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.

2016: Looking Ahead

2016 year golden figures

As we say good-bye to 2015 and welcome 2016, we pause to reflect on all that God has blessed us with while acknowledging the new plans and precepts that He has in store for us in this new season and this new year.

2015 was the first year we did not do Throne Zone since we began with the very first conference in 2004 in Richmond, VA. For 13 years, we would ask God for clarity, direction and a vision for each conference. Michele would go into planning mode, I would work to get online registrations

up and running, and the “machine” would begin operation. Our Christmas and New Year holidays were overshadowed by the conference simply because we were in the throws of crunch time, only a few weeks away from our “Move-In” time at the hotel.

Every year would build with anticipation and excitement. I was always blessed when people would actually call to register. It was such a joy to hear what God did for them in the previous conference. And of course there were always new folks connecting with us would would offer prophetic encouragement to the vision we were running with.

In 2006 we saw folks coming to the conference literally from around the world. We had Turkey, Australia, Japan, Europe and of course delegates from all over the United States. People were so hungry just to be in a “Safe Place”; a place where many of them discovered the presence of God for the first time. A place where one individual in particular who had a Methodist background and had never been around anything Pentecostal or Charismatic in his life; yet, in the middle of the worship, God healed his eye that had been blind for many years. I could go on and on with great testimonies that were reported back to us all through the years. We literally have a book!

Last year, God gave us a rest from this great task. We felt that He said, “You received the vision, you wrote the vision, you ran with the vision, now take a breather.” And that is exactly what happened. God has given us a year to rest, refresh and position ourselves to receive direction for the next season of our ministry.

We didn’t stop doing ministry in 2015. As a matter of fact, we did more television ministry in 2015 that surpassed all the years previously. As you know, we have worked with David & Barbara Cerullo at the Inspiration TV network (INSP) since 2003. When the economy took a down-turn, they stopped filming as much as we once did. In 2015, tapings ramped up once again and we worked multiple events assisting their ministry. Such an honor and a blessing!

In 2015, God connected us with Cornerstone Television Network in Pittsburgh, PA under the leadership of Don Black, President. This network budgeted for me to be able to bring a worship team (vocals and a band) for five weeks worth of programming, three to
four day stents throughout the year. I was truly blessed to reach out to connect with individuals who were worship leaders and ministry leaders to assist me as my worship team, some of them I had not ministered with in almost 30 years. It was amazing to experience this reunion with so many of these talented and anointed individuals.

It was while working with Cornerstone TV that I witnessed a new season being birthed within me and Michele and His Call Ministries.

Every week of programming, I would endeavor to bring in new worship leaders and musicians to give a fresh look and feel for the program. With these different teams, the sound was always very different, and there was a unique anointing with each group that came together. That was not the most exciting thing that occurred; yet, it was the catalyst for God to get our attention for the future.

When I brought in each team, we would spend the mornings gathered at my hotel lobby to plan our rehearsal times and our day. Some days we had opportunity to visit the city, but with each week of programming, something greater exploded.

It was during our morning gatherings that I began to pour out some of my personal journey since 2014. I candidly shared my highs and my all-time lows when I hit the wall in June of 2014. But I was able to share with them the nuggets that I have gleaned from God, and shared the faithfulness of God, the refreshing of God, and testified to His keeping power. As I began to share, something amazing happened. These worship leaders from around the country (many of whom had never worshiped with the others before) began to open up with where they were spiritually. It was some of the most impactful one-on-one ministry that I have ever experienced in my 29 years of ministry! Honestly, I felt that we had more impact in that hotel lobby with these 10 individuals than we did when we were in

the Convention Center in 2008.

Something had shifted within me. I felt something come alive that had been suppressed for such a very long time beneath discouragement and unanswered questions. And in that moment, I felt that God had changed my perspective not only on how I minister, but also how ministry may look for us moving forward.

I have always been so thankful to the friends and ministry partners who supported the vision of His Call Ministries. Whether that was hosting the Throne Zone, or regional Nights of Worship, or the KWI, or ministering on TV or the local churches. All of that has been an amazing journey. Yet, at this stage in my life, I watch as people worship so freely, yet leave the same way they came in, never changed. I have been left with many questions and concerns.

I have often asked, “Have we truly had a God-encounter if we leave from that moment not changed?” I believe that when we have a divine and personal encounter with the presence of God, there is a change that SHOULD take place. Something needs to shift and come into alignment with God’s word.

I am truly concerned with the state of the church right now. I see a great emphasis on worship, and even prophetic worship. We have amazing leadership displaying this. However, my concern though is that we have more “Worship” than we have ever experienced within the church, and yet we have the least amount of “Transformation” than ever. We have so many that are claiming they are Christians, yet there is no change that has occurred in their lives. This leaves me questioning the scripture, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold all things have become new.” I am concerned that the old man is lingering and not passing away to allow the new man (Holy Spirit) to set up residence within many of these individuals.

For 2016, I believe that God is ramping up that Apostolic Mantle upon me and Michele and His Call Ministries. I believe that God is focusing us on pouring into leadership to help train, encourage, equip and initiate a Global Transformation. Pastor Benny Hinn once said that there is no way possible for him to bring revival to the Body of Christ. Rather, he felt called to revive leaders knowing that in turn they would release revival and renewal into their sphere of ministry. And perhaps that is the best way to articulate what we are discerning for this new season in 2016.

As we look ahead to this new year and new season, TV is very much a part of our ministry efforts. But I also believe that we will be gathering leaders into a smaller and more intimate setting for personal ministry and development. I believe that before any great move of God, we need the ministry leadership (the spiritual infrastructure) to be whole, renewed, refreshed and solid enough to sustain this coming move of God’s power. We know His presence, but I believe we need more than His presence for today’s society. We need His POWER and His GLORY to be released upon the earth. We need the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit. Michele, Judah and
I need that in our lives as well.

We are asking God to give us clear direction how to move forward with this mantle and vision that continues to unfold. There is so much to convey to you, but a letter is simply not room enough to share what is stirring within our hearts.

I have desired to gather all of our ministry partners- those who have partnered with us over the past years- first to say “THANK YOU” for sowing into the fertile soil of this ministry. Looking back over the years, there is no way to question if we made an impact, because with- out a doubt we have! But the second reason is to share all that is stirring within us and ask you to pray for us as we move forward. Asking God for clear direction, for Kingdom Connections and Divine Appointments. And lastly, a time to release into our partners this new impartation for this next season of ministry.

We are praying and asking God, “Where could we do this?” As our family has put down roots here in Raleigh, NC, we would love for you to come here….to our home city. But we have been a little concerned if you would come from where you are, just for a little food, worship and sharing what God has placed within us. So please, help us pray. Email Michele (michele@hiscall.org) and let her know if you would be interested in our trying to plan something here in Raleigh for our partners or if it would be easier for you to join us in Virginia Beach area.

Most importantly, I ask you to pray for us. Pray that we would have our ears pressed close to the mouth of God so it is only His voice that we are listening to. We hear only His directives and instructions, and not allow anything contrary to enter into our ears or hearts.

I believe 2016 is a new season for you. Just like with His Call, we may not be doing business as usual; it may not look like it has in the past. We may be tempted to try to revert back to what we have known in the past because it was successful. But you and I both know that is not what God has for us in this new season. He is calling us out of the comfort zone to journey closer than ever before into the Throne Zone. We must make it past the doorway of Praise and learn what it looks like to live in Dominion in the Throne Zone.

Please email Michele or myself and let us know your thoughts about Raleigh or Virginia. We love you and pray Christ’s richest and most abundant blessings upon all you do in the Kingdom of Heaven. Much love from the Duncan Family and Happy New Year!

 

Roll Away the Stone

Tomb Stone-Easter- Web sizeThis is the season that we celebrate Resurrection Sunday; the time when we celebrate the true hope that is found only in the Risen Savior. It is a specific time of year that marks the change of a season. Unfortunately, most only use this holiday to herald the entrance of spring. They use Easter Sunday as the indicator of when it is OK to wear certain colors and styles. It is a time for retailers to cash in on our finest clothes, and a time when kids go Easter egg hunting. Yet the fact remains, Easter represents the greatest change any individual could ever en- counter.

We have all recounted the story as we remember the account of the crucifixion in the Bible, or when we watch it on the big screen. We have witnessed great musical productions and cantatas to remind us of what exactly happened over the course of those three days.

The Roman Empire thought they had silenced the one who disrupted their economy and challenged the religious para- digm of that day. They watched as He suffered, bled and eventually died on the cross, and they celebrated as His follow- ers placed him in a borrowed tomb. When they rolled the stone across the entrance to the tomb, they were convinced all of their troubles had ended. Little did they know that the story was only just about to begin to unfold, and would continue to challenge the paradigms of society for over 2,000 years. They did not understand that a stone covered tomb could not silence that which is eternal.

The enemy of your soul operates under this same deception. He thinks that if he can simply place you behind of a tomb- stone, he can silence your message and the impact you have upon others within your realm of influence. Therefore, he does everything he can to steal from you, kill you and to destroy your influence. Remember, John Maxwell says that Lead- ership is Influence….nothing more, nothing less. Satan desires to silence you and kill your influence. He will try to get you fired so you have no influence with your co-workers. He will try to make you sick so you spend all your days battling sick- ness and never realizing the impact you have on others who know you. For many, he seemingly is being successful as many succumb to sickness, disease or depression. But often the attack is much more subtle.

As I shared with you in last month’s blog, I had an epiphany moment while sitting at the piano. During that encounter with the Lord, I heard Him say that many are still being held captive behind the stone. Perhaps the stone is not sickness and death. It is not a stone that can be rolled across the entrance of a tomb. Rather, it is a metamorphosis that takes place within the heart of a man.

I have often heard the scripture found in Ezekiel 36:26 taught where God says, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

It was during this Kairos moment with God that I received the revelation on this scripture.

The heart of flesh is one that God can prick with the power of the Holy Spirit. It is one that is sensitive to the things of God; one that is quick to receive the word of the Lord and do what the word of the Lord instructs us to do. It is one that has great sensitivity and discernment and one that is also quick to obey the word of the Lord.

It is this type of heart that is in the cross-hairs of Satan’s scope for your life. Therefore, he uses every weapon possible to injure, cut and stress the heart.

Why? Because when the heart is cut, it will heal with a scar. Over time, that scar tissue causes this heart of flesh to be- come a stony heart; one that is no longer sensitive to the move of God, it does not respond quickly to the stirring of the Holy Spirit, it leaves questions rather than obedience; it is slow to discern and grows weary in well doing.

In my time with the Lord at the piano, He simply said that we need to allow Him the opportunity to pour forth the Healing Balm of Gilead into the wounds of our heart. It is that healing salve poured forth that will cause the wounds to heal leaving no scar tissue, and therefore allows us to maintain a heart of flesh rather than forming a cold/hard heart.

This is God’s plan for you and me. He does not want us to suffer from a heart of stone resulting from past disappointments and discouragements and let downs. He wants us to allow Him to pour forth that oil that produces healing, leaving no evi- dence of a wound. And as we encounter that healing balm of Gilead, He desires us to share and impart this message to others. That is what it means when we become messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ.

I am reminded of the old spiritual that was recorded by some of the gospel greats, “It is no Secret What God Can Do”. The lyrics continue, “What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you. With arms wide open, He’ll pardon you. It is no secret, what God can do.”

Perhaps you identify with what I am sharing today. As you read this, you are silently shouting, “I know that’s right!” You may even be saddened as you have an epiphany as God is right now speaking to your heart showing how you have allowed past wounds and hurts and disappointments to form that scar tissue causing your heart to become cold and callas. Today, I want to encourage you to allow the Balm of Gilead to be poured for upon you and change that heart of stone into a heart of flesh; a heart that God can speak to and one that will cause you to listen to His instructions. This does not mean that you may necessarily understand why you may be going through something. But there are two things to keep in mind during this process:

1. When going through something, remember you are going through it….this too shall pass.

2. As long as you continue moving forward toward the call of God upon your life, you will pass through what you are going through, and not be captured and contained in your present circumstances.

One Final Thought

God never called and expected us to understand or figure things out. He simply calls and expects us to obey. There is no qualifying balance sheet of pros and cons that we have the luxury of weighing out. Although that can happen, just realize that there are times when He tells us to do things that simply cannot be rationalized. When He called Peter out of the boat, that did not have any reason or logic; yet Peter was able to defy a natural law of gravity and walked upon the water….simply because he obeyed.

My prayer for you today is that as you become relentlessly obedient to answering HIS CALL upon your life, He is fully capable to enable you to defy the odds and physical limitations known to man. He is the Supernatural. I heard someone say it this way: “When God places His hand upon the natural, it becomes SuperNatural!”

Today, let us decide to allow the Holy Spirit to roll away the stone from our heart. Let us allow Him to place His hand upon us as we operate in the natural, yet giving us a Super-Natural impact.

Roll Away the Stone, and begin to walk in the new season that God is releasing upon your life and ministry!

In His Service!
Keith & Michele Duncan

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!

 

 

A Transformed Mind

Hurray we did it!My family is like many of yours. We have our family routine that is meticulously followed especially when school is in session. With the alarm going off in the dark, I make my way to the coffee pot for my first cup of coffee before taking Judah to school. The rest of the day often filled with unscripted and unscheduled interruptions while endeavoring to continue spending time with the Lord and running the business side of the ministry. However, there does come that time in the day when we finish in the office and Judah completes his homework, and we sit down together at night and watch some TV together. We usually watch at least one episode from our Video Collection of Dr. Quinn, or I Love Lucy or Monk. There are not that many television programs that I would constitute as family friendly. It is especially difficult to find anything on TV that is not filled with sexual content or depictions of the supernatural…and not of the God kind. In spite of all the negative, we have found one show that does inspire us, “Extreme Makeover Weight-loss Edition”.

Yes, every Tuesday night we watch Chris and Heidi Powell tell the story of one particular person’s journey to physical transformation.

People will write in to Chris, as well as submit videos telling why they should be taken on as Chris’ new project. The candidates who are chosen typically need to lose 50% of their current weight. Once selected, the candidate will spend one year in a program created by Chris and Heidi with goals established and reviewed every 90 days which is marked by their weigh-in. There is no gastric bypass surgery or weight-loss pills that accompany this program. It is sheer diet and exercise; pure hard work as Michele says! #Choose2Change

The client is then brought to The Wellness Center in Colorado where they undergo a lot of tests to determine if they are healthy enough to undergo the program he has created for them specifically. They study and analyze the health of their heart through stress tests and imaging. They check their blood work and eating habits and sleeping patterns. Once they complete this barrage of evaluations, they then give Chris the green light to move forward with his program.

The first thing that the candidate is exposed to is the “Fight or Flight Workout”. It is during this workout that Chris will push the candidate to their breaking point. It is the process where he begins to strip away all of the excuses, challenge their thought process and breaks the individual down physically to the point that he is able to discover the underlying reason(s) that have caused the candidate to make the wrong health choices that have resulted in their obesity. Once they hit this emotional wall in their workout, they confess things that have victimized them in the past that have been traumatic enough to have altered their lifestyle and decrease their joy of living. Some have been abused, some have lost loved ones, and the list of “Why’s” go on and on.

Chris intentionally takes the candidate to this specific point every time! Why? So that he can expose and deal with the root. It creates a mental breakthrough for the candidate, and it is at this breaking point that the journey of their transformation begins.

Some do not make it to this point of the process. Rather than fighting, they choose to take flight and walk away. They have all the resources at their disposal, and opportunity to a new life that is holding the door open for them, yet they choose to take flight rather than accept the challenge to fight through their past and enter into a new healthier life.

This week as I watched, I heard the Lord begin to speak to my spirit that this is a TV program that gives visualization to the process that God has laid out for us.

All of us are a sum total of the events that have taken place in our lives. We all have experienced bad things, traumatic things. Some may have battled them all their lives, and some may simply have them in the shadows of their memory. The fact remains that we all have come through something during our lifetime.

It is in our times of worship that God wants to bring us close to Him- in His Presence where there is fullness of joy- so that we can fight past our past and walk as a transformed creation. Jesus came that we not only have life, but that we have life more abundantly. We are not able to live this life if we are encumbered with regret, with un-confessed sin, or cheating on the plan He has created for us. As Michele often states, it is all about our choices, and God wants us to #Choose2Change!

God desires us to experience the joy of a TRANSFORMED LIFE! Transformation the end result and as Chris so wonderfully portrays, the first place that transformation begins is in our minds. This is the first part of the process.

Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The amplified says, “Let Him be your example in humility.”
II Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations and every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

For years I have quoted this scripture and really didn’t know what it really meant…although I knew it. The other day I was meditating upon this verse and realized that every time that I have a thought that I obsess upon, I am allowing my thought process to override and prevent me from allowing God to speak to me prevents me from hearing what He says about a particular thing. Rather, I allow my mind to begin generating scenarios which often are a breeding ground for fear rather than faith. Those are the thoughts that I must cast down, bring captive and basically throw in jail, so that my focus is no longer on the potentially negative scenario and set my gaze and focus once again upon the one I worship in spirit and in truth. I must be proactive in this process. If not, I will let my mind run lose and create scenarios that will not only exhaust me mentally and emotionally, but will steal my joy. Rather than walking in faith and confidence in God, I could easily slip into fear- especially listening to the liberal news media. This is not God’s plan for your life nor mine.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon Thee; because he trusts in Thee.” Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF?

The key is to see ourselves as God sees us, not as we see ourselves. That is why worship is such a valuable key. When we enter into the true manifest presence of God, we see ourselves as He sees us. That means we can no longer hide the secret un-confessed sin that we continue to live as part of our lifestyle. We can no longer compare ourselves, using someone else, as the measuring stick. (i.e.- I pray 20 minutes more than Sister Sanctified, or I got to church more than Brother So-and-So, etc.) When we come into the secret places of God, it is only us and God. No one else to compare ourselves to, or to blame or to use as a crutch for why we are not all that God has called and purposed us to be.

WORSHIP SHOULD TRANSFORM US

In today’s society, we are spending more time about being culturally relevant and politically correct, and yet we are seeing the smallest amount of transformed lives than ever.

When the guests of this TV show complete their transformation, they are sold out on transformation that they become Health Evangelists. They share the message of their experience and endeavor to get everyone else they know to take that journey of transformation as well. They want to pay it forward to help others experience this breakthrough.

TRANSFORMATION IS NOT TRANSFORMATION
WITHOUT A TRANSFORMATION

We can say we submit to a process, but if we cheat and modify and deviate from the transformation process, transformation will never be experienced and none of the goals will ever be met. For the process to work, you must simply submit to the process and then watch it work.

This is how it is with God. There are a lot of so-called conversions, yet very few converted lifestyles. Transformation causes conversation one way or the other.

CHANGE MUST BE OBVIOUS IF A
CHANGE HAS REALLY TAKEN PLACE

Change will result in changed thoughts, changed actions and a changed lifestyle. When change occurs, it manifests in all areas.

II Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a New Creation (Transformed being). Old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

When someone comes to Christ, there should be a difference in the way the act, the way they talk, the lifestyle they engage in. If not, then we have simply had an emotional encounter.

AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE KING WILL RESULT
IN A TRANSFORMED LIFE

Today, I am asking you (as well as myself) to pinpoint areas of transformation that He desires for our lives. Whether that be regarding our health choices, our thought process, or whatever He may speak to our hearts.

I want us to press past the “Wall” that you and I encounter and allow Christ, the Transformer, to work the process of transformation in our spirit, soul and body.

I am asking God for a breakthrough in purpose and destiny in your life and mine, asking His blessing and protection and favor upon all that we do as we continue to submit and surrender our life to Him, allowing Him to transform our minds!