One Father

It has been a year since we returned from our visit to Israel and visited Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Sea of Galilee. It opened our eyes to a much greater God, a much larger picture of this faith that we have chosen to believe.

Yesterday, I went to visit our local Jewish Community Center for the Shabbat Service. It was my second time there and I felt the same love and admiration for the Jewish readings that I felt the first time.

There is so much that we can learn from our Jewish brothers and sisters.

I love the prayers for peace, the emphasis on serving and helping others and the dedication to the Torah.

But what I connected with most are those individuals who love God. And just like in our Christian churches, it is not everyone who is there yet. Some love the food, some love the traditions and some just seem to need love.

But we have the same Father. That is the starting point with those whom we share the love of God with. And that is a good place to start.

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Threading the Keys

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The prayers of a righteous man or woman avails much.  We know this but how much does it avail?  Does it move a hurricane a few miles or lessen its force?  Does it bring healing to a physical body?  Does it influence God’s heart?  The Word of God tells us that it can do all of these things and more.

What is the Lord saying in the midst of the recent storms to us…to the Keys?  There have been many words of prophecy over our area that we are going to see the revival here which will sweep up and through Florida.  Is that just wishful thinking or is it prophetic truth?

The real question is are we willing to do the work.  The real work, on our knees, in the closet, listening to the Spirit, waiting on the Lord’s voice.  Agreeing with His plans and not missing them while we are working on our own.

Intercessors arise!  And unite! Thread our community together with your prayers.  Pray for each other, pray for prayer.  Pray for the gospel.  Pray for first love, Pray for our churches, our children, our families, our government.

I want to know who you are.  I want to know what you are praying for.  I want to know if you would like to help us pray, in unity for the Keys.

 

IHOP ONETHING Regional Tour 2016

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Nine of us from the Florida Keys attended the One Thing Regional conference in Orlando – an annual regional conference put together by the International House of Prayer (IHOP), Kansas City.  We were blessed with so much deep worship and teaching that we returned home just overflowing with excitement and with anticipation for an awakening of the body of Christ to more of God. We followed up our weekend in Orlando with a team dinner and team prayer to see the Florida Keys grow in the grace of prayer, worship, and unity under Jesus Christ.  We long to be and to see more passionate believers moving together in the peace, love and joy of the holy spirit, serving in their homes, work-places and school, sharing what Jesus is doing for each of us in our lives.

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We experienced a lot of passionate worship and teaching on being passionate about the Love of Jesus.  So filled with His love, that we can stand any offense, any adversity and can respond in love.  1 John 4: 5 says that God is love and that as we live in God, our love grows more perfect, so that on that day when we see Him face to face, we can face him with confidence because we are like him here in this world.

Although we are one of the newest prayer houses in Florida (there are 50)  we see how God is already using us in many ways to change a generation. He is showing these young ones that seeking God with All of your heart, all of your mind and all of your soul brings a satisfaction that the world can never match.    C-13OHOP .jpg

IHOP worship leaders from Kansas City amazed us with their all-out worship but most of all it was the deep moving of each of us personally to the Holy Spirit in cheers, tears and in freedom that made this experience so significant.  Here, Misty Edwards leads us in anthem of declaration of who Jesus is.

C-15OHOP .JPGIHOP Director from Kansas City, Mike Bickle taught Saturday evening on the importance of paying attention to the times we are in now and knowing how they relate to end time prophecy in the bible.  Jesus himself stressed that His people would need to be strengthened to escape the snare of sin and fear and to stand in victory.  We hope to be a forerunner of many, as we follow obediently the call to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy/have the strength to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Luke 21:36  We pray this for our body of Christ here in the Florida Keys.

How welcome we felt as we met up again with Pastor Carlos Sarmiento and his wife Emily, Founders and Directors of the Orlando House of Prayer, and worship leader for OHOP,  Matt Gilman.  Both Carlos and Matt were guest teachers of ours in May 2015 in the Keys, and it was a true blessing to hear Carlos share in power the Word on Saturday morning and to hear and worship with the amazing vocals of Matt Gilman Friday and Saturday.  On Sunday, we attended the Orlando House of Prayer Sunday Morning Service, and took part in their church.  We felt very welcomed and blessed to see how the multi-age and ethnic congregation were a large but very close “family”.  Seven interns who had studied under their internship program for the last 5 months were given recognition and prayer.  The “fruit” from this prayer house seems to be rather overflowing, and as we left we passed by the building plans for new spaces and renovations surely needed.  OHOP is positioned as the forerunner for Florida to encourage the growth of prayer houses and praying churches statewide.  WE are blessed to have had this opportunity to attend this conference and we look forward to many more opportunities to go and to host them here.

Family of God

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We are the Family of God. As believers in Jesus Christ, we must grow together as a family, across denominations, across political party, across racial barriers, across economical differences, across nations until we all are one, under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Last night at St Paul AME Church in Marathon, FL we began our New Year with a mighty step in this direction.  Instead of saying “no”, many of Marathon and the Upper Keys said “yes”.  Yes to a Saturday night in traffic.  Yes to an entire month of planning and praying.  Yes to going where we have never gone before.

YES! To trusting our spiritual discernment and to listening to the voice of the Lord and following by faith.  And we were blessed.

Several people prayed, several gave testimony, and Pastor Nick Vaughn of the Marathon Church of God gave a message of hope – the hope that comes as we who are the Family of God allow the Holy Spirit to bring freedom from division, bondage, and dependence on our government and ourselves to deliver us.

We worshiped God in community with our neighbors whom we didn’t know.  We went to a church believing in the relationship that God had orchestrated by a humble pastor, Larry White, who stops to seek God every Monday afternoon in the House of Prayer on his way to serve his community on his day off.

And it produced spiritual food.  It produced relationship with the body of Christ.  It broke off bondages as people came forward for prayer.  It shouted up to God – We Believe! Our Hope is in YOU.

 

Why A House of Prayer?

Every ministry has a specific purpose, a revelation from the Lord that is not the best or the only revelation in the Kingdom of God, but it is what a particular ministry is to be faithful to.  The ministry of our House of Prayer in the Florida Keys is to establish a place of prayer and worship in a singular or in multiple places to give a place of encounter with the Holy Spirit and with the love of Jesus Christ. We are not the church, but we are to support the church in playing a part to awaken and to encourage the body of Christ during these days.

How can this be done?

  1.  Glorify Jesus – When we come into the prayer house, we come into a place to minister to God as we offer him the praise that He is worthy of.  Mary of Bethany was sharply criticized for wasting her money by pouring out the alabaster flask of costly perfume of Jesus’ body, but Jesus said to leave her alone because she did a good work for Him.
  2. Spiritual warfare – when prayer and worship goes out of a community, the spiritual atmosphere of a region is changed.  In 2 Chronicles 20:21, Jehosophat appointed singers to praise God before he sent the army.  How much more important is it today to have prayer precede the efforts of our body of believers?
  3. Personal transformation – The place of prayer and worship is a place where we can come close to the spirit of God in a busy world, to be transformed.  We are most changed when we are fascinated with God.  Paul is a prime example of someone fascinated with God….in Acts 17: 26-34, a passage he boldly preaches is that in God, “we live and move and have our being.”
  4. Training in the Word – Prayers and worship in the HOP is primarily the Word of God.  We are learning the Word by speaking it – the bible tells us that it is in the power of the tongue that is life and death – and that we believe, therefore we speak – We must train ourselves to speak the word.
  5. Healing and Deliverance – A place that God’s power heals the sick, that He comforts the mourning, that He delivers from bondage those caught in a snare.  For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
  6. Unity – A place where hearts are unified to Jesus and to each other.  Paul taught us that only together with all the saints can we experience the fullness of God’s love.  “May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  (Ephesians 3: 18-19) And in Psalms 133 – How good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.   Like the ointment poured on the head, running down and like the dew of Mount Hermon – all replicating the holy spirit and its benefits poured out when we are in unity.
  7. Direction – The time in the House of Prayer is a time when we can receive marching orders from God – fresh directives and revelation.

Thank-you to IHOP Miami for taking their time to share these principles.

Where are the Watchmen?

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And He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. Hosea 6: 3

This morning we had some much needed rain in the Keys, a downpour that washes away the dirt and the dust and brought a  refreshing breeze.  The Lord promises that so many times in the scripture, and I thank Him for cleansing me with His forgiveness and filling me with a clearer vision of my purpose and his mercy over my life.

“His mercies are new every morning.”  Lamentations 3: 23

Next week, on May 5 at 7 p.m. at Island Community Church, we will host our first gathering for pastors and people of different churches in the Keys who will get to hear from the team from OHOP, Orlando House of Prayer. Why is this important and what is it that I hope and pray will be accomplished through this?

There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, “Come let us go to Zion, to worship the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 31: 6

“I have set watchmen upon your walls O Jerusalem, who will never hold their peace day or night, you who are His servants and by your prayers put the Lord in remembrance of His promises, keep not silence.  And give Him no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her a praise in the earth. ” Isaiah 62: 6-7 Amplified version.

Next week, during our hosted event,  we will most likely hear about the prayer movement in Florida, our nation and beyond.  I hope we will also hear some of the prophetic words about the Florida Keys that have been spoken and prayed in preceding years and even decades.

Where are our Florida Keys watchmen today?

Isaiah 56: 10-12 has some very stern things to say about the watchmen of that time.

Israels watchmen are blind, they are all without knowledge, they are all like dumb dogs, they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, they love to slumber.  Yes, the dogs are greedy, they never have enough. And such are the shepherds who cannot understand; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his own gain, from every quarter (one and all).  Come, say they, We will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink! And tomorrow shall be as this day, a day great beyond measure.

It brings the fear of God into me to read that.

But then I look at the radar and the storm that is coming, the heavy rains that are promised to fall and the cleansing and renewing that will follow.

Hosea 6: 1-3  Come, let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us He has stricken so that He may bind us up.  After 2 days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him. Yes let us know (recognize, be acquainted with, and understand) Him; let us be zealous to know the Lord (to appreciate, to heed to, and cherish Him) His going forth is prepared and certain as the dawn, and He will come to us as the Heavy rain, as the latter rain that waters the earth.

He is coming…are you watching? Will you be a watchmen on the wall?

Love is the Womb of Life

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Dios es Amor….God is Love….Playing the game of hang-man with a beautiful Guatemalan child of God.

If I could draw what God is showing me I would draw a womb of creation, seeded deep inside of each of us that springs forth life, the life of Jesus.  The womb.   I was told during a wedding at the Aramaic word for love that Jesus uses, the deeper meaning of this word is womb.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.    John 15: 9

Sit at my feet….the sheep know my voice, guard your heart for out of the heart comes the wellspring of life.  (Proverbs 4:23)

( Luke 10: 38-39  “Now she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus feet and heard his word.” )

The womb is where we sit at Jesus feet.  It is where the wellspring of life comes from because if is Gods design for us.  It is also from that womb that we love others.

In John 8:4 on the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink , Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”

The spirit of God is love…God is love and he has created us in love.  He loves us and he has given us his spirit.

It is from that womb that we love.  It grows out of us, sometimes painfully sometimes joyfully, changing everything in its path, producing change in us and through us.

This is the secret of the secret place.  Where the intimacy with God pushes the love out of our womb and into our soul and through others.  It is the secret of the vine.  Our living connection with the Father through Jesus.

“John 15:4 – Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you.  Live in Me, and I will live in you.  Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine neither can you bear fruit without being vitally united to me.

I want to be vitally united, attached to Jesus.   It is how were were created.  From this place I can live. It is life.

Hearts Burning

Didn’t our hearts burn when He spoke to us?  Luke 24: 32  My desire is to have those encounters with the Lord when my heart burns as the scriptures are opened to me.  The 2 guys on the road to Emmaus as they walked to Jerusalem met up with the risen Jesus Christ and as he talked with them their hearts burned and were greatly moved.

One of the most important parts of prayer is that you heart becomes ready to receive the Word. The promise is that when we hear, we change.   I have been in and even been part of numerous church services where the word just came and bounced off, not really effectively penetrating my self sufficient shell.  Then I have come after praying, worshipping the Lord and my heart has burned and has received revelation that was personal and lasting.

God created us to have relationship with Him.  Let us prepare for the New Year by deciding to come ready.  Ready to change, to press into all that God wants to say to us. If we come ready we can hear from God and we will know how to pray.   IMG_4498