Andy Park

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Grateful for All the Years of Blessing 

A few weeks ago, I was in Los Angeles, attending the 50th anniversary of the Westside Vineyard Church in Los Angeles.  Back In 1975, when I was 17 years old, I was invited to vist that church by my new friend, Bill Bower.  The realms of heaven began to open in those first worship times at the Vineyard.  The young crowd of worshipers were immersed in a sea of glory as we sang simple love songs to the Lord. 

God’s kingdom of love was breaking into earth’s realm and into our hearts, minds and emotions.  In those early years I grew and struggled and was showered with epiphanies of God’s love and greatness.  I was entering into adulthood and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

This was the same year I began my university studies.  That was a great experience that expanded my life but by far the biggest transformation in my university years was a spiritual one. 

I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies but when I graduated I knew it wouldn’t be right for me to pursue that line of work.  I went straight into Christian ministry, first as a pastoral intern, then as a staff member in the Langley Vineyard in Canada in 1985.

Where I live in Vancouver, B.C., in the sky there is often a beautiful mix of white and black and grey clouds.  Late in the day, the black and white clouds,  back-lit by the sun, against a blue sky background can be stunning.

For me, that’s a picture of great struggle and great blessing.  Life in this world is full of dark against light, good against evil, victories and defeats.  In the end, it will all take a turn for the good.  A quote from Julian of Norwich comes to mind:  “All things are well, all things shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

I am so grateful to be enjoying the beginning of another summer, grateful for the nearly 5 decades of life with a loving God.


The Gift of Innocence 

What do you think of when you hear the word “innocence”?  Is it a word you would use to describe yourself?  More likely, that word makes you think of a newborn baby or maybe a little puppy dog.  “How could I possibly be seen as innocent”?  Because we know we’ve stumbled many times, we struggle to grasp the idea that we are declared innocent. 

But through the cross, we are declared innocent by God.  Paul writes:  “And by the blood of his cross, everything in heaven and earth is brought back to himself—back to its original intent, restored to innocence again!”[i]  “And in love he chose us before he laid the foundation of the universe! Because of his great love, he ordained us, so that we would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence.”[ii]  When we lose sight of our innocence, we become spiritually blind to our blessings.  We forget that the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6).

Because of a historic over-emphasis on “original sin” in Western Christianity, I have found that many believers are more conscious of their imperfections than the innocence and righteousness that God has gifted to us.  There is too much focus on our sin, and not enough realization of all that God has accomplished on our behalf.  I’m not being soft on sin.  I’m saying that a life of “Christ-consciousness” is much better than a life of “sin-consciousness.”  Being Christ-conscious leads me towards walking in righteousness.

Instead of being depressed that you still make mistakes, how about focusing on “original goodness,”[iii] the cross, and Christ, who is your holiness? Don’t worry about what happened with Adam and Eve!  God made you good, and declared you holy, righteous and innocent through his cross! Enjoy God, enjoy life, and enjoy every good gift he gives you.  Don’t mope around depressed because you had an impure thought.  Confess it and move on.

Let’s review who we are in Christ.  We are united with Christ, one spirit with him.  “…whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit” 1 Cor 6:27 (NIV).   Since you are united with Christ, shouldn’t you feel good about yourself?  Paul writes: “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin[iv]



[i]Colossians 1:20 TPT

[ii]Ephesians 1:4 TPT

[iii](see Genesis 1)

[iv] 1 Cor 1:30 NLT

Home with You and Near Death Experiences 

My new song Home with You highlights the hope of heaven as a way of enduring earthly trials.  Heaven will be our home.  We get a taste of that home right now because Jesus makes his home in us and we make our home in him.[1]  In times of struggle, pain and disappointment, getting a glimpse of heaven really helps me.  The main way I taste heaven is through prayer, meditation, worship and reading. Once in a while I’m super encouraged about the reality of heaven by reading about NDE’s (Near Death Experiences).

 Over the past forty years, much research has been done on NDE’s by many authors.  Many or most of the researchers are non-Christian.  Some of them become Christians just by being exposed to these stories.  There are thousands of accounts of people who encounter some combination of these things: they are overwhelmed by very realistic experiences with Jesus and the incomparable amazing beauty of heaven. Many of them are escorted and encouraged by angels in their NDE.  People from all countries, all ethnicities, and all religious persuasions have NDE’s.  Many people from non-Christian backgrounds encounter Jesus in NDE’s. 

Aside from the obvious things like praying and reading the Bible, I can think of no better way to encourage about the reality of heaven than to share with you these stories!  Here are some amazing quotes from people who have had NDE’s and DBE’s (death bed experiences).

Here is an excerpt from Nancy Rynes’ book Awakenings from the Light: 12 Life Lessons from a Near Death Experience.   Nancy was in a terrible accident—while cycling, she was struck by a distracted driver of a big SUV.   Her body was dragged 50 feet before the driver stopped the car.  She tells about her beautiful and life-changing heavenly experience while in surgery.  As the anesthesiologist administered the drugs for her surgery, her body went into an unconscious state. This is what happened:

“I abruptly found myself standing in a spectacular landscape unlike any I’d ever experienced. Warm breezes drifted across my skin. Beautiful vistas of meadows and distant mountains surrounded me. And a pervasive, loving presence overwhelmed me in its intensity.

“Surrounding me was a landscape of gently rolling hills, flower-filled grassy meadows, towering deciduous trees in full leaf, trees taller and more grand than any here on Earth, and a sense of a light mist floating through as if it were a humid summer morning. The sky gleamed a very light, pearly blue, similar to what you might see at the ocean’s shore, with wispy clouds and a very bright but somewhat diffuse light…

“My surroundings captured most of my attention. Below the surface forms and colors of everything in the landscape, I somehow also saw or sensed vibrating energy. I’m not sure how to describe it. It seemed I could see the surface of a leaf, for example, yet also see below it to an energy, a vibration of love or compassion or kindness that made the leaf take on a subsurface radiance. Everything had this radiance: trees, grass, sky, flowers, and clouds. Colors seemed intensified by this radiance. The feeling of love flowed through everything and heightened this radiance. Through it all I sensed and somehow physically felt an incredibly profound feeling of peace, rightness, goodness, and love flowing through my body. I cried, literally wept, at how beautiful it all was…

In her book, Nancy tells the story of her recovery, her struggles after surgery, and the 12 themes that became her guiding principles for life.

Here are a variety of much shorter quotes taken from the book

NDE of a man dying from pneumonia:

“Jesus was really there. Jesus was there. He was kind, warm, gentle, loving, and he cared about me. He received me. He is REAL. I always believed in Him before...but now I can promise that he is REAL.

NDE of a U.S. Navy Sailor during a near-fatal choking:

“When I spoke with Jesus and felt his love radiating to me I knew once and for all that all I had been taught in Sunday school and church was absolutely true. No doubt now.” –

Anonymous quote:

“When I got to the other end I actually saw Christ! He was smiling and standing with His arms open like He was going to hug me…. His hands still carried the marks of the cross…and there was Christ and he was standing with a very white robe…. And as I got closer and closer I tried to detect everything in order to convince myself that this was indeed Christ waiting on me. And I looked at his hands and there were the scars where the nails had gone through.” 

Six-year-old having her tonsils removed:

“I look up and I say: “Jesus!” and He comes down and grabs my hand…Jesus was magnificent! I felt such serenity and peace!...He said to me: ‘Don’t worry, baby, everything is going to be all right. I’ll always be with you.”

Many people report that these encounters are more real than their day to day existence on earth.  Thank God for the way he sends signs of the glory of heaven to all of humanity!


[1] See John 14

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!