Monday, June 28, 2010

Eureka!

We have arrived home to Arlington.  We are being greeted with a lovely rain!  Baal has no control over this land! Today on our trip home we once again passed through Sweetwater, Texas.  I referred to Sweetwater in my first vacation blog on Friday, June 18 - On The Road Again.

But the greatest moment happened earlier today.  For years I have been searching for the ultimate Chicken Fried Steak.  I have tasted great ones at Good Eats, Chili's, Salt Grass and others.  But EUREKA! Today I discovered the one at Skeet's Texas Grill. I mentioned in my blog above that I had witnessed this beautiful steak go by my table but we had ordered rib-eye instead.

Today I ordered the Chicken Fried Steak and....   What can I say?  Eureka!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Can This Really Happen?

Yesterday morning I received an email from a dear friend in Texas.  I am presently on vacation in Arizona.  A portion of that email read:

"Tom, I feel that I need to share something here.  The drought in Texas has begun again, with such a vengeance that it will make last years look tame.  The ranchers in our area are selling off cattle like mad, the ponds are drying up and the grass is dead.  Most of these ranchers do not start feeding until August, they have begun feeding now. Because of the late spring rains, planting was delayed, then the heat wave of June has caused great disaster to the crops. The catch 22 of the Gulf storms, is that these storms bring up much needed rain, right through the farm belt.  These Gulf storms are the bread and butter of rain for these farmers.  I do understand the horrendous danger of chemical disaster if these Gulf storms occur, but we need rain, desperately. So therefore, I am just letting you know that we must see rain and soon, or there could be a real serious crop failure, that will affect this nation."

I immediately wrote back:

"The drought is trying to resettle in the state. Go out on the land and remind it that it no longer has a Baal principality governing over it. We are divorced from that system. This drought can not overtake us. The Lord reigns over us and this state. The drought must not only back away - it must dissolve in Jesus' name."


To discover more about the Baal principality and divorcing it, go to this link: Baal. About an hour later she wrote back to me:


"Tom, this is AMAZING,  I went out and walked MY land, I wrote down what you told me to pray, and walked and prayed.  When I went out it was overcast but no clouds,  I now have TWO HUGE RAIN clouds hovering right over my land.  I am going out to continue to pray.  If we just obey,  thank you Lord."

Less than an hour later, I received another email.

"TOM, I AM YELLING HERE!!! JUMPING UP AND DOWN,  IT IS RAINING TOM!! IT IS RAINING!! Pull up a map, I am between Bells and Savoy Texas on Eastline road, JUST AROUND MY PROPERTY IT IS RAINING,  DEAR JESUS, RAIN, OH THANK YOU."

Can this really happen?  Yes.  Our Lord God is a creator and supplier of weather which sustains, strengthens and gives life.  The land, which is literally groaning with travail (Romans 8) is waiting for us to declare that the Lord is in charge.  He is in charge of the rain.  His hand is on the Gulf of Mexico.  His words will direct the path of storms. Trust in the Lord.  Call on Him to bless the land.  Remind the land that it belongs to God not Baal.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's in Store?

After a fantastic visit in the Flagstaff and Grand Canyon area, it was time to head south to Phoenix.  As we were leaving Flagstaff I remembered that several friends had exhorted us "not to miss" Sedona.  It's beautiful in Sedona.  You can't bypass Sedona.

But we had just bypassed it.  Well, at least we had just bypassed the exit to Sedona.  I asked Kay to check map. 

"Are there any other exits?" 

"Yes, there's one coming up in just four miles."  It didn't look very impressive, as exits go, and I challenged Kay on her knowledge of the exit. She simply said, "It's marked as an exit to Sedona." 

I took it and was immediately faced - not with a state highway - not with a county road - but with a National Forest Service dirt road called Schnebly Hill Road.  It simply read "Sedona. 12 miles" and headed into the forest.  Now understand - I had no idea what was even at Sedona.  Why are we going?  Why is it pretty?  What was in store for us?  After four miles of rough but manageable driving, the suspense was over.  We arrived at the Schnebly Hill Road Overlook and came face to face with some of the most beautiful red rock formations I have ever seen.

For the next eight miles we wound our way down the mountain through those formations.  God had something marvelously in store for us.  An exit that seemed insignificant, even wrong, turned out to be the highlight of our trip.  Isn't that just the way it is with our God?  Don't be too concerned with "the wrong exits" you have taken.  A very majestic, beautiful, grace-filled Lord is waiting for you at the Schnebly Hill Road Overlook.

The Red Rocks at Sedona

Monday, June 21, 2010

How Majestic is Your Work, O Lord

"Great are the works of the LORD;
         They are studied by all who delight in them.
    Splendid and majestic is His work,
         And His righteousness endures forever" 
(Psalm 11:2-3)


My undergraduate work at Texas A&M prepared me for work in the National Park Service. I was already assigned to Fort Union National Historic Site after graduation when the Lord arrested me for kingdom work as a pastor.  I met my wife Kay when I was working for LBJ National Historic Site in Johnson City and Stonewall, Texas.  I had mentioned in a previous blog that my family would travel and camp regularly as I was growing up in Iowa and Texas.  We visited all sorts of National and State parks.
On a trip to California for doctoral work at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1987, my family (Kay, my son Josh and my daughter Katie) joined me as I drove a camper from Texas.  We were able to visit Petrified Forest, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks on that trip.  BUT the highlight of the trip was in northern Arizona.  I have told many people over the years that there have been only two National Parks that took my breath away when I first saw them.  One was Yosemite but at the top of the list was Grand Canyon.

It has taken us 23 years to get back but Kay and I were able to visit Grand Canyon again today.  Once again I am overwhelmed by the creative ability of our Lord and God.  With His finger He carved out this majestic wonder.  It is indeed splendid.  On this trip we were able to hike partially down into the canyon.  Words can not describe our day.  Digital pictures can't either - but here are a few.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Another Father's Day has come and gone.  For the first time in years I was not at home on this special day.  But that did not keep it from being special.  First I heard from my middle daughter Katie and my grandson TJ in Arlington.  At the time we were driving north on I-25 to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We arrived in Albuquerque and while we were eating lunch my son Josh called from Afghanistan.  He is serving with the US Army Military Police and doing well. 

We arrived at our destination this afternoon (Flagstaff, Arizona) and while we were walking around the historic old town my youngest daughter Amy called from Guatemala. In the meantime I was able to talk to my dad who lives in Fredericksburg, Texas and I received Facebook greetings.  Wow - I love this ability to communicate.  It has been a grand day that was finished off with a Father's Day meal with Kay at Red Lobster - salmon, shrimp, scallops and asparagus.  There's that eating theme again.

By the way as we came into Flagstaff we were met by an enormous fire in the National Forest north of the city.  It is not causing us any problems.  The prevailing winds are going the opposite direction.  We will be able to safely go to Grand Canyon National Park tomorrow.  We are praying for a quick extinguishing of the flames and the protection of lives and homes.

God bless each of you!

Kay's Favorite Movie

Now any of you that know Kay will know this immediately - she has about 50 "favorite" movies.  But easily in the Top Ten is Chisum. It's a John Wayne flick. She has other John Wayne hits like North to Alaska, McClintock, and The Green Berets, but Chisum probable ranks the highest.  At least it is one of those that brings forth a song.  When our kids were young I'm not sure they could pronounce Chisum, so it came out "chisel."  So Kay sings, "Chisel, John Chisel...."

The real Murphy store
The movie is based on the historical events from New Mexico called the Lincoln County Wars.  It was about a rugged cattleman named John Chisum, his sidekick Pepper (who always mumbled), a town baron named Murphy, a lawyer named McSween and Billy the Kid.  I'm almost positive, that even though it was based on history, it was not fully historical, but we love it anyway.  Hey, its a John Wayne movie.

Well, on our journey to Arizona, we are presently in New Mexico (Ruidoso) and we came through Lincoln.  We walked the streets.  We took in the sites.  We examined old photos of Chisum, McSween, Murphy and Billy.  I had not previously planned it but I was even wearing my "Old Guys Rule" shirt with John Wayne on it.  It brought back a lot of great memories.  We were last here about 25 years ago.  We stayed overnight with some great friends, the Watkins.  They are powerful intercessors for the Lord.  Their home, being built among the pines is rustic and beautiful.  There is a portal of heaven in this place.

And once again - the food is awesome - as well as the scenery.  We are definitely chilling (its probably in the 50's this morning) and relaxing.  And before I forget - Happy Father's Day!  Especially to my wonderful dad Arnold Schlueter.  He's the best!

Friday, June 18, 2010

On the Road Again

Near Thurber, Texas
Here we go again!  Every since Kay and I were asked to be leaders of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network, we have literally put tens of thousands of miles on our car.  A lot of people ask: (1) why all the traveling? and (2) its Texas, why don't you fly - how can drive so much?

First, we travel Texas and beyond because the Lord has asked us to.  It is our assignment.  We pray for this state, this land and its people.  We are asking the Lord to reveal His presence, favor, grace and glory upon us.  We do not take this assignment lightly.

Second, I've flown a few times when I'm called to a meeting across state and I need to be home the next day, but honestly I love driving.  It allows me to see the land and meet people.  Growing up, our family was always driving.  On vacations we would stop at places of interest, parks (especially National and State) and sleep over in motels or campgrounds.  It hasn't changed.  As a matter of fact it is become more intense.  More than likely because of our new found relationship with Native Americans, we have grown in our love for the land and its people.  We desire to see it and them redeemed, healed, producing and beautiful. 

And besides, we get to find some great eating spots.  On this trip we just ate at Skeet's Bar and Grill in Sweetwater, Texas.  Wow! We had an awesome rib-eye steak with veggies.  Bummer though - we are restricting some of the foods we are eating (fried, etc) and I saw the most beautiful chicken fried steak go by my table.  You know me.  This is a real sacrifice.

And some things never change (or do they?) Three years ago Kay and I drove the circumference of the state.  It took us about two weeks to go the 3200 miles.  Along the way, Kay finally asked me to stop at a Wal Mart.  I asked her why?  She said, "We have been driving and praying for this land for four days.  I need a Wal Mart."  When we walked in - she just walked around.  She just needed that "fix."  Well, the heavens are shaking tonight.  We went to a Wal Mart earlier today but tonight it was K Mart.

Tomorrow we continue driving in Texas as we make our way to Ruidoso, New Mexico.  It sure is beautiful out here.  Lord - bless this land.  Bless these people.  And Lord, especially bless Sweetwater, Texas.  According to a word given by Chuck Pierce, there is a outpouring of God's glory coming across Texas from Louisiana.  It was seen by Chuck in a dream which included a large fig leaf.  The leaf extended to here.  We call forth that glory!  Thank you Lord.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Choose Your God - Choose Your Weapons

Each month our congregation celebrates First Fruits.  First Fruits is an opportunity for us to invite the Lord to direct us through the month. First Fruits in the Scriptures was a "faith" gift of the first fruits which were produced by crops, orchards, herds or flocks.  When the first of the harvest arrived, the owner would take a sheaf of grain - take it to the priest or temple - and wave it before the Lord as an offering.  It signified their desire for the Lord to bless the entire crop. It also gives us an opportunity to ask the Lord to reveal His heart to us and to direct our path through the month.  One of the key things He has shown us this month is this - choose carefully who you will worship.

This is a month of choosing who you will worship. During this month on the Hebrew calendar, the Israelites constructed the Golden Calf at Mount Sinai. They tired of waiting on Moses and decided to establish a god created in their image. The decision to choose the wrong gods continually plagued the Israelites.  It led to pain, warfare, captivity and exile. During this same month the walls of Jerusalem were breached (first by the Babylonians in 586 BC and again by the Romans in 70 AD).  

"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
  That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
  To behold the beauty of the LORD
  And to meditate in His temple." (Psalm 27:4)
 
It is a season of choices – who will you worship; who will you serve?  The answer may seem simple but we are tempted continually to leave our devotion to the Lord. Guard your heart.  The enemy will seek to breach your walls.  You must remain vigilant and watchful in prayer.  
  
But the Lord revealed something else to us.  In our walk with Him, He gives us fresh weapons and strategies of war.  He arms us to fight our ancient foe.  Also during this month, the Lord stopped the sun in order for Joshua to gain victory (Joshua 10:1-15) and Israel carried out a successful rescue at Entebbe in Uganda in 1976.   
 
As a prophetic symbol of this truth, my wife  and I gave a gift to each member.  It was an army knife.  It can be used to carry out many functions just as the Lord presents us a multiple of strategies.  For many of the members it was a new weapon - they had never owned one.  Each of them were encouraged to embrace the Lord's desire to use them to fight off darkness with His light and presence.  Choose the Lord.  Seek Him alone. Allow Him to use you to infiltrate your culture. 

P.S.  On the following Tuesday I was visiting with our associate pastor who had just returned from ministry in China.  She brought me a gift.  She was unaware of the content of my Sunday message.  She brought me a new weapon - a jade knife from China.  The Lord is guiding us.  Choose Him.  Choose your weapon!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fling Wide Those Gates

“Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession. For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined” (Isaiah 60:11, 12).

Years ago after we moved to Arlington, our home was invaded in the middle of the night by a cat burglar.  The title fits the purpose.  His desire was not just to rob and steal but to do it with the greatest of courage and stealth.  Many thieves will break into a home or business when no one is home or when property is left open and unprotected. This invasion was in the middle of the night.  He entered our bedroom and master bath while we were asleep in bed.  At some point I woke up and scared him off, but not before he managed to take some valuable jewelry, my wallet and other assorted items.  Our culture of locks and dors was immediately shifted.

This text from Isaiah always used to puzzle me. Open gates goes against our cultural teachings and fear. After the trauma of that night we became extremely conscience of locking doors and windows and making sure that everything was closed up.  Our culture is a “locked up” culture.  Lock your doors.  Gate your communities. Bar the windows.  As the Lord was revealing the purpose of gates and gatekeepers in preparation for my book Keeper of the Keys, I was confused with this command in Isaiah to keep the gates open at all times.  If gates are meant to let things in and keep other things out – how can that happen if the gates are always open?

When preaching on this text I would simply say “keep your gates open to God’s revelation and don’t let anything contrary to Him and His character enter in.”  But I never felt that that was the full truth on the matter. The Lord downloaded something more.  He revealed to my heart a couple of marvelous truths about this passage.
  1. We are His gates and His gates are defined as praise and righteousness.  As I draw near to Him in worship He allows me to hear His heart. 
  2. As a result, His praise and righteousness flows from His throne through me (the gate) into the darkness of the world.

If the gates are closed, His praise, life and light cannot enter into the world through me. If I close my gates out of fear or in response to some past trauma I can not and will not be used as an instrument of God’s power. If I am more concerned about locking the doors to keep Satan out then opening the doors to release the power of God then I am failing as a gatekeeper. In other words – don’t lock the gates in fear of Satan, but fling them open to release the power and light of God into your workplace, home, school, church, etc. And that very light will cause Satan and darkness to flee.

The icing on the cake is this: Verse twelve of Isaiah 60 declares that the doors are to remain open so that the “wealth of the gentiles” may be brought in. As we remain steadfast and immovable in the praise and righteousness of God, not only will the power of God be released into the world but the wealth and riches of the world meant for the kingdom of God will be brought into God’s treasury.

FLING WIDE THOSE GATES!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Warfare at a New Level in Texas

In a previous blog (May 26 - A Call to Arms) I wrote: "At the Coastal Bend Regional meeting the Lord brought forth a word based on these events. Our enemy is no longer flesh and blood but the principalities of darkness. The enemy is trying to take away our authority and the weapons of the Spirit. Our call to arms is this: "Come and Take It." The enemy can longer prevail against us. He is defeated. We call the army of the Lord together to rise up and take possession of a kingdom that is already won for us through Christ Jesus."

Please check out this school. It is time to take our warfare in the state to a new level.

Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare Class

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Driving or Pushing?

A good friend of mine once said: "Doing ministry for the Lord is like driving a bus that the Lord has given to you to drive.  It is filled with gas and people. You have a vision, a direction, a purpose and provision to move ahead. BUT, if you ever find yourself pushing that bus, then its time to realize that the Lord is doing something new in your life and you best ask Him what it is."  Wow, I've pushed a lot of buses in my lifetime, but today that is different.

Over ten years ago I founded a group called Arlington Prayer Net.  Its basic purpose was to connect pastors, intercessors, congregations and ministries in the city of Arlington, Texas.  We desired to see the level of prayer rise in the city.  We desired to establish a network of intercession that focused our prayers on city-wide and region-wide issues.  We have witnessed many answered prayers.  We have carried out multitudes of initiatives regarding local government, education, family, air quality, businesses, healing, crisis, historical issues and ministry.  We have established God's presence at all of the gates in and out of the city.  Several years ago we organized a seven-week project of prayer walking the circumference of the city and releasing God's blessings. One of our annual gatherings is at Mt Olive Baptist Church where we hold a prayer luncheon for all the city leaders and have an opportunity to directly pray into their lives.  It has powerfully shifted the spiritual atmosphere of the city.

BUT...we began to notice that "bus thing" a few months ago.  Without going into detail, the Lord has taken us through a time of joyful transition.  Why joyful?  Because the very things we had been praying for manifested in the city.  The depth and intensity of prayer in the city has increased.  There is whole new group of church and ministry leaders in the city that have caught a passion for prayer.  Over 30 houses of prayer have sprouted up in the area.  On the Global Day of Prayer we witnessed the gathering of over 45 ministries/churches in the city leading 2500 people in prayer at the stadium of a local university.  Many congregations have established prayer rooms.  The work is not done, but the Lord is delivering a new bus.

It was exciting today to hear a testimony. About 15 years ago the pastors in the city had a vision to start up a 24/7 prayer room.  We prayed.  We planned.  We located a spot.  But for some reason - it never was birthed.  Today in the city, there is a new 24/7 prayer room called The Prayer Room DFW.  You can find it at this link: The Prayer Room.  Amazingly, it is located on the very spot that we had designated 15 years ago.  The young man leading the ministry was only 9 years old when we first surveyed that location.  God is answering our prayers and yours.  Just make sure you are driving the bus He has given you and not pushing one of of your own making.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Keeper of the Keys

Over thirty years ago, soon after my wife and I were married, my mother presented us with a needlework that she had personally stitched.  It was a picture depicting the Coat of Arms for my family name – Schlueter. The name Schlueter or Schl├╝ter in German is classified as an occupational name.  The coat of arms depicts a shield with a lion at its center.  In the lion’s paw is a key. The name Schlueter literally means “gatekeeper, keeper of the keys or keeper of the keys to the prison.”  Years ago I was thrilled with mom’s gift.  We have it hanging on the wall in our living room. But today, as the Lord has revealed His intentions to me – I am thoroughly excited about the needlework and about a destiny that God has given my family and me to be “gatekeepers” in His kingdom.  Now the needlework is surrounded by an assorted number and style of keys and key rings that we have both found and received as gifts.

      Blessed is the man who listens to me, 
      Watching daily at my gates, 
      Waiting at the posts of my doors
      (Proverbs 8:34).

The gates and gatekeepers are at the heart of God’s plan for this time in His kingdom. He blesses those who listen to Him.  He blesses those who deliberately listen for His voice, His instructions, and His timing.  He blesses those who watch daily at His gates.  He blesses those who stand at faithful watch at the gates of the heart, home, workplace, church, government and nation. He blesses those who wait at His doorposts. He blesses those who watch at His gates.

This is an excerpt from my book, Keeper of the Keys. You can read more by ordering your own copy at Arsenal Books.  Go to: Keeper of the Keys by Thomas Schlueter

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Comanche Update

Here is an update on my earlier article on Palo Duro Canyon. It is a PDF file of the Comanche News - the newspaper of the Comanche Nation in Lawton, Oklahoma. It gives a summary of the gathering from their perspective. Here is the link:http://txapn.org/palo-duro-canyon-comanche-news/.  Lord Jesus - bless the Comanche Nation!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Commissioning

On Sunday night I had the great privilege of commissioning Jeff and Sherry Copenhaver into an apostolic ministry.  Ever since they were both saved in 1987, Jeff and Sherry have been rocking (or should I say roping) the rodeo world.  They have ministered the kingdom the God in the most powerful of ways.  

Jeff is the "1975 Worlds Champion Calf Roper". He is the son of two-time World Champion Deb Copenhaver. He and his father are rodeo's first father and son World Champions. Jeff has trained champion tie down and breakaway ropers for over 30 years, in the U.S. and Canada. He has also trained champions in Australia and Cuba. In 1986 Jeff and Sherry started America's first Cowboy church at Billy Bobs in the historic Fort Worth stockyards. No longer pastoring after 24 years, Jeff and Sherry are now traveling nationally and internationally teaching roping schools and motivating others to be champions for God in their world. You can find out more about Jeff and Sherry at their website: http://www.themasterschampions.org/

Representing the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network, I joined Merrie Cardin (TXAPN Council Member from Granbury - Rolling Plains Region) in sending forth Jeff and Sherry into a new place of authority and responsibility.  There is a strong anointing on this couple.  They have touched thousands of lives with their love of Jesus.  And they have only just begun.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Battle of Palo Duro


I am sharing with you words that were written by Ken Bryan, TXAPN Council Member from the Northeast Region.

On September 28, 1874 Colonel Ranald Mackenzie, 4th Cavalry, struck Indian encampments in the Palo Duro Canyon. This battle, though brief, was the beginning of the end of a way of life for the Plains Indian tribes. The losses suffered in this battle forced the hold outs into the reservation system that still exist to this day. During the battle members of the Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes lost all there provisions for the coming winter. More important than the loss of provision was the loss of the ability to acquire new supplies. At the end of the battle Col. Mackenzie captured approximately 1,500 head of Indian horses, slaughtering over 1,000 head to prevent the Indians from recapturing them. The plains Indians no longer had the ability to hunt and care for their families without their horses. They were forced to accept life on the reservations as their only means of survival.


On April 23-24, 2010 members of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network returned to Palo Duro Canyon and met with members of the Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. The meeting was part of a continuing effort by TXAPN to reconcile and correct issues that have defiled the land and kept Texas from moving in the destiny God intended for our state. We brought gifts and offered our humble repentance for acts by our forefathers that have held up God’s blessings on both the First Nations people and the state of Texas. Tom Schlueter, head of TXAPN, led our organization in the events of these two days. Michael Burgess, Chairman of the Comanche Nation, served as spokesman for the five tribes. Apostle Jay Swallow, Southern Cheyenne, and Dr. John Benefiel, Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network joined us in coordinating this event.

Words would fail if I tried to describe to you what occurred over our 2 days of meetings, but I can say with confidence that God was a lot happier with the history we created this year compared to the history of 1874. We are on a journey of walking arm and arm with Kingdom minded people in preparation for the soon coming move of God. There were many tears as hearts were mended, friendships strengthened and new relationships started. TXAPN was the church at Palo Duro Canyon as we sought only to demonstrate the Lord’s unconditional love for mankind. This is part of the shift that is occurring as the church moves outside the four walls of a building and into the harvest fields. New structures are forming and new assignments continue to come forth. The Texas Apostolic Prayer Network will continue to work to bring together those called to prayer over Kingdom issues throughout the land and mobilize for strategic events such as “The Battle of Palo Duro 2010”. This time both sides won the battle.