Experiencing the Mystery of Christ 

The song “Mystery of Christ” is about our union with God, who is Love.  Jesus said: “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God…” (Luke 8:10a KJV). The union of the Trinity is a mystery, and so is every believer’s union with Christ.  “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery [the Greek word mysterion], which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”[i].  The mystery of the ages is living inside us, his Spirit co-mingling with ours. The real, eternal part of you is your spirit.  Your spirit is joined to the Holy Spirit.  To the Corinthians, Paul writes: “But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”[ii]  In this verse, the Greek verb kallaó means “to unite, to knit or weld together,” “to mingle,” or “to join together,” and “to make two into one.”

Paul writes to the church in Colossae:  “There is a divine mystery—a secret surprise that has been concealed from the world for generations, but now it’s being revealed, unfolded and manifested for every holy believer to experience. Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory!” Col. 1:26-27 TPT.

“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”  Col. 3:3

Many of us have read this so many times that we pass over it quickly.  We might think we really know it when we really have only begun to scratch the surface of its full meaning.  “Your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”  The real you is hidden—you have to dig deep to understand the full wonderful truth about who you are. 



[i] Col. 1:27, NIV

[ii] 1 Cor. 6:17, NIV

Feast on Heaven 

God wants to carry us by the wind of Ruach, the Holy Spirit, into an experience of heavenly realities.  Paul wrote: “…feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities.” (Col. 3:2)   If it’s a feast, then it sounds real and delicious and experiential.  And it sounds like I can consume a lot of it, just like at a feast of good food among friends!

Jesus spread this message: “The kingdom of heaven is near you.” He told his disciples:  “And as you go, preach this message: ‘Heaven’s kingdom realm is accessible, close enough to touch.’” Matthew 10:7 TPT

Heaven is inside of us and all around us.  The Father and Jesus are one; together they make their home in us (John 14).  In a sense, we never have to reach for God, because Trinity dwells in us.  If Trinity lives in us, that’s like heaven living in us.

Paul said it like this:  “God…made us alive together with Christand raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ.” Eph 2:5,6

He didn’t say someday you will be in heaven.  He locates us in heaven now.  So, you could say that we are multi-dimensional beings.  We are on earth and in heaven at the same time. Sounds like the kind of life Jesus lived.  And he wants us to have access to all the of heaven’s blessings now.  This is what Paul prays for all his churches to experience.  He doesn’t just pray for them to intellectually know they are near Christ. He prays for them to experience this reality.

This past tense accomplishment of our location in heaven is echoed by the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering…” Heb 12:22

How does his work out practically?  It makes prayer a different experience.  Awareness of our oneness with Christ changes the way we see ourselves.  If we are one with him, we don’t need to get closer to him.  He is part of us.  A good prayer is: “unveil heaven in us” or  “Open our eyes to see that we are seated with you.”  Or, “thank you for joining us to yourself and pouring on us all the blessings of heaven.”

Knowing God is mysterious and therefore is in some ways a paradoxical experience.  I don’t fault anyone for wanting to feel closer to God.  I want to feel close to him all the time.  But I’ve found in recent years that it makes a big difference to see myself as already joined to him.  It makes a big difference to locate myself in heaven.  It leads to a deeper experience of God if I agree with what he says about me and my permanent connection to him.

It’s one of those spiritual principles that works like this:  “believe it and then you can receive it.”  If you don’t believe what God says about who you and and where you are, you won’t receive all the good stuff he has for you.  No striving is necessary, just a calm affirmation of truth.  “Thank you, Lord that I am with you in heaven now.  I turn to you now to hear from you and be with you.”

Looking Back…and Forward 

Recently I was interviewed by David Welker, a long-time Vineyard pastor in Ohio, USA.  (You can access this video on this right side of this website page).  David asked me some questions about my history in the Anaheim Vineyard and in the whole Vineyard movement.       Looking back on my life always brings up a lot of gratitude and amazement for all the good times.  It reminds me that everything in life is a gift—even the things we work hard to accomplish.  As Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing.”

In this interview we talk about all kinds of things, including how God inspires us to write songs, and a few specific stories of the magic (Holy Spirit) of song-gifts.  We discussed how God enables us to work with one another even though we are all imperfect human beings.  It’s essential that our faith is in God, not in one another.  Our of our trust in God, we are faithful to love and forgive one another.

Also in the past month, I spent a weekend at the Mountain Vineyard in Washington State.  My long-time friend JimmyJohn Morris is the pastor there.  We reminisced about stories from the early 90’s—the great expectation we had to meet with God when we gathered at worship conferences. Tony, a lifer at the Mountain Vineyard (and a really good drummer in the worship band) reminded me that it was 1988 when I first visited that church.  A mere 35 years ago!

After all these years, I am looking forward to whatever is coming next.  I believe God is going to bring as season of awe and wonder to the worldwide church in the years to come.  Bring it on, Lord! 

Love and Unity Will Convince the World 

Jesus showed us what love really is.  Washing one another’s feet, and even laying down your life for your friend. Jesus taught his band of disciples from diverse backgrounds to love one another despite their predisposed prejudice.

He told the story of the “Samaritan hero” – two words that would never be used together in the language of a 1st century Jew.  This hero rescued a half-dead Jewish man and paid his medical expenses, even though his culture taught him to reject all Jews.  Jesus taught us to love our enemies.

These days, there might be more conflict than ever, between every imaginable sector of society.  We are divided because of religion, nationality, race, views on politics, gender, and a thousand other things.

I’ve noticed that every one of us “likes it like we like it.”  We have very strong views on the right way to do things.  And sometimes we are not willing to give an inch to someone with a different view. We know we’re right.

Paul encourages us: “So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy.  Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.”

Wow.  Seeing others as more important than ourselves? If God is asking us to do that, it must be possible. 

Jesus prayed for us to live in the same kind of unity we see between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Living that way will convince people that the Father really did send Jesus to be the Savior of the world.

“I pray for them all to be joined together as one even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one. I pray for them to become one with us so that the world will recognize that you sent me.”

Jesus, Be My Vision 

Be Thou My Vision

Around the year 386 AD, a boy named Patrick (or Padrig) was born in England to wealthy parents.  When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland.  Years later, he escaped and returned home to his family in England.  Eventually, Patrick went back to Ireland to share the love and message of Christ.

Patrick let his light shine even when the government resisted him.  On Easter Sunday in the year 433, Patrick defied the orders of the local Irish king, who was a devout supporter of the Druid religion.  During the Druid festival at Easter, this king showed his support of the Druids by prohibiting anyone from lighting a flame or candle.  

To show his devotion to Christ, on Easter morning, Patrick climbed to the tallest hill in the area, called Slane hill.  He lit a huge fire. As the locals woke up, they could all see Patrick's defiance of the king. Patrick was sending a message—God’s light shines in darkness, and He deserves praise. 

Years later, an unknown composer wrote a melody to honor of Patrick's heroic act on that Easter day and hundreds of years later, lyrics were written by an Irish woman named Eleanor Hull.  This became the song Be Thou My Vision.   This song is one of the most-loved hymns of all time.

Patrick’s over-arching vision.  When we look at the life of Patrick in general, it’s clear that he had a vision to honor Christ in all things.  Loving and honoring Christ was his defining vision. The huge fire burning on top of Slane Hill powerfully represents Patrick’s vision of Christ. 

The word “vision” is used in many ways in our times.  Much of what I’ve done in my life has begun with visions of different kindsI receive visions from the Lord in which I see things in my mind’s eye.  Sometimes it’s a hazy vision and sometimes it’s very clear.  The way the vision appears isn’t important.  God can communicate visions to us through pictures, thoughts, and feelings.

Sometimes, visions predict the future.  Sometimes, they are a more general description of a pathway God wants you to take.  Sometimes, they are a warning of some difficulty in your future.  That recently happened to me – I saw a picture of a stormy sea, and God said, “there are some rough waters up ahead.”  I wondered what that meant.  Not too long after that, a member of my family went through a very rough time in a key relationship. 

Sometimes, visions are mysterious, and sometimes they are clear and straight forward.

I make a record of the different visions God gives me, and occasionally I look through my files to be reminded of all the things God has spoken. Sometimes it takes many years for visions to come to pass.  I’m sure that some of the visions I’ve received may never come to pass, because my spiritual seeing is imperfect.

Another application of the word vision is the idea of your vision statement for your life.  This is about your key values, which lead to setting priorities and specific goals.

Partly because I am a creative person, and mostly because I want to follow the Lord, visions play a big part in my life.  Through many mistakes,

I‘ve learned some lessons about seeing, interpreting and walking out visions.

Sometimes I have IDEAS that I think are God’s vision for me, and they just turn out to be my idea.  Creative people have many ideas and some of them are bad!  I’ve had a lot of those!    Making mistakes is how we learn.  It’s part of the learning process.  It’s one way that God refines our character.

When we attempt things that don’t work out, we’re in good company with many people in history – like Abe Lincoln who had a long string of political failures before being elected president of the United States.


The VISION is not a plan of action or a goal in business or ministry…The VISION is a PERSON—the person of CHRIST.  Sprinkled throughout this song are allusions to an INTIMATE friendship with the Lord.

Jesus modeled this for us.  He had ONE OVER-ARCHING VISION.  Stay close to his Father.  Jesus only wanted to please his Father.  Only spoke what he heard from his Father.  It was all about his CONNECTION to his Father. He lived in COMMUNITY with the Father and Holy Spirit.

Jesus was always “SEEING” what his Father was doing. He listened closely.  He spent time alone to listen to his Father.

He said, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Jesus was watching and listening.
He also said, “I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.”  Jn 12:49 “The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.” Jn 14:10

Paul had a very similar life.  Above all, his supreme goal was to know Christ.   This leads to love as the highest goal.  Here is what he wrote to the church in Philippi:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. Phil 3:7-8

Paul worked very hard.  His hard work flowed out of his continual praying and God’s super-human energy in him.


What happens when our vision is inspired and directed by a PROJECT instead of knowing and following the PERSON of Christ?  Then, our SUCCESS is defined by our own set of goals.  It’s good to set goals, but if we lose sight of the PERSON of CHRIST, things go sideways.  WE STOP listening to and watching what the Father is doing.  We get too wrapped up in our own activity.

We will constantly need to be RE-DIRECTED by our PRIMARY PERSON because we WILL get off track, guaranteed.

If we are so committed to accomplishing a certain vision that it becomes more important than our loyalty to God, we won’t be actively listening to God for his direction and wisdom.  We will be cutting off the flow between us and him.  Any “vision” that eclipses our view of God becomes an idol. Our idols always disappoint us! 

The first question about vision is this:  Is JESUS your vision?  Our PREDOMINANT vision is of Jesus.  In the hymn Be Thou My Vision, the DEFINING VISION IS THE DIVINE PERSON. 

Verse 1 of  Be Thou my vision

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart    Modernized: YOU, JESUS, be my vision
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

“Naught be all else to me save that thou art.”  That’s old, archaic English which means - let nothing else matter to me except you, or Nothing else is anywhere near as important as you. 

It’s a good idea to say to God, “If my vision is just all about me and my ideas, Lord, tell me!”  “God, adjust my vision.”  God will use a heart like that – constantly open to re-direction, and getting input from God and others. Do this, and God will speak to you. 

A good prayer to pray:  “Your will, not mine be done.”

Sometimes God lets us fail just so we can grow

How about Paul?  Describing his challenges, he said “we felt like we were going to die…But the reason for it was so we could learn to trust God

“We felt the sentence of death hanging over us”

(I think he felt a spirit of death hanging around - he was stoned a few times, remember, and left for dead; he was probably raised from the dead when his friends gathered around him).

This was the same kind of spiritual opposition that Patrick faced when he went to Ireland to share God’s love.

This song is a pursuit of Intimacy with God – 

Meditating on the Lord and inviting his presence day and night…

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.  [You have access to the MIND of Christ]

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; (I’m with you and you are with me; I am yours and you are mine, I dwell in you, you dwell in me)

Thou my great Father, I Thy true child;   (intimacy between Father & son/daughter)

Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.  (Christ in me—in union)

We all have battles to fight in life…some of Patrick’s were a literal fight for his life

Verse 3: 

Christ himself IS our armor….the sword of the spirit, the word of truth, the peace of the gospel…the faith OF Christ working in us—his empowering of our faith 

Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight–we experience dignity by receiving God’s love

God appreciates us.  God lavishes his love on us.  As we DELIGHT in HIM and GAZE on him, he BESTOWS a feeling of DIGNITY ON US.  We know we are ADOPTED children of the HIGH KING. We EXPERIENCE his love, we know we are highly valued by him.  THIS IS HOW YOU ENDURE SEASONS OF FEELING LIKE YOU’RE DYING.

THIS IS HOW we can stay strong in him, encouraged by him “Heart of my own heart, whatever may befall—whatever happens, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.” 

Verse 4:   Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise

Two things that derail our vision are the pursuit of wealth and living for the praise of people, or fame.  WE DON’T GET A GREAT REWARD FROM THOSE…

“Because I set you, Yahweh, always close to me, my confidence will never be weakened, for I experience your wraparound presence every moment.”  Psalm 16:8 TPT   

Ps 16:8. The Hebr word shava [English - set] carries the sense of being equal or similar.  David was not saying he was equal to Yahweh, but that he thought the way God thought.  David had made his heart and mind to be identical with the heart and mind of God. It was the heart and mind of God that had first place in David’s heart and thoughts.           


KNOW the person, be GAZING ON THE person.  Be WAITING FOR HIM.   

He doesn’t show up until we wait for him.  Cultivate slowness in your soul.  Slow down and enjoy him, be with him.  Wait for him.  LISTEN for him.  Then you get the CONVERSATIONAL relationship with JESUS established.  At that point, the PROJECTS can be discussed.

If you don’t get that FIRST question in the proper place of priority, everything else will go wrong.  Here is the way to set goals:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Dive into God with all your heart.  Seek him diligently and he will show you whichever visions that he knows you need to hear.  Don’t let the voices of naysayers belittle you.  Be like Patrick.  While Patrick was enslaved in Ireland as a teenager, he missed many valuable years of education.  So, his academic studies were cut short.  HE WAS embarrassed by his lack of education in Latin.   But he didn’t let that stop him from moving back to that island to bring the love and message of Christ. 

The Pace of Grace 


The Pace of Grace 

I come across to people as pretty laid back, but I actually have a very intense side to me.  I like to get things done!   I like my job, I like to work, I like to set goals and then work efficiently towards those goals.  And sometimes I push too hard!  So, God and my friends have to tell me to slow down. 

In 2006 I was involved in helping lead a new church plant.  September 15, 2006 I was praying in the morning, asking the Lord for a word of encouragement. Immediately I felt God was saying “you’re trying too hard” and then I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of a foot letting up on the gas pedal of a car. God was saying, “slow down, don’t drive so fast!—let up on the gas!”  

This was two days before the first Sunday morning meeting of the new church plant I was helping to lead. God knows that in my eagerness I sometimes put too much pressure on myself and on others; I expect too much progress too quickly and I tend towards impatience.  My work ethic sometimes gets the best of me.  I just need to chill out, and trust God that I will get things done when they need to be done. 

Dallas Willard was an influential teacher in my life.  One time, John Ortberg asked Dallas for some advice.  John was about to begin a new job as president of a Bible school in addition to being a senior pastor of a large church.   Willard’s advice to John was, “as long as you don’t hurry you way through these jobs, you’ll be fine.”   (He meant hurrying in an agitated, anxious way).  How can you possibly NOT be in a hurry when you have two high-level jobs?  

To answer that question, let’s back up a minute and remind ourselves about the big picture.  What is our task on earth?  We are containers of God, living in union with Christ.  We are fully dependent on him.  That means we carefully consider which responsibilities we should commit to.  If God has given you TWO jobs, he will enable you do them without worrying.  Don’t worry; instead, pray.  Pray things like this:  “God, I believe you led me to take on both of these tasks.  And I know that I cannot do it on my own strength. I choose to cease striving.  I focus on your adequacy, not my own weakness.” 

We need to follow Paul’s example.  Boast in your weakness!   Celebrate it!  That is the turning point to looking to God for help.  If we follow that path, we can work from a place of rest.  When we forget that CHRIST is empowering us, we slide back into the illusion that we are separate from him.  Then we get freaked out when things go wrong, and we act independently of God instead of from that place of peace that is always located right inside us! 

Jesus said:  28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11 NIV 

The analogy of a YOKE that Jesus uses is an image from plowing a field with two oxen side by side.  Jesus us saying, YOKE yourself to me – we will pull together. 

It seems like a contradiction in terms to say that we can REST while PULLING a plow.  How can a burden be light to carry?  Here is how the author Norman Grubb answers that question: 

“If we are pulling the plow of our life’s problems, relying on our own resources, that is strain, for we haven’t got what it takes to meet that need.” If, in our pressures, we turn inwardly as containers to Him who is “the all” within, and boldly reckon on Him to handle things, then it is rest in the midst of the activities—the habit of recognition.”  Norman Grubb 

The Message version of this passage says:  “I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”  

This reminds me of the importance of musical band members all staying locked into the same rhythm and tempo.   Help me walk at the pace of grace. 

Sometimes I feel like God is asking me, “are you forcing the completion of this task too soon?”   you need to stay in in the groove of the rhythm! 

Richard Foster explains the dynamic of resting while working: “We learn over time and experience how to bring the reality of resting in God into the confusion and busyness of daily life. We learn to work resting. We learn to live on two levels at once. On the one level we carry on the ordinary task of our day. But on a deeper level we live out of inward promptings and whispered words of wisdom.” 

How about if you are the mother of small children, which means you have a 24/7 job description?    My wife, Linda, is the mother of our 8 children.   She home-schooled them for much of their school years.  My wife, Linda shared with me her understanding of the story of Mary and Martha – Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet and Martha getting anxious about al the work that had to be done.  Linda says, “Martha forgot that she was loved. It wasn’t an over-activity problem. I have to be a Martha – I have to get a lot of stuff done. But I can still find Jesus even when I’m busy.”  She got help from God to do her task of home schooling 8 kids. 

Paul said, “I worked harder than all the other apostles, but it was the grace of God in me doing it.”   1 co 15:10 

I take three things from that statement of Paul:  

We learn to work resting.  That is a skill we learn over years of practicing the presence of God. 
And, we learn to recognize when we’ve taken on too much responsibility.  We need to adjust our work load or our expectations of what we can get done in a day. 
There are two types of time discussed in the Bible.  Kairos time describes taking the opportunities afforded by each moment.  This involves asking God, “what are you doing now and what should I be doing now?”  The concept of Kairos time has its origins in the practice of Greek archery, representing the moment when the archer finds the perfect opening to shoot his arrow and hit his target. That’s a habit we develop through years of practice.  I regularly ask God – “what should I be doing now?”  

The other type of time is CHRONOS – this is a view of time as a tyrannical slave-driver.  We need to resist being slaves of time, but clue into God’s timing.  We need to get out from under the tyranny of time.  We need to stay in step with his “unforced rhythms of grace.”  


God we open ourselves to you now, we thank you for the reality of Kairos time 

God, we surrender the throne of our lives to you. 

We choose to live under Kairos time.  Lord, teach us to do this. 

Lord, you said we should make LOVE our highest goal.  We say yes to that. 

We want to be all about loving you and serving people. 

We wait for your directions and your peace. 

We say no to worry and frantically rushing through our hours and days. 

We repent from independently making decisions outside of our relationship with you. 

Thank you, Lord for the safety of staying connected to you. 

Help us become experts at recognizing your constant union with us and your ability to take care of every situation.

The Fountain Within You 


I have just released a new song called “Bubble Up.”  What’s that about?  What is this bubble up, is this a new drink?   No!  It’s the Holy Spirit, of course.  Jesus said those who believe in him would be like a gushing fountain of life!   

That truth is what inspired my song, “Bubble Up.”  It’s a song with a happy, childlike kind of feel to it.  which is fitting because it takes the faith and humility of a child to lean into the amazing truth that we are containers of a never-ending flow of living water.   

Your perception of yourself is a game-changer.   How you see yourself determines what you do in this present moment, and how you relate to others and to God.  What we BELIEVE about who we are makes a huge difference in daily life.  What you take takes you.  According to your faith, so shall it be. (It’s not just your faith, it’s the faith of Christ working through you).  

The context of this great saying of Jesus was the last day of an annual worship festival in Jerusalem.  Jesus stood and said in a loud voice to a crowd of people, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.”  

The result of drinking this living water is:  “…rivers of living water will flow from your innermost being.”  In other words, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will pour out of you – peace, joy, patience, gentleness, kindness, words of wisdom and knowledge.  

In a hot, arid climate like Israel, Jesus’ metaphor of the believer as an ever-flowing fountain was powerful.  Water was a scarce and precious resource.  Jesus’ audience must have been puzzled when Jesus’ said to THEM a gushing fountain flowing from YOU!   Reminds me of when Jesus said to a crowd of 10,000 or so, “YOU are the light of the world.”  Jesus saw the POTENTIAL in people.  He saw the GOD-GIVEN goodness that all of us carry.   

They were probably thinking, “man, I am so thirsty right now!”  How can I possibly be a conduit for gushing spiritual water?   This is one of those “for those who have ears to hear” moments in Jesus’ earthly ministry.   He was talking about an UNSEEN and ETERNAL REALITY.  Remember, the unseen world is more powerful than things you can see with your eyes.  

The imagery of good things from God bubbling up out of us is found in many scriptures:   

Wisdom is a deep well of understanding opened up within you as a fountain of life for others…”   Proverbs 16:22  

“Words of wisdom are like a fresh, flowing brook— like deep waters that spring forth from within, bubbling up inside the one with understanding.”   Proverbs 18:4 TPT  

“A man of deep understanding will give good advice, drawing it out from the well within.”  Proverbs 20:5 TPT  

As you give praise and thanks to God, the bubble up begins:  

“Our hearts bubble over as we celebrate the fame of your marvelous beauty, bringing bliss to our hearts. We shout with ecstatic joy over your breakthrough for us.”   Psalms 145:7 TPT  

Throughout the Bible, metaphors such as rivers, fountains, water wells, and oceans, are used to describe God’s love and power.  And here, Jesus makes it specific – YOU are the conduit of that beautiful refreshing stream.  

Paul reiterates Jesus’ teaching when he said:  “You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.”  That means both the individual and the gathered body.   

Here is how that verse is translated in the Passion Translation:  “Don’t you realize that together you have become God’s inner sanctuary and that the Spirit of God makes his permanent home in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 TPT  

The old temple, the physical Old Testament building, is no longer the place where the Holy Spirit lives.  Now, the address of the Holy Spirit is YOU.  You are the architecture of God’s dwelling on the earth!  

When you need help, where do you find God?   Where is the Holy Spirit?   Is he “out there somewhere?”  He is everywhere.  Most importantly, he is inside of you as a constant resource.  

When you need God to help you do something, do you have to wait until you can feel the Holy Spirit before you do something challenging?  Or do you connect with him as God-in-you, God-joined-to-you, God-one-with-you?  You don’t have to wait! He is permanently in you and part of you, gloriously entangled with your human spirit.  

(Of course there are many times we wait on the Lord, and listen).  I’m talking here about a basic way of seeing yourself.  

Don’t default to seeing yourself like a paper cup with a few ounces of living water inside.  We’re selling ourselves short to think like that!  You are not a cup with a tiny bit of HS living water in you.  You are not connected to a stream that sometimes runs dry.  You are IN the river.  God is the river. And you are a tributary of that river!  

The Holy Spirit is never weak within us.  We of course often feel weak.  Do like Paul, rejoice in your weakness.  It’s just a pointer to his strength.  As we align our view of ourselves with God’s view, we cultivate spiritual fruitfulness.  As we drink voraciously from God’s well of goodness, the reality of his life becomes more and more visible to us and to others.  

The prayer “Holy Spirit Come” is an important prayer—an ancient prayer originating in the early centuries of the church.  This prayer rises from an understanding that God will at times send a special empowering of his Spirit.  I see this prayer as one side of a coin, the other side being the importance of being aware of the constantly abiding Holy Spirit.   

If we see ourselves as people who contain a reservoir of living water, we will live with faith and expectancy.  We will be less anxious.  We won’t feel a pressure to perform because we’re already joined to Christ.  We will have a natural boldness like Peter did when he encountered a lame man on his way to a prayer meeting at the temple (Acts 3).  Peter didn’t have to invite the Holy Spirit to come.  He was walking in the Spirit and knew when the time was right to speak a word of faith to the lame man to rise and walk.  

Let’s make this practical  

I encourage you to make a habit of remembering who you are.  You are a reservoir of Holy Spirit.  So, when your anxiety begins to rise, calm yourself and affirm the truth of God’s presence in you.  Say to yourself and God, “I am a temple of the Holy Spirit.”  “I have access to the mind of Christ.”  “I have the prince of peace living in me.”  

We need to be constantly “wading into the waters” of the Holy Spirit.  I love the Passion Translation version of this verse:  “Remain fully immersed in this God-shaped new person from above. You are created in the image and likeness of God.”   Eph 4:24   Mirror Study Bible  

How do you stay immersed?  One way is to pray in tongues, another is to consume a lot of living water through good teaching, another way is to worship.  Worshiping God opens up a door to heaven:  “When I’m near you, my heart and my soul will sing and worship with my joyful songs of you, my true source and spring of life!”   Ps 84:7  

Remember to keep thanking God for the fountain of life that is always flowing through you!


Christ in You 

This is episode 2 of GOING DEEP AND HIGH

Who do you think you are?   That’s a very important question.  The more you know God, the more you know yourself.  As we go deep with God, we understand our identity at a deep level. 

If someone asks you “Who do you think you are?”  The first thing that comes to mind is probably – your occupation, married or single, etc.  That’s all good.  Let’s talk about the multi-dimensional you for a minute.  You are a human-being and you are a spirit person.  You exist in the earthly realm and you exist in the spiritual realm.  Those two realms intersect. 

Here are some scriptures on your identity as a spirit-being:  Jesus said to Nicodemus in their discussion on being born again:  “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”   Jesus said to the Samaritan woman he met at the well, “God is Spirit.”  God, who is Spirit, gave birth to you, who are a spirit person.  The eternal part of you is your spirit. 

The writer to the Hebrews says “we have flesh-fathers, but that God is father of our spirits,” in other words our real, eternal selves (Hebrews 12:9).  Paul defines our “self” as spirit when he says, “who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?” 

There is a joining of two spiritual beings: Christ and you.  Jesus explains it like this:  “I am the vine, you are the branches.”  The vine and the branch is one plant, one organism.  It shares the same properties.  The branch is not exactly the same as the vine, but it’s inseparably connected to the vine and is constantly benefiting from the life that comes through the vine (John 15).  The branch can only bear fruit by receiving constant nourishment from the Vine. 

Another picture of this intertwining of our spirit and the Holy Spirit is in Jesus’ last talk to his disciples before going to the cross:  “On that day [when Jesus is no longer with them] you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”      John 14 

This is a mystical and “fourth-dimension truth!” Don’t try to figure that out with mere human brain power.   That’s another way of describing what Paul says:  “Set your mind on things unseen.”   

So tell me, how far are you from God?  He is there in the center of your chest—in your spirit.  Did you know that “Christian” means Christ-one.  A spiritual son or daughter inherits the characteristics of the Father. 

Not only is he CLOSE to you, He is ONE with you. The eternal God of glory has chosen to join himself with you.  How could you possibly be any more in the inner circle of love than that? 

Just let that reality sink in, slowly for the rest of your life.  You can experience the glory of that reality.  Paul calls it, “Christ in you the hope of glory.”    And it’s not a ‘maybe’ kind of hope, it’s a deep assurance. 

Another way Paul says it is this:  “ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Gal, 2:20.  That’s a mystical statement, and it is clearly something Paul has personally EXPERIENCED.  Paul has GONE DEEP AND HIGH with God.  And we see a very LONG and WIDE impact from his life. 

Here’s a practical application of that truth.  How far do you have to reach for him to find him?  You don’t really have to REACH.  Just sit there.  For some people, the language of “turning inward” is helpful.  Do you think it’s too good to be true that God would join himself to you?  If your mind needs more convincing, just read the New Testament. 

Here is another very practical application.  How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say, “I’m just trying to get closer to God.”  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But it implies that God is sometimes far from us. Not true! 

I suggest using language that lines up with reality as we read about it in the Bible.  As you become more and more convinced of this reality (and you will if you are persistent over time), it will change your behavior.  It will make you a more peaceful person.  Because if you are joined to Christ, who can hurt you? 

If you lean into and live into your unity with Christ, you WILL find the strength to listen attentively to that irritating person at your place of work.  You WILL find the patience to pick up your toddlers toys for the fourth time in one day. 

Finally, Christ in you IS your wisdom, your righteousness and your holiness.  So, feel good about yourself.  Accept his acceptance of you. 

The awareness of your oneness with Christ makes you confident.  You’ll be confident in who you are in God, and who you are in all of life.  The awareness of your oneness with Christ makes you courageous.  You will have the courage to attempt things that you know you can’t do in your own strength. 

Going Deep and High Introduction 

This is the first of a series called GOING DEEP AND HIGH.  My goal in this series is to impart to others what God has given me in forty-seven years of knowing him.  I thought the first four decades of experiencing God were wonderful, and they were.  The past four years have been remarkable.  

I’ve experienced open access to God and to heavenly realities in a way I’ve never known before.  And I am more settled and secure and content in living the day-to-day Christian life than ever before.  And I continue to mature in my ability to love people.  Paul says, “make love your highest goal.”  The older you get, the more wisdom and experience you have to pass along.  I am very energized about sharing what I’ve learned with anyone who is interested.  

Here are some of the topics I’ll be looking at.   There are two large categories.  The first is Understanding and Experiencing Spiritual Realities and the second is Applying these concepts to the challenges of daily life. 

Spiritual realities such as who God is, who you are, and what heaven is all about are more permanent and enduring realities than your current occupation, your income, or the problems you are facing right now.  When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said to pray this:  “Let your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  

What’s happening in heaven?  Who is there, and what are they experiencing?  Of course, the Father, son and Holy Spirit are there, and they are everywhere.  But YOU are also there.  You are seated in the heavenly places if you are in Christ.  “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”  (Ephensians 2:6).  That’s one of those sentences you read in Paul’s writing that you skim over and say, “Mmmm.  Sounds good.”  To really live into that truth is absolutely life-changing.  You are a co-inheritor of all that Christ has inherited.  We are co-heirs with Christ.  This is what Paul teaches.  

So you, as a spirit-being, are in heaven, yet you are here on earth.  So, you are in two places at once.  You might say, you are a multi-dimensional person.  That’s what the Bible teaches.  One of the key spiritual realities we need to understand is that we are first and foremost spirit people.  We are humans, but the eternal part of us, the part of us that has first contact with God is our spirit.  

Here is a quote from Dallas Willard:  “You are a never-ceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God's great universe.  You are spiritual in substance.  You are never going to stop existing -- there's nothing you can do about that so get used to it.”  

So, since you are seated next to Jesus in the heavenly places, how far away is God from you?  In fact, your human spirit is intertwined with the Holy Spirit.  You are one with him!   “Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”  (1 Cor 6:17)  It’s the same thing Jesus said using different language.  Jesus said “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”  “I make my home in you, and you make your home in me.”  Jn 14 

I believe that by-in-large, the church hasn’t really understood or applied these kinds of truths.  For example, I think most Christians think of God as “out there somewhere” rather than permanently dwelling in themselves.  Since God is inside of you, how hard is it to hear his voice?  He is actually a part of your being.  You are not God, but you do “partake in the divine nature,” as Peter wrote in his letter.  Understanding and living in these deep truths is a lifetime pursuit.  This is the mystery of Christ in us.  

If your spirit is ONE with Christ, how does that make you feel about yourself?  How do you think God sees you?  A major teaching of Jesus and Paul that has enormous implications for moment by moment living is that Christ is our life.  Paul makes the amazing statement  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  (Galatians 2:20). The old us is dead.  “We” no longer live.  The new “us” is Christ in us.  Christ + us.  Not two, but not one, either.  The new you is you and the Cosmic Christ.  Cosmic simply means universal.  He has existed for eternity-past and he fills the universe.  

Let’s make this practical right away.  If you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and you feel your anger start to rise (like I have hundreds of times), what do you do?  I find that it DOES NOT work to say to myself, “Don’t get angry!”  What works for me is (1) surrender, and set your intention on your spirit rather than trying to analyze everything around you and argue with what is happening (2) Recognize who you are.  Who are you?  You are joined to Christ.  Christ is your super-power.  You hitch a ride on his righteous ways.  You are sitting in the back seat.  You remind myself what is true.  You don’t grit my teeth and try to “become good.”  You recognize that you contain the Good One.  The way you see yourself changes the outcome of your behavior.  This is faith in action. 

In summary, because spiritual reality is more powerful and eternal than physical reality, we can access who we are and who God is in the Spirit, and reign over our physical circumstances.  Reigning with God is something that begins now.  Co-reigning with Christ is one of the things we inherit.  We begin by reigning over our emotions and the way we behave towards the people around us, like our own family members.  

It's all very supernatural and very natural at the same time! 

That’s a taste of things to come in my series GOING DEEP AND HIGH.  Going deep and high with God leads to going long and wide—you will have a long, fruitful life as you allow Christ to live his life through you.

Jesus, Our Oasis 

I love this translation of the famous words of Jesus in the book of Matthew:  “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me.  I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” (TPT, Matt 11:28). In most versions of the Bible, we read, “…and you will find rest for your souls.”   The word oasis is defined as “Something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual, annoying, difficult, etc.” 

I remember an image from some movie I saw in childhood in which a heat-scorched man, dying of thirst, sees an oasis in the distance.  He starts walking towards it, only to see it disappear as he draws near.  His hope for rescue was shattered. 

In Jesus, we have a continual, abiding-on-the-inside Oasis.  When we reach to him, he will not disappear like a desert mirage.  We can draw from his refreshing at any moment.   We can dip into this inner well to help us let go of our anxiety, stress and anger. 

The next thing Jesus says after the “oasis” line is, “Simply join your life with mine.  Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.”   I am in a season of learning a deeper meaning of the word “rest.”  Only from a place of rest can we walk in unhindered dialogue with the Lord. 

The waters of our soul and spirit mix with his living water.  When we are weary, we are rejuvenated by his fountain of life within us.   He said that “rivers of living water would flow from our belly.” (John 7).  Let the river of life fill every part of your emotions, soul, mind and body!  Drink deeply.

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Andy Park