The Hope Factor

How it can make a 24000% difference

Curt Richter had a special relationship with rats. In 1950 he put rats in a bucket with circulating water, to see how long they could swim before they would sink. Under normal conditions, a rat could swim for an average of 15 minutes before giving up and sinking. However, if he rescued the rats just before drowning, dried them off and let them rest briefly, and then put them back into the same buckets of circulating water, the rats could swim an average of 60 hours before drowning. If a rat was temporarily saved, it would survive 240 times longer than if it was not temporarily saved. That’s the same as 24,000% longer. A little hope goes a long way. The rats that had HOPE kept swimming.

Preaching the Gospel is Preaching the Gospel

Not drilling wells

Jesus didn’t send his disciples into cities, and say   “When you go, be nice, trendy, hard-working, law-abiding citizens, start successful businesses, be super culturally relevant, and pray…   And wait…   Wait for that moment.  That moment someone asks you why you’re such a great person and why you’re so successful. Then, and only then, preach the gospel to them.” Actually he told them to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cleanse lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Matthew 10:8   It’s dumb for us to do everything that helps us spread the gospel, but never actually preach the gospel. That’s just dumb. I understand that there are many “covert ministries”, and spheres where much wisdom is required, and I’m thankful for Christians who God has positioned to bring influence in the various mountains of culture. And I understand that in most cases, it would not be a good idea to jump up onto the table and start proclaiming a blistering bible message. However, I’m afraid that we’ve become kind of like hunters sitting in our hunting blinds, and we’re so preoccupied with the process of sitting in waiting and perfecting our animal calls, that we never take the shot. We just watch the game stroll by and we pat each other on the back, and pride ourselves in how close they got to us without getting spooked.

8 Truths about Tithing that we should all understand

And some fascinating statistics from the world of tithing and giving

I believe that real generosity starts above and beyond the tithe. The tithe was never our money in the first place. So if you give your tithe to wherever you feel like, (not to your church), then it’s not your generosity. You’re just taking credit for being generous with money that was never yours in the first place because the tithe belongs to the Lord. In a sense, real generosity starts when you give above and beyond just the tithe. Leviticus 27:30

Don’t let your heart get crusty

A prophetic word

“Don’t let your heart get crusty.   You need to soak.   Stop trying to run a marathon.”  Those were the exact words I heard from the Lord in prayer.  Perhaps this word is for you too.  My heart was growing crusty.  It’s not that I was losing my edge.  The opposite would be closer to the truth.  It was that in the place where my heart used to be full of compassion and tenderness, it was becoming edgy.


Perhaps the term “soak” doesn’t make a lot of sense to some.  “Soaking” is when I spend time in Gods presence without necessarily doing anything.  “Soaking in His presence.”  Not tomato juice.  I’m not reading my bible, I’m not praying for anything.  It’s when I’m just resting in His presence, and practicing being loved by Him. Sometimes life turns into a marathon.  And in my attempt to catch up with life, I forget how to rest.  How to disengage.  How to pause.  I believe it was never intended to be that way.  All of nature is more like a series of sprints than a dragged-out marathon. It’s even the natural way our bodies function.  Our muscles slide into atrophy if we do nothing.  But if we over-work them, they are traumatized.  They need stress, and then sufficient recovery to grow and be healthy.

Intimacy and work.  You need both. 
If you work too hard, you lose intimacy, and you forget how to rest and soak.
In my case, I have to be careful to not let my identity of being a son, who the Father trusts, not to let that give me an excuse to not seek the the Holy Spirit for His lead.
Either extremes are unhealthy.
In one extreme people supposedly rely so much on God leading them, that they simply don’t really do much, because they’re waiting on His lead.  In my case, as I learn to be a son, and realize the light is green by default, and pursue releasing the Kingdom on the earth, I can start to neglect allowing Holy Spirit to lead me.
The third group is the people who don’t really believe God could lead us supernaturally, and rely entirely on just serving the Lord faithfully.  Those are the ones who have a younger prodigal brother, who they despise.
We’re all learning what it looks like to live as sons and daughters, and no longer slaves.
Sometimes we learn one piece, but neglect the other piece.
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to listen than the fat of rams.  1 Samuel 15:22
It’s important that we live with the realization that He first loved us, and continues to love us, before we loved him.
If we get that mixed around, then it really screws us up, because then we start
working for love,
working for healing,
working for favor,
working for blessing.
Instead of being sons and daughters and inheriting what belongs to us.
God wants to install sonship sensors, that give us an alert warning when we start to slip out of sonship, and back into slavery and orphanhood.  
When I come to the Train Station in our city, where I minister to the homeless, I can either rest in Gods goodness and in my identity as a son.
Or I can feel the pressure of making something happen.
You see, often people get healed and we see phenomenal miracles.
However, when my hope is in my ability to make something happen, I end up disappointed and discouraged, because I can never live up to the standards I set for myself.
But He is strong in my weakness.  That’s where the real “magic” lies.
Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Luke 15:31
What is it like to be hugged by Father God?
Did you get many hugs as a child?  Or very few?
Our loving Heavenly Father wants to hug you, and speak words of pride and joy over you, and let you know how proud He is with you.  That’s the heart of God.
Here’s the challenge.  
Practicing being loved by the Father tends to be a more difficult task for us humans as opposed to us loving the Father.
That’s where we get everything messed up, and slip into a performance, orphan mentality.
The problem is that we tend to be more concerned about how well we’re loving Him than keeping a close watch on how well we’re allowing Him to love us.
He’s the One pursuing us.  If you’re not experiencing that reality, then you’re missing out.


Image courtesy of: ReflectedSerendipity on Flickr

Royal brats

3 keys how to steward greatness

God is not impressed with our experience or expertise.  He’s impressed with faith.  However… There is a problem with faith.  The problem with faith is that it will make you great.  For example, if you have great faith, then you will see great miracles.  Miracles are like expensive cars.  The more of them you own, the more other people think you are great. They may even start calling you “Apostle So&So.”  Imagine that.  So the temptation to use faith to make you great is real.  

5 keys for more breakthrough in healing the sick

Recently I read through many of the stories of Jesus healing people.  Seeing people miraculously healed is one of the most exciting experiences in the world.  It’s the moment when you see that sparkle in someone’s eyes as they start to realize they can’t locate the pain.  Because it’s gone! The problem with all these stories of Jesus healing people is that they were all so different.  I wish he left us a formula.  I wish he did it the same every time, so we could just learn the methodology and go for it. He didn’t do that though. He’s more interested in partnership and relationship, than just giving us a manual for healing people, and leaving us on our own.  The stories vary in so many ways.  You find various levels of faith, various methods of how Jesus went about healing people.  You also find various reactions to Jesus healing people, and that some repented as a result of healing, but some did not.  Here are five issues that I have had to deal with for the ministry of healing the sick to blossom in my life. 

Stop saying the divorce rate is 50%. You’re killing us.

The good news about marriage, and the REAL divorce rate

I read a book, and I’m really fired up.
Before I tell you what it is I’m so fired up about, let me tell you why it’s so important.
The #1 most important ingredient that keeps marriages together is HOPE.
When couples lose hope, it’s the beginning of the end.
The absence of hope is an indicator of the presence of a lie sinking its claws into its prey; whoever is believing the lie.
Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn interviewed thousands of couples over 12 years.
They found that there was one common denominator among marriages that survived versus those that failed: HOPE.
According to Shaunti, many different factors led to either outcome, of course.
But underneath it all was this bottom line:
Did the couple have a sense of hope … or a sense of futility?
“After all, if the ship is going to sink anyway, why bother working so hard to bail it out?”
Far better, they think, to work on escaping the wreck intact. In other words, a couple’s futile feeling that “We aren’t going to make it” ends up being one of the main reasons they don’t make it.”

A list of declarations that changed my life

Exposing a subtle lie I used to believe about the power of the tongue

There was a time when I was a bit skeptical about making “declarations of faith” as some do in certain Christian circles.  When I would run into Christians who believed in this kind of practice, I often felt like it wasn’t sincere and authentic.  I believe God wants us to be real.  I mean read the Psalms.  David didn’t polish his words with God.  That all changed when I was in BSSM taking the Church Leadership Track led by Steve Backlund, the crazy guy who is always trying to get people to laugh at lies.  I realized there were probably a few lies I had been believing, and my attitude toward making those audacious un-authentic declarations of faith started to change dramatically.  It was a combination of scriptural teaching, and empirical evidence from my own life that slowly converted me to one of those crazies. The problem with deception is you don’t know you’re deceived until it is somehow exposed. I am fully aware that many aspects of this idea of making declarations and proclamations has been abused in many ways.  But unfortunately we, the church, have a great reputation of throwing the baby out with the bath water.  I don’t know how someone could throw a baby out with the bath water.  I prefer not visualizing that.  

The Prophet Of Love

Who went to meet the lover of his soul on Valentines Day

Three years ago, on Valentines Day, a great man, who many came to call “The Prophet of Love” went home to meet the lover of his soul.
I had the honor to know Bob. He was a dear friend of our family. I never met anyone who knew scripture like he did.
And he truly lived to please the Lord.  Many who heard him for the first time, might think he was just some corky, mystical hill billy, but he was a great prophet, and he was the real deal.  He could also interpret dreams like nobody I’ve ever heard of.  He blessed my parents, and our extended family tremendously through interpreting dreams, which he would do using scripture he knew so well.  My earliest memory as a kid being exposed to the prophetic, was hearing how Bob predicted with precision to the day, a horrible earth quake that struck San Francisco, when the bridge was damaged.  As a kid, that really impacted me, that God could use someone to actually predict something like that with such accuracy.

A Relationship Quality Hack To Get 21% Back

Technology can be a telescope that helps you zoom in and focus on something in a way impossible without it. However, in some cases it can be more like the four legged chair that the lion tamer uses in a circus as one of his primary tools in working with lions. The points of the four legs of the chair bobbing around tend to perplex the lion, and the dilemma of which of the four legs to focus on mentally paralyzes the lion, and distracts him from thinking about the tasty lion-trainer.  All of us know of many of the downsides of the technology we enjoy.  However there is one surprisingly simple thing that you could change to get back more than 21% of the relationship quality you might be losing.