Somebody's Baby - by Jon Foreman

Melissa Barrett sent this video to me via Facebook. I was powerfully reminded how 2 weeks earlier Melissa and I prayed for a young woman at a local QuikTrip who was living on the streets. She had her 3-month-old baby with her wrapped up in a blanket. The young woman was an exotic dancer who was trying to survive life on the cold streets of Tulsa. So she would leave her baby at the babysitter's all night while she worked at a local bar dancing for tips. We were able to give her some new tennis shoes to replace the ones she had on that had big holes in them. After praying with her I wept.

After watching this piece by Jon Foreman, I though of that young woman again and cried. Please let this video touch you and bring compassion into your heart.


Redemptive Intercessory Prayer @ Murder Sites - prayer team on the news!

As we were out November 19th praying over 4 murder sites, that counted for 5 homicides, we came across the news media who asked me to do an interview and then taped us as we prayed at the site of a drug related murder. Of course only a very small portion of the full interview was aired, but I believe that God was glorified!!

Video takes about 1 min. to load.
We can be seen at the 1:27 mark.


Casual Christians?

By Darren Smith

Is there any such thing as a casual Christian? I have heard this term a lot in recent times, and to tell you the truth it makes me sick. But as I have thought about this subject and spent time looking around at the body as a whole, I venture to say for the most part it is true of the church today. Before you get angry and stop reading, please hear me out.

How many believers do you know that are really sold out for Christ?...I mean those that Christ is the central focus of their life...a person that has died to self and relies totally on Christ for his substance...one who is willing to sacrifice even to the point of their well being to serve the Lord.

For a long time we have heard sermon after sermon on giving 10% to the church, and yet according to current research, only 30% of the people give 10%. This is sad, but considering that most of that doesn't go to do the work of the ministry its not surprising. I'm not trying to teach on the tithe system, I'm using this as an example of the casual attitude of believers. But I want to take it much deeper than this and ask some very hard questions.

How much of your time do you give to the Lord? Do you spend more time on you than on the Lord? More time on entertainment or hobby's than you do in service to the Lord? Many times people tell us: "We would love to come and help you guys in the street but we are just so busy we simply can not find the time." I wonder if they ever stop to think that we have to sacrifice and make time ourselves. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining, the Lord blesses us and I wouldn't be anywhere else, but it requires sacrifice for us to be here as well. I just want you to see that if you are willing to serve, God will bless you. We have people all the time say: "I have never seen God's power and grace like this in my life." Many of these people have been in church all their life and have never ministered to anyone.

Another response we get is: "I'm not called to do that type of ministry." Oh really? I believe we are all called to take the Gospel to the world, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and to take care of the widows and orphans. To make excuses and put off these things places you in the casual realm. Many will go to church once a week and then go right out and serve themselves all week without doing anything for the Lord. Trust me, "I didn't have time" will not help them in that day when they stand before the Lord. What makes this so sad is that many of them will never hear a message on repentance and total commitment to the Lord because this type of message is not popular in the modern church. It doesn't fill the offering plate or the seats. Instead we hear funny stories and jokes from the pulpit along with humanistic teachings on self-help and prosperity. This system has created the casual Christian which is no Christian at all. So many have been converted to a false religion of self seeking and greed. What is worse, they think they are fine because everyone they know is a casual Christian as well. When they come in contact with a sold out believer, it makes them very uncomfortable. When they hear a repentance message they label it extreme and harsh. These same casual Christians see the world going to hell around them, yet they are not affected by it at all. The thought of sacrifice is foreign to them. Material wealth is equated with blessings from the Lord. After all, many pulpits teach this for self enrichment, so in their mind it's ok.

The reason I write this is for an awakening. We all must look into our heart and see if we are sold out to the Lord. We all have areas we can improve and should! We must get this type of word out and the body must mobilize for the battle. We all will have to sacrifice. We were not put here to live our best life now, our best life is yet to come when the Lord returns. I know this is very convicting, but it must be said. We must repent and give our whole life to the Lord, and that means everything, all of us, everything we are and all we could ever become. We must give it all to the Lord.

So I ask you again, is there any such thing as a casual Christian or maybe more important, are you a casual Christian?

Darren Smith is the pastor of Streetscape Ministries.
Click here to go to Streetscape Ministries website


Outflow - Authentic Relationship

OUTFLOW out-flow (out-flo) n. 1. the act of flowing out. 2. that which flows out. 3. any outward movement.

Authentic relationship is the natural extension of genuine love being poured out on others because you see their value through the eyes of God. When God came to earth in the form of a man, He came as a servant. When you love someone and serve them as Jesus loved and served others, they will freely desire to enter into a heartfelt, sincere and faithful relationship because they know you place a high value on them, just as God places a value on them and gave His only begotten Son for their redemption.

©2009 Richard Jones


The Wedding of Purity and Power

by Paul Holdren.

The wedding of purity and power is a concept that the Holy Spirit is promoting among believers in these latter days. As stated earlier, in the late 1860s after the Civil War, a wave of the Holy Spirit came like a mighty wind moving across the land bringing a fresh awareness of the requirements of God to live a life pleasing to Him. This was to be accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the 1906 Azusa Street outpouring in the City of Los Angeles, the church began to be reawakened to the powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit. This too was to be accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since the advent of the Azusa Street outpouring, the body of Christ has been divided into the purity and power camps.

For the past 100 years the Body of Christ has gotten as much attention from its wild fires as it has from its Holy Ghost fire. For the power camp the emphasis upon purity was almost anathema. For the purity camp the emphasis upon power was almost anathema. This was because each camp expressed doctrinal positions that were unacceptable to the other. They vehemently rejected each others' positions. The power camp noticed that purity expressed without power became both legalistic and limiting. The purity camp noticed that power expressed without purity became both carnal and limiting. Only by the wedding of these two beautiful doctrines can the Spirit of God gain full authority and appreciation within the Body of Christ.

In the present time, the Spirit of Christ is calling the Body of Christ to be reunited in a mighty outpouring of His Holy presence - the Spirit's wedding of purity and power. Each doctrine has something the other needs, a compliment to and completion of God's design for the wholeness of the church. The power camp needs to know of an exclusive holy love that is expressed out of a pure affection for the Holy ONE. The purity camp needs to know a holy power being expressed out of a manifestation of the Holy Spirit's gifts. The purity camp needs to share the beauty of holiness in the spirit of humility. The power camp needs to share the gifts of power in the spirit of humility. The purity camp needs to exercise the power of Christ in "signs and wonders." The power camp needs to exercise purity in "laying one's life down" for another. With a discerning spirit, each can benefit from the other, for these are perilous times in which we live.

Ezekiel added this dimension when he wrote of the prophecies involving the requirements of how the priests were to keep the holy law of the temple (Ezekiel 44-45) and when he wrote of the river flowing from under the threshold of the temple (Ezekiel 47:1-12). The purity of the priests was revealed in that they were to have a certain appearance, conduct themselves in a particular manner, and serve others in a specific way. Everything about the Holiest of All is pure: pure oil, pure clothes, a pure man placing the lamb's pure blood on the pure gold of the mercy seat. This was to be a pure presentation of righteousness, given to a pure and Holy God. The "Holiest of All" is the place of purity. It is here that the river of life has its head waters, emanating from the holiness of God.

The power of the river of God continually increased. The farther away from the temple it flowed, the deeper and wider it became. As the river flows, healing comes to everything in its path. Notice, however, it is the purity of the waters that allows it to contain healing virtue. It is the river's purity that allows the river to be saturated with holy power. By comparison, only powerful men can serve, but powerful men must serve with a pure love for God and their fellow man. It is time for a wedding of purity and power.


RUN! - Carter Conlon

Sent to us by Melissa Barrett

Outflow - Good Tree or Bad Tree?

OUTFLOW out-flow (out-flo) n. 1. the act of flowing out. 2. that which flows out. 3. any outward movement.

Jesus said in Mt.7:17: "...every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." Is the product of your outflow good fruit or bad fruit? Or worse, are you producing no fruit at all? Jesus is the vine and we are his branches, and the branches are to produce fruit. In Lk. 6:44 Jesus said: "Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers." We are grafted into the Tree of Life, and the fruit of our outflow should be good. So go and bear good fruit!

©2009 Richard Jones


Back to the Cross - by Chip Brogden

“For I determined to not know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified".
(I Corinthians 2:2)

Though Paul had quite a bit of knowledge and many things to say and teach the Corinthians, he determined to become a man of one subject: Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

We must become foolish in order to be wise.

We must give up everything in order to get back everything.

We must become weak in order to be strong.

We must die in order to live.

We can quote these teachings of Jesus, seek to imitate Him as our Example, strive to walk the narrow Way, and even accomplish many good deeds in His Name. But apart from the Cross these activities are wood, hay and stubble. The moment we are challenged or confronted by the opposition we will fall away. Perhaps we can appear to be patient, but a day comes when we lose our patience. Perhaps we can appear to be gentle, but a day comes when our roughness is revealed. Perhaps we can appear to be humble, but a day comes when pride is discovered in us and we fall. Perhaps we can obey the letter of the law and appear outwardly to others as being righteous, but when alone and faced with the secrets of our heart and mind we discover that the inside of the cup is full of uncleanness.

In calling us to come back to the Cross, God is asking us lay down our lives and embrace the Wisdom of death, burial, resurrection, and ascension in order to live as sons and daughters within the Kingdom of God. Apart from the Cross we can neither enter the Kingdom nor live in the Spirit, no matter how great the desire. For apart from the Cross, we do not know what it is to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. Apart from the Cross, we do not know what it is to submit to the will of God, accept suffering, and cast ourselves upon Him.

Apart from the Cross, we do not know what Resurrection is.

Religion seeks to reform a man; the Cross seeks to crucify him. Religion may fail to bring about the desired result, but the Cross never fails to achieve its end. Mankind will pursue morality, virtue, spirituality, even perform religious works and good deeds, in order to avoid death on a Cross. But there are no wounds, no scars, no evidence of having ever died and been made alive unto God. Either a man has never died, or he has died and been raised again. You cannot fake a resurrection.

The Cross is the means by which God reduces us to Christ, that we may be raised to new Life. What cannot be accomplished in a lifetime of self-effort is easily accomplished in God through the Cross. We may take many shortcuts along the way and attempt to escape the inevitable, but the day we cease striving and meekly accept the Cross we find everything is done for us. In fact, death by crucifixion cannot be accomplished by suicide. We cannot crucify ourselves. The instrument of our death is chosen for us, as well as the manner in which it is carried out, the timing and the duration of the execution - all is controlled by Another. There is nothing to be done, for we must submit to the Unseen Hand and cast ourselves completely upon Him.

If we will follow Jesus, we must take up the cross daily, deny ourselves, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).
The Cross Is Wisdom Through Foolishness

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness (I Cor.1:18a).” There is a wisdom which comes from above. This wisdom is counter to the wisdom which is earthly. Our thoughts, reasonings, arguments, rationales, and opinions are worthless in God’s sight. We are commanded to have the mind of Christ and seek the Wisdom which comes from God.

Humanly speaking, the Cross makes no sense. If we approach God with our minds only, we will never know Him. If we study the Cross in order to gain a new teaching or doctrine it will make no impression on us. Indeed, we may memorize the appropriate verses of Scripture, even teach others what we have learned, and never experience the reality of it. How easily and freely we may talk about dying to self, taking up the cross, and living the crucified life. But knowledge without experience is nothing. Indeed, knowledge without experience only deceives us into thinking we are living something just because we are able to rehearse a few facts mentally. This counts for nothing in spiritual matters.

We must ask God to empty us of our preconceived ideas and notions and fill us instead with His Mind. We must relinquish our wisdom and receive His Wisdom. His Wisdom is how He sees things. How we see things is irrelevant, and will mislead us. His Ways and His Mind are higher than our ways and our mind. The Cross is the means by which God seeks to destroy the earthly wisdom and the carnal mind. The Cross, then, is wisdom through foolishness.

The Cross Is Gaining Through Losing

In order to accumulate more, we usually think that we must add to that which we have already. The Wisdom of God teaches us that in order to gain, you must first lose. Think of a child who refuses to let go of his old, broken toy in order to receive new ones from his father. To his mind he is losing something. But by letting go, by giving up, he gains.

Like the child, we stubbornly refuse to relinquish our grip on our spiritual possessions. We tenaciously cling to things as a child would cling to a collection of broken toys. We collect teachings, experiences, and good deeds, pointing to these as proof that we are spiritually endowed. Until we are willing to part with our “riches” we will not be able to receive the true Riches of Christ in us. The Cross demonstrates that we do not gain by trying to get, but by losing in order to gain. We cannot really receive from God until we have learned to give up unto God. It is the spirit which cries, “Not my will, but Thine be done” and “Father, into Thine Hand I commit my spirit.”

These words are easily uttered, but we cannot appreciate them or really experience them until we have been through our Gethsemene experiences and our Golgotha experiences. Until that time we are merely reciting some words, but we do not truly know what it means to give ourselves up to God, to be completely consecrated and submitted to Him. The Cross prepares us to receive by first forcing us to give up. Therefore, the Cross is gaining through losing.

The Cross Is Power Through Weakness

“God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty (I Cor. 1:27b).” To the natural way of thinking, power and weakness are opposites. That is, in order to have power, we must eliminate weakness. The Wisdom of God teaches us differently. This Wisdom tells us that the weak things are chosen to overcome the mighty things, and power works concurrently with weakness.

The Cross is meant to inflict pain, weaken, and slowly kill. It is the ultimate expression of weakness. The victim is stripped naked and nailed to the wood through their hands and feet. Their weight is supported by their legs until they are too tired to stand. When their legs give way their entire weight is supported by their outstretched arms (to speed this process along the legs are sometimes broken). The chest cavity is eventually pulled apart from this stress and the helpless victim slowly dies of suffocation as the lungs collapse.

The crucified one can hardly move, much less struggle. Once the nails are in place there is no way to remove them. You carry nothing with you, and have nothing remaining. You can neither speed up nor slow down your death. The shame of your nakedness is open for all to see. Besides the physical suffering, the soul is stripped of its dignity and pride. There is no escape.

God desires to give you power, but that power only comes through weakness. Any power not obtained through weakness is illegitimate, no matter how spiritual it appears. The only legitimate power is granted to those who have been made weak. Power is birthed in weakness. Many exude a certain “power”, but there is not the corresponding weakness. Hence, the power only gives them an occasion for boasting. To remedy this, God has ordained that all who would have His power must first be weakened and made empty - we refer to this as being “broken”. The purpose of weakness and suffering is to open the way for His Power. The instrument God uses to weaken us is the Cross. Therefore, the Cross is power through weakness.

The Cross Is Life Through Death

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me (Gal.2:20a).” There can be no Resurrection Life without a Crucified Death. Naturally we expect that in order to live we must avoid death at all costs. Yet, the Wisdom of God teaches us that Life is found by embracing Death - that is, as we die to ourselves we are made alive unto Christ.

There is a principle of death that works in us. When we are born, we begin to age and die. For the one in Christ, physical death is not the end, but the beginning. Likewise, a God-ordained death on the Cross is not the end, but the beginning. The Cross works death in us that the Spirit may work life in us. The Cross kills that which needs to be killed in us, whereas the Spirit gives Life to that which has been killed. The Cross beats and tears down, while the Spirit rebuilds that which has been destroyed. Only those who have experienced Death can truly minister Life and speak to dead men.

Now if we have not learned what it is to die daily, we will not experience the life of God daily. In a word, I am dead, yet I am living. I am crucified, yet I am alive. On the one hand I am weakened to the point of death and powerless; on the other hand, I live by the power of God and am strengthened with all might by His Spirit which indwells me. The moment I cease to experience death, however, at that precise moment I cease to experience life, for the cross is life through death.
The Aim of God’s Dealings

“Verily, verily I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdest thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not (John 21:18).” Though our heart attutude should be childlike, God desires us to be men and women of maturity. He desires us to grow spiritually. In order to accomplish this He allows us to meet with many disagreeable circumstances and trials.

When we are young in the Lord we do as we please. We find much pleasure in serving the Lord according to our own thought, and everything is light and gay. We live a life of feeling and sensation. We are easily moved by how we feel. If we are happy we gladly deny ourselves and pour ourselves out in service. But when we are sad or troubled by our circumstances we feel as though we have been deserted. The Lord must then reach forth and draw the little sheep back to Himself again, whereupon our feeling is restored and we renew our devotion with the same vigor as before. This is the way of those who are young: they dress themselves and go where they wish.

But when we are older in the Lord, the life of faith commences as we stretch forth our hands in surrender and allow Another to dress us and carry us where we do not wish to go. We no longer dress ourselves and go our own way. We no longer walk, but we are carried. We may no longer consider our own wishes. We may no longer act according to a will of our own apart from God’s will. Instead, we have finally submitted to God’s dealings with us. We recognize at last how we have until now been full of ourselves, speaking many words in addition to what God had given us, and performing many acts apart from the ones that God was calling us to perform. Likewise, we see how often we have failed to speak and act on many occasions because we simply loved ourselves more than we loved God.

This transition between a life of feeling and a life of faith, from being self-ruled to being Spirit-ruled, does not happen in a few days. What stands between the experience of the young and the experience of the old? What is it that brings about this maturity? How is this growth achieved? By what means does God accomplish this work of transformation? In speaking to Peter, the Lord is telling him by what death he will die to glorify God (v.19). We know that Peter was eventually crucified upside-down and died a martyr’s death. But, the daily cross of self-denial that Peter bore was the means by which God was able to subdue his wild nature and transform him into a man of faith. His was a living sacrifice. The physical cross upon which he died was a testimony to his having already laid down his life a million times prior to that final act.

The death God really seeks in us is not the future laying down of our physical life, but the moment -by-moment laying down of our self. It is not the once-and-for-all martyr’s death but the daily dying and living unto God that brings Him the most glory. In fact, those who have not denied themselves in the seemingly insignificant matters of daily life will find it difficult, if not impossible, to lay down their physical lives should that be required of them.

God is calling us to become foolish in order to be wise; to give up everything in order to get back everything; to become weak in order to become strong; to come back to the cross and die that we may live. In these pages we hope to communicate this urgent call. Today, let us ask God to quicken this to our hearts, and grant that we may become People of the Cross, experiencing the Death of the Lord that we may have the Life of the Lord. Let us determine henceforth to know nothing, but Christ and Him crucified: for the disciple is not above the Master, but the disciple shall be as his Master (Luke 6:40).


Lover or Prostitute?

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this:

Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old--barely out of diapers--and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, "An enterprise. That's a business." After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha's raised hand, "Yes, Martha." She asked such a simple question, "A business? But isn't it supposed to be a body?" I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, "Yes." She continued, "But when a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?"

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, "Wow, I wish I'd thought of that." I didn't dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.

Martha's question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. "When a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?" There is only one answer to her question. The answer is "Yes." The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don't even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

... I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God--much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don't care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ--that's pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don't even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha's question again one day, and considered the question, "What's the difference between a lover and a prostitute?" I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, "What would happen if God stopped paying me?"

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for an unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us. Take another
look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

We must choose.

-Dr. David Ryser.


Outflow - Seeds of Redemption

OUTFLOW out-flow (out-flo) n. 1. the act of flowing out. 2. that which flows out. 3. any outward movement.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was completely surrendered to the Lord when she said, "Let it be done according to Your Word." It was then that the Holy Spirit overtook her and planted the seed of mankind's redemption in her. Today, as we totally surrender ourselves to God's Incarnate Word, He plants us as seeds in the earth so that the outflow of His redemptive plan bears fruit unto salvation. He impregnates us with His DNA so that we can be the carriers & evidence of His saving grace.

©2009 Richard Jones



By Frank Viola:

Paul of Tarsus used the phrase “my gospel” numerous times in his letters. He was referring to the message that he preached.

While there’s nothing wrong with the gospel, I do have concerns about what’s missing from our gospel—that is, the gospel that many Christians are hearing today.

N.T. Wright wrote a great book recently (Surprised by Hope) that went into various aspects of the gospel that are missing from our gospel. Namely, the Christian’s true hope.

Of course, your mileage may vary. And if it does, that’s great. But a large portion of the Christian world today has neglected a number of vital elements of the gospel. Here are just three of them:

1) The reality of an indwelling Lord.

There’s a great deal of emphasis today on the need to be like Christ. To imitate His earthly life. This is commonly tied into and often defined as “discipleship.”

I believe that this emphasis is correct, but it’s not complete.

Christian leaders have been telling God’s people that they must “be like Christ” for the last 600 years (at least). The well-known book by Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, was published around 1418.

Some 480 years later, Charles M. Sheldon’s book, In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do was published. Ever since then, Christians have been trying to “do what Jesus did.”

I believe the reason why this “gospel” hasn’t worked is because it’s asking the wrong question. The question is not “what would Jesus do?” It’s “what is Jesus Christ doing through me … and through us?”

Unlike all other religions, the founder of our faith is still alive.

But that’s not all.

He lives inside of all who have repented and believed upon Him.

But that’s not all.

As Christians, we have been called to live by His indwelling life. And we can.

Note Jesus’ own words:

"As the living Father has sent Me and I live by the Father, so He who partakes of Me shall live by Me."

A large part of the gospel is to be awakened to an indwelling Christ — not as a doctrine or theology, but as a living, breathing Person whose life we can live by.

Paul’s central message was “Not I, but Christ” and “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (See Romans 8, Colossians 1, Galatians 2, and John 14-17, where Jesus Himself spoke about His indwelling just before His death.)

Jesus Christ lived His life by an indwelling Father. In the same way, we as believers can only live the Christian life by an indwelling Christ. This is not peripheral; it’s a central part of the gospel.

Imitating Jesus, therefore, is not a matter of trying to mimic the outward things He did (as if we can actually do that in our own energy).

It’s rather a matter of imitating the way He lived His life in order to produce that fruit. It’s to get in touch with the engine of His outward activities, and to “do likewise.”

This puts us on a collision course with the matter of living by an indwelling Lord.

2) The Greatness of Christ.

Some Christian groups present a Christ of Romans and Galatians. He’s come to save the lost.

Other Christian groups present the Christ of the Gospels. His earthly life must be imitated.

Some Christian groups present the Christ of the cross. His death is emphasized above all else.

Other Christian groups present the Christ of Easter. His resurrection is emphasized above all else.

All of the above emphasize the Christ of time.

But there is the Christ who exists before time.

And there is the Christ of the present and the future.

All are the same Christ.

All of creation was created in the Son of God before time, and He was made the Firstborn of all creation. Further, God the Father chose all of His people in Christ before time (Colossians 1; Ephesians 1).

After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ sat at the right hand of God as Lord of heaven and earth. Today, He intercedes for us, acts as our High Priest, loves us as our Shepherd, and lives out His indwelling life in and through us.

As the Alpha and Omega, time is within Him. Jesus Christ knows no beginning or end. All of creation is moving toward Christ being Head over all, in all, through all, to all, until He is All and All.

In the end, all things will be summed up in this incredible Christ (Colossians 1; Ephesians 1).

And this is the Christ that has taken up residence within you and me.

3) God’s eternal purpose.

With few exceptions, our gospel begins with Genesis 3 rather than Genesis 1.

Our starting point is the fall of humanity.

The result: Everything is framed around God’s redemptive mission. It’s all about saving a lost world.

Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that evangelical Christians have built their theology mostly on Romans and Galatians. And many nonevangelical Christians have built it on the Gospels (particularly the Synoptics—Matthew, Mark, and Luke). And for both groups, Ephesians and Colossians have been but footnotes.

But what if we began, not with the needs of humans, but with the intent and purpose of God? What if we took as our point of departure, not the earth after the fall, but the eternal activity in God Himself before the constraints of physical time?

In other words, what if we built our theology on Ephesians and Colossians and allowed the other NT books to follow suit?

Why Ephesians and Colossians? Because these two letters give us the clearest look at Paul’s gospel with which Christ commissioned him. These two letters begin, not with the needs of postfall humans, but with God’s timeless purpose before creation. They also introduce us to Christ in His preincarnate state.

I assert that if we did this, the Gospels and the rest of the NT (let alone the entire OT), would fall into a very different place for us.

The Gospels are not the beginning point of the Christian faith. Neither is the OT. Both give us the middle of the story. Ephesians, Colossians, and the gospel of John are the introduction and the opening chapters of that story. Those writings give us a glimpse into Christ before time and what His original mission is all about.

In this regard, we can liken the gospel that many of us have heard to watching Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI first (which is the way they came out in the theaters).

But for us to really understand what’s going on in that drama, we must begin at the right place with Episodes I, II, and III.

Consider this fact. Human beings didn’t come into this world in need of salvation. There was a purpose in God that came before the fall, and He has never let go of it.

Without an understanding of God’s ageless purpose, our good deeds can be likened to playing an instrument on our own as opposed to playing with others as part of an orchestra that is performing one breathtaking song.

What an amazing Lord we have.

I hope that in time these three aspects of the gospel will become part of our gospel.

Frank’s new book, From Eternity to Here, is on discount at Parable.com for a limited time. For more information, including reader reviews and endorsements, go to FromEternitytoHere.org


Outflow - A Slave's Provision

OUTFLOW out-flow (out-flo) n. 1. the act of flowing out. 2. that which flows out. 3. any outward movement.

The apostle Paul often referred to himself as a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a slave (doulos) of Christ, a slave to righteousness, and no longer a slave to sin. He knew that everything pertaining to Life and Godliness flowed out from the One who purchased him and owned him! Slaves must totally depend on the one who owns them for their provision. We who believe are all slaves to Christ and we must look to Him as our provider. He is our life and all provision flows from Him.

©2009 Richard Jones


Man's Stab Wound Miraculously Healed During Our Homeless Outreach!

By Joy Jones

I want to give written testimony to a miracle that took place last Saturday on the streets of Tulsa by writing and remembering what the Lord has done, and if you want to share with others, it shows how God comes and heals us at our time of greatest need.

A black man who was highly intoxicated staggered up to where we were feeding and ministering during our regular street outreach. Staggering by with a body language that cried desperately for help, he loudly claimed that he didn't want any help, that he wanted to be left alone.

However, the man had just been stabbed 2 blocks away by a another homeless man who tried to rob him. Blood was flowing profusely from where the knife had gashed the palm side of his hand near the base of his thumb. The knife went deep and the meat under his flesh was openly exposed and protruding out of his hand. (Jesus knew what that was like!) A lady from our group named Linda had a first-aid kit with some gauze and made an attempt to bandage his wound. He didn’t want us to call an ambulance, yet he wouldn’t stand still long enough for Linda to properly wrap the gauze around his hand.

The man was belligerent and not wanting help when my husband Rich, pastor of the Uprising, and two other men on the outreach team, John and Jim, walked over and stood by him to minister. In this man’s anger, hurt and hopelessness, he flat out said he wanted to die, yet during the convesation he was quoting scriptures. Rich looked him in the eye (the window of his soul) and spoke … “Well Jesus doesn’t want you to die! He wants you to live and speak forth God’s Word of Life into others!” As Rich continued to encourage him through prophetic prayer, this man totally broke down and cried in his arms. They embraced, prayed and cried together for five or more minutes. It was truly a Holy moment in time and it seemed as though the glory of God was all around them. It was at that point when God imparted His compassion and mercy into the man and he was instantly made sober. All the effects of his drinking were gone. It was visible and the man couldn’t even believe how straight and clear headed he felt. His entire countenance was changed!

The man then asked Rich to come pray over the tent he had put up near the old RT. 66 bridge on the west bank of the Arkansas River. So Rich drove him over to a place near his tent where they could park. One of the other team members and his wife followed in their car just to be safe. As Rich and the man walked the 3-4 blocks back to his tent, the man kept saying that he was no longer drunk but sober.

When they finally arrived at the man’s tent Rich prayed over it and prayed for the man’s safety. At that point the man pulled his injured hand out of the pocket of his insulated jumpsuit. They saw that the bandage had come off the place where he had been stabbed and where the meat of his hand had been coming out. There was dried blood all over his entire hand, but the place where he was stabbed had no blood on it and the skin was as new! God had completely healed the man’s hand!!

Rich and the man, whose name is Lon, had agreed to meet 2 days later at the library. When Rich went to meet Lon, he saw him standing and waiting for him by the Library. Lon was grinning from ear-to-ear and was praising God for the miracle healing of his hand! Lon said later that something happened to him that day, something that changed his life forever. He said that for the first time in many years he knew that someone really loved him. He made a commitment right there to go into alcohol treatment and said he was ready to get his life back on track so that he could serve God and fulfill the destiny that God had for his life.

We give all glory to God our Father and thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ, for He alone is worthy to be praised!

Please pray for Lon as he seeks the Lord and for his recovery from alcohol addiction.


©2009 Joy Jones


12 year-old speaks out on abortion

YOPP! That’s the final word that made all the difference at the end of Dr. Seuss’ story Horton Hears a Who. May we suggest that it stands for Young Ones Praying and Prophesying. With that in mind meet Lia. She’s a 12-year-old seventh grader that recently decided to make a courageous stand in her school by giving a persuasive speech on the topic of abortion. Even when her teachers strongly encouraged her to choose a different topic, she decided to stick with what she felt passionate about. An email from her mother describes what led Lia to make such a bold move.

It was really a family thing. I saw Lou [Engle] speak at a conference several years ago. I came back to my family with the Life Bands, and we all wore them, made our covenant, and prayed the prayer for abortion to end… We were invited to participate in a “Life Tape Siege”. Once my kids heard of this invitation, they all agreed: “We have to do that!” Since then, Lia’s passion for seeing abortion end has continued. Being impacted by Lou’s words regarding Horton [Hears a Who], she was excited to watch the movie when it was released (and the rest of the family were too!).

In the email, her mother goes on to describe the challenges and consequences Lia faced.

As part of her class requirements, she needed to prepare a speech; however, the classroom presentations were also meant to enable the teacher to select the best speeches to go on to a more serious competition. As I mentioned, several teachers discouraged her from picking the topic of abortion; she was told it was “too big”, “too mature” and “too controversial”. She was also told that if she went ahead with that topic, she would not be allowed to continue on in the speech competition. Initially, I tried helping her find other topics to speak on, but, in the end, she was adamant. She just felt she wanted to continue with the topic of abortion. So she forfeited her chance to compete in order to speak on something she was passionate about.

We hope you’re as happy as we are and proud of Lia for taking a stand for God’s Word concerning life. Please join us in praying for a newer and YOUNGER generation of prayer activists to arise and shake the nations with God’s truth. You can also join us in encouraging Lia and everyone else that watches by leaving some great comments on her YouTube video. Also, repost the video, and let’s blast this out everywhere we can.