The Place and Outpouring of Prayer

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." -Ephesians 6:18-19 

"The fountain of prayer and all supplications is sourced in the limitless flow of the Holy Spirit who knows the "deep things of God" - 2 Corinthians 2:10. The Spirit reveals those deep and secret things hidden in the darkness, Daniel 2:22, dark not because some evil or horror dwells there, but dark due to the ignorance of many to its riches. 

Prayer sourced in the Spirit is true worship - John 4:23. It has been weaned from the obstructions of sight and the tantrums of the restless soul. It is prayer that rises above the opaque columnous clouds, above the cyclic rise and fall of the worldly fray, above the frivolous opining of men and far above the frenetic traffic of the "Prince of the Power of the Air". 

When we have entered into the Holiest of Holies, having passed through the outer court of the world and the flesh, passing through the veil by the Cross of Jesus Christ, we discover that meager ability of the soul is too incompetent to comprehend what awaits the believer at the Throne of Grace. Only the prayer whose path was made by our Hero, Jesus Christ the Forerunner, can bring us there. 

That Holiest Place is the altar where the atoning Blood has been applied. There is true freedom from the bonds of the corrupt nature of the flesh and the chainsof theself-consciousnessofthehumansoul. That Holiest Place is the sphere of the Spirit, where we hear the voice of the Word of God speaking to the deepest parts of us, seeing us, knowing us, and counseling us. 

The "Mystery of the Gospel" of which Paul spoke is not an esoteric mystery that cannot be known, it is this very thing - the mystery of knowing the depths of God: His Mind, His Plan, and His Grace. All these await the believer in the Word and in prayer. When we have been alone with Him in prayer and have opened our mouths in prayer, there in secret, we will observe that the Witness of God accompanies us as we preach the Gospel. Prayer sourced in the Spirit always guides us to the Gospel of Christ. Prayer's ultimate heartbeat is to bring the lost sinner into communion with God and his new creation in Christ. 

Prayer without the Gospel is not prayer. Prayer and preaching are married and undivorceable. One cannot be without the other without both ceasing to exist. For when we find ourselves in the midst of His Holiest, time will not tarry long before we hear "Who will go for us?" - Isaiah 6:1-8 

Prayer instills the mystery of a power in us that did not exist there before. It gives us hunger for holiness, missions, service, compassion, and the desire to serve. 

Let our knees be marked with the inscriptions of our floors, let our lips be filled with His Praise, let our souls be stilled in His presence, let our heart burn with the matters of the Lord, and let our minds mull the burdens of the Lord . Let us be those men and women that have the marks of our Savior, that we too may be known as "those that had been with Jesus." For God knows this dying world desperately needs it. 

"There is a place where thou canst touch the eyes Of blinded men to instant, perfect sight;
There is a place where thou canst say, “Arise”
To dying captives, bound in chains of night; There is a place where thou canst reach the store Of hoarded gold and free it for the Lord; 

There is a place–upon some distant shore–Where thou canst send the worker and the Word. Where is that secret place–dost thou ask, “Where?” O soul, it is the secret place of prayer!" ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Church Building & Growth from the Inside Out

Just returned from an awesome Pastor's Retreat with about 110 other GGWO pastors. We were challenged, encouraged, built up, and inspired by new ideas and vision. Here are some notes on a session I did on Church Building and Strategies:

Building from the Inside Out

Church Growth vs. “Making all men see” - Numbers are God’s part - we can’t make a tree grow faster. It’s the inherent life within the seed - in the tree. The Gospel Seed is the The Life in the Body = the Word. 1 Pt 1.23 & Jn 6.63. Our Passion is not growth but Paul’s passion: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ" - Eph 3.9. It’s the Word of Grace that caused growth in the first church and that made disciples - Acts 4.4. Is the Father’s desire to have a full house - Lk 14.23

“The stat that 80% of church plants that fail is bogus - The truth is that after 4 years 68% of church plants are alive and well - only 32% fail" (see Ed Stetzer‘s research on this). There is a revival of missions and church planting across the country and the world today.

Divine Creativity is Good - Jesus has the Key to the city where we minister = Function by principles and not patterns. Concepts & religious idealism kill - principles breathe creative life into programs and events.


Critical Internal Ingredients:
  1. Inner heart picture of what the church will be like in 2 years, in 5 years and beyond. 
  2. “Self Talk” - what is the content of what we are speaking in our heart as a pastor/planter? Eccl 5.2
  3. The team has to be led in vision and passion - 
    1. Daily schedule
    2. Word of God intensity
    3. “Team Talk” - what are we talking about on the team consistently? Complaining? Vision? 
  4. Pastor and team members personal discipline in the Word, prayer, and private life - personal growth as a leader. 
  5. Develop Timothy and men. “If we have one man we have the country”
  6. Be patient - Let people grow. We are not here to conform people to Christ’s image or a pattern of religious behavior - the Holy Spirit through the Word transforms people by the renewing of their minds. 
  7. Attack laziness - Col 4.17

7 Reasons Why Church Plants Fail - Generally church planters and church planting ministries all agree on these 7 reasons.
  1. Unqualified and or novice leaders
  2. Lack of understanding or respect of the local context
  3. Underfunded
  4. Rigid model
  5. Planting alone
  6. Resiliency in defeat - “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”  Mike Tyson
  7. Intangibles: Calling? Timing? Right Man? Sent? 

Church Growth Analysis: NG = VF x RR – BDL
Net Growth = Visitor Flow x Retention Rate minus Back-Door-Loss (Dr. Larry Sherman - Director of Church Planting - Great Lakes Conference ECC - 82 new churches this year)


Breaking Barriers: With two or three people, there is disciple-making. When you have 12, you have a unit of disciples. A group of 70 you have Body where you assess, train and at 70-100 like Jesus & the Moravians you send out.
  • Breaking the 100 barrier. Unless you are an extra-ordinary pastor / leader - the average pastor can only pastor 70-100 people affectively before he starts losing touch with some. Delegate. Trust. Listen. 
  • Breaking the 200 barrier. Disciple & raise up men. Many churches had to break down and hire a small staff to go beyond the 200 mark. 
  • Breaking the 500 & 1000 marks - The pastor takes on more of a preaching/teaching role only & with effective training and raising up men to lead teams, groups and departments. He focuses on his investment and discipleship of this handful of men that are leading. 

6 Team Positions That Must be Filled to Grow a Church plant startup: (this may be obvious but a common mistake is the planting pastor does it all himself with little to no delegation & trust)
1. Lead Pastor: You have to have a point leader - A builder of men. Jesus had disciples, Acts 20.4-5 Paul traveled with his men and you should mentor the team & others as well.
2. Worship Arts Director: Someone who can provide leadership and build teams at every level. Web, stage design, media and graphic design. 
3. Children’s Director: a MUST, a Youth Pastor can wait.
4. Connections/Assimilation Leader
Greeters, parking lots, cafe, etc. = connections, and follow-up from first-timer through them accepting Christ and becoming discipled is key in being baptized into the Body. Many times assimilation is shared with the Pastor and  the Assistant Pastor in this list or this is 2 separate roles.
5. Office Administration/Pastor Assistant
This is such a key role that again, your wife does NOT want to fill.
6. Prayer Warrior/Leader


#1 Problem all leaders struggle today is they are not encouraged. Not built up. Tell a man who he is and he’ll know what to do. Here are 12 reasons (among many) leaders lose their passion in their call and they stop growing - in return their ministry stops growing. Very often the people that a leader leads will not grow beyond the level the leader himself has grown - we need as leaders to be constantly challenged and constantly grow.
  1. Getting stuck in the mud of the details of the ministry & spinning wheels.
  2. Distraction of entertainment - movies, online entertainment, gaming, and excessive recreation
  3. Google searches replace turning of the pages of the Bible and books.
  4. Discouragement due to family pressures or marriage problems - find the right balance.
  5. Soulish relationships - relationships that cross the lines into the inappropriate
  6. Petty skirmishes - the tit-for-tat arguments because of insecurity
  7. Hidden idols - toleration for error that slips in and causes to stumble
  8. Personal sin. Sin steals joy, vision and concentration. Consecration produces concentration
  9. Pursuit of materialism - Succumbing to the temptation to possess and acquire.
  10. Knowledge replaces obedience - The stimulation of information replaces radical steps of faith
  11. Psychological thinking replaces Bible Conviction
  12. Departing from the basics of the vision & teaching to be more acceptable and less controversial.

Things that Have Brought new people for us in Philly/Hatboro. 

  1. Monthly events - Last month - Pig Roast - 200~ new visitors.
  2. Concerts and Raffle
  3. Bring a Friend Sunday - new visitors get a free gift bag
  4. Social Media - targeting groups of people with special interest / topics - Meetup.com & Craigslist
  5. Word of Mouth 
  6. “Walk-ins"
  7. Signs in front of the church
  8. Street evangelism & visitation 
  9. Sermon series & hitting hot topics people talk about on the street.
  10. “Surgical Outreaches” - Targeting community events and people hotspots with events such as coffee house outreach, etc.

Ponder the Path of your Feet

Sadly, all to often, I see the same disastrous pattern repeat itself - a pattern that is as old as man himself; people get settled & comfortable in a familiar rut that lulls them into a state of ease and passivity where a daily faith walk is no longer characteristic of their lives and Calvary's Cross becomes just optional furniture in the rooms of their soul. It is then the fatal mistake is made in a bad decision or a behavioral indiscretion that leaves a person paralyzed and a casualty. Friend, guard your heart, walk circumspectly and ponder the path of your feet. Take steps of faith in your calling and grow in grace and conviction daily. For the Devil as a roaring lion roams about seeking whom he may devour.

7 Characteristics of True Friendship

We've been teaching on a series of the Life of David which has been a rich journey. We are now on the subject of Jonathan & David's Covenant Friendship. Here are a few points on our message.

The most sacred relationships are friendships that have gone through the Cross. Many people do not have real friendships because they haven't allowed their relationships to go through the Cross. When a friendship goes through the Cross, the flesh and self is crucified and buried, and Christ is risen within the spiritual souls of the individuals.

The Bible says in John 15:13 that the greatest friendship is manifested when someone lays down his life for a friend. Jesus said to His disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I tell you. I will no longer call you servants, for a servant doesn't know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have told you every single thing that My Father has told Me” (see John 15:14-15). 

Jesus was the greatest example of a friend - a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luke 7:33-34). Think of it! Jesus Christ knows everything about us. There is not one thing hidden from Him; yet, He desires to be our personal friend - 1 Jn 3.20. This is our great confidence - “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b)


7 Traits of Godly Friendship

1. Godly Friends Love Sacrificially - 1 Sam 18.1-5
John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends 

Let God chose your friends for you. If we choose our friends based only on what they have to offer, or what we need - we'll rarely discover the blessings of a genuine friendship. Need based relationships become a curse and an end in their own. Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 


Being fufllled in your relationship with God means you approach your relationships full and not from deficit producing toxic relationships. By valuing your friend's needs above your own, you'll be on your way to loving like Jesus. In the process, you'll likely gain a true friend.


2. Godly Friends Love Unconditionally - 1 Sam 19:2
Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. God loved Peter out of his failure. Jn 13 "Loved you till the end" - Telos - completion of His work in you

We discover the best of friendships with brothers and sisters who know, love, cover and challenge our weaknesses and imperfections. A true friend tells the truth. Only your enemy would not tell you the truth because he wants you to be just like him.

If we're easily offended or hold on to bitterness, we'll have a hard time loving people. No one is perfect. We cannot be looking for idealistic relationship. People make mistakes. If we take a truthful look at ourselves, we'll admit that we bear some of the blame when things go wrong in a friendship. A true friend is quick to ask forgiveness and ready to be forgiving and when you are in trouble, Not a conditional friendship


3. Godly Friends Trust God Completely for you. 
The Bible says that in order to have friends, you need to show yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24a); showing ourselves friendly goes beyond the niceness of friendship. Hebrew play on words - friends "ra'ah" but friendly "ra'a" meaning the "h" falls off. There is something we lose in friendship. There is vulnerability. Risk. Chose to trust. Trust is the currency of relationships.


4. Godly Friends Keep Healthy Boundaries - 2 Sam 1.26
1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy ... Soul power relationships. Phileo vs. Agape love.

David and Jonathans friendship went beyond the physical and soulish but was grounded in something spiritual. Godly friendships set people free - not putting them in bondage. If you feel smothered in a friendship, something is wrong. Likewise, if you feel used or abused, something is amiss. Recognizing what's best for someone and giving that person space are signs of a healthy relationship. We should never let a friend come between us and our spouse. A true Christian friend will wisely avoid intruding and recognize your need to maintain other relationships. It is not possessive or controlling, manipulative. It is not cliquish or party spirited.


5. Godly Friends Give Mutual Edification - 2 Sam 1.20 
Proverbs 27:6
Wounds from a friend can be trusted ...
True Christian friends will build each other up emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Mutually encouraging in the faith walk and growth. Proverbs 27:17 means when it says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Does this friendship encourage me to grow in my calling?


6. Covereth a multitude of sins - 2 Sam 1.20
Proverbs 17:9 says, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a
matter separateth very friends - Proverbs 10.12, 17.9 - 1 Peter 4.8 - Friends do not repeat people’s sins or gossip. Mat 18.15 - They go alone to a friend to deal with a matter. They forgive AND forget.


7. A Covenant Friendship - 1 Samuel 18:1-3 & 2 Sam 9.1
Jonathan's soul was knit with David's soul. Jonathan recognized the anointing in David's to be king and gave him the kingship. Because he loved him as his own soul, Jonathan made a covenant with David - 
- This will cause a knitting of souls and hearts in friendships.

The Covenant Friendship between David and Jonathan lasted after Jonathan’s death and Jonathan’s family continued to receive the love and benefits of the covenant love with crippled Mephibosheth being the recipient 

Is it better to burn for The Lord or to obey?


Luke 22.33

Many are those that may burn in passionate love for The Lord who sing his praises and cannot be straightened in their zeal for him confessing their fiery love for Him. Yet when it comes to that lonely step of faith of obedience that is met with the icy cold wind of resistance they halt and step back secretly in their heart all the while confessing His Name and His Word.

There are times when the Fire burns in our bosom and we cannot stay but speak and move. But that is the rare blessed exception. To live in awareness of that Flame and it's purifying work is to quench it. To focus on the Flame and not the Still Small Voice of The Word inside of it is to get distracted and be turned aside to the emotion and phenomenon of the Fire & not the command. Though the Burning Flame in the heart of the quickened saint may be a new experience - the Cross must have its deep crucifying affect and separate the emotional feeling of the soul from the burning sensation of the Spirit.

The "ministers of fire" described in Hebrews 1.7 are servants that are aflame but often feel very little as they take faith steps of obedience in great weakness. It is in this great weakness where the soul feeling is divided from the spirit that God is glorified the most and His power is revealed - otherwise if the servant serves in the awareness of the Powerful Burning he is strong in his soulish feeling and weak in his spirit to obedience. We follow, we obey for the utmost of reasons, because of Truth - that is living by "Every Word"

“In Awe of the Exalted” - יִרְאַת הָרוֹמְמוּת - Understanding the Fear of the Lord

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear
the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 10:12)

The word translated “fear" in many versions of the Bible comes from the Hebrew word yirah (יִרְאָה), which has a wide range of meaning in the Scriptures. Sometimes it refers to the fear we feel in anticipation of some danger or pain, but it can also can mean “awe” or “reverence” inclusive of the idea of wonder, amazement, mystery, astonishment, gratitude, admiration, and worship (like the feeling you get when gazing from the edge of the Grand Canyon). Thus at times yirah ought to be translated as “awe" -  "The awe of God is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10)

Some Hebrew Biblical scholars link the word yirah (יִרְאָה) with the word for seeing (רָאָה). Exod. 3:2-5 Moses “turned aside” to see the wonder and awe of the burning bush. When he saw the bush and heard the Voice he trembled with awe and the inner awareness of the sanctity of the Lord and His Calling. Such awe is not the goal of wisdom (like some state of nirvana), but rather its means. We start with awe and that leads us to wisdom - (Heschel). This wisdom ultimately is revealed in the love of God as demonstrated in the sacrificial death of His Son and his resurrection for our justification.

According to Jewish tradition, there are three “levels” or types of yirah:
  1. The tormenting fear of unpleasant consequences or punishment (i.e., yirat ha’onesh: יִרְאַת הָענֶשׁWe anticipate pain of some kind and want to run from it. Note that such fear can also come from what you subjectively believe others might think of you. People will often do things (or not do them) in order to buy acceptance within a group (or to avoid rejection). Social rules are adhered to in order to avoid being alienated or rejected.  One application of this type of fear is as Plato said in his writing "Republic", that people are "too weak to do injustice with impunity". A provoking question that could help us understand if you act or do not act under this type of fear is - would you act differently if you were able to become invisible? Would the "freedom to do whatever you like with impunity" lead you to consider doing things you otherwise wouldn't do? 
  2. The type of fear concerns anxiety over breaking God’s laws (sometimes called yirat ha-malkhut: יִרְאַת הַמַּלְכוּת). This kind of fear drives people to do good deeds because they fear God will punish them in this life (or in the world to come). Even though the fear of God's punishment may deter us from sin and wrong doing in the short run, by itself it is deficient of spiritual life, since it is based on an deficient idea about God. This is the foundational concept of karma (the cycle of moral cause and effect). This kind of fear is founded on self-preservation, though in some cases the heart's motivation may be mixed with a genuine desire to honor God or to avoid God's righteous wrath for sin (Exod. 1:12Lev. 19:14; Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:5). 
  3. The third (and highest) kind of fear is a profound reverence for God that comes from rightly seeing. This level discerns the Presence of God in every detail of our life and is sometimes called yirat ha-rommemnut (יִרְאַת הָרוֹמְמוּת), or the "Awe of the Exalted."  Through it we behold God's glory and majesty in all things. "Fearing" (יִרְאָה) and "seeing" (רָאָה) are linked and united. Thus "the pure in heart shall see God". We are elevated to the high road of reverent discernment, sacred affection, and genuine communion with God's Holy Spirit.  This love for divine good creates a spiritual distaste toward evil, and thus, the hatred of evil to fear God
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well- balanced mind and discipline and self- control." - 2 Timothy 1:7amp

Eurocon 2014 Mission March

What an incredible time we all had at a record breaking attended EuroCon 2014 in Budapest! It was a powerful time in the Word, fellowship and miracles. We were able to see 40+ Ukrainians attend by nothing short of a miracle with all that's happening in Ukraine now. Here is a video p. Maciek from Poland made of the Missions March. Enjoy!

Loss of Passion in Leaders & Pastors

"And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be allowed to go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning and lay the burnt offering in order upon it and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall be burning continually upon the altar; it shall not go out” - Lev 6.12-13

What a few years ago we called discipleship has morphed into mentoring and now called Life-Coaching. Pastors have left the pastorate & evangelism and have become “Life-Coaches” using a philosophy that includes; goals, challenges for personal growth and self-help. There is a trend in the church as a whole today of a church-planing/church-growth plan that is more of a marketing business plan than anything else. Coaching and marketing  works for business, it has value there, but as soon as you apply it to the church, there is the loss of the mystery of the Church and it becomes a driven organization that resembles more of a corporation than a loving, living church body. 

The philosophy of this trend insinuates that leader’s and pastor’s problems of the lack of church growth or dissipating inspiration lies with their mentality, lack of personal growth or waning ambition. This type of psychology replaces the Mind of God concluding in an indirect way that the Word of God is not sufficient. I see much of this comes out of the new trend toward marketing in the church. Church-planting and church-growth have become a new business and it’s based on marketing. 

Those of us that have been involved with church-planting over the years and seen the exciting momentum of a growing church really were not being coached or mentored as the marking plans go today - but experienced a burning passion in our hearts for God, people and the Mission with a team that was energized in the vision.

What we see happen with leaders today is that 80% of leaders that begin well do not finish well. They lose their edge. What goes wrong? Where does the passion go? Many pastors if they were free to share it - have lost their passion for the ministry and many don’t discern it. Passion and fire in the ministry is sapped and replaced with a substitute - compensated by knowledge, information, new programs, & emotional watered down events that do more to entertain than convert & dramatically transform people.

The truth is that what is needed today in the ministry, in leadership, & in church-ministries is men and women of God ON FIRE.

Here are 12 reasons (among many) why I think leaders lose their passion in their call and they stop growing thus in return their ministry stops growing.

  1. Getting stuck in the mud of the details spinning their wheels.
  2. Distraction of entertainment - movies, online entertainment, gaming, and excessive recreation
  3. Google searches replace turning of the pages of the Bible and books.
  4. Mindless wasted time on social media
  5. Soulish relationships - relationships that cross the lines into the inappropriate 
  6. Petty skirmishes - the tit-for-tat arguments of personal justification because of insecurity 
  7. Technology - excessive time spend on the computer or mobile device 
  8. Hidden idols - toleration for error that slip in and cause to stumble in sin.
  9. Pursuit of materialism - Succumbing to the temptation to possess and acquire. 
  10. Knowledge replaces obedience - The stimulation of information replaces radical steps of faith
  11. Psychological thinking replacing Bible Conviction
  12. Departing from the basics of the vision to be more acceptable and less controversial.
Passion has very simple focus, focus comes from concentration and concentration comes from consecration. We cannot fake consecration. Where there is no consecration there can be no focus or concentration. Passion is the result of consecration. Consecration comes from doing the hard thing, losing our self-life at the Altar thus thwarting those things that sap our passion. 

Guard yourself daily from those things that dilute your laser-vision and you’ll find they have no siphoning power on your passion.