever be neglected if God’s people are to overcome.

What is Your Name?

Have you heard the story of Chris McCandless who, after graduating college, gave his money away, changed his name, abandoned his family, and took up the life of a tramp? He died in the wilderness of Alaska at twenty-four years old. Rising to the ranks of a folk hero, much has been written about him and a movie has been produced about his life. Most insightful for our purpose is his name change. Having been heavily influenced by Jack London, Leo Tolstoy, W. H. Davies and Henry David Thoreau, Chris McCandless hated materialism and traditional social order adopting the moniker Alexander Supertramp in his travels. (Super-tramp is from the title of a work by Davies.)

He graduated from Emory University in 1990. From the moment of his departure after graduation until his death in August, 1992, he abandoned his family and traveled throughout the western U.S. where he met many people, always introducing himself as Alexander or Alex Supertramp. The people he met along the way liked him almost universally, with his intelligent mind and his well-bred way, but he never spoke of his past or revealed his real name. For the swan song of his odyssey, he decided to fulfill his dream of spending a summer in the wilderness of Alaska, living off the land far from the maddening crowds. He hitched a ride from Fairbanks to a place in the region of Denali National Park and entered the Alaskan bush on April 28, 1992. In early September of that same year a hunter discovered his body weighing just 67 lbs. He had been dead approximately two weeks, apparently from starvation.

Close to death, he left a note attached to the abandoned bus he had been using for shelter. It said,
"S.O.S. I need your help. I am injured, near death, and too weak to hike out. I am all alone, this is no joke. In the name of God, please remain to save me. I am out collecting berries close by and shall return this evening. Thank you, Chris McCandless. August?”

Notice the name. After over two years of denying his given name, when he was finally stripped of all the false idealism and his invented super-self failed, he was just plain old Chris McCandless. At the point of desperation and willing to beg to be saved, he finally came to terms with his name.

The same thing happened to the biblical character, Jacob. This trickster had to be stuck between a rock and a hard place before he would finally admit his name. Only after coming to terms with his most unlovely nature—supplanter, trickster, and usurper, could he become “Prince of God.”

On one side we have believers who are resolved to their name, Jacob the imperfect—disillusioned and unwilling to fight to become Prince of God. On the other side are those who, like Alexander Supertramp, call themselves Prince of God, but do not limp because they have simply hung a new name tag on an old person and are frankly powerless to change themselves on the inside. These have crafted their Christianity like the Titanic, living in the comfort of popularity and technology but surprisingly vulnerable to the veritable icebergs of life.

We must embrace the true transformational power of God’s Kingdom: The Holy Spirit. Specifically, we’ll consider the place of the Holy Spirit’s “gift of tongues” as a devotional tool for bringing the Holy Spirit to bear on our own lives, in our churches, and in the world at large. The intentional investment of quality time in spiritual prayer as a core practice is the missing power of the Church. I pray you are provoked.