Why Pray For People In Public?
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It’s not much of a secret that I love to pray for complete strangers in public. In fact, if I’m honest, giving Jesus away in public is probably my favorite thing in the world to do. Nothing compares to when someone encounters the love of God for the first time or in a way that they never have before.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll begin to unpack the why and how to pray for complete strangers as well as beginning to believe that we each are a Walking Revival because we have Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Why should we pray for complete strangers in public? I mean, how can we, Christians, demonstrate the love of Jesus outside of the church, in a world where we are taught to mind our own business?

Because People Are Worth It.

In a world full of iPhones, iPads, iPods, iTunes, and selfies, it’s easy to think that we are the most important people in the world, but we’re not. Everyone is important.

Let me say that again.

Everyone is important.

Why do I believe that?

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Jesus paid a price, with His life, not just for us, but for everyone who has lived or who will live because He believed they were worth it.

Think about it this: Would any of us spend money on something that we saw no potential or value in? I’d like to think that we wouldn’t. Now think about this: Would Jesus pay a price with His blood in people He saw no potential or value in? I do NOT believe so at all.

If Jesus is convinced people are worth it, then I will become convinced that EVERY person I see is worth the Blood of Jesus.

Jesus Gave Us Permission To Pray For People In Public.

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. (Matthew 10:7-8)

The above verse has been one of the most life-changing verses I have ever read.

Why?

Because in this verse, Jesus has given us permission to give Him away everywhere we go and in everything we do.

This means that when we’re at Walmart, the grocery store, a coffee shop, or the bank that Jesus has given us the permission to look someone in the eye and tell them that Jesus loves them and then pray over them.

Listen to me, if we wait for someone to ask us to pray for them or if we wait until we “feel” led to pray for someone, chances are we never will.

So how do we know if we can pray for someone?

Here’s the list of questions that I follow:

Are they breathing?

If I can answer “Yes.” to that one question on my list, then I know Jesus has given me permission to pray for them.

Now, I know someone is already asking this and so I’ll just go ahead an say it: If we ask someone if we can pray for them and they say, “No.” be polite and walk away AND THEN PRAY FOR THEM WHEN THEY ARE NOT AROUND.

Who knows?

Maybe, God will touch them in a powerful way and they immediately realize that He is real and that He loves them!

Praying For People In Public Makes Following Jesus An Adventure.

For the first 7 years of following Jesus I saw only a few miracles and breakthroughs and they were in a church service or bible study. I NEVER saw anything like I had read about in Jesus’ life or in the Book of Acts but I began to get jealous for something to happen.

I’d read things like where Jesus says that we’d do greater things than Him (John 14:12) or that these signs will follow (Mark 16:17) and I began to ask God for these things to happen. (NOTE: This is NOT about chasing signs. This is about chasing Jesus and seeing Him move in people’s lives.)

What’s funny to me, is that when I began to ask God to allow me see these things, He responded by asking me when was I going to get over myself and start praying for people?

His answer stung because I guess I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do anything other than let my shadow hit some people and they’d receive breakthrough (Acts 5:14-16).

And so for the last 3 years, I’ve done my best to be very aware of what’s going on around me wherever I’m at because I never want to miss an opportunity.

If I’m at the grocery story and the cashier looks like they are having a tough day, I’ll ask for their hands, tell them that Jesus loves them, and bless them. If I’m at a restaurant and I get poor service, I’m going to tip them huge even though they don’t deserve it, and then watch them melt as they receive the love of God. If I’m at Walmart and I see someone limping or wearing a cast, I’m going to walk up to them, ask them what happened, and then pray healing over them.

And yes, I do the above all the time and I don’t say that to brag on me, I say that because I have seen the Lord do absolutely incredible things because He desires to move! And I believe He desires to move through you as well!

I promise you this, the first time you see someone shed a tear because they experience the love of God or the first time you see someone healed, you’ll always be on the lookout for someone to pray for!

So what are you waiting for?

Let’s pray: Father, I thank You that You live inside of us and that You care about each and everyone of us. I thank You that You desire to move in supernatural ways in public. I thank You that You desire to use everyday, ordinary people to give Jesus away. And I thank You that You, right now, in this moment, are releasing a boldness, for us to share and demonstrateYour goodness to a lost, hurting, and broken world. Thank you Jesus! Amen!

Michael Perkins
Poor In Spirit
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Lately, I've been obsession over the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). So much so that I've been reading through them several times a day for several months. While reading and praying through them, I've been asking myself this question, "What would my church and myself look like if we actually lived these few verses out?"

The answer, I believe, is simple, we'd change the world. I believe we'd see a revival like we've never seen before. The kindness of God would lead men to repentance and we'd see the love of God manifested through us. We'd be living something that that is actually provocative.

And while I believe all of the verses are of the utmost importance, I believe that the first beatitude sets the tone for the rest of them. 

 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)

What does being poor in spirit even mean? Because if we are poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven belongs to us.

"Poor" means to be destitute, spiritually poor, humble, or devout. It could also be translated as beggarly or completely lacking in resources. 

"Spirit" means wind or breath.

The most simplistic interpretation of this verse could read like this, "Blessed are the ones who live beggarly, knowing that without God, without the breath of the Holy Spirit, they don't have any resources, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I believe that without God, we are toast, we have nothing.

I realize that some reading this may be thinking that all of our needs are met in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) and they are, but I want to live my life in such a way that it is obvious that I am depending on God. I want to live a lifestyle of humility and hunger for God.

Living a lifestyle of hunger and humility is of the utmost importance. And if we're not living a lifestyle of hunger and humility for God, being poor in spirit, we cannot possibly live out the other beatitudes.

We can’t properly mourn because we’ll be hopeless when we see death, loss, and destruction.

We can’t properly be gentle because we’ll manipulate people for influence, inheritance, and increase.

We can’t properly hunger and thirst for righteousness because any religious activity will be pharisaical in nature. Everything we do will be to impress people and not God. 

We can’t properly be merciful because we ask what’s in it for us and if there isn't anything, we won't do anything.

We can’t properly be a peacemaker because we’ll be filled with anxiety, worry and turmoil and we can only give away what we're filled with.

We can’t properly respond to persecution because we’ll be angry and blame God, asking Him why He's allowing us to suffer.

We can’t properly respond to insults because we’ll get hurt by people instead of hurting for people.

You get the idea.

Hunger and humility are the keys to living a poor in spirit lifestyle and living a poor in spirit lifestyle is the key to living out the beatitudes.

Jesus, help us to be poor in spirit. Help us to live a lifestyle of hunger and humility so that we can demonstrate your love and kindness to the world. Help us to live out the beatitudes. In Your Name we pray amen.

Michael Perkins
Stewarding For Increase
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The last 2 years has been a time of great transformation in my life. I can honestly say that God has revealed Himself to me in ways that He has never before. I can honestly say that I've seen things that I've never seen before. I can honestly say that I've that I've experienced things that I've never seen before.

Why is that?

Why have I experienced God more the last 2 years than ever before?

Stewardship.

If I desire more of Him in my life, then I need to become a better steward of what He has already given me. 

For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. (Matthew 13:12)

So how do we become a good steward of what God gives us?

While, this is not a comprehensive list and everyone has different things that they could personally steward more effectively, here are a few things that I've done personally:

Learn to steward hunger for God.

I believe that learning to steward hunger for God is of the utmost importance.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

Each of us have been given a measure of hunger from God and it's up to us with what we do with it. For instance, for some, the only time they see the Word is when it's put on the screen on a Sunday morning. Or the only time they pray is when they are asking God to bless a meal.

While these things are good, what if there is more? What if I can become more hungry for God and experience more of God?

God says that we will be satisfied if we hunger and thirst for Him. What I'm learning is that I am becoming satisfied, but my hunger is also increasing. In other words, as I seek God, He meets with me and I become satisfied, but then this causes me to want to more of Him.

I told one of my spiritual father's the other day that I have become obsessed with pursuing His presence.

My whole life has become about one simple thing: Him.

Things that used to be important are no longer important. Things that I used to do I no longer do. Things that I used to desire I no longer desire. 

Why?

Because the only way I can receive satisfaction is if I have more of Him.

Hunger is a gift from God that can be stewarded for increase.

Learn to steward opportunities to give Jesus away.

I'm sure you are like me in that you have prayed something like, "God, give me more opportunities." And while I believe this is a good prayer, I also believe it's the wrong prayer.

I believe God gives each and everyone of us multiple opportunities to give Jesus away (Matthew 10:8) on a daily basis. The problem is that we do not take advantage of what He has given us. Everyday we come encounter people at the grocery, the drive-thru, or simply walking on the side of the street that desperately need Jesus.

You may see that they are crying, limping, have a cast on, or whatever, it could be absolutely anything. These things are opportunities for Jesus to move.

What I've found is that if I am faithful in ministering to people in public, God sends more people to me that need ministered to. The opposite is true as well. God may send me someone to minister to and I miss out because of fear or something and it seems like the opportunities dry up until I repent for missing the one.

God feeds the hungry, but gives more bread to those who eat.

Quite simply, if we want more opportunities, let's start taking stewarding those we already have.

Learn to steward courage and lose the fear of man.

And while this may not seem like a big deal to some, I believe that the fear of man causes many not to step out and steward for increase because they are worried what others will think and say about them.

Listen, if you pursue Him like you've never pursued Him before people will think you are crazy, people will question your priorities, people will mock you, people will scoff at you, and people will think you are weird.

And you know what?

That's perfectly okay.

I've learned that I'd rather be looked at like I was weird than NOT see God move. 

Practically, this is very simple. 

When you see that God is asking you to do something, do what He is asking you to do and do not worry about what others will think. (You should have some trusted people that you can seek council from when it comes to the big things.)

If you believe God wants you to pray for the person in a cast at Wal-Mart, go pray for the person. If you believe God wants you talk about His goodness to the server at the restaurant, talk about His goodness despite how many people there are there. If you believe God wants you to go the ER at the hospital and pray for people as they come in, then go to the ER.

You get the idea.

If He asks, then simply do what He asks and do not worry what others will say.

Stewarding courage will lead to increase and will lead to liberation from the fear of man.

Father, I pray that you help us to become good stewards so that we can live in perpetual increase. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Michael Perkins
Waiting For Breakthroughs
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One of the most difficult things to do is to be in a place where you are waiting on God to bring a breakthrough and it's taking much longer than you'd like.

I mean what do you do when you need a breakthrough, you believe for breakthrough, but breakthrough has not yet come?

I believe the answer is simple: stay seated.

Let me explain.

In John 6, Jesus climbs a mountain and His disciples and 5,000 men follow him there. Jesus, being Jesus, and caring wanted to meet their physical need by feeding the 5,000 empty stomachs. Only problem was that there was not enough bread and fish to meet everyone's need.

Again, Jesus being Jesus, asked for everything that they had, which was only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Now, I'm not a mathematician, but I'm smart enough to realize that this is certainly not enough food. But with Jesus, it never matters with what you start with. It matters what you surrender to Him.

Jesus said, "Have the people sit down."Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. (John 6:10-11)

Here are a few observations on Waiting for Breakthroughs:

We have to get seated.

In John 6 verse 10 Jesus says to have the people "sit" down. The word "sit" is the word anapiptó, which means to lie down, to recline, to lean back. In other words, it's a relaxed posture.

I believe that if we are going see Jesus move we need to get seated. We need to get to the place where we stop freaking out when things get tough. When things are not working out the way we'd like instead of taking matters into our own hands what would it look like if we would be still and know that He is God? (Psalm 46:10)

I believe we'd start to see God move supernaturally.

By the way, "Be still" in Psalm 46:10 could be translated as "cease striving" or "to sink down as if you are sitting and relaxing!"

Getting seated is a big deal.

We have to stay seated.

John 6:11 says, " He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted." (Emphasis mine) The word used for "seated" here is anakeimai, which means to recline, to lean back. Again, it's a relaxed posture. 

In other words, Jesus released breakthrough to those who were in a relaxed posture.

Think about this.

It says, there were 5,000 men, which means there could be at least 10,000-15,000 people counting women and children. It says that Jesus "distributed" to those who were seated. The word "distributed" implies that they passed out the bread and fish to each person individually. Now, I've never passed out meals to 10,000-15,000 people, but I have stood at the end of the line behind 100 people at a church potluck and it took FOREVER to get my food.

Common sense would tell us that when Jesus distributed the bread and fish, the 5th person served would have not taken near as long to receive their bread and fish as the 4,999th person in line. 

And then we have to continue to stay seated.  

If he distributed to those who were seated (John 6:11) then I believe there were those who got impatient waiting, got up, and missed out on receiving bread and fish. They missed their breakthrough.

Let me say it like this.

I believe that many of us are waiting on Jesus to move in our families, churches, neighborhoods, cities, finances, health, or whatever else you could think of. And if we're honest, we're getting pretty impatient waiting and we're about to take matters into our own hands or we've completely given up.

I want to encourage us to remain seated, to continue to trust Jesus.

Why?

Well, the first person who received the bread and fish received the same breakthrough as the last person who received the bread and the fish. In other words, they received breakthrough, just one sooner than the other. But they still received.

Father, I pray that You help each person who reads this blog to get seated, to relax, to trust You for the breakthroughs that we need. I pray You impart a Spirit of Perseverance within Your people today. Encourage those who are waiting to receive a breakthrough. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

 

Michael Perkins
Priorities
Priorities

I've been following Jesus now for over 10 years and something that I've heard numerous times has to do with our priorities. I've heard many say something along the lines of, "God first. Family Second. My Church Third. My Job and everything else after."

If I'm honest, I used to tell people the same thing too. I cannot tell you how many times I've said this from the pulpit or in counseling sessions. And while it makes sense to say these things, I've been learning a more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Jesus is my chief obsession.

That's it.

My list of priorities is as follows: Jesus.

Nothing else.

Now, before you correct me on my thinking for not mentioning family, church, work, or anything else let me explain.

We cannot appropriately love our families if Jesus isn't our chief obsession. 

I've loved my wife from the moment I met her and I've loved my son before we knew we were going to have a son. But, as I've drawn closer to Jesus, He has given me a greater, deeper love for them that I cannot even begin to describe.

I almost feel that when Jesus wasn't my obsession, I short-changed my family because I simply could not love them in the degree that they deserve.

We cannot appropriately love the church if Jesus isn't our chief obsession.

It's the truth.

If Jesus isn't the obsession, then church becomes dead formalism. And dead formalism is the worst because it drives people away through guilt, shame, and condemnation. 

But if Jesus is the obsession, then the church and the people become living and walking manifestations of His love, demonstrating His goodness and His kindness, which is how real revival will come.

We cannot appropriately do our jobs if Jesus isn't our chief obsession.

I believe that when it comes to jobs most people either love their job or they hate their job. 

If someone loves their job and Jesus isn't their chief obsession, the job can become an idol. In fact, people will start finding their identity and value based on how they are doing in their job, which will ALWAYS lead to a letdown. 

If someone hates their job and Jesus isn't their chief obsession, people will likely NOT do the job to the best of their abilities. But if Jesus is our chief obsession we will do our very best, even if it's the worst job ever, because we are doing everything as if we are doing it for Jesus (Ephesians 6:6-7).

Make Jesus your chief obsession.

Making Jesus your chief obsession will be the greatest decision you can ever make. It'll usher in a freedom and joy like you've never experienced before. You'll find that the time you spend with Jesus will become richer, deeper, and even overwhelming.

I also believe that you'll find that everything else just falls into place.

Let's pray.

Father, I pray that you enable those who read this blog to become completely obsessed about Jesus. I pray that the idea of prioritizing becomes extinguished. I pray that those who read this begin to love their families, love Your church, and serve at their jobs like never before. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Michael Perkins
The Prayer Offered In Faith
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As I write this my son, is upstairs, sound asleep. I realize that this may not sound like a big deal to you, but it's 4:30 in the afternoon. You see, earlier I got a call from the his school because he has a migraine. 

If you are not familiar with migraines then let me give you my opinion about them: they suck. 

Migraines are not something new to my family. In fact, my wife has had them off and on for the the 14+ years that we've been married. When they have hit my wife or son, they pretty much go to the bedroom, shut the blinds, and go to sleep.

This afternoon I was talking to one of the spiritual father's, someone who disciples me, and he asked if I had prayed for my son? I answered, "Yes. But he still has a migraine and I'm frustrated that He still has a migraine because I prayed."

And no, I'm not frustrated with God.

I'm frustrated with myself.

Jesus batted 1000.

When you read the Gospels you'll see that every person that Jesus prayed for or ministered to was healed. In fact, often, every sick person in the towns that Jesus would come to, would go to Jesus and he'd heal them.

Jesus said that we'd do greater things than Him (John 14:12-14), which sounds like heresy, but it's in the bible, so it's not. This, I believe, is simply Jesus giving us permission to believe that the impossible is actually possible.

I want to live with this mindset all the time.

Nothing is impossible.

Nothing.

Prayer REALLY does change things.

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith WILL RESTORE (Emphasis Mine) the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. (James 5:13-15) 

The word "restore" comes from the word "sózó" And sózó means to save, to heal, or to rescue. So the prayer offered in faith WILL heal the one who is sick! When we pray something should happen!

Heaven should be unleashed!

I realize that this makes some uncomfortable and I'm okay with that. I mean, we've all prayed for someone and nothing happened. In fact, I'm sure we've all prayed for someone and the situation got much worse. 

But I'm learning that I should always measure my circumstances by the standard of the Word and not measure the standard of the Word by my circumstances. In other words, if the Word says it, then it's settled.

There's no room for compromise.

I'm going to keep pressing in.

Yes, I'm frustrated, but it doesn't change the way I think, feel, or believe. In fact, it's going to drive me closer to Him because unanswered prayers are an invitation to chase after Him. And I'm going to keep chasing after Him because He's worth chasing after. . 

I want to see every sick person healed. And not because I want to make my name known, but so that I can make His Name known. In fact, 90% of the time when I pray for people in public I tell them I'm just someone who loves Jesus and never mention my name or my church. 

Why?

Because it's all about Him.

And until I bat 1000, then there is room for growth.

Now, I'm going to pray for us below and then go pray for my son again, believing Jesus is going to move.

Father, I pray that You help us to have the same kind of faith that Jesus had in which impossible wasn't even in His vocabulary. I pray that You help us to see unanswered prayers as an invitation to draw closer to You and I pray that we never allow our circumstances to influence what I believe and only allow what the Word says influence what we believe. I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen. 

Update: 3 hours after I finished writing this post, Ethan was in his room playing like nothing was wrong at all. Thank you Jesus!

Michael Perkins
God-Given Dreams and Chasing Sarah Around The Tent
Dream components

Dreams are a funny thing. We all have them or have had them. But not everyone sees their dreams come to fruition. 

Why is that?

To answer this question I think we need to first look at what I believe are the two components of God-given dreams.

1. God initiates the process.

The first component of a God-given dream is that God typically visits an individual and God speaks to that individual. In other words, God initiates the entire process.

If God initiates the process how do we know if He has initiated the process? How do we know that the dream isn't just wishful thinking on our part? How do we know that we simply are not conjuring something up ourselves?

For me, it's fairly simple.

If it scares me then it's probably from God.

If it's too big for me then it's probably God.

If it makes me question my sanity then it's probably God.

I believe that if something is from God it'll likely be something that's too difficult for us to do on our own because if we don't need Him, then what's the point?

2. We respond and believe.

The second component is to respond and believe.

In Genesis 15:5-6 we read, "And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."

Abraham received a promise, a dream, from God saying that Abraham was going to have so many descendants that it would be impossible to count. The only problem was Abraham and his wife Sarah had no children at this time and not only that, they were old, too old to be able to conceive. (Scholars believe him to be about 85 years old at this time.)

What's amazing is that it said that after God gave him this promise he believed God. In other words, he trusted God and he responded.

How did he respond?

Abraham chased Sarah around the tent.

Don't be offended.

Mary was the only one who had a virgin birth. 

Abraham chased Sarah around the tent at 85 years of age and actually chased her around the tent until Isaac was born and Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old.

Now, I'm not trying to be crude, but 100 years old!? Chasing Sarah around the tent!? Talk about really believing God because this really doesn't make any sense at all.

I'm sure Sarah was like, "Honey, you do realize that we're old people, right?"

The temptation to do nothing.

When God gives us a dream, vision, or promise our first response is to wait upon the Lord to bring that dream, vision, or promise to fulfillment. And while it's always wise to wait upon the Lord, most of the dreams that He gives us carry the responsibility of response.

In other words, there is something we must do.

We must chase Sarah around the tent.

I simply want to encourage you today to believe that God wants to do something in you and through you that may be scary, that may be too big for you, that may make you question your sanity. Chances are, you already know what that thing is because He has already placed in on your heart. 

And if that's the case, start chasing Sarah around the tent, respond to the dream with faith, humility, and action. Let's start seeing dreams come to fruition.

Father, I pray that you unleash a Spirit of belief and action today in those who read this blog post. I pray that the dreams that you have placed in the hearts of your children begin to become realities because they begin chasing Sarah around the tent. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Michael Perkins
The Past, Shovels, and Moving Forward
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Being a pastor, I get to talk to a lot of people about a lot of things. And honestly, a lot of the time, the a lot of things, has to do with an individual's past.

Everyone has a past. 

Everyone.

Everyone has done or said things that they are ashamed of or regret.

The thing that I've noticed is that many struggle with their past. In fact, they spend so much of the time digging up the past, that they can never move forward. And I don't believe this is how God desires His children to live.

God ISN'T waiting to hand us a shovel so that we can start digging up the past.

Seriously.

He isn't.

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25)

If we've asked God to forgive us and we've truly turned from whatever sin we have committed, then we don't need to dig things up, because He isn't going to dig them up.

Now, I'm not saying that we won't have to deal with the consequences of the things we've done, because we will, but I am saying that there is no need to keep digging up the things that God has already forgiven and forgotten.

God IS waiting for us to move forward.

It's difficult to move forward if we are busy digging up the things behind us. In fact, I believe it's impossible.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Paul says that he "forgets" what is behind in order to move forward. That word can be translated to mean "to no longer care for." In order to move forward, Paul makes the decision to no longer care for or to no longer be bound by what happened in the past, because he knows that God has something much better in store for him if he moves forward.

Let that sink in for a moment.

God has something better for us.

I believe with all of my heart that He really does.

We simply need to move forward.

And then move forward.

And then move forward.

And then move forward.

Because God has something better.

Freedom.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. (Luke 4:18)

I believe that God wants to set people free of their past. I believe God wants to remove the weight of oppression that we willingly keep upon ourselves because we continue to dig things up that simply need to remain buried.

I believe God wants us to drop our shovels, never pick them up again, and embrace the freedom of the forgiveness that He so freely bestows upon us.

Michael Perkins
From My Journal: Rest

Note: Over the last year I've really began to journal. And by begin, I mean really begin because I've tried to journal off and on over the course of the last few years but I've always failed in consistency.

My goal for journaling is quite simple: I want to write down the things God is doing in my life so that I have something to look at and be reminded at the things God has done and I want to be able to pass something on to my son so that when he becomes a grown man, he'll better understand why his dad was the way he was. I want him to see the revelations, the answers to prayer, the burdens, the everything.

I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to share what I wrote in my journal this morning below. Now please understand, I WRITE it my hand, but for the benefit of the reader, I've typed it below: 

For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I'm filled with a sense of peace, real peace. I no longer have any anxiety, I no longer have any worry, I have peace. I attribute this to something that I've done now for the last 57 days, living what I call a New Covenant Nazarite Lifestyle. (I won't go into details, but for the last 57 days I've been in a time of intense fasting and prayer.) 

I believe that as I've sought the Lord, He has allowed me to enter into a dimension that I've read about, but I have never actually stepped into, the Dimension of Rest.

I used to believe that rest or Sabbath was taking a day to do nothing, but I've come to the realization that I was very wrong. Rest, I believe, is a Person to be discovered. And if Rest is a Person to be discovered, then we obtain Rest by simply abiding.

I'm in Him and He is in me.

And I'm going to stay here and I know He is going to stay here.

It's quite beautiful.

I had no idea that this degree of Rest was available. In fact, I feel as if I've been sorely missing out because nothing remotely compares to what I'm experiencing. Now that I've found Rest I feel like I'm like the man who discovered a treasure hidden in a field and sold everything he had to buy it.

In other words, I'm a work in progress. 

I'm in process.

I've purchased the field to obtain the treasure, to obtain Rest.

Though I've purchased the field, I'm still selling things off, I'm cleaning house, I'm going for broke, I'm having an estate sale on my life. Things like pride, recognition, and stature are all being sold off quicker than I can keep up with because the treasure, Rest, is worth it.

I'm not sure what you need to sell off today, but I can assure you that it's completely worth it.

Michael Perkins
Re-Digging Wells

I'm a millenial, I'm a Christian, and I'm a pastor. (And no, this isn't going to be a whiney post.)

I love change. I love to examine why we do the things we do, and if I can be honest, I love to question why we do the things we do.

Now, as much as I love change, there are some things that I don't believe we should change at all. In fact, I believe there are some things we should rediscover or as Genesis 26:18 says, we should re-dig some wells.

Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them. (Genesis 26:18)

Re-dig the wells of prayer

Over the last 5 years prayer has truly revolutionized my life and ministry. 

Previously, I would pray, I just didn't have a prayer life.

I'd pray a short prayer when I woke up or before I'd eat a meal. I'd pray before preaching a sermon, asking God to bless my efforts. I'd pray for people and the needs that they had at the time.

And as difficult as this is to admit, my prayers were often shallow and empty. There was little to no intimacy behind them.

In his autobiography, Nazarene Evangelist, Bud "Uncle Buddy" Robinson said the following about a prayer meeting, "While we were praying together the bottom dropped out of heaven and my soul was flooded with light and joy until literal waves of glory rolled up and down my soul."  

Phineas Bresee said, "The Lord reveals Himself only to honest, earnest, reverent, longing spirits."

The only way we'll ever experience "the bottom dropping out of heaven" is if we re-dig the wells of prayer and approach the Throne of Grace with a sense of humility, intimacy, and confidence.

Re-dig the wells of sanctification

One of the most difficult things to see is people who continually wrestle with sin. Some may even say something along the lines of, "I'm just a sinner." or "I've learned to accept this particular aspect of my life."

It doesn't have to be this way.

"There is a way of complete deliverance, of strength and of power, and that is the way of holiness." Phineas Bresee, Sermons on Isaiah

Bresee is referring to the need of believers to be sanctified, to be filled with The Holy Spirit, empowering the believer to live a life of holiness and obedience. In other words, we do not have to live life bound by sin.

Jesus longs to set captives free and Jesus is eager to set captives free.

I believe it's more important now than ever to red-dig the wells of sanctification because the world needs to not only hear a message of grace, but one of purity, power, and transformation.

Re-dig the wells of loving our neighbors

Loving people is honestly an easy thing to do, as long as they meet certain qualifications. You know, they just need to dress like us, talk like us, and act like us and then, we'll love the crap out of them.

Ugh.

Gag me with a spoon.

When Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, He doesn't give us any "out" clauses and He doesn't give us a checklist of qualifications for people to meet in order to earn our love.

He simply expects us to love.

Unconditionally.

By re-digging the wells of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves we point people to Jesus. And when we point people to Jesus, He'll begin to change their lives.

I'm certain we actually need to re-dig many different wells, things that we have forgotten about, things that have fallen by the wayside, and so in no way, shape, or form is this a complete list. These are simply the things that God has been speaking to me in a very specific manner recently.

So let's start re-digging.

Father, help us to re-dig the wells of prayer, sanctification, and loving our neighbors because if we do, You'll transform the world through us. In Jesus' Name we pray, amen.

Michael Perkins
Being Present In The Presence
Presence

Over the course of the last few weeks I have been going on a journey that is relatively new to me. Without going into much detail, I may at a later time, I'll simply say that over the last 10 years of following Jesus, I've fasted once or twice a year. Now, these fasts were wonderful in the fact that I received revelation, but I would not say that I lived a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. 

I can now say that over the last few weeks, God has been helping me in this area of my life, to live a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. And through this lifestyle, God has been consistently speaking to me about one thing in particular, be present in The Presence.

So how do we do that?

How do we become present in The Presence?

We need to realize that nothing else matters.

"It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" (Matthew 4:4)

It's amazing to me as soon as we go into the secret place and start to cry out to God is the moment that we often start mentally writing out our to-do lists. We start thinking of everything that needs done, of all the bills that need paid, of all the people we need to contact, or even what we are having for dinner later that night.

I'm being serious.

The struggle is real. And yes, I did just say, "The struggle is real."

Something that God has been helping me with is as I begin to pray, I pray that God will help me to solely focus on His Presence. Because when I pray, I'm not talking to the sky, I'm talking and listening to a present Person. And He deserves my undivided attention.

The only thing that matters is what He is saying.

We need to realize that things can wait.

The moment we decide to spend time in the secret place is the moment that our phone will ring off the hook.

You'll receive phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages, Twitter direct messages, and possibly courier pigeon messages. And I promise, all of these messages will be important and we will be tempted to start responding to these messages because of their importance. But what if we put them off for a few minutes? What if we put them off until later?

By being present in The Presence our lives will begin to change.

Listen, it's not that we're ignoring these things, because we are not, we just know that what God is going to speak to us is more important than the most important.

I may also add that we'll be tempted to check emails, facebook, or the news before we ever spend time with God. Again, I'm not saying these things are not important, I just don't think they are as important as we make them. Leave the phone on the charger until you get done spending time in the secret place.

We need to realize that lingering is of the utmost importance.

A few years ago I attended The Awakening in Ft. Worth, Texas. At that time in my life I was frustrated and ready to quit ministry and go into the workforce and make a lot more money than I was serving in ministry. I thought that maybe I would go there and get something I could bring that could "fix" the church I was pastoring or resign. 

As soon as the services started God began to show me that I was the one who needed fixed and that nothing was wrong with the church. Up to that point in time, I had never cried out like I did there during those services. I continually found myself on the floor crying out to God.

During one of the morning sessions God moved mightily and it was time to go to lunch, but something inside of me wanted to linger, to stay. And so I sat there in the sanctuary, while most everyone went to lunch, and that's when it happened.

Wave after wave of perfect love began to wash over me and I've never recovered from this deluge. God began dealing with things that I didn't realize needed dealt with. God began to heal things that I didn't realize needed healing.

All because I lingered.

I want to encourage you to linger.

Don't get in such a hurry to leave His presence because the initial encounter may actually be an invitation to something deeper, to an exchange. And that invitation to deeper may be the thing that we need more than anything else in the world.

Let's be present in The Presence.

Father, I pray that you help us all to be present in Your Presence because there is nothing more important than hearing Your voice in our lives. In Jesus' Name I pray Amen.

Michael Perkins
Breaking Free From Domesticated Christianity

Over the last few years I've noticed something. I've noticed that The devil does not necessarily try to get Christians to fall away. But he does try to domesticate Christians because a domesticated Christian is a powerless Christian.

Webster's Dictionary says that the definition of domesticate is to tame or to make fond of the house. 

The opposite or antonymn of domesticated is wild or untamed. 

I believe God is looking for the wild ones. The ones who refuse to be domesticated by the devil, the ones who refuse to be domesticated by the spirit of religion, the ones who refuse to be anything other than wild and filled with the Spirit.

It's the wild ones that release the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Below are three things that the devil tries to domesticate:

He will try to domesticate your prayer life.

Our prayers were intended to pull Heaven down to earth, to move mountains, to release God's nature. And there is NOTHING domesticated about any of these prayers. In fact, if you pray like this, you'll get accused of being wild.

Listen, in the Kingdom wild is good.

I'd rather be called wild and pray like a madman and see God move instead of praying safe prayers like, "God, please let me have a good day today." and never see revival.

I have to see revival.

We have to see revival.

He will try to domesticate your worship life.

1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" (Emphasis Mine)

The phrase for God's own possession literally means to be completely obtained. 

The KJV says, we are a peculiar people.

Simply stated, this means that we are people who have given ourselves completely to God.  

One of the things that God has really been teaching me is that it's okay to be peculiar in worship. If we want to cry we should cry, if we want to sit we should sit, if we want to get on our face we should get on our face, if we want to raise our hands we should raise our hands, or if we want to jump up and down we should jump up and down. 

Whatever we do, go all out.

If we become domesticated in our worship, the enemy will make us move concerned about what our neighbor thinks of us in our peculiarity than what we offer God through our worship.

He will try to domesticate your public faith life.

John 7:38 says, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" 

I believe that God has called us to walking revivals. 

If He lives inside of us, and I believe He does, then everywhere we go, He goes. And everywhere He goes, He brings forth transformation. 

I believe God desires us to lay hands on and heal the sick, to release hope, to speak encouraging words, anywhere and everywhere we go.

The moment we think we should do something like this, we start thinking, "I don't want to offend anyone." or "I can't do this in public." And we suppress the urge to release the Kingdom and become domesticated.

I'm convinced that God desires to release wild men and women of God who have no fear and are obsessed with releasing the Kingdom.

I want to encourage you today.

If you have become domesticated, it's time to to become wild once again. It's time to no longer be safe. It's time to pray prayers that pull Heaven down. It's time to become free of the fear of man and worship like a madman. It's time to become wild and become a walking revival.

It's time to break free of domesticated Christianity.

Father, I pray you released the domesticated ones and assure them You've given them permission to be wild. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen. 

Michael Perkins
Lessons Learned Since Planting A Church

It's been six months since River City Hope Church was launched here in Louisville, KY. This has been an incredible journey for my family and I and the team that has came to join us in this adventure.

Before we launched I have spent numerous hours in training, read many books, and have spoken to many church planters across the country in order to learn more so that we can be more effective in reaching our city.

With all the study, preparation, and conversations, I have learned this one thing: As much as I thought I knew about church planting, there was much more that I did not know. 

I thought it would be good to list a few of the things we've learned along the way in hopes that it encourages someone else who is praying about going on this journey.

You need to get used to praying and then praying and then praying.

I'll be honest.

Before we planted River City Hope Church I considered myself a man of prayer. What I learned is that even though I prayed, it wasn't near enough. Time and time again, I've found myself, face down, crying out to God.

I know that ANY and ALL success that we've had has been because of prayer. And not just prayer from myself, my wife, and our team, but because of people praying across the country for us specifically. 

I'm convinced that through prayer and fasting wisdom, revelation, and breakthroughs have happened and will continue to happen.

You, your family, and your team will come under spiritual attack.

Every person connected with our ministry has come under spiritual attack over the last few months. It makes sense when one realizes that we are working to take back territory that the enemy currently has jurisdiction over. 

Things like sickness, finances, and relationships have all come come under attack for all of us. But because of God's goodness, we have persevered or are persevering until breakthrough comes.

The Kingdom has come and is coming.

You will question your sanity.

There have been times in which we have said things like, "This is the dumbest thing we've ever done." or "What were we thinking?" 

It's been in these moments that we have sat down, prayed, and God has reminded us of His goodness and His faithfulness. It's been in these times that God has reminded us of when He called us to this work.

When you get in the boat with Jesus, there are times when the shore that you left behind looks much more appealing. And I think it's mostly because of familiarity and comfort. If we lose sight of who we are traveling with, we will always long to go back to where we came from. 

I'm thankful I'm in the boat with Jesus.

It is worth every sacrifice.

Church planting isn't for the faint of heart, but I'll say this, it's worth it.

Every hard decision.

Every difficult choice.

Every prayer prayed.

Every spiritual attack.

Every dollar spent.

It's all been worth it.

Why?

Because we are seeing the Kingdom of God invade an area where that desperately needs the Kingdom.

On a side note: We want to thank those who have prayed for us and we are asking that you please continue praying for us at River City Hope Church. Your prayers are making a difference.

Michael Perkins
No Longer A Jairus
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About 2 months ago The Lord spoke very clearly while I was driving and praying and said, "You are no longer a Jairus." I said, "What?" And he said it again, "You are no longer a Jairus."

So I put Mark 5 on and listened to it through the radio and after the 5th time it hit me as to what The Lord was saying to me.

Jairus, the synagogue leader, had to push through a crowd (Mark 5:21) to get to Jesus. And when he did this, Jairus was essentially saying, "The system in which I come from is powerless to help my daughter."

Listen, Jairus was a person of influence. He was the synagogue leader. By Him pushing through the crowd (The religious Spirit) he was admitting that the thing he had given his life to wasn't working and there was no sense in pretending that it was any more. This act of career suicide showed his desperate need for Jesus.

The Process of Revelation

The the last five years I've been chasing Jesus, really chasing. And really, over the last 2-1/2 years, everything has changed.

What I had was powerless, it couldn't change anyone's situation. All I could do was give principles on how to live a better life or how to work through a situation. Then I went to a prayer conference, had a radical encounter with The Lord, and everything changed. 

I started seeing The Lord move with increasing regularity as well as with increasing intensity. I stopped praying with people because I wanted to comfort them and started praying with the belief that breakthrough was about to be released.

  • I started seeing people getting saved in public.
  • I started seeing people getting sanctified and filled with The Holy Spirit at church and Wal-mart.
  • I started seeing carpal tunnel leave hands.
  • I started seeing people throwing down crutches and run down the street.
  • I started seeing migraines leaving people.
  • I started seeing depression lift off people.
  • I started seeing cancer disappear from people
  • I started seeing The Kingdom Come in more ways than I could list.

Coming out of the system

I don't tell you any of this to brag, in fact, I've been hesitant to even write this.

I tell you this that there is more to following Jesus than praying a prayer to go to heaven, which is a good thing, but never seeing heaven on earth. (Matthew 6:10) I tell you this because following Jesus is more than showing up to a building where we sit in the same seats every week, sing a few songs, throw some money in an offering plate, listen to someone talk for 30 minutes, and go home like nothing ever happened, and seeing people die and go to hell.

Gag me.

Seriously.

Gag me.

Following Jesus is about laying down our lives, giving up our rights (1 Corinthians 13), and allowing Jesus to manifest Himself through us (John 7:38) so that hurting and broken people can come into relationship with Him.

It's time to push through the crowd and get to His feet even if the religious don't like it.

It's time to lay down our lives even if it costs us everything.

It's time to see The Lord move.

It's time to stop being a Jairus.

 

 

Michael Perkins
On The Idea Of Comfort Zones

I've said it many times and chances are, you have too.

"I'm asking God to help get me out of my comfort zone."

It makes sense.

It sounds good.

But what if we've been asking God to do the wrong thing.

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 14:26

The word helper in Greek is paraklétos, which is also translated as "Comforter."

And so by asking God to remove us from our comfort zones, we are essentially asking God to move us out of the one Who comforts us, which, honestly, isn't a good idea.

So what should we do?

Maybe we should start praying, "God move me out of the thing that I think gives me comfort and move me into the One whose Name is Comfort because that's where I really belong."

In other words, maybe our comfort zones aren't really comfort zones. Maybe the things that we think are comfort zones are actually things that the enemy wants us to find comfort in so that we never move into the One Who comforts. 

And if we never more into the One Who comforts, then the enemy wins.

I'm going to pray for God to deepen my faith, to stretch me, to make me more like Him. And as He answers these requests, I'll can find comfort in the Comforter.

Michael Perkins
There Is More

My family and I are in a new season. We are planting a new church. We cannot even begin to explain how excited we are for this opportunity. We truly believe that God is going to do something incredible in this amazing city.

Through all of this, my family and I have had to rely on God more than we ever have. Not that we didn’t rely on Him before, but this is different. We are in way over our heads and there are days when we have questioned our sanity.

Through this process of learning to rely on God more than we ever have, a particular portion of Scripture has been continually coming to my mind. In fact, if I can be honest, I have been obsessing over one particular story.

In 2 Kings chapter 4, there is an incredible story about a woman whose husband has recently died and creditors want their money and have showed up to take her children as compensation.

It’s completely crazy to even think about.

Then she goes to see, Elisha, the prophet, and he tells her to go borrow a lot of jars. In fact, he tells her not to get just a few. She does what he told her and she goes back home and starts filling the empty jars with the small amount of oil that she had.

God miraculously provided!

But then she ran out of jars and the oil stopped flowing.

And here is the idea that I’ve been obsessing about: 

Yes, God provided for her supernaturally. Yes, God met all of her family’s needs. But what if God had wanted to bless her abundantly? What if God had wanted to literally knock her socks off?

Because I believe He would have and that He wanted to, if only she would have gotten more jars, if only she had not became content with what she had.

I’m asking God for more jars.

I really am.

I want to live my life in such a way that I’m not afraid to ask God for more. I want to live my life in such a way that God abundantly blesses my family. I want to live my life in such a way that I come to know Jesus in a much deeper and intimate way.

Now, before you get all up in arms, let me say that I’m very thankful for all that God has done in my life. I’ve been blessed more than I could ever articulate.

But there’s more.

There’s more peace, there’s more joy, there’s more grace, there’s more hope, there’s more love, there’s greater levels of intimacy, that we can experience.

And I believe God is waiting to pour it out on us.

We simply need to learn that even though things may be “okay” in our lives, that there is always more, much more.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want a lack of hunger to stop the oil from flowing in my life, or anyone else’s for that matter.

There is more and I need more jars.

 

Michael Perkins
The Call

Following Jesus, really following Jesus, is the greatest adventure that any of us will ever embark on. We will witness Jesus do things that we had never thought of or imagined. In fact, Jesus will do immeasurably more than anything we can comprehend.

A common discussion that I have with people has to do with “calling.” In other words, people ask something along the lines of this, “What am I called to do? What am I supposed to do?”

These are great questions to ask. But they are also the wrong questions to ask because when most ask these questions, they are really asking about vocation. Like, “What should I do as in a job?” And while I believe vocations are important, I believe we need to be learning how we are called to live as a follower of Jesus. Because, no matter what we do, we are called to do certain things.

And while, what I write about below is in now way a comprehensive list, I believe they are crucial for every follower of Jesus to embrace.

We’ve been called to the Secret Place.

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

The Secret Place, the Prayer Closet, is where we really get to know the heart of God deeply and intimately.

My wife and I love to hang out with friends. We love to laugh, cry, and share a meal together. But if my wife and I are going to have a serious conversation, we are going to do that in the privacy of our own home so that we can share freely.

I believe the same thing is true of God. It’s good, no better than good, to be around other believers, to worship together, to serve together, to grow together, but if we really desire to know the heart of God, we have to get alone with Him so that He can share His heart with us.

We’ve been called to Bring Heaven To Earth.

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

In Heaven, there will be no un-forgiveness. In Heaven, there will be no depression. In Heaven, there will be no sickness. In Heaven, there will be no injustice. In Heaven, there will be no sorrow. In Heaven, there will be no fear. In Heaven, there will be no anxiety. In Heaven, there will be no guilt. In Heaven there will be no shame. In Heaven, there will be no condemnation.

Yes, Heaven is an amazing place.

And Earth can be an amazing place if Heaven invades it.

As a follower of Jesus, whenever I see one of the aforementioned situations above, then I should begin asking God to invade the situation and make it the same way on Earth as it is in Heaven. I should ask God to bind what has already been bound in Heaven and loosen what has already been loosened in Heaven (Matthew 18:18).

I would also add that as followers of Jesus, we literally carry the Kingdom of Heaven with us as well. And because we carry The Kingdom with us, we have the privilege of releasing the Kingdom everywhere we go (Matthew 10:7-8).

Again, whenever I see one of the aforementioned situations above, I don’t need to be intimidated, I simply need to release what I have in me, or Who I have in me, and watch as the situation changes.

We’ve been called to Crush Hell.

The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.

So what are the works of the devil? I believe anything that has a root/origination in death, loss, or destruction (John 10:10). In other words, anything that doesn’t line up with the character and nature of God.

And guess what?

We’ve been called to do what Jesus did!

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)

If I see anything that has a root in death, loss, or destruction, I have a Heavenly mandate to obliterate it with the presence of Jesus.

This means that where there is turmoil, I speak peace. This means where there is hate, I release love. This means where there is darkness, I shine His light.

And by doing this, by releasing the presence of Jesus, I am crushing Hell. I am destroying the works of the devil.

We’ve been called to Repeat again and again.

As long as we are alive and breathing we have a mission, to influence a dying and hurting world with the presence, power, and love of Jesus.

Yes, we may retire from our vocational jobs, but we should never retire from doing whatever we can to win the world.

We should never retire from spending time in the Secret Place.

We should never retire from Bringing Heaven to Earth.

We should never retire from Crushing Hell.

We should never retire from following Jesus.

This is our call.

Michael Perkins