The Window of Opportunity

As we move into this season, the next six months are very significant, so much so that the decisions we make will in some ways define the rest of our lives. In this kairos season, it is important that we position ourselves rightly for this outpouring of grace, seeking God very diligently. If we do so, there will be a remantling, redefining and revitalizing, propelling us into our future. We stand at a hinge of history!

The window of opportunity is open, and there is an abounding grace available. The Lord is inviting us to come into agreement with this decree He is releasing. For those who do, there will be evidence of His power in ways we’ve never experienced. Believe it, tap into it, and join the apostolic company God is raising up throughout the earth!

     — Dutch Sheets (a portion of a prophetic word from Feb.28th)

How to “Pray-Read” the Word

It is not enough to study the Bible — we must talk to God as we study.  Bible study is meant to lead us to conversation with God by giving us the “conversational material” for our prayer life.  It provides the language we use as we talk to Him.  Using the Bible and speaking the Word back to God makes prayer easy and enjoyable.  It “turns up the volume” in our conversation with God.

39 You search the Scriptures [Bible study], for in them you think you have…life; these are they which testify of Me.  40 You are not willing to come to Me [talk to Me] that you may have life.  (Jn. 5:39-40)

Jesus called us to abide in Him.  The foundation of this reality means talking with Him.  We do this best as we pray-read the Word, which is simply speaking its truths back to Him as we read it.

5 He who abides in [talks to Me] Me, and I in him [I abide or talk to you], bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing…  7 If you abide in [talk to Me] Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  (Jn. 15:5-7)

—  International House of Prayer

New Ministry to Stand FIRM With Israel

One of the biggest enemies FIRM and other supporters of Israel face is the concept of supersessionism or replacement theology—the notion that essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan and that the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people.  Millennial Nic Lesmeister, 32, director of the Ezekiel Foundation in Tyler, Texas, and a member of the FIRM advisory board, says it is the heaviest issue the church faces with the younger generation as it pertains to supporting Israel.

“There has been a rise of hybrid forms of replacement theology in recent years,” Lesmeister says.  “One of the most popular is something called ‘fulfillment theology,’ which is being taught at many influential universities throughout the United States.  It gives Israel some credit for having been chosen by God for redemptive purposes, but it is seen as having been already ‘fulfilled’ with the coming of Christ and the birth of the church.  Thus it ends up at the same place as Replacement Theology in that it concludes that God is finished with Israel, with a bit less hostility toward the Jews.

“In buying into these teachers’ theologies, many young people have bought into a false theology on Israel.  I’m not sure that many of these young people even realize this because it is masked in graceful theological terms that fall much more palatably on the ear than ‘replacement theology’ does.  We must discuss, disagree, and correct these erroneous beliefs with humility and grace if we want to see a future generation stand FIRM with Israel.”

— Portion of an article by Shawn A. Akers

“Make My Presence Your Priority”

“Make My presence your priority this year,” says the Father. “Invoke My presence as you rise in the morning and rest in My presence when you lay your head down at night. Yoke up with My presence throughout your day, each day, and do not allow anything to cause you to deviate from your attentiveness with My presence.

“Make My presence your priority in 2015,” says the Father. “As you immerse yourself in My presence I will guide you with My eye. I will lead you to the hidden treasures of secret place as the voice speaking over your shoulder saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it…’

“I will come behind you with My wind and carry you along in the current of My river. Because My river will break out of the banks of man’s limitation so you will break out of your banks and flow into and experience the full floodplain of My favor in 2015.

“You will find My favor in the morning. You will find My favor in the evening. You will sit at the table of My favor in the presence of your enemies and they will not be able to reduce you or inhibit you in anyway.

“Make My presence your priority,” says the Father, “for 2015 will be a gauntlet of distraction. The tyranny of the urgent will go to war with the priority of My presence. The enemy is very time conscious for he knows his time is short – therefore he will intensify his wrath against you and against My Kingdom. Do not put your attention on the enemy but let your eye go beyond the second heaven and garner your instructions from My throne – for I will give you rule over your enemy with an iron hand.

 

— Russ Walden

It’s Our Time: Embrace and Discern the Season

One of the most dramatic stories in all of history has to do with the exodus of the nation of Israel from the land of Egypt. As they were being led into the wilderness by Moses, remembering the promise of God to take them to a land where they would be a blessing to other nations, they encountered a major obstacle called the Red Sea. It would be the first of two encounters with bodies of water. In this encounter, they would desperately need the hand of God to deliver them. He did.

Then they arrived at another body of water after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. This was the bank of the Jordan River. But this time, Israel was led into a different season. They didn’t need deliverance; what they needed was to have the gift of faith to arise in them to possess all that God had for them. In this Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey, they would be blessed to be a blessing.

But that future could only be realized by their stepping into the river. They had to demonstrate and exercise the kind of faith that would be required for them to embrace their destiny. Two bodies of water and two distinct seasons led to a future that only God could have arranged.

As The Foursquare Church steps into its Reimagined future, I feel that it is time for us to possess our future. The various aspects of our movement are coming together. Our global family is united by common values; our education and training systems are ready to go; our district and national structures have been solidified; and our finances are in order.

We are returning to a focus on the local church mission of discipling leaders and planting communities of faith; and we are embracing and practicing our Spirit-empowered legacy as we accept our individual and mutual responsibility to help finish the Great Commission.

There is much more land to possess and conquer, but I feel like we have stepped into the Jordan River and have declared that we will not retreat and will not turn back. We are ready to conquer the enemy and take mountains. We will walk in courage and boldness to possess every place that God has given us.

It’s our time. Let’s embrace this season and allow God to show us the miraculous things that He can work for us and through us.

How You Can Pray

What does 2015 hold for you? Ask God to widen your sphere of influence, to radiate through everything you say and do and to allow you to fulfill the Great Commission in the coming year. Praying with us?

 

By : Glenn Burris Jr.  (president of The Foursquare Church)

Why Should We Pray and Fast?

1.  Doesn’t God do what He wants, anyway?

2. Do my prayers really make any difference?

3. Is the purpose of fasting to make me suffer, to cause me to lose weight, or to help with my health?

Let me take the time to answer those questions:

1.  God will at times move independently of man upon the earth, but the truth is that He chooses to partner with us to bring His Will, Power, and Kingdom to the earth through us (earthen vessels), and prayer is the primary way this is accomplished.

2.  Your prayers make more of a difference than you will know until eternity.  Your prayers will change the world.  That is why the enemy so desires for us to downplay its importance.

3.  Fasting has some great, proven health benefits, but that is not why we fast.  We fast to pay more attention to our spiritual needs than our natural ones and so that a greater level of faith can be released from our lives that breaks darkness and releases His Kingdom’s authority.

{Mark 9:28 “And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could not we cast him out?’ 29 And He said unto them, ‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.'” (KJV)}

— Pastor Todd Syruws

Merry Christmas, Grace Chapel!

Warm Greetings Grace Foursquare Family and Friends,

It is that joyous time of year once again, during which we celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus.  We celebrate by decorating, buying presents, singing carols, putting on Christmas programs, throwing parties, and much more.  Often, Jesus gets lost in it all, so I encourage you to take a little time to reflect on all that Jesus has done in your lives in 2014, and even what God has done here at Grace Foursquare this year.

Take time to pray, read the Word, and worship during the busyness of this season.  If you can come and spend an hour with us on Christmas Eve from 5:00-6:00pm as we focus on the true meaning of this season, we would love to have you.

Finally, I personally want to wish you a very merry Christmas and to say that I truly believe that 2015 is going to be a “Defining Moment” for Grace Foursquare.

Merry Christmas,

Pastor Todd L. Syruws

Hungry for Encounter

I long for revival, awakening, a new move of God not only breaking out in us  but sweeping across this state and nation. Historically revivals usually break out in the darkest of times.  Spiritual leaders have identified several factors that lead to revival such as sustained prayer, unity, repentance, etc.

Though this is true, as I studied the history of revivals, the common denominator of every one was desperation. Wikipedia says that desperation is an emotional state in which a person feels a situation to be hopeless and without satisfactory options. To be desperate is to be reckless or dangerous because of despair or urgency. It is to have an urgent need or desire. Webster’s says it’s a having lost hope, a desperate spirit crying for relief. Another speaks of it being the desperate look of hunger, a desperate cry for something.

Regardless of the nuances listed above, desperation is intense hunger and longing that drives a person to seek until they find. Paul was a desperate man. He said in Philippians 3 I press on to apprehend that for which I was apprehended. Something propelled the apostle forward, something that felt unfulfilled, unfinished, and incomplete.

Jeremiah 29:13 says that we will find God when we seek Him with our whole heart. This is a time when God is wooing us to seek Him with all of our being. He is not just looking for a mind filled with the word but the hungry heart. He is wooing us into a new place of communion with Him, knowing Him, enraptured by Him.

The Song of Solomon is the story of bridal love, the lovesick bridegroom desperately seeking His lover, His Bride (the Church). God initiated the seeking; setting out to seek us, He longs for us, desires us. He is desperate for us; so much so that He sent His Son to the Cross for us, the ultimate love act removing every obstacle and hindrance (sin) that would keep us from being able to respond.

The prophetic word to us has made it clear that He has chosen us to be a place of encounter, revival. Yet until we respond, it remains an invitation. We as a people are to create such a hungry atmosphere that God cannot help Himself; He must come and fill us as well as this place with His glory, His presence.  When others walk in, they then encounter Him. Why? Because they are in the midst of lovesick seekers of God.

I invite you into this holy mystery of God’s manifest presence in our midst that creates an encounter for all who walk through the doors of this center. I invite you to seek Him until you find Him, to become desperate with hunger that literally drives you to move towards Him until you come into a whole new place with Him.

— (A portion of a blog from a great friend of mine) Pastor Barbara Yoder

Faith Is Spelled R-I-S-K

Many times I have felt like I don’t have the resources to accomplish what God has called me to do in my church. The roof leaks, and the air conditioner is broken. We need more programs than we have people to staff. What am I to do?

How do I become a multiplier of my talents? Jesus’ parable of servants who had been entrusted with talents to steward is recorded in Matt. 25.

Both of the servants who invested their talents at a return received the following commendation: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (v. 21). But the outcome was far different for the one servant who buried his talent rather than risk losing what he had.

Each of the servants had been given resources; each received at least one talent, which was equivalent to about 15 years’ worth of wages. That amount of money indicates that the master was extravagant in the resources he gave to his servants.

When I apply this parable to myself, I realize that the Lord has given me an abundance of what I need to fulfill what He has called me to do where He has placed me. The issue is my perspective.

I heard a story about a Florsheim shoe salesperson in the early 1800s who went out West. After only a few months, he returned with the complaint that no one wore shoes. The next salesperson who went out West became one of the company’s leading salespeople. Why? He saw that people were not wearing shoes. It’s all about how you view the circumstances in which you find yourself.

The one-talent steward maintained what he had; he did not maximize the master’s investment. Like the one-talent steward, I can operate in fear and worry, refusing to take a risk. Or I can step out in faith as I hear the Lord’s voice leading me to maximize my labors in His kingdom.

When I step out into new areas, I am taking a risk. In other words, faith is spelled R-I-S-K.  If I am not taking a risk, I am not operating fully in faith; instead, I am burying my talent.

What are you doing with the talents God has given you? Are you taking a risk or playing it safe, hoping that when the Master returns you haven’t lost anything?

HOW YOU CAN PRAY

Are you allowing God to multiply the resources He has given you? Pray that He will give you bravery and boldness when it comes to using your talents, whatever they may be!

— Nick Gough

God Loves Israel

As growing hatred and animosity toward the people of Israel throughout the world continues to boil, it is my goal to continue to bring nuggets of truth to cause you to see Israel from God’s perspective.  He loves the Jewish people.

Jeremiah’s Declaration:  Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, glimpsed through the lens of time that Israel’s faithful, covenant-keeping God would offer His stretched-out wings as a place of divine protection to His people during their ingathering to the Promised Land:

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare in the coastlands afar off, and say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” Jeremiah 31:10

We find three truths contained in this one verse from Jeremiah.  First, it was God Himself who scattered Israel from her own homeland.  Second, the same God who scattered Israel will re-gather her to her own land.  And third, God will not merely re-gather Israel, but also keep her and put a divine hedge of protection about her as she is re-gathered.

—  Pastor Todd Syruws