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I've been thinking today about how much I appreciate the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Last week I came to the conclusion that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit may as well be called, "The Gifts of Grace!" One of the things that has become so evident to me and to those I'm teaching New Covenant Grace to, is the total dependency we have on the Holy Spirit! After all it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that so aptly fulfills God's Grace in our lives. Jesus told those he was ministering to that he would have to leave, but in so doing, he wouldn't leave mankind comfortless. He told us that he had to leave, but the Holy Spirit would never leave, and that he would bring great comfort to God's holy people.

I've also been thinking about people who leave churches where the Holy Spirit is allowed to move and begin to attend churches where he isn't allowed to move. Then there are those who seem to leave the Place of Grace, that is what I consider our church... a "Place of Grace," and go back to a church that seems legalistic.

Recently a family left our "Place of Grace" so that they could begin attending a Seventh Day Adventist Church. I have to scratch my bald head over that move!

Yesterday a Facebook Friend wrote a long update post on why he was throwing in with a Messianic group. Now I am fully aware of the fact that I might get some negative responses for my Adventist and Messianic statements, but so be it...let them come!

Going back under the Law or any law is not what Jesus died for! All morning long I've been thinking and pondering about these two issues. All I can come up with is: ???????????

Certainly Paul dealt with these same issues. The entire Book of Galatians deals with this subject. Take a look at Galatians 3: 1-6,

"Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ."

Then, of course, are the words of Jesus speaking of old and new wine skins. Luke 5: 37-39, "“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”"

All I know for certain today is that there is NO WAY that I ever want to go back to Religion! For me and my house, the "old wine" is NOT fine!!!! I'm being totally blessed about my new found freedom in Christ under the New Covenant. I love the workings of the Holy Spirit in my life!

You know, here's another possibly controversial statement; but if I only had a church to go to where the Holy Spirit wasn't allowed to move and where any forms of legalism was taught I wouldn't go to church! Yep...I'd stay home, worship with my wife and enjoy the time of my life with Christ living within me!

Just saying....

Grace & Peace!

My heart and prayers go with all who have been hit by the disaster called Sandy. However, once again, I have to state...Sandy is NOT the judgment of God on America!

I was thinking this morning about this and do you realize that mankind is always subjected to natural disasters? Why do we think that this hurricane is God's judgment when hurricanes always take those paths up the east coast of the US? Granted, Sandy was the largest and possibly the worst of them all, yet these disasters occur all of the time. Do you know that during World War II, Hitler was labeled as the Antichrist by many in the Church of that day and they taught that the Rapture was about to take place.

So to all of my "Prophetic Friends" I might suggest you slow down on your predictions, take a deep breath, look closely at the Scriptures, try to understand what Christ has done for the world, ask Him to give you a revelation of the New Covenant and even more importantly, expect to see great signs, wonders and miracles to come out of the damage of Sandy.

Prior to the great Azusa Street Revival a strong hurricane with a giant tidal wave hit the east coast of Florida with many deaths and the great San Francisco Fire took place. Then came the move of God and the entire world was transformed by what God then did!

Lastly, take a look at this Scripture and see what Jesus really did:

John 3:16-18

New Living Translation (NLT)

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

My we are on the brink of another great disaster hitting our nation, Hurricane Sandy is about to lash the entire east coast as far inland as the Midwest. Someone sent me a text a bit ago stating that Lake Michigan is currently being hit with 25 foot waves! Wow!

Once again Facebook and Twitter are being swamped with those who are proclaiming God's judgment upon America. And....once again, I'm swimming up the stream and declaring that Sandy, or any other natural disaster, is not God's judgment. Here's my thinking...look at Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen. 19: 24, "Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah." Now that's judgment! The Lord didn't use a storm to bring this judgment!

Here's the thing, Jesus said that He didn't come to bring judgment, he came to bring salvation to the earth. All judgment was taken care of on the cross. The Bible also declares that "judgment will begin in the house of God." Hummm...something to think of!

So what is going on, why the storms and disasters? There have always been storms and disasters, but our world, the earth itself is getting old, wearing out and Romans chapter 8 states that the "earth is groaning for the manifestation of God's sons."

Once again, I do not agree with those proclaiming judgment. I proclaim revival, signs, wonders and miracles. I'm proclaiming that we have entered the "Churches Finest Hour!"

Last April I wrote a blog entitled, "Everyone is Saying Judgment." Below is the link. If you have a couple of minutes, give it a read. In the meantime my prayers are with all who live on the east coast of our great nation. I am also praying Sandy back out to sea! How about you?

Grace and Peace (see link below)

I'M RETHINKING REVIVAL! Three years ago a powerful wave of the Holy Spirit hit our small church in Hernando, Florida. We instantly transformed from a church that was seeking revival to one where revival fire was burning brightly. It seems that when a church or a group of people get hit with a revival wave they almost automatically shift into nightly meetings. The reason is that people who are revived want to meet together and with God often. For several weeks we met Sunday through Friday nights, taking Saturdays off. A little later we shifted to a Wednesday through Friday night schedule that lasted for over 2 years.

Those meetings were powerful. I've been thinking about them lately and recalling some of the wonderful, life changing transformation that took place with those who attended. Something was happening pretty powerful as the people came back to the meetings night after night, with no complaints!

You can always tell when a move of God begins to wane. What happens is that people began to take a move of God for granted. Often people get caught up in a "revival mode status quo," which, in itself, begins to dampen the fires of true revival.

I was thinking last night that if I were to announce to our congregation this week that beginning Sunday we will be going into extended nightly meetings, I'd be greeted with blank stares and most likely I would hear a lot of moans and groans! The reason for this is that we need to be revived again!

See...this seems to be the problem with revival. People get stuck in it, dry up within it, and the need for more always exists. I think of some of the people who were "hammered" by the Spirit during those meetings, drunk on the floor, laughing uncontrollably, ministering to each other, etc., who have since left our church, some with an axe to grind. Revival did change their lives, but it was temporary; it didn't seem to last! Often people go back into their old non-revival ways, sometimes worse off than they were before.

OK, what am I really thinking here? I believe that a move of God that doesn't include the revelation of New Covenant Grace is pretty much useless. Now the word, "revelation" here is imperative! That word encompasses revival itself! I consider myself a Revivalist, so what I'm about to say is very important to me. Revivals may come and go, but when the "revelation" of the New Covenant hits a person they are changed forever, even if they don't feel like it. The reason being is that this is based on faith in what Christ has already done. Like yesterday's post on the presence of the Lord; once it is revealed to a person that God's presence is always with them, no matter what, and that person accepts and lives this revelation by faith, their life will be forever changed. You might say revived!

I'm all for revival, but if I were to return to the "Highway to Revival," where Corinne and I ministered on the road for 12 years, I'd be doing it a whole lot different. Would there be signs and wonders, and manifestations of the Spirit? You bet! But included would be the greatest manifestation of all....The revelation that Christ dwells within us making us holy! This is true change, and it will last forever...true Revival Fire!

Grace and Peace!

The big question seems to be, "How do we get into the presence of the Lord?" The answers seem to vary, often due to the publication of a book, or sermon video, etc. One guy writes, "As we pray more the presence of the Lord comes upon us." Another preaches, "We need to soak and God comes upon us." Yet another idea might be, "Pray, soak and fast and then God will descend upon you!" I'm certain that there are many other ideas that are being put forth by well meaning writers, preachers and students of the Bible.

One idea seldom expressed is that we are always in the presence of the Lord! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, God's plan for all of our lack, then you are always in the presence of the Lord, even if you do not feel Him. Actually you can never get any closer to Him than you already are! He lives within you. Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Then, of course, there are the wonderful words of Paul in Ephesians 2: 19-22, "So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit."

I'm thinking that a lot of the things we do in order to enter the presence of the Lord are totally unnecessary! We never leave Him and He never leaves us....It just doesn't get any better than that! So we can huff and puff and blow the house down, but it just is totally not needed. The harder we work at being one with Him, the more time and effort we are wasting!

My friend Mark Drake in his book "God's Brilliant Plan" calls our true Christian walk the "Easy and Light Life!" I agree! How about you?

Grace and Peace!

Many Christians do not really understand what Grace is all about. One problem seems to be that they think they understand, therefore, their mind is closed to any other teaching on the subject.

Grace is so much more than just "God's unmerited favor!" Indeed it is unmerited. However, it goes far beyond that, in that true grace is the very presence of God Himself, Christ, living within a Believer. See, we no long have to work hard to get close to God. Man alive! He lives within us!

I could go on a lot more on this subject this morning, but just take a good bite of the revelation of God dwelling within you. By the way, this is not based on anything you do or don't do, it's based on the completed work of the Cross!

You are FREE!!

Grace & Peace!

Last night we were talking in the small group that meets at our house about the Grace Message. We decided that the Grace Message isn't a message after all. It seems that there some well meaning teachers/preachers who teach/preach a Grace Message from time to time. When they realize what I preach they often make a statement like, "I teach the Grace Message too!"

Well, as I said, "The Grace Message" isn't a message! It IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST! In other words....New Covenant Grace is not another message we is THE MESSAGE! What else is their to preach?

Grace & Peace!

Old things have passed away and BEHOLD ALL THINGS BECOME NEW! If you have spent much time around Christians you will have noted an interesting truth...Christians/Church People resist change! Agree?

How about the guy who attends every service and always sits in the same chair. Move his chair or allow a visitor to sit in it, you better watch out!

I believe that our exciting New Covenant life is filled with change. Change is good for us! Change keeps us sharp, on our best, keen edge! Change requires faith and faith pleases God!

Just some thoughts for this morning....So how about you...are you flowing with the change in your life, believing that God's best plan is working for you, or...are you stuck in your proverbial mud, resisting all change, looking for comfort in your average and ordinary, never changing life? Something to think about, huh?

Is It Really the devil's Fault?

Last week I ministered some from that famous verse of Scripture, II Chronicles 7:14.  You know the one, "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."

In understanding who this verse is written to, Solomon and the kingdom of David of Solomon's day, we note that the verse does not deal directly with you and I.  We live in another Kingdom, one much higher than David's and certainly one much higher than the United States of America, or for that matter, any other physical nation of the world!

You know for years I was involved in different spiritual warfare groups.  I've planted Popsicle sticks with verses of Scripture on them all over the United States!  During those years I always seemed to be haunted by a question..."Am I doing any good?"  You see the Scriptures were not directing me to this type of action.  Rather I was doing it because everyone was doing it and at the time it seemed the right thing to do.  I wanted Revival.  I wanted my city to be changed by the power of God.  I wanted the towns we ministered in greatly touched by the Holy Spirit.  So we would plant the Scripture verses in the ground, pray over cemetery plots of long dead community leaders, bind that spirit and the other spirit, huff and puff and nothing seemed to change! 

During those days I had a nagging thought...THE CHURCH IS WORKING VERY HARD AT DOING EVERYTHING EXCEPT THE ONE THING THAT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD!  WIN SOULS!  Jesus commissioned us as Ambassadors of His great Kingdom; we're supposed to tell the world about Him, not plant sticks with Scripture in the ground!

So many people are expecting Jesus to someday do something that will change America.  We blame the devil for all of the problems in our nation.  Yet the real problem is the Church!  The Church of America has done a pretty good job of turning people off to Christianity.  We have failed to show the world how wonderful, how powerful, how glorious the New Covenant that Christ died for us to have really is! 

I know I share these verses a lot, both in my preaching, my teaching and here in my Blog.  But Friends...take another look at what the New Covenant is, what God says it is, meditate on it, ask the Holy Spirit to bring it to you as revelation, not just head knowledge.  Then go forth and share this covenant with everyone you know.  I assure you, if we would all do this America would be a much different place!

Grace and Peace!

Here is the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31: 31-34:

31 “The day is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord.

33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”

The Law and Grace Both Came From Arabia

Some of this Blog post will be written based upon my conjecture.  However, much of it will be from the facts based upon Church history.

I find so much wonderful revelation within the confines of the New Testament lately!  I pretty much live in excitement now; believe me, the Bible is not the same Bible for me!  Understanding my walk within the New Covenant has completely transformed my life!  I hope you can tell how excited I am!

As I was preparing for last Sunday's message I stumbled upon a little tidbit that raised some interest for me.  In teaching New Covenant truths it is very imperative that we teach who verses in the Bible are written to, making certain that verses are kept in context, and to not make doctrine over obscure verses that stand alone, often in conflict with the majority of verses written on the same subject.  I've found it very helpful to also understand some of the history of when Books, chapters and verses were written or the time line of their story.  Here is a good example, the thing that got my attention as I was in study for Sunday's message:

Paul makes a very bold statement in Galatians 4:21, "Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says?"  I've asked that same question to many Christians lately, those who refuse to live in the blessing of New Covenant Grace. Paul continues to state that the Law was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai in what he called Arabia.  (Gal. 4: 25) Here he is wonderfully describing the difference between the old Law, Old Covenant and the New.  However, the thought that came to me in Sunday's message study was that after Paul's conversion to Christ in AD 35 he was almost immediately taken out of public view for a period of 3 years.  From AD 35, shortly after his conversion, until just about AD 38 Paul was in Arabia sitting at the feet of Jesus Himself, learning the wonders of the New Covenant!  After that, in AD 38, Paul went back to Jerusalem, spending 15 days with Peter, and I'm sure, teaching Peter the things that Jesus taught him in Arabia!  This is all found in Galatians 1: 11-24 is what got me excited last week.  The Old Covenant was given to Moses in Arabia.  The New Covenant was given to Paul in Arabia!  Wouldn't it be a hoot if Jesus met with Paul on Mt. Sinai teaching him the wonderful New Way at the same place that the Old Way was given to Moses on Sinai? 

Conjecture here?  You bet!  Plenty of it!  However, something like this would be just like our Papa to do for us!  Of course we'll never know if this event happened that way or not.  But the thing we do know for certain, Paul's 3 years in Arabia changed the world!  I've been thinking a lot about this lately, I would have loved to be a witness to those 3 years of Paul being taught by Jesus.  I also would have loved to see the reaction on Peter's face, 3 years later, when Paul spent the 15 days with him, teaching Peter the same things that Jesus taught him! 

Can you even begin to imagine the shake up Paul's teaching brought the religious of that day?  I can almost hear them, "Paul...sure you met with Jesus for 3 years!"  And..."Paul, Jesus is dead, we believe that he rose from the dead, but you say you spent 3 years with him, you must be insane!"  Then, how about all the change in doctrine that Paul brought?????  "What do you mean we no longer sin?"  The Jewish Believers, "What do you mean the Law is no longer in place?"  Paul's Gospel must have shaken the religious and Christian world of his day! still does! hehehe

I'm going to close with Paul's statement, written twice in Galatians chapter 1, "Let God's curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you!" 

Paul returned from Arabia with a ton of Good News!  That's the message I want to preach, how about you?

Grace and Peace!