Monday, December 12, 2011

Ministry Update - December 2011

Recently, I read an article that mentioned the diminishing of the "River Movement." Many know that this renewal movement started nearly twenty years ago in Toronto and spread to many other places throughout the world. Millions of people have been impacted by this move of the Spirit. However, the author felt this movement had run its course. Ironically, Molly dropped by soon after and shared something that the Lord had just revealed to her - not once but twice. This is what she saw.

HIS GLORIOUS SUPPLY

During my devotion time, the Lord showed me a vision of a ministry leader in the river of God. He was splashing and having a great time. This river was fed by the rains of repentance and renewal that seemed to pour down upon his meetings. However, the scene abruptly changed and I saw a dry riverbed. Rather than swimming in a beautiful, deep river; the minister was now flopping around on the ground like a fish that had just fallen out of its fish bowl!

Later that evening, I saw another vision. I saw before me an expanse that seemed to be without end. Scattered throughout this vastness were empty riverbeds. Once overflowing with refreshing rainwater, they were now completely dried up. I then heard a voice speak as I gazed upon the sight, "The heavens are going to be as brass."

These two visions might have been discouraging except for something the Lord brought to my remembrance. When the Israelites wandered in the desert, hungry and thirsty, they discovered relief not from a river but amazingly from a rock! The Lord was teaching them to trust Him in a new way rather than relying on something that appeared familiar and logical. In the wilderness, they discovered that food could rain from heaven and water could spring forth from a lifeless stone. This, of course, required a greater dependency and trust in God. They were learning the unique dynamics of His Kingdom.

I believe we have also entered a season where our spiritual paradigms will be challenged by a new movement of His power and grace. I believe we must open up our hearts and minds and prepare to do things differently. If we change, He will enable us to fulfill His plans and purposes in this coming year.

HIS EXPANDING KINGDOM

God's presence and love continues to become more and more tangible within the Crow Wing County jail. Not only do inmates continue to give their lives to the Lord, but they are now ministering to others and bringing more into the Kingdom!!! Through their decisions to surrender their lives to Christ, their family members are getting saved and even their friends are coming to the Lord. At times, we find ourselves having to run to keep up with them!!! It is so awesome to see them go after God hard and fast!!! How true are the words that those who are forgiven much, love much.

A while back, one of the law enforcement officers brought a deputy to our prayer meeting. This deputy was facing a crisis in his marriage and wanted God to change his life. The Lord marvelously saved him and brought healing to his marriage. Recently, a rookie officer began his training with this deputy. When we had our prayer meeting this past week, they both showed up. The rookie was quick to point out that the deputy had not only showed him how to fulfill his law enforcement duties, but had demonstrated righteousness and integrity in his lifestyle. Soon, the rookie led out in prayer. The spiritual impact the deputy had on this rookie was obvious and powerful.

The message of God's Kingdom continues to find its way into open hearts. Recently, the conviction of the Holy Spirit fell in our Clash of Kingdoms Bible study at a local church. We were brought to tears as the Lord graciously exposed the compromises of our divided hearts. Mixture with this world's system has greatly weakened the Western Church but God is preparing a Bride who only has eyes for Him.

UNITED FOR THE KING

As we look back on this past year, we can't help but give glory to God and thanks to those who have supported us. However, in the midst of the victories, we are still facing some major challenges. Next year, we need to reprint two of our books and Molly's CD. There are also some repairs and upgrades to equipment that can no longer be delayed. Individual support is a major concern and needs to be brought up.

Many prefer a year-end gift but others have joined our Dollar-A-Day Club. Anyone can become a member and it only requires a commitment of one dollar a day (less than a cup of coffee) to be paid monthly, bimonthly, or annually. I am asking you to prayerfully consider joining our support team at this modest amount. Several individuals, churches, and businesses have already done so. Just let us know by writing to Bethany Urban Development P.O. Box 8940 Minneapolis, MN 55408.

God bless and have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ministry Update November 2011

GOD'S BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

We continue to see the Lord move in some amazing ways. It is hard to keep up with everything that is going on and we thank God for the privilege of representing Him and serving others.

Several Bible studies have begun locally using The Clash of Kingdoms. I am particularly excited about one that just started with local law enforcement officers. They seem so hungry to know God more. I just love to see God at work in their lives; to see His fingerprints on what they do.

I am also becoming more involved with critical incidents and death notifications in the area. Unfortunately, many of those who have been traumatized do not personally know the Lord. In every opportunity, I want God to pierce their darkness and bring light and hope to their deepest needs.

Most of the inmates that have come to Christ have been released from jail. Many are now attending worship services and Bible studies. "Jailhouse religion" has given way to genuine conversions with a hunger to go deeper with God. May God raise up an army of transformed prisoners!


DRAW NEAR

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me." His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means." Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, (John 13:21-26).
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me" (Luke 22:31-34).

This verbal exchange took place during the Last Supper. Now it may seem insignificant, but I want you to look closely at the position of the two disciples mentioned. John (the one Jesus loved) was right next to Jesus. I don't believe this was a coincidence. I think John intentionally placed himself in a position where he could hear everything Jesus said - even if He whispered. He also put himself in the best position to speak to Jesus.

Peter, on the other hand, had reclined some distance away. The passage tells us he had to motion for John. For some reason, Peter had positioned himself separate from Jesus and John. As a result, he was too far to hear Jesus' whisper; too far to speak to Him privately. Consequently, Peter's separation forced a dependency on someone closer to Jesus to get the answer he sought.

Perhaps we should give Peter a break. Maybe he just assumed their ministry time was over that day. If so, we shouldn't fault him for focusing on eating, drinking, and talking with his friends. Unfortunately, Peter's assumption crumbled when Jesus had to speak to him over the sound of everyone else. Because of his position, Peter was forced to feel the sting of a public revelation - Satan had him in his crosshairs and Peter would soon deny his Lord three times.

This brief narrative is intriguing and leads us to an important question. As His disciples, where are we positioning ourselves? Are we seated with Christ but still too far to hear what He is saying? Is our position too dependent upon others for answers rather than hearing directly from Him? Is public exposure the only way He can get our attention? If so, we are in a very unhealthy position. Fortunately, we don't have to stay there. There is still a place of intimacy reserved for each one of us. In this position, hearts can be opened effortlessly and the deepest thoughts easily shared. In this critical hour, let us draw ever near to Him and be ready to respond even if He whispers.


THANK YOU!

During this Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of how important you are to us. If you have prayed for our ministry, even once, thank you. If you have written to us, even a simple comment, thank you. If you have given to our ministry, no matter how much, thank you. Every prayer, every comment, and every gift has been a treasure to us. Without you, our ministry would not be where it is today. You have stood with us in the good times and have not left us in the hard times. You have been a friend and a source of encouragement when we've needed it most. Thank you so much for your faithfulness!

May God bless you abundantly in body, soul, and spirit. May His presence bring fresh spiritual revelation to your heart and mind. May He bless your family and those you love. May He lead you into His abundant peace and eternal joy.

And may we, with united and thankful hearts, give glory and honor to the One who sustains and leads us by His everlasting love.