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.

2014: The Year of the Open Door

ImageHappy New Year!  It is hard to believe 2013 is over and in the books.  We have begun a new year and we are even planning now for 2015!  Some very exciting news is on its way!

2013 was filled with a number of opportunities, one of which being the move to Raleigh.  We had a few weeks to get in and settled before hosting Throne Zone Carolina.  We were able to squeeze in a family vacation before Judah started his new school, and then our schedule booked solid for the entire rest of 2013.  We saw numerous people who were hungry for the presence of God come to our services and events experiencing their personal “God-Encounter” that transformed their lives forever.  As we continued to press forward, doors began flying open to us like never before; some were a surprise, and some were long overdue.  Nonetheless, Michele and I committed to each other (and to our spiritual covering pastors and ministers) that as God opened the door, we would walk through them.

As we listen to various ministers and prophetic voices, there seems to be a unified voice declaring that 2014 is the year of the Open Door.  What should be a message that sparks anticipation and excitement often becomes one that Satan uses to insight fear.  Instead of seeing all the opportunities that are ahead, we often feel as if we are standing at Pandora’s Box rather than our door of opportunity for Kingdom Advancement.  If we are not careful, we will allow the lies of the enemy to stop us in our tracks.  Rather than moving forward in faith, we remain paralyzed by fear and remain the same at this time that God desires to be a new beginning.  God does not want you and I stopped in the doorway to our destiny.  He desires for us to walk through that door into the destiny He has prepared for us to walk in.  Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that He has great plans for our lives that will produce lasting results and rest for us.

Even though Satan is not able to read our minds, he does have the power to influence our thoughts.  Most of the attacks from Satan are launched against our thought process and effects our emotions which in turn effects how we respond to opportunities set before us.  Satan knows that if he can paralyze you with fear, you will never walk by faith into this New Year of favor and blessing.  So, we must watch out for the subtleness of the enemy that will prevent us from walking through this year of the Open Door.

PAST EXPERIENCES
Satan will often begin by reminding you of past experiences that did not end well when you attempted to step into a new season.  Perhaps you stepped out too soon, or not soon enough, causing the experience to become a painful learning experience.  But those painful memories are not designed to block us from walking through a new door.  Rather, God wants us to use those as learning experiences; learning the timing of the Lord, learning how to leave one season and enter into another, learning “what-not-to-do” moments and ultimately allow those past experiences to help build our character and integrity.  We can never change our past.  All we can do is learn from our past and make sure that we do not make some of the same mistakes we did in a past season.  Instead, our past experience will help guide us into this new season.  Rest assured, this new door will be filled with learning opportunities, but we must not allow our past to prevent us from our future.

THE UNKNOWN
For many, the unknown is so frightening that many will simply choose NOT to walk through an open door because it leads them into unknown and uncharted territory.  God wants to release into you and me a sense of adventure, trusting that with Him as our tour guide, nothing can hurt us.  With an open door, it requires that we have a spirit of an explorer rather than the spirit of a settler.  Explorers chart unknown pathways in search of a better future for their families and those who will come behind them.  Settlers rely on the pioneers and explorers who have made the journey into this new territory, and they simply follow their plans.  Your willingness to TRUST HIM will not only lead you to a new destination, but make the way possible for others to follow in your path so they too can have a better future and live in greater blessings.

Right now, some of you have opportunities set before you that you are contemplating.  For some, it is a new job.  For others a new school, a move/relocation or maybe even a change in career.  Don’t allow the fear of not being in control to immobilize you.  Trust that God is opening doors as you pray for His will to be done in your life.

CHANGE
Some people simply do not like change at all.  I must confess that the older I get, I understand some of that.  However, if I never allowed Michele to change the decorations in our home, I would never see her masterful skills transform our home into a Christmas Winter-Wonderland.  If we never moved any furniture, I would never be able to clean some of those spots where my vacuum is not able to reach and dirt has collected.  We are creatures of habit, and we simply do not like change.

Isaiah wrote in 43:19 that God will do a NEW THING.  That means that it has not been done before, or that we have never realized this new thing before.  God wants some things to change!  But why?

I believe that God knows if some things in our lives do not change, we will stagnate.  Rather than being the influencers in society, we will become the influenced ones.  That is not God’s plan for our lives.

1 Peter 2:9 (The Message)
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you- from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

Salvation requires change.  We chose to accept that challenge of change and transformation when we invited Jesus Christ to live within our hearts and become the Lord of our lives: when we surrendered our will to His, when we changed our path to walk with Him on His.  And look how that turned out!  Don’t fear the change when He initiates it; rather walk through that open door.

Please don’t think that Michele and I have mastered all of these items!  Just when we think we have learned the lesson, He shows us something different causing us to realize this walk of faith is ABOUT THE JOURNEY MORE THAN THE DESTINATION.

God truly desires you and I to walk through this Open Door that He is setting before us.

For the Duncan family and His Call Ministries, it is walking through the doors opened before us in 2014.  This year, we have 4 doors open to take Throne Zone to Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Oklahoma.  All four events are confirmed and on our website.  Ironically, all four locations will be hosted in Churches.  Churches who are hungry for the presence of God and willing to open their doors allowing us to bring what God has entrusted to our care.  We are a little overwhelmed with all this, but we believe this is one of those doors that are opening to us.  And while we are developing these 4 locations, there are four more areas that we are coordinating for 2015 in Atlanta, Boston, Texas and Colorado.

As if that were not enough, God began speaking to our hearts regarding registration for the Throne Zone.  We have been very faithful stewards shaving the budget to keep it affordable for families.  But there are some who simply cannot afford a registration fee, plus hotel and meals, yet their heart is crying out to drink at the well of worship.

In the past we have raised our budget through registrations, offerings and other streams.  But THIS YEAR, we believe God has challenged us to raise the budget not through registrations, but through gifts and donations- whether before the conference begins or through offerings raised during the event.  We believe that God wants us to encourage people to understand how their financial gifts are part of their worship, and we believe this will only enhance the overall worship experience while removing any possible obstacle that a registration fee would impose.  There is a budget that we must raise, but we believe God is asking us to trust Him.  So what does that mean?  No fee for registration although registration is still required.

With all of these FEAR FACTORS, there is the opportunity to shrink back and do things the way we have always done them, but that is not the door HE is opening.  When we walk through this door, it will release both you and us from the past and launch us into this next season of all He has planned for our lives.

I speak a lot on John chapter 4 (Samaritan woman at the well) from the context of worship.  But if we continue reading this scripture, we will see that this woman was used to spark a revival.  It required change, it required trust, it required many things from this woman.  Because she was willing and obedient, God used to her to become a mouthpiece to advance the Kingdom of God.  After Jesus finished ministering to all the people, he said something that I want to leave you with this month:

John 4:35 (Amplified)
Do you not say, It is still four months until harvest time comes?  Look!  I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting.  Already the reaper is getting his wages [he who does the cutting now has his reward], for he is gathering fruit (crop) unto life eternal, so that he who does the planting and he who does the reaping may rejoice together.

For in this saying holds true, One sows and another reaps.  I sent you to reap a crop for which you have not toiled.  Other men have labored and you have STEPPED IN to reap the results of their work.

This is the word I want to leave you with…..STEP IN!

Step in through this Open Door to all God is calling you to.  In this season, you may be a sower, or you may be a reaper.  According to John 4, in this new season, both will receive the reward.

What is holding you back?

STEP IN!!!!!

The 3D Worshiper (The Conclusion)

ImageMichele and I have been enjoying this cooler weather as fall is in the air!  We have been walking four miles a day after dropping Judah off at school as we seek God for clear direction in this new season.  Many exciting announcements to be made very shortly regarding four Throne Zone Events for 2014 and how we will be expanding the Kingdom in 2014 and beyond!

This month, I would like to conclude my thoughts on 3D Worship.

In August, I shared how the One-Dimensional Worshiper was singularly focused, and how that focus concentrated on their individual preferences in the area of worship.  Worship was all about them, their likes or dislikes, and how they received during the worship encounter.

Last month, I discussed the danger of making our worship encounter into a Big Production, and the danger if our focus remains on building our productions bigger and bigger while losing sight of the real purpose of our worship….HIM.  I cautioned us that when we attempt to cater our worship with the exclusive cause of reaching the masses, it is easy for us to lose sight of the real thing which draws men unto the father….lifting Jesus higher.  Yet the more that I travel to various churches to observe the worship service, I am finding more and more churches spending big money on creating lights, smoke and “non-churchy” sets, singing the latest tunes they crafted earlier in the week, providing a great show, with very little or no flow of worship.

GOLDEN NUGGET WHEN LEADING WORSHIP: 
It is all about connecting the heart of the people with the heart of God.  Not connecting them to our Art!

There are many worship leading teams that concentrate on “FREEDOM” in worship, yet many of these teams leave no room or opportunity to help the congregation release their song.  What holes are left in the music is filled with cool guitar licks or vocal ad-libbing rather than it being a SELAH moment for the congregation. 

As a worship leader, this is one of my greatest pet-peeves.  My heart is to set congregations free from the opinion of man, the fear of man and the rejection of man that has silenced their praise, and create a safe place in which they are free to release their song of praise unto the Lord.  Sadly, this is rarely the case in many of our “Contemporary” worship services.  To this cause, I believe that the 3rd and final “D” in our 3D Worship series deals with: DEPTH.

When speaking of 3D in an art-form, the third dimension deals with depth; that is, making objects appear closer than they really are for the purpose of engaging in the experience.  This is what happens when we worship.

God wants our worship teams and Sunday to be more than a huge musical production that has great commercial appeal.  He wants our worship to have depth and truly be a worship EXPERIENCE that results in a divine God encounter that brings forth transformation in our lives, in our home, in our church and in our community.  He wants us to experience His presence when we worship.

Yes, we need to make our praise to God as large and loud as possible because He is a Great God!  We want to lead people beside the still waters to find peace of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  I encourage you today to not simply settle for the big commercialized production.  I encourage you to press past all of the fanfare and press into the Throne Zone of God’s presence- that place where your purpose is discovered and your passion is ignited.

Today you may ask, “Keith, how do I become a 3D Worshiper?”  “I believe we need to make our praise of God glorious, and utilize every resource available to us, but how do I not settle and camp out in that 2nd Dimension?” 

Let me give you 3 D’s to help you make this journey as a 3D Worshiper:

First, it all begins with a DECISION.  The word of God says in Deuteronomy 30:19, “this day I set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”  Our first step always begins with a choice.  Michele’s platform for her pageants all deal with this issue of “Choose to Change!”  We do not have to be victims of our environments, nor slave to them. God has given you and me the right to choose, and this scripture instructs us to choose correctly….choose LIFE!  Today, I encourage you to make the decision NOT to settle for polished performances of man, but to make the decision you want to press into that 3rd dimension, that Throne Zone Dimension of God’s presence.  Don’t just settle for the show when you can have the manifest tangible presence of God and access to your destiny and purpose in life.  This is the first step to experiencing transformation in your worship encounter with God!

The second D deals with DISCIPLESHIP.  To explain this, let’s look at our children.  When they are born, they are not able to speak.  As parents, we talk gibberish to them until they speak their first words.  As they begin to communicate necessities such as food, diaper changes, etc, our vocabulary changes.  They then head off to school.  In their elementary years, they simply learn to read.  Yet as they progress into middle and high school, they read to learn.  As they head into college years, they evolve into research and then are able to communicate on all levels and in all businesses.  Our children have become disciples of education.  As a result, they are able to communicate and connect with more people than they originally were able to while at a young age.  Their education gave them resources, challenged their thoughts, and ensured they could clearly communicate and defend their thoughts or positions in life.  The same is true with our worship.  If we remain as spiritual infants and never mature, then we will never reach a mature worship experience.  Yet, with every season of our growth, our expression of worship matures and can even impact others who have not yet matured.  In essence, the discipleship process not only enhances our worship experience, but it also models to other un-discipled believers (and non-believers) the proper way to worship and fully anticipate a God encounter in the worship experience.

Our third and final “D” deals with DETERMINATION.  Life is full of challenges and opportunities for us to press through or to run.  If you have ever watched the TV program “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition”, you will see that transformation never occurs unless the individual becomes determined to break through the cycles which have held them captive.  The very first workout that Chris Powell takes his clients through is known as the “Fight or Flight Workout.”  He wants to push them to their limit to discover their level of determination.

Perhaps what you and I are going through today is merely a Fight or Flight Workout from the Holy Spirit.  You say, “Keith, God does not do that!”  O, I beg to differ with you.  He did when He tested Abraham to offer Isaac on the altar.  God wanted to see what He was going to do with the test.  Abraham’s faith was great, and God knew he was fully determined to fulfill the word of the Lord.  James 2:23 says “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  And he was called the friend of God.”

We must be fully determined to run the race with endurance, and to lay aside every weight that slows us down.  This is the same determination required in our approach to worship.

We must make the decision to go the distance in our worship and press past what we like and envision for worship.  We must not settle for the huge commercial presentations that offer freedom, but no depth or encounter in the worship presented in many churches today.  We must recognize that each of these dimensions is needed in the journey to the Throne Zone.  We must realize they are stops on the journey, not the final destination God is calling us to.  Therefore, we cannot settle for them if they prohibit us from entering into that 3rd dimension of worship….The Throne Zone.

When I am asked to sign my book, I always write, “Keep pressing into the Throne Zone and settle for nothing less than HIS Glory!”  He is calling you into that depth of worship where He can download strategies and specifics for your life, your ministry and/or your business.  He is calling you into the Throne Zone so you can discover your purpose and He can ignite the passion that has faded on your journey so that you can run the race with endurance, but complete the journey He has called you to.  You were born with a unique purpose- one that no one else on planet earth can accomplish.  You have a unique assignment and God wants to give you the strategies and specifics and the “how-to’s” to accomplish the vision you were born for.  However, you will not find it in the outer courts of praise and celebration.  This is found only in the secret place.  The place of praise and celebration are only the doorway.  The divine exchange that you and I seek occurs only in the Throne Zone. 

Today, I challenge you to become a 3D worshiper.  Get over what you like and ask God what HE likes in worship.  Do not settle for a big commercialized cutting-edge musical production, but make the decision to be a determined and discipled worshiper who will have depth in your worship encounter and press into the Throne Zone and settle for nothing less than HIS Glory!

The Two-Dimensional Worshiper

ImageIn the August partner letter, we discussed the One-Dimensional Worshiper.  I shared how that this individual is singularly focused, and that focus concentrates on their individual preferences.  This is not always from a wrong perspective.  I know many individuals who love a particular song, and they don’t feel their worship expression is complete if that song is not released.  As a worship leader, I know that I personally have certain songs that enable me to connect to the heart of God easier than with other songs.  Or, a memory of an encounter with God is triggered when I hear a certain song, and as a result it brings me comfort.  But it is very dangerous for us to stay in this One-Dimension because the focus of worship remains upon “us”, what worship does for “us”, how it makes “us” feel.  And if we never transition away from “us”, our worship can transition from spirituality to sensuality.  A great concern!

As the Praise and Worship industry has exploded, two streams of thought have emerged that deal specifically with this segment of our worship service.  It has caused a great divide in many ministry circles, and as such produced a new paradigm of ministry known as the “Seeker Sensitive” movement.  Please know, I am NOT intending to malign this paradigm, although several years ago I was somewhat troubled by it.  In a worship service that I was ministering, I was singing “Jump into the River” when I heard the Lord speak to my heart.  He rebuked me for being religious and judgmental reminding me that in the vision of the River, the main point was not whether people were waist deep, over their head, or barely wading in the river.  The point of the vision to concentrate and focus upon was that the people get into the river…regardless of the depth of the water. (I will save this for another partner letter).

When we speak of characteristics of something being two-dimensional, we usually reference the height and width of an object.  And these are the characteristics that I would like us to focus on regarding

THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL WORSHIPER

The first area to concentrate upon deals with Height.  In many churches, the priority of worship becomes how “BIG” we can make our worship experience.  From this posture of leadership, we begin to make the worship encounter a Production, causing us to shift from our focus and attention from being where it should be, upon our King and what HE likes and desires from our worship.  Nonetheless, we concentrate our efforts on sound systems, moving lights, haze machines and lighting.  We spend more of our rehearsal time marking our lighting cues and ensuring that they align with our click tracks, that we easily lose our focus.  This results in driving each weekly service to be better than the last service.  And if we are not careful, we will begin to judge the worship leader upon the delivery of his performance and end up forfeiting a potential divine God-encounter moment. 

Please do not misunderstand because I do enjoy nice lighting and the various resources we have at our disposal to help create that moment for people to connect with the heart of God.  But if we are not careful, we can focus upon the Art of Worship rather than the very Heart of the Worshiper.  As a worshiper, we must not settle for smoke and lighting and a great sound system.  We must be passionately pursuing more of God, His character, His attributes, resulting in Godly Transformation in our lives.

The second dimension is akin to the first and it deals with width.  Let me explain.

The fundamental teaching that we, the followers of Christ, have been mandated to accomplish is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature.  The Heart of the Father is that none should perish but that all come to repentance.  And when we realize this passion of the Father, we endeavor to reach as many people as we possibly can with the message of the gospel.  But in today’s society, I am concerned with this emerging concept that in an effort to reach as many people as possible, we forget the very message we are endeavoring to share.  Our focus shifts off the message of the Father’s love, to the methodology of the day, and in so doing we discount the message relegating it to a lower priority than our method.

This is the constant challenge with us as worshipers, worship leaders, ministry leaders and pastors. 

WE MUST FIND BALANCE.

I have experienced a vision of stadiums filled with worshipers.  But these were not concert groupies.  These were people passionate for the presence of God rather than a slick performance of a man.  For me, I continually struggle with this balance because this prophetic vision is Big.  It requires sound, lighting, cameras.  Yet, that can never be the focus and priority of the worship encounter.  These must merely be vehicles that help to communicate our passion for the manifest presence of God.  And hopefully, they will help to translate that encounter across the masses.  But if my focus becomes more on the technology at my disposal rather than my passion for His presence which brings transformation to my life, then I am out of balance and need recalibrating from the Holy Spirit.

As two-dimensional worshipers, we need to find a way to make His praise Glorious.  We need to utilize various tools and resources to help us communicate the love of the Father to as many as we possibly can, believing that the Holy Spirit will convict of sin and transformation can take place in the lives of these individuals.  But through all of this, we must have accountability measures in place to ensure that we remain balanced and not lose focus of the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus.

As a worshiper, we must NOT settle for big productions which appeal to the masses yet never usher people into the presence of God prohibiting transformation from taking place in the lives of all present. 

Through your faithful monthly financial support, you are helping us to have these type of conversations with worship leaders, pastors and people hungry for more of God.  I cannot tell you how many worship leaders and other individuals who contact our office each month hungry for more and simply don’t know how to get there.  Your seed makes this possible.

Not only are we continuing to dig the wells of worship, creating safe places for people to discover and practice the presence of God, but we are also offering teaching, accountability and conversation to leaders helping them to do the same in their local congregations.  And as you continue to sow each month, the more opportunities I have to meet a worship leader at Starbucks, or host a Coffee-with-Keith, and create opportunities to provide conversation to challenge leadership not to remain two-dimensional worshipers, but to press into that 3rd Dimension which I will share next month.

Until then, keep sowing the seeds of praise into the Heavens believing God to establish an open Heaven over the region you are sowing into.  Michele and I love you and pray Christ’s richest and most abundant blessings upon you and all you in the Kingdom.  Keep digging those wells of worship!

Look for Your Anomaly

 

ImageI hope that you enjoyed the June partner letter from Michele.  I know people always love to hear things from her perspective, and I always love for her to connect with you as much as possible.  In that letter, she brought you up to speed with our transition to Raleigh, and I am excited to say that Kingdom Connections continue!

 

Paul Hollifield and I have been visiting several pastors, worship leaders and State Overseers sharing who we are, our passion for God’s presence, and seeking how we can partner with their ministries to see God’s plans and purposes revealed.  God is on the move, and several prophetic words have come from various streams regarding a Revival that will impact a 200 mile radius from the Raleigh area.  One prophet called Michele and I out this past weekend to share that God has transplanted us (uprooted us from Virginia) to bring us to Raleigh because we would play an instrumental role in the Revival that was getting ready to break loose in the Raleigh area.  As we met with each of these Pastors and Administrative Bishops, we continued to hear that same thread within each conversation.  Each of these prophetic words and ministry leaders were not connected, yet they were picking up the same word in the spirit which brought great comfort and encouragement to us.

 

As we wrestled with this move in the physical realm, and with all the unexpected financial costs that arose with the move, these prophetic words gave a sense of assurance that God has strategically uprooted and planted us in this region for a prophetic purpose.  And as I dealt with each of these items, I began to think of you and where you may be today as you read this partner letter.

 

I am reminded of Moses, as he was on the backside of the wilderness working his day job watching over the sheep, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the form of a burning bush.  And as I read this account in Exodus 3, there were several things that brought clarity to my mind, and I feel as if the Lord wanted me to call these things to your attention because of where you are TODAY!

 

GOD SPOKE TO MOSES IN THE WILDERNESS

 

Verse 1 of Exodus 3 says that Moses kept the flock of Jethro, and he led the flock to the back or west side of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God.  Remember, this Prince of Egypt who had the power of great influence and leadership, was driven from his POSITION into a wilderness experience.  It was a place where no one knew his name.  In a sense, he was starting over.  

 

Perhaps you have recently experienced what the world would call a setback.  Perhaps you had great influence on your job, in your school, with your peers or at your church.  But now, like Moses you find yourself on the backside of the wilderness where no one knows your name and you feel as if you are simply going through the motions of life without any purpose.  I am confident these were the same emotions Moses felt.

 

But thank God, this was not the end of the story for Moses, or for you and me.

 

LOOK FOR THE ANOMALY

 

By definition, an anomaly is something that deviates from what is standard, normal or expected.  Basically, expect the unexpected!

 

This is what happened as Moses saw the burning bush that was not consumed by the fire.  Verse 2 of Exodus 3 says that “The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold the bush burned with fire, yet was not consumed.”  This is an anomaly- something not normal or expected.  It was used to get the attention of Moses.  But as we read this account, Moses didn’t simply stop and say “…..WOW….that was weird” and simply move on.  NO, scripture says he turned aside to see this great sight.

 

If you and I are not careful, we will miss the bidding of the angel of the Lord.  We will see something that catches our attention, but will simply discount it as being really weird and move on.  WE MUST NOT MISS THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SHOWING UP IN UNEXPECTED WAYS OR PLACES!

 

As Michele said last month, God used the Worship Center to get our attention.  But when God uses things, it is not necessarily the Thing that he wants to give us revelation with.  It is simply God’s calling card to get our attention because He wants to speak to you and me.

 

CHANGE YOUR DIRECTION
TO HEAR FROM GOD!

 

Verse 4 of Exodus 3 says, “And when the Lord saw that he (Moses) turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush.”  How many moments have you and I missed to hear from God.  We have celebrated and testified to the anomaly (that unique incident that caught our attention), but because we did not follow through with altering our plans and directions, we missed out on God speaking directly to us….even calling out our name as He did Moses.

 

Today, I want to challenge you (and my family) to change our direction or plans when the angel of the Lord is attempting to get our attention.

 

Draw near unto God, and He will draw near unto you and me!

 

GET YOUR DOWNLOAD OF INSTRUCTIONS
IN THE THRONE ZONE

 

The rest of Chapter 3 goes on to share the download that God gave Moses.  In essence, God revealed Moses’ purpose and destiny to him in that moment, as well as giving him specific instruction how to carry out that purpose.

 

That is what God wants to do for you and me.  He wants to download our purpose, reveal the reason why you and I were born during this specific time in life, and share the “HOW-TO’s” of reaching our destiny and full potential.

 

Moses was born for much more than simply a Prince of Egypt (ruler of bondage and oppression)!  He was born as a deliverer from that bondage induced to the Israelites.

 

What is your destiny?  Why do you exist?  

 

That is what fuels the passion and very heartbeat of His Call Ministries.  We desire to see the body of Christ discover who God has created them to be, and provide resources to help them achieve their God-given purposes.  That is why we host Throne Zone events!  It is because there are so many that are on the backside of the desert, no longer in their place of position or even prominence, but simply have not discovered the unique God-given purposes.  We desire to help the body of Chirst!

 

The Throne Zone is hopefully that burning bush.  Remember, the Angel of the Lord appeared in the Bush, but after the angel got the attention of Moses, God came on the scene and spoke.  Our role is to be like the angel’s and simply call out to those who are in the wilderness, believing that as they alter their plans or journey to come and see the bush, we get out of the way and let God speak.

 

Today, some of you are looking for your anomaly.  You are looking and waiting for the angel of the Lord to show up and reveal himself to you.  I encourage you to press into that Throne Zone Dimension of God’s presence so you can receive the download for your destiny.

 

You may say, “I don’t know how to access that dimension where I am!”.  To that, my response is simple….. “Join us July 25-27 in Raleigh/Durham for The Throne Zone”.  I can say that with confidence simply because our purpose is clear, and our mission is to create the atmosphere that will make it easy for you to enter into that Throne Zone dimension of God’s presence.  We will create that safe place, setting aside time for you to discover, explore but ultimately discover The Throne Zone for yourself so you can begin walking in the destiny God has planned for you according to Jeremiah 29:11.

 

Some of you may not be able to join us.  I would ask you to send a special offering or scholarship someone who may not be able to afford to come to the Throne Zone.  

 

What price would you pay if you knew you could receive the download from God to know why you were placed here on earth, and how you can implement these plans and purposes?  

 

Please help us to establish this Throne Zone Carolina.  We need your help!  There are individuals coming who are in their wilderness experience and they must discover their assignment.  Help us create this safe place with time set aside for people to discover The Throne Zone!  

 

Thank you for your help.

 

 

Image

It’s a Season of Change

 

ImageWe often forget that God allows us to go through the winter for a season of rest.  We may struggle in our minds and hearts misinterpreting the season- not as rest, but as a wilderness.  When we wrestle with those thoughts of discouragement and doubt, we must discern what God is doing within us.  We must be sure to enjoy the rest, and not attempt to continue working and plowing in the wrong season.  Perhaps this is the most difficult lesson of spiritual maturity to gain.  When we allow God to do within us, all that He is declaring over us, He will simply give a nod of His head, and we will joyfully enter into the next season of our lives and ministries.

 

Michele and I are excited to share with you a new season that God is bringing us into. We have had a wonderful two year stay in Virginia Beach, but we feel the winds of change blowing and we see the clouds moving, and in obedience to God, we want to follow HIS call.

 

IT’S A SEASON OF CHANGE!

 

His Call Ministries has just celebrated our 10th year of hosting the Throne Zone Conference in Virginia Beach.  We have watched countless lives impacted by the presence of God as we created a safe place for people to discover and explore the Throne Zone dimension of God’s presence.  Prior to the last Throne Zone, we heard the voice of the Lord telling us that we are entering into a new season.  God has called us to take the Throne Zone to the countless people who are crying out for an encounter with the presence of God.  He has shown us that it is time to take the Throne Zone out to new territories. 

 

In August of last year, we had the opportunity to be a special guest on Sid Roth’s television program, “It’s Supernatural.”  That opportunity reinforced the fact that people are looking for that safe place.  They want to discover and explore the Throne Zone dimension of God’s presence. This new season will take us to new territories, form new partnerships, and take the Throne Zones to many areas where people are dry and thirsty.

 

Michele and I will be flying to Boston, MA on the 17th of this month to meet with a group of key leaders to cast the vision and begin plans for Throne Zone Boston in the fall of 2013. We continue prayerfully moving forward with Throne Zone Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. 

For a number of years, you have heard us share about “The Worship Center” that God laid upon our hearts in 2003- as we launched this ministry.  God spoke a very clear word that we documented in our Prophetic Journal in March of 2005.  His instructions were very clear to “Build for Him A Place”- A place of habitation, and not simply visitation.  It would not be a church, but rather it would be a center for training and mentoring- a place where people could discover and explore God’s presence…..a safe place.  It would be a place where people will come not because of the platform personalities, but simply come because they want to sit and soak in God’s presence.   Today, I am excited to share with you that this place has been built in the Raleigh/Durham area.  It is called, “The Worship Center”.

 

To give you an update and a little history, In November of 2012, God connected us with Joe and Sara Call, Founders of The Worship Center in Raleigh/Durham.  As we began to share what the Lord spoke to our heart about this place, Joe began to share what God had spoken to him.  Joe and Sara are seasoned ministers and have been mentored by great men and women of faith.  As we shared with each other what we had heard from the Lord, we realized we had heard the exact same word, in the same month, of the exact same year!!  That’s right…..we heard the same word from the Lord in March of 2005.  AMAZING!!!!

 

In 2009, this 31,000 sq foot facility was opened and dedicated as a “Safe Place”….a place to “House God’s Presence”….a place for people to come and soak in God’s presence.

 

 Knowing what God has spoken to our hearts about these Worship Centers being established in various regions, we believe that we are to connect with Joe and Sara and The Worship Center in Raleigh/Durham.  We see that God has connected us to learn from them, and begin to implement some of the programs that we have held within our hearts; God given programs to build the body of Christ!!

 

To that end, we believe part of this New Season for His Call Ministries is requiring us to relocate to the Raleigh/Durham area.  This will strengthen our working relationship with The Worship Center and provide an opportunity to further God’s work thru HIS Call Ministries. We also realized we will be within a 3 hour radius from key churches and pastors that we are connected with!  How awesome is that!!

 

Remember, when God causes the season to change, EVERYONE RECEIVES A BLESSING!  Such is the case with our son Judah.

 

When we moved to the Virginia Beach area two years ago, we came to be closer to many of our partners and covering pastors, but also because we felt it was time to transition Judah from homeschool back to private school.  This has proven to be a very positive move in that regard.  As Judah is transitioning into High School next year, we have found a wonderful school that will undergird our Biblical values and academically prepare him for any university that God leads him to.  Of course he will miss his friends here in Virginia Beach, but he is excited because some of those families are prayerfully considering relocating to the Raleigh area to help us implement the programs that God has placed within our heart.

 

There are so many details that we could share with you, but we simply do not have the time in this letter.  I would ask that you prayerfully consider giving a special gift, above and beyond your pledge, to help get us in place and ready to move forward with digging this new well of worship. This is your ministry, and we ask that you consider joining with us as we step into this new season that God has prepared for us.

 

Mark your calendars now to join us at “The Worship Center” July 25-27th for Throne Zone Carolina.  You will be excited to see for yourself the facility that God spoke to us about almost 10 years ago!  For those of you who have been partnering with us for some time and heard us speak and teach about it; you will simply be amazed!  It is truly surreal to walk through the facility and see the place He said to build!  We continue to pray that you will be a part of this next season for His Call!  Be sure make plans to join us, July 25-27, 2013! Who knows, perhaps God is saying that your next season is in the Raleigh/Durham area!  You can join with us and together, we can “Build for Him this place.”

 

 

Image Our mission is sure, our vision is great.  We can only move forward with your help.  
Please consider making a donation.  Your donations are tax deductible.
Thank you and God bless you!