Friday, November 18, 2011

Prayer Snobs

(NOTE: R.E.T.S. will be taking a few days off from writing.  Thus, we'll have a couple "guest authors," as well as Ajax and hopefully Yoda.)

A lot of Christianity seems to look at prayer as a magical incantation or ritual- Something I find to be ironic given the sheer amount of venom that is sprayed on anything having to do with magic. (Point in case: Harry Potter)

Think about it for just a moment. In order to pull off a "proper" ritual, everything must be in the exact order- Nothing can be missing, but nothing must be added. Every word must be exact, pronounced the right way, and for some, tone must be held for a certain amount of time.

Now, let us go into the church. In order to pull off a "proper" prayer, everything must be in the exact right order... Not a single "amen," name, request or unction can be missing. However, many also believe that using the Lord's Name too often will also screw up the prayer- so nothing can be added, either! Every word has to be exactly what is prescribed in seminary; they must be pronounced exactly right- (GEE-sUS, Gah-duh, Holey Sspeer-et-ah); not to mention that if the "Holey Sspeer-et-ah" is on you, then you must draw out certain sounds of every word.

Folks, I have always found this debate to be ridiculous, for several reasons.

1) The Lord said to let the children come to Him and not to hinder them. When we go into prayer, we are going before the Lord. Yet what do you think this debate does to children, when held around them? What do you think we do when we tell a child they should not, or do not need to, pray in the way they always have? Let the child come to a personal understanding of their own prayer style and prayer life.

2) I see prayers of all sorts throughout the Bible, and guess what? There are some that use the name of Jesus and some that do not. However, not once have they been the self aggrandizement they seem to be today. Sure, the Pharisees prayed just to be heard, but I'm talking about the believers. To continue to demand, or even believe, that there is a specific method to prayer is foolish- Moreover, if you actually believe this, and also believe that YOU'VE got it? ....Well, all pretty mausoleums line up just there.

3) I do not see the words "In Jesus name, Amen," written anywhere in the Bible. In fact, I don't even see the words "In Jesus name" at the end of a prayer or otherwise. So what?! I do see in many places after Christ's ascension, people praying for something very specific and doing so "in the name of Christ." For instance, "silver and gold have I not, but such as I have, I give to thee- In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk!"

4) There are some who find it foolish to address God more than once or twice in a prayer. I find it interesting that they do, because I see no reason why one shouldn't. Prayer is you and I speaking to God. I am not going to alter my prayer style to fit the preferences of any other human being- I am not going into prayer for their ears, I am praying to God's alone. If HE delivers me a Gibbs Slap and says to knock it off, then I will.

5) How proud do we need to be before we jump on someone else for their method of prayer? Jimmy prays with "in Jesus Name Amen" at the end. Johnny prays "in the name of Jesus, AH-men." Little Timmy, he says "God" or "Jesus" with nearly every sentence. You know what though? It is guaranteed that the Lord will hear their prayers, and He'll hear them long before He'll even bother with whatever "perfect prayer style" the theology snobs work out.

So, the question in my mind, when I see this sort of discussion, is almost never "should we use, or is it required to use, Jesus Name at the end of prayers?" Instead, it becomes "should this even be a discussion/debate?" Loxen had it 100% correct when he stated that prayer is mainly about the contact, and not the method or content. TC had it 100% correct when he stated it was about the heart more than anything. The fact is that if the heart is right, you could be talking to God about dust particles in a ray of sunlight and you would have an attentive and unwavering ear. You could pray for more sliced cheese packets for sandwiches, while saying His name a million times, and with your right heart, someone's going to walk through the door with sliced cheese.

However, if your heart isn't right, then you could be using the perfect prayer model while asking for a life to be spared... And guess what will happen? God'll listen to the child praying for extra blueberries in their pancakes before you, because their heart is right.


Nothing said here was meant to offend- If any of it did offend someone, then I ask two things: 

1) Please forgive me, as that was unintentional. 

2) If you're not inclined to forgive me, then put your big kid pants on, sit down, and shut up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Just wanted to let everyone know that the "BE" Attitudes series will be concluding tomorrow- This entry has had a lot of research going into it, which has caused it to be late in coming.

Thank you all for your attention, prayers, and viewing.  God bless you!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

All The World

PlanetShakers sing "The Anthem."

R.E.T.S. talks about to whom we should be bringing the Gospel.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interim Entry - Sunday Video

This is just a quick note to let everyone know that, due to circumstances beyond our control, the planned video devotion for today will be posting much later than usual.  Look for it to appear in the vicinity of 7 - 8pm Mountain Time.

Thank you all for your patience, and may God richly bless you today!

EDIT (11.7.2011): YouTube issues from yesterday prevented us from meeting our deadline, despite assurances they'd be cleared up in time.

The video will be posted this evening, with a double post tomorrow for the originally scheduled series.

We once again apologize for the trouble, and thank you all for your kindness and understanding.

God bless!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Velcro Devotion in a Teflon World

Once more, we're featuring a "Guest Writer," you might say.  This is such an important topic, and it was one we would have been addressing sooner or later.  The fact that Lisa Crum, (songwriter, inspirational writer, and pastoral assistant), wrote this as one of Streaming Faith's devotions, well...  Apparently it needs to be addressed now.

In these last days, it seems harder than ever to find people who will serve in any capacity—much less ministry--with lasting devotion. In the era of contractual service, we seek an “out clause” in almost everything we say ‘yes’ to. Marriages dissolve once the honeymoon is over; parents abandon their post and leave their children to be raised by the grandparents (an alarming trend); and, few places of employment are left where someone can hope to work clear up until retirement. We all tend to want to milk the best out of something and then discard it once it’s no longer profitable or fulfilling to us. It makes me think of the Winans’ song, “Bring Back the Days of Yea and Nay.”
Deuteronomy 15:16-17 relates to someone who had sold himself (or herself) into servanthood. “But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life” (NIV). It was an understood law that in the seventh year, that person would be set free from the master, at which time the master awarded a blessing for the service before releasing the servant. Now, I’m aware that sometimes it’s entirely fitting for someone to operate in a season, or an agreed time of service, and then be released from it. What I do want to encourage, however, is for a special remnant of people to catch the vision of becoming a servant for LIFE.

Can we say to the Lord, “I will faithfully tend this patch of Your field, in good times and in bad, in season, out of season, when I’m praised for it and when I’m an unsung hero too. I’ll be so predictable and so constant, You and my leaders won’t have to wonder if I’ll show up to serve…it’ll be a given!”

Do you consider God’s work and His priorities something that you do ala carte, or is it an integral part of who you are? You may never be called upon to go full-time into ministry, but if He were to ask, would you be willing? What material possessions, hobbies or other preoccupations would you find hard to push aside in favor of going to a higher level in your commitment to the Lord and His work? Do you ever feel offense rising within your spirit whenever the pastor or a leader asks you to give up some of your closely guarded leisure time for a worthwhile investment in kingdom work?

Most of us who serve in the ministry do so on a purely volunteer basis; but may we, from this day forward, never look at it as a “favor” that we do for God. Whether the time we invest in ministry is a few minutes a month or several hours each week, may we treat our offering of ourselves in this way as a holy thing unto the Lord…because it is.

God knows there are times in your life when you're only able to give less of yourself—He knows babies will be born, times of sickness may temporarily slow your pace, aging parents will need care. He is not a tyrant Master! That said, in whatever capacity you choose to give yourself to kingdom work, I pray that, beginning today, you will do so with joy and with excellence, and with a renewed sense of zeal for His purposes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is there any noise in your valley?????

Eze 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
Eze 37:2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
Eze 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
Eze 37:4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
Eze 37:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
Eze 37:6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Eze 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
Eze 37:8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Eze 37:9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
Eze 37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Eze 37:11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
Eze 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
Eze 37:13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

In this day and age it has become common for our people, our churches to take a back seat to things spiritual and fall into a comfort zone. This my friend is the death of our belief and our faith. So far from the glory of those new testament churches of old and the movement of the Holy Spirit. What happened to walking in authority, prophecy, walking in the gifts we have as believers in Christ????? The church has become a valley of dry bones, but I challenge you today to prophecy to these dry bones and command them to live. I challenge you to seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit, to embrace and seek who you are in Christ and dare to tell the enemy where they can take their religion and their darkness!

Jos 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Know this my beloveds, He is with us always, so today invite Him in, rise above your situation, get out of your comfort zone, raise a noise in your valley. Speak life to the dead places in your life, homes, businesses, ministries, schools.... wherever you are!

Let us pray: Father Yahweh come into our lives this day and renew our spirit pour out your love and power into our lives, remind us of the authority we have in your Son's precious blood. Help us to be bold where ever we dare to tread, help us to rise above the death and decay in our lives and find life and light in you. Be the breath we breath, our strong-tower in the storm, our light in the darkness. Lord we turn over our old will unto you and lay down our sins and and false mindsets, and take up the mantle you have placed before us. Heal us where we have gone astray, and give us the strength ,the wisdom and boldness to do your will. In Jesus's name and by His blood amen.

Bless you all -warriorsoul (yoda)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

News and Acknowledgements

We just wanted to take an opportunity to thank all of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning.  We hope that we have been able to encourage you, uplift you and provide something to think about.  If nothing more, we want you to read these posts and come away with a sense that you are living strong- Strong in the Word of God, strong in your faith and strong in your convictions.  We hope we've inspired you to live intentionally.

God bless all of you.

You may have noticed that we've had a change of scenery around here.  This is due to the number of folks who stated they find it hard to read white text on black backgrounds.  As such, the main sections have gone to a more neutral tone with black text.  We hope this will encourage you all to share these entries with your friends and family.

In about a week, we will unveil two brand new features to this blog.

The first is something that has been being tossed around for a while now, but we've just been too busy to do anything with it.  This is the inclusion of an audio file which can be streamed or downloaded for convenient access.  That means that every entry will now be read aloud, and the audio files will be available freely to anyone who may not have time to read.

The second feature will be posted every Sunday.  Some of you, for reasons known to you and God alone, do not have a home church.  Whether it's because you've been burned, or are simply away from home too often due to business travel, you simply cannot be in church.  We understand this, and we'd like to offer you something as well.
As many of you have noticed, we've had no written entries for Sunday.  This is because half of us do have a church commitment, while others have family obligations that prevent us from being able to submit to this blog.  However, starting a week from this Sunday, we will begin posting two videos to this page.  The first will be of praise and worship.  The other will be a simple devotional or study which you'll be able to follow along with.  These too will have audio files available for download.

We hope that these new features will help to continue encouraging you in your walk with the Lord.

Pastors, R.E.T.S. has a special project he's working on with which he would like to request your involvement.  If your church has a history of ministering to those who have been wounded or burned by other Christians, he would like to contact you.  The overall goal will be a permanent list of places wounded warriors may be able to go and find healing.  Just click on his name under contributors, and look for the contact information.  He looks forward to hearing from you!

Next, we'd like to update you on the success of this blog.

We're pleased to announce that in about one month, we've seen the visits to this page increase dramatically- From about five, when we first began, to topping off now at about 150.  So far, it seems The Learning Curve is the highest viewed entry; and we are overjoyed that this has been of such encouragement to you!  So far, our top referring sites have been Facebook and The Circle, a community comprised of the readers of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker.  We'd like to thank all of you who have shared these entries on Facebook, specifically, as these have been a means of encouraging others beyond our personal sphere of influence.

Keep on sharing, folks!  We appreciate it more than you know!

We'd also like to give you some fun facts about this blog: First, we've noted that the majority of you are using Windows- 86% of you, in fact!  We've also noted that Chrome seems to be the browser of choice, with 36% of you using it to view this very blog.  (This has been a point of personal enjoyment for R.E.T.S., who also uses that browser and claims it as the best he's ever used!) We'd also like to make a point of stating that we now have viewers from all over the world!!

If you live in a country outside the United States, speak English, and have an idea for making this accessible to those in your country who do not speak English, please contact us with your thoughts. We'd very much like to see this ministry reach as many people as possible.  Thank you in advance.

Finally, we'd just like to thank everyone, once again, for supporting us with your prayers, as well as your shares.  Sharing this ministry with others encourages us to continue to do what the Lord has placed upon our hearts.  While we'd keep going simply because of what God has called us to do, it truly means a great deal to know that you share this with others.  Thank you!

We'd also like to specifically thank our readers in Russia; Canada; Germany; Indonesia; India; and Taiwan- Thank you SO much!

May God bless each and every one of you, abundantly; and may you find Him a tangible presence in your life.  See you all tomorrow, with the next entry!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I won't do this often, but today I'm going to reprint a devotional I received in my own email inbox today.  This was written by Christopher J. Harris, Overseer of Youth at Fellowship Church of Chicago.  This was such an impactful and inspiring message, I had to share it with you all.  God bless!

As we were exiting the department store, I watched one of my toddlers struggle to hold the door open for a stranger. When I explained to him that I would help him, he boldly told me, "Daddy, I've got it..." To be totally honest with you, I was amazed and curious as to why my son would struggle to open a door that was heavier than he is for someone that he didn't know. 
So I asked him. "Why did you open that door for her?" He replied, "because..." (He had that look that implied that my question was a dumb question...) When I further pressed him for a more detailed response, in his powerful childhood expressiveness, he responded, "Because that's what we do!" I replied, "We who?" Without hesitation he answered, "God people, Daddy!"

Wow! A toddler has learned, picked up, and processed that 'God people' serve.

The truth is that we adults know that, but we don't always live that out.

As I thought more about this idea of serving, there were a few critical questions that came to mind:
1) Why do we gather for worship and call it "service"?
2) Do you think people have confused being active in ministry and actually serving people?
3) Do people really know how to serve?
4) Are we able to serve without first being at the feet of Jesus?
5) Are we too busy to serve?

As I processed these questions and all of their potential answers, I immediately began to identify the starting points of how to move people from silent observers to engaged servants. Here are five starting points to serving:

1) Pray for discernment, discipline and passion to serve
2) Identify a social area of passion and frustration (i.e. - illiteracy)
3) Develop knowledge and expertise in that area by listening, learning, observing and training.
4) Set realistic goals for how you plan to serve and what you want to accomplish through serving.
5) Build intentional time in your monthly itinerary to serve in that area of passion.

As you move through the starting points to serving, be clear that moving into a serving mindset challenges and stretches you beyond areas of comfort. It is never convenient and a part of your normal thought process. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that there is a high degree of spiritual warfare that takes place to keep us from moving into a serving mindset. As much as the Word of God is used to allow us to hear God’s heart, and prayer is to get us into communion and communication with God, I believe that serving is what helps us develop the necessary character to look like Christ and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. So it is only reasonable that our enemy, satan himself, will pull out all stops to keep us into a habit and routine of movement and busyness without starting afresh with the idea of real servant hood.

I believe it is time to begin something revolutionary, and create a new normal. As the world has branded 'God people' into denominations, judgmental, arrogant, selfish, and spooky, let's re-brand ourselves to accurately reflect the character of Jesus Christ and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Not only in moments of convenience or comfort, but consistently and courageously. We can all begin by serving people...because that’s what we do. 'God people', that is.