Monday, November 30, 2009

Tragedy in Tacoma

Yesterday in Tacoma a tragedy occurred. A gunman walked into a coffee shop just blocks from my university, just around the corner from a house I used to live and that I drive past when I visit my parents and opened fire "execution-style" on four police officers who were there to do paperwork before starting their shifts.  All four officers were killed and as of the writing of this post, the gunman, though suspected who he is, has not been caught.

I have always believed that when a person targets those employed to stand in the line of fire on our behalf it is really an attack on all of us.  It is an attack on the very laws and enforcement of those laws that keep our society a (relatively) civilized one.  If a person is willing to go after armed and trained men and women, what would that person be willing to do to unarmed citizens?  It takes a brave individual to put his or her life on the line on behalf of other men and women they don't even know.

Some say that the officers in our area are power-hungry and have abused their authority.  I can't speak to this at all from any kind of personal experience.  I do know this to be true:
Romans 13:3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

It is interesting to me as I have thought and prayed about this, how our area seems to have more than its share of these kind of tragedies: serial killers Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway (GreenRiver Killer), the Washington DC sniper, the WTO riots just ten years ago this week, and other notorious killers I am certainly forgetting.  It makes me wonder just what it is about our area that churns out these kind of tragedies.  There is certainly a fierce independence that marks those in our area; a non-conformist attitude if you will.  Certainly there is in our history a kind of creativity (Microsoft, Boeing, tons of dotcoms, etc.) flowing from this region.  And also most definitely a kind of "frontiersman" and pioneering attitude in our history.  Is this what leads to these kinds of events?  Are we as a state considered lenient and easy on crime by criminals?  Is there any tie to the fact that we are also the least churched state in the US? NOT that having churches is any kind of guarantee against this kind of thing...but, it at the very least points to a deficit that could make a difference in some of the lives in our area.

I don't know the answer, but I do know this....I am praying for revival in my city like never before and that the powers of darkness that seek to destroy would be overcome by the light.  And, I am personally thanking every single police officer/patrolman I come across for choosing to stand in the line of fire on my behalf.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Letter from Mike Bickle and Lou Engle

We stand at a critical juncture in our nation's history. It is time to encounter God and to take action. The Holy Spirit is visiting His people with power. At the same time, the powers of darkness are raging against the moral fabric of our nation. The light is getting brighter as the darkness gets darker.

Many of you will have heard of the spiritual awakening at our Bible school. On Wednesday, November 11, the Spirit fell on a class for more than 15 hours. The word spread quickly and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over Kansas City, as deliverance and physical healings continued to increase. We canceled our classes for the next week so that each one of our 1,000 students and interns could receive from the Spirit in an extended way.

We decided to meet nightly from 6:00pm to midnight because His manifest presence continues to increase. Visitors are pouring in from many places across America to partake of this spiritual awakening.

We will continue these evening meetings until our onething conference, December 28–31, 2009, when we are expecting 20,000 young adults to gather for worship, teaching, and to participate in the supernatural ministry of the Spirit.

Last year, over 16,000 young adults attended this conference. We are still hearing testimonies of lives that were changed. This year, we are expecting to receive even more from the Spirit. We believe that this will be a historic and important conference, and encourage you to attend.

The theme for onething'09 is "What is the Spirit saying to the Church?" Our team will proclaim what we believe the Spirit is prophetically speaking to the Church in this hour. We will also share practical ways in which we can “adopt” high schools and colleges across our nation as we envision young people to impact each sphere of society with works of justice and acts of compassion. At the conference, we will have extended ministry times to receive healing, renewal, and impartation from the Spirit. We believe that the Spirit will release His power at this conference, as evidenced by what He is currently doing in our evening meetings.

Mark Anderson, a senior international leader in YWAM who also works closely with Campus Crusade for Christ, will host forums for leaders to discuss how we can systematically evangelize entire cities and campuses in partnership with the houses of prayer in their area. Mark has remarkable insight that comes from his 30 years of successful ministry in evangelism. The Lord has given him some bold new strategies for this hour.

The crisis in our nation is real. The serpentine stranglehold of abortion continues to squeeze the life out of over 4,000 wombs daily. Sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, are reaching epic heights of perversity. The number of women and children being trafficked into the dark underbelly of the sex industry in our cities is growing at an alarming rate. Entire school systems are giving way to darkness. The sanctity of marriage is under siege, threatening to destroy the moral foundations of our nation.

We will also address the growing crisis that is emerging in many churches across America. A new wave of confusion is systematically seducing many young adults into deception. Sincere young people whose hearts were once ablaze for Jesus are being allured into compromise on foundational biblical truths and practices, while at the same time they are increasing in works of compassion and justice. No amount of increased ministry activity can “balance out” their profound spiritual compromises. In the name of tolerance, they are settling for a humanistic and "politically correct" theology that trivializes the glory of Jesus. Many young adult ministries are falling prey to this as they are seeking “relevance” that dulls the razor’s edge of truth for the sake of man’s approval. It is not enough to mention Jesus’ name if they deny foundational truths about Him. Our works of justice must flow from deep allegiance to Jesus and the Scripture.

Our nation has never stood on such a precarious footing as today. The onslaught of spiritual darkness is increasing in our classrooms, boardrooms, courtrooms, and bedrooms. We must confront the confusion that is pouring forth from many pulpits as well as from the halls of Washington. It is time to draw a line in the sand. We must hear what the Spirit is saying and we must act on it. The Spirit will confirm the truth with demonstrations of power.

It is darkest before the dawn. Our hearts are full of faith. We know another historic "Great Awakening" is soon to sweep across our nation. We look with confidence to God’s promise: “In the last days . . . I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17-21). All nations will receive the witness of kingdom with power (Mt. 24:14; Rev. 7:9). What a privilege to live in this awesome hour of history.

At this very hour, Jesus is raising up young adults who are being mobilized to cry out in night and day prayer, win the lost, heal the sick, and do works of compassion and justice as they impact the very fabric of our society.

Please join us in Kansas City from December 28–31. The onething’09 conference is FREE. You can register at

With passion for Jesus,

Mike Bickle and Lou Engle

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Which Way is North?

I have heard the phrase a lot lately, "Follow your heart." I have heard this from well-meaning Christians even when exhorting friends about decisions they have made or are making.

When looking for direction on what to do in a situation or the way to go in life, I have to wonder if my heart is really the right compass to be using for getting a "due North."

Jeremiah 17:9 makes it pretty clear: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?"

I can even look to my own life and times of "following my heart" when my heart actually led me far astray of what was best for me. As follwers of Christ, it is He to whom we should look for guidance and direction, not our hearts. Our hearts are too easily drawn into the patterns of the world or the flesh to be fully trusted to give us the correct answers in life. This is why we are to give our hearts over completely to Christ to be transformed and renewed. This is life-long process of sanctification and not something you ever really arrive at. My heart is less deceitful and sick than it was a year ago, but still more deceitful and sick (hopefully) than it will be a year from now.

Even when I seek the Lord for my decisions, I enter into that process soberly. My heart can even deceive me into thinking that its voice IS the Lord. It is so important as followers of the Way that we have scriptural foundation for our decisions, and that we seek the wise advice of those who are further down the road than we are before doing what we do in addition to seeking the Lord alone. I see far too many of us either blindly following our own wicked hearts or even being encouraged by friends who are just as blind about the way we should be heading in life. How can the blind lead the blind into anything but pits and traps?

I particularly like that the passage in Jeremiah 17 is preceeded by this:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,Which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes;But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought,Nor will cease from yielding fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Getting Paid for Fixing My Car

So, last year about this time I found out I was losing my first job at the zoo due to budget cuts. Simultaneously, my car started acting up and I had to take it into the shop. It turned out, one of the ignition coils was out. The mechanic informed me that it was likely if one went out, the rest would go soon too. Faced with a several hundred dollar bill I couldn't afford, I put off changing out the other coils. Sure enough a couple of weeks later, another coil went out, and I ended up replacing all of the coils at that time. I can't remember the exact cost of all of this, but it was well over $500 repair and may have been as much as $700. All of this went on my credit card.

This bill, plus my airfair and hotel for Hong Kong have been kind of lingering around for me to pay off because all I have been able to afford is the minimum payment on my card.

Today, I got a letter in the mail from Volkswagen, the manufacturer of my car. Apparently the coils on my model are faulty and need to be replaced at their cost. Of course, I have already done this. So, as a part of their letter to me they also informed me that they would REIMBURSE me for all of the money I have spent replacing my coils last year. So, all I have to do is turn in my receipts and a paper that VW wants me to fill out and presto! they will cut me a check!

How amazing is that? I still have the HK flight and hotel to pay off the credit card, but man! I'll take a check from VW for sure!

Praise Jesus!


Monday, November 09, 2009

20 Years Ago Today

Checkpoint Charlie.
Sign in front of Checkpoint Charlie on the old Berlin Wall.

This portion of the Berlin Wall was also the outer wall of the Nazi Headquarters. Just to the right and down below there is a Holocaust Museum. Germany calls it their "Open Wound." This particular portion of the wall is unavailable to touch.

Lots of portions of the wall are available to stand next to and have your picture taken with. This one was taken at Potsdammer Platz, the section of the wall in which all three portions of Berlin converged.
Me at the Holocaust Memorial.

Me at Bandenburg Gate.
This was the view from the flat I stayed in for three days. The "V" on the ground is the cobblestone outline of the old Berlin Wall.

This was the view out the window to the left. We were less than a block from Bandenburg Gate on the old East German side.

All along the old path of the Berlin Wall is cobblstone and every once in a while a plaque commemorating the wall.

Every generation has major events that those from that generation remember clearly when and where you were when you heard about them. In my generation there are actually quite a few: Challenger explosion, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the plane crash in Omaha Nebraska, and a few others I am certainly leaving out.

One of those events, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, happened 20 years ago today. Having grown up in the midst of the Cold War, and being old enough to have studied some world history, I remember standing transfixed in front of the television screen watching people dance on top of the wall as it "fell," hacking at it with hammers, and even breaking out a bull-dozer to pull parts of it down. The magnitude of this event was clear to me, even as a teenager....this was history in the making.

A year and a half ago, while on my trip to Europe for three months, I got to visit Berlin for three days. To say that it was awe-inspiring to be there and to walk along the pathway where the wall once stood would be an understatement. Walking through the Brandenburg Gate and into areas of Berlin that were in my lifetime completely inaccessible, touching actual remnants of the wall, seeing buildings still standing with bullet holes in them was a chance of a lifetime and one of the highlights of my trip.

We also got to tour a museum that the Germans have erected in the basement of the old Nazi headquarters. This museum, which they call "Germany's Open Wound" describes the rise of Nazi-ism, the atrocities committed by the Nazi party, and its subsequent fall. To walk through the basement of a building once walked by Adolph Hitler himself was quite eerie. The Germans, in my limited experience, desire to openly talk about and acquiesce to the world the history of what they've done. They firmly believe that by talking about it, it will never happen again. There is still a lot of shame there as well. To a person, each German I talked to who discussed this part of their history with me had this sense to them.
While in some ways the world is a better place without the wall and all that it stood for, today also serves as a reminder that when it comes to truly having freedom, we still have a long way to go. May the "walls" in North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, China, Afghanistan, and Iran suffer the same fate as the Berlin Wall.

Friday, November 06, 2009


A political candidate's character can be determined based purely on what he or she believes regarding the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves.