Judah Smith is one of the best preachers alive right now. This video inspires me every time I see it, I hope it speaks to you!
If you can’t tell, I really try to allow God to direct this blog. The purpose of this blog is so much bigger than me and my desires. It is all about God igniting a passion in every Christian and putting a curiosity in every non-believers’ hearts. With such a huge goal, I obviously need God to take control. I try to remain sensitive to the Spirit and allow him to point this blog in the direction that He wants it to go. With that said, I’ve noticed the theme of prophecy has seemed to spring up out of nowhere. I thought it would be fun to share at least one more story of how God has used this gift in my life. If this topic makes you feel uncomfortable, that is not my intent. However, I encourage you to read the scriptures for yourself. Pray to God and ask him to explain the mysteries in your heart. Contact me and ask any questions that you might have. Talk to your pastor. It means a lot to me that we all begin to search the deeper things of God and how He uses his people to advance his Kingdom. Once we truly get it, it can transform the way we live our daily Christian lives. Remember, Christ came to give life and give it abundantly (John 10:10). I don’t understand how Christians can allow themselves to get bored, when there is infinite beauty in God and in the life he has planned out for us.
As I have said, the beautiful thing about prophecy is that it powerfully displays the RELENTLESS LOVE the Father has for his children. Throughout our journey to Zion, we go through droughts. We are emotional beings in a fallen world. Crap happens. But in the midst of confusion, frustration, even despair, God sends people full of His Spirit to prophesy Truth to make the person full of hope and joy. We need the Good Shepherd’s voice to coach us through our life if we want to accurately follow out his will. He never designed us to do it on our own. We need His voice and we need a community who knows His voice. Prophecy helps strengthen and encourage you (1 Corinthians 14:3) until you reach the point where you can confidently say “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7). With a little bit of teaching out of the way, now I want to share a story of how God tackled a girl named Alyssa with his love.
In January of this year, some of my friends and I went to the Jesus Culture conference in Sacramento. To those of you who don’t know, Jesus Culture is an amazing worship band that holds conferences across America setting fires in the hearts of young believers. Actually, the words I have to say won’t do them much justice so just watch the video at the bottom of this page!
(Seriously, watch the video then return to read)
Yeah, I was there. And just like every year, it was epic. There is something very profound about an amphitheater that’s packed with thousands of passionate believers all seeking God in unified worship. God’s presence seems to be amplified in those sweet moments. As we were there, I had the privilege to meet a group of amazing people from Point Loma Nazarene University. I met them through Andrew’s friend Tim Little who happens to be an amazing man of God who inspires me to walk out my faith more affectively. Out of this group was a certain girl named Alyssa that God was highlighting to me. Throughout the night, I could tell that He had something in store for her. It is hard to explain, but I just knew that there was something God wanted to reveal to her. As the night went on, I just waited on God to see if He would give me a specific word for her.
During the waiting, there was an awesome encounter that God gave me. Right before the last worship session of the night started, we were finding our seats and getting comfortable. As we were sitting, I noticed a guy close to my age sitting a considerable distance away from me. Once again, God was highlighting a specific person to me, so I asked Him what he wanted to tell him. God began to reveal to me the plans He had for this kid. This prophetic word didn’t necessarily feel as strong as they often do for me, so I struggled with obeying God for a moment. However, I finally grew a pair and decided to approach the young man, his name was Melvin. As we engaged in friendly discussion, I began to spill out what God was showing me. I told him that I felt like God was calling him out into ministry. I told him that God gave him a pastoral heart and that God was using him as a leader where young men look up to him as a big brother type. As I was telling him these things, he and his girlfriend (I think she was his girlfriend…) were laughing in astonishment. He testified saying, “Man, God has been telling me this all week, but I want to be a rapper!” It was awesome to play a part in what God was doing in this man’s life. God had him on a journey of unleashing is destiny, and God was nice enough to use me as a deciding factor. At the end of the worship night, the pastor asked for people to stand who wanted to dedicate their lives to serving God. When the speaker said this, I couldn’t help but to look and I saw the same Melvin I spoke to standing with arms wide open and tears strolling down his face. It is really hard to run away from God’s calling when he starts sending strangers to help direct your path.
So that was fun, but it was only a warm up for what God was preparing! During worship that night, God revealed to me the things he wanted to share with Alyssa. (Don’t worry; I already received her permission to share her name and the intricate details of this story J) The way God spoke to me about her was very choppy. There was little explanation, and I was left confused. I will use bullet points to express how God was speaking. This is essentially what He said and how it was said:
· Been through a lot of things no one her age should ever go through
· Bold character and personality
· Girls look up to her and want to be like her. Wisdom will be used to help direct them
· Camp. Remain involved in camp.
· Will be married
Honestly, I am afraid that I may be forgetting some things, but this is the big picture. Once again, I didn’t feel extremely confident that this was a prophetic word from God, so I didn’t pursue to share this with her after the service. This was my thought process: If this is from God, he will create the opportunity to share it with her. Soon enough, we were somehow in the same place, at the same time, and talking. I knew at this moment, that I had to share it.
I began to share with Alyssa what God was maybe revealing to me. As I spoke, more understanding came. The words that I told her became more specific than what God was initially telling me. This proves how the Holy Spirit takes over and explains things that I would never know. Remember, I had just met this girl and I knew nothing about her! As I shared these things, she was fighting back the tears. When I finished sharing everything, the water works came and she expressed how accurate everything I said was. Everything I shared was intricately woven into her life and what she was struggling with at the moment. Even the camp thing! What was really amazing is that she said she was praying for like 5 minutes straight during worship regarding everything I shared with her. According to Alyssa, God had just used me to answer every single question that she brought to God.
This epic moment brought so much joy to her and filled her with the love of God. The Father had just proven to Alyssa He really does hear our prayers, he understands our pain, and He does send answers. What is also beautiful is that Alyssa has updated me recently with her life following up the prophecy. I had also told her that she would help girls who struggle with the same thing that she struggled with. Alyssa is now planning to start an anonymous club to help girls fight eating disorders. Apparently God has been doing the very things that I told her He would do through her. Check out this excerpt from a text she just sent me,
“Your prophecy just made me feel so loved and so needed in that moment and that what I was going through was going to turn out for God’s purpose in the end.”
Praise God for meeting her in a dark place and turning her weakness into strength. David fought wars using the Goliath’s sword – meaning the same weapon that was meant to destroy him, ended up being used for the kingdom. Sometimes God wants to use the very thing you struggle with to help others overcome the same obstacle. What a beautiful thing!
I want to quickly reiterate my beliefs, just in case any of the language I used has rubbed any of my readers off the wrong way. To be clear: I have no power on my own. These stories are only to express the power of Jesus Christ who ministers through me. I am only a vessel who says “Yes” to God. The things that he does through me are available to every single believer!
Since the prophetic found its way into my last blog post, I thought I should provide my readers with a scriptural explanation of what God was doing through me in that story. I realize that many of my readers are not familiar with the concept of prophecy, whether Christian or non-Christian. Though it seems uncommon, it is far more normal and apparent in the church today than you might think. I understand that this side of Christianity has entire books written about it, but I am going to attempt to give a brief, yet satisfying summary of my studies and experience with this gift.
Holy Spirit is the promised gift from the Father to all believers. He is literally God’s Spirit within a person. He has many roles and purposes on the earth today, some of them including: conviction, comfort, conversion, and sanctification. The role that I will focus on in this article is His ability to empower the believer. Before the Disciples could change the world, they needed an encounter with Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus ordered them, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) Jesus didn’t even want them to go out preaching or doing any ministry until they had received the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the mission that Jesus gives all his believers is impossible on our own strength. Proper ministry is an impossible task that can only be accomplished with the help of God. Every Christian is meant to represent Christ in our everyday lives. But this is impossible to do in our sinful nature. However, the Holy Spirit enables and transforms the Christian to accurately portray God’s likeness. As Paul writes, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV). Understanding our identity in Christ and our role in this world makes it easier to allow the Holy Spirit to amplify His presence in our lives.
Holy Spirit carries with him many spiritual gifts for believers to minister in. Nine gifts are highlighted in 1 Corinthians 12: wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, discernment, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and of course prophecy. All of these gifts are meant to coincide with the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Without accompanying the Spirit’s power with the Spirit’s fruit in character, things can get weird.
So what is prophecy? To put it in simple terms, prophecy is the gift where God speaks through a vessel to another person or persons. In the Old Testament we see prophecy all over the place. Through this gift of prophecy, Samuel anointed David the King of Israel, Isaiah predicted the coming of the Messiah, and Jeremiah warned of Babylonian captivity. It is important to recognize the difference between the Old Testament prophet and the New Testament prophet. One main difference has to do with the fact that the Old Testament was a time of law and judgment, while now is the time of grace. Because of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, prophecy is used only to build up, strengthen, and encourage people of the Church (1 Corinthians 14:3). Prophetic words can still be used to address someone’s problems or sins but the word is spoken through love, humility, and with a transformative answer. A prophetic word is never meant to cause fear, anxiety, guilt, or depression. Instead it is to be an accurate reflection of God’s love for the individual and His hope for their lives.
A prophetic word can be expressed in many ways. God likes to get creative with the way He speaks to people. A prophet can see a mental picture, an open vision, they can hear a word or phrase, or they can just get a subtle impression leading them to a conclusion. I have witnessed firsthand some amazing moments where God used me, or one of my friends to prophesy to someone. It is amazing. There’s something so powerful about seeing God speak to a person. The receiver is immediately filled with awe and a new awareness of God’s love for them. When a stranger tells you something that only you and God know, it proves that God is real and it proves that he cares about you.
Here’s my favorite part about this gift. I believe that all Christians can operate in this gifting. If you want to be used in this gift, just ask God for it. That’s why Paul writes, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Paul wrote that we should eagerly desire the gift of prophecy. Furthermore, Moses also desired this reality when he said, “I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29). Due to these two credible men of God, I think it’s safe to assume that God even desires for all of his people to prophesy! If that’s the case, then the ball is in our court. It’s time for us to step out in faith and start loving people and praying for them in this powerful way.
Prophecy is simple. It’s just God speaking to you and then you open your mouth and repeat it. That’s it. It’s nothing weird or out of the ordinary. I know a lot of you reading this feel like God doesn’t speak to you anyway. But I assure you that if you’re a Christian, He does. It all comes down to intimacy. The more time you spend praying with God, reading the Word, and worshiping, the more aware of His voice you will become. God can do whatever He wants, but I wouldn’t expect to hear his voice clearly if I only prayed every once in a while or if I only opened my Bible when I’m at church. Remember God wants a relationship, not religion.
Obviously there is much, much, much more to be said about this topic. I had to keep this post broad and brief for the sake of your time and attention span. If anyone has any questions regarding this subject please contact me. E-mail me, Facebook message me, text me. I would love to talk about it :)
Peace and love.
About a week ago I got to see the premier of the new Darren Wilson film, Holy Ghost. In case you’re unfamiliar, Darren Wilson has directed three world-famous documentaries capturing God’s power on film: Finger of God, Furious Love, and Father of Lights. The world has been waiting for the premier of his fourth film, and I was privileged to see it early at our friend Wix’s home in Fullerton. It was me, the Lohrmann’s, and one of my best friend’s Andrew eager for the night. We’ve been referring to ourselves as the “Tribe” as our friendships have grown into family. After about 2 hours of jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring content, the film was over. But our night was just getting started.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers regarding the movie, so I suggest you watch it! But the film definitely added fuel to the fire that was already burning in all of our hearts. So much so, that at 11pm on a Saturday night in an unfamiliar city, Andrew and I decided it was time to hit the streets and see what Jesus had to offer Fullerton. Simeon and Johanna prayed for us and we were off for an adventure!
God was faithful as He opened doors and gave us people to minister to. The scene was rather humorous to me. Here we were, two average guys roaming the streets of downtown Fullerton, immersed in the atmosphere of drunkenness and club-hopping. I thought, “The last thing these people want is to be interrupted with some God-talk and Bible-thumping”. But I was wrong. They did want this. Each time someone responded positively to our offer of prayer, I was reminded that people do want Jesus. Everyone wants a King like Jesus, whether they realize it or not. He’s called the Hope of the Nations (Matthew 12:21) and being aware of that truth makes ministry much easier. We must have confidence in the goodness and awesomeness of our God if we ever want to plant a successful seed in someone’s heart. It is our responsibility as the Christ-ian to represent the Biblical Jesus. We must represent the Jesus full of love, joy, and power. Remember, we are his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).
There were quite a few lovely encounters that Andrew and I had, but there was one in particular that I felt I should share. As we were walking past one spot, we saw two guys that were close to our age. They seemed pretty joyful, not drunk – just in a good mood. I whispered to Andrew as we drew near, “These guys.” He agreed and there the conversation began.
Us: “Hey guys do you guys have a quick moment?”
Them: “Yeah, Wassup?!”
Us: “We’ve just been walking around offering prayer to anyone who might need it, do you guys mind if we pray for you?”
Them: “Yeah that’s cool!”
Us: “What’s you’re guys’ names?”
Chad: “I’m Chad”
As Andrew and I prayed for them, I suddenly was given words for them. I didn’t know this would happen, but Holy Spirit took over, and I started prophesying over them! I told Chad, “Man, you have this curious heart about you. You love searching things out and getting real deep in everything. I see you as a kid just checking everything out seeing how everything works. But I feel like God is telling you He wants you to use that energy and gifting for him. He wants you to search Him and His heart out.” When I began telling him this he looked at me with this real trippy look on his face. His facial expression shouted “How the heck do you know this about me”. Before dialoguing about this moment, it was Brett’s turn.
I told Brett, “You have this real sincerity about you. You have an honest heart and you put your love on the table. But because you’re so vulnerable with your love, people can tend to screw you over on that. That frustrates you, but God wants to lift the offense off of you. He wants to make you feel lighter and live in a way that is so full of Christ, that you won’t care who ‘screws you over’.”
They began to affirm us and express their shock at how accurate these words were. Chad began to tell us that he loves researching things and studying different stuff. Brett didn’t open up about the details of his relationships but they were both astonished at how God had “nailed it”. We found out that Chad was an atheist and so I asked him, “Hey man, I’m not trying to push anything on you, I’m only curious to hear what is going on through your head as an atheist. What goes through your mind when two strangers like me and Andrew, come out of nowhere and declare such intimate details about you and Brett?” His reply was priceless, “I don’t know man, maybe there is a Higher Power…or you guys are just really f***ing good guessers!”
What was awesome about that moment was that all of us understood the Higher Power option to be far more likely and logical than the guessers option. I wish I had a picture of Brett’s face to share with you guys. His eyes were watering the entire time and he was clearly being rocked by God’s presence. Occasionally we would lock eyes and he would give a smile that showed me that God was teaching him something in that moment.
The conversation began to shift a little bit as Andrew and Chad began to share in a friendly discussion regarding beliefs. Chad expressed his beliefs regarding the purposes of religion and Andrew expressed our belief in the risen Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). It was so cool ministering with Andrew in this way because God used both of us in our unique ways. There was teamwork involved. God used me in a more “supernatural” sense and in the prophetic. Then Andrew taught scripturally and intellectually to speak God’s unwavering Truth into their hearts. It was a beautiful system we had. To be clear, neither way is better than the other. Someone who is used in the prophetic is not more important than the one who teaches. Neither is it the other way around. But both are needed. When Jesus walked the earth he prophesied and he also taught. Remember, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing” (John 14:12).
That moment touched Brett and Chad’s hearts in a tangible way and it allowed them to walk away with something powerful to ponder. I am confident that God used that powerful encounter to warm their hearts and I know God is faithfully watering that seed that was planted. Chad actually said, “I’ve never met Christians like you guys before. Usually Christians are super pushy, but you guys actually care about us and what we believe. You guys just loved us. And that’s what religion’s all about – Love.”
No Chad, that’s what Jesus is all about.
I recently had the pleasure and honor of watching God’s authentic and transformative love work in the heart of a young man by the name of David.
It all began on a beautiful Sunday afternoon as I was driving to get dinner for me and my husband.
On my way to grab dinner for us, I felt the Lord telling me to pull my car over. I quickly pulled over and parked. I then asked, “okay Lord, what do you have for me?” and the Lord highlighted a trail head leading up the side of a hill I had just parked next to, “come up here, I have something to show you.”
When God speaks there are two responses we can give. The first is doubt and hesitancy followed by explaining away what we just experienced. The second is faith and obedience, even when it seems odd or irrational. I responded somewhere in between. “Really God, you want me to hike up a hill right now? In my flip flops? On my way to get dinner? You know I’m hungry.” Despite my initial thoughts, I snapped into “go” mode and found myself breathlessly climbing a hill side excited for the adventure ahead.
At the top of the hill I drank in the beautiful scenery all around me. The early evening was cool and clear and I could almost see all the way to Los Angeles. I began walking and asking God what He wanted to show me. I spotted a concrete water run off that split the hill top, it was marred with graffiti by local artists. What stood out to me were the varying belief systems represented in the art. There was a spray painting of Ghandi, symbols of Buddhist gods, and a Christian cross. I sensed a strong feeling of “confusion” and “misdirection.” I then asked God what exactly He wanted to show me and just then a young man rounded the corner of the hill, walking along the concrete paintings, and passed by me. I immediately took note that he was listening to music through ear buds and that he seemed at peace.
Recently, I have been learning about effective ways to help extend the Kingdom of God and spread the gospel. One of foundational lessons is to look for and engage “people of peace.” These are people whom the Spirit of God is already at work in their hearts and their lives. This is putting into practice the theology of prevenient grace.
I realized why God wanted me up on the hill. He was asking me to engage this young man for the sake of the Kingdom. My mind quickly hesitated and then doubted and tried to explain it all away but I knew that I was here to pray for him and show Him God’s love. After all, the worst possible thing that could happen was that I would ask if he wanted prayer and he would say “no” and I would go and get dinner; that’s not so bad, right?
As I walked up to him he immediately took out his ear buds and questioned, with a smile, “yes?” I apologized for interrupting and asked if there was anything that he would like prayer for. At this, a 30 minute conversation ensued where we both shared parts of our stories and spoke about our core beliefs and views on God, creation, and man kind. What struck me about our conversation was how open David was to sharing. I did a lot of listening and affirmed things he said and pointed back to truths in scripture while sharing from my personal experiences.
David, while created uniquely, has a pretty common belief system held by most young people I meet these days. In addition to being a Scientist, David believes in a blend of religions and has new age theology: all roads lead to God. God is everywhere, in us and around us. Jesus taught awesome things like love and peace, but there really isn’t a dire need for salvation or repentance, and the belief that Jesus isn’t the one, true God. Also, David was no stranger to meditation or to other realms and dimensions (like the supernatural). David shared with me that he meditates 2+ hours a day and is often aware that there are other dimensions open to us. David asked that I pray for peace and tranquility for him, which I blessed him with during our time of prayer.
Because David was clearly open, I decided to try a “thought experiment” with him. David was willing and jumped into his meditation posture with arms out and eyes closed. I asked David to envision meeting face to face with God in place where they were alone. With excitement, David shared that he was on a remote, tropical island. I asked if God was with him and he said yes. I asked what God looked like and he said he was a beautiful, brilliant light with colors in many hues. I asked if God was near or far and David said he was standing somewhat far away.
In moments like this, it’s incredibly important to show people that they can personally connect with God. I think we are too eager to “do the work of God” ourselves and pray and listen for others and “talk at” non believers (and believers!) about God. I sensed that God had some personal things to share with David so I asked, “God, do you have anything for David?” It went something like this:
David: Yes! I feel incredibly loved by God, like, love is just pouring from Him to me. All I can feel is love! Me: Thank you for your amazing love God! God, do you have anything else for David? David: Wow, well I don’t think I do this, but God just told me that he cannot be questioned. I mean, I never question God but…well…actually, I think I do question Him, a lot. Me: God, thank you so much for your truth and thank you that you cannot be questioned because you are God, our creator. Do you have anything else for David? David: Yes. God is telling me that I need to be humble, that I don’t know everything and I take too much pride in thinking I do. Wow. Me: God, thank you that you are close to the contrite and humble.
At this point, I could see that this experience was very emotional for David. His once open posture became more closed and withdrawn with tears in his eyes. Not necessarily in a bad way but in a “my mind was just blown and my paradigm shifted” kind of way. David just encountered His maker with love, and truth, like a double edged sword that pierced to the center of his heart.
Sensing that our time together was finished, I then prayed for David, blessed him, and coached him on how to connect with God in his times of meditation.
David thanked me numerous times for taking the time to talk with him. He also expressed things that shocked me like, “I have never met a Christian as loving as you and open as you.” David also shared that he had been hurt by other Christian’s who were judgmental and critical of him and his beliefs, including his own parents.
As Christ followers, we talk a lot about the importance of love, but how well are we actually loving other people? Especially people that we don’t agree with? My goal in life is not to argue people into the Kingdom, that will never work. Christ clearly told us to love God and to love others as we love ourselves. We need to put love on. We need to wear it and allow it to transform the way we think and the way we live. Sure, I didn’t agree with David’s belief system and I could have told him that. I could have pointed out his pride and his flaws, but I would have only hurt him and made an enemy. My role is not to judge, it’s to point all people to Christ. After all, God has a funny way of being the one who saves, convicts, and reveals truth to people. We are just called to LOVE.
…and above all of these virtues put on love which binds them together in perfect unity…Colossians 3:14.