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Banning Liebscher + Stephen Wollwerth + Heather Evans + Paul Di Giordano + Mark J. The Poet + Charmaine Taylor + Stefeni Brown

FOR THE RISK-TAKERS

MAGAZINE

4 + THE STORY OF A HUMBLE SONGWRITER GIVE UP NEVER: BREAK DOWN IMPOSSIBLE WALLS I USED TO BE ADDICTED TO PORNOGRAPHY REAL RADICAL LOVE: THE STORY OF A FORMER LESBIAN IF WE LOSE HOPE WE DIE: FINDING FREEDOM IN ART RISE ABOVE: FROM THE GOOD LIFE TO THE GOD LIFE FASHIONABLE OR ANOINTED: ANITA ALEXANDER

ONE-ON-ONE WITH JESUS CULTURE'S BANNING LIEBSCHER

APPROACHABLE #SHARERADICALLOVE #EXPECTMIRACLES


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CONTENTS

ISSUE 4 APPROACHABLE

CREATED, DESIGNED & EDITED BY A MIGHTY TEAM OF 4 + A BUNCH OF BEAUTIFUL WRITERS JENENE STAFFORD NISSI GUIAO AARON GUZMAN CLAIRE ROGERS AND A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO BRALYNN NEWBY, JEFF WITTMER, MALVINA LAUDICINA–MY FAITHFUL WRITERS, AS WELL AS HEATHER MURDOCK FOR COMING ON BOARD MMTV (COMING SOON) ...AND TO ALL OF YOU, MY BEAUTIFUL FRIENDS.

42 THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

16 REAL RADICAL LOVE The Stefeni Brown story. Nissi Guiao

24 GIVE UP NEVER The Stephen Wollwerth story. Nissi Guiao

28 A SIT-DOWN WITH BANNING

LIEBSCHER A talk about miracles.

36 I USED TO BE ADDICTED TO

PORNOGRAPHY The Mark Ornelas story. Nissi Guiao

38 THE STORY OF A HUMBLE

SONGWRITER The Heather Evans story. Nissi Guiao Jenene Stafford

42 THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE The bride is rising up. Jenene Stafford

28

A SIT-DOWN WITH BANNING LIEBSCHER

36 PORN KILLS, LOVE HEALS

50 RISE ABOVE: FROM THE GOOD LIFE

TO THE GOD LIFE The Paul Di Giordano story. Nissi Guiao

6

THOUGHTS

34 BRAVE THE WAVES

66 THE ARISING OF THE WARRIOR BRIDE

A word from the Founder.

Nissi's journey.

King Maker Column

Jenene Stafford

Nissi Guiao

Jeff Wittmer

18 THE DIVINE DYNAMIC DUO Warrior Cry Column Bralynn Newby

56 CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION STARTS WITH YOU

78

ALIGNING WITH GOD'S TIMING Gil and Adena Hodges

Derek Martin

82 HOLY ROAR 22 NEW SEASON CHRISTIANS And shifting atmospheres. John Jackson

60 IF WE LOSE HOPE WE DIE Charmaine Taylor: Finding Freedom in Art.

Sandi Padilla

84 FASHIONABLE OR ANOINTED Anita Alexander


THE WORLD

DOESN’T NEED

MORE RELIGION.

THEY NEED LOVE.

#MEGAMORPHOSISMAGAZINE

#SHARERADICALLOVE

#EXPECTMIRACLES


BOOKS WE LOVE

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

4

2018


THOUGHTS God. We are not only marketplace

Founder’s Thoughts

ministers, but warriors and rad-

. . . the darkness is going to get a rude awakening 'cause Jesus is coming to the party. + BY JENENE STAFFORD

ical lovers of humanity (like our Papa). We're currently making a transition, and a large leap to be as wise as a snake and gentle as a dove. As we make the transition, we'll shake off the residue of the religious spirit some have had to overcome. I for one, am on fire (with excitement and the Spirit) for this new era the Church and the world are transitioning into. It's going to get darker in the dark places, but brilliant in the light places. However, the good news is a lot of people will transfer over because the only way they'll be able to withstand the light is to move over and adjust their eyes. The brilliance they thought they had in

Hello My Beautiful Risk-Taker Friends Welcome to the 2nd Print Issue of MEGAMORPHOSIS Magazine

the darkness is going to get a rude awakening 'cause Jesus is coming to the party. Enough of what's coming—let's get to the real stories. This issue rocks. The life-changing stories from Mark

I want to encourage the Church to be more of who God is call-

J. The Poet, a former pornog-

ing us to be; and take take that ugly religious spirit and send it

raphy addict, Paul Di Giordano

straight back to hell where it belongs—we have work to do in

going from the "Good life to the

this world. That spirit is full of pride and arrogance and wraps

God life," Stefeni Brown, a for-

itself up in a pretty little fake bow called truth. Problem is it's

mer lesbian found "Real Radi-

not the real Truth. The Approachable Bride will give that spirit a

cal Love" and Stephen Wollwerth will encourage you to "Never

bad day and become the movers and shakers in culture.

Give Up," always believe in miracles. Songwriter Heather Evans' story blows my mind—I trust

he truth is Jesus came to set a

ing the head of the snake through the

and know that it will leave you

fire to the religious and polit-

transformed approachable bride—

so inspired and encourage you

ical systems that have blind-

the sons and daughters who have

to keep rising on your journey as

ed the eyes of the Church

been transferred over into the King-

the Bride. Remember, my beauti-

and held back humanity from knowing

dom of Light. We're becoming the cul-

ful friends that it's not about you,

a Heavenly Father that radically loves

ture-shifters and barrier-breakers.

it's all about Jesus and how much

them. But, today is a glorious day to be

We're moving into the marketplace

He loves the world. So much so

alive because the approachable bride of

and there's a fast and furious move of

He's sharing His glory with us as

Christ is rising. That's what this issue is

the Spirit that's taking us along for the

we become the brilliant light the

about, becoming approachable.

ride of all rides.

world is longing for.

The approachable bride isn't about

We have battled and we will con-

what you see on the outside, it's about

tinue to battle as warriors in the king-

what's real—real struggle, real sin, real

dom, but we will have magnificent

darkness that tried to take us down.

victories as we go through the des-

Jesus alone is changing that. He's crush-

ert moments to reach the promises of

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

6

#ShareRadicalLove #ExpectMiracles

2018


THREE BATTLE GROUNDS

1. AN AWE OF GOD AND HIS AMAZING CREATIVE POWER. Your identity is solid as a “beloved child of God.” You are in Christ and Christ is in you. 2. ACCEPTANCE OF GOD’S LOVE AND DESIGN FOR YOUR LIFE. You receive a sense of worth that is almost unexplainable. 3. YOU SEE OTHERS THROUGH A “HEAVENLY

THE THREE CRITICAL VIEWS

LENS.” Your heart is full of compassion and purpose. You are one who can carry hope into any situation because the Holy Spirit

BY LARRY & LORI HILL, DOKIMOS PROJECT

flows through you. There are three battlegrounds that

intimately know you, and does He want a

are important to win. You are called to

relationship with you or is He distant and

overcome. The battlegrounds are:

uncaring?

SIGNS OF DECEPTION

1. YOUR VIEW OF GOD 2. YOUR VIEW OF SELF

2. YOUR VIEW OF SELF is really a battle

3. YOUR VIEW OF OTHERS

for your design. Did God really make you unique and special, or is life really a cruel

The battle is in your mind; it’s about what

joke?

you believe. You can believe truth from

3. YOUR VIEW OF OTHERS is really a battle

God’s word (the Bible) and His Spirit or you

for calling? Does God really care for all

can believe the messages that bombard

the people you come in contact with, or

your mind each day. Some of the messages

are most of them just in your way causing

are from other people or society at large

problems or making work for you?

and do not carry the weight of God’s truth.

You are not a mistake and your life is not

View of God: You become suspicious of God and His ways. You decide that you can run your life by your own rules. This leads to rebellion. When rebellion is in full bloom, then you become very selfish and God becomes distant and unimportant to you. After a while your identity is attacked, and you feel unworthy. Or even

However, many of the messages are lies

an accident. You are loved, valued and you

straight from the mouth of the enemy. So,

have a purpose that you can pursue with

which is worse, a slight deception or a lot of

clarity and passion! The people around you

deception? Either way, it’s deception!

need you to be filled with God’s hope.

The three battlegrounds can be summa-

overcome these battlegrounds, help you

View of Self: From a position of unworthi-

rized this way:

receive hope from God, and flow it to others.

ness you feel shameful. You look for things

So, what does victory look like? When you

that will make you feel better. You go toward

1. YOUR VIEW OF GOD is really a battle

have a healthy view of God, self and others

people who will “accept you for who you are.”

for your identity. Are you a child of

then your life is filled with:

But in reality, they are accepting you for who

worse, you begin to judge God.

Your spiritual gym is set up to help you

God or a random accident? Does He

you have become. Deep inside you know this and an inner tension increases. Eventually, TRUTH PRODUCES

DECEPTION PRODUCES

YOUR IDENTITY

A BELOVED CHILD IN AWE OF GOD

REBELLION LEADING TO SELFISHNESS

VIEW OF SELF

YOUR DESIGN

WORTHINESS IN CHRIST

SHAME LEADING TO DEPRESSION

VIEW OF OTHERS

YOUR CALLING

HOLY SPIRIT FLOWING THROUGH YOU

BITTERNESS LEADING TO ISOLATION

BATTLEGROUND

WHAT'S AT RISK

VIEW OF GOD

depression overcomes. If that doesn’t work, then your other option is to emotionally detach and become “untouchable” but then feelings of isolation and loneliness become your reality.

View of Others: From a position of depression or isolation, your view of others becomes tainted. You see people as objects or if you have any warm feelings for them, it seems as if they can easily annoy you. You doubt that God loves anyone, and life becomes one problem after

To learn more about a "spiritual gym" go to www.dokimosproject.com.

another. Bitterness or weariness is the road you find yourself often traveling.

7

MEGAMORPHOSISMAGAZINE.COM


TEN REASONS TO CELEBRATE AMERICA WINNING BIG OUR COMMITMENT TO HONOR ISRAEL

Several countries are now following our lead and moving their embassies to Jerusalem. “President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful." —Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

OUR BOLD ACTION TO PROTECT ISRAEL

President Trump pulled out of the terrible JCPOA deal, and is committed to ensuring Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon and is addressing the threats posed by the regime’s malign activities.

OUR CHRISTIAN ROOTS GAINING INFLUENCE

Our president has openly praised and heeded the advice from the faith community. He signed an Executive Order on the Nat’l Day of Prayer that protects faith-based liberty from governmental overreach and ensures equal access to government funding and equal right to exercise their deeply held beliefs.

COVENANT OF DEATH BROKEN

Financial support for abortion is being erased from government policy across the board.

BACK TO WORK

Unemployment is at a 17-year low, and unemployment among blacks and other minorities is at the lowest it’s ever been in the history of being recorded.

TAX CUTS REPATRIATE $BILLIONS

Companies across almost all sectors are bringing workers and plants back to the United States, and are increasing investments in American manufacturing and other industries.

SMALL BUSINESSES GET RELIEF

PHOTO BY TYLER NIX

PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH

Our military’s decade-long decline has been turned around. Honor, respect, and care for our military and veterans is now a top priority of this administration.

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

CONSTITUTIONAL SOVEREIGNTY UPHELD:

The Trump administration has restored homeland security by honoring and enforcing both the constitutional and geographical boundaries of our nation.

8

Lifting the massive regulations that caused barriers to entry, and forced businesses to close is now spurning growth and innovation resurgence for individuals, businesses owners, farmers, and families.

AMERICA IS PRODUCING AND EARNING MORE

Gross National Product (GNP) is still near its all time high reached in the 4th QTR of 2017. Personal income continues to rise month over month, and is up a whopping 11% since 2015.

2018


"I want to encourage the Church to be more of who God is calling us to be; and take take that ugly religious spirit and send it straight back to hell where it belongs—we have work to do in this world. That spirit is full of pride and arrogance and wraps itself up in a pretty little fake bow called truth. Problem is it's not the real Truth. The Approachable Bride will give that spirit a bad day and become the movers and shakers in culture." -Jenene Stafford Read more of the Founder's Thoughts on page 6

9

MEGAMORPHOSISMAGAZINE.COM


Photo by Caique Silva

BY JENENE STAFFORD

ne cannot be born into this

are weak and in need of a Savior that will

world without life giving us

tell us the truth. And, although we may not

Every time we refuse to forgive and we

wounds. Sometimes those

like everything Jesus said, He certainly was

think like we used to, as a victim, we give

wounds leave a residue that we can't seem

a truth teller. He didn't try to tickle the ears

our power away. We give the liar the legal

to brush off. The residue isn't so obvious

to give people what they wanted, but rather

rights to once again taint us with the lie that

to us because it can seem invisible to the

what they needed.

we cannot forgive and we cannot heal. The

O

outside, but the truth is the residue, the lies,

The world we live in today isn't so dif-

on our thought life.

truth is we can forgive and we can heal and

shape everything. We have a choice that's

ferent from the evil happening in biblical

often invisible too—brush it off, clean up

times. Murders, sacrifices, witchcraft, de-

and start anew.

monization, hatred, envy, stealing, cheating,

lost and victim are all labels and lies that

adultry and fornication were all rampant

hold us captive. But love, value, being an

throughout the land.

adopted son or daughter, beloved child of

The pain we endure, the wrongs, the rapes, the burns will undoubtedly shape our thoughts, our choices and our expecta-

In every evil circumstance, there's a

we can live free. Unloved, worthless, forgotten, addicted,

God are truths that have set millions upon

tions of ourselves and others. In fact, they

victim somewhere. The good news of Jesus

millions of people free from their past.

will even wire our brains if we don't get

is, anyone who desired forgiveness, healing

We have a life of hope, truth and love and

the help we need. Certainly we can live a

and a new life could access it by following

we have the power to refuse and deny the

mediocre life, in constant captivity to the

Jesus and learning from the Teacher. If

evil one access to shape our identity or our

lies that form our now and our future. But,

following Jesus makes us weak because

thoughts. That is the truth regardless of the

then again, there's Jesus, wonderful Jesus,

we're incapable of living a good life on our

evil done against you or by you.

that defeated every evil known to man.

own, then let's choose weakness so we can

The Bible says, "He came to set the captives free." Still there are many that

be made strong. Today, we can still access the freedom,

do not access this freedom and others who

but there is a cost to a new life and a new

would say, "You are weak." Sometimes the

birth. Forgiveness has to become our na-

lies are the truth, and in this case it is. We

ture so the evil one doesn't have a foothold

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

You no longer play in the enemy's camp or party in the kingdom of darkness.

10

Remember who you are because you are a child of the Kingdom of God.

2018


+ RISK TAKER

BY MIKIE SPENCER

God Hates Divorce But Still Loves His Bride In Jeremiah 3:8, God says, "I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery." Verse 20 says, "But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,' declares the Lord." Isaiah 50:1, "This is what the Lord says: 'Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce with which I sent her away?'" Other scriptures also speak about God divorcing Israel, but these are the most blatant. The law stated that unfaithful wives could be divorced, so God divorced unfaithful Israel. But He still loved "her." He wanted to remarry His people. But what does the law say about that? Deuteronomy 24:1-4, "If a man marries

MIKIE SPENCER

a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends

An excerpt from her Bible study “I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice”

her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of

T

here are several ways to answer the question of why Jesus had to die;

divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,

many that involve the idea of Him being the perfect Sacrifice. I've

or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced

heard several sermons on this topic from that perspective. I feel like

her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has

we already covered that, so today I'm going to come at it from a different angle,

been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of

the angle of divorce.

the Lord." That doesn't sound promising.

God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but He does allow it. Matthew 5:32, "But I

There is a loophole; now we get to one reason Jesus

tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes

had to die. What do we say in our wedding vows? "Till

her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits

death do us part." It was customary to stone an adul-

adultery." Matthew 19:9, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for

terous wife to death. Divorce was the nice way out. By

sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."

just divorcing Israel, God did the "nice" thing, but then

The nation of Israel was the bride of Yahweh. He married them. You can read the poetic version of that story in Ezekiel 16. It's a tragic story of a "Cinderella" people who once they became royalty then used their wiles to commit adultery/

He did the "nicer" thing by taking her place and being put to death for her sins. By dying in her place, He not only freed her to re-

idolatry and thumb their nose at their rescuer husband. Eventually God divorced

marry but also in His new resurrected state, He is able

Israel.

to remarry as well, legally. Jeremiah 31:31-33, "'The

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

12

2018


FAV’S days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the Lord. 'This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,' declares the Lord. 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I

ISAIAH 6

I WILL SING

LINDY CONANT & THE CIRCUIT RIDERS

CHRIS & BETHANY SOLYNTJES

2016

will be their God, and they will be my

2017

people.'" One of my favorite scriptures is in Hosea 2 after He talks about Israel's adultery and everything she'd done wrong. In verses 14-16, He says, "I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

THE WAY (NEW HORIZON) HOUSEFIRES 2017

In that day...you will call me 'my

LET IT ECHO JESUS CULTURE [FEAT. CHRIS QUILALA] 2016

husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.'" Wooing someone in the desert seems odd, but that's the way God has chosen to do it, over and over. The Israelites in their 40 years of wandering were being wooed. I have been wooed by God in a place that felt desert-like. Have you been or are you being wooed in the "desert"?

TILL I FOUND YOU PHIL WICKHAM

The culmination of this new wed-

REMIND ME (JAISUA REMIX)

2018

JONATHAN OGDEN

ding is seen in Revelation 19:7-8, "Let

2018

us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." Thank you Jesus, for wanting us back, and for making a way for that to happen by dying in our place, and coming back for us. We are eternally grateful!

SURROUNDED

SPIRIT MOVE

MICHAEL W. SMITH

BETHEL MUSIC

2018

2018

13

MEGAMORPHOSISMAGAZINE.COM


NORTH

KOREA & THE SPIRITUAL IMPACT OF THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY By: Bralynn Newby

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

14

2018


H

istory was made on June 12, 2018 when United States President Donald J. Trump struck a deal with the Communist Dictator Kim Jung-Un of North Korea. In exchange for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, President Trump offered Kim the lifting of heavy sanctions, peace, and hope for his devastated country. This is not only the first step toward ending the 70year war and ushering 25 million North Koreans into the 21st century, but it could also mark a turning point in the spiritual destiny of the nation. In a country where Christians are heavily persecuted and even killed for merely possessing a Bible, Jesus could be introduced for the first time in three generations. As one of the last places on the earth where people have not yet been exposed to the Gospel, now is the time the enemy would love to keep it that way. Now is the time we need heavy intercession for Kim Jung-Un and the nation. We have the unprecedented opportunity to see a total culture shift in our lifetime, and God is in the restoration business. In the natural, there are really only a handful of players on both sides of this deal. In the spirit, however, the entire body of Christ could be pushing over the tables of communism and its atheistic worldview. There are underground Christians secreted away who have been praying for a repeat of the Pyongyang revival of 1907. They have been calling out to Father to send help and relief from their persecution. These brothers and sisters need our prayers, now more than ever, as the battle in the spirit ramps up. Make no mistake, our enemy doesn’t want to give up this territory, and is throwing everything he can at it to derail lasting peace. I call and challenge you to pray for North Korea every time you hear it mentioned. Pray for Trump and Kim, their families, and all of their staff and advisors. Pray for the turning of hearts of those who belittle, deride and ridicule their efforts, and break off any word curses spoken over this process. Pray that the Christian heritage in Kim’s family line would come back around in his life and legacy. We are positioned as warriors who can make a difference in the eternal lives of millions if we would but pray.

15

MEGAMORPHOSISMAGAZINE.COM


RISK TAKERS REVOLUTIONARIES DEFYING STATUS-QUO CHRISTIANITY

Real Radical Love

+ RISK TAKER

Photo by Mohamad Nohassi

"THIS ISN’T YOUR TYPICAL RELIGIOUS STORY THIS IS A STORY OF REAL, RADICAL LOVE."

A DISCOVERY OF GOD'S DEEP LOVE FOR MY HEART

This article is the testimony of Stefeni Brown.

Interviewed by Jenene Stafford Article by Nissi Guiao

"MY STORY IS ONE OF THE FEW THAT PEOPLE REALLY DON'T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT." And I notice

silent on (maybe even afraid of) certain

Heart-connection is God’s number one

in the church, sometimes, we say, 'You can

topics. And even though it’s reasonable to

priority. Not correction, not intimidation,

overcome addiction, alcoholism...' but we

be intimidated sometimes, there’s never

not condemnation. In fact, His love is so

never touch on the other things people

a time to not show love. There’s never an

radical that it doesn’t need any of that to

might be dealing with. I don't know if it's

excuse to withhold it from anyone, not even

authentically change lives. He (Love) is

because it's such a touchy subject or what-

ourselves. As we dive into an ever-develop-

patient, kind and never keeps a record

ever, but I say we need to talk about how

ing love story between the Father and His

of wrongs. He never gives up, He never

people come from backgrounds like mine,

Bride, we’ll really get to see the depth of His

relents. “There’s no shadow He won’t light

or even worse. We really need to talk about

heart unfold.

up, mountain He won’t climb up; there’s no

If we’re honest, the Church has been

these things." —Stefeni Brown

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

LIFE-CHANGING LOVE

wall He won’t kick down, lie He won’t tear

16

2018


"...He never left her nor forsook her. In her mess, in her confusion, He was always there." down, coming after [you or] me." (Reckless

change. How do you come from that? She

ed herself from friends that weighed her

Love, Cory Asbury). The way He chooses to

says, "I lived that way for years because it's

down. She even went as far as getting rid

pursue us goes beyond anything we’ve ever

like, 'Well, I guess this is how I'm going to be

of all the clothing that welcomed a lesbian

been taught. And He’ll do whatever it takes

and this feels right to me. I know it's wrong,

spirit. She went all in, drew close to God

to prove His unending love for us.

but it just doesn't make sense and I'm going

and began to see Him in a different light.

to just keep doing what I'm doing.'"

Through Perry's authentic testimony, He

A STORY THAT NEEDS TO BE TOLD

Thing is, God never gave up on her. Ever.

changed her life and strengthened her walk

Waiting a couple decades for someone you

He never left her nor forsook her. In her

love sounds a bit insane. But when your

mess, through her confusion, He patiently

love is so deep and you know what’s at

waited for the perfect moment to gently

BECOMING HIS BRIDE

stake, it’s really nothing to you. You'll be as

draw her close. The time came when she

God didn’t rush in to fix every detail of

patient as you need to be, despite how pain-

was no longer content in leading a gay

Stefeni’s life in the way that we might think.

ful it is to wait. This reckless kind of love is

lifestyle. She cried out to Him with a simple,

He invited her into a close relationship

how God fiercely pursued Stefeni Brown’s

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” and that

with Him by becoming the friend she didn’t

heart, and how He beautifully turned her

was all it took for Him to sweep her off her

know she needed. He focused in on her—

life as a stud into the foundation of her

feet.

made her feel seen, known and special.

powerful testimony. Stefeni was raised in a Christian household. She grew up loving God and learning truth. From the outside looking in, you'd never guess the internal battle she began to face. Stefeni felt different. She lived in an inexpressive home, but she had plenty to express. She had so many questions. With no outlet, however, she suppressed what

with Him.

The more intimate they became, the more

"One by one, God began to answer Stefeni’s prayers. In His perfect timing, He showed her a way out."

she was feeling, leaving her isolated and

clearly she heard Him speak. He revealed to her, "You don't have to think this way—this is not how I think...I don't want you to think with your mind, I want you to think with your heart." God trashed the lies that fogged Stefeni's thinking. After He dealt with the painful roots, He knew it was time for her to experience a healthy relationship. He brought

confused. Lies didn’t wait to pollute her

THERE’S ALWAYS MORE IF YOU WANT IT

her a new friend that helped to change her

mind as a little girl; she soon believed that

Even though Stefeni didn’t have all the

life. They hung out often and held each

she was worthless, bottom of the barrel,

answers, she knew that she wanted much

other accountable as they both hungered

and unloved. She felt like God had made a

more than the life she was leading. The

to serve the Lord. The unconditional love

mistake in making her who she was. She

catalyst for this epiphany was a tough

she experienced through her close friend is

then grew to dislike how she acted because

break-up with her third girlfriend. She was

what solidified her inspiring 180.

no one would choose her or talk to her.

incredibly heart-broken as anyone would

She felt outcast, and unfortunately, these

be, stripped of the intimacy she was so

still has to remove things—it's a process.

feelings lasted for years.

used to. Ultimately, this was the crack that

He's teaching me (from what I went

finally let God in to start addressing all her

through) just to be really honest and be my-

FEELINGS ARE REAL, BUT HIS LOVE IS EVEN MORE REAL

questions.

self and not be afraid of it. I'm finding out

With no idea how to deal with her confu-

Stefeni’s prayers. In His perfect timing, He

I would like or do, and it's a really interest-

sion, Stefeni felt like she had no choice but

showed her a way out. After feeling lost

ing journey. But I'm enjoying it because I'm

to surrender to it. She says, "I lived in a gay

for so long, a friend shared the poem My

finding out how loved I really am."

lifestyle for twenty years and I thought God

Life As a Stud by Jackie Hill Perry (a former

made a mistake. I couldn't figure it out. I'd

lesbian with a genuine testimony of coming

think about it, but I wouldn't dwell on it. I

to the Lord). She immediately connected

knew it was wrong to be this way, but how

to Perry, as she felt the exact, same way.

could I stop doing this?" She kept going

She was so moved that she dug deeper into

through it because to her, it just felt right—

Perry's story, immediately leading her to act

natural. In her mind, it was impossible to

on what she started learning. She separat-

One by one, God began to answer

17

Stefeni says, "God's teaching me that He

more things about myself that I didn't think

MEGAMORPHOSISMAGAZINE.COM


WARRIOR CRY

The Divine The Divine Dynamic Duo THE POWER IN THE PAIR By Bralynn Newby

R

emember the Wonder Twins cartoon?

understand the strategies for war. Like the

and ways to strengthen your individual,

“Wonder

Powers—Activate!”

Wonder Twins needed to be in unity with

spiritual muscle. Because Warrior Cry is a

I love this picture of how we need

each other to know exactly what shape to

call to the army to rise up, let’s also look at

to come together in unity to activate.

form for the situation, we need to operate

the warrior bride in the context of unity.

The Twins were often referred to as

with the mind of Christ to know what our

Corporately activating the bride means

the

comic

situation requires. Like the Twins knew

we come together and press into Kingdom

superheroes, we also have a divine duo:

each other’s role and strengths, we need

issues in prayer. We are called to be the

the warrior, and the bride. I admit, I’m

to know our “designment” and which part

Ekklesia, a governing body to transform

far more warrior than bride. In truth,

of the fight is for God to accomplish, and

the culture of the land we occupy into the

though, we are called to be both. The

which part is for us.

culture of the Kingdom. Once we have

Dynamic

Twin

Duo.

Like

these

Wonder Twins couldn’t activate their

Activation for the bride means putting

our individual identity and assignment

superpowers without coming together.

aside our busyness and distractions to

solid, we are to lock arms and get work

We are most powerful and on track with

spend time with Jesus. Exercising our

done in the spirit realm. We are to

our destiny when we operate in our

spiritual muscle in this sense is quieting

prepare ourselves, the culture, and the

divine duality.

our mind, will and emotions to practice

atmosphere for our bridegroom to come.

Being the bride is where we develop

hearing, seeing and perceiving Father

the intimacy required to receive and

accurately. There are myriad exercises

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

18

2018


PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Form a small

tions, Cook, General, Special Operations,

what you would like to do, who is more

covenant-bonded home group (see

Spy, Maintenance, and the list goes on.

established, or has a broader reach?

KingdomEquippingCenter.com/Ekkle-

Each role is critical to the successful out-

sia-home-groups) to find out what God

come of each mission. We can no longer

wants to be administered in the spirit

try to do everything ourselves. Another

We must become experts in warfare.

realm to be manifested on earth.

ironic parallel between the Wonder

That requires training, not just reading

Twins and believers is that their true

about it. Can you imagine our military

power and destiny were hidden from

sitting in a classroom, and then being put

them by evil villains. They were margin-

on the front lines? The results would be

alized and used as merely a circus act

ghastly.

NOW THE FUN PART— WARRIOR ACTIVATION “In warfare there are only four possible attitudes we can take: offense, defense,

until they learned the truth and stepped

negotiation, and desertion. And there’s

into their true identity and purpose.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Enroll in

only one of these the enemy fears.”—

Sound familiar?

Spiritual Warfare training courses and workshops, or watch them on YouTube at

Cheryl McGrath I believe we have hemmed, hawed and

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Enroll

the very least.

6

negotiated, defending occasionally, and

in Dokimos (DokimosNetwork.

deserted by being asleep for far too long.

org) or Ultimate Impact

Like the slow-cooked frog, we “suddenly”

(UltimateImpactMovement.com) for a

Cultivate a posture of honor. Adopt

find our culture, our nation, and our

deep dive into your unique identity.

a code of ethics, a bond of brothers

world in the enemy’s disarray. The time is now to move as one. How do we do that?

1

4

nothing can divide. There will come a time (and it is already beginning) when

Understand how your particular gifts

those called to infiltrate and spy on the

and calling fit into the overall mission of

enemy will appear like they are not on

defeating darkness, setting the captives

our side. They may need to do things and

Get our minds and hearts fully engaged

free, and building the Kingdom. For

say things we do not agree with. We need

and understand that we are at war; we

those of us on the Business mountain,

to know their heart, and cover them in

were born into a war. “Your hand-to-

funding the war effort is critical; we need

prayer as they work out the strategies of

hand combat is not with human beings,

to get good at it. Become shrewd as ser-

heaven that are far beyond our compre-

but with the highest principalities and

pents as well as innocent as doves.

hension.

the heavenly realms. For they are a pow-

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Get into a

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Listen to the

erful class of demon-gods and evil spirits

good business coaching or mentorship

tested prophets, pray and discern, and

that hold this dark world in bondage”

program or relationship. Keep yourself

research for yourself to know the Truth.

(Ephesians 6:12, The Passion Transla-

sharp, growing, and accountable.

7

authorities operating in rebellion under

tion). But we have to realize that these rebellious demons use human beings

5

Embrace

your

own

dynamic

duo,

and step into your destiny as a warrior bride. And, like soldiers heading onto the

who knowingly or unwittingly carry out

Warriors subordinate their own agenda

battlefield, know you are not alone. Feel

their malevolent activities.

for the good of the mission. They lay

that hand on your shoulder that says, “I’m

2

their own opinions and ideas down to fol-

with you.”

We need to stop fighting each other. Peri-

I’m not dead yet. Are you? Thank God he

od. That’s straight from satan’s playbook,

can still use us as we are still holding on

3

to our lives. Joyful repentance has been a

and it must stop.

low the strategies of their officers. They die to self. I don’t know about you,but BRALYNN NEWBY IS A SPEAKER, AUTHOR, AND CONTENT STRATEGIST. WWW.BRALYNNNEWBY.COM

lifesaver—pun intended.

Know your place—your “designment.”

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: How can you

Communications, Infantry, Pilot, Muni-

serve and support someone who is doing

19

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THE LIFE OF A BELIEVER Living a fulfilled life as a believer is a dedicated process and starts with fundamental kingdom characteristics. We choose to live powerfully and the journey is based on how devoted we are to walk the path of a son or daughter of the

1. Live with Honor.

2. Put on Righteousness.

WE FIND HONOR IN THE MIDST OF SURREN-

DOING THE RIGHT THING WHEN NO ONE’S

DER. We put aside our own agenda and follow

WATCHING. That’s integrity—to be a person

God’s. We honor God’s authority, our personal

who can face God. As sons and daughters we

mandate and each other daily.

will walk through the fire and not get burned.

3. Love Radically.

4. Inherit Peace.

JESUS IS THE FOUNDATION OF LOVE. We live

SURRENDERING IS THE FOUNDATION OF

with unconditional love and model who Jesus

PEACE. When the storm hits, we believers have

is through our actions. Love is a universal lan-

a safe ground. Peace is found in the presence of

guage and it speaks louder than any voice. We

God. When chaos hits our worship needs to hit

love radically through sacrifice and action.

harder. We proclaim truth and inherit peace.

5. Have Mercy.

6. Embody Joy.

HAVING THE EYES OF JESUS. He gave us some-

JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH. As

thing we didn’t deserve when He showed us

believers we understand joy is not based on our

mercy on the cross. As believers we show mercy

circumstances. Our joy depends on how much

for others with no strings attached.

we’re willing to trust God. His joy is abundant and never ending and it’s part of our DNA.

7. Be B.R.A.V.E.

8. Live in Prosperity.

RISE UP AND BE BRAVE. Brave stands

WE SEEK THE KINGDOM & PROPSEPRITY

for: Bold & Brilliant, Rulers & Rolemodels,

FOLLOWS. As believers we strive to glorify God

Annointed & Accountable, Valiant & Victori-

and we look for the Kingdom first, knowing God

ous, Enlightened & Engaged. The Church is

wants us to propsper in life. Being teachable

called to be B.R.A.V.E. and it is a choice.

and hearing God is part of the process.

ISSUE 4 + OPEN DOORWAYS

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2018


+ RISK TAKER

Photo by Tanja Heffner

NEW SEASON CHRISTIANS AND SHIFTING ATMOSPHERES Evolving Times Call Us To Adapt To New Circumstances © Dr. John Jackson

I believe we are in a new season. The men

were missing the wind of our moment.

presence for programs. Our present hour

of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32) “understood

Now, I am certain of it. The Body of Christ

calls us to shift the atmosphere in culture

the times and knew what to do.” Ours is a

simply must understand our assignment

and in our churches so that the life of Jesus

time that calls for that wisdom.

in this present hour. Here, in short, is my

is manifested in all we do. This season

conviction:

demands that we demonstrate the grace

For the past 15-20 years, I have been increasingly burdened that we have en-

“The church in America, in its desire

and truth of Jesus in every sphere of society

tered into a new season and yet churches

to be relevant and reach people, has

as Spirit empowered sons and daughters of

I led and the general church in America

exchanged message for methodology and

the Most High God.”

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

22

2018


" OUR PRESENT HOUR CALLS US TO SHIFT THE ATMOSPHERE IN OUR CULTURE AND IN OUR CHURCHES SO THAT THE LIFE OF JESUS IS MANIFESTED IN ALL WE DO."

them) season. Further, we are in an Acts 2

everyday life, but let me at least establish

NORTH AMERICAN SOCIETY IS DESPERATE NOT FOR “WHAT WORKS,” BUT FOR WHAT IS “REAL.” Real

an outline of sorts for your consideration:

men and women who have experienced the

saved, signs and wonders were taking

power of life change by an encounter with

place, and they were having favor with all

Jesus Christ will live such transformed lives

the people) and we live in an Ephesians 6

(not perfect, but transforming!) that the

world (we are in a spiritual battle and we

power of their testimony is compelling.

do not fight against flesh and blood; people

In this short article, I do not have time to unpack all of what that means for us in

THE KINGDOM OF GOD TOUCHES EVERY SPHERE OF SOCIETY and beyond. The universe is His. The church has often limited itself to the building and to its activities as an organization. We are called to be the church and the church is both gathered for worship and teaching and fellowship and scattered for witness and ministry.

THOSE OF US WHO ARE IN THE PROTESTANT STREAM HAVE SAID

to their number daily those who were being

are not our enemies, but the spiritual forces

"I can think of no greater reality of this shifting season in our present reality than the need for followers of Jesus to engage in the 'public square.'"

we believed in the priesthood of all believers. But we have not practiced that very

calling time for the church (God was adding

are). In my role as a College President, I am regularly called upon to be in relationship with, speak to and write about, people and causes that are oppositional and often divisive. I regularly pray for the Spirit of God to live in and through me in such a way that people are won by the grace and truth of Jesus. Will you join me in this new season,

Our society desperately needs deeply

both by engaging in the public square in

well. We have allowed ourselves to main-

devoted followers of Jesus in the classroom,

whatever assignment He has given you,

tain a very structured system. Ephesians

in government, in arts/media and entertain-

and live in a Spirit empowered way so that

4 calls us all to do the work of the ministry

ment, in health care, in church, and in fam-

the grace and truth of Jesus might shift the

and for the five fold ministry to equip the

ilies. When we see Spirit empowered men

atmosphere of every room and setting in

Body to do that work.

and women living out their daily relation-

which you are involved?

ship with Jesus, speaking and loving people

THERE IS NO SACRED/SECULAR DIVIDE. All of life is sacred (see #1

I’m convinced we are in a new season

full of grace and truth, then atmospheres

and the time for shifting atmospheres for

shift and life begins to flow.

His glory has come!

above). Because all of life is sacred, every

Four passages of Scripture have been

follower of Jesus is “on mission” and “fully

particularly compelling to me of late: We

employed” when they are at home, at work,

are in a Matthew 5 (being salt and light in

in the community, or doing recreation. The

the world so that people glorify our Father)

life of Jesus in us and through us is a 24-7

and Matthew 25 (meeting needs in the

experience (Colossians 3:23).

name of Jesus and serving Him as we serve

23

Dr. John Jackson is the President of William Jessup University and an author and speaker.

MEGAMORPHOSISMAGAZINE.COM


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The True Miracle Story of Film Maker Stephen Wollwerth & His Son INTERVIEWED BY JENENE STAFFORD + WRITTEN BY NISSI GUIAO

Give Up Never: The Power of God to Break Down Impossible Walls wrestling,

for thirty days straight (to just see what

in this challenge, he started to get really

you’re not doing the work

would happen). Oblivious to every victory

comfortable with hearing God’s voice.

of

God

he’d see by jumping into this, he grabbed

And it wasn’t long before he began to see

Spoke to Stephen Wollw-

the challenge wholeheartedly. He may

instantaneous answers to his prayers as

erth’s heart one day. Stephen had been a

not have been aware at that point, but

he stayed consistent in pressing in. He got

Christian all his life and likely heard Ephe-

God knew exactly what He was setting

to a point where he says that answers to

sians 6:12 (“For we do not wrestle against

him up for. Day by day, he woke up much

prayer became so frequent and so quick

flesh and blood…”) hundreds of times be-

earlier than usual. He seriously began to

that he was surprised when he had to

fore this revelation came. For decades, he

engage with God during every morning

wait any amount of time for an answer to

kind of coasted through life, trusting God

run. He prayed, listened to and read the

a problem.

with/for the bare minimum, until one in-

Bible, talked to God about everything he

vitation to get serious in prayer changed

could think of. He did all the things he

the answer not long after he prayed to

his life and perspective forever.

was already familiar with doing, just with

people across the world hearing God’s

more focus and intensity.

voice telling them to send help, Stephen

"I

f

you’re the

not

Kingdom,”

PRAYER…JUST START

From

phone

calls

that

came

with

The intentionality in seeking God’s

quickly learned that it’s truly God’s heart

one

face drew Stephen much closer to God’s

to provide his every need, no matter what

afternoon, Stephen (along with other

heart. A closeness that he would never

it was. He wasn’t stuck just believing for

staff ) got challenged by his Pastor to pray

find by simply doing a bunch of good,

the meager things in life anymore (bills,

and read the Bible for three hours a day,

“Christian” things. Fiercely determined

mortgage payment, getting through the

Steadily

working

at

his

church

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

24

2018


GIVE up never week). With fresh Kingdom thinking, he

TRAINING GROUND

was set free to never wallow in difficulty

Continuing constant connection to God,

that God asked him what he wanted that

like he’s seen so many people sucked

Stephen and his family got to a point where

he began to pray specifically. Not only

into. He says, “I honestly felt like I finally

they needed another vehicle. He had no

did he pray, but he actually went to the

woke up from an entire life of slumber

problem giving away vehicles whenever

Honda dealership after hours to circle

at age thirty-five…as if God was saying,

he felt led to in the past, but this time,

the very van he had his eye on, declaring

‘YES! This is how I want you to live! In

he was in need of the miracle. Though he

and claiming it was his in Jesus’ name. He

My presence constantly!’” Prayer used to

could afford a car payment at the time,

continued to do this until he pulled into

seem boring to him, but after getting a

he was convinced God didn’t want him

the parking lot one night to discover that

real taste of what it really is supposed to

in debt; he used wisdom and didn’t try to

it was no longer there. But this didn’t stop

be, it became all he wanted to do.

make things happen on his own. One day,

him. He waited for the next shipment

This healthy obsession to be in unity

he just started asking for another miracle.

and when the next one was on the lot, he

with God became the solid foundation for

He invited God into his situation and

got more specific with his prayers and

what they would build together. Through

began to ask for provision. Since prayer is

declaration. He even brought his family

their intimacy, Stephen learned that not

really a two-way conversation, he sensed

out one time to do as he did and walk

only did he need to have a strong prayer

God ask him a very direct question in

around and pray and claim their vehicle.

life, but that sometimes he needed to step

response, “What kind of car do you want?”

out, too. It became evident that seeing

(In this case, he’d already scoped out the

miracles happen would require an active

STEPPING OUT

hottest black Honda Odyssey with leather

After about three weeks of fervently

partnership with God, not passivity (that’s

seats, navigation and an entertainment

praying, God dropped a clear direction

all too common in the Church today).

system with a DVD player—ideal for their

in Stephen’s heart one morning. He told

He says, “Sometimes the answer to our

growing family.) He listed in detail what

him to go to the Honda dealer, to ask to

overcoming and breaking through to a

he wanted and then he felt the Lord say to

speak to the manager and to specifically

victory takes more than prayer.”

him, “Then ask Me for it.”

say he wanted to do their commercials in

Stephen felt so emboldened by the fact

25

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exchange for a vehicle. Following this to a

Stephen led his wife, Jenny, in properly

took back what he had stolen from me.” It

tee, that very day, he drove home the exact

following Scripture. He took Proverbs

wasn’t as easy as 1-2-3, but Stephen says,

$42,000 van he kept asking for. Delighting

18:21 to heart, “Death and life are in the

"I wouldn't trade my pain for a minute, for

in the Lord with an understanding that

power of the tongue, and those who love

there is so much joy that I have received

God rewards the ones who seek Him

it will eat its fruits.” As he researched the

on the other side of it."

diligently, he got the tangible desire of his

possible diagnosis, he told Jenny, “Honey,

In life, we can't avoid the struggles nor

heart (Psalm 37:4, Hebrews 11:6).

we have to be very careful about what

the pain that inevitably come our way.

Beyond praying for what he needed/

we focus on and what we agree with. We

According to Stephen, it’s a guarantee that

wanted, Stephen had to know God’s voice

cannot enter into despair and doubt.” He

at some point in our lives we’re going to

in order to hear His direction. (This clarity

made sure to focus on “faith-reality” vs.

feel stuck in the desert. He says, “The fact

was a direct result of getting awakened in

“visual-reality”; they were to never speak

is, because we are more than conquerors,

deeper prayer earlier on.) And he had to

of their son’s situation in a defeated way.

we should fully expect to overcome these

be willing to step outside the box to go

As a family, they danced and sang and

situations in due time.” Just as we were

after his miracle. This experience was

worshipped the Lord every night, filling

reminded in the beginning that we’re not

vital in his training for the biggest battle

their home with joy. He says, “We were

really doing the work of the Kingdom if

he was yet to face. God, the planning

going to be a family like no other, a family

we’re not wrestling, we can’t sit on the

mastermind, set him up for success by

worshipping in the darkness, expecting

sidelines in our own battles anymore

teaching him the importance of doing

the sunrise.”

if we want to expect miracles. We have

more than just simply praying.

THE BIGGEST BATTLE

It was an eight-month long fight, day

no time to wallow or we'll waste away

and night, night and day. Had Stephen not

the abundant life we’re not only gifted

had the intimacy with God like he did, he

to live but are called to share with

Stephen’s trust in God

others. We have to

became more solid than it had ever been in his life. It needed to be for

“THE FACT IS, BECAUSE WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS, WE SHOULD FULLY EXPECT TO OVERCOME THESE SITUATIONS IN DUE TIME.”

what was to come his

engage and find our victories our

because

breakthroughs

extend

far

beyond

way. Upon receiving deep confirmation

would’ve never been prepared to battle

that it was time to uproot, he relocated

for his son’s miraculous healing in the way

In this article, we get but a taste of how

his family from Beaufort, South Carolina,

he needed to. But because it was in him to

God’s radically been moving in Stephen’s

to Folsom, California. Within the ten-day

Give Up Never, he quit pulling his punches

life; there’s so much more to tell. As God

span of the road trip, he noticed a mark

and kept persisting. There were many

victoriously brought him out of the biggest

on his son’s body that didn’t concern him

times where he felt down and out for the

struggle in the darkest time of his life, he

at first. He didn’t expect it to be anything

count, but the power of the living Word

knows he can’t keep his story to himself.

crazy, so he just treated it as best as he

kept him going and He only ever spoke

He felt led to write out the significant

knew how—applying over-the-counter

out life. He persisted like the persistent

events in his life (ones we haven’t even

medication and changing his son’s diet.

widow Jesus spoke of (he may have been

covered). He says, “God began to show me

Over time, the spot worsened and spread

even more persistent). He says, “With a

that His purpose is to use me to change

exponentially. So much so that he had to

surge of defiance and determination to

the world, not just give me what I need.”

seek professional advice.

believe we could win this battle, I got up

Now that he’s miraculously on the other

and prayed like never before.”

side of his greatest battles, God told him

Doctor’s visits and blood tests suggested that

Stephen’s

son

possibly

had

an

ourselves.

he needed to write a book. He’s lived

incurable autoimmune disease—maybe

BREAKTHROUGH

Lupus or Sjögren’s syndrome. Though this

After a few short days of praying like this,

and understanding that many of us are

was not an act of God, He was ready to

Stephen says, “I woke up in the morning

needing.

make all things work together for good

and looked at my son’s face…the lesions

through Stephen’s deep trust in Him to

had diminished 80% overnight.” This

something in you, do yourself a favor and

do the improbable and the unexpected.

gave him the confidence to push through

don’t wait to get his book. Getting to see

Because Stephen trusted God, God could

to find full victory—God miraculously

even more of his story “will leave you in

trust Stephen in this spot. It was time for

healed his son like he'd fervently asked

awe of the very real, very present power

him to wrestle… It was not easy to walk

Him to. He says, “I was actually seeing the

of God in the lives of those who pray” and

this out, but having heard the Word over

results of the battle, the final battle for

will undeniably teach you how, in every

and over and over (through the prayer

my son’s healing. I had done like David

circumstance, to find true victory as you

challenge), he had the faith to stand on

had done. I had encouraged myself in the

powerfully Give Up Never.

and to boldly declare Truth.

Lord and I went to the enemy’s camp and

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

through so much, gaining him a wisdom

26

If

Stephen’s

stories

have

sparked

2018


+ RISK TAKER

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

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2018


Banning and Jenene sit down and have an open conversation about miracles and the supernatural life of Christianity. And what does it mean to live the normal Christian life—to honor God and have gratitude, to believe like little children that anything is possible? Read Banning and Jenene's down-to-earth conversation about it . . . and a lot more.

J: Tell me about your heart on miracles.

demonstrating to the world. It’s that the power

B: I think miracles are just, honestly, a normal

cross. Healing was paid for on the cross—mir-

of God in my life was actually paid for on the

part of the Christian life. I think it’s part of the

acles, they’re accessible now because of that, to

gospel. The gospel is a gospel of power, so [it’s]

every believer and that’s why this is our inher-

the supernatural intervention of God—the mir-

itance. He paid a very high price so that we can

acle working power of God—and it’s how Jesus

walk in this and experience it.

lived. If we say we really want to follow Jesus, [then] we want to follow His example in how He showed us how to live on the earth. I mean,

J:

Wow, I love it! Everything you’re saying is

amazing to me. And the part about the inheri-

miracles were a massive part of how He demon-

tance is so divine, not that you would know this,

strated who He was, and how He demonstrat-

but this next issue, there’s going to be a running

ed His love. It’s very interesting…even when it

theme of inheritance.

comes to salvation, so much of this stuff, when we pray for a harvest, miracles are very tied into that. Even in Acts, it was the lame man that was

we actually receive what He already paid for. We need to refuse to settle for anything less than

give their lives to Christ because of what they

what He already paid for. So if He paid a great

saw. Jesus demonstrated and taught. So it wasn’t

price for something, which is the chastisement

just teaching. He’d set a guy free and then have

for our peace, He paid a great price for peace in

a conversation about that. And then also, even

our lives. By His stripes we are healed—He paid

whenever Jesus, when His authority was ques-

a great price for healing in our lives. If He paid

tioned about whether or not He had authority

that price, me not actually receiving that inheri-

to forgive sins, He didn’t argue the point…He

tance is not honoring of God. Receiving what He

healed the guy. So I think it’s very much tied

paid for is actually one of the ways we can be

into that stuff. That demonstration of the power

most grateful, too. I can thank Him all day long,

of God reveals His character. It reveals Him on

but if I don’t actually access what He paid for, it’s

new levels. A lot of people can explain away a

not true gratitude.

with His power, it really does require a different level of consideration. And it’s part of our

TSWL: The Stuff We Love

B: I think one of the ways we honor God is that

healed that then ignited five thousand men to

bunch of stuff, but when they come face-to-face

CHECK OUT THE JESUS CULTURESTUFF WE LOVE

J:

What a great conversation. So, then what

would you say to someone who really wants to

inheritance. It’s 100% part of our inheritance, it

operate in miracles and just has a passion for

was paid for on the cross. So it’s not just about

it even, you know, but they just have fear…like

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"Ultimately, obedience has to be tied to, 'I want to do what You're asking out of love.'" B: And a lot of it is just obedience based,

And it doesn’t mean that I pray for every

honestly. He said go heal the sick, go cast

single person I see. Again, I think we see

Where is it? it still was something that I

out demons, raise the dead, cleanse the

in Scripture that there are different ways

was a little afraid of. I thought, you know,

lepers. Faith is not the lack of fear. I think,

that this healing happens. And sometimes

people are going to think certain things if

sometimes, it’s obedience even in the face

it’s that the Spirit was there to heal; some-

they know that I think like this (of course

of fear. So if I’m intent on being obedient,

times it’s just stepping out in authority.

everything’s different now, but) I mean,

I’m going to be obedient, even when I feel

I think it’s a little of all of it, yes. Obe-

do you come across that?

that thing of fear. And I think faith mani-

dience, though, is key. I would just say,

they’re just afraid of it? I know for me, even though I saw it and I kept wondering

fests in those moments. So, it’s not like we

obedience is so critical because obedi-

Well, of course. This is not a harsh

get to a point and we’re like, “I no longer

ence is tied to intimacy, too. Ultimately,

statement, but the fear of man—won-

have any fear in my life.” It’s like, "No,

obedience has to be tied to, “I want to

dering what people are going to think

even in spite of fear, I choose obedience,"

do what You’re asking out of love.” This

about us and whether or not we’ll stand

and faith manifests. But again, you can

is why at some level, if your Christianity

out and all of that—you have to wres-

say that in stepping out in miracles, or you

is duty-based, if it’s shame-based, if it’s

tle through that in any area. But at the

could say that with taking a risk for God.

guilt-based, if it’s task-based, [remember]

end of the day, if I have a heart for this

Just period, it’s so tied to the same thing.

it has to be intimacy-based—we are do-

B:

then I have to get my mind renewed. My mindset has to shift, so I have to change the way I think about this stuff. And the

J:

ing this out of love. Even my obedience is That’s another key word—that obedi-

not to an employer, it’s to a Father who

ence piece, I think, is actually bigger than

loves me dearly and I love Him dear-

way I change how I think is…I’ve got to

we think because sometimes (at least,

ly. Our obedience has to be birthed out

get into His word and really go look at

I’ve found with miracles and the super-

of intimacy and I think that’s how this

Scripture for this stuff and say, “Lord, I

natural) it’s like God will ask you to do

journey then doesn’t get us into “I’m do-

really need You to renew my mind, how

something. You’ll know it’s because He

ing things because I feel like I have to.”

I view the Kingdom and the supernatural

has a miracle on the other side, but yet

miracles” and allow the Holy Spirit to re-

He’s asking you to do this, and then He’s

new your mind with that and the Word.

going to ask you to go here and then go

And at some level, you just have to lay

here and go here. And He will have you,

down your reputation. But you have to

sort of in a way, jump through these

lay that down for anything if you want to

hoops and your spirit affirms that, but

the heart of Jesus that people would not

be used by God at all. You’re going to face

you have to be willing to trust Him. It’s

live in bondage. I mean, when we say,

the same questions for any risk-taking.

also, move now when [He says] to move.

“He came to destroy the works of the

So it’s obedience and in the timing of God.

devil (the devil came to steal, came to

J: Thank You, God. You said another prophetic word because the magazine’s for

the Risk-takers. So yeah, that’s it, right?

B: So when it comes to miracles, yeah, I

J: It is the heart of Jesus. B: It absolutely is the heart of Jesus that people would be set free. It’s absolutely

kill and came to destroy), so anywhere something is stealing, killing or destroy-

think it’s both. I think there’s two things

ing, His heart is that people would expe-

We have to be willing to risk. And isn’t

going on. One is when it comes to healing.

rience life and life more abundantly—

God doing incredible things? He’s open-

I think there’s an authority in our lives

not death. And He says, “I’ve given you

ing doors for the Kingdom to really step

that we can pray for the sick, but there

authority over these things.” That’s why

in and do these things, and it’s the ones

are also times we see in Scripture where

even the issue of cancer for us is, “No,

that are humble and have been through

the Holy Spirit was present to heal. So I

we go after that issue” because cancer is

hell and back and are willing to risk and

do think there are times when there’s the

stealing, killing and destroying. And Je-

they’re willing to do what needs to be

moving of the Holy Spirit in my life that

sus came to give life and life more abun-

done. God, He seems like, is really using

I’ve got to go do this, but there are also

dantly. This is us even. This is what’s on

those people. There’s a certain group of

times where it’s not necessarily the mov-

His heart, so this is what’s on our heart

us, I guess you could say—leaders—hun-

ing of the Holy Spirit, it’s just that He put

because as we draw close to Him in inti-

gry to see manifestation and the glory.

an authority in my life to pray for the sick.

macy, His heart to see people experience

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life becomes our heart. We’re not okay

brace the level that Bethel is, but there is

going on. It’s really getting heated the last

with the devil destroying people’s lives.

a shift that’s beginning to happen where

couple of years, especially politically, you

people are beginning to realize we can’t

know, the enemy is moving in that area.

Absolutely. So, do you feel in the

do "this" without "that." I think it becomes

So the Lord needs us to be willing to step

Spirit...are you getting affirmation from

more and more evident too, that current

out in those areas in the dark places, in

people that operate really strong in the

state of whatever it is—where society is or

the places where the enemy is systemical-

prophetic (which, you probably have a

what people are encountering. Or again,

ly working.

lot around [your community]) that there’s

this is not to paint a bad picture or any-

going to be a massive move in this area

thing, but the most medicated generation

that’s going to be happening like really

the world’s ever seen, a ton of confusion

soon, like there’s a birthing of this be-

happening—all this stuff, we’re like, “If

cause the Bride is preparing herself?

you don’t come in power, we don’t have

J:

B:

answers for this.” So there’s a real hunYeah, I would say already there’s

ger for God to come in power for sure.

been a real shift in churches, on how they

B:

And when you do, you better know

the authority that God’s given you and the power that’s available.

J: As Kingdom people, He wants us

to have authority over every place of culture, right? And so, to me it’s sort of

approach the supernatural. Like

a given. But I think there is a shift

it is something, you’ll see even in

where people are wanting to know

conservative churches. Healing

more. They’re getting more hungry,

services are starting to pop up, so there are definitely things shifting. But I think ultimately, the harvest, I think that's what you’re describing at some level. Is the church fully experiencing the freedom that’s available? There's just a dissatisfaction. Ultimately,

"So much of unbelief in our lives, we've been taught into it—and kids actually haven't been taught unbelief yet."

as well, there's light and darktrue freedom has to be present. vest. I would say that if we’re really going to see the harvest come in, the supernat-

B:

Yeah, I agree.

J:

Okay so how young is too

young? Is there "too young" for people to operate in miracles or children to operate in miracles?

B: Well, I guess the question you’ll

ness. In a world full of bondage, So I think much of this is tied into the har-

right? Wanting to learn more…

have to answer is, “Is the Spirit

J: The Lord’s told me, “You’ve got to slow-

different in a 5 year old than He is in a 50 year old?” So what we would say is, if

ly introduce this bigger understanding of

there is no junior Holy Spirit, then, if I

ural power of God has to be present. And

the dark side.” To understand how much

have the Spirit of God living on the inside

people getting set free and really experi-

power’s been given because they don’t re-

of me, the same Spirit that raised Jesus

encing the fullness that God has to offer, I

ally have authority, but they have what-

from the dead, it’s connected to that. If

think, is tied to power as well. I don’t nec-

ever we’ll allow them to have. We don’t

the Spirit of God is inside of you, then you

essarily know if I would say I’m hearing a

understand, sort of, the open doorways

can do miracles. And I would say at some

stirring around that. I think it’s just some-

and that piece of it. We need to under-

level, kids operate a little bit easier ‘cause

thing the Lord’s been intent on us moving

stand that because we need to know what

they haven’t been taught out of it. I would

towards and is going to get His church to.

we’re fully up against. We also need to

say most believers that wouldn't believe

understand why the enemy is much more

in the supernatural have been taught into

strategic, so if we can start to train people

that spot. If you just went straight to Scrip-

to understand a little bit, too, about the

ture, you wouldn’t come away with “mir-

There’s definitely a broader accep-

other side, then we can see even bigger

acles aren’t for today.” So, so much of un-

tance of the supernatural power of God

shifts happening. To me, you’re sort of

belief in our lives, we’ve been taught into

in our midst. They may not all fully em-

addressing that. Like, you see this stuff

it, and kids haven't actually been taught

J: Yeah. Yeah, I’m seeing that shift too. B:

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unbelief yet. They don’t have as much

ping and going, “Hey, can I pray for you?”

clutter to get through in some of that stuff

People have this picture that it’s like this…

as far as just that “child-like” faith. You

but it’s just like, “Hey, can I pray for you?

know, we’ve seen little kids lay hands on

I don’t think that’s God’s will for your life

people and get healed and it’s because the

that you’re living with back pain. I think

lowing any kind of faith or not, they still

Holy Spirit inside of them is just as great

God has a different plan for you. Can I

want to know.

as the Holy Spirit inside of me. I don’t

pray for you?” Like, it’s a lot more natural

have a greater Holy Spirit than they have.

than we think and that phrase “natural-

J: And their heart is so pure, too, right?

ly supernatural” has been going around

all the working of the Holy Spirit, yeah.

J: Totally, because people want to know God is hearing them. Like, if they’re fol-

B: They want to know that God sees us,

they want to know that God sees “me.”

and it is a lot more natural. It’s not a big

And most people believe in God. It’s a very

And I think that’s the other piece of mir-

choir and a moment and so much of this

very small percentage of people that don’t

acles. I think our heart collectively, the

stuff. So much of the supernatural is hap-

actually believe there’s a God who exists.

Church, is getting more pure, is getting

pening outside a church service just by

They may be loud, but they’re a small per-

more where we’re just desiring more—

people going, “Can I pray for you?” Or “I

centage. So most people have some grid

to see the manifestation of the Kingdom.

have a word for you.” Or “I had a dream

of like, “I believe in a God, I just think

about you last night.” Or whatever it is.

He’s distant. I just think He doesn’t care. I

And there are definitely the supernatural

just think He’s not interested.” And all of

urally hungry for that stuff. Kids are nat-

manifestations of people encountering

a sudden, that word of knowledge comes

urally hungry and they don’t go through

God or people being set free or whatever

and it’s like, “Wow, I’m seen by God!” That

all the stuff you’re talking about. They're

else. But so much of this stuff is a lot more

is a really powerful experience.

not going through “What are people going

natural than people think it is.

B: And I agree, I think that kids are nat-

to think of me if I believe this?” That kind of comes on us as we get older. We’re a lot more worried about what people are

J:

I think that’s a wonderful point and

I would tend to totally agree with you,

thinking about us, but little kids, for sure

I mean, completely. God uses us in that

they don’t. I don’t think it’s as weird as

way. Words of knowledge is such a power-

people think. I think there are things that

ful gift too, right, and to me it’s almost like

are outside of our box in the Kingdom that

miracles with that.

a stigma is attached to. However, I don’t think it’s quite as weird. I mean just stop-

J: Yeah, it is. It’s actually one of my favorite giftings. It’s really a casual thing.

B: Yeah, it’s not like this, “Thus sayeth the Lord…”

B: It’s all the gifts of the Spirit stuff, it’s

"So most people have some grid of like 'I believe in God, I just think He's distant. I just think He doesn't care. I just think He's not interested.' And all of a sudden that Word of knowledge comes and it's like, 'Wow! I'm seen by God!' That is a really powerful experience."

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Go to www. markjthepoet.com For Life After Lust Tour Dates

MY NAME IS MARK J. I AM A POET, VOCALIST, WORSHIP LEADER, AND SPEAKER. BUT MORE AND MOST IMPORTANTLY

I

AM A WORSHIPER OF THE KING, A

HUSBAND TO A QUEEN, AND A FATHER TO TWO PRIN-

I USED TO BE ADDICTED TO PORNOGRAPHY, CESSES.

BY THE WAY. AND NOW MY PASSION IS MORE THAN SPOKEN WORD AND MUSIC. AS ONE WHO HAS PERSONALLY WALKED DOWN THE ALLEYS OF ADDICTION TO PORNOGRAPHY

I FIND MYSELF ABLE TO RELATE TO AND INSPIRE OTHERS. I CAN’T COUNT HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE BEEN APPROACHED BY FOLKS

BATTLING THE CYCLE OF SEXUAL ADDICTION AS I WAS. MANY OF THEM TRUST ME TO BE THE FIRST PERSON THEY TALK WITH OPENLY ABOUT IT - PRETTY AMAZING IF YOU’D ASK ME. THIS IS

MY HEARTBEAT: TO SEE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THEIR VALUE AND LIVE IN FREEDOM AS GOD INTENDED.


THE WAVES

+ RISK TAKER

BRAVE

BY: NISSI GUIAO

Photo by Guy Kawasaki

WAVES. FROM OCEANS DEEP TO SANDY SHORES, THEY NEVER CAN STOP COMING. FIERCE AND UNAPOLOGETIC THEY PROVE TO BE, ROLLING THROUGH LIKE CLOCKWORK WHETHER OR NOT WE’RE READY. THE OCEAN IS FULL AND VAST AND DANGEROUS. EVERY DAY, THERE’S A THRILLING OPPORTUNITY TO DIVE INTO IT.

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

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2018


ENTER THE DEEP

the mountain, He walked on the waves that

Peace inadvertently develops the faith we

These days, I can’t imagine going to the

were already tossing the disciples’ boat

need to stay above water. It’s crazy to think,

beach and not at least touching the water. I

back and forth. This storm that brought

but truly we don’t have to sink.

know I could potentially get hurt, unknown

them trouble and painted their fears made

things lurking around my naked feet, but

them unstable. They were busy trying to

forms: never-ending bills, sudden or

I can’t stay away. There’s something about

stay afloat when He showed up that instead

expected fatalities, sickness and disease,

the vastness of the sea, the beauty in the

of recognizing Him, they thought He was a

heartbreak, stress, roadblocks, failure—the

mystery. And even though many have fallen

ghost. Immediately, He eased their worry

list goes on. We can’t stop things from

victim to the raging waters, there’s a peace

and told them to not be afraid. Now this is

happening or not happening, but we do

that won’t ever let me get swallowed up in

where the story gets really good.

have the beautiful gift of looking to Jesus

fear. Because I’ve tasted and now that I’ve

Pressure crashes over us in various

(every day, all the time, no matter what we

seen, my heart is no longer satisfied with

IT TAKES FAITH

desiring anything less than the thrill of the

The second Jesus revealed Himself, Peter

feel like we can’t catch a break. And maybe

deep.

believed Him. Not only did he believe Him,

we’re exhausted from all that life’s thrown

The thing is, the further we venture, the

but immediately, with the storm still raging

at us and we’d prefer to be on the shore for

more danger we enter. There’s no escaping

around him, he let Jesus become his peace.

a bit. Maybe we’re sick of the tossing and

the waves when there’s no shore to easily

So much so that he just wanted to get to

turning. If that’s the case, we can remember

swim to. Whether calm or chaotic, the

Him no matter the wind, no matter the

the beautiful truth that no matter what

waters are relentless—and so it is in our

waves. Peter’s intimacy with Jesus was the

season we’re in, Jesus will always remain

own lives. Waves are just like the days that keep on coming. There’s no end as long as we’re alive and breathing (and there hasn’t been a pause since Joshua commanded the sun to stand still). Day

face). Wave after wave, day after day, it can

"Maybe we’re sick of the tossing and turning. If that’s the case, we can remember the beautiful truth that no matter what season we’re in, Jesus will always remain the same."

after day, life hits us with

the same. He is our peace and He is always present, whether we’re in trouble or not. So if we can be like Peter, forgetting the wind and the waves because we just want to get closer to Jesus, we’ll no doubt find ourselves surfing

waves of all sizes without our permission.

foundation for his faith to do the unthink-

on faith with crazy stories to tell as we

There is no controlling what may come, but

able.

radically brave the waves.

when we simply remember Jesus is with us,

The key we tend to overlook is the reason

we can rise up and learn to seriously brave

Peter stepped out in the first place—he

the waves.

just wanted to get to Jesus. The moment it

MORE THAN A COOL STORY

clicked for him that Jesus was in reach, the waves didn’t matter anymore. The crashing

Peter (yes, the one who walked on water) is

waves didn’t stop before he got out of the

becoming more of an icon in the Christian

boat. Contrary to popular belief, I like to

faith. It’s hard not to be drawn to his own

think he barely cared about the miracle

story of braving the waves. He did what

he was directly a part of. I believe he just

none of the other disciples were willing to

wanted to get closer to the One who came to

do—get out of the boat. (I’d even be so bold

calm the storm that he was in.

to assume that no one else thought to do such a thing.) Besides that, there’s much

BRAVE THE WAVES, PETER-STYLE

more beauty to this well-known tale we

It’s natural to focus on the miracle, but

love to tell.

it can’t help us brave the waves in our

Peter walking on the water isn’t even

"It's crazy to think, but truly we don't have to sink."

NISSI GUIAO IS PART OF THE MM TEAM.

lives—only Jesus can. When we look to

the moral of the story, in my opinion. Jesus

Him despite the waves (no matter the size)

walked on the water. On His way back from

around us, our closeness to the Prince of

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I USED TO BE

Interviewed on Megamorphosis TV By Heather Murdock + Article By Nissi Guiao

R

be close to us. He is all about relationship.

feeling a pull to minister to people that

Through the powerful testimony of Mark

started developing since childhood. He

edemption is God’s spe-

J. The Poet, we get to see exactly how God

remembers getting visions at the young

cialty. He loves to take

used healthy community to break bond-

age of thirteen. He says, “I’d have these

what’s broken and make

age and restore a family torn apart by a

visions of myself—I would just be in the

it more beautiful than it

real addiction to pornography.

restroom, combing my hair or something

was to begin with (like beauty from ashes,

Mark J. had a healthy upbringing in a

and I would just start preaching to myself

Isaiah 61:3). He waits, patiently, for us to

Christian household. His parents trained

in the mirror, just imagining this sermon

succumb to His beckoning call. His heart

him and his three siblings in the way they

and people responding to Christ.” The

breaks when we take turns that lead us

should go by being the best examples they

enemy couldn’t wait to get his hands on

away from His heart, because His original

could be. He saw life with Christ mod-

him because of this; he became a walking

design has always been for us to live the

eled right before his eyes, with his dad

target early on. Satan aimed to steal his

abundant life with Him. There’s not a mo-

as Pastor and his mom as Worship Lead-

identity, strategically planning to kill and

ment that goes by that He isn’t longing to

er. Growing up in the faith, he recalls

destroy his passion to serve the Lord.

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

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2018


PORN KILLS, LOVE HEALS

ADDICTED TO PORNOGRAPHY CURIOSITY, A TRAP

(that continued as he served the church),

tions, the enemy had no choice

Just like we’re warned in 1 Peter 5:8, the

he thought that having a wife could pos-

but to loosen his hold on him.

enemy prowls around like a roaring lion,

sibly solve his unspoken issues. He got

The more Mark J. opened up,

looking to devour us when we’re weak.

married to his beautiful wife Alicia, start-

the more community he dis-

Mark J. had an innocent curiosity that

ed a family—it was picture-perfect in

covered. Vulnerability was the

got the best of him. He was homeschooled

mind’s eye. But since the negatives of his

breeding ground for the break-

and needed the Internet to do his school-

past were never brought into the light, he

through he desperately needed.

work, so he says, “Of course one day when

started to lose the God-given connection

After pushing through, seeking

nobody was around at the house, I started

with his wife. This heavy addiction to self-

guidance from trusted lead-

typing all these words. And for the first

please himself crept straight into his mar-

ers and digging deeper into a

time, I was exposed to pornography. (I

riage. He found himself going insane, try-

small group, it was the healthy

didn’t know what that was at the time—I

ing to hide his ways. Closing the tabs and

community and vulnerability

didn’t even know that word.)” This single

clearing the history still couldn’t erase the

that restored him, and to this

moment was all it took for the enemy to

shame. He was so desperate to keep his

day has kept him free. Because

creep in and have his way. Mark J. had

secret that he bore the weight of negative

of the help he gained through honesty,

no clue how it was affecting him since he

nervousness. For a while, he lived a dou-

Mark J. got to reunite with his wife. She

was too young to have a grid for it. All he

ble life. Over time, porn really consumed

stayed faithful and never gave up on him,

felt inside was, “Okay, this is wrong. This

him and his addiction to a false reality

trusting that God would save him. Today,

is bad, but I’m too afraid to tell anyone.”

caused him and his wife to separate. At

their family of four is thriving as they're

Believing the enemy’s lies, he got hooked

this point, the enemy thought he’d won by

healthily planted in community.

right then and there and the addiction

breaking their family apart.

progressed pretty quickly.

It’s just like the enemy to try to destroy our dreams and destinies. But, if

LOVE HEALS

we remember, he doesn’t have that kind

my struggle.” With no concept of healthy

Here he was, undone and in denial—Mark

of power over us “for God’s gifts and His

vulnerability and community, the enemy

J. tried to get away from his hidden prob-

call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). Now

got him to believe that it would be weird

lems. Even after losing everything he

set free from the pornography addiction

if he told anyone, and that likely no one

cared about, he still sought affirmation in

that held him captive for years, Mark J.

else was struggling like he was. Ashamed,

all the wrong places. But no matter how

The Poet has a real story to tell. He has

he wanted to figure things out on his own

stubborn we are or how far we get away,

a lot to say. Fueled by creativity, he has

and thought he could just handle it all un-

we’re never out of God’s reach. Buried un-

a fiery passion for spoken word (birthed

der wraps. He sincerely believed he could

der guilt and shame, God brought him a

at the age of eighteen) that God’s using to

overcome the addiction just by fasting

healthy connection. His younger brother’s

encourage community. And with his ten-

more and praying more (deceived in iso-

friend reached out—he showed him real

der heart for this issue, God’s raising him

lation). But it was this very lie that kept

and radical love. In this time of separa-

up to lead men all across the country, by

him entangled all throughout high school

tion, God gave him a way out (just as He

teaching them the importance of connec-

and long after he graduated. Too afraid to

promises) and a miracle was on the hori-

tion. As authentic as his testimony is, the

talk to his parents, too afraid to tell his

zon. Through this new friendship, he felt

Lord keeps using it to break the chains of

friends, no one knew the struggle he was

safe enough to open up about the years

the ones who are still struggling.

going through.

of hidden secrets. They finally rose to the

Mark J. says, “Lies were a huge part of

surface as he was willing to be exposed.

PORN KILLS

He began to tell the truth (and as the Bible

Go to www.markjthepoet.com for help

Without practical guidance, without sub-

clearly teaches), it began to set him free.

and encouragement if you or someone

stantial community, Mark J. wasn’t pre-

“Honesty is Satan’s kryptonite,” says

pared to dig deep and get help. Instead of

Mark J. The moment he started admitting

being honest about his secret addiction

the truth and being honest about his ac-

37

you know struggles with this issue.

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“It’s not about doing all the things right, it’s about walking with Jesus through it all,” Heather Evans says she’s learned. INTERVIEWED BY JENENE STAFFORD + ARTICLE BY NISSI GUIAO

THE STORY OF A HUMBLE

Song Writer SHE'S BEEN FOLLOWING JESUS for a

IN THE MESS

that deep foundation in us early so that we

long time; she made the decision as a young

It didn’t take long before Heather found her-

could handle what was coming,” speaking

girl during one day in VBS (Vacation Bible

self challenged with real-life trials. Heavy

of her and her husband, Brett. She held

School). She had a little, red Bible that she

trials. In her teenage years, she overcame

onto the truth that God is good, but it didn’t

remembers staying up late to read and high-

an abusive relationship that lasted for

prevent more bad things from happening.

light. Fortunately, she can hardly recall a

some time. God redeemed what was bro-

(Because having a relationship with Jesus

time where she wasn’t walking with Jesus,

ken through healthy dating with her heav-

doesn’t mean we become immune to nega-

and it’s been her strong relationship with

en-sent husband, but she still faced deep

tive things, it simply means He’s always with

Him that’s carried her through the crazy ups

insecurities early on after getting married.

us.) She and Brett had to painfully deal with

and downs she’s traversed in life.

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

Heather says, “I think God kind of laid

38

a miscarriage twelve weeks into their first

2018


lion

"I'm a a mouse.and not "

pregnancy. In the ER on one Easter week-

songs rose up out of her because she didn’t

depression, she had to go to counseling. She

end (after having a bad dream with unfor-

run from the struggles that paralyzed her.

was so troubled that she had to give up mu-

gettable warning signs), they were told that

And she feels like they’re some of the best

sic for a while; she felt like she was in a pit

their little one wasn’t going to make it. Not

songs she’s written thus far. Now, looking

of despair, like David writes about the in

only was it a tough conversation to have, it

back, she has such a rich story to tell that’s

Psalms. Deep in her trials, she came across

wasn’t a “normal” miscarriage either. She

already had a positive impact on so many

the powerful quote by Corrie ten Boom,

contracted for two weeks after it was “all

people.

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is

said and done” and she dealt with extreme

not deeper still.” It was like a timely gift that

pain, all while trying to manage an amal-

THE STORY ISN’T OVER

helped her climb up and out of the hole.

gam of questions that began to surface in

Even though miscarriage was one of the

Boom’s words inspired her to write the song,

her heart. This caused her to spiral down a

most tragic things she’s been through, it’s

“Deeper Still,” with appropriate reminders

bad path, as you’d expect anyone to unravel

only a portion of Heather’s redemptive, mir-

of God’s character. This became the anthem

after receiving heartbreaking news.

acle story. Over the years, she experienced

she sang in the midst of her trials.

more heartbreak and the next trials didn’t

EVEN IN THE DARKEST DAYS

take it easy on her. She suffered with hy-

Beautifully, Heather had these specific mo-

peremesis gravidarum, which brought her

ments deep in her darkest days, where she

closer to Jesus and developed a fight in her

just felt like Jesus was undeniably with her.

that was key for the next battles she’d face.

The pain didn’t go away over night, the

After almost losing her life while delivering

struggles didn’t get any less real, but she

her son, Trust Emmanuel, she couldn’t settle

kept letting Him in no matter how hard it

in at home. She got to a point where she felt

got. While she was stuck in an eight-month

like if she closed her eyes, she wouldn’t be

long depression, unable to get out of bed, she

able to wake up. Eventually, she went back

found herself questioning, “Why, God? Why

to the hospital where she found out that she

would this happen to me? I’ve been serving

had congestive heart failure and conges-

You and following you.” It didn’t make any

tive lung failure. The doctors began to have

sense. Trial after trial, the questions began

those difficult conversations with her and

to pile up, but she wasn’t afraid to ask them.

her family and she was literally told that if

Vulnerable, she found her voice through

she went to sleep, she probably wouldn’t

OUT OF THE WOODS

songs expressing her heart’s longing for real

wake up.

Step by step, Heather clung to Jesus. Faith-

“But You are deeper still Your love goes deeper still Your mercy’s deeper still My God, You’re deeper still.”

answers. Like a breath of fresh air, this com-

Heather could hear the serious discussion

ful as He is, He led her straight “Out of the

pletely changed the game for her by simply

between her parents and the doctors in the

Woods,” which became the next CD to pour

changing her perspective.

hallway outside of her room. It was at that

out of her heart. At this point in her walk

point that she cried out, “Okay God, help me

with Jesus, she kicked anxiety in its rear and

THROUGH THE SONGS

to fight right now.” He never left her side,

she was well on her way to real freedom.

Beyond the pain and with her honest ques-

and she miraculously pulled through. But

There was a significant moment where she

tions came the most powerful, redemptive

even though she won that battle, she still left

switched from depression to saying, “Okay,

treasure—a CD titled “Songs For Healing.”

the hospital sick.

God, I’m ready to live this life that You’ve

Her struggle through anxiety and depres-

given me. I don’t want to live asleep any-

sion bred a tangible resource that she gener-

DEEPER STILL

more. I’ve been living kind of just, like,

ously gave away at an event she hosted for

For two, long years, Heather was so sick.

sleeping through life because of the things

parents who’ve lost children as well. These

Struggling daily with postpartum stress and

that’ve happened to me, but I want to live

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fully awake to what You have for me.” Just like Heather fought to stay awake when she almost lost her life for the second time, she fought to stay awake spiritually. Tired of living a life that was settling for less than God’s brilliant plans for her, she began to seriously pursue His heart in ways like she never had before. Aware of His truth, no longer bound by the chains of her past, she dove head-first into surrender. It was in these moments that she welcomed unexpected breakthrough.

BEAUTIFUL SURRENDER Right after she gave up and let go of all the terrible pains she held onto regarding pregnancy, she got news she wasn’t quite expecting. She wasn’t supposed to have kids anymore—so she thought. A week after surrendering the things that weighed her down, she found out she was pregnant for the third time. The next nine months proved to be as difficult as her previous pregnancy. She had

kept staying faithful to what was in front of

lion and not a mouse. Know who you are.”

hyperemesis again. But since she held a dif-

her, with her heavy passion for music rest-

And she says, “When I realize that, certain

ferent mindset, she knew that since God got

ing on the back burner.

doors start flying open. He wanted me to

her through before, He’d surely do it again.

Heather’s dreams were on hold for a

Instead of letting fear cripple her and defeat

while. She collected them in her dream jour-

her, she stood on truth that saved her. She

nal, and learned to trust God on a deeper

Truthfully, it’s all about our walks with

sang Elevation Worship’s, “Do It Again,” over

level. In a season of waiting and cultivating

Jesus through everything in our lives, not

herself and her situation and surely enough,

patience, she learned that “it’s not that He

about being perfect. As we see laid out in

she experienced His great faithfulness.

didn’t want her to go after her dream, it’s

Heather’s life through her powerful story,

As such a redemptive experience, Heath-

just that He cares more about her and her

God loves being with us and He redeems

er had a pretty seamless delivery. Story Joy

growth than He does about the dream.” He

the things that want to keep us tied up with

was born after only five hours of labor with

spoke to her heart that He cares more about

limits. Because she never gave up when she

no complications. It’s quite the testimony.

who she is, where she’s at and her growth

had every reason to, she finds herself right

Even though her struggle was the same, her

in Him.

where she always longed to be. Through it

outcome was different, solely because she

know who I was before stepping into bigger things.”

all, she’s experienced crazy provision, favor

DREAMS COMING TO LIFE

and so much blessing and joy that she can’t

Since then, Heather’s found herself stun-

help but share it with the people in her com-

UPROOTED AND PLANTED FOR GROWTH

ningly living her dreams. What was once

munity. And with her songs, she’s able to tell

words on paper is now her reality. All it took

the amazing story that God’s been writing

Five months later, Heather and her family

was her realizing who she really is in Christ.

with her life and obedience. Today, you can

packed up and left the comfort of Ohio. God

In the past few months, God’s been solid-

find her leading the Sacramento Songwriter

directly planted her into healthy community

ifying her identity in Him and that’s been

Circle, podcasting with fellow musicians and

at Jesus Culture Sacramento and she began

the launching pad to her bright future. It

artists, playing shows regularly and thriving

to thrive in many different ways. Over time,

started with a prophetic word that hit deep.

in every area of her life. She is living proof

she found herself missing the music scene

A friend of hers spoke into her life saying,

that no matter what, life with Jesus is better

that she had to give up yet again. Just as a

“You see yourself as small, but He sees you

and walking with Him will always lead to

release from the stresses of “mom-life,” she

as enough.” From that point forward, Heath-

dreams becoming reality, far better than we

wrote more songs, not knowing whether or

er’s been speaking this truth over herself.

can ever ask or think.

not anyone would ever hear them. And she

Her personal reminder has been, “I’m a

had a different perspective going into it.

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

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2018


HEALING RESOURCES We believe that we all need help getting free from the things that happen in our life. We've gathered a list of local resources to help you forward your healing process. Our goal is to see God's people completely free to be who God called them to be. If you are not in the Sacramento area, you can also call and get directed to a church or ministry that can help.

LIFE BRIDGE MINISTRIES Transforming based on respected prayer models such as Theophostic Prayer, Freedom in Christ Prayer by Dr. Neil Anderson and other models.

THE FAMILY CHURCH HEALING MINISTRY

The volunteers will help identify the roots of a problem or negative life pattern through Spirit lead prayer for the purpose of bringing healing through Jesus.

LAKE TAHOE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP Sozo Method

http://www.laketahoecf.com

http://www.jointhefamily.net/inner-healing

www.TheLifeBridge.org

AGAPE FREEDOM FIGHTERS Training for inner healing and physical healing http://www.agapefreedomfighters.org

BETHEL SOZO SACRAMENTO Sozo Method

http://www.bethelsozo.com

HOPE IN LIFE MINISTRY Sozo and other methods http://www.hopeinlifeministry.com

SACRAMENTO CHRISTIAN HEALING PRAYER Sozo and other methods http://www.fremontpres.orgstory

DOKIMOS NETWORK Training and referrals to a variety of inner healing ministries and specialists http://www.dokimosnetwork.org

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The approachable bride may not be who you think unless you're seeing what Jesus sees.

BY JENENE STAFFORD

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

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2018


5 THINGS THAT DISTINGUISH THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE OF JESUS CHRIST

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DISCLAIMER

the ones that in our hearts, minds, spirit

side has no relevance except to the degree

I'm not pretending to be a biblical schol-

and actions are doing just that, preparing.

we are an approachable, down-to-earth,

ar so I ask for grace as you read what I

I believe that when the Bible says "my

spirit-filled kingdom representative.

believe the Holy Spirit would like to re-

eyes are skimming the whole earth for

veal about this particular topic of the "ap-

those whose hearts are pure before me",

ing very unappealing to the world, as

proachable" bride. I'll do my best to be as

God is talking about His Bride. I think not

well as the church that has no real power

down-to-earth as possible (always), with-

only are we His bride, as He knows the fu-

and influence, basically nothing real to

out watering down the Word of God.

ture, and although we may really only be

show for herself, an unadorned unap-

I am fully aware that this topic of the

engaged (to be 100% biblically accurate)

pealing bride.

"bride" can be a controversial one, de-

until Jesus returns, our hearts are His. We

pending on your worldview, upbringing

long for the day when we are married and

things that I'll share–at least in part–in

or education. I will share what I see is

fully in His presence. Therefore, we are

this article that the Holy Spirit has re-

currently happening and will be happen-

His Bride due to the fact we live, act and

vealed to me.

ing in the months and years to come.

respond as a faithful wife would. We have

As a Christian seer (a title the Lord

been grafted into His promises to Israel

spoke to me about 5 years ago), I see times

WHO IS THE BRIDE?

and those who live authentically to do the

and seasons as it pertains to the Church.

Some scholars say the Bride is Israel

Father's will are His Bride. That's my take.

I also see where as a body we're moving

The religious legalistic bride is becom-

Being

approachable

means

many

and where we're at in the transition of be-

alone. Others say the Bride will exist only after Jesus comes back for his Church.

WHY USE THE WORD "APPROACHABLE"

coming who Christ ordained and anointed

Some say the Catholic Church is the where

This is the word Jesus gave me for what's

us to be. We're transitioning and growing

the whole concept of the Bride came from.

happening with His Church (as a whole)

into powerful sons and daughters in His

Here's what I believe–I think Jesus is look-

right now. We're transforming into the

Kingdom.

ing for the Bride who is willing to prepare

approachable ones and we may have pink

herself for her Husband. I think we are

hair and tatoos and look just like the rest

A NEW ERA

of the world. But, how we look on the out-

I can tell you we are in an entirely new

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

44

2018


era of Christianity and some of you

who "the Way" is. Just get on

have not realized this yet, but in time

board.

you will.

In this new era, the truth

In this new era, ministry, evan-

tellers will rise and the bride

gelism and how we do church will

will be part warrior and part

not be based on yesterday's model,

lover of humanity. Our hearts

a religious model or what you might

will be filled with compassion

expect. If you're looking for a strat-

and the Father's heart will

egy or framework for a marketplace

burn inside His followers like

ministry or Kingdom venture, you'll

never before.

find it coming through the Spirit of

Our

desire

for

heavenly

wisdom, not your own natural bril-

experiences will dramatically

liance. You may find failure after

increase, and there is caution

failure if you try and go it alone.

not to get caught up in it. Get

We'll learn just how real the scrip-

caught up only in the Father's

ture in John is that says "I am the

will and Spirit and you'll be

vine, you are the branches, and you

safe. Enjoy the wildly good

can't do anything without me."

ride!

It is an exciting new era and one that has some turmoil as the world

THE WARRIOR BRIDE

and the Church is attempting to fig-

You cannot be the bride with-

ure it out. As my husband would say

out being a warrior. Bride and

"trying to figure it out is the boobie

warrior, they are two sides of

prize." We'll learn a deeper level of

the same coin. There are all kinds of authorities in high places. There are the princes over regions in the spirit realm. The prince of the power of this world is satan. There is a prince of Persia, whom a Chief Prince Michael, also known as the Archangel, fought against. There are many territorial spirits and it's our job as Kingdom representatives to learn

The approachable bride will intimately know the Prince of Peace and we'll need to as we will be warring in the spirit.

to battle together by using the armor, through prayer, fasting, intercession and through unity. You cannot be the Bride without being a warrior, they go hand in hand. The good news is only Jesus wears The King's crown and we are also Kings and Priests because

we're

part

of

His

Kingdom. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall

be

called

Wonderful

Counselor, Mighty God, Ever-

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lasting

Father, Prince of Peace." I don't

people are desperately seeking.

know about you but knowing that makes

establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time

me want to jump up and down with ex-

THE PRINCE OF PEACE

forth and forevermore. The zeal of the

citement.

The approachable Bride will intimately

Lord of hosts will do this." [Isaiah 9:7]

In this new era, we will make a MEGA

know the Prince of Peace and we'll need

shift as a Church body. We will long for

to as we will be warring in the Spirit.

WE ARE FREE

the days of Acts to return and they will

We'll heed Christ's words to "take heart"

If we had not experienced freedom our-

at an entirely new level. This move of the

as we're battling the prince of the pow-

selves we would never have become true

Spirit and the Kingdom of God will sweep

er of the air. John 16:33 says "I have said

believers in Christ and the power of His

furiously across the nation, and ultimate-

these things to you, that in me you may

Kingdom. This is one of the things that sets

ly across the world. In the meantime the

have peace. In the world you will have

the approachable bride apart. We remem-

fire starters in the Kingdom of God are on

tribulation. But take heart; I have over-

ber where we came from. This makes us

their knees praying "Thy will be done."

come the world."

real. This makes us someone who doesn't

People are seeking a tangible experi-

We're called and blessed to be peace-

look down on someone who's stuck in ad-

ence of King Jesus, not a counterfeit, but

makers, not troublemakers. We're also

diction, prostitution or pornography or

there will be plenty of counterfeits. We'll

known as the sons of God, as the Bible

any other lifestyle that leads people into

need to work out our salvation with fear

says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the

a path of pain and hopelessness.

and trembling, ask the Lord to reveal any-

peacemakers, for they shall be called sons

thing in us that doesn't belong in a pure

of God."

Most of us have walked on the dark side, but when Jesus forgives it's so tan-

Bride, and keep our eyes fixed on Biblical

"Of the increase of his government

gible. He changes everything and pretty

Truth, dividing the Word rightly. This will

and of peace there will be no end, on the

soon you've become a different person.

keep us accountable to bring the realness

throne of David and over his kingdom, to

We're not perfect people, but we're peo-

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

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2018


WE LIVE WITH BOLDNESS The life of a believer is a moment by moment journey of learning how to live as a Christian with authentic boldness. It's why we strive intentionally to walk in the Spirit at all

"Jesus came to set the captives free and it is because he freed us that we are passionate about freeing others."

times. If we don't we can easily get off track. On one hand we need boldness because we are consistently in a spiritual war and it is the boldness of the knowledge of Christ that we depend on to war daily. With boldness we cast down anything that would exalt itself above the knowledge of God and we absolutely have to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. As the Bride we approach God and people with a spiritual boldness that fuels our work in the Kingdom.

WE NEED BOLDNESS TO SHARE THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL Like the Apostle Paul desired to have boldness, we should do the same. "Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel." Clearly this requires that the message be givple with hope and light because we're free to be who God created us to be. The

darker

the

person

the

brighter the light seems when freedom grips our heart. We become carriers of His light. We are climbing the mountain in this season to become the light on the hilltop. The climb can be draining and at times make us want to quit, but we'll be much closer to God when we get to the top. We may tire in our bodies, but our spirit will be fueled with the fire of God because we persevered and kept standing.

en to us and that requires our hearts desire to be for God's story to be expressed. We are carriers of mysteries and a truth that can set people free from all kinds of pain, sickness and disease. Most importantly, Jesus is the great mystery that frees people from hell on earth and an eternal life seperated from a good and Holy Father.

WE APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE WITH BOLDNESS Being approachable has a double meaning; (1) we are approachable and available to all people looking for help, answers, comfort and healing. And (2) we approach the throne of God, which is one of grace. We need mercy and grace and it is with boldness we go to God making our requests known.

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We approach God knowing the dividing line has been removed, the veil has been torn and we now have direct access to God. We carry the priesthood because of Jesus's work on the cross. We're now called to administer His Kingdom as kings and priests in the earth. I can still remember the Father years back to me saying to me personally, "Jenene, when you approach my throne, approach it with boldness." Seemed like a strange thing at the time to hear from the Father. But, I was learning and He was teaching me authority. That was about seven years ago and since then I have seen how approaching the throne with authority and faith (boldness) moves the hand of God. It is the kind of authority that can stop a storm if needed. This is the kind of boldness we need in the new era of extremes that we're living in. But, we need to hear God and move in His timing as the Holy Spirit prompts.

THE INFLUENTIAL BRIDE WILL SHIFT THE CULTURE AND CHANGE THE WORLD It was always the design of Christ to use His bride to influence the world. The great commission in this generation hasbecome a MEGA opportunity as the Bride matures and trains into a force to reckon with. We're stepping into a dark but hungry, desperate culture, but revival is coming through a fast and furious move of the Spirit. It's happening because the Church is stepping up her game on one hand, and getting on her knees on the other. Many believers are praying for this next big revival in their land and I believe there will be a distinction between this move and the many others. This one we will learn to sustain because we're finally looking at what has stopped the revivals of the past. (More on that topic in the next issue of MM.)

NEW STRATEGIES ARE NEEDED & THEY'RE COMING Although Christians have been and are well intentioned, we have been losing the cultural war. The approachable bride will re-enter and re-engage the culture in

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

new and artistic ways. This will give us a way to create new narratives that will engage the culture. We will become much

remove the walls that divide us." -Marilyn Jackson Finding that common ground is one

more socially relevant than in the past.

of the distinctions of the "approachable"

There will be an explosion of creativity

bride. We're getting new lenses and many

in the arts and entertainment arena.

of the "new Jesus people ministers" are

We will also be given the opportunity to

going to get laser-like vision to speak

create abstract prophetic art that will be

directly into a person's soul. We'll have

extremely appealing to the culture and it

a new language that is creative, poetic,

will position us to share the Gospel of the

and heart-penetrating to those deeply en-

Kingdom in unique ways.

grained in the culture of their cities. We will become the salt and light, but it may

FINDING COMMON GROUND

not look the way you think it should.

"In order to be effective in influencing the culture for Christ, the Church must

LOVE & BACK IT UP WITH REAL ACTION

also find common ground with our fel-

The greatest place to start is by speaking

low citizens. Many in America have be-

a language people can understand. The

come divided; secular against religious,

language of the human heart at it's pur-

race against race, poor against rich, and

est level is love.

liberals against conservatives. We are

Love without action is not seen as love,

becoming a polarized nation. The devil

so resourcing the world's needs is cru-

knows that a house divided cannot stand.

cial. We need to have Spirit-led strategies

As Christians we need to take the initia-

so people see real change on a social,

tive by reaching out to people, finding

economic and government level as well.

common ground, and effectively work to

Some of these cultural arena's are more

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"The truth is revival is simply dependent on the Church being glued to the hip of Jesus, the ways of Jesus and setting our own ways to the side. Even good motives are not pure motives if they're not His."

difficult to penetrate and more spiritual

to unveil as much as we can handle about

warfare will be required. But God will

the mysteries of His Kingdom and the fu-

open doorways for us to step through to

ture that is before us.

access a cultural arena that may have is revival is simply dependent on the

RADICAL LOVE AND THE COMMON GROUND

Church being glued to the hip of Jesus, the

God is moving and preparing for a radi-

ways of Jesus and setting our own ways to

cal revival that will start first in our own

the side. Even good motives are not pure

lives. The Bride will be brilliant to the "Je-

motives if they're not His. God is coming

sus People" that have yet to find Him. We–

back for a Holy Bride and we're on that

like the Bride with the pink hair and tat-

journey step by step. We're learning and

toos–have felt those moments where we

transforming one revelation at a time.

were passed by, judged, frowned on and

Like an onion He's peeling back the layers

dismissed, alone and in despair. We have

been closed to us in the past. The truth

a commonality, it is a hunger to be loved and seen and valued as part of community. One where we are free to be real and to share our struggles of the human soul and the human heart. We are chosen to love radically and to love the radical ones–never compromise the Gospel of Christ–but we must be approachable. . .and we shall be.

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RISE ABOVE FROM THE GOOD LIFE TO THE GOD LIFE

Interviewed on Megamorphosis TV By Heather Murdock + Article By Nissi Guiao

s

ometimes, it takes going through

THE FALL

hell to fully embrace Heaven,

Right as Paul transitioned into public high

LIVING THE HIGH LIFE (WHILE FEELING LOW)

so-to-speak. In a perfect world, we

school, the enemy used his parents' divorce

Throughout high school, Paul became

wouldn’t have to struggle. There would be

to plant disappointment in his heart.

known as “The Party Guy.” It was during

no pain, no suffering, but then we wouldn’t

This was the root of the pain he felt for

those years that he learned to shove his

experience real triumph if everything was

years. The foundation he once had from

feelings down. He ignored reality by

leveled out. The lows make the highs in a

being very sheltered, raised in church and

dabbling in weed at first, and it wasn’t

sense, but it doesn’t cheapen the sting. As

through a Christian school, got buried with

long before he depended on alcohol and

we dive deep into Paul Di Giordano’s histo-

negativity and loads of family stress. His

other drugs to keep him calm inside. For

ry, we’ll see how God remarkably plucked

life got flipped, turned upside down in the

as much partying he did as a teen, it was

him out of death’s grip and shaped his re-

blink of an eye. He took on weight after

only preparation for the craziness he’d get

lationship with darkness into the sweetest,

weight, not knowing how to cope with all

into in his early twenties. After graduating,

unending high of his life.

the struggles he faced. He needed Jesus,

he started to work for his dad’s company.

really, but that wasn’t an option for him at

And he was already knowledgeable in

that point.

business, so it was easy for him to climb the

If we’re honest, it usually feels like we’re playing “hide and seek” with our purpose (as it can take years to discover our true

The truth Paul once knew never left him,

ranks and start funding his wild, partying

calling). But just because it’s typically hard

he just couldn’t see clearly anymore as

lifestyle. By twenty-two, he made around

to find, it doesn’t mean we weren’t already

he fell away from Jesus completely. Satan

$100,000 a year. This early success kept

born with it. God, as the brilliant planner

robbed him of his innocence. Vulnerable,

up his reputation; he bought nice cars and

He is, already had amazing plans for Paul’s

the enemy picked him off and planted him

moved out into his own place in Downtown

life before he was even a thought. Unfortu-

where he was never meant to be. And too

Sacramento.

nately, Satan knew this too, and he didn’t

naïve to recognize the destructive road he

wait for Paul to grow up before he came to

was on, he walked straight into the reckless

was just the enemy’s bait. Satan lured him

steal, kill and destroy him.

hellhole that swallowed him up for the

in by disguising death with all kinds of

decade to follow.

sinful pleasures. He got connected to the

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What seems like clear success for Paul

2018


"But even in the midst of all this chaos, he heard a still, small voice say, 'Paul, you’ve got to change your life. You can’t keep living this way.' Upon hearing this out of nowhere, his life flashed before his eyes."

richest party guys (including some hotshot

ECSTASY, THE CATALYST

celebrities); engulfed in the hottest partying

By this time in his life, Paul heavily relied

this. He said, “It showed me as a young kid,

community, he never planned to change.

on cocaine to keep him sane. It was his pre-

all these times my mom would take me to

Monday—he partied hard. Tuesday—he

ferred drug. But there was this one instance

church, dress me up in a little tuxedo and

partied hard. Wednesday—he partied hard.

where he couldn’t get a quick fix—it’s the

just all these memories of going to this

Thursday—he partied hard. He’d travel to

very night that sparked the radical change

Christian school, great friends and all this

Vegas and wherever else the hottest parties

in his life just a few months down the road.

stuff. Then it showed my parents, arguing

were, then on Friday nights, he’d usually

It was three in the morning when he was

within the home. Then it showed their

hit the local nightclubs. After partying for

completely blacked-out drunk (partying as

divorce. Then it showed all the hurts and

four days straight during the week, he says,

usual, in Lake Tahoe). He texted everybody

pains I was kind of shoving and suppress-

“I’d party all night (Friday), end up at some

he knew for cocaine because he needed to

ing—shoving down. From there, it showed

big mansion after-party. I’d be doing drugs

keep himself up, but nobody responded.

me spiraling at a party. (At this point, I can

all night long, and I’d roll right into a pool

Finally, a guy messaged him back saying

see I’m fifteen to twenty-five, so ten years

party the next day, popping pills now at this

that he didn’t have cocaine, but he did have

of just partying, drinking, drugs, women—it

point. Partying all day and then back out at

ecstasy. Being in the reckless state he was

just showed all of it.) Then it showed me

the nightclub Saturday night, partying all

in, Paul decided to buy the entire bag of 200

at twenty-five years old in this dark place.

night in the nightclub, talkin’ to different

ecstasy pills.

Then, the epiphany stopped. I was just left

girls. Then Sunday I’d be on a yacht on the

Desperate for an instant high having

Paul remembers it happening just like

there with this image seared in my mind, of

river and still doing cocaine with some

slowed down from the all the alcohol, Paul

random girl. This is where I was at, getting

took six ecstasy pills right off the bat. Then

deeper and deeper into drugs—just this

every fifteen minutes or so, his buddy

whole lifestyle.”

would come around and say, “Hey Paul, I’ve

A TASTE OF HELL, THE ABSENCE OF GOD’S PRESENCE

Paul states, “One thing about the par-

this dark place that I was in.”

got something for you,” throwing a pill up

All of a sudden, confusion set in. Paul

tying scene is, like, the enemy continues

in the air. He’d run around the hotel room,

couldn’t understand how he got to this

to give you more and more and more and

catching them in his mouth like it was some

place at twenty-five years old. Before he

more and more of the world, that’s how

game. He ended up taking about fifty-some-

knew it, everything he’d been trying to

he lures you. But at the same time, you’re

thing pills that night, going into the next

suppress for ten years all came up at once.

going deeper and deeper and deeper into

day. “I should’ve ended up in the hospital,

The thoughts just started flooding his mind

bondage.” Just like Scripture teaches, he

should’ve had my stomach pumped—I’m

and they wouldn’t relent. Over and over, he

gained the world yet lost his soul. Over the

definitely a walking miracle,” Paul said.

tried to get his mind to quit, but his anxiety

years of partying hard, non-stop, he tried

was so high that he couldn’t even get a wink

every drug imaginable. He was so desperate

THE EPIPHANY

to suppress the pain that surfaced when the

Somehow, Paul got through this particular

drugs wore off. He did whatever it took to

weekend, but he woke up Monday morning

sion and anxiety. After the fourth day of not

stay high, that when the impact of depres-

with terrible anxiety. (He never felt anxiety

being able to sleep, he came home and as he

sion hit, he felt lower and lower every time.

so strongly in his life—he actually never

saw the sun beginning to set, he wondered,

He was stuck in a never-ending cycle, but

felt anxiety up until this point.) But even in

“Am I going to be able to sleep?” Immedi-

he says, “Even though I was still broken all

the midst of all this chaos, he heard a still,

ately, fear gripped him as he thought to

the time, I didn’t ever really want to change

small voice say, “Paul, you’ve got to change

himself. Then while lying in bed, things

my life. I just kind of wanted to be that guy

your life. You can’t keep living this way.”

started to happen in his room that weren’t

that continued to make money and just

Upon hearing this out of no where, his life

at all natural. He said, “Dark presences

have the pleasures of the world.”

flashed before his eyes.

started attacking me, coming at me. Every

of sleep.

51

Paul spiraled into insomnia and depres-

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"He looked down and on his chest he read his own tattoo that says, 'Rise Above,' which was exactly what the man preached on the TV. "

time I laid down to go to sleep, I felt like something was trying to suck the life liter-

and I have plans for you.” Instantly, Paul felt the power and the

have to experience. But it’s his legitimate story. And the authenticity of his testimony

ally out of my body—sucking my soul out of

presence of God fall from the top of his

is what will bring real change to those still

my body. It was the scariest thing.” It got so

head and it shot down his whole, entire

lost in the partying scene. He says, “My

bad that he could barely function right and

body. He said, “Where I felt death, I felt

whole life mission now is to go and reach

he eventually had to quit going to work.

life. Where I felt hopelessness, I felt hope.

people, and more specifically, this people

Like the people who were oppressed

Where I felt anxiety, I felt peace. God com-

group.” So even though he got a real taste

in the Bible, Paul became mute. He found

pletely transformed and liberated me from

of hell, it really wasn’t for nothing. Because

himself living at his dad’s house because he

everything that held me down. And I was

God got a hold of him, a stirring was

was too scared to be by himself. The torture

literally born again, right then and there.”

birthed in his heart. The specific trials he

In that moment, Paul knew that Jesus

faced has uniquely shaped the passionate

persisted that much, and one day after not being able to do a simple task around the

came to save him and with Holy Spirit, he

house, he felt extremely helpless.

had an undeniable encounter. He became a

and powerful man of God he is today.

fresh, new creation in Christ. Soon, he dove

WELCOME TO THE NEW NORM

the dishwasher, but he couldn’t (for the

into Scripture and went through ministry

Paul is the founder of Lounge of Life and is

life of him) find the right cupboard to put

school (where he grew and solidified the

dedicated “to create an alternative nightlife

a single cup away. He broke down on the

purpose of all he went through).

experience, giving people a safe place to

Paul put all his energy in trying to clear

kitchen floor, weeping, thinking, “This is

All it takes is one encounter with the liv-

socialize without feeling the pressures of

what death feels like—I’m gonna die today.”

ing God to be fully transformed—spirit, soul

excessive drinking, drugs, and promiscuity

He felt a darkness on him. Death and dark-

and body. Paul literally went from death to

(which is the norm), while consequently

ness. And he knew that if he died, he wasn’t

life in an instant, all because God patiently

building a bridge of hope for those that feel

going somewhere good.

waited for the perfect timing to move on his

stuck in this destructive lifestyle.” He just

heart. Since his miraculous encounter, Paul

launched Pure Friday Pop Ups in April of

THE RISING

got the revelation that not only was he lost,

this year and he’s dedicated to solve the

What felt like a point of no return became

but the people he used to party with are still

problem by “being all things to all men,

the point of real breakthrough. Paul wasn’t

lost—God just plucked him out. Because the

meeting a generation right where they

ready for what was about to happen. Still

Lord allowed him to feel what hell is going

are, one weekend at a time,” Paul says.

weeping, he got up and sat on the couch in

to feel like, he now lives with this burning

He understands that partiers are partiers

the living room. He turned the TV on, start-

passion that says, “I can’t see a generation

because they just want to have fun and be

ed flipping through. Then out of nowhere,

just walk down this path anymore. I can’t

in community.

he heard a Pastor start to preach. The

see those that are falling into this lifestyle

God never made the mess Paul was in,

Pastor said, “Rise above—you can do it—

and just being deceived every weekend—I

but He’s surely using it all to work together

rise above.” Right then and there, he heard

can’t see this happening anymore.”

for good. I’ve heard it said once that “what

a small voice (the same voice that spoke

causes you the most pain becomes your

to him four months prior about changing

PLANS AND PURPOSE

purpose in life.” After getting a glimpse of

his life). The voice said, “Look down.” He

Real, authentic things aren’t cheaply made.

Paul’s story, it’s evident that he’s found his

looked down and on his chest, he read his

It always costs more for quality (and God

purpose through his pain and suffering.

own tattoo that says, “Rise Above,” which

prefers quality over quantity). What Paul

Never going back to the pleasures that se-

was exactly what the man preached on the

lived through was no walk in the park; it

duced him, he’s a walking testimony, living

TV. Again the voice spoke and said, “Paul,

cost him so much more than I can articulate

high on Christ and fully surrendered to give

I was with you when you got that tattoo. I

in this article. He went through the pain,

God glory.

knew this day was going to come. I love you

he suffered in ways that no human should

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HISTORY OF THE TERM REVOLUTION

BOOK EXCERPT

The root of the word revolution means to turn around, to rise up, to protest and make a way for a new beginning. Revolution is a “rotation; the circular motion of a body on its axis, a course or motion which brings every point of the surface or periphery of a body back to the place at which it began to move.” “Revolution took in its political meaning in 17th century England, where it meant a return or restoration of a former situation. In the 18th century, revolution began to mean a new beginning. The fall of the old order also depends on the ruling elite losing authority and self-confidence” (emphasis added).

TURN-AROUND STRATEGY

Revelation may sound like a radical term, but as we see in the above definition, the root of revolution means to revolve, to turn back around to its place of origin. A constructive cultural revolution is a turn-around strategy to return the culture to God’s original plan and purpose. It disrupts the status quo. This concept of disruption may seem controversial, but Newton’s Laws of Motion demonstrates that change happens when the current direction is interrupted, and an opposing force pushes it in a new direction. We will discus more on the dynamics of creating change in chapter 13. We cannot change anything if we don’t stop the current direction and turn around. Then we must re-

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54

store and rebuild it. Scripture says we must “pull down root out, build and plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). If it’s out of order, it must be pulled down and removed before we can build and plant. This is an important step that we need to understand. We cannot slide into reformation without creating resistance to stop the current disorder. Many revolutions have brought forth a lot of death and destruction. This isn’t wise. Any good contractor knows to only tear out and remove what is dysfunctional, and rebuild what remains. As God’s wise master builders, we are to restore and build His creation on a good foundation. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” “You shall rise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach.”-Psalm 11:3, Isaiah 58:12 KJV Christians must realize that playing nice and staying quiet will not pacify those who are persecuting us for our values. We are not to wait for them to get an epiphany and self-correct. Yes, we pray for them, but we also respectfully defend our values and our freedom. As we do, we are protecting their freedom as well. Scripture tells us we are to seek justice, protect the oppressed, correct the oppressor, and enforce the written judgment. As God’s Ekklesia, we are to govern, legislate and bring order as we sit in our seats of authority. We are to pull down that which is out of order… and then build and plant what is of godly order (Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 149:9, Matthew 16:18-19, Jeremiah 1:10).

2018


POETRY

Where am I going? What am I doing here?

But what’s burnt to the ground is actually

Lately, just been waking up, walking, working—

The bits of rubble I can use to firm up

So caught up in the money-making and bill-paying

My foundation, my motivation.

That my destination isn’t only delayed, it’s unclear.

The separation—it’s inspiration

My mind, so suddenly swayed

To never go back to the same frustrations

Dismayed, by the mess I so easily make

And to not hold back, this calling inside.

I find myself struggling to step on the gas and switch gears.

It calls and it calls

Blurred vision; hypnotization by the endless mundane cycles

He calls my name—and I can’t not answer.

Of my daily routines, I feel so immobilized

Speaking to my deepest depths He says,

That I fail to realize what’s been put in my hands.

“There’s so much better!” (if I just let Him lead).

How could this be?

Follow the Caller:

The very thing I don’t want to lose sight of I let go of.

Step by step, I go up, I climb higher

Just ‘cause I forget to look back and appreciate

Deeper—past the clear water shallows.

What I came out of, what I’m the most proud of.

I’ve never been here before.

I can’t look back to go back. Never again!

Even though I get caught up

But if I fail to see and learn the lessons

In the meager tasks before me, I can’t stop going.

The nail-pierced pains that I suffered for only a season

I won’t stop, fighting

(That could never compare to the nail-pierced hands that saved me)

The urge to stay “normal,” formal with my words

I’ll never step into the shoes that my past hand-made me.

Trying to please the strangers around me.

My product from my pain is my privilege

They’re strangers ‘cause really they don’t know me.

To share wisdom beyond my age that I couldn’t fake with you

Deep down under my layers of skin is a heart

Knowledge so rich with power

That beats fiercely, scarcely for the ordinary

I don’t need a set stage to present it.

It beats for the extraordinary, extraordinarily

Instead, it presents itself by the choices I make

With a passion to find more.

For instance—I should be out partying, “living it up”

A passion to guide with the things I’ve learned

Having a blast in that kinda setting

Doesn’t matter my age, just see how I live.

But something in me, not just my faith, won’t let me.

This light isn’t manufactured by wishful thinking

Not a person, not a controlling voice (trust me, not judging)

It was birthed in me.

Just my purposed vision that my Peace gave me

The reason I’m writing is ‘cause

That I can’t dream away—it’s part of me.

I’ve been given something to say.

Though I sleep on it and tend to miss it on the daily

If I hold it in, it won’t do anyone good.

I can’t forget it. It’s my destiny. A part of me.

So give me grace—I didn’t get here by surprise

Attached to my heart it fuels me.

Or on a bull (bleep) theory.

It keeps me sane and kinda controls me.

I climbed, I fought, I struggled, I cried.

Bad habits come, but this fire inside won’t stop burning

My troubles didn’t make me but they sure did

And eventually, I get fed up enough and use it

Pave the way for my own choices of bravery.

To set the set-backs on fire

Bottom line is this: I was a dead man walking yet I didn’t know it

And then I run away.

And if you could learn one thing from me know this—

Only looking back to see what I’ve done—

Freedom is calling

It doesn’t really look like much

And He’s patiently waiting.

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Photo by John Jennings

CULTURAL BEGINS WITH YOU THE IMPORTANCE OF ART TO CULTURE BY: DEREK MARTIN

G

od is a God of order and

compiled and canonized by humans, it is

thing we know about God and His identity

not disorder (I Cor. 14:33

nevertheless breathed on by God and put

is that He is a creator (Gen. 1:1)? The first

and 14:40). I believe

together by inspired individuals. At any

thing we know about God before love,

that there is something about the order of

rate, I find the order of events in the Bible

before sacrifice, before resurrection, before

events in the Bible. Although the Bible was

interesting. Is it not a wonder that the first

healing, is that He is first and foremost a

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Creator. It doesn’t mean that those other

priceless to the individual. The church has

worldview… in reality there is no such

items are less or more important, it is just a

followed suit and adopted the same mindset

thing as a “Christian” film or song or dance

fact that if you were to read the Bible from

the rest of our culture has in this arena but

or style. There is only good art and bad

the beginning, you would first discover the

we are not called to mirror culture, we are

art. Just because a work of art says the

Creator God.

called to lead and shape culture.

word Jesus or has a cross connected to it

I also find it interesting that the first person that God gave the Holy Spirit was a

How do we do this?

does not make it holy or good. We need to

First, we have to accept the fact that

stop accepting bad art as good and start

creator. “Then Moses said to the Israelites,

imagination, creativity, and the arts require

demanding higher quality process and

‘See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of

deeper thought than what we currently

product from believer-artists and from our

Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,

allot them. Anything worthwhile takes some

churches.

and He has filled him with the spirit of God,

investment. A legitimate understanding

with wisdom, with understanding, with

of the theology and philosophy behind

for ourselves. So much of life is avoiding

knowledge, and with all kinds of skills—to

imagination, creativity, and art is required

pain. But all self-help books, Christian and

make artistic designs…’” (Exodus 35:30-32)

even at a low level to actually engage our

secular, say that risk is a key to truly living.

I find this interesting. I think the poignant

current culture.

The greatest things in life are going to be

question would be, “What does this mean?” I believe that God is interested in

Second, we need good artists in the

Fourth, we need to imagine and create

risky and difficult. If we are made in the

church. If you want the church to be the

Imago Dei, then we need to use our gift of

imagination, creativity and the arts and we

leading culture maker and shaper in the

creativity and imagination. We should be

should be too.

world, you need the world’s best culture

creating the world of the future with Jesus

makers and shapers to be in the church.

at our side, coaching our every move.

The next great reformation will undoubtedly have a focus in the creative as

Sadly, the church is not winning this war…

God uses revivals to “revive” what has been

yet. We are losing because much of the

us to take the first leap. Will we trust Him

I see Jesus looking at us and beckoning

lost and to be honest, the church has lost its

arts world feels antagonistic toward the

and be willing to do something new? Will

"IF WE ARE MADE IN THE IMAGO DEI, THEN WE NEED TO USE OUR GIFT OF CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION. WE SHOULD BE CREATING THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE WITH JESUS AT OUR SIDE, COACHING OUR EVERY MOVE." place being the leading culture maker and

church and vice-versa. The arts world is

we be willing to sacrifice comfort? will we

shaper of the world and the Lord wants His

a mission field… we need missionaries on

be able to accept nothing-but-the-best? Will

church to take its rightful place.

the front lines who will go and bring Jesus

we reach out to our arts communities and

to the artists. The arts are a bastion for

show them what true love looks like, and

why you should care about imagination,

the downtrodden of the world… the social

will we take the time to understand the

creativity, and the arts. Here are some:

misfits, the disenfranchised, and the poor…

deep things of God? Are we willing to take a

1) God cares about them, 2) It is part of

literally and spiritually. These are caring,

leap of faith and usher in a revival like we

the Imago Dei… the Image of God (He is a

wonderful, talented, influential and hurting

have never seen?

creator and so are we…whether we believe

individuals that need a Savior who will

What are you waiting for?

it or not), 3) They are incredibly influential

hold them in all their brokenness and mend

Just… Jump!

in contemporary culture, 4) They will fill

their wounds through love and truth.

There are a multitude of reasons on

you in ways unimaginable. Our contemporary society often sees

Third, we need to stop accepting mediocre art in the church and start

value in what is tied to making or having

demanding Godly excellence from

money. But we as Christians know

the church. We have been addicted to

that the most important things in life

seeing the saccharine goodness in films,

have absolutely no monetary value…

music, dance, and all sorts of art forms

Relationships, Beliefs, Time… none of these

that go under the genre of “Christian.”

are extrinsically valuable but they are

But Christianity is not a genre, it is a

57

Derek Martin, Associate Professor and head of Theatre at William Jessup University

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IF WE LOSE HOPE WE DIE

The Story of Charmaine Taylor aka the "Wild Horse" Pictures by Siphephile Sibanyoni Styling Art Direction Nontando Mposo Model Nandipha Gumede

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"I’VE GOT THIS FREEDOM INSIDE MYSELF AND EVERYONE CALLS ME THE WILD HORSE. SO, I CAME TO AMERICA AND I HAD THIS VISION."

I want to hear your story. It was

it’s golden and there’s a lot of need there.

and I had this vision and I said, “Lord, I

very clear to me that part of what

So, I then I started working for a compa-

want to bring a product back to the world

you’re doing and why you’re doing what

ny where I actually would draw the chil-

that cannot be manufactured by China

you’re doing is because of the call that’s

dren’s wear on a computer. It has now

that’s fundamentally South African and

on your life. That’s really what I want to

developed into graphic design. I said, “I

that everyone can know, love and relate

capture. You are the perfect kind of arti-

actually want to start doing something

to.” And you know, how much more is

san to be in the magazine. Your work just

on my own,” so I started doing graphic

the Robben Island Prison fence about

spoke to me so strongly, so I’m just total-

design and my company was called Love

freedom

ly honored and I cannot wait for people

Design. Also, I have these seasons where

Nelson Mandela, when he was released,

around the world to see it. I want to get

I always redevelop myself. Almost every

was loved by most of the world and we

what’s really important—your heart, your

6-7 years, I’ve done something complete-

had, fundamentally, a man of the world

and

about

Nelson

Mandela.

story, and how God has spoken to you

who’s iconic. I loved him as a person and

about what you’re doing and maybe a lit-

he had so many attributes that were ac-

tle bit about when it started, the design

tually Jesus-based. So, you know, he had

part, and how He birthed that in you.

the love and he had the love of Christ, or the forgiveness and the grace of Christ.

I’m actually a Pastor’s kid, I’ve been

(But obviously, Jesus is our ultimate ex-

brought up in the church. So my

ample.) So with that in mind, a friend

foundation has always been God-fearing,

of a friend of mine rescued the original

God-based, putting God first and also kind

prison fence from Robben Island in 2009

of always having that engrained feeling of

and I was like, “Wow, this is incredible.”

being led by God and led by progress. I’ve

I thought he was taking over the world

got an amazing mom and dad and had a

with it. I said to him, “Well, what are you

very amazing home life in the church. In

guys doing with it?” He said, “We actually shelved it for now because we’re actually

the church, you also get challenged. I’ve always had this love for new things and

ly new. You know, I love what I did, but I

doing too much.” And I said (during this

meeting new friends and people would

said that if I do one more logo for some-

time of doing "Conscious Art"), “Can I do

say “How would you describe yourself?”

one, I don’t think I can actually have the

something with it?” This was after my trip

I’d always say Brave. I’ve always been

creative capacity to do it. My juices just

to America. That was in 2013 and that’s

brave to try new things. Also, being South

completely ran out. Then, I got called to

when I started working with the prison

African, kind of far away from the rest of

do something more in my community and

fence and creating jewelry.

the world, I’ve always loved to travel and

to give back so I did what I called “Con-

I actually first started with the framed

experience new things. So that in mind,

scious Art.” And I said, “Lord, there has to

art. It’s fantastic when you have some-

I’ve got a marketing background. I stud-

be more than just sustaining myself…it’s

thing on your wall and to talk about it

ied overseas and I went to London and

just not working.” And in between this, I

with friends, but what about taking some-

came back to South Africa because I’ve

actually, not knowing what to do, took a

thing off the wall, an artwork, and actu-

always felt led to come home. There’s so

trip to America in 2011.

ally placing it on yourself and having a

much need back home and I don’t know

I had this word over my life that “I’ll

wearable art artifact. This was when the

if you’ve ever been to South Africa, but

have in-roads into America.” I’ve got this

jewelry was actually birthed, bearing in

it’s totally (obviously being very biased

freedom inside myself and everyone calls

mind that I’ve never done jewelry be-

because I love my country) beautiful and

me the Wild Horse. So, I came to America

fore. Everyday was a school day—I was

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“WHEN YOU’RE COVERED WITH LOVE, GRACE AND FORGIVENESS, YOU TRANSFORM FROM A BROKEN PAST INTO SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL.” pulling my hair out, making the jewelers

for your jewelry.

healing and beauty and love above all

pull their hair out, but I wanted a specif-

I also give back to societies in Cape

else. I can see that’s at the heart of what

ic thing and I’ve learned to actually think

Town, to organic farming, and to a [spe-

you’re doing, that’s what’s being poured

outside the box a lot, like doing something

cial] community, and to the Nelson Man-

into it. So, that intention is just the root of

in 2 or 3 molds instead of 1. They were

dela Children’s Hospital (I’ll buy equip-

it and what’s going to impact humanity

like, “No, you’re only supposed to have 1

ment for them or all that kind of stuff ).

and why I would not be at all surprised

mold for that.” I said, “No, I’ll pay for 3.”

that people would see life and purpose

They were like, “You shouldn’t.” “No,” I

Just touched me so much hearing

and beauty and light and health in every-

said, “I’ll take 3 molds to make it the way

you talk about all that—how the

thing that they own that you would’ve

I want it to look like.” So, I learned jew-

Lord prepares us and how He births thing

created because that’s what it came from.

elry and God prepared me in a way that

in us. And I’m such a believer in how you

I’d done the artwork and the clothing. I’ve

can create something that does heal peo-

I’m also a firm believer in the pow-

done graphic design, so I’ve actually done

ple. You didn’t say these exact words, but

er of the spoken word. God can say

all of this myself. I created something

it’s like “Healing Art” and I think when I

something once and it’s done. You

that was already birthed in me and I was

called you an Artisan, it was just the per-

know, “Let there be light,” and there was

able to put that into a project that’s such

fect word. Truly, that’s what the magazine

light. And I feel like if you wear some-

a beautiful story of freedom. I’ve actual-

ultimately is about. It’s people like you

thing that’s titled (You know in Revelation

ly seen people being released just actu-

that clearly the Lord is calling and want-

where it says that your name is written

ally wearing it. So,

and you wear your

not only am I cre-

name). That’s what

ating jewelry from

I

something that was

you wear this jew-

tortuous and really

elry. It’s something

negative, my main

that’s a mantle. It

concept was “When

was

you’re covered with

over me that “I will

love, grace and for-

make

giveness, you trans-

place them around

form from a broken

people’s necks and

past into something

they will be freed.”

beautiful.” Isn’t that

And that was spoken

what every person

feel

like

when

prophesied things

and

once and you just

has been through? Every person has their

ing to elevate and put up front and center

have to believe the power of the spoken

own scar to bear, but their story, at the

and that, I know, is what He’s told me. I’m

word—once it’s [said], it’s done.

end of the day, once they’ve conquered

very particular about who I put in the

that fear and that freedom, is always a

magazine and that’s why I feel so respon-

Well, I affirm that. I affirm that

beautiful story to tell. Each piece of my

sible to make sure that it is the right peo-

word absolutely.

jewelry is named in honor of our road

ple because these are the people that God

to democracy and freedom, so it’s rights,

is saying “I need my Bride highlighted and

We as humans get the power to take

peace, justice,

mercy, hope. And each

this is who I need highlighted.” And I

that power away. We either believe

piece gets a unique serial number and on

know that at the heart of what you’re do-

it or we don’t. There’s a piece called

the back of it there’s a certificate of au-

ing. There’s a language or a stream that I

“Africa Rising” and even with this new

thenticity and the story and how to care

notice we all swim in. It’s a stream of

movie the “Black Panther” coming out, it’s

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almost like there’s a calling for Africans

to reveal to you. I don’t know what all that

more than just meeting people of influ-

to remember who they are. When people

means, I just know that it will come. And

ence, which is beautiful—it’s a gift and I

wear it, it’s like people actually feel like

I don’t know if you do a lot of advocacy

know it’s a gift and I thank God for that

it’s meaningful to them.

kind of work or speaking…do you do that

and I’m not dismissing that at all, but

kind of thing?

I’m wanting to really pioneer something

Beautiful, I love it. And I think God is doing something in the nations

that’s really going to break ground and Public speaking? Yes,

for sure. There’s just like a rattling and a waking up and that’s just beautiful. I knew

break people’s mindsets and break down walls.

Okay, good. Beautiful, okay, per-

that Africa was important and when you

fect. Because, I don’t know, I just

Yes, and it’s not a time, right now,

came forward, I knew God’s going to high-

know what I can hear Him say. Feels like

for us to try to force anything. It’s com-

light this country. My main gifting is that

it’s going to be something in the next few

pletely the time to let God show off and

of being a seer and so I have to be able

months where He’s going to position you

do His thing and all we need to be doing is

to see—what is God saying? What is He

in a place of authority.

saying, “Okay Lord, use me—How do You

saying to the Church globally? What does

want to use me?” When I saw that about

He want us paying attention to? Instead of

the darkness, it was for those people who

paying attention to the news, we can see

are blinded and looking for hope and I

what He’s doing, like in South Africa or

saw leaders so I know you’re a leader of

Africa. The Lord’s been bringing Australia

leaders. You’re going to bring some kind

to me, too, and there’s China. There’s just

of a breakthrough, some kind of a possi-

stuff happening all around the world and

bility in their seeing and their thinking.

God’s going to do big things in these plac-

God’s moving so fast right now so every-

es this year. That’s why He’s highlighting,

one hold on to your seatbelts.

so I just declare that you are carrying a mantle for your country, not just for what

I was on set with a series called

God has called you, but you are carrying

“Empire” and I thought “This is

clearly a mantle for your country and that

great, but what next?” It was proph-

is so powerful. So I just want to acknowl-

esied over me that people of high influ-

edge you and thank you.

ence will call me their own and I walked

I can hear God speaking right now…I’m

straight onto set and they treated me like

hearing Him say that there is some dark-

I was just saying, “God, what next?”

their own and I was like, “Okay Lord, but

ness that you’re up against (not maybe

I feel like He’s taking me to a place

what now?” I think the darkness is my

you personally but) in the community or

where I’m meeting people of high influ-

own disillusionment—who I am in South

something and He’s just saying that you

ence, but it’s not sustaining me. I want to

Africa and who I am here.

need to continue to raise your voice and

do something. I want to take action, real-

continue to take one step after the next

ly elevate my project into action form. I

and to continue to follow His lead because

don’t want to [only] be giving people jew-

with these leaders, see, like even

He said He’s really going to use your voice

elry anymore. I want people to take the

being on set—Hollywood—I’m sure He

and your art in order to be very influen-

jewelry and do something with it. I want

wants you to influence. There’s a reason

The places where God is putting you

tial and there’s an assignment He’s going

"I WANT TO TAKE ACTION, REALLY ELEVATE MY PROJECT INTO ACTION FORM. I DON’T WANT TO [JUST] BE GIVING PEOPLE JEWELRY ANYMORE. I WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE THE JEWELRY AND DO SOMETHING WITH IT."

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"I FOUND THAT A LOT WITH PEOPLE IN BONDAGE AND POVERTY AND THAT’S SOMETHING THAT I’M ALWAYS WANTING TO KEEP ALIVE WITH ANYONE IN ANY SITUATION—THERE’S ALWAYS HOPE."

why you’re there. There’s a huge birthing

me by the way he spoke without hatred,

remember the men, those men, and keep

that needs to happen in Los Angeles and

without any fear. He spoke so eloquently,

remembering the stories of old. Cultural-

Hollywood, so that was awesome that you

so beautifully—he spoke out of love. Ev-

ly, Africa is losing its culture. Culturally,

were able to be honored with that, even if

erything he spoke about was "we," it was

we need to remember our elders. I actu-

you were saying “I want more.” Because

never "I." He came up to me a few times

ally created a chandelier for Mr. Kath-

you’re still putting your thumb print,

during that time and said to me, “My girl,

rada because he died in April last year.

which ultimately is the Father’s thumb-

what do you want to ask me?” I said, “Un-

It’s devastating—these men are passing

print, when you step onto studio, that is

cle Kathy, just keep talking. I want to hear

away and we need to remember them, so

so powerful. Even if you don’t know why

everything you’re saying.” And I asked

I created a chandelier called “Hope” in his

you’re there because the Lord is putting

him “Did you ever lose hope that you

honor. If you lose hope, you die.

us as His Bride in these places to start lay-

would be released?” He said, “We could

ing the ground. We can start when they

never lose hope because if we lost hope,

open the doorway and [how] they’re hon-

we’d die. When you lose hope, there’s

really felt like the Lord would have

oring us, and that’s the season that we’re

no reason to live.” And I found that a lot

that be front and center, “If we lose hope,

in and it’s so great and I’m so happy for

with people in bondage and poverty and

we die.” The Lord really leads the way in

you.

that’s always something that I’m always

my writing so I just let Him do His thing

wanting to keep alive with anyone in any

and He very clearly wants that to be part

situation—there’s always hope. I asked

of it, a big part of it.

Is there anything else you want me to know or that you want to say?

Wow. I wrote that down because I

him “Who’s the most incredible person I think my main vision and pas-

you’ve ever brought to the island, who

sion for Legacy Collection is that

challenged you and vice versa?” He told

I’m wanting to be fundamentally

me it was a little 13 year-old girl who was

a South African. I am a very, very, very

dying of cancer. All she wanted to do was

proud female South African entrepre-

meet Nelson Mandela and go to Robben

neur. I’m passionate about women, about

Island and learn about her history of her

self-employment and about telling stories,

country—little white girl. He took her and

and also about jewelry and art and cre-

she was so enlightened because she was

ating conversations around history and

dying. Nelson Mandela didn’t come to the

keeping stories alive.

island with her; he couldn’t. Mr. Kathrada

I always get emotional when I talk

called Madiba and told him about this lit-

about it, but I never got to meet Nelson

tle girl. He flew out to see [her] before she

Mandela. I did get to meet his best friend,

died. Every year, without fail, these two

Ahmed Kathrada. He was an amazing In-

men would either go and visit the mom or

dian man that was on the Rivonia Trial

call her on the anniversary of her death.

with Nelson Mandela where he said that

And that, to me, is the ultimate human be-

iconic speech, “I’ll die for this.” Ahmed

ing and gets me to think, “Why are we not

stood by him all his life. He took me to

called to more?” Mr. Mandela was impris-

Robben Island and it was one of the most

oned and was this and this and this, but

unbelievable days. I was so mesmerized

he used to take time out and see this 13

by this man because he is everything that

year-old girl’s mother and that’s the gen-

epitomized who Nelson Mandela was.

eration we need to bring up. The key is in

Charmaine Taylor is based in South Africa

What an incredible human he is. Not a

the mother’s and in the father’s.

and is the owner of Legacy Collection.

Christian, he’s Hindu, but he challenged

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

Through Legacy Collection, I’m trying to

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www.legacycollection.org

2018


LEGACY

PERSONAL, BUSINESS AND LEADERSHIP COACHING

Photo by Konstantin Kopa


BY: JEFF WITTMER For many in the church, survival— holding on until Jesus returns—has become the primary aim. Once survival

The passionate desire of the King of Heaven is for His Bride as she sits in this present darkness longing for her Beloved. What shall be the response from her noble and pure heart as she awaits the anticipated arrival of her Champion? She inhales deeply of His memory, vanquishing the fear that held her captive. She slowly pushes the hair away from her face as she reaches for her sword. The Bride emerges from her hiding place with a brazen determination to rescue the Kingdom from the evil that had laid siege to the land like the black plague... Unless you've been resting in a deep sleep, I'm sure you’ve noticed the world is quaking with seismic political tremors. We are living in times of epic

has become our supreme goal, we have lost our way. The purpose of the church is to do more than survive. It is to serve and to advance the kingdom of heaven against the powers of darkness enslaving humanity. We cannot cower in our spiritual bomb shelters while the battle rages. We are not called to survive history, but to serve humanity. We need to take the lead and begin to shape the culture with the values of the Kingdom rather than be shaped and conformed to the values of this world. The life of the church is the heart of God. The heart of God has always been

The church exists to serve as the body

to serve a broken world. When Jesus

of Christ, and it is through this com-

wrapped a towel around his waist, He re-

mitment to serve that we are forced to

minded us that only He could wash away

engage our culture.

the stain of sin. The serving that we are called to re-

global shifts and the fault lines run along cultural and ethnic boundaries. Worlds,

quires direct contact. You cannot wash

ideas, cultures, and kingdoms are on a

the feet of a dirty world if you refuse to

collision course.

touch it. There is a sense of mystery to this, but it is in serving that the church

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KING MAKER

finds her strength. When she ceases to

the gate-keepers of culture.

Gorge. Look, I will hand over to you Si-

serve the world around her, she begins to

The focus hasn't been on serving the

hon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I

atrophy. In pathology, atrophy is the wast-

world; the church itself became the focal

will give you his land. Attack him and be-

ing or decreasing in size of any part of a

point. Our motto degenerated from, “We

gin to occupy the land. Beginning today

body. When the church refuses to serve

are the church, here to serve a lost and

I will make people throughout the earth

the world, she begins to wither away.

broken world,” to “What does the church

terrified because of you. When they hear

If only we could summarize the prob-

have to offer me?” This move has made

reports about you, they will tremble with

lem of the American church by simply

the pastor the only minister while making

dread and fear."

saying that most churches are not grow-

the members recipients of ministry–con-

ing. But it’s worse than that. Even to say

sumers of services.

This was Israel’s defining moment. This was the battle in which God was going to

that churches are declining and closing

What is lost in this process is an army

establish them as His people. Through this

their doors is not to speak of the real trag-

of healers touching the planet. Churches

victory, God was going to place the fear

edy. This may seem strange, but the real

have placed more emphasis on customer

of God in all the nations who worshipped

tragedy is not that churches are dying but

service rather than raising up cultural

false gods. His instructions were absolute-

rather churches have lost their reason to

warriors who serve at the pleasure of the

ly clear, “Go pick a fight, engage them in

live. The church has become a fortress

King.

battle, and today I will give you victory.”

from the world rather than the hope of the world.

Once we were called Christians by an

Surprisingly enough, the very next

unbelieving world, and now we call our-

verse tells us that Moses sent messengers

The diminishing influence of the

selves Christians and the world calls us

to the king of Heshbon, with this message:

American church on American society is

hypocrites. Is it possible that it hasn’t

"Let us travel through your land. We will

not simply because fewer people are go-

been the nation that has become danger-

stay on the main road and won’t turn off

ing to church, but fewer people are going

ously secular but the church? Is it possi-

into the fields on either side. Sell us food

to church because of the diminishing in-

ble that it hasn’t been progressive Liber-

to eat and water to drink, and we will pay

fluence of Christ on the church itself. The

als that are the founders of the secular

for it. All we want is permission to pass

church, at best, has fallen asleep.

nation but the passive church?

through your land."

It might be fair to say that we've lost

Somewhere, perhaps as the slumber-

Israel’s response to God’s command

the power to transform culture. We ac-

ing Bride slipped into the dark ages, she

that they engage and conquer was soon

commodated to a culture that was, has

lost her momentum to shape culture. In-

twisted into a compromised offer of

been for us, user-friendly. We have equat-

stead of being an influence as the "salt of

peace. While God was committed to estab-

ed being a good citizen with being a good

the earth," she refused to leave the salt

lishing them as a people of His presence

Christian. We have enjoyed living without

shaker. The church became an institution

and power, they were more than willing

persecution and soon found ourselves

preserving the past rather than an instru-

to settle for much less than that. They sim-

without conviction. We didn’t lose Ameri-

ment of God, shaping the future. The dis-

ply wanted to survive.

ca; we gave her away.

tinction lies in the fact that institutions

The story continues and of course, the

preserve culture, while movements create

king, because of his stubborn heart, re-

culture.

fuses them passage. Interestingly, it was

In our panic and powerlessness, we have turned to political means hoping to regain what we once had through spiri-

In Deuteronomy 2, there’s a peculiar

"because the Lord your God made Sihon

tual awakening. Yet as a moral majority,

story of God shaping his people and trans-

stubborn and defiant so He could help

we have been unable to accomplish what

forming them from slaves to conquerors.

you defeat him, as He has now done."

God could through Gideon’s few. We have

It is one thing to be set free, it is another

settled for revival fires that have burned

thing to actually live free.

This passage teaches us a very peculiar thing about God. His approach is often an

at the grassroots but whose flames have

The Lord said to Moses and his peo-

invitation to believe in Him and move in

never reached high enough to set aflame

ple, "Now get moving! Cross the Arnon

His power. God’s first choice is to search

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

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2018


for a heart that is wholly His and then strongly support it. But many times that is

FAV’S

not the condition of our hearts. Often it is God who forces circumstances upon us that require us to rely on His goodness. Since Israel did not have a heart to trust God, God hardened the heart of Sihon—made his spirit stubborn and provoked him to go to war against Israel. God did all of this so that Israel would begin to conquer and possess the land. In short, what God did was bless Israel by forcing them to engage in a battle that they were afraid to fight. In the same way, the

A MILLION LIGHTS MICHAEL W. SMITH

church is God’s agent for redeeming the

2018

earth to Himself. We are called to engage

GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE LINCOLN BREWSTER 2018

in the battle for which Jesus Christ died. Matthew tells us that the Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing, and forceful men take hold of it. Jesus reminds us that the church will crash against the very gates of hell. Paul describes us through the imagery of soldiers of light, dispelling the kingdom of darkness. For two thousand years, the church has been called by God to encounter culture through His transforming power. Could

CRESCENDO

III

JACKIE HILL PERRY

HILLSONG YOUNG & FREE

it be that many of the global trends that

2018

2018

have brought fear and concern to the contemporary church are the very acts of God, in a sense, hardening the heart of Sihon king of Heshbon? He will force us to engage the battles at hand. He will do whatever is necessary to reorganize this planet until we have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. The Bride has encountered the friction of a changing world which has slowed her down but she is arising again, engaging the battle and launching a movement that will ultimately bring a revolution of love.

TOUCHING HEAVEN INFLUENCE MUSIC 2018

BRIGHT FAITH BOLD FUTURE VERTICAL WORSHIP 2018

Jeff Wittmer is an inspirational speaker and a certified professional life coach.

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Pour Into The Next Generation Leader

Photo by Aaron Guzman

By Gary Henson

y wife Jenene and I love

to Shoulder is opening charter schools

impact on people’s lives and impacting

working with and hanging

that help children that nobody else wants

the culture. They’re focused on the indi-

out with ministry leaders

to educate. These kids are not only smart

vidual but also on shifting the city. That’s

and watching their minis-

but gaining confidence in their future.

a game worth playing and one we want

tries develop. Recently, I have discovered

College is now real for them because

to influence.

a new passion for our youth and God has

they’re getting the attention, education

touched my heart in a way that I would

and mentoring to see a different possibil-

that these young people are the next gen-

never have imagined.

ity for their future.

eration of leaders. It’s up to us to mentor

M

In the past when I thought about

I am also experiencing a new brand of

Maybe you’re like me and you missed

these young ministry leaders that are out

making a difference in the world I felt

students that are coming out of college-

there drawing the broken and captivated

somewhat unattached to our youth

with teaching credentials. They’re willing

into a brand new life of hope. They need

and didn’t much have much interest in

to take a pay cut in order to help kids

our wisdom and they need the mature

working with kids. It feels like I grew

that are stuck in a pretty tough family

believers to pour into them.

out of touch despite the fact that we

environment. There’s a lot of evidence

have five adult kids and five grandchil-

that God is moving on the hearts of

remnant. The leaders that will rise in

dren. But in one weekend, my world got

young leaders.

the next ten years will be the unlikely,

rocked, everything changed and I had a

Coach Roz, another one of our friends

My wife Jenene says, “God will use the

invisible ones that were once seen as

major breakthrough about the future

and he has an after school coaching min-

unloveable, throwaways, even former

and what's possible as we usher in a new

istry and works with kids in seven differ-

criminals. But Jesus will use the ones that

generation of young leaders. I now can

ent schools. He helps them get in touch

have either played in the enemies camp

see that future generations are going to

with Jesus by coaching and mentoring

or were put there by their family circum-

depend on us collaborating in unique

them on their character. It works.

stances. Whatever the story is, they’ll

ways to raise up a generation in a time such as this. After spending time with a bunch of

One of our other friends has a ministry for college kids that are stuck living a vicious lifestyle of sex, drugs and alco-

become the overcomers with incredible culture-changing testimonies.” We have a huge opportunity and we

kids that are living in a single parent

hol. The theme of this ministry is to give

believe now is the time to act. We encour-

environment I began to see opportuni-

them the lounge experience without the

age you to see how you can mentor or

ties that I was blind to in the past. Life

drugs and alcohol. This ministry gives

coach and collaborate with these young

circumstances can create leaders or

the 18 and over group the fun communi-

leaders and “look for the gold in them” as

followers and we encourage leadership.

ty experience without peer pressure.

my wife would say. They are the future.

One of our ministry partners, Shoulder

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

All of these leaders are making a huge

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2018


Coach's Rules For How To Treat Girls BY GREG ROESZLER (aka Coach Roz)

I

am a Father of two girls, so you can imagine how I talk to the team. We coaches

have some very candid conversations with our kids about how we need to treat girls. Last week, I ran one of our kids longer than he wanted because he suggested that one of the cheerleaders was a bit too heavy. I want the kids to understand that what boys say to girls, and how girls are treated by boys, leaves a lasting imprint on them. Homecoming is an especially difficult time for girls. Homecoming involves a lot more than just trying to win a game. I have seen first hand the anxiety girls feel over who gets “picked” to go to homecoming. We talk all week to the boys about the word “edify” and how it means to build someone up. We teach them the value and importance of making a girl feel good on campus. The girls are looking for acceptance. They want to be noticed. As a Playmaker, our kids will be taught how to be a young man of integrity. That means we will coach them on how to make homecoming a positive experience for a young lady. One of the things we encourage our players to do is go to the girls’ softball or soccer games. My daughter plays college soccer, so I have some appreciation of what kind of athletes these soccer play-

ers are, and how tough that game really

way we can how precious women are to

is. I want our girls on campus to see

us, and how they are to be treated.

that we support them. Our football team

A Playmakers coach can help by pro-

will show up and cheer for our girls in a

viding rules for dating. One of the things

respectful manner. We do it because it is

we tell our kids is, “Treat your date like

the right thing to do.

she was Coach’s daughter.” We go a step

Mrs. Roz is also treated well and given

further. I make it a point to meet the

respect because we coach that. The play-

player’s girlfriend. I let it be known that

ers are taught to ask me how my wife is.

if she is not treated well, just let Coach

That begins with me asking the player,

know. We do it in a fun manner, but I

“How’s your Mom doing? Tell her I asked

want the message to be clear: you will

about her.”

wear a trench into the track running if

Each day, we have opportunities to raise Moms up. Single Moms need this.

you mistreat a girl. We teach the boys to treat their date

Too often they get run over by sons who

with respect. In a perfect world, that is

forget the huge job a Mom has in being

Dad’s job. It is so special when these

“the entire family” for her son. Your

lessons are taught by the man whose job

son’s coach will help, if given the chance.

it is in the first place. We Dads (almost

Coaches today help fill that void. We men

40%) have bailed out. We have left that

need to model to these boys how to treat

job to someone else, or we have con-

women every day. Together, we can, and

vinced ourselves that we can do it on

are, making a difference.

weekends, or as a single parent.

I get a first hand look at how boys see

As a Playmakers coach, we have to sub

women in the weight room and on the

and fill in so the job gets done. There is

field. T-shirts are worn (not on my team)

so much work to be done to teach these

that are called “wife beaters.” Songs are

boys about being a real man and what

played (not by my team) telling about

true masculinity is all about. Until the

how women are abused in our culture.

Dads come home with a plan, we will do

My job is to create a model for how a

the best we can.

functional couple navigates through life. That is one of the reasons the kids come to my house. I want them to see us inter-

www.ThePlaymakers.org

act. As coaches, we show them in the best

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LEADING FROM BEHIND

+ LEGACY

Photo by Matteus Ferrero

by Scott Bryditzki

as they present themselves. But to be honest, keeping our heads down and plugging away—leading from behind—is more in line with how we influence people. It’s interesting that when we understand this principal, it builds character in us and we end up finding all kinds of opportunities to lead and influence. Five years ago, I stepped out of my role as president and CEO of the company I purchased. I tell people I retired, but in reality God called me out of my company and into something else. As it turns out, I’m now on staff at a church and not in any type of leadership position. I love what God has me doing, but I’ve found myself in a very strange place in life. How does someone who is built to lead people, who has the gift of leadership, not lead? I figured my leadership wasn’t needed and that I was done leading people. The “when” was in the past and now I was in a different position. That’s when I really

Influencing Others In Smaller Ways

started figuring out “how” to lead. In my previous leadership position, I casted vision and explained to someone what needed to be done and they did it.

T

Now that I’m not the leader casting the vihe word leadership gets written

lead. We need to understand that leader-

about a lot, and I mean a lot. Most

ship is just the art of influencing people.

people want to be leaders. There are

My view of servant leadership is a bib-

countless books on the subject and the last

lical one that, in recent years, has made

I read, leadership education in the Unit-

it into secular streams of teaching. A few

ed States was closing in on becoming a 20

weeks ago, I was interviewed for an hour

billion dollar industry, when you consider

on the subject of leadership for a confer-

the money spent on those books, confer-

ence taking place in Europe. I was asked

ences, coaching and training. I love read-

all sorts of questions on the topic and

ing books about people who stepped up

spent a lot of time painting a picture of

at an unexpected time in their lives and

what leadership looks like. In thinking

took the reins of leadership. It’s encourag-

back on that interview, the discussion cen-

ing to hear about people who persevered

tered around the “how” and the “why” to

and built companies or influenced entire

lead, but we never discussed the “when.”

industries. Everyone calls these people

When should we lead? I presume that be-

true leaders!

cause most people are in a job, business

I’ve shared with many people that be-

or situation, these first areas are what

ing a leader and being in leadership are

interests them, especially the “how.” But

two different things. You can be in a lead-

I think it’s a good question to ask “when”

ership position, but not truly be a leader.

should we lead—especially if we are not

On the flip side, you can be leading, but

in a leadership position.

not be in a leadership position. I call this

We all understand that stepping up

leading from behind. It’s really import-

when the chips are down is important,

ant to understand the difference because

and those times can be defining moments

most people strive to be in a leadership

in a persons life. It’s important to keep our

position as opposed to actually desiring to

heads up and look for those opportunities

75

sion, I’m forced to care a lot more about someone else’s vision and help them however I can. I’m now in a position to spend more time caring, listening and serving others in order to make an impact. By working in a different role than I’ve been used to, I’ve learned that I need to influence someone in small ways in order to have them move closer to their own vision. Isn’t that really what servant leadership is all about? Isn’t that leading from behind? It has finally gone from head knowledge to my heart, and I truly understand that leadership is not a position. It’s leading from behind—what we should all be doing every day, with everybody. To those of you that are not in leadership positions but want to lead—lead on!

Scott Bryditzki serves as Pastor of Community Development for Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin California.

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Al i gn i n G

ROOTS OUR JEWISH ROOTS

w i th G od ' s T i m i n G Photo by Seth Macey

BY GIL AND ADENA HODGES Co-Pastors of the Kingdom Equipping Center

I

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Eph 4:11-12 NKJV)

t is so amazing to see the blessings that flow from aligning with God’s will. Some of those blessings are obvious. When we love one another, there is peace. When we give generously, needs

are met. When we put God first and spend time with Him, intimacy grows and we become more like Him. Imagine if we were aligned with God’s will in all ways, all the time. That’s God’s desire for us. Jesus set up a plan and strategy for helping everyone toward that goal.

THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY We can find out about it in Ephesians 4:11 and 12. Jesus is the one

The word “equipping” in the Greek is katartismos {καταρτισμóς}.

who gave us the 5-fold ministry. It was meant to be an incubator to

It comes from the root word, katartizō {καταρτíζω} which means,

create unity and maturity. In it we find an interesting word in the

to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair. The message we

Greek whose meaning doesn’t carry over into the English.

should receive here is that the 5-fold is meant to re-align what has

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been broken, like re-aligning a broken bone. That is how the word

WE HAVE TO BE PROPERLY ALIGNED WITH GOD’S WORD

was often used in context. Putting it in a straight forward way, 5-fold

if we are to be anointed with His truth and breath of life. This is

was meant to get God’s people re-aligned with Him, so He could work

how . . .while there are different ways that we can align with God,

through them and we would come to “…unity of the faith and of the

one significant avenue is timing. Have you ever experienced how

knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the

mere seconds or minutes can make the difference between success

stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13 NKJV). The purpose of the

and defeat, between a divine appointment or a missed opportunity?

5-fold is to birth mature sons. How do we know this? The first word

There is a spiritual war over timing. The enemy is trying to “change

of verse 13. The 5-fold will go away, it will not be needed, once we

the set times and the laws” (Daniel 7:25). The good news is our

achieve its goal.

God is able to reverse anything the enemy tries to do because He “changes the times and the seasons” (Daniel 2:21) back into order

“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." (Eph 4:13 NIV)

when we align with Him.

IN THE BEGINNING GOD ESTABLISHED TIME FOR OUR BENEFIT God literally put a “calendar in the sky” to order our world—day and night, months, and the yearly cycles. The Bible is very clear in Genesis:

“And God said, "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.” (Gen 1:14 NIV)

Once we all reach unity in the faith, once we all reach unity in the knowledge of the Son of God, once we all become mature in attaining the… fullness of Christ, then 5-fold will no longer be needed. But until then, we need it. The main point here is the power of alignment. The Early Church “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) because of aligning with God’s ways.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE ALIGN WITH GOD There are two examples I like to look at. When Ezekiel addressed

These were all meant to be a blessing to us—times to work, times to

the dry bones, he saw everything come into alignment and then God

rest, times to fellowship both with God and with others.

breathed on the bodies. Imagine the scene as Ezekiel saw it—a valley of bones and skulls of human bodies. At this point, the bones are

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FESTIVALS

disconnected in a jumbled mess. Ezekiel says “… as I was prophesy-

Not only that, but the festivals (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles)

ing, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together,

that He established outline the incredible plan of salvation and were

[they aligned] bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared

established as “sacred time.”

on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them” (Eze

"Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread; [Passover] for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. Celebrate the Festival of Harvest [Pentecost] with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering [Tabernacles] at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.

37:7-8 NIV). At this point, it is important to note that there is no breath in the bodies. They have just now come into alignment. It was not until they came into alignment that God breathed life into what used to be scattered, dry bones. “So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army” (Eze 37:10 NIV). When we align as God commands us to align, He will breath on us. There will be life in what we do when we align with God’s word. We see this again in Genesis. “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen 2:7 NIV). God did not breathe life into Adam until He had formed Adam. In other words, once all the bones were aligned and all the flesh was set in place, God breathed life into Adam. The power of being aligned properly with God is the difference between having life breathed into what you’re doing versus beating a dead horse hoping it will eventually move. If it has life, it will rise up and move on its own. Hopefully you get the point.

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+ ROOTS

Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD.” (Exo 23:14-17 NIV)

basically throws out the evidence for Jesus being the Son of God. The Old Testament is the same Word/Testament the writer of Hebrews was referring to when he said,

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb 4:12 NIV)

THESE VERSES SHOW US THREE MAIN FEASTS in which He commanded the men of Israel to attend. God instructed them to keep these festivals “throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:17). Many people believe that when Jesus died He did away with the feasts and that the early church did not celebrate them. However, this is not true. It is clear from the writings of the early church that they participated in these seasons of celebration, enjoying a new, expanded revelation of who God is. Are Gentiles required to keep these feasts? Absolutely not—but

Again, the New Testament did not exist when these words were writ-

we miss out greatly when we fail to recognize the depth of insight

ten.

into God, His plan of redemption and the fulfillment found in Him. According to Romans 11, we have been “grafted in” to the Hebraic

THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S DIVINE CALENDAR

root, opening the door for us also to receive the rich inheritance in

All of this to say, God already has His divine calendar. He has spelled

the knowledge of God. We reject any form of legalism or require-

it out very clearly in the scriptures of old. There is so much depth

ments of works, while affirming the joy of aligning with God and His

and richness in His calendar. It constantly points us to His plan of

chosen people.

salvation and prepares us for seasons ahead. Thankfully, when the Gregorian calendar (and others like it) set up by man to replace

TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE WE MUST UNDERSTAND OUR ROOTS

God’s calendar came into existence, God did not compare His against

While Paul freely and joyfully participated in the feasts (Acts 18:21),

God’s calendar is set in the sky and has built into it the revelation of

he came down hard on anyone operating in legalism (Galatians 4).

man’s redemption.

man’s and apologize for the differences and adapt to man’s calendar.

Too often, we “throw out the baby with the bath water” and remove

There is a beautiful message that begins to unfold when you align

ourselves from the treasure God has for us. To truly understand the

with God’s timing. When we partake of the feasts and messages of

Bible, we must understand our Hebraic roots— the culture in which

the seasons that God has given from the beginning of Earth, we are

the Bible was written.

literally entering into the process of actively waiting for and reen-

It has fascinated me how the church has been able to teach that

acting, in some cases, God’s very own plan. His plan is not just for re-

the Old Testament is done away with or fulfilled when Jesus said,

demption. His plan is that He would have children all over the earth

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them

that look like His first son, Jesus. Not just that, but that we would do

you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about

even greater works than Jesus did. You see, Jesus was a first fruit. He

me" (John 5:39 NIV). When Jesus said this He was referring only to

was the first of many to come. I certainly want to be in that number.

the Old Testament scriptures. More precisely, the Pentateuch (first

How about you?

5 books of the Bible). Any attempt to throw out the Old Testament

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D


+ ROOTS

BY SANDI PADILLA

HOLY ROAR "His voice was the voice of many wonders."

Though I was pretty young, I think I can remember the first time I heard the thunderous roar of the Pacific Ocean. It was both staggering and glorious. Seeing the blue green waves roll into millions of foamy white bubbles caused my feet to dance as I raced up and down the beach. Then a few minutes later I would hear a loud “BOOM” as another giant wave crashed onto the sand in front of me. As beautiful as it was, the ocean took my breath away. It’s power, and the thunderous sounds it created held me in awe. “Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in” (Psalm 98:7 NLT). You may have similar memories. When you were a young child, did you ever try to hold a seashell or conch shell to your ear so that you could hear the “sound of the ocean”? As kids we might have believed that it was really the ocean, but as adults we realize what is being heard is the environmental noise around the shell, resonating within the cavity of the shell, creating the similarity of the sound between ocean movements and airflow. Psalm 29:3-9 says, “The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic.” When we take a closer look at the first words of the Genesis account in the Hebrew language, we find some amazing concepts that give us insight into God’s voice. The power of God’s voice expresses the fullness of His nature and the sound of His voice holds the universe together. If God is holding everything together with His voice, He can surely calm the stormy seas of whatever may be happening in our dayto-day lives. In Genesis 1:2, we see that the Spirit of God moved (hovered) upon the face of the waters. Bible teacher and author Bonnie Gaunt reveals in her book Genesis One, Sacred Code, “When the material world is examined down to its smallest particles, they are found to be vibrations. All creation is organized vibrations.” The author describes how the worlds were created by the word of God, or by the voice of God, or by the utterance of God and that "this utterance is both by music and by the Hebrew alphabet." The interrelationship of music and the Hebrew alphabet are magnificent—and not surprisingly, they also relate to creation. What does the author mean when she says that creation happened both by music and the Hebrew alphabet? Let’s start with the first letter of the alphabet—ALEPH.

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ALEPH

Isn’t that amazing? Triple digits.

HOLY ROAR

The graphic form of this letter symbolizes

When you look at the number “111” in hertz

In his book Holy Roar, worship leader Chris

the infinite, eternal nature of God. It is one

or sound frequencies, it equals the musical

Tomlin unpacks seven Hebrew words with

letter, but consists of three parts. The up-

note “A.”

Pastor Darren Whitehead, that explain the

per right segment of the letter is a “yod,”

Where else does the number "111" appear in

“different words the ancient Hebrew people

its lower left segment is a “yod”; and these

the Bible?

used to express their praise to God.” “Tehillah” means a hymn, a song of praise,

two letters are connected by a diagonal let-

or a new, spontaneous song. Chris encour-

ter—“vav.” Many scholars and theologians recognize that Hebrew is not only a beautiful, poetic, and multi-dimensional language, but that it is also a divine language. Because the universe was created by the “sound” of God’s voice, and the Hebrew language is so accurate in describing the world around us, it has been called the “DNA of Creation.”

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." John 1:1

ages the reader, “even if you can’t carry a tune, even if you don’t know quite what to sing, practice raising a spontaneous song of praise to God…if you do, I know you’ll find this truth: God will inhabit, incarnate your act of tehillah.” The word “tehillah” is found in Jeremiah 17:14 “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Did you know that the Lord sings over YOU? In Zephaniah 3:17 it reads, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a

PELE = WONDER

mighty savior. He will take delight in you

Pele comes from pala’ and means a mira-

with gladness. With his love, he will calm

cle—marvelous thing, wonder(-ful, -fully)

all your fears. He will rejoice over you with

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

joyful songs” (NLT).

The Hebrew word “Pele” consists of three

NUMERIC VALUE OF ALEPH

letters—“Pey,” “Lamed” and “Aleph”—which

The sound of God’s voice singing over us

In the letter “Aleph” each “yod” has a nu-

is actually Aleph spelled backwards. (This is

resonates in the key of love. He promises

merical value of 10, and the “vav” has a nu-

an example of the Hebrew language having

to inhabit or ride on our praises; to heal and

merical value of 6, yielding a total of 26. This

perfect syntax.) If we look at the meaning of

restore us. What a wonderful, amazing God

equals the numerical value of the four-letter

each letter we have, the eternal God of all

we worship! Let’s respond with our whole

divine name YHVH. (The four-letter name is

things speaks with authority and power. He

hearts and become a worshiper who lifts up

a proper Name of God, and for that reason it

is a God of wonder who is a marvelous mir-

a Holy Roar!

is not pronounced as it is spelled. “Adonai” is

acle worker.

used for the reading of Scripture or while re-

I have come to believe that this intricate

citing prayers. “Hashem” [the Name] is used

system of letters and numbers in the Hebrew

in ordinary speech or written form.)

language interlock to illustrate the charac-

When we sound the letter "Aleph" we hear

teristics and nature of God, and to show the

three syllables: “Ah - le - ph.” Each sound

Divine authorship of God’s Word the Bible.

corresponds to its original letter.

Just as we can see numeric patterns ex-

(This is an example of the Hebrew lan-

pressed through geometric shapes found in

guage having perfect syntax.) If we look at

nature, we can hear the patterns of the He-

the meaning of each letter we have, the eter-

brew letters through frequency, sound and

nal God of all things speaks with authority

music. Inside the Hebrew language there

and power. He is a God of wonder who is a

is an alphanumeric ‘symphony’ of frequen-

marvelous miracle worker.

cies, letters and numbers that when sung or

Letter

Meaning Numerical Value

Aleph = God, Creator, First

1

played in combination can heal and restore the mind, body and spirit.

Sandi Padilla is a worship leader, author and the director of Pure Worship Ministries. She has shared the stage with Darlene Zschech, Sarah Kelly and Lincoln Brewster. For over twenty years Sandi has been equipping worship leaders and songwriters at conferences and retreats. She also spreads music, love and laughter for church groups, at retreats and retirement communities. Find out more at www.pureworshipministries.org

Lamed = Rod, Authority, tongue 30 Pey = Mouth, Speak, Open

Total

80 111

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+ ROOTS

OR ANOINTED By Anita Alexander, Director at Revival Flame Ministries in Queensland

A

ftter days in an internal wrestle

ular or approved of at a particular time.

world. However nowhere in scripture do

in my spirit, and after pressing

Anointed: smeared with oil (representing

I find the call of God to His people to be

in to the Lord, seeking Him for

the Holy Spirit), set apart, chosen, conse-

more acceptable, relatable or even attrac-

crated.

tive to the masses–or any particular gen-

answers of what was going on, suddenly I heard the voice of the Lord boom

eration for that matter–not even to the

in my spirit as I was doing my dishes

FASHIONABLE VS. ANOINTED

world. Rather I find in the scripture the

and I believe it was a question from the

Are we seeking to be fashionable or

exact opposite.

Father’s heart to His people.

anointed? In today’s modern church there

I heard so clearly the voice of the

is a growing emphasis and pursuit on be-

THE LORD HAS CALLED US TO STAND

Lord say, “Fashionable or Anointed?"

ing fashionable. We see here by its defi-

OUT, NOT BLEND IN

The tone in which this question was

nition, to be fashionable clearly displays

2 Corinthians 6:17 says that the Lord is

communicated to me inferred, “What is

a certain approval and acceptance by the

calling His beloved out from among them

it that you are seeking after or pursuing

majority. To fit in, to be acceptable, to be

to be separate. Who are they? According

first?” What are you seeking? Or rather

relatable, etc.

to the previous verse (16), the answer

what is it that you want? Do you want to

We could justify this pursuit and pri-

would be the world and carnality—an ex-

ority of desiring fashionable expressions

pression of service and worship unto the

Let’s take a look at the difference in

of service or worship for the purpose

Lord that is not birthed from the Heart of

the meanings of these two words from

of attracting the masses, or the younger

the Spirit of God.

the dictionary. Fashionable: to be pop-

generation, or to be more relatable to the

be Fashionable or Anointed?

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In 1 Peter 2:9, the Lord would remind

2018


you that He has called you a royal priest-

Christ has produced a people who are sat-

into the depths of faith and the Spirit to

hood, a holy nation, a peculiar people a

isfied with the stimulation of the senses of

become disciples? Or just causing a fall

“chosen” generation, in order that you

the soul rather than a people who are on

away from the first signs of persecution

may show forth the praises of Him who

fire from their spirit.

and trouble? For the evidence of a true

has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. The word “peculiar” is defined in the dictionary as: different to what is normal or expected, strange, odd, bizarre, unfamiliar, unexpected and out of the ordinary. These definitions are completely opposite of what the word fashionable means. The Lord has not called us to fit in but to be different from the expected. He has called us to be out of the ordinary. “Chosen” was also a word used to describe someone who was anointed, as was "Holy" (which refers to being separate). Note here in 1 Peter 2:9, it is a clear description of what His people are to look like. In all of these adjectives that describe His people, not one of them points to being popular, in vogue, or up to date. Nowhere does it describe His people to be acceptable by the masses, which is what fashionable is.

HOW WE REACH THE MASSES Don't we have to be relatable? The Lord is calling His church back to doing things His way. Not the carnal way of man. Not by human wisdom and reasoning, efforts apart from His leading and empowering. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, deliver those who are oppressed and make disciples (Matt 10:8, Mark 16:15, Matt 28:19). With that, Jesus also gave “the formula” in order to do these commandments. At large, the church has felt they have had to reach the world in their own efforts and own passion and own strength. "Let’s make Christianity more appealing to the world, lets package it in a way that it will be 'acceptable' to draw in the crowds and the masses.” But this way of thinking and leadership in the Body of

disciple is one who must deny himself

"WHEN YOU ARE SMEARED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHEN YOU ARE ANOINTED, YOU ARE SET APART, YOU ARE CHOSEN AND CONSECRATED, YOU STAND OUT." HEAVEN'S FORMULA TO REACH THE MASSES, HEAL THE SICK, DELIVER THE OPPRESSED, AND MAKE DISCIPLES Jesus himself quoted Isaiah 61 and declared “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to preach the gospel, to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed and to proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord.” This is the formula to fulfilling His commandment. It is by th Spirit of the Lord. It is by the Anointing of the Lord. It is not by might nor by power but by His Spirit. Paul instructed the Corinthians that He would not come with fancy ways of speaking nor carnal expression to influence their soul but rather in the demonstration and power of God, so that their faith would not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:5). When the presence of God is burning in a fellowship, yokes are being destroyed and bondages are being removed. Seeking fashionable and relatable and acceptable and popular will not do the job of casting out devils, healing the sick and making disciples. We may see some conversions in the church, but is it causing growth

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take up their cross and follows Jesus (Luke 9:23). Seeking the fashionable over His presence (the Anointing) has produced a carnal Christianity culture, where we are finding a large percentage of Christians becoming shipwrecked in their faith. They have not been taught to dig their well deep in their faith in Christ and grow and mature in the things of the Spirit, but rather are encouraged to splash around in the shallows of entertaining, feel good, sound good, look good services.

TRADING THE PRESENCE OF GOD (ANOINTING) FOR POPULARITY Seeking to please people and gain popularity (which grows our churches apart from seeking and pursuing that which pleases God's heart and from stewarding His presence) fails our Lord and His Church. The thing to note with fashion is that it changes. But the Lord never does. Now I don’t mean methods because the Lord does do “new things” but His “new things” are not to “conform” to the masses in order to be agreeable to them but rather His “new things” are a call to the masses to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). When you are smeared with the Holy Spirit, when you are anointed, you are set apart, you are chosen and consecrated, you stand out. As 1 Peter 2:9 states, you are peculiar, holy, chosen and royal. We are not called to blend in and be like the world but we are to stand out. Is there a cost involved in this type of pursuit? Absolutely. There is a cost for the anointing oil. Absolutely, there is a price to pay for being separate, consecrated, chosen and royal. If you look in the natural at royal fam-

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+ ROOTS

ilies, they can’t live like the masses. They

church. In her attempt to leave behind

The Lord is calling His people out. He is

have certain responsibilities and require-

the peculiar she has indeed invited in the

calling His people back to being peculiar,

ments upon them as ambassadors for

popular. In her desire to be accepted she

being set apart, to stand out from the rest.

their particular kingdom. They live “sepa-

has forfeited the very thing that made her

He is calling His people to seek His face,

rate” lives. And so it is with the Lords peo-

separate and gave her her unique identity

His presence as their number one prior-

ple. We are ambassadors of Heaven.

as a royal priesthood That is the anoint-

ity. He is calling a people anointed, set

ing—the very presence of God.

apart, consecrated and holy unto Him. He

A religious spirit is absolutely against

is calling a people who walk by faith and

Whenever we prioritise anything above

authenticity in every way shape and

not by sight, who aren’t moved by the dis-

the presence of God, we invite a religious

form. Because authenticity is what the

plays and wonders of this natural realm

spirit to dictate terms. A religious spirit

Lord anoints, because it's real and not

but are moved wholly and solely by His

will always operate when man is seeking

fabricated. The Lord is calling His people

Spirit.

the approval and praise and acceptance

out from among them, out from among

God didn’t pay a price for a people who

of man. Pride and self-promotion are at

fabricated, fashionable expressions of

will settle for the realm of natural, limited

the root of a religious spirit. Religion pro-

worship. Now I am not talking about hav-

man-made thinking, but He paid a price

motes and prioritises status and external

ing a spirit of excellence. Absolutley we

for those to accept that sacrifice, to call

appearance, over the presence of God.

are to have a spirit of excellence in all we

them the Sons of God, and to be led by His

A lot of the time we think of a religious

do. What I am talking about is everybody

Spirit, walk by His Spirit and Worship in

spirit and we think of the religious con-

copying and cloning themselves in order

the Spirit. John 4:23 & 24 says, "For now,

servatism of the dark ages. This however

to be accepted, liked and popular. I am

the time will come, however indeed it is

is the picture of a religious spirit the devil

talking about prioritising fashion above

already here, when the true genuine wor-

wants to keep branded in your mind. The

His presence.

shipers, will worship the Father in Spirit

A RELIGIOUS SPIRIT

devil wants you to identify religion with

and in Truth" (reality – without pretense

conservatism. But this is not what a reli-

TRUE SUCCESS

gious spirit is.

The Lord anoints authenticity, not clones.

or performance);

A religious spirit is anything that hin-

He desires for us to express unto Him our

ders intimacy with the Lord and promotes

unique sound, our unique way. Sorry to

external practices and man-made ideals

say but professionalising the gospel has

by rules and regulations, in place of the

disempowered the church and invited in

presence of God. It seeks and insists on

status quo. Are we just happy with having

doing things apart from the presence of

good entertaining services that fulfil the

God and His empowerment. It can mask

emotions of those who come? Or are we

itself behind very popular, very enter-

truly desiring to see those who gather to-

taining modern, up to date, expressions of

gether encounter the presence of God and

worship. The Lord is calling His people to

experience yokes fall off them and their

be ones who discern by the Spirit not by

lives eternally changed?

mere outward expressions and external adornings.

True success in our services is not measured by how many people we have

What's popular can be a front mask of

managed to draw in by our efforts, but

a religious spirit. As the local church has

rather how we managed to draw in God's

sought to loose herself of her conservative

presence. Has He shown up? The Lord's

identity and become more relatable to the

presence is His stamp of approval. God

lost these past 20-30 years, something in

forbid I be in a room, stadium, auditori-

turn has taken place to a vast extent. In

um or wherever the place may be, and it

her desperate attempt to reach and re-

be filled with people who are gathering

late, may I suggest on many levels she has

in the name of Yeshua and He himself not

in turn lost her true identity. In order to

show up. The Lord is not interested in

seek to identify with the world, worldly

what the number of your gatherings are,

cultures and ideals have crept into the

but is there room for His presence to at-

structures and expressions of the local

tend. Is He is showing up?

ISSUE 4 + THE APPROACHABLE BRIDE

86

"FOR THE FATHER IS SEEKING WORSHIPERS SUCH AS THESE (MY EMPHASIS). GOD IS A SPIRIT AND THOSE WHO WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP HIM IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH." This is who the Lord is seeking—pursuers of His Spirit, to be led by His Spirit, to be empowered by His Spirit and be true ambassador’s for the Kingdom of Heaven. As His people embrace this call and again put their emphasis on His presence and His ability to perform for them, they will see Heaven populate with hundreds of thousands, upon millions, of souls. As they turn from seeking the fashionable, to seeking His presence, they will see His Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. www.Revival-Flame.org

2018


KINGDOM HUBS

Dokimos Network

Youth with a Mission

Kingdom Equipping Center

Dunamis Movement

Kingdom Builders Network

Christ for all Nations USA

The Acts Group

Circuit Riders

Fellowship Chamber

Lifestyle Christianity

Convene

One Voice Student Missions

NorCalChristianEvents.com

Campus Crusade for Christ International

International YWAM.org FB: YouthWithaMission Many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world.

Larry & Lori Hill Rocklin, CA & Online DokimosNetwork.org FB Page: DokimosProject Equipping and United Workplace Ministers

Gil & Adena Hodges Roseville, CA & Online KingdomEquippingCenter.com FB Group: EkklesiaArising Family doing Kingdom Business: Governing from the Heavenlie

TĂŠo Hayashi Spain, International DunamisMovement.com FB: TheDunamisMovement Parachurch Christian Movement Focusing on Sustainable Revival

Marilyn Jackson Roseville, CA KingdomBuildersNetwork.org Leaders from the Gates of Authority Shifting Culture

Reinhard Bonnke & Daniel Kolenda Orlando, FL CFAN.org FB: CFANUSA Global Evangelistic Ministry

Southern California, National CRMovement.com Catalyzing Campuses into Salvation, Awakening, and Multiplication

Jeff Kreiser Sacramento, CA ActsOnline.net FB Page: TheActsGroup A Consultancy to Activate Unified Gospel Initiatives

Todd White LifestyleChristianity.com FB: LifestyleChristianity Redemption, Righteousness, and Seeing People Walk in their God-given Identity

Scott Smith FellowshipChamber.com Rocklin & Rancho Cordova, CA FB Page: FellowshipChamber United and Engaging Christian Businesspeople

California, International Vision OVSM.com FB: OVSM63 Campus Missionary Organization that reaches Public High Schools with the Gospel

Marcus Bigelow in Sacramento, CA ConveneNow.com International FB Page: ConveneNow CEO Peer Advisory to Grow Exceptional Businesses and High-Impact Leaders Cole Nevin Northern California FB Page: NorCalChristian Christian Concerts, Conferences and Events online listing

CRU.org FB: CruGlobal Spiritual Guidance, Resources and Programs People from all Cultures in Every Walk of Life

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MEGAMORPHOSIS - Issue 4 - July 2018  

This is called "Approachable" and it covers many stories of lives who have been radically transformed by the love of Christ.

MEGAMORPHOSIS - Issue 4 - July 2018  

This is called "Approachable" and it covers many stories of lives who have been radically transformed by the love of Christ.