Surviving the Wilderness

WOW Club WellMichele, Judah and I have just returned from one of the best weeks of ministry we have participated in over the past couple of years.  We spoke at the Pulaski Church of God near Roanoke, VA and then traveled with Austen Owens (our summer intern from Regent University) to the Prepare 2016 Conference in Washington, NC.  This was a great conference where the Lord poured out a fresh anointing on me as the band and I led the Morning Glory worship session.  Words cannot express how joyous and refreshing this session was for me as a fresh anointing fell upon us, launching us into this NEW season that God is opening to us.  We then traveled to Virginia Beach to meet with many of our monthly partners and ministry leaders.  We had around 50 leaders that joined us as the Founders Inn where we shared how God has helped us to survive this wilderness season, but also to share what we believe God is saying as we look ahead to 2017. And finally, we wrapped the week at Kingdom Life Ministries in Chesapeake, VA leading worship for their revival.  What a blessing to lead worship with Jason & Kelli Bare, and Jason & Shelly Ratliff, and especially our son Judah, who joined us on the frontline vocals.  Michele and I are so proud of our son and our spiritual sons and daughters.  We are truly blessed!

As I have shared with you in previous letters, we encountered a wilderness experience that began in June of 2014.  It has been a road that I wish we all could avoid, yet one I believe we all will face at some point in our walk with Christ.  Therefore, I believe that the Lord has called me to be as transparent as possible to share this experience with as many as He leads me to, and to impart seven (7) major keys that helped us to survive this dreaded season.  I believe that our sharing this will be one of the keys for our entering into this NEW season of ministry.

II Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  -KJV

As I read this, I feel as though Paul is speaking directly to the worshiper…the one who stands in worship looking into the glory of the Lord.  As we continue our gaze, God transforms us from Glory TO Glory.  From the Best He has created us to be, TO the Best He is calling us to be.  It is this “TO” that I believe marks a wilderness encounter.  It is the place found between two seasons, and because it exists we must recognize what it is and how to survive it to get to our NEW season.

This month, I would like to give you seven (7) themes that may help you define or recognize the wilderness.  These will be markers or indicators for you as to where you may be as you read this, or they may help you recognize they “WHY” for where you are right now.  Over the next couple of months, I will unpack these 7 keys that helped me survive, and I believe will help you during this season.

I’M LOST!
The first theme often portrays the wilderness as a place of threat, chaos and alienation.   It is barren, and nothing is familiar.  There are no markers or indicators or road map to help you know where you are.  All you know is that you have no idea how you got to this place, but even worse….you do not know where to go from here or how to get out!

I FEEL WITHDRAWN FROM EVERYONE
In the developing Christian tradition, the Wilderness is a place or state of withdrawal from the world to face the reality of God, oneself and one’s neighbor, and to overcome the power of evil.  We recognize this as the place where Jesus withdrew to and was tempted of the devil.  We must be careful with this one though to ensure that God has led us to this place of confrontation with God, and not us simply withdrawing as a result of depression or anxiety.

TRANSITION & CHANGE
The wilderness is a place of Transition and Change.  The children of Israel experienced this during their time in the wilderness.  They were being transformed from slaves to a free people in the Promised Land.  Of course, Jesus began his ministry after his time in the wilderness overcoming Satan, the evil one.  It is the place where one season ends and the next begins.

REVELATION
The wilderness is a place of Revelation.  This is perhaps the most prominent theme.  This is the place where God reveals himself in the burning bush, and through a pillar of fire and a cloud.  Of course Mt. Sinai is the central place in the wilderness revelation.  This is the place where EVERYONE saw, felt and heard the power of God on the mountain.

TESTING & JUDGEMENT
Israel faced judgment after pivotal revelation and rebellion at Mt. Sinai.  The church has always known that the desert is a place of temptation.  We must remember that the enemy will try to isolate you and I to get us to fall prey to temptations.  This can be a very dangerous place as you believe that you have lost everything, so you have nothing else to lose and therefore surrender to the lies and temptations that the enemy places before you.  God’s desire is that we overcome the temptation and walk in the power of HIS might, even when we feel we have no more fight within us at that moment in time.

VICTORIES ARE WON
In the wilderness, we will face conflicts, but great victories are gained.  Just as the Children of Israel encountered hostile enemies in the wilderness, these battles were only successful when they were obedient to the instruction of the Lord’s command.  And that is how you and I will win our great victories….when we are obedient to the instruction of the Lord.

A PLACE CREATED BY GOD
Perhaps the hardest lesson is to realize that the wilderness was created by God, not by Satan.  All things that were created were created by HIM.  Therefore, since it was created by God for a purpose, it is important for us to know how to survive our time in the wilderness.

In the next few months, I will unpack seven keys that God revealed to me during my wilderness encounter.  It is my prayer that God will use what He has shown me to help you where you are in your journey.

I have discovered in my sharing that numerous ministry leaders hit a wall similar to mine in 2014 and encountered this wilderness experience.  Oftentimes, simply knowing that others are going through what you are can provide a healing realizing that you are not alone.

Today, I encourage you keep your eyes continually fixed upon God.  Take one day at a time, and do not allow this wilderness to overcome you and fall by the wayside.  You are on your way From Glory “TO” Glory.  God’s best season for you is waiting on you, just ahead.  Keep pressing on and answer HIS Call upon your life.

The Journey

Keith Duncan-8

I believe that we flew past Spring and jumped straight into summer. May was a blur, with a massive flurry activity within the Duncan household and His Call Ministries. I was blessed to celebrate my 48th birthday in May, and Judah completed his sophomore year with straight A’s; allowing him to exempt all of his exams, for which he is extremely thankful for. Additionally, he was able to get his driver’s license, and now is skirting about town on his own. (Pray saints pray!)

May was also filled with ministry opportunity every weekend during the month. We kicked the Mother’s Day weekend off by ministering at Campmeeting Ministries in Critz, VA, and then were blessed to speak at Pastor David & Cindy Bryant’s church in Danville as the keynote speaker for Mother’s Day. We then traveled to Maryland to minister and celebrate with Dr. Caretha Crawford at her 5th Year Gala Celebration for In Pursuit of His Presence Ministries. It was a rather spectacular evening giving the Lord praise for all He has accomplished through their ministry efforts. What a wonderful blessing to sow back into the lives and ministries of these our cherished Kingdom Covenant Partners.

We rounded out the last of the month by pulling together another great team of worship leaders, which I have worked with throughout the years, for a special Pentecost Celebration with Cornerstone Television Network in Pittsburgh, PA. God has given us great favor with the President of that great network, and we have several more weeks worth of ministry coming up throughout the rest of this year, as well as several weeks of taping for INSP with David & Barbara Cerullo. This seems to be a great year for television ministry opportunities.

I continue to be amazed at how God opens doors for me to minister to individuals through the Real Estate opportunity. Michele and I have prayed with many of our clients, and God has often given a word for their lives…and they have received it. God has used this season to help us better articulate God’s plan for people’s lives who are not churched and are not familiar with the Church lingo that we often surround ourselves with.

As I reflect not only over the past year of our life and ministry, I can look over the past 23 years or ministry with Michele and realize that with each step of our journey (regardless of whether it made sense at the time or not), God was teaching us a nugget that would add to the sum total of who we are.

Oftentimes, if we are not careful, we will overanalyze every opportunity set before us and can talk ourselves out of an opportunity that God has placed before us; especially if it is one that does not make sense. Unfortunately, when in pursuit of God’s plan and purpose for our lives, we are not allowed the opportunity and luxury of knowing the

“Why” to each door. It merely requires us to listen to the voice of the Lord at each cross road and move according to His direction.

  • What is God Speaking to you today?
  • Is it hard to hear what He is saying?
  • Does it make sense to you, or are you wrestling with it making sense?
  • What is holding you back from moving forward?

Each of these are key questions for you to ponder and consider as you are earnestly seeking for clear direction from the Lord. So, let me give you four things that may assist your journey.

ASK

First, with each opportunity it is important to ask God if this is an opportunity from Him, or a distraction.

Often, the enemy will use something as a mere distraction to prevent you from walking out what He is calling you to. But when you pray and earnestly seek His will, He will give you a green light to keep moving forward.

TRUST

As you move forward, you need to trust that He will direct and guide you. You need to continue walking forward until He illuminates a Red light, and if He does not, keep moving forward. This is part of the Faith walk required by each of us .

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. –Proverbs 3:5

OBEY

Obedience is a tricky one. This is the place where our thoughts and reasoning often interfere with what God has told us to do. This is what happened when King Saul made a sacrifice before going to war because Samuel was delayed in his journey. Saul thought the sacrifice was the ultimate requirement to victory, yet it violated God’s protocol with Samuel the priest making the sacrifice.

Often, we get in a hurry and try to figure things out and “Make It Happen” with our resources, giftings, and skill sets. Yet God still requires us to obey His plans that He has prescribed for our journey.

ENJOY

When you follow each of these steps on your journey, the Lord promises His provision for you. When you ask for His direction, when you step out in faith and Trust Him to guide you, and then when you choose to obey His voice and direction, then He plans for you to enjoy the fullness of that which He has purposed and destined for you.

Sometimes, especially in the Charismatic circles, we feel it is not OK to enjoy a season. We feel guilty, or we feel that we should not feel happiness. If we are not careful, we will waltz right past the blessing and not enjoy the season of rest that He has provided for us.

This state of enjoyment is not our final destination. Rather, it is the place that He provides to us beside the still waters. A season of rest, refreshing and ultimately re- enlistment for the next leg of our journey.

I have learned that life is not about a final destination, but rather of sequence of life events filled with moment along the journey that make us who we are called and purposed to be. The key is sharing those moments with others along our journey to assist with where they may be on their journey.

Michele and I are enjoying a season of rest from the stress and strain of executing our Throne Zone conferences. For 12 years, we have subjected ourselves to the pressure of raising the budget and executing an event with a great level of excellence. It has been very rewarding, yet very draining mentally, emotionally, and so God has allowed us this year a Sabbath rest for which we are very grateful.

In this season we are learning how to better and more effectively reach people with the message of the good news that Jesus brings to us; how He provides hope for individuals, and how He has a plan for their life.

He is exposing us to new technology to better enable us to reach people, better understanding the times and how to effectively reach and impact lives of individuals in this season on planet earth.

Today, I encourage you on your journey. Ask God what He has for you. Ask Him to begin to open and close doors for your life. As He begins to open doors (and close them), Trust that He is in control and take the first step toward that open door. Listen to His voice with every step, and continue moving forward until you get a “Red Light” or a “NO” from God. When He speaks a word to you, be quick to respond with a “YES LORD” and walk with relentless obedience to the voice of God. And finally, ENJOY the seasons of rest. Don’t push past that season, but abide by the still waters as long as He allows you to, knowing that He will soon be opening other doors to you leading you to the next leg of your journey.

Michele, Judah and I love you greatly and thank God that He has brought you into our lives to journey with you during this season of your life and ours. We believe He has great plans and purposes for you, but we also know that it may be a bumpy ride. Let us therefore covenant to encourage each other along the way. Speaking to one another in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs keeping our eyes focused upon the prize of the High Calling in Christ Jesus.

Identity Theft

Online stealing credit cardAccording to a recent article released by CNN Money, Identity theft tops the list of consumer complaints. Once again, the number one complaint from Americans this year, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s is Identity Theft.

We have all seen the commercials showcasing their products for protection. Perhaps you even know someone whom has been a victim of this crime. The plot is the same. A criminal will get his hands on some of your personal information, and then begins to strip your identity away while creating his new life as you by securing loans and according to this article from CNN Money, even filing bogus tax returns in your name and getting a refund before you even have a chance to file.

As Christians, we understand that this crime has been going on for centuries. The enemy of our soul will lay his hand on some personal information, and then begin to strip away your own identity in an attempt to confuse you and wreak havoc in your own life.

As my late spiritual father Dr. Myles Munroe used to always share, “The greatest tragedy in life is NOT death. It is going through life never knowing your purpose. It is at that moment that you stop being effective in life because you are preoccupied with chasing after the real purpose for your life.” However, we know that the enemy of our soul operates very craftily in his approach and often the attack is not so straight forward.

Yesterday, Michele and Judah had left the house to go to the school to prepare for Judah’s upcoming Spring production of “Mary Poppins”. Michele is working on the sets using her design skills, and Judah had rehearsals. (If you would like to see this amazing production, please inbox us or email us to find out about tickets being sold.)

While they were gone, I went to the piano and started to play. It was nothing really particular, but rather just began to play. Within a few short moments, tears began to flow and the presence of God settled into our dining room which is where we have the piano. I began to sob almost uncontrollably as I had now suddenly revisited a place with God that I had discovered many years ago. Although this place was very familiar, it was also very different. This time, it was filled with many wonderful memories of God’s presence, and at the same time I found myself discovering a new dimension of His presence yet one more time.

In this moment of divine exchange, it was as if my entire world disappeared and it was just me and God. Time stood still, and I simply did not want to move from this sacred place and moment in my life. It was that moment in time that I have often spoken of to others. It was that Throne Zone dimension, but it wasn’t happening in the convention center, nor in a sanctuary, but rather in my dining room. And my only response was a stream of tears that continued to flow down my cheeks onto the very keys of my piano.

It was during this encounter that God began to show me that I had become a victim of Identity Theft. I began to question, “but Lord, how can this be?” And as only the Lord can do, he began to roll a series of videos across my mind.

For 17 years, Michele and I served in the local church as Worship & Fine Arts pastors. For the past 12 years, we have served as the directors of His Call Ministries hosting our flagship ministry event, The Throne Zone. We have watched countless lives being transformed, church worship programs revolutionized, and young worship leaders mentored and placed on staff at a church or even helped to facilitate the birth of their own individual ministries.

Unknowingly, I had allowed what I “DID” to become my identity. Yet in this Kairos moment, the Lord reminded me very clearly that is NOT who I “AM”. These wonderful ministry results are merely what I “DO”. These are two very different things.

Why is this such a powerful revelation for you and me?

Often, we encounter road blocks with our jobs, our lives, or even our ministries. When we encounter something that prevents us from “DOING”, we travel the gamut of emotions from disappointment, to discouragement, to a cycle of questions that leave us in a turmoil of frustration or guilt. Without allowing the Holy Spirit the opportunity of healing us, or reminding us of who we are in HIM, we can then lose our identity and believe the lies of the enemy.

As I sat at the piano and transcribed this information from the Lord into my journal, I began hearing the father remind me that who I am is a Child of the most high God. I am one who uses my giftings not to lead others into the presence of the Lord; but my chief goal in life is to release that worship unto God. Just me and Him in the quiet place. I am thankful for all that we have DONE….but today I look forward to what we will do in even greater dimensions and capacities. Yet the fact remains, all of that is a direct result of who I AM while BEING with the Father.

Today, I want to encourage you to not allow Satan to steal your identity. I know that sounds cliché and superficial; yet for me this has been very revelatory. Let us not allow what we DO to define us. We must be deliberate in our BEING with the Father, and realize that our “DO” will be an overflow of our “BEING” in His presence.

If what I am sharing confirms what you are going through, please realize you are not going through it by yourself. There are countless leaders and pastors that have been sharing in this same scenario simply because we have focused on DOING more in the Kingdom for God, and we have sacrificed our time simply BEING with God.

Identity Theft!

If you feel as though I am sharing where you are at this moment in your life, please reach out to me through Facebook, the phone, text or email. I would love to chat with you and pray with you. You must know you are NOT FINISHED, you are simply in a season of REST. A time for God to pour forth His healing balm into your spirit; a time of refreshing and renewal. You work is NOT FINISHED, you are just getting started.

Know who you are in Christ!
Know whose you are through Christ!
You are NOT defined by what you DO.
In your time spent BEING with God, you will be restored & refreshed.
Your DOING will be a direct overflow of your BEING with the Lord.

Michele, Judah and I continue to pray for the Lord to reveal what He has for you and us in this new season of our lives. One thing that we know for certain is that we are His, created in His image to do His work and show forth His glory! That is who we are, not what we do!

The Language of Love

Open Book On TableThis is the month when our hearts begin to turn toward the ones we love, or are very fond of. It is a time when we do special things; a time when we give chocolates and wonderful inspiring cards that convey a great message of love to one that we have great feelings for. It is the one time of year when we stop to convey our love and appreciation for that special someone in our lives. Sometimes we get so busy with work and our daily routines that we either forget to share what is in our heart for that person, or we take them for granted and convince ourselves that they know how we feel and therefore do not need to express it. But love needs to be communicated; it doesn’t need to be assumed.

Words make a great impact on our lives. With special thanks to the book “The 5 Love Languages” written by Gary Chapman, we have become aware of the 5 most common Love Languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. There are different languages simply because people respond differently. What is so beautiful is that God knows what language you speak, and He is able to show His love for you and me in a language that we understand.

With this understanding, doesn’t it stand to reason that the enemy of your soul would desire you to no longer feel that love from the father expressed upon you? Wouldn’t it be an accurate assumption that he would love for you to feel isolated, despondent, hopeless and alone; feeling as if no-one loves you much less even knows you exist?

I believe this is one of the greatest attacks that Satan has launched!

I have attempted to be very transparent with you over the past several months sharing some of the things I am learning. As I have shared with you, I have been in one of the toughest battles I have ever been in since June of last year. And as I have began speaking of the lessons I have learned while going through this deep valley, I have connected with countless ministry leaders going through the identical scenario which ironically began in June of last year. Coincidence? I think not!

You see, when you go through things
there are two choices that you can make.

For some, they choose to increase their activity and leave no room for quiet time. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week they leave the television going, they surround themselves with people and activity. Their thought process is that if they keep themselves busy, they will not think about their situation.

For others, they choose to withdraw from the social spheres. The pull back, get quiet and fade into the shadows. Their thoughts then become overwhelmed with questions, anxiety and worry, so much so they often feel as though they are suffocating.

Both of these responses are equally bad simply because we do not understand what the root cause of the problem, and therefore we are never able to deal with the real underlying cause.

Much like many of you, my dilemma came when things that I had been holding on to and praying for over the past 20 years seemed so close then right before my eyes, suddenly disappeared. Prophetic words that had confirmed some of my vision could have been easily thrown to the side when certain hopeful things left the realm of reality. I wish that I could say that I simply prayed in the Spirit for 3 days and then picked myself up and went on to conquer the next and greatest battle. Instead I find myself holding on to the promises I cannot see, because I know they are still on God’s timeline!

I truly believe that some of you have been holding on to specific promises from God; prophetic words that have been spoken over you, and dreams that God has placed in your spirit, yet you have not seen that dream manifest or that word come to pass.

DON’T GIVE UP!!! HOLD ON JUST A LITTLE LONGER!!

1 Kings 17 tells us the story of Elijah and how he had been used to give the word of the Lord to King Ahab. After giving the word that there will not be rain nor dew for 3 years, God told him to go to the brook Cherith. That seemed like an interesting place to be didn’t it? Why would he send him to a brook…a place of water….when there was to be no water for the next three years?

God never called us to understand.
He called us to trust Him and obey His voice.

As Elijah followed the instruction of the Lord, he went to the brook for this season of depending upon God’s provision. The word of God says that God provided the water from the brook and the ravens to bring him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening. It was in this season seemingly in a desert place where God showed himself as Jehovah Jireh.

Laura Story has written a wonderful song called, “Blessings”. The verse

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
we pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things.

CHORUS:
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.

The song continues with another verse and two choruses pursuing this same thought. Such a poignant song to challenge our paradigm isn’t it?

  • 􏰀  How would we know Him as healer if we never got sick?
  • 􏰀  How would we know Him as provider if we never had lack?
  • 􏰀  How would we know Him as Prince of Peace if we were never afraid?Today, I want to remind and encourage you that God Loves YOU! God has a plan for your life. God has a unique destiny upon your life and mine; one that no one can accomplish upon planet earth unless we choose to lay it down and walk away.

    With the challenges you and I face today, let us learn Him by His name. Is He Jireh, Shalom, Rapha? What are you going through today?

    Let me remind you that He speaks your love language. He knows how to communicate that He is for you and not against you. He knows how to speak his words of love and encouragement to you in such a way that you understand. Perhaps it is simply a matter of stopping long enough to listen to His voice, and not your own thoughts.

    Today, do not allow Satan to silence your voice. Do not allow what you are walking through today prevent you from sharing what He has placed in your heart. Do not allow today’s challenge prevent you from sharing hope and encouragement to someone else- regardless of whether you feel that you have something to give or not. Perhaps it is only one word that you can share. Proverbs 25:11 says that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Jesus used only one word, “Peace”. The winds and waves obeyed His voice. One word!

    If it is only one word than you can get out, release that one word. Do not allow Satan the joy of silencing your voice. You are a gentle lamb, a lamb who knows the voice of their shepherd. A lamb doesn’t always know which direction to go; but this is the beauty of a shepherd. The lamb doesn’t have to know where to go; it simply has to follow the leading of the shepherd. Today, follow His leading. Speak what He says to speak…even if it is only one word, and watch what He will do for you.

    God knows your love language. Watch today for Him to speak to you and receive His love, His peace, His encouragement and expect the great joy that comes as a result of your obedience today.

2015: Transformation & HOPE!

2015

January 1st marks the beginning of a new year of life. Businesses will close out the books from the previous year. Regardless of their profits or losses, January 1 signals both a fresh start to their business and a new season filled with new discoveries.

As humans, we realize the significance of a fresh new start in our personal lives. We craft our resolutions for the coming year as we hope to make this New Year different than the last.

We resolve to spend more time with our family, to de-clutter our lives and garages, to make healthy changes and choices to assist in the reduction of stress, and of course one of the top resolutions is to lose weight and get in shape. The new gym memberships roll in during that first week of January, only to slowly watch those new members fall victim to the same bad habits and routines that they maintained during the previous year.

As one who has struggled with weight most of my life, I was one of those who began every year with the theme of losing the weight.

In February of 2014, I found myself being rushed to the hospital with chest pains and a possible heart attack. I found myself at the start of a new year lying in a hospital bed in the Chest Pain wing of the WakeMed Heart Center strapped to all sorts of cables and sensors being monitored for 24 hours. I am happy to report that after a stress test and Nuclear Imaging were performed, I had no heart issues, it was all stress.

In June of 2014, I realized that I needed answers from the Lord and so I decided I would go on a fast to seek direction from God. In prayerful contemplation of how to proceed with this fast, I began to follow the Lords direction. As I turned my face toward heaven asking God for answers and direction, I noticed something different not only from a spiritual perspective but also a weight perspective. I began to lose weight.

As of the time of this letter, I have lost 30 pounds. I have dropped 6 jacket sizes and 8 inches in my waist. I feel good and I feel healthy. What began as a fast actually turned into a change in my lifestyle. I began to see that not only was I hearing the word for 2015, but He was allowing me to live it out to understand it more clearly.

I am a visual learner. God uses pictures or images to speak to me so that I can understand more clearly. After several months with these changes to my eating habits and exercise, I see a different me. I am not the same as I was in July of this past year. I have been in a process of TRANSFORMATION.

As I come in contact with many of my friends, they are amazed at the change that has taken place in my weight and body. They know the struggles that I have experienced over my life. I am not that same person who would eat 1⁄2 of a birthday cake in one day.

I am changed. I am transformed. And because people know my past eating habits, and known my struggle with weight, it now gives them HOPE. HOPE that if I can do it, so can they.

While laying in bed one unable to sleep, I felt as if the Lord said that I am now a visual example of what He wants to occur in the body of Christ during 2015. I believe this is the year that: TRANSFORMATION PRODUCES HOPE

THE TRANSFORMED LIFE MUST HAVE EXPERIENCED A TRANSFORMATION

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.”

When something is transformed, it no longer looks like its original state. It is different; it has been transformed into something different. Yet we hear so much teaching on grace that if we are not careful, our culture will think that when we come into personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is OK for us to continue living the same life and making the same lifestyle choices. Friend, if we ever truly encounter the presence of God in the way He desires to reveal Himself to us, we cannot help but experience transformation. This verse in Corinthians (the New Testament) clearly states that some things that we did before Christ, we no longer do simply because we have truly encountered Christ the King.

For me, if I go back to doing the same thing that I did in years past, it would not take very long for me to gain back those 30 pounds…..and then some. And to be honest, I do not desire that. I still have another 15-20 pounds that I would like to lose before I hit my goal. Therefore, I must press and pursue and continue making new lifestyle choices if I will truly walk out my transformation. If not, I have merely gone on another diet and never made any changes to my life.

THE TRANSFORMED LIFE WILL CULTIVATE HOPE

If ever our world needed Hope, today is that day. Countless Christians and non- believers fall prey to burnout and hopelessness because we no longer see change as a realistic possibility. When problems or challenges face us, we look for inspiration from somewhere; some small nugget of hope that we can hold on to. It doesn’t have to be monumental; it simply needs to be real, tangible and accessible.

THIS IS HOW GOD DESIRES TO USE THE CHURCH IN 2015

I believe that what the Lord is revealing is that He desires this to be a year where the Body of Christ, the believers, experience such a God-Encounter that is so real and tangible that it will transform their lives. I sense He wants to do that in my life and yours. Things that have become so normal and familiar to us, I believe He wants to

reveal Himself to us in a way that will leave us in total amazement of who He is and what He can do.

I also believe that when the church experiences God in this magnitude, and when we allow God to bring total TRANSFORMATION to our lives, the by-product of what occurs will shine radiantly to unbelievers which will signal the source of all HOPE….Jesus Christ!

The world is actively looking and seeking for the answer. We search for transformation through enlightenment, through education, through wealth, and even through health. However, the only place to find the answer is in a Transformational Encounter with Christ the King.

This will be our Vision and Goal for this ministry in 2015. We will actively look for ways that we can impact individuals and introduce them to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will continue to create safe places for people to Discover, Explore, Practice and Pursue the Presence of God. We are actively in discussions with IT engineers and attorneys as to how we can utilize technology to help us create these opportunities and remain legally compliant. We are very excited about these opportunities as we know the internet will truly enable us to have a Global Impact when we may not be able to actually take all of our team globally, at least at this moment in history. Yet, we remain focused in our passionate pursuit of His Presence, and we ask that you will continue to stand with us during this year of TRANSFORMATION THAT PRODUCES HOPE!

 

SELAH!

Single Gift WhiteIt is hard to believe that we are now preparing for our 2nd Christmas here in Raleigh, NC. Christmas decorations are going up, furniture is being rearranged and parties are being planned. Aside from the normal hustle of life, there is a difference in the air this time of year; our entire atmosphere changes.

This is the only time that radio stations preempt their normal playlist and begin to release the sounds of Christmas. For some, it is merely a marketing ploy to get you to buy more gifts for those you love. For some, it will serve as a reminder of time with loved ones we have lost. Yet for some, this can be a very discouraging time of the year.

Regardless of the motivation of others for this most precious Christmas Holiday, we know and celebrate the true meaning of Christ- mas. It is the birth of Christ that gives us the greatest gift of all- Salvation and of course HOPE. But this time of year also marks the ending of another year as the Holiday celebration shifts from Christmas to the New Year.

2014 has been a year of transition. Transition for our country and a year of transition for many of you whether that be in your family, your job, your ministry or simply a transition in your life.

2014 was a year when we continued to travel to conferences as we have done over the past 12 years. Surprisingly, God re-opened a door that had seemingly been closed to us and this ministry.

This year, INSP (The Inspiration TV Network) called us back on numerous occasions to assist with their Live events which not only broadcasts in the USA, but also globally. This was very different than before, and we watched as God allowed us to spread the mes- sage of the Kingdom through worship across the airwaves…Internationally.

This was also a year that God connected us with new friends in the television industry. We were blessed to forge a great relationship with Don Black (President) of Cornerstone Television Network in Pittsburgh, PA.

Perhaps what excited me the most about this new relationship is that God allowed me to be on camera and actually teach on the sub- ject of Praise and Worship. Not only were we asked to teach on the subject, but they asked me to bring a ministry team to teach by example and illustrate what I was sharing. This made such a great impact on their viewing audience; the network actually made a 1- hour special that combined my teaching on worship along with leading worship. The network has been very gracious to allow us to use this 1-hour as we desire. I will be uploading that to our special partner page on the website that I spoke of last month. Yet again, this is a new relationship that God has opened to us to teach, train and equip believers in the area of praise and worship, as well as communicating to the unchurched our ability to communicate the access we have been granted through Jesus Christ to spend time with God…in HIS presence.

But this has also been a year when we have lost several loved ones. Two weeks ago, we were shocked with the passing of Jay Nicholls. Jay and Laura have been very dear to me and Michele and His Call Ministries. They are not only friends and ministry part- ners, but part of our leadership team. You may remember the Ark of the Covenant that we have used at the past several Throne Zone events (Central & Carolina). Jay was the one who actually built that and allowed us to use it. Laura, his wife, wears many hats that include projection for all of our events and assisting Michele with all of the logistical details for all that we do in the Kingdom. We also lost Dr. Myles, his wife Ruth and seven others from their ministry team that were tragically killed when their private aircraft crashed last month. As I write you today, we will be remembering and honoring the lives of my spiritual father & mentor Dr. Myles Munroe and his lovely wife Ruth. Although Michele and I are unable to attend the service we will be watching it, via live stream, as will countless others who lives were poured into by this amazing couple.

One thing that Papa Myles shared with me that would be great for us to keep in the forefront of our minds- especially as we close this year out. He always said that our goal is to Die Empty.

SELAH!

I know some of you reading this right now may feel that you are (and have been) running empty for a long time. Promises and prophetic words seem to be so very far from ever becoming a reality right now. As a result, discouragement has set in. You have lost your pas- sion, your focus and even your desire to pursue the things that God once placed in your spirit. You find yourself asking, “What do I do now?” But this is NOT the “EMPTY” that Papa Myles was speaking of.

As you have heard me say many times before, DELAY IS NOT DENIAL!

It is very easy for us to feel empty, that we have nothing else that we can give or do. It is easy for us to think that we missed God’s tim- ing and therefore have missed His perfect opportunity for our lives. Just because it has not happened yet, does NOT mean that it will not happen. It simply means that it is not happening at this very moment. There are many factors that contribute to this reality. Some factors are dependent upon us, and then some are dependent upon others. Perhaps God has a specific job for you, but you are not able to move into right now because the other person who currently occupies that position is not willing to move….or the place where they are to move has not yet opened up. That doesn’t mean it will not happen for you. It simply means that your promotion is on the way, it is just not here at this very second. But it does mean that it is in the works, although you have not seen the complete manifesta- tion of that reality. Yet again, it requires faith & confidence. Confidence knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose.

Do you love God? And has God given to you a specific purpose & destiny? If so, then you need to recite this scripture and live by it. ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD! All simply means ALL! The good and the bad. ALL THINGS!

So what do we do?

We must first realize that God is not through with us yet. If He were, we would have no reason to exist on planet earth. Remember, you were born for a specific plan and purpose that no one on planet earth can accomplish other than you. That is God’s plan for your life. So, if you have not yet fulfilled your purpose, do not grow weary in doing well because you will reap your reward and harvest in due sea- son.

Remember there is gap between conception of the vision, and the birth of the vision. With babies, that period is called the Gestation Period. During this season, many things happen to the baby, but many things happen to the mom as well. This is a period of growth for both mom and baby….and even dad! Furniture has to be purchased for the baby, clothes bought and that guest bedroom still has to be converted into the new nursery. Those red walls will be painted to more subtle baby friendly colors all the while mom and baby continue to grow.

January 1st is basically a “Begin Again” time of year. It is when gym memberships skyrocket as people decide again this year that they will get in shape and lose those 10 extra pounds. It is a time when businesses wipe the slate clean for their sales and begin a brand new. Some businesses experiences losses at the end of the year. When they do, they don’t quit. They use that period to reevaluate what they did well, and what they did poorly, and then make the needed adjustments. Other businesses experience great growth and profits, and this time of year they evaluate how they will take those profits and utilize them to grow their business and bring stability to their organization.

In other words, December is not only a time for us to give gifts to others and sing wonderful and timeless Christmas classics and carols. It is a SELAH moment where we stop long enough to reflect on the past year, make needed adjustments and prepare with fresh vision for the upcoming year. It is a moment every year when everything seems to stop and give thanks, and this is exactly what we need to do as well.

This is our SELAH moment. It is our time to stop, think back on all that God has done for us and give thanks. We count our losses and our gains, but we stake our total being upon Jesus Christ and our dependence upon Him and Him alone! It is this time when we listen closely to what HE is saying for our lives and business and ministry, and a time we make the CHOICE to obey HIS instructions for our lives.

May this Christmas season truly be a SELAH for you and your family. May you stop and meditate on the goodness of the Lord and the many blessings He has given to you even though you may have experienced great loss.

Michele, Judah and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. We wrap our arms around you with a great big hug. We desire to encourage you to continue pressing toward the prize of the high calling which is in Jesus Christ as we all endeavor to answer HIS CALL upon our lives.

It is Time for Transformation!

IMG_4848 It is a true blessing and gift from God when He places individuals into our lives to mentor us and help us accomplish the destiny that awaits us. I am very fortunate to have had many of these great individuals that God has truly blessed me with. Of course Dr. David & Virginia Horton were my first mentors in worship, and then Dr. Myles Munroe from the Bahamas. I spent 6 years studying under both of these men of God and grew by leaps and bounds. I pay honor to these men as they radically shaped my paradigm of worship and understanding how to give our King what the King truly desires. I will always be thankful that God placed them in my life, and hope that the harvest that comes from the seeds we are sowing will be accounted to them as well.

I continue to be mentored and poured into by Bob Collins and Randy Wooden. These are men that I have great respect and honor for. These men are truly Pastors who love their sheep. And they also continue to herald the message of the Kingdom of Heaven.

I will continue to seek individuals who will pour into my life and ministry. I also realize that I am also responsible for sharing with those whom I come in contact with and have the ability to speak into those things which I have learned and had poured into me. I realize that I can never receive more from God until I begin to pour out from what I have already received.

Today, I encourage you to join me in this decision to continue finding a mentor to pour into you, but also to find mentees that you can pour into. It is time to lay aside the excuses that we may not be able to say it quite as eloquently as another, or put it into a slick presentation that is polished ever so masterfully. The world needs what we have received. They don’t need a copy, they need an original, and it is the passion that fuels our vision that will truly set us apart as originals.

We have a destiny that no one can accomplish on planet earth other than we can. It is a unique assignment. And as Dr. Munroe ever taught me and others, our goal is to die empty. I don’t know about you, but I have too much in me to die now. It is time to rise up and begin to pour ourselves out and watch God use us to transform our environment and community. It is time to #RISEUPWarrior and not be silent. It is time for #TRANSFORMATION.

Thank you #MylesMunroe, #DavidHorton, #BobCollins, #RandyWooden!