Friday evening: Greetings from Etowah, TN. I’m settled into my lodging, and am probably sending this from a restaurant where I can get wifi — the wifi at my lodging is in the middle of nowhere and basically not working. Today’s trip here went well, and now I’m using the evening to prepare for tomorrow. I’m doing 2 sessions in the morning. The theme is, Take another look at the cross. I’m looking forward to magnifying the cross again. I still want some time to finetune my first session, so will likely do that now.
Here’s the schedule: Two Saturday morning sessions, then Sunday morning.
I’m with two ministries here that I was with back in March: Women at the Well (which disciples women breaking free from addictions and other tough circumstances), and Hillcrest Church. Women at the Well are hosting the Saturday meeting and lodging me; Hillcrest Church is hosting the Sunday meeting. March was my first time with them both, and I’m so pleased to return this quickly.
Saturday 4:00 pm: I didn’t realize it, but they wanted me to speak last night. So when I showed up — late — to the “night of worship,” they were eagerly waiting for me! It was a moment to be “instant in season,” and I went for it. Spoke on being a friend of God. Then today (Saturday) I did two sessions — on the cross, and on loyalty. Very good time in the Lord’s presence. These are fabulous saints! I feel greatly honored that I can come and support what Women At The Well is doing to help women breaking free of addictions.
Tuesday noon: Greetings from Toronto. I had an early flight here today, and am now in my hotel room. This trip started in July, when I spoke at an event in Chicago. My Toronto host was at that event, and soon afterwards was offered the position of campus worship pastor at Canadian Christian College in Toronto. So he’s new at this post. He was deeply impacted by the message I delivered in July, and has requested that I come to their Tuesday chapel this week and deliver that same message. About following the river of the Spirit in worship. In fact, they are changing the name of their Tuesday chapel services to “The River.” So I’m here to help launch that new emphasis. The Tuesday chapels are at 8:00 pm, so I’m preaching tonight. And Stephen, my host, has also arranged for me to address a group of Juniors and Seniors at 2:30 this afternoon. I have these 2 sessions today, then return home tomorrow morning.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m.: Yesterday’s two sessions were strongly graced of the Lord. The students responded with great eagerness toward the Lord. I feel so enriched to be able to impart to such excellent young people. I had vocal strength for two sessions, thanks for praying me through!
Friday: Today I’m flying to Milwaukee, and then driving to a retreat center in WI. I’m joining Cornerstone Church in Grafton, WI for a church retreat at a conference center in Green Lake, WI. It’s my first time to be with this group of saints. I’m scheduled to speak Friday night, twice on Saturday, and then we’ll return to Grafton for their regular Sunday morning service. “Revive” theme. Most of their church is attending this retreat, awesome.
Friday night: Tonight was the retreat’s opening session. I spoke on coming into intimacy with God through the blood of Christ. It seemed to be a good start.
Saturday noon: Excellent session this morning. This morning I’m starting to hear feedback, and it seems there is strong edification happening in the messages. I’m so grateful to the Lord for His help!
Saturday night: In the concluding session of our retreat tonight, I spoke on the power of promise. I crafted the message just for this retreat. I don’t know how relevant it was to the folks in the group, but it was a delight to my soul both to prepare and deliver the message. A promise from God puts chutzpah in your soul!
Sunday morning we’ll have breakfast here at the retreat center, then drive the 1.5 to 2 hours back to Grafton, and enjoy a Sunday morning celebration service together at 10:30 a.m. After the service I’ll go straight to the airport for my 2:30 pm departure.
Sunday afternoon: Had a marvelous morning service. At the close I invited folks to come forward if they wanted a touchpoint of prayer with me (I would lay hands and agree with them), and a long line filled the front of the altar. Later, I learned from the pastor that they don’t normally practice this as a church, and he was thinking nobody was going to come forward. But to our surprise, the front filled with eager responders. Part of their openness to respond was because we had been together at the retreat and a bond had already been formed between us. So it was a sweet time of response and sense of the Lord’s presence in the midst of the family.
Had an excellent time this morning with the Intro to IHOPKC class. The Holy Spirit helped in the delivery, overcame my weakness having a cold right now, and ministered the word in a personal and meaningful way. And it blessed me, too!
Friday: This morning I am zipping over to Seattle to be with my friends at City On a Hill Church. This will be my third visit with them. My primary contact there is Yuri, the worship pastor. He’s holding a worship weekend, and I’m blessed to be part of it. The senior pastor is from Russia, and I was with him in Russia when he pastored there. Now he’s relocated to the USA, and the church he pastors in Auburn is very strong, with multiple campuses. The mother church in Auburn holds its services in Russian, with English translation I think. This particular event will be in English, and those needing translation into Russian will use headsets. I’m scheduled to speak today at 2:30 pm (immediately upon arrival), Saturday evening, and Sunday morning at their English congregation in Bellevue, WA.
Also, we just received this week sample copies of the Arabic translations of COVENANT WITH MY EYES and DEALING WITH THE REJECTION AND PRAISE OF MAN. Both books look great! Our publisher is based in Cairo. Please join us in prayer, for the Lord’s blessing to be upon their publishing ministry, and for the books to be a huge blessing in the Arabic reading world.
Friday: This afternoon’s workshop went very well. I spoke on Job, how he was a worshiper, and how worship played a significant role in his story. It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about Job’s story, and it was sweet for me to do so again, and fresh in a new way.
Sunday afternoon: Saturday evening I had a change of message. So I worked on Saturday to prepare for the change. I spoke on “Word-based Worship,” using the Scriptures to deepen our worship. At the close of the message I went out on a limb and decided to close with a “practice session.” I coached everyone to get their Bible out, we put a Scripture on the screen for those who didn’t have one, and then engaged in worship using the Scriptures before us. We sang psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Something like that is risky, and we waded into the pool slowly and carefully. But at some point the Holy Spirit moved in, and it became a very rich time in the presence of the Lord. Folks ended up staying for quite a while, just soaking in the Lord’s presence.
This morning (Sunday) I spoke at one of the 5 campuses of City on a Hill. They have a campus that meets in a theater in Bellevue at 10:30 a.m., all English. My host, Yuri, serves as that campus pastor. They were gracious to give me more time than usual for the message, knowing I was going to speak on “a covenant with my eyes.” The message ended up going longer than their service normally goes, I think. I sensed the Lord’s grace on the message. It's ironically interesting that the Lord should lead me to speak on that topic in a theater.
Wednesday: I had a great time today at IHOPKC. Three internships all wanted me to come and speak, and as it turned out, they were all able to converge and meet at the same time and place. So I spoke to the Intro to IHOPKC group, the Onething Internship, and the Simeons. Had a great time with them!
Sunday 5:45 pm: This morning I spoke at the three services of Church of the Living God. For this part of the country, this is considered a large church with roughly 500 adults in attendance. I had 25 minutes per service which I think I managed to stretch to 30 minutes, so pared down a message, and shared from my heart. The Lord’s grace was richly with us and there seemed to be strong edification of the saints. My heart is full of gratefulness to God and love for His family.