The Day That I Failed to Pray

Im-sorry
There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. (Getty Images)

God is bigger than my reaction.

NOTE: This is a guest post from my friend, John Garay. What a story, and what transparency. It’s something God wants from us.

By John Eli Garay

It all happened rather quickly. In a matter of a few months, we went from receiving the news of cancer, to gathering as a family to say goodbye.

The trajectory of events was a bizarre one for me. To start, I was in complete denial of the gravity of the matter from the get-go. I reasoned that he was a strong man that would beat this monster in no time.

I knew many people who had fought the same battle, and with the help of chemotherapy, they fought and killed off the alien-life-form in no time. If they could do it, so could he. This was a no brainer for me. Nevertheless, the announcement of this was still like a slap across my face, and “boy did it hurt.”….. So, I did what I knew to do best when faced with pain. I kept my distance. Yes, I know that it was a selfish of me, but at the time, I had the coping skills of a pet rock. Basically, they did not yet exist.

I remember getting the call from my mother telling me that I should probably go see him and pray for him. I had been ordained into the ministry just a few years earlier. For that point on, I was my father’s pride and joy. Perhaps I failed to live up to his expectations of taking over the family farm, but this was equally worthy of his praise. He was so proud that one of his kids was serving the Lord in ministry, and he told everyone about it. Hearing my mother’s request, I reluctantly took in deep breath of air, mustered up some energy, and drove to the hospital.

As I walked up to the room, I heard the sound of someone moaning from pain. Stepping into the room, I saw his sister-in-law walking around the room, and praying. “Be with him Jesus. There’s power in the blood. Hold him Lord,” she prayed with fervency. Despite being an ordained minister, I was scared to look at him. However, not even my deepest fears prepared me for what I would see. The strong man, that I grew up admiring as one of my personal heroes, lay confined to his bed and shriveled up in pain. My nephew lay there too, holding him, and trying to comfort him. But there’s no consoling anyone who is in that amount of pain and discomfort.

I don’t think he was ever aware of my presence. His condition was so far advanced that I’m not sure he even knew what was taking place. It was too much for me to take in all at once. I wanted to run far away, but I was frozen in horror and heartache. I wanted to rescue him from his suffering, but I knew better. I knew that I was powerless against this battle. As I stood there assessing what my eyes were seeing, his sister-in-law asked me if I would like to pray for him.

I don’t remember much after that. All I knew is that I placed my hand on his and nervously said a two-sentence prayer that didn’t have much significance. That very moment my sadness skyrocketed above any ounce of faith that I had in me. As soon as I was done praying, I excused myself, I ran home, packed my car, and drove 2 hours to the nearest campground that I knew of. I spent the night alone in my tent crying. I had failed my brother, I had failed my family, I had failed God. At a time that they needed me, I ran.

That night my brother’s suffering ended. However, my shame remained for years after.

My story from shame towards grace is one that I share quite often on this blog, and I encourage you to take some time to browse through this website to read about it. However, I’d like to use the next few moments to share with you 3 things that I have learned since that moment.

  1. It’s OK to freak out. The tradition that I was brought up in taught me that it was improper for a man to show any sign of weakness. When I saw my brother’s condition, I was unable to emotionally handle what I saw. I initially interpreted this as complete failure. Since then I’ve learned that my inability to handle a situation is the perfect place for God to demonstrate his grace and power. The moment that I feel like running away is an opportune time to run to the arms of God.
  2. God is bigger than my reaction. I’ve learned that God is not fazed by my over-dramatic response to pain, heartache, and stress. In fact, he meets me where I am and ushers in hope, healing, and encouragement. When I feel like I can’t go on, He carries me. When I feel small and powerless, he always manages to lift me up to safety.
  3. No prayer is ever wasted. I am amazed at how Jesus never instructed his followers to pray perfect prayers. Instead he encouraged them to have mustard-seed-faith. As time has passed, I’ve discovered that some of my most powerful prayers have been prayed when I had no idea how to start praying. I’ve learned that the Holy Spirit helps me weak moments when I don’t even know how to start praying.  In fact, the Holy Spirit prays for mein groanings that can’t be expressed through words. In other words, regardless of how inarticulate my prayer may sound … it is always heard … and God always answers.

Surprisingly enough, since losing my brother, I have had the privilege of being with many people while they are transitioning to eternal life. God, in His grace, has redeemed the fear I have and has blessed me with the ability to be present with others during a very significant part of their lives. I’m happy to report that I no longer feel the need to run. Instead, I feel the desire to be present. Present for God and present for others.

JOHN GARAY has spent over 15 years mentoring and coaching individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. He has worked in behavioral health, pastoral care, and higher-education. He has found that he is most satisfied in life when he is helping people recognize their potential and assisting them to reach their goals. You can read his blog at john-eli.com.

Why You May Have a Broken Heart and Not be Aware of It

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Your heart may be broken and you may not even know it. (Mio Miranda via Flickr)

This article will bless you and could help heal years of brokenness and misunderstanding.

NOTE: This is a guest post from my friend, author and evangelist Mark DeJesus. For the entire article, please visit markdejesus.com.

By Mark DeJesus

Too many don’t even realize or think they have a broken heart. People have been suppressing pain and emptiness for generations.  We revert to busy lives and focus on productivity, while we have no idea of how our hearts are doing.

Meanwhile, billions of people are ignoring the fact that they have a broken heart. What makes matters worse is that we are not talking about the life of the heart enough to recognize broken areas.

The Symptoms of a Broken Heart

Many people are experiencing symptoms of a broken heart:

  • Depression, unhealed discouragement, mood issues
  • Chronic anxiety, panic attacks
  • Numbing out, isolating, cynicism
  • Vulnerability to addictions
  • Constant busyness and performance based living
  • Confusion, double mindedness and scattered living
  • A burned out stress response, burnout

The list can go on and on.

In fact, medical health professionals give legitimacy to how carrying a broken heartcan actually impact your cardiovascular system, mental health and even muscle failure.

Quite often, people go to the emergency room, thinking they are having a heart attack. When in reality, they are experiencing anxiety, stemming back to a broken heart that has not been addressed and healed.

The life of the heart will affect you, no matter what you try to do to hide it. So it is critical that we stop shoving the issues of life down and allow the Father to really do some productive work in our hearts.

Moving Past Denial

Most people do not think they have a broken heart. They shrug their shoulders in denial and brush off any need to address life experiences. We can often say “the past is the past” more in a protective form of denial than a fruitful belief.

The past is the past when we have allowed ourselves to process it in a healthy manner.

Others don’t think heart healing is necessary. They can stack Scriptures or cliche statements to cover over any need to deal with their brokenness. Yet it still oozes out into their relationship field.

The problem is that we typically don’t deal with brokenness until the crap hits the fan and crisis appears. At this point, the crisis is often revealing years of neglect to issues of the broken heart.

Broken Heart Awareness

It’s only been in recent years that believers are beginning to understand the need to experience heart healing to the spiritual and emotional aspects of their life. More and more people are recognizing they have a broken heart and are allowing God to walk them through a productive healing journey.

Mark DeJesus has served as an experienced communicator since the 1990s. As a teacher, author, transformational consultant and radio host, Mark is deeply passionate about awakening hearts and equipping people towards personal transformation. He is gifted in helping people address the core issues that become limitations to their God given identity and destiny. He is the author of numerous books and hundreds of teachings. Mark and his wife host a weekly online show called Transformed You and he writes at markdejesus.com. His articles have been featured on sites like CharismaMag.com.

 

One Sure Way the Evil One Can’t Touch You

Mind-renewal
Begin renewing your mind today. (Getty Images)

It takes commitment, but it’s well worth it.

Shawn A. Akers

As we often do, my brother, Kevin, and I became involved in a deep theological discussion. It was the evening of a Good Friday, and it seemed appropriate.

We began talking about purity, grace and transformation, and it all led to one point: renewal of the mind.

Kevin and I came to an agreement that you can indeed be a Christian by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and that He died for our sins. That’s the easy part. Anyone can do that—even the staunchest atheist.

But, then comes the hard part—living for Jesus every day in a way that is good, acceptable and perfect, according to Romans 12:2. That, my friend, does not come by watching football, playing golf or by playing video games.

And while none of those things is sinful (unless you put them before your relationship with God), they certainly won’t put you in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

The only way to do that is to renew your mind, and the only way to discover the mind of Christ is through prayer and immersing yourself in God’s Word. Joyce Meyer says that “God offers us a new life, but His Word makes it clear that we must completely renew our mind (learn to think differently) before we will experience the new life He offers.

It could take a long time. Even the rest of your life.

But it’s well worth it.

My salvation came in 1989 at 23; but it wasn’t until recently that I began the process of allowing God to renew my mind. What took me so long, you might ask? I had to convince myself I really wanted the wonderful life that God offers, and that nothing else in this world could satisfy me like He can.

The only way to do that is to renew your mind, and the only way to discover the mind of Christ is through prayer and immersing yourself in God’s Word.

Once I realized Alabama football or St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball or watching movies on TV or even food couldn’t bring me happiness or fulfillment, I turned to Jesus. My only regret—the years I wasted with all that other stuff.

I now find myself hungry for God’s Word and what it means to live for Him. It’s a spiritual hunger I never have experienced before. I want desperately to know what God wants from me every day. I want desperately to know what I can do to help bring others into the kingdom. I want desperately for Him to use me for His purposes.

IHOP-KC’s Mike Bickle says that our lives are to give evidence that God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect. Our lives are to display the goodness of God’s will. He says that when refuse to be conformed to this world, then we “identify and resist the spirit of the world and its values. “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but it is of the world.” (1 John 2:16).

We need to learn to think as God thinks, and that means we think according to God’s Word. As Meyer says, this process won’t take place automatically, but it is something we need to chose to do and it is a process that requires a commitment of time and effort.

“There are multitudes of people who believe in Jesus, but they never experience victory in their lives to a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to apply the principles they have learned,” Meyer says. … The good news is that although it is quite a battle in the beginning, it does get easier. We learn to recognize wrong and destructive thinking much quicker, and because we have learned the value of thinking properly, we can immediately choose thoughts that benefit us and help us enjoy God’s plan for our lives.”

If I think it is impossible for me to ever behave the way Jesus did, then I will never do so. If we believe it is possible and begin to live it out, then purity and holiness will take hold in our lives. You won’t be perfect, but you will see a tremendous transformation.

And once there’s transformation, you will be a shining example to help others renew their minds. Can you imagine what that could lead to?

Confess these things out of your mouth every day:

“I am greatly loved by God (Rom. 1:7).

“I am strong in the Lord and the power of His might.” (Col. 1:11).

“I have favor with God.” (2 Cor. 13:14).

“I have the mind of Christ.” (Phil. 4:7).

“I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me.” (1 John 5:18).”

And, remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

God, Where are You?

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All of us have wondered at one time or another where God is in our lives. He’s preparing you for better things; just trust Him. (Getty Images)

Here is why you must embrace your time in the wilderness.

By Shawn A. Akers

At one time or another, this thought has come to most every believer’s mind. Stuck in a wilderness or in the middle of a barren desert, God’s presence seems hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

But you are not alone, and you are in good company. Moses walked where you are now walking. Whether it was God forming a plan for him to lead Israel out of Egypt or wandering 40 years waiting for the Promised Land, Moses longed for the elusive presence of his God.

Then we see Joseph, whom God gave dreams and visions of great leadership and achievement, only to have his brothers throw him into a pit and be sold into slavery. He languished for years in prison after false accusations against him, wondering if  God would ever show up.

You MUST embrace these times in your own wilderness knowing that the Lord will give you strength in your journey to spiritual maturity. And yes, it is a journey, one that involves change and a willingness to grow and learn.

And what about Job, who lost everything he had including his children, his health, possessions and even the support of his wife? Jesus himself, who spent weeks in the wilderness to face the forces of darkness?

You MUST embrace these times in your own wilderness knowing that the Lord will give you strength in your journey to spiritual maturity. And yes, it is a journey, one that involves change and a willingness to grow and learn. He’s pruning you. He wants you to stop wallowing in pity and realize He is preparing you for better things.

If there are any barriers that are keeping you from His presence or knowing Him intimately, ask God in prayer to remove them. Ask the Holy Spirit to intervene so that nothing inhibits you from emerging from your wilderness or desert knowing that God will never leave you nor forsake you.

You will never have to ask where He is in your life ever again.

And remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

“God has said, “Never will I leave younever will I forsake you” (Heb. 11:5).

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5)

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faithproduces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (Jam. 1:2-4).

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

Pray Today For: Asia Bibi

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Christians are severely persecuted in Pakistan. (CBN News YouTube Channel)

Asia Bibi needs your prayers more than ever.

PLEASE … include these people in your prayers today. If believers bombard heaven, things can change!

We pray for those in the news and for those who need the love of Jesus in their hearts. If there is anyone you feel compelled to pray for in this blog, please email me at akersofracing@aol.com.

Aasiya Noreen, a Christian mother of two, has languished in a Pakistani prison for nine years under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. She is accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Mohammed, a charge she denies after she drank the same water as Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries.

Otherwise known as Asia Bibi, she was arrested, jailed, tried and sentenced to death in 2010 for her “crime.” She was jailed for a year before officials formally charged her. She recently received a gift of faith from Pope Francis, and her story can be read here.

But, as a believer, I implore you to pray for Aasiya and her release and for God to save her from this sentence of death. Therefore:

“Father God, in the name of Jesus we come together as a body of believers to pray for this brave woman, this mother of two children and three step-children, that has spent the last nine years of her life in a Pakistani prison for what Pakistani officials call a “crime” of blasphemy. We know and You know that the only crime Aasiya committed is that she is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, unabashed and unashamed. The fact that she would not convert to Islam has offended the people who have accused her, but she is not ashamed of who she is and is not ashamed of the gospel, therefore she will not renounce her faith in Christ.

“She’s frightened, she’s tired and she’s lonely. We ask that you lift her up, give her peace in her heart and her mind and help her to realize that You will never leave her nor forsake her, no matter what happens. Do the same for others that have undergone similar situations.

“Bless Aasiya and her family. Help her to find favor with those who would help her to find a way to gain release from this Pakistani prison. Help her to find favor with those who have accused her. Miraculously turn their hearts and open their eyes to You and the overwhelming love that pours out from you. Father God, protect her, and protect her family. We know how volatile Pakistan is and how they hate You. Only You can do the miraculous. Only You can do the impossible. We praise You and thank You in the precious name of Jesus.”

“O my God, I trust in You; may I not be ashamed; may my enemies not triumph over me.” (Psa. 25:2).

“They will not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they will be satisfied.” (Psa. 37:19)

What You Can Do During Your Dry Season

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If you’re in a spiritual desert, wait. It’s going to rain (Alan E., via Flickr).

You may feel like you’re in a spiritual desert, but your rainy season is coming.

By Shawn A. Akers

Have you ever felt like God’s Living Water, his beautiful stream, has simply dried up in your life? Perhaps you’re unhappy with your job. Maybe your finances are in dire straits. Or, it could be you have experienced years of infertility and don’t know if God really cares.

As I have shared in previous blogs, my wife and I are going through some financial troubles right now. We have incurred some huge bills in the past year–braces for both of our children at $7,000 each; a new air conditioner at nearly $10,000; two auto repair bills at more than $1,000 each. Sometimes you wonder when the storm will cease and you beg for grace and mercy.

But that’s minimal compared to the pain of couples who have struggled with infertility. My wife and I dealt with that issue years ago, and I wrote a piece for Charismamag.com detailing it.

After four-plus years, I still receive emails from those who have encountered issues in having children. One, whom I won’t name by name, writes (it’s cleaned up a bit but not fully): “My husband and I have gone through the infertility struggle for almost 11 years now. We got married young. Today I’m 33, he is 37 we are currently blessed with one son who’s a surviving twin;after 3 failed IVF we have since had another 4 failed ivf; as we had wished to have another baby. Our case is male factor infertility; it’s hard as I’ve lost all hope we would not desire to use and donors as we want to be 100% biological parents. My faith in God is really low but see that there’s nothing or no one I’m supposed to depend on but Him. I would try to make myself feel better with alcohol as I’m extremely depressed. I’m at my lowest but see that the only light is God.  From yesterday I told myself that I would pray about it as my husband does believe. I’m just skeptical if to me it doesn’t make sense. It’s hard for it to sit in my head.”

I have counseled those who have written me, and, praise God, some have written back to say that God has blessed them with children. But it’s heartbreaking to hear of the pain this woman has been through.

After much prayer and seeking God, I ran across this passage from John and Lisa Bevere’s book Pathway to His Presence, that I pray will find a way into her heart. It applies to others’ situations also, others who have experienced a “dry season” and felt as if God was nowhere near them. If you are going through something similar, I pray this blesses you:

“These dry times are ripe opportunities for heart-to-heart discussions with the Father. It is at such times that we are most receptive to His counsel and guidance.”

“Perhaps you feel frustrated as you search for direction from God. Maybe you’ve prayed and silence was the only response. Job, a patriarch of one of the oldest books of the New Testament, had such an experience. His life fell apart–his wealth disappeared, his sons and daughters were suddenly killed, and he was struck down with a physical illness. Yet, throughout every trial, Job remained faithful and trusted the Lord. out of his doubt and frustration, he cried, ‘If I only knew where to find God, I would go to His court. I would lay out my case and present my arguments. Then I would listen to His reply and understand what He says to me (Job 23:3-5).’ Job knew that God was in charge of his life. Yet for a time he felt that God eluded him and heaven was silent.

“You may run up against a set of circumstances that raised many questions in your mind, and it caused you to want to plead your case face-to-face with God. These dry times are ripe opportunities for heart-to-heart discussions with the Father. It is at such times that we are most receptive to His counsel and guidance. It is then that our dry spirits long for the cool refreshing, living water only He can give. Every Christian passes through a wilderness experience at one time or another. It’s not the time to seek His hand, but the time to seek His heart. Seeking God’s heart produces character and strength. Your time in the wilderness prepares you for the promised land. … The wilderness experience is designed to train and prepare you for a new movement of God’s Spirit in your life–provided you enter the experience with wisdom and a heart for God. Enter it with the wrong attitude or simply search for an escape route, and you will probably experience hardship, frustration and even defeat. It’s critical to understand God’s purpose for dry times.”

If you need a lift from the pit of hell you are experiencing, I would also like to recommend a book called 41 Will Come, by Chuck E. Tate.  With God’s help, it will lift you up.

Please let me know if this touches your heart and it blesses you. I would love to pray for your situation. Thank you for reading.

And remember to do something to come up higher in your kingdom calling today.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

This Will Help You Abide in Christ Daily

Man walking on a Bible towards a cross
Pray-read God’s Word every day. It will build you up! (Lightstock)

Pray-read God’s Word every day. It will build you up!

By Shawn A. Akers

In his book Growing in Prayer, International House of Prayer founder Mike Bickle reminds us that the “most important activity related to growing in prayer is abiding in Christ. It is one of the most neglected activities in the kingdom, yet it involves only three simple aspects—talking to Jesus, applying His promises and obeying His leadership.

Praying-reading the Word of God, He says, is one of the activities that can help you abide in Christ. Mike says, “When you pray the Word, you and the Holy Spirit flow together to provide you with teaching that is tailor-made for you. The Scripture confirms that the anointing of the Spirit in you is the best teacher:

“The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things … (1 John 2:27)

Therefore, I exhort you every day to pray-read God’s Word. Today, pray-read Colossians 3, beginning with verse 2, which I have paraphrased to say:

“Lord, help me set my affection on things above, not on things on earth. … Therefore, help me put to death the parts of my earthly nature: sexual immorality, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry. … And help me put away all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and filthy language out of my mouth. Help me not to lie to others, since I have put off the old nature with its deeds and have embraced the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created it.

“Help me to embrace, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, a spirit of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness and longsuffering. Help me to bear with others and forgive others. If anyone has a quarrel against me, even as Christ forgave me, help me to do so. And help me, above all these things, to embrace love, the bond of perfection.”

From Colossians 4: “Help me to walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, wisely using the opportunity. Let my speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that I may know how I should answer everyone.”

A pretty unselfish prayer, and a good way to start the day, don’t you think?

And hey, remember to do something to rise higher in your kingdom calling today.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

Warning: Communing with Holy Spirit Could Carry Severe Side Effects

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Are you ready for all that Holy Spirit has for you? (Lightstock)

If you’re not ready, the side effects can pack more than you handle.

For years, I treated Holy Spirit as a distant, unfamiliar entity.

God? I knew Him. Jesus? He had become my friend. Holy Spirit? I knew He dwelt within me, but I just didn’t know how to acquaint myself with Him or to take advantage of the relationship He wants me to have with Him. Through ignorance and perhaps laziness and apathy, I simply ignored this wonderful–and crucial–part of the Trinity.

No more. And I have several people to thank for that.

One is my buddy Lee Grady, author and founder and director of the Mordecai Project. Not only did he visit our offices at Charisma Media recently to teach us how to make our magazine better (he is the former editor), but his most recent book, titled Set My Heart on Fire helped to do just that—set my heart on fire for God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. I love what he did with this book, including a warning label he put on the back cover:

Warning: Reading this book, saying the dangerous prayers in this book, and acting on the recommendations prescribed in this book could have severe consequences for you and the people around you. Asking Holy Spirit to ignite a spiritual fire in your life can have serious side effects. Holy Spirit has been known to (1) confront sinful habits, (2) disrupt normal routines, (3) challenge personal comforts, (4) redirect careers, (5) reconcile broken relationships, (6) transform timid people into bold preachers, and (7) send normal, shy people to foreign countries as bold missionaries. Please count the cost before reading.

I know Holy Spirit has intervened for me in several situations, and I know He has convicted me for my pride and hardness of heart.

So far:

(1) Check. (2) Check. (3) Check. (4) Working on it. (5) Check. (6) Check. (7) If that’s what Holy Spirit wants for me, then so be it.

With all due apologies to my upbringing, the Catholic Church never taught me the true power of Holy Spirit. Sure, it included it in the Trinity, but I never understood who the third entity of the Trinity truly is and what He can do for me until just recently.

I know Holy Spirit has intervened for me in several situations, and I know He has convicted me for my pride and hardness of heart. A sinful habit—intentional sin as author John Bevere calls it—is being put down. Holy Spirit has gently told me that I have become way too comfortable in some of my daily routines. And, I believe, by listening to the prompting of Holy Spirit, I am becoming much more bold in my confession of Christ. That is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? That and growing closer to Christ every day?

Jesus said that Holy Spirit will “glorify me.” John 15:26 says, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.”

I recently discovered a Facebook page called Rogue Millennials through the Christian Bloggers Network. And while I realize this generation has a voice, I largely have, by apathy and perhaps pride, ignored what Millennials have had to say about what they want from their church experience.

My bad.

And I am convinced that Holy Spirit prompted me to check out Rogue Millennials. Jared, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share with you and to hear from your crowd. I have been tremendously blessed by your page so far.

Lee Grady might be proud. So would my mom, my brother and my mentor, Dr. Steve Greene. But there is still so much more I need and want to learn about Holy Spirit.

I implore you today to grow closer to Jesus through Holy Spirit. Pray every day for Holy Spirit to guide your words and your actions. Start your day that way and you can’t go wrong.

And remember to do something to rise higher in your kingdom calling today.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have We Created a ‘Knockoff Jesus?’

Jesus-politician
If we don’t reveal Jesus’ truth, what are we doing? (Lightstock) 

It’s a subtle, key element that draws believers into idolatry.

Read the words of author and evangelist John Bevere. If we as believers don’t take this to heart, then what are we doing to reveal the truth to this lost society?

“I believe we have found certain instructions in the New Testament that appeal to us. We have proclaimed that we are saved by grace through faith, and we cannot earn this grace because it is God’s favor. We have stressed loving one another, enjoying life, serving one another singing new songs of praise and worship, being relevant executing good leadership and creating healthy community. We proclaim all of this with fervent passion. These are all good practices and all are supported by the New Testament.”

But …  

“Can we solely focus on the aspect of Jesus’ words that don’t collide with our society’s established standards and perversions? Can we create a Jesus that doesn’t confront the ungodly ways of our culture? Can we avoid addressing what He hates, and only proclaim his words that society deems admirable? Can we widen the road and gate that leads to life?”– Best-selling author John Bevere, from his book Killing Kryptonite

I sincerely recommend picking up a copy of this book. It’s incredible.