I have now aged thru this world for 45 years as of today. I did my best to not mention my birthday to too many folks including the big group of thousands who stay up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now TSU. I just wasn't up for thousands of Happy Birthday wishes from people who were following a prompt from digital media instead of people honestly knowing that it was my birthday because they were close enough in my life to know that.
That being said, I have a lot of thoughts going thru my mind as my biological clock ticks past 16,345 days.
As I look back over my life I don't have many regrets but one of them is not being more kind and gentle to others. I'm a Prophet so my personality is strong out of the womb and my desire to uphold the truth (or at least the truth as I perceived it at that time) has gotten me into many situations over the years that probably could have been better handled with more gentleness and overall wisdom.
The older I get the more I value my personal time. There is a saying in the business community that proves to be very true... I've never met a successful person who didn't value their own time and I've never met a poor person who did. The battle of this life is indeed the battle for your time. Think about it... everyone wants your time. The science behind all advertising and marketing for example is not how to get you to spend money, its to get you to care about what is being marketed to you. Companies know if you start to care about something, you will spend money on whatever that is to either get it or keep it in your life. The easiest way to do this is by repeatedly exposing you to their advertising and marketing campaigns. This has the compounded effect of eating up your time so in a very real way, all advertising and marketing comes back to getting a given message across in the allotted time.
As I look toward the future, I am very excited about what is ahead. I have lost almost half of my body weight starting a few years ago at 500 pounds. I have also gotten very healthy and active and am feeling better than ever before. In many ways I feel like I'm in my 20s again and since health is such an important part of life's journey, I am a very blessed man in that to be sure.
Thru much of my life I have played a supporting role in the lives and ministries of others. For the last couple of years and especially in recent months, I've been feeling the finger of the Lord in my back to step forward more and launch into doing some live worship and ministry meetings of my own so I'm starting to take some steps to prepare for that.
Lastly, every birthday I think about the fact that I was given up for adoption at the age of three days. That means in 1969 a couple from the Ohio State University got pregnant with me and decided it was best to give me up to someone else. All I know about them is that she was a cheerleader and he was on the football team. Photo archives of those years are not easy to find. I still debate on trying to track them down or not.
Of course, adoption itself is a giant red flag for a Spirit of Rejection and I absolutely had one that drove me to almost destroy myself. Thankfully the Holy Spirit delivered me using a beautifully anointed couple that are now great friends in our lives.
I may never lay eyes on the ones who gave me mine. I may never be held by the ones who held each other to conceive me. I may never hear the voices of the ones who spoke about me and possibly to me for the better part of a year in my gestation. But the broken, when healed, become master menders themselves. These things that appeared in my youth to be deficits have been used by the Holy Spirit to create strength and commitment in me today. What the enemy tried to use to destroy me, Jesus has used to resurrect me...
I see it now.. and I will never be the same.
The 2015 edition of the WinterJam Tour rolled thru Columbus, Ohio a couple days ago now and I have to admit, I was not really prepared for what I was in for and God used it to really challenge and change me for the better.
Some back story first...
I've been to hundreds of concerts, most of them Christian concerts, dozens of multi-artist festivals including not only attending but also vending at many of the United States' largest Christian Music festivals. Most of today's hottest groups like Skillet, Third Day, Newsboys, TobyMac, etc I have seen several dozen times.
In the last few years I had stopped attending most concerts and to understand why I need to explain that I had really lost my overall confidence in the entire CCM/Christian Rock culture and industry. In some ways I feel like I was just too close to it all. My involvement was almost always financial in nature. I was making money, but at the same time I was also making someone else money by doing so. The more popular a given artist gets, the more money they book for putting the more successful modern artists well out of range for the small and medium sized promoters, many of whom are Pastors or leaders in their local churches and promote on the side so they don't have big budgets to work with.
A trend that started decades ago was the buying up of Christian owned and operated record labels by the larger secular music industry. This of course was ultimately all about money and while I am as pro free market capitalist as the next conservative Christian, it's not always in everyone's best interest to just let people blindly follow the money. That trend always bothered me and a touch more back story now.. and yes, I'm trying to stay brief here...
When CCM first began in the very late 60s, it was called "Jesus Music" and it was literally a very organic thing as singers and songwriters were so changed by the Holy Spirit, they changed their entire life's direction. That naturally included the songs being sang and written. Music was produced and duplicated for the main purpose of sharing the gospel with others, making money at it was very rare and in fact, most early Jesus music artists traveled in their own used cars paying their own way from place to place often losing money but they continued on because of their deep love and passion for Jesus and getting the gospel out to others.
As we left the 80s behind, Jesus Music was a thing of the past and had given way to the blossoming industry known as CCM (Contemporaneity Christian Music). Many artists noticed trends within CCM that were farther and farther away from it;s once humble roots and spoke up about it. Some left CCM entirely while others lifted up prophetic warnings about going too far. Ultimately as we got into the 2000s, most CCM music (not all, but most) carried a very watered down message and generally speaking was focused almost entirely upon talent with little regard to what (or who) was truly anointed. Additionally, all of the concerts I saw were mainly song after song with generic crowd interaction and just no actual ministry to speak of outside of an occasional worship song for 5 minutes and then it was back to business as usual.
As we got past 2010, the industry was almost identical to the secular music industry and while some stronger lyrical content had began to return, the overall industry was really still missing the larger point, that being our entire goal is supposed to be about ministry. ..and to be clear, of course there were some artists out there with pure hearts trying their best before God... but I'm talking about the industry itself that no longer had any room for anointed people with a burning heart to sing about Jesus unless they were able to be marketed and "sold" to the public. Tickets, CD and t-shirt prices rose accordingly of course.
Coming into this last weekend I had simply disconnected personally from it all. I just stayed connected enough to keep an eye on new releases to add to our CCM station, The Healing Light but aside from that, I completely unplugged from the industry feeling like it was just overrun by a secular system.
Last year I was given free tickets to go see "The Story", a Max Lucado production that featured CCM artists and for the first time in many years I sensed the presence of God at a CCM production. Then came WinterJam last night. WinterJam is 10 bands over roughly 5 hours. It's wall to wall artists and I was pleasantly surprised at the overall climate and atmosphere. Don't get me wrong, much of it is still and will likely always be about money.. and I really don't mind that because it takes a ton of cash to produce a show like that... but I heard artists sharing about Jesus by name. I heard encouragement to the weary body of believers that had gathered. I even heard a few prophetic words come forth (although they weren't labeled officially as such, but the artists giving them clearly knew they were).
The lyrical content of many songs, (not just a few) was refreshingly ..well... Christian. Not so many religious "He, Him, God, etc.. but lost more Jesus, Father, Power of the Cross, Living Word, etc. The cherry on the sundae for me was John Cooper of Skillet sharing about how so many big guns in the industry tell him constantly to water down his preaching and Jesus message so Skillet can have a chance at being one of the most successful bands in the world. He was very clear with us that was not in the cards and he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ fro it is the power of God to everyone who believes. Jeremy Camp gets an honorable mention as I've seen him many times but he actually took a few minutes and taught briefly on Grace reminding folks god is not mad at them.
Many other moments, too many to share here, really encouraged me but one last one... I asked several of the opening acts for complementary product for our radio stations and they all agreed. Now, that may not sound like a big thing to you, bt trust me when i tell you that in the CCM industry, all product is inventoried and accounted for and as a rule, nothing is EVER given away... so even though it was just a few CDs, it was yet another small sign that perhaps things are moving in a better direction.
While all of that was going on, God was dealing with me privately on some matters in my own heart that had nothing to do with CCM at all. I may share some of that in a later blog, but for time and space's sake, the summery is I left changed and changed for the better. I am refreshed in my walk with Jesus, encouraged by the behavior of the body at large and optimistic once again about an industry that had once fallen and almost completely lost its way but appears to be finding some fresh footing.
There are seven major blind spots in the body of Christ. One of them is personal dominion and because it is a blind spot, dealing with it tends to bring up many opinions and in some cases, great offence.
The word "dominion" is a noun and it means "sovereignty" or "control over". A secondary definition is used when defining a territory of government. from Genesis 1 to Revelation 1, the word dominion is used over 50 times in the bible and each time it is used it sends a clear message of absolute power and authority.
Some of the most powerful verses in the Bible using dominion are in Romans when Paul says sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace. He also adds that sin has dominion over a man while he (the man) is alive. Of course in Jesus we are all crucified with Christ and baptized into His death. This means that the sin that once dominated us cannot do that anymore unless we come into agreement with it. How do we do that? We make a choice to.
To better understand this concept, you have to first see that modern believers hate to publicly admit they enjoy sin. They have shame over their sin and instead of letting God remove that shame, they usually try to hide it and in effect end up protecting it by putting on a happy face and pretending they have no problems. That behavior is proof that sin is reigning in you and has dominion over you.
All throughout the Old Testament the word Dominion is used to reference when then the Philistines had dominion over Israel or when David was given dominion forever over Israel. In Genesis, mankind as a whole is given dominion in the entire earth including the seas, lands and all of the animals. In Revelation, Jesus has all authority, power and dominion. So dominion is a big deal. Its no small thing. It's a state of controlled rule or governing that leaves no doubt whatsoever as to who is in charge and who is not.
Now, with dominion defined, what is that supposed to look like in the life of the modern Christian? To understand that you first need to see our complete and utter helpless state we begin in. When we are a "slave to sin" or "born into sin" as the bible says, it means the dominion in our lives is predetermined by sin, otherwise known as your fallen nature or "flesh". You are not born with the ability to overcome sin. You can resist it with human effort and you can be trained to shun certain aspects or behaviors, but you are still genetically hard wired to be a sinner. The idea of being free from sin's pull on your life is hopeless without Jesus' intervention.
One of the many amazing things about the Holy Spirit is His ability to separate your soul from your spirit within your own understanding. When you believe in Jesus with your whole heart and surrender your life to Him, the Holy Spirit starts a work in your life called "sanctification" and that work over time reveals to you the real person God created you to be, free from the stain of the sinful nature.
God created you on purpose for Him to be a perfect Father to you and you to be a perfect son or daughter to Him. That means He is in dominion of the Fathering side of the relationship and you are in dominion if the "sonship" side of the relationship. He has absolute authority and governmental control as a Father, you have the same authority back the other way as a son or daughter.
When you think about it, you getting saved to begin with is your very first step of personal dominion. You recognize that you are under the dominion of sin and you further recognize that nothing you ever do will ever change that. You then recognize that Jesus died in your place paying for the sins you are guilty of and you accept that His death takes the place of your own removing the wall of sin that separated you from God. This is the very first step in personal dominion as you take personal responsibility for your own condition of being born under the water of sin.
With that first step in place, the Holy Spirit then begins His beautiful transforming work in our lives as He slowly reveals area after area that He alone can touch, heal and ultimately change. he does this by revealing to us that a given area is actually dead when we felt like in our fallen state that it was alive. The problem is many believers simply enjoy that death so much that they will actually resist the Holy Spirit's working. God reveals where he wants to work next and when it gets too close to what our flesh likes, we begin to protect that death from Jesus' life giving touch. We literally rebel and say "No Jesus, don't raise that death up and make it life in me, my flesh likes that death too much and I don't want to be resurrected away from it". Of course, most believers would never publicly say that, but that is exactly what they are quietly telling the Holy Spirit with their actions.
Personal Dominion puts us back in charge of ourselves because it allows us to move with the authority of Jesus to overcome sin and death.... but since most folks are far too in love with their sin, and far too prideful to just admit that they like it, they instead try to introduce a third party or a distraction into the equation. For example, this is what Adam did when God confronted him about the tree. Adam could have and should have said "I am guilty, forgive me.." that would have been personal dominion. Instead he blamed Eve trying to protect his own sin. Eve then turns around and does the exact same thing. She could have also admitted her sin but instead she blamed the serpent.
In our personal ministry, God uses us all the time to challenge and to convict others. People are brought to a place of choice and decision as we minister. Those who move in personal dominion by admitting their sin receive incredible and intense healing and are changed from their former death into beautiful life... but many instead choose to protect their sin by using us as their distraction. "Your ministry didn't do this or that right".. or "your delivery was a bit harsh for me".. or any other number of false accusations, all designed to try and take the convicting power of the Holy Spirit off of themselves.
Victimization is really an evil spirit manifesting. Its a Spirit of Self Pity, which is a close cousin to Self Hatred. Do you hate yourself? Well, first define your true self. Your real, true self is the person Jesus created you to be. This person is free from all sin and death. Do you hate this person Jesus created? Even if you say no, consider that if you protect your sin by your choices, you are acting out in hatred of your true self. By blaming a third party, you are really asking for and moving in self pity which is manipulation and ultimately a snub to a loving God trying to help you come into your true self.
Consider the little girl who we will call "Pam". Pam gets abused at the age of 5 by an uncle. Pam is now in her mid 40s. Was it Pam's fault she got abused? Of course not. However, was it Pam's choice to hold onto the decades of bitterness, mistrust of men and frustration instead of receiving healing? Absolutely it is. It wasn't Eve's fault that the serpent came to her and deceived her, that's on the serpent.. but it WAS Eve's fault that she allowed the behavior of the serpent to dictate her actions. Remember, we're not assigning blame to Pam, we are giving Pam back her dignity and self respect.. but the price Pam will pay to receive self love and self respect is her self hatred and self pity. To pay that price, Pam will need to take ownership of the fact that she received the bitterness and let it fester for years. That festering was her choice and had absolutely nothing to do with the original abuser.
In our lives today, we all have many choices that we make every hour of every day. The idea that Jesus died to give us back our ability to make these choices more clearly and even under an anointing is what the concept of Personal Dominion is all about. It disallows Self Pity, victimization, Self hatred and other sinful and fleshly activities and instead paints a clear path to life in the Holy Spirit where each person takes personal responsibility before God for themselves.
Satan's attack is almost always to use your fallen mind to create a distraction to help you justify disobedience to what the Lord is asking of you. If you are supposed to give money to a ministry, Satan will try to introduce the thought of a different ministry that abused money in your past. If Jesus leads you to forgive a past abuser, Satan will refresh your memory with the pain of the original attack. If God leads you to start a ministry of your own, Satan will parade out a list of your own insecurities and try to "distract" you from the truth... what is the truth? The truth is that you and you alone have the personal authority and dominion in your life to make whatever changes and choices you wish to make.. and if you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in those choices, all of the health, wealth, provision and prosperity of the Kingdom of God will be yours.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.