How To Maintain Focus in a World of Swirling Distraction

Jesus says, “When you pray, enter into your closet and close the door.”


This cannot “go without saying” because some people have stopped praying, measured down their intensity in intercession, or simply redefined intercession as “intimacy” in a way that leaves them lying around emoting instead of engaging. You gotta pray! You gotta say something! You gotta vocalize what you are processing in the form of declaration, petition, pregnancy, and purpose!

Beware the modern tendency to make your quiet time so quiet that you never actually pray. Avoid the immature and irresponsible “I just want to spend time with Jesus” movement if the end product is that you become a flabby, surface slush, indulgent slug substituting devotionalization for demonstration!

Experiencing worship isn’t the same as releasing worship. Once you get up the mountain, you are positioned to function on the mountain. Something say! Pray! Enough with the substitution of intimacy for pregnancy! Stop taking spiritual birth control, get pregnant and produce purpose!

You gotta pray. “People should be praying all the time and not lose their passion!”

Enter the Closet

When people built homes in Jesus’ time, they began with the most inner place of greatest security, constructing a place to store their valuables, a closet. This vault was the place where Jesus identifies your privacy. The “closet” is the place where all your most valuable possessions are stored, so get in there with your stuff and pray.

Surrounded by your most precious things, make your prayers more precious than what you possess.

Get into the closet. That is not easy! Life demands your attention. Duty demands your energy. People demand your time. Things crowd your life. Electronics call to you from every room, pocket, shelf, and counter top. Even your worship favorites can become a distraction when they substitute enjoyment for worship and intercession.

The closet may be literal or metaphoric, but Jesus basically says, “Prayer is more precious than all your guarded possessions. Get in there and set proper priorities.”

Close the Door

This the really tough part. Focus. Moving from soul-first to SpiritFirst so that you are not reacting to what is going on around you but rising up into what is going on in heaven. You go up into the circumstances around the Throne of God, seated with Jesus in the heavenlies, then you bring God’s agenda, priorities, and purposes into your circumstances through intercession, standing between heaven and earth with kingdom keys, authorized to represent God and your assignments in the place of provision, power, perfection, and possibility.

Shut that door! Start with your spirit, not your emotions, mind, and will. Start with your spirit and allow your surrendered will to open your mind to revelation, so your emotions experience God’s passion more than your own passion.

Shut that door! Cast your cares upon Him so He can do the caring for you. Let it go! Shake it off! Shut it down! Get into the your secret place so you can enter into His secret Place!

Understanding Honor in the Kingdom Value System

Honor means value. Honoring puts value upon something or someone, or puts value upon something in someone. Honor does not put value on everything in that person but recognizes what deserves honor in them.

Avoid the exaggerations of honor that demand you ignore reality, limit accountability, and create expectations of surface slush sentimentality instead of real life love. Exaggerations of honor discredit honor as it properly expresses kingdom culture.

Humanistic honor produces false expectations, false equality, and false entitlement. This kind of message has infiltrating our discussions of honor, filtered from published discussions of honor down to relationship levels, producing a false floor for kingdom function.

When Jesus uses the word “honor” to describe the proper response to His representatives, He is asking that people give proper value to what God sends to them. “Receive the one sent and you receive the One who sent them.” Devalue the sent ones, and you never receive what God sends through them.

Dishonor limits the release of anointing available in God’s representatives. Dishonor comes when you devalue their leadership, neglect to value what God sent to you through them, or simply turn or run away from the ones God sends to you in hopes of finding what He wants you to have in another way or place.

Honor does not mean “discovering good things in people.” That is a humanistic honor that allows for honor to occur on the wrong basis. Believers cannot honor in the same way non-believers honor because honor comes from a value system, and believers have a kingdom value system. Kingdom norms do not value everything available in humanity as a basis for honor.

Any system of love and honor that precludes correction, rebuke, accountability, expectations for behavior and relationships misses the value system of the kingdom. Honor responds to what is honorable, and honorable behaviors produce honor to those who have helped produce it. Children bring honor to their parents by their behaviors. This is true of God’s children as well. Honor always speak back to representation. Honor flows up because it honors the source of what produces honor.

“Honor your parents” the first commandment with a promise. The promise is, “You will enjoy long life.” The promise responds to the source, to what parents provide. Parents source life, so honoring them promises long life. Honor responds to what has been received from God, parents, leaders, and other people.

The sincerity of love and honor flow from this valid consider of value, not from a systematic false equality, expectation, or entitlement. Immediately someone demands honor, you can be certain they lack a good premise for receiving it. Schooling people on how to honor you, demanding some form of equality from your leaders after reading exaggerations on the subject and misapplying them to your narcissistic need for approval isn’t honor.

Any system of honor that produces dishonor for God’s kingdom leadership dynamics, diminishes discipline as God’s strategy for maturing leaders, or makes an either-or premise between strong leadership dynamics and love misses the value system of the kingdom, reinterprets Scripture to fit a style of leadership, and creates a new cultural norm contrary to the kingdom of God.

Amazingly, the people demanding honor become the most dishonorable in their behaviors. They behave dishonorably toward the very people Jesus says they should release honor and justify their dishonor by claiming to be honorable! How do they do this? How do people assigned to ministry leadership with whom they forge kingdom covenants, justify the destruction of those covenant agreements, abandon those kingdom assignments, and dishonor those God has placed in their lives who carry what is valuable to their destines? The justification comes from a systematic redefinition of kingdom values that make the words of Jesus ineffectual.

When the Bible says, “Honor,” it means that something of value exists within a person that should be afforded proper evaluation, that dishonoring what God put into that person for your life will limit you receiving what is available in and through them. Demanding that God provide that in another way, a way more suited to your preferences or more convenient to your desires, dishonors God who sent them.

Consider this: honor should be a response of your spirit toward people with a conscious revelation of what God values in them. It cannot be a kingdom response when it is simply you valuing what you value in them. That would be the most selfish response to people imaginable. Honoring what you deem valuable in others is the opposite of kingdom love and honor, yet many believers are buying into this practical application of poorly written treatments on love and honor.

People very often place false expectation upon leaders through this humanistic perversion of honor. A kingdom leader must love as God loves and honor what God honors. People demanding to be loved or honored on a different basis, substituting humanistic sentiments and values for God’s love and honor, find conflict with kingdom leadership dynamics. Celebrating the humanistic, finding a way to blend its value system into the kingdom at the expense of kingdom values, produces chaotic, dysfunctional, undisciplined, immature, and falsely entitled believers.

Pace Setting with Champions

When Roger Bannister broke the impossible barrier and ran a mile in less than 4 minutes, he had a pacesetter. The pace setter was tasked with helping him run four laps at less than a minute per lap on a quarter mile track: thus, running a four-minute mile. The pace setter didn’t break the record or become famous, but he was part of a team that produced a champion. The pace setter was a champion too.

Consider that periodically, pace setting for champions, as part of a team of champions, may offer you the very best familiarity with what it takes to win, the closest proximity to international level leadership, and the stretch you need to understand the price a champion needs to pay to breakthrough barriers.

Pace setting people often provide the anchor for champions. Step away from the analogy a bit, and consider it this way: someone who has already run the race and won, could come onto the track again and pace you, teaching you step by step how to finish the way he did.

Hebrews 12 may include this aspect of finishing the race: “looking to Jesus the Source and Resource of our finishing faith.” He already ran this race and finished, but the analogy declares that His race becomes a Source of championship pacing for us. Then, many champions have run that race who ran with the endurance Jesus provides them, and those pace setters become leaders for others running the same race.

The race we run and finish is not a race of speed so much as a race of endurance, so the “pace setting” that we need to provide people isn’t about running four 1-minute laps on a quarter mile track to finish a four-minute mile. The pace setting leaders provide answer to the need to endure.

Hebrews 12 reveals Father’s involvement in endurance: we endure His painful discipline that produces the proper behaviors for a champion who finishes his race. It reveals Jesus, the Source and Resource of our race of endurance. It reveals the leaders who have run before (as well as those of Hebrews 11 that brought up this subject), and how leaders in the Ecclesia pace us so we can finish strong.

Hebrews 12 reveals what strengthens us to endure, hinders us from keeping pace, and what distracts from pursuing the finish line.

The Race to Fulfill Purpose

The race set before us has to do with destiny and purpose, not arriving at the final station of eternal bliss. Champions produce purpose. The pace setters help us maintain the proper rhythms of accomplishment measured by the markers of progressive, directions signs of staying on course, or finish line Jesus sets before us.

The race isn’t about getting to heaven someday. The race is about finishing our assignment.

Recall that the discussion of the race does not point us toward sprinting, speed, and dashing about for a short period, but endurance. The simple point is “don’t quit!” The other points of discussion are “don’t get slowed down by weights or tripped up by sins.” Of course, we cannot hope to finish the race if we leave the racecourse: short cuts are delusions.

Pace setting becomes more important to us as we become more focused upon fulfilling our purpose. Champions never assume they can make it alone even when they realize they must be completely responsible for their personal progress. Humility does not mean, “I can never make it.” Pride does not mean, “I intend to be a winner.” Champions know their own limits, appropriate the best available resources to their full strategic potential, and face down their limitations with full awareness of their need for help.

Getting the Right Pace Setters

Some of God’s best champions struggle in the race to purpose simply because they follow the wrong pace setters.

To get to the next level, you need a next level leader. To increase your pace or improve your pace, you need a pace setter who can run with you at the pace needed for this improvement. Accepting a pace set by the wrong people, people going to a different finish line, or people interested in short term gratification instead of endurance invests your race with unnecessary drag or draining sprints.

“Run with endurance the race set before you” says, “Pace your stride to finish.” The context speaks to things that cause you to stop, things that cause you to stumble, things that cause you to run out your energy and stagger, and things that cause you cycle through times of rapid sprints followed by staggering, stumbling fatigue.

Take stock of your present pace setting. Are you setting your stride and stretch to a pace that has kept you running in circles or making little progress for several months or even years? Time for a change! Perhaps you are neglecting to pace your running with the leaders right in front of you, actually avoiding the pace of progress available in their leadership. Or, perhaps you are stuck with the wrong leadership that is going nowhere fast or to the same cycle of running without moving toward the fulfillment of personal purpose.

Most importantly, consider whether or not your pride has you setting your own pace without submitting to the pace setting leadership God has provided for your purpose.

You should consider carefully how pacesetters influence your running. Many believers assume that moving with the pack that seems to have the bright colorful jogging outfits means they are ready for championship racing; looking like a runner seldom has much to do with finishing the race, but your should learn about the best possible outfitting and utilize it to its highest. You can buy a hundred pairs of running shoes and still be sidelined, however, if you are weighed down or tied at the ankles. Beware the tendency to think you are running with champions simply because they have the latest gear or belong to the coolest, fastest growing running club.

You should also consider that champions seldom stand out because of appearance, avoid the trappings of racing that please the cheering crowds, and take their training so seriously that they seek continuous improvement of their stride, breathing, and intake. Run with turkeys and you will soon be gobbling. Run with deer and you will soon leave the turkeys behind. If you are still running with turkeys, you might need to look for a new pacesetter.

SpiritFirst Pacesetting

The pacesetting you need will be identified in two ways: 1) Holy Spirit will push your pace by direct influence while 2) directing your steps toward the kingdom leadership best suited for your present pace and progress. It is always a combination of Holy Spirit and Spirit-led leadership. Beware the “its just Jesus and me” mentality because it ignores kingdom dynamics, assumes delusions of pride are valid, and encourages you to run too fast or slow based solely upon your own measurement of the track: Jesus ran this race before you did so He could make you a Champion; if you could do it without His help, He would have stayed in heaven.

The best runners of history fall flat on their faces when they try to run this race without grace!

A Weight of Revival


I see many powerful insights in this blog!

Originally posted on theworshipcenterblog:

by Jessica Sowards


A couple of weeks ago, the Lord woke me up very early on a Sunday morning.  I hadn’t been dreaming and I had no overwhelming feeling of His presence or power resting on me. What it actually felt like was a very ordinary moment in a completely quiet house at 4 a.m.

I turned my lamp on, picked up my bible and flipped through it, stopping in Matthew at the Parable of the Talents. Immediately, I knew this was what He meant for me to read. I assumed He was giving me a word for collecting the offering at church, one of the duties of being on the pastoral team.

It wasn’t about money though. And it wasn’t the message I’ve heard preached multiple times before about people using their spiritual gifts for the kingdom.

A year ago, when God called me out of comfortable Christianity and trapped revival in my bones, everything changed. It was as if the…

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Responding to Prophetic Words and Warnings

When I read the words of the prophets and apostles for this season, anticipating the battle forming before us, and the greater expressions of His Glory and power that will arrive simultaneously, I realize that we failed to fully mature the prophetic function of kingdom people so they can receive and apply these words and warnings.

We are reaching the wrong conclusions, jumping to conclusions, and hammering prophetic words and warnings into our preconceived doctrinal structures and personal visions of the future in ways that contradict or confuse the very purpose of the words and warnings.

Consider this: any prophetic word or warning that produces fear is either being misread or isn’t pure in motive and source. Fear is exactly the opposite of God’s heart and revelations. God always says, “Do not fear.” He says, Do not fear, when He is warning you that really bad times on way.

Consider this: rethink every prophetic word with an agenda attached, the use of “piling on” prophetically in order to sell you a book, attach you to a ministry, or receive your financial support for their program. As accurately as the word may confirm your thinking or other voices, the purpose of the word lacks the proper motivation, so the conclusion you reach from it may be colored by the agenda in which it is framed.

Consider this: put God’s prophetic word and warning outside the structures of manmade theories and frameworks for the end times that require you to fit the prophetic word to what you learned reading a scenario for the end times God doesn’t necessarily share. With such a multitude of end time charts and scenarios, somebody must be wrong, so the same word or wanting fitted into any one of these scenarios reaching different conclusions in terms of your response.

I know someone is going to assume I’m saying, “don’t fit the word or warning into Scripture,” but I’m not. I am boldly challenging you to consider that end time scenarios and charts that many leaders teach may not be God’s thinking on the end times. So, if you insist that every prophetic word line up with your understanding of the chart and scenarios, you may reach a conclusion about what God is saying right now contrary to or in confusion with His thinking.

Consider this: God has been judging nations since the first nation was formed. He judges nations now. Whatever His is doing about whatever governments are doing, at any given moment, is not reactionary: He isn’t reacting to the actions of men but furthering His own purposes. When God furthers His own purposes, and He runs into what is contrary to them, His judgments will always affect what is contrary in adverse ways.

Apply Romans 8:28 in this sense: God isn’t orchestrating everything together to oppose His enemies. What He is orchestrating will wreck men’s initiatives whenever they run into His orchestrations of All. Every prophetic word will answer to His orchestration, not to a reaction of God against the plans and actions of men.

Multiplication Amid Meager Means

The feeding of the multitude – 5,000 men might mean as many of 10,000 people – points directly to God’s expectations for kingdom leadership to become a release point of representation. God is involved but has a strategy to be involved through His leaders, to establish, expand, and exhibit His kingdom on earth through people.

Jesus receives what the kingdom leaders have and then multiplies it back to the people through their distribution of the miracle.
Consider what may not be available to the starving masses because kingdom leaders keep it when they should surrender it for His multiplication miracle. Consider how the limitations of the place – a desert – and the limitations of the people – they ran out of food – meets the limitations of the leaders – they have only five loaves and two fish – that meets the multiplication of the Master – looking toward heaven, He blessed it.

[Blessing means “expansion.” Cursing means “limitation.”]

The presence of limitation should always be an indication of kingdom leadership opportunity, not a sign of the inevitability of evil. Kingdom leaders welcome the presence of limitation because their obedience walks them into that condition – on purpose!
Remember, the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness for fasting. Limitation became His positional environment and personal experience. On purpose! There He received the revelation of the enemies strategy to distract and defeat His life’s work. He overcame.

The point of the environment and experience was for Him to learn obedience by the things His passion presented Him: the things He suffered. The word translated “suffer” carries the concept of “experiences the limitations passion produces.” He suffered because He was pursuing His purpose with passion.

Interestingly, satan offers Him the “stones into bread” scenario as one of these tests. Jesus doesn’t fall for it. Later, when faced with the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000, Jesus applies the lessons of obedience learned in His own desert and fasting.
Instead of turning stones into bread, He reveals the strategy of kingdom leadership: give Me the little you have and I’ll look to heaven, bless it (in order to expand it), and give you what you can distribute to those hearing the kingdom Message.

Jesus sees kingdom as a representation of heaven, kingdom leaders as representatives of heavenly leadership, and the expansion of what they surrender as the means of expanding both parties. “They ate all they desired.” Each kingdom leader walked away with a hamper of fish sandwiches.The tendency to bunker in, hang on tight, and pull in closer during the testing times of limitation becomes the breeding ground for unbelief.

Limitations occur in our environment when we are placed or positioned in places where provisions are meager. We all experience these places, and we may all expect to be positioned in the places of limitation.

In the case of the multiplication of food, the purpose of the positioning only became apparent when Jesus challenged the limitation with kingdom abundance. That is, we can expect to be positioned in places of limitation to become the catalysts of abundance! When we give God the limitations of our own lives, in the place and position of limitation around us, He multiplies a miracle that brings abundance to the place, the people, and to us!

Yet, our tendency in the place of limitation will tend toward salvaging the little that is left, responding from a human point of view, becoming part of the limitation, buying into the inevitability of a downward spiral that will only increase limitation.
God will position us at the door marked “impossible” because it is the doorway to kingdom establishing and expansion.
Without a confrontation of limitation, heavenly abundance cannot be released. Without this positioning, abundance remains limited to what man can produce with machinery, management, manipulation, and manufacture. Kingdom abundance always appears like a wellspring in the desert, and the place of limitation is our best hope of abundance.

A Rock followed Israel in the desert. The dew was the food angel’s eat. The Overshadowing kept them healthy, clothed, and protected. God teaches us to depend upon Him more in the place and positions of limitation.
Stop cursing the limitation and give God your meager supply!

Targets of Overshadowing

We do not see any overshadowed leader or person marketing the overshadowing to build a following or gain influence as a kingdom leader. The person or group experiencing overshadowing must maintain a proper decorum of principles and protocols when overshadowing occurs so that the purpose they birth becomes more important than the birthing process itself.

When the baby is born, it turns around and names you. If this does not occur, you will end up in offense with God like John the Baptist with Jesus.

Overshadowing defines the target rather than the target defining the overshadowing.

Immediately we name the condition overshadowing produces with an identifying moniker, we run the risk of using the overshadowing to birth what we can name with our own expectations instead of birthing what God names or expects.

When other people give what God does a name or title so they can talk about it, report on it, and dialogue about it, they nearly always redefine it by their very descriptions and limit the full understanding of His purpose by more immediate explanations of what they cannot possibly understand. The revelation needed to have some understanding of what His overshadowing has in mind can only become available while you are experiencing what that overshadowing provides.

In other words, we should not expect to understand revival and Awakening by reports in media (christian or no) but expect that God is birthing something beyond our understanding, that answers to what Father symphonically orchestrates All to accomplish. The overshadowing always has a purpose nearly infinite in scope, far beyond what we can perceive by our personal experience or the measurements of observation.

We cannot limit the overshadowing to our perceptions if we wish to fully engage with God in his purpose.

Try to explain, “God symphonically orchestrates All,” and you understand why you cannot report overshadowing with any hope of creating understanding. You can talk about it, at it, and around it, but you cannot explain it.

Immediately the move of God comes, people wish to put their own fingerprints upon it, explaining how what they did or said produced something that can only be understood by “God symphonically orchestrating All for the good.” By the time a second or third generation reads the history of revival, they have little understanding of what actually occurred because those reporting it have edited the purpose of God out of the scenario.

Brother Seymour, leader at the “Azusa Street Revival,” would stick his head inside an orange crate. It would fill with observable light, a cloud of glory would rise up on the floor, God would be doing so much in the overshadowing that no one could keep up with what He was doing. At some point, God would ask him to remove his head, and he would stand to release miracle-working power over a section of crippled people. This is but one example of responding to overshadowing as a leader. From outside the building, an observable overshadowing could be seen that on several occasions motivated people to call the fire department.

God will target places, people, regions, and nations for overshadowing, and if we do not understand overshadowing we will not be ready to recognize and respond to what He is doing.

We will label and interpret what he is doing in our own contexts and definitions, and we will attempt to fit overshadowing into existing structures, even demanding that God do things according to our way of carrying on His kingdom. While we release what God is doing in the overshadowing by giving Him permission, through surrender and submission, to wreck our worlds, we do not control overshadowing. Overshadowing takes control of us.