The most vivid dream I’ve had in years

I woke up this morning from the most vivid dream I’ve had in years. I was scheduled to speak in a church or auditorium and kept checking on the crowd. I felt I wasn’t physically ready, so I went into a side room to work on my tie which I haven’t worn in years. I struggled with it for a while and then felt like it was fixed, but when I looked closer, I realized that I had tied a knot in the wrong end and the tie was now upside down. My host helped me untie it and then he made it look right. Then I looked down and noticed that I had no pants on, just a long white dress shirt. I asked my host if he could stall the meeting while I went to my car to get my pants. I got to the car and saw my pants in the back sea. Then I woke up.

All my life, even as a child, I have struggled with formal, institutionalized religion. That struggle increased when I met and began to follow the risen Jesus as a freshman in college. I longed to see the instructional church approach Jesus as living and present. Since then, I’ve never been able to attend a church without trying to help people encounter and follow Jesus in fresh lively ways. I even went through years of boring, unbelieving seminary to become an ordained Cumberland Presbyterian minister always challenging my professors in their denial of clear biblical faith and doctrine (like the bodily resurrection of Jesus).

As a pastor I tried to help people encounter the risen Jesus and get on fire for Him. Some people did, but the congregations didn’t like that. Both as a pastor and as an attendee I would make congregations so uncomfortable that I would need to move on. Rather than feeling hurt or rejected, I would feel sad that congregations would miss out on the glorious, demonstrated reality of the living Jesus.

I roamed the country looking for a congregation that would break out of the religious mold and let the risen Jesus literally direct the church service according to 1 Corinthians 14:26. I never found one.

Then in 2008 The Salvation Army asked if my wife and I would like to start a “non-traditional” church in an empty chapel they owned. We jumped at the opportunity and for ten years oversaw sermon-free Sunday morning meetings where anyone could speak as prompted by the risen Jesus. It was a glorious and miraculous decade that I’ve described elsewhere! (Search for my book: “Beyond Church Ekklesia.”)

Finally, a Salvation Army leader came to town and demanded that we switch back to the traditional one-man sermon church service. As a matter of conscience, we couldn’t so we were forced to resign. We left with deep gratitude that a Christian denomination had allowed us the freedom to let the risen Jesus lead church services for 10 years.

Since then, we’ve discovered that following the living Jesus is really a heart-thing and not dependent on any religious affiliation. Every week we interact heart-to-heart with numerous Christians from various churches, with some who no longer go to church, and with nonbelievers. We often pray on the phone and in person with various people as prompted by the Spirit. We are intimately connected with more believers than we ever were by just attending church.

Several months ago, within a week’s time, three different people who don’t know each other prophesied over me that I will be preaching to large crowds of people around the country. I have no idea how that can happen, but I was blown away that three people would get the same message for me. One of the three also added that I would be speaking completely from the heart without following a script, notes, or plan (which is always how I would preach when I was a pastor).

I don’t want to quench the Holy Spirit by letting a religious spirit cause me to hold back. I don’t want to hold back what God wants me to say or do regardless of the consequences. Yet, like anyone, it’s hard not to be influenced by religious protocol.

Back to the dream: I want to speak freely as the Spirit leads. I don’t want to focus on getting a necktie (or anything else) to align with people’s religious expectations of me. I don’t want to hide the profound nakedness of my heart as I speak about the glories of the risen Jesus.

Please pray for me!

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Experience an actual demonstration of hearing Jesus (Zoom or in person)

An invitation to experience an ekklesia (1 Corinthians 14:26) meeting with me:

You and one or more people who are hungry for more of Jesus are invited to meet with me and one or more spiritually hungry people on Zoom or in person. We will then focus on the presence of the living Jesus. As we feel prompted by Him, we will say and/or do whatever He tells us to. Jesus will take control of the gathering and the meeting will amaze you.

If you’re interested, you can contact me by leaving a comment on this post and/or at and we will set up a time.

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Google Jesus

If the presence of the risen Jesus isn’t continually surging from within you like rivers of living water, you’re missing out on “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” To present Jesus as stuck in history, in Heaven, or in a church is to deny the good news of His current presence everywhere. People who passionately love Jesus experience a supernatural connection when they open their heart to each other.

To do what you want is to seek the kingdom of self. To do what God wants is to seek the kingdom of God.

I want to let the Holy Spirit freely move me about the way leaves let the wind move them about. I want to be prompted by God’s Spirit not by my desires. If others want them, that’s their choice but I ban from my mind books and media that promote ungodliness.

Christianity isn’t about accumulating religious information week after week. It’s about opening your heart wider and wider to Jesus. Once you experience Spirit-led heart connection with other Christ-followers it’s hard to be satisfied with spectator religion.

“Looking unto Jesus.” Jesus is the Light. He should never, even for a moment, be a sight unseen.

If hearing
And obeying Jesus
Isn’t the way you go
You’ll live your days
Dazed by vertigo,
And the things
You think
That you know
Will throw
Your life off course.

When you allow your desire
To compel and require
That you follow its path
You’ll say stuck in the mire
Of striving to feed
The consuming inner fire
Of self-focus.

The living Jesus
Isn’t a topic to discuss
On a church “campus.”
He’s present with us
And wants to
Personally lead us.

When people’s input
Isn’t allowed
Church becomes
A silent crowd
Confined to listen
To only one man’s perspective.

Unseen light
Makes the brightest day
Seem like night.
Without physical sight
And spiritual insight,
Life is full of fright.
Have courage to see
How good life can be.

Google Jesus
All day long
Not on a device,
But in your heart.
He offers His glory
Like a song
To stream in your soul.
He paid the cost
To make you whole.
Let Him ever flow
From within you
And have full control
Of your daily life.

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Life surrounded by screaming screens

Humanity today
Is surrounded by
Constant distractions
And ungodly attractions.
Phones, TVs,
Music, movies
And sin-filled screens
That scream,
“Look at me!”
Sometimes that’s all
We can hear or see.
O, me!
How will we ever
“Behold the Lamb of God”?
How can we be
“Dead to sin,”
When we live in
Focused attention on it
And let it sift
Our heart and mind
And shift
Us away from
Focusing on Jesus
Day in and day out?

There’s no comfort in a closed heart, only alienation, loneliness, and despair. A society brainwashed by non-stop programming and stimulating substances sets aside heart-felt sensitivity and sincere spontaneity and settles into robotic conformity. Escape while you still can!

Open your heart
Walk in God’s light
And life will be
A true delight.

When Christianity abandoned interactive Spirit-led gatherings, it settled into formalism and religious programming.

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The beautiful soundtrack of heart-felt Christianity

Let the living Jesus breathe
On the wind chimes
In your heart
And play beautiful music
That fills you with joy.

The soundtrack of biblical Christianity is the voice of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” continually prompting you to follow Him and His humility, not your own desires. No matter where you are in your life, God has more for you — more joy, more inner peace, more healing, more power, more love, more of Jesus than you’ve yet to experience.

If you won’t open your mouth you’re resisting your dentist’s help. If you won’t open your heart, you’re resisting God’s help. Decide to be Spirit-led, not spiritually dead.

“The meek inherit the earth” because they humbly obey God’s command to Joshua, “Fear not,” and they realize that stepping out in Spirit-led faith makes fear flee. It takes courage and faith to stop seeking self-love and to fully surrender your heart and life to God’s love. To truly love your neighbors as yourself you must put your attention on their needs instead of your own.

Trying to forgive yourself is like trying to give yourself money. It’s much more powerful to humbly receive God’s forgiveness. Dare to open your heart and let the risen Jesus live within you, surge through you, and continually direct you.

The fruit and gifts of the Spirit are the results of courageously opening your heart to be daily prompted and led by the Spirit. If people watch your daily steps, will they see Spirit-led faith or self-focused comfort? If your daily steps aren’t being directed by the Lord, you’re not being led by the Spirit. Until Jesus has captured your heart and adoring and obeying Him has become your greatest desire Christianity will be more of a duty than a delight.

I’m not a good person. I’m a forgiven person. That’s why I’m so grateful to and excited about the living Jesus! I’ve always wanted to be a good person and I’ve tried really hard to be one, but I’ve never been able to truly be a good person deep inside my heart. That’s why I need God’s mercy and grace.

If you will humbly open your heart to God you will experience His presence. If you won’t you won’t.

Pride and pretense defy common sense. The more I’m aware of the presence and glory of the risen Jesus the more that I realize that I have nothing to be proud about.

Clear words that dart
Into your heart
And nudge you to hope
Are often God’s call
To a fresh new start.

Don't just occasionally
Glance at the Bible
And then toss it.
Read it until
It opens
A spiritual faucet
Of living water
In your heart.

Your pride
Will collide
With God.
Let's you receive
The ability
To embrace
His grace.

Freedom from sin
Is beyond mere belief.
It is actual inner relief
From the control
Of destructive desires
And their inner fires
That have burned
Deep within us
With rebellion and pride.
That freedom comes
When we finally decide
To humbly surrender our will
And let the risen Jesus
Be our constant inner Guide.
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Humanity’s greatest fear?

Fear is not final. It can always be resisted. When you’re feeling fear, fight it until it flees.

Fear is an opportunity to show courage. Without fear courage isn’t necessary.

The fear of letting people see what’s truly going on inside your heart may be humanity’s greatest fear. Dare to overcome it!

Every time you humbly let people see inside your heart you engage in an act of courage. It often takes more courage to resist tormenting thoughts, feelings, and desires than it does to resist physical dangers.

It takes courage to be led by the Spirit, especially when He leads you to do (or say) something you don’t want to do! The Holy Spirit wants to lead you outside of your comfort zone so that He can be your Comforter.

Courageous Christianity and comfortable Christianity aren’t the same thing. It takes courage to trust in Jesus — to rely on Him instead of on your own plans, study, and effort. Revival happens when Christians are more afraid of quenching God’s Spirit than they are of being embarrassed.

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Fear closing your heart to the risen Jesus and missing out on His mercy.

Words from the mind ramble on. Words from God’s Spirit roll with revelation like waves from Heaven. The inner release of Christ’s rushing rivers will cause your heart to runover with joy. Let God’s Spirit reveal to your heart the reality of the risen Jesus and radiate His glory within you.

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter. If you will trust Him with your heart, He will handle it with mercy and compassion. The fruit of the Spirit is a collage of good qualities. Courageously open your heart and let the Comforter release them within you.

The presence of the risen Jesus isn’t a subjective feeling. He is revealed reality you can experience and interact with anytime and anywhere that you will courageously open your heart to Him.

God sends the risen Jesus as His gift to heal your hurting heart and rescue you from bandage to self-destruction. To ignore or reject such a gift is tragic. Don’t be afraid of surrendering to the living Jesus. Be afraid of closing your heart to Him and missing out on His mercy.

People with a closed heart can hide, ignore, or medicate their inner pain, but they won’t heal until they open up and let some light shine on it. Let your heart overflow with the presence of Christ in you and you will be overcome with glory.

Keeping your heart closed is like keeping your eyes closed. You shut out the light. It’s easy to get so focused on ideas about Jesus that we overlook the this-moment presence of Jesus.

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Theology matters but the living present Jesus matters most!

Reality is
We don’t have a clue
Until we look at life
From God’s point of view
And let Him be the glue
That holds us together.

“Knowledge puffs up.” Studying theology without actively embracing the presence and humility of the living Jesus can easily cause pride to override our heart. Theology too often misses the experience of the glorious mystery of the present-day reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Theology that doesn’t open and overwhelm the heart with the presence and reality of the living Jesus is intellectualism disguised as faith. No matter how much you study electricity, until you turn on the light and experience its power, your knowledge is mere theory. The same is true for theology.

How much more! It’s easy to view Jesus as merely in the past (but we humans desperately need the living and present Jesus now). We need to focus on and surrender the control of both our individual lives and of our lives together (when we gather as the body of Christ) to the actual presence of the risen Jesus and let Him be our present and living Head and Lord. The book of Romans calls this being “led by the Spirit.” (See verse 8:14.) How much more there is to Christianity than just remembering and learning about Jesus in the past!

Modern Christianity too often focuses on theology while ignoring actually opening the heart to the living Jesus and to one another. Theology is like train tracks. It’s vitally important and without it Christianity can easily go off track. However, the best tracks in the world without a train to run on them are worthless. Without taking the time to train people to actually open up to the risen Jesus and to each other, theology is empty tracks. The Bible says that people who are Spirit-led (not theologically ahead) are the children of God.

If you focus on continually studying and learning the details of a friend’s life but don’t open your heart to personally interact with him, you will have a very shallow relationship. Jesus is my Friend and Lord! I don’t just want to study Him. I want to follow Him with my heart wide open to His presence and love! A mind full of theology, without a heart openly overflowing with the reality of the living and present Jesus, tends to produce a present-day Pharisee.

The more you know yourself the more you know that you need to say no to yourself. It takes courage to open your heart in a closed-hearted culture. Be courageous! When one person has the courage to open up his heart to be radically and continually led and changed by the living present Jesus, it creates a powerful chain reaction that influences many other people to do the same. Will you be that person?

It takes much more courage . . .

  • To fully surrender your life to the living Jesus than to study theology.
  • To open your heart than to keep it closed.
  • To do what’s right than to do what’s wrong.
  • To be kind than to be rude.
  • To control your thoughts than to let them control you.
  • To admit you’re wrong than to justify yourself.
  • To forgive than to hate.
  • To resist temptation than to give in to it.
  • To be honest than to lie.
  • To humble yourself than to exalt yourself.
  • To obey your conscience than to ignore it.
  • To discipline yourself than to let yourself run wild.
  • To argue with yourself than to argue with other people.
  • To fight your unruly feelings and desires than to fight people.
  • To obey the living Jesus throughout the day than to go to church.
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The ignored heart disease

There’s a terminal heart illness that medical science ignores. “The wages of sin is death.” The sickness of sin hardens the human heart and separates it from hope.

Guilt is a major symptom of the sickness of sin. If you’ve ever felt guilty, you test positive for sin, even if you and others believe you’re a good person.

Although sin includes harmful, selfish, and unethical behavior, its roots are deep within the human heart. Behavior modification without a renewed heart offers no lasting hope for healing from the sickness of sin.

There’s only one proven source for human heart transformation — ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Millions of people from various cultures and time periods around the world have testified to and demonstrated by their changed lives the power of the living Jesus to give human beings a new heart and break their inner bondage to the sickness of sin.

God demonstrates His love today in and through human hearts that open up to and fully surrender to the presence and Lordship of the resurrected Jesus Christ. Meeting people like that went far beyond mere words and clearly demonstrated God’s love to me. I’ve never been the same. I interact heart-to-heart with and read books by people like that every chance I get.

The Gospel is not just the account of Christ’s life. It’s also the good news of the presence and power of the risen Jesus today.

An hour praying in tongues might spiritually empower you more effectively than an hour in church. “O taste and see . . .”

Here’s something
That’s little known:
To live surrendered
To the presence
Of the risen Jesus
Is to be in the zone
Of thrilling joy
And to never feel alone.

Personal awareness
Of the presence of Jesus
Is the cure
To the allure
Of sin.

Praying in tongues makes me deeply aware of the presence of the risen Jesus. Last weekend in a Christian gathering in a home I experienced something I’ve never seen done before. We took turns speaking in tongues and let the others interpret. It was amazingly powerful!

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Biblical Christianity isn’t a theater. It’s a gym.

I was lying in bed from four this morning with a powerful thought running through my mind over and over. I was frustrated because I just wanted to go back to sleep. Suddenly these words came strongly into my mind. “It’s not you! It’s not the devil! It’s Me! Get up!” I jumped up and looked at the clock. It was 4:44. So, I’ve been up and writing thoughts that keep coming to me ever since 4:44. (Unintentionally, I see triple numbers on the clock numerous times every day and God has shown me that that’s something He is using to encourage me.)

To assume that you’re in good standing with God while you’re mostly ignoring Him is a dangerous assumption! The most dangerous spiritual condition a person can be in is to think he is a Christian when he isn’t. If you’re satisfied with where you are in your relationship with Jesus, you’re nowhere near where you think you are.

If we won’t get out of the religious box and actively do God’s Word, we may find ourselves merely sitting by and being complacent. Faith in Jesus should never be cold and ceramic, but always on fire and dynamic! Biblical Christianity isn’t a theater. It’s a gym. Same ole same ole same ole is not the way to follow the risen Jesus!

God’s gift of grace doesn’t produce religious complacency. It imparts a passionate hunger to follow and obey the living Jesus. Hunger and thirst for righteousness is the sign that you’ve received God’s grace.

Christianity isn’t a religious rut. It’s a rigorous race empowered by God’s glorious grace. True grace doesn’t mean that you don’t need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It activates and empowers you to do so!

God’s grace keeps me from being complacent. He continually gives me more and more passion for Jesus.

Let Jesus be unlimited. Set aside anything within you that’s hindering His power and presence by surrendering to His moment-by-moment Lordship and control. Spiritual complacency is a symptom of religious pride.

Jesus never said, “Come and hear a weekly sermon about Me.” He said: “Follow Me.” Be a Christ-follower, not a religious spectator. The constant repetition of the same religious format every Sunday morning tends to lull Christians into spiritual complacency.

To follow the risen Jesus, you have to go beyond spectator Christianity! If you will go with the flow of God’s Spirit, you’ll be carried into wonder and awe! Prayer isn’t passivity; it’s spiritual warfare.

Since the Bible says, “God resists the proud,” perhaps pride should be avoided. When things don’t go your way, pride takes offense but gratitude searches for hidden blessings.

To settle into comfortable Christianity is to become spiritually complacent and proudly satisfied with religious mediocrity. When you feel like you have nothing to be proud about you are “poor in spirit.” Then Jesus says that you are blessed with access to God’s kingdom. (See Matthew 5:3.)

Jesus doesn’t call us to complacency. He calls us to actively place our trust completely in His presence. When the voice of self is louder than the voice of the living Jesus Christianity easily becomes a passive Sunday program.

Religious complacency
Is spiritual vagrancy.

Self is so loud
When I’m feeling proud
That I can’t hear
God’s humble whispers
Speaking in my heart.

A proud attitude
Is the opposite
Of gratitude.
Pride says,
“Look what I did!”
Gratitude says,
It was all God’s grace.

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To purr with inner impurities is to cat nap in a cage.

All human societies are full of mental and emotional pollution. It requires wisdom is to be aware of it and to avoid it. To turn off your mental and emotional filter is to welcome pollution into your thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Physical impurities weaken metal and poison food. Mental and emotional impurities do the same things to you. Until you delete the impurities from your heart and mind, their malware will continually create disfunction within you.

Beware! Inner impurity presents itself as seductive and enticing so that we will let it control our life. Pride is self-pollution. It prevents us from seeing our inner impurities. To purr with inner impurities is to cat nap while caught in a kennel.

When impurities of the thought, emotion, and desire are embraced as normal, the idea of a pure heart seems like a mere myth. Much human pain has resulted from our individual choices to embrace our inner impurities instead of resisting them.

Inner impurities are the thieves of happiness and contentment. They cause much of our pain. Removing them releases joy. Just because many forms of mental and emotional pollution are popular doesn’t mean they are good for you. Inner impurity is more costly than we can imagine.

To become numb to inner impurities is to let them take over your life. Refuse to let someone’s trashy words make you their garbage can! The mental and emotional impurities that are most harmful to you are usually the ones that you are quickest to defend.

Demons dump impurities into human hearts and minds. People’s unfiltered words spread those inner pollutants far and wide. The human mind and heart are not designed to be a habitation for demons.

To believe
That inner pollution
Is a solution
To your problems
Is great deception.

Is a symptom
Of inner impurity.

The desire
To be made whole
Comes from being aware
Of the impurity of your soul.

Filter your mind
And your heart.
The more you strain
And remove the Impurities
That darken and stain
Your perception
The more you will see
And appreciate
The glorious beauty
Of being alive!
(Matthew 5:8.)

Self-identifying as a Christian doesn’t make you one. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” does! Regularly reading the Bible with an open heart will help you avoid inner impurity, but inner impurity will cause you to avoid the Bible. The closer we get to the living God the uglier our inner impurities look to us. Stand in the smile of God, not in the frown of mental and emotional impurity.

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Demonstrating Jesus is powerful!

If you’ll observe
Without analysis
You’ll see much
That your brain
Can’t explain.

Wonder dies when you over-analyze. Keep your heart open to awe and wonder! Inner healing is openhearted. Closed hearts rarely recover from their loss of peace.

Our collapsing culture needs actual demonstrations of the presence and power of the living Jesus, not dissertations about Him. Experiencing Jesus is much more powerful than analyzing Him!

Miracles happen when people read the Bible without a religious frame and listen with an open heart to the risen Jesus. A focus on religious analysis tends to harden the heart and cause spiritual paralysis.

There’s nothing wrong with sermons. (God can powerfully use them.) However, there is something wrong when people are taught to merely listen to a weekly sermon and aren’t given hands-on training in being led by the Spirit to practically apply the Word in day-to-day life.

Perhaps Christianity
Is more effectively taught
With heart-felt testimonies
And better caught
By Spirit-led demonstrations
Of Christ’s presence
Than explained
With analytic thought.
(Revelation 12:11.)

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