Columns

Shift Focus, Blame, or Mirrors

Anyone can think the sky is falling when the "other" guy wins an election. Friends say what we don't like, we make baseless insults, then we complain about a divided nation.

If you've enjoyed the same old, bland, partisan, well-mannered non-progress for years, then a populist like Obama or Trump comes along to rub you the wrong way—well, anyone can go loopy. Some of us grow thick skin before others.

Post-election conniptions are normal. Don't blame for people having them, don't join them either. Spread some love. Focus on the problems in the bathroom mirror—not the rear-view mirror.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 16, 2017

It's not quite there yet. Korea's conflict escalates, but there's still more mount to climb. Trump is increasing weapons sales to South Korea and Japan, based on a September 5 Tweet; North Korea called him a "strangler of peace" and a "war merchant". Mattis told the Army to "Stand ready". Hawaii is rehearsing for attacks.

Most of the talk is to get everyone psyched-up plenty of time in advance—soldiers, nations, and peoples. The timing, however, will come at a convergence of defenses being in place and opportunity being open. Then, the US will either strike with "just cause" or "strik-taliate" as it did with Pearl Harbor and the Lusitania.

In the meanwhile, expect the escalation to continue. Expect more Navy strike groups to be directed. Expect the USS Ford to replace the decommissioned USS Enterprise and the USS Reagan to replace the USS Vinson, somewhere in East Asia. Three aircraft carriers, two on their way in and one their way out is certainly a military peak. But, also keep an eye out for a shift in types of Korea-related headlines followed by a quiet from central command. Once the press release statements resemble a ship casting off, that's what you call a clue. And, we haven't been clued in quite yet.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, October 16, 2017

The NFL was a distraction. Some might say it still is. Trump is dismantling the Obama administration's work piece by piece, but most of the Anti-Trump TV time is focused on the NFL. Many Americans who never cared about politics before spent their Sunday afternoons and Monday nights absorbed in the NFL. It was a "bread and circuses" entertainment model that centered around shoving its head in the sand where politics was concerned. When the NFL allowed their rules and their players to get political, the business violated its DNA and it was only ever going downhill from there.

Since, Americans have gotten more involved. Some have gone more Left, some more Right, but more good people people are getting involved. The problem now is anger.

The nation is run by demagoguery and populist fads. No one understands critical thinking. Every idea is presumed to be part of an agenda, even at the coffee shop. Anti-Trumpists are feeling what Trumpists have felt for a long time: They aren't getting what they want. After a few years, they might realize how much they have in common with the "other guy". Many do already.

In the short run, America will see more and more hissy fits. But, eventually, they will talk to each other, see the results of policy and the consequences of election, and get their facts sorted out.

Strange as it sounds, American politics owes a great deal of gratitude to the NFL after all.

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Home & Garden

The Apostolic Church

I believe that there is something wonderful happening in the Church right now; something that many of us have foreseen and prayed for. Many churches across our nation and world are already operating in this new wineskin, but many are still stuck in the old wineskin and having trouble understanding what’s happening.
Many have left the organized church, knowing that there is something wrong, and many have stayed in fear, afraid to come out from under this ‘covering. ‘
In a past blog, I shared a vision the Lord gave me about a year and a half ago. In this vision, we walked into a church that is in our community. I recognized the church. In my vision, the foyer was filled with joyful people, talking and fellowshipping. As we turned toward the sanctuary, we saw the door to the sanctuary was closed and there was a sign posted on the door that read, “Prayer and worship – Enter with reverence.”
As I walked into the sanctuary in this vision, I saw that all the people were sitting in a circle facing each other. There was a small group of musicians in the back corner, but everyone else sat in this layered circle. The room did not have a ‘front’ or a platform. There was a low murmur of prayer and worship going on. No one person was leading.
As I watched, someone got a Word from the Lord and gave a direction, and then everyone acted on it. There was prayer for a sick person and this person was healed. Then someone began to sing a song of worship and everyone followed. The musicians began to play and back up everyone singing. This continued the entire time as I watched.  The people flowed in and out of worship, in and out of prayer, each one sharing a Word and a revelation.
1 Corinthians 14:26  says, “…What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification…” 
I was very encouraged in the Lord after seeing this vision and felt the Lord was leading our family to attend this church. We had attended this church a couple of years earlier and when we returned, found out that the church was without a pastor. I was very interested, in view of what I had heard from the Lord, to see what was happening.
Almost a decade ago, I went through a very profound season with the Lord where He taught me that I was hearing Him. I always knew I heard the Lord, but in this season, He seemed to want to make sure that I really knew this, as He was preparing to tell me some things that would undo a lot of what I’d been taught in the church.
One of the things the Lord spoke to me in this season was that the Church had misunderstood the role of the gift of pastor.
Please hear my heart when I say this in no way makes small this wonderful and much needed gift in the Body, but as the Lord began to show me, we are not understanding the role this gift was intended to fill in the Church.
The word ‘pastor’ appears only one time in scripture in Ephesians 4:11 and is the fourth gift listed in the ‘five-fold ministry gifts.’  Some have taught that the gifts are listed in order of authority – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
How then have we put so much weight on this one gift?
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 it says, “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” It goes on to talk about how each gift and part of the body is necessary to fulfill God’s purposes in the church.
When we look at the New Testament church, it seems that it was completely different than the church we see today. People met in their homes and as I understand it, would occasionally make arrangements for large groups to meet. It would have been much as I saw in this vision – people sitting in a room, letting the Holy Spirit lead, no one person leading.
As the Lord continued to speak to me in this season about a decade ago, He led me to read the book, “Pagan Christianity.” This is an eye-opening book about how we got from the ‘church of Acts’ to the church today. The shocking thing is that many of the influences that led to these changes were pagan. Including the role of pastor. It follows the pagan role of the priest.
The term ‘laity’ and ‘leadership’ is nowhere in the Bible in the way that we use it today. This again, has come from a pagan influence. The order of service, the platform or altar, the praise and worship leaders, the priestly garments, all come from pagan influence.
The rulers at the time were trying to make Christianity more appealing to the pagans and mixed in these things to make them more comfortable. This is how the birth of Christ got added on to the pagan holiday ‘Winter Solstice’ and resulted in Christmas. The Christmas tree, door wreaths, etc. are all from pagan religion.
Another wonderful book that has encouraged me in this last season and given me greater understanding is, “The Apostolic Church Arising.” by Chuck Pierce and Robert Heidler. I love this book because it has greatly confirmed what I felt the Lord putting in my heart.
Please hear what I’m saying. I’m saying the Lord gave me a vision and has been speaking to my heart and has confirmed the things He has told me through others. This follows the scriptural format of a prophet’s word being confirmed by two or three others. I’ve also shared what I felt with other prophets, who have also confirmed that they are hearing this from the Lord.
I understand that what I’m saying strongly contradicts a teaching in the current church.  This doctrinal teaching states that the Pastor is the ‘one’ to get the vision for the church and anyone who feels differently is in rebellion to authority. My heart is never to dishonor another. My heart is to pray for unity in the Body but to obey the Holy Spirit without fear of man.
The Body of Christ needs every member. The role of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is to equip each member for ministry. Each gift is needed and has a function to accomplish what God is doing on the earth. In the pastor led church, this doesn’t happen.
In the apostolic church, the apostle has a strong administrative gift to coordinate the gift of others. The prophets, as well as others, receive direction from the Lord for the people. The prophet sees the ‘wilderness’ and speaks into it through prophecy and prayer, digging up the hard ground. The evangelist, as well as everyone, brings in new believers. Signs and wonders follow us as we operate in evangelism. The pastors (plural) shepherd the people and visit and pray for the sick and hurting. They counsel and disciple. The teachers, as well as others, share the truth of God’s Word.   Everyone is becoming equipped and moves in the gifts.
Everyone can also operate in these gifts -organizing, praying, prophesying, leading others to Christ, laying hands on the sick and healing them – everyone.
There is no platform. There are no worship leaders. As the Lord leads, we begin to get a hymn and a song. Everyone is free to hear from the Lord and learns how to. Everyone recognizes their importance to the Body and carries a responsibility to be obedient to the move of the Holy Spirit.
Under this old wineskin, the pastor has carried a heavy burden and we have seen the results of this time and time again. Pastors have become ‘burned out’ because they are carrying a load that they were never meant to carry. They neglect their families as they counsel others. They are spending an unreasonable amount of hours trying to meet the needs of the church. It leaves very little time for them to have a healthy relationship with the Lord. They become performance oriented. It's not easy being a one-man band.
Matthew 23:8 says, "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is Christ." How then have we come to call these leaders "Pastor" and have been made to feel we are disrespectful if we don't address them in this way?
Some have thought this role of pastor is a ‘Moses’ anointing but let’s look at scripture. In Jeremiah, 31:31, the Lord talks about the new covenant that is coming.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the Lord.  "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them and on their hearts I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Acts 2:17 quotes the prophet Joel, saying,
"'And it shall be in the last days,' God says,
'That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
 Even on my bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy."
These scripture that talk about what God is doing says that multiple people, men and women, will see visions and dream dreams. The everyone will hear the voice of the Lord.  It makes it clear that God values each member of the Body and they have a part to fill.
The church was never intended to be a place where you wore your best clothes and sat quietly week after week, being told what to think.  I am not saying that pastors don’t hear from God – they absolutely do – just as everyone in the Body hears.  But we need everyone to hear. We need the balance and perspective and wisdom of the Body.
The Lord gave me another vision more than a decade ago. I saw a pile of rubble; a building made of stone that had fallen to the ground.  The Lord spoke to me and said He was tearing down man’s church and in its place, He would build His Church. I believe that God is doing that right now.
It’s a hard transition for many and the enemy is taking this teaching of always being submitted to a pastor and using it to create fear. The Lord has compassion on these sheep but He is also strongly convicting them to break this old wineskin to obey the Holy Spirit.  There has been a shaking, a sifting and a sorting.
When the sorting is over, I want to be found obeying the Lord and operating in this 'new' wineskin. (It's really an old wineskin.)  I want to be gently bold, sharing what I hear the Holy Spirit saying, as He desires to break religious mindsets and set us free to operate in all that God has for us.
I have had several wonderful pastors over the years. They are gifted men of God, committed to serving God and people. I am not expressing any disapproval of these wonderful people of God. They were obeying the Holy Spirit in the way they felt God was leading. They have blessed my life in more ways than I can count and I thank God for their loving service.
But I believe with all my heart that the Lord in this season is bringing new revelation of His Word and His purposes. He is setting us free from deceptions and restrictions that have stopped the flow of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, when the Church was operating in this order, thousands were coming to Christ daily. And that is His purpose – that the Holy Spirit would move through each one of us with love, and power, and the gifts of the Spirit, winning this world for Christ.

love and blessings~

PS- I haven't blogged in soooo long and have lots of catching up to do!

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Home & Garden

The Apostolic Church

I believe that there is something wonderful happening in the Church right now; something that many of us have foreseen and prayed for. Many churches across our nation and world are already operating in this new wineskin, but many are still stuck in the old wineskin and having trouble understanding what’s happening.
Many have left the organized church, knowing that there is something wrong, and many have stayed in fear, afraid to come out from under this ‘covering. ‘
In a past blog, I shared a vision the Lord gave me about a year and a half ago. In this vision, we walked into a church that is in our community. I recognized the church. In my vision, the foyer was filled with joyful people, talking and fellowshipping. As we turned toward the sanctuary, we saw the door to the sanctuary was closed and there was a sign posted on the door that read, “Prayer and worship – Enter with reverence.”
As I walked into the sanctuary in this vision, I saw that all the people were sitting in a circle facing each other. There was a small group of musicians in the back corner, but everyone else sat in this layered circle. The room did not have a ‘front’ or a platform. There was a low murmur of prayer and worship going on. No one person was leading.
As I watched, someone got a Word from the Lord and gave a direction, and then everyone acted on it. There was prayer for a sick person and this person was healed. Then someone began to sing a song of worship and everyone followed. The musicians began to play and back up everyone singing. This continued the entire time as I watched.  The people flowed in and out of worship, in and out of prayer, each one sharing a Word and a revelation.
1 Corinthians 14:26  says, “…What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification…” 
I was very encouraged in the Lord after seeing this vision and felt the Lord was leading our family to attend this church. We had attended this church a couple of years earlier and when we returned, found out that the church was without a pastor. I was very interested, in view of what I had heard from the Lord, to see what was happening.
Almost a decade ago, I went through a very profound season with the Lord where He taught me that I was hearing Him. I always knew I heard the Lord, but in this season, He seemed to want to make sure that I really knew this, as He was preparing to tell me some things that would undo a lot of what I’d been taught in the church.
One of the things the Lord spoke to me in this season was that the Church had misunderstood the role of the gift of pastor.
Please hear my heart when I say this in no way makes small this wonderful and much needed gift in the Body, but as the Lord began to show me, we are not understanding the role this gift was intended to fill in the Church.
The word ‘pastor’ appears only one time in scripture in Ephesians 4:11 and is the fourth gift listed in the ‘five-fold ministry gifts.’  Some have taught that the gifts are listed in order of authority – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
How then have we put so much weight on this one gift?
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 it says, “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” It goes on to talk about how each gift and part of the body is necessary to fulfill God’s purposes in the church.
When we look at the New Testament church, it seems that it was completely different than the church we see today. People met in their homes and as I understand it, would occasionally make arrangements for large groups to meet. It would have been much as I saw in this vision – people sitting in a room, letting the Holy Spirit lead, no one person leading.
As the Lord continued to speak to me in this season about a decade ago, He led me to read the book, “Pagan Christianity.” This is an eye-opening book about how we got from the ‘church of Acts’ to the church today. The shocking thing is that many of the influences that led to these changes were pagan. Including the role of pastor. It follows the pagan role of the priest.
The term ‘laity’ and ‘leadership’ is nowhere in the Bible in the way that we use it today. This again, has come from a pagan influence. The order of service, the platform or altar, the praise and worship leaders, the priestly garments, all come from pagan influence.
The rulers at the time were trying to make Christianity more appealing to the pagans and mixed in these things to make them more comfortable. This is how the birth of Christ got added on to the pagan holiday ‘Winter Solstice’ and resulted in Christmas. The Christmas tree, door wreaths, etc. are all from pagan religion.
Another wonderful book that has encouraged me in this last season and given me greater understanding is, “The Apostolic Church Arising.” by Chuck Pierce and Robert Heidler. I love this book because it has greatly confirmed what I felt the Lord putting in my heart.
Please hear what I’m saying. I’m saying the Lord gave me a vision and has been speaking to my heart and has confirmed the things He has told me through others. This follows the scriptural format of a prophet’s word being confirmed by two or three others. I’ve also shared what I felt with other prophets, who have also confirmed that they are hearing this from the Lord.
I understand that what I’m saying strongly contradicts a teaching in the current church.  This doctrinal teaching states that the Pastor is the ‘one’ to get the vision for the church and anyone who feels differently is in rebellion to authority. My heart is never to dishonor another. My heart is to pray for unity in the Body but to obey the Holy Spirit without fear of man.
The Body of Christ needs every member. The role of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is to equip each member for ministry. Each gift is needed and has a function to accomplish what God is doing on the earth. In the pastor led church, this doesn’t happen.
In the apostolic church, the apostle has a strong administrative gift to coordinate the gift of others. The prophets, as well as others, receive direction from the Lord for the people. The prophet sees the ‘wilderness’ and speaks into it through prophecy and prayer, digging up the hard ground. The evangelist, as well as everyone, brings in new believers. Signs and wonders follow us as we operate in evangelism. The pastors (plural) shepherd the people and visit and pray for the sick and hurting. They counsel and disciple. The teachers, as well as others, share the truth of God’s Word.   Everyone is becoming equipped and moves in the gifts.
Everyone can also operate in these gifts -organizing, praying, prophesying, leading others to Christ, laying hands on the sick and healing them – everyone.
There is no platform. There are no worship leaders. As the Lord leads, we begin to get a hymn and a song. Everyone is free to hear from the Lord and learns how to. Everyone recognizes their importance to the Body and carries a responsibility to be obedient to the move of the Holy Spirit.
Under this old wineskin, the pastor has carried a heavy burden and we have seen the results of this time and time again. Pastors have become ‘burned out’ because they are carrying a load that they were never meant to carry. They neglect their families as they counsel others. They are spending an unreasonable amount of hours trying to meet the needs of the church. It leaves very little time for them to have a healthy relationship with the Lord. They become performance oriented. It's not easy being a one-man band.
Matthew 23:8 says, "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is Christ." How then have we come to call these leaders "Pastor" and have been made to feel we are disrespectful if we don't address them in this way?
Some have thought this role of pastor is a ‘Moses’ anointing but let’s look at scripture. In Jeremiah, 31:31, the Lord talks about the new covenant that is coming.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the Lord.  "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them and on their hearts I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Acts 2:17 quotes the prophet Joel, saying,
"'And it shall be in the last days,' God says,
'That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
 Even on my bondslaves, both men and women,
I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy."
These scripture that talk about what God is doing says that multiple people, men and women, will see visions and dream dreams. The everyone will hear the voice of the Lord.  It makes it clear that God values each member of the Body and they have a part to fill.
The church was never intended to be a place where you wore your best clothes and sat quietly week after week, being told what to think.  I am not saying that pastors don’t hear from God – they absolutely do – just as everyone in the Body hears.  But we need everyone to hear. We need the balance and perspective and wisdom of the Body.
The Lord gave me another vision more than a decade ago. I saw a pile of rubble; a building made of stone that had fallen to the ground.  The Lord spoke to me and said He was tearing down man’s church and in its place, He would build His Church. I believe that God is doing that right now.
It’s a hard transition for many and the enemy is taking this teaching of always being submitted to a pastor and using it to create fear. The Lord has compassion on these sheep but He is also strongly convicting them to break this old wineskin to obey the Holy Spirit.  There has been a shaking, a sifting and a sorting.
When the sorting is over, I want to be found obeying the Lord and operating in this 'new' wineskin. (It's really an old wineskin.)  I want to be gently bold, sharing what I hear the Holy Spirit saying, as He desires to break religious mindsets and set us free to operate in all that God has for us.
I have had several wonderful pastors over the years. They are gifted men of God, committed to serving God and people. I am not expressing any disapproval of these wonderful people of God. They were obeying the Holy Spirit in the way they felt God was leading. They have blessed my life in more ways than I can count and I thank God for their loving service.
But I believe with all my heart that the Lord in this season is bringing new revelation of His Word and His purposes. He is setting us free from deceptions and restrictions that have stopped the flow of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, when the Church was operating in this order, thousands were coming to Christ daily. And that is His purpose – that the Holy Spirit would move through each one of us with love, and power, and the gifts of the Spirit, winning this world for Christ.

love and blessings~

PS- I haven't blogged in soooo long and have lots of catching up to do!

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Columns

Keep Going

Perseverance, endurance, persistence, and just not giving up are more than wheel-spinning "motivationals". There are specific reasons why some things only happen if we keep going, burning calories to name one.

Sexy muscle tone, athletic reflexes, instinctive self-defense, and merely good posture are acquired through repetition. The same is true of music, dance, art, programming, carving wood, pottery, knitting, cooking, and even friendship, leadership, and, most importantly of all, servanthood. Almost anything you are trying to get done includes "continue" somewhere in the instructions.

They say, "Time heals many wounds." And, that's true as long as your body keeps going.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 9, 2017

Taiwan publicized reports that China was pushing for its dream of reunification through many venues and in many nations. The fact that China works so diligently through aggressive diplomacy further indicates that the "military option" being less than preferable with North Korea carries some continuity with China's policy concerning Taiwan. That's not to say it is beyond Beijing to decide to strike Taiwan, only that it would demonstrate that China had exhausted other methods it preferred in its determination.

Military deescalation is not out of character with China. Chinese troops were friendly with the defense minister from India in her recent visit to the disputed area. Late August, China halted building the road that India objected to in a way that saved face for China, but also appeased India for the time. This doesn't indicate any change of heart nor indicate that China is not relentless, but the Asian culture of "preferring smoothness" in disputes seems to be holding true with non-volatile land on which China hopes to fly its flag.

Trump's resolve and openness, however, are a contrast to China's. In his "only one thing will work" comment this week, the US president is not afraid to use a military option to bring peace to a region if that region is arming up and dangerous. If the US wins in a conflict with North Korea, the US flag would not fly as the authority on that soil.

China is preparing for a routine leadership review. Much of the top brass under Xi Jinping will rotate out, but he himself is not set to retire anytime soon. While there may be some changes in temperature, there will be no change in the speed or direction China has been taking.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, October 9, 2017

One way to reconcile Americans to agree on taxes could be in the so-called "fourth tier". States, counties, and cities could be allowed to set that rate themselves, keeping half of their rate, but it still be taxed as a federal tax. That could also solve "no deduction for state and local taxes paid". We'll see.

Trump has new immigration proposals that could be enough to solve problems for the "Dreamers". But, Washington likes its gridlock. It just wouldn't be the same without telling we the people that we have to hate each other because of who is in office.

Both guns and gun laws can become a false sense of security. The big "takeaway" from the Las Vegas Rampage is how Americans are not only irritated with the news media, but are losing respect for celebrities "shooting" their mouths off only because they have an audience. Sometimes, "it" happens. It's easy to exploit any tragedy to justify one's own ideals. Las Vegas victims deserve better than to become politicized squabble fodder. Respect demands that those discussions offer freak disasters a moment of silence before resuming.

The NFL is getting back to its own rulebook. That may solve the controversy. Pence didn't walk out without prior warning or plans. If players kneel to the flag that defines them as "not British", they can't object to their Vice President leaving their game.

The genuineness and individual integrity of the players should not be questioned. They just don't know that disrespect of the flag isn't activism; it's a request that a different government to take over. But, when government-funded schools don't teach that, players can't be expected to know. Perhaps they could hold a fist over their heart to indicate they are "heartbroken" over the country they love.

There is also the issue of "raising awareness". Martin Luther King, Jr. brought much progress by "making waves" when the Evangelical community objected to just that. Perhaps this is the only way players feel they have at their disposal to raise awareness about ongoing grievances. That  is understandable. Awareness has, indeed, been raised. Now, NFL rules—that players stand, hold their helmet in their left hands, and refrain from talking—will be enforced even among dissenters. The country can get back to important discussions and the NFL can start playing football, hopefully.

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Columns

Keep it Simple

Don't overreach. Don't overdo it.

It's easy to think that "high standards" always help. High standards can help, but not if they become entry-level requirements.

Allow people to grow. Allow yourself to grow. Allow "on ramps" everywhere in your life.

High standards are not about expecting every rookie to start out as a seasoned pro. We don't only want to "set" high standards; we want to reach them.

Search for potential. Allow for the best. Teach and encourage even the worst. When people excel, get out of the way. Above all, look for passion. Anyone can learn anything when fascinated.

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Symphony

Cadence of Conflict: Asia, October 2, 2017

Things are stepping-up in Korea. The US is gearing up for a "military option". The question is how China will respond. China's approach with Taiwan is a contrast of priorities or a strong indication about China's approach with North Korea. If China won't take harsh action to stop a nuclear North Korea, then logically China should not be painted as a "hostile villain" over TAO (Taiwan Affairs Office) statements concerning Taiwan.

China has a reputation to defend, which includes normal political posturing. If China were to ignore a nuclear North Korea, but attack Taiwan during a time of no military conflict, that would seem to the world as "inconsistent". The Taiwan situation hit many headlines this week.

Taiwan's new Premier William Lai commented this week about "status quo". He shared his personal opinion at an early stage in his tenure, more or less observing that China and Taiwan behave as if they are already sovereign and that the main two political parties in Taiwan hold a policy that Taiwan has a government with a constitution that considers itself sovereign. Lai's comments focused on observing "status quo", added that, personally, he is "pro-independence", and that he will remain in-step with Taiwan's President Tsai, regardless of his own career and personal views.

Lai admitted that he should have kept his personal views to himself, but indicated that such transparency of his personal view is part of an ingenuous disclosure when legislators are inquiring about him as a recently approved for his public office. Needless to say, China was not pleased. Beijing responded with some simple public statements.

How serious China is about any intent to start a war to reclaim Taiwan? The first sober question would be about preparatory military exit strategy. Arguably, the US has more at stake in Taiwan than in North Korea.

Taiwan has more than a few F-16s, Apache helicopters, and other military and naval assets—all supplied by the US. If China's government were to exert power over Taiwan, that would change status quo—something Premier William Lai says would require a vote in Taiwan. But, the question few people ask is what to do with all those F-16s, helicopters, and naval assets.

If China truly intended to "go to the mattresses" to change status quo with Taiwan, at the very top of its statement would be a plan to first send all of that military equipment back to the United States, to gut technology from all military installations in Taiwan, and to provide to move nearly all adult men in Taiwan to any country other than China. Adult men in Taiwan serve "compulsory" military time in a military that used US military tech. That means nearly half of Taiwan's entire adult population would be a security threat if governed by a regime seated in Beijing.

Beijing has presented no such "exit strategy" for US military assets in Taiwan. That does not mean Beijing is not deserving of "respect"—the foremost question on many minds in Beijing. It simply raises questions about how much the "Taiwan question" has been thought through.

Even with all that is happening in North Korea, more security eyes should be turned to how China will deal with Taiwan once North Korea stops making headlines—or more importantly, when North Korea makes far more headlines than it already does.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, October 2, 2017

Eagles are attacking drones in Australia. So far, North American eagles don't seem interested... so far.

Several ratings are up: presidential polls, the Dow Jones, Hannity at 9 P.M., and an opposition senator in Alabama. NFL ratings, however, seem to be in severe decline. According to recent stats, the league's popularity fell by about half in the general public, but by more than half among Trump supporters.

The "kneeling players" don't seem to understand what they have gotten themselves into. They are not "bad" people. NFL dissidents do not generally begrudge the kneeling players as much as they begrudge the league. The nation is lucky that the US does not have a current formal declaration of war, lest protesting the US on foreign soil, namely Britain, be a "treasonous" offense. The players probably do not know that they are protesting the entire nation by not standing during a national anthem, nor about the legal meaning of protesting a nation's flag while in another nation.

Walter Williams says that the problem goes back to education. While he focuses on Blacks having been, more or less, "nannied" too much, education around the country has declined. Racism should be discussed. Most Whites agree. Whether this person or that person said, "Hands up, don't shoot," is a technical question of fact, not any view of the importance of the ongoing problem of racism. But, the American public has not been educated to know the difference. For more and more Americans, to deny "hands up don't shoot" in a specific situation means to deny that there is any issue of racism at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But, many people just don't know the difference. That is a failure in public education.

The NFL players should be educated about the meaning of their actions. They are genuinely asking for something good. Doing it in the wrong way was not their intent, but it was the wrong way. The responsibility belongs to the NFL. But, the league has allowed itself to get too involved in politics and not done enough to prevent controversy driven by confusion, the kneeling players being only the latest in a long slew of grievances with their viewer base.

There is opportunity for deep change in America, especially with the NFL. The league could get back to football and stop playing "politics". The players could be given a microphone and offered an alternate way to express their legitimate concerns. The country could clarify the truth about progress and "adaptive infections" where racism is concerned. Maybe the crisis in the NFL will initiate much needed conversation in America about many things, including thankfulness for a nation where those discussions can be held honestly. Whether the league chooses to save itself, however, is another question altogether.

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Prophecy

Leaving the Pain Behind

Kris Vallotton

When I was at the Heaven Come Conference in LA this past weekend I felt like God spoke to me about some very specific things, including the subject of pain. There’s something profoundly available in this season for people to walk out of pain and I believe there’s an anointing available to change your season. Even though I’ve taught on pain before (whether that be depression, anxiety, physical sickness, heartache etc.), I actually feel like this is more than a teaching today—it’s a prophetic declaration. We’re in the 500th year of the reformation when the protestant movement was birthed. I felt like God said that we are entering Reformation 2.0 and that He’s going to do some crazy things in this season. So, all that to say, get your hopes up!

LEAVING YOUR PAIN BEHIND

I want us to take a look at a story in Scripture that’s a beautiful representation of what it’s like to step away from pain. John 5:2-8 (emphasis added):

“Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 

Think about it. This man was at the healing pool for 38 years. He had watched others get healed while he was still waiting on his miracle for 38 years! Can you imagine the discouragement he was living in? I’m surprised he hadn’t given up yet! Then Jesus asked him a question. I think this is a question we all need to ask ourselves—do we want to get well? Some people go to the doctor or the healing rooms and never get well because they come with hopelessness and the expectation that they will leave that place sick. This is because they’ve learned how to live and cope with the pain. Many people come to the of pool promise but hopelessness reduces them to the pallet of pain. However, Jesus wants to take your pallet of pain and transform it into pulpit of purpose! Today is the day your pain is supposed to go, and I want to encourage you to pick up your pallet and walk! 

HEALING IS BETTER THAN NUMBNESS

Many people reduce their life to accommodate their pain instead of deal with it. The truth is that we’ve all experienced pain in life. An adage I live by is that you can’t always help what happens to you but you can always help what happens in you. I’ve been with people who are in tremendous pain and don’t feel the emotion of it anymore because they’ve reduced their life to accommodate it. They’ve numbed themselves. When we numb the pain we can’t figure out the source, so we try to fix the symptoms but our lives just get worse and worse. I encourage you to step into the pain because God wants to heal you, not numb you.4 things you should know about pain:

1. Pain is rarely the problem; it is almost always the symptom. Give yourself permission to dig deep and find the root of what’s going on.
2. Pain will lead you to the source of your problem. It’s actually a gift and a lead to follow.
3. The level of your pain does not always determine the depth of your problem. For example, a sliver in your finger can feel like you need to chop off your hand because the pain is so bad!
4.Ignoring pain or being afraid of pain often leads to bigger problems.

A CULTURE OF WHOLENESS

When you’re walking out of pain it’s important to create a culture of wholeness around you. Don’t listen to sad music or watch sad movies when you are processing through your pain. Don’t sing songs to your pain, but rather sing songs to your victory! Don’t minister to your pain or make it comfortable! Don’t try to live with it, rather make sure you’re working through it and getting it out. The Bible says we WALK through the valley, so don’t stop and camp out there. So how do you do this?

Recently I asked pastor Bill how his weekend was and he told me he had a great weekend and spent a day listening and watching to the prophecies that were given to him and Beni over the years. I was like, “Uh… I dug a ditch this weekend!” Haha. I just want to say that Bill has developed a culture of testimony and prophecy around himself, so that his weakness became his strength. He has fed his soul and spirit with God’s truth, with testimonies of what God has done in his life and in other people’s lives, and the prophecies that fill him with the hope of what’s to come. He has truly strengthened himself in the Lord. Over the years he refused to be a depressed man and rather created a culture of prophecy and testimony around him. We, myself and I’m sure many of you, now get to feed off of that. What I want to propose to you today is that you can do the same thing! You can feed off of the testimonies of breakthrough you’ve heard and the prophecies spoken over you! You can create a culture that others get to feed off of. But you have to leave pain so that you can get up and walk in breakthrough.

DO IT AGAIN

I feel that we are in a kairos moment for stepping out of pain, which reminds me of a passage in John 21. When Jesus rose from the dead he went to find the disciples in a boat. They had been fishing all night and Jesus yelled out to them from the shore to ask if they’d caught anything. They replied to say no, and that they’d been fishing all night. Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Now let’s just think for a second. You’d think that if they were fishing all night that they’d tried their net on both sides of the boat! But Jesus asked them to do it one more time. My point is that sometimes it doesn’t take a new action, but rather a renewed action to see breakthrough. Sometimes Jesus asks you to do the thing you’ve been doing just one more time. I feel like this is a “try it again” day—whether that means going to the doctor one more time, going to the healing rooms one more time, calling your son or daughter that you haven’t heard from in years one more time…Today is the day that you can walk out of pain. The Lord is saying “take up the pallet of promise and move on.”

AFFECTED RATHER THAN OFFENDED

Some people may be offended at this blog. It’s not always easy to hear “get up and walk” when we’ve been waiting for our breakthrough. Think about the man at the pool of Bethesda… when Jesus told him to pick up his pallet and walk he could’ve jumped into a myriad of reasons for why he was sick and honestly taken offense. But when God is giving us the command to get up and move on, we have to purpose to not be offended! He’s not saying it with a calloused heart; He’s saying it with profound authority!

There’s something powerful about refusing to get offended when the Lord says to be strong and courageous while you’re looking fear and discouragement in the face. Receive the grace that comes with the word even if it feels harsh, and determine to be affected by His command instead of offended by it.

TODAY WE DECLARE BREAKTHROUGH!

Today, regardless of why you’re in a hard season, I want to encourage you to declare this out loud over youself. The power of life and death is in the tongue so let’s speak life over ourselves! Ready? Here we go: “I am leaving my pain behind. This is my day of deliverance. This day, the Lord will deliver me from the things that have plagued me and my family for generations. This is the day that the Lord decreed that I would walk out of a place of misery in every area of my life. Today’s breakthrough will affect and infect my children and my grandchildren. We will create a legacy of breakthrough. Hope and peace will be named among the attributes of my family lineage. Our family will create a culture of wholeness. What feeds us and walks us out of pain today will become our strength, and thousands of people will come to our house to get out of pain and find promise!”

Like I said before I’ve taught on walking out of pain a few times and I want to give you my teaching notes today. Simply click here to check them out. They include steps for walking out of pain that I hope will help you! I’d also love to hear from you in the comments! Let me know your thoughts and testimonies below.


September 27, 2017, Kris Vallotton
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Prophecy

Leaving the Pain Behind

Kris Vallotton

When I was at the Heaven Come Conference in LA this past weekend I felt like God spoke to me about some very specific things, including the subject of pain. There’s something profoundly available in this season for people to walk out of pain and I believe there’s an anointing available to change your season. Even though I’ve taught on pain before (whether that be depression, anxiety, physical sickness, heartache etc.), I actually feel like this is more than a teaching today—it’s a prophetic declaration. We’re in the 500th year of the reformation when the protestant movement was birthed. I felt like God said that we are entering Reformation 2.0 and that He’s going to do some crazy things in this season. So, all that to say, get your hopes up!

LEAVING YOUR PAIN BEHIND

I want us to take a look at a story in Scripture that’s a beautiful representation of what it’s like to step away from pain. John 5:2-8 (emphasis added):

“Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus *said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 

Think about it. This man was at the healing pool for 38 years. He had watched others get healed while he was still waiting on his miracle for 38 years! Can you imagine the discouragement he was living in? I’m surprised he hadn’t given up yet! Then Jesus asked him a question. I think this is a question we all need to ask ourselves—do we want to get well? Some people go to the doctor or the healing rooms and never get well because they come with hopelessness and the expectation that they will leave that place sick. This is because they’ve learned how to live and cope with the pain. Many people come to the of pool promise but hopelessness reduces them to the pallet of pain. However, Jesus wants to take your pallet of pain and transform it into pulpit of purpose! Today is the day your pain is supposed to go, and I want to encourage you to pick up your pallet and walk! 

HEALING IS BETTER THAN NUMBNESS

Many people reduce their life to accommodate their pain instead of deal with it. The truth is that we’ve all experienced pain in life. An adage I live by is that you can’t always help what happens to you but you can always help what happens in you. I’ve been with people who are in tremendous pain and don’t feel the emotion of it anymore because they’ve reduced their life to accommodate it. They’ve numbed themselves. When we numb the pain we can’t figure out the source, so we try to fix the symptoms but our lives just get worse and worse. I encourage you to step into the pain because God wants to heal you, not numb you.4 things you should know about pain:

1. Pain is rarely the problem; it is almost always the symptom. Give yourself permission to dig deep and find the root of what’s going on.
2. Pain will lead you to the source of your problem. It’s actually a gift and a lead to follow.
3. The level of your pain does not always determine the depth of your problem. For example, a sliver in your finger can feel like you need to chop off your hand because the pain is so bad!
4.Ignoring pain or being afraid of pain often leads to bigger problems.

A CULTURE OF WHOLENESS

When you’re walking out of pain it’s important to create a culture of wholeness around you. Don’t listen to sad music or watch sad movies when you are processing through your pain. Don’t sing songs to your pain, but rather sing songs to your victory! Don’t minister to your pain or make it comfortable! Don’t try to live with it, rather make sure you’re working through it and getting it out. The Bible says we WALK through the valley, so don’t stop and camp out there. So how do you do this?

Recently I asked pastor Bill how his weekend was and he told me he had a great weekend and spent a day listening and watching to the prophecies that were given to him and Beni over the years. I was like, “Uh… I dug a ditch this weekend!” Haha. I just want to say that Bill has developed a culture of testimony and prophecy around himself, so that his weakness became his strength. He has fed his soul and spirit with God’s truth, with testimonies of what God has done in his life and in other people’s lives, and the prophecies that fill him with the hope of what’s to come. He has truly strengthened himself in the Lord. Over the years he refused to be a depressed man and rather created a culture of prophecy and testimony around him. We, myself and I’m sure many of you, now get to feed off of that. What I want to propose to you today is that you can do the same thing! You can feed off of the testimonies of breakthrough you’ve heard and the prophecies spoken over you! You can create a culture that others get to feed off of. But you have to leave pain so that you can get up and walk in breakthrough.

DO IT AGAIN

I feel that we are in a kairos moment for stepping out of pain, which reminds me of a passage in John 21. When Jesus rose from the dead he went to find the disciples in a boat. They had been fishing all night and Jesus yelled out to them from the shore to ask if they’d caught anything. They replied to say no, and that they’d been fishing all night. Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. Now let’s just think for a second. You’d think that if they were fishing all night that they’d tried their net on both sides of the boat! But Jesus asked them to do it one more time. My point is that sometimes it doesn’t take a new action, but rather a renewed action to see breakthrough. Sometimes Jesus asks you to do the thing you’ve been doing just one more time. I feel like this is a “try it again” day—whether that means going to the doctor one more time, going to the healing rooms one more time, calling your son or daughter that you haven’t heard from in years one more time…Today is the day that you can walk out of pain. The Lord is saying “take up the pallet of promise and move on.”

AFFECTED RATHER THAN OFFENDED

Some people may be offended at this blog. It’s not always easy to hear “get up and walk” when we’ve been waiting for our breakthrough. Think about the man at the pool of Bethesda… when Jesus told him to pick up his pallet and walk he could’ve jumped into a myriad of reasons for why he was sick and honestly taken offense. But when God is giving us the command to get up and move on, we have to purpose to not be offended! He’s not saying it with a calloused heart; He’s saying it with profound authority!

There’s something powerful about refusing to get offended when the Lord says to be strong and courageous while you’re looking fear and discouragement in the face. Receive the grace that comes with the word even if it feels harsh, and determine to be affected by His command instead of offended by it.

TODAY WE DECLARE BREAKTHROUGH!

Today, regardless of why you’re in a hard season, I want to encourage you to declare this out loud over youself. The power of life and death is in the tongue so let’s speak life over ourselves! Ready? Here we go: “I am leaving my pain behind. This is my day of deliverance. This day, the Lord will deliver me from the things that have plagued me and my family for generations. This is the day that the Lord decreed that I would walk out of a place of misery in every area of my life. Today’s breakthrough will affect and infect my children and my grandchildren. We will create a legacy of breakthrough. Hope and peace will be named among the attributes of my family lineage. Our family will create a culture of wholeness. What feeds us and walks us out of pain today will become our strength, and thousands of people will come to our house to get out of pain and find promise!”

Like I said before I’ve taught on walking out of pain a few times and I want to give you my teaching notes today. Simply click here to check them out. They include steps for walking out of pain that I hope will help you! I’d also love to hear from you in the comments! Let me know your thoughts and testimonies below.


September 27, 2017, Kris Vallotton
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Letters

Kindness Leads to Repentance

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus is describing some of the ways that his family is to be different than how the world does things. In the middle of that lecture, he drops this bomb: “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

There’s one command in this, and one reason for the command. Don’t be like those people because unlike their father, your Father knows what you need, even before you tell him.

I’d like to share a testimony, if I may.

I was helping someone with a legal issue. This someone important to me, someone who calls me “dad.” And the legal issue was pretty bad. It wasn’t that he had done anything illegal, but he’d gotten involved with a World Class Pain-In-The-Hindquarters. 

The World Class Pain was making his life miserable, threatening lawsuits, threatening huge expenses, and was completely flouting the law on the matter. He was Too Important To Be Bothered with things like that (he is a legitimate millionaire, for all the good it does him), and he does know powerful people who owe him favors.

So we’d talked together about the options open to us. At its most intense point, my spiritual son called me in terror and confusion about the latest round of threats, so I called the Millionaire Pain and explained things firmly to him. I think he’ll be able to use that ear again in a few days. I did not submit to his campaign of terror. I wasn’t rude, but I didn’t let him push me around.

But I pissed him off, so he jacked up the intimidation and threats, and neither my son nor I slept much for a couple of nights.

I wanted to ask for prayer, but I didn’t feel that freedom.

A day later, I realized that when I got in his face, I misquoted some facts to him, so I called him back, and (as expected) he sent my call to voicemail, so I left him a long message. I apologized for my errant facts, explained the situation from my son’s perspective, acknowledged what we understood of his own needs in the situation, and proposed a sit-down meeting where we could resolve the disagreement.

He ignored me, of course. His intimidation continued, but it did not escalate again.

Again, I wanted to post a prayer request, but I still didn’t feel the freedom.

One night it really got to me. I should have been asleep. Instead, I was ranting, my intestines were growling, and my sheets were soaked with sweat. I had acknowledged that we’d probably need to take the Pain to court, but as I rolled it around in my mind, I realized that we couldn’t lose the case. We had him cold! We had documentation of a couple of things that would make this an open and shut case! I didn’t want to go to court (nobody in their right mind does), but if we needed to, we would win.

And then I realized that The Pain wasn’t doing any of this to hurt my son or to hurt me, and he wasn’t doing this to win a court case. He just needed to stay in power in his interactions with other people. He needed to feel powerful, and this whole drama was how he met that need. I honestly began to feel sorry for him. That was actually confusing; he was the reason I was still awake at 3:00 in the morning!

And then Father reminded me of Romans 2:4b: “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” We wanted him to change his mind about the hell he was wreaking; we wanted him to repent. Here, God’s showing me the key to The Pain's repentance: my kindness. Nice.

So I prayed quite a bit; I prayed blessing on this man, on his business, on his real estate holdings. But wait, there's more!

I’d been studying angels in the Bible, recently. My new favorite book of the Bible talked about them: “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).

So I invited some angels to go visit him and minister the things of the Kingdom to him. We’re supposed to DO the stuff we’re learning, right? And I gave him a new name. No longer The Pain, now he was The Millionaire.

Suddenly, I was tired and I slept.

The next morning, the Millionaire surprised us all. He messaged my son with a remarkably reasonable response. He outlined some things he needed from us (reasonable ones!), and offered some concessions we hadn’t even asked for. Then he recused himself from the final negotiations and he invited us to work with his more reasonable partner. (What? Who IS this guy?)

I wonder if there’s a connection?

I shared the good news with Mrs P, and she admitted that she had been praying blessing on him as well (before she dropped off to a sound sleep several hours before I did!).

I never did ask others for prayer. Our amazing Father really does know what we need, even before we tell him. He’d been answering that prayer long before we got around to praying it.

Then I heard Holy Spirit whisper to me, “I’m serious. It’s kindness that brings repentance. Not power, not strength of will, not even being right. It’s kindness.”

It's kindness that leads to repentance. It really is. 

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