A Bit of A Story, A Tale of Two Exhorters

“I always THOUGHT I was stoopid. Pamela saw my sparkles and spoke the words which set me free. <3”.
A new friend of mine made the above quote.
This is not a new concept to me, Exhorters who sparkle, or at least, are designed to sparkle.
This friend for a season may not have been aware of the reality that she sparkles. But she does. And it brings me great joy when Exhorters grab an old of that third part of their design.
The other vignette, though no less indicative of Exhorters and their sparkle, comes from a deep and sometimes-difficult place in my memory.
I have an old friend, who is an Exhorter with an old calling to missions work: nation-affecting work.
Many years ago, while we were conversing over Scrabble, she related to me a trip to IHOP in Kansas City, and a series of prophetic words that she had received, and they all said a common thing.
“You sparkle..”
And over the course of the next several years, she received a number of words from various people, including a word that pertains to all the positive parts of the Letter to Thyatira. The gift of the morning star. Influence in the nations. The knowledge and encouragement that all her current work at the time of the prophecy exceeded the first works.
Years later, she, like many friends of mine, has left the path she was designed to trailblaze, and though designed to sparkle, which she does, she doesn’t have the same vibrancy.
I pose these two vignettes side-by-side, not to shame anyone, but as a reminder that some realities shine through regardless of differences because of design.
There are three parts to the Fourth day of Creation, which is a good descriptor of certain qualities of the Exhorter, and two of those get mentioned and highlighted.
The Sun influences us by providing a source of heat, light, and orbit. Life.
The Moon, while it does play a part as a satellite, influences us by affecting the tides as it tugs and pulls this way and that on our waters, ignorant of whether or not this inconveniences us. Dominion.
Then there are the Stars.
Thrown into that verse as an afterthought.
Yeah, we are good at exegeting the sun and moon, and we forget the stars, unless on a cloudless night with a new moon or no moon and clouds to obstruct our view.
And if we don’t live in a city.
But, get that into you.
The STARS!!!
What a wonder they are on a cloudless, light-free night.
Red shift, blue-shift.
Pulsar. A rapidly spinning neutron star.
Quarks and leptons. I am not a String Theory guy. Oops. Sorry, that is particle physics. Wrong field.
Back to the right field.
Galaxies, black holes, white dwarves, red giants like Betelgeuse, Big G…
And questions from Dr. Glander’s class like, “How many newtons do I exert on the chocolate sundae?”
That last question is a question of universal gravitation, because objects exert force and gravitation on each other.
All those sorts of things were spun into existence on the Fourth Day.
Glory of outer glories.
And this is the glory of the Exhorter’s potential and capacity.
And, yes, the capacity is given for better or worse, with the full knowledge of the bad that can happen…
And the good…
Pardon the physics pun, but Exhorters rightly should understand the gravity of their situation.
And they should understand the glories of it as well.
So, yes, you sparkle, dear Exhorters,
You were made that way. So when you receive that word from others, it is bang-on-the-dot. And it is a reminder that we dare not forget the massive deposit Father has placed in us.
Exhorters carry a lot of influence in their words, and when they are deeply wounded, those words can mean negative things for them and others in the gravity of their words and actions.
But as Exhorters fight from a knowledge of Father’s great affection for them, work through the deliverance Father intends, and push back the hell that attacks them full-on, the Father of Lights will respond with his Reality, and brings wholeness to the wounded Exhorter.
We call that wholeness by a singular word.
May the L-rd bless you and keep you.
May the L-rd make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May the L-rd lift up his countenance upon you and give you shalom.
Numbers 6:24-26


Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming.
Genesis 24:62-63 ESV
Isaac was dwelling in the wilderness and desert of the Negev. And this passage says he had come up from the place his brother’s mother, Hagar, had named.
My question for this passage is, “Why? What was he doing in Beer-Lahai-Roi?”
Here is an idea. It isn’t set in stone, but it has some merit perhaps.
Isaac comes across as a Teacher by Redemptive Gift in the limited Scripture devoted to him, given this passage describes him meditating. This is something high functioning, homebody Teachers do, as did Mary and Isaiah did.
And in that place, it is possible that Isaac was pondering why the birthright, the covenant, and the fullness of inheritance had passed to him instead of his older brother. Perhaps he was questioning his own legitimacy in the aftermath of losing his mother, and the right he had to receive from the L-rd the fullness of inheritance.
G-d, as The One Who Sees, intends to use specific lands to bring specific revelation. And as someone who later unlocked the land through his birthright, and reaped 100 fold, it is possible that, among the soil of that land containing the well of Hagar’s revelation, Isaac was communing with the G-d of Abraham or his own spirit to receive direction for the next season.
And, fascinatingly, Isaac walked right into another portion of the blessing: His wife.

Galatians 5:7

7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
Consider with the the context for this verse. Paul’s previous verse reads, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncirucumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”
So, in essence, these people refused the concepts of faith and love, and, in the place of faith and love, substituted a list of regulations and a ritual act.
Now, concerning the original act recorded in Genesis, lest we forget, Abraham was made pleasing and righteous to the Father through his faith (Genesis 15:1-6) BEFORE G-d commanded circumcision of Abraham and his family, as a sign of Abraham’s faith (Genesis 17:1-14).
Circumcision was merely a symbol of his faith. But for the believers in Galatia, they were subordinating the first commandment—namely, to love—to a ritual act that had little bearing on their standing before the Father, and did nothing to increase their faith. The act of circumcision, like the act of baptism, is a sign, but these acts are not what saves you. Rather godly sorrow, that leads us to repentence, and is followed by rejection of our previous sinful lifestyle, and acceptance of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, followed by a life of faith that expresses itself in love towards God and man is what counts. The repentance and rejection of our old life followed by a commtiment to faith in Christ for the salvation, and the expressive life of faith and love for the sanctification.
In Verse 7 Paul does recognize that the Galatians did have a season where they ran well. The addition of new rules and regulations to faith and love is setting a hindrance in front of them.
This thing called a walk of faith is not a difficult thing to engage in. The walk of following Christ is quite simple. Now, is it easy? No. It rarely is easy. But simple and easy are not the same thing. Faith in Christ is simple in that we are plainly told what must be done to become a follower of Christ. Faith in Christ is not easy in that once we believe, we have made ourselves and enemy to the devil and his hordes. We will face testings and difficult seasons in life as a direct result of following Christ. There is a cost to following him and you have to be all-in. But, once you are all-in and following him, there are rewards that cannot be quantified, and there is an enriching of your life that takes place.
Unfortunately, this means you will have to lay aside those things that will hinder you from obeying the truth, and hinder you from engaging in a deep relationship with Christ. You might have to give us some friendships that hold you back. You might have to stop engaging in some activities. You might face rejection from your family and old friends. You might have to give us some habits and lifestyle patterns that you really enjoyed before you became a believer.
You might have to change jobs, cities, states, or nations or residence.
The cost is different from one believer to another.
But it is a cost that is worth considering and counting.
Whatever is hindering you from following Christ more deeply is usually the thing that he puts his finger on.
Now, I understand this is not an easy thing to hear. I understand that you are probably thinking, “yes he is putting his finger on this or that”, and you don’t need a pastor or leader or mature believer to tell you that this or that thing is hindering you. But following Christ is both simple and not easy. It also is rarely convenient. He has a habit of interrupting what you thought was the right thing and telling you more than you want to hear.
And like a friend or a spouse, he has things to tell you that he isn’t going to tell anyone else. He also has a beautiful purpose, a birthright for each and every one of us.
Let me hit that one and hit it hard.
You have a birthright.
A birthright is that unique problem that you were designed to solve and put on this earth to solve or fix.
And, a birthright brings with it a unique set of resources that the Lord gives you at your disposal in order to solve that problem.
Like Jacob, there is something big you were called to possess and walk in.
And Jacob, who possessed much of what he was called to possess, lost out on major portions of his birthright because he left Bethel.
God had told him to DWELL in Bethel, and stop moving around, and what did Jacob do? He went to Bethel, had a small worship service and left there. And from the moment he left Bethel, you see a negative progression (Genesis 35:16). Rachel, his beloved wife died. The debacle with Joseph and the friction among the sons. Reuben’s defiling of Jacob’s bed with Jacob’s concubine. A major destruction happened, because Jacob chose a lifestyle that hindered him from obeying what God said. So much so that when he stood before Pharaoh, he said “few have been my years and full of trouble”.
Now, we often celebrate Jacob for the birth of the nation that he was involved in, but we often times don’t see the effects of his disobedience where Bethel is concerned on the rest of his life.
So, I would ask you the same question, follower of Christ. What is hindering you from obeying the truth?

One of My Deep Areas: Kingdom-Initiated Friendships/The Gold Glitter Oil Drips

I am a fairly expressive guy.
Most of y’all that read me, know this.
And when I do friendships, I go very deep and am very loyal.
It is rough when I lose a friendship.
I still recall the day, September 11, 2000 when I connected with the very first person I ever led to Jesus.
She had experienced a deep joy in knowing the saving power of the Truth.
I remember the day I gave her the most important chapter a new believer could ever know.
Romans 8.
And I remember the season when the dynamic of our friendship changed.
I remember the strongest experience I had ever had in worship. I was at the front corner of my home church at the time, dancing in my (at the time) very exuberant fashion. And without warning, this friend, who was trained in dance, came up and grabbed me by the hands and spun me around and around. I still remember the glittered look of her red dress, and the unbridled joy on her face and the sound of laughter as we both enjoyed the presence of Father’s delight. I still remembered that that was the only time I had never gotten dizzy from spinning around for that long.
For the sake of clarity, there was never anything relationship-wise that happened between us.
And before I knew it, the friendship was gone. Too soon. Another needless casualty of the war that we had fought for our college campus. Territorial warfare. Another intercessor and Exhorter, and friend of the King, disenchanted, and somehow made an enemy of those who were once friend.
Things didn’t have to be that way.
I still pray for her today.
So, despite my strong ideological bend, I have a deep sense of friendships that come as a result of kingdom work.
For years after that season, I received a lot of stares from people and a lot of whispers went on around me from those who had thought I was unstable and crazy. These labels–when they get stuck on to a person, and people whispers–and these whispers leave a mark.
Years later, it was this past September, and by this time, dozens of friendships were ruined because of these very nasty labels.
My wife and I had a conversation with a precious friend from one of my favorite towns in the country: Los Angeles. In another season, that town was part of this season of warfare. I have seen the sunset over Malibu, seen the brokenness and beauty of California, and seen the capability of the campus of UCLA.
This friend agreed to have lunch, and we sat and discussed several dynamics of our lives.
And then the dam broke. It happened without my warning.
My friend, who was the major speaker at a conference we had attended, asked some question about the Redemptive Gift of Prophet’s major challenge, I think.
I blurted out, as a matter-of-fact, “Bitterness”.
And he replied, “that’s David, who has deluded himself into thinking he is a Mercy”. And the whispers started in the room. And I thought, great, now people are talking about how I am crazy or unstable or rude for answering to quickly.
But even though I sort of cared what people thought, I decided it was best not to care.
And then another similar event happened, and my friend made a remark about what a Mercy would have done, and people in the room audibly whispered “that’s a Mercy?!?!?!?!?!?!?”
And then one, then two, then four, then nearly half the room approached my wife, and asked, “You really think you are a Mercy?!”
You would have thought someone had called Cornell and reported the sighting of an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.
And then the next day…
While coming back from a meeting with Greg Hubbard, a generous-with-his-time evangelist and friend from my wife’s previous season in Western Massachusetts, I felt eyes on me. And heard the question about my T-shirt.
“Where is New Life Church located?”
I was at the moment holding the door open for my wife, daughter, and mother-in-law. I offhanded had chosen that we should go to Longhorn Steakhouse for lunch. And the shirt I was wearing came from the church where I work as a Pastoral Researcher.
The voice belonged to a district Bishop of the Church of G-d, Cleveland. And I responded, sensing the favor of the Father at work. It was a brief conversation, but then I began to think about what was happening.
And in the months that passed since that weekend, friends that were connected with that conference began to just add me on their lists and connect and interact. And I began to use the tools handed to me then to be able to be life-giving in different ways.
And that is when I saw it.
It was a substance, like golden glittery oily substance, dripping off of me.
The same substance drips off of those who are Givers by Redemptive Gift, and attracts resources to them.
This substance was attracting people to me.
I, who was told that I was an unsafe, crazy person was dripping a substance off of me that was causing people to gravitate toward me. And I have had a number of conversations with various people that enabled me to be life-giving to them.
It has caused a number of people to see me as this safe individual, and it has thrown my empathy into sharper relief, and the enemy’s regular emasculation of my in the spirit
I have begun to see a lot more of that quality in my life, and a quickness, not of tongue–though I am still fiercely opinionated, and some people still think of me as unsafe–but of ears. There has been a significant change in that people drift up to me and the result has been fruit of just being able to bless people and speak and be heard as far as what Father really thinks of them.
The tenderness I have experienced as Father’s son has been communicable to others as they receive healing and ministry, for lack of better words.
Whether you call it favor, or anointing, or the presence of G-d, or the volcano that has released because something is now available that wasn’t previously, I am finding interactions with most other people vastly more fluid. and I am finding it easier to hold back and listen before I stick my foot in my mouth, and subsequently connect with those people.
And my wife notices the difference.
I am grateful, and I recognize the change, growth, and ease.
And I recognize that the curses from former leaders, spiritual fathers and mothers, churches, and denominations has been gloriously broken.
And for others of you, the same substance drips after some point. And it causes things or situations to work favorably for both you and the kingdom of G-d.
I don’t know when that point is, but it does happen, and it causes many things that you cannot explain, to happen.
And I still have a heart to see various churches and denominations recover specifically what Father wants them to have, and walk in the portion of birthright and inheritance Father has for them to possess.
Even though I have a post-church mentality, I still weekly go to church, and do what I am asked in order to see Father break the church from her slumber and bring her, deeply and affectionately, into all he has for her.
This is an expression of his bride.
And yes, I know I will offend most people by saying that G-d works even in and through nasty and filthy denominations (see Anglican Communion as but one example), but my Father and my fairest-of-ten-thousand Husband work wherever they want to.
And he will use those who have suffered from SRA/DID and CRA (Christian Ritual Abuse), and those who are shattered in spirit and soul to do mighty things and tear down strongholds and every wicked and vile device of his ancient enemy, and I am celebrating the victory in and through one of those vessels far in advance of that victory.
The Paraclete’s Hammer

Job 28, Isaiah 54, The Fruit of the Spirit and the Redemptive Gifts

One of my favorite things to do is research, and yes, I do enjoy watching the light bulbs come on.
I am the sort of person who mines for the deep gems. It is my heart and hardwiring.  The personally deepest passage pair in Scripture in my experience is Job 28:1-11 and Isaiah 54. 
Now, I understand that Job 28 is talking about wisdom using the analogy of mining, but, lest we gloss over the treasures in the first eleven verses in running towards the purpose of the passage, consider some of these nuggets.
Man puts an end to darkness
And searches out the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness
Job 28:3
He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hand in the air far away from mankind; they swing to and fro
Job 28:4
As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Job 28:5
Its stones are the place of sapphires,
And it has dust of gold.
Job 28:6
Bread over, gems under. Stones where we find sapphire. Deep lapis lazuli. Surest azure. Deep as the ocean and expansive as the heart that dwells with wisdom.
Fire is lain to every root in search of these things.
The exquisite imagery portrayed here, yes, lades us with symbolism, and yes we consider that wisdom is the object of this passage. But the imagery itself just moves deeply the heart of the one hunting. Many times, we hunt for wisdom amidst the dirt. The precious among the self-described-common. The light among the heart full of darkness.
True, he who wins souls is wise, but that statement is not merely winning souls to saving knowledge, that is one that wins trust, and wins favor, and wins guile-free communication, and wins friendship, and wins the fullest expression of tenderness and affection in friendship. Not merely sexual, but a deep emotional transfer between trench buddies.
Jonathan, your love excelled that of women.
And before the dirty mind runs with that into the realms of homoeroticism, that is not what David is referring to. He is referring to comradeship. He is referring to the teamwork that results from a work history, a work history that involves warfare alongside someone with whom the heart is knitted.
I get that sentiment.
I have a deep and longstanding friendship with someone with whom I have fought the kingdom of darkness. I have known him for nearly 20 years. We have laughed together, wept together, mourned the loss of my first marriage together, prayed for wisdom and discernment, and ministered deliverance and emotional healing to one another, and for the last 16 years we have talked roughly once a week.
His funeral is not one to which I look forward. But I already have the comments I will make on that day of his passage from the one realm to the next.
There are bonds of affection that come and grow as you deepen a spiritual connection with spiritual friends.
Common causes breed love. Raw time spent together in a common direction breed depth.
And as Job searched for that sort of connection among his friends, and found it lacking, and looked for it in unvarnished fashion in the reality of G-d, he found a real and unvarnished connection with G-d in friendship that few see, and yet is available to all.
And there is intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in death, in testing, in trial, in the midst of false accusations of those we once counted friends and counselors. Few know that intimacy. Some would even cringe at the idea and notion that Father G-d would ever demonstrate a tenderness of affection, and yet isn’t that what John 3:17 is about, and even John 3:16. He loved us, so he sent. And not just because he made a choice of his will while refusing to admit he didn’t like us. That whole “G-d can’t stand in the presence of sin” teaching is often paired with the mentality that even though we are saved, we are still poor, old, miserable, bastard sinners barely saved by grace. This trite pair of statements is used to trot out a mentality that G-d holds his nose and treats us like trash cans that he washes out, spray-paints with white paint, and tosses a shot of bleach in just to kill the stench
And it is a lie from the pit of hell. It is a solution to a complex problem that is simple, neat, and wrong.
You and I are not some illegitimate trash can that has been washed out and bleached and painted. We are not some unholy lump of clay mixed with a holy lump of clay. Romans 8 tears that mentality apart 39 ways.
We are not dual-natured, for the double-minded man is what? And G-d did not create us to be unstable and leave us in that path of instability.
And then the mate of the pair in Isaiah 54 which speaks to our identity.
First, read this in the context of the following thought. We love to go straight to Isaiah 54:17 and laud how no weapon formed against us shall prosper. But when the weapons that are forged against us do begin to prosper, we wonder why. What weakness in us caused those weapons to prosper?
And one problem is that we forget to go through the process and sequence of the first 16 verses in order to get to the 17th verse, or we resist it. Tempering and refining hurts.
Which brings us to that sequence
Verse 1: Sing
Verse 2: Build a place where he is welcome to dwell
Verse 3: Spread
Verse 4: Fear not, be loosed of your shame and reproach, as you receive dignity
Verse 5: Remember your Husband, the L-rd
Verse 6: Hear His calling of you
Verse 7: Remember the brief moment of His real or apparent desertion
Verse 8: Remember that by seasons and by turns there will be times when he tests you and corrects you, and remember that the season of correction and anger is momentary compared to the season of compassion
Verse 9: Walk with G-d like Noah
Verse 10: Compare yourselves to the mountains, o crown of his creation
Verse 11: Remember in your affliction that your base identity is precious and good (Genesis 1 for those that want to fight this theology of redeemed humanity. We are tov in his sight, we are transformed according to 2 Cor 5:17)
Verse 12: He will build us
Verse 13: He will teach our children carefully and bring them ultimate wholeness
Verse 14: He will establish us as righteous
Verse 15: We will cause strife from the enemy to FAIL
Verse 17: No Weapon formed against us will prosper and the tongues aligned against us shall cease.
You are a gem, follower of Jesus.
In light of that, consider the following gem, mined out of Scripture.
There are seven gifts found in Romans 12:6-8, and these are the Motivational Gifts or Redemptive Gifts. They are the gifts of Prophet, Servant, Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Ruler/Judge/Deliverer, and Mercy.
I was sitting in a place of meditation one day, listening to a teaching on the Fruit of the spirit one day, and had a thought.
Love applies to all, and self-control applies to all. We are held in place by self-control, rooted and grounded in the soil of the love of G-d. The fruit of love is the life-giving trunk of the tree, and the middle seven fruits of joy through gentleness are the strongest battle for each believer to possess and maintain.
1. Joy for the Prophet instead of his or her typical cranky attitude.
2. Peace for the Servant when they are being treated as a garbage can, or are being reviled. Important here is for the Servant to be a Peacemaker rather than a Peacekeeper. Expanding on the difference between the Peacemaker and the Peacekeeper, Servants in their authority must set the tone rather than letting the tone set them.
3. Patience for the Teacher who must be possessed of a patience to teach, when others are rejecting them in the revelations they receive.
4. Kindness for the Exhorter who in response to rejection must maintain their poise with mouthy people, especially believers.
5. Goodness for the Giver who despite their playing the system and looking for all the angles must continue to treat others after the design given to them by Father (tov, good).
6. Faithfulness for the Ruler/Judge/Deliverer who must learn to flow in faithfulness despite their desire to break off a relationship with people who act in real or perceived betrayal. Deep faithfulness must keep the RJD anchored and it is a fight.
7. Gentleness for the Mercy who must be gentle with themselves and others when their counsel or incomplete input is rejected by others.
These seven are benchmarks for the spirit of the strong and high-functioning of each gift.
So, consider your gift, and consider these things here. These will be your sharpest place of fight and the place where you will be tempted to throw in the towel, especially when your design is assaulted.
Be blessed, gang.