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Archive for February, 2010

We are living in great and terrible times.  With the rise of moral decay concerning issues like abortion, human trafficking, and the issue of marriage, America is in great need for revival.  One of the main institutions that have been the impetus to historic revival has been colleges and universities.  Not only are they the places that raise up the next generation of leaders for our nation, but over 100,000 international students come to our soil to learn.  What if God touched these students’ lives with the power of the gospel and went back to spread the fires of revival in their respective countries?

Thus, Lou Engle, along with the intercessors at IHOP invite you to participate in crying out for colleges in America: that God would pour out his spirit and awaken students for a holy love for Jesus.  For the next 40 days from March 1-April 9, we will be participating in a Daniel fast (no sweets, no meats – Dan. 10:3) and asking that God would bring revival in America, and particularly college campuses.  God truly hears our prayers and will answer them, so I encourage you to join us in whatever way you feel like the Lord may be stirring you to pray and fast during this season.

If you want to hear more concerning the 40 day fast click on this link to the 6pm evening FCF service:
http://www.ihop.org/Groups/1000048153/International_House_of/Events/Weekends_IHOP_KC/Weekend_Services/Weekend_Services.aspx?redirected=1

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After writing my blog about the issue of beauty in Christian spirituality, I had the opportunity to attend a civic orchestral concert.  I took my own application to be a learner and experience the beauty of classical music in the form of dvorak’s slavic dances and tchaikovsky’s symphony no. 5 in e minor.

As the orchestra played I became enthralled by the music and was invigorated with a renewed sense for life itself.  It is surprising that the simple act of listening to a symphony could have such profound effects on my person.  As I pushed past the moments of dullness in my own soul, I was able to become one of the participants in the symphony.  I was playing the instrument of “engagement” as I heard the changes from major to minor, the repetition and recapitulation of themes throughout the movement, the echoing between different instruments, and the unity of sound that the orchestra produced.

At the end of the concert I was ready to leap out of my seat in excitement for the way the music came to a dramatic finale.  I was so grateful that I was able to participate in the experience of beauty and in a small way touched a piece of “heaven on earth.”

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Last week I saw someone eating a bowl of chili and asked her how she made it.  She explained her recipe process and it sounded so easy that I decided to make some chili today.  I added a few extra things from her recipe, but here it is:

2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 cups of frozen veggies
1 diced onion
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 cups of lentils
2 chicken breast
salt, pepper, chili pepper for taste

1.  Put 2 cups lentils into a pot.  Ad 6-8 cups water and simmer for about 15-17 minutes or till lentils are soft.
2.  Place all vegetables (except diced tomatoes) into a medium saucepan and cook till soft.
3.  Cut up chicken and fry in a medium size frying pan.
4.  Then add all items above into a large pot along with the diced tomatoes and cook on medium heat till the chili is warm.  Add spices for taste.  Then serve and enjoy!

mm...warm and delicious!

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The issue of beauty is central to Christian spirituality.  To take it one step further, it is central to being alive.  What exactly is beauty?  It seems easy to recognize what is beautiful, but hard to define it.  Sunsets, a Mozart concerto, a beautiful bed of flowers on an open field, and many other things would be seen as beautiful.  Some words that can be connected with beauty are awe-filled, fascinating, lovely, thrilling, and wonderful.  Ultimately, they are the things that we can see, hear and feel that inspire us and touch our hearts.

Yet, with the rise of sensual over-stimulation through media, entertainment, advertising, and the internet has caused us to become numb to what is truly beautiful.  Thus we have become apathetic and unmoved by the beauty that surrounds us.  Thomas Dubay in his groundbreaking book on the theology of beauty writes, “To respond to reality and to appreciate it are normal; not to respond is abnormal.  It seems fair to say that a person blind and deaf to beauty, uninterested in anything noble in literature, science, philosophy, religion, and the arts, focused on sense pleasures alone (licit or illicit), is not only unattractive to others, but most likely incapable of genuine love and delight” (Evidential power of beauty, pg. 73).

If lifelessness and boredom characterizes our lives, what are we to do to begin to feel again?  How are we to truly appreciate beauty and thus be alive?  There are two specific ways that can help develop our sensitivity to beauty again.

1.  Minimize sense pleasures in our lives – The constant noise and stimulus that fills our lives through the dramatic rise of technology has inculcated us to experiencing the beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis.  Thus, to begin to appreciate beauty we have to minimize the exposure to the sense pleasures around us.  This will help us to slow down long enough to be able to hear the whispers of beauty that are in our daily lives.

2.  Be a learner – If you are one who is not immediately drawn to classical music, art, or literature and classify them as boring, before you throw this piece of advice out the window stop yourself and contemplate whether you are the one who is actually boring.  Be willing to take the posture of being a learner and actually sit under some of these works of art or nature and allow yourself to hear and see what they are saying.  Do not be so quick to pride and aloofness that you miss out on the opportunity to experience beauty, which ultimately comes from God.

The Evidential Power of Beauty - Where Science and Theology Meet

These are just two small ways to cultivate the journey of being truly alive in appreciation for beauty.  As Dubay says, “God made us for , “a joy so glorious that it cannot be described” (1 Pet. 1:8)”” (Evidential, pg. 18).  Therefore, let us all decrease sense pleasures and increase humility to sit before the beauty that surrounds us.  For just as God was able to appreciate his creation and call it “good” (Gen. 1), let us also, who are created in his image, deem what is beautiful around us, “good.”

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The testimonies of being touched by God’s love has continued since Nov. 11 when the Holy Spirit came to IHOPU in an unusual way.  Over the past 12 weeks, we have been having nightly meetings from wed-sat to receive more from God’s presence.  Physical and emotional healing, deliverance from oppression and self-hatred, and increased revelation concerning the Father’s love have been a few characteristics of this move of God.

But recently I got the chance to hear a testimony of a former Muslim who experienced God’s love and was saved.  It is a powerful testimony and wanted to provide a link to watch it.  So here it is: IHOPU Awakening testimony

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My First Pot roast!

A couple days ago I decided to make a pot roast for the first time.  I wanted to try something new in the arena of cooking and it was so exhilarating!  It was very simple really: rub salt, pepper and garlic on the roast.  Add some water to the bottom of the pan and then cook for two hours, adding the vegetables after the first hour.  Oh how sometimes the simple things in life bring such joy…Here is the picture:

Mmmm...delicious

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In Matt. 6, Jesus’ disciples ask him how they are to pray.  It is possible that they saw Jesus’ prayer life and wanted some help with their own, or perhaps it was a normal question that disciples ask their teacher.  In any case, Jesus’ answer was immediate and clear.  He responded by saying pray in this manner, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come…”  Jesus gives to his disciples a concise prayer that they were to memorize and pray regularly.  The phrase that I want to highlight is “your kingdom come.”

Jesus gives the disciples content on what to pray and the first request after the adoration of the Father in heaven is “let your kingdom come.”  Now what is the kingdom of God?  In essence it is the rule of God that was promised to Israel in the OT.  This kingdom would be characterized by agricultural provision, peace from their enemies, the knowledge of God, and great joy.  Thus, when the disciples were to pray “let your kingdom come,” they were praying for a dramatic inbreaking of God’s kingdom into the present evil world.

Jesus’ prayer is the request for the kingdom of God to come to our broken world.  Thus, intercessory missionaries are those who join with this prayer with great vigor and diligence.  They realize that the present evil age is not ok with them or with God.  Therefore, they actively participate in prayer to bring the kingdom of God to the world.  This is prayer for the greatest transition in human history: the culmination of the kingdom of God coming to the earth.  This is the great privilege that intercessory missionaries have.  They get to be agents in the present evil to transition humanity into the next age of the kingdom of God.

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