Our Family Portrait

I love looking at family portraits, especially as the family members change over the years, growing up, getting more mature and having their own little ones. It’s interesting to look at the changes that occur, often very subtle and unrealized until we look back and have the shock of how we have been transformed over the years. This is sometimes good and sometimes not so good.

The Lord Jesus also has a family portrait and His family is called His church. Do you ever wonder what the family of God should look like? As I was ministering recently on “Where Are You?” I had the thought of “Where is the Church?” and what is the family of God supposed to look like? So, I go to the book of Acts and get a beautiful portrait of the Family of God. Here is the portrait painted by the early church:

  • Loved each other in word and deedà Heart of Love
  • Devoted to the teaching of the Wordà  Doctrine of the Apostles
  • Daily attendance in the temple and in fellowship with other believersà Service &  Fellowship
  • Signs, wonders, miracleà The Supernatural Present
  • Cared for needyà Outreach
  • Evangelismà Missions 
  • Persecutedà Endured  Persecution from World
  • Changed entire cities with Gospel by winning the lost and discipling new converts à  Discipleship
  • Disrupted the economy of towns àRegional  Transformation

Sometimes we do not clearly see what we look like until we see a picture of ourselves. How do we compare today to the portrait of the early church? Where are we in our likeness to Jesus and His family portrait? Have those subtle changes occurred so slowly over the centuries until one day we (the church) look at ourselves and are shocked at how far away from the original portrait we have become?

Or, do we (personally) look at ourselves and begin to thank God for the work He has done in us, adding us to His family portrait as a devoted family member who has changed more into His image over the years?  

When it comes times for those family portraits, we will often want to push the date out a little, so we can lose those extra pounds or get that new outfit or new hairdo, just so we can look better. God is transforming us daily into His image and year by year we should become more like His Son as we submit ourselves to Him. Are you ready for the family portrait?

Starting the Year Off Right–2012

Starting the Year Off Right
Impact Church Daniel Fast
January 1st – 21st, 2012

 We are about to enter into 2012 and the New Year can bring a sense of both excitement and apprehension.   It is excitement for the wonders of what lies ahead and the opportunity to start fresh and new.  But it can also be a time of anxiety and apprehension at the unknown that awaits us in the upcoming months.  Some prophets have prophesied that 2012 will be a year of tumultuous times.  Yet in the midst of these times, we can have confidence and security in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, Who loves and cares for us.

The beginning of the New Year is a time when many will make resolutions for the changes they want to make.   The New Year is the time when gyms and sports centers get an influx of new clientele who are making that resolution to shape up, lose weight, get their life back in balance.  

However, the New Year is also a time when we can begin to look at our spiritual life and decide to make significant changes in this area as well.    So, a great way to kick off any New Year is with a time of fasting, prayer and seeking God for His revelation in our life.  It’s a time when we can decide to develop greater intimacy with Him.   It’s also a time when we can dedicate, almost as a first fruit offering, our life before Him for the upcoming New Year.

I am asking us as a church family to join me on a 21 day “Daniel” fast beginning January 1.  I have placed in our bookstore copies of Elmer Towns book “The Daniel Fast”.  This is a 21 day devotional that will give you information on what a Daniel Fast looks like along with daily devotions for each of the days.   Some may try to abide by the strict Daniel fast of eating only vegetables and drinking water.  Others may choose to eliminate a certain food item or food group from their diet.  And others may choose to eliminate a meal a day and dedicate this time to prayer.   The important thing is that we PRAY more during this time than we would normally.   I asked the Lord once why should we fast.   What I heard was “it lets you know who/what is really in charge of your life”.  How true this is.  

The Daniel fast was also a time when Daniel needed favor from God in a certain area.   Where do you need favor or breakthrough in your life?   Put these requests before God as you seek Him more diligently during this time.  I will also have some corporate things I want you to pray about. 

I truly believe the best is yet ahead of us.   I believe we will see the fulfillment of many prophetic words spoken over us in the days ahead.   I also believe the Lord wants to make us a “land of Goshen” people during any perilous times that may come.  He will bring deliverance to those who are His. 

 As we approach the end of our fasting period, on Friday January 20th we will have a Face to Face worship and prayer event.  This will be a great way to wrap up our time of seeking God as we come together as a local assembly and praise Him in worship and prayer. 

I am so blessed to be a part of the Impact Family.  You are the best people in the world and I believe the Lord wants to move more mightily in our midst in 2012.  Let’s honor Him by starting off our year right, seeking Him!

Spiritual Warfare…Maintaining the Balance

No one would doubt that we are in a war today for our nation, our children’s future, and our own soul’s destiny.   Yet somehow the topic of warfare can seem heavy and often just something we’d rather not discuss or participate in.   Reports are that many were warned about the potential attack of terrorist in 2001, but it just didn’t seem possible that it could happen to us.  But it did!  The same is true of spiritual warfare.

As I ministered yesterday on the topic of Spiritual Warfare, I left the church excited at the majority that closed the doors to the enemy and also exhausted from the backlash from the enemy.   There is no doubt the enemy does not want us to be informed on warfare and on how we are to handle his attacks upon our lives.  We have become so accustomed to coming into church and hearing a nice soft message on how to be happy or how to be encouraged without understanding the reason why we have to keep hearing these messages and going through the motions over and over again.   It’s  like having the screen door open in our home and just giving us  a fly swatter without telling us to just close the door.   We spend all our lives swatting at the flies without understanding how they are getting into our lives in the first place.

As an Apostolic (sending) Church, we are accustomed to the concept of warfare.     Paul tells us that Acts 14:22 that much hardship will be required to enter into the Kingdom of God.   This is a foreign concept to western Christianity, but not so to our brothers and sisters in other nations.    We have become soft in our “religion” because it has not really  required anything from us other than a little inconvenience on Sunday morning.   However, this is not who we are as the body of Christ and as the army of the living God.   I John 3:8 tells us the reason Jesus came was to “destroy the works of the devil” and we have been empowered to do that as we follow His example and complete the work He has given to us.  When we quote “the same works I do you will do and greater”, we may want to think only of the more glamours works such as healing a sick person or teaching and preaching.    However, all of these works are based on the fact that the works of the devil are being destroyed in the lives of those we minister to.   It would be nice if we could just pass out the silver bullet or wave the magic wand, but unfortunately those things do not exist or at best are only very temporary.

So how do we keep the balance?   First and foremost, all we do must be covered and smothered in the love of God.  Why do we war?  Because we love!  Why do we teach about the tactics of the enemy?  Because we love!   Why did Jesus come and not just stop at the synagogues instead of going onto the cross?  Because He loves!  Our love will take us past the comfort zones of life and onto the battle field to recover the wounded and to inform them of the traps the enemy has laid for them.

I don’t want my children and grandchildren or yours to be swatting at flies all of their lives.  This prevents them from moving into the things God has for them.    In Exodus 8, Pharoah was given the opportunity to set the time when he wanted the frogs to be removed from the land and he said “tomorrow”.   How much damage did the frogs do during the time between Pharoah’s moment of decision  and “tomorrow”?  How many more people were tormented?   How much more property was destroyed during that interval of now and tomorrow?   Moses prayed according to the timetable set by Pharoah.    The torment of the enemy is on our time table.  We can resist him and he will flee or we can be like Pharoah and say “tomorrow”.   Why wait?

James 4:7  So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The Spirit of Revival

We began our Cry for Revival on June 26th and it has been an incredible early journey.   We are just beginning and God is amazing me every time we gather together.     Several characteristics of true revival that we must keep in the forefront of our mind are:

  1. Worship:    True Spirit led worship is critical to maintaining a Spirit of Revival in our midst.   Worship is more than reading words from a screen or a sing along.  Worship comes from the heart and not just from the head.   Our time today of worship without the music was beautiful.   Music is certainly a gift from God to us, but often when we are in our times of worship, we get so focused on reading the songs from the screen that we never really enter into worship.  We must learn how to sing the song of worship from our hearts, as we did today.  What a beautiful sound as so many of us lifted our voice to God without the benefit of being coaxed along by a pre-planned song.   But, we don’t want to throw away the beautiful anointed music that has been given to us by God either.   This music plays an important part in our life of worship, but we must be careful that the music does not replace the worship.
  2. Prayer:   Every revival recorded in history was preceded by intense and often lenghty times of prayer.   Prayer is our way of proclaiming the will of God.  Prayer allows us to place ourselves in His Presence and hear from Him.  In the Tabernacle, prayer is represented by the altar of incense just before entering into the Holy of Holies and it continually burned in the Presence of God.  The fire in this altar came from coals from the Brazen Altar where sacrifice was made for sin and this fire was initially started as God sent fire from heaven.   Our prayer life is to be a life of God initated (Holy Spirit) fire filled prayers and not dry legalistic prayers that do not agree with the Word of God.   Prayer is critical and I invite you to join us on Wednesday’s at 7 AM and Sunday’s at 8 AM.
  3. Word of God:   The Word of God is what keeps us balanced.   Our worship, our prayer time, our gathering times, our fasting and all we do is found in the Word of God.   Per George Barna, only about 15% of Christians have a Biblical world view.   How sad that many no longer hold God’s Word in high regard in their lives.  When people forsake the Biblical view, they will embrace the world’s view on things and be led into serious sin and error.    All that we do as a church and as individuals must be filtered through the Word of God.   It is through His Word that we judge our doctrine, our actions, our church, and our life.    When this does not happen, things can get out of balance and just “weird”.   There has been alot of false fire in past revivals and we want to make sure this type of thing does not happen with Impact Church.  The Word of God remains a priority for us and I beseech you to take advantage of times when the Word is taught.   Revival must be built upon the foundation of God’s Word.

Eddie Hyatt says in his book Revival Fire:  Discerning Between the True and False “…what is occurring throughout the contemporary charismatic-revival movement where groups may spend hours “soaking,” singing, prophesying and sharing their spiritual experiences, but seldom—if ever—engaging in serious, sound study of God’s Word. Seeking spiritual experiences apart from Scripture is dangerous. Those taking this careless approach are, unwittingly, caught in the wake of a cultural trend that is carrying people away from the Bible to non-Christian, non-Biblical forms of spirituality.

This we want to avoid and there will be increasingly more opportunities for Bible teaching in the days ahead, so please avail yourself of these times.

It is exciting to watch the fire of God spread in the hearts of Impact Saints.

God is good and wants us to experience Him and His gifts in fullness.  Let’s pray that our hearts are open to Him in this exciting time.

Baptism of Fire–Impact Church August 7th

What a powerful time we had today as the fire of God fell in our midst.  It is so important that we keep the revival fires burning.  In Leviticus, the Lord told Moses that the fire on the brazen altar was to never go out.   This Holy fire that was sent from God as that first offering was laid upon the altar.  And  of course it points to the final offering, Jesus Christ, that would be placed upon the cross and lifted for all men to see.  The coals from that altar in the OT were the coals placed upon the Altar of Incense, representing the prayers of the saints.  How important it is to have the fire of God burning in our life.  John the Baptist  prophesied that the one coming after him would baptize in the Holy Spirit and in Fire (Mt 3:11).   We so often hear much about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but where is the fire?

Revival is about the fire of God coming to a  church, community or nation that needs to be “re-lifed”.   Evan Roberts of the Welsh revival says , “Revival is God bending down to the dying embers of a fire that is just about to go out, and breathing into it, until it bursts into flame.”     We need the revival fires of God breathed upon us once again.    Many churches today have no fire or life.  Many churches have a form of godliness, but no power.   Many churches have substituted programs, gimmicks and entertainment for the Presence and Power of God.  This is no different than the false fire that the priests Nadab and Abihu placed in their censers, resulting in a death sentence from God.  The only fire acceptable by God is the fire that He has started, not man made fire that has no lasting power.

The NT does not speak of revival, because the NT church is revival.   Reading the book of Acts will show us what the church is supposed to look, act, talk and walk like.   The NT church is a church alive with the Presence and Fire of God.  On the day of Pentecost, God once again poured out a fire from heaven on the church letting them know the sacrifice of Jesus was acceptable and approved by God.  The NT church stayed on fire until it became institutionalized in the 3rd and 4th centuries and has since gone through numerous cycles of revival experiences, none of which has lasted as God desires.

Jesus paid an incredible price for us.  Three times in Matthew 26, Jesus asked if there was any way to let the cup of suffering of Calvary pass from Him.   In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was required to look into that cup of suffering that He was to drink  because He must willingly take the suffering upon Himself as atonement for our sins.   He  saw the agony associated with the cup, yet He still willingly chose to drink from that cup for you and I.   Never would we have to experience what He experienced as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”.    Jesus bore the incredible wrath of God that was due the sin He bore in His own sinless body.   Jesus bore  the  separation from God that sin brings and paid the price for our sins and has made us free from the penalty of sin by His blood.  Is it any wonder that heaven’s entire focus is upon Him, Revelation 5:11–12 (AMP) — 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels on every side of the throne and of the living creatures and the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin], and they numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, 12 Saying in a loud voice, Deserving is the Lamb, Who was sacrificed, to receive all the power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and majesty (glory, splendor) and blessing!    How awesome is our Lord and Saviour.

Jesus fully embodies the fire of God.   John records in Revelations 1:14 His eyes were like a flame of fire. 

 Jesus is the baptizer of the Holy Ghost and fire.  Let’s cry out for the fire of revival! 

Cry for Revival: Healing Testimonies at Impact July 24

What an awesome time we are having as we cry out to God for more of Him.

During worship this morning, I heard the Lord say He was present to heal and specifically He was going to heal nerve damage.   When I made the request to the church, the altar was filled 2 layers deep with people who had nerve damage in a part of their body.

Here are a few testimonies:

  1. Joyce Jones:  “I have had nerve damage in my left ear for years.   No matter how close, there were certain sounds I could not hear.   I got prayer many times for hearing but not for nerve damage .  When you  said God wanted to heal nerve problems,  I responded and when you said place your hand on the area,  I was healed as soon as I touched my ear. I praise God”
  2. Heidi W.: “Near the end of worship, I could feel the presence of the  Lord suddenly as He (for lack of a better word) swept in.  While continuing to play bass, I was in   onder at His presence and about 30-45 seconds later Pastor Donna came forward  and said the Lord just made His presence known and that He wanted to heal  people.  After Pastor called for people with “nerve damage” to come forward others were called who needed any other kind of body healing.  I hesitated at first, but knew that I needed to go down off the platform and get in line for  prayer.  We were all instructed to touch the place on our bodies  that needed to be healed.  I put my hands on my neck.  It gives me trouble quite  often since I’ve had two vertebra fused because a disc blew out more that 10  years ago.  It affects my shoulders and feels somewhat numb.  While touching my neck I happened to look up and saw the cross and crown of thorns and realized that Jesus had already paid  in full for my healing.  As I was  thanking the Lord for my healing I could feel something going on in my neck and realized that it did not hurt anymore and that I had a fuller range of  motion.  To God be the glory. “
  3. Aretha E.:  Pain in her chest and when she put her hand on the area, it left immediately.
  4. Gary B.:   said he was having back pain and when he walked through
    the doors, the pain left him immediately.
  5. Kevin S.:  Struggled with post symptoms from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  The previous week was one of the worst weeks since the infection a couple of years ago.  During the worship service, God touched Kevin and the pain left and he has had no symptoms since.

Praise our awesome God for what He did for these precious saints today.  If you experienced healing, please let us know so we can give glory to God!   You testimony will build the faith of another, so share what God is doing in your life.

Wednesday Intercession 7:00 AM 7/20/2011

What a great prayer time we had this morning as we focused on our Cry for Revival. Several great thoughts came forward from those present:

  • Don’t think only locally for what God is asking us to do.  Make our revival cry global. This was especially significant after the great service we had with our Russian friends on the 17th. (TW)
  • “Cry for Revival” and let God fill in the spaces. (TR)
  • Russian leaders have asked us to bring our Inner Healing into Russia. Prayer for the necessary doors to open and God’s wisdom on the team and information to take. (SB/DW/MP)
  • When revival is infused into our life, (like a virus), it will become contagious. We are glory carriers (DB/SB)
  • Gen 26: (DW) Isaac was in the place of Gerar, which means “stopping place” where he had to deal with this issues of trusting God Once this was taken care of he planted and reaped a 100 fold harvest This will be the message for TNC
  •  Prior to revival, we will go through the wilderness where we will be stripped down and prepared for what is coming (SAB)

Prayer Wednesday’s 7:00 AM

Blessings to all