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BSSM 1st Year

I can’t believe that my first year is drawing to a close. In 20 days I’ll be graduating from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, and deploying into the next chapter of my life. Unreal.

This was a dream for so many years. I knew since I was a freshman in high school that I wanted to do a year to consecrate my life to God; it’s been 4 years since I realized that I wanted to go to BSSM. Finally, it happened.

I was so excited for this year. I just knew that I would come and be affirmed and built up and all my dreams would come true.

Uh, not quite.

It was so much more than that.

I still can’t come to grips with how much the Lord has changed me this year. I came into this year broken without knowing I was broken, rebellious without knowing I was rebellious. They say ignorance is bliss, but I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t know what.

I can paint a picture of the entire first semester of this year: me lying on the floor in a fetal position, tears streaming down my face, unable to breath as God ripped and tore and broke all the wrong thinking I had. I can’t count all the times I sobbed on the phone to my mom, wanting to go home.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

As God broke me, He healed me. He took out my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh. Nothing feels so good as that moment of breakthrough, when you realize you’re seeing the world clearly for the first time. I think that moment happened at least two dozen times this year.

God cleaned me out like a pumpkin for Halloween. He took out all the big stuff, then He scraped me out until there was nothing left. That was the first semester. Then this semester He filled me up.

He introduced me to a beautiful, new, intimate relationship with Him. He taught me how to be myself. He taught me how to forgive. He taught me how to submit. He taught me how to serve. He taught me how to lead.

Most of all, He taught me how to be a daughter.

That’s what it’s all about, see. We are no longer slaves. We are friends. We walk boldly and confidently because we are sons and daughters of the living God. This great God who gave up everything because He simply wanted a relationship with the people He made for His pleasure.

Words can’t even express what I’ve recieved. I’m no longer a slave. I’m no longer even a friend. I’m a Bride. I’m a Daughter. I walk in wholeness and freedom. Grace abounds in my life.

I’m not afraid of messing up anymore.

I can’t even fully grasp that concept. The fact that I live without fear of condemnation, of messing up, of making it so that He doesn’t talk to me anymore. I don’t even understand those fears anymore. That was a different Em. This Em knows the pleasure she brings her Papa. She knows how good God is. She knows the importance her Papa places on her. She dives into the depths of His heart and drinks deep of His love and mercy daily.

I want to show the world this amazing love I’ve found. I want everyone I know to walk in wholeness and freedom, their identities secured in the One who made them.

I’m going home soon. I’m transitioning into a new chapter of my life. I have no idea what that’s going to look like, but I do know one thing:

I’m going to introduce the world to this God I’ve met.

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Apparently my dad follows this blog and he wants me to write something.

So… Something.

ūüėČ

I have a (rather new) friend who is an amazing woman of God. She keeps a blog where it seems like she is totally transparent. She talks about her life, about things she likes, about what God is doing in her. I recently went through and spent an hour or two reading many of her posts and was encouraged by them all. When I sent her a text message telling her how much I had enjoyed her blog, she replied with this:

(: I’m so glad you are reading it. I know that my life is His witness so I’m always glad to share what He’s doing in me.

This leveled me. Flat out, knock down laid me on my back. I’ve been laying here ever since mulling over how she is building her legacy from the ground up, following God with complete transparency. She will be remembered. Her life will make a difference. Her children and her children’s children will be encouraged and lifted up because they can watch her life unfold. God has great plans for this one.

And all this mulling made me wonder what I was doing to record what He’s doing in me.¬†I wonder what my grandchildren will think of me when I’ve returned to dust. How will I be remembered? If there are generations after me, how will I provide the training needed to get beyond the level of anointing that God will pour out on me in the climax of my life? That sounds prideful, but it’s not. God bestows a level of revelation, wisdom, anointing on every person; I will be no different. I just don’t want it to end here. I want to provide a springboard for the people that come after me to fling themselves deeper into God, higher into His glory.

I once heard it said that we will never get beyond the level of anointing another person has been granted until we honor that person for the work they have done in the Kingdom. The thing that determines whether you are honored or not is your legacy.

In this social world, we’ll all leave a legacy. The question is what that legacy says about us. Will we be remembered as the life of the party, the clown, the screwup? Will Facebook label us? Will Twitter? Will our own thoughts? Will people have to rely on fading memories or will they have something concrete to look back on?

I’m beginning to think that the only way to be truly transparent is to record what God’s doing. Yeah, I’m talking about journaling.

I know, I know; don’t roll your eyes. But how else can it be done? We need to record what the Lord is doing, what He’s saying so that the generations that come after us can follow along to what led us to wherever God is taking us.

This doesn’t have to be an exercise in torture, or some daily chore. It doesn’t even have to be daily. But I believe we all need some kind of system to record what God says to us personally, what He does in our lives. I carry a notebook practically everywhere I go; I call it my Jesus Book. Whenever God speaks or I notice that He’s doing something in my life, I record it. That’s all it has to be. A simple scribing of the facts.

It doesn’t have to be a notebook, either. It can be a note app on your phone. A folder on your computer. A bunch of videos saved to your computer. A drawer in your dresser stuffed with paper. Whatever it takes to make sure that God is being honored and we are being transparent.

If we record what God does, He is honored. Honoring Him opens the door to more revelation. More revelation means that we leave a bigger legacy.

Dreaming With God

I’m going to go in a different vein on this post, and write about what’s been going on with me. Bear with me! Although, I guess it doesn’t really matter; no one reads this anyway! ūüėČ

When I was really young, all I wanted was to be a missionary. After a while, I grew up and got a more realistic dream: I wanted to be a pastor. Youth pastor, specifically. Fortunately for the poor souls who would have had to sit under my pastorship, God had other plans. He revealed my passion for publishing, and so that’s the route I’m walking on. I have every assurance that the business I will start will be rewarding and fulfilling and all the things that He has promised.

But.

(Yeah, there’s a but. I’m beginning to hate that word; it reeks of dissatisfaction. The stupid thing should be cut out of the dictionary.)

But.

But those dreams from my childhood never completely died. The thing is, whenever I pictured myself as a pastor or a missionary I was never counseling a troubled teen through his parents’ divorce or smuggling Bibles into communist countries. Do I want to see these things happen? Yes. Do I want to feed the hungry and see the miracles and see souls come to Christ by the millions? Yes! But as amazing and awe-inspiring as these things are, they were never what I pictured myself doing when I dreamed about my future in the ministry. So what was the dream? What did I see myself doing 10, 20, 50 years down the road?

I was teaching.

That’s all I wanted to do. I wanted to stand in front of crowds and explain the things of God in ways they could understand. So when God told me that He did not call me to the ministry, I was a little crushed. I trusted that He knew best, though, and shelved the dream. I left it behind and pressed on towards the new dream that He had yet to reveal to me. And yes, He does know best; after a few years I realized that I was born for prophetic business and that I am way too abrasive to adopt the calming, soothing presence that is needed for a pastor. Pretending to be something I’m not would’ve destroyed me. God is so wise!

But throughout all the excitement of finding out who I am and what I am meant to do, I couldn’t shake the twinge of sadness at the thought that I would never speak God’s Word to a crowd of people. Oh, I tried. Goodness knows I tried. I stuffed the dream into the deepest recesses of my psyche. I prayed. I pretended it didn’t exist. I told myself it was pride and ran away as fast as I could. I got angry and told it to leave, NOW. But no matter what I did, it was always there, following me, whispering its tales of what might have been. It never gave up, even though God was teaching me humility and the dream seemed prideful. It never went away.

I walked around with this shameful secret that I wouldn’t allow myself to tell anyone, not even God. Oh, I would skirt the issue. “Oh, someday I would love to teach a small class on writing or something. You know. Haha. Pipe dreams.” I would never reveal the depravity of my pride. I pretended God didn’t see and know. What would He think of me if He knew that I dreamed of speaking in front of thousands of people? I love Him; He couldn’t know. He would be disappointed. I couldn’t deal with that.

This was my thought process. I was a shameful, sinful, prideful disgrace of a human.

But God.

(Ok, the word can stay. It has redeemed itself.)

But God set me up for deliverance. He put me in the right place, at the right time, to hear what He wanted me to hear. It came in the form of a sermon by Bob Johnson, who has a church in San Francisco. it wasn’t even the entire sermon. Pastor Johnson was talking about dreaming, and gave an example of someone dreaming their entire life of owning a Ferarri. He explained that this dream might seem prideful and material and might even make the person feel guilty. This so perfectly mirrored how I felt about my dream that I sat up and listened harder. Pastor Johnson encouraged everyone to dream, because who knows but that that dream might be from God.

This clicked in my Spirit. Suddenly, something broke in me. Shame and guilt fell away and ideas for what I could teach flooded my mind. Joy and excitement filled me. Anticipation built in me as I realized that those dreams ARE from God and He put them there for a reason.

So I’m getting this down. I’m honoring the Lord by recording what He has said and done. I’m writing it on the tablets of my heart: I’m a teacher. I will teach to others what the Lord has taught and will teach me. I will explain the deep things of God. I will make a difference, not only in the books I publish and the writers I find, but in the words I say. My words will have impact.

This is it.

This is part of my calling.

Let’s do this.

Earlier, I posted a tweet bemoaning the pathetic Christian fiction offerings at my local Barnes and Noble. This is something I pay attention to, since I am a writer and also hope to be a publisher some day. The way I see it, Christian fiction is currently 99% fluff. You know what I’m talking about: all the books are meant to strictly entertain. If they have a message behind it, it’s outdated. In other words, it’s not prophetic.

What do I mean when I say prophetic? Basically, I’m talking about novels that convey biblical truths in story form. These novels get across what God is saying, who He is, or what He’s doing in a story that will stick with the reader.

Jesus was a Master at this technique. He understood that stories would stick with his followers more than simple sermons would; that’s why nearly every time He spoke, a parable worked its way in there. People can mull over a parable, pick it apart, put it back together. They get new revelation out of it each time they read it.

That’s prophetic fiction.

Prophetic fiction will teach people about God, what He’s doing and who He is, through characters that will stick with the reader. I believe that this kind of fiction is on the rise in CBA. People are waking up and realizing that they’re not satisfied writing fiction that merely entertains anymore. God is grabbing hold of the writers’ pens and writing His story through them. The story is king and the message is still getting across. It’s a beautiful thing.

The problem, however, with this kind of writing is that people have the¬†opportunity¬†to get prideful. They know that they’re hearing God. They know that God wants to use what they’re writing to make a difference. They know that they are gifted and blessed and talented. Suddenly they think something like, “Wow, God is really doing cool stuff with this!”

Then, “That sentence was written really beautifully. Thank You, God!”

Then, “This character could be better. I can do better than this.”

Then, “I’m doing awesome!”

Then, “This is the best stuff I’ve ever written.”

Then, “This is totally God-breathed. Any agent that wouldn’t accept this is an idiot! I could totally sell thousands of copies in a blink.”

Sounds kind of silly, right? But this is how people act in regular CBA, so I can imagine how people will act when they really know that they are writing exactly what God wants written. (If you don’t believe me, check out agents like Rachelle Gardner on Twitter. They’ll tell you.) We see it every day: people with gifts get prideful in the fact that they are gifted. Often (especially with people who are prophetic or elevated in leadership), this pride will end up hurting people. How does this pride translate to writing? You won’t get signed. You’ll be seen as a difficult client who is impossible to teach. Worst case scenario, you’ll be blackballed in the industry because you’re so impossible to teach.

The thing is, you’re not special. No matter how blessed and gifted and how much you hear God, you still have to put in the time. You have to do the work. You’re considered an expert in writing (or any subject) when you have put in 10,000 hours of work. That is 20 hours a week, every week, for 10 years. And that’s just writing time.

A lot of people will scoff at this. After all, if you’re hearing God, then you’re golden, right? God won’t allow mistakes in what He’s telling you to write. He’ll make sure that everything is so good that it’ll barely need revising, right?

Uh… not exactly.

The thing that we have to remember is that we’re human. God is God and cannot, will not make mistakes; He will allow us to, though. Why? Because He knows that allowing us to make mistakes will create a kind of buffer against pride. But even with this buffer, we can become prideful in our gifts and talents. So how do we stop the inevitable? How do we keep from becoming prideful, arrogant, and unteachable?

Borrow a page from King Solomon for the writing life: accept correction and don’t turn your nose when people point out our shortcomings. Surround yourself with people who will not only encourage you, but will also be brutally honest. Join a critique group. Don’t scoff when people tell you that the character you’ve been laboring over for months is over-edited or a scene you love needs to be cut. Set yourself up for criticism, then take it to heart when you get it.

The best thing we can do, however, is to pray for God to humble us. Yes, this is a dangerous prayer. Yes, He won’t stop at just your writing if you ask this. And yes, it is a painful process that will last for a long, long time. But you know what? The more humble we are, the more God will trust us. The more humble we are, the more we can be taught and the higher God will elevate us, whether it’s in gifting or leadership or what have you. The most humble people are usually found at the end of the line, way back there where they’re working quietly and diligently at whatever task the Lord puts in front of them. Funny thing about those “last” people: they’re first in God’s eyes. And that’s really where we all want to be.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1

My dad is an astounding man of God. He’s a gifted teacher, and because of that gifting, he has to have everything that the Lord speaks or does or what people do in His name backed up by the Bible. He taught me, from a young age, to find something in the Bible to back up every word, every dream, every vision. If it isn’t there, he has a hard time believing it’s God.

This is common among the Church. In fact, I don’t outright disagree with this view: we really do need to back everything up against the Word of God. The problem I have is when people say that the only things that are allowed are things that have been done and recorded in the Bible. That’s not right.

Before someone finds this blog and blasts me for that, let me clarify: I’m not saying that things can conflict with the Bible and be of God. If what you’re hearing, what you’re seeing is from the Lord, then there won’t be anything about it that directly conflicts with the Bible. The Bible is God’s written Word, and if He could contradict Himself He would not be God.

That said, I don’t believe that God is limited to what He has already done. He can go beyond that. We live in the most blessed times in the history of the World because God is about to pour out His Spirit for the final time. I live in anticipation of the great outpouring of the Spirit that was prophesied in Joel 2. It will be here before I die. And when it comes, we will truly do greater things that Jesus Himself did. The humble men and women of God, the ones no one sees, will raise the dead and watch the lame get healed. They will see the deaf begin to hear and the blind begin to see. And they will do greater things that we can even begin to imagine, because that’s what Jesus said.

But when this happens — when people begin to operate in a greater anointing than is ever seen in the Bible — a lot of people are going to be left behind. They won’t understand how these men and women of God can speak these prophetic utterances and do these great, supernatural deeds that are not in the Bible. They will turn their backs on the Spirit of the living God and run to what is familiar. They will search the Bible and not find the answers they’re looking for. At that time, all the great things we have said for years about backing everything against the Bible will show itself for what it really is: bad theology.

The Bible itself is not the end-all, be-all Word of God. The Word of God is not something you can hold in your hand and put on a shelf to gather dust. It is not something a Pastor can wave at you from a pulpit or something that can be burned in a fire. The Word of God is eternal, translational, breathing.

In essence: the Word is not a what, but a Whom.

In the Beginning the Word already existed. ¬†The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God… The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 1: 1-5

The Word of God is Jesus Christ.

The Bible, as we know it, is like the foundation on a house. A house must have a foundation to be built; however, a foundation alone is not reaching the fullness of its potential. It must have something added to it in order to reach its destiny. The Bible is actually a guide to find the true Word of God. It helps us to find out Who God is, Who Jesus is. It helps to catapult us into relationship with God Almighty. After we have begun our relationship with Jesus, with God, things can happen that go beyond the Bible, because the Bible is not Who Jesus is. It just describes Him.

I have applied to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California. One of the things that a lot of people hate about that school and Bethel Church in general is that things happen there that are not recorded in the Bible. For example, precious stones might appear in front of people or feathers might fall from the sky. I’ve been in meetings where oil began to flow from a man’s forehead, hands, and feet or gold dust appeared on people. These things are not in the Bible and so a lot of people blast Bethel and the ministries Bethel associates with because they sometimes cannot back up what’s going on with a verse or a chapter. They are stepping beyond the Bible.

However, just like in Exodus, the demonic realm can imitate what God is doing. When those things are outside of the Bible itself, how can people be sure that what they are seeing is truly a miraculous sign or wonder from God, and not just a cheap parlor trick from the other side?

Just like we’ve always heard it preached, we must bounce everything off the Word of God. After making sure what is happening does not directly conflict the Bible — because God can not contradict Himself and the Bible is the written Word of God — we must take it to the living Word of God. We must take it back to Jesus Christ. And the only way to make sure that you are hearing God’s voice correctly is to have relationship with Him, which is only done by reading the Bible and learning about Him. Then God can take us beyond the Bible and, since we have the foundation and have learned His presence and voice, we can correctly discern in the moment what is from God and what is not.

It’s all about relationship. Our destinies, our prophetic revelations, our ministries — it all stems out of living, breathing relationship with the living, breathing Word of God.

Discernment: A Lost Art?

I’m blessed to have a great relationship with my mom. ¬†We often to go lunch or dinner just to talk about the Lord and what He’s doing, both in our individual lives and in the world around us. ¬†Sometimes we talk about different ministries and what they believe or how they are doing. ¬†I’ve had a problem in the past, where if I don’t agree with something that a ministry is doing or if someone seems a little… off, I’ll discredit the entire ministry. ¬†My mom would then tell me not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. ¬†I didn’t understand it for a long time until the Lord started using that same phrase to teach me about discernment.

See, I think that the Church shares my problem. ¬†We’ll either completely buy into whatever is thrown at us, or we refuse to believe in anything that doesn’t come verbatim from the Word of God. ¬†Now, while it’s correct that we need to reject anything that is in direct conflict with the Bible, I don’t believe that the Bible is the only source of God’s Word. ¬†The Sovereign Lord is constantly speaking, to everyone on the planet. ¬†Different people are then taking what they hear and ministering those words to others in every format under the sun. ¬†Prophets are even on Twitter nowadays (my favorite is .

I know people on both sides of the spectrum. ¬†I’ve spoken to people who think I’m insane and flighty for buying into ministries headed by people like Jason Westerfield, James Goll, and Joann McFatter. ¬†I’ve also been to conferences with people who latch onto every new ministry that comes out and take every word they say as Gospel.

Both views are wrong. ¬†Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Slap a big ol’ F on their report cards because they are wrong.

Refusing to even listen to something because it’s new isn’t good because then you miss out on what God is doing. ¬†But then, believing every word from a self-proclaimed prophet that finds its way over Twitter is just as bad. ¬†So how can you find the middle ground? ¬†Oh wait, don’t we have an all-knowing, all-seeing God?

Remember when I said that God speaks to everyone, all the time? ¬†I truly believe that. ¬†And if He’s talking all the time, then He’s talking while you are reading a book, or watching TV, or listening to a preacher. ¬†Doesn’t it make sense that He’d talk to you about whether or not what you’re reading or hearing is straight from His mouth?

See, even with the best of intentions, no one is 100% correct 100% of the time. ¬†Therefore, even if you completely trust in a ministry with all of your heart, they are going to get something wrong every once in a while. ¬†They’re human; it’s allowed. ¬†If you aren’t subjecting everything that comes out of their mouth to a strong God-filter, then you could listen to something that’s completely wrong and wind up in a really bad place with beliefs that don’t line up with the word of God.

One of my favorite examples of this is The Shack by William Young. ¬†I truly believe that this book is inspired by God (yeah, it does happen nowadays, which you hopefully know if you’re a writer!). ¬†But Young does mess up. For example, he has the Jesus character having a conversation with the main character at one point. ¬†“Jesus” says: “Papa is as much submitted to me as I am to him, or Sarayu to me, or Papa to her. Submission is not about authority and it is not obedience; it is all about relationships of love and respect. In fact, we are submitted to you in the same way.”

Red flag! ¬†This is wrong. ¬†God is not submissive to humans; that puts humans on a greater plane than the Creator. ¬†Ehhhhhh (that was a buzzer sound, in case you couldn’t tell.)

But just because Young was off on that one point (OK, several points throughout the book) doesn’t mean that we should just throw out the entire novel. ¬†He offers a lot of good insight. ¬†Instead, what we, the readers, need to do is ask God to throw out anything that’s wrong. ¬†Anything that doesn’t line up with the Word of God needs to be thrown out, discarded, rejected. ¬†What we’re left with is the stuff that God wants us to know, and even that needs to go through the wringer to make sure it’s completely, 100% in line.

So how do we do this? ¬†We do this by¬†asking. You know that whole, ask and you shall¬†receive¬†thing? ¬†It actually works. ¬†God will start speaking to you throughout your day, helping you to understand and filter out everything you hear or see. ¬†He’ll do this when you’re talking to your parents, hearing your pastor speak, reading a book, listening to a podcast, reading your tweets. ¬†Pretty soon it’ll become second nature to subject everything to your God-filter. ¬†Plus, you get to learn to hear God always, which is always a plus.

Wait, I didn’t sound excited enough on that.

WE GET TO HEAR GOD SPEAK, ALL THE TIME!!!!

Go figure: the One Who Created All actually wants to help you juggle this stuff.  Who knew?