Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ministry Update

MINISTRY EVENTS

This past month we have been involved in several events. We enjoyed a fantastic Thanksgiving celebration - Mexican style with several of our friends. We also were able to attend the 30th anniversary of Robert and Ani Duran's ministry in Mexico. It was a wonderful time of remembering the past and looking towards the future. There was lots of music and food too!

This past week we Participated in a Pastor's Conference in Jerez, Mexico. It was a powerful time of ministry and experiencing God's presence. On the last evening, my daughter received a dramatic vision from the Lord. The next morning we shared it with Robert and discovered God had recently given him a similar message from the same passage of Scripture.

I believe God is desperately trying to get His bride ready. The Church functions as if she is ready but it is only Because she has focused on the present rather than the future. Below is the vision Molly received.


RELEASE OF THE BLACK HORSE

I was the last one to go to bed on Thursday night. Everything was silent and dark. All of a sudden I heard the distant sound of horse hooves. They started out faintly and then quickly became louder and louder. I knew whatever it was, it was coming closer and at a rapid pace. I opened my eyes to see what I was hearing. I then saw me approaching horses. I could not count how many, but there were just a few in number. Upon them were riders. They were not of flesh, but of spirit. I could not see the colors of the horses except for one and it was black. As this horse Approach Me, both he and his rider stopped and looked at me very intensely. The horse was menacing and appeared to be possessed by a spirit. As he passed, I could feel his breath upon my cheek. I just began to cry out and tremble. He then continued on his assigned mission with determined urgency. My vision then expanded to where this horse was going. I saw him fly over the nations and as he did, darkness consumed all that he passed over. Nothing was unaffected. Wherever I went I brought mourning and woe, darkness, and ignorance to the land.

I just began to cry out to the Lord and as I did, my vision changed. I saw and heard the Lord crying out in agony. He was weeping, "My people are not ready. My people are not ready." He just repeated this over and over and over. Each time I've cried it out, it seemed as if His heart was breaking more. I then saw him go throughout the different churches across the nations, and the places where one gathered His people together. I started overturning their tables and chairs. As I did this, I cried out, "What you are doing is not going to prepare you for what is to come!" I have never felt the agony and desperation of the Lord as strong as that moment.

This open vision went on for over two hours. After it passed, the Lord directed me to His Word. He led me to Revelation 6 Which describes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The black horse represents famine upon the earth. I believe this is not only a physical famine but graver still, a spiritual famine. In the passage it speaks of wheat and barley that were once their inexpensive price but now has Increased substantially. So now it will be for our spiritual food. Where Once We could easily preach, teach, prophesy, heal and we will now have to pay a higher price to receive from the Lord. No longer will we be able to have God and the pleasures of this world but we will have to clearly disengage from the culture and spend more time with the God we profess to love.

In Revelation 6, no other horse and rider are given instructions but the black one. The Lord said to the rider, "do not damage the oil and the wine." I started to consider the difference between The Roots of the wheat and barley compared to the olive tree and grapevine. Because of the wheat and barley's root system they are picked Once and then they die. They only last for a season and then the soil needs to be replanted. The olive tree and grapevine are different. When these plants are picked, they continue to live, even in dry seasons. They remain season after season. This is because their root systems are deeper and more substantial. I believe the Lord was saying that those Whose roots are strong and deep in Him will be protected in the trials that are to come.

The black horse was not standing at the starting line. He was already running. The flag had been lowered and I was off with only one thing on his mind - devastation. This is not something that Christians can ignore, rebuke, or cast back from where it came. It is already coming. Now is the time we must get ourselves and others ready.


A Christmas Thought

I believe God, as our loving Father, is warning us of what is to come - not out of anger but out of love. As we prepare for Christmas and another new year it is important to realize how every person is valuable to Him. Of all the billions who are alive today, not one is worthless, hopeless, or a mistake to God. He is consumed by our welfare and wants us to be prepared for whatever lies ahead.

When life gets difficult we can either allow our hearts to get as cold as a Minnesota winter or we can draw close to the biggest and warmest heart in the universe. He is always there - loving, caring, and Pursuing our hearts. I am constantly humbled by His unselfish love for us. He just never stops giving and has provided us with the one true hope that exists in this broken world. Thank you Jesus for giving us your life that we may live!

More Gifts of Love

Last month we requested donations to purchase Christmas gifts for the Mexican children. Thanks to all who have already contributed. If you have not given yet please send your donation to Bethany Urban Development at PO Box 8940, Minneapolis, MN 55408. Please attach a note stating the gift is for "Children's Christmas Gift." The deadline is December 18th. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ministry Update

THE INCREDIBLE GIFT OF LIFE

Last month we had an unexpected break in our schedule so We decided to head back to Minnesota for the birth of our next grandchild. October 9th we left for a three week visit. Madelynn was born November 1st at 12:13 AM and was seven pounds, nine ounces. She is doing great along with her parents, Dan and Autumn and her big brother, Joshua. It was such a blessing to stay with them and help with the transition.

The joy of being with family and friends was tempered however, when my mother Suffered a mild heart attack three days after Madelynn's birth. I've taken for granted my parents health over the years and this incident was a vivid reminder of how precious their lives are. My mother is quite the saint. Although she is in her mid-seventies, her favorite activity is ministering at the woman's jail each Friday night. She never stops talking about her girls and how much the Lord has changed their lives.


THE BATTLE CONTINUES ...

On this visit back to the U.S. we encountered some surprising culture shock. For one, I had not ever realized how many food Advertisements Americans are inundated with each day. We had none in Mexico and not surprising, most of us lost weight. It makes you wonder how much people actually eat some slick Only Because advertiser has told them to do so - certainly some food for thought.

The other culture shock was discovering how busy everyone seems to be. Social interaction in the U.S. is far less spontaneous than in Mexico. It seems most American get-togethers have to be scheduled far in advance. Perhaps, in our effort to make more efficient use of our time, we have lost our freedom to live and love simply.

But Mexico is certainly not a utopian society either. A few days after our arrival in Minneapolis, we received a phone call from Chuck, our colleague and neighbor in San Luis Potosi. Apparently, someone Decided to break into our home and steal our LCD television monitor. They had also caused extensive damage to the front door, Which needed to be fixed. We quickly transferred funds to cover the door repair and an additional deadbolt lock. I felt relieved that they had only taken the monitor because i rarely watch TV anyway.

Only when we returned to our home in Mexico, did I discover that they had also taken two other items. One was a beautiful shofar that had been given to us several years ago. The other was my entire CD music library. This consisted of hundreds of worship albums - Which were several rare, out-of-print discs. I felt just sick and just had a hard time comprehending it. My mind flashed back to when we lived in the urban core of Minneapolis about ten years ago. As we were beginning Bethany Urban Development, Burglars struck our home more than once. On one occasion, they took my entire Christian music collection there as well. At the time it seemed so strange - like stealing a case of bibles or a box of Sunday school lessons. What would they do with them? Listen to "Here I Am to Worship" while they try to peddle their stolen goods to those who like Christian music?

After several years, I was finally able to purchase replacements for most of the CD's. But now it had happened again - only on a much greater scale. Even though my collection had been stored discretely under a sofa, they managed to find them. This was just too much of a coincidence. Something else was going on. Could it be that the devil hates worship, especially in our homes? It is worth considering. I believe he wanted to literally steal our worship and praise. But he will not be successful and he is a fool for trying.

Ironically, just a few weeks prior to the break in, I felt led to copy all of our music in a higher quality format (320 Kbps) onto my computer. It was a big project and took days to accomplish but now I know why. Even though I do not have the liner notes and the benefit of owning the original recordings, the music lives on. In addition, I have everything backed up onto two separate storage devices so if my computer is ever damaged or stolen we will not be silenced.


THE VICTORY IS OURS!

Along with the arrival of our granddaughter, we had another wonderful experience in Minnesota. I was able to connect with my pastor friends in the urban core and join them in prayer. Coincidently, they had scheduled a prayer vigil on October 30th and asked if I would be willing to share at the event. Prayerperation VII turned out to be a very special time together. God was with us throughout the worship, prayer, and times of exhortation. We experienced unity in the Spirit and a fresh vision for the city. Something deep is happening in South Minneapolis.

We also had several prayer meetings in the home where we were staying. On one occasion, I had a vision of a train pulling up to the house. I thought that was strange and asked the Lord why it had stopped. I felt the impression that it was not a passenger train but a supply train. The next day, I was informed that two sizable gifts had been sent to our ministry months ago but had never arrived. The donor now wanted to reissue the checks and it could not have come at a better time!

Shortly before we left for Minnesota, the one we shared clothes dryer with Molly's family Decided to quit on us. We scheduled a repairman to come out and arranged for our friend Chuck to meet with him while we were gone. The repairman determined that the motor was bad and the replacement would be delivered in three weeks. This did not bother us too much Because it would still be fixed before we returned to Mexico. However, when we finally returned we got some bad news - they could not locate a replacement engine so they needed to replace the entire dryer unit. The only problem was that it would take some additional weeks. My wife, had plenty of laundry to do when we got back and started in without the dryer. Well, Martha just informed me that she turned the dryer on and it is now working fine! God is not only able to raise a person from the dead but I've also brought our dryer dead back to life! I just love the Lord and the incredible life that He has created us to enjoy with Him.


GIFTS OF LOVE

Since coming back to Mexico we are now faced with the holiday season. We see the difference in how much "stuff" we give each other compared to Mexico where our friends are trying to earn enough pesos to give their children just a small gift. Toys for children cost almost double in Mexico what they do in the U.S. In our prayer meeting last night, Martha felt we should ask our American friends if they would like to help this month so that we could get some presents for those who can't afford them.

To give a gift of love simply make your check payable to B.U.D. and send it to P.O. 8940 Minneapolis, MN 55408. Also, please attach a note indicating "Children's Christmas gift." Thank you so much!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ministry Update

MORE OPEN DOORS FOR MINISTRY

This past month we have continued to enjoy some wonderful ministry opportunities. On one occasion, we visited the church of Pastor Reynaldo Torres in the city of Zacatecas. This church has experienced revival in the past and continues to hunger for a fresh move of God's Spirit. We conducted three consecutive nights of worship and prayer. During the second night something broke in the heavenlies and we discovered a new found freedom. Upon the conclusion of the third night, several men including the pastor, remained at the church for extended prayer. At one point, he drove around the entire city, crying out for revival. The prayers just flowed the entire time. Afterwards, Pastor Reynaldo expressed that it was the greatest night of his life. What a difference prayer becomes when the Holy Spirit is in charge.

On the fourth night we did something that was different but critically important. We had a prayer and worship time in the pastor's home. This was the beginning of what we believe is a critical part of the spiritual transformation of a city. Christians must enter a lifestyle of prayer and worship, not just attend a church meeting. This is also important because much of the activities in our homes are leading us further from God's Kingdom rather than closer. As Christians, we must penetrate our environment and replace it with the Kingdom of God. There is no better place for this to occur than in our homes.


HOW DEEP IS OUR LOVE?

Peter said to the Lord in Mark 14, "Even if all fall away, I will not." "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." Impressive words but Jesus saw a problem. Peter's love was conditional. Peter had stayed beside Jesus until the day He was arrested because he was in a position of receiving. To others he may have looked like a faithful servant but when Jesus was taken away, Peter stayed at a safe distance. This was because Peter was interested enough to follow, but not intimate enough to help. He took a seat near the warm fire because the one who once gave him comfort was gone. Peter was now looking for comfort somewhere else.

Why did Peter ultimately deny Jesus? Because in that midnight hour, he was no longer in a position of receiving but now he needed to give. The problem was he had nothing to give. Peter's lamp proved to be dry. Before this crisis, Peter was so confident that he would be forever faithful to the Lord. He even promised Jesus his life unto death. However, what he failed to promise Jesus was his love. Jesus knew the shallowness of Peter's love and it took the rooster crowing and a penetrating gaze from Jesus for Peter to finally realize the true state of his heart.

But Jesus was not through with Peter. Several days later He met Peter and his friends on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. After a simple meal, Jesus revealed the true purpose of His visit. In the presence of others, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him completely and supremely. It was an awkward moment for Peter as he confessed he only loved Jesus as a friend. This exchange became another painful reminder of the lack of depth in Peter's love.

I have to believe this question of love continued to press upon Peter's conscience right up to the day of Pentecost and I don't think he was alone. Along with the necessity of embracing a Kingdom lifestyle, I believe this was the major issue for all those assembled in that upper room. As they grew desperate for a change in their dull minds and reticent hearts, suddenly the wind of the Holy Spirit came and filled the room. He penetrated their lives with fresh revelation of His everlasting Kingdom. But after the wind, came the fire. Fire can represent several things but in Song of Solomon 8:6 it states that love is like a blazing fire and a mighty flame. This fire of love fell upon this humble assembly and quickly separated itself to each individual. The Holy Spirit clearly demonstrated that God's love is not only powerful put very personal and intimate.

Christ's question, "Do you love me?" has continued to echo throughout the generations. Today, we are once again in the midnight hour. It is critical that our hearts are ready to give Him love, not just receive it. God is looking for those who will love Him without rival, worship Him without tire, and serve Him with the deepest of devotion. Like our brothers and sisters two thousand years ago, this is the hour when our love must shine.

Ministry Update

OPEN HEAVEN

Our time in Mexico is definitely getting more exciting. God seems to be taking many of the spiritual lessons we learned in Minnesota and expanding them here. For the past four years God has been leading us into a prayer lifestyle. This has involved countless nights of prayer in our home using worship and warfare music.

Now that we are in Mexico, we have been sharing the principles of having a prayer lifestyle in the Mexican culture. Recently we went to the city of Jerez where we spoke on Sunday morning followed by three nights of intense prayer and worship. Robert and Ani Duran, the directors of the Cave of Adullam ministry were able to join us for these meetings.

During these three nights we experienced an open heaven as God's Presence met us in a powerful yet intimate manner. I found that His Presence remained with us after each evening meeting and throughout the next day. At times it was overwhelming as He revealed spiritual principles that caused our hearts to burst into greater love and devotion. Since coming back to San Luis Potosi, we are getting more reports of changes in the lives of those who attended.
This week we will be going to the city of Zacatecas for four nights of meetings and a Sunday service. We want these meetings to be a catalyst for prayer lifestyles which are then maintained in their individual homes. Please pray with us for an open heaven and sustainable spiritual renewal.


LEARNING TO FEED OURSELVES

Today so many Christians are overly-dependent on others for spiritual nourishment. We believe the days of carrying others so that they don't have to walk are over. We must "fan into flame the gift" that God has given us rather than looking for the pastor or the anointed minister to sustain us. Pastors, by biblical definition, are shepherds. Good shepherds will protect the flock, lead them to green pastures, and bring them safely back to the sheep pen. What they don't do is literally feed the sheep. When Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep the word "feed" meant to "pasture." I've never seen a shepherd pull grass and hand-feed his sheep! When sheep eat for themselves they quickly become stronger and healthier.

How do we eat on our own? First we must personally seek the face of Jesus. The bible tells us to "fix our eyes upon Jesus." Peter could walk on the water in the midst of a storm because he was focused on Jesus. When he took his eyes off of Christ, he began to sink. It would have been senseless for his friends to jump in to keep him standing on the water. Only by focusing on Christ will we be able to be sustained in these stormy times. We may wish for others to sustain us but we will only sink if our eyes are on other people or things.

Secondly, we must learn to listen for His voice. Once again we can easily be distracted by so many other voices. Jesus continually admonished "he who has ears to hear, let him hear." He knew there was a distinction between hearing and listening. Often it takes more effort to listen than to hear. My wife Martha, lets me know if I am hearing her but not listening! Today, Jesus is speaking but are we listening? Is this a priority in our lives or are we allowing others to always tell us what Jesus is saying? We must reduce the distractions in our lives and tune into Him.

Thirdly, we must follow Him. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, He wasn't necessarily walking to them (see Mark 6:48, 49). As Peter called out, Jesus directed him to come to where he was. This is significant. I believe Jesus always knows where He is going. The problem is we are often going in another direction. Most men don't like to admit they are driving the wrong way. They often hate admitting they are lost. By following Christ, we must often adjust the direction of our lives. This can be humbling but it is the only way.

The parable of ten virgins is found in Matthew 25. They were all anxiously awaiting the bridegroom to come and the marriage feast to begin. Five of the virgins were identified as foolish. Why? Because they assumed they could get additional oil for their lamps from others. Their assumption was incorrect and they were forced to go back to town to purchase more. While gone, the bridegroom arrived and the door was shut. Upon returning, the foolish virgins tried to gain entry but were refused by the bridegroom. He made the solemn statement, "I don't know you."

We will not be able to join the Bridegroom unless we have obtained sufficient oil ourselves. Our commitment to seeking His face, hearing His voice, and following Him will ultimately determine whether Christ will know us or not.

Feed Your Soul and Mexico Missions!

If you haven't gotten a copy of our books and music please visit us at Ardormedia.com. The proceeds help support the ministry here in Mexico!