Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Morning in Utopia

This past Saturday morning I was in Utopia.  Cody Haynes, a friend who serves on the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network invited me to come to Utopia whenever I was nearby.  Well, this past weekend we were in Fredericksburg, Texas, which is nearby.  By the way, it is Utopia, Texas.

Cody is a pastor of the Cowboy Church in Johnson City but he also works on movies.  Because of his experience with livestock, he works with cows, horses etc. on movie sets.  He is presently working on Seven Days in Utopia. The movie is based on the novel by Dr. David Cook entitled: Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia. I had heard summaries of the movie since our network has been helping provide intercessory coverage for the project.  It is about a professional golfer who has a changed life after spending seven days with a special mentor in Utopia, Texas.  The main actors in the movie are Robert Duvall and Lucas Black.

The morning had a profound affect on my life.  Even though we were there for a short time, my son-in-law Tim and I were able to meet Dr. Cook.  We also connected with Robert Richards.  He is a long time resident and pastor of Utopia with a passion for God's kingdom.  Dr. Cook warmly embraced and welcomed us.  He was sincerely thankful for our prayers.  We were able to watch Robert Duvall and Lucas Black in a taping of one of the scenes.  There was a remarkable expression of God's presence in the town, among the people and on the set. 

As we left, David Cook provided me a signed copy of his book.  I finished reading the short novel by the next morning.  I strongly encourage you to order a copy at the Links of Utopia website.  You will understand the meaning of SFT - see, feel and trust. 

I invite you, along with the author, to a journey of discovering who you are in Christ Jesus.  With everything in you - you will want to see His face, feel His presence and trust His love.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Victory or Death

Whether it be a myth or not, the act of Colonel Travis using his sword to draw a line in the dirt at the Alamo is still a powerful testimony.  It is a call to make the choice to stand up against every tyranny that faces us - even to the point of death.  

As the members of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network council finished their meetings this past weekend, I was compelled to take a sword and exhort them to make the same decision.  But our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the forces of evil and death that seek to destroy us.  Several references to the Alamo came up in our meetings (and none of those referred to our present or past relationship with Mexico).  The context was always - are you willing to take the necessary stand for the Lord and His kingdom?

This truth became explicitly clear last night as I visited a dear friend who was taken to the hospital with a possible heart attack.  It turned out that it was not a heart issue and he is home now, BUT both of us felt a tremendous sense of foreboding and dread as we made our way to the hospital (he in an ambulance and I in my car).  We both sensed a spirit of death directly challenge us. We both had to fight off the power of that spirit.  Through the strong arm of our Lord of Life - Jesus, we saw death crumble once again under our feet.  But the fight is real and the choice to stand for the Lord is real.  As real as it was in 1836.

Nearly 175 years ago, William Barret Travis and almost two hundred other defenders found themselves surrounded at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio in late February of 1836. Refusing to surrender, they held off the invading armies of Mexican Dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna for almost two weeks.
On March 6, the courageous Texans were overrun and slaughtered by well over 2000 Mexicans. The resulting delay of Santa Anna's eastward movement gave other Texans more time to organize, both politically and militarily, and to ultimately defeat and capture Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, fought April 21, 1836.
The letter below was written by Travis soon after the Mexicans first appeared in the area around San Antonio. It is often referenced as a supreme example of the virtues of courage and self-sacrifice.

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the world — 
Fellow Citizens & compatriots —

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat.  Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — VICTORY OR DEATH.

William Barrett Travis, Lt. Col. comdt. 

We shall never surrender or retreat.  Victory or death! What will you choose?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Muster the Troops

On Friday evening as we began our "Set in Order" gathering for the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network and Prince of Peace Church, Janet Askins sounded the shofar.  The word of the Lord for the day is "muster."  He is sounding the alarm.  He is mustering the troops. The dictionary defines muster as:
  1. to assemble (troops, a ship's crew, etc.), as for battle, display, inspection, orders, or discharge
  2. to gather, summon, rouse.
  3. to assemble for inspection, service, etc., as troops or forces.
  4. to come together; collect; assemble; gather.
 There was a distinct prophetic call to us from the Lord to gather.  He is "marshaling the troops." A friend approached me before the service and declared that the Lord is marshaling us.  Marshal means:
  1. to arrange in proper order; set out in an orderly manner; arrange clearly. 
  2. to array, as for battle. 
  3. to usher or lead ceremoniously.
He is setting everyone and everything in order. He is calling us to "pay the price" for His kingdom. With a raised sword, I reminded the full house of worshipers from across the state (we also had Oklahoma, Louisiana and Colorado represented) that the Lord was calling each of us into a new assignment.  In the spring of the year I stood under this tree near Gonzales, Texas and called the saints of God to muster together.  The Houston tree is where Sam Houston mustered the newly formed army of Texas after the fall of the Alamo.

The Alamo represented a place of complete sacrifice. In this season we are fighting another nation or kingdom.  Dr. John Benefiel of Oklahoma reminded us of one simple fact.  There are only two kingdoms.  The kingdom of our God and the kingdom of satan.

We serve the kingdom of God.  We are mustered for His work.  The kingdom of darkness will crumble and fall as we move together as the Lord's army.  Rise up saints of God.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Video Intro to TXAPN

This video introduces you to the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network.  
Get connected today!  
You can go to www.txapn.org or to the group site on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Kingdom of Priests

"'...and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel"(Exodus 19:6 NASB)

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9) NKJ)

In my book Return of the Priests, I give the following definition for priesthood: "The priesthood is a call initiated and defined by God.  Priesthood is an invitation, based on our covenant relationship of faith, into an intimate fellowship with God. The priesthood is carried out – not in the framework of a religious system – but in everyday lives. The priesthood includes all people called, claimed and redeemed by God's sovereign will and grace through Jesus Christ. The priesthood is expressed through our lives by an authority we are given by God to serve in His kingdom in response to our intimate relationship with Him."  I add to that -  we do not have a priestly mantle and a kingly mantle.  We have one mantle – each of us is a king and priest.

In other words - you (yes, you the reader) are a king and priest for God.  He invites you to enter into His courts to know Him intimately.  He invites you to go forth from His throne into a world that needs to be transformed by His power, presence and purposes.  This is a crucial time in history.  The Lord is expecting us to bring His kingdom and His will on earth as it is in heaven.  He is using us as keys to unlock the gates and invite Him in to our hearts, homes, cities, states and nation.

But I guarantee to you that it will place you into the midst of a battle between darkness and light.  This past Saturday, He placed in my heart that I should pray Psalm 91 every day.  I encourage the same of you. The battle is on. We need His strength and protection as we represent Him in a world that has turned confused and hostile. BUT YOU ARE A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD bringing God's light into darkness.  Seek His face! Discover His heart! Reign in His power!