Monday, October 30, 2006

Graham Cooke PROPHETIC WORD October 2006

Who has felt in their spirit they have passed a test? You know you have gone through a testing time and you have passed the test.

God is doing two things in this whole area of trust. He is teaching us how to hold on to him in every day situations. But God also has taught us how to stand firm despite the circumstances around us. You have learned to press in to him. But the second thing he's taught us is the importance of God trusting us. We are becoming people who God can trust. It's very important for us to go to a higher level, God must trust us.

Many people want to go to a higher level, but they have not learned to pay their dues. They don't persevere, they don't hang in.

When God wants you to go to a wider dimension, into a bigger anointing, he pushes and squeezes you through a very narrow opening. Imagine it this way: you are in one large room and there's no doorway no windows and the mostly way out of it is a tunnel... and you must crawl through it on your knees. It's humbling and it's frustrating. The only way you can get from one big space to even a bigger space is to get squeezed by God. And what he does this gets not the good stuff against squeezed out, it's the idiotic stuff. It's our pride, fears; it's our wanting a shortcut. Always wanting an easy road. We get all sorts of stupidity pressed out of us. We get pressed because we are in the wine press of God. And then God pops you out into this big space. Then you don't know what to do with yourself. The squeezing is a test itself. Especially when you've gone from a high place in the spirit to no place in the spirit. You used to operate at a higher level and then it seemed like everything got taken away. And you got endlessly squeezed. Sometimes that's just how God prepares you for the real place wants to give you. So he gives you this place of ministry, which seems big to you but is small to him. Just when you're doing really well, it seems like the bottom falls out of your world, and you drop into this hole, and God squeezes you. And all this time he's been preparing you for a higher place. God is very particular about who he trusts. So there are lots of not-so-subtle tests that he gives you, to see if he can trust us.

The first thing is, that the Lord wants to thank you for persevering.... in passing that test. Some of you are standing here not really sure that you have passed the test. He knows what you're thinking. (Laughter)

If you're thinking that maybe you should not be standing, it is often a sure sign you should be standing. There is a grace on you guys. The Lord says thank you for enduring, for losing your reputation, and for some of you, thank you that you finally stopped bitching about it. Stop complaining about it.
Take a deep breath. Right now Lord just restore, restore our spirits, restore our soul, refresh our spirit. Renew our mind, in Jesus name. The Lord wants to say to you the time of testing has come to an end. Some of you have passed at 90%, some at 80%... the Lord isn't going to tell you what the passing grade is. You will recognize when the test comes around again and you'll pass. And you'll pass it quickly... it will just be a short test. The Lord is going to bring you into a wide, and broad, and spacious place. Add to that which you had... it will be returned to you, with interest, with stuff added. The Lord will restore the anointing, plus. Whatever you are moving in, what ever you are traveling in, plus. So expect things to open up for you, expect to be in this wide place, and it will be odd because you are so used to being restricted, it will be a bit weird for you. What I got out of prison, I could not walk more than eight steps without running into a wall. It took me ages to get used to the fact that the doors behind me didn't automatically lock. You're going to be in this broad spacious place where opportunity will come to you, and opportunities for growth, opportunities for increase especially in your relationship with the Lord. That's the place you need to start. In your own devotional time, let the Holy Spirit broaden you out, so you're going to need to spend a little more time in your devotional experience where faith and trust will begin to grow. Touch your eyes so that we can see opportunities that come. Give us a spirit of wisdom and Revelation to see the opportunities, let us see the hand of God at work. And I just pray peace over you guys. We are just releasing things into your life.

It doesn't really matter now what's your feeling, that's not the evidence. You receive it in your spirit. Stand there in your will and receive it. Just say yes to the Lord. You have been so squeezed and in that place of pressure for so long you haven't felt the presence of the Lord in a while. It may feel the same as it always did, except it's different because now you have a word that this season is over and you are coming into a broad place. All those feelings will catch up with you. Some of you may be having an experience now where you feel the hand of God on you. Some of you feel nothing, but I promise you your feelings will catch up with you. You just need to trust. Some of you may need to take the trust test again. God is with you and God is for you. You're out of a confined place and in a place of release. Of new favor.
We proclaim release, we proclaim favor, we are coming into that broad place, that spacious place where you're going to connect with us... eyes to see and ears to hear. I pray Lord that you will begin to put things together in our life, that you will make connections for us in the spirit, and give us lots of tokens of your presence in these next few weeks. Things will start to happen to us that have not happened before, an increase of your presence, an increase of joy, an increase of favor, and that things will begin to happen outside of our ability to create. I pray for a spirit of exploration, that we will start to explore this wider place. Explore. Let's just wait here a moment.

When God opens up a bigger space for you, the first thing you're going to do is explore. You're not supposed to occupy. It's not about seeing something, taking hold of it and staying there, and unwrapping that whole thing so that you totally understand it... it's about you going out and exploring and when God shows you something, it's about putting your name on it and going out and exploring some more. It's a little like the old land rushes... in the West. You go out to those new places and mark your claim... you stake your claim, carry on... and you keep on exploring until you feel like you put out enough claim stakes and then you go back and explore the territory you have claimed. So the first thing I want you to do is go explore this new territory. Explore this new land. It's a bit like the spies in Canaan, look at the fruit... look at what's available, look at what's out there. Keep a journal of this journey in the spirit... right now and the things that you feel God has given you and keep exploring for a few months, and gradually what will happen is that will slow down and in God may take you back to the beginning to the first thing that you saw.

Keep asking questions... and ask: what's the favor here on this area? Write that down.

Father we just pray blessing in the name of Jesus, we asked Lord for an anointing of your Holy Spirit just to rest... to rest on us. In the name of Jesus and give us rest, rest in our minds, rest in our hearts, rest in our souls. Rest as we explore. In Jesus name. Lord thank you that you're going to begin to open up this territory in the spirit... in the name of Jesus.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Grappling with God

Prayer sometimes feels like a hug and a stranglehold at the same time.
Philip Yancey | posted 10/20/2006 08:39AM
The church I attend reserves a brief time in which people in the pews can voice aloud their prayers. Over the years, I have heard hundreds of these prayers, and with very few exceptions, the word polite applies. One, however, stands out in my memory because of its raw emotion.
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In a clear but wavering voice, a young woman began with the words, "God, I hated you after the rape! How could you let this happen to me?" The congregation abruptly fell silent. No more rustling of papers or shifting in seats. "And I hated the people in this church who tried to comfort me. I didn't want comfort. I wanted revenge. I wanted to hurt back. I thank you, God, that you didn't give up on me, and neither did some of these people. You kept after me, and I come back to you now and ask that you heal the scars in my soul."
Of all the prayers I have heard in church, this one most resembles the style of testy prayers I find replete in the Bible, especially those from God's favorites such as Abraham and Moses.
The Bargainer
Abraham, a man rightly celebrated for his faith, heard from God in visions, in one-on-one conversations, and even in a personal visit to his tent. God dangled before him glowing promises, one of which stuck in his craw: the assurance that he would father a great nation. Abraham was 75 when he first heard that promise, and over the next few years, God upped the ante with hints of offspring as bountiful as the dust of the earth and the stars in the sky.
Meanwhile, nature took its course, and at an age when he should have been patting the heads of great-grandchildren, Abraham remained childless. He knew he had few years of fertility left, if any. At the age of 86, per his barren wife Sarah's suggestion, he followed the ancient custom of having intercourse with his wife's servant to produce an heir.
The next time God visited, that offspring, a son named Ishmael, was a teenage outcast wandering the desert, a victim of Sarah's jealousy. Abraham laughed aloud at God's reiterated promise, and by now, sarcasm was creeping into his response: "Will a son be born to a man 100 years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of 90?" Sarah shared the bitter joke, muttering, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?"
God responded with a message that to Abraham's ears must have sounded like good news and bad news both. He would indeed father a child, but only after performing minor surgery on the part of his body necessary for the deed. Abraham becomes the father of circumcision as well as of Isaac.
That pattern of feint and thrust, of Abraham standing up to God only to get knocked down again, forms the background for a remarkable prayer, actually an extended dialogue between God and Abraham. "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" God begins, as if recognizing that a valid partnership requires consultation before any major decision. Next, God unveils his plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, notorious for their wickedness and moral pollution of Abraham's extended family.
By now, Abraham has learned his role in the partnership, and he makes no attempt to conceal his outrage. "Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the judge of all the earth do right?"
Then ensues a bargaining session much like what occurs in any Middle Eastern bazaar. What if there are 50 righteous persons in the city, will you spare it? All right, if I can find 50 righteous, I'll spare the whole place. With a jolt, Abraham remembers who he's bargaining with—Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes—but proceeds to lower his request to 45 persons.
Forty-five? No problem. May the Lord not be angry. … Now that I have been so bold—Abraham bows and scrapes, then continues to press. Forty? Thirty? Twenty? Ten? Each time God concedes without argument, concluding, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it."
Although ten righteous people could not be found to save Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham got what he really wanted, deliverance for his nephew and grandnieces. And we readers are left with the tantalizing fact that Abraham quit asking before God quit granting.
What if Abraham had bargained even harder and asked that the cities be spared for the sake of one righteous person, his nephew Lot? Was God, so quick to concede each point, actually looking for an advocate, a human being bold enough to express God's own deepest instinct of mercy?
As Abraham learned, when we appeal to God's grace and compassion, the fearsome God soon disappears. "The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion" (Num. 14:18). God is more merciful than we can imagine and welcomes appeals to that mercy.
Arguing with God
Skip forward half a millennium when another master bargainer appears on the scene. God, who has "remembered his covenant with Abraham," handpicks a man with the perfect résumé for a crucial assignment. Moses has spent half his life learning leadership skills from the ruling empire of the day and half his life learning wilderness survival skills while fleeing a murder rap. Who better to lead a tribe of freed slaves through the wilderness to the Promised Land?
So as to leave no room for doubt, God introduces himself via an unnatural phenomenon: a fiery bush that does not burn up. Appropriately, Moses hides his face, afraid to look, as God announces the mission: "The cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
Unlike Abraham, Moses turns argumentative from the very first meeting. He tries false humility: Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh? When that fails, he marshals other objections: I don't know your name … and what if the Israelites don't believe me … I have never been eloquent. God patiently answers each one, orchestrating a few miracles to establish credibility. Still, Moses begs off: O Lord, please send someone else to do it. God's patience runs out and his anger flares, but even so God suggests a compromise, a shared role with Moses' brother Aaron. The famous Exodus from Egypt thus gets under way only after an extended bargaining session.
Moses puts that knack for negotiation, that chutzpah, to a supreme test sometime later when God's patience with the tribe truly has run out. After watching ten plagues descend on Egypt, after walking away from slavery scot-free and burdened by plunder, after seeing a pharaoh's state-of-the-art army swept under water, after following a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, after receiving miraculous supplies of water and food (some of it digesting in their bellies at that very moment)—after all that, the Israelites grow afraid, or bored, or "stiff-necked" in God's diagnosis, and reject it all in favor of a golden idol made for them by Moses' sidekick brother, the very Aaron God had recruited by way of compromise.
God has had quite enough. "Let me alone, so that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make you into a nation stronger and more numerous than they." Moses knows well the destructive power God can unleash, for he has seen it firsthand in Egypt. "Let me alone," God says! Moses hears that remark less as a command than as the sigh of a beleaguered parent who has reached the end of a tether, yet somehow wants to be pulled back—in other words, an opening stance for negotiation.
Moses rolls out the arguments. Look at all you went through delivering them from Egypt. What about your reputation? Think of how the Egyptians will gloat! Don't forget your promises to Abraham. Moses flings down a sack of God's own promises. For 40 days and 40 nights, he lies prostrate before the Lord, refusing food and drink. At last, God yields: "Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you on the way." Moses proceeds to win that argument, too, as God reluctantly agrees to accompany the Israelites the rest of the way.
Sometime later, the tables have turned. This time Moses is the one ready to resign. Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? And this time it is God who responds with compassion, calming Moses, sympathizing with his complaints, and designating 70 elders to share the burden.
Moses did not win every argument with God. Notably, he failed to persuade God to let him enter the Promised Land in person (though that request, too, was granted many years later on the Mount of Transfiguration). But his example, like Abraham's, proves that God invites argument and struggle, and often yields, especially when the point of contention is God's mercy. In the very process of arguing, we may, in fact, take on God's own qualities.
"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance," writes Archbishop Richard Trench. "It is laying hold of his highest willingness."
A Strange Intimacy
Were Abraham and Moses the only biblical examples of standing toe-to-toe with God, I would hesitate to see in their grappling encounters any kind of model for prayer. They rank, however, as two prime representatives of a style that recurs throughout the Bible. (Perhaps this very trait explains why God chose them for such important tasks?)
The arguments of those two giants of faith seem tame compared to the rants of Job. His three friends speak in platitudes and pious formulas, using the demure language often heard in public prayers at church. They defend God, try to soothe Job's outbursts, and reason their way to accepting the world as it is. Job will have none of it.
He bitterly objects to being the victim of a cruel God. Job speaks to God directly from the heart—a deeply wounded heart. He nearly abandons prayer because, as he tells his mortified friends, "What would we gain by praying to him?" Yet in the ironic twist at the end of Job, God comes down squarely on the side of Job's bare-all approach, dismissing his friends' verbiage with a blast of contempt.
The psalmists likewise complain of God's absence and apparent injustice. One psalm attributed to David captures the spirit:
I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
looking for my God.
A litany of protests in Psalms and in the Prophets remind God that the world is askew, that many promises remain unfulfilled, that justice and mercy do not rule the earth.
A wrestling match also occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus struggled with God's will and accepted it only as a last resort. Later, when God chose the least likely person (a notorious human-rights abuser named Saul of Tarsus) to carry his message to the Gentiles, a church leader voiced dissent: "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem." God cut this particular argument short: "Go! This man is my chosen instrument." Several years later, the same man, now named Paul, himself bargained with God, praying repeatedly for the removal of a physical ailment.
Why would God, the all-powerful ruler of the universe, resort to a style of relating to humans that seems like negotiation—or haggling, to put it crudely? Does God require the exercise as part of our spiritual training regimen? Or is it possible that God, if I may use such language, relies on our outbursts as a window onto the world, or as an alarm that might trigger intervention? It was the cry of the Israelites, after all, that prompted God's call of Moses.
Like Abraham, I approach God at first in fear and trembling, only to learn that God wants me to stop groveling and start arguing. I dare not meekly accept the state of the world, with all its injustice and unfairness. I must call God to account for God's own promises, God's own character.
I used to worry about my deficiency of faith. My attitude is changing, though, as I begin to understand faith as a form of engagement with God. I may not be able to summon up belief in miracles or dream big dreams, but I can indeed exercise my faith by engaging with God in prayer.
I recall a scene from very early in my marriage. We were visiting friends out West who had arranged for us to stay at a four-bedroom guesthouse that had no other occupants at the time. Over dinner, some comment hit one of us the wrong way, and before long, a marital spat had escalated. We sat up late trying to talk it through, but instead of bringing us together, the conversation only moved us further apart. Aware that I had a business meeting the next day, I stormed off from our bedroom to another one in search of peace and sleep.
A few minutes went by, the door opened, and Janet appeared with a new set of arguments supporting her side. I fled to another bedroom. The same thing happened. She would not let me alone! The scene became almost comical: a sulking, introverted husband running away from an insistent, extroverted wife. By the next day (not before), we could both laugh. I learned an important lesson, that not communicating is worse than fighting. In a wrestling match, at least both parties stay engaged.
That image of wrestling evokes one last scene from the Bible, the prototype of struggle with God. Abraham's grandson Jacob has gotten through life by trickery and deceit, and now he must face the consequences in the person of his hot-tempered brother, whom he cheated out of family birthrights. Ridden by fear and guilt, Jacob sends his family and all his possessions on ahead across a river, with elaborate peace offerings to mollify Esau. For 20 years, he has lived in exile. Will Esau greet him with a sword or with an embrace? He shivers alone in the dark, waiting.
Someone bumps him—a man? an angel?—and Jacob does what he has always done. He fights as if his life depends on it. All night the two wrestle, neither gaining the advantage, until at last the first gleam of daybreak brightens the horizon. "Let me go," the figure says, reaching down with a touch so potent it wrenches Jacob's hip socket.
Staggering, overpowered, scared out of his wits, Jacob still manages to hang on. "I will not let you go unless you bless me," he tells the figure. Instead of wrenching his neck with another touch, the figure tenderly bestows on Jacob a new name, Israel, which means "God-wrestler." At last, Jacob learns the identity of his opponent.
A little later, Jacob sees his brother Esau approaching with 400 men and limps forward to meet him. Their own wrestling match began before birth, a tussle in utero. And now the moment of truth has arrived. God-wrestler holds out his arms.
A contemporary Jewish author, Arthur Waskow, wrote in his book Godwrestling that wrestling feels a lot like making love—and like making war. Jacob felt some of each, making love and making war, with the elusive figure in the night and with hairy Esau in the day. From a distance, it's hard to distinguish a stranglehold from a hug.
God does not give in easily. Yet at the same time, God seems to welcome the persistence that keeps on fighting long after the match has been decided. Perhaps Jacob learned for the first time, that long night by the riverside, how to transform struggle into love. "To see your face is like seeing the face of God," Jacob told his brother, words unimaginable had he not met God face to face the night before.
Although Jacob did many things wrong in life, he became the eponym for a tribe and a nation as well as for all of us who wrestle with God. We are all children of Israel, implied Paul, all of us God-wrestlers who cling to God in the dark, who chase God from room to room, who declare, "I will not let you go." To us belong the blessing, the birthright, the kingdom.
"Prayer in its highest form and grandest success assumes the attitude of a wrestler with God," concluded E. M. Bounds, who wrote eight books on prayer. Our no-holds-barred outbursts hardly threaten God, and sometimes they even seem to change him.
As the touch on Jacob's hip socket proved, God could have ended the match at any point during that long night in the desert. Instead, the elusive figure lingered, as eager to be held as Jacob was to hold.
This excerpt has been adapted from Philip Yancey's latest book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? (Zondervan).

Your Kingdom Come

"Your Kingdom come...Your will be done, in earth as it is in heaven...."


This Sunday evening's theme at Worship at the River is both a promise and a challenge. This update is a bit longer than usual, but I want to relate an incident last week which brought personal revelation through this challenge. 


As most of you know, I, on occasion, substitute teach in the Portland area public schools.  I began this adventure last December. 


We returned from Korea...speaking in various churches small and large, but what a contrast the next day, to find myself in a grade school PE class, playing dodge ball and running relay races with kids.  Actually, I have learned to thoroughly embrace these opportunities to work and relate with a local "mission" (not less important to the Lord than other more traditional models of church ministry).  The public schools are a mission field.


Last Friday, I had the opportunity to teach an art class at a local High School (yeah, I can see a lot of you laughing at the notion of me with 42 freshman students explaining pottery or artistic design). But the Lord used this assignment to teach me again....something profound.


I was substituting for a veteran teacher who explained to me that her last class of the week was one of the most challenging in all her years of teaching, primarily because she was guiding a student teacher who had been doing her best to convey her love of art to a class made up of literally 8 diverse cultures and languages.  It was not going well as the student teacher found herself leaving the classroom in tears more than once.  The student teacher was not enthusiastic at the prospect of a "sub" coming in on a unusually sunny Friday, on a "assembly" day where the schedule was erratic enough.  .


I consulted with the student teacher and assured her this class was going to be free from distraction and we would approach the day armed and ready. We planned to "ride" the kids hard and the regular teacher arranged for me to generously distribute disciplinary pink slips for detention


At 1 pm the enemy....err..the students began to arrive.  Never have I witnessed a more diverse group of teenagers...with their IPODS and creative hair styles and assorted piercings, not to mention the latest hip hop fashion accessory....baggy jeans...and, without going into detail, I simply want to emphasize and exaggerate the baggy part.  They looked, at the least, most, well, threatening.  I empathized with the student teacher and hoped she would not be tempted to abandon the noble and under-appreciated teaching profession based on what this class had thrown at her.


I introduced myself and she began the lesson.  I "roamed" near the back of the classroom and armed with my pick slips began to prepare for battle.  Then, I began to hear the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.  Following is our conversation:


Holy Spirit:  You know, you might want to change the way you perceive these kids.  They are not the fact, some of them have a powerful destiny and I'm preparing them for it.


Me:  But Lord, these kids have been disruptive....and I'm here to bring order....


Holy Spirit:  Excuse are going to bring order...hmmm.  Why don't you first invite me to change the way you see students, see them as I see them....and bless them not with your arrows of detention....but with the gift of peace, My you believe you can change the atmosphere of this classroom and bring the peace and glory of heaven here?


Me:  Yes...I repent.....


I began to pray in the Holy Spirit, and I felt the Lord give me the gift of His perspective. We used to sing an old chorus "Heaven came down and Glory filled my soul...." I  invited heaven to "come and fill" this freshman art class on a sunny Friday afternoon.  And He did.  Near the end of the class, the student teacher remarked: "Never have I had such peace in this class....I don't know what's happened."


There were multiple lessons.  I repented from my assuming I had to "play hardball" (the pharisees were actually pretty good at that).  I began to see the treasure the Lord has deposited in every student that came through that door.  I began to see the deposit of His Grace and Presence in a high school art class....because I invited Him....Heaven to manifest on earth. 


Sometimes I am tempted to spiritualize my occupation....think that what I actually "do" in ministry is what validates true Kingdom progress here on earth.  Not true.  What all of you do, whether it's changing diapers or changing tires, becomes an opportunity to invite the Holy Spirit to manifest heaven on earth.  This is not a theological lesson for me, but an immensely practical one.  And, as usual, the Holy  Spirit is always kind enough  to lead me to repentance.....that's His nature.  And, to give me an opportunity to change.


Bless you.


Darrell and Carlene

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Decisions That Define Us

Here at The Mission, weve made some decisions that clarify our goals as a church, and they are listed below.

It has been humbling to learn that these declarations are resonating with leaders around the globe, many of whom have called to ask for permission to use them in their own churches. Since we believe these determinations were born of the Spirit, we are happy to see them applied in the Kingdom.

Please note, however, that we are deeply concerned that you understand their context:
These decisions are not and never were a reaction to anything but the state of our hearts and the reality in our church. They are in absolutely no way a criticism of any church or denominational movement. Please dont misuse these decisions as weapons towards others. We are in this battle for high ground together: one Church, one Bride, and one Body.

In Ephesians 3:19, Paul implores us to increase our perception of Gods love, letting it expand from head knowledge to actual experience. Those two levels also describe our process of commitment to these decisions. We would probably have said they were true from the beginning of our ministry. Now, however, they are points of contention, foundational truths without which we are not willing to live; a journey, not a destination.
In II Samuel 6, as David leads the return of the Ark of the Covenant, there is both celebration and sacrifice; and so it is with these commitments. As we are heeding the ever-increasing call to clear a path for the Manifest Presence and Glory of God, these decisions have each taken a piece out of our hearts and livesand given us something priceless in return.

These are not arrogant proclamations of our accomplishments. We continue to comprehend the high cost and great value of each declaration of purpose.
So, then, here are The Decisions Weve Made&

We have decided that teaching the Gospel without demonstrating the gospel is not enough. Good preaching, good doctrine, and being good people is not enough.
We have decided that having a good church club is not enough, good fellowship is not enough, and just being a member of that club is not enough.
We have decided that having good Bible studies is good, but not good enough, that just making it to heaven is not our goal, and that knowing about God without truly knowing and experiencing God is meaningless.
We have decided that having good programs is not enough; that change without transformation is intolerable, and that staying the same is not an option.
We have decided that gifting without character is futile.
We have decided that singing songs without worshiping is hallow and having meetings without God showing up is pointless.
We have decided that having faith without works is not enough and having works without love is not acceptable - that our function comes out of our relationship first with the Father and second with each other.
We have decided that reading about the book of Acts without living the book of Acts is unthinkable.
We have decided that confident faith is good and bold faith is better.
We have decided that hearing about the Holy Spirit without experiencing Him is silly, that believing in His presence without seeing It manifested in signs and wonders is hypocrisy, that believing in healing without seeing people healed is absurd, and that believing in deliverance without people being delivered is absolutely ridiculous.
We have decided to be Holy Spirit filled, Holy Spirit led, and Holy Spirit empowered - anything less doesn't work for us.
We have decided to be the ones telling the stories of God's power - not the ones hearing about them.
We have decided that living saved, but not supernatural is living below our privilege and short of what Christ died for.
We have decided that we are a battle ship not a cruise ship, an army, not an audience; Special forces not spectators, missionaries not club members.
We have decided to value both pioneers and settlers - pioneers to expand our territory and settlers to build on those territories - but we are not squatters - people who take up space others have fought for without improving it.
We have decided to be infectious instead of innocuous, contagious instead of quarantined, deadly instead of benign.
We have decided to be radical lovers and outrageous givers.
We have decided that we are a mission station and not a museum

1. We honor the past - we don't live in it.

2. We live in the present with our eyes on the future.

3. We see past events - successes and failures - as stepping-stones not stop signs.

4. We pursue learning in order to be transformed, not learning in order to know.

5. We are people of engagement not observation.

6. We focus on what could be, not on what is or has been.

7. We are not limited to the four walls of this building. Our influence is not restricted by location - Not even the nations are out of bounds.

8. We are more concerned about how many we send out into the world than how many we convince to come into the building. This building is meant to be filled and it will be - but it will not be the measure of who we are or the measure of our effectiveness.

9. We raise up world changers - not tour guides. We train commandos, not committees.

10. We are a people of our destiny, not of our history.

We have decided that it is better to fail while reaching for the impossible that God has planned for us than succeed settling for less.
We have decided that nothing short of His Kingdom come, His will be done in our world as it is in Heaven will satisfy.
We have decided that we will not be satisfied until our world freaks out and cries out "Those who have turned the world upside down have come here too."
These are some of the decisions that define who we are
as a community and how we live our lives

These decisions are not destinations - but rather journeys - journeys along an ancient path - we have not found some new way - but rather rediscovered the path as old as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The same path followed by Moses, Joshua and Caleb - Paul, John, Peter.

The path followed by the first century church - a church that revolutionized the culture of the first century and beyond.

It is a path that will impact the world we live in today. It is a path of Bold Faith - believing that what God says is really true and acting on it; Outrageous Generosity - giving our life away in order to demonstrate His Kingdom; Radical Love - loving God with everything in us and our neighbor as ourselves.

It is a path of liberty, freedom, and healing.
On this path you find significance, purpose, and destiny.

This is a path less traveled - however
- it is not a path only available to a select few - but to whosoever will - may come.

It is for people of every nation, tribe and tongue -for those in any occupation or vocation.

No matter where you are in your life journey

- there is room on this path for you

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pacficministries Fall Events

Dear Friends,

We are looking forward to Worship at the River Sunday, November 10th as we celebrate....FOREVER!!! And, of course, forever is a very long time. I wanted to communicate a few prayer requests and calendar events before the holidays hit us. (look for those Christmas promotions soon!)

Just a commentary on my ministry in the public schools this year. There has been a real sense of divine placement in each assigned school this fall. I have enjoyed each class and have especially sensed God's love for many of the disadvantaged, marginalized, and culturally diverse students. In the Portland schools alone, an administrator told me there are more than 50 languages spoken. I believe, as the elections for many education related issues approach, the Lord wants His Elect...His Presence in today's schools. That can be as simple as showing up to volunteer at a school function or chaperoning a field trip. I've witnessed dedicated teachers and administrators serve and care deeply about children, and while it is tempting to think we can solve education problems with more money, smaller class sizes, or new facilities, I believe these kids are best served when the Kingdom of God is represented, as we simply champion His Presence. We then Re-Present Him...naturally .

We appreciate your prayers as Carlene and I will be in Los Angeles November 2-9 for meetings with Jean Darnall, leading worship at a weekend YWAM Retreat, and on Sunday November 5th, I'll be sharing about North Korea at Oasis Korean Church where my friend, David Kim, pastors .

Finally, please note these events:

School of Prophecy with Graham Cooke
Fri, October 27, 2006 - Sun, October 29, 2006
Information and registration:

What is God Saying?
Thu, November 30, 2006 - Sun, December 3, 2006
Prophetic Conference with Chuck Pierce Dutch Sheets in Albany Oregon
Register at
Or call 1-866-354-5245 (Toll-free) Email:

Reflections on the Lord's Prayer Submissions
Please email your reflections by Monday November 27th (the week after
Thanksgiving) to:

Pacificministries Christmas Celebration !
We want to invite you to a Christmas Celebration Dinner at the Sam Cox Building in
Troutdale (where we normally meet) at 5 pm on December 10th . We'll
have dinner together and at 6:30 we'll worship (Amen!) This will be a
no-cost event but we will take an offering to cover building and meal
costs. All are welcome to attend, but reservations for dinner need to be made by
Monday, December 4th. You may call Delight at 503-380-7203
or e-mail her at if you plan to attend.

Bless you....and let me be the first to say (cringe), Happy Holidays,

Darrell and Carlene

The Lord's Prayer Reflections

Dear Friends:

One year ago, the Lord spoke to us regarding the assignment for 2006
at Worship at the River. We felt the Holy Spirit urge us to focus on
the Lord's Prayer. We have applied Paul's admonition to:

...When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of
instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these
must be done for the strengthening of the church. (I Corinthians)

Personally, I have found myself strengthened at our gatherings when
you brought your "part of the meal" to the table. What a feast! Many
of you have written songs, poems, prophetic revelations, insights, and journal
entries over the past year, thus, a proposal:

I'd like to collect, edit, and publish our offerings in a systematic
and comprehensive form. Think of it a bit like a Lord's Prayer
Yearbook. You might contribute artistic designs such as cover art, a
children's narrative, dialogue, short story or parable. My sense is
to keep it "nameless", and divide the book into 12 sections, and for
our AMEN December 10th celebration, we'll distribute them and
leave the last page blank for that evening's personal reflections.

This project is not meant to be a deep, theological treatise, but
simply a collection of what the Lord has brought to light during
worship. I have marveled at the creativity and insight God has
released through you. Do not underestimate or devalue your legitimacy
as God has given ALL of us gifts.Perhaps some of you have not been a
part of every gathering, or you simply are part of our email family,
and you might be tempted to dismiss any thought of contributing. I'd
like to challenge that thinking. Would you pause and ask the Lord to
confirm? If you hear nothing, maybe the Lord is simply waiting for
you to ask Him.

Please email your material by Monday November 27th (the week after
Thansgiving) to:

More information about travel and the December Christmas Dinner Celebration to follow.

Bless you,

Darrell and Carlene

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October Update

Dear Friends,

Carlene and I want to welcome you to Worship at the River this Sunday, October 8th at 6 PM at the Glenn Otto Community Park in Troutdale, Oregon. We are approaching the "home stretch" of the Lord's Prayer, and this October the focus is: "Yours is the Glory." Each month's theme has been wonderfully unpredictable. Last month's "Yours is the power" became not a study in the outward demonstration of power, but became a celebration of covenant and the freedom of forgiveness….as well as the humility of the cross.

We just returned from the annual International Fellowship of Ministries meetings where the Lord brought fresh revelation and encouragement through the ministry of Bob Ekblad, executive director of Tierra Nueva (New Earth) in Burlington Washington. He spoke of a fountain of healing in his understanding of God's working among the poorest of the poor...the least and marginalized of our culture. I sensed God's grace and favor on this message as the Holy Spirit once again brought to remembrance the Jesus's first ministry proclamation in Luke 4 was to the poor. I am reading his book: Reading the Bible with the Damned. To quote from the back cover:

"..Bob encourages the church and unchurched to reflects on how Christians have often found it difficult to proclaim God's good news to every realm of society, while those who have needed it most have frequently deemed themselves unworthy due to social circumstances or sinfulness."
In the past, I would most often describe God's glory as a palatable sense of His Presence, or a weight of His nearness, both true. But as I shared last month, the Lord is beginning to open up an awareness of His Presence and His Glory in the obscure and the poor, humble and broken.

As we celebrate His Glory this Sunday evening I want to come with fresh awareness His Glory is not for just those who "have it all together" (not sure any of us qualify anyway) but the manifestation of His Glory can be found in the obscure. He is often found in prisons, with the homeless, and the "unworthy"......pretty much describes most of us.

So we welcome you to celebrate God's glory at Worship at the River this Sunday, just know you'll be surrounded and comforted with broken people humgry for His Glory.

Darrell and Carlene

September Update

Dear Friends,

Looking forward to Worship at the River this Sunday evening at 6 pm at the Glenn Otto Community Park in Troutdale. This month we are focusing on the phrase "Yours is the ....power".
I'll also share a bit about "pearls and orphans" and how the Lord was so faithful to reveal His perfect plan during my trip to China/North Korea. An excerpt from my journal may give you a sense of how He spoke:

* This assignment is not a mistake or miscalculation.....
* A key to My purpose is found in your response to the interruption of your plans...
* Trust Me to reveal my purpose....
* My Kingdom's power is manifested in humility....and my Kingdom is found in the least of these...

Needless to say, I have caught just a glimpse of God's power and His Kingdom discovered in the most obscure and humble places, and I am forever changed.

Bless you, and hope to see you Sunday evening.

Darrell and Carlene