Monday, November 8, 2010

Obey ye the promptings of the Holy Spirit! ------- Making the Zwingli Video

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Our recent video on the Swiss Reformation will give you a good overview of the Reformation and its spread into Switzerland as well as Ulrich Zwingli, Heinrich Bullinger, William Farrel and the Anabaptist movement. Seminaries charge you a good $1000 per class to learn this stuff, then just barely touch on the subjects, with the proviso that you need to do the hard work yourself to really learn something (why am I paying all this money then? was my question to those professors.) Well, we've done the hard work for you, on many essential historical and theological topics that are insightful and essential to understanding the development of the Christian Faith. Many more of our programs on Historical Christian figures as well as missions, miracles, divine appointments and a whole lot more are available for free by clicking here.

This video actually came to be through a divine appointment: We were in Biarritz, France, after ministering in Spain, when I was taking a walk up the beach along the Anglet shore. As I was checking out the surf, I noticed a guy sitting with his board up the beach and using his board to block the onshore winds while resting behind a little sand bluff. The Holy Spirit prompted me to go talk to him, so I took a step of faith and went over.

He turned out to be an Aussie living in Switzerland taking a surf holiday in France, quite the interesting combination, and a Christian on top of it all, something rarely encountered in this area of France—well, you could say that for any area of France, just even more so for the South Coastal regions.

It was not much of a day for surf due to the onshore wind conditions, so we spent some time talking and hanging out and eventually exchanged information.

Later on, I contacted him on the way to Switzerland and, after talking for a bit, he ended up having us stay for a bit in his flat. It seemed so strange to think we were staying for free here in the expensive city of Zurich, Switzerland, all through a divine appointment while checking out the surf in France. Even more interesting is that we ended up ministering later on in Switzerland as well.

While in the city, we noticed what striking scenery it had. And, also remembering all of its rich Reformation history, we grabbed the camera and threw together some videos, doing our best to avoid what we could of the seeming constant construction noise everywhere, prosperity is all a good and fine thing, but it gets a little annoying while filming.

Well, we did our thing there in Zurich for a bit and then figured it was time to pack up and head out to some ministry we had planned elsewhere. We went out the night before to book some train tickets when something went horribly wrong with our calculations and we were now almost completely out of cash, not a hard thing to do in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I was pretty frustrated and concerned the whole way back to our friend's flat, and spent most of the night not sleeping but mulling over how did we come up so short.

Coming up short of cash happens easily while traveling in Europe, especially in Switzerland--travel books tell tales of American tourists jumping back on the train shortly after they got off and scrambling out of the place as quick as possible when they see the prices.

We had never said a word to our Aussie/Swiss host about our financial situation but when we were headed out the door the next morning he casually handed us an envelope without saying a word to either of us. I opened it up a little later down the road and was surprised to find not a card or letter but a good amount of Swiss francs, which met our needs and then some for that time, this from a guy we just met on the beach in France.

I then remembered that, in the middle of that last night, I had been semi-praying while half asleep in a state of semi-comatose-sleep-waking frustation: “Oh Lord, how much money and gold is stored in these vaults underneath this city…Please Lord, break open a vault and bring us some supply right away.” It was a half-conscious prayer that was born of desperation and frustration, but God knows what we need even before we ask, even if not making some "positive confession" of faith.

Well, Swiss Francs and coins have a very unique look to them and when I thought about it and the generous amount he had given us, it did look like someone had broken open a vault to give us some immediate supply.

We got to stay in Zurich for free in what is well-known as a prohibitively-expensive city, filmed some important videos of the Reformation, and got our financial needs met supernaturally, all through one step of obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit when on the beach in France.

When thinking how God supplied our financial needs it also struck me that God sure has a way of answering what was a strange prayer in a most surprising way! Even though he knows our needs before we ask (Matt. 6:8.) He often waits and brings us to that point of having us cry out to Him in prayer first so He can demonstrate that He is responding to our prayers.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11—My Sheep Hear My Voice…Even In The Midst of Chaos

Newspaper interview in the south of Sweden after 9/11/01
about a crusade we did there and the fact that we were
some of the few Americans traveling at that time

Nine years ago, I awoke to my brother, a pilot for a major airline, yelling on the phone: "Wake up….! Listen man, two jets were just hijacked and slammed into the World Trade Center and another just hit the Pentagon! They've grounded me and my crew in the middle of nowhere, along with all the other pilots; we’re stuck. You’re flying to Paris in 2 days but everything is shut feels like the world is exploding…!!!"

That we actually made it to Paris later in the week through the worst clogged airport and most awful flight experience ever is nothing short of a demonstration of God's grace to us in the midst of such chaos.

After turning on the TV and radio that morning it was all too real: the images of the burning World Trade Center - the very building we had visited just one year before, where we had stood taking a picture right in front of it and prophesying that one day it would be leveled in the balance of God's economy (I thought 100 years in the future when Armageddon takes place, not just one year later.) Glued to the TV, we now watched it falling to the ground on top of itself as people ran frantically down the street trying to escape the furious dust storm created in the wake of its collapse.

All mayhem seemed to ensue for a short while, and it seemed like we definitely were going to be stuck, not flying anywhere anytime soon. We began to pray as to what God's will might be in this situation, since we were scheduled to minister in Lyon, France later that week and everything was pretty much set. The biggest monkey wrench one could ever imagine had just been thrown into our plans. "Lord what do we do?" Every natural thought and every friend and family member said, "Cancel," and yet that still small voice said something I really didn't want to hear: "Persevere and go on to what I've called you to do."

With that still small voice confirmed, we slugged forward, days on the phone re-arranging tickets, resetting travel itineraries, all against the advice and remonstrations of concerned friends and family. Finally, later in the week we had everything arranged, so we thought, and showed up at the chaotic airport to realize we'd only just begun the battle.

We struggled to get through the miles of people strewn around all over the airport, many just camping out, seemingly dazed and confused. After hours of traipsing through the chaos, we finally checked in and were close to boarding, when a certain check-in clerk began to manifest on us. This guy called us over and just began to go off, attacking us on things that had nothing to do with us and complaining about the word mission in the name on our ticket, upset that “how could we be going on a mission at this time when people are being killed and stranded?” (we had ministry-discounted tickets). Ranting and raving, probably from the stress of the last few days, he freaked out and demanded that we pay him an additional $500 dollars for really nothing. It was totally unjustified and uncalled for, and not right, but he held all the cards and said he wasn't letting us on the plane unless we paid. I had to bite my tongue very hard and step aside and pray for a few moments to know what to do. That enemy was coming against us with all guns blazing was clear, and it was making me pretty upset, but the Holy Spirit impressed me with "just pay it and it will be dealt with later."

I reluctantly paid the extortion fee to the mission-hating dude and got on the plane—fit to be tied—and went on to have a terrible flight with lots of turbulence and nightmares of being flown into a building by a terrorist every time I closed my eyes to get some rest, that phone call from my brother reverberating in my memory for some time. The airports were a mess all over the world and we had to slug it out through Charles de Gaulle on the other side of the Atlantic, which held the same chaos for our landing, and then struggling on through all of it all the way to Lyon.

When we finally got to Lyon it was like walking on to a calm shore after being caught at sea in a long, drawn out storm. God just moved so powerfully the whole time we preached and ministered, which gave us great confirmation that we had done the right thing. After France, we went on to awesome ministry in many other places like Spain and Sweden and actually had many things work in our favor due to the low amount of tourists and travelers due to the recent events. We walked right into museums that normally would have long lines and actually got some of the best uncrowded waves, in between ministering, at some of the best spots on the continent since all the contests were cancelled.

Remarkably, we actually ended up being interviewed and having our picture run in a decent-sized newspaper in the south of Sweden about a crusade we were doing there, since they were so intrigued that Americans like us would be traveling at that time. God actually worked it all for good at the end of the day and we even got our $500 dollars back from the airlines at the end of it all as well.

It is so important to listen to what the Lord is saying to us rather than what the world is trying to tell us to do. Jesus said: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27) As His followers it is so vitally important to learn to listen to that still small voice if we want to be found fulfilling His will in our lives.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Follow the Wind

John 3:8: The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

We just returned from the Santa Barbara area once again, where we experienced another wild outpouring of the Spirit, much like the one we experienced just a little bit ago!

If you had a chance to read one of our recent previous blogs here you may remember that we had gone there a few months ago through a last-minute phone call of a friend which turned into a major divine appointment (read below). This particular time however, we went up right after attending a wedding in the area feeling the Spirit was leading us to just go by there with no real plans set up for anything other than just stopping by. And we ended up experiencing another outpouring of God's power much like we did a couple months back.

We showed up to one of their meetings this last weekend and gave a spontaneous word right at the very end of one of their services, this was after spending the majority of that meeting out in the street in the middle of a divine appointment that took place right when we showed up, where we were leading a guy to Christ out in the front of their place while the service went on, and then just coming in at the last moment for the remainder of the meeting and giving a word that God put on my heart all of a sudden, which led to the Spirit being poured out at the end of their meeting in a very powerful way.

That move of the Spirit continued on throughout that evening as we prayed with others, in fact we had quite the move of holy laughter late that same night as God moved powerfully on a guy who was new to all this and got radically touched by God in a major way as he got filled and broke out in the joy of the Lord. That infectious joy of the Spirit spread to many others including myself, and we were deeply refreshed, and then the next day the Holy Spirit was poured out throughout the whole day as well.

In fact, the next morning, after staying the night, we woke up to a group of guys who had forgotten their Bible there at the house church where we were staying. As they came in and we started talking with them, one of them had a word that he felt he needed to pray over us. We got blasted first thing in the morning; what a cool way to wake up, and then the blasting continued as others began to spontaneously show up at the house. We then began to pray for them and had another all-day outpouring of the Spirit that went on from morning until way late in the day.

The Holy Spirit was moving so deeply and powerfully over so many lives in such a significant way. It was truly amazing to experience and see God move, touch, and fill one person after another after another, the presence of God spreading like wildfire the whole time to where we just felt like we were living in the glory.

In the middle of it all we had to suddenly rush back for a funeral of a friend who just passed away, and so it was back to the reality of the freeway once we got going, but along the way we stopped by an out-of-the-way surf spot I felt led to check out and even though the onshore winds were howling and every place was trashed and blown out to where it was looking like "victory at sea," this one particular spot was completely glassy, clean, and surprisingly unaffected by the wind, but even more amazing was the fact that we surfed it completely by ourselves. It felt like a surreal scene out of the 1950's, not the overcrowded, overpopulated lineups of the 21st century. Praise God! Such blessings flow when we follow the wind of his Spirit.

As we finished our surf I thought of how the weekend had begun while eating dinner with some friends right before we left to go up north. We were saying a quick prayer in the parking lot as we were leaving, asking God to give us divine appointments that weekend as we headed our separate ways. As the words came out of my mouth, the Holy Spirit spoke: "One is right in front of you." I waited a moment and then I looked over at a young guy walking across the parking lot. The Holy Spirit was pulling at me to go talk to him but I asked for some kind of confirmation. I then noticed he was wearing a shirt with a big picture of Christ on it, that's when the Lord spoke in my heart, "Is that enough confirmation?" I ran over after that and asked him if he had a relationship with Christ whom he wore on his shirt, he said he didn't, but as we talked with him he confessed that many had been witnessing to him and in his own words, "God was chasing after him." The chase was over as we led him to Christ right there in the parking lot as we prayed with him. I knew God had a wild weekend in store when things started like that but the blessings go beyond our expectations when we follow the wind of the Spirit!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Divine Israeli Surf Appointment

Well it's summer, so time for a Holy Ghost Surf Story. This one took place while traveling into Israel from Europe while in desperate need of some refreshing after many planes, trains, and automobiles. We were blessed to get this divine appointment published in a recent book. This book, called True Stories of Heaven Invading Earth in Julia Loren's Divine Intervention Series, has some other cool stories too by people like John Paul Jackson as well as a forward written by Bill Johnson of Bethel Fellowship in Redding. Some time later, we had another radical divine appointment in Spain that was connected to this one, which you can check out in the video and I'll tell more about in a later posting. For now, read below about how God can blow our mind with the way he can answer even the simplest of prayers and meet our needs in such a wild way:

My wife Mercedes and I had been ministering and traveling in Europe for two months already and were leaving the next day to Israel, our next stop on a round-the-world trip, where we had a very unique and powerful divine appointment take place as we came into the Holy Land.

We were departing out of Athens, Greece and traveling to Tel Aviv, Israel when we were notified of a sudden flight change. Our original departure time of 8:00 a.m. was moved earlier to 4:00 a.m. that same morning (El Al Airlines often does this kind of thing to keep terrorists off track with their flights). We had to suddenly leave our hotel and spend the whole night at the airport, all the fun of a root canal without the drilling!

But God had a plan in it all, even the miserable flight delay where we were stuck in the barren Athens airport all night long with nothing to do.

That barren Athens airport posted two rules very clearly on signs all over: “No Smoking” and “No sleeping on the floor.” After hours of sitting around on hard plastic chairs that were designed just right as to make sleep impossible—some cruel, sadistic chair designer must have stayed up late nights designing and testing these awful sweat-producing beasts—a cement floor had never looked so good. It was like a cruel hoax, you can’t sleep in these horrid torture chairs and you’re not allowed to sleep on the floor, aagh!

After sitting for hours exhausted I couldn’t take it anymore and took a look around and went down on the floor for some rest. I was almost asleep, when I felt a kick on my side. I looked up, and saw a soldier with a machine gun towering over me (Athens has long been notorious as a terrorists transit point and thus soldiers are constantly patrolling it). He apparently was there to enforce “some” of the rules as he puffed away on a cigarette and pointed at the sign about sleeping on the floor. “Doesn’t that sign say something about smoking too?” I was about to blurt out in my agitated, just pulled back from the brink of sleep, state. But a good rule of travel is not to argue with a soldier with a machine gun in a foreign country, so I buttoned my lip and got up.

After some more hours of sweating and waiting around it was finally time to check in for our flight. We went over to the counter to now be abused by El Al Airlines, who must have taken interrogation lessons from the Mossad: You are guilty until proven innocent and must be exonerated before you can board their flight. They prod into every aspect of your life and what you are doing until they know more about you than you do! We had it coming hard at us, as we had been traveling for over two months already, all over every part of Europe, which set off red flags with them and they really gave us the third degree. Every part of our stuff was disassembled, every past ticket and place we’d been was checked
out to see if it was true, question after question, it went on for almost two hours. They even went so far as to read Mercedes’ diary and then test her on it to see if it wasn’t just some fabricated fantasy made up by a terrorist who could finally get on board and blow up the plane.

We were extremely exhausted, dazed, and a little rattled once we were finally cleared of being international terrorists and allowed to board our plane. I dropped like a rock down into my seat, and in my state of exhaustion and jangled nerves I prayed the craziest of prayers: “Lord I am so worn out I need to do something fun.It would be so great to go surfing in Israel.”

It was a crazy prayer because I didn’t even have a surfboard with me and the surf conditions in Israel, being that it is on the Mediterranean Sea, rarely get over one foot. But God is greater than our circumstances.

We needed a battery recharge with some recreation involved after too many trains, planes and automobiles during our travels the past two months, and this night in the torture chamber of the Athens airport and the El Al grilling was the straw breaking the camel's back. God knew our weariness and was about to answer in a miraculous way.

After landing in Israel we disembarked, glad to be done with flying and airports for the moment, and began to make our way through the terminal when Mercedes noticed something very strange: the theme song to the famous surf movie “Endless Summer” was playing over the terminal loudspeakers. We both looked at each other and laughed and thought how strange, to hear that in Israel of all places, especially in the airport over the loudspeaker. I’ve never even heard that song on the radio in the States. In spite of the jet lag that was fogging my brain, it suddenly dawned on me: “I believe this is a sign from God; I prayed on the plane to go surfing while we are in Israel and I think God is going to answer that prayer somehow.”

We rented a car and were on our way out of the airport parking lot about to head straight toward Jerusalem to check into our youth hostel—the only thing in Jerusalem that would fit our missionary budget—and then go see some of the city, when, sensing an impression from the Holy Spirit, I suddenly pulled over and told Mercedes: “Listen, I believe the Holy Spirit is prompting us to go straight to the beach at Tel Aviv right now instead of going to Jerusalem.” It seemed kind of wild but she agreed we should step out on faith in what the Holy Spirit was leading. After that sign from God in the airport with the Endless Summer song it seemed like we should go for it and completely change our plans at the last moment, though we had no idea what, if anything, might be in store. We made our way toward Tel Aviv with the destination of Hilton Beach in mind, the one surf spot I had heard of in Israel.

When we pulled up to Hilton Beach I was blown away by what I saw: peeling, 4- to 6-foot waves breaking right in front of my eyes in Israel! The flight delay had caused us to arrive in perfect time with a swell that had blown in from a storm in the Mediterranean Sea the night before. This was something miraculous in an of itself, as Israel rarely ever gets good surf, rarely even getting surf over one foot as previously mentioned.

The only thing I needed now was a surfboard! I went around to a few surf shops in the area to see about renting a board but they wouldn’t rent surfboards. “You have to buy one for 800 dollars” was their answer “That’s twice as much as in the U.S. No thanks!” was my response, since there was no way I could afford that much money at that moment.

We headed back to the Hilton Beach parking lot and I stood there watching the surf, a bit bummed out thinking, “I have to stand here and I only get to watch these waves now.”

I stood there lamenting my plight, now feeling tortured and disappointed; there’s nothing worse for a surfer than to see good waves right in front of him and not to be able to ride them, it’s like a dog on a chain who can’t reach far enough to eat a bowl of food in front of him. As I stood there salivating over the waves, but becoming increasingly bummed out that I wasn’t riding them, I noticed a small black Nissan Sentra with a young Israeli surfer guy in it pulling up next to me to check out the surf. As I began talking with him, I found out that he had just come back from a surf trip to California and had visited Huntington Beach, which is only 5 miles from where we lived. This was an amazing set of circumstances to meet an Israeli who had just come back from a town right next to ours in California; it caused us to hit it off immediately and we spent some time talking.

About twenty minutes into the conversation I noticed something: “Hey, you’ve got two surfboards in your car here!” I exclaimed. He responded with an incredible statement: “Yes, and it is very strange. I never bring two surfboards with me to the beach, but for some reason today I put my board in the car and I don’t know why but I went into the house and grabbed my other board and put it in the car too.” “Wow!” I responded. “You know I was just standing here looking at these waves without a board and praying that I could surf here today somehow. How about you let me use your extra board and we go surfing together?”

He paused a moment and said that he normally doesn’t loan out his equipment, but then stated that he would make an exception today as he felt these were unique circumstances and that he could trust me. “Praise God!
This is an answer to the prayer I was just praying.”

How miraculous it all was: This guy bringing an extra board like this when he never brings an extra one to the beach, then meeting him after being led right here by the Holy Spirit down to this beach in Tel Aviv, the fact that he had just returned from Huntington Beach, California, the music at the airport, the prayer on the plane, the change of the departure time by El Al Airlines that made us be right on time this morning for this divine appointment, and for the swell that just now hit, and it was all happening here in the Holy Land!

We surfed a couple hours and had a blast in those unusual Israeli-Mediterranean waves. As I was paddling back out from a wave I thanked God that I was getting to surf in Israel and reflected on how incredibly God had answered my prayer. At that point the Holy Spirit spoke into my heart once again: “Invite him to lunch to thank him for loaning you the board.” To which I responded with a vigorous “Yes, Lord!”

After we were done surfing we went out to a really cool and very authentic Israeli restaurant. As we were sitting there enjoying our Israeli meal, I felt led to share the Gospel with him.

He had the most flabbergasted response: “You are a normal person, you are a surfer, AND you are religious?” I explained that I wasn’t really religious, but that I just had a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Living in Israel his whole life he associated religion with fanaticism and dour servitude to religious rituals, and thus was unprepared to meet someone who had an authentic relationship with God, yet still was normal and did fun things like going surfing and enjoying the beach. It was very apparent that surfing, and eating, and just hanging out with him and then naturally sharing the Gospel had had a major impact on him regarding the reality of who and what Jesus Christ and the Gospel are all about.

We were able to spend time there that day with this young surfer guy and share the good news of Christ with him. This is a person who in no way would have ever listened to a presentation of the Gospel in any other format whatsoever for he was a committed atheistic Jew who hated religion—not unlike so many in Israel, which a lot of American Christians are surprised to find when they visit the Holy Land on tours.

The leading of the Holy Spirit had brought forth a divine appointment that helped us to recharge our batteries. I got to surf incredible waves in Israel of all places, while Mercedes got to enjoy the warm Mediterranean sun on the beach. More importantly however, was the fact that the seeds of the Gospel were effectively planted in the life of a closed-off, hard-hearted, religion-hating Jew who never, ever, would have listened to a thing anyone said about Christianity and salvation had I not first connected with him on a friendship level with surfing and having fun. He was so impressed he invited us to come to stay at his home if we came back through his area, something he said he doesn’t normally do.

It was incredible to reflect at the end of it all how God used our airline change to bring me to exhaustion and cause me to pray to go surfing in Israel. That along with it causing us to come into Israel at just the right time when there was an unusual swell—swells in the Mediterranean are rare and only last one day because they’re so localized—which meant we came at just the exact right moment.

To think how the music from Endless Summer played in the Airport terminal right as we walked through and then the Holy Spirit led us down to the beach in Tel Aviv where we had this incredible divine appointment with this young Israeli who just returned from California and “just happened” to bring two surfboards to the beach—something he never does. Then we got to surf together in some great Israeli waves, another miracle in itself. Then as we ate our Israeli lunch we had the glorious opportunity to effectively share the Gospel with him in a powerful way that touched his heart to the point where he was significantly impacted by the reality of the message. Not only were our own batteries recharged but our faith was incredibly buoyed by the miraculous outstretched hand of God in all these circumstances!

It was an incredible divine appointment where God showed that not only does He work everything for good, but He also knows our hearts’ desires and prayers, and answers them in ways that work together to bless us and glorify Him and His name as we follow the leading of His powerful Holy Spirit. To God be the Glory!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Blessed are the Flexible

We just returned from a ministry trip that was filled with unexpected divine appointments and powerful unplanned meetings where God did many awesome things (you can read even more below on the previous story too.) This trip up north actually started out of a divine appointment where we prayed for a brother named Dave in Hawaii who got filled with the Spirit at STN and experienced God’s love and power for the first time in his life when we ministered there, who then invited us to come up to the Central Coast to minister with some groups he is involved in.

Check out this video and how God by His Spirit orchestrated things on both sides in Hawaii which then led to these present moves of God. Make sure to read this story as well as the one below it about the unexpected moves of God up and down the Cali Coast.

I was in Sweden when God had first led us there where a divine appointment would happen that would open up our ministry there. I was trying to adjust our schedule for a meeting that a friend was setting up with an American pastor/missionary, feeling a bit frustrated in getting things worked out, when our friend said something that has stayed with me ever since: “Blessed are the flexible.” Many Scriptures reflect this idea though our cultural biases towards rigidity and overscheduling everything, especially in church, blind our eyes to this truth. However this is a truth that Jesus calls all his followers to walk in, cultural and ecclesiastical resistance not withstanding.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8

Regardless of the resistance in our culture and especially in church life to walking out this truth, it is something God seeks to work into our lives. When we are willing to listen and yield to and heed to the leading of the spontaneous guidance of the Spirit awesome blessings await us that are completely unexpected.

We just had a radical divine appointment in Santa Barbara on the way down the coast as we were coming back home from a ministry trip further north. To see it come to pass, however, we had to be willing to be very flexible.

A friend who happened to be staying in Santa Barbara called us late at night right near 11:00pm while we were driving home through that area and asked us to come visit her and some friends in Isla Vista at the last moment. We felt God’s hand was upon this even though it was late and we were tired and culturally it was very akward to show up at someone's home so late and unplanned like this. We went over and ended up actually spending the night and miraculously wound up in an all-day outpouring of the Spirit the next day.

This group of mostly college students near UCSB were all interested in hearing about Lonnie Frisbee and how God worked through him back in the Jesus People Revival and Vineyard Outpouring. Having had the blessing to travel and experience firsthand God’s work through Lonnie, we were stoked to share some stories. We also had a short video to play. Right in the middle of watching this video, God sovereignly started moving on people in power which sparked a Holy Ghost outpouring where we began praying for people and powerful manifestations began to take place. Other students and friends kept showing up and coming in to this spontaneous prayer meeting as God kept pouring out His Spirit all day long; this unplanned meeting which started in the morning continued on until around three in the afternoon with lots of powerful moves, fillings, and empowerings of many lives.

I finally realized we hadn’t eaten, drank, or consumed anything or taken a break the whole day—this is the kind of fasting that is worthwhile though—when God is in the midst of it versus that other forced dead kind which Jesus criticized the Pharisees for doing out of dead ritual.

It was an awesome time and just when I thought I’d keel over from all the focus and intensity of praying for others all day long without any sustenance, I was offered some sardines to remind us of our Euro mission trips and a few laughs.

I was just thinking it would be good to take a break and get a surf in before it was too late when one of the many surfers there offered to take us out for a surf break too.

We scored some fun, sunny, 2 to 3’ clean and peaky, zipper-like waves right straight out at Campus Point. I queried how often it broke this time of year like this since I can’t ever remember seeing these kinds of waves like this in this area of Santa Barbara in the summer since the Channel Islands block most summer swells. The answer was never, "it never breaks this time of year."

Another blessing, and a quite refreshing one on that day, of the willingness to be flexible and let the winds of the Spirit lead the way. We would have missed that outpouring God wanted to bring and the fun out of season unique surf session if we had just done the culturally acceptable and easier thing on our weary bodies and had just headed home rather than showing up at someone's house we didn't know near midnight to end up sleeping on the floor after sleeping in others' homes for the past few weeks already. There was unplanned blessing awaiting we knew not of but we had to pay attention to the leading of the Spirit to tap into it.

Jesus words about letting the winds of the Spirit lead the way are not just some far off idea for another Bible study but something to be applied to our lives as we learn to do what Jesus told the early disciples to do: "Follow Me."

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8

Getting some surf up the California Coast


We had some radical meetings as we traveled on a preaching tour through some different areas of Central California. We spoke at some different places in Monterey, Salinas, and Santa Maria, from a Presbyterian youth group to some different Calvary Chapels to a Foursquare church as well as Freedom Christian Fellowship to home meetings. The cool thing is that wherever people are open God pours out His Spirit, all it takes is an open heart and faith.

We have seen many young people really filled and empowered as we've been sharing how God wants to empower us to use us to reach out to others. It is radical how the Lord put that immediately to demonstration on the way home right after ministering to the Foursquare Church in Salinas where we saw a radical outpouring on the youth and teaching on being used to reach others and divine appointments and being used to touch lives:

After the service we were driving back to where we were staying but I kept having a sense that God wanted us to do something other than just head back home and I was praying in the Spirit seeking God's direction and our friend Dave who was hosting us and who was filled with the Spirit when we prayed for him at a another ministry occasion, felt that maybe we should stop, I agreed and led by the Holy Spirit we went into this parking lot where some people were coming out of this college. We just felt led to get out of the car and began to pray and seek God if there was someone he wanted us to talk to. I started talking to this lady and as I talked to her I was trying to be tactful but the Spirit of God just caused me to blurt out and ask if she knew the Lord. She said yes and we asked her some other questions and stuff. Then we were asking if she had any prayer requests and our friend Dave had a word of knowledge and began to ask her how her walk with God really was and she began to confess that it wasn't very good at this time and then he said the Lord showed him that she was backslidden, at that she began to tear up and weep and we began to pray with her to turn her life back over to the Lord.

Right there in the parking lot of a local community college we were praying for her as people walked by looking on and she was gloriously re-connected with Christ and filled with his love. We had another divine appointment shortly thereafter where we prayed for another woman in a pizza restaurant who was a Christian but needed a fresh touch of God's power and boy did he bring it.

We kept on witnessing to others throughout the night and later as we sought to record some of what God did on video the Spirit of God fell on our son Patrick who experienced the love of Christ in a marvelous and intimate way and who said he feels led to share now with others and preach too! Glory!!!

God put to demonstration what I had just been preaching and teaching on that very night about reaching out through his power even as we drove home from church. The Spirit of God indeed makes us witnesses as we are filled with his power as our friend Dave got to experience and now share with others. Praise the Lord!!

We got some fun surf too while in these areas.

Bryan getting a cold water snap in Carmel.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Road Warrior Lessons

If you didn't get a chance to hear our live on-air radio interview with Laetitia Gotte who works in Romania with street children who literally live in the sewers of Bucharest, you can now listen to it online by clicking here. Be sure to check out our over 100 programs available on iTunes as well, all for free. Also, take a look at our Christian History Timeline, it gives you a chronological perspective of different events and key figures. We’re not talking here about just a bunch of dead guys but about a truly living history where the Holy Spirit perspective is involved!

While we ourselves are from the US and Laetitia and her cohorts are from France, we somehow found ourselves on the road together for over 4000 miles through numerous countries particularly in Eastern Europe, in a tiny VW Golf packed to the gills with junk, clothes, and food, going night and day with little sleep for weeks on end, while enduring trying to sleep in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable and yet we all are still friends.

Hanging out, ministering together, and doing the interview while Laetitia was visiting here in the US brought back some wild memories from that long and winding road adventure.

One in particular was of an especially rough night. We had already been driving in the little car that day for 8 hours, traversing through the hills of Romania and descending the long straight flat lanes of Hungary when we finally stopped by Lake Balaton for a little break. At that point I thought I had already had as much of sitting in the little car as I could possibly handle that particular day, after weeks and weeks on end of the same activity. And yet, after a little food and walking around, it was back on the road for more fun sitting jammed up to our necks in the little car again.

Ten hours later, after having passed through Slovenia and crossed the border into Italy, we found ourselves in quite the predicament. It was coming upon two o’ clock in the morning and we couldn’t find a place to stay. We’d made the supremely intelligent calculation of arriving into one of the most touristed areas in Europe in the middle of the night in the middle of tourist season and of course everything was full.

Nobody in the car had any strength left to keep going so we finally pulled into one of the most dreadful locations one could imagine for spending the night, an Italian truck stop. Not only were there bright lights shining everywhere giving it the appearance of a border check point – rough memories from earlier in the trip—but extremely loud trucks were constantly coming in and going out and coming in and going out every few moments!!! That, along with the fact that they left their extremely loud generators running with a hideous racket sound going all night long, gave the place the overwhelming feel of something like what sleeping on a busy airport tarmac must be like, a great place to catch a few zzz’s. All I could think while surveying our surroundings for trying to get a bit of slumber in this location was “this looks like all the fun of a root canal without the actual drilling.”

I’d been in that car for 10 hours beyond what I thought I could take that day already, and was not too stoked while realizing this is where we were about to spend the night. We were already exhausted from lack of sleep from the last few weeks already, the last place we’d stayed had six cats that exacerbated allergies and the news of the recent death of my younger brother was not allowing me much sleep either. This is the kind of travel where God really does some stretching on your soul!! No cruise ship tour here bro just hard-core roughing it for the sake of the Gospel.

The final blow came when Laetitia’s brother Nat, who had been driving last, in exhaustion rolled back the driver’s seat right on top of my legs pinning me to one spot, while he immediately fell asleep. Stuck as I was and unable to even move a little to get even the slightest bit comfortable, my flesh and soul were being stretched to the very core at that moment.

“I’ve been in this car 18 hours and I’m not gonna spend another moment pinned here like some rat in a rattrap.” I protested to everyone snoring—all were already fast asleep from road exhaustion—as I opened the car door.

I wiggled my legs out from underneath the seat, while Nat and everyone else snored away, and rolled out onto the cement. A few moments on that cement made it clear that this wasn’t any better.

Finally I spotted a patch of grass at the back of the truck stop and made my way over to it; I fashioned myself a little bed out of some towels and few other things and laid down.
Surely this wasn’t a safe idea, lying out on some grass in the middle of a foreign truck stop; however, it was flat, soft, and wasn’t the car—that was all I cared about at the moment.
I laid down my weary head on some more towels and said, “Lord, what are you putting us through here?”

In that moment I was immediately reminded of a saying from some modern day warriors known as the Navy Seals who teach in their intensive military training: “You can endure ten times the amount of what your mind tells you and what you think you can.” Here I had been ten hours beyond the limit of what I thought I could go that day as the Lord reminded me of this.

The Lord had been having me read some of their stuff recently as preparation for some of the inevitable hardships that come with mission trips and traveling ministry in some of these wild and distant locations and here it was now being applied directly to me.

The Lord then spoke: “You are a warrior and will endure it and grow from it.”
The next thing I knew there was a glorious awareness of God placing some warrior angels to stand watch right over me. I could feel the Lord’s awesome presence in a remarkable way and the presence of His warrior angels as I fell into a much-needed deep sleep.

Though it was only a few hours of rest, the next thing I knew we were getting up and drinking some Italian cappuccinos and heading off for a little tour of the famous city of Venice, which just happened to be close by.

As we walked around the city of Venice that morning, enjoying the sights and sounds of this famed Italian city on the water, I wondered, “Where am I getting this strength to do all this walking after such a night?” and was reminded again, “You can endure ten times the amount you think you can.”

Persevering and enduring through trial and tribulation is something all too forgotten in the shallow pop Christian culture’s message of “Live your best life now” and candy-coated Christianity being peddled in so many places these days.

We sometimes need a little reminder that people like Paul the apostle suffered all kinds of terrible hardships in his quest to preach the Gospel and wasn’t able to just “positively confess” or use trite little sayings to get himself out of the very heavy suffering that he endured at times.

Paul was doing anything but “living his best life now” while choosing to suffer for the sake of preaching and spreading the Gospel of Christ. In actual fact, he had given up “his best life” as a fat cat Pharisee and chose instead to suffer for the sake of Christ’s truth, going often without food or shelter while being hit hard with persecution. (2 Cor. 11:23-29)
He had to learn to persevere, as we all need to do, and to endure through all kinds of trial and tribulation in order to come to that place where his trials were indeed turned to gold.