Sunday 9:00 pm: Really strong connection with the group at Wellspring tonight. About 120-140 people gathered, most of them preparing to go through a study in SECRETS OF THE SECRET PLACE this fall. They were very attentive and responsive, and there seems to be good momentum in the Holy Spirit as they step into this study together. A tremendous evening. I’m so glad it worked out that I could be with them for this SECRETS kickoff.
Saturday: I’m leaving the house early, flying to Hartford, and then driving to West Haven for a return visit to Gateway Christian Fellowship. Gateway has become like family for me. I’m looking forward to sharing in the word again with them. Pastor Bane has asked that I speak on worship and missional faith — how worship empowers us to be missional in the world. So I’ve put together a message I’ve never preached before. It’ll be a bit rough, but it’ll be fresh, ha.
Then I was contacted a couple weeks ago by a church in Berlin, CT. They heard that I’ll be in CT for the weekend, and they asked if I might be available to come do a Sunday night with them. It’s come together, and I’ll be doing Sunday night in Berlin at Wellspring Church. They are launching into a church-wide study of SECRETS OF THE SECRET PLACE, and it so happened that this Sunday night is their launch night. When they heard I was nearby, they wanted to see if I could personally launch their study. So we’re doing it!
Sunday 5:00 pm: Greetings from my place of lodging in Berlin, CT. This morning’s service at Gateway was marvelous, such a delightful and free-flowing move of the Spirit in worship, it was way refreshing. The Lord enabled me to speak on “The Way the Church Breathes,” dealing with loving God and then loving people. We gather to love God, then we disperse to love the world. This is how the church breathes, every week an inhaling of love so that we can exhale His love to the world. It’s so important that we breathe!
Tuesday 11:00 p.m.: Tonight’s session at the Korean Pastors Intensive at IHOPKC was graced of the Lord. I spoke on Loyalty. The Lord gave me a definition of disloyalty this week, and it put some freshness into the teaching for me. Disloyalty is using the privilege someone gives you against them. For me, that nails it. The grace of the Lord was strong on the message, and afterwards the prayer time was meaningful in the Lord’s presence.
Saturday: Today I’m flying to Sacramento, in preparation for Sunday morning ministry. This will be my first time to be with BOSS Church in Sacramento. This church is in relationship with Salem Baptist in Chicago, and because of my ministry at Salem in March, the pastor of BOSS reached out to me. I’m looking forward to being with these saints and sharing in the word of the Lord. Two services in the morning. Then I get home late Sunday night.
Sunday 4:00 pm: Greetings from the Sacramento airport, where I’m boarding momentarily for home. The Lord’s grace was with me today to preach in two services. Excellent saints, I had a great time with them. I’m coming home enriched and full, the Lord is good.
Thursday 10 pm: Tonight I spoke at a gathering of Korean pastors. The Lord helped, and they responded warmly. The group was smaller, with an excellent spirit in the midst. I spoke on “the Bridegroom’s Friend” at their request, and enjoyed sharing in this message again.
Friday 3:00 pm: Greetings from tropical Brasilia. A place where palms thrive. We’re on the tail end of winter but still it’s hot, up to 100. But dry and breezy, so it doesn’t feel so hot. I’m now returning to my hotel from a lunch at the pastor’s home, with a room full of people none of which speak English. I’m so glad I brought my laptop because we were able to connect to Google Translate and visit back and forth. The older generation in Brazil had little interest in English, but that is changing with today’s generation.
Saturday morning: Last night was our Congress launch. It took us considerable time to negotiate the sound check, but finally after working on it for well over a half hour, we finally got it to work. That delay meant the service started after the 8 pm start time, but no one seemed to notice. In fact, when I left at nearly midnight, people were still hanging out everywhere and eating their meal together. Start times are not a big deal here, and long services are no big deal. It’s not easy to get them together, but once they’re together, they’re together. I spoke on Loyalty. I put some fresh work into the message, and it was meaningful to me in fresh ways. It’s simply not possible for me to read the response of these folks, but I trust it was helpful and meaningful to them. Almost nobody speaks English, so interaction is very limited. Today (Saturday) there will be day meetings. I will be collected to join everyone for lunch, and then will return to my hotel until this evening’s service.
Sunday morning: Last night’s service was a stronger connection with the people, it seemed to me. I spoke on Heb 12, Chastening. At the close the altar area filled with saints coming to present themselves to the Lord in response to the word.
I was expecting to preach the Sunday night service today because, in Brazil, Sunday night is the main service of the week. But I’ve been asked to speak Sunday morning instead because some of the out-of-town guests will be returning home Sunday afternoon. So I’ll be collected around 11 a.m. today for the second session of the morning.
Sunday 7:00 pm: This group got warmer and warmer as the weekend progressed. By the time we were done, we were famous friends, smile. Today’s session on the secret place went a bit long, but they stayed with me, and responded warmly to the Lord’s invitation in the word. Now I’m in my room and preparing for the trip home. I will be collected at 11:45 pm for a 2:00 a.m. departure.
On a different note, this is my first time to see the Portuguese translation of Illegal Prayers. I’m bring a few copies home with me. Please bless this translation in your prayers!
Thursday morning: It’s a typical overcast morning here in Curitiba. Last night’s service at Christ Community of Curitiba seemed to go well. I reckon around 500 adults gathered, with some folks coming from other churches in the city as well. I spoke on being a friend of the bridegroom, and at the end a good number of folks came forward to present themselves to the Lord. Then I enjoyed fellowship afterwards with the founders of this church, a couple that came to Brazil in the 70s from California and have raised up a powerful ministry here. They hosted Costa Deir here years ago, and know many of the west coast people we know, such as Ernest Gentile, Leonard Fox, Violet Kitely, Frank Damazio, etc.
I leave at noon today for the airport, arriving into Brasilia around 6 pm tonight Lord willing. I’m looking to share briefly with the church leaders tonight, then we start a weekend conference, Fri/Sat/Sun meetings. My host church is Manancial de Vida Church, they were the ones to extend the original invitation to Brazil. This will be my third visit with them, actually.