The Good-bye Girls

    Well year two has begun. Tina dropped Amanda off last week in PA and  Melanie off three days ago in Haverhill. My college children are all officially sophomores!

     I have discovered that empty-nesting is not an event; It is a lifestyle! I thought that when the kids went off to school that would be it. We would go through a period of sadness, loneliness…whatever and then be done. I was not prepared for the up and down road through the mountain passes that Tina and I have walked in this last year. I certainly was not prepared for year two to be worse that year one, but there it is.

     As summer approached my son Joe announced that he would not be coming home at all because he had full time work in PA. That was O.K. It’s not that I don’t miss him, I do! This may sound chauvinistic but somehow his staying in PA seemed right. He’s a son. Making his way in the world is what he is supposed to do. But the girls are a different penny in the wallet. I guess a father’s instinct is to shelter and keep his daughters out of the world as long as he can.  It’s a trend we have to fight in today’s world, but that is more easily said than done.

    I was so glad when both girls announced they would be coming home. Even though Melanie travelled for a month of the summer with her drama team from school, she was home.

    We went to movies. They helped out at the church. We road to church together. We went for walks. We watched ScyFy (“Haven” and “Eureka” all the way baby). Both girls were a huge help with our live-in friends.

    Now they are back in school and this time I am reminded that potentially I have only a few summers  left before the final move out. So packing the van seemed a little more final to me this year than last. I feel a little like New Orleans waiting for Katrina to hit.

     For it all I am reminded that we are responsible to “carry our own weather”. So I plod on and think through to the positive side of things that lie ahead. Tina and I have an increased opportunity to travel and visit the kids. We are moving into a place where we have more freedom and control over our schedules (Admittedly we haven’t really experienced this yet but it is on the horizon). We have walked through the terrible twos, the golden years, the teen years, and now we are entering into our golden years.

     The good-bye girls are harbingers of change. It feels bad just now. But I know these initial feelings are deceptive. I miss the kids but this is an opportunity for all of us to grow. Part of me can’t wait to see where this takes us.

Tell me what you do to conquer sadness.

Pastor Wrinkle’s Corner-The Direction

     And the winnah is…. Pastor Wrinkles by a crow’s-foot!!!! The crowd goes wild with exultation as Pastor Wrinkles wins by the narrow margin of two votes!

     So it begins. As my identity is firmly established as Pastor Wrinkles I am free to move onto the next phase of my tenure among the people of Ignite Youth Ministries.

     Coming back to youth ministry has been a bigger transition than I thought it would be. I am finding that much has changed in the short year I have been away, not so much in the youth (although it is pretty much a new group), but in me. 

     If we are to succeed in the ministry God has entrusted to us, my team and I are going to have to be more organized through the Spirit of God than ever. This is going to require some pretty large changes on my behalf, among them:

1. More time spent in preparation

2. More faithfulness to my planned schedule.

3. Careful break down of what my life coach would call BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) into obtainable benchmarks.

4. Better training of the team.

5. Greater understanding and use of technology.

6. A more careful pacing of the work we do.

     As I look at these goals I think that perhaps there isn’t a ministry on the face of  the American continent that isn’t struggling with changes in all or at least some of these areas. I think the time we are living into is going to require ministers to really excel in these skills for the sake of their people.

    At the crux I know none of these goals really look all that spiritual. Let me tell you, though,  the above benchmarks are greatly used by the Spirit of God in ministry.  Now I have tried to improve them in my own power and have failed miserably. I need the Spirit’s help for success. So let’s pray that God would grow His church in these ways. Pray for me that God would grow me.

     Now for those of you reading this blog who are part of the support team or group I am going to lay out how things are going to roll for us, our BHAG and our method. For those of you on the outside looking in I hope that you can gain some insight through how we are doing things that will enhance your personal ministry.

Our BHAG

To build a core of 40 youth:

The Core- those who are saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, have a working knowledge of the Bible, are active in ministry in the church (main life ministries, youth worship, youth leadership, fine arts), and who are giving actively to the ministry and mission of the church.

 Our Method– We will achieve the Big Hairy Audacious Goal by planning our meetings and events a year in advance. Our scheduled events will have to answer the question: “How does this event meet the BHAG”.

Our meetings – Every meeting will contain: an hour and 15 minutes for hanging out and relationship building, thirty minutes of worship, and an hour and fifteen minutes for preaching and small group discussion.

The youth group will be made up of five smaller groups each led by members of our leadership team. The teams will be competing for points throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Points will be given for:

1. Every Penny brought in (100 points per)

2. Every returnable bottle brought in (500 points per)

3. Every Student who brings his Bible (100 points per Bible)

4. Every student who turns in a weekly note page at the end of the sermon (1000 points)

5.  Every students who answers the weekly question on Pastor Wrinkles Corner (5000 points).

6. Team spirit(up to 10,000 points)

Technology- Throughout the semester we will be making use of the following technology.

                      www.jelillie.wordpress.com – Pastor J’s blog  published daily (except Sundays) Pastor Wrinkle’s Corner posted 12:30 A.M. Monday mornings

                        http://www.ncmconline.com/encounter-radio – Pastor Brad’s daily on-line show

                        http://bradmhackett.wordpress.com/ – Pastor Brad’s blog published every Monday

                                       

                        http://www.ignitestudentministry.com/ – Our youth group web site

                        Skype-we will be skyping with Pastor Brad at least once each semester

      In spite of the challenges and changes, I am very excited about the next nine months. May God get the glory!

The Answer Of the Thief

       A while ago I wrote a post called “Mighty Weaklings”. In it I stated the following:

     “Christian you actually have a Spirit living inside you. He is the Holy Spirit. The One who was with God the Father in the beginning. (Ge 1:1,2). In age He is far older than any other spirit for He was before time. In wisdom He is greater than any other spirit because he invented wisdom! In power He is mightier than any other spirit because He is the power source. Even Satan has only managed to temporarily steal from the Holy Spirit’s supply ( don’t ask me how that works it drives me a little loopy).”

     Now while I asked not to be asked my intern Brad stepped up and asked anyway.  I like the gumption. Here is what he said:

     “I dare to ask it anyway, how has Satan managed to temporarily steal from the Holy Spirit’s supply?”

      So while the reasoning does drive me a little loopy and while the conclusions leave me with as many questions as answers, here is the line.

    Satan indeed is a thief. Christ said it this way:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV
 

       It is generally accepted that Jesus was referencing Satan when he spoke of the thief and it is true! Satan it has to be pointed out is not a creator. He is a usurper, a user of things created by the One Master Artist of the universe. His only talent throughout the ages of time has been to take the things that God has made and misuse them. That includes us! That includes the power Satan wields.

     Satan did not make his own power. His abilities were gifts God endowed Him with at the beginning of Satan’s creation. For God also created Lucifer as he created us.

“You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone [fn]–red carnelian, chrysolite, white moonstone, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald–all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created.  I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. [fn] You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire.  You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you.” Ezek. 28:13-15 NLT

     Satan’s power was given to Him by God. The source of the devil’s supply was The Holy Spirit  as the source of our supply today is the Holy Spirit. I don’t know how it all works. I don’t know why the minute Satan started misusing his power God didn’t just take it away. But I do know that God is the source of all power and has control over everything in and out of the universe. Colossians says it this way:

     “Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see–kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together.” Colossians 1:16,17

     Now Satan is a part of creation so Jesus is even holding the fibers of that wicked being together. Why? I have no clue! But what I do know is that Satan’s ability to use the power he has (which was given him by God) is limited in time and space. There is coming a day when God is going to take back that which Satan has been using against Him and require a reckoning from mankind’s ancient enemy. On that day there will be no power Satan can use against God or His people for God will strip him of everything he has.(See Rev. 19).

        Satan has temporarily stolen from the Holy Spirit’s power supply by taking the gifts which Holy Spirit endowed him with and using them against Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I guess in the same way we steal from the Lord when we take the gifting we have (for all good things come from God) and use them in ways opposed to God’s kingdom.

     In the end though neither our thievery nor Satan’s diminishes the Holy Spirit at all. For His supply is limitless. At the finish line, whenever it comes, what has been misused or taken will be restored to Jesus.

…”at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:10,11

     Perhaps in some small way I have answered Brad’s question. I hope at the very least I have stimulated your desire, dear reader, to think about the nature and fabric of the One in whom “we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28      JE

Pray-cation

    

     Many things need to change in our lives in order for us to get closer to God. Contrary to what some people think we are not born close to the Divine but away from Him.

    Now I can’t tell you what you have to do to get closer to Jesus. My guess is though you already know. You have to get rid of…. You have to start…. You fill in the blanks. Really, you already know what they are.

     One need that is almost universal among us though is for more prayer. For me God told me long ago that if I wanted to be closer to Him I needed to set aside three times a day to pray and to study His word. Now maybe that’s not what God would require of you, but it is what I have to do.

    I confess I have not made it yet. Eight years ago I struggled just to be consistent daily (and yes I was a pastor at that point). My prayer life came in fits and starts. Some days I was all day in prayer and study. Then there were those weeks where the calendar would schedule prayer right out of my life.

    I’m a lot better now and most days I do get in three times of prayer.

    Our recent vacation, though, was a great blessing to me. It was a time of really being able to come away and seek the Lord. It was a pray-cation if you will. I hope all of you get a chance sometime this year to just rest in the presence of the Lord. Sabbatical after all is a biblical idea.

Enjoy the pics:

    I spent most mornings at the indoor pool. In the heat, most favored the pool outside. I usually had the place to myself for a good hour, just me, my God, and His word.

Not all prayer is to be done in private. We spent about eight hours waiting at the pier in Old Orchard for the fireworks. It got pretty crowded. I found myself interceding for a lot of people I didn’t know. What a great exercise with the word of knowledge and discernment of spirits!

Another day we went to the beach just before sunset. Tina has picked up a new hobby hunting for sea glass. Did you know that red and blue sea glass is worth money?

While we hunted the heavens began to declare the glory of God. I spent a lot of time this vacation just focusing on the immensity of God’s creation.

Just so you know prayer like this always results in fire!

The Plane Plight

     Hello Dear Readers. Today it is my wife’s turn to share one of her stories about how our family changes sometimes rise up to effect a day in the life…. Enjoy the read JE

     Returning Amanda to college went without a hitch…..until I got to the airport.  I got dropped off early because Amanda and Joe had to get back to campus for check-in and unloading.  I had checked in to my flight the night before to save time and hassle at the airport. I was pretty confident that the day would go smoothly. I had my ducks in a row.  

    I passed through my gate.  I had lots of time to kill so I grabbed an iced coffee, found a chair and pulled out the book that I had brought along. 

       After a while I noticed it was getting close to time for my flight. I thought it strange that when I looked at the board, it didn’t have my flight info. So I went to check the flight departure/arrival board and there it was…a 2 hour delay.  Uggh.  I was tired.

      They also had changed my gate so I picked up my book, got another coffee and changed my perch.  Met some new people whose flight had also been delayed. You meet some interesting people at the airport. I love to meet new people and talk to perfect strangers. So I was right in my element.

      I sat at my new gate assignment and discovered that there were 3 flights to 3 different destinations scheduled to depart from that gate at the same time.

     Now I thought to myself..”Hmm, wonder how they’re  gonna pull this off?” 

     It was shortly after this thought that one of the flights got cancelled.  Within 15 minutes all 3 flights were cancelled and we were led away to  our prospective lines to get re-booked.  I stood in line behind about 50 people who were scheduled to be on my flight and they were all put on stand-by status for the next 2 flights that were already booked to capacity…oh boy…not a chance. 

      The kiosk steward  booked me on a flight for the following morning at 7:30 A.M..  I wish I could say I looked forward with anticipation to spending my night in the airport. 

     People lined the terminals and walkways. For a while I joined them sitting on the floor to ‘take a load off’.  I texted to inform my family and friends of my dilemma, but soon my phone ran out of power-my lifeline to the outside world!! So began my search for “power”. 

     The airport had an entire mall inside; So it wasn’t hard to find a  store which carried the item I couldn’t seem to live without for a day.  $34.95 later I walked out with a smile on my face. My link to the outside world  was to be maintained.  

      I found a floor space to sit and “plug in” and charge up. I got to talk to some interesting people and find out things about them that they would not have divulged had we not had the common dilemma of being bumped at the airport. 

    All charged up and ready to go. It was time for a trip to the ladies room.  As I stood up, I discovered that the skort  I was wearing had a side zipper that had given way. Sitting down it was invisible. When I stood,  though it was quite another matter. From  waist to thigh I was showing  skin and red underwear to perfect strangers.  I discreetly dashed to the ladies room to try to fix the zipper…to no avail.  I asked a few women that came in if they had a safety-pin and nobody was able to come to my rescue accept a petite Indian woman who had a fashion pin she said I could keep.  It was a good temporary fix but I still had to maintain my hold so my pants didn’t fall down coming out of the bathroom. 

     Heading to the airport convenience store, I asked the clerk who spoke broken English if he had any safety “pins”.  He smiled and nodded in affirmation then led me to a display of ink “pens”.  My heart sank when I realized the misinterpretation. 

     I just smiled and politely said..”hhmm…those aren’t quite what I was looking for”. 

     Off I went to continue my search for these pins that would save me from further  humiliation.  Finally I secured a needle and thread and headed to the bathroom to perform a miracle. 

     It was  9pm and I was exhausted and emotionally spent.  I was also freezing!  In summer  I dress for summer.  But somebody thought it was a good idea to keep the airport at a temperature that was  good for polar bears, not for people.  I approached the information desk to inquire if they had any of those cheap throw blankets and teeny pillows they provide you with on your flight.  I was told that they would not be available until 11pm, but that I could take the shuttle over to the other terminal to check if they were available there. I thought it strange that there was an appointed a time for the distribution of warmth and wondered if they were really waiting for Convoy of Hope to come in and do their jobs for them.  

     I took the shuttle over to terminal c…in vain. They said they didn’t distribute until 11pm either.   

     I hopped back in the shuttle and headed back to terminal f. I disembarked.  As I casually made my way to the escalator,  I did not realize that behind me was a throng of people who were running late to catch their international flight. They proceeded to form a stampede in an effort to get to their plane on time. 

      After being pushed and knocked about , I wondered if they ever would have realized that in an effort to get to their destination, they had almost taken the  life of an innocent woman in search of a blanket. 

     Well,11 o’clock was to be the magic hour so at 10:30 I went in search of a hot cup of coffee in hopes of warming up my insides.  The woman across from me had purchased 2 pairs of wool socks from the airport convenience store..one pair for her hands…and a pair for her feet.  I fell into sin at that moment as I realized  I was coveting her priceless purchase.  It only lasted a moment though as I went in search of… Ahh…a coffee shop.

     Au Bon Pain..sounds pretty high-class if you ask me. I  Was pretty certain they would have a good cup of coffee for me.  The clerk was mopping the floor and told me to help myself.  I did with great enthusiasm.  I paid for my coffee and left a handsome $1 tip. Then I took my first sip with great anticipation. My hot coffee was only lukewarm!  

      I did an about-face, smiled sweetly and told the clerk that for some reason my coffee was cold and could I get another.  He looked at me and kindly and stated he had shut all the coffee pots off an hour previous in preparation to close the store for the night.  My heart sank.

      I thought “I will surely freeze to death.”

     As I walked dejectedly to my seat I passed by the information desk. I spotted a huge plastic garbage bag that I thought hopefully must hold ‘my’ pillow and blanket so I stopped. 

      The gentleman behind the desk was very pleased to inform me that “Yes…this indeed was the bag of treasure I was looking for.”

     He opened the bag and pulled out a pillow which measured about  6X9 inches. I was thrilled.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the promise of a soft cuddly blanket to go with it.  He reached way to the bottom of the bag and when he withdrew his hand I could hardly believe my eyes and my face must have expressed exactly what I was thinking. 

       I could not believe I had been handed a piece of cellophane wrap the color of aluminum foil and was told to ‘have a good night..stay warm”.   

      The package read “emergency rescue blanket”.  I suppose you could stretch it and say that being stuck over night in an airport classifies as an emergency of sorts.  I took my blanket and pillow and humbly walked back to my seat. 

     I was not willing to concede to the fact that I may be the only one dressed like the tin man in the entire place so I kept it neatly folded in its package and let my teeth continue their chatter.  At 12:17, the man at the information desk came strolling through with a smile on his face and the plastic bag over his shoulder as if he was Santa Claus. 

      I wondered if the smile on his face was because he knew what was in that bag and it brought joy to him to see the looks of disbelief that crossed people’s faces as he handed them what I considered to be a practical joke. 

     Finally, we all silently conceded that if we all opened our ‘gifts’ at once, it wouldn’t be so bad. We knew we would all look the same and so it didn’t seem to matter so much any more. The prospect of being warm was greater than the embarrassment. 

     The crumpling sound of tin foil cellophane was practically deafening. 

     We all found a place to lay our heads and wrap up like baked potatoes ready to be cooked.       If you laid perfectly still, you might be lucky to get a moment of sleep.  If the guy next to you moved ,though, it was over.  If you were wearing pants and sleeves, you were all set.  If not, the cellophane acted like shrink-wrap as your body gave off heat and the blanket ‘adhered’ itself to you.  The night was long and I was glad to see the morning light so my efforts to sleep could come to a halt. 

     I was ever so happy to hear the announcement that flight 4091 to Manchester would be’on time’.  I had a nice front row seat in the plane and the gentleman next to me and the stewardess embarked on a conversation recounting the days events.  They listened intently to my story and we laughed hysterically at the various happenings of the day. 

     In the end, the gentleman looked at me and said “I travel all the time and I have never had a day as you have had.  It is good to see you are still smiling and you are able to laugh about it and we could laugh with you.” 

So, if the only accomplishment to this day being stuck in the airport was that it brought laughter and smiles to these perfect strangers, I would say it was all worth it.

Reinvention Rehearsed

     The sages of the written word advise that it is always best to “write what you know”. While the current issue of Writer’s Digest may debate that I thought this early on in my life as a blogger I shouldn’t do anything to jiggle the jello bowl before the mold had set; So I’ve written much about life in the church and the challenges believers face today.

    I’m not looking to change the subject matter of “Reinventing the We’ll” anytime soon. But in the midst of the posts on theology and family I don’t want to lose the context or the reason all this began.

    “Reinventing…” was born out of a quaking, as one of our children walked out of our lives “for good” and the other three decided to go off to college together leaving us  empty nesters in…let’s see…two days.

    The blog is about change: how it’s needed, why we face it, how to face it, and those whom we face it with. I don’t just want to discuss the nature of change though or how to go about it. I want us to see a detailed picture of what change looks like in the life of an individual. How does it shape the thoughts, the feelings and the habits.

    You know, it’s all well and good to talk about the need for change in America, or the church, or the school system, or even “those people”, but change is not something we can hold at arm’s length. We all face change and how we face it determines whether change is good or bad.

     So as we deal with the Bible thoughts and the funny family anecdotes, even as you read the youth corner page, never forget the context. Behind the words, behind the thoughts I am always asking these questions, “How does what I am saying help you to change? How does what I’ve just said reinvent you?”

Be Blessed, JE

Embracing the Real- The Context

     I have been “in pentecost” as they say, for almost thirty years. In that time I have seen some amazing things. I have seen backs straightened and legs lengthened. I have seen people prayed over and healed from cancer the very next day. I have been present when words of wisdom and knowledge were spoken in a service and caused healing of hearts and relationships broken for years. I know people who have met and been ministered to by angels and far more besides.

     I have also seen the gifts of the Holy Spirit abused to lift up men and their ministries rather than Jesus. I have been present when people used the gift of prophecy to fight personal battles in the church rather than encourage the body towards unity. I have watched helplessly as the root of bitterness has blocked the gift of healing and has been mislabeled a lack of faith.

     The abuse of the gifts over the last several decades has led many pastors to “throw the baby out with the bath water.”  Some doctrinally sound pentecostal churches have become practically non-pentecostal in their experience.

     Misuse of the supernatural gifts comes when a person has the wrong attitude towards life. The context of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is love. Anytime we do not use the gifts out of a loving mindset we are bound to abuse them.

     Sometimes I think we read I Corinthians 12:1-11 as though it stands by itself untouched by any other Scripture. But these verses sit plunk in between I Corinthians 11 and I Corinthians 12: 12-13:13. Go read them. They are all about love and respect for one another in the church.

     Paul wasn’t having an ADD moment when he switched from talking about respect for the body of Christ to talking about spiritual gifts and then back to talking about the body of Christ and love again. He was letting us know that the only way the gifts operate correctly and effectively is in the way of love.

     When we see misuses of the gifts we are seeing people who are using the gifts out of anger, resentment, selfish ambition, or even fear. Can I tell you the gifts can manifest in such cases and be completely right and yet still be completely wrong.

      I have heard people give words of knowledge or prophecies which were completely accurate but because they were given in anger or out of a place of selfishness they fell completely flat and brought no glory to God. It would have been better for the person to have never spoken at all!

    This calls for great wisdom. The answer for misuse of the gifts is not to ban their use but to correct the context of their use. Where people are using the gifts out of a heart of love toward their brothers and sisters, as well as the world, the gifts are trained and made effective to supernatural results.

    Let us learn the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts! A-men

    Please send me your thoughts on the way of love.

Tell Me Who I Am…PLEASE!!!

     Dear readers,

       I will be finishing up the series on “Embracing the real” in my next post. For today though I was wondering if you could help me with something…

      Twelve teens showed up for my first youth meeting at 95 Krantz Rd in Sandy Heights. That was in 1991. Tina and I grew that group to about twenty-five kids before we left for another ministry opportunity.

    Since then I have been in and out of youth ministry three times. Each time I really thought was the last time. Each time I was wrong. If you have read my posts regarding “Wrinkles” you know that God has called me into a fourth adventure. This is Brad’s (our summer youth intern’s) last week before returning to NCMC (North Carolina Master’s Commission); So I am excited to be at the starting gate of what promises to be a great new season of ministry.

     Since the church’s plan is to hire Brad, once he has finished his schooling, the plan for me is to be interim youth overseer through this winter of 2010 and 2011. My job will be to prepare the group for Brad’s return and to help him make a smooth transition into full-time ministry. Brad and I have already begun to strategize about how this whole process will proceed.

      Times being what they are we are going to be using a lot of technology:  Brad is going to Skype in from NCMC several times throughout the year to keep the kids up to date with his life and to cast vision; He is also hosting a live web-cast which our kids will be able to call into; We have our youth group Facebook page and both of us are using our WordPress blogs to good advantage.

    For the next nine months, Monday’s blog-post will be dedicated to youth ministry here at “Reinventing the We’ll”.  The posts will have my sermon outlines for Tuesday night laid out along with a question which I will encourage comments on. Now I would love to have discussion on the question from anyone who wants to shout out, but kids from Ignite (the church youth group) who comment on the Monday post question will earn points for  their youth their team.

   Now, dear reader, here is how you can help. There has been some debate as to what the weekly title of this youth post should be. I have narrowed it to two suggestions: “Pastor Wrinkles Corner” or “Pastor CoolJ’s Corner”.  Here’s what I need you to do!

1.Please comment on this blog to cast your vote. Only votes cast on “Reinventing the We’ll” will be counted. 

2.Votes will be tabulated on Friday August 27 at end of day. The winning title will be featured on the first youth post on Monday August 30.

Tell Me Who I Am…PLEASE!!!

JE

Embracing the Real- The Words

     Friday nights were called “Feast of Fire” services. I led worship with a group of teens and our staff evangelist preached every week. The evening always ended in a prolonged altar call. Sometimes we would pray for an hour or more as the Spirit of the Lord moved among the people. We saw many amazing things during that season.

      One night a woman came forward as we were anointing with oil. She asked me to pray for her husband who was “having a very difficult time”.

     I stretched out my hand and placed it on her forehead as I began to pray.

    About thirty seconds into the prayer the Spirit of God told me to pray for legal issues to be cleared up. Now when I receive these strong impressions out of what seems to be left field I generally don’t just go with them. Usually I stop and ask the person if what I am feeling is in any way, shape, or form close to the mark. This time however the impression was so strong I could almost not help but pray immediately.

      “Lord,” I prayed “I ask for any legal issues that are arising in this family to be dealt with. Please sort them out and bring them to a quick conclusion. I ask for this husband that you would grant him favor and protection.”

    The woman began to weep. It was a secret that her husband was in the midst of a lawsuit. He was experiencing incredible anxiety as he faced the trial.

    Another time I was at the altar praying over what seemed to be an insurmountable relationship problem. A person I was close to had somehow through the course of events become an enemy. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t know why the person was so angry or what I had done to deserve their treatment. In my eyes I had been fair and had even gone the extra mile to preserve the relationship.

    As I was sitting crying out before the cross, the word of the Lord came to me suddenly, “Get up now. Go to the person and apologize for your impertinence towards them and your brashness.”

   I thought about it for a moment and actually considered waiting on the word but the Lord came to me again. “If you do not go now you will permanently lose favor and cause yourself great harm.”

    I got up and did what the Lord commanded.

    In the meeting that ensued I was granted favor and forgiveness by the person. The resulting reconciliation (though not permanent) ended up protecting me from a great loss I could not have foreseen. The meeting stopped an undermining that was taking place without my knowledge.

      The word of knowledge and the word of wisdom are two powerful weapons in the Pentecostal Christian’s armory.

     The word of knowledge is the ability to know something that is hidden from plain sight.

      The word of wisdom is the ability to supernaturally troubleshoot and solve problems that you do not have the ability to solve yourself.

     The gifts are practical and greatly useful in prayer. How many times have you come to a situation that seems to big to even pray about? It is the word of knowledge that is needed when you ask “Lord show me how to pray.”

    The word of knowledge is that “aha” moment when you suddenly go from confused mutterings before God to, “I know exactly how to pray about this now!”

    The word of wisdom comes in that moment when you are standing before your broken down car and suddenly see the answer. It is that instant when you know exactly how to fix what is wrong, even though five minutes before you couldn’t find the latch to pop the hood.

    How do these gifts come? As every other one of the gifts through prayer and much prayer at that. As we said at the beginning of this study. If you are going to walk in the power of the baptism, you are going to have to do your homework.

    As Paul said, “Let love be your highest goal, but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives.” I Cor. 14:1

    Tell me have you been encouraged to desire the special abilities the Spirit gives?

To the Hemmed In

     Dear readers in light of our recent topic matter, I thought it might be good to include this example of a gift I was given to share with our church just recently. JE    

     I knew Sunday before service that the Lord had a word to give to the body at Cornerstone. Even as I prayed in my morning devotions I began to feel that familiar stirring. I waited and prayed asking the Lord to confirm that the word was for the church and not for some other time. Then I prayed for an opening during service. It came just before communion and I shared with the church what God had put in my heart.

    After several days of prayer I have felt to share it with you as well.

     Hear this word of the Lord. I have heard the prayers of my servant asking for a habitation among this people. So I have come in response to his prayer to inhabit and manifest among my people.

     As in days of old when I inhabited the place between the wings of the cherubim, now I dwell between the praises of my people.

     Behold I am with you always even to the end of this age.

     I come to speak to those who are hemmed in.

     You say to me “Lord I have an enemy before me.”

     You say to me “Lord I have an enemy behind me.”

     You say to me “Lord I have an enemy to my right side.”

     You say to me “Lord I have an enemy to my left side. I cannot move.”

     I say to you “Your answer will come to you in the midst of your stillness. I counsel you, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ It is God who is the vindicator of the righteous.”

    I tell you ” Commit your way to the Lord trust in Him and He will do this. He will make the righteousness of your cause to shine like the noon-day sun.”

     You are not the waymaker. I am the Waymaker and I make a highway in the desert and I will make a way where there seems to be no way.

     It is time for you to stand still and let the Lord fight your battle. I have told you before trust no more in the arm of flesh for it will avail you nothing.

     I promise you joy unspeakable and full of glory. In My presence is fullness of joy and at My right hand are pleasures evermore.

     I tell you ” Come into My presence. Put yourself at My right hand and you will have joy and pleasure as you face your situations and afflictions. Let go of the world and seek the arm of flesh no more. I will open the pathway. Let me open the door and when you see the pathway I open walk in it. Stop pushing against the doors I have closed.”

     This word was received on Sunday August  15, 2010.

      I would love to hear your thoughts.