Taking the Next Step With God

Summary: While our lifelong walk with God can seem overwhelming at times, here is a reminder of how God only asks us to take the next step.

Recently, I have been feeling the pastoral side of the five fold ministry being stirred up by the Holy Spirit inside me. I was so excited!

Before I got carried away, I felt the Holy Spirit say “Walk with me. One step at a time.”

So I asked Him, “What is the next step that I can take to be closer to where you are leading?”

Quickly, a pastor friend from a former church I went to surfaced to my mind. So I felt the next step was to reach out to him and set up a meeting.

After meeting with him this morning, we came to the conclusion that either the Vineyard Leadership Institute or School of Kingdom Ministry would be the next step for me to take.

It was so helpful to have God lead me to a great friend that offered the perfect next step to take!

Application: What is one step that you can be closer to where God is leading you?

Prayer: Father, I pray for a Spirit of Revelation and Encouragement for every reader that is reading this blog and that you Holy Spirit continue to instruct us and teach us in the way that we shall go and counsel us with your loving eye upon us (Psalm 32:8). I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Comments: I would love to hear what is one step closer to where God is leading you. Please share below!

The Benefits of Praying in the Spirit

Summary: Today, I am going to write about a few benefits of praying in the Spirit and impart the gift of praying in tongues!

Praying in the Spirit is something that is relatively new to me. A mentor imparted the gift of tongues to me last year. It wasn’t something that I gave much attention to. I admit I thought it was a bit hokey.

Until this year that is.

I was at a class earlier this year that talked about how praying in the Spirit is like our secret weapon. We don’t even have to know what we are praying because it is inspired  by the Holy Spirit!

1 Corinthians 14:14 says, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

Not knowing what we are praying for is exciting after many years of “unanswered prayers”. There were many times I prayed for something specific and if it didn’t come on my time table and my way I would become discouraged. Not knowing what we are praying for is exciting because we can trust God that He knows what we really need and advance His kingdom.

It helps to take the focus off of ourselves because when we pray in the Spirit, we can be interceding for those around us.

There are times I get a sense of what I am praying for and I am learning to journal those moments and see them come to pass. It helps with building a healthy relationship with God.

The second benefit of praying in the Spirit is that it is good for our brains! YAY! There is a Christian psychiatrist named Dr. Carl Peterson that writes how praying in the Spirit releases healing power.

He writes, “As we engage in our heavenly language the brain releases 2 chemical secretions that are directed into our immune systems giving a 35 to 40 percent boost to the immune system. This promotes healing within our bodies. Amazingly this secretion is triggered from a part of the brain that has no other apparent activity in humans and is only activated by our Spirit led prayer and worship.”

Wow! How awesome!

Prayer: Abba Father, I thank you so much for the gift of praying in the Spirit. Thank you that praying in the Spirit really is our secret weapon when it comes to spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:18). In Jesus name, I impart the gift of praying in tongues to each reader. Stir up the gift in each reader as you see fit. I praise you Father for the love, grace, mercy and patience you have for each of us! In Jesus name. Amen. (Note: Only receive this prayer if this is something you want)

Comments: How has praying in the Spirit benefited your own life. I would love to hear your comments below! Be blessed!

Calling Out the Gold In Others

Summary: Each day we have the chance to call out the gold in people or to bury their hearts. Lets be watchful of the words we are using.

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

I have been staying with my parents for around a year for various reasons, but perhaps the most important was to call out the gold in them!

How did I call out the gold in people? It’s really simple. Speak to their identity in Christ.

Examples:

  • Hey Mom, how is the daughter of God doing today?
  • Hey Dad, how is the heir of God doing today?
  • Hey Mom, how is the princess of God doing today?

The list can go on and on. (Here is a list that I recommend)

It’s how the transformation process began in me when someone spoke to my identity and I have a feeling that God is doing a incredible work in my parents as well as I plant and water their seeds of greatness.

I have noticed my parents to be much more understanding and have seen incredible growth in their lives over the past year.

Also, I like to to speak random people I meet throughout the day. To the grocery clerk, “How is the Child of God doing today?”

The beautiful thing is that it blesses the both of us! It speaks to their identity in Christ and it helps to reaffirm my identity in Christ as well!

And here is an important note. Even on the days when things aren’t going well, I firmly believe it important to call out the gold in other people. It can help prevent bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness seeping in.

Application: Who is someone in your life that God keep bringing across your path? How can you choose to bless them with the words you speak?

Prayer: Father, I pray that the Holy Spirit gives us uplifting words to speak to our neighbors to call out the gold in others. Have our lips be for speaking life and not death.  In Jesus name. Amen.

Comments: I would love to hear how you call out the gold in others! You can comment below.

 

 

 

Taking the Next Step With God

Summary: While our lifelong walk with God can seem overwhelming at times, here is a reminder of how God only asks us to take the next step.

Recently, I have been feeling the pastoral side of the five fold ministry being stirred up by the Holy Spirit inside me. I was so excited!

Before I got carried away, I felt the Holy Spirit say “Walk with me. One step at a time.”

So I asked Him, “What is the next step that I can take to be closer to where you are leading?”

Quickly, a pastor friend from a former church I went to surfaced to my mind. So I felt the next step was to reach out to him and set up a meeting.

After meeting with him this morning, we came to the conclusion that either the Vineyard Leadership Institute or School of Kingdom Ministry would be the next step for me to take.

It was so helpful to have God lead me to a great friend that offered the perfect next step to take!

Application: What is one step that you can be closer to where God is leading you?

Prayer: Father, I pray for a Spirit of Revelation and Encouragement for every reader that is reading this blog and that you Holy Spirit continue to instruct us and teach us in the way that we shall go and counsel us with your loving eye upon us (Psalm 32:8). I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

Comments: I would love to hear what is one step closer to where God is leading you. Please share below!

How Holy Spirit Can Inspire Your Daily Life

Summary: How checking in with God at least a few times a day can help make sure we are following His plans for our lives.

 

The Holy Spirit is an incredible encourager that can make daily life fun!  Today I want to write about how developing a routine of spending time with God that helps keeps us grounded in everyday life and is enjoyable!

It was a few months ago, I felt frustrated with my prayer life. I had been reading and meditating the Word, worshipping, praying in the Spirit and many other things. At times, it felt arduous and like I was earning God’s love by doing these routines. I knew something had to change.

There were areas of life that I did not feel I was submitting to God. I had a sense the answers would come in getting in a consistent routine of spending time with God.

So I began waking up earlier in the morning to have one on one time with God and no distractions.

I felt Holy Spirit begin to lessen the amount of the Word that I was reading and reduce the amount of time I would pray in the Spirit.

Naturally, I would say to Him, “But I want to do more!”

Holy Spirit, “I appreciate that, but this is for the best. This is a long marathon and not a sprint”

At times the process felt slow, but I feel less and less I am striving for God’s love and just resting in it.

Later, He would add a morning devotional book by Charles Stanley I had received in the mail from an unknown person (Who are you mysterious person!? Reveal yourself!). Also, He added back singing worship songs.

This morning routine helps to center myself in letting God lead and not Marc.

Then there is a time in the afternoon and evening  I spend with God as well.

This provides at least 3 check ins throughout the day that I can spend time with the Creator of the Universe and cast all my cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7).

I have had people say, “Marc, how can you have peace in your life right now, with all that you have been through?”

My answer, “God has given me a vision of where He is leading me. I do my best not to get caught up in life circumstances.”

Real Life Example:

A recent example I have, is not getting getting paid for 5+ weeks from work due to an error. Was it frustrating at times? Yes. Did I get angry at times? Yes. Did I stay in a place of blaming God? No!

These 3 main check ins throughout the day have provided a way to rest in God when it seems like my world is falling apart.

The peace I experience from spending time with God is more valuable than a paycheck.

And remember what works for me may or may not work for you. Use trial and error! The Holy Spirit would love to help you!

Prayer:

Father, I thank you for all you are doing in every reader’s life. And Holy Spirit I pray you stir up in every reader a desire to spend time with you on a daily routine basis. Let them know how much You want to spend time with them.  I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Comments:

I would like to hear from you as well! How do you spend time with the Creator of the Universe throughout the day? I would love to hear! Please share below.

Praising God in the Midst of the Storm

When people hear of a positive medical report, a frequent phrase a Christian will say is something like, “Praise God!”

Someone gets a promotion? “Praise God!”

Restoration of a marriage? “Praise God!”

But what about when your world is “seemingly” crashing in around you? That “Praise God!” business can have the tendency to get thrown out the window.

When someone gets cancer, I normally do not hear “Praise God!”

When someone loses their job, I normally do not hear “Praise God!”

When someone is sitting in emotional pain, I normally do not hear “Praise God!”

We have been going through the Book of Psalms at church for the past month or so. A lot of David’s cries to God are not when everything is going great.

Psalm 102:1-2 says, Hear my prayer, O Lordlet my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!

When I read these verses, I hear a deep cry from David’s heart for answers. It almost even sounds demanding to me. But even in the midst of pain and suffering, David remembers that praise moves God regardless of circumstances.

Here was an example of that cry to God I experienced in the past week,

I have been working for the first time in several months for about the past month and was scheduled to receive my first paycheck.

I was so excited!  Then payday came around and I got word that the company messed up my paycheck and may be another two weeks before I get paid. So that would be 5 plus weeks without getting a check!

Can you imagine my initial anger? I was furious! I let God have it! And in the midst of it God comforted me.

And I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Let’s find the golden nugget of wisdom in this situation.”

Quickly, I responded “Well I am tired of living paycheck to paycheck! No more of this!”

It was that red hot anger and cry to God that I needed to experience to say “Enough of this way of living!” And I offered God a sacrifice of praise in the midst of the situation.

And the next day I went into work holding no resentment against the company and actually blessing the company.

There is something about worshipping God in the midst of the storm that I cannot fully describe. I can cast all my worries on Him and focus on Him while it seems like everything is falling apart. (1 Peter 5:7)

And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) is priceless to me and grows each time I offer that sacrifice of praise regardless of circumstances.

Challenge: Next time something goes wrong, I challenge you to praise God anyways. Shift your focus to Him. Your circumstance may not change, but your perspective will.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, I pray that you teach every reader to offer that sacrifice of praise regardless of circumstances. Remind them that your goodness is not dependent on when only “good” things happen. That your goodness is when we our on the mountain with You or in the valley. I praise you God! And I ask this all in Jesus name. Amen.

 

 

 

Declaring Truth Over Your Life

Other than the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I like to think the most “historic” event is Kent State’s (my alma mater) 2012 football team!

A team that went 40 years without reaching any bowl game and then came with a 2OT loss of reaching the Orange Bowl (one of the top 4 bowl games in the country)

But it didn’t start that way. Back in late 2010, Kent State hired Ohio State assistant Darrell Hazell to change team with a culture of losing.

The 2011 campaign began like most campaigns and they held a 1-6 record coming into the bye week.

I sensed something was different though. Loss after loss, during the post game press conferences Coach Hazell would say, “This is good football team”.

I thought he was crazy after losing a 9-3 game, but I sensed a tide was turning!

Finally the bye week came, they made a small tweak on the offensive line and put their 2 future NFL offensive linemen next to each other. And it made all the difference in the world. The once inept offense began scoring points. They would go on to win 4 of their last 5 games to finish 5-7. There was a lot of momentum for a team mired in its losing ways.

The 2012 season went on to be a season for the ages. They began the season 11-1 before losing in double OT in their conference championship game and losing their bowl game and finished 11-3.

As great as the 2012 season was, I recognize the work for that season was planted in 2011. They spoke of being a good football team before it actually happened.

As I reflect over my own life, I see so many characteristics myself and the 2011 KSU football team.

I reached a point earlier this year when I was shooting a basketball outside and I felt Holy Spirit say, “Marc, remember the 2011 and 2012 Kent State football teams?”

Me: “Yea.”

Holy Spirit: “How did that start?”

Me: “By declaring they were a good football team?”

Holy Spirit: “Correct. How about you start speaking that over yourself?”

Wow! Talk about a revelation.

So I took that basketball, shot it and said, “I declare I am God’s masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:10) Airball! I didn’t care much. I trusted I was on to something. Day in and day out, I began speaking truth over my life whether I felt it or not.

In June, I felt like I had reached my own “bye week”. and made some tweaks. I felt like I was in the middle of another sub par year of where I wanted to be in life. It felt like a 2-4 season up until this point.

I had been in the Word, praying in the Spirit and worshipping, but I began developing a daily routine.

Little by little, the tide began changing in my own life. I am beginning to have victory in consistency, hearing from God, being obedient to the Spirit’s promptings, work, finances, answered prayers and serving

What happened?

Well like the 2011 Kent State football team the pieces were there, they just had to be rearranged and I had to let God rearrange my life.

My encouragement to you today is this, whether you feel it or not, start declaring God’s truth over your life. Start speaking to your identity in Christ or claim a promise from God. Praise God in the midst of a storm. Get in a habit of doing it.

Prayer:

Father, I praise and thank you how you speak to us each in a personal way. In Jesus name, I ask you speak to every reader in a personal way so they can experience what it is like to be victorious in Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Relationships

Today at church service, the teaching pastor, asked us what makes us feel the most vulnerable in life. Instantly, relationships came to my mind. Just typing this I feel my heart shake.

I do believe God is bringing me into having healthy relationships in my life and that is exciting and can be terrifying at the same time because relationships and I haven’t really been best friends for the 28 years I have lived.

Relationships have hurt me greatly in the past, and learning to trust God, self and others is a process. Let me say that again, learning to trust God, self and others is a process!

In a playful way I like to ask God,

Me: “Hey buddy, can we skip over this relationship business with other people? I like you more!”

God: “Sorry buddy, you need relationships with other people to help you grow and for you to help them grow.”

Deep down, I understand that.

The issue with the mentality of not needing other people leads to a life of isolation. There are times for us to be alone with God, but there are times we need another. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

So where to begin?

Part of the answer is taking baby steps, building friendships and learning to guard our hearts Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.(Proverbs 4:23)

A baby step can be finding a safe community setting to cultivate healthy relationships. Maybe that is going to a function outside of the Sunday service for someone.

Building a friendship means taking the time to get to know someone before to see if the person is someone you want to build a relationship with.

And guarding our heart is recognizing what is going on in our own hearts and not shutting down what we are feeling. Communication is key to guarding your heart. How can I share my heart with someone, if I am not willing to share what is going on the inside? Make sure to find safe, trustworthy people when sharing your heart.

More on relationships later.

Prayer: Father, I praise you for what you are doing in each and everyone of our lives. In Jesus name, I ask for healthy relationships for all of us to help us grow into the strong men and women of God that you designed us to be. Amen.

P.S. Learning to trust God, self and others is a process!

 

 

 

Jesus and Marc’s Trip to Bethel

*A trip like this requires a longer post!

Back in late January, the idea of going out to Bethel began to surface on an unconscious level.

Then in April, when going through a workshop of “The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind” by Bill Johnson the desire to go began to surface. There were two things that really stood out.

Before the workshop started, I was walking down the streets near where the workshop was being held.  Tucked away in the curb was a fresh $20 bill. It just so happened the books also cost $20 as well!

Also, one week during the workshop, my stomach began to churn in a very unusual way, but didn’t make a connection of what was going on.

I finished the workshop and was very sad when the class ended. I felt fear of backsliding at the time and that seemed to be happening.

Then a few weeks ago, I was meeting with some friends and Bethel got brought up and again things began to churn on the inside. The next day I decided to act somehow, so I began filling out the application for the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Almost immediately, there was such a deep spiritual hunger pain that came up.

And that was the tipping point, I knew I wanted to check out Bethel and see what was up. I made a decision if I was going to go I would be all in. Forget the plans I had and dive in.

The trip itself was full of highs and lows, but overall left very encouraged that God was up to something fantastic in my life.

I purchased a one way train ticket with no intention of coming back until I got the answers I was seeking.

So early Wednesday morning, I left via Megabus from Cincinnati to Chicago for the train ride. Armed with my small red backpack with the Bible, a few books, few sets of clothes and toiletries I was off!

While in Chicago, I began second guessing myself, because I did have a nice weekend getaway planned with friends and missed the first train.

As a sat in the train station, I did not like the idea of coming out and going home. I was hearing “miracles” from God if I went. I sure liked that!

So I got on the next train that left soon after the first train.  This was my first train ride outside of the Kings Island amusement park train ride and this was going across the country! I was so excited!

The trip itself went through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and got into Los Angeles. Later, I took a bus and another train ride up to Redding, CA where Bethel Church is.

And on the train ride the miracles began to flow. I was fascinated by the many different types of people on the trip. The conversations were super encouraging.

Now I really didn’t have a lot of funds when I left so I was curious as to how God would provide. In one day God sent three people to provide food for me without me describing the situation. One a sandwich, another an afternoon snack, but the cream of the crop was a steak dinner!

The train has a dining room cart and I wanted to eat there at least once. I felt God saying go in and order what I wanted so naturally I ordered a steak dinner. There was a mother and son sitting across the booth from me, but then another man that came and sat down. He said he was blessed by God and wanted to pay for everyone’s dinner at our booth! I was amazed at the goodness of God through His people!

I was also amazed at the beauty of the trip. It was amazing to be in New Mexico and the train itself would be in a desert, but to look out and see snow capped mountains! How is that possible?! The beauty of God is amazing.

We got to Los Angeles and had some time to walk around. I was saddened by the amount of homelessness in the area. There was a row where there were tents set up and inside were many homeless people.

On the bus and train ride to Redding, CA, I had an opportunity to sit next to a sweet lady. We struck up a conversation and the rest of the time it felt like a mini-date! But alas, when it came to eating, she offered to pay for the food!

Finally, Saturday morning, the train rolled into Redding, CA.

After arriving to Redding, I began asking people how to get to Bethel. It ended up being  about a 5 mile walk. I went up there and there was an event going on. The presence of God was very thick around me during the trip and this was no exception. I struck up conversations with people and had a nice afternoon. Later I went to stay with a friend of a friend for the night.

When I woke up on Sunday, I decided to go to all four services on Sunday! What a treat! Bethel has an amazing worship team.  The worship by everyone is so contagious.

During the worship, my mind began to race, and I felt God say, “Do not worry”, “Seek Me” “Seek my face”. It helped to center myself and I began to experience “the peace that surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7).

All my worries about how I was getting home, my future and all the cares of the world faded away (Matthew 6:25-34). A truly magnificent time in the Presence of God.

There were many times throughout the trip where the Holy Spirit was comforting me, but this was the time that stood out the most.

The next day, I woke up disappointed not thinking I received the answers I was looking for. But as I write this, I feel like God did answer questions that I was seeking whether it was a relationship question, work or finances.

On Tuesday, I left for Cincinnati and God was teaching me so much during the trip. It was overwhelming at times. There were many delays, almost stranded in Los Angeles, but whenever the temptation to get angry, my mind changed and said, “No, I am going to praise God in the midst of this 3 hour delay, this 4 hour delay and this 5 hour delay!

By the end of the trip, I felt that there were 8 people that offered food to me without saying anything! One couple was in California and God brought us together again later in Dallas on separate busses! Again, Praise God for those people who were obedient to His voice and thank you to all of you! 

After about three in a half days, I made it home and was ready for bed.

As I laid in bed, I felt like I had truly fallen in love with God for the first time in a long time. I was like God, I do not even want that financial blessing, that work breakthrough or that relationship. Have it all.

But deep down inside, I was feeling God saying, “Perfect, I want you to have all these things. I just wanted you first.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

And to add to the humor of God I came back with $3 and change in the bank account. Now this is personal to me because it was this time 2 years ago where my bank account had $3 and change and a large check came in the mail to help out.

God I have seen you move in my life in fascinating ways in my life in relationships, work and financial blessing and I know you will do it again and again and again because it who you are.

You are a Good, Good Father. It’s just who you are!

Glory to God for this amazing roller coaster trip!

My encouragement and prayer to anyone who wants to do something that feels reckless is this. Do not worry about what others think about you. Do not make excuses of why you cannot do it. Focus on the nature of God. Find a few trusted friends that will give you wise counsel.

Be who God created you to be! He wants you free. And there is an incredible of amount His Grace when pursuing God with your whole heart.

After all, He is a rewarder of those who seek after Him (Hebrews 11:6).

God Bless you all!