This song is my prayer for people who struggle with drug and/or alcohol addiction: that one day they would exalt the Lord Jesus with their lives. I pray that the Father would intervene into their lives and release grace to them and pull them from their addictions. I firmly believe that without God’s direct intervention addicts and alcoholics will be hopelessly bound by their addiction. Sure, I believe that to some degree people can manage their addiction for awhile, even a long while. But, for true freedom from addictions, this only comes through the grace and power of God. So join the 420 Prayer Movement today and begin praying for the many people who struggle with addictions!
Well, I am gearing up to head over to Southern Tanzania, Africa for two months (January & February 2011). I will be travelling with a non-profit organization Global Family Rescue (GFR). I can’t tell you how excited I am about this opportunity to help apostolically shape GFR’s humanitarian aide work over there with the Gospel. God has placed a growing burden to not only care for the sick, poor and hungry, but to also confront the demonic oppression over their lives that perpetuates injustice and keeps people in bondage to poverty and sickness. When I read about the Way Jesus lived while He walked among us, I am always confronted with how He moved both in love and in power. Jesus met people right where they were at and released the presence of God into their lives where people experienced God’s unconditional love and His radical forgiveness for sins. But, Jesus also released the power of the Kingdom of God into their lives as well which set people free from sickness, demonic oppression and bondage.
This growing passion to follow in the footsteps of my Saviour King both challenges and empowers me all at the same time. But, if I step back from my life and give a prophetic eye to the journey Jesus has had me on since He saved me, this leg of the journey is right on time. Now, I’m not saying that I am fully ready for this, but I am not afraid. Though I am anticipating that much is going to happen along the Way while I am in Tanzania, at the end of the day I am going agenda-less. There are some things that I sense the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart to be prepared for, but what is most pressing is that above all else I need to just make myself, with the help of the Holy Spirit, fully available to Jesus and the Kingdom agenda that He wants to accomplish both in and through me. This means I will need to be consciously dying to myself, rather than trying to preserve myself (Luke 9: 23-25). So, please remember me in prayer over these coming months. I’m not sure on how much Internet access I will have while in Tanzania, but I will make an effort to keep you all posted. Also, if there is anything I can be praying for you all please let me know. I love praying for and with people and would be honored to join with you in prayer.
Recently, I was sharing with a trusted friend about how God seems to always show up whenever I share my story. To elaborate a little on this, what seems to always happen is: when I testify about God, He shows up and confirms my testimony about Him. So, my friend simply said to me, “Well, that’s what you need to be pressing into.” At first what came to mind was that I needed to start pressing into my network and seeing where and when I could find more opportunities to share my God story. But now, I’m sensing that to really “press into this” means also forming a ministry team to accompany me when I speak, in order to maximize transformation.
Let me explain, God moves in very supernatural ways in my life and every time I’ve been given the opportunity to share about this, He shows up in supernatural ways to confirm my testimony. I often hear from people that when they hear my God story, it stirs in them hope, faith and a longing to draw near to God. What comes to mind is the woman who had an issue of blood, “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed'” (Matt 9:20-22). To many people, when they hear my testimony God’s grace, love, mercy and power becomes tangible enough for them to reach out and touch. So what ends up happening is people get saved and healed. God’s kingdom breaks through into people’s hearts and lives bringing eternally lasting transformation.
What this means for the 420 Prayer Movement is that people who are actively moving in the “phanerosis” (manifestation) gifts of the Holy Spirit of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10: message of wisdom, message of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning spirits, tongues and interpretation need to be part of this ministry team. I understand that this may be limiting, but my heart on this is about “pressing into” how God moves when I share my testimony. I also believe that the 420 Prayer Movement ministry team can also help equip and empower existing ministry teams at the various locations that God calls us. This way, the 420 Prayer Movement ministry team can encourage and build up the whole Body of Christ.
So, please be in prayer that God would form this ministry team, that He would draw together those He desires to be a part of this team. God has been continually reminding me that this is His work and ministry in which He has entrusted to me. So, I want to be as faithful a steward as I can. As Jesus told His disciples when He sent them out to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8 NIV). I’ve taken this to heart and believe that the supernatural ministry of the 420 Prayer Movement ministry team must always be held as a gift that is freely given away. Thanks & Peace, Gerry Ching.
I was talking with a couple friends and I asked them what kind of rhythm would describe their prayer life: One friend said he felt like he was constantly skipping a beat. It was like he was caught in this broken rhythm that felt like he was taking a step forward, but then would get bumped back or to the side. Another friend said he feels like an erratic metronome that fluctuates from super fast tempos to slow dragging beats. He says he does pray throughout his day (slow beats), but there’s not a lot of passion. The times that he feels passionate about prayer (super fast beats) are when he goes to prayer meetings or conferences. Where are you at on the metronome?
What’s the rhythm of your prayer life?
– Is it a driving techno beat or a hypnotic trance beat?
– Is it a slow classic rock anthem beat?
– Is it a fast two minute punk beat?
– Is it a slow bluesy beat or a catchy country beat?
– Maybe it’s a complicated jazz fusion number?
Whatever it is, is it a rhythm that keeps you in step with the Holy Spirit in your life? If not what needs to change?
There’s this music technique called “syncopation.” Maybe some of you know what it is, but for those of us who don’t, like I didn’t, here’s what it means: Syncopation is the accent of a beat that is normally unaccented. It is deliberately upsetting a beat by placing a rhythmic accent on an unexpected beat or a weak beat in music. How many times has God forced you to change up the rhythm of your life because of an unexpected surprise, both good and bad; or stretched you by putting you in an uncomfortable “weak” position. Syncopation exists in order to add emphasis on certain notes to liven up a beat or rhythm. Maybe God is trying to liven up your life by bringing in needed change. Regular beats with the same accents can get boring; adding syncopation changes the feel by adding accents to places where you would not expect. Doesn’t that sound like something God would do?
We all have blind spots in our lives and only God can reveal those things that are hidden from us. And more often than not He gets our attention by changing up the rhythm of our lives by breaking us out of our routines of comfort, so that we can begin living the fullness of life that Jesus promises us (John 10:10). It’s real easy for us to get so caught up in the temporal side of life and forget that true living involves eternity where believers begin witnessing the Kingdom of God breaking into their families, their friends, their neighborhoods and towns. I believe God brings syncopation into the rhythm of our lives in order to get us grooving to a new rhythm, an eternal rhythm; one that involves the glory of God and the reconciliation of all things through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the glory due His Name because of His suffering.
I believe the Holy Spirit wants to orchestrate a rhythm of prayer for every believer’s life. But, we need to start making ourselves available to God, so that He can begin to birth in our lives this rhythm of prayer. Don’t resist the movement of the Spirit to simplify your life, but surrender your schedule to Him. Let Him begin to set up moments of prayer with believers and nonbelievers. Even ask Him to do so. I believe the more we do this, the more we will be grooving to the the eternal rhythms of Heaven.
So, I’ve been steadily keeping a Sabbath on Mondays for roughly a year now. I call it my “draw near to God” day. But, things have shifted in this past month and my “draw near to God” day has begun to decline and my Sabbath has been derailed from it’s steady course. I recently went to a conference where Heidi Baker was speaking, ever since then the integrity of my spiritual life has been challenged. What Mama Heidi spoke about was ministering in the strength of God and how “fruitfulness comes from intimacy with God.” I thought I had all of that and then some. But, as God has been challenging me on understanding His grace and my unconditional love for Him, this has revealed the deeper motives of my heart and the works righteousness that resides within. Let me expand on this.
What God has been revealing to me these past few weeks is that though I do walk in much of His grace, He has so much more for me that I refuse to accept because I want to show Him that I can do it. But, that’s my pride talking. I feel like I’ve been acting like that little child, who is constantly saying, “Me do! Me do!” Where God is saying to me, “Let me show you, let’s do it together.” Needless to say, these past few weeks have been really tough because I’ve come face to face with my arrogance which is really disheartening. Here I thought that I was being obedient, but maybe dutiful is a better word to describe my actions. So, on deeper inspection, this has sparked me to reflect on: What does it mean to draw near to God?
James 4: 6-10 says, “…6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (NIV). As I have been meditating and studying this passage, I’ve come to the conclusion that this passage is about repentance. So, in my wrestling, I’ve asked myself this question: What does living a repentant lifestyle look like?
I believe that the “Come near to God” that James is talking about here is about humbling ourselves before God and receiving His grace by submitting to His will and resisting the devil’s temptations. This means coming near to God by repenting for our sinful leanings (“washing your hands, you sinners” which alludes to external actions, and “purifying your hearts, you double-minded” which alludes to internal motivations) and in this way God comes near to us. For clarification, this is not in terms of our salvation (which comes through Jesus alone), but in terms of our relational fellowship with God. The more consistently we live repentantly before God, the louder and clearer we will hear His Voice in our lives. But, this also means embracing more and more of His grace. So, whatever it takes. James is insistent about the seriousness of sin and we should be too. Sin brings disaster and devastation to our relationship with God. When’s the last time you grieved, mourned or wailed sin?
Douglas Moo (2000) insightful explains, “Christian joy can never be ours if we ignore or tolerate sin; it comes only when we have squarely faced the reality of our sin, brought it before the Lord in repentance and humility, and experienced the cleansing work of the Spirit” (James, p. 196). One of the joys of my new life in Jesus has been the many opportunities He gives me to pray for and with people. You could say this is part of my repentant lifestyle. For me, there is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling. Not only do I get to touch the Father’s heart through prayer, but the whole reason I pray for others is so that they can experience a greater sense of God’s unconditional love and be brought ever deeper into the Father’s heart.
So this is my prayer for you and me: “May we truly walk in the fullness of God’s grace for our lives and experience the immeasurableness of His unconditional love where we walk empowered to live a repentant lifestyle by actively greiving, mourning and wailing sin, so that we can feel, all the more, the sweetness of God’s grace towards us in Jesus as we humbly wait for Him to lift us up. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.”
a Message to you from Jesus by Mother Teresa:
“I know you through and through – I know everything about you. The very hairs of your head I have numbered. Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings.
I know every one of your problems. I know your need and your worries. And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you – not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity My Father gave you by creating you in His own image.
It is a dignity you have often forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin. But I love you as you are, and I have shed my blood to win you back. If you only ask Me with faith, My grace will touch all that needs changing in your life. I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and all its destructive power.
I know what is in your heart – I know your loneliness and all your hurts – the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations. I carred it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share my strength and victory. I know especially your need for love – how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished. But how often have you thirsted in vain, seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures – and ending with even more pain. Do you thirst for love? ‘Come to Me all you who are thirsty’ (John 7:37). I will satisfy you and fill you. Do you thirst to be cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine to the point of dying on a cross for you.
I thirst for you. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe my love for you: I thrist for you. I thirst to love and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I thirst for you. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds.
If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I thirst for you. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give Me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My heart.
No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget Me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life, there is one thing that will never change: I thirst for you – just as you are. You don’t need to change to believe in My love, for it will be your belief in My love that will change you. You forget Me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day – standing at the door of your heart, and knocking.
Do you find this hard to believe? Then look at the cross; look at My heart that was pierced for you. Have you not understood My cross? Then listen again to the words I spoke there – for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you: “I thirst” (John 19:28). Yes, I thirst for you – as the rest of the Psalm verse, which I was praying says of Me: “I looked for love, and I found none” (Psalm 69:20).
All your life I have been looking for your love – I have never stopped seeking to love and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to Me, right now, more than you ever have before.
Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear Me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit: “No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake.” Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longings to be loved. I stand at the door of your heart and knock…Open to Me for I thirst for you.”
From: Margaret Hebblethwaite, ed., “Wednesday of Holy Week,” The Living Spirit: Prayers and Readings for the Christian Year, A Table Anthology (Lanham, MD: Sheed & Ward, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2000), 169.
I’ve just spent the last couple days reading “Here and Now: Living in the Spirit” by Henri J.M. Nouwen. I literally could not put the book down. It kept me captivated page after page because the author’s words were so saturated with the love and grace of God. My heart drank deeply of his gentle words which allowed me to soak in the love tub of Jesus. What I encountered continually while reading was the sweet conviction of the Holy Spirit, His kind hand of love pulling ever so gently at my heart. Something that I hadn’t felt for some time now. The combination of seminary + ministry has gotten me moving at breakneck speeds which was in an of itself an amazing journey (I wouldn’t change any of it). But, to be able to slow down and take a deep long drink of living water without worrying about a deadline or a meeting has been so refreshing. It was like Jesus breathing life into me all over again. Thank You, Sweet Savior.
Page after page I encountered a humility that made me all the more aware of my own hardness of heart and the realization that I have much to learn about love. My pride has led me down the path of exalting myself in the way I exercised my gifts and talents. What I’ve learned because of this is that when this happens love disappears. Sure truth still got proclaimed. But the truth was given with an insensitive heavy hand, instead of with a patient understanding that wraps the truth in love in order to heal and not accuse or condemn. I am thankful for Henri’s words that have helped to refocus and ground me: “It is not proving ourselves to be better than others but confessing to be just like others that is the way to healing and reconciliation” (99). There is strength in these words because they speak of unity. They seek to embrace the prayer of Jesus for our oneness (John 17:20-23).
I’ve come to realize that to love is a journey that demands patience, endurance, hard work, hope and trust. I’ve also realized that it is a lifelong journey. I do have a lot to learn about love, but, I am in good company. “To pray is to listen to that voice of love….the One who is with us wants only one thing: to give us love” (20). Henri’s book has brought me back to my Christian mystic roots where prayer is about communing with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. His words have reminded me that prayer is a time where our heavenly Father actively loves on His children.
April 20th is symbolically know in the drug culture world as a day to get high. Millions of people around the world at this moment are either getting high or are planning to go to a 420 rally, in order to get high. For them, to be able to get high on 4/20 at 4:20 is profoundly meaningful. We truly are in a spiritual battle. If there is a day that the devil truly dominates in blinding people’s eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4), it’s today.
So let’s start taking this day (and time) back for the Lord through prayer and fasting. However the Lord moves you, please be obedient! Pray that God would open people’s eyes to the light of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4) and that through divine appointments the scales that blind them from the Truth would fall from their eyes (Acts 9:18), so that they can begin to embrace the meaning that God wants to bring into their lives through Jesus.
Also, ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up more laborers for the “drug culture” harvest field (Luke 10:2). Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for those at 4:20pm. When you prayer at 4:20pm you are one of these laborers. Blessings on you! Finally, my prayer for all of us is that God would continue to help us rely more on His strength when we are weak (2 Corinthians 12:10) and move us to remember to cast all our anxieties onto Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Peace.