Tuesday evening: I’m just now back from speaking to the OneThing Internship at IHOPKC. I would guess 30-some kids, around ages 18-22, are in this internship. Then we were suddenly joined by a group of adults from the Immerse program at IHOPKC, so we had a nice breadth of ages in the room. I spoke for the first time ever on the topic of Identity. I have stared at the issue of Identity for years, and have lacked comprehensive clarity on the topic. But as I prepared this week, the Holy Spirit dropped some things into my understanding, and I found the strongest clarity on the subject that I’ve ever enjoyed. As it turned out, the impartation of the message was powerful. The group responded with enthusiasm, with some great feedback afterwards. One young lady said I really must write a book on this topic, smile.
Saturday: This morning I’m zipping over to Philly, and then by car from there up to Fairless Hills, PA. This will be my umpteenth visit to Calvary Full Gospel Church, smile. This time I’m doing a Saturday evening end-of-year service with them, and then Sunday morning, first day of the New Year. I look forward to having these times with them of positioning our hearts for 2017.
Sunday 4:00 pm: Greetings from the Philly airport, where I am about to board my plane for Minneapolis (and then connect to KC). The Lord’s grace was with us in a rich way this weekend. I was rather uncertain about my message last night because it was somewhat subjective—I spoke about a couple ways that I pray in the Spirit, and gave some details on how these prayers work for me personally. I just didn’t know how the message would translate and be relevant to others. Today I received feedback from several who said the message was very helpful and enlightening for them. And then today the Lord’s grace was strong, and at the close of the message everyone received the anointing of oil and personal prayer. Followed by corporate Communion. The presence of the Lord was strong in both services, and we sensed that the kingdom of God was advanced among us by His enabling grace. I’m so grateful to God!
Besides all that, the affection was very sweet in being reunited with this church family. It’s been 2.5 years since I was with them, and it felt overdue. The love that we share in Christ is just marvelous, isn’t it!
Now I am taking the month of January for prayer retreat. What a privilege to come aside like this and sit at His feet. Ministry will resume for me on Feb. 12.
Around 70 folks were gathered for the lunch, and I enjoyed telling once again the story of Jacob. One of the best redemption stories in all Scripture. I took a solid hour with it. The group remained engaged throughout, and then I had the joy of connecting with several on a more personal level as they came up to greet me after the close of the meeting. It was great to work with Luis Cataldo and Jeff Price, who bring leadership to the IHOP Partners development arm. It was also nice to have Marci in the room, along with Tracey Sliker who helps us part-time in our offices. Thank you for praying me through!
Saturday: I’m leaving the house at 4 a.m. today, to make my way to Poza Rica, Mexico (via Houston and Mexico City). As the Lord blesses my travels, I’ll be able to arrive in time to minister in tonight’s meeting. Then will stay over for Sunday morning.
This will be my first time to this city. This is their winter, so temps will not get much above 80. The weekend with Centro Cristiano Lluvia de Gracia was brought together by pastor Jose Felix from Guadalajara, who is connected to this church relationally. I was with Jose for the first time in Guadalajara in the summer of 2015, and since then they have released a Spanish translation of the book, UNRELENTING PRAYER. And Jose will be joining me in Poza Rica this weekend, he’ll be serving as my translator.
Saturday 6:30 pm: The adventure has launched! I’m in tropical, green, exotic Poza Rica. A city of almost 200,000. Three churches are gathering together to join in these meetings. Tonight’s meeting will be held in a church that has some kind of connection to Andres Spyker in Morelia. Their daughter is in Morelia right now at the newly launched Mas Vida internship.
Getting here was a trip. Navigating the Mexico City airport was interesting. I had to take a train to change terminals. Tried to get on the wrong plane. The airport code for Poza Rica is PAZ, and leaving at the same time was a flight for La Paz, at the same general gate area. I figured that must be another way to say PAZ, so I tried to give the agent my ticket. But as it turns out, La Paz is a different city. Eventually they figured out I was trying to get on the wrong plane, and they sent me to the right gate.
So I got here to Poza Rica. But my bags weren’t so lucky. I collected them in Mexico City, and put them on a conveyor belt for connecting domestic flights, but alas, they are spending the night in Mexico City. No books for tonight’s meeting. Hopefully they will arrive with the next flight to Poza Rica, which is tomorrow (Sunday) at 11 a.m. On the up side, I learned that our next meeting is Sunday 7:00 pm, rather than the 11:00 a.m. I was expecting, so I’m hoping the bags will arrive and I’ll have time to change into a fresh set of clothes.
They grow things tropical here: Mangos, coconuts, papaya, watermelon, oranges, cherries, melons, etc. I’m glad I’m here in the winter, today was plenty warm for me.
Saturday 11:00 pm: Good meeting tonight. My translator, Jose, traveled from Guadalajara today, and had challenges of his own to get here. He managed to arrive, however, during the course of the worship service. So he was able to translate me, thank the Lord. Tonight we asked the Lord to open our eyes to His perspective on our lives. I used the lives of Jacob, Joseph, Caleb, Naomi, and Jesus to illustrate how God usually has a different perspective from us on our circumstances.
After the meeting, the pastor’s wife took me over to a room in their facility that they have dedicated as a house of prayer. Very inviting. They’ve put strong effort into making it a meaningful place for prayer. Marvelous!
Sunday 2:00 pm: My bags just arrived!
Sunday 4:00 pm: I’m just back from a taco dinner. I’m telling you, Mexico knows how to do tacos!
Monday 10:00 a.m.: Greetings from the Poza Rica airport, where the adventure continues. I was awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a knock at my door. The hotel worker handed me a message. One of my hosts received an email from United, that my departure out of Poza Rica this morning was changed from 11:00 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. So I was being alerted because I would have to leave for the airport a lot earlier than planned. The email struck me as quite suspect, so I went onto the United site at 2:00 a.m., to see if I could decipher the thing. Punched in my United flight number, but the site said it was an invalid number. Aeromar Airlines is a partner with United, but Aeromar was not communicating electronically with United, and there was no way to confirm online with United what the actual time for my Aeromar flight was. So I went to Aeromar.com, and couldn’t read it because it was all in Spanish. So I set my alarm for an earlier rising, and tried to get back to sleep. Ended up grabbing a melatonin to help me, and eventually got back to sleep. The alarm at 6:45 a.m. was not my friend, smile. When my hosts came to collect me at 7:20 a.m., they went on the Aeromar site, and it showed the departure as being at 11:00 a.m., as my paperwork said. But there was no phone to call, no way to confirm verbally. So we decided to head for the airport. When we got to the airport ticket counter, it was confirmed that the flight leaves at 11:00. The email “from United” was bogus. The hotel had an exceptional breakfast, and I had papaya already in my mind. But it wasn’t meant to be today, ha. After checking in, I told the pastor I would just wait in the airport for my flight. But he indicated he wanted to visit for a couple minutes. A young man had accompanied us as a translator, so through the translator we started a conversation. He revealed to me that he has had Parkinson’s for 17 years. I thought his problem might have been cerebral palsy, so the Parkinson’s identification made sense, and helped me realize why he walksd and talked the way he does. He opened to me about the disease, and how it has affected his life and ministry. I ended up taking an hour to visit with him, and then to pray with him and his wife. So that had more eternal purpose to it than a nice hotel brunch! What seemed at first to be a disruption of sleep ended up being a time of very personal sharing and ministry. The Lord is good.
Last night’s service was a blessing. Believers gathered from several churches, the house was full, and the ministry was meaningful. Around 20 people came forward to surrender their lives to Christ. Clearly they were not all first-time altars of consecration, but the Lord was moving on their hearts and they were willing. After praying with that group, I opened up an invitation for those who have been tempted in recent days to give up in the race. Again, the altar area filled quickly with believers who were eager for the Spirit to fill them anew with courage and strength. We had a meaningful time of ministry, followed up in the end with a song of rejoicing. I enjoyed the fact that these saints don’t pay attention to the clock. They’re there to meet with God, not watch the time. So we poured out our hearts to God. It was beautiful, and I’m heading back to the USA with a heart of thanksgiving.
Today I’m not going home. Rather, I’m going to Pittsburgh to have a couple days with my family — with my parents and Sheldon & Tammy. I’m scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh at 11 pm tonight, will have Tues and Wed with my family, and then head for Kansas City on Thursday. I’m looking forward to having this Christmas celebration time with them!
May your Christmas be filled with joy and peace in the Holy Spirit!
Friday: Good morning, prayer team! Today I’m heading down to Mexico City, to be for the first time with a church called Centro de Avivamiento Naucalpan. www.centrodeavivamientonaucalpan.org. Naucalpan is a city on the north side of the Mexico City metroplex. I’ve met the pastor at a couple events in the past, a great brother, and now am looking forward to being with their church.
I’m scheduled to speak once daily while here: Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday morning.
This church has taken their men’s ministry through a “covenant with my eyes seminar,” using my book (the Spanish translation), and this weekend I’m arriving just as the participants will be “graduating” from the seminar. So I plan to speak on an eye covenant Friday night. The men’s families will also be joining them, so it will be a general audience I think. Then Saturday I think will be on abiding in Christ. Then Sunday I think will be on Jesus the Author.
Sunday 7:00 pm: Hi from the sky. I’m on the CDMX-Atlanta leg. I thought the weekend went very well. This church embraced the eye covenant message very enthusiastically, taking their men through a 10-week seminar on that topic. Friday night I spoke on that topic, and then after the prayer response time (which was wonderful), we gave out a framed certificate of completion to each man/teen in the seminar. I was shocked when two men came out carrying a table laden with plaques. It took around 25 minutes just to hand out the certificates to all the brothers (and of course many of them wanted photos). The pastor decided to include me in the ceremony, so he handed each one to me, and I handed each one to the individuals. What a delightful evening.
Saturday evening I spoke on abiding in Christ from John 15, and how the Lord uses the pruning process of John 15:2 to help us find the glory of John 15:7, the glory of answered prayer. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve spoken on that topic, so it was fresh for me in a sweet way. I enjoyed talking about how stress is necessary to the health of a plant. As one person said it, “you’ll never get a vintage wine from an unstressed vine.” I’m not sure how meaningful the message was to the group, but at least I was blessed, ha.
Sunday morning I spoke on how Jesus is writing a story with our lives, and ended with the baseball story. They have two Sunday morning services, but as a helpful favor to me, they combined into one 9:00 a.m. service just for today. Their facility is able to accommodate everyone easily in one meeting, so it worked out great. I realized they are not a clock-watching group, so I relaxed and enjoyed walking my way through the message without feeling rushed. Afterwards, they thronged the front of the sanctuary in responding to the Lord. These saints are incredibly responsive to God. After possibly the best tacos I’ve ever had, we were off to the airport.
Sunday 2:30 pm: Greetings from the KTX Train, it’s Korea’s high-speed electric train system. At one point we were doing 270 KPH, maybe it goes even faster. And sooo smooth. And the seats are very comfortable. This is so superior to a bus. We will get to the airport in something like 90-100 minutes. And the train is amazingly long, I didn’t count how many cars, but a very long passenger train. So efficient, so smart. What’s more, they have wifi!
Today’s service started at 11:30 a.m. We tried to get a sound check prior to the service, but kept hitting into hassles, and it seemed that the sound team was limited both by experience and equipment. So we had to give up on the sound check so service could start. We resumed the sound check when I got up to speak, and by then they must have worked out a couple kinks because it was better. It took us maybe 4-5 minutes at the beginning of the message, and finally we got a sound setting that could work, and we were off. The church was nicely full with around 250 adults. They were difficult to “read,” but I think that many were enjoying and receiving from the message. I had to leave right after the sermon, so I don’t know how many books might have sold (which sometimes helps to give a feel for how strongly they connected with the message).
It was the first time they’ve had an American preacher in their pulpit (with translator). So that was a fun privilege for me.
Up next: Mexico City on Friday.
Wednesday 8 a.m.: Greetings from a lovely city in Korea, I think it’s called Jeoung Pyeoung, it’s a couple hours from Seoul. We are lodged in a 5-star hotel, very nice. I’m just back from a morning workout in their well-equipped fitness center. I’m too much of a simpleton to know how to use all the stuff they have. They also have a pool with lanes designed for doing laps. Soon I’ll head down to breakfast.
I got a decent rest last night, so feel ready to tackle the new time zone. Beds here are typically firmer than I’m used to. But I bet the mattresses last forever.
My first session will be tonight (Wednesday). We’re 15 hours ahead of USA Central time, so when our 7:00 pm meeting starts here, it will be Wednesday 4:00 a.m. in Kansas City. I feel drawn to speak of the cross of Christ, and the loyalty it inspires. “Loyalty to the Cross” Thursday I think I will speak on the chastening of the Lord, and then for Friday I’m leaning toward the Luke 18 parable on prayer, we’ll see if that sticks.
Saturday will be a bus ride with my interpreter Paul to Asan, to prepare for Sunday morning ministry at a Baptist church in Asan. Then Sunday evening I catch a return flight for home. So there’s the general look of the week.
Thank you for agreeing with in prayer for a mighty impartation of the Holy Spirit this week. I am asking the Lord that those who come will be equipped, challenged, and renewed.
Wednesday afternoon: This part of Korea must be in an economic boom. Looking out my hotel window, I see six large buildings immediately within my view with scaffolding and work parties buzzing — large buildings with many floors all going up at the same time.
Wednesday 11 pm: Tonight I spoke on “Loyalty to the Cross,” and while I didn’t have an awareness of how strong the anointing was on the message, I had an awareness that I was on the right topic. We ended with a time of Communion, and then a closing song during which we gave ourselves wholeheartedly in loyalty to Jesus. Sweet atmosphere. Of the leaders gathered, 7 are from Indonesia, and around 10-12 from Australia. The remainder are from Korea.
Thursday 9:00 pm: The Lord helped me in this afternoon’s session. After the teaching, all the women were invited to come forward for prayer, and I blessed each one in prayer. The men were told I will bless them in prayer tomorrow. Afterwards, we were treated to a marvelous Chinese dinner. It was Chinese food, Korean style. Very nice.
Friday 10 pm: This afternoon’s session was the final one of the conference. Most everybody stayed right to the end. Good energy in the conference. Good grace upon our closing session. At the end, we all prayed over the pastor and his wife. Then we prayed over the men in attendance. Everyone seemed to have a very good experience. This event was a first in a couple ways. It was the first time for this church to have guests from IHOP (three of us). And it was their first time to hold this conference. They hope it can be an annual event and grow in momentum. Afterwards, we were treated to an Italian restaurant.
Saturday at 1:00 pm Paul (my translator) and I will be collected and driven to Asan, to prepare for Sunday morning ministry. I think it might be a 3-hour drive to Asan from here. We are right now at a location that is apparently in the heart of the nation. Asan is closer to Seoul.
The church in Asan is called Yejoen Baptist Church. I am feeling inclined to speak on the Luke 18 parable on prayer. I would appreciate your prayers very much, for clear direction and a strong anointing. Service starts at 11 a.m. I think. Then I am catching a 2 pm train for the airport. For a 6 pm departure. Timing will be tight, to get to the train station for a 2 pm train.