The Gift of the Father – Heaven’s Holiness

Sin is Not In in our politically correct culture. Even the mention of the “S” word causes an upheaval in today’s society and sends people running to the source of who or what had such an absurd idea. After all how could anything be wrong with me or my kids or grandkids? In all honesty somehow we have redefined sins found in the Scripture to fit our lifestyle calling what the Bible states as wrong now right. The result of this dark influence is that we are find ourselves increasingly in bondage to these sins and left spiritually dead, exactly the scheme of satan, the father of lies.

Yet when Heaven invades earth and the Holy Spirit is poured out on the Father’s children, sin and its ugly lies are exposed. There have been precious times in my life when the Father was gracious to me and sent His Holy presence into my situation which caused me to drop to my knees revealing the depths of my sin and spiritual deception. But the amazing thing about the gift of the Father is how His Spirit will not leave us naked in our sin. He brings us back to His Son Jesus. He wraps us in new garments of love and forgiveness as we place our sin and its power over us at the foot of the cross.

A taste of the Holy makes sin taste like sour grapes and brings a renewed passion to live as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). As Heaven’s Holiness begins to push sin out of our hearts more room is made for Christ to dwell and have dominion over us. This leads us into a powerful freedom to live as we were created to, as children of the King full of Heaven’s Joy (I Peter 1:8).

Nothing is new under the sun. History has recorded over and over again that even God’s children get sucked into the vortex of the dark culture of sin. But in the midst of that darkness the Spirit prompts His children to pray for a new outpouring of Heaven to invade earth. And when the Father unleashes Heaven’s Holiness among His children a spirit of Repentance breaks forth. Believers turn away from away from the lies and deception of sin and turn back to the light of His loving forgiveness and amazing grace.

I’m always convicted by the text in 1 Peter 4:17 “judgment to begin in God’s household.” In this moment where Sin seems to be ruling over even the children of God, we need to search deep within our hearts and ask the Father to visit us with a fresh and great outpouring of the Holiness of Heaven. So we can return to living as free children who dance with joy in the presence of our loving Father

Join me in crying out to the Father for a new outpouring of Heaven to invade our hearts and Christ’s Bride, the church, with a new visitation of Holiness.

The Gift of the Father – Heaven’s Joy

During my first visit to Lesotho Africa, the guide from World Vision drove our team of pastors to a remote village on a dusty and very bumpy road. As our vehicle crested a hill and descended down toward a cinder block building, I couldn’t help but notice an unusual sound which I had never heard before. I wondered if what we heard was a good or a bad noise. Obviously the guide must have seen our puzzled faces as he explained that the ladies from the village make that sound when they are extremely happy! “That sound” has become one of my favorite delights while in Africa. Obviously it is hard to explain on paper; you will just have to come to Africa to hear it for yourself. Over my many visits the women have tried to teach me but you need to have a really gifted tongue that moves back and forth at top speed to pull it off and I have come to realize that this is not one of my spiritual gifts.

When you hear “that sound” you know for a fact that something special is happening. Whether a baby is being adopted at Beautiful Gate Care Center or during a worship service when the drum begins to beat and Lesotho people proclaim their love for Jesus. The twilling of tongues in Africa is always a sure sign that something good is happening and blessings will follow.

In the same way when the Gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit, flows down upon His children there are signs revealing His glorious presence and one of those signs is Joy! I love how Peter describes this Joy from Heaven:

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

1 Peter 1:8

This joy cannot be explained, it comes from another world and it blows our world away. Read the book of Acts and you will find this “inexpressible and glorious joy” all over the place. The disciples experienced joy in prayer meetings, prisons and persecution. The crazy thing about Heaven’s Joy is it is contagious, when the neighbors see this joy they want to know what “you’re drinking?” (Acts 2), which opens the door to share Jesus!

I think the early church’s greatest tool in sharing the Father’s love to a lost world was that they were filled with a supernatural joy. What if followers of Christ continued to taste Heaven’s Joy? Think about the impact this would have on a joyless world! The apostle Peter shares the tools to open up the floodgates of heaven simply stated: “love Him” and “believe in Him.” Those who direct their passion towards a Father God they have not seen and YET walk a life of believing trust in Jesus WILL FIND themselves drenched in the Joy from Heaven. 

Just like in Africa when the women do their twilling as a sign of happiness to verbally express a blessing, when we overflow with Heaven’s Joy it is a sign our Good Father’s Kingdom has been poured into our hearts to be a blessing to the world. “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit!” Romans 14:17.


The Gift of the Father- Heaven Invading Earth

This past weekend I had the privilege of fellowshipping with a group of men in Michigan for a retreat. You can’t beat Western Michigan in the fall! God’s handy work surrounded us with His radiant glory both in creation and in relationships. The trees were shouting out the Father’s praise as the wind pushed through causing the leaves to speak and sparkle in the brilliant sun.

And the wind of the Spirit also pushed through our group as the Father gave insight and revelation that made His presence known. One of the men was sharing about a statement he heard about “Heaven coming to earth.” Stating that when God shows up, it is often times in the least likely places: brokenness, poverty, prisons, suffering, loss, vulnerability etc., and ultimately that is the best place to be. During the weekend we definitely experienced that at the retreat. One of the first guys to share opened up with radical honesty and that broke through the walls of our protective male hearts and allowed the Holy Spirit to dwell with in real and tangible ways. Indeed, there was no better place to be! We all tasted Heaven invading earth!

When Heaven invades earth, and the Father release His Holy Spirit among us several signs will follow, here are a few:

  1. A JOY because of the indwelling presence of Jesus living within us.
  2. SIN is revealed and overcome by the power and forgiveness of Jesus.
  3. A UNITY among the Father’s family that breaks down dividing walls.
  4. A desire to OBEY the will of the Father through the Spirit and the Word.
  5. MIRACLES occur and bring hope to us and glory to the Father alone.

When Heaven invades earth and these signs follow, God’s Heavenly Kingdom will make itself known on earth. Our Father in Heaven will be glorified and His children will be satisfied in His presence. Will you dream with me about an invasion like this? An invasion which would flood our world with rivers flowing from the throne of God to a culture that has become a barren wasteland? For the next few weeks I want to ponder these 5 points and ask you to fervently pray this prayer Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father, in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…” 

Or simply: Father, Let Heaven Come!


The Gift of the Father – Praying Through the Pain

The other afternoon I went for a bike ride, it was a glorious fall day and I likely peddled farther than I should have neglecting to recall that the return route was mostly up hill. As I was nearing home and facing the last hill my legs were shouting to my mind, “why do you put yourself through this! It’s not worth it! Give up!” But then I heard another voice; it was the commentators from the Tour de France, the grueling 21-day bike race that destroys riders as they seek to conquer the French Alps. “Peddle through the pain,” is the statement often repeated as they track each rider’s progress up mountains such as the Alpe d’Huez. The only way to make it to Champs-Elysees in Paris, the finish line, is “peddle through the pain.” Somehow each cyclist pounds through the agonizing pain in order to reach a break through, and then perseverance brings forth a second wind, another level mentally that enables the athlete to physically climb the steep and rugged mountains.

In Luke 11 Jesus teaches us to Pray Through the Pain! We need the “second wind,” a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The scripture prompts us to be like the man who goes to his friend’s house at midnight and pounds on the door over and over again because he is desperate for bread. Jesus’ describes this action as “boldness” or in another translation says the man is “shameless,” Luke 11:8. Jesus is teaching that if we want the “gift of the Father,” the Holy Spirit’s fresh outpouring we must continue asking, seeking, knocking, to not give up no matter pain we may be facing (vs. 9).

For years, even before I was a pastor, I felt prompted to pray for a continued move of the Spirit of God on His church. I have prayed for this in prayer groups, with family and friends, and in my prayer closet. But at times when the spiritual battle is steep, the pain too much, I have heard a voice say “give up, it will never happen, listen to the pain and find an easier path.” But in the midst of what looks like an impossibility I hear another voice, the voice of the Father saying, “Pray through the Pain for the Power of My Presence to be Poured out again!”  

Again we have been bombarded by pain in our world through tragic shootings, devastating storms, political unrest, and personal battles that so many today are facing, and there is no better time to Pray Through the Pain! Jesus makes the bold declaration in this passage: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened…” (vs.9-10). I believe there is a Second Wind coming, don’t stop, be “shameless,” and keep Praying through the Pain!