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.

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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.

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

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Worship F.I.T. for the King- The Conclusion

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2013!  I believe that this year will be one that causes us to reflect, yet propels us into new dimensions of God’s presence.  The BEST is yet to come!

For the past two months, I have been sharing on the subject, “Worship that is F.I.T. for the King.”  I have shared that the “F” deals with Frequency- how often we worship, but also asking if we are tuned in to the frequency of Heaven.  Are we focused and tuned into the worship that transpires around the Throne of God in Heaven as described in Revelation Chapters 4 & 5.  If not, I challenged us to tune into the sound of Heaven and release that sound upon the earth.

In December, I shared that “I” must not deal with “ME” focused worship, but on the Great I AM.  More specifically, when we realize the access that God has given us to the very Throne Zone Dimension of His presence, we must be “INTENTIONAL” in our worship services to press past the praise zone, continue through the worship zone, and enter into The Throne Zone.  As worship leaders and worshipers, we must not settle for anything less than The Throne Zone and God’s Glory.

Now as we enter into this New Year, I want to share that the “T” must deal with “TRANSFORMATION”.

The theme of our upcoming 10yr Anniversary Celebration of Throne Zone is “Honoring the past…..Embracing the future…….Anticipating His Glory.”  I believe this is our theme not only for the conference, but what God desires for this coming year.

As I share with many congregations, and will share in a unique way on Thursday Night of Throne Zone (which you do NOT want to miss), as we enter into the worship zone- our worship shifts from being horizontal in its expression and begins to shift vertical.  It is during this worship zone where we are being drawn by the Holy Spirit closer to the Throne of God.  It is also in this place where we begin to see ourselves as God sees us.  He sees our sincere hearts, He sees our hunger for more of Him, He sees our insecurities and shortcomings and every other component within our lives.  Knowing what transpires in this “Worship Zone”; many people choose to conclude their journey because they grow uncomfortable and desire their worship experience to be more celebrative than confrontational.  Yet, this is a very strategic step in our journey to The Throne Zone.  It is a step that cannot be circumvented.  You cannot enter to The Throne Zone through a shortcut somewhere…..there is no other way.  Amid all the clatter being broadcast on TV, radio and the internet, there still remains only one way by which man can be saved, and that is through the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary.  Of course you and I know this very well, but the world is sending mixed signals and many believe the lies being propagated by the world today.  Therefore, it is imperative for us to honor the past.

When we honor the past, we remember the past victories that we won, and we remember how they were won.  We remember what God did for us and how He rescued us from some of the worst moments of our lives- whether that be in sin, or a life-threatening moment- but something happens when we stop and are intentional in remembering.

When we remember and acknowledge the work that Jesus Christ did in our lives, we can then look ahead and know that if He was faithful to bring us through our past victories, then His is MORE THAN ABLE to preserve us and help us overcome the challenges and temptations that lie ahead.  And because we remember His past provision & protection, my faith becomes strengthened and I can begin to move forward and Embrace the Future.

But, if we choose to stop in that Worship Zone and not allow the Holy Spirit to do within us what He needs to do, we prevent the Holy Spirit from bringing TRANSFORMATION into our lives.  This prohibits us from moving forward and therefore will inhibit us from entering into the Glory God is releasing in the Earth. 

This TRANSFORMATION will transform us spirit, soul and body.  It will cause us to change the course and actions of life we are pursuing when He challenges us.  I do believe in GRACE, but I do know that when we say YES to God, there are things we must turn loose of that will hold us back and prevent our access to the FULNESS of HIS PRESENCE, and prohibit us from entering into The Throne Zone.

When we truly have an encounter with God, we will not act the same.  Moses didn’t even look the same.  He had to wear a veil over his face because it shined so brightly.  The woman who pressed through the crowd stopped bleeding immediately and resumed life healed and made well as a testimony.  The man who lay by the pool at Bethesda changed the location of where he stayed once Jesus came and healed him.  No longer did he need to hang out at the pool waiting for his healing. 

Too many of us have established relationships from hanging out at the pool that we want to stay after we have been healed because these are the only friends we have made.  But transformation causes us to pick up our bed, walk into the unknown future, and forge new relationships sharing what God has done for us.  This is TRUE TRANSFORMATION.

When we experience TRANSFORMATION in worship, it will give us a new focus & clarity on this next season of our lives.  We can embrace the future and ultimately anticipate His Glory.  He desires to position you and me in our correct places of authority so we can be ready to be “RELEASERS OF HIS GLORY” in our lives and ministry.

This Transformation is not always changing sinful behavior.  Transformation may deal with strategies and business plans.  God is having me speak to many marketplace ministries and entrepreneurs regarding these downloads that God wants to give them in The Throne Zone of worship.  I believe He is giving business plans, marketing strategies and clear revelation how to move into this next season.  I believe He is doing that in your life, your business and your ministry.  That is why I am passionate about getting people into that Throne Zone dimension.  If they can tap into that dimension, people will discover their place, get in their place, operate in their God-orchestrated place, and therefore walk in favor, blessing and exponential results.

I am asking you to prayerfully consider partnering with us for another year.  As we share this vision, it will take financial resources to accomplish this vision, and I would like to be able to count on your monthly support as we move ahead.  Therefore, I have enclosed another partner card for you to pray over.  I will collect your cards at our reception.  We are also asking God for 100 additional $25/month partners to join us at this year’s conference.  We will be asking new partners to join us during the Friday night service, and then provide a reception for new partners following the service.  Please help us pray.

Our mission is sure, our vision is great.  We can only move forward with your help.  Remember, what you do for others, God will cause to be done to you.  As you bless this ministry, God will raise up others who see your vision and support your vision.

2013:  Honoring the Past……Embracing the Future……Anticipating His Glory!

The Building Blocks of Success

If you follow us on Twitter or are a friend on Facebook, you will have heard that Michele’s step-mother lost her battle to cancer and past-away during the month of March.  For us, that month was a blur as we journeyed to Nashville, returned home for one day and then had to turn around and travel back to Nashville to conduct the funeral. 

Interestingly enough, as we were returning from the funeral, our coach broke down.  This time, we were stranded in Chattanooga, TN.  We were detained for several days as the technicians made every attempt to diagnose the problem.  The final prognosis:  There was shredded metal in the engine and was clogging the fuel injectors.  The cost:  $7,500.00.  Oh boy, did that hit us by surprise!  However, as we began to seek council from others, we learned that this was only part of a larger problem that would ultimately require us to replace the entire engine…at a much greater expense.  After much council, we decided to spend $750 and clean out the fuel injectors which would help us to make it home to Charlotte.  As it turned out, we made it all the way to our exit, and the bus began to crash.  We chugged along at 5 miles per hour as we were fervently praying in the spirit attempting to make it to our parking spot.  We made it to our parking space, backed up the bus so we could unload it, and it gave up the ghost and died.  Of course, Michele and Judah and I were so thankful to God that He helped us make it home safely. We made provision to get rid of the bus, so we now travel in our mini-van.

Now, I share all of this with you- not to complain and whine (although God knows that I did much of that with Him).  But rather, I want to share with you what happened while we sat in the waiting room at the shop. 

There was a man who came in and asked me if I was in that brown bus outside.  I told him “Yes”.  He said, “The Worship Revolution!  WOW!  That is quite a powerful statement!”  As we began to dialog, I learned that this gentleman lived in St. Louis, Missouri and he was in route to Florida to work on laying down some tracks for some new worship tunes.  You see, he writes songs that God is giving him, and he does not know what to do with them.  So, of course, I began with my line of questioning.

It seems as if the number one question I am asking the people that God places in front of me is this one thought:  “If you could do anything in the world, and be guaranteed success- money and personnel were not a consideration- what is the one thing that God has placed upon your heart to do?”

Of course, this conversation lasted several hours and it offered this gentleman great hope.  You see, he had a sense of what the Lord wanted for him, but he did not know how to get there.

For me and Michele (as most Christians today), we have a sense of what God is calling us to do, but we don’t know how to get there.  And this can be a very frustrating and uncomfortable place.  However, we know because of God’s grace, He knows how to get us where we are to be, when we are to be there.  Unfortunately, in this situation, it required the bus to be broken down for this extended period of time, and me to be displaced from my comfort zone, simply so that I could meet this gentleman and minister to and encourage him to pursue the vision.

I often call this the process of purpose.  John Maxwell calls it the Law of Process.  But most everyone would agree that we can call this the desert place- a place of little comfort and many decisions. However, it is in this process where God causes our character to be refined, our integrity to hold fast, and patience to be tested- allowing His grace (which is sufficient) to carry us through this season of our lives.

I am reminded of II Peter 1: 5-8:  “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

These are the building blocks that God uses to shape our character and offer us stability in the day of calamity and adversity.  Verse 10 goes on to say, “…give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if you do these things, ye shall never fall.”

NEVER FALL? Wow, this is the formula that guarantees success to our calling in Christ Jesus!

Let’s define some of these terms to give us clarity to this formula:

v  Diligence:  Persistent and hard-working effort in doing something; the care or attention expected by the law in doing something such as fulfilling the terms of a contract.

  • Faith:  The substance of things that are hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • Virtue:  The quality of being morally good or righteous; a quality that is good or admirable, but not necessarily in terms of morality.
  • Knowledge:  General awareness of possession of information, facts, ideas, truths or principles; specific information; all that can be known; learning through experience or study.
  • Temperance:  Abstinence from Alcohol (Encarta Dictionary); self-restraint in the face of temptation or desire.
  • Patience:  The ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.
  • Godliness:  Devoted to or worshiping God; fit for or having the divine qualities of God.
  • Brotherly Kindness:  Showing the affection of a brother
  • Charity:  The voluntary provision of money, materials, or help to people in need; the willingness to judge people in a tolerant or favorable way; the impartial love of other people, especially as a Christian virtue.

Because God loves us so much, and because we are endeavoring to seek His face as we walk toward our own calling and ministries, the Lord (in His infinite wisdom) often puts us on somewhat of a “Scavenger Hunt”.  He gives us the list of things that we need, and we then make the journey to various locations to find each item on the list.  But oftentimes (as in the situation with our bus) we have to go to some very unusual places to obtain each of these key building blocks.

For many, they decide that the journey is too difficult, and therefore they stop running the race.  They decide to pitch a tent in Moab, rather than pressing past the obstacles and facing the giants to obtain their Canaan Land Promise.  And, this is very easy to do.

You and I need each other.  We need to encourage each other to obtain each nugget that God has strategically placed in your pathway.  Persevere through these obstacles that we face, and confront them with patience (the ability to endure waiting, delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset.)  Easier said than done, but this is attainable, and when we collect each of these nuggets, God’s word promises that we will make our call and election (being chosen by God for special favor, salvation or a task) sure. Here is the promise:  For if you do these things, ye shall never fall!

There is the formula for success!

Today, I encourage you to press past your adversity, your obstacles that you are facing, and add to your account each of these key building blocks.  If we are real with each other, we will both agree that both of us need encouragement to press past our feelings to pursue our destiny.

Michele and I love you dearly and we pray that your destiny be realized, developed, and deployed upon the earth as God has purposed it for you in the Heavens.  Keep pressing on!