Megamorphosis Magazine Issue 11 - Power (and love)

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A REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN & A NEW JESUS MOVEMENT IS ON THE RISE. IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP, CHURCH.

MAGAZINE

FOR THE RISK-TAKERS

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SECTION FEATURE

OCT 2020

#shareradicallove #expectmiracles

Then & Now: The Jesus Movement POWER + LOVE

Cover Photo by Paul Tellefsen @technopaul: Provided by Saturate OC


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CONTENTS

ISSUE 11 POWER + LOVE

CREATED, DESIGNED & EDITED BY A TEAM OF 4 JENENE STAFFORD + FOUNDER + CREATIVE DIRECTOR + WRITER NISSI GUIAO + EDITOR + WRITER + KEEPS JENENE SANE KEVIN CASTLE + WRITER + THE CALM IN THE STORM AARON GUZMAN + ALL THINGS INDESIGN + TRAINER Cover Photo by Paul Tellefsen | @technopaul A special thank you to our advertisers—thank you for making it possible to display our coffee table book quality magazine in kingdom businesses, boutique stores, Christian hubs, churches and on personal coffee tables.

16 THE ASHLEY LAUREN STORY

Overcoming Sexual Abuse - By Ashley-Lauren Elrod

22 THE REVIVAL OF THE PROMISE KEEPER MEN By Kevin Castle

39 MY HEART ABOUT LONNIE FRISBEE By Jenene Stafford

40 2020 REVOLUTION

40 2020 REVOLUTION

Then & Now (The Jesus Movement Section) - By Jenene Stafford

56 THE JESUS PEOPLE Then & Now Section - By Jenene Stafford

62 LONNIE FRISBEE STORY (PART 1) The Hippie Preacher By Jenene Stafford

82 PERSPECTIVES - THINK ABOUT IT

SECTION - By Dr. John Jackson 86 POWER + LOVE Think About It Section - By Jenene Stafford

96 FINAL WORD By Dr. Michael Brodeur (pastorscoach.com)

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Thank you Saturate OC for sending us gorgeous photos from your events. Thank you photographers for beautiful and quality work and for allowing us to feature your work in our coffee table quality magazine: Christian Reed, Melissa Poloncarz, Kara Beth Nixon and Gage Forster and Paul Tellefsen. You are all such pros!

MY HEART ABOUT LONNIE - BY JENENE

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THE JESUS PEOPLE

FOUNDER'S LETTER

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LONNIE FRISBEE: PART 1

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By Jenene Stafford

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HIGHLIGHTS - SEE THE SHIFT PG 15

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LOVING DIFFERENTLY

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POWERFUL MEN AND REVIVAL Man Camp Column by Pastor Zack Curry

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THE POWER OF SUFFERING

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THE TALLIT OF JESUS Roots Section - By Lori Hill

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TO STAND IN THE STORM Think About It Section - By Kevin Castle

Heather Murdock's Unleashed Column

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LEADERS NEED HEALING TOO Think About It Section - By Larry Hill

The Truth About Following Jesus Pastor Craig Sweeney Column

Nissi Guiao - His Nissi Column

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BEWARE

BULLRIDE: SOUNDS AROUND THE THRONE Roots Section - By Malvina Laudicina

Pastor Dean Deguara Column

Fav's: New Music + Books + Film

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LET US NOT GO BACK

4 THINGS YOU CAN ALL LEARN FROM MARKY My Brother with Down Syndrome - By Angela Manzanares

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Find Your True North SIGN UP FOR A SPIRITUAL GYM The Dokimos Project is an intense spiritual workout for marketplace influencers that will help you discover your unique identity in Christ, journey of hope and divine assignment. You will be commissioned to advance God's kingdom in your sphere of influence. This 12 week course is targeted for those called to the marketplace but open to all who want to grow their confidence and spiritual gifts. Join a growing number of marketplace ministers who are equipped and commissioned in their unique identity in Christ, gifting, journey of inner healing and calling to bring hope to all spheres of influence. Learn more at a guest event happening in the Sacramento Area. Come and check us out and you'll hear stories from other graduates of the impact of Dokimos Project Spiritual Gyms! Contact us at info@dokimosproject.com for details.

www.DokimosProject.com


+ FOUNDER'S LETTER

season and in every issue. We honor and thank you for coming alongside us in our journey and for sharing it with others in your churches, cities and nations.

POWER AND LOVE IS HERE

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ello Beautiful Friends, thank you for supporting us the last few years. It’s been quite a journey to display the beauty and uniqueness of the Church, issue after issue, to arrive at issue 11: Power + Love. We’ll remain faithful to display the creative, and perhaps even unorthodox or seemingly abnormal, ways of sharing God’s heart through this “coffee-table book” style publication as long as the Lord sees fit. We know that we “break all the rules” for publishing and that our style is not always “journalistic,” but it is by God’s design that we break through these imposed barriers to discover His heartbeat and creativity in ways people haven’t seen before. It’s our desire to not only share true stories, but to share the process and background of how we come to the themes, conclusions and narratives for each issue. We are undeniably undone and push relentlessly to uncover the gold that is in every

ISSUE 11 + POWER

REGARDING THIS ISSUE It’s been decades since, as a society, we have lived through a time that is so divided, chaotic, polarized and unsettling. Some feel as though there’s a puppet master at work, the Illuminati or a New World Order. Others see that God is unraveling a social-injustice mess in order to create a masterpiece of reconciliation. In the midst of a social war-zone, “Jesus People” like Sean Feucht are rising again, committed to "turning riots into revival," worshipping on the beaches and in the public square, and churches are shifting and rising to God's occasion. His hand is moving; and I pray we'll be willing to see that it's His hand that will continue to move in revolutionary ways to disrupt status quo Christianity and wake up a slumbering, sleepy, useless church. People are asking, “What is God saying?” It’s easy to scramble around trying to find solid ground. You’ll see a different reality depending on whether you’re looking toward the light or looking toward the darkness, looking to the world for answers or looking to the Bible for answers. That’s why we have an article called "Perspectives" (written by Dr. John Jackson on pg. 82) in this issue. We’re digging deep to find the perspective that matters most in the midst of these unprecedented and sobering times with biblical encouragement and wisdom to help us through this tumultuous and spiritually-trying journey. Believe it or not, there’s New Wine (pg 32) for us if we’ll continue to persevere and follow the voice of the Father rather than the voices of the media or masses. The Father has had us in a season where He is saying,"Come closer and

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see My righteousness," and this will continue until we face up to how far off we've been. He's calling men to rise in their intended position of a dignified strength, rather than a weakened state of oppression, where their eyes are not looking at a pornographic screen, but drawn back to their God. The Promise Keepers Movement (pg 22) is once again standing tall and leading men through a beautiful journey back to leadership, healing and strength. There is mega transformation and a modern reformation of Christianity that we’re going to gracefully stumble our way through to understand. There are many distinctions of a 2020 Revolution (pg 40) that are assuredly unfolding globally and it’s going to be messy, controversial and will come with more persecution, even amongst other believers. But the good news is, this new revolution will produce a powerful byproduct of evangelism, healing and, in time, unity. The acts of the apostles will live again in modern day through Christ’s Church and simultaneously, a minor, Job-type sifting is also here because the Father is looking for His True Believers. His refining fire is making us worthy to be His disciples. Many Christians are still trying to put God into a box that suits their personality, upbringing, denomination or political preference—while God wants us to learn how to unify centered around the One thing, the Cornerstone of

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our faith, Jesus Christ. What if...as the hippie “Jesus People” said in the 70s, there was just "One Way?" We're writing about them here (pg 56). There will always be people who have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying and those who do not. Still, it is our conviction at MM to bring deep and rich, biblical truths to this generation of believers as we contend for the Faith in a new, unfolding era of Christianity and culture. We want to reach the spiritually dull and hungry, hurting masses with a voice that is approachable, non-pretentious and real. It’s our prayer to take you higher than you hoped and deeper in your faith and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word in beautiful, thought-provoking and creative ways. But we have a prowling enemy and he knows the secret to a solid, unfading revival of the Church that pours over into culture—unity. We need a Great Awakening, that far surpasses those of the past, where we see with the Father's eyes. And, we all have to remember Satan and his spiritual forces are the great counterfeit. The deceiver of the nations will use every religious, denominational, political, cultural and media scheme to divide people and the Church and bring fear to humanity. He has a master plan to attack the trustworthiness of our Faith and present a new and better world. He’s out to distract us, to keep us deaf, blind and busy so that we remain useless in the cause of Christ. He’s out to steal, kill and destroy our souls, cities and nations. The if in "If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land," is extremely sobering in this controversial and political hour. Oh...but Jesus, He offers everlasting riches and glory. He is our Good News—a simple Truth. Follow the One and only Jesus Christ, the “Chief Cornerstone” of our faith. He alone ensures the foundation for salvation. Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore says the Lord God: ‘Behold I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious stone, a sure foundation.’” The theme and message of issue 11 is POWER…and love. There are many powers at work in the world and in the Church and there are more to come, but none that measure up to the power of Jesus Christ and His Gospel message of hope and salvation. My beautiful brothers and sisters, surely Jesus is drawing a line in the sand (and has lit the fuse of the dynamite) and we will never sugarcoat this truth with unicorns and rainbows—the time of grace is running short. He’s asking, “Will you take up your cross and follow after Me? Will you trust Me until the end? Will you be My witnesses?” These are the True Believers' mandates.

To sum up the topics of this 11th issue, The Jesus Movement (Then & Now) is the main section we're highlighting (starts pg 40). We're setting the record straight with the first in a 3-part series on the mind-blowing story of the "Hippie Preacher," Lonnie Frisbee (pg 62), based on his own life story co-written with Roger Sachs on Lonnie's death bed over 30 years ago. Three timely books in a series released in the last year called "Not by Might, Nor by Power." This issue's article features article one in a 3-part series. We're taking you down the documented history of revival to the 70s to Asbury, Kentucky's Repentance Revival that swept the nation's colleges and universites and to "The Jesus Revolution" stated by Time Magazine in 1971 that began on the West Coast of California. A Jesus Revival (a Bible and repentance revival) is on the horizon again (50 years later), repentance is stirring in our hearts, the Christian patriots are fighting back and His Spirit is about to pour down on all flesh again in our desperation. Regardless of what the perspective of the world or the nation is, a greater awakening and a revolution of love and of truth is going to flood California and the nation in the center of a war zone. In the midst of the next season, there will be alternating scenes of distress, shaking, refinement and glory, as was the case 50 years ago during the first Jesus Movement of the 60s and 70s. Ultimately, the Church and our hearts will be wrecked by the ligntning of God's hand as He breaks the foundations of everything that keeps His Church small, hidden, quiet and insignificant in culture. Why? Because the world is dying for True Believers to show up and manifest the power and love of Jesus. And, thankfully, He is rooting for His Church and He's interceding for you and for me while waiting for us to realize that recess is over and it's time to line up—to fear God above all else (including COVID and the political landscape). The harvest is great but the workers are few and He's calling you to join His army. You have been commissioned and the inauguration of the Kingdom of God is coming. Jesus, our Bridegroom, wants you dressed in the finest linen, but first we must wear the sackcloth of humility and repentance. It's time to trust God to do a work in us that requires complete sober-mindedness­as the future will require bravery, wisdom and obedience. I hear him saying, “Will you let Me lead the way? Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit we will win this war," says the Lord. Also, please vote.

Jls.

JENENE STAFFORD Founder & Creator

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7 Elements of the Culture of the Megamorphosis Magazine Tribe We believe that the culture of Megamorphosis Magazine represents the Kingdom of God that Jesus came to establish.

When we gather, this is what it’s about—growing more into the likeness of Jesus and becoming true ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. We’re raising up an army—super soldiers for Jesus and the cause of LOVE.

MERCH WE LOVE. Click image to buy.

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We see our tribe as family, not as a guest in our home. We have a love that heals and inspires.

We honor God, our callings in life and each other, and we seek out the gold in every person.

HONOR

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We’re going after unity in the Spirit and we’re praying for more revelation.

We forgive just like Jesus forgives us every day. We strive to give no opportunity to the enemy.

UNITY

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Jesus is the Way, the Truth & the Life and He’s our solid foundation.

We are the Church:

CHURCH HOODIE UNISEX $25

B. Bold & Brilliant R. Rulers and Rolemodels A. Anointed & Accountable

We sacrifice for the needs of the family of God and we strive to put others’ needs above our own.

E. Enlightened & Engaged

ISSUE 11 + POWER

$55

We love Jesus Culture because they continue to be on board with what the Father is doing and they’re adjusting with this season. They rise to the occasion and meet the needs of their church whether they meet in person or not. And, their merch is always so cool.

BRAVERY

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SACRIFICE

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FORGIVENESS

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TRUTH

JESUS CULTURE

store.jesusculture.com

LOVE

V. Valiant & Victorious

“CHURCH” BLUE TEE

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SECTIONS OF MM RISK-TAKERS People willing to risk it all for Jesus Creative risk-takers defying status quo Christianity

UP & COMERS Musicians & Songwriters People, maybe unkown, but God is making known in the marketplace

MOVERS & SHAKERS Movements and leaders on the rise Movements that are shaking things up for the sake of the Father’s heart

THEN & NOW

Our Mission Is to Go, to Send & to Love “At the heart of all that we do is to take Jesus’ words seriously—to GO—and it doesn’t matter how we’re called to do it, but we’re making it happen.”

ROOTS

HOLY FASHIONISTA Fa s h i o n e d i n t h e image of Christ Models, designers and fashion bloggers impacting the world of fashion

OUR VISION: To remember the new commandment Jesus gave—“To love one another” (John 15:5).

OUR TRIBE: We’re creative risk-takers changing lives, shaking things up & defying status quo Christianity.

WHAT WE STRIVE FOR:

Megamorphosis Magazine is a spirit-led magazine. We’re passionate about highlighting what’s on God’s heart and who He is using to go into the marketplace. We’re not out searching for people to spotlight—we’re simply listening for the Holy Spirit to disrupt our lives and our agenda so every day—every hour even—we’re available to hear who God wants put on these anointed pages.

The Jesus Movement Unique people passionately bringing love and the power of the Kingdom

Our Jewish roots Learning to understand the Jewish festivals and the mysteries of the Bible

OUR MISSION: To go. To send. To love.

“THE SHIFT”

1) To be on God’s agenda, not our own. 2) To be exactly who God has mandated us to be—nothing more and nothing less. 3) To fulfill Jesus’ request to “display the beauty and uniqueness of His bride” per the words of Jesus himself. 4) To be authentic and real (not religious) and to share radical love.

LET’S MAKE THIS FILM A HIT LIKE THE CHOSEN.

A NEW EPIC FILM WE CAN INVEST IN

“From the beautiful production value to the importance of this story, I was blown away.” - DALLAS JENKINS, DIRECTOR, THE CHOSEN TV SERIES

VOICES & ART S p e a ke r s & a r t i s t s bringing brilliance Voices and artists that God is using to share His heart with the world

HOLYWOOD Actors and f ilm industry professionals called to bring Jesus to the big screen A new Hollywood will rise in a new place and we’re going to document it

BRAVE Wo m e n r i s i n g u p and transforming their stories

INVEST IN “THE SHIFT” FILM AND HELP US GET ITS MESSAGE OUT THERE, JUST LIKE WE DID WITH “THE CHOSEN” SERIES . . . AND LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED— NOW MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE WATCHING!

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Get the scoop on my conversation with the director, Brock Heasley on page 15.

https://studios.vidangel.com/theshift-2

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CHECK OUT THINGS HAPPENING THAT WE KNOW WILL INSPIRE AND CHALLENGE YOU OCTOBER 26,2020

FAV’S

1. PROMISE KEEPERS A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

Check out the things happening that we love, starting above. (Click the images to go to the website, app, music or social media.)

2. FAV’S

THE CHOSEN TV SERIES The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. Created outside of the Hollywood system, The Chosen allows us to see Him through the eyes of those who knew him. No matter where you are at in your journey with Jesus Christ, this TV show is for you.

http://www.thechosen.tv/

Books we love

Our country is being torn apart by division. People are feeling more disconnected than ever before. And as Americans have stayed home, social media has provided controversies to feed this spirit of division. On October 26th, Promise Keepers is calling individuals, churches, and ministry leaders to join us for Promise 6 Sunday. This event is an opportunity to take a pivotal step towards UNITY. To love and serve our neighbors, we first have to know who they are. From October 9th to October 24th, we are inviting churches to review and share a roundtable discussion on unity produced by Promise Keepers. The roundtable features leaders from across racial and denominational lines—Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, Pastor AR Bernard, Sen. James Lankford, Pastor Donald Burgs, Chad Hennings, and moderated by Ken Harrison. Register Now!

CLICK TO BUY OR GO TO AMAZON BOOKS.COM

Register now!

FAV’S

PromiseKeepersevent.com

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EXODUS CRY

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MUSIC WE LOVE.

Sean Feucht

The sex industry is a global system of violence, exploitation, and gender inequality that encompasses prostitution, pornography, and stripping. This predatory industry preys upon our societies’ most vulnerable. It’s driven by the demand of men and necessitates a constant supply of women and children who are sold for the profit of pimps, traffickers, and other predatory stakeholders. Some are trafficked through means of force, fraud, or coercion, while others are seduced by the deceptive “empowerment” narrative in our culture, and still others are compelled to join the sex industry in order to survive. Learn more about how Exodus Cry fights for justice.

Jesusculture.com

ExodusCry.com

OneRace Leads the Charge in Atlanta for Displaying Unity UNITY IS ALSO ON GOD ’S HEART - Regardless of what the world is doing, the Kingdom of God is rising we love and support Promise Keepers and OneRace for being a great example of working to unify the body of Christ.

Find Me, Karina Kudina Spotify

4. ONERACE MOVEMENT www.oneracemovement.com

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ONERACE MOVEMENT OneRacemovement.com

Abolitionists WE LOVE

A call to end racial violence. Through prayer and fasting, relationship and collaboration, OneRace exists to displace the spirit of racism and release a movement of racial reconciliation across Atlanta, the Southeast, and the nation. God desires a young adult movement that will counter the tide of racial division in our city and nation. “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…” – Acts 17:26. | Photo of Josh Clemons, Co-Executive Director Photo taken by Maria Oswalt

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Check out the things happening that we love and support. (Click the images or links to go to the website, app, or music to purchase merchandise or courses if you’re viewing online.) FAV’S

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ONERACE COURSES Teaching a city to love regardless of color, class or culture.

OneRaceMovement.com

MERCH WE LOVE. OneRaceSwag.com $40 OneRaceMovement.com Description: Starts October 6, 2020 Reconciliation 201: Race, Racism, & The Gospel What does the gospel say about race and racism? What is my role in this conversation? During this course, we will seek to understand the construct of race, and evil of racism. We will explore the meanings of these concepts, their effects in society, seeking to understand our role as believers.

RECONCILE HOODIE

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$25

REVIVE CREWNECK SHIRT $25

OneRaceMovement.com Description: Starts Nov 3, 2020 Reconciliation 301: Unearthing Your Cultural Identity Everyone has a culture, but few realize it. During this course, we will explore majority and minority cultural identity. We will seek to understand majority culture and its effects on minority culture. Additionally, we will offer tools and insights on how to navigate forward as both a member of majority culture and minority culture.

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UNITED CREWNECK SHIRT

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Up & Comers Update: (Singers & Songwriters)

music we love.

UPDATES ON OUR UP & COMER MUSICIANS Follow them on Instagram.

Wild Heart by Kim Walker-Smith

1. Heather Evans @heatherevansmusic

2. James Love @jamesalove

Check out her latest song on racial reconciliation and unity called All Together.

James has released his first album Almost Home this year and we love it!

Worth The Fight by Kim Walker

3. Justin Gambino @justingambinomusic 4. Karina Kudina @kari_kudi Justin is still touring the US even with the challenges of COVID and cancellations.

Karina just released a new single, See Your Pain available on Spotify. (Story Pg 88) Quiet Hope by Heather Evans

UP & COMER MUSIC Music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, Itunes, Soundcloud and Amazon Music

All Together single by Heather Evans and Don Drapery

ISSUE 11 + POWER

Almost Home album by James Love

Anchored by Justin Gambino

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See Your Pain single by Karina Kudina + PJ Pate (Story pg 88)

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EXODUS CRY ExodusCry.com

Abolitionists WE LOVE

Exodus Cry is committed to abolishing sex trafficking and breaking the cycle of commercial sexual exploitation while assisting and empowering its victims. They work to shift culture with powerful messaging through films, videos, podcasts and articles. They advthanocate for laws that uproot commercial sexual exploitation and defend those who are sexually exploited for profit. They engage with those who are currently bound in sexual exploitation and lovingly offer them a way out.

OUR EYES ARE ON YOU GOD CONTINUES TO POSITION HIS UP & COMERS + SINGERS, SONGWRITERS, ACTORS, DIRECTORS AND ARTISTS Follow them on Instagram.

+ Ricky Borba

+ Jonathan Roumie

+ Brock Heasley

Ricky has two new films, My Brother’s Crossing (out now) and Hope for the Holidays.

Jonathan Roumie plays the role of Jesus Christ in The Chosen TV Series.

The director of the film The Shift and author of several books, including a memoir.

@borbafett

@jonathanroumieofficial

@brockheasley

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KEN HARRISON, A CEO WHO KEEPS HIS PROMISE AND LEADS MEN TO BE MEN.

PROMISE KEEPERS PromiseKeepers.org

Today, we’re on the move again. Under the new leadership of Ken Harrison, we’re praying for massive revival and transformation in our nation by 2025. You’re invited to join with us. More than ever, America needs a revival of godly men. Our nation faces problems that can only be overcome when men of integrity — promisekeeping men — fulfill their destinies as godly husbands, fathers, and leaders.

A Movement Reignited to Reach the Next Generation. See the article about the “REVIVAL of the Promise Keeper Men” in this current issue on page 16.

Promise Keepers is here today to reunite, rebuild, re-imagine, and inspire the hearts of men.

Photo by Monty Nuss

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THE SHIFT FILM

LET’S MAKE THIS FILM A HIT LIKE THE CHOSEN.

“It is a modern, sci-fi retelling of the story of Job. I have been blessed with an inside peek into what is coming. It is stunning. It is epic. It is an emotional roller-coaster. It is soul wrenching.” - Cara Cotham “I think there is a movement of creativity that is happening in the faith-based world. I think The Chosen is included in that, and people like Dallas Jenkins . . .and Brock, I think you are among this new school of directors and filmmakers.” - Matt Nelson, Co-composer

GOD IS MOVING ON THE BIG SCREEN WITH A NEW WAVE OF QUALITY FILMMAKERS THAT ARE CROSSING ALL KINDS OF BOUNDARIES AND HE WANTS THE CHURCH TO GET INVOLVED, BECOME A FAN . . . AND INVEST e’ve watched The Chosen soar because believers got behind it and we’re confident we’ll see THE SHIFT soar as well because it is also an epic type of project. This film is needed, it’s timely. It’s going to wake people up in a unique, powerful and challenging way. The short film leaves you with your jaw on the floor! I can only imagine what a full feature film will be like. We know it won’t leave you wanting. I got a chance to speak with Brock personally a couple of days ago and I can tell you he has a sincere goal to “reach people who would NEVER go see a faith-based film.” This film was something he said he needed to make. “I wanted to see this film, but it didn’t exist,” he shared. So he created it himself. It’s a film that’s for people in the middle of their faith journey, asking real tough questions like ‘why do we live in such a dark world?’ It’s for people struggling to find the light when life throws real hard things at you. But, it’s also for people who are trying to keep the faith and not lose it all together. It is a soul wrenching emotional roller-coaster ride, but in a faith-building, unusual and captivating way. That’s how I felt when I watched it.

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THE SHIFT is unabashedly a science fiction film. It is also unabashedly a faith-based film. It is a modern day, sci-fi re-telling of the story of Job. Job’s story is that he was a person who already had faith and was then seemingly abandoned by God and severely tested. Job’s test was to endure, to make the choice, every day, to still believe despite all that came against him. It’s about a man who is approached by Satan himself and offered fame and wealth in exchange for doing the devil’s bidding. This will be a film about choice. This is what Dan Haseltine had to say about the project: “You know that I am a calloused, embittered, curmudgeon when it comes to faith-based films. The reason for this, beyond a legacy of bad lighting, terrible cinematography, awful sound editing, regrettable acting performances, and over-propagandized dialogue, is that it has taken a long

About Brock

time for faith-based film makers to let their characters tell the truth about the human experience. The Shift is exciting to me because it is an intelligent concept that elbows new territory in a genre that has spent too much time retreading over the same plot structures and sports team conversions. This film tells a much better story.” “The Shift, in as much as I have seen, and know, is creative truthtelling,” Dan stated. THE SHIFT has so much promise that Dallas Jenkins (Director of The Chosen) has joined the incredible team of award-winning producers (Orlando Gomez) and composers (Dan Haseltine, Matthew S. Nelson) as Executive Producer. Reserve your space to invest in their second round at VIDANGEL STUDIOS. Follow their progress on Instagram and Join the Fan Club. Go watch the short film and share it with your friends.

I: @theshiftfilm F: @theshiftyfilm

Writer and director Brock Heasley is an award-winning filmmaker with a passion for telling stories of hope on the screen and on the page. Brock has written several books, including a memoir The Other Side of Fear: A True Story of Murder, Forgiveness, and the Peace Only Faith Can Bring. He is the creator of the comic The SuperFogeys, which was recently collected as a graphic novel.

https://studios.vidangel.com/theshift-2

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+Brave

Ashley -Laur The

Ashley-Lauren's story of overcoming sexual abuse is a testimony for all women who know there's a strong woman hidden inside them who knows it's time to be be free.

BY ASHLEY LAUREN ELROD

he Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, he lays me down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside still waters, he restoreth my soul.� This passage of Scripture has gotten me through the darkest of times throughout my life, and became a battle cry against the enemy when I was literally fighting every day to hang on to some sense of life. I was seven years old when I attempted to help my first wounded animal. Being the nature lover that I am, at six years old on a breezy, spring day, I discovered a robin with a broken leg, tangled in a pop divider. I urgently tried to help the helpless bird break free. I will never forget that moment when my father and I did just that, and will never forget the moment God helped me to do that very same thing on my own.

T

ISSUE 11 + POWER

We all end up broken at one time or another, and unfortunately I ended up broken at a very young age at the hands of my abuser. Sadly, not just one but a few throughout my life. Growing up, no one ever suspected a thing because I hid it so well, and covered it with an infectious smile and personality that people always wanted to be around. It was a secret of indescribable pain that I was going to take with me to the grave, because I didn't want to admit that someone I knew, trusted, and loved had sexually taken advantage of my innocence. It's not an easy thing to come to terms with on your own, and the older you get, the bigger the wound grows without you seeking the help you need. And looking back on my life, I notice the more I avoided facing those demons, the harder and blocked my life became, until God decided to dismantle me. It was my senior year of high school, before graduation, when the secret of my sexual assault was finally released into the light. I remember that day too well, as it was the first time my body had ever experienced true, sideswiped shock. I don’t think my parents and I realized it at the time, but remembering that moment now, I realize that was my first episode of PTSD, and I would encounter this

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story of OvercomingBrokenness

Photo by Emily Florence Zerella

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breakdown again years later. It was a beautiful spring day in April of 2007, and my mom was combing my hair, preparing me to get it styled for our senior year fashion show. I know till this day, even more so, the moment that happened next was completely a God thing. Though I don’t understand why these things happen, I know He doesn’t allow us to stay in darkness forever, especially when we’re transitioning from one season to the next. My mother casually and cautiously brought up that someone in our family had accused another family member of multiple counts of sexual abuse. At first, I tried to play it off, because it was something I hid for so long that I had grown accustomed to the numb feeling and facade I hid behind all of those years. But then my mom stopped combing my hair, looked at me and with a shaken tone, asked “Ashley, has this happened to you?” As I type this, it brings tears to my eyes, to think how hard it must have been for my mother to even ask this of her daughter. And I know the answer genuinely came as the most darkened blow. My body started shaking uncontrollably, when I finally let out the truth I had held in for over eleven years of my life. Nothing can prepare you for the moment you have to tell your family, especially at that age, that you had been sexually assaulted and abused as a child. Nothing. I went into a daze where my mind went somewhere else, the place I always went when the abuse was happening or when any sort of conflict ever happened in my life. But, then my mom pulled me back to reality, and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to hide from this anymore. She started crying and hugging me as

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she called my dad who was out on a walk to come home immediately. I remember the one thing she kept yelling at my dad when he arrived was “We thought we were protecting her; we didn’t protect her.” That day, my journey truly started. And it, oftentimes, brought me back to the story of Moses, who started off as an heir to the throne and yet his identity was dismantled and later discovered the day he killed a man. I found myself on a very similar road after my tragedy had been brought to light like Moses. I greatly struggled before encountering the Lord in my own version of the burning bush and was called to step out of brokenness and to step into purpose to help others rise out of their own personal captivity. Though I knew God from a very young age, as I was born a seer, which is another layer to the story for a different time, I honestly didn’t truly know how to let Him heal this trauma. I covered it with distractions up until 2013. My distractions appeared to be good until they weren’t anymore. Career building, music, acting—and I even had a major benefit show to benefit the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, which is the organization that processed my case. I was so good at deflecting, masking, and pretending I truly thought nothing could break me until it did, and it happened to be a relationship which I treated more importantly than God himself. The trust was broken on his behalf and led me to a state of darkness that I honestly can’t fully explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced manic depression. The wall was completely broken, and God allowed it to happen, because He loved me enough to not allow me to stay blinded. Isn’t it funny how He does that, and, in the moment we can’t stand Him until we’re healed years

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later and fully understand why it happened? It’s a true, powerful testament to His love, that we too are pillars like Moses, Ruth, Esther, and Job, going through our own books of life that may end up in an article of a magazine one day! After that relationship ended, let’s just say that year I understood why Britney Spears shaved her head. I was dealing with a painful, new condition known as Crohn's, diagnosed with PTSD after a very public outburst, became a functional alcoholic with barely a job, lost an unborn child, and was informed my childhood abuser was being released from prison. Honestly, every single day I had the strength to even move and not cry, I wanted to jump in front of a bus. My mind, and spirit, had been completely shattered along with my false sense of identity, all because I chose to try to do it on my own and not release this trauma to the Lord. It was as if deep down I wasn’t facing the truth that maybe I didn’t actually trust Him because of what happened to me, and that He didn’t deserve to take this pain because it was mine and something I thought I had control over. “If You weren’t there in my pain,” I thought, “why should I trust You’ll heal it?” Boy, I couldn’t have been more ignorant. He rocked my world, just like Moses, and the enemy definitely tried to do the same. Remember earlier, I said I was born a seer? Well, that is a version of a prophetic being that can see things within the spiritual realm, who sees hidden truths and is bearer of new truth. It’s hard for people to get things past me, and in the present day, I use that to help them. God has specifically given me the gift to see other people’s trauma and to walk with them as they face it and begin to heal through it. It is absolutely phenomenal to live

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unashamed of this gift now, when for years I almost let it drive me insane; which, like I said earlier, is a whole other story for a different time, but flow with me here for a second. In that season, my gift began to grow at a rapid pace, which I still find interesting, yet it makes so much sense now at thirty-one years of age when I’m not thriving during a pandemic of many sorts. Most of the pillars in the Bible started to come into their purpose around their thirties, even Jesus himself whose purpose was to die on the cross for our sins. The world tells us we must be successful around a certain age, yet they say nothing about walking in purpose and coming of age and what that process actually looks like. But praise God we have a mighty Word that literally lays the truth out for us and transcends time and worldly ideologies. It literally speaks the truth of life, love, pain, and the grace needed to be sustained through the very troubled days we find ourselves in, and that personally blows my mind. That year of darkness became the year I started to truly step into my light of purpose. I started being approached in my dreams by the Lord and the enemy, and they grew so intense that I could barely wake up. I also started being approached by friends and family in my dreams and they would sit on my bed and tell me their feelings, which in reality ended up being accurate. Then, dreams of destruction, events, and more came every single night. “What’s wrong with me?" I

thought. How was it even possible to be seeing these things at an in-depth level? Soon, it went from dreams to reality, and I started to see and feel the truth of people around me, to the point that it drove me to drink at the time, because I thought I was at the point I’d have to seek a mental ward. I started noticing these feelings in grade school, which led to me being highly emotion-

over and over again, and the more I did, the more it backed away from me. Yep, I may sound insane, but you’ll see where I’m going with this. I finally woke up and lunged up out of my bed at exactly 3:33am, which is stamped in my journal, and I opened my Bible for the first time in about a year and it landed on Isaiah 61, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” Chills. Because this is my life banner now, that has been randomly prophesied over my life multiple times since that year by strangers. As I type this, I got chills and a revelation that even though the enemy approached me, God didn’t leave me. In fact, He was there the entire time of the attack and used that moment to test me like Jesus was tested in the wilderness. Why? To strengthen, to wake me up, to make me aware of the truth of why I am on this earth; and I can truly say that has unfolded in the most beautiful way. Though that moment shook me, there would be one more test in order for God to truly set me on the

“ . . .I got chills and a revelation that even though the enemy approached me, God didn't leave me.” al, yet obviously I didn’t know how to articulate these feelings at that time. No one in my life at that point had ever talked to me about the prophetic and how these gifts were even possible in today’s world, and churches can be touch and go with this topic. Winding back, the enemy approached me in my dream first, and came to me in the version of my late dog Serenity. She jumped on my bed and I began to pet her, and she quickly changed into this deranged black wolf. Immediately, my body froze and I could not wake up. I was screaming as the enemy stood over me and thought at that moment I was going to die in my sleep. The only thing that could move was my mouth, and the only thing that came to my mind was “Jesus” and I started yelling that name

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+Brave path that I’m on now, and that would be the night I decided would be my last. You’re probably thinking, “After all of that, you still needed another wake up call!?” Yes. Yes I did, because though this amazing moment, which I couldn’t explain or really trust anyone but my dad to talk about, happened, the rain kept pouring and I kept letting it. I still wasn’t truly seeking the help I needed to heal from what had been following me around throughout my life. After the moment with the enemy, I saw God before I attempted to test the waters of suicide on my way back to my apartment. I was numb and it was in the middle of the day of downtown Chicago, and I was surrounded by people on their lunch breaks, hustling to grab something before heading back to their busy schedules. I stood in that moment on the corner waiting for the light to change and began to silently cry amongst all of these people. I felt in that time, “I am not seen; people do not see me. They do not see, so why is it worth it?” And if I could go back to that 20-something year old, I would say “Babygirl, God sees you and that is the only thing that truly matters, no matter what happens” but I’m saying that to you reading this now. God sees you and that is the only thing that truly matters, and you are seen and loved by the people in your world who you choose to trust. Don’t let the enemy tell you any different. I saw God. He had come to me in my dreams in and out in a version of a white wolf leading me through the snow after the enemy encounter, yet I didn’t realize it was Him. But as I stood on the corner amidst the sea of people, I saw Him standing there across the street near the pot belly underneath my building clear as day. He appeared right before the light changed as I closed my eyes, took a breath, and leaned my foot to step out as a bus was going astronomically fast to go past the light. Mind you, this bus was touching the curb, and as

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I stepped out, a lady from behind me pulled on my coat and shouted at me “Careful!” I didn’t even say anything to her, I just looked and kept walking. It’s odd, because I couldn’t have felt like more of an empty vessel than I did then. I reached a point where I felt nothing, even staring at this wolf, that wasn’t really there to other people as if it were normal, I felt nothing as I closed my eyes to test if I would get hit by this bus and my life would be over. I felt nothing when that kind and conscious stranger saved my life. I just went back to my apartment with the massive bottle of wine I bought and drank and I cried out to God in anger, hitting the floor, seeing flashbacks of pain, saying how much I couldn’t stand Him. I always tell people it felt as if the enemy himself had chained himself onto my back and slowly sucked all of the actual life out of me. Because, my sense of humor was gone, my smile was gone—everything was gone. I didn’t want to go on living my life like that because it was not a way for a person to live. So I wrote my suicide note, set out a bottle of pain meds I was prescribed, and the wine alongside it, and wept in my kitchen near my phone with the intent to call my dad. Instead, I found myself looking at a family photo of us on my fridge from about seven years old at Wisconsin Dells, which for a moment took me back to a better time. I took the photo off the fridge, and laid it next to the note, and opened the bottle of pills. The next moment that came was one I will always remember for the rest of my life. A co-worker, who is now one of my greatest friends, Lucy, saw my light go out from the day she met me to the woman I had become at that moment. She constantly called and texted me to check in and to let me know I was loved by her and God. Yet, it’s insane how, when your mind is so focused on the pain you’re in, it distracts you from the truth that you indeed are

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truly seen. My phone rang, but I did not answer, yet I heard her voice. You read that right. I was not that intoxicated nor crazy, trust me. I know it was another supernatural moment of God getting my attention. I suddenly heard her talking loudly on the line, and I picked up the phone and began to break down. “I can’t do this anymore, Lucy. I cannot live this life. It’s not living at all and I have tried my best, but I wrote a note, and I am done. Can you tell my parents if they ever come in to work that I’m sorry?” She was panicked in desperation, yet kept a cool composure, and said her and her fiacnce, Adrian, were on their way, and to hold on for at least one hour. Her voice soothed my soul enough to do as she asked of me, and I waited for their arrival. When they showed up, they sat with me as I began to rock back and forth on the floor, and God and the enemy appeared. This is very important, because I want people to truly understand God is not religious or zealous. He is a mighty, infinite and spiritual being that truly goes beyond complete understanding in the natural mind. And I am only a true follower and lover of who He is because of this night—not because I grew up in church, not because I can recite Scripture, but because I had encounters that I still truly will never be able to properly articulate. They were there and they began to circle me, and as my good friend said recently, God allowed me to experience the war; that war was over my soul. As they circled me, I began to cry harder and harder as Lucy attempted to comfort me. “I’m going crazy,” I kept shouting, “This is where it ends. Do you see what I’m seeing?” I didn’t stop…until the white wolf made this sound that pierced my soul. It was as if it were a loud whistle which followed with a voice that said, “ENOUGH.” I type this in tears reliving that moment. Enough. Enough. Enough. That word saved my life. That moment saved my life. God.

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Saved. My. Life. And I woke up in that very moment as if the shackles of a decade had broken off my back. Lucy and Adrian can both attest to this, as if I became a different version of myself in that moment. I stopped yelling and crying, looked up, and went to sit on my couch. I’m laughing because I remember them both looking over like, “Okay…what in the heck is happening right now?” And they both came and sat on the couch with me. To break the ice, Adrian looked in my disheveled kitchen and smiled, saying “Well, you been drinking much?” And we all burst into laughter which made me instantly realize something shifted, because that was the first time in over a year I had laughed. And boy, don’t you take that for granted like I did, because once something as simple as laughter is gone, you miss it beyond belief. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, he lays me down in green pastures, leads me beside still waters, he restoreth my soul.” Seven years later, I am thirty-one years young, and I am in the best possible place I could be in my life, personally and professionally. And the way he has restored and healed my wounds for me to lead others to do the same has been nothing short of a miracle. That is not to say the road has been “peaches and cream” or ever will be since these moments, but now I have a relationship with the one and true God that no one can ever tell me isn’t real, because they were not there. My family wasn’t even there. There were three living beings in that moment who will always know the truth of what happened in which I’m declaring now to all of you—myself,

Lucy and Adrian. I find myself over a decade later being presented with glorious opportunities to travel and preach God’s Word and truth to congregations, conferences, bars, streets, and everywhere else you can name. To lead those in a time of genuine worship in the sanctuary and prestigious music venues which reach souls near and far from Him. And I’m so blessed to now sit on the Board of Advisors for the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center going from being a victim that stepped through their doors to now being a healed warrior leading a movement, all the while working to receive my mental health

we end up truly carrying the soul banner for our lives into the world. Trust me, this was not my plan at all in life to be doing what I’m doing. I wanted to be a well-known actress inspiring people through television and film and creating projects that mean something. I thought I had it all together until He said it was time to dismantle all that I had known to be true. I was confident in myself, but I wasn’t actually confident in Him, which led me to my journey of self discovery in which I still am experiencing in many ways. And though He has blessed me abundantly with several desires of the heart, He has led me to my purpose which is greater than a career, relationship, or anything else I may desire. He led me to a place of life after overcoming great brokenness. Like that bird helped me to fly, I’m passionate about showing others that it’s possible to do the same. If you’re reading this right now, remember you were born with great purpose, and it’s your duty to pierce the veil to truly discover it. Sometimes drastic things will happen to get our attention, sometimes they are subtle turns, but trust that it’s always God pointing you in the right direction. Sometimes, pointing us in the right direction looks a lot like dismantling everything known to be true to actually discover the real truth that there is more and that He is the way, the truth, and the light. Selah.

“Babygirl, God sees you and that is the only thing that truly matters, no matter what happens.” counseling certification to further equip the ministry I have been called to lead for trauma survivors. Does the course of my life sound familiar? Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor and has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.” My heart is for the broken, and through the gift God has blessed me with, I see that within people. And if they are open to it and to Him, I help them process it and set them up with what they need spiritually and practically to heal and continue the cycle. God is intentional and is a God of order and process; it’s only when we truly take heed to what He is doing that

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Ashley Lauren is a singer, songwriter, speaker and minister. Follow her on Instagram @ashleylaurenofficial or visit her website at www.ashleylaurensmusic.com

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The

REVIVAL OF THE PROMISE KEEPER MEN BY KEVIN CASTLE

They kept their promise and came back in 2020 with a serious bang, UNITY is now the name of the game.

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omething is rising. Can you feel it? There is a groundswell, a movement forming, a remnant growing amongst the ashes. This remnant is training, is arming itself, is putting on the armor of God to wage against the enemy. Likewise, there is a void in this world left behind by years of neglect and spiritual apathy promulgated by weak men. These men have abandoned their posts in the line of battle, have abandoned their women and children for digital copies, and have quit on and ignored the callings of God in their lives. They think it’s acceptable to spend an hour a week with God and twenty hours a week watching Netflix. They treat God as a slot machine, praying whenever they need to win the jackpot and yet ignore him when the timing isn’t convenient. On July 31st and August 1st, over 100,000 men logged online to join Promise Keepers on their crusade to end this pandemic of weak Men. For two days speakers heralded the messages that God had given them, mes-

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sages of hope and battle cries of war in an effort to wake the sleeping and raise the proverbial dead. The task of assembling over 100,000 men wasn’t easy. Because of the pandemic, the entire organization had to pivot and Ken Harrison and Judge Vance Day, the leaders of Promise Keepers, lead the charge. In 5 months they went from a fully planned, sold out, in-person event to a multi-platform online experience. Speakers had to coordinate efforts across state lines, back end systems had to be created to facilitate such a huge crowd, and so many more things had to change in a moment’s notice. One of the first speakers was Bishop Joseph Garlington and his message came from Micah 2:12-13. “... I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. 13 He who opens the breach goes up before them; they break through and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king passes on before them, the Lord at their head.” Promise Keepers began in 1990 with 72 men, chief among them Bill McCartney, who met in Boulder Colorado. Their mission, to train and teach on what it means to be godly men. They organized and planned and prayed, and in July of 1991 they had their first event with 4,200 men. The organization reached its peak in 1997 when between 600,000 and 800,000 men met at the national mall in Washington D.C. What God did in the 1990s He wants to do today. It’s clear that men are hungry for something greater and the lack of spiritual male leadership keeps growing.This lack has caused innumerous divisions among the churches of today, causing strife where there should be love, enemies where there should be friends, and victims where there should be the victors. Only Jesus can solve our divisions. When we focus on Jesus and focus on

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PROMISE 6 - UNITY A PROMISE KEEPER IS COMMITTED TO REACHING BEYOND ANY RACIAL AND DENOMINATIONAL BARRIERS TO DEMONSTRATE THE POWER OF BIBLICAL UNITY.

Photo by Gage Forester | @gage_forster

becoming Christ-like, we acquire His grace. Grace is the empowering presence of God that enables me to be me and do what I do. Without grace, men are nothing but hollow vessels willing to be filled by anything. Willie Alfonso, Chaplin for the New York Yankees, was next and he shared his testimony. Growing up in an abusive home, Willie was kicked out when he was a teenager and was forced to sleep on the streets for years. He remembers eating out of garbage cans and begging for money, literally doing anything he could to survive.

As an adult he became addicted to drugs, but somehow also got himself off the streets. He got married and found work, but his addictions got the better of him and started taking over his life. And when he found Jesus, he was healed of his addiction. Wherever you are, and whatever you’ve done, God can take your broken mess, what the enemy meant for evil, and He can turn it for good. As each speaker took the stage and gave their message, that one thought, that God will use your trials and tribulations and turn them into testimonies, was

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always at the forefront of these speakers' minds. God called each of these men and challenged them to reach for something greater, and He’ll do the same for you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have training for what God has called you to do, He’ll provide it. All you have to do is keep showing up. The pastor of Rock Church in San Diego, Miles Mcpherson, called men to be accountable. His message was clear: let go of control of your life. Some people ask God to be their Savior but then go and do exactly the same things.

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They don’t change; they don’t pray or pick up their bibles or witness to their friends or change their bad habits. Some people have never asked God to be the Savior of their lives because they don’t want to let go of control. There is some aspect of their current life they are afraid of surrendering, and the unknown is more terrifying than their current reality, even if it is causing them pain. Like Peter in Matthew 14:29, if God has called you to greater things, eventually you’re going to have to leave the boat. The boat is secure, it's the only thing you can hold on to because it’s all you know. But if you want greater things in life, you have to leave the familiar and walk into the unfamiliar. If God has called you to a new place, He’s already on his way there and He’s waiting for you to take the steps. And even if you fall, He’s got you. The CEO of Promise Keepers, Ken Harrison, took the stage and told everyone that a promise keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity. It’s clear our country is in need of unity and in order to cause such change we need to unify the church. It’s ok to identify with culture, but not ok for our culture to control our identity. It’s ok to disagree about small theological differences; we don’t have to run off and start a different church or go somewhere else every time there’s a disagreement. The Apostle Paul spoke of unity in Galatians 3:28 ,”There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We get our rights and our identity from God, not the culture nor the government nor any one person. When the oppressed fight against the oppressor, all you end up with is more oppression. Instead we need to act as Jesus did, love one

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another equally, no matter what side of a particular issue you find yourself on. Speaker John Gray quoted Matthew 16:15, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” Today Jesus is asking this of each of us. Who is Jesus to you? The revelation of who Jesus is is the very foundation of the Church. Men, we are always at war. The war of our manhood is the distance between the facade of who we present to the world and who we actually are. We can hide our sin from the world, but we can’t hide it from ourselves or God. Remember, just because we are saved doesn’t mean we are sinless. God has His eye on who you are called to be, not with whatever you are struggling with today. Men, if we are true followers of Jesus, we need to look after his sheep. We are called to be leaders who spiritually grow and then shepherd new believers who spiritually grow and repeat the cycle. We need to love the wounded, not leave them behind. We get them to the safety of Jesus who can heal them. Pastor Steve Berger, the last speaker of Day 1, spoke from the story of Jonah. Ninevah was a city of sin, the sworn enemy of the people of Israel, and word came to them that God was going to overturn their country and reign. Everyone repented, from the pauper to the king, and God spared them His judgment. The key to change is repentance and confession. Nineveh knew that repentance was their only hope. They repented without a promise, there was no certainty that God would spare them nor some precedent or answered prayer they could look back to. Thankfully, we can stand on the promises of Jesus. We know that repentance will heal our land. The times we live in are the direct judgment of God. God is not some hippie-loving Jesus dude [that won’t eventually call you out on your sin],

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He is full of righteousness. He’s quick to call the religious hypocrites out as well as correct and discipline His children’s life style and sin. We Christians spend more time looking at pornography than reading God’s Word. We’ve let abortion kill mIllions of babies and stood by silently. Suicide rates and drug addiction rates are climbing higher and higher. Did we think God was just going to let this continue? We are reaping the consequences. Worldly sorrow leads to guilt and shame. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and life. If men repent, so too will the Church repent. And if the Church repents, so too will the nation repent. And if the nation repents, God has promised in II Chronicles 7:14 He will heal our land. Day 2 began with Dr. Tony Evans who spoke of a Manhood pandemic. Fathers need to lead their families. Husbands need to love their wives. Leaders need to fulfill their callings. It’s time for men of God to fight, to stand strong united as one body of believers willing to give their all for the God who has his all for us. We need to be in the mess but not of the mess. There should be no confusion as to whose team we’re playing on. The success and failures of the world rest on the shoulders of men and we are responsible as spiritual leaders for the fate of our world, starting with our wives and families. Men need to love their wives passionately as Christ loves the Church so she will respect him. Fathers need to lead devotions in their home, teach and live out discipline, ensure wisdom is taught to their children. Ephesians 6:4 tells us, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” We need men who have learned to live their whole life under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Men, our mess will contribute to the messes of others. And that collective mess will be dragged

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into the Church and our local churches, and into our neighborhoods, and into our cities, and into our countries. If the Church is sick and broken, we need only to look at ourselves. Next the Promise Keeper’s partnership with the International Justice Mission was spotlighted. Anu George, the executive director of IJM Canada, told the viewers that slavery still exists all over the world. Over 40 million men, women and children are currently being trafficked today in 2020, with one in four being children. We need to stand between the perpetrators and their victims, as Jesus stands between damnation and our sin. We men need to take a look at what we have to offer, even if it’s just prayer, take responsibility, lead our families and do something. Steve Arterburn, the author of Every Man’s Battle, spoke next about the dangers of pornography. Currently 70% of men and 30% of women are addicted to pornography. 90% of the pornography industry is produced here in the United States. When people use pornography, the chemicals that get released into our brains bonds us with the digital screen. We begin to resent other people, to make exceptions and allowances for it, and to even safeguard it. This bond is caused by the same chemicals that a mother experiences with her newborn child. Likely some of you reading this are addicted. God doesn’t punish us, we punish ourselves enough. The guilt and shame you feel is of the devil, it’s self-inflicted and it needs to stop. We need to hold ourselves accountable, we need to get rid of this plague. Find a brother in arms to confide in, fight back and regain your true manhood. Edgar Sandoval Sr, the President of World Vision, was interviewed. World Vision was started by Sandoval who had his Damascus moment, his cometo-Jesus moment, at a Promise Keepers

event. He spoke about the trials he experienced as God called him to greater things. Many men never experience true manhood when growing up, so they repeat the same broken process they learned from their fathers, or worse, no father at all. But God will turn your trials into your testimony. The reason you've struggled will become the fuel to motivate you towards helping those around you who share similar problems. It’s time to put your faith into action. God’s love for the broken and downtrodden is evident all throughout the Bible. In the middle of this pandemic, everyone is fragile, but not everyone has found the means and ability to fight it properly. Mark Batterson was the last speaker of the event, and he started off quoting Acts 2:17, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He never put specifications on who He pours out His Spirit onto, it says He pours it out on everyone. That same Spirit is alive today, and He wants to stretch us and create new capacity within us. The Spirit can’t fill you if you’re full of yourself so we need to let go of things that no longer serve us. All we have to do is extend an invitation, “Come Holy Spirit.” God’s will will be done. His kingdom will come. We may be distraught over the state of our world, but God’s got this. And Men, we are here for such a time as this. He’s activating the works and gifts of the Spirit inside each of us. He’s planting dreams into our hearts. Show me the size of your dream, and I will show you the size of your God. As we get older, we stop living by faith and start living by logic. There’s nothing wrong with logic, but we also

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need to add God to the equation to everything that we do. A God-sized dream is a dream beyond our ability, past our pay grade, and out of our league. They are that way so we can’t take credit for it, only God made it possible. God wants to download some God-sized dreams into each one of us. But remember, it’s not about accomplishing the dream, it’s about who we become in the process. In Psalm 2:8, God says, “Ask of me, and I will give you the nations.” God’s vision for your life is bigger than your vision for your life. If you’re struggling with sin, with temptation, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. When David stopped going to war, that’s when he got in trouble. Without battle, David got tired, lonely, and bored. You can’t pray for Pentecost, but if you spend enough time in the Upper Room, something’s surely to catch fire. How much of you does the Holy Spirit have? Does He have your logic, your imagination, and all the various parts of your personality? Have you surrendered all to Him, even your past, present and future? My friends, this weakness has to end. America needs a revival of godly men and she can only reach her true potential when Godly men step to be the Fathers, Husbands, Leaders and Christians they were called to be. Greatness is only forged in the fires of difficulty. And in difficult times, God has always raised up leaders and warriors to step forward and take back His kingdom, to fight injustice, and to help the hurting and broken. The next Promise Keepers event is scheduled for October 25th. It’s called Promise 6 Sunday, and their focus will be to continue the work of building the body of Christ. All denominations and all races are invited to come together in Unity under one name, the name above all names- Yeshua, Elohim, Adonai, God.

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+ His Nissi

Photo of baptism taken by Gage Forster: @gage_forster at Saturate OC event in Southern California

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loving different God's kind of love is the real cure our world needs. + BY NISSI GUIAO

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dream of a world where real love is fluid. A world full of people who are generous with kindness, bold with Truth and passionate about forgiveness. I dream of a world full of people, eager and ready to cater to the broken, the hurting, the hungry. A world full of patient, proactive people—in line with God’s agenda, in tune to the way He speaks fluently in Peace. I dream of a world full of people who can disagree, and love hard anyway! This crazy year, 2020, has thrown so much in our faces. We all have seen and felt and experienced the unexpected. We’ve been moved, shaken, and rocked to our cores. Our faith has been through the ringer, our trust has been seriously tested, our human love has been wrung out and wrung dry. A lot of “ugly” (within the world and within ourselves) has been exposed and revealed. Satan has used all of this twisting and tossing and turning to invite division among us, but let’s

remind ourselves: what the enemy meant for evil, God can turn it for good. On the other side of these rough six months, we have a chance to make a real difference. I believe it’s our divine opportunity to refocus. It’s time to shift back our gaze solely on Jesus and let Him realign and redesign, inside us, the things that’ve been broken. Now more than ever, the world as we see it needs us to show up in a way they’re not expecting. The change we’ve been praying for can be seen in our lifetime (I just know it), if we can just commit to loving different. BUT FIRST, JESUS “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven” (Lamentations 3:40-41). The only way we’ll learn the right way to love differently is by experiencing it, first, for ourselves. We love because He first loved us, right? It may not

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seem this way, but we’re gifted this sacred space in what has become a global pandemic. Perhaps all the “crazy” has been to win our attention back. To be wooed by Him again. To be drawn to intimacy with Him again. To be reminded of what it means to be saved by Him/because of Him again. Without first tending to our foundation, we risk slipping back into insanity where we lost our focus to begin with. A great first start looks like a simple prayer (in your own words), inviting the Lord to come in the middle of the mess. Whatever it looks like, He’s not afraid to intervene; we just need to keep it real with Him. Maybe it’s unforgiveness that’s holding us back. Maybe it’s confusion. Maybe it’s the pain and the suffering and the lack in season. Maybe it’s anger and frustration. Maybe it’s shame of some sort of addiction. Maybe it’s fear or worry or stress. Truth is, our mess is His mess and there’s no need to try to hide it

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"When love is our focus, it becomes less about getting our point across and more about listening better."

from Him. Allowing the Lord to clean us, humble us and teach us will heal us then release us to be who we’re called to be. BACK TO THE MANDATE As humans, especially Christian humans, we can be so fixated on trying to change everyone else around us that we forget what matters most. We can spend all our energy trying to get others to side with us or to think the way we think. We can even be hellbent on proving our point, especially all over social media. We basically end up striving and forget our mandate as Christians. But we must remember—we’re called to “keep our love on” no matter what. Instead of spending so much time paying attention to what other people are doing, what if we genuinely re-fix our focus on the Lord and begin to see what He sees? The more time we set aside to be with Him, the more He is freely expressed in our lives, which changes things around us. We can’t do it on our own (“not by might, nor by power, but by His spirit”), but He’s

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faithful to complete the work in us. He can even begin to shift the things we care about. When love is our focus, it becomes less about getting our point across and more about listening better. When love is our focus, it becomes less about disliking people with differing views and more about loving people no matter what they believe. Essentially, when we stay close and surrendered to Jesus, it becomes less about “being right” and it becomes all about “loving right.” Imagine a world full of people like that… BE DIFFERENT Believing is seeing, as they say. And we as “Jesus People” hold the power and authority to expect something different in our day. With Jesus, we’re actually empowered to do something about it. If we let Him seep into every nook and cranny of our hearts and minds, we can’t help but to become different. Let’s not be deceived anymore, friends; we need Him and we cannot live without Him, not even for a moment. May we not make the

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mistake of missing out on His fullness and the opportunity to learn a new way of loving. Remember, we only lack when we forget to ask. (Read that part again.) I pray the Father meets us all in this wild unknown, in all the ways our hearts need mending. I pray He draws us in and reminds us of our need for Him daily. I pray He refreshes our souls. I pray He releases us from anything that’s time for us to let go of. I pray He reveals Truth to us in the midst of all the noise and chaos. I pray He leads us to forgive. I pray He heals us and teaches us that we don’t have to wait on others’ actions to experience justice and peace. I pray He wrecks our plans for the better. I pray He gives us vision for the rest of this year. I pray, despite whatever comes at us, we become a hopeful people who live set-apart. I pray we all find real freedom in Jesus. And lastly, I pray He gives us the courage to love loud, to love boldly and to love differently. In that regard, we will be the very change our world is waiting for.

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+ MAN CAMP

Zack Curry is the Senior Pastor of Jesus Culture San Diego, a new church plant coming out of the Jesus Culture movement in 2021.

Powerful Men and Revival

Photo by @KaraBethNixon

+ BY ZACK CURRY

was sitting on my surfboard talking with a new friend who started doing morning workouts on the beach with friends—dads he met from his kids’ school and guys from church—that has now been going for almost seven years. He started sharing stories of how these workouts had turned into a community where guys were known, overcoming fear and meeting Jesus. In the last six months, I keep having the same conversation with guys from all over who are starting to gather men and go after God, community and being known.

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Most of these guys have never met, but they are all saying the same thing. Men are longing for more, for adventure, to live alive, to have a mission, to be known and to walk in strength and freedom. I believe that there is a men’s movement and awakening stirring in this nation and beyond. I believe that when men come alive, step out of isolation and walk in strength, the impact on families, cities and our nation will be monumental. I am not talking about toxic masculinity or some sort of chauvinistic boys club, but a movement of humility, servanthood and selflessness. You

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see in the Kingdom of God, power and strength is supposed to be used to benefit others. One of the greatest expressions of strength is to use your strength to serve and empower other people. Strong men empower women, not suppress them. We live in a time when many men and fathers are absent, disconnected and often living for themselves. The move of God and revival I am praying for is to see men lead as spiritual leaders in their homes. That husbands would love, serve and call out the strength in their wives. That dads would be

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JEREMIAH 29:12-14

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”

present, patient and calling out the destiny in their children. That young men wouldn’t be consumed with themselves or with getting ahead, but giving of themselves. In this current season there is a lot of confusion socially, politically, racially and spiritually. Power is something that is looked down upon because of misuse or abuse. This leads to a lot of anger, division and exposure of the misuse of power, in many cases predominately by men. I believe a key component of the revival that is coming will be marked by a movement of men on their knees praying for our nation, society and families. A move marked by kindness, compassion, humility and reconciliation, where men would use their strength to fight for the weak, the poor and the disenfranchised. That the fight to end issues like human trafficking, pedophilia and sexual abuse toward women would be led by men, not perpetuated by them. A couple weeks ago I was praying with a group of guys for the men of our nation. Since March of 2020 when COVID started, we have been gathering men every week at 12pm on Wednesdays over Zoom to challenge each other to use whatever strength we have to serve others. God has been doing some amazing things over the last six months. As we were praying, I was reminded of the story of Jeremiah Lanphier and the 12:00 noon prayer meeting movement. A hundred and thirty years ago in New York City, America was in the midst of spiritual and economic failure. Factories were closing, railroad companies were

going bankrupt, unemployment was rampant with over 30,000 men with nothing to do, churches were shrinking and the spiritual climate was bleak. In July of 1857, a quiet and zealous business man named Jeremiah Lanphier became a city missionary. Lanphier sent out a flyer that said… HOW OFTEN SHALL I PRAY? “As often as the language of prayer is in my heart; as often as I see my need of help; as often as I feel the power of temptation; as often as I am made sensible of any spiritual declension or feel the aggression of a worldly spirit. In prayer we leave the business of time for that of eternity, and intercourse with men for intercourse with God.” This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers, and business men generally an opportunity to stop and call upon God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for one hour; but it is also designed for those who may find it inconvenient to remain more than five or ten minutes, as well as for those who can spare the whole hour. On September 23,1857 they had their first gathering on the third floor of the "Consistory" of the Old Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street. No one came until 12:30pm that first day and there were a total of six people by the end of the first hour. On the following Wednesday, there were forty men. Later that month, they moved to meeting daily instead of weekly.

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By May of 1958, 50,000 of New York's 800,000 people were new converts. Within six months, 10,000 business men were gathering daily for prayer in New York, and within two years, a million converts were added to American churches as this prayer movement spread across the nation. We are strongest, filled with perspective, power and hope when we live our lives from the secret place, in prayer and connected to God. No one is too far gone. There is always hope and an invitation to change the trajectory of a person’s life. In the story of Sampson in the Old Testament, God intercepted a misuse of power which, in turn, restored a man’s strength back to His original design. Let it happen again God!

For more stories of what God is doing in men all over the world, listen to Zack’s podcast called Man Camp. Go to www.jesusculture.com/podcast, or the podcast can be found anywhere on the platforms you listen to podcasts. You can also email us at mancamp@ jesusculture.com or follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @mancamp_podcast. We would love to hear your story, answer any questions you have or simply pray for you. Join The Camp! BIO: Pastor Zack Curry is passionate about family, impacting culture and seeing men live fully alive to serve the world. He is married to his amazing wife Melissa, and together they have three beautiful children.

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Photo by Melissa Poloncarz DEAN DEGUARA

LET US NOT GO BACK

By Pastor Dean Deguara

( W h i n i n g a b out t he New W i ne s k i n )

here has never been an opportunity like the one we are being presented with now since the 16th Century. To see a true reformation come to the Church which many have dreamed about, preached about, and written about will only be realized if we yield to the Holy Spirit’s reforming power in this God-given window of change in the midst of one of

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the most challenging times historically for the church in America. We have declared revival is on its way. We’ve prayed and prophesied that a new wineskin is coming to the church. We’ve cried out for God to pour out new wine into new wineskins knowing that the modern Sunday gathering is limited in its effectiveness. Yet when the greatest opportunity for reformation has presented itself

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to us these last six months, we’re discovering we are not ready to “let go” of the old because it has a deep hold on us. As Moses cried out to Pharaoh to “let my people go,” the church has created its own Pharoah-like scenario. But we are not like Moses at all. We are actually more like the rebellious ones in the wilderness who cried out to Moses saying, “Let us go back.” Let us go back to Egypt! Let us go back to the routine! Let us go back to the predictable! Let us go back to being slaves! Let us go back because it would be better! As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” - Exodus 14:10-12 Notice the cry to go back happened because Israel looked back. As leaders, if we are always looking back over our shoulder to the place where God has delivered us from, we will never make it to the destination God is leading us to. The Israelites were overtaken by panic instead of trusting God’s travel plans to a new place. Next, the Israelites began to question the authority of their leader, Moses, as soon as they faced their first obstacle, the Red Sea. Why did you bring us out? Weren’t there enough? What have you done? Why did you make us? Didn’t we tell you?

lead people to a place we’ve never been. Especially, when it seems as though we’ve led our people to a dead-end where there is no way out, no way around or not enough, we must remind ourselves that we serve a God who specializes in exits. When people question our authority, we must have clarity that the God who brought us out is the same God who will always bring us into something better than what’s behind us. And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today…” - Exodus 14:13 The lyrics (of the popular worship song, “Graves into Gardens,”) He turns seas into highways is still true today. Many will say we are fearful if we don’t go back and open up our buildings. (For the record, we have never stopped functioning as the church in our community, it just looks different.) I actually believe it’s the opposite. Faith always works best in places we’ve never been and scripture is clear: familiarity is the true faith killer. If that is the case, why are we so quick to run back and open up without giving God an opportunity to open up the future of the church? Why are we whining and questioning one of the greatest opportunities in recent church history we have as leaders to break into the new wineskin we so desperately need? I believe there are leaders who are torn because you hear the cries to go backwards, but the Holy Spirit is calling you to move forward. You are facing a huge obstacle, but God is about to do a miracle. You are about to cross over and as you take your next step, God is going to create the path to get you to the other side. He is the God of exits and you are about to step into a new wineskin. I want to encourage and strengthen you today—“Fear not, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today!” Let us not go back.

DEAN DEGUARA is the Lead Pastor of Real Life Church based in Sacramento, Calfornia and is a consultant for churches and ministry leaders. RLCSac.org

Does this sound familiar? In the midst of COVID-19 and the many obstacles we’ve faced as leaders, we have been confronted with opinions and criticism as we

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+ CRAIG SWEENEY

Beware!


The Truth About Following Jesus By Craig Sweeney (Pastor of Heights Church, Citrus Heights, California)

uke chapter 12 finds Jesus on His way to Jerusalem for the last time in His brief three years as the revealer of the kingdom of God. He was surrounded by thousands of people. The crowds were so thick around Him that they were stepping on one another. They were there because when He healed and when He spoke, their hearts burned inside of them. They watched in wonder at what Jesus did or would say next. They were enamored with the Son of God and they just didn’t want to leave Him, but they didn’t want to fully commit to Him either. Jesus stepped up, a hush brushed through the crowd to quiet themselves and they heard Him say, “Beware.” It’s an intriguing and confusing place to start a three-chapters-long thread of teachings on specifically what it means to follow Jesus. Luke continues to write about this journey turn by turn towards Jerusalem for eight chapters. But for chapters 12-14 the journey is made with one red-letter teaching after another, painting a clear picture of a life following after Jesus. And as this large crowd of people, along with Jesus, drew closer and closer to Jerusalem, He turned to them to finish up the picture and said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27 English Standard Version). Jesus is the master of making the complex simple. He can summarize multiple chapters of incredibly challenging, life-changing ideas with a few words. These words from Luke’s gospel would be one of those master strokes; but we have to notice something significant: Jesus started and ended His teaching, not with the benefits of following Him, but with the incredible cost. This is the opposite approach of pretty much everyone else, ever. The people in the crowd would not have completely understood what He meant by “carry your cross,” but the fact that they were called to carry one with their name on it—it’s a devastating proposition any way you can understand it. Jesus loves us so much that He will always tell us the truth.

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The cost is high but to follow Him is greater. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, knowing He would be crucified. He knew what kinds of fear, pain and sacrifice His disciples were about to experience and He had to prepare them. He wanted them to succeed at their desire to follow Him, even if it meant leading them to their own cross. To do that, they needed to consider what it would cost them. The cost wasn’t just in the days after the crucifixion either, it continued throughout the lives of each of these disciples. Most of the 12 including tens of thousands of others paid the cost of following Jesus with persecution and the great dispersion casting them from their homes and sending them to far reaches of the Roman world. Thousands paid with their lives as martyrs. This is one of the things Jesus meant when He cried out nearing the end of chapter 12, “You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” He didn’t call the 12 hypocrites, He clearly was speaking to the crowd of curiosity seekers who refused to recognize the season that was upon them—the Son of God had come and the enemy of their soul wouldn’t give up without a fight. Jesus was their only way out, if they were to be whole. Jesus was so clear about this fight and about the cost that will be paid today even in our homes in our generation when He said, “I came to cast fire on the earth… (51) Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. (52) For

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You can walk the Jesus path well. from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.” Jesus is calling for a devotion to Him that is even deeper than our own flesh and blood. If and when push comes to shove, He doesn’t stop asking us to follow Him. Jesus felt the tension in chapter 12 because He knew that the pushing and the shoving would come very soon.

Every red letter matters. Something I think we can be guilty of in the modern church is not reading all the letters in red. I have to wrestle with this as a Lead Pastor who teaches most weeks at Heights Church. The whole picture has to be painted if it is to be an accurate portrayal. I know that sometimes people want to look away as we talk about the reality of a Christian’s struggle to walk the Jesus path well. But even though some parts of the journey are difficult to watch, it is a section of ground we all have to cover many times over and over in our lifetime. Often, when we the Church think of our relationship with Jesus, it’s the benefits that come to mind. We hear the invitation to “follow Jesus” as nothing but a “joy-filled” journey. We hear about the incredible love of God. We experience the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. We experience “light shining in our darkness.” We drink the “refreshing waters.” Miraculous answers to impossible situations become reality. And yes, we are being “made new” through the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. But there is also a cost that can be painful to give. Jesus did not shade this truth from those who were curious about following Him.

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The environment we are meant to thrive in. For the Church of our generation, we need to hear these words as much as they did because the cost of discipleship is painful and we never know when we will have to give it. I think it’s obvious that we live in a post-Christian culture in the US. More and more people do not look to Christians or the Church with respect, but with disdain. We are often labeled as haters, intolerant, bigots and simpletons. Truthfully, it’s rare that I come across Jesus-followers who live up to these labels, but I’m told they are everywhere. The political landscape is turning so quickly, one may wonder just how far government will go and how fast they will get there to restrict what is supposed to be the freedom to practice our faith. It is common place today and continuously expected that, in many college courses, Christians will be singled out and berated. A nation that, 20 years ago having watched, in horror, the towers of 9/11 brought down, once flocked to churches to seek the face of God. Increasingly, churches are no longer what our culture turns to in times of crisis. Culture instead is turning to whatever will numb their pain and distract them from it, rather than heal it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that followers of Jesus can and already do step into the wounds of our nation as healers. I also know the numbers of Christians who are serving others selflessly is a number that would be shockingly more than what we are led to believe. I know the transforming power of God working in a surrendered heart. I also know that the 2.5 billion followers of Jesus world-wide

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came from a small group numbering 120 in Acts 1. So I know the potential of what can happen today and tomorrow. But as we step into the potential, we need to have all the red letters in mind, so we are not taken back by the high cost of following Him. Jesus told the crowd “You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Read the signs of the times. He is begging us to listen to Him. With all this in mind, I want to go back to Jesus’ first statement about the cost of following Him: “Beware.” Jesus said a lot about the cost of following Him and the surroundings we’ll follow Him in.

The people we follow Jesus among. I’m writing from a cultural crossroad in my city. A place where people from many cultures converge. I’m here because Jesus anticipated me being here when He spoke the word “Beware” long ago to what would become His Church. This cultural crossroad is the world I live in and God’s Church does as well. I have come here because I wanted to experience these words in the context in which they were given, a confluence of many cultures clashing into one another. I wanted to hear the voice of Jesus speaking to me above the roar of the crowd as I tune my ear to His heart-cry. I wanted to be surrounded by the confusion of many other voices clamoring for my attention and ultimately demanding my allegiance seemingly more forcefully each new day. This is what Jesus’ crowd was surrounded by. These circumstances I’ve listed are the best I could do to place myself in the surroundings similar to that of the first-century hearers.

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I am surrounded by people literally from around the globe and have experienced already at least 11 different cultures just in the last hour. Each person and culture bring with them a set of ideas, beliefs, and things held as valuable. And yes, they often stand in stark contrast with one another, competing for top spot at the crossroad and at our dinner tables. We are talking about everything from what a person wears, hairstyles, language, food, the value of a certain sex, skin color, what they believe is most meaningful in life and what ultimately they believe about God. Each person brings what they believe are their best ideas to the crossroad, which is why they are guided by them. Jesus spoke these words into the first century Roman world, which was a mixture of many different conquered peoples. Jesus’ words apply to my world and to yours. Please hear me, Jesus believes we can thrive in this environment.

What is at stake? “Beware,” Jesus challenges His followers then and now to stand at this crossroad, surrounded by so many people’s brilliant ideas and still choose to hear His voice above them all. The redemption of my soul and yours is at stake, along with all of humanity, if we are to believe Him. The statement is a gut check as they edge closer to Jerusalem, where persecution and death on a Roman cross was surely to come. It’s also a call to action for what has become God’s Church. The time is now, to love God and to love others with everything you and I have. “Beware.” This is when Jesus calls out each one of us individually and warns us about ourselves. The real question for us as His Church in this generation is this: Will we listen to what His voice is saying? Jesus is not shy about telling this crowd of

would-be-followers the cost of the payment that will be required if they expect to follow Him all the way to the end. To follow Jesus will cost us our hearts. Jesus starts with, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). The leaven or yeast that worked its way into the entirety of their lives was hypocrisy itself. The Jewish leaders were meticulous to follow the letter of the law, but refused to give their hearts to the Lawgiver. Jesus makes it clear that He is not interested if we’re just offering words or even behaviors; to follow Him means it will cost us our hearts. The greatest command is to love God with all of our beings. To follow Jesus withholding our hearts is to not follow Jesus at all. To the immature or insincere in heart, the Law is nothing more than a check list to simply mark things off as done or not. It’s a way of keeping score. To the sincere and maturing, the Law is a revealer of the loving heart of God behind the Law. Think of it as a family—parents set up rules that are meant to bring freedom. Follow these rules and you will be free, safe and healthy. The heart behind the rules is motivated by love for our children. The response I'm hoping for as a parent is love, in response to my love. If my son or daughter withholds their heart from me, their actions alone are an empty exchange. Jesus implied to them “You are clean on the outside, but filthy and rotting on the inside.” They missed the point of it all. God, the Father loved first, hoping they would love next. The Pharisee gave their actions and behaviors, while withholding their hearts and therefore, never really experienced God at any deep level and neither did anyone surrounding them. The Pharisees and so many others of Jesus’ generation had given their hearts to the

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things of this world, like the pursuit of status, accolades and pleasures to distract and numb from the real brokenness of the soul. All of these things create anxiety and worry when we ignore the God who is provider. None of these things speak of the impact of God on my life and none of them offer hope to the broken. Things like what to wear or eat filled their thoughts. Who can blame them? They usually had one or two sets of clothes and worked today for tonight’s dinner. But Jesus declares that the kingdom of God is so much greater in its impact and affect on your life than even the food you eat tonight. Why? Because the heart trumps the body every time. Take care of your heart because without it, the body is dead. So, Jesus passionately corrects, “Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”

What is Jesus really talking about? Jesus seeks the heart of His church. Jesus cries out, “Beware,” for two reasons: (1) He wants the love of His daughter or His son so the relationship can be “rich and satisfying.” (2) When we stand at the crossroad with the confluence of all these ideas, beliefs and values, we will be tempted to leave our fully surrendered hearts to Jesus at home. But we are meant to bring our surrendered hearts to the crossroad. A heart with the fingerprints of God all over it is beautiful to behold and, honestly, so rare it's compelling. It is difficult to take one’s eyes off a surrendered heart. Hearts that are surrendered to Him and motivated by love for Him are in response to His love for us. That is a story worth listening to at the crossroad. We enter the crossroad pretty much everywhere we go: at work, the grocery store, on a sports team, in the classroom, during a ride share, on a business trip, during

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The surrendered heart is the one thing that shapes every other thing. zoom calls, in seeing neighbors, on hiking trails, when buying a cell phone, etc. Remember to stay “alert” for the opportunity at any time to tell someone of the hope you have. Jesus says “Beware” because He knows that we are tempted to believe that this surrendered heart has little meaning and wouldn’t be compelling to those we are surrounded by. Jesus knows that the surrendered heart is the one thing that shapes every other thing. Is it any wonder why the Church is referred to as the Bride of Christ? It’s because it was always meant to be a relationship based on love for each other. When you meet the bride, you will be compelled to meet the bridegroom. The two are inseparable, it’s as though they are “one flesh.”

To follow Jesus will cost you your life. When the Church comes to the crossroad and we tell our story of walking at the side of Jesus, we will simultaneously be received and persecuted. In the 20th century alone, 45 million were put to death. Worldwide today 215 million are persecuted and on average 90,000 Christians die for their faith every single year, simply because they chose to follow Jesus with their lives. Jesus said it like this, “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” Another master stroke that leaves me wanting to say “But…but…” But, I know it’s better to accept the statement as is. Jesus then says to fear God instead. Jesus just realigned my tires and reminded me that my life is not my own. I freely gave it to Him for His purposes (to seek His kingdom). For most of the

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Church, we won’t be called upon to give our physical bodies in death, but we will certainly be called to give our life’s ambitions over daily and to “seek His kingdom” first. And when we do, there will come a cost we have to give. I choose to willingly give it, following Jesus all the way to a cross with my name on it because He tells us, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

To follow Jesus will cost you your time and attention. “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning.” Why? Because the mission of God is at stake. He is coming again; when He comes, He wants to find me about His business, not my own. I want to be clear that when Jesus says this, He is not saying that we are to be standing on street corners all day and all night passionately pleading with our city and nothing else will do. No, what Jesus is saying is to follow Him into every room and live as one who has the hope of the kingdom of God vibrantly flowing in them and through them. The Church is a collection of souls, each one meant to be a movement of God from the moment He conceived us in His imagination. The movement of God is working in us to heal and to hope and to continually transform into the image of Jesus. The movement of God is meant to flow out of us into the lives of all those we encounter at the crossroad, even if that is in our own homes. For the Church of this generation to be the movement of God, we must pay the cost with our lives and our time and attention pointed towards the things that matter most in

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the kingdom of God.

Let's make this simple. Each one of us have unique lives filled with all kinds of complex relationships, responsibilities and tensions. We each have 24 hours in a day to live our lives well, for the kingdom of God. I can’t tell you everything about your life and its attentions, but I do know a few things. To “seek the kingdom” first, we have to start with our hearts and give it fully to Jesus each day. Then, we should turn our attention to the family God placed us in and ask ourselves these important questions. What is God asking of me for their sake? How can I tell the story of me walking at the side of Jesus with them? How do I back it up with my love for them? Then, we should look to the relationships God places on our paths within friendships, colleagues, classmates, teammates, etc. They’re in our lives for a reason and we may be the only one who can help them connect to the God who loves them. Let’s make this as simple as Jesus makes it. Church, let’s pick up our crosses, follow Jesus into every room, and love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. We might make it out alive or we might not, but we will have lived a “rich and satisfying” life at the side of Jesus. Now that is a master’s stroke. I know that many want this to be much more complicated, but as “the signs of the times” tell us, it isn’t. Simply “beware.” CRAIG SWEENEY is the lead pastor of Heights Church in Citrus Heights, California. heightschurchonline.com

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My Heart About Lonnie Frisbee + BY JENENE STAFFORD

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cages AND simultaneously create a serious love fest.” I resonate with both. I think if we, as believers, aren’t doing that at some level, we’re missing being the set apart, peculiar church. Have you ever met someone that you know you need the ‘fix’ only they can bring? Well, I have friends that say “I miss you, I need my Jenene fix.” That’s a good thing, even if it also means they need me in small but potent doses. I’m ok with it. I know I am wildly loved by Jesus and all my beautiful, talented, creative kingdom friends. I have a strong sense Lonnie was that kind of guy too. He’s the kind of guy you call on when your church needs a serious breakthrough, a revival of the heart, or just to get people to wake up and get back into living the Kingdom life. Not like “I’ll pull out the Bible and teachings of Jesus when I feel like it,” but more like a jarring “get with God’s program and quit messing around with eternity” kind of way. We needed Lonnie back then and we need new Lonnies. Believe me—they’re coming and personally I can’t wait. The Lord will use the simple to confound the wise. Thank Jesus! I don’t think I’ll ever write a 3-part article series again, but it’s like I said,

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y Dad was a hippie. There’s at least a decent chance that if you were raised in America and you have parents in their 70s you saw what they were like. Maybe your parents were hippies too. You get it. My Dad used to smoke pot and he kept his weed on his super cool tree branch coffee table. People pay a lot for these tables now. He had these wood beads hanging in the doorway leading into his very groovy dining room. I’m waiting for those wood beads to come back. I digress down memory lane. My Dad used to say “I don’t hide stuff from my kids,” that’s why he kept his weed on the coffee table. Crazy days! Anyway, when I read about Lonnie’s life and experienced his raw authenticity, I LOVED it. It reminded me so much of my Dad and how much of that rubbed off on me—it made me someone that can be with anyone and and just be me. What you see is what you get, ‘cause I got Jesus on my side. I think once Lonnie felt free enough to be himself (without drugs) the Holy Spirit said, “I’m betting on this guy, so to speak.” I imagine (something like) He thought, “I’m going to use this guy to rattle some

you need people like Lonnie in small doses. He is that mind-blowing and his story is that big and that good. There’s a ton to learn and un-learn in walking out Christianity over time. And he’s going to help us all with a new level of faith as we continue journeying through an unprecedented new kingdom era. My final thoughts about Lonnie—he wrecked me, spiritually and emotionally in a way I didn’t know I needed. He raised my bar for leadership even higher, and it’s pretty darn high. I can’t tell you how many times I cried reading his life story. I wrestled with the Holy Spirit to uncover the grace and truth of who he was and discovered his story couldn’t be told (with the Lord’s golden seal of approval) unless I unpacked the layers of spiritual and biblical revelation in God’s timing. Lastly, I pray the Lord will allow you to see what I saw and feel what I felt. Our Father put inside Lonnie an extremely unique type of spirit, one like a David, Paul, Peter or Esther. He’s recognizable. God let me feel him. I felt his heart. I felt his longing. I felt his shame. I felt his forgiveness. Most importantly, I felt his love. I’ll never forget it.

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2020

“A Ground-breaking year. A no-nonsense year.” -Jenene Stafford (We prophesied it here in Issue 9)

Thank you to the incredible photographers that provided us their gorgeous photography: Melissa Poloncarz, Christian Reed, Saturate OC, Gage Forster amd Kara Beth Nixon, & Paul Tellefsen.

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2020


A R E V O L U T I O N, A N E W J E S U S M O V E M E N T, A G R E AT E R AWA K E N I N G , A R E V I VA L A N D A N E W R E F O R M AT I O N A R E A L L S T I R R I N G .

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The following photos are taken by Christian Reed at the Let Us Worship

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NOW

event at the California State Capitol on September 6, 2020

R E V O L U T I O N—T H E WA R OV E R K I N G D O M S

1 revolution, a new Jesus Movement, an awakening, a revival and a new reformation are simultaneously rising across America (and in the nations) and it’s only just begun. Some of us don’t yet realize God’s power is at work in 2020 and that’s because it looks different than what we expect and we’ve been looking in the wrong places for

A

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too long. Many of us think God should quickly put an end to all this mess and make everything go back to the way it was in our comfortable lives. But if He did as some of us wished, we wouldn’t be primed and ready for what’s coming. Friends, it’s time to line up and get ready because God is looking for true believers, true warriors. He wants to know, are you with Him or not? Will

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you trust Him or not? Will you follow Him knowing the cost? On the ground and in the trenches, it’s hard not to focus solely on the nonsense, noise and injustices happening in our world. These days, it’s almost impossible to avoid the news pumping out messages of COVID-19, BLM, racism, Antifa, riots, politics, defunding the police and the fight over patriotism. That’s because we are in a war over kingdoms and

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A Revolution WHAT'S FORMING?

A Jesus Revolution has begun and it's not what many expect. God's lightning rod will continue to crack unholy and dry foundations while His Glory rains down on the misfit and rebel remnant like a flood. The True Believers and the New and the 70s Jesus People will rise together in the war over kingdoms and souls. God will remind us all how we will overcome the mountain before us—"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the LORD of hosts.

BY JENENE STAFFORD

over souls, and we’re fighting the kingdom of darkness who loves polarity, division and deception. God’s using all of it to bring us back to the Chief Cornerstone of our faith in America as we collectively rise up to fight for our country. He’s also going to continue to crack church foundations globally to draw the religious to a true, repentant heart and a deep, intimate love for Jesus, the One Christ. It feels as if the Church just woke up five minutes ago, but it’s only because of His goodness and grace. A greater awakening is coming, however, and the impact of His rod will come down more abruptly if we don’t allow Him to reform us and if the Church doesn’t come clean and repent. Remember, His throne alone is one of righteousness and justice. As we prophesied in the beginning of the year in Issue 9, this is God’s NO-NONSENSE year and we will continue to see this unfold all the way through 2021. There’s NEW WINESKIN in 2020 for the Church, but some complacent Christians really prefer the way it was before COVID changed the game unapologetically. Just as Pastor Dean Deguara states in his article this issue (in “Let Us Not Go Back”), “there

has never been an opportunity like the one we’re in now since the 16th century. To see a true reformation come to the Church, which many have dreamed about, preached about, and written about, will only be realized if we yield to the Holy Spirit’s reforming power in this God-given window of change.” It is true that the Church in America is living in one of the most challenging times in our history. What we see today mirrors the reality in the late 60s and early 70s. Almost to a tee, everything we’re witnessing has happened before. Back then, people were extremely concerned with the Vietnam War, gun control, civil rights and the economy. The Jesus Revolution of the past arose amidst extreme tensions— during major, social uprising and as the 1972 presidential debates went on…sound familiar? In Time magazine’s “The Jesus Revolution” issue (from June 21, 1971 in “The New Rebel Cry: Jesus Is Coming!”), I’m so encouraged as I read about the miracle transformation of people radically coming to Christ. “The same people who were tripping out. . .with sex, drugs and violence” came to “[em-

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brace] the most pertinent symbol of purity, selflessness and brotherly love in the history of Western man.” These Jesus people roared with purpose and were “afire with a Pentecostal passion for sharing their new vision with others.” Just as the Spirit came upon them in their day and changed them, I pray the Lord gives us the courage to roar the same, powerful cry “Jesus is coming!” As we reflect back and honor history all throughout this "POWER" issue and remember those kingdom people who have gone before us, we will see how God continues to use these unprecedented, fearful and chaotic seasons of life to draw people to their knees, to wake up our spiritual ears, to set things right and to ultimately change our course to align with His. He’s that good. Revival, repentance, awakening and reformation are all already on their way. What God will do will be revolutionary. Truly He's just getting started. Watch and see.

This feature is only a glimpse into what is coming to the Church and culture very soon. -Jenene Stafford

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The following photos taken by Christian Reed are at the Let Us Worship event at the California State Capitol on September 6, 2020

YAY G O D ! T H E C H U R C H H A S L E F T T H E B U I L D I N G

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2020


A New Jesus Movement WHAT'S RISING?

THE NEW JESUS MOVEMENT is rising with the young generation and 60s and 70s "Jesus People" coming together in unity. This brilliant and colorful 2020 move of the Father is just one beautiful (but messy) stroke of His paint brush. I believe it's God's ultimate plan to create a truth revolution—one that will rise up True Believers that are so devoted to Jesus Christ they will take up their cross and follow after Jesus until the end. Not only are the young ones rising up their voices on the beaches of Central and Southern California, people like Sean Feucht, a missionary, worshipper and activist are “Turning riots into revival” touring all across the nation’s rioted cities and getting recognized on news stations for his stand to #holdtheline and "Let Us Worship." He's fighting back for what he believes is right. Like Lonnie Frisbee, "The Hippie Preacher" of the 70s, Sean is controversial, he wears a remake of the One Way t-shirt that was a dominant symbol of the first Jesus Movement. He also looks a bit like a hippie too. I heard the Lord say "Sean is the poster child for the New Jesus Movement," but I don't think it's because he's a potential politican taking a stand. I believe it's simply because he's a son that said yes to God and he's willing to say what others are unwilling to say and go where others are unwilling to go, even if he doesn't do it all perfectly, he's still a trailblazer. But this issue of Megamorphosis Mag-

azine isn't only about Sean Feucht, it's about "POWER" and love. Sean is just one brave Jesus follower in a growing army of kingdom misfits that in time will shake the world's systems, as well as the status quo and lukewarm church. He's controversial because he seems to be a rule breaker and he ruffles some people's feathers. Isn't that what Jesus did? Perhaps he's called to fight for justice, for family and for worship and maybe, just maybe—he's fighting for the rights of our kingdom which belongs to Christ. Perhaps like others we're highlighting, it's to ignite fires of justice (in the world and in heaven) and a great return of the prodigals, as well as a homecoming to those that are lost? Certainly this was a shared passion of Lonnie Frisbee as well, although he was a "flaming liberal" in his youthful days, unlike Sean, who has been called a political activist and is clearly a republican. Inside this issue on "POWER" and love you'll see there are many polarized perspectives socially and in the Church. That's because a REVOLUTION is upon us and powers, principalites and authorities are battling. Humans are stuck right in the middle of a warzone and as Jessi Green with Saturate OC says, " We are in a war that has already been won." If that's not enough, the Church is called to go and make disciples and to love one another even when we disagree. One side of the Church believes we should follow the requests of our government officials, wear masks

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and don’t gather unless it's mandated by law. While the polar opposite believe—we have to stand for our constitutional rights or America will become a socialist country. These diverse perspectives coming from the Church, make us a unique and colorful bride. However we're a little messy and that can be a turn off to those who may be seeking God out. That said, we need to have a lot of grace for each other in this season because people are still trying to find their footing and their lane in what God is doing (while it may seem the government is calling all manner of ungodly shots). The fact is, it's noisy around the globe and too many people are following the sheep rather than the voice of the Father. But, the New Jesus People are rising up and they will become UNSTOPPABLE. They will count the cost and suffer persecution, even when it comes from within the family of Christ. These Jesus people are seen by many as misfits, radicals, artists and non-conformists by the "religious" and that is a repeat of the former Jesus Movement. But they are sons and daughters and thankfully they're not a fit for this world and that's why they're misfits. They're brave and they've made Jesus their First Love. They know He's the One Way to love, to life, to freedom, to healing and to truth and these street evangelists can't wait to tell everyone about Jesus. Evangelism and witnessing are simply a natural byproduct of being in love.

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SATURATE OC

Photo by @karabethnixon

Thank you Saturate OC for donating your beautiful photos to us of what God is doing on the beaches of Southern California. We honor your inspiring courage to come to Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Sacramento later in 2020. We appreciate you for warring to bring the power and love of Jesus Christ without fear. We bless you and pray for a discerning ear that you would continue to go where God calls you and do it with a sober spirit and total humility before God. May all that you do have the Lord's golden seal of approval. In Jesus' name, Amen - Jenene Stafford (Founder of Megamorphosis Magazine)

Photo by @karabethnixon

INFORMATION ABOUT SATURATE OC While we continue to steward revival in Orange County, we believe that God is calling us to help awaken and partner with The Church in different regions in California. After weeks of prayer, we are heading to Santa Cruz and San Francisco on a mission trip October 27th November 6th. If you would like to attend either of these Saturate events - please register online.

Photo by @gage_forster

In Santa Cruz: our desire is to bring the Gospel through street evangelism, public baptisms, creative evangelism outreaches, intercession and a HOLY SPIRIT event on Halloween. In San Francisco: we plan to prayer walk with teams through the streets and in Sacramento during the election. We will conclude the week with a worship, prayer and awakening night with the local church.

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2020


igniters and rebels

Baptizing, worshiping, praying, evangelizing and spreading the Gospel in the streets & on the beaches

Photo by Paul Tellefsen | @technopaul

THEIR PROFOUND VISION We came to California on a vacation and as we prayed we saw a picture of thousands of people being baptized along Huntington Beach Pier; the harvest was so massive, people were quickly turning around to baptize the person behind them. There was a ripple effect to this move of God. I believe that there is a massive harvest for THE CHURCH in Orange County to participate in and we need to prepare the nets of discipleship.

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To learn more about dates and times for their events and how to get involved go to Saturateoc.com.

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Photo by Christian Reed

A R E S U R G E N C E O F C H R I S T I A N I T Y I N C U LT U R E

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2020


A Greater Awakening HERE'S WHAT'S COMING

HISTORICALLY THE FIRST GREAT Awakening was a Christian revival that impacted America during the 1730s and 1740s. The backdrop of secularism took root and the age of Enlightentment (which consisted of philosophical, scientific and logic reasoning) made it's way to the American colonies from Europe. At the time, the culture was becoming more formal and church attendance was dropping. During the Great Awakening, preachers traveled from town to town preaching about the Gospel, salvation and promoting a passionate experience of Christianity where prior it had been seen as religious and stale. The result of these spontaneous revival stops sparked a fresh devotion and a cultural awakening toward religion. Many historians believe the Great Awakening impacted the history of American culture. Not everyone embraced the ideas or the style of preaching of the Great Awakening; some preffered a traditional approach. In fact, "by about 1742, debate over the Great Awakening had split the New England clergy and many colonists into two groups. Preachers and followers that were for the new ideas and style became known as 'new lights.' Those who embraced traditional church practices were called 'old lights.'" Jesus lived in a similar cultural climate, in the Middle East in His day, to

the period of the First Great Awakening. People were being pulled and torn between the spirit of religion and the "politics" of the day. (Sound familiar? We're living in a repeat moment.) I'm sure Jesus was a breath of fresh air for so many people looking for The Way out of the enslavement to the religious and political spirits in constant battle in culture. CURRENT CULTURE

The current cultural backdrop of America and Europe is filled with spirituality. Even the occult, the wiccan and the New Age are actually easier to reach than the hard-core hearts of the religious looking to disapprove our Christian Faith. Our global culture has shifted dramatically in the last two decades in the area of spirituality. And it's fertile ground to plant seeds of truth through, media, art, poetry and thought, as well as spiritually-provoking philosophy. We can see the culture absorbing spirituality all over tv, media ads and even in the Church with "Christian" yoga. Spiritual meditation, healing oils, crystals and now, even psychedelics are once again being studied and utilized for many different types of healing of the mind, body and spirit. The modern Jesus People, the "new lights" won't shy away from new age types of people and they won't shy away from witches either. Many Christians have

been enlightened, but by the Holy Spirit rather than logic. So enlightened in fact, that there's no turning back without dire eternal consequences. One thing is for sure, it isn't a "religious" experience the people need in modern day culture. They simply need to get their hearts wrecked and enlightened spiritually by Jesus. This is the Greater Awakening coming. The Christian life has to be seen and felt in an undeniable way. Jesus came for those hungry souls looking to be filled, looking to be healed, looking for what's deeply spiritual—not religious. We need a greater awakening than the ones of the 18th Century. We need a profound, cultural wake-up call to truth. We'll overcome this cultural mountain only by His Spirit. That's the future of the Church. This remnant of Spirit-filled Christians will reach into the minds and lives of humanity even though the culture is dead set on the belief that all roads lead to Rome (or heaven). We will see America and Europe once again impacted by a fresh and greater awakening and perspective of the Christian faith. In fact, it is beginning to happen in 2020, as mainstream media stations are once again writing about Jesus and Christianity. This resurgance has only just begun. The witnesses will rise with a new found boldness—true bravery.

Sources

Founder's Notes

The Great Awakening, UShistory.org.

We will continue to write about the history of America and

The First Great Awakening, National Humanities Center.

Colonial America and how it was influenced by the Great

The Great Awakening Timeline, Christianity.com.

Awakenings of the past and how Christianity will awaken

The Great Awakening, Khan Academy.

and reach the hearts and minds of the current culture.

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T H E R E V I VA L W I L L S P R E A D A G A I N L I K E W I L D F I R E

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2020


Written based on the Asbury College Revival Documentary

A Revival Gone Wild AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT'S STIRRING?

The year 2020 has been a year of shaking, waking and breaking. What America and the Church needs most right now is a Revival of Repentance. When revival comes, it will sweep our nation once again just like it did in the midst of the social unrest of 1970 in Kentucky. HE DID IT BEFORE, HE'LL DO IT AGAIN

On February 3rd, 1970, it seemed like just another ordinary day at Asbury College. Protests were happening and people were burning down buildings and rioting in the streets, but the students of Asbury were compelled to go to their knees. No one was expecting Jesus to walk through the door of the chapel and rain down peace. Well, almost no one. On February second one of those faithful students testified hearing from God. He said, “While we were in our dorm during a prayer meeting that tomorrow it was going to happen, and it did, [God] just opened it up and let it fly. It was the greatest outpouring of God’s love and Holy Spirit and I can’t express it, I’m just amazed, I’m glorifying His name, I’m praising His name.” Everyone else expected it to be a regular 50-minute chapel service. What happened instead was a spontaneous move of the Holy Spirit. Toward the end of the chapel students started coming to the altar in droves after a philosophy professor gave an invitation. It all started with a student giving their testimony. One person said she wasn’t leaving the chapel until she found peace in her heart. A teacher came forward and confessed

he had backslidden and he repented and asked his students to forgive him. What happened was a repentance revival that left people with a peace they said they’d "never felt before." Steve Seamonds, a senior at the time said “The power of God was so real that it felt as though [he] was in a suspended state of reality, that time itself began to collapse and students could sit in Hughes Auditorium for hours and hours and it seemed like it was only minutes.” People experienced God in ways they never had expected. Linda Hager, a Junior at the time said, “As it unfolded what I began to learn was I could not dictate to God how He would come. I can’t control God, I can only stand in awe of what He chooses to do.” People were confessing things that could have gotten them kicked out of seminary. They were bringing their petitions to God and confessing to each other the things that they were challenged with in their lives.” People were humbled by the Holy Spirit and were awestruck with the Spirit of love and peace as they confessed their sins. The Revival began to spread and by Friday, Azusa Pacific College was said to have “gone wild.” News stations picked up the story and people everywhere were hearing about it. The students went out and evangelized that Jesus showed up; they couldn't help but share how real He was. Revival went from campuses to neighborhoods to homes. Letters began to go out to other campuses sharing the witness of what was happening. Students began to go and minister to the soldiers in bootcamp a few days before heading to

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Vietnam. Within three days, it spread like wildfire to more than 40 campuses all across the country. A mighty wind of God’s Spirit was moving and it was undeniable. With every move of God there are skeptics, so there were some who were invited to go and experience it for themselves. They too began to experience a “divine magnetism” that caused them to turn to the Lord and fall to their knees. On a Sunday five days later, Pastor David Seamands of William Methodist Church said, “It’s Sunday morning, we must have a sermon,” but he realized that the Holy Spirit didn’t want any sermons. God did what God wanted to do and the revival spread like wildfire. What came out of it was true repentance, intercession, a call to holiness, an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a new found peace and an experience of the presence of God unlike anything they’d ever experienced before. The thing that characterized this move of God’s Spirit from the beginning was described as “the freedom to seek God.” That revival spread all across the country to more than 40 colleges and universities in one week because of the power of the witness. The media spread their witness, the students spread their witness, the teachers spread their witness. One witness lead to the next and to the next and so on. This spontaneous move of God lasted one week, but God only knows how far reaching the impact really was.

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5 Photo by Kara Nixon | @karabethnixon

A NEW REFORMATION OF CHRISTIANITY IS STIRRING that will engage peo-

ple and culture with the love and grace of God—finally, a new, Jesus-inspired Second Reformation. This one will not result in a new denomination (or thousands of denominations). It will neither emerge because of theological differences or because there are religious leaders imposing ungodly, unbiblical things upon their church members. This Reformation will simply emerge as a result of a revival of repentance, a greater awakening and a

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remnant Jesus People that will become unstoppable in the streets, in the marketplace and in the city squares. All of these glorious moves and manifestations are ignited by the Holy Spirit's power. It's as if a cake is being baked and these are the ingredients to a New Reformation. As Dr. John Jackson said in a recent speech standing in front of the California State Capitol steps, "I’m here to share with you that the last several years I’ve sensed a stirring in my heart, as have many others, that we

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are on the edge of a second Reformation. The second Reformation is not about grace received, it’s about grace distributed." I concur with that statement. "Twenty-twenty is a year of such shifting, of such magnitude that the Church of Jesus Christ will never be the same. That’s our calling. That’s our assignment and this is that time," said John. He went on to declare, "Part of what God has been doing here in our midst today is stirring us up, to repent to the fact we’ve not been engaged in culture. We’ve allowed culture to do

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A New Reformation WHAT'S REALLY STIRRING

its thing as long as we can be satisfied for a protected hour on Sunday morning and do our worship and then go home. And culture has drifted all that time. That stops now!" Hallelujah, the Church has left the building. Only God's hand has forced us outside the walls, has woke us up, has brought us to our knees, deeper into the Word of God and back to our First Love, Jesus. When the Church wakes up, the culture wakes up. It's really that simple. In our current culture, people only consume things that have a good rating or positive social proof. Our lack of engaging culture as witnesses filled with the Holy Spirit is why God is stirring hearts and breaking ground in this moment, in this new era. We've tried every way of packaging Christianity and "church" so people will come to us. If we follow Jesus's example and His mandate, we'll find it was never intended to be that way. He engaged the culture which taught the apostles to engage the culture at all cost. What they witnessed Jesus do and how He personally illuminated their lives and changed them was evidence of His love, His goodness and His grace. Because of their own experiences, they wanted everyone to know about Jesus, the Messiah, too. While the Church has been praying, fasting and waiting for real transformation to come to our culture and nation, we have missed the obvious for a long time. Look in the mirror because

there's the answer—the reformation has been here all along, and it lives inside you. Do not fear because the future reformation is not about adding something more to Scripture, but is more about going back to what Jesus said a long time ago. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). If we want to know how Christianity can reach people, then we have to remember who we are—living, breathing, WITNESSES. We need to rewind and get back to that one place of commonality across all Christian denominations, to this place in Christianity where we can kiss the debilitating, limiting, Christian "religion" goodbye and go back to who Jesus said we would be, His witnesses. And we must always remember: not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. THE FIRST WITNESSES AFTER JESUS

The true followers of Jesus (the first disciples), living out the principles of the Kingdom of God, were taught by the apostles. They were eye witnesses to the lifestyle and teachings of Jesus and were people who were once called "The people of the Way." It wasn't until Acts 11:26 that the disciples went from being known as "The people of the Way," or the Nazarenes, to be-

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ing called Christians. Like the "Jesus Freaks" of the 60s, the term "Christian" was likely a derogatory "nickname" that was adopted nonetheless by this sect of Jesus followers. Perhaps it was because they were so persuasive, so fearless, in their approach to sharing their witness. Another mention of the term "Christian" follows in Acts 26, where Herod Agrippa II replied to Apostle Paul, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian" (Acts 26:28). It's interesting that Paul wasn't with Jesus during His ministry and yet was an apostle, an eyewitness account whom without question is one of the most influential apostles (if not the most influential). Jesus was gracious enough to show him how blind he really was as a murdering pharisee. He knew this guy would be a great witness. Can you imagine how extraordinary for Paul to sit at a table in heaven with other brothers and sisters in Christ that he ordered to be murdered? This is the greatness and mercy of our God. Is it no wonder that Jesus would tell me that Acts 26 is the ultimate model for what will happen in the future reformation when the Church actually transforms into the Church He intended. If you simply ask yourself what would happen if there was no building called a church, you'd find there would only be YOU, the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. You and I are totally set.

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Revisiting Acts 26 THE MODEL FOR REFORMATION AND WITNESSING IS SIMPLE

ACTS 26 IS WHAT'S COMING AGAIN

1 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: 2 “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, 3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently. 4 “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. 5 They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead? 9 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly

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enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. FIRST, PAUL RECOUNTS HIS CONVERSION IN HIS STORY

12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ THEN HE TELLS THE STORY OF HIS POST-CONVERSION LIFE

19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus

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and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. 21 For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— 23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” AGRIPPA PARRIES PAUL’S CHALLENGE AND THEY SPEAK FRANKLY

24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” 25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

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Prophetic Lenses MY JOURNEY OF SPIRITUAL REVELATION ON "THE WITNESSES"

PROPHETIC EXPLANATION

For two months the Holy Spirit has drawn me back to Zechariah 4 over and over again for revelation on why this book and Acts 26 will be Scriptures to turn to in this season of "POWER" and love. The Lord first gave me the word "witnesses" followed by the scripture "Not by might, nor by power..." Then it was months of study, prayer and research and waiting for more prophetic revelation and confirmation. Back to the scripture the Lord directed me to, Zechariah... Israel is being faced with a seemingly impossible situation—a huge mountain to conquer is before them. But the LORD spoke to Zerrubabel, the Leader at that time, and said, "It is not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit," saith the LORD of hosts. Allow me to explain. The Lord said in the same chapter of scripture, "Who are you O great Mountain? Before Zerrubabel you shall become a plain!" Israel was reminded that His hand and His Spirit was going to change the face of things. We're reminded of this once again. The end of Zechariah 4:7 says "and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, 'Grace, grace unto it.'" (Reminds me of what John Jackson said in his speech about grace and the Second Reformation.) In the first portion of Acts 1:8 before Jesus says that we'll be His witnesses, (with added emphasis) He says, "You shall receive POWER after the Holy Ghost comes upon you: AND [then] you shall be MY WITNESSES." Just in case the prophetic connection is not obvi-

ous to this point—the Lord is telling us we're going to have seemingly insurmountable mountains to conquer, in this coming season, like Zechariah did. But we will conquer with the New Reformation revealing itself in culture by Grace with a capital G. The Church and Christianity are simply going to spread and evolve because Jesus is coming back soon. This season coming may seem like we're treading water, but do not despise the small things and know that God's eyes, all seven of them, are also watching. And finally, you should know that the WITNESSES are also mentioned in Zechariah 4:14. They are called the "anointed ones" seen in Zechariah's visions shown by the angel as (1) two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left, and (2) two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves. In this scripture Zechariah is having a conversation with the angel and the angel keeps saying to Zechariah, "don't you know what this means?" So he interprets, "these are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." Most of you are probably thinking where is she going with this? Keep reading . . . The words “anointed ones” in Hebrew would be: “bane yitshar” meaning “sons of oil.” The further meaning would be that these are the two anointed “sons” that are being “pressed” to make oil or to bring forth light to the Menorah into which they are dripping. In Messianic understanding, the Menorah is represented in Yeshua who is the light of the earth,

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and further signifies the seven ways in which the Spirit of YHVH rests upon Him as He is manifested in the flesh throughout the earth. (Read Isaiah 11:1-2 for understanding on the eyes of the Lord.) These two “sons of oil” WITNESS to Messiah's holy ministry and His righteous judgments. They represent authority on earth. Zechariah said that these two sons “stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” Here's where it gets interesting. Most scholars of the past considered these two "sons" as literally two men, perhaps Moses and Elijah. (A story for another day with in-depth explanation. This is only a foremention of it here.) But, this interpretation does not sit in my spirit correctly even though it seems one of several logical conclusions. I believe these witnesses, these anointed ones represent the body of Jews and Gentiles, two complete parts of the Church finally unifying and coming together under the LORD's name. Jesus said, YOU WILL BE my witnesses in all the earth in Acts 26 and then ends Zechariah 4 with "These are the two anointed ones (witnesses), that stand by the Lord of the whole earth." I encourage you to study and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to personally reveal for yourself if I am correct. If I am, then the implication is that all this symbolism makes a lot of sense. Not only is the Church being transformed, but also Christianity reformed with golden oil pouring out of us on all the earth, by witnessing of Jesus, our Lord and Messiah.

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NOW

the JESUS The Jesus People of the 60s and 70s and the Jesus People rising up NOW have a lot more in common than you might think. First of all—they're madly in love with Jesus and they can't wait to tell everyone about it. They're street evangelists, beach evangelists, and city evangelists. They basically are radically-loving rebels that ruffle lots of feathers. Still, they changed the game then and they'll change the game again.

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Photo by Kara Nixon @karabethnixon

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New Jesus People Are Rising and They're Stirring Up Revival Just Like They Did Before A N D O H W H AT A G L O R I O U S T I M E I T W I L L B E

The Jesus People Movement started in 1967 in San Francisco, made its way to Southern California, along the West Coast and ultimately swept across the country and all through Europe by 1972. There are varying accounts of when it died out, but it was around the mid-70s. Hundreds of thousands were baptized and found Jesus in this hippie, surfer era starting in Haight-Ashbury and along the beaches of Southern California. And it's happening all over again in 2020 and taking a similar route. More on that later. The Jesus Revolution was real. It was a revolutionary move of God, like the one that recently started moving again in America. Whether you call what happened back then a revolution, a movement, or a revival, it was legit and history-making. The impact on culture was historic. The impact on Christianity, I believe, was a second metamorphosis for the Church,

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the first being The Reformation led by Martin Luther 503 years ago. The effects of it live on today; and the former Jesus People have joined the New Jesus People. Basically, we'll have double spiritual firepower as they unify. This is perhaps the greatest thing about this New Jesus Movement, the older generation can offer a lot of wisdom as this whirlwind JM gains speed and strength and these generations together will have more staying power. Once again (and hopefully forevermore), they will become the fire-starters of love, grace and healing, taking the world by storm and unleashing the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit and baptism. Back then, Jesus was an attraction for a "drug cure." What's coming will be a cure for everything that's out to destroy the mind, body or soul. WHAT HAPPENED BACK THEN

God showed up in the late 1960s and it was one of the most tumultuous

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periods in American history. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and Civil Rights protests were at the forefront of what was happening, along with anti-war protests. The underlying cultural friction combined with the sexual revolution and the use of psychedelic drugs birthed an emerging counterculture. It may not have seemed like it at the time, but so much good came out of that period. The Church needed this rebel, misfit, counterculture type to show us we could let loose of the boundaries and labels we've unnecessarily put on Christianity. Self-imposed religious rules were the very things that have kept people from seeing Jesus in us. Rather than drawing people to the light, rules and religion deflected people from the light. Culture needed these people to wake everyone up, to blow the lid off Christianity and, as Lonnie Frisbee used to say, let the "Holy Spirit come." These Jesus People learned to love

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different in their rebellion of the norm, of the status quo, of the standard, American way of living life. It was as if they were in their cocoon fighting to get out, to transform and become a beautiful butterfly and they didn't even know it. It is no wonder that these very same rebellious ones, who didn't want to comply, who wanted to be different and to love culture different would flounder around seeking for the love and justice they so burned for. While in their seeking and suffering, they ultimately found Jesus and He became the wild lover of their devoted souls. These former hippies and surfers were granted access to places the traditional Church couldn't reach and they cut across all social-dividing lines, whether left or right, rich or poor, young or old, male or female, brown, black or white. It was free love from Jesus, so to speak. It was a surprising development for a generation to make a 180 out of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll into living totally for Jesus Christ, their One Way. The inroads they made impacted Christianity and culture in America in massive ways. Time Magazine wrote, "The Jesus People also known as the Street Christians or Jesus Freaks, are the ones [really standing out]; it is they who have blended the counterculture and conservative religion." Some of the most well-known, evangelical Christian organizations and Pentecostal churches still exist today (like Vineyard Church and Calvary Chapel) because the Holy Spirit showed up and ruffled the feathers of the Church as America knew it. He shook the religious Catholics as well, and the Pentecostal Catholics became part of the Jesus Movement (a little prophetic glimpse, more of that Pentecostal Spirit is coming again in time). The Catholic Pentecostals showed up on the scene "unexpectedly and

abruptly" in 1967 and they were said to have been "publicly austere but privately ecstatic." I'm not sure that has changed much. This move of God swept across America, Europe and South Africa, introduced Christian rock (altering Christian music forever) and grabbed hold of the hearts of culture during a time when young people were doing the same things they're doing now, running wild and running scared. Despite all the cultural upheaval, a revival was born from the midst of this counterculture uprising. This revival converted celebrities and famous singers like Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac and Pat Boone, who "baptized over 200 people in his own swimming pool during the past year," Time Magazine wrote in June 1971. By 1972, the movement grew to fill stadium-sized events. The cover of Life Magazine was titled “The Great Jesus Rally in Dallas.” Billy Graham lead the charge and brought the Word of God to 80,000 young people at this “crusade called Explo ’72.” They labeled it a “religious Woodstock.” Often people think "bigger is better." Somehow when we see large gatherings happening, it leaves an impression that God is doing something big. But these large gatherings and crusades were an after effect of the Holy Spirit spontaneously showing up randomly in conservative and charismatic places like University chapels (See A Revival Gone Wild in Part 4 of 2020 Revolution). Historically speaking, the Jesus People Movement left an important legacy on American history and marked a generation of disenfranchised and religiously dissatisfied youth. THE JESUS PEOPLE THEN

They were true kingdom people and exhibited characteristics of a devoted

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follower of Jesus Christ. Many people gave up everything to go where they felt the Holy Spirit was leading. They gave up sex for purity and drugs for true worship. By 1971, at least 600 commune homes existed across the country, and the people literally piled into these commune houses, like sardines. They slept in the hallways and bathrooms and tubs even. They crammed into these homes to worship, study the Bible and disciple each other. They were living the book of Acts lifestyle in almost every way, including sharing everything. When they passed the offering basket, they would say, "If you have something to spare, give; if you need, take." Were they a little controversial and over-the-top? Yes, I think they were, but just like today's Jesus People, they were fearless, single-focused and unity-minded. It was as if they had a burning witness in them that had to be let out. They were street evangelists and were converting and baptizing thousands. They were unashamed of the Gospel and didn't hold back letting people know that Jesus was the One Way. In fact, they earned the "One Way" t-shirt and wore it proudly. They were madly in love with their First Love, Jesus. With the so-called disruptors and rebels of this moment in 2020, praise God that has not changed. THE JESUS PEOPLE NOW

The rumbling of 2020 has shifted the Church in this day, causing many churches and leaders to pivot plans. Who’s stirring the pot of nonconformity here in California? Let's start with Saturate OC, led by Parker and Jessi Green (picture of their movement and their logo are on the front 2 pages of this spread). "In 2016," Jessi shares, "my husband Parker and I moved across the country from New York to California and gave up everything we had because of a profound

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+ THEN & NOW

Photo by Kara Beth Nixon

vision God had shown us." The vision was of thousands being baptized along Huntington Beach Pier. The picture of what was coming was "so massive that people were quickly turning around to baptize the people behind them." Jessi saw that there would be a ripple effect to this new move of God. And it’s happening now. To that I say, "Right on!" What I love about Saturate OC is their heart to see people baptized and their heart to call forth the workers for the harvest. They know they can't do it alone; they know they need others to come alongside them. Their focus shines in their statement, "We need the collective body of Believers, the Saints, awakened and activated to share the Gospel and proactively making disciples." (Side note: the first issue of MM for 2020 was themed "March Saints.”) Parker and Jessi Green's pure heart for unity and evangelism is inspiring. Jessi says, "We believe that these collective and evangelism events will activate The Church, and America will never be the same." I second that. Next, there’s Sean Feucht, a multi-faceted, creative, kingdom leader and the founder of several worldwide movements. People may know him as a missionary, artist, speaker, author and activist, but this year he is mostly known for fearlessly leading #LetUsWorship rallies across America. He began making significant waves this year when Governor Newsom essentially made it illegal to sing in churches, claiming singing was going to spread the coronavirus. It has become extremely frowned upon to gather in places of worship—to worship. Sean spearheads the charge in proclaiming that worship is essential. This movement and message spreads, even into some of the most dangerous cities in the country. CBN News has dubbed these rallies as the “Riots to

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Revival Movement." As I mentioned previously, God is doing unprecedented things to move the church outside the walls and into the streets. Like Saturate OC, Sean’s played a huge role in this. Headline news even covered the story, 'Joy Took Over the Streets': Christians Come Together in Portland During 'Riots to Revival' and shared, "While these worshippers were seeking God to spread His hope and healing, rioters were tearing down the city in sharp contrast." In these very times of unrest, fear and chaos, it’s the Church’s prime opportunity to go out and offer hope. It excites me, stirs me and gives me hope to see people like the Greens and Sean Feucht rising up to lead for such a time as this. UNITY IS KEY

It was bizarre for the counterculture of the 60s and 70s to become the springboard to launch the Jesus People back then, but it was also reality. And just like in the past, we are in another fight to see a total awakening come to culture, which is unfortunately thwarted by the comfortable Church of today. We’re continuously seeing many believers push-back on anything that goes against "normal." And this isn’t going to stop. It’s this disunity in the body which is what’s holding up the 2020 revival parade. The truth is, the Saints need to rise in unity. Until that happens, we don't have the leverage to point everyone to the heart of the Father. Why would we? If the kids can’t get along, people will question, "How good is your daddy, really?" The kids, like it or not, are a reflection of their Father. Our Father is good and full of righteousness, justice and mercy and that's what we should reflect. Lord, let the tribes get along. The way the Father's hand is bringing lightning to Christianity is bril-

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liant. It was brilliant and unorthodox before; it will be again. The long-awaited HARVEST will come when we can honestly unify under the banner of Jesus Christ. It's time for the wisdom to come, to help us realize that we all have a single destiny, however with varying lanes, to move culture into the arms of Jesus. My beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ, it's time to come up higher and see what God is doing and saying in 2020 (check out the 2020 Revolution article). Pray for wisdom. Pray for unity. Pray for brotherly love. Pray the Father's heart and will be done. He will not fail us, but we will fail Him if we don't STOP using our tongues to bash our brothers and sisters and start using it to be the "brand of witness" God has uniquely designed you for. We're not all wrong, but we are all different. America is one of the most diverse

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places in the world, and especially the state of California. This is not a disadvantage for us. Just like in the counterculture of the past, the "Hippie Movement" was not a disadvantage to the Jesus People Movement—they became what God used to launch it. Today, the diversity of our culture and the diversity of the Church is what God wants to use. People have been so concerned with following trends within church and ministry, but that box has since exploded. Whoever remains in true, Christian ministry of any kind in the next decade will be the ones that surrender to God's unprecedented vision, creativity and pace. Whether fast or slow, each day we'll learn to dance to the beat of His magnificent and creative drum. This is what the Church dipped in God's gold will transform into. The best thing you and I can do is get on

board and get united, otherwise we'll become obsolete in a sea of Christian leaders. It's a tough word, but it's true. There is a changing of the guards in culture and in Christianity that will be unveiled rapidly in coming months and years—all part of the reformation. We cannot get tied up in the current, trivial controversies. Sadly, people in the church have thought the non-enforcing of masks in these social settings lacked a godly example for young Christians, as if people are not mature enough to make their own, powerful choices. And furthermore, while we've been doling out criticism toward our brothers and sisters by broadcasting that "our Church is not in support" of their bad rule-breaking behavior, we set a bad example for the place that matters most—the Kingdom of God. (Ouch! Was that too honest?) The truth is, when Christian lead-

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ers take a stand, they don't always do it perfectly. But we need to have grace and see the bigger picture—to put things into God's perspective of love (check out the Loving Different article). Real love, not our flawed, human versions of it, always wins. It is ultimately what realigns us to the Father through Jesus. And it will be our only answer to unity in the Church. Looking through the lenses of the Father will teach us what it’s all about, that it’s not about “being right,” rather it’s all about “loving right.” What kind of impact could we make in culture if we followed Jesus' commandment to love like He loved us? John 13:34-35 tells us the answer: "By [your love for each other] ALL men will know you are my disciples." We need to make loving a bigger deal than masks or politics because Jesus certainly did. That's why He enforced a New Commandment.

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Lonnie Frisbee: The Mind-Blowing "Hippee Preacher" Part One - By Jenene Stafford

INTRODUCTION: PART ONE

Be warned! Lonnie is a controversial man. Some people even called Lonnie "unsafe," but not for the reasons you might think. Lonnie was a rebel like the other Jesus People. Lonnie shook many people's perceptions about God and the Holy Ghost. Many said he was one of the great evangelists of our century. I believe that to be true. I also think he was gravely misunderstood and judged by many people who couldn't track with his disruptive style and nature. Some people say President Trump is a "wrecking ball" and I think Lonnie could also be described in this way in the late 70s and 80s. He wrecked our religious ideas about what it looked like to be a Jesus follower, but he also made mistakes and even said, "I was slightly confused with my doctrine as a young believer." He found Jesus, as a child, in a Pentecostal church that his grandmother attended. Lonnie was 18 years old when God radically encountered him and he was positively a cracked pot (aren't we all at one point). His anointing exploded and was right up there with Paul; he operated in all the gifts of the Spirit, some people said. I found in my extensive research He had such an air of childlikeness that just makes you want to love the huge-hearted guy he was, not to mention he was hysterically funny at times. I've known many charming and charismatic people that underneath are wolves, but that's not Lonnie. I feel a deep conviction that the Lord wants us to recognize and honor this imperfect man of God, or I wouldn't be writing this article. I've spent nearly 100 hours on researching, watching documentaries, and reading his book series he asked his friend, Roger Sachs, to co-write during his last three years of life. He wanted to "set the record straight" and his desire was that his story would heal many people. You should know, Lonnie died at age 43 from AIDS on March 12, 1993 in the midst of controversy and disgrace, yet he felt compelled to tell his story. "Lonnie believed that his story would be used by God as a roadmap to recovery—a roadmap to life—

for a multitude," Roger said. It took Roger 29 years to publish the three books in the series called "Not by Might, Nor by Power." The first in the series is called The Jesus Revolution, the second is The Great Commission and the third is Set Free. I believe God's timing is perfect that we write this first story (in a series of three) about Lonnie now in 2020 because, as we've covered multiple times in this issue, a New Jesus Revolution with New Jesus People has begun. We are once again living in unprecedented and revolutionary times in the world as was the case in the late 60s and 70s during the times of the Vietnam war, the hippie movement, the sexual revolution and the fight for racial equality. Honestly, when I get to heaven, I can't wait to hug this guy for saying "yes" to Jesus while he was standing naked in a stream in Tahquist Canyon at only 18 years of age. Lonnie used to walk into a church and put his finger up in the air to feel the wind to assess the spiritual climate in a room. I believe the spiritual climate in 2020 on the beaches, in the streets, in our cities and in our living rooms is heating up and, just like they experienced then, we're about to get lit by the Holy Ghost. But don't make that mean anything because we may all be surprised to see exactly how God is going to disrupt and reform the face of Christianity in the next few years. We will see the book of Acts spring up once again and see a revival of the Bible and a revival of repentance. In his time, Lonnie became a brave, young disciple-maker of God, willing to take up his cross and follow after Jesus, even while stumbling all over himself sometimes. Many more Lonnie types are coming to ruffle our feathers and break the mold of what it looks like to be a True Believer, to be Spirit-led and to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. God's grace fills the gaps as we grow up into maturity in Christ if our heart remains pure before the Lord.

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CHILDHOOD WAS NO PICNIC FOR LONNIE

Truly, Lonnie was a revolutionary man built for revolutionary times. He was full of a radical kind of love and held a huge grid for boldness, but he didn't start out that way. Lonnie was born to Ray Frisbee (age 15) and Janette Ashley (age 16) on June 6, 1949. One of his first memories as a child was seeing his father beat his mother when he was just a toddler. His father was often drunk and violent and basically a very cruel man with a lot of uncontrolled rage. He would break the windows in the house and throw eggs into the ceiling and even put a chair through the television. He brutalized all the people who were in his life. Ray traumatized Lonnie and "bonded him to unnecessary cruelty at an early age." Both Lonnie and his brother were club-footed, so his father didn't want to claim them. When he beat Lonnie, he would say, "You little bastard." Fortunately, his dad had an affair and eventually left; but not before cutting off all his mom's hair just to be cruel. Fast forward, Lonnie had two half brothers, Stevie and Scottie, and a new stepfather that left Lonnie feeling damaged from years of criticism and emotional rejection. This was Lonnie's childhood foundation on his dad's side—unclaimed, unwanted and unloved by his father. The kids he knew in school as a young child were not much better toward him. He was called names and beat up constantly because he was a "sickly kid with a funny leg." If you think it couldn't get worse, it did. Lonnie was molested by his senior high school, male babysitter at age eight in the shower for the first time and then over and over again until he was ten. He felt no one would believe him because no one could be trusted in his life. Lonnie was filled with "shame and guilt and confusion." A BRIGHT SPOT IN HIS YOUNG LIFE

While Lonnie was going through a lot of abuse in his young life, God showed

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up through his grandmother, Naomi. She took him to First Christian Church and was dedicated to getting him to Sunday school. She took him to the closest church to his house, which happened to be Pentecostal. He felt right at home and felt a real sense of spiritual heritage there with the Pentecostals. At age eight, he gave his life to Christ and two weeks later was when that first molestation encounter happened. The violation didn't keep him away from God, but marked his life with a deep wound even after he followed the call of God on his life. Lonnie rolled through the punches and continued to grow in his faith in Jesus and in his belief in miracles and healing. As a child, he would sit in the front row where all the grown ups sat because he loved hearing about Jesus and the Bible. It was so obvious in my research of Lonnie that his heart for seeing people healed was so childlike and natural and from an authentic place of compassion for others. At a very young age, he encouraged his blind choir teacher to have Oral Roberts lay hands on her so she could be healed. He prayed for her and when she wasn't healed he cried and cried. He certainly didn't know that one day he would be known as a "faith healer" and that countless people would be baptized, healed, undone and flattened out by the power of the Holy Ghost right in front of him. In fact, years later he made front page news in South Africa after the Lord opened the eyes of the blind. But he still had quite a journey out of the darkness ahead of him at that point. GIRLS, DRUGS AND ADOLESCENCE

Lonnie's childhood dream of being a "Mouseketeer" was brought to life and he ended up on tv on the Shebang Show. And he wanted people to know he didn't look like a "hippie-hobo-freak" at all back then. He was clean-cut and looked like Wally Cleaver. But, as we all know, God had a different future that would require him to become the "Hippie Preacher." His live television career lasted only a

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year and a half. His eccentricity and artistic nature, however, lasted a lifetime, touching the lives of millions. Lonnie attended church until junior high, but peer pressure and girls led him astray. Once he started feeling guilt, he left church and started using drugs, dropping acid, using peyote, hashish and mushrooms—basically almost anything he could get his hands on. Somehow in his confused, young mind, marijuana was the "devil's weed" because he saw "Reefer Madness" in school. True confusion really set in when he, along with thousands of others, got involved in a drug cult called "Mystic Arts," where they thought LSD was God because of the hallucinations. He was so convinced that he led hundreds of others to drugs and even sold drugs to junior high and high school students. They'd hang out in the wilderness or the desert on the weekends. He was involved in orgies and became a naturalist and nudist like many people during the hippie era. Of course, he ultimately discovered the failings of all this darkness that seemed like light. Unfortunately, many of his friends' lives were destroyed and some literally fried their brains from a bad acid trip and ended up in institutions. To say the least, it was a radical time and people were searching for love and God in all the wrong places by experimenting with drugs and religion. California was the "hot spot," the place to be if you were young and wanted to "turn on and tune in." He said, "In many ways it was the beginning of a glorious renaissance." But, for too many people it was the beginning and the end. HAIGHT-ASHBURY

When Lonnie was 15, he won one of the Julius David Epstein scholarships from the Boys Club of America and attended the School of Art and Design in Laguna Beach for a year and a half on the weekends. He was a talented, young artist and at 17, he dropped out of high school school and enrolled in

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college. He moved in with a family in San Francisco and was accepted into the prestigious Academy of Art University. By 1967, the "Summer of Love," he was living in the community of Haight-Ashbury, a place he called "a radical district in San Francisco that became a mecca for movements." Everything from the Church of Satan, to The New Age movement, the feminist movement, the gay movement, and the Black Panthers were all stirring in this era of what became known as the "Age of Aquarius." As if the neighborhood wasn't radical and entertaining enough, people like Janice Joplin, Jim-

world and a very powerful counterfeit." As dark as it all was, Lonnie loved his life in the Haight. He loved the hippie lifestyle and the teahouses where he'd just hang out with his friends, read poetry and philosophize about the new revolution of America. He felt, as a generation, they were being set free. This is when he transformed from looking like Wally Cleaver to becoming the long-haired hippie with a beard, sandals, beads, bells and flowers in his hair. He looked like a "skinny, Catholic Jesus or Isaiah's grandson." Although there were highs, at 18, Lonnie admits

ing." In spite of the wild adventure he had been on, God had something way beyond that. Lonnie had many highs, but was "still troubled and confused about life and death and questioned the existence of any particular spiritual reality." He questioned "Who really knows the truth?" He remembered his church upbringing and that Jesus claimed to be the Truth. He remembered his conversion and how real the presence of God was for him as a child and at summer camps. Still, he thought it was a pretty bold statement for Jesus to say "I'm the Way, the Truth and the Life,"

“God will chase you down and find us in the darkest pit or while on an LSD trip.” my Hendrix, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia and even Charles Manson were often seen on the streets. Sammie Davis Junior and Jane Mansfield and other well-known celebrities were part of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan. At this time, accusations from "rednecks and mainstream citizens" accused him of being gay. He admitted to being sexually victimized as a child, and somewhat indoctrinated, but also said the gay movement really scared him. There was a time where "they strutted down the street with one another, wearing hot pants and high heels and sometimes even making crude gestures as they marched past people in society." Seeing this is when Lonnie said, "Nah, I'm not going in that direction." He saw enough of the evils—the "militant activists marching down the streets of America," and pedophiles coming after children to realize "that it is a dark and deceptive

he was troubled. He got caught up in the wild rebellion. Even with the excitement of the last year in the Haight, he still missed his family and would hitchhike back home to Southern California, where people were still "turning on" to drugs, protesting Vietnam and looking for life's answers. FINALLY HE SAW THE LIGHT IN TAHQUITZ CANYON

It's so like God to show up randomly and rapidly in the height of our sin and confusion. God will chase us down and find us in the darkest pit or while on an LSD trip. That's what He did for Lonnie. On one of his wild trips to Tahquitz Canyon, seeking God with about a hundred of his nudist friends, they were all arrested for being nude and smoking dope. Lonnie said, "They hauled us away stark naked in vehicles. It was crazy but definitely thrill-

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or "I'm the Good Shepherd who lays His life down for the sheep," or "I am the door." Lonnie admits to being confused but very open and he wondered, "How does it all fit?" One day, while alone at a favorite spot at the canyon at a beautiful stream, he took off his clothes and screamed up to heaven, "Jesus, if you are really real—reveal yourself to me!!!" That's exactly what God did. The atmosphere changed and he felt a tingle and saw a shimmer and glow. Lonnie was scared and shocked, but positive it was not an LSD flashback. He suddenly knew he was "in the presence of God Almighty." Then, a radiant vision came as clear as crystal and he had a vision that changed everything. Once again, Lonnie began to transform—from the abused, love-starved orphan son and finally to a found son of God. One hard journey at a time, God had Lonnie right where He want-

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ed, open and seeking for Truth. No longer was it a hallucination, but he was desperately seeking something real. There, naked before God, he SAW a future and a hope and a destiny calling his name. God showed up as El Roi, which in Hebrew means the God who sees me. Lonnie had a vision and he saw thousands and thousands of young people along the coast going into the water to be baptized. He said, "I could see it! I knew instantly that Jesus was real and that He was calling me to follow Him." He saw a harvest field of people, a huge wheat field. He knew this was "the valley of decision." He then saw a light from heaven come down and ordain him and he heard a voice say, "Go in my name, for I have touched your lips with a coal of fire that burns before the presence of God. Proclaim to the people that I am coming soon." Lonnie's mind was blown by God; this was the most radical moment of his life. He knew he was being called by God to serve Him. He said, "Yes, Lord," and when he came off that mountain, he came off a different person. In that moment, he didn't have answers, but he had Jesus and he never questioned again that Jesus was real—that Jesus was the Way, the Truth and the Life. In an instant, he had revelation and the Holy Spirit brought back his childhood memories of Scripture. He didn't need drugs anymore! He and God found each other in this radical encounter. His friends and family thought he had gone crazy but he was "struck" and had to obey. He went to the beaches and followed the vision and began to preach. He went to the teen dances where he says, "I used to raise hell," and began proclaiming "Jesus is Lord and He's coming back." A lot of young people laughed and said, "Did you hear that Lonnie had a nervous breakdown?" But Lonnie continued to be faithful to God and, slowly but surely, the Lord brought the vision to life. Let's not despise his small beginnings because what started as preach-

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ing to two people, then five, then ten, then fifty became one hundred people coming to know Jesus. It wasn't long after that thousands were coming to hear him preach and get baptized at Corona Del Mar. It caught the attention of the whole world—exactly like the vision he saw. CALLED TO BE AN IMPERFECT

ranch house "The House of Acts." It was based on Acts 2:44-45, "And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; (45) and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." They read that scripture out loud and lived it. For the first time, Lonnie got to be with older men and women in their thirties and experienced some-

WITNESS AND A WORKER

Lonnie hitched his way back to San Francisco as a new person and totally on fire for God, but admits he was "slightly confused with his doctrine." Regardless of how off he might have been, his heart was in the right place. He felt the burden to "get out there and be a worker for God." One day, in his favorite teahouse, he shared his heart about Christ. To his surprise, a group of men in their 30s were very interested in what he had to say and so they gathered around him. He mixed Christianity with some weird doctrines from the Rainbow Movement (a cult) and "free love, world peace" hippie philosophy. I imagine they were intrigued with how mixed up his "opinions" were, but, still, it was a divine appointment. One of the men introduced himself as Ted Wise and invited Lonnie to dinner in Novato at his farm. He was encouraged to hear that there were people around this area that loved the Lord. The people that lived on the farm were "radical Christians" that were formerly LSD freaks but were now born again. Lonnie was invited to come and live there on the farm. Each morning they would pray in a circle and hold hands like a family before breakfast. For the first time, he didn't feel empty inside. It was like a wonderful, electric shock that he knew was the power and presence of God. He took it as a sign from the Lord that he needed to stay with these people. He was so excited when he received the invitation to live there. He said, "I was lost and needed a family, a real family experience that [wasn't dysfunctional]." When he moved in, he named the

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Photo taken at Corona Del Mar

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thing healthy and loving between husbands and wives. He needed this because all he'd seen was abuse and violence in his own childhood home. Finally, he was exposed to some sense of normalcy. The men that were part of this commune were what he saw as "sophisticated." They were older and had been successful in their careers. Among these men were Steve Heefner,

who was a successful DJ who got fired for saying "you must be born again" on the air and Ted Wise, a sailmaker and an artist. But they all had come out of the drug culture and into the "saving faith of Christ." Five families sold their possessions and moved into this community house, raised the children together in what Lonnie called "a regular hippie-type kibbutz."

"...he didn't have answers, but he had Jesus and he never questioned again that Jesus was real..." 69

Lonnie gave up his scholarship to the art school against the principal's pleading because he couldn't deny the voice of the Lord. He had a "strong assurance" inside him that he was doing the right thing. After that, his attention was entirely focused on the Lord and he became dedicated to this final scripture, Romans 8:14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." I hope that scripture will stay etched into your mind as it is in mine. In wrapping up Part One in the Lonnie Frisbee series, Lonnie's difficult childhood, radical Haight-Ashbury experience and commune living were distinguishing factors that made him a unique and special witness for Christ. Someone who was not called to witness to just anybody, but rather a select group of people. People of that era could resonate with him as an eccentric, hippie, artist type with a heart of gold and a true passion for Jesus and the miracle-working power of the Holy Ghost. He was able to impact a generation all around the world who were desperately seeking to receive love and to give love, no matter how far out they were while seeking God. He understood the generation and it was why he could influence masses of people all around the world in the coming years of his ministry. Lonnie was just Lonnie. He started out floundering around in ministry to then having a real passion to get Christianity right. He was willing to dedicate himself to studying the Scriptures and learning how to let go of the worldliness that he swam in so deeply. He recognized over time how misguided he was because people came around him and discipled him in a loving way. Most of all, he let go like most believers wouldn't dare to, and surrendered to the Holy Ghost's power to come and wreck him and anyone near him for lukewarm Christianity. He graduated from being a freak to a Jesus Freak and he was proud of it. (Part Two coming in Issue 12).

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The Power of Suffering

BY HEATHER MURDOCK

“It is the fire of suffering which will bring forth the gold of godliness.” - Madame Guyon We often try to pray away hardship and suffering. We want no part of it. At the first sign of affliction, we cry out for deliverance and rescue. There are endless courses and conferences dedicated to overcoming adversity. But what if there is a purpose for the pain? What if there is a divine plan to use suffering to transform our halfhearted humanity into wholehearted devotion to Christ? The Bible is full of stories of the suffering of Jesus and His disciples, but each story illustrates the beautiful struggle that comes with becoming. Hebrews 5:8 says that Jesus learned obedience from suffering. “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” Although Jesus never sinned, He still suffered. He endured emotional and mental anguish, physical torture and spiritual separation as He died on the cross for our sins. In order to persevere through such immense trial, He had to choose to deny Himself. We know He was empowered by the Holy Spirit, but He first had to choose to deny His own needs to fulfill the mission. We see this in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked His Father if He could take the cup of suffering from Him. Jesus prayed and sweat blood agonizing over what lay ahead on His journey to the cross. Through prayer, He came into alignment with His Father’s will and was able to pass from general obedience into fully-tested obedience that came through suffering. In Matthew 16, Jesus cautions us that whoever wants to be His disciples must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him. What is a disciple to deny? Love of self. Of course we are to love ourselves and to know our worth in Him, but loving ourselves and our lives more than we love God keeps us from radical union and obedience to Jesus. Denying ourselves can bring physical,

photo by Hannah Busing

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emotional, mental and spiritual pain. It’s not a choice most of us make automatically. But each time we choose to deny ourselves and put God’s will before our own, we are strengthened in our spirit to fulfill His mission through us in the earth. I believe God allows suffering so that we will learn to die to self. We are invited to allow the cross to finish its work in our inner selves. The work of the cross, the suffering that draws us into the quiet and secret place with Jesus, serves to crucify our love of self and our ravenous desire for external pleasures. He becomes greater as we become less. My family and I have just come out of a three year trial. Because of financial struggles stemming from hidden and unresolved pain, we had to move in with my mother in law. Although she is kind and grace-filled, it was very difficult living in someone else’s space for that long. Our family had to make a lot of sacrifices that were hard to accept. But throughout the pruning process, God was faithful to restore not only our finances, but also family relationships. God allowed my husband to come to the end of himself in his fight to keep Him at a distance. Jesus met him in his depression and showed him that he is a son, not an orphan. As we each surrendered to the process, believing that Jesus was doing a mighty work in our family, we grew closer to one another. Deeper intimacy and trust were forged through the suffering. Our family has been restored and we have a beautiful, new home where we live in deeper fellowship, gratitude and joy. Those years cultivated in each of us a deeper dependency on Jesus. Greater intimacy with Him was achieved through relying on Him daily to live in grace and healing. He

lovingly revealed sin and pain and showed us how to forgive. He taught us how to choose Him over comfort and with that choice came the greatest peace. Romans 8 says we are more than conquerors, but this promise is preceded by a list of trials believers will face in this life: affliction, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness and danger. Although we will experience hardship, nothing can separate us from His love and goodness. God works all things together for good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. God’s definition of good is that we would be conformed to the image of His Son. That is why we are here, to become more and more like Jesus. Deep rooted holiness and Christian maturity spring forth from the soil of suffering. Is our appetite for comfort greater than our desire for holiness? Exclusive focus on either suffering or deliverance are incomplete theologies that leave us shallow and empty. I believe one of the devil’s greatest goals is to do whatever it takes to keep believers shallow. Spiritual depth and maturity are exceedingly dangerous to the kingdom of darkness. Many of us dismiss suffering as spiritual warfare. Now, obviously according to the Word of God, spiritual warfare is real. Ephesians 6 tells us our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and authorities in the spiritual realm. We need to discern the battle. But what if spiritual warfare is also the lie from the enemy convincing us that suffering and hardship should be prayed away? What if instead our prayer was, “Oh, God, may this cup finish its work in me no matter what it takes?”

That’s really hard to pray when it hurts. But do we really trust God? What if we prayed that the cross of suffering would finish its work deep inside of us? What if we yearned for the depths and intimacy with Jesus that suffering invites and forms? Whatever comes into our lives as believers, as the Church, is from God, whether He’s sent it or allowed it. What is He trying to accomplish with it? Have we asked, or is our first response to rebel against it and ask others to pray it away? I pray that we would embrace suffering and the promise of victory to live in the fullness of intimacy and joy that is promised by our Father. I believe the times ahead are calling for deeply rooted, obedient followers of Christ that will be able to stand in times of great suffering and persecution. But the glory, oh, the radiant glory we will experience in our permanent paradise! Until then, we are led from glory to glory, shining like bright spots of light dappling across the dark wilderness of suffering. His kindness and grace leads us to repentance and obedience as we flourish under the Light of His Love. The remnant is rising. May we rise and rejoice as the spotless Bride of Christ, ready for the wedding feast of the royal wedding—the prepared Bride. We are citizens of another Kingdom, that is here and is still yet to come, that can never be shaken. M

The Unleashed column is written by Heather Murdock. She can be found on Instagram @heather. murdock or Facebook at heather. murdock1

A PERSONAL TRIBUTE

The drawing used in this article is by my uncle Larry Stafford. It's a tribute to him and a drawing that I saw many times over the years when I visited him at his office at his church. He was an outreach pastor and counselor at Church of Christ based in Rancho Cordova, California. He helped me and my husband many times in the early years through marriage and personal counseling, but more than that, he meant the world to me. He was a special man to so many broken, suffering, addicted people. During the course of writing this issue he passed away unexpectedly. He was a beautiful man that impacted countless lives, the church and the city. I will miss him dearly and I'm sure heaven is in hysterics listening to his jokes because that's the kind of guy He was. I love you uncle Larry. -Jenene Stafford

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The Tallit of Jesus by Lori Hill, Co-founder of the Dokimos Project

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he scene unfolds: the crowds are pressing in on a crowded city street in Galilee. The people are too numerous to count. The anticipation in the air is thick. All eyes are focused on one woman. She is shaking in fear because she has just been found out. She touched the hem of that man’s garment—that man, Jesus, that everyone has been talking about. In her desperation, this woman pushed through the crowds and touched His garment and in a flash, she was healed. She knew it. She felt it. But then He stopped. She thought she had gotten away with it, that she would go unnoticed. But oh no, He knew and He asked, “Who touched me?” Everyone around Him denied it. Except her, she just stayed quiet and likely thought, “Maybe He will just keep moving on—this Man from Galilee, that everyone is talking about. He must be the Messiah. Many people believe it, and He does miracles! He heals!” But then someone yelled, “The Law of Moses has pronounced this woman unclean, and it is her responsibil-

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brief interaction told to us by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, her story is worth understanding. She decided that her freedom from disease was more important than anything else. She saw Jesus and believed He was the solution. In her desperation, she decided that she would push through the crowd and touch Jesus’ garment. She told herself that if she could just touch it, she would be healed. To gain her healing, she had to be bold. She had to step out in faith even though it was risky. This woman was deemed “unclean” by the Law of Moses, because of her blood issue. It was her responsibility to stay away from people, or they would be defiled if she touched them. They had the right to throw stones at her, to drive her away. Perhaps she even thought to herself, “If I just touch the fringe of his garment, I won’t defile him.” She had experienced so much shame and condemnation over the years that she had to dig in and muster up courage. She had to get over the inner voice that said, “Nothing will change” or “You aren’t worthy of healing.” It may have taken many years, but she overcame, she chose faith, and her faith caused her to take a risk. Why did this woman believe that Jesus would heal her? And why did she just need to touch the hem of His garment? We need to understand the garment first. The item that is being referred to is a “tallit.” All Jewish men are commanded to wear them. God instructed Moses, “…they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD…I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God” (Numbers 15:38-41). The tallit is like a big rectangular scarf that goes over the shoulders, and there is fringe across the two edges that hang down. On each corner of this rectangular garment are long tassles, and

ity to stay away from everyone or they will be defiled. She just defiled Him!” The Man asks again, “Who touched Me? I felt power leave Me.” There was no way out, except for her to admit, “It was me.” Many people are familiar with the biblical story of the woman who had a disease that caused her to bleed. She bled for 12 years. She spent all her money on doctors and remedies that did nothing for her. She had heard of Jesus and all the stories of the people that were healed by Him. He was a miracle worker, and she needed a miracle. This story appears in three out of the four gospels: Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, and Luke 8:43–48. We don’t know the name of this woman, but based on the

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these tassles are called “tzitzit.” Professor Pinchas Shir, from the Israel Bible Center, writes this: “The purpose of the tassels is very specific—to remind Israel about their inseparable connection to God (i.e. to remind them about the covenant). The Hebrew word tzitzit is related to the verb natzah ‘to fly.’ Another form of this same verb hitzah means ‘to struggle,’ ‘to strive,’ or ‘to try really hard.’ The stories of Jesus and the heal-

“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. This woman knew who was walking along the path; she knew it was the Messiah. With that, she took

"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings . . ." ing that He provided must have spoken to this woman’s heart. Here is a prophecy of the Messiah in Malachi 4:2: “But for you who fear My name, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall." And in Isaiah 35:1-6, the Messiah is also described: The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts,

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action and she leaped forward to grab the healing wing of Messiah’s tallit. As she touched His tassel, or tzitzit, the healing power went out of Jesus, and even though the crowd was pressing in, He knew someone had touched His garment. In those moments, I believe that the Messiah knew who touched Him. He wasn’t asking the question for His own benefit. He was asking the question for hers. By asking “Who touched me?” Jesus gave the woman the opportunity to be healed, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. He knew all that she had endured, and He was offering her complete healing. With all eyes on her, she eventually poured out her story. In the process, she found freedom from the self-condemnation and loneliness she carried. Jesus says to her, “Daughter, your

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faith has healed you. Go in peace.” In this simple sentence, she was instantly and fully restored. By calling her daughter, He essentially restored her to the spiritual community of believers. He gave her His shalom—His peace, His harmony, His wholeness, His completeness, His prosperity, His welfare and His tranquility—in exchange for the pain and weight she suffered with for too long. Have you ever felt stuck like this woman? Maybe you’ve waited for your healing, but it hasn’t yet come. Maybe you want freedom, but it seems just out of reach. Our minds can keep us prisoners to the past. The wounds, the betrayals, the abandonment, the failure— they all speak when we let them. I have experienced this same healing touch from Jesus. The moment I cried out for Him to forgive me of my sin, I received spiritual healing. Jesus has healed me physically through prayer by me stepping out and asking for it, just like the woman did; other times it has been through different people interceding for me. I have received emotional healing from Him too, through inner healing prayer ministries as well as the comfort of the Holy Spirit and by His Word. I can say with confidence that Jesus is my Healer and I’m confident He is yours too if you let Him. Whenever we encounter Jesus, the Messiah, we encounter the Great Healer. He brings us to greater levels of freedom through His healing touch, whether that be physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Sometimes it can feel risky, but I can assure you it will always be worth it to reach out to Him. Grab ahold of His tzitzit, encounter the Messiah, and pursue your healing. He won’t be wondering “Who touched me?” when you come to Him, He’s been waiting for you!

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SOUNDS AROUND THE THRONE AND THE NEW HEBREW YEAR 5781

BULLRIDE Psalm 89:14-15 (NIV) Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.

BY MALVINA LAUDICINA

ecently, I heard the Lord say “Next year (2021) is going to be a bull ride.” As I sought the Lord about this, He started revealing what He meant by this statement. He showed me that I can interpret this statement in two ways. One way is, all is going to shake and we must prepare. The other way is, God in His full strength will give us the ride of our lives. Regardless of how we take it, there will be a shake. This coming year will be a year when we are going to feel the strength of the Lord. I felt the Lord highlighting the importance of being acquainted with His strength and His desire to carry our burdens. We are shifting soon into the Hebrew New Year. Last year, a new decade had started. We entered the decade of the 80s in the Hebrew calendar. The number 80 in the Hebrew language has a pictograph of a mouth. I felt that we have entered into a decade of utterances and sounds,

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specifically sounds and frequencies directly from the throne of Heaven. In September 2020, we will be celebrating the entry of another Hebrew New Year 5781. The letter that corresponds to number one in Hebrew is the letter “aleph.” The gematria of numerical value of the letter “aleph” is one which represents God as the one and only Master of the Universe. The letter speaks of strength, represents a strong leader and it also represents fullness of Yahweh. Note that the gematria of the parts of the letter “aleph,” two yods (value of 10) and one vav (value of 6) (10+10+6=26) adds up to 26. This is the same number for the total of the letters that form the name of God, Yod Hei Vav Hei (10+5+6+5=26). This year, all will point to Yahweh and His strength. Another important fact that will connect this with the throne (which is the objective of this article) is that the word for ox is an “aleph” word (eleph). We will see the Lord as the ox who is the one of the

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faces of the living creatures around the throne representing the priestly function and the carrier of our burdens. The Lord was showing me that we have to become familiar with His strength and the power of His glory. This year He is looking for a people that will understand the power of His fullness and the face of the ox. The oxen help to plow the field and prepare it for the seeds that later bring the harvest. A sound will be released over man to reveal the strength of God, and this sound will turn the ground in preparation for the seeds of conception. It is a preparation of a womb to carry the seed of life. He is looking for a company that can handle His strength. Like oxen that are used to carry huge loads, we need to be equipped to carry the government He will place on our shoulders. Usually older oxen accompany a younger one carrying the load. He showed me that this is going to be a year where the spirit of the children

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will return to the fathers and there will be teaching by association. Equipping the next generation to recognize the strength of God will be crucial. He is looking for a people that can ride the bull in full strength without losing balance. By now you may be asking why all the talk about the year when this article is about the throne. I do believe we have to become familiar with the intensity of Yahweh on the throne and with one of the faces of the living creatures (the ox) to receive strategies for this new year. This is not my first article in Megamorphosis and I am always honored and blessed to be part of this fabulous magazine. If you look back at my previous contributions, my focus always is in the generation of craftsmen and

the new sound. In this article, I want to continue in the same vein, adding a new dimension to the subject. In this piece I want to invite you to a journey around the throne room, to understand the intensity surrounding it, the things around it and its sounds. I believe it is of utmost importance that in the coming season the Body of Christ become familiar with the throne of God and its power, especially the sounds and frequencies that surround the throne. The sounds around the throne always trigger a response from God in full strength (aleph). In Revelation 5:11, apostle John describes what he heard. He heard the voices of myriads of angels encircled around the throne, as well as the voices of the living creatures and the elders—myriads and myriads. He saw

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them singing with thunderous voices: “Worthy is Christ the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive great power and might, wealth and wisdom, and honor, glory, and praise!” In some translations this verse describes the multitude of angels as ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I have heard many angels audibly in my life, so hearing 110 million angels sing all at once must be an experience beyond extraordinary. This is just one of the many frequencies heard around the throne. The Lord is searching for a company of sound makers that have become very familiar with the surrounding sounds of the throne to bring a new dimension of power and strength

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(aleph) through sound to the Earth. This is a sound that will be like millions of angels all singing at once. The interesting fact is that in the Bible the word oxen (aleph) speaks of large numbers, so the sound of the oxen speaks of a multitude just like we hear around the throne. Let’s now start our journey around the throne and look in detail at what surrounds the throne in the parts of the Bible where the throne is mentioned. I encourage you to read the chapters referenced in this article and see what is happening in the story but also what happens to you when you engage in your mind with the descriptions of the sounds and elements around the throne. Isaiah 6 is a great chapter quoted by many as a commissioning chapter. We like to say Isaiah was commissioned by God, and this is true, but before all that takes place, let’s look at what is going on around the throne. This chapter starts by Isaiah seeing the Lord seated on the throne as His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim, or angels of flaming fire that have 6 wings singing. One of the footnotes in The Passion Translation describes the seraphs as follows: “The seraphs are the fiery custodians of the holiness of God. The seraphs were a class of angels stationed around the throne of God.” Seraph comes from the Hebrew word for “burn.” Some have equated the seraphim with the living creatures mentioned in Revelation 4:6-9. They were on fire, burning with the adoration of God and they sang: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, Commander of Angel Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” In Isaiah 6:4 the thunderous voice of the fiery angels caused the doorposts and the foundations of the thresholds to tremble as the cloud of glory filled the temple. The sound of worship produced by these creatures is no small thing. There is a shaking and a response of the glory of God

that fills the temple with smoke because of their worship. This is really exciting. When these angels are worshiping, the glory is activated. We in our earthly worship do a bit of this, but I believe the Lord is looking for a people that are fiery in their sound that can shake the doorpost and the foundation of the thresholds with their overwhelming awe of the One seated on the throne. A people that will shake everything around with their frequencies and sounds that God in response brings His Shekinah glory in full measure. I am not speaking of a human response or a feel-good emotion of humanity

full evaluation of the condition of the seven churches. We read about what the Lord thought of the church at the time. It’s all listed—the good, the bad and the ugly—all in chapter 3. He describes the churches with some nice words, but some not so nice. I think it is important to point out that these encounters and sounds heard around the throne were not dependent of the condition of the church but of a man positioned to hear what God had to say. John the

"And pulsing from the throne were blinding flashes of lightning, crashes of thunder, and voices." because worship was good at the last service; I am referring to the weighty presence of God filling everything around and man being convicted of his condition to transform and commission humanity. There is a cycle and a response from God Himself to the actions of man. Just like a bull waiting at the gate to be open in a rodeo with violent rattling of the doorposts, we must be ready to shift with Him as He moves in all His power. If that is not enough, we have Revelation 4 and 5. The scene in these chapters comes after the Lord has made a

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Apostle was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. He was positioned to receive what God had to reveal. John was in prison and had lost everything and his undivided attention belonged to the Lord. After this (the evaluation of the churches), John saw a portal and heard the voice like a trumpet with an invitation. I want to point out, John is not trying to access Heaven; there is a natural sequence of events that God includes him into and invites him to come up with Him. Let’s pause here for a moment and

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evaluate the sound of the invitation. The sound of the voice was like a trumpet. This is not the first time this description is used in the Bible to describe the voice of God. In Exodus 19:19, the voice of God also sounded like a trumpet after the smoke covered the mountain and the whole mountain trembled violently. In Exodus 20:18-19, we see the reaction

of the people to the sound of the voice of God, “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’” Imagine the sound of a trumpet in these chapters, so intense and loud that people became scared. Humans are born with two fears based on scientific research done in infants. One is the fear of falling and the second is the fear of loud noises. If we try to imagine the sound and intensity of this trumpet, it is likely that, unless you are submitted to the Holy Spirit,

fear will be triggered. The sound made by God’s voice made people tremble. Understanding these intense frequencies will become very key to shift the Church from what Jesus described in the chapter in Revelation to the discovery of the throne and its full intensity. John the apostle then sees the throne and what is around it. I want to highlight the impact of the One seated on the throne with creatures, elders and angels. After an amazing description of the One seated on the throne and its beauty, in verse 5 John sees lightning, crashes of thunder and voices. Another dimension of sound is presented in this portion. “And pulsing from the throne were blinding flashes of lightning, crashes of thunder, and voices.” Are you getting a picture of the intensity around these scenes? We need to be able to survive the intensity of His glory as well as the strong sounds around it. This is no soaking session, or worship service as we are used to. The throne is a place of drama, intensity and action. If you are a person who is affected by loud noises or much commotion you probably won’t do very well when the throne is revealed to you. The frequencies around it are not calming and bring a sense of awe of the One seated on the throne. Last but not least, the living creatures around the throne are not necessarily normal things we are used to. We must become comfortable engaging these creatures as we approach throne encounters. In Revelation 4:6-8 we read: In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and

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in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night, they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,who was, and is, and is to come.” Reminding you that at the beginning of the article I mentioned the year 5781 as an “aleph” year or as the year of the ox. One of the faces of the living creatures in Revelation is an ox. This is representative of the priest and their ministry. Jesus is our High Priest and He carries our burdens. The Lord this year wants to reveal His strength, just like we have seen around the throne, and His desire to carry our burdens and troubles in uncertain times. We need to familiarize ourselves with Jesus’ words when He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Jesus will carry our loads if we focus on Him and His strength. We must develop a muscle to handle long periods of glory and manifestation of His strength and power. We must be prepared for the violent sound of the trumpet blast. He will speak directly to us and this year it will not be a whisper but a blast of His glory moving to transform the world. I am praying for discernment and understanding from the Body of Christ because when people are not familiar with God’s strength and His sounds, we may see it as destructive or too intense. Let’s develop a tenacity and perseverance to ride the bull and not fall off. MALVINA LAUDICINA, a prophetic visionary whose goal is to see people transform into their creative destiny. www. malvinalaudicina.com

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spiritual spiritual leaders leaders need need healing healing too too

Jesus is our Great Healer. He heals our hearts from every kind of wound.

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BY LARRY HILL

pointed to a specific place on the white board and asked the church leaders, “How do you measure success right here?” Immediately, the worship leader stood up, pointed his finger at me and said in an elevated stern voice, “How dare you! How dare you! How dare you bring corporate America into this sacred meeting!” This happened years ago, and it took months to figure out what happened. After a series of clean-up meetings, I apologized and so did he, but the process was arduous. At the core of the flare up was a fundamental problem. The worship leader was shaken by my innocent question. The Bible says, “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:26-29). We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. The process to receive this kingdom means that the things that can be shaken will be shaken so that what remains cannot be shaken. Threatening situations are

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a type of shaking. People who have an intimate relationship with Jesus realize that when negative emotions get triggered, it is an opportunity for more inner healing. Jesus wants to heal every crack in my heart and in yours. So, view the shaking as good news. The process can be painful, but it is worth it. Jesus is our Great Healer. He heals our hearts from the wounds of betrayal, abandonment, rejection, failure, weariness, discouragement, shame, depression, illegitimate control, and more. In my life there has been pain and sorrow. This list of heavy words brings up memories for me. It is personal. Read that list slowly. I’m sure you have your personal stories too. The healing process can be fast and miraculous. Or, the healing process can be slow and methodical. Jesus heals our hearts in five general ways: 1) by meditating on His Word, 2) by receiving revelation from the Holy Spirit through fervent prayer, 3) by seeking wise counsel, 4) by trusting professional counselors and 5) by encountering the Holy Spirit with the help of trained inner healing ministers. When I say “trained inner healing ministers” I’m talking about equipping ministries and healing prayer techniques such as: Elijah House, Transformation Prayer Ministry (Theophostic), SOZO, Restoring the Foundations, Cleansing Streams,

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EMDR, Shabar, Lie Busters and others. Are these approaches Biblical? They use Biblical principles. Are they perfect? No. Anything that is done via human beings has the potential to be imperfect, for no one is perfect except Jesus Himself. Humans are complicated and flawed. Deception is real. However, the benefits far outweigh the risks. One thing all these equipping ministries have in common are the thousands of testimonies of breakthrough, healing, freedom, and victory. The Bible says in 1 John 4:1 to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” I have had over a dozen inner healing prayer sessions. Each has been amazing and a blessing. Admittedly, two of these sessions had issues and that was because of innocent mistakes. So, do not give up. Press on. As the saying goes, “Chew the meat and spit out the bones.” I was so blessed I got trained and so is my wife. Being a business owner and ministry leader, I can only minister to a few people, but witnessing the breakthrough in someone is joyous. How about you? Have you experienced all five of Jesus’ healing methods? When you read that list of heavy words, did you feel peace or angst? Healing brings peace. Buried wounds don’t stay buried in the shaking. Jesus has used each of these five methods to heal my heart. Healing

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and strength have come layer upon layer, mercy upon mercy and truth upon truth. Some say inner healing is like the layers of an onion being peeled off, one hurt or false belief at a time. My wife and I like to say that inner healing is more like an artichoke because the outer leaves are tough and thorny, and it is difficult to pull them off. As you work your way towards the center, the leaves get easier to pull away; then after all the peeling, an artichoke has a yummy heart. Am I done being healed and equipped? No. But, the things that used to trigger my negative emotions no longer have a grip on me. The things of this world are being shaken off me. For me, the Holy Spirit’s pool

Holy Spirit will ignite our region for Jesus. It will include revival. It will include awakening. It will include reformation. It will include intensive discipleship. Jenene Stafford calls the whole thing a “Truth Revolution.” I agree. In my times of prayer, Jesus has whispered to me that the deep healing of spiritual leaders will ignite this Truth Revolution. Inner healing is for everyone, but spiritual leaders need to be proficient all five ways. How can you model what you do not know? I’ve read books about previous revivals and awakenings. There is a theme to when the flow of revival dissipates. In my research, the pattern is clear…character issues surface, tension between leaders increases,

one, but you must be proficient in all five types of inner healing so that you lead from a place of God’s rest and model all five types of healing for others. If you need help, please ask. Jesus is raising up an army of inner-healing ministers. I certainly recommend the Dokimos Project (www.dokimosproject.com) as a good place to start, but there are many wonderful resources available. So, what triggered the worship leader to be threatened by my question? Well, he had unhealed pain and my question was a shaking that triggered his pain. As a result, he felt threatened and took action to protect himself. It really had nothing to do with what I said or how I said it. One

"Inner healing and right identity are vitally importan so

that spiritual leaders can fulfill their God-given calling."

of healing is wonderful. The living water of truth washes over me, and I feel so alive. Praise Jesus. I’m reminded of the David Meece song (1987) that says, “Walk right in; the water is fine.” John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” When I was five years old, I received Jesus as my Savior at a Vacation Bible School. I remember the scene vividly. He set me free from the penalty of my sins. Now, Jesus is setting me free from the power of anything I may think and feel that He does not agree with. I am being healed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). The key to this healing is that I must initiate it. Romans 12:2 is a command not a suggestion. I firmly believe that a move of the

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territories feel threatened and the clash of interpersonal drama crescendos. At the heart of the matter is a lack of right identity and believing the three identity lies. The first identity lie is, “My worth is based on how people see me.” The second lie is, “My worth is based on what I have.” The third lie is, “My worth is based on what I can do.” With any of these identity lies operating in the minds of spiritual leaders, the move of God is hindered. Many are praying that the coming Truth Revolution is sustained for the long run. Inner healing and right identity are vitally important so that spiritual leaders can fulfill their God-given calling. If you are a spiritual leader, please hear my heart. Healing is for every-

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of the pastors at that church summed it up by saying, “Larry, you stepped on a hidden landmine. There was no way you could have seen that coming.” Dear loved one, ask Jesus to show you any landmines in your heart and ask him to heal you. Reach out to an inner-healing ministry team and humbly let the Body of Christ minister to you. Humility and trust precede healing. When you feel the slightest shaking, jump into the Holy Spirit’s pool of healing. The water is fine. LARRY HILL is a business owner, consultant and ministry leader. calproresearch.com dokimosproject.com.

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© Dr. John Jackson, President of William Jessup University (www.jessup.edu) See www.drjohnjackson.com for additional information and resources from Dr. Jackson.

PERSPECTIV

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Photo by Melissa Poloncarz

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What is God Saying? What are people saying? Is unity still a thing?

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t is hard to block out the noise. Every day it seems to get louder. The voices of seeming friend and foe are confused and confusing, whether it be on social media, the public airwaves, or in the office, warehouse, neighborhood, or even in a conversation between followers of Christ. The political spirit of our age seemingly requires demonization and polarization of all viewpoints, almost regardless of which side of the continuum and which party label (D, R, I, None) is affixed to your voter registration (and if you are not registered, please do so now). It has been my great joy and honor to participate in, serve, lead, pastor, equip, and call forth the people of God for more than 40 years. I’ve made hundreds (thousands?) of mistakes and have led wrong and been wrong more times than I could count. But in the midst of the journey, I have always known that God, His Word, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have been and are faithful and true. How do we hear the voice of God in the midst of multiple pandemics of our present hour? Can we actually discern the voice of God in the midst of the cacophony of noises and can we ever again be united in the Body of Christ in the midst of the fracturing of the present political age? I say yes. A number of years ago there was a Time magazine that came out with a headline that said, "God Is Dead.� The next day the reporters lined up at Billy Graham's home and said, "Is God dead, Dr. Graham?" Billy said, "Are you kidding? I just talked to Him." One of the most basic claims of Christianity is that God is a God who reveals Himself to people. All throughout the Bible is the claim, "God said..." God really does speak to people. God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to have a personal relationship with you. There is no relationship without communication. God has chosen to speak to us and to live in us

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through the Holy Spirit. Brother Lawrence, who wrote the classic devotional “Practicing the Presence of God” said this: “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because God would have us.” In John 12, there is a glorious passage that includes these words: “[Jesus prayed,] ‘Father, glorify your name!’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, ‘This voice was for your benefit, not mine.’" Why did Jesus go out of His way to point out that the voice was not for His benefit? Because He heard God all the time. He was in constant communion with the Father. But the disciples needed to hear it, so they could have faith to believe. Remember, Jesus was about to be rejected by the religious establishment, taunted and humiliated, and executed; so God spoke audibly. God knows when we need a sure word, and works around our lack of maturity in times of great need. Scripture repeatedly affirms that the God who made the heavens and earth, and the One who made us, is a God who speaks: “For God does speak—now one way, now another— though man may not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds” (Job 33:14-15). “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall nev-

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er perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). One of the many challenges we are facing in the Body of Christ is that we have individually and corporately often heard the voice of God through His word, through teaching, through the Holy Spirit, and we have disobeyed Him. I can personally testify to that in my life, and I suspect you can in yours. Scripture tells us that obedience to the

"I believe we are experiencing a moment of divine shifting and divine sifting."

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voice of God is necessary and not optional for those who seek to follow Him. Disobedience brings discipline to us as sons and daughters (Hebrews 11, John 15). I believe we are experiencing a moment of divine shifting and divine sifting. The shifting is happening in that the Father is shifting us from a preoccupation with “us” (our churches, our ministries, our programs, our numbers, our achievements) to “intimacy with Him.” That shifting has come hard over the past several years

here in the US and may be reaching its peak in the Covid-19 experience. On a parallel track, I think the Lord is sifting us (or pruning—John 15, or refining—Isaiah 48:2, James 1:2-4) for His glory. The Lord is coming (whether in this generation or a future one) for a church that is spotless and Holy (Ephesians 5:27; I think none of us would argue that we haven’t been that church. So, how do we navigate these turbulent shifting and sifting hours? May I humbly suggest we do the following 5 things:

We continue to humble ourselves before the hand of the Lord and submit ourselves in worship, prayer, and study of the Word (Acts 2:42-47). We place ourselves in covenant community with others who love Jesus and long to follow Him so that we can together discern the voice of the Holy Spirit from the spirit of the age (Hebrews 10:24-25). We recognize a Unity from Heaven (John 17) and are diligent to preserve that Unity (Ephesians 4:3), but we reject a unity that is based on something less than God-glorifying standards, recognizing that judgment begins with the household of faith (1 Peter 4:17). We affirm and seek to discern the hand of God in our local, state, and national elections and pray for all those in authority over us (1 Timothy 2:2), but we simultaneously recognize that God is sovereign and no human election in a democracy ever overrides the hand of God at work in human affairs (Daniel 2:21). We recognize our role as intercessors in every sphere of our lives and relationships and we seek to shift the atmosphere by our prayer and by His presence to see the will of God on earth as it is in heaven (Luke 1:10-13, Matthew 6:10).

Across the planet we are facing tests and trials and tribulations. The author of James tells us in the 1st chapter both that testing and tribulations are actually a time of joy and proving perseverance. In that same chapter, the Holy Spirit tells us that taming

the tongue is so critical as to be core to faith. The Bible is certainly inconvenient on many levels. I’m personally praying that I submit to the Lord, hear His voice, obey His will, walk in the power of His spirit, love everyone He puts in my path,

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and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:28-32) in such a way as to be redemptive to the world around me. Let’s join together in those efforts and we will find Unity in Him, through Him, and for Him, to His glory.

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POWER & LOVE By Jenene Stafford ealing can take a long time, especially if you pick at a scab over and over again. And if you pick at a scab long enough it produces a significant scar. This is what has happened in our culture when it comes to racism. Some of these scars never healed and have been covered up with bandaids. Some wounds have lingered from centuries of slavery and some because the scars have been cut open once again. And some have even been carried down from generation to generation as a badge of honor. Too many have lived life feeling like a victim or less important than someone else, rather than as an overcomer. .and we know Jesus's heart and His message of love is the overcoming power He came to bring. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have brought light on an issue that many believe has not been fully reconciled or healed in America, the so called "Land of the Free and the Brave." I believe that was the intention of the Forefathers of our great country and of God that "all men are created equal," but still cultures have defined what is right and what is wrong almost forever and definitely since media and publishing were invented. Regardless of where you look you can see the battle between good and evil and trace it back to some war, tragedy or movement that infuses something forever lasting into the culture. This is how

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history is made. Always there is pain, there is controversy and there is division, but we must remember after the battle, there is also progress. But the truth is, we need more progress, more justice, more mercy and way more love. It's really the love that heals. Without love we are simply a noisy cymbal as the Bible tells us. When a person feels loved, seen, heard and valued, I believe we are truly connecting to the Father's heart and His desire that people have a whole and healed identity. They are able to see themselves as a son or daughter of God with a unique and God-given value. The question is, if this is God's desire, then why has freedom, justice and mercy for all people escaped us? The answer is simple but requires unpacking. The enemy of our souls and our nations doesn't want God's sons and daughters to walk in the love, light and freedom Jesus provided our world. This is why this issue's theme is called POWER and LOVE. Often times the word "power" stands out more than the word "love." If people are honest, even in the Church, it is power that people and leaders desire more than justice, and culture has bought into this lie. Human powers, religious powers and political powers will only take us so far, but love will take us all the way into eternity. Love will conquer a multitude of racial sins. Love will be the prevailing factor that sets the Church apart. And love will make the Church of Jesus Christ famous. That's the truth the enemy doesn't want the Church, the world or the government to know, or remember. Love almost seems esoteric, like it's not real because no one

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knows how to create a strategic plan, define the ROI or develop an initiative based on love—everyone views love differently. It's no wonder to me at all that God is allowing all this injustice, pain, inequality and grief to rise to the surface of culture and Christianity. He alone has the plan—and we've had it at our fingertips all along. In fact, millions of believers filled with the Holy Spirit, with true power and true love hidden and protected inside them have God's ammunition, God's strategic plan and God's healing medicine. THE SOLUTION is stuck inside most of us saying "please let me out so I can do my job." The Holy Spirit sees our pain and He is the answer alive in us, designed to MANIFEST HIS LOVE. Don't you know God is Love? Don't you know God sees our pain? Don't you know God hears our cries? Do we love mercy like the Father loves mercy? Hm. . .Walk humbly. Love mercy. Do justice. Sounds like a good solid plan to me and it's even in the Bible in Micah 6:7-8. And, make sure and read all of Micah Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 because there are so many things to learn from it in this current season of bringing light into the darkness in our culture. Don't miss the BIG PICTURE. Micah 6 is an "Indictment of the Lord" to Israel (or America) or any nation claiming to be a "righteous nation" or expecting God's favor. God's reminding them He's taken them out of Egypt and provided the escape route. He reminds them of how His righteous acts came against those who devised plans against them. God then lets them know what He does NOT require of them (Israel or America) and what HE DOES REQUIRE of them to make progress. He doesn't require sacrificing your child. (7) "Shall I give my firstborn for my

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transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" (8) "He has told you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8) He then points out all the wickedness in the culture and the consequences and judgements coming in Micah 7. Go read it. I am so thankful for the Good News, there is always a righteous remnant that God will come through for—His true believers. (18) "Who is like God, who pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He doesn't retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. (19) He will turn again; He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our

iniquities. And He will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." This is our God. A God who delights and loves mercy and requires that His Church walk in humility and righteousness and that we do justice. So I hope you can see that more than appreciating mercy, we must love mercy because without its motivation we cannot do justice. The more mercy we have, the more humble we are, the more justice we'll see. To understand Micah 6 and 7—God hates wickedness because wicked leaders and wicked nations are those who rule with wickedness and always, always, always wickedness has one goal, to destroy righteousness and justice, which are the foundation of God's throne (Psalm 89:14). Too

many people misinterpret the God of war and why when Jesus returns it is the "Great and Terrible day of the Lord." It is great for the righteous and terrible for the wicked. It is the day of reckoning and it's coming soon. But right now, the Lord is showing us where we have fallen short in the Church and not risen up a standard of righteousness in our culture (with racism, abortion, sex with children, sex trafficking, pornography, etc.). The Church must stop looking to the world for the solution to justice. The solution to racism and every other form of injustice is inside us. It's time to humble ourselves under the righteous right hand of God. To love all men like Jesus did, without partiality, as it covers a multitude of sins. Vote righteous.

"SEE YOUR PAIN " BY KARINA KUDINA + PRODUCED BY PJ PATE

"SEE YOUR PAIN"—A SONG FOR HEALING, A SONG FOR LOVE, A SONG COVERED IN PRAYER Sung by Karina Kudina and produced by PJ Pate

Check them out on Instagram @ kari_kudi and @pjpate11 See the story on the next page of what inspired Karina Kudina to write and sing and PJ Pate to produce this song.

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Check them out on Instagram @ kari_kudi and @pjpate11

I SEE YOUR PAIN By Jenene Stafford knew we needed the story behind this song "See Your Pain" to be told. Great music has been birthed in the last six months of cultural and racial suffering and I knew as I sat down for lunch with Karina and PJ just two days ago that something in their hearts was about to burst. Karina told me they had a new song and I asked her to send it to me so I could put the release information in this issue, but I didn't realize we had to do more until I heard the song late that night. I listened to it four times straight and I didn't want to stop. It profoundly moved me and I knew it would do the same for others. Even though we were literally on the final day of preparing to publish, everything had to come to a halt for the heartbeat

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and message of this song to be shared. I know there's more to tell later on, but this is the start of something that will bring healing to a lot of people. I reached out first thing this morning and said, "Karina, the Holy Spirit said to hold off on publishing. Can I get five minutes with you and five minutes with PJ to tell me what's personal about this song?" My timing was perfect. Here's what came out of our conversation. "Being new in an inter-racial relationship expands your worldview so much, but it also gives you a perspective on both good and bad things going on in culture," she said. Although their

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romantic relationship is only five months in, she says, "it has given me an [up close look into] his pain and hurt behind the curtain that no one [likes to] talk about." It was after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the riots started that she had an experience she wasn't expecting, but it shifted her perspective in a powerful way. She was driving in her car and started crying and felt such a heaviness in her heart so she asked the Lord, "why is my heart so heavy and [why can't] I can't stop expressing these emotions?" Jesus responded "Your heart is heavy because Mine is." The weight of it seemed like two hundred pounds placed on

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her heart. Then Karina got home and sat down at the piano and started to write. Later she shared with PJ how she was feeling and they began to speak openly and vulnerably about racism and how it has been so hurtful for him. It was then she realized the only thing she could do is to listen and she was surprised how difficult it was to do. She felt like many white people likely do, she wanted to fix it or come up with a solution. But he wanted her to just hear him and see his pain in that moment. "In order to do that I had to put away all of my perspectives, rights and wrongs and my fixer-mentality and just be with him in the moment," she said. After that they connected at a deeper level and her eyes were opened because she was willing to listen to his pain. She learned that sometimes to fix a problem it's not a hands-on approach that works, but it's getting on your knees and being humble enough to listen and let God's love seep onto another person. When she thought about God and how He is with her at times, (not

trying to fix us up in the moment) she said, "often He just embraces me and reminds me of who I am, that He's close and that He is for me and with me. As Christians that is what we're called to do. [Like] the Apostle Paul says love [is the gift] we can offer, showing compassion and sitting with someone and opening up your heart to hear their pain and to see them for who they are. That brings so much more healing than anything we can do." "The song is powerful because it's coming from a white woman's perspective of the pain she feels because of my pain," PJ shares. "It's amazing [what happens] when we have a relationship with unity, love and empathy for what I might be going through as a black man. Often people are used to hearing the black man's perspective of anger, but this new prespective is in the lyrics of the song—'I choose to stand by your side, I choose to tightly hold your hand, I choose to look into your eyes, I choose to see, I choose to feel your pain. It's the words 'I choose.'" This song is so

powerful because it exudes in every way, from the music, to the lyrics, to Karina's angelic voice, the deep desire to love by a brave but simple choice to feel another's pain. The song is meant to have us look into our own heart and ask the question "am I really loving my brother and sister?" PJ shares. Although PJ is a singer, it was intentional that his voice is not in this song. "Most people of color feel like they're talking too much or instructing too much, so to have a white woman talking completely and saying 'I choose' is so powerful," PJ said. The Lord told Karina to "have high expectations for this song" and she does. In Karina's final thoughts she shared her desires for the impact of the song; she wants people to listen to this song and be humbled, to have a change of heart so profound that hearts of stone would be replaced with a hearts of flesh. I believe this is the purpose of the song, to let love rule our hearts, and let it be the solution to our world's pain. We have the power to do that. "It's a message people need to hear," PJ shares.

"WORTH THE FIGHT " BY KIM WALKER SMITH

A SONG FOR AMERICA

By Kim Walker Smith + Mia Fieldes

Words written about the song are from Kim's Instagram post. Check her out on Instagram @kimwalkersmith

Eleven years ago, a friend told me that one day I would write a song for America. I have always loved this country, but at the time, I wasn’t even interested in songwriting! Well, that time has now come. It breaks my heart to see how divisive we have become. In a land that has always held freedom of speech in such high regard, we have given birth to a culture that says, “my way is the only way to think or speak.” We can no longer have civil conversations, valuing the thoughts and opinions of someone who sees and experiences the world differently from us. We have abandoned gratitude and love for our neighbor. But I have hope for this country. As a mother, I want to do all I can to build the future I want for my children. We live in a nation where we have been given the right to vote and vote we must! I believe that every person should vote according to their conviction.

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There is only ONE savior of the world and of America, and it’s Jesus Christ. This is the moment for us to lift our eyes to Him, not to social media, not to the opinions of others, and follow His voice. I believe America is still the land of the free and the home of the brave. I believe America is still a beacon of hope for the many migrants who have come and will come. I believe America is still WORTH THE FIGHT. I wrote this song with my good friend, Mia Fieldes. Our prayer is that this song will encourage you to believe in this nation again and help turn our hearts towards unity. It is featured in a documentary called @thetrumpiknowmovie but this is a song for my nation, the UNITED States of America. WORTH THE FIGHT is available now on all platforms!

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YOUR VOTE MATTERS MORE THAN YOU REALIZE. CHURCH, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE VOTE.

to stand in the storm

It's a new day in the Western Church and together we must stand up.

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+ BY KEVIN CASTLE

t

here was an experiment done in the early 1980’s with a goal to create the perfect living conditions for humans, plants, and animals. In the middle of a desert, they built a big dome that was protected from all the elements. The water and air were purified, the light was filtered, and everything was artificially enhanced. Humans and animals thrived in this environment for months at a time, but there was one problem—they couldn’t grow trees. Every time a tree would get to a certain height, it would topple over. Nobody initially could figure out why this happened, and then one day someone came to this conclusion— trees need wind to blow against them, for without it, they will never develop the root system that holds them in place. For many people, this year has been an enormous storm where they have lost their hope. You can see it in their faces and actions. Most have a longing for human connection and many still are trying to find meaning in the middle of this chaos. We all wish to see better days, and whether you are steadfast in your faith, unsure of where you stand, or even if you're a devout atheist who for some reason is reading this very article, rest assured it has rained on us all. The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:45, "...For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." All throughout history, there are metaphorical storms, times when life is upended and everything is thrown into chaos. Every hero in the Bible has their storms and fortunately, we get to

see the end of those stories. We know that most of them survived and went on to happy lives and we use these stories to give ourselves a glimmer of hope, that our better tomorrow is just a day away. But of course, it’s easy to get through the storm when you know where the end is. At the beginning of the book of Daniel, Israel is captured by the Babylonians and their captivity lasts for 70 years. This captivity is God's response to Israel's pagan worship practices, that the Jewish people were like an unfaithful bride and that God's judgment was inevitable. The Babylonian leader, Nebuchadnezzar II, was a ruthless king, the longest-reigning and most powerful monarch in the Neo-Babylonian Empire. So great and terrible was his reign, that Jeremiah 4:7 called him a "destroyer of nations" and begged people to flee for their lives. Leaving nothing in his wake, Nebuchadnezzar II set out to lay waste to Jerusalem and leave it uninhabitable, and he accomplished it. Daniel and his friends were captured, but God's favor was on them and they were allowed to be taken to Babylon to be trained in Babylonian wisdom. There they refused food and wine from the king, lest they become unclean according to Jewish law. It was common to eat pig and horse meat in Babylon which was forbidden by Jewish law, and it was also common for Babylonians to offer meat and wine to their gods; something Daniel and his friends would never participate in. Because of their faithfulness, they were given godly knowledge and insight into visions and dreams. By the end of their train-

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ing, they proved to be ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in the kingdom. Eventually, they are all given high offices in the court of Babylon and Daniel's enemies trick the king into forbidding worship of any other god or man besides the king himself for 30 days in order to get rid of Daniel. Of course, Daniel refuses and openly prays to God. Thus, the king is forced to throw Daniel in the lion's den, God sends an angel to save Daniel, his accusers are destroyed, and Daniel is restored to his position. In the records of human history, it is clear that during this time the Jewish people were oppressed. Jerusalem had been ransacked and its people were captive. They had lost everything, were exiled from their homes, and were forced to work as slaves in a foreign country. Yet one message rings louder than all the others, one message that we can take with us in this storm we find ourselves in: just as God saved Daniel and his friends from their enemies and from their circumstances, so too can God save you from yours. The year 2020 is not the America that people remember. In fact, it's unrecognizable from the country that existed not even 20 years ago. Many people are wondering where did we go wrong? As a nation, as the Church, did we miss a turn, a detour, a giant miraculous sign, a man shouting in the wilderness? But all these questions are missing the point. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, because today God is simply asking us to stand. Yes, it’s crazy right now. Yes, your

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"We can't change 2020 and its multitude of issues, but we can change how we respond to it. God's depending on us to bring His love to a broken world." fear and anxiety might be at an all time high. Yes, you might have suffered losses this year. These are all silver linings to the dark storm that is this year. We need the storms of life to grow strong, to build deep roots, to stand tall against the even bigger spiritual threats against this world. If we had perfect lives, we wouldn’t need God. Prayer is not a vending machine, and just because God doesn’t want us to suffer doesn’t mean we won’t have trials and hardships. In fact, God has used this year to do incredible things. God never promised us a problem-free life. He will never take us out of the storms, but instead He leads us right through them. You may feel like you’re alone in the boat, and the waves of life are crashing in on every side of you, but just like in Mark 4:38, “Jesus is inside the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow.” He’s not even worried about your circumstances because He knows you’ll make it to the other side if you trust Him. My friends, all we need to do is stand. The storms of life will rage regardless of our actions. The wind will howl and the rain will pour no matter what we do. The sun could turn to darkness and the moon blood red and the answer would remain the same. As the chosen, as the warriors of God, as the bride of Christ, all we have to do is take a stand. Right now, millions of Christians around the world gather in secret.

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They hide in houses and in underground rooms, not because they want to but because they have to. They gather in places like Iran and China, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. They gather where they are hunted, where it's illegal to own a Bible, to even pray and worship the one true God. And if they are caught, they face imprisonment at best, and at worst, their faith costs them their lives. Yet they gather willingly, knowing that the God who saved Daniel can equally save them. They stare death in the face daily and say, "Do your worst," knowing full well that they have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus and their reward is eternal salvation. Yet, the Church in America cowers in fear. We let culture dictate our practices and our government dictate our rules. Gone are the days where the Church was the center of innovation, the center of care and love, the center of art and commerce. Hospitals and Colleges, institutions that were once created to give glory to God, have been taken over by pagan practices and cultural mandates. Our churches are filled with people who value ease and comfort over sacrifice and taking up our crosses. We can blame no one but ourselves for this year, for we let it happen. This hollow shell of America is the one that we have sowed and reaped. But that means we have the power to change it. Yes—God is not done with us, yet. He is looking for those of

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us who will carry our cross, who will rise up and take up His cause. Like Daniel's story, God is willing to stand in the gap for us. He will shut the mouths of those that try to devour us. He will deliver us if we turn back to Him. Yes, it has rained on the just and the unjust this year, but it is also that rain that can grow the seeds of a new day for the Western Church, a new day for God's bride. We can reclaim this country, this hemisphere, and we can rebuild what has been lost and destroyed. God has a plan for His people, He always does, and as long as we keep our eyes on Him, like Daniel, we can survive the “lion's den.” We can't change 2020 and it's multitude of issues, but we can change how we respond to it. God is relying on us to bring His love to a broken world, to stand in the gap with Him. It was His mandate for us 2000 years ago when He told us to go into the world and preach the gospel to all nations, and it's still His mandate today. Let us not focus on who's right or wrong, who's Democrat or Republican, who's conservative or liberal or independent, but let us instead focus on how we can love and help each other. Let us repent of our pride, turn from our wicked ways, humble ourselves and turn to God, for in doing so, just like He promises in 2 Chronicles 7:14, He will hear our prayers and He will heal our land.

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+ THINK ABOUT IT

4 Things We Can All Learn from

Marky, My Brother with Down Syndrome + ANGELA MANZANARES

was three when my parents told me that I was going to be a big sister. “Twins!” they said. “You’re going to have two baby brothers!” I couldn’t contain my excitement, and every day after that I checked my mom’s belly to feel their movement and tell my baby brothers how excited I was to finally meet them, hold them, and grow up together. I was too young to fully comprehend what unfolded next—my parents shielded me from most of the details and their grief, considering I was their three-year-old daughter. So although I didn’t understand at the time, now that I’m older I look back and appreciate my parents for the heroic way they persevered through that season. My mom casually went in for one of her ultrasounds when the doctor dropped the news on her. “Well, I’m sorry to say, but one of your babies has died in the womb. And the surviving twin only has a 10% chance of survival. And if he does survive, he will be born with Down Syndrome,

I

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and you can expect to spend the majority of his life in the hospital with him. I'd advise you to terminate this pregnancy.” From what my parents told me, they were devastated, broken, angry, confused, and had their hearts shattered into a million pieces in that moment. Amidst their shock, they told the doctor, “Only God is the giver and taker of life. If this baby still has life, then God still has a plan.” They continued to walk out the pregnancy, and from what I've learned through their stories, it was the most excruciating season they’ve ever gone through. For months, they couldn’t hear God’s voice, didn’t feel His usual protection or comfort, and only heard Satan taunt them with lies, resentment, anger, and depression. Regardless, my parents never turned their backs on God and always chose to run to Him and not away from. Finally one Sunday morning, as my dad was getting ready for church, God gave him a vision that changed everything in an instant. In the vision, he was standing in heaven and a little boy came up to him. My dad asked, “Who’re you?” And the little boy

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replied, “I’m your son!” Then God spoke and said, “Everything made in my image is perfect and eternal. This is your son, and I’m taking good care of him. And your surviving son will be used as an instrument of worship that will inspire many.” That was the promise that parted the clouds of despair for my parents. From that moment on, they were confident and at peace knowing God had a plan much bigger than they could fathom. Eight months into my mom’s pregnancy, my brother, Marques (or Marky as I call him), was born. That in itself was a miracle. He was born with Down Syndrome and had none of the extra “disabilities” the doctors had spoken over him. Though premature, he was strong and already born resilient. I’ve gotten the honor and privilege to grow up being his big sister, and he’s taught me a million things just by getting to watch the way he lives his life. Here are four things we can all learn from my brother with Down Syndrome:

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1

2

EVERY life is valuable. Marky is evidence that every life matters. We are not the creators and givers of life— God is. In the natural, there was only a 10% chance that Marky would survive, and even if he did, doctors predicted he’d hardly be functional. Thank God there’s a higher reality than what we can see. Marky is healthy, vibrant, and makes the world a better place just by being here. Unfortunately, I’ve heard lots of stories of doctors that try to pressure families into having abortions. But thank God for the one nurse—and shoutout to all the exceptional nurses like her—that fought to find Marky’s heartbeat at every ultrasound. Every life is a gift. Slow down, enjoy the simple things. Nothing makes Marky happier than making his own morning cup of decaf coffee. Take him camping and fishing, or let him be a greeter at church, and he’s in heaven. Our culture celebrates things like being a star-athlete or making lots of money, but Marky has shown me that things like adding a new word to his vocabulary or learning how to make a new kind of sandwich are worthy of the same celebration. Life doesn’t always need to be flashy and over-the-top. Some of the most beautiful blessings are found in the everyday, simple moments.

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+ THINK ABOUT IT

". . .God told us before he was born that He was creating him to inspire many through worship. We have seen this fulfilled through his pure love and heart for worship."

3

4

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Marky is one of the sweetest worshipers and most faithful prayer warriors I’ve ever known. I’ve gotten to witness what a pure, direct connection to God looks like through Marky’s life. Even when he was little, as soon as we put on worship music in the car, his little hand would go up in the air and he’d start worshiping. There is no human condition or diagnosis that can separate us from the Spirit of God, and Marky’s special connection with the Lord is evidence of that. He also served on the prayer team at the church we grew up at, and many would ask specifically for prayer from Marky. He also has a mental list of family, friends, pastors, and various people that he prays for every night before bed. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” and Marky’s direct connection with the Lord is evidence of that. God keeps every word. He just DOES. I could write a whole book on all the ways God has used Marky to touch and inspire people. But here I’ll highlight two instances. First off, our parents were a part of the choir at Capital Christian Center in Sacramento. Every year, the choir sang in a big Christmas production called the Singing Christmas Tree, in which thousands attend every year. Marky used to go to all the rehearsals with my parents, and then one year, the director asked if he’d like to be a part of the show. They placed Marky front and center and thousands were moved by his sweet presence. Then more recently, we attended Sean Feucht’s Let Us Worship rally at the State Capitol. There were an estimated 12,000 people there all worshiping their hearts out, and Marky was no exception. In the 110 degree weather, Marky stood there, eyes closed, hands raised, connecting with His Heavenly Father. A few days later, we opened up social media and saw a picture of Marky worshiping, shared by Sean Feucht. Sean said, “The testimonies rolling in from Sacramento are daily blowing my mind!! Mass salvations, healings, wild miracles and entire families baptized together! BUT I CAN'T GET OVER THIS ONE RIGHT HERE *crying emojis*. Marques, you have inspired an entire generation to run after Jesus, and never back down no matter what!!!!! You are a warrior, and my life is changed from your devotion to the King!! Your parents are heroes too for CHOOSING LIFE!!!! You are a gift my friend!” The post had over 20,000 “likes,” over 2,000 shares, and hundreds of comments of people saying how moved they were by Marky’s picture and testimony, and many parents sharing testimonies of their own worshipers with special needs. This was yet another marking moment where God said to me, “See? I keep my promises.”

Marky has never tried to force himself

happen. When we’re faced with unex-

into the spotlight or take matters into his

pected setbacks or what seems like loss,

own hands to fulfill his calling. He liter-

we can rest assured that God has a bigger

ally just lives his life being 100% himself,

miracle in the works. We get to live care-

and yet God keeps His word and uses him

free and confident in God’s goodness.

ANGELA MANZANARES is a certified life coach and is a worship leader at Jesus Culture Sacramento. Check out her blog at:

in profound ways. He is such a reminder

As Marky always loves to quote the old

lifecoachingwithangela.com

that we don’t have to strive in our own

Eagles song, “Just take it easy!”

strength. If God promised, His plans will

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2020


DR. MICHAEL BRODEUR, Author of Revival Culture: Prepare for the Next Great Awakening.

FINAL WORD

Founder of PastorsCoach.com and DestinyFinder.com

BY DR. MICHAEL BRODEUR (D.DIV.HON.)

You and I live in one of the most extraordinary times in all of human history! There are so many wonderful things happening such as the growth of technology, advances in medicine, the reduction of world poverty and many other things too numerous to mention. There are also many challenging things such as political polarity, racism and anti-racism, protests and riots, not to mention a major, global pandemic. As we walk out the next few years, it’s important to remember that 50 years ago, the world was in a very similar condition. We had the war in Viet Nam that polarized the nation. We had the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. We had the racial riots in Los Angeles and Detroit and the riots at the Democratic Convention in 1968. We even had our own pandemic: The Hong Kong Flu!!! It was in this very moment in history that God sent a powerful revival among the Baby-Boom generation that became known as the Jesus People Movement in which millions were touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I gave my life to Jesus in 1975, just as the fires of the Jesus Movement were waning, but the coals were still very hot. Over the next couple of years, I began my discipleship journey on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and eventually heard about a group that did on-the-job ministry training, who happened to be planting a Church in San Francisco. I went to their training center and eventually moved back to the city in 1977. My wife, Diane, met the Lord a couple of years earlier in Southern California and was one of the thousands that were baptized in the ocean at Corona Del Mar. She soon joined with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and attended a couple of schools (DTS and SOE) before coming to an outreach that I

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was co-leading in San Francisco. We married 40 years ago and have seven grown children and seven grandchildren. In 1984, after meeting John Wimber and Lonnie Frisbee, the Lord led us to start a Vineyard church that soon become one of the largest churches that the city had seen in over 40 years. We enjoyed three wonderful waves of revival with amazing signs, wonders and salvations, but after 33 years of ministry in the city, the Lord told us we were done. We moved to Redding, CA and worked with a ministry called Jesus Culture but when God directed them to plant a new church in Sacramento, the Lord told us we are not to go with them. Instead, it was time to build a coaching ministry to help pastors prepare their people for the coming harvest. PastorsCoach.com was born in 2015 and we are working with hundreds of pastors and leaders around the world. I have dedicated my life to laying the foundations for the next Great Awakening: The new Jesus Movement. During my decades in San Francisco, we held hundreds of prayer meetings, hosted hundreds of events. Two of the biggest were the “Real Summer of Love” outreaches in 1997 and 2007 to commemorate the starting of the original Jesus Movement revival. We also launched a number of experimental ministries to different subcultures including the neo-hippies, the Rave community and the Burning Man crowd. Along the way, I discovered five keys to the coming harvest based in Matthew 9:35-10:8. 1] The Gospel of the Kingdom: We must look beyond modern “churchianity” to see the bigger picture of God’s purposes. Jesus did not die just to get us to heaven but to also bring heaven to earth. We are each called to be world-changers for Jesus (Revela-

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tion 1:6). 2] The Power of Compassion: Do we see the multitudes like Jesus saw the multitudes? Jesus was well aware of each person’s sins but chose to see them as oppressed and beaten down and his guts were moved with compassion. Let’s see the world through the eyes of Jesus. 3] The Power of Prayer: Jesus called his disciples to pray. Not so much to pray for the harvest because the harvest is always ripening. Rather, he called us to pray for laborers. We must also be willing to be the answer to our own prayer. Here am I, send me (Isaiah 6:8). 4] The Power of Discipleship: Jesus commissioned us to make disciples who make disciples but the Church in general does not train people well. We must follow the model of Jesus who didn’t merely lecture his disciples but did “life-on-life” with them as apprentices. After a season of training, he commissions them and sends them as apostles (sent ones). 5] The Power of God: Much of what we do as believers in the Church can be done without the help of God, but verses 7-8 (of chapter 9) change the rules. We must cultivate a deep dependence on the presence and power of God. If you think this only applies to the apostles, then take a look at Luke 10, where The Seventy are sent out with the same power of God. So as we prepare for the coming Jesus Movement that is even now beginning, let me urge you to keep your eyes on Jesus during this crazy, chaotic time of history. Don’t let fear have any place in your heart. Remember that 50 years ago, I was one of those protesters, raising my fist against the establishment. And keep this in mind: Many of the protesters of today will become the world-changing leaders of tomorrow.

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There's no more excuses.

GO.

Photo by Christian Reed

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