Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Power of "Father-purpose" Focus

One day as I was strolling through Books-A-Million, I had this strong impression from the Lord that I was to buy $60.00 worth of books. I know some of you are chuckling since I’m known for my fondness for books. Actually this was not of my normal behavior because I limited myself to buying one book a week. Jovially I scanned the shelves to find the books that the Lord would have me read. My spirit was brimming with excitement! When I went to the checkout the total came to almost $70.00. However the cashier gave me a discount on this purchase, bringing the total to sixty dollars and a few cents over.

The Lord was teaching me to obey His voice. The next day while getting the mail, I found a letter from my mom stating that the Lord spoke to her while in prayer that she was to send me $60.00 in cash! Those three twenty dollar bills represented more to me than simply monetary value – rather, it was a tangible confirmation of obeying what I see my Father doing.

Among the books I purchased that day included The Power of Focus.

Exactly what is the power of focus? The first thing that comes to mind is Jesus’ statement: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:19) Biblical focus is the ability to see what the Father is doing and doing likewise. It is more than simply knowing your purpose; it involves knowing the “Father-purpose” of that given context.

Purpose alone is not sufficient to extend God’s kingdom through our sphere. We must also have a “Father-purpose” revelation concerning the Father’s heart for a given situation. This helps us to steer clear of being driven by needs alone. Let me explain. Recently we were approached by one of our amazing pastors at our church concerning the need to help a care group that was exploding in numbers. Over a very short period of time this group had grown to 40 plus participants, overwhelming the existing leaders. This group was ripe to multiply. Obviously the need was great. However, I knew that Aneta and I were not to take on this need. The “Father-purpose” had been previously stirred within our hearts to pursue the twenty-something demographic at our church. Indeed this was the “Father-purpose” for us within this given time and season.

However, the flipside must also be taken into consideration. A need may emerge that doesn’t necessarily fit your perception of what you should do. When I was at Christ For the Nations Institute, I was approached by my good friend Rudy Tan to take his place as the head usher since he was graduating. My initial thought was “Why in the world would I want to be head usher!” Initially I declined and I definitely didn’t sense any desire whatsoever on my part to pursue this need. I dismissed it without further thought. However, Rudy persisted and I finally obliged to take his place. Although I was unaware of it, it was indeed the “Father-purpose” for my life. As head ushers, Aneta and I met key people including our spiritual parents in the Lord, Jerry and Shara Phillips. Overall it was a rewarding opportunity as I grew in my leadership capacity through this undesirable need!

Biblical focus entails that ability to hear and see what the Father is doing within a specific context. Living a “Father-purpose” driven life is one that entails a wholehearted desire to love and obey His voice on a daily basis. “Father-purposes” may be progressively revealed over time like the slow, steady crock-pot; or, it may suddenly be revealed without any prior expectations. The key is to know the Father’s heart. The Apostle Paul knew the key to the power of focus: I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Power of a Focused Life

For those of you wondering why I didn’t include more updates on the Awaken the Dawn conference last weekend, let me explain. Unfortunately I ended up missing a number of main sessions and workshops due to a horrendous head cold. Even now I am still not a hundred percent, but once I feel better I will definitely include some feedback regarding the gathering.

I do want to encourage you to listen to a few messages by Mike Bickle called The Power of a Focused Life. These four messages are awesome! I highly recommend them to each of you. This webpage was intended to equip the believers who attended the One Thing conference in Kansas City. Obviously the leaders knew that many believers would be revved up, but possibly lacking the inner fortitude to carry on the work initiated by God at the conference. It is so imperative to have the inner disciplines to sustain the work that the Holy Spirit has ignited within us! Enjoy!

For the Cause,

Brian Francis Hume

Friday, February 16, 2007

Change Your atmoSPHERE!

Here is an update on the first two sessions of the day thus far.

Jack Groblewski preached a phenomenal message called “Atmospheric Altar-ation” that was based on the concept that we are able to bring about changes in society because we can change the atmosphere. He cites Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sermon that changed the atmosphere of the congregation, which became the harbinger of the Great Awakening. Obviously this atmospheric transformation brought about a change in Edward's church, community, and the overall colonial atmosphere – thus nothing short of impacting the course of history itself.

He defined atmosphere as “the prevailing spiritual climate, emotional tone and attitude associated with a specific people, place and time.” He then shared five essentials for changing the atmosphere:

  1. Let’s build our identity upon a sincere grasp of each other’s value in the eyes of God!
  2. Be a kingdom materialist – Recognize what we have and what it can do for God’s purposes.
  3. Be captivated at God’s sovereignty
  4. Never cease to be “WOWED” by the presence of God!
  5. Make the scriptures radically essential to the way we live!
I enjoyed the message because it gave me some thoughts to chew on for my “cause 2 impact” paradigm that I am in the process of developing. Within our sphere are multiple social networks that we traverse: family, work, community groups, friends, church, and the like. Obviously each of these networks have different “atmospheres.” Your extended family gatherings during holidays probably has a vastly different tone than does your church climate. This is something that I will continue to mull over as I search out the Scriptures to understand this better from a biblical worldview.

Aneta and I are in charge of the hospitality room where we serve lunch for our guest speakers. We met with a few leaders from the nation of Bosnia, which was a delightful time. I also had the opportunity to meet with Brian Heasley (check out his blog) and learn more about his 24-7 ministry based in Ibiza, Spain. He presented the afternoon message, which was challenging. I appreciate his heart when he said (my paraphrase) that he wants to be a light in darkness, whereas the majority of the church is light in the light. In other words very few Christians are engaging culture in a way that allows their light to shine forth in darkness. So true. It challenged me. We all have a sphere of influence to shine forth our light.

Brian is heading up this church plant in the party capital of Europe so they have an opportunity daily to shine forth their light in this depraved area. Thankfully he is a pioneer who possesses the heart of the Moravians of old: prayer and missions. I am so thankful for this humorous, passionate man-of-God.

More later,

Brian Francis Hume

Awaken the Dawn

Last night was the opening session for the Awaken the Dawn gathering here at our church in Fredericksburg. Overall there is a strong sense of the Lord plowing the hearts of those in attendance. All day I was burdened to pray I John 3:8, declaring that “…The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” My faith level was high concerning the anointing for deliverance from addictions, perversion, pornography, immoral relationships, rebellion, etc. This was precisely the focus of the altar call with people streaming down the aisle to seek the Lord.

Roger Joyner, one of the leaders of the Justice House of Prayer in San Diego, was the guest speaker who shared from Malachi 4:5,6 – “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” This verse is represents my life message that is embedded deep within my spirit; the call to father the emerging generation. The sum of Roger's message: Take responsibility for your generation!

Interestingly on Valentine's Day was the six year anniversary since our engagement. For those of you that don't know our story, I took Aneta to our church in Dallas and preached a prophetic message to her concerning what the Lord had impressed upon my heart for our future together. The message was "To Reach our Generation to bring Transformation to the Nations." I'm looking forward to the day when I can preach it again!

I’ll write more again tonight.

Engaging the Cause,

Brian Francis Hume

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Set Apart for God

Man is looking for better methods and God is looking for better men.
Men are God’s method.
EM Bounds

There are times when the Lord speaks a word brimming with revelation that resonates deep within the heart of my heart, the core of my core. One of those times was through the following statement that I wrote down: The work of God through a man is first determined by the work of God in a man. In other words, what we do for God is contingent upon what God has done in our own hearts. Has God wrought forth such a deep work in your life that the quality of it is evident in the lives of people within your sphere? One reason that the kingdom of God fails to substantially penetrate our God-ordained sphere is that we haven’t permitted the Spirit of God to penetrate deep within our own heart.

What is really in your heart? Is it set apart for God?

This week I am anticipating great things as I prepare for the Awaken the Dawn conference. Recently I ordered a book for several of our guest speakers called Set Apart For God: The Call to a Surrendered Life – it is written by Ugandan Pastor John Mulinde. It is a book that penetrates the heart. Why does it penetrate the heart? – because the man writing the book has allowed the Spirit of God to probe deep within his own life. He himself is writing from a heart that is set apart for God, as evident in the following:

“By calling us to be set apart for Him, the Lord is seeking to take us to levels far beyond what we would be capable of in normal circumstances. We need to go that extra mile if we are to make any meaningful impact on the nations of our generation. Some of these things we truly cannot do for ourselves, we don’t even know how. Some weaknesses and shortcomings we are not even aware of but in the process of being set apart, the Lord will do exceedingly, abundantly above what we can ask or even imagine.” (36)

I appreciate the understanding that there are aspects of the surrendered life that we cannot simply conjure on our own. It is a grace thing that we enter into wholeheartedly, trusting Him to change us as we pursue His face.
My heart is full of anticipation as I mull over the phrase “Set Apart for God” – invoking much hunger for the Lord deep within. It is pregnant with life and revelation. And I also believe that it is the cry of every redeemed human spirit, to live wholly unto the Lord. Possibly you're in a place where there is a lack of deep hunger for the Lord Himself. First, if necessary, repent for allowing your desires to be fixated upon other things. Then allow the Spirit of God to quicken your spirit so that you hunger for Him deep within your being. Cultivate this daily through the Word, prayer, communion with the Holy Spirit, fasting, etc.

Where are you on this journey of being “Set Apart for God?” What insights do you have that you could share on this blog? I want to open up this discussion for all to participate. We will continue to explore this topic further in the weeks to come.

Also the next few days during the ATD conference I will be posting daily to share the highlights of what God is doing in our midst.

Become The Cause,

Brian Francis Hume

P.S. If you want the book, consider ordering it through The Arsenal, which is based in Colorado Springs, owned by my good friend Brad Herman. The book is published in England so I doubt if you’re going to find it in the bookstores. I try to buy as many of my books from The Arsenal because I know that Brad is Christ-centered. Books are probably a tad cheaper through Amazon, but I rather invest my money in a kingdom-minded business.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Honor Your Leaders

God is grooming a new generation of men and women who are committed, in humility, to a two-word command in Scripture: Honor all. Fawn Parrish, Honor
My wife and I are a part of an amazing church that is hosting an Awaken the Dawn conference for the emerging generation. God has given the leadership of this church and ministry much favor as multiple well-known speakers are coming from around the world such as Heidi Baker, Dr. Michael Brown, Steve Thompson, Lou Engle, Allen Hood, Roger Joyner, and Brian Heasley. I believe a part of this can be contributed to the priority of honor that we seek to embody at Grace Church.

As a part of the hospitality team for the conference, it is our utmost desire to honor these servants in a way that refreshes them since they give so much to others. We have constructed a plan to honor them through gift baskets in their hotel rooms, letters from people whose lives have been touched by them, prophetic words from proven vessels, and comfortable lodging. Above all, we want to lavish God’s love and affections upon them.

Honoring those whose lives have touched us

Two years ago when I found out that Lou Engle was going to be one of the keynote speakers at the 2005 Awaken the Dawn conference, my heart yearned to find a means of honoring this intercessor-warrior. I had first learned about Lou Engle on Christmas Day in 1998 while reading Che Ahn’s book Into the Fire in one sitting. My heart was stirred to meet this “incomparable intercessor” as described by Che Ahn who had labored with Lou since the 80’s to bring revival to Los Angeles. So several months later I found myself in Pasadena praying with Lou Engle at 5:00 am in the Mott Auditorium for a week. During that time he gave me a book by Frank Bartleman on the Azusu Street Revival.

My heart longed to honor this man whose ministry had inspired and touched my life. I decided to pray about giving a specific book to Lou that would bless him. Initially I was leaning towards a book by George Grant called Lost Causes – however, the Lord revealed to me the book to get for Lou through a dream. In this dream I am at the conference with Lou telling him that I was going to get him a book called Lost Causes. He asks me to show him this book so I take him to the bookstore in the church. Once I enter the room, I noticed that the books were out of order and I could not find the book. Interestingly Lou was fixated upon another book – America: Built on Character, Founded on Faith. Something was obviously stirring his heart deeply. He had forgotten about Lost Causes, leaving instead with this new book.

I sensed that this was indeed a prophetic dream from the Lord concerning what book to get for Lou. I was able to purchase this book at the bookstore in town. On the night that Lou was scheduled to speak I took the book to give to Lou with a letter explaining the dream and expressing my gratitude for his influence in my life. He was captivated by the book because on the cover it stated in bold print: Defining Moments in Our Nation’s History. He shared with me that many prophetic words had been given to him recently that our Nation was at a defining moment in history.

The crux of my motivation in this was to honor this man-of-God. How was I able to accomplish this? First I spent time in prayer for Lou and for God’s directive in honoring him. Then I took time to write a brief, but specific letter on how his life has made a difference in my life. Here are a few brief thoughts on how we can honor leaders in the Body of Christ:
  • Set aside time to pray for them
  • Give them a timely, accurate prophetic word, dream, revelation or Scripture
  • Share how their ministry has impacted your life
  • Stand with them by giving financially into their ministry
  • Give your time to serve the vision that God has given them
Who are the leaders in your sphere that you can honor through a letter? Who are the shepherds that God has appointed in your life that need your prayer? Whose ministries (past and present) have made a difference in your life that you could contact to express your gratitude? How can you serve in your present church? These are just a few question to help stimulate some ideas that lead to action. Take the time this week to consider how you might honor those who have labored as leaders within the Body of Christ.

Honor touches deep within

I want to share a personal story from my past experience in campus ministry. In 1999 I took several student leaders to a week long training institute. During that time I was helping to facilitate the institute, including an opportunity to preach in the mornings. My heart is stirred whenever I am able to preach the word of God. Even though I only had 15 minutes each morning, I preached my heart as if I were preaching to a million listeners! Afterwards on the ride back, one of my students quipped that when I was preaching in the morning it made them so proud that I was their campus minister. It was all I could do to hold my composure. As soon as I dropped off the students and was alone, tears gushed out uncontrollably. I had spent the year laboring diligently on the campuses trying to make disciples and, at times, I felt I was falling short of my own expectations. These heart-felt words of honor served to touch a place deep in my heart releasing much needed healing.

Who is the road-weary leader that you have an opportunity to honor in your life?

For His Cause,

Brian Francis Hume