Activation Movement Blog
- Parker Memorial
"Wait, you have two babies in there!"
I'll never forget that moment of shock when the nurse told my wife and I that we were having twins. After almost five years of infertility struggles and all of the pain and suffering that came with it, we had finally had our first child, Emerson, and were now being blessed with an unexpected multiplication of children less than a year later. Walking out of the room in a daze, it was both overwhelming and exciting at the same time.
Several weeks later, we learned that we were having a boy and a girl, exactly what we hoped would happen. Emerson would get to have a brother to play with, and I would get to experience having a daughter, after growing up with a brother myself and not knowing what it was like to have a girl in the family. I watched in amazement as two babies moved around on the monitor during our checkups, yawning and sucking thumbs. We were rock stars at family gatherings, as neither side of the family had any twins, and I swelled with pride as all of God's promises were coming to pass in even greater ways. Everything was going to work out perfectly!
But then, at 19 weeks, things took an unexpected turn, and my wife ended up in the hospital with contractions. I had the utmost confidence that after all we had gone through, there was no way God would allow us to lose these babies. A family friend had prophesied we would have three kids before she even knew we had two more on the way, further convincing me it would all work out. We had faith like never before, declaring with boldness that the contractions would stop. But after several days of ups and downs, we reached a point of no return as my wife's water broke. She would have to deliver the babies through the normal labor and delivery process, knowing our children wouldn't survive.
I remember seeing them on the sonogram monitor that last time, alive and active, and I was madly in love with those children I had never met. And now I had to move forward with no hope, sitting by my wife with eyes squeezed shut as first my daughter, then my son came into the world, took a few breaths of life, and passed into eternity with God. It was all I could muster in that moment to whisper a quick prayer, "Father, I commit these children to you."
Still numb from the pain of this loss only a month later, we learned that my wife was, incredibly, pregnant yet again. The reaction was more fear than excitement, validated by the ensuing struggle to keep our son alive for much of the pregnancy. My wife was on bed rest most of the time, and we had a few moments of panic as she had to go to the hospital with contractions, hoping we wouldn't suffer yet another unbearable loss.
Miraculously my son, whom we named Seth, made it into the world, albeit with some difficulty and time in intensive care. In naming him, we gave him the middle name "Parker" because we liked the name from my wife's family line. With two boys and the feeling our family was complete, that was our last attempt at having children.
Soon thereafter, we were relocated to another city, and had never gotten up the courage to visit our twins' grave site where their ashes were scattered. Returning to the area a few years later, we decided to dig through our box of keepsakes and locate the site.
It was then that we were shocked to see the name of the cemetery - Parker Memorial!
Through all the pain, all the suffering, God shined a light through the darkness, showing me a connection that confirmed He was there all along, through it all. It didn't lessen the pain - as with any loss, the pain will never go away. We all just want comfort in the loss, for our Father to hold us and cry with us.
Whoever said time heals all wounds must have never lost a child. Time doesn't heal wounds - only Jesus can. And the only thing I can hold onto is the hope Jesus gives me in an eternity not only with Him, but also with two children I never got to know in this lifetime.
I am saddened to see people fall away from belief in God because of tragedies they experience, either personally or when they see death come from a terrorist, war, or natural disaster. We need to realize that God loves other people more than we do, even our own children. They were a gift to us no matter how long they were with us. And if we take the eternal view of our lives, all of the pain suffered in this life will quickly become a distant memory, as everyone we ever knew or loved are with us in heaven, giving glory to God for making all things new, for drying every tear.
I was awakened to the sound of my twins playing one night - I knew in my spirit it was them, and was comforted knowing they are happy. If you are hurting from the loss of a child, know they are experiencing true joy and peace, and you will be reunited soon. Take a step forward, make the best of what God has given you in this life, and look forward to a time when all will be made right, with a God who turns all ashes into beauty.
All I ask of you today is to keep trusting God, and allow his promise of "hope, and a future." There's a light shining in the distance - it's the presence of God with an indescribable warmth and radiating love. Your loved ones are already enveloped in this powerful reality, and you are getting closer to "home" each day! In the meantime, enjoy your life with faith, hope, and love, and ask God for peace only He can bring to those who grieve."Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is etermal." - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18- Adam Gellert
- Your Salvation is Assured
03/19/2018"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9I've been on an incredible journey of discovery with God. But climbing the mountain of faith isn't an easy bike ride on a paved surface - as we climb up the mountain, we slip on some of the rocks and fall back down, only to struggle back up the path again. After growing in faith and relationship with Him, I began to get frustrated with how things were going in my work life, and not seeing the fruit I had been anticipating in obedience to His direction. I stopped spending daily quiet time with God as I had started doing two years before, and generally made the decision to "check out" of the intensity and passion I had been experiencing to that point.As you would expect, this opened the door of opportunity, and the devil swooped in with attacks on my thought life. I started wondering if falling away like this put my salvation at risk. What if I died right now and had to face God? Would I still go to heaven? Or would I be angrily cast out for my weak faith and lack of obedience?A month went by, and I gathered up the courage to go back to my journal and seek God's voice yet again. The first thing He said was, "Your salvation is assured. You need to quit worrying about that."Wow! He knew and addressed my biggest concern and tackled it head on. And it brought such peace and relief, not only in the moment, but in knowing and being assured of eternity with the Father, regardless of how I may temporarily behave during the ups and downs of life.Shortly after that, I was serving with the team I volunteer with at church, when the team gathered for some prayer time. The leader started by telling us she felt God wanted to share an important message - our salvation is assured! As she walked through Scripture to support this truth, I sat shaking my head as I was once again amazed at the confirmation God gave me of his earlier message.Why is our salvation assured? Because it's not about us, and the actions we take, that give us salvation in the first place. Jesus Christ is the key to our salvation - he bought us at a price when He died for us on the cross, and His blood washes us clean in God's eyes. To think anything we do can either save us, or condemn us, after being sealed by Christ's salvation, is an insult to Jesus and the cross He bore for us. God looks past our sins and views us as righteous because He sees Jesus in us. The devil doesn't want us living in this Truth, because it gives us freedom and allows us to be empowered as children of God. If we are in constant fear that our continual sin puts our salvation at risk, it leaves us as prisoners of our sin and negates the power of Christ.This doesn't mean we can continue to go on willfully sinning either. As Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:26-27, "For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries." Accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives means dying to self, and the natural desire to sin. We will continue to slip as human beings, but our standing as sons and daughters gives us a new desire to please God, by allowing Him to work through the Holy Spirit to remove our desire to sin. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5).Have you done something that you feel separates you from the love of God? Do you doubt your salvation? Are you living in bondage out of fear that you have to be perfect to achieve salvation and the reward of eternity with Jesus? Be released from this burden today by placing your trust and faith in Jesus - and rest knowing your salvation is assured!"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." - John 10:27-30- Adam Gellert
- What's In It For Me?
"These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." - Hebrews 11:39-40
In the movie "Field of Dreams," the main character, Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice while walking in his Iowa cornfield. The voice says, "If you build it, he will come," and Ray sees a vision of a baseball field and the deceased ballplayer Shoeless Joe Jackson. Assuming this means Shoeless Joe Jackson will appear if he builds a baseball field, Ray is obedient to this strange calling, in spite of financial difficulty he is already having at his farm and the ramifications of this request.
As other farmers watch in shock and he becomes the joke of the community, Ray tears up much of his revenue-producing farmland to build a baseball field, putting him and his family into near bankruptcy. Shoeless Joe Jackson and other deceased ballplayers do appear at the field, and Ray hears more instruction from the voice that guides him on an incredible journey across the United States.
The problem is, all of the voice's instructions are benefiting others, while Ray and his family are suffering severe financial loss. Since others can't see the deceased ballplayers, everyone thinks Ray and his family are crazy, and his brother-in-law moves to foreclose on the property. When a person Ray brings to the field at the instruction of the voice gets invited by Shoeless Joe to see what lies on the other side of the field, Ray finally shows his frustration and asks why he doesn't get to go. Shoeless Joe calmly answers, "Because you weren't invited."
Ray, very angry at this point, says, "I've done everything I've been asked to do. I didn't understand it but I've done it. And I've never once asked what's in it for me. What's in it for me?"
Shoeless Joe then asks, "Is that why you did this - for you?" It stops Ray dead in his tracks, and you can see the look of guilt during the awkward silence as he realizes the selfishness he's had all along in pursuing this Field of Dreams. While on the surface it appeared that Ray was being a risk-taking, obedient servant of the voice, helping ballplayers and others live out their dreams, he was secretly waiting to see what was in all of this for himself.
This is such an important revelation and checkpoint for all of us in our walk with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As you seek a closer relationship with the Trinity, you may be asked to do things that don't make sense. You may be asked to help people in unique ways. You may be given assignments to evangelize to others, preach the Gospel, or heal the sick. But even if you are obedient to these assignments, what motivates you to do so is equally important. Are you really being obedient so you can serve others and show God's love to the world, or are you being driven by the potential rewards for doing so?
Of course God promises blessings to those who are obedient to His calling, but they don't always look like what you expect. His blessings may impact your children, or your grandchildren, or other people you may never meet or know. You may never see the full fruits of your obedience in your lifetime. The key is trusting God when asked to take on an assignment, regardless of what's in it for you.
In the end, Ray does get an unexpected benefit as he learns that it's really his deceased father who will come if he builds the field, and a father and son get to experience reconciliation in a tearful ending. But the bigger lesson for Ray, and for all of us, is that we should always joyfully obey our Father's instruction regardless of what's in it for us.
Jesus was the ultimate example of this when he willingly died on the cross at God's instruction, without asking, "What's in it for me?" And mankind benefited most of all when we inherited eternal life through Jesus.
So what's in it for us? That's the beauty of Christ - we've already received the free gift of redemption and eternal life in heaven with Him if we accept Jesus as our Savior. Our job is then to simply "go and make disciples," bringing others to the real Field of Dreams - an eternal relationship with God our Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit!Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:42-45- Adam Gellert
- Black Like Me
01/16/2018"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,for you are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28First of all, I have to admit I've spent my entire life as what the world would see as a rich white guy. I grew up in the most affluent area of Dallas, Texas. My high school did not have one black student registered there when I attended, so I was not exposed to much diversity there. But in middle school, I had an experience that forever changed my view on race, and caused me to pursue a better understanding of and compassion for people who may be viewed as different from me.I went to a Boy Scout camp that summer, and there was a buzz in the camp of mostly white kids, when we learned that a troop of black kids was also there. One white troop was particularly bothered by this "intrusion," and made a public spectacle of berating and harassing this group of black kids every chance they got. I heard about fights breaking out between these two troops all week long, and personally witnessed this horrific behavior several times when we all gathered as a camp for events.In a moment that will forever burn in my memory, we were all together for a rodeo event at the camp (this is Texas after all), and I was sitting by myself in the bleachers when one of the kids from the black troop was looking for a seat, and sat down next to me. He turned to me and asked, "Is it okay if I sit here?", testing the waters to see if I was one of the kids who would give him a hard time. The entire concept of discrimination was so foreign to me, that I quickly welcomed him to have a seat. But I also recall thinking to myself in that moment, "Why are people being treated like this? How can it be that a person doesn't feel welcome to sit next to another person because of the color of their skin?"The last night in camp, there was what I would call a "race war." Troops across the camp split into two factions, one supporting the black troop and the other supporting the "white supremacist" troop. I didn't go out that night, but heard horrible stories of fights that occurred across the camp.When I returned from camp that week, I was a changed person. I read every book I could find on the Civil Rights Movement, and found an incredible book called "Black Like Me", about a white man who took medication that turned his skin dark, so he could go undercover and see what it was like to live as a black man in the Southern United States. Every book report I had to write and present in school was about civil rights. Since that time I have kept this traumatic experience in mind as I interact with others, and it has saddened me as I watch the racial divide continue to increase in the United States, and across the world, as people are persecuted for their race, religion, gender, or anything else that people view as "different."It has to break God's heart to see this division across the world. God created all of us in a unique way, and one of these ways is the color of our skin. When He looks at each of us, He beams with pride as He sees who He created and placed in the exact country and nationality He intended for each of us before the beginning of time.
In God's Kingdom, our race doesn't have any impact on who we are - God is looking at our hearts. We see in 1 Samuel 16:7, "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." We see Jesus modeling this behavior time and time again, as He broke the rules of His day in having compassion for people it wasn't politically or religiously correct to associate with - women, Samaritans, Gentiles, and other "sinners." Jesus confirmed the two most important commandments were to first love God, and next love your neighbor as yourself, and He was most obedient to these commandments when He died on the cross for the freedom and salvation of the entire world.
Things haven't improved since my experience in middle school - if anything, the situation is getting worse. So what are we to do in these increasingly troubling times? How can we make a change? We first have to admit that in our humanity, we all have a natural tendency toward bias against others who are different from us. Our history speaks for itself. E. Stanley Jones, a missionary to India, wrote in 1925: "I have had this story concerning the origin of the white man quoted to me by an Indian: “God asked the man who is now white what he had done with his brother, and he turned white with fear.” Read the book “The Black Man’s Burden” and you will come to the conclusion that there is enough truth in the above story to make it sting."Simply trying to be better through own efforts just isn't going to work. Despite technology bringing the world together like never before, the divide is growing. There's only one solution to the racial divide - we have to individually and collectively surrender to Jesus Christ and ask Him to transform us from the inside. We must undergo a radical change that only He can perform, and that He died for, as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us to show us and the rest of the world how Jesus sees each of us. Only Jesus living inside us, and leading us in paths of righteousness, will allow those of us with a generational history of oppression to break the cycle of our convicting history, and those who have experienced such oppression to show forgiveness and open arms to those who have oppressed.
A few years after my middle school experience, I went to another camp in high school, where I met a black teenager my age. We had a powerful interaction that week, as he privately admitted to me that he was considering killing himself, and didn't feel any self-worth. I talked to him about the love of Jesus, and led him into accepting Jesus as his Savior. But what if I had overlooked friendship with him because of the color of his skin? What if he had done the same, and we had missed the chance to have a literally life-changing interaction?We see so much anger, so much hate, so much anxiety, so much fear, if we try to look at this situation from the world's view. It can seem so overwhelming, just like other worldwide issues. So let's start with what we can influence - ourselves, our families, and our communities. Make your prayer to see others the way Jesus sees them, and it will forever change the way you see and interact with others. And then let God do the rest as we ask Him to use this spark to light a fire of compassion, peace, and love across the world through His Son, Jesus Christ!"Every nation has its peculiar contribution to make to the interpretation of Christianity. The Son of Man is too great to be expressed by any one portion of humanity. Those that differ from us most will probably contribute most to our expression of Christianity." - E. Stanley Jones"We love because He first loved us." - 1 John 4:19- Adam Gellert
- The Ultimate Connection
01/11/2018What if you could meet your favorite celebrity or another person you greatly admire? What would you do if you had an hour of time with him or her? I've been blessed to make some amazing connections over the last several years, and I can only sit back in wonder as I've "randomly" run into well-known Christian leaders at airports, my kids' school, at church, and elsewhere.In most of those initial encounters, I stumbled over myself as I reacted as most of us would when we run into a "celebrity" - you try to act calm, you try to make a connection by telling them all about your own amazing story (because of course, you're cool too), and finally, you have to make sure to get a picture with the person as evidence of your new "friend" for your social media accounts.But these types of interactions have typically been met with a lukewarm reception at best. We forget that well-known people have these kinds of encounters all the time. Most people use these chance meetings for their benefit, and public figures are experienced enough (and smart enough) to know it. So when these opportunities arise, and we feel God is leading us into an important connection, how can we take advantage of what God has brought together in the right way?One well-known leader with a global ministry did take the time to meet with me for coffee recently, and we discussed this very topic. He used a story about a friend who met Bono, who most would know from the band U2, to illustrate his point. The friend was with another person at a pub in Ireland, and they saw Bono hanging out at the pub with his entourage. The man bet his friend that he could get an audience with Bono, to which the friend took him up on it. The man then proceeded to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the pub, and toasted Bono, "The AIDS activist and humanitarian." Sure enough, a member of Bono's entourage invited the man to meet Bono.The key to getting an audience with Bono was that the man made an effort to connect with what was most important to Bono. The man didn't mention the band U2 that had made Bono famous, or do something that would appear to be self-serving or self-motivated. That probably happens all the time with Bono, and it's a turn off. Regardless of whether someone is famous or not, connections happen when the person you seek to connect with sees your desire for mutual benefit, an interest in a common cause, or just a desire to get to know someone better for who they are and what motivates them, not just what they can do for you. And it's usually pretty obvious when those intentions aren't there.As I stepped into my car reflecting on this story, God hit me with an even bigger revelation - that's how He feels about our desire to connect with Him. God is looking for relationships with people who are after His heart, not what He can do for them. All too often our time with Him is focused on what we need or want. When was the last time you asked God during your prayer time, "Who or what is on your mind and heart today, Father? How can I bless You and your Kingdom today? Who do you want me to pray for, or show love to today?"So ask yourself, why are you seeking a connection with God? Is it to gain eternal life and avoid hell? Is it because of the promise of prosperity and other blessings if you just follow Him? Is it to be healed of sickness and disease? Or are you motivated to be significant in the Kingdom - by having spiritual gifts, leading worship at your church, or having a big church following?All of these motivations are wrong. While you may have good intentions, the benefits of a relationship with God are a byproduct of the love of God, and the fruits of a Kingdom walk, but they should not be the motivation for making the Ultimate Connection. That connection comes from a surrender to the One who deserves such surrender, from pursuing a relationship with your Creator because you want to love Him as much as He loves you. It comes when you desire intimacy with your Father, and have a desire to move His heart as much as He desires to move yours. Just being in His presence is the best gift you can receive, and should be your greatest desire.Make today the day you shift your mindset and approach to your relationship with God. Because who or what you seek first drives everything else in your life, and in your journey with God, the Ultimate Connection."And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father's God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he'll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he'll leave you for good. Look sharp now! God has chosen you to build his holy house. Be brave, determined! And do it!" - 1 Chronicles 28:9-10- Adam Gellert
- My Dear India
He:You who dwell in the gardenswith friends in attendance,let me hear your voice!She:Come away, my beloved,and be like a gazelleor like a young stagon the spice-laden mountains.- Song of Songs 8:13-14
My Dear India,
Come away with me, my beloved, for I yearn to hold you in my arms. Come away with me, my beloved, and know what it's like to experience my touch. Hope is what binds us, hope in eternal rest in our love.
You doubt that one God can love you, is enough for all the love you have to give. That's why I first sent Thomas, the one who doubted me until he saw me with his own eyes and touched me with his own hands. If that is what you require, like Thomas, I will reach for you, I will show myself to you so you can see my glory.
You think that since everyone is created uniquely, there is nothing unique about you. You doubt that each person was planned and formed in Me from the beginning of time, and will be with Me for all eternity. You doubt your own actions can help or hurt you, because your past life is from another, one you can't control. You doubt you are of importance to me based on who you were born into, what earthly family you belong to. But you belonged to me from all eternity, you were pressed together with my own hands. I gave you the uniqueness that is yours and yours alone, and it cannot be taken from you.
When I sent my Son Jesus to earth, to be a sacrifice to the world for all eternity, I saw you. I chose to die for YOU because I saw my bride, one that would love me, one that would seek me. So put away your seeking, for you have found Me.
I wish to heal you from all sickness, shelter you from all darkness. Nothing is too strong for me to overcome. My precious one, stick to me like the lotus blossom sticks to the dew, and I will refresh you for all time.
My blood was the sacrifice for you, so you have no need for your blood to be sacrificed. You worship all things, so worship me only. In this will you find the path to Truth.
I want to bless you with all good things that a Father can give, but I do not exist only to hand out blessings. I seek to be honored, to be loved, to be set apart as your only Love. If you surrender yourself to me, my grace and mercy will abound in you, and you will receive all you should receive.
Come away with me, oh beautiful people of India. and let me show you what true Love is. Invite my Son Jesus to show you the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He will give you My Heart."Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28- Daddy GodThe Lord shared this message with me to the people of India. I can feel his deep love for India, and His desire to be with the children He has created there, as He desires the hearts of all humanity to be drawn to the love of their Father. His compassion and unfailing love are new every morning.-Adam Gellert
- Holy Spirit Baptism - Are You Ready for More?
12/08/2017I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. - Matthew 3:11One of the pleasant surprises of my ministry experience on my church's Healing team is the time we spend with each individual not just with physical healing needs, but in other areas of need in their desire for more with God. I've been privileged to walk several people through the process of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and I get more excited about seeing people walk away with that gift than anything they may see physically. After salvation through accepting Jesus as your savior, being baptized in the Holy Spirit is the greatest gift God has given us, and it really is a game changer.
I get many questions about Holy Spirit baptism that I hope to answer for you in this article:
We will look at the experiences of three church leaders - Smith Wigglesworth, Agnes Sanford, and Francis MacNutt - as well as my own experience, to help answer these questions and encourage you to seek this important gift.What is Holy Spirit baptism? Why is it important?
- What is Holy Spirit baptism? Why is it important?
- Am I still saved if I'm not baptized in the Holy Spirit?
- How can I get baptized in the Holy Spirit?
- How do I know that I've been baptized in the Holy Spirit? What happens to be me when I am?
I don't intend to spend time here going into the theology of Holy Spirit baptism - some people believe you get baptized in the Spirit when you are saved, but I believe Holy Spirit baptism is a separate and distinct experience. There is plenty of Bible Scripture to support this, and you can do your own research, or read Robert Morris' book, The God I Never Knew, for more insights. Regardless of your view, the important thing is experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Holy Spirit baptism is important because it makes us a complete person in Christ. Jesus said He had to leave so the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7), and we know from the Acts of the Apostles and Pentecost the impact the Holy Spirit has had on the church. The early disciples couldn't do what they did on their own, and neither can we. We need the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth of relationship with the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Am I still saved if I'm not baptized in the Holy Spirit? Can I still have a relationship with Jesus without it?
Yes! Salvation comes through belief in Jesus Christ and surrender to Him as your Lord and Savior. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and was resurrected so that we could have eternal life. But His sacrifice also paved the way for the Holy Spirit to be freely shared to all who ask for this gift, to serve as our comforter and guide in our walk with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
To emphasize this point, let talk about our church leaders. Smith Wigglesworth was already a pastor who preached alongside his wife prior to Holy Spirit baptism. Agnes Sanford had a healing ministry and wrote the best-selling book, The Healing Light, decades before she was baptized in the Holy Spirit. And Francis McNutt was a Catholic priest for many years prior to experiencing Holy Spirit baptism.
But even though all of these church leaders were serving in a ministry capacity, and some had strong gifting prior, they all acknowledged that something was missing in their walk with the Lord. They were missing a certain "power" that comes from the fire and presence of the Holy Spirit, and once they received this baptism, they and their ministries were never the same.
How can I get baptized in the Holy Spirit? How do I know that I've been baptized in the Holy Spirit? What happens to be me when I am?Baptism in the Holy Spirit comes from simply asking Jesus for it - that's all it takes! Like salvation, opening your heart to this amazing gift is all that's required, and Jesus will do the rest! If you are uncertain about this, ask a prayer partner, pastor, or other Christian friend who understands Holy Spirit baptism to pray with you.
So does something happen immediately or at another point in time? Like salvation, some people experience something immediately, others have a noted physical or spiritual experience at another point in time, and others realize they have grown into this baptism gradually as they mature in their walk with the Lord. Don't worry about a specific experience or indicator - if you've asked, Jesus will be faithful in sharing this gift. And trust me, when you have it, you'll know!
Holy Spirit baptism brings many amazing benefits - power (Acts 1:8), love (Romans 5:5), the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness (Galatians 5:22), and spiritual gifts like prophecy and speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-10). Some people are scared off by thinking it's all about the "weird" spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues (which is actually wonderful by the way), but the other fruits of the Spirit like joy, peace, etc. are also very noticeable changes.
To bring this into real life examples, let's see how our three church leaders experienced baptism in the Holy Spirit:
- When Smith Wigglesworth told his wife about his baptism and the ability to speak in tongues, she told him, "I have been preaching for twenty years, and you have sat beside me on the platform, but on Sunday you will preach yourself, and I'll see what there is in it." As she sat in the back of the church that Sunday, Smith was filled with the Spirit and gave an incredible message. He describes his wife as being "terribly disturbed" and said in a voice that all around could hear, "That's not my Smith, Lord, that's not my Smith!" He went on to have a powerful ministry and traveled the world with the message of Jesus, with a wife who was continually amazed at his transformation.
- Agnes Sanford describes feeling drained, along with two of her prayer partners, after the many years of praying for others and traveling for her ministry. They asked God what they could do to get their strength back, and all heard, "Pray for the Holy Ghost." When they did, "the power of the Spirit fell upon us immediately. First of all, we felt a deep and intense burning in the middle of the head and with it a drawing feeling, as though the hair were brushed the wrong way, or as though one had on a hat that was too tight." She goes on to say they were given three specific gifts of the Spirit - a joy they had never known before, an understanding of truth, and the gift of peace.
- As a Catholic priest, Francis MacNutt says "it was as if there was a power in Jesus and His followers that was missing in my life." He could see that those he met who claimed to be baptized in the Spirit had the fruits of love, joy, and peace in their eyes. After praying for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, to which he felt no change, Agnes Sanford, who was also present, suggested, "I think it would be better to pray for you for a release of the Spirit and the charismatic gifts that are already in you through baptism, confirmation, and ordination." When that was done, Francis was overcome by a wave of laughter, and "it was as if a spring of joy had welled up from within me, the joy of the Holy Spirit. Wave upon wave of joy engulfed me." Francis went on to start a powerful healing ministry that thrives today.
My personal testimony is similar to Francis MacNutt. I accepted Christ at seven years old and was baptized in the Spirit soon thereafter, and I recall growing up with spiritual gifts. But as I got older I drifted away from these gifts. Thankfully, five years ago I was revitalized and asked God for more, and it was as if a switch was flipped in my life. I had a very clear moment of change that came upon me. I haven't been the same since, as I experience the fruits of the Spirit, greater revelation of the Word, and many other spiritual gifts.Reverend Tommy Tyson defined the baptism of the Spirit as an "event in our lives through which we become more continually aware of the presence, the person, and the power of the risen Christ." No matter where you are in your walk with God, or even if you don't know Jesus yet, there's always an opportunity for more, for the fullness of Christ in you.I hope you'll consider asking Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit - the Acts of the Apostles are alive and well today, and there's a great adventure in store for all who ask for more!A Hindu came up to a preacher in North India and said, "I want to ask a question, not through criticism but for information. I have been reading the New Testament and am especially struck with the Acts of the Apostles. These men seemed to have a wonderful power and fullness of spiritual life. Sir, have you found what they had?" The preacher was speechless. Though he was a graduate of a university and was a missionary, he knew in the inmost depths of being that he did not have what the early disciples seemed to have found. He went home, fell on his knees, yielded himself fully to Christ - and found! - E. Stanley Jones- Adam GellertPS. Click the links here for more information on the books/references quoted above:Agnes Sanford, Sealed OrdersSmith Wigglesworth, Baptized in the Holy SpiritFrancis MacNutt, The Nearly Perfect CrimeRobert Morris, The God I Never Knew
- Ever Be - Will You Answer the Call?
11/22/2017Free will is a great gift that can be unappreciated or misunderstood at times. Many of us watch as others come up with great ideas or ministry opportunities that turn into whatever definition of success we have (fame, fortune, a big church following, God's favor, etc.). We think "why can't I ever get that lucky break?" or "Hey, I had that idea too a few years ago, why didn't I take action on it?" We then blame God for showing favoritism to others or not giving us the same opportunities, when in fact we should be taking accountability for own inaction when God did open the door. He gives all of us a chance to work in our calling and purpose in partnership with Him, but few are obedient to the call.A small example of this in my own life was a day when I heard the song "Ever Be" by Aaron Shust. It's still one of my favorite songs, and that day I felt the impression that I should share the song on social media because someone else needed to hear it. Being new to the social media world and still worrying about how many "likes" I got from posts, I noticed that nobody had "liked" the post after several hours and removed it, being embarrassed at the lack of response.But the following day, I saw the exact same post from another person, who said they felt led to post the song "Ever Be" for someone to hear. It instantly made to realize that if I'm not willing to be obedient to something God had assigned to me, He would find someone else willing to take the risk.In a bigger example, Darren Wilson, a filmmaker who has produced several documentaries such as Finger of God, Father of Lights, and Furious Love, tells a similar story in his book, Finding God in the Bible. He had never made a movie before but was obedient to God's calling to do so. This has led to incredible success as his movies have made an impact across the world.Darren writes in his book, "When He asked me to start making a crazy movie about miracles, I was at my lowest point and honestly had nothing to lose by stepping out. It was only years later that I began receiving emails from producers and directors around the world - people who had far more talent, resources, and ability than me - admitting to me that for years God had been asking them to make a documentary about the things He's doing around the world, yet because of reputation, finances, schedule, fears, or whatever other excuse they could come up with, they all put it off or said no. Then they looked up and saw that here I had done it. Little old me with my borrowed camera and $20,000 budget. I was not God's first choice for this. I was simply the one guy dumb enough (or smart enough) to say yes."What has God put into your heart to do? What excuses are you making to not take action? It may be something as small as paying for the person behind you in the drive thru line, but that one act of obedience will open the door to more, as God now sees He can trust you with bigger and bigger assignments. He has big plans for each of us, if only we will realize we have the choice to take action, to take the leap into the unknown. You'll be in for a fun ride if you will only say "YES"!Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" - Isaiah 6:8P.S. Check out Darren's movies and other projects at wpfilm.com.-Adam Gellert
- The Key To Your Heart
11/03/2017"My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him."- Song of Songs 5:4A few days ago I was going for a run, one of my favorite times to listen to praise and worship music and hear from God. As I was sifting through the song selections on my phone, I decided to do something I've never done before - I asked God what He wanted to hear. And just like so many other times I've heard from God, His answer was totally unexpected and taught me another important lesson in my relationship journey with the Father.
The song I heard God say was "Let My Love Open The Door," a song by Pete Townshend, lead guitarist of the famous classic rock band The Who. I knew the song, but I also knew it had to be God, since I haven't thought of or heard that song in years. With it being a secular song, I wondered if I had heard right, and couldn't wait to look up the lyrics to see why God had chosen this song.
Not surprisingly, the lyrics were a perfect message for me, and really for all of us, when put into the perspective of this song coming from God:When people keep repeatingThat you'll never fall in loveWhen everybody keeps retreatingBut you can't seem to get enoughLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the door to your heartWhen everything feels all overEverybody seems unkindI'll give you a four-leaf cloverTake all worry out of your mindLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the door to your heartI've got the only key to your heartI can stop you from falling apartTry today, you'll find this wayCome on and give me a chance to sayLet my love open the doorIt's all I'm living forRelease yourself from miseryThere's only one thing gonna set you freeThat's my loveThat's my loveLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorWhen tragedy befalls youDon't let it drag you downLove can cure your problemsYou're so lucky I'm aroundLet my love open the doorLet my love open the doorLet my love open the door to your heartAnd just for good measure, in case some of you (including myself) wonder if this song was just a random thought, here was a quote of the day I read later that evening from E. Stanley Jones, a missionary to India:"Where other keys get jammed, love opens the door, for it fits the heart - every heart."Wow! Isn't God amazing! I learned some important lessons about God from this experience. First and most obviously, was the message from the song that God's thoughts about us are those of love, that He holds the key to our heart if we will open the door and let Him in. We are always on His mind, and He loves each of us! And even though I know He loves me, I never get tired of hearing it, just like we always appreciate the reinforcement when our loved ones say, "I love you!"
But the other important takeaway was the fact that God used a "secular" song to communicate with me. You may miss out on hearing from God if your mind is closed to what you view as "non-Christian" sources. Be open to all the ways God can talk to us - God created it all, and He can use it all for His glory!
So take the time to ask God how He wants to share His love with you - and be open (and amazed) at His answers!"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."
- Psalm 139:23-Adam Gellert
- God Is Love
10/18/2017No matter what you believe, or who you believe in, all people believe in Love. At the core of humanity, we all want to be loved, and love others. The Beatles sang, "All You Need Is Love." And the Bible says, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
What is love? The dictionary defines love as "an intense feeling of deep affection." But love goes deeper than this. My favorite description of love is a Bible Scripture read at many weddings, including my own, from 1 Corinthians 13:"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."I think most people, Christians and non-Christians alike, would read this and agree with the author, Paul, on this description of love. We read or hear these verses and our spouse, children, or other loved ones come to mind. But let me challenge you with another twist to this Scripture, one that may make you squirm in your chair a little.
We also read in 1 John 4:8 that "God is love." He is the very essence of love. But do you really believe it? Let's look at 1 Corinthians 13 with a new lens:"God is patient, God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonor others, God is not self-seeking, God is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails."
What's your reaction to this verse now? Does it feel the same as before? If not, why?
What has been your experience with God? What is your relationship with Him?
- Do you believe God is patient with you, that He is kind?
- Do you believe God does not envy, that He doesn't boast, that He is not proud?
- Do you believe God does not dishonor you, that He is not self-seeking?
- Do you believe God is not easily angered with you?
- Do you believe God keeps no record of your wrongs?
- Do you believe God does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth?
- Do you believe God always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres?
- Do you believe God never fails you?
I think most of us, if we are really honest with ourselves, have a difficult time answering "Yes" to all (or even most) of these questions. We've been hurt, disappointed, let down, experienced loss, wondered why something had to happen the way it did. We think we've done too much to really be loved unconditionally. How can God allow all these bad things to happen to me, or to the world around us, if He really loves us?
But if you will let Him in, and seek God with all your heart, soul, and mind, you'll discover there is no room for doubt in any of these areas. Because God is love, we are believing a lie if we accept any other belief about who He is, and how He sees us.God created each of us to be in a loving relationship with Him. So much so that He willingly sacrificed His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us, so that we could be in a love relationship with our Creator, an unconditional love that frees us from the bondage of death, to spend eternity with our one true Love. Accept this today and experience God, experience Love."All you need is God."- Adam Gellert
- My Encounter With God
09/19/2017After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. - 1 Kings 19:12-13I always enjoy reading stories about near-death experiences and other encounters people have with the heavenly realm. It encourages us in our faith, and gives us hope in a future eternity with God. I shared one such story from a friend in a previous blog entry, The Day I Touched Heaven. And I'm currently reading an amazing book, Imagine Heaven, by John Burke, which relates several incredible stories of people's miraculous journeys to heaven and meeting God or Jesus (or both).Reading this book reminded me that I have yet to share on this site my own amazing story of meeting God (I shared it in my book); it changed my life and continues to give me confidence and hope daily, and I pray it does the same for you.Many years ago, I dozed off to sleep one night, unaware that I was about to encounter the Creator of the universe. I dreamed I was at my grandparents’ home. Everyone in my core family was there in the dream with me - my parents, brother, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Suddenly, someone in the group told me that God wanted to speak to me, and it was as if I knew just what to do or expected it. I had no fear.I was in the family room, and a fog or mist, low to the ground, came out of the hallway that led to my grandparents’ bedroom. The fog came right toward me, and I somehow knew that God himself was approaching. I covered my face with my hands as He drew near, and I knew in my Spirit that I could not look.I squeezed my eyes shut just as I was engulfed in the brightest light I had ever seen. There was warmth around me that made me so comfortable and free; the warmth may be the thing I remember most vividly. Then I felt a hand on my right shoulder, and I was aware that it was God’s right hand. As I reflected on this later, I knew this was a purposeful and orderly act, because this would not be the natural placement of someone’s right hand as they were reaching out to touch someone’s right shoulder. Scripture also confirms this:When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” - Revelation 1:17While He was touching my right shoulder, I heard a voice in my right ear speaking these comforting words, "It's okay; it's okay." Amazingly, His voice was both different and as familiar as my earthly father's voice. The voice was speaking into my right ear. This was strange and unbelievable. Why? Because I've been deaf in my right ear since birth!It was a perfect moment - blinded by light, enveloped in radiant warmth, a hand on my shoulder, and the familiar, paternal voice of my Father. The experience only lasted for several seconds. I was so upset when I woke up because I never wanted to leave that moment. I was so comforted and at peace.This dream changed my life forever and serves as a foundation of my faith today. I now have the confidence of knowing that in the heart of it all, the God whose presence I experienced, whose hand touched me, and whose voice I heard, is alive, He is real, and He loves me as a father loves his child. I also no longer have a fear of death - if leaving this world means getting to be in His presence and having that same experience for eternity, I’m ready to go at any time! That’s how amazing and real my dream was.I hope this testimony encourages you to know that God loves each of us in a very real and personal way. As you walk through life's journey, He is with you every step of the way, encouraging you with the comforting words, "It's okay." Because an eternity of joy, peace, love, and God's warm presence awaits you.The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. - Matthew 4:16-Adam Gellert
- What Color Were Your Shoes?
08/27/2017"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." -Ecclesiastes 3:11In the natural world, time dominates much of how we operate our lives. We wake up and go to sleep at certain times, we celebrate another year of being alive on our birthday, and we see the impact of time as our own mortality comes into view in our later years. The idea of eternity is so difficult for humans since our lives are time bound, with a defined beginning and end.
So what will our eternity look like? What will we remember from our time on earth? It boggles the mind to think about the concept of our existence never having an end, forever living in our spiritual bodies. What will carry through from our time in this life?
During my participation in Gateway Church's freedom program called "Kairos," a story from one presenter still sticks in my mind and has changed how I view my priorities during my time on earth.
The presenter asked God these same questions about eternity, and God answered:
"You were in second grade, right?"
"Yes," the man replied.
"Do you remember what color your shoes were the first day of second grade?"
"No," was the response.
"Do you remember what you had for lunch the first day of school?"
"But you were there, right?"
"Yes," was the reply.
Then God said, "This is what eternity will be like. You will know you were on the earth, that you were there, but that's all you will remember over the span of eternity."
This story really shook my world. What it made so clear is that our day-to-day life, and the things we worry about most of the time, don't really matter in the long run. My focus should be on eternity, and my relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who will be with me on the eternal journey. And what can I be doing during my short time on earth to impact eternity - who else can I help introduce to Jesus? How can I be a light to the world? I can see now why Jesus and his disciples were focused solely on bringing people into repentance, into a relationship with the Savior - because in the end that's all that matters.
Knowing this truth about eternity, and the few things that will remain from this earthly experience, what are you focusing your time and attention on? Are those things going to last, will they have eternal impact? If not, maybe it's time to take a fresh look at your true calling and purpose as a follower of Jesus.
- Adam GellertFor more information on Gateway's "Kairos" program, click here.
- Strawberry Fields
07/06/2017"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." - John 15:4-5I have to admit, I have a rebellious tendency that can get me into trouble. I recall a personality test I took at work years ago, where the watch out for my manager was to "understand his need to rebel." I also rated high on "mischievous" on another assessment, defined as a "fondness for causing trouble in a playful way." This can make for a dangerous combination, but also has some positives in that I'm willing to take risks and challenge the status quo when a different direction may be needed.
So why do we rebel? It's because we resist control and authority. We see it as teenagers when we resist our parents' control and authority over our lives, and as adults in the workplace when we resist a manager's direction or a company policy. And we see it in the Bible, with many examples of people who resist submitting their will to God because of their desire for control and independence.
I was spending time with God recently during a period of heightened rebellion in my relationship with Him, when He said, "Strawberries." I was left with the impression that He was using this to describe me, so I looked up strawberries to discover what it was about them that He attributed to me.
Sure enough, I learned that strawberries can be very high maintenance. When in growth mode, strawberries produce "runners," or vines that extend from the "mother" plant and try to grow new "daughter" plants. The problem is, these runners take energy away from the mother plant, and farmers typically trim most of these runners back to allow for more growth of the mother plant. So while strawberries have many outstanding health benefits and taste great, farmers who grow strawberries know they are dealing with a fruit that takes more care than others.
What does this mean for those of us who tend to be more rebellious? It's actually great news, because God created each of us to be special and unique, and He knows that He has to tend the "garden" of His creation in unique ways. It's no surprise that He began creation with the Garden of Eden, with its large variety of plants and trees. He loves tending to His garden of unique personalities with each person He created, and He's not scared or intimidated by your unique personality traits.
But now that I know I'm a strawberry in God's garden, I want to be more mindful of the potential "runners" in my life that keep me from bearing the best fruit possible. For me it's rebellion and the desire to have control. I can ask God to expose and trim back these runners, so I can better submit to His perfect plan and will for my life.
What runners are getting in the way of your best life? Ask God, the perfect Gardner, to expose and trim these areas, so you can bear the fruit God intended.
- Man Overboard!
05/05/2017"Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith." - 1 Timothy 1:19
In the Christian community, we like to talk about our ability to cast our cares upon Jesus. 1 Peter 5:7 says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." And Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." For me, when reading these verses I always had an image of taking whatever cares or burdens of our lives - worries, grief, hurts, anger - and placing them on Jesus' back as I walk with Him on life's journey. As I hike up the mountain or down into the valley, Jesus is walking ahead of me, guiding me along the path with my heavy backpack of burdens on his shoulders.
But that implies that our burdens are still with us on the journey, that Jesus keeps those burdens as we walk together. And our burdens actually need to be cast away, or released, since they get in the way of a full relationship with the Lord.
Recently, God gave me a vision that has changed my perspective on what it really means to cast our cares on Him. He showed me the image of having to throw the cargo overboard on a ship during a storm. And it made me wonder, why did people do that during Bible times? We see in the story of both Jonah and Paul that they were on a boat that was in danger of sinking because of a storm. The crew starts throwing its cargo overboard, so why did they do this?
To lighten the ship. A heavy cargo makes a ship sit deeper in the water, which is dangerous in shallow water. The crew threw the cargo overboard so the ship would sit higher in the water in case they were blown near land, where their boat would get destroyed on the shallow reefs, rocks, and harbors. If the bottom of the ship ran aground miles from any shore, they faced the prospect of being tossed into the sea. Thus, when you are faced with life or death, everything (even the food) becomes expendable.
Lightening the ship also stabilizes it in rough seas. If the ship got tossed to one side and became unbalanced, a heavy ship would be more likely to follow the energy and due to inertia (the law where objects in motion want to stay in motion), it would tip over.
Further, throwing cargo overboard makes the ship go faster in case the men wanted to try to outrun the storm.
With this analogy, God was showing me that there were some things I was holding onto, that I needed to throw away to lighten my ship. The storms that will hit all of us at some point or another, can serve as a way to force us to throw away some things we view as "precious cargo," such as a job, money, pride, rebellion, or anything else that keeps us from relying solely on Him. When the seas are quiet and the ship of life is cruising along smoothly, we aren't challenged to let go of some things that could make us stronger in the long run.
What cargo do you need to throw overboard to lighten the load? Ask God to reveal this to you through the Holy Spirit, and watch your ship pick up speed past the storms, and into the calm seas of God's presence. And you'll find that the cargo you thought was essential to your journey, were actually a hindrance to being who God created you to be..."We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." - Hebrews 6:19-20
- An Ocean of Secrets
03/30/2017"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." - James 5:16
I was watching the movie Titanic recently, one of my favorites. The main character, Rose, tells the story of her romance with Jack, which ends when he dies in the Titanic sinking. Nearing the end of her life, Rose confesses to her granddaughter this secret love she had before meeting her husband later in life. In this moment of confession, she says to her granddaughter and the others listening to the story, "A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets."
This was such a interesting statement, and my first reaction was to think, "Not just a woman's. We all have an ocean of secrets." And while the movie portrayed her secrets as part of her adventurous, romantic mystique, most secrets create a bondage in our lives. People keep secrets because they are ashamed, and don't want others to know about the sin committed, lie told, or law broken. We have an image to uphold in front of others, and we are afraid of what people may think about us if they were to know about these secrets.
Fortunately, God knows everything about us - what we have done and what we will do - and loves us as sons and daughters. He sent Jesus to forgive us from our sins, and if we will receive it, we are washed clean from our ocean of secrets. I know I am comforted knowing that He is aware of everything I've done and will do, and loves me all the same.
But sometimes that's not enough to heal us from our ocean of secrets. As we see in James 5:16, God tells us to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." Confession releases power in your inner healing, as God honors the Body of Christ as a conduit for his work in each member of the Body. In other words, we were not meant to "go it alone."
One person who learned this powerful truth was Agnes Sanford, a founding member of the Charismatic Movement in the mid 1900s. Agnes had a powerful healing ministry, and her first book, The Healing Light, was a best-seller. But she found herself drained of her power as she gave more and more of herself in prayer for others, and from traveling around the country speaking. One day she asked God how her strength could be restored, and He revealed to her that confession was the answer. As one of her friends told her, "The confessional sets free in you the power of God through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. It releases power in the way that is the most simple and wholesome and human."
So Agnes, coming from a church background that did not practice confessionals, split her life into seven periods of time. She asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to her any unforgiven sins, hurts, or other memories from each of those seven time periods, writing them all down. Finally, she shared everything from her list with a priest from another church, who prayed with her for her forgiveness. The priest said, "Although so few people know it, the church through Jesus Christ really does have the power to forgive sins."
Sure enough, Agnes said she "had hardly gone out of the place before I was flooded from head to foot with the most overwhelming vibrations...and indeed a healing process did begin in me at that time." She was able to continue her ministry with vibrancy and power after learning to take advantage of confession.
My home church, Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, aligns to this approach and includes a confessional time in its "Kairos" freedom program. I participated in this myself, and agree with Agnes that there's something powerful about telling another person about a sin you have never told anyone about, that's been kept buried inside. It was very liberating.
If your "ocean of secrets" is keeping you from being the whole person God intended you to be, I would encourage you to explore a confession of those secrets to a member of the Body of Christ - a priest, pastor, or other Christian brother or sister. And watch Jesus work in His promise to heal you and set you free.
03/08/2017"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31
When I was told ten months ago that my position was being eliminated at the company where I had worked for over ten years, I wasn't too worried. I was confident in the experience I had built over a 17-year career, and knew the economy was strong in my area. God had warned me about the change by telling me He would give me "strength for the days ahead," and that He would "close my wound with new skin quickly" (Isaiah 58:8). The company offered me a lower level role, but I turned it down, confident in God's word for me and excited to see what God had in store for my next adventure.
Little did I realize the challenge I was going to face in finding employment, and had I known the long and difficult road that lay in front of me, I might have made a different decision. Most of the time I've felt the strength promised by God, but I've also had periods of anger, confusion, and doubt. I don't understand why God's timing has to include a wait of several months for the next part of my journey to begin. I've enjoyed the time off from a busy work environment to spend more time with family and friends, and in quiet time with God. But we were made to work, to have a purpose. So why do I have to keep waiting?
In the midst of this struggle, I was going through some old files on my computer, and I found the following poem that I had saved from 1999. I don't know why I was attracted to the poem at that time - I graduated from school that year and landed a job right away, and was engaged to be married, so I didn't have a reason to be drawn to it. But now, in this season, it is perfect. Looking back, it seems as though God called me to this poem as a prophetic look into a future time when I would need it, and then prompted me to search through these files at just the right time. He is amazing!
I hope this poem, written by an unknown author, encourages you during a season of waiting. That may be now, or could be many years from now, so save it for whenever you may need it. It shows us that waiting may, in the long run, be the greatest gift we could receive in this season, and we'll look back later and be thankful for God's perfect timing as our life's plan unfolds.WAIT
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
and the Master who gently said, "Child, you must wait."
"Wait? You say, wait!," my indignant reply,
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe,
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!"
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting....for what?"
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want - but you wouldn't know Me."
"You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint;
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
You'd know that I live and I save....(for a start),
but you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night.
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee."
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true.
But, oh, the loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late,
my most precious answer of all is still, "WAIT."May God give you strength and peace in your seasons of waiting, as well as a closer walk with Him!
- Adam Gellert
- Children of Light
02/16/2017Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark,it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” - Luke 11:36Jesus told his disciples to be a light to the world. But what does that mean? Is it just a figurative expression for demonstrating God's love by showing the joy we have in Him as Christians? That's partially true, but do you realize that there is also a very real light shining in you that comes from accepting Jesus as your Savior? Two incredible stories have changed my view of what it means to have Jesus living inside me, and the power I have through Him to make an impact on both the natural and spiritual world. If you accept this truth, you will never be the same!About five years ago I heard the story of a witch doctor who had the ability to leave his body and travel in the spirit to people's houses to place a curse on them. People would pay this witch doctor to do this to their enemies, and he made a good living at it. But one day, he left his body and went to a man's house he was supposed to curse. When he arrived at the window, all he could see was a blinding light coming from inside. The light was so strong, and so powerful, he could not enter the house. He could see the man, but surrounding him were three figures shining in a bright light, Puzzled, the witch doctor later learned that there were three Christian missionaries at the man's house that night, sharing the gospel with him!The second story reinforces this incredible truth. Agnes Sanford, in her autobiography Sealed Orders, tells about growing up in China with her missionary parents. She describes how the Chinese were able to easily comprehend the idea of Jesus Christ having the power to drive out evil spirits, because they believed in and even saw them. She goes on to say, "Not only that, but they perceived, in a way that we are unable to perceive, that those who accepted Jesus walked in a circle of light that protected them from evil spirits. Knowing this, a heathen family would sometimes invite a Christian family to live in a haunted house rent free for a few months, believing that after a while the Spirit of Christ abiding there would make it untenable for evil spirits."Of course, being the light of the world also means living in such a way that others see and want what you have. Matthew 5:16 says, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." But I hope these two stories give you the confidence to see who you are from another perspective. As a Christian, when you walk into your office at work, go into the mission field, or just sit having coffee with a friend, you are emanating the light of Jesus Christ, which has the power to "demolish strongholds." You are driving out darkness wherever you go! And with this knowledge, walk boldly in your inheritance as a son or daughter, and shine brightly in a world filled with darkness.“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden."- Matthew 5:14"Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light."- John 12:36
- Adam Gellert
- Jesus, Help Me! The Power of Three Words
01/26/2017The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. - Matthew 15:25
One of the earliest and most unexpected lessons I learned when God "activated" my life for more with Him, was that the devil doesn't like it when someone starts living in their destiny with God. I started experiencing very difficult spiritual encounters, and one night in March 2014, I was awakened at about 2:00 a.m. I heard the growl of an evil sound or voice, and then suddenly felt myself being seized with numbness on the top of my head. When the numbness got to my neck, I could sense that it was making its way down my entire body. In desperation, from deep within my spirit, I cried out, “Jesus, Help Me!” It was an automatic response, and even I was surprised at what I blurted out.
Instantly the numbness went away and I was able to go back to sleep. While frightening during the experience itself, I was so encouraged and amazed to discover what crying out to Jesus can instantly do, and to know that in the end, Jesus has all of the power and authority in the universe.
To reinforce this point, I was surprised recently when reading a book from Francis MacNutt about the history of healing ministries in the Church. Before the Charismatic Movement of the 20th century, healing ministries were all but dead in the Church for a variety of reasons. However, there were some exceptions, with one being a Lutheran pastor from the Black Forest area of Germany named Johann Christophe Blumhardt (1805-1880).
Johann had no intention of getting involved in healing work. His church was spiritually lethargic and his congregation regularly slept through his sermons. But there was a woman in his small town of 500 who had a variety of illnesses, and was so temperamental that people crossed to the other side of the street to avoid her. She had bleeding coming from places in her body, and the doctor asked Johann to get involved, since he could not cure her. None of this had been covered in his seminary, so he didn't really know what to do.
With a big crowd gathering outside of her home due to the loud noises coming from the woman's pain and suffering, Johann decided he could not do any harm by asking her to repeat after him, "Lord Jesus, help me." When she did this, to everyone's astonishment, the bleeding stopped! Johann went on to experience many healing miracles in his town and beyond, with people lining up from far and wide to see him beginning every day at 6:30 a.m. and ending at 11:30 p.m.
I was amazed to read about someone getting the same result of healing from saying the same words I had said in my encounter - Jesus, Help Me. I'm not saying this is a "formula" for healing - we know from the Bible that Jesus and his disciples saw people healed in a variety of ways, and I've witnessed the same thing from my own experiences. My point is that many times, healing comes at the point of desperation, when we run out of all other options, and submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus. We are finally able to give up control from our rebel hearts, and have no choice but to give credit to Jesus for our healing.
Have you tried all other options? Are you finally ready to say, "Jesus, Help Me" from the depths of your spirit? In His compassion and unending love, Jesus is ready to lift you up and bring healing to your situation, whatever it may be.Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love. - Psalm 109:262018 Update: I was given a copy of The Red Sea Rules by Robert Morgan, and he tells the following similar story: "My daughter was napping in her dormitory one day when she awoke with a start. An oppressing sense of evil invaded her room, and she felt a physical force descending upon her, pressing her into her bed as though to suffocate her. Terrified, she cried, "Lord, help me!" Instantly the malevolent force vanished, leaving her weak and weeping...I've read or heard of a number of such incidents." It was interesting to find yet more confirmation of this type of spiritual attack happening to others, with the same response consistently bringing relief - a call to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
- You Will Be Amazed
01/12/2017"Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." - Habakkuk 1:5About a year ago, I had reached a low point in my life. I was sitting on a plane returning home from a work meeting I had just attended. My company announced some big changes to the organization, and I had spent the week in a fog, hearing rumors about my job being impacted as new leaders were introducing themselves to the team. The prior six months had also been a difficult time, with a palpable feeling of favor being lifted from the company I had spent a decade with.
But then, as I sat staring at the tray table in front of me, wondering what the future held, I heard God say, "You will be amazed!"
That one word from God immediately changed my mood and gave me a boost of excitement. My thoughts went from worry and fear to hope and promise, wondering what God had in store for this season.
Sure enough, 2016 truly was an amazing year, but not in the way I expected. While my position was eliminated at the company a few months later, God gave me encouragement and peace, and prepared me for the change that was coming as I spent quiet time with Him. Even though I had never earned better than a "C" in college English classes and never thought I would be a writer, God motivated me to write a book that was published in the summer, which just won a literary award. He gave me favor to participate in radio and TV interviews, speak at a women's leadership conference, and join my church's healing ministry team. He opened doors to connections with incredible people of faith that I would have never met in other seasons of my life, and allowed me to provide Bibles and other supplies to Christians in Pakistan.
God was true to the word He gave me early in the year that I would be amazed, and in doing so He completely changed the trajectory of my life. Sitting on that plane, I could have never imagined the adventures in store for 2016. And this is just the beginning of the story and a lifetime of being AMAZED.
Most of us know the scripture from Jeremiah 29:11, where God promises to give us "a future and a hope", but do you realize that He wants that future to be filled with "amazement"? He doesn't want to just pick you up off the ground and set you back on your current course; He wants to lift you up onto a new trajectory, one where you are able to know and be who you were originally created to be, filled with joy in the purpose God has for your life.
No matter where you are in life's journey, God is saying to you right now, "YOU WILL BE AMAZED!" Claim this message and take your first step into the great adventure of an amazing life with God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." - Ephesians 3:20
- Adam Gellert
- Atomic Prayers
I was watching a television show recently about the period of time in United States history when the government tested atomic bombs in Nevada. It was interesting to learn how atomic bombs don't get their power from the large plume of smoke that rises into the atmosphere; while that may be dazzling to see visually, the real devastation comes from the shock wave that screams across the landscape at over 500 miles per hour. You've probably seen the videos of the effects of these shockwaves, which instantly raze buildings to the ground with forces many times stronger than a hurricane.
Amazingly, the very next day after watching this show, I was viewing an episode of Sid Roth's TV show, It's Supernatural. Sid was interviewing a man who had a near-death encounter with Jesus as his body was laying on an operating table. Jesus took the man to the Nevada desert, where He asked the man to pray. When the man prayed, an atomic bomb exploded in front of them, just like the tests in Nevada. Jesus explained to the man, "Do you see the shock waves coming from the blast? Your prayers are like these shock waves in the spiritual world! They are demolishing strongholds with the force of an atomic bomb!"
My body got chills as I sat listening to this testimony. Since I had just seen another show on this same topic the day before, it was very clear to me that God was sharing an important insight with me, one that greatly encourages me to know that my prayers have that kind of effect.
I think we all like the tangible, visible experiences we can have with God - the witnessing of physical healings, financial blessings, the warmth of God's presence, and the like. But many times, at least in my experience, prayer takes work and commitment, because we don't always see an immediate, tangible result. Our prayers may be impacting our children or grandchildren many years from now, or people across the world that we will never meet or even know. I envy intercessors who spend time in constant prayer, with the faith that they may not see the result of their prayers in this lifetime. I'll admit it takes more work for me because I like to see that what I'm doing is producing results that I can see, touch, and feel.
But this is why I believe Jesus so clearly showed me the analogy of our prayers being like atomic bombs, and wants to encourage all of us to use this incredible weapon called prayer. Atomic bombs are the most feared weapon in our world, and the same can be said about our prayers in the spiritual world. The enemy fears our prayers, and prayer produces amazing results. I challenge you to pray as much as possible, even when you may not see the results of your prayers in your lifetime. You are sowing seeds that will bear fruit in due season, and you are helping win battles in unknown places, on this earth and in the spiritual realms!"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." - 2 Corinthians 10:3-4"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." - Ephesians 6:18
- Are You George Bailey?
The movie It's a Wonderful Life is my favorite Christmas movie. Released in 1947 and starring Jimmy Stewart, the movie centers around George Bailey, a fictional character who grows up in a small town in New York called Bedford Falls. He has big dreams from an early age to leave the town and see the world. He plans to become an architect and build incredible buildings, creating a life of adventure that the others in the town can only dream about.
But as the movie unfolds, George is prevented from leaving Bedford Falls every time he has the chance to do so. First, his father dies as he is leaving for college, and he is forced, through his sense of duty and honor, to take over the family Building and Loan business. As George is leaving for his honeymoon to finally get a chance to see some of the places he wanted to travel to, there's a run on the banks and he must use his honeymoon savings to save the Building and Loan in a time of crisis. Finally, with the little money the family does have, they decide to use it to send George's younger brother, Harry, to college. Harry ends up serving in World War II and becoming a war hero, earning the Medal of Honor.
As George watches his life's dreams pass him by, and others from Bedford Falls leave to find wealth and success elsewhere, George dutifully serves his town and helps the poorer families build houses, saving them from the local rich, wicked banker. He marries a woman in town and has many children, when he hadn't intended on getting married due to his life ambitions. But when his uncle accidently loses the Building and Loan's funds, everything George worked for seems to be lost, as he faces arrest and scandal.
George Bailey reaches his wit's end, and in thinking that the end may be near for him, he prepares to jump off a bridge outside of town, when an angel who has been watching George's life unfold saves him. George tells the angel he wishes he'd never been born, because of the failures of his life, so the angel grants the request and shows him what the town of Bedford Falls would have been like if George hadn't been born. It's a shocking reality, and George finally sees that he had a much bigger, better impact on the world than he ever realized.
I must admit that I have always related to George Bailey. I have lived most of my life in the same city, although I went away to college and spent a couple of years in another city due to a work assignment. Every time I lived away from "home", I loved the sense of adventure, the chance to see something new. Now that I'm back home once more, I long for the chance to venture out again into the "wild" of a new and exciting place. When I talk of leaving town, I tell my family (and myself), "I don't want to be George Bailey", knowing I only have a small window of time to see the world and take part in what I view as a true "adventure".
But what if that's not what God has called for my life? Will I be content to make an impact from the place He may be calling me to serve? What if, ironically, the real adventure is here? Would I trade the opportunity to make a bigger, better impact at "home" for what could be a shallow and selfish experience somewhere else, that has little lasting result? Like George Bailey, can you see the impact you've had on others' lives, that would be missing if you had never been born, or if you had chosen a different path than what you were called into?
Maybe you have had the same thoughts and frustrations. Like George Bailey, you had dreams and desires that never came to fulfillment because honor and duty led you down a different path. Or from a different view, maybe you've had the chance to travel the world, but you long for a place to call "home." In either case, God has an adventure in store for you, and it may look different than what you have planned. Open your heart to God and ask him to reveal your true calling and purpose, and God will faithfully show you that if you follow His plans for you, in the end you will be able to say, "It's Been a Wonderful Life!""God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!" - Ephesians 3:20 (The Message Translation)-Adam Gellert
- The Power in God's Silence
My wife and I had a difficult journey trying to start a family. It took us almost five years to have our first child. Then we lost twins, a boy and a girl, at 19 weeks of pregnancy.
After this extreme loss, God quickly responded by giving me promises of another child. In my despair and mourning, He pointed me to a story from the book of Genesis in the Bible, where Adam and Eve had Seth after losing Abel. He showed me the story of King David, who lost a child and was comforted by the birth of another son, Solomon. With these promises in hand, it was so amazing, but not all that surprising, when we learned that my wife was pregnant again only six weeks after losing the twins.
But after a smooth first 24 weeks, complications arose. My wife was monitored for contractions in the emergency room, and she had to go on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. We had many touch and go moments, with frequent visits to the ER where we thought we may lose our baby.
I started to doubt the promises I had been given from God, and wondered if I had heard Him correctly. I decided to fast one day, and during that day, I waited for a word from God. I was looking for something, anything to show me that God was still there, that I had heard from Him and this baby was going to be okay.
But there was silence that entire day and evening. I didn't hear anything, and nothing came to mind. It was strangely silent, even purposefully so.
As I got up from my knees to close out my final prayer time that day, I was left with the strong impression that God was telling me He had nothing more to say about the matter - He had already given me His promises. I was now to trust Him at His word.
As you would expect, my son is six years old today and doing great. It was a difficult journey, but we are enjoying the family God promised us.
It's okay to ask God for confirmation, and there are many examples in the Bible of God confirming what He has spoken to someone. But what if He is silent? Do you still trust Him to fulfill the promises He has laid on your heart?
It may take longer than you expect to see God's promises fulfilled, but He is ALWAYS faithful to complete it. Abraham had to wait 20 years after God told him he would have a son, before Sarah gave birth to Isaac. It took many years of hardship for David to see God's promise of kingship come to pass.
Even though God may appear to be silent, He is ALWAYS active, ALWAYS at work in bringing you to the fulfillment of His purposes and promises for your life. Silence does NOT mean inactivity.
Trust God in the silence - there is power in the silence, and He will honor your trust with the right answers at the appointed time!"The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." - 1 Thessalonians 5:24"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6
- Adam Gellert
P.S. Ironically, right after I posted this article, I saw a preview for a new movie coming out in 2017 called "Silence," about two Jesuit priests who travel to Japan to find their mentor, and face persecution in sharing their faith. In the preview, one of the priests expresses frustration about only hearing silence in the face of his struggles. It looks good, check out the preview here!
- What Are You Worth?
I ran across a job search website recently that has a tool called "Know Your Worth." You enter some information about your previous experience, salary, and location, and the tool generates a number on the screen that estimates what you are "worth" in the job market.
Regardless of how high or low that number turns out to be, it is strange seeing any number that tells you what you are "worth." But that's the world's view of your value, because from God's point of view, you are PRICELESS.
Matthew 10:29-31 tells us, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows."
To go deeper with this concept, what have others, or even yourself, told you what you're worth? Have parents, friends, your company, or others led you to believe you are a failure? Are inadequate? Don't have what it takes? Aren't attractive? Not smart enough?
What about your sins? Are you ashamed of your past? Do you have secret sins that nobody else knows about, that they will never know about? We all have those secrets, so do they diminish our worth, even in the sight of God?
We know that Jesus forgives sins, but that just means he chooses to overlook them, right? What does God see when He looks at us? It must be pretty hard for Him to look at us, what with all the imperfections, bad choices, sins, thoughts, mistakes, fears, and doubts we have.
But that view just isn't the truth. The song "Priceless" by the band For King and Country does a great job of describing how God sees us when He looks at us:I see you dressed in whiteEvery wrong made rightI see a rose in bloomAt the sight of you (Oh so priceless)Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparableDarling, it's beautifulI see it all in you (Oh so priceless)Do you really believe God sees you this way when He looks at His creation? I'll admit I have difficulty grasping this truth. I know anyone on earth who looks at me sees the flaws, sins, mistakes, and other imperfections of my life, and I would be ashamed if they knew everything I've done or thought. But amazingly, the God of the universe, who created you, knows you intimately, and knows everything you have done (and will do), still sees someone who is dressed in white, sees a rose in bloom, and is so happy He made you.Academically, we see in Scripture that God loves us, that Jesus died for our sins, and that we are new creations in Him. But do you accept this in your Spirit? Do you live your life in full confidence of His love for you, no matter what you have done or will do? That God doesn't see your past, your sins, or what others say about you?Jesus saw YOU on the cross, and chose to die for YOU, so He could spend eternity in an intimate relationship with YOU. Reflect on this truth and challenge yourself to answer how you really feel about what God thinks your worth, and open your heart to the truth that you are truly PRICELESS."And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."- Ephesians 3:17-18"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8
- Prayers of a Father
10/26/2016Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. - James 5:16
One night when I was about seven or eight years old, I was sleeping in my bed when I was awakened by my dad, who was praying over me, weeping as he prayed with passion over his son. I was facing the other way, so he didn't know I was awake, and I never told him that I was aware of his praying over me that night.
But I also never forgot what happened that evening, and the assurance I felt knowing my father was probably doing this on a regular basis. It had such a big impact on me, that when I was graduating from college many years later, I bought him a framed copy of the picture you see here, of a father praying over his son. You can also see on the other side of the window, an angel is fighting against a dark figure trying to get into the room.
When I presented the framed picture to him, I told him about the night many years ago when I had been awakened by his praying over me. He didn't know I was awake, and didn't remember that particular night since he did the same thing so often. I shared with him that this picture represents perfectly my memory of that night, and that I was thankful to have a father who was faithful in praying for his children. We both wept in front of the large group of relatives who had traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to see me graduate, and it was a wonderful bookend to that season of our lives.
As I reflect on that event today, I wonder what my dad's prayers did for me as I grew up. Did they prevent me from making bad choices when confronted with temptations in high school or college? Was God honoring his faithful prayers when I changed my mind and went out with friends one Thursday night, only to meet my future wife at the place we visited? What present and future parts of my life's journey will be impacted by the prayers of my father, mother, grandparents, and others who have prayed for me over the years, maybe even before I was born?
And now that I have children of my own, I make it a point to regularly visit their bedside while they are asleep, asking God for favor over their lives, for the love of God to fill their hearts with passion for Him, and for them to be the "head and not the tail, above and not beneath." Maybe they'll wake up one night and know their father is praying over them, or maybe they will never know. But the "prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective", so I know I am making an impact on their lives and continuing the legacy of my father's faithfulness in prayer.And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. - 1 John 5:14-15
- Focus on My Voice
It seems strange to connect a message from God to a secular movie, but when I was going through a difficult season recently, that's just what I was given...
In the movie, "Man of Steel", featuring the superhero Superman, the young Clark Kent is struggling with the abilities he was given as an alien in another world. While seeing in x-ray vision, hearing everything around you in a super sensitive environment, and having super strength seem like fun things to have, we learn that it takes time to adapt to these abilities, and Clark goes through a lot of teasing at school for not being "normal."
One day, while being bombarded with sensory overload at school, Clark bursts out of his classroom and locks himself in a closet, covering his ears and squeezing his eyes shut to the world around him. The school calls his mother, who comes to the door of the closet to try to comfort her son.
"The world's too big, mom," cries Clark. "Then make it small," his mother responds.
She then says, "Focus on my voice, pretend it's an island, out in the ocean. Do you see it?" Clark responds yes, and is able to focus on her voice and drown out the other noise around him. He is also able to recall this moment later in the movie when faced with adversity, and is able to overcome the challenge with this focus. (You can see the exchange here)
I was facing a similar situation recently of feeling overwhelmed by life, with challenges at work, in my personal life, and with trying to figure out God's plan for my life. I was so overwhelmed by worries that seemed to be coming from everywhere. While kneeling by my bedside in prayer, I heard God say, "Focus on my voice."
Hearing the voice of the Father always brings relief into any situation, because with His voice comes peace, joy, and comfort. His voice will always drown out the noise of everything else, if you focus on Him. Jesus said, "and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." (John 10:3)
Does the world seem too big right now? Then make it small. Focus on God's voice, pretend it's an island, where only you and He sit, comforted by the washing of the waves, and the tranquility of God's presence. He will lead you to "quiet waters.""Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." - Revelation 3:20