I picked up my cell phone, pushed the home button and said, “Text ‘So and So’.”

Siri responded, “What would you like to say to ‘So and So’?”

I began to articulate my message then paused and waited for Siri to respond.

“Would you like me to send, cancel or edit this text?” Siri asked me.

“Send.” I replied.

“Sending now.” Siri responded.

“Thank yo….” I began to say. Then I stopped myself.

It’s habit for me. A good habit–to be thankful when a task has been performed for me or if I have received assistance from someone. I want to convey my gratitude, and I want it to be received. Often, if I am thanking a person and they do not hear me, I will repeat myself to let them know I am thankful, and that their efforts meant something to me. But what does Siri do with my appreciation?

What about the act of “mindfulness” where we say what we are thankful for and try to appreciate feelings of gratitude? Who is receiving the thanks? siri

If all of life is energy–space+chance+time, and there is no ultimate reality, then my gratitude is an offering to a universe that does not care that I am here, nor did it plan my existence. The act of thankfulness to the universe becomes an empty action devoid of ultimate meaning.  Giving thanks to Siri for sending a text for me amounts to nothing, as there is nothing really meaningful received by Siri or appreciated. Giving thanks is a good practice, but just an empty exercise if there is no recipient.

It seems that we have plenty to be thankful for, but have no one to be thankful to.

One of the beautiful things about humanity is that we are capable of giving and receiving love, thanks, and appreciation. We are wired that way. We excel when we are loved and appreciated, and we deteriorate and languish when we are not loved, or noticed for who we are and the things we do. This is the Image of God stamped into each one of us. It reflects His design and character. When we give and receive love and appreciation, we develop relationships, and out of those relationships flow the most meaningful issues of life.

Thankfulness at its core declares intrinsic value. It is an acknowledgement that the deed performed was understood and recieved as a gift from the one who gave it, thereby stating that the one who gave it has value, and that their gift in some way added value to our lives by our receiving it.

The act of thankfulness is another reason I believe there is a God. The fact that I can recognize the value in another person tells me that people are created with intrinsic value. And if people have intrinsic value, it would have to be because there is a  God who both planned us, loves us,  and cares very much about our existence. He pours out His blessings on purpose, and we in turn “well up” with thankfulness. When we aren’t tossing up words to the space/time continuum, but to a Person–to God, relationship forms. And in a relationship with God we find our deepest meaning and purpose. It is then that we are able to see the beauty and value of those around us He has made in His image, and our gratitude finds a place to both be anchored and freely given.



God Without a Doubt

I first noticed it in the story of Job. Job is a book of the Bible in the Old Testament that tells us the behind the scenes moments in the life of a man who lived righteously and whose integrity was impeccable, and was the victim of a nefarious plot from Satan himself.

Job 2:2-10

On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

Did you see it? Look how God speaks about Job. God describes him to Satan as a blameless and upright man who fears God, shuns evil and maintains his integrity. Not only does God accurately describe the character of Job, He speaks as a God who has no doubts about Job. While Satan is looking for the loophole, for the weakness in Job’s character to bring him down, God has a confidence in Job that no one could shake, not even Satan.

From the life stories of Moses, Gideon, Esther, David, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and the disciples of Jesus comes a recurring theme of a God who has no doubts about the ones He chooses, or whether or not they will succeed in the thing He is calling them to. We hear these people doubting all over the place, sometimes even pretending they have nothing to do with God (Peter for example), and yet God has an unwavering confidence.

I so want to look at each of these people and say “God chose them because of this or that, like their righteousness,” as in Job’s case, but more often I see the reason God chose these people is that He looks for people who will put all of their confidence in His abilities. Because God has unswerving confidence in His own abilities, God chooses people He can transform, who are willling to be positioned in uncomfortable places and lean in to Him with all of their might. These men and women are unstoppable in God’s purposes. And He never doubts them.

There is a lyric to a song that has grabbed my heart these past months called “Mercy“by Amanda Cook, and Steffany Frizzell Gretzinger, and it says this: “Oh Love, Great Love, fear cannot be found in you, and there will never be a day You are uncertain of the ones You choose.” I mulled these lyrics over and over in my head. “there will never be a day You are uncertain of the ones You choose.” These words are true. I see them throughout scripture from the Old Testament to the New.

Jude, a brother of Jesus ends his book in the Bible with this Doxology:

Jude 24-25
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

To Him who is able!! Because of God’s unfailing ability to always do the right thing, because God has committed Himself to you and your eternity when you put your trust in Him, because He is not limited in power, potential, mercy, grace, strength, and vision, and because He loves you, He has no doubts about you, He is able to present you before His glorious presence without fault, and with great joy!!

Have you considered His Credentials? Meditate on a God who has full confidence in His own abilities. Think about how God enjoys sharing His victories with us by inviting us into His plans and purposes. Lean in to His strength, and power. And put your full confidence in this God without a doubt!


Photo credit: Bethany Morris (c)2016

Reinhard Bonnke’s School of Evangelism

All of the applications for the Reinhard Bonnke School of Evangelism were read and prayed over by Reinhard himself as he chose the 150 students who would attend the four days of classes in May 2016. I felt so privileged to be one of the accepted applicants. As I sat in the very first session Reinhard shared about how he looked over every application, and was particularly interested in one student. He scanned the room looking for the student who fit the description, while saying, “A ten-year-old boy.”

I think we were all surprised to see a young man stand to his feet. He was dressed in a suit, and he had come all the way from India. His father was by his side, also dressed in a suit. The boy was 10. God had called him into ministry and he wanted to be trained.

“I was ten years old when God called me.” Reinhard said. “And I do not take lightly the calling of God. I am so glad you are here!”

Well, that started the waterworks for me. My tears began. I remembered when God called me into ministry when I was 12 years old. I remembered the men and women who invested into my life at that time helping to equip me. I preached, I sang, I prayed, I evangelized, I prophecied, I studied, I worshiped, and I walked in a boldness that only God could give to someone at my age. That boldness carried through my junior high, highschool and Bible school years.

I was ready to take on the nations by the time I was 21, and I had committed my life to the Great Commission.

I was so thrilled to see that young man there with us.

Every speaker for the four day school, shared the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit and the passionate love and grace of Jesus that marked their lives. From Reinhard himself whose 30 years on the continent of Africa have become a harvest of souls giving their lives to Jesus at a rate exceeding tens of millions, to Todd White whose love for people on the streets of every state and country he has walked in, has been a powerful catalyst for them coming to Jesus and receiving even physical healing in the process.

I wanted to hear Reinhard especially. I had read his books as a teenager. I had seen clips of his crusades in Africa, and I remember weeping as a young person over the joy of seeing people come to Jesus. I was thrilled by the healing miracles that always followed the Gospel message. Deaf ears opened, lame legs walking, and even dead lives raised up again. It was my first time to see God’s power in action when the Gospel was preached, and I knew that is what I wanted to be like. I wanted God to use my life like that.

Reinhard would continually call himself “a predecessor” in evangelism, and that we in the room would do more and hopefully exponentially more than he could accomplish in his lifetime.

I can’t describe to you entirely what it feels like to sit in a room where everyone there believes that nothing is impossible–fully certain that God can transform nations, and that the harvest can be reaped millions at a time just as easily as one at a time.

“One on one, or one on a million! Every life matters!” Reinhard would say.

Just when I was beginning to feel like being a woman disqualified me from the things I felt God called me to, God renewed in me the passion to preach the Gospel and pray for the sick.

“Your flame has your name.” was another quote from Reinhard. The flame of the Holy Spirit God has given you is tailored to the ministry God has called you to. You don’t need another person’s flame, you need your own, and you need to get going!

Among 150 students from countries all around the world, I joined in worship, weeping, praying, praise, prophecy, and encouragement with brothers and sisters from Uganda, Nigeria, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, India, Mexico, and the US. I watched lives catch fire for God, and I witnessed those already burning propelled further towards the call God had for them. As I worshiped, I felt the Lord’s faithfulness of having carried me all of these years. I felt Him redeeming all of my years. Even those years that were so difficult, and I wrestled with my faith, and was angry about my calling, as I felt set up for failure. He loved me still. He carried those years. He has never been in doubt of choosing His call for my life.

I’m beginning again, I feel. I have been teaching, leading in worship, writing music, encouraging and praying for all of these years, but that “thing” that is written in my flame that has yet to be seen among those I have lived near these past 20 years, is glowing hot again. I’m called to preach the Gospel. As God opens the doors, I will be stepping through them!

I go from here to a summer of commercial fishing with my family–three months in the waters of the Pacific in Alaska. I will try to blog our family adventures as we go, so stay tuned. I also hope to blog about this new thing God is doing in me, and when we return to land in the Fall, I hope to put boots on the ground and be busy about my Father’s business.

Azusa Now 2016

I don’t even know how to put it all in words.

The stimulus around me in the Los Angeles Memorial Colliseum with 60K+ people was almost too much to take in, but too glorious to miss!

It took about half an hour before I could get into the stadium at the beginning. The lines fanned out around the coliseum in all directions. I stood next to a man from Australia who came for this event. Behind me a large group of women were speaking Spanish.

When I finally entered the building and found my seat, the stage before me was filled with Koreans who were praying down heaven over America. That’s when my tears started, and there was no stopping them. I decided right then and there that if you have a prayer need, grab a Korean and ask them to pray. I think God Himself could almost be yanked out of heaven through the prayers of these passionate faithful men and women.  In both English and Korean, they prayed for America. Prayers for holiness, faith, hope and love in this land again. They prayed for unity, for forgiveness, and for the life of God to breathe in us again. They prayed for North Korea. They prayed that God would send more South Korean’s to North Korea with the gospel. They were so strong in prayer, and I wept at the blessing and heritage they were sharing with us in Los Angeles.

Prayers went up for the First Nations people of America. They prayed for the end of suicide and alcoholism, they prayed that they would awaken and take their place in the Spirit of God as sons and daughters of God with a purpose and a destiny. It was glorious, it was heart-rending, and it was powerful.

Prayer, worship, and declarations continued. There was the sound of tens of thousands of people lost in worship, singing with all of their hearts with the worship band on the stage who was cranking out music that went right to the very soul, and there was “open” area of the floor of the Coliseum where children, and adults were dancing, waving banners, and even turning cartwheels as they worshiped freely with all of their strength. This beautiful tumult was punctuated with the large group of people cheering and shouting as a man who had come to the event in a wheelchair, was now taking steps around the arena. He was swarmed by people raising iPhones above their heads in hopes of capturing this incredible miraculous moment.

Behind me six rows was a young man praying to be set free from drug addiction while his father wept over him. Students had gathered around this precious family and began to speak life and hope into them.

I couldn’t see it all. Brain cancer was being healed, deaf ears were being opened, six more people got up out of wheelchairs and began to walk, people were giving their lives to Jesus for the first time, and hundreds were coming back to Jesus who had walked away from Him. The miracles were happening all around the stadium, in the outer hallways, in the parking lots, and around the world as people tuned in to watch the event live.

I couldn’t keep from weeping. Hourly, moment by moment for the 15 hours.

The rain would begin to pour, and we in the audience would quickly don our rain coats, or ponchos, pull our hoods up over our heads and I would stand so that the water would run straight down me rather than pooling in my lap.

This was an historic event. One I had prayed to see since I was a teenager asking God to send a revival to our nation. To see on the stage a representative from so many ethnic groups and races represented in prayer, forgiveness, and reconcilliation, was a powerful sight.


Lou Engle encouraged all attendees to not interact as though we were there to see an event, but to respond as one Body as the leaders led us in prayer, worship, repentance, and honor. We stood together, we knelt together, we shouted, we prayed, we applauded. When there was a request for silence, the hum and buzz of 60k + people quieted as if a blanket rested on all of us. There were such holy moments.

I flew over 2000 miles to be there, and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

I’m quite sure there will be more to this event that I will process later, but I am so thrilled to have been a part of an event that will shape history. I agree with Lou Engle in this: “The answer to a divided nation is a united church.”

May we continue to forgive, reconcile, and stand with one another for the healing of our nation.



We Want a King Pt.6

I’ve always been afraid to feel. I’ve dodged feelings most of my life. I’ve numbed myself for so long that this day is terrorizing me. I’ve awakened to my own nightmares.

I passed out once already. I don’t know how long I was out, but I was awakened by the cold splashing of vinegar on my face as another nail was driven into my other wrist. I screamed and spit at the executioners. They bound my feet and nailed them too.

When they lifted up the cross and let it drop into the hole, I passed out again.

I’m awakened again, but by the screaming of the thief two crosses down. He’s cursing and thrashing like someone trying to hasten their death. God is being blasphemed in words I wouldn’t dare utter.

I hurt. Excruciatingly I hurt. The pain I was most afraid to feel, however, is the pain that weighed on me heavier than the cross I carried up this hill. 40 years of grief, of sorrow, of sin, of guilt, of shame. This pain I cannot bear. These are blows of a damning variety, and they have bludgeoned my soul more than the Roman executioners could ever bludgeon my back.

There’s a crowd gathered below our crosses. The man in the middle…they’re calling him the “King of the Jews.” ……Jesus??…..

People are taunting him to come down from the cross and save Himself. The thief on his other side has joined the jeering. The crowd below is full of mockers…except the small band of women and a handful of men whose attention is transfixed in mournful silence on the man in the middle.

Listen, I don’t know who this man in the middle really is. I have only ever believed what the religious rulers said about him (a lesson learned too late about trusting them to tell the truth), but something tells me this man is hanging here because of a lie and he is innocent, and although lies incriminated me, I’m hanging here because of the truth…I’m guilty.

“Save yourself! Save us all!!” sneered the crucified thief.

I breathed in a sharp shallow breath. “Don’t you fear God,” I yelled to the thief two crosses down, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve! But this man has done nothing wrong!”

I shocked myself. I shocked the crowd below…but not the ones gathered at Jesus’ feet. Their eyes met mine with pain-filled approval.

My head is spinning…my heart is aching…

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Those are the first words I have heard from Jesus.

He’s forgiving sin? Is he really who John the Baptist said he was “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world?” Could he forgive mine? He’s calling God his father…

Flashes of images, conversations, sound bytes are flooding me all at once…The adulterous woman…He forgave her….”Your Messiah will come to you riding on the foal of a donkey”….”If I by the finger of God cast out devils, surely the kingdom of God has come unto you.” “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me…” I heard the Roman guards quoting him while in my prison cell…

My lungs are losing capacity. My conscience has condemned me. My guilt has stabbed my heart and I’m bleeding out…but hope is rising in me…

“Jesus, if you really are a king, the Son of God, the Messiah, remember me when you come into your kingdom!” I cried out.

Jesus answered me, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”


“As if a million rivers washed me, all my guilt was swept away, as this Savior in His mercy somehow carried all my pain.

And the Father God embraced me, and I heard Him call me “son”, because the penalty of  sin was now resting on that One…

Jesus, the man in the middle.”

I wanted a king…I needed a savior.

Three crosses“He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.”* (Crum)

*”He Paid a Debt He Did Not Owe” © 1977 Ellis J. Crum, Publisher (Admin. by Sacred Selections R.E. Winsett LLC)


We Want a King Pt. 5

My death sentence was handed to me today.

There’s not enought time! My whole life…every dream, every hope, my plans….ripped from me! I curse Caiaphas! I curse Pilate! I curse the entire Roman Empire! Tyrrants! Blood-sucking murderers! My life has been diseased by the edicts and trickery of the leaders in this nation…

Death row gives you time to think.

I was nine when Herod ordered baby boys ages 2 and under to be murdered in my village. My mother was nursing two twin boys, who were 15 months old when that Heinous Villain ordered his police force to break into homes to slaughter Jewish boys. I wasn’t strong enough to fight them off, and I’ll never forget how my mother screamed when they tore those boys away from our arms. She threw herself at the feet of the commanding officer and begged for their lives. He kicked her. He kicked her so hard she hemorrhaged from the inside out, and she was never able to bear children again. I spit and swore and fought with all my might, but I couldn’t stop them. I couldn’t save my brothers…

We were never the same. My mother “disappeared” after that–stolen away by depression, and numbness. I could never get her back. My father, who was gone when the murders came, could never make sense of it all and drank himself to death within a year. But I, I, on the other hand, decided I would never be a fool of this regime! What they stole from me, I would steal 100 fold in my lifetime. But I would be clever!

Now I’m in the same prison as Barrabas, that infamous murderer and I feel as poisoned as he in my heart.

Am I bitter? Heck, yes! Now I’ve been betrayed by the ones who supposedly are closest to God! I’ve been sold out in exchange for what? For what?

My every waking thought is murder, darkness, destruction, hatred, bitterness, envy, and pride…and severe regret. No, I’m not innocent. But death? Crucifixion?

Tomorrow I’ll carry my cross. Tomorrow  I will die alone. Not even God is going to look my direction. I’m a lying, murdering thief. I know it now, and it’s too late.

We Want a King Pt.4

Part 4 of a short story for Holy Week

I’m an idiot! I should have known better!

Passover is happening in the city this week. Pilgrims from all over are gathering here in Jerusalem to celebrate with family and loved ones. The town is inundated with tourists, and every market buzzing with the fresh clientel. Of course a person in my line of work gets a little excited. In large groups you can do a little pushing and shoving, and lifting of belongings without much notice.

Of course the Roman government would “up” their security measures during this holiday. He must have been a new guard on the policing force because he was cocky, and I didn’t recognize him. At least I hadn’t seen him before. But he saw me. I was helping an older gentleman “offload” his cart in the market place. I helped him offload a few of his coins too when his back was turned. Petty theft, I was sure. But this guy blew it all out of proportion! I’ve been arrested!

I thought that Caiaphas, the High Priest, should be able to get me out of this. I’ve done a few jobs for him, and surely he needs my help if he is going to successfully get rid of that Jesus character. But I should have known that Pharisees have no loyalties. Instead of coming to my defense, Caiaphas sent false witnesses to my jail cell who have now blown my cover and exposed me as a criminal. Why would he do this to me? Instead of standing trial for petty theft, I am now going to stand trial for all of my crimes! What is happening to me? How did I become so disposable?

I’ve always had an alibi! I’ve done so much good for the Jewish rebellion. It can’t be ending like this for me. I know the penalty for thieves like me…

To add insult to injury, the only topic I hear talked about in this prison cell is that man Jesus. Some have said he is a miracle worker who has come from God Himself. The stories they are telling are extravagant. There’s no way that so many miracles could be attributed to one guy. I saw the man. He was riding on a donkey! There was nothing powerful about him. He gets his influence from the stupidity of people. That’s all.

This is madness! I’ve got to get out of here!