Why Jesus Turned James & John Down

James and John wanted to sit at Jesus’ side in glory. They wanted to be close (and, given the context, they wanted to be big shots).

[They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”][Mark 10]

Jesus said No.

Curiously, he wasn’t saying “No” to the desire to be a big shot. In the next breath, he shows them how to aspire to greatness appropriately. [Mark 10:42-45]

I’m thinking that Jesus said No because sitting on his right and left was too far away for his preferences. That means they’re separated, that means there’s (a little) distance between him and them.

He didn’t want them to be separate from him, even if they’re right next to him. He wanted them united in him [John 14:20, 15:4, 17:21]. He didn’t want them seated on the throne right next to his. He wanted them – just like he wants you and me – right there on his throne with him, in him [Ephesians 1:20]

So go ahead and aspire to greatness. Go ahead and aspire to “become great,” as Jesus encourages.

Just do it his way. Just do it from your place IN him. Don’t aspire to be separated, next to him. You are in him! Go with that! It’s way better than “next to”!


Too Much Talking. Not Enough Listening.

I need to speak (again) about things that I lack expertise on, and therefore about things wherein I am NOT an expert. This isnt so much about the issue, as it is about the process of addressing the issue. 
Recently, I posted about a revival I’m beginning to see in the homosexual community. One of the things that makes this subject hard to sort through (and yes, it happens on many other subjects as well) is that both sides are talking at the other, and neither side is trying to listen: it’s polarizing an issue that doesn’t need to be polarized, or not so much as it is getting. 
In that article (http://nwp.link/1A6zNVd), I attempted to avoid taking sides, because I’m trying to propose a better response: we need to love one another.
It’s really interesting when I chose to step outside of the polarization, and declined to take one side or the other in this controversial topic. First, it’s really hard to see the actual issues clearly through all the rhetoric. And second, when I declare myself (as I attempted to do with that article) as not on either side, then I get passionate emails from both sides, saying, “This is what I believe, and it’s true!”
I received a pretty large number of messages of this sort from “both sides” of the issue, and they all pretty much assumed the same conclusion: “I’m right, so you must agree with me!” inferring, of course that “Anybody who sees this differently is deceived!” I was honored to be approached by both sides. I was disappointed that most of those approaches were attempts to convert me.
I deduce that since the two groups – both declaring that their viewpoint is true! – are declaring what are sometimes mutually exclusive opinions, it is conclusive that there is a measure of deception involved. And the odds are – as we are dealing with humans, here – that there is deception in both camps. (And the guys like me that are trying to stay out of either group – by virtue of our humanity – are NO less prone to imperfection than anyone else.) 
I’ve been walking with God and with his people for more than half a century, and one thing I’ve learned is that when everybody’s insisting that they’re right and the other guy is wrong, that’s not an environment where we can find a common ground. It’s only when we quit telling others what they must believe, and start listening to what they DO believe, that we have any chance at all at finding a small place where we agree that we can start building some relationship. Besides, me telling you what you must believe is clearly not loving you. 
So here’s a challenge: if you have an opinion about the subject of Gay Christians, I challenge you to shut your mouth and listen to the other guys. I don’t care if you’ve got eleventeen Bible verses that conclusively prove that you’re right and they’re wrong, I maintain that shouting at someone about their wrongness will never encourage them to hear you, and that’s what we want: people actually hearing each other.
So I encourage us to stop talking on this topic, and listen to someone else’s point of view. And after you’ve listened, make sure you’ve heard them right (“I think I heard you say this… did I hear right?”) because we’re not used to hearing real people: we’re used to hearing out-of-context sound bites that our own side uses to prove the point you already believe. Both sides do this, and it’s normal. It’s also messed up.
After you’ve tested what you’ve heard, and you know you’ve heard them right, then still keep your mouth closed, and think about what they’ve said. Consider their heart. Consider the wounds they’ve endured from you and your friends (this has happened on both sides!). Consider that God loves them every bit as much as he loves you! And maybe, if you dare, consider asking God what HE thinks and how HE feels about those people who don’t agree with you. (If you can do this in less than a week, you haven’t done a good job.)
And one final challenge: Consider not telling others what you believe, until and unless someone has asked for your opinion. Then go out of your way to not alienate others. 
This is a place where Saint Francis’s sage advice is priceless: “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” In other words, once you’ve demonstrated the good news of the gospel, once you’ve loved until it cost you more than you wanted to pay, once it’s become necessary (ie, they’ve asked), then consider the gentlest, most loving way to share how God has led you. And then listen some more.
I guarantee that Westboro Baptist won’t find you acceptable in this. And I guarantee you won’t get a smidgeon of support from the mainstream media: they both thrive on controversy, but controversy isn’t actually our goal. 

But you’ll hear Fathers heart better. And maybe you’ll make your Father (who loves both of you) smile.

And his smile is ALWAYS worth the price! Always.

Devotionals, Letters

When God Moves From Singular to Plural

I’ve been meditating on the nouns of Genesis One. All of them are about God, of course, and for most of the creation process, all of them are singular: God said this. God did that. God said that it was good. Rinse and repeat.

Everything He makes has a counterpart. Day has night. Sun has the moon. Ocean has land. Every creature is part of its own species, according to its kind.

And then it changed. On the afternoon of the sixth day, suddenly God changes how He’s doing his creating, and when God changes something, I want to pay attention. I want to learn.

Suddenly, God moves from singular to plural, and He changes so completely that He did the plural thing twice in the same day!

The first plural is about him: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness….’” Now, for the first time, God does something as an “Us!”

Up until this point, it’s just been “creation as usual.” Make a planet. Check. Make some oceans. Check. Make some plants and animals. Check, check.

But suddenly, it’s like God steps up, He gathers His Trinity about him, and now He is fully present: “Let Us do this. Let Us make something to be the counterpart of Us!” This will be His masterpiece.

And God, in His fullness, created his masterpiece, and that masterpiece is another Plural Thing, and it was us! You and me! The first words with which God describes humanity are plural! “These are the one ones made in Our image. Let them have dominion ….”

God did all the rest of creation as a “He,” but when it came time to make humanity, He says, “Let Us do this.” And the product of that creativity is not a thing, and it’s not a species, it’s a race of individuals. It’s a community of humanity to whom He gives authority.

He made us so uniquely that the angels watched us curiously. What a thing He has done. A race, a community. Made in His image. Carrying His authority. Us.


Springing Ahead: I’ve Already Started.

I fell asleep almost immediately, and had this dream:
I was in a church, attending a service.
The church was very strange, though. It was a composite of many different ones that I’ve been to.
The sanctuary looked like the one in PhiladelphiaChurch just up the street from Loyal Heights Playground in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, but in the dream I had the impression that it was the sanctuary of a particular church just south of SeaTac airport.
The sanctuary furniture was a mix of things from many churches I’ve attended over the course of several decades. The pews were from another church a mainline denomination one, where SeaTac Worship Centerhad rented space in the evenings.
There were people in every pew. The church was filled, but not full. In almost every pew, there were empty spaces big enough to seat 2-4 people together.
Every one was seated, the service was just ending, and the Minister had just finished…
As people began to stand and look around, I had an awkward feeling much like you get when you’re in a room full of people whose faces are familiar, but whom you don’t really know…a feeling of having to interact with people but not really knowing what to say.
Then things changed very quickly, as if I had blinked, or turned my head away for a moment and things were different when I looked back again. I was still in the same room, but now it was filled – crowded, in fact. The aisle was filled with people, some standing, some sitting.
Instead of being socially distant, everyone was interacting. Some were conversing with others, some teaching or explaining something to another, some praying with another, some laying hands on another.
The aisle, empty before was now crowded folks standing in it. There were many sitting or lying on the floor as well, overwhelmed by Holy Spirit.
AS I looked around the room, a saw a number of dead apostles I was familiar with – James Berkley whose ministry had largely emphasized God turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and children to their fathers, Elvin Gadney, and Harlan and Granville Graham. As I looked at each of these people, I thought, “There So and So. Look, there’s Such and Such,” recognizing each man by name.
But the faces didn’t match the names. In every case, it was a different person identified by the apostle’s name and familiarity, even though every one of them was a least a generation younger, and some two generations younger. These were the men and women who had been impacted or equipped by those apostles.
Someone began to sing, and without any worship team, the room filled with adoration to the King. Those ministering to others didn’t stop when the worship started, but continued what they were doing. Everyone in room was made (or was being made) whole.
As soon as I woke up, I wrote down the dream, and asked what it meant. Some of what it means we’ve heard before, a lot. So much so that at first I questioned whether I was really hearing God or the trite echo of “the day of the one man ministry is over and I’m about to do a new thing” that we’ve heard so often (both from true prophets and form some who are fairly convincing copies).
Having made certain I’m hearing what I was, her it is.
It’s not at all about what God’s about to do. It’s about what he’s already doing.
The time for the man up front to be the primary minister is finished. The Lords says, “What I’m doing isn’t in the church walls, the time for one man to be recognized as the primary minister is finished, and I am giving visions to the ones who have been overlooked, and strategies to the discounted ones.”
I will build strong relationships and lifelong friendships between members of my Body who have been strangers. I will give visions to the ones who were called blind and strategies to the ones called foolish. I will release inside of you my heart for people so broadly and so deeply that you will be called Those Who Love Their Brothers by those who don’t know me.
You are called the Ones Who Love by those who haven’t met me yet, because you are loving them even when it is costly to you. You are growing more and more day by day and week by week in love, wisdom, and power to make the broken whole.
Already when you are walking in the way, you stop to heal, to liberate to bind up and to loose.
the day will come suddenly when those going from one place to another will have to be careful where they step, because the way if filled people standing in me, sitting with me, and resting in me.
Multitudes of bound ones have been set free and a vast people who will know their Father continue be liberated and will bring wholeness and peace form the Sunshine Coast to the Siskyou and from the Olympic Coast to the Rockies.
Don’t weep for the ones I sent out who have died where you are and live where I am. Look, and see them in those they’ve birthed, those they’ve equipped, and those they’ve trained. You’ll see their hands multiplied in the children of their love for my Bride and I, and those sons and daughters will do more, and more freely than the fathers ever dreamed of doing.
Spontaneous worship in streets and squares.
Sudden invasions of freedom in stores and parks.
Floods of healing on every corner and under every tree.
A plain illustration of the love of the Father spread abroad in the hearts of men, bringing peace and wholeness.
Many will be confused and don’t recognize what I’m doing and some of them will seem intimidating to you. But don’t be afraid to demonstrate my love. It is more extravagant and reaches much farther than many know.
Didn’t I tell you it would be something you haven’t seen before? Don’t be surprised if it is seems strange! Why are you amazed when I told you it was new, and not like what you have seen before?
But you will see me do more than you could ever ask, think, or imagine. I’ve already started!
Don’t hesitate.
Don’t hold back.
Don’t wait.
Run to the lonely.
Bind the broken.
Love the ugly.
The false little wind is stopping.
A great Wind has begun to blow,

pushing the sea before it!

~Craig Adams

[Editor’s Note: Craig is a northwestern native, currently on assignment in upstate New York.]


The Marriage of the Visible and Invisible

Editor’s Note: This is not your normal “Release this prophetic word to the world” kind of post. Michael Danforth is a prophet in Yakima, WA, and this was part of his monthly newsletter for the end of 2013. Michael is a reliable Northwest prophetic voice, and the word has been judged profitable, if unfamiliar in its presentation.  

I felt compelled to write to you about a few of the outrageous transitions that are going on in the spirit and how they will impact the years to come.
I have always seen faith as point of entry. It’s the doorway into the supernatural and the unseen world of the spirit. Once we step through these spiritual doors by faith, from that moment on, we should expect to see the invisible with our own eyes. Many have asked, “What do you believe will be one of the most significant revelations in 2014?” Without hesitation, I have said, “The marriage of the visible and invisible.” In other words, what is visible will be seen in a different light and what is invisible will become just as apparent as what is already visible.”
Before I go on, let’s settle the issue that I am not your normal everyday prophet. To many, I come across as being a little less sociable and a bit dysfunctional. If my mother were present today, she would be the first to say, “Michael was always a bit withdrawn and had a tendency to view the world around him with extreme imagination.” Of course, none of us knew then, that even as a child, I was seeing the world from a prophetic perspective. The world I engage in has always been very different from the visible world around us. I know many of you could attest the same.
Like some of you, in my youth, my spiritual understanding and sight was not nurtured like it could have been. Therefore, it took me a while to realize that what I was seeing was not just some wild figment of my imagination, but invisible realms of God’s kingdom.
I have a confession to make. During the last number of years, I have been slow to become fully transparent about what I have believed to be the intended outcome of God’s intentions for humanity. Much of my concealment was because many already viewed me as being unreasonable and less practical when it came to spiritual things.
I sadly confess, as a result, though I have carried the appearance of being a spiritual forerunner, I found myself dialing down the extreme radical nature of the kingdom of heaven within me. Looking back, I can clearly see how I let the fear of man restrain me from exhibiting the expectations of Father on the earth.  Nonetheless, that was then and this is now. 
Let me encourage those of you who have felt somewhat restrained because of the peculiarity of the Spirit of God working in you. The box of confinement is ultimately being destroyed for the purpose of manifesting whatever revelation of heaven that has been in you since the beginning of time.
Let there be doubt, God is piloting His people completely off the known charts of spiritual flight. I believe one of the reasons this nation and other nations in the world are in the condition they are in, is because many people in the kingdom of God have allowed the fear of man to hinder the revelation of heaven in them. Again, I am an example of those who have appeared spiritually radical, but have exhibited far less than a 100-fold potential. Therefore, the power of acceleration is upon me and is readily available to anyone who has a desire to make up for some lost time.
There is one important thing to remember about forerunners, whether it relates to spiritual things or natural things. Most want to participate in the eventual fruit of their labors; however, most are unwilling to be identified with the stigma and ridicule that is often a part of their journey to get there.
For a number of years now, I have referred to a spiritual gathering of the saints that would redefine what it means to see eye to eye. Many have interpreted an “eye to eye” encounter as people on earth coming together viewing each other on the same spiritual plane. While this sounds reasonable enough, the fact is, there will always be those who will be willing to lay everything on the line for the sake of the Kingdom, while others will not. In this respect, many will continue to have difficulty seeing eye-to-eye.
Nonetheless, spiritual maturity is indeed on the rise and those who appeared to be living beneath their relational potential in the Father, are now approaching a new definition of what it means to not only have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus, but with all the saints of God.
Having an eye-to-eye encounter with the saints of God reaches far beyond any earthly meeting where everyone seems to be on the same page. Even before Christ, there has been a continual invitation to interact with the saints of God, in heaven and on earth, simultaneously.
A time is coming when the people of God on earth will no longer refer to those who have come and gone, and whose permanent dwelling is now in heaven, as being dead. Nor will they view them in the past tense. Every day, there are countless people who are exiting this earthly realm and entering into the heavenly realm, thus heaven is now their final dwelling place.  However, there are also those who are ascending and descending from earth to heaven, yet earth is still their primary dwelling place.
As I have mentioned in earlier writings, this Kingdom ascending and descending has widened the eternal gate of glory between heaven and earth. This means that the appearing of those in heaven on earth will become more frequent. It also means that those on earth will frequent heaven far more readily as well. .

The body of Christ has broken a barrier of understanding of what it means for God to be the “God of the living, not the dead.”
Mark quotes Jesus as saying,
“But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:26-27)
Jesus is making it very clear that when God spoke to Moses and said, “I am the God of…” it meant that God was still the God of those who had once lived on the earth, but are now living in heaven. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still very much alive, even more so.  Thus the words of Jesus when He said, ‘you are completely mistaken if you think I am the God of dead corpses.’
All the saints in Old and New Testament times, as well as, anyone else in God who has gone before us, are very much alive. The primary difference is that they are a living revelation that their true citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. I have long been aware that not only do angels gather with us when we come together, but even the saints of God who once walked upon the earth.
While this might sound eerie and spooky to some, for others it is a glorious expectant reality. If we are serious about hanging on to the doctrine of repentance, then we should be repenting for excluding the rest of the church, the body of Christ that is still very much alive in heaven.
For years, I have nurtured my sight, my spiritual senses, to see thousands come together and participate, in the spirit, during our public gatherings. This will soon become an eventual visible manifestation. Like Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses, Elijah and countless others, will begin to appear in plain sight. Jesus was extremely sincere when He said, “Greater things than these, you will do.”
A good friend of mine, who has entertained angels for years, told me that before he saw his first angel with his own eyes, he started acting as though they were with him all the time. He would talk to them and refer to them continually. He even went as far as making sandwiches for them during various lunch times. Sound ridiculous? Of course it does. However, on one occasion, while he was in the kitchen preparing lunch for himself and his invisible friends, he heard a giggling sound coming from the other room. When he went to investigate, he saw three angels setting in his living room. When he saw them, they looked just as shocked that he could see them as he was. I forgot to ask if he made enough sandwiches. 
For me, one of the most troublesome things about our western Christian culture is that we have a desire to go far, but not too far, certainly not far enough. This is why “forerunners” are so necessary in the kingdom of God. One of their primary purposes is to venture out into the depths of the Spirit, beyond our current state of spiritual understanding and reveal the hidden knowledge of the Spirit.
Theory is a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something. Theology is the study of religious faith, practice, and experience. Either theory or theology alone is sufficient to transform one’s mind into the mind of Christ, thus our eternal state. Like faith, they are a point of entry, one of which is designed to lead us into a genuine encounter with the Spirit of the Lord. The future will be filled with a generation that will break the barriers of theoretic and theological understanding. Their revelation will include both knowledge and experience.
Isaiah writes,
“…For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)
Hosea writes,
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord…” (Hosea 6:3)
True knowledge includes the act of knowing, hearing and seeing. In fact, it involves all of our senses. Its intent reaches far beyond mental knowledge about someone or something. In these passages of scripture, the Hebrew meaning of “knowledge” is to know God in the sense of personal experience, not just literal understanding. It means to experience the ways of God, to know His paths and to know His heart.

In the near future, the earth will quake and the heavens will shake because of another increasing heavenly invasion. An unusual terror is about to hit the earth in ways unimaginable. Not terror in the sense of chaotic horror, but terror in the sense of the raw glory of the Lord becoming so visible that many will be terrorized by the brilliance of His appearing.
Michael Danforth