Friday, August 9, 2019

When Heaven's Realities Overtake Our Impossibilities by Pastor Brent Lokker

By Pastor Brent Lokker

Jesus said something that seems downright crazy…except that crazy is a word that would never fit for Jesus.  He said,
“I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him.  Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!”
(John14:12-14, TPT)
There was a particular time in my life when this verse went from theory to reality for me. In my late 20’s I had a serious backpacking accident. I was several days out into the wilderness when, in a split second, I lost my footing and slid helplessly, watching my right knee slice right into the sharp edge of a protruding rock. The cut went so deep that I could see the white cartilage. I bandaged it up as best I could and toughed it out the several days hike back but my knee was never the same after that. I couldn’t run or kneel down without pain. This pain persisted for about a year before a miracle took place one day.

Up to this point, my spiritual journey had taken me from my childhood years where I learned to trust there is a God, but didn’t actually know much about His nature; through my college years where I encountered a Jesus I could know, but was unaware of His power and authority; to this place in my life in my late 20’s where I had experienced a crisis of faith after witnessing the tragic death of my father-in-law that I couldn’t stop that caused me to search for the true nature, power and authority of the Jesus I had given my life to.

Most miracles have an element of faith attached—the belief that what God says is actually true. On this particular day in my spiritual journey I made a distinct choice to believe that the words of Jesus were true: If I believed in Jesus, I could do the same miracles and even greater miracles than he did!

So on a hot day in June while taking the kitchen trash out to the garbage bin of our apartment complex, I suddenly stopped smack dab in the middle of the hot parking lot pavement and put the trash can down. “If healing is true, then I’m going to do something about it!” I placed my hand on my knee and commanded, “Cartilage, tendons and muscles, be healed in Jesus’ name!” That was it. No pleading. No long prayer. And to be honest, I didn’t feel anything. Since it didn’t seem like anything miraculous had happened, I picked up the trash can, finished dumping it and went back to my apartment. Moments later I got down on my knees to do a set of push-ups and suddenly realized that there was zero pain! Without thinking about the possible consequences, I put all my weight on my right knee and kind of rolled around on it. No pain!! I then went out and ran 3 miles and, you guessed it…no pain! Not then and not once since then. I was completely healed! On that day, heaven's reality of healing overtook my impossibility and that opened the door to seeing hundreds more miracles since that time.

We’ve been making our way through the book of Acts, but not just to look back in amazement at how the early church exploded all over the world through the power and love of Jesus. We’re also reading it to be reminded and amazed that we have the very same Holy Spirit within and that the miracles have never ceased! Our life with Jesus was meant to usher in heaven’s realities in the midst of what appears to be our impossibilities.

This Saturday night at Blazing Fire, we’re going to teach you and show you practical ways to step out into the realities of heaven. Come ready to believe and participate. We'll also take communion where we will make a choice to believe that we are the very Body of Christ representing the One who fills us to a world of people seeking truth, freedom and love.

It’s time for God’s Spirit to awaken us again to the truth that He has placed Himself within us to usher in heaven’s realities!

Friday, August 2, 2019

It's a Good Journey by Jennifer Shannon

Be assured that your heavenly Father traverses every step of your life with you!  Here is a timely and encouraging word from Blazing Fire's own Jennifer Shannon, a mega-dose of truth to keep you aligned with heaven's reality:

As the Lord says, we will rise, awaken to love’s truth. The perfect peace will flow like a river, gracefully yet powerfully from His throne room. The waterfall of mercy immerses us gleefully as we, daughters and sons of God take a step forward in our journey. Every step He leads us is a step toward maturity in Him. 

 
Those dark nights where many have cried out in pain, sorrow, and fear. Your voice, He did hear and reached out with His hand to be the lifter of your head, the restorer of your heart, spirit and soul. In so doing He has washed it all away with the blood He shed.
 
The mountain climb strengthens you and enables you to climb higher. The feet become nimble like hinds’ feet as you jump from ledge to ledge trusting Him to catch you lest you fall. The joy you see on His face, the laughter that bellows forth is the heart of a Father cheering you on and the voice you hear says” You can do this! I am with you always, never will I leave you all alone!”
 
The hand of a potter is He, molding and making you the beautiful creation that you are. Lovely in His eyes to behold His glory within only to be poured out with such divine purpose to touch all those you encounter and pass by. 
 
How the enemy wants to destroy, yet the Lord of Love overcomes and protects you within the depths of His heart. This is the overflow of the heart of a Savior and Friend that meets you in that secret place and holds your heart for you to see. Some parts may be hidden yet being brought to light so that you can let Him who paid the cost set it free. 
 
The journey that is taken, it often is a wild ride with twists and turns and surprises along the way. Yet the inner healing that bursts forth is like a caterpillar into a butterfly, from that hidden place to the open skies emerging into truth and disposing the lie.
 
That yoke, so burdensome and heavy, carried alone may hold you back and slow you down from accomplishing what your heart dreams of and what His purpose is for your life! Let Him help you along the way and let Him carry what is not yours. 
 
When you find your identity and who you truly are; the lies that the enemy of God may try to spew will begin to fall to the ground and dry up like worms baking in the sun during the heat of the day.
 
The truth of who you are is not found in what you do but in who He says you are. Finding your place, finding where you belong and knowing that you're loved is a victory in itself. You will find your true freedom by dwelling in His peace, embracing His presence and believing in who He really is!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Learning To Love Our Enemies by Pastor Russ Fochler

Learning To Love Our Enemies
From Pastor Russ Fochler

We've been considering the story of Stephen and the Council (Sanhedrin):  How Holy Spirit empowers us to speak before governors and councils.  And helps us have loving kindness (hesed) - even for our enemies. How we need Holy Spirit's help to live from
softened hearts instead of hard hearts and "stiff necks"!   You can listen to "Stephen’s God Adventure Part 2" here.


This coming Saturday July 27th, we’ll be hosting Ed Traut - a prophet originally from South Africa.  Look for more details about Ed Traut near the bottom of this email.  


Loving Our Enemies - More Than Sentimental Words
Jesus calls us to love our enemies.  Something no other faith tradition requires (to my knowledge).  Loving our enemies goes against our deep, self-protective instincts.  How do we grow into this?

What if you heard Jesus asking you to love the people who murdered your father years ago and the very person who more recently murdered your mother?  What if you knew from God's Word and God's personal words to you -- that you were called to bring reconciliation and restoration after the Rwandan Genocide?  This is Fr. Ubald's story.
From The Pandora Problem by E James Wilder 2018 pgs 251-252
The beginnings of the genocide killed Fr. Ubald's father when he was a child.  Later, "He escaped the first attempt on his life during minor seminary when Hutu students attempted to kill the Tutsis.  Ubald then lived as a refugee in Burundi.  When Ubald was called to be a priest, he returned to Rwanda teaching love for ten years before the next outbreak of genocide.  Fr Ubald again escaped, but 45,000 of his parishioners were killed at the parish by other parishioners.
When I (James Wilder) talk with Fr. Ubald, I am always amazed at the ease and clarity with which he hears from God.  I think it puzzles him why others (including religious leaders) do not seem to hear God’s thoughts clearly.  Many clear conversations with God led Fr. Ubald back to Rwanda and revealed what God and the church community would do next.
Fr. Ubald returned, teaching forgiveness and hesed.  The Christian truths that Fr. Ubald taught for ten years before the genocide had not produced an end to enemy mode or a change in character.  Fr. Ubald was about to try again.  Both the perpetrators of the genocide and the families and victims who escaped were still in churches and the community.  It was clear that their character was unchanged.  In 1998, Fr. Ubald went to the parish in Mushaka where he found a way for perpetrators and victims to be united as a spiritual family.  
Since he arrived, over 200 enemies have become family.  Seven groups are now active.  The Mushaka Program takes half a year.  The first week, Fr. Ubald had one day each for:
- Leaders of the parish (elders)
Charismatic renewal members (Godsight team)
- Victims
- Perpetrators
- Everyone together
Six months of teaching and healing for the perpetrators teaches them their Christian identity.  True, most thought they were Christians all their lives, but they never learned to love their “enemies” or God.  Now, for six months they examine themselves, confess their sins, and learn to share the suffering of their victims.  The victims participate during the final three weeks.  Victims discover they are people who forgive.
At the end of the six months, the perpetrators and victims come before the whole congregation and reconcile with the church community.  After a church ceremony the community has a big feast.  The former enemies become family and help each other.  They also tell others about their stories and what becoming the people of God has done in their lives.  You can hear some of their stories in the film The Secret of Peace: A documentary on the Life and Work of Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga.
We may not see our enemy mode as clearly as people who meet the families of those they killed or families who meet those who murdered their loved ones.  But, in Rwanda, no self-justifications are allowed, pain must be shared, God’s point of view discovered, hesed offered, and enemies loved.  Lions lie down with the lambs and neither hurt or destroy any longer.”
Note: To learn more about this, get Fr. Ubald's book, or the DVD of this story, go to: The Secret of Peace
Glossary of Terms:

Hesed: Hebrew for attachment love that is secure, enduring, and bonds us forever.  God is hesed.

Enemy mode: relationally disconnected state of hot or cold anger.

Godsight: Being able to perceive with understanding what God sees in a person or situation.

Charismatic Renewal: Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a spiritual movement within the Catholic Church that incorporates aspects of both Catholic and Charismatic Movement practice. It is influenced by some of the teachings of Protestantism and Pentecostalism with an emphasis on having a personal relationship with Jesus and expressing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Narcissist: a person who cannot hear a correction to their identity without provoking self-justification and sometimes hostility or attack.  The narcissist uses fear and self-justification to avoid correction (healthy shame) and win.
Reconciliation Ceremony between perpetrators, victims, and the whole church community.
Copyright Information: All rights reserved.  No portion of the material taken from the book “The Pandora Problem” by E. James Wilder may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other — except for brief quotations in critical reviews of articles, without prior written permission of the publisher Deeper Walk International www.deeperwalkInternational.org

Permission to use the above section in this Blazing Fire Weekly Email was given in writing by a representative of Deeper Walk International to Russ Fochler on July 21, 2019
Because Your lovingkindness (hesed) is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psalm 63:3-4 NKJV

Friday, July 19, 2019

Giving Holy Spirit Acces by Pastor Russ Fochler

By Pastor Russ

Going through the Book of Acts, we're now in the story of Stephen — a man full of the Spirit.  I entitled last Saturday’s talk “Stephen’s God Adventure Part 1”.  You can listen to it here.  This coming Saturday July 20th, we’ll continue exploring what Holy Spirit was doing with Stephen and through Stephen when he was falsely accused and faced the Great Sanhedrin for their judgment.
When Jesus walked the earth, he spoke a great deal about Holy Spirit.  He was excited that by his work on the Cross, the gift of the Holy Spirit would be given.  So now, when we find ourselves in high pressure situations like Stephen found himself - the Holy Spirit will give us what to say. 
“And remember this: When people accuse you before everyone and forcefully drag you before the religious leaders and authorities, do not be troubled. Don’t worry about defending yourself or be concerned about how to answer their accusations. Simply be confident and allow the Spirit of Wisdom access to your heart, and he will reveal in that very moment what you are to say to them.”  Luke 12:11-12 The Passion Translation
“Simply be confident and allow the Spirit of Wisdom access to your heart."  Jesus and Holy Spirit long to have full access to our hearts.  Giving Holy Spirit access to our heart opens the gate for rivers of living water to flow from our innermost being into the world.  
Our capacity to trust Holy Spirit with full access to our heart grows as we gaze into Jesus’ eyes of hesed love for us, and as we experience His goodness and faithfulness in our daily lives. 
"Hesed" is a Hebrew word that means “lovingkindness, steadfast love, secure attachment, tender mercies”.

David wrote about this:
Because Your lovingkindness (hesed) is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psalm 63:3-4 NKJV
We see Stephen literally live this out — experiencing Jesus’ hesed for him while being stoned to death.  And Stephen lived out Jesus’ call to love his enemies — the ones who were furiously killing him.
We’ll hear this Saturday night from Matthew Guillot about a brief but very powerful experience of God’s love.
"Holy Spirit, strengthen our inner being so we can be yielded to Abba’s love for us and so Jesus’ life can be revealed through us every day!   May we hesed our enemies -- so they too are restored to Father God’s family."

With Love,
Russ Fochler

Friday, July 12, 2019

Roadblocks to Kingdom Influence - Pastor Chuck McCollum of Psalm84 church

Last Saturday Chuck McCallum shared brilliantly about God's plans to expand his Kingdom through us into every facet of society to bring His life-giving influence wherever we go. You can listen to that podcast here. As a successful CEO of a business as well as pastoring a church, Chuck brings his unique perspective of how we were never meant to keep our light inside of the four walls of a church building.

Listen to his wisdom in response to this question:

Chuck, as someone in the business world, how do you bring Kingdom core values and influence in your day to day dealings with people?

Influence is an important part of leading and creating success. However there are a few roadblocks to growing influence:

Judgment
One of the first steps to increasing influence is avoiding judgment of others that separates. There are two types of judgment: 1) judgment that separates; 2) judgment as discernment.  To judge with discernment is walking with wisdom, but judgment that separates is a punishment and it removes your kingdom influence because when you judge another in this way, you can no longer connect with them. People can feel this separation. If you work in business and you want to influence people, chose connection instead of judgment.

Judgment can arise when there is a disagreement between two people. Treat people in such a way that they know that you value them, even if you disagree with them. Many times while dealing with people, I can disagree with their opinions, but because they feel the value I have for them and their opinions, they allow me to speak into their lives because there is no judgment in my heart against them.

There is a tension in the business world of maintaining values that are strong while working with people that don’t share the same values. So, how do you work with people like that? You simply begin to find out what they do carry that you can affirm in them. The prophetic ministry of Bethel Church in Redding calls that 'calling out the gold' in people. How you do that in the business world is to begin to see what makes a person amazing and to start calling that forth into the true identity of who they are called to be. Pretty soon, they start acting more like that person you are calling forth. And because there is no judgment, you now have influence and can speak into their lives as a result.

An Inability to Learn From Others 
Judgment is only one barrier to growing influence. Another roadblock is an inability to learn from others. Part of learning from others is to listen well. If people feel like you are not listening to them, you will lose the power of influence. Knowing when to speak up and when to listen is key to having influence. This is another example of living with tension. This takes true discernment to be successful in any kind of business relationship. People have a difficult time listening because they themselves are afraid they are not going to be heard. Listening first and knowing when to appropriately interject input into the meeting is crucial to developing influence with that group because that creates the intended impact within the room.​

Mismanagement of your Time
Managing your time well is another key element to growing influence. Not managing time well creates another barrier to accomplishing this. Understanding the tension of harmony versus balance and the difference between the two is what will make or break your ability to do this well. Harmony is more important than balance. Many people try to only balance their time by doing a little bit here, and a little bit there. They find the 20 things they need to accomplish and that is how to get it done. But the most effective people learn harmony, because harmony actually focuses on doing the right thing at the right time….with the right people. Harmony is more about knowing the flow of what you should do in the present moment. It’s also a matter of personal balance. It’s like a pendulum. Sometimes the focus should apply heavier towards work, and more worked hours should be the result. While at other times, when the pendulum swings the other way, more family time is the order of the day. Sometimes people are not willing to put in extra hours of work, because they walk the fine line of balance, or dividing work and personal time evenly, even if more time is needed on one or the other. The reality in this is that there are times to invest in something more than usual (work or family/personal) and it requires more focus on that area for a season of time.

Getting Sucked Into the Drama
Finally, the last roadblock to be wary of is, DON'T GET SUCKED INTO THE DRAMA! So many things come at you each day that has the potential to create drama. I have a client who is threatening to sue us on errors and omissions on a particular project. When reading their material, I could get wrapped up in the emotion and be traumatized by the threat or I can actually focus and have the ability to see what they are saying has no legitimate cause. They are simply trying to manipulate me emotionally to get me to respond to their demands. Drama comes from people. It comes from miscommunication. It comes through fear, and from people who are more focused on themselves than they are on their teams. When we focus on the wrong thing at the wrong time (and sometimes with the wrong people), drama results. This is directly opposite of harmony.

Beware of the blocks to growing influence, and remember to focus on the right things at the right time, which causes harmony in your life. How do you know when you are focused on the right things?
  1. You will see the fruit--When you are focusing on the right thing at the right moment in time you will see the fruit of your success, so that what you've been working towards grows into something bigger. It doesn't take effort to create fruit. The effort went into growing the tree or the roots taking hold beneath the tree where they are unseen. Then one day...you see the fruit, which is the beautiful result of that unseen work.
  2. You will have a sense of confidence in rest—There will be a peace to it all. When you feel anxiety and fear, pay attention to the voice you are listening to and it may be indicative of focusing on the wrong things. These should be your warnings to find that sense of rest. When you see people around you succeeding and doing well, you will build that sense of confidence quickly, because that is a sure fire sign of success and that you are focusing on the right things in a company.
  3. You will find momentum as a leader—When other people join what you are doing and are thrust forward into success, you will know you are on the right path. Helping others find success is an obvious sign that you as a leader are doing something right.
  4. You will find the potential in the situation and in people—When Jesus looked out on a crowd and looked at them being helpless, he saw a great harvest. One of the things that marks a successful person is the ability to see what other people don't see in the middle of things.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Finding God In The Journey - Pastor Brent Lokker

Last Saturday Bill & Linda Boone shared their raw and vulnerable stories of how God rescued and turned their broken and tattered lives around, how they found each other after suffering through many destructive relationships, and how God loved them into something beautiful. Here's a podcast of their Testimony to a Father's Love.
Now, hear the heart of your heavenly Father in your own journey...

"You and I are on a life-long adventure together—climbing mountains, forging streams, hiking deep ravines and valleys and even flying above the clouds at times. All of your life is before Me like a book.  Since I’m the author, I can promise you there are some amazing chapters ahead for you.  The plot has plenty of twists and turns, but it’s brilliantly written and has a spectacular ending!

At times your life may feel like a thrill ride where you need to keep your seatbelt fastened.  At other times it may feel stagnant to such a degree you might be wondering if anything of significance is happening.  And then there will be moments along the way where such tragedy and heartache arise that it may appear to you there is no way to endure.

Trust Me.  Come in closer still!   I have wonderful surprises waiting for you along your path.  Not all of life will be lived on the mountaintops—that’s not the way I’ve planned it. The subdued times are just as planned by Me as the more exciting ones. Even the difficult times will be transformed into something beautiful. Keep going on the path I’ve placed before you and ask Me for My wise counsel every step of the way. It’s a great journey and I will never leave your side. I’m holding you up and giving you My strength for the journey, My child. I’ve given you My favor every step of the way."

(Taken from Brent Lokker's Always Loved Summer Devotional)
Your God continued to support you, as a man supports his son, all along the road you followed until you arrived here ... going ahead of you on the journey to find you a camping ground, by night in the fire to light your path, and in the cloud by day. 
(Deuteronomy 1:31, 33 NJB)

A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them. 
(Proverbs 16:9 AMP)

However faint my spirit; you are watching over my path.  
(Psalm 142:3 NJB)

When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm; you will not be engulfed in raging rivers. If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned.
(Isaiah 43:2 VOICE)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Initiative to Prophesy by Bill Hernandez - Prophetic Overseer

It's not a matter of if you can prophesy, but when.   As the Bible says in I Cor 14:31, you can all prophesy: "For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged." 
Functioning in the prophetic will look and feel different to everyone because we are all unique. Most often people hesitate to walk in the prophetic or disqualify themselves because they feel they can never measure up to the more demonstrable forms of prophesy like speaking it out in public, publishing a word or singing a prophetic word. As a result people give up in their journey into prophetic expressions and experiences. Some actually do prophesy, but they give up because they may feel they don't measure up to others more skilled. Some find their gift shrivel up due to lack of practice.  But, what is really shriveling is initiative. Initiative is the thing that can break you out of sitting back, break you out of giving up or disqualifying yourselves from being used in this church building, body edifying gift bestowed upon us all by the Holy Spirit.
Initiative-killer inner statements include:
“My word is too simple or cliché.”
“When I speak a word to someone or a crowd no one reacts by shaking, laughing, crying or falling down.”
“No one responded to a prophetic word I shared.”
“A word I shared that I felt was correct was denied as being right on.”
“Nobody is recognizing me as prophetically relevant.”
“I have too many personal problems to prophesy.”
"Who am I to say a thing?"
"Only leaders are anointed to give relevant prophesy."
"I am too shy or an introvert."
"I have been judged or persecuted for prophesying and I feel sorry for myself."
"I gave an inaccurate word and feel disqualified to ever be prophetic."
We may never understand His purposes in the words we might share and so there could very well be a disconnect between believing what you shared was right and getting timely confirming results. There are no guarantees for seeing results when you step out and do God's bidding. Obedience does not necessarily have tangible immediate outcomes. To be an effective prophesier or minister in any area, you have to let go of needing to be affirmed in the moment. When He tells you to jump, you pretty much have to ask, "How high?" His ways are above our understanding and when we trust Him in those times when we don't understand, powerful things can happen. You may never know the full outcome on this side of heaven. But then again you can or probably will, from time to time, occasionally.
Find your affirmation in His arms in your quiet time or worship. That's how to acquire initiative. That's where friends get their love and inspiration to keep on giving without seemingly getting rewards. His presence is reward enough. Finding this connection can feel like a chore and an uphill battle in itself. Until this is worked out, you will find discouragement dragging you back into being a spectator and not a participator in what God is doing. I suspect that many spectators are actually disconnected in some way in their relationship with Him. Invite Him to appear in your life by calling upon Him and He will show up. When that happens, you will have a good foundation to prophesy with confidence - even if it's a small word.
I hope some of you can join me this coming July 6th when I provide training for the prophetic through activation and teaching. This could be a good start for you to discover the prophetic ministry working through you and to recapture lost initiative.
God bless you,
Bill Hernandez