MIA?

For anyone wondering where I’ve been, and why there hasn’t been a lot o’ bloggin’ going on, there are a couple of reasons.  First, I’ve been doing some traveling with family in places where there wasn’t even an Internet connection.  Second, my wife and I have been in a real season of healing, growth, and renewal.  It has been wonderful.  Thanks for those who’ve prayed and counseled me.

Finally, I have been working on some big projects, in life, work, and yes-even blogging.  Look to see some of that soon.

The Gratitutde Project

The Gratitude Project

Day 22

My monthly project is progressing, although slower than I expected.  I think I need to babysit it more in order for it to happen.

I have taken to writing thank you cards once a week to a few people.  I think it is funny that people almost always contact me back and thank me for sending them a “thank you.”  I have flirted with the idea of sending out a thank you card for thanking them for thanking me.  OK, I would never do that.  When they call I think “Hey, you can thank me for sending you a ‘thank you.’  That erases the thank you.”

In reality, I am happy that they are calling.  My mind just jumps around to funny semi-sarcastic thoughts all the time.  I don’t do it because I am cynical or mean.  My mind is always just entertaining itself in the background.

I have realized through this that thankfulness begets thankfulness.  People read the card and their response is to say “thank you” for me thanking them.  Mother Theresa once said “We don’t have to reach the whole world.  If half the world was loving the other half, then everyone would be being loved.”  I like that.  If I can be the most thankful person I possibly can, then the people around me will be more thankful.  If they are thankful, then the people around them are affected, and on down the line.  Like a pebble in a pond, the ripples could reach the whole pool.

I want to reach the whole pond, but I really need to pay more attention to me being more thankful.  After all, I am doing this because I get frustrated at how much we (me and most people around me) pay attention to the failures around them.  Psychology calls it the Fundamental Accountability Error.  Every schoolboy knows how it works.  When a fly ball goes into right field and the fielder has to dive to catch it.  He gets up and says “I am an awesome fielder.”  If he misses the catch, it is “The sun was in my eyes.”

That kind of thinking is what causes us to have an entitlement mentality.  This error makes us focus on others failures and what we deserve.  It is the opposite of thankfulness.  It is sin.  Although I fall prey to this law of psychological tendency just as much as anyone else, I am trying to burn it out of me.  That is part of my prayer.  Please pray for me in this regard.  –Ryan

Semi-Liveblogging the VNC (Session 3)

Tonight I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting too much.  Don Williams was speaking, and I’ve heard him quite a bit in VLI.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Don Williams.  He is obviously brilliant.  He has an amazing heart for God.  My experience has been that he rambles a bit, and it is sometimes hard to follow him.

He blew my expectations out of the water.

He spoke about the Holy Spirit.  He showed how the ministry of the Holy Spirit to us and in our ministry is biblical, indespensible, and powerful.  He told his testimony of encountering the Holy Spirit.  He read the testimonies of famous modern Christian leaders in the same regard.  He was funny.  He was clear.  He was short.  Yes, that is right.  He didn’t talk for an hour.

Then he asked us for the people under 35 to come forward to receive a filling of the Holy Spirit.  They did a similar thing at the last conference.  I went forward.

Just as an aside, I don’t know what it is due to, but there is a huge difference in the age demographics between this conference and the last one in Anaheim.  Last time the building was full of rapidly graying hair, bald spots, Hawaiian shirts, and creatively secured Bermuda shorts.  There was a smattering of under 40’s, but it was clear who was in charge.

This time was clearly different.  It was trendy shirts, spiked hair, and tattoos.  The under 40’s were large and in charge.  We are energized.  We are networking.  The Hawaaian shirts are smiling, but I suspect that is from fear (j/k).  There is a definite sense of passing the baton.  This was my big prayer last time.  Now, we just need to not forget that the Hawaiian shirts have a lot of wisdom and experience.  They are godly men and women we can learn a lot from.  The tattoos bug me a bit though, I must admit.

So back to Tuesday night: I stood there for a long time, just waiting on God.  I really felt the Holy Spirit early on, and I was bursting with laughter.  Not the kind of laughter that is at something funny, just a bubbling up from joy kind of thing.  I can’t really explain it.  What I do know is that everyone around me was weeping, and I was laughing…that is so me.  But then I realized that people could feel that I was laughing at them.  So I tried to stifle the laugh.  I stood there shaking as I held it in.  But I knew God wasn’t done with me.

As I stood there I had the growing sense of being totally alone.  I am not going to go too much into this (I’m probably sharing too much anyway), but this is a feeling beneath the surface that I’ve always had.  Sometimes I feel totally alone no matter who is around me and what they say.  Other times, it is not so bad.  Lately I think I am in a season where this is more of a reality anyway, so I think it has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time.  I can’t always identify it, but it has been there.

I began to weep.  People prayed for me.  I wept harder.  More people prayed.  I wept harder still.  Finally, a pastor from Philadelphia named Paul came, and he asked me what I was feeling.  I told him.  He prayed for me with power.  I felt the Holy Spirit ministering to me, and touching my soul in a way I haven’t felt in a while.  I am very thankful for him.

I’d like to say I spoke in tongues as I rolled on the floor in the Spirit (OK, maybe I wouldn’t like that, really) but I didn’t.  I think last night was just a time for God to minister to my heart.

In a New York Minute

This was my sermon from March 22nd at Grace Vineyard.  I hope that it affects your life.  Please leave any comments.  I love the interaction regarding my sermons.

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A Great Quote

I just heard this tonight. I’m not sure who the originator was:
“Prophecy is really just a call to supplication.”