Thursday, June 16, 2011

Your Greatest Need in this Hour

Recently on Facebook I posed the following question: What is your greatest need in this hour? Many provided their feedback with such answers as patience, love, peace, and stronger faith.

This question was provoked within as I contemplated upon a passage in 1 Kings 3:5-15.

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

Note how the Lord asks Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” This is quite impressive (why would the Lord ask a mere man this very question?).

How would you answer this direct question from the Lord if it were posed to you?

Solomon’s response PLEASED the Lord. As I reflected upon this very question for myself, I knew that my own response certainly wouldn’t please the Lord though it would be cloaked in all the right words; and it would appear to be for a cause to further His kingdom (but in reality, it is more fixated upon building my own reputation, career, success, etc.). I became aware that perhaps what I thought was my greatest need in this hour was more of a reflection of my own "desire" versus a true need. Often I think I know what I need, but obviously there's wisdom from above that can shed greater light upon this question for each of us. However, many of us—myself included—are not able to distinguish between what we really need as seen from the Lord’s vantage point versus what we want.

Let me explain.

After investing much thought into this question, I'm more convinced that what I need more than anything else is humility (I know this can sound so cliché within religious circles, which is definitely not my aim here). There is a humility that is genuinely birthed out of a pliable heart before the Lord and it doesn't reek of an old religious corpse—it originates from an authentic revelation of God’s nature and character as revealed through Christ Jesus. It is pride the seeps into my heart that seeks to garner attention, to be successful in my vocation so that I may be deemed as noteworthy (versus a failure). I could ask for favor, but my motivation often is that it would be used to further my professional ambitions instead truly honoring the Lord through my vocational pursuits. We need heaven’s perspective so that we aren’t caught up in pursuing our own vainglory at the expense of the honor that’s due Him—and Him alone.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

History & Covenant | Jim Arnold

I had a dream on 2/22/08 that I want to share with you.

Peter Wagner
Aneta and I were in Colorado Springs. We were in a large room that had both a classroom and a bookstore area. Peter and Doris Wagner are teaching a class over in the classroom section. Aneta and I are off to the side looking at their products. I'm going through these packages that include teaching sets (CDs) with a corresponding manual of sorts to follow. I asked the worker if I could look at the list of all the courses they offered (she had a master list in her hands with all the teachings that they had), but she wouldn't permit me to do so. I could only see what they had in stock there at the store. I see a few by Chuck Pierce and Peter Wagner, but there was one that caught my attention: History & Covenant by Jim Arnold (end of dream).

Although it has been over three years since I had this dream, I've mulled upon it many times since. There are times when a particular dream will "stick" over time and seemingly resurfaces at pivotal points. The primary focus of this dream for me has been on the name Jim Arnold—and the teaching, “History & Covenant”. I've been unable to really discern the thrust what the Lord is trying to say through this dream. Yet, I've felt strongly that this person and the teaching, "History & Covenant" is quite significant for this hour.

Let me share a little of the insights I’ve gleaned from this journey of seeking the Lord.

Last summer on June 3, 2010 I got an email from the ministerial association in Culpeper. For sake of time, I usually don’t read the emails unless something in the subject heading captures my attention as it did on this day—“Death Notice: Jim Arnold”. Immediately my mind went back to the dream I had previously concerning a Jim Arnold.

I was greatly saddened to learn of the passing of this man due to a tragic accident. Yet I was encouraged to read that he was active in his church in Culpeper, New Beginnings Worship Center (the pastor, Paula Jones, was instrumental in leading two dear friends of mine in the baptism of the Holy Spirit). Also Jim Arnold was an educated man: he graduated from Georgia Tech with a BS in Electrical Engineering and from the renown MIT with a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

A week later I was with my family on vacation at the Outer Banks along with my parents. Out of the blue my dad mentioned that an old colleague of his had recently passed away tragically. Without missing a beat, I blurted, "Jim Arnold?" My dad was somewhat surprised. Indeed it was this person. They had known each other years before when their paths crossed. I was taken back that my dad knew this guy.

This whole ordeal inspired me to search more on Jim Arnold and I came across history books by an author of the same name written about the Civil War. These are books for children and early teens—and are quite well done. I ordered three copies (although there were more books).

Divided in Two: The Road to Civil War, 1861—This theme of division and union has captivated my thoughts in the past few years. Years ago the Lord sent me in August of ’08 on a prophetic assignment to anoint the headwaters of the Mississippi River and it entailed a whole learning process through the Scriptures concerning division and union.

On To Richmond: The Civil War in the East, 1864-1865—Richmond has been frequently mentioned in my dreams; plus this book focuses a lot on Virginia, including the Battle of Bull Run. My prophetic mandate is somehow intricately tied to this historic Battlefield, which is why I relocated my family back to this area in ’09. God is bringing together a white man and a black man to pioneer an apostolic equipping center in the very area that judgment manifested 150 years ago this summer (July 21) at the Battle of Bull Run!

Lost Cause: The End of the Civil War—As I write this I’m reminded of a previous dream with Lou Engle back in ’04 prior to his visit to preach at the first Awaken the Dawn conference. In the dream I told him I’d been praying about a book to get for him called “LOST CAUSES” by George Grant—we walked together into the book store to retrieve it; however, I couldn’t find it and Lou was fixated upon another book about the history of our nation with the subtitles, “DEFINING MOMENTS”. When I awoke from the dream I went to the store to buy that book to give to him at the conference.

Obviously the Lord has given me much to chew on. Yet I've felt led by the Lord to share this dream on my blog, which isn't the norm for me. I think perhaps it will bring greater clarity as I'm able to hear from others. Feel free to share in the comments any thoughts you want to communicate.

God bless you!