Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're Moving In

We’re getting closer to Christmas and many things are beginning to come together for us. We are very excited because tomorrow we will announce that we now have our own office and studio space.

Four years ago (December 2005), we were heart broken because we had to move out of our church facility. Since then, we have met in hotel conference rooms, in our home and at Zion Assembly of Harrisburg.

Over the last four years, we have been preparing for this new start by making the adjustments the Lord has required of us. We've been walking our group through the Word of God on the process of healing in our hearts and homes. We've been building a core group that can assist us in the work of the ministry.

We have been upgrading our website and uploading music, messages and video clips. We have written five books (4 devotionals and a love story for unbelievers), and started a multimedia production called Kingdom Warriors that includes a book series, a comic strip and an animated series.

The Lord enabled us to record and post the NAACP Back to School Gospel Music event and to capture the powerful PA Awake state-wide prayer gathering. It is becoming obvious that the Lord has a purpose for us that reaches beyond our understanding. We've been doing all of this so that we would be prepared to minister effectively when the Lord opens a door for us to return to our Urban World Missions and Outreach initiative.

Mission organizations target people groups, communities and cities where the Lord directs them to take the message of the Kingdom and the love of God. We were sent to Harrisburg as missionaries/ pastors into the urban community. More people now live within cities than at any time in human history. Our home church and overseer saw this trend many years ago and planned accordingly by launching an Urban World missions effort. That's why we are a missions oriented ministry, but our mission field is in the urban world. We've spent the last four years getting prepared for the task that has been assigned to our hands.

We felt led to change the name of the church from Fruitful Life Worship Center, to Urban Life Church. We revived our multimedia outreach called Fruitful Life Network of Ministries, and started an internet TV channel. We launched FLNiTV by introducing a 24/7 video stream and a segment called Hidden Treasures, to interview pastors, community leaders, and individuals who are doing special things in this community and around the nation in the urban world.

Since many people in the urban community are drawn to the internet, we are using this technology to connect with people who don't usually go to church or any other religious activities or events. The internet is just another way of casting out the fishing net which Jesus described.

Four years ago, December 2005 marked the death of OUR thoughts and agendas for Pennsylvania. Now December 2009 has inaugurated a wonderful new understanding of our purpose. You see, it’s Christmas in every way for our family. The Lord has given us a second chance. We have been given restoration and renewal. What a precious gift. The Lord placed it on our hearts to begin declaring rebuilding, restoration and renewal for hearts and homes, but we didn’t realize He was going to bring it forth in us first.

Today, I am blogging this PRAISE REPORT that we have begun the process of moving into our own office/ studio space so that we can effectively steward the ministries the Lord has given us. Our office will house the office equipment that will help us with the administrative side of the ministry. The studio (built with sound proof walls) is being equipped with powerful multimedia computers so that we can continue with the video, animation and music aspects of our various productions.

Carol and I will finally be able to resume writing and producing praise and worship music for what will someday be, a multi-ethnic urban community church. The websites of both ministries (the church and the media outreach) will continue to enhance our efforts to reach out to this community.

In addition to the office and studio, we also have full access to several conference and meeting rooms, a kitchen, a dining hall, a full service print shop, two facility copiers, and plenty of parking. We are praising God for this marvelous facility that has come available to us. It is managed the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, so yes, we're working with the Body of Christ. Our monthly lease is still sending funds into the work of the Kingdom of God. The awesome part is that we are paying less than 1/4 of the monthly amount that we had four years ago... and we're getting far more, even though we're paying far less. The lease even includes utilities.

Four years ago we were moving out of a building, but this year, and this week, we’re moving in. We’re moving in the purpose and will of God.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Cool...I'm Good...I'm Thankful

Sometimes I wake up and the first thought is the dread of going in to work, followed by the weight of bills, and then the sadness of shattered dreams and expectations. But then I look over at the love of my life lying next to me, who has stayed by my side for nearly 29 years and suddenly nothing else matters. I'm cool... I'm good.... I'm thankful.

So I get up and go face another day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fighting Discouragement

Saturday night we spent quite a bit of time in worship and intercession for Harrisburg. The Lord brought forth another new song. I can’t remember it because
it was definitely a song of intercession for the moment. We sang, prayed and worshiped for about 40 minutes before we began our teaching and instruction. We were revived and refreshed by it, which was really important since we were worn out from a full day of ministry.

One of the couples that we mentor, reminded us that our ministry has always been about long term therapy. They reminded us that even when we were living in
St. Louis and working on staff in the church, our ministry was not dynamic or eye-catching. We were about building relationship and providing the long, very slow process of healing therapy. They reminded us that a lot of people missed what God wanted to do in their lives because they wanted something fast and instant to happen. So they didn’t receive from us because that’s not how God uses us.

I remember how it took from 1992 all the way until 1997 before the youth ministry was strong and vibrant. It took from 1998 until 2002 for the young adult ministry
to really begin to soar. In both ministries, we started with the slow process of just building relationships. We met in small groups and we brought forth Biblical and everyday life foundational teaching.

Now to find ourselves in a city where people run away from relationship building, it’s like having the only thing that God has given you to do, to not work. We fast and pray. I sit down and study the Word of God, pouring over the life of Jesus and the early church apostles, just as the Lord has led me. Yet, we don’t see people coming, who want that in their lives. They want to receive the benefits of this kind of church, but they aren’t willing to give of themselves to make that happen.

However, every time we minister outside of this community, people are weeping and crying under the presence of God. They receive and welcome the very same message and ministry that, in this community, gets nothing but a yawn.

I was about to believe that something must be wrong with us until the Spirit of God reminded me that any place that did not have faith, and every place that was deep in skepticism, unbelief and offense, even Jesus Himself could not do any miracles or mighty works there, except for a few people here and there who were open to receive. Now we know what that feels like.

The only exception has been those who consistently come each week, but we can tell that even they are growing weary in waiting for something to change. This is where the whole validity of our calling and purpose gets challenged and questioned. I know this because we went through it in St. Louis. Just before the ministry began to grow, we lost a wave of people who were tired of waiting for things to change.

I know these faith steps should be working, but it seems that HERE, the atmosphere is filled with people don’t seem to want it. They seem to prefer to be where they are lost in a crowd and unaccountable to anyone. They prefer to live searching for the next thrill and the next feel good session. (This applies to people in and out of the Kingdom of God.)

Urban Life Church is like the exercise class that you must attend in order to become fit for Kingdom service. If a person just wants sweets and desserts, playing around and games all the time, this isn’t the place.

I recall that our sister DeVata told us that we are a special force unit. She mentioned that very few people can last through the training to become a part of such a unit. Some have even lost their lives in training. I guess that’s the part that is discouraging. I realize that we are still in training and everyone won't make it that attends Urban Life Church. The past five years haven’t even been the war yet. I can say this because I know what it is like to REALLY be in the war.

This past weekend was very hard on my family. It was tough, yet well worth it. I find myself guiding them through an aspect of the SPECIAL FORCE TRAINING that involves sacrificing your time and energy at a whole new level. We ministered in Lancaster Saturday morning, and drove back to Harrisburg, set up everything again, and ministered Saturday night. The whole day was taken and we were wiped out.
IT WAS AN IMPORTANT TEST to see where my family really is in the process.

Weekends are very valuable when you’re a bi-vocational pastor, but we don’t belong to ourselves, so we went for it. I’m very proud of my wife, sons, and mother in law (love). They were real troopers.

I can recall the REAL war meaning, the windows being broken out of my vehicle on several occasions, our home being burglarized, having the police show up at our door because we had been accused of harboring a runaway, rushing my son to the hospital because of asthma attacks, burying my brother, comforting a teenager after their baby died, fighting city hall’s attempts to shut down the ministry, being deeply, deeply wounded by church members and leaders (yet refusing to quit), and countless sleepless nights because of demonic visitations.

We’ve had some tough stuff to happen in Harrisburg, but we have been out of the front lines of the REAL WAR, for a long time. Right now, it’s very difficult to obtain and maintain a small group of people for the battle that is yet to come.

So I’m just waiting before the Lord during this season.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Broken, but Not Destroyed

During our Hidden Treasures Live interview with the Sullivans, Pastor Denise gave us a prophetic word that we were made not to be broken. Specifically she said, “You lost some people and you lost some things, but you were made not to be broken.”

Then Bishop Sullivan expounded on that by explaining the difference between the breaking that God brings to strengthen and build us, and the breaking that the enemy brings to try to destroy us.

I look back over the past five years and remember so many days and nights of deep anguish. It was especially difficult to lose our home in foreclosure. That breaking hurt very deeply because it was the second time this has happened to us. As far as I was concerned, this was totally my fault and it happened because I tried to do too much, too soon. That failure was connected to so many bad decisions, that it even seemed our coming to Harrisburg was a huge mistake.

Since then, I’ve had to be forthright and honest about what happened because I didn’t want my wife or my sons to be confused about the situation. I didn’t want them to blame God or turn against Him. That’s what happens when leaders don’t tell the truth about a situation. It leaves people suspicious of God. If I had held to the position that I prayed and God just didn’t answer my prayer, that would have been dishonest, and a great lack of integrity. I knew the truth and I had to confess the truth.

What I didn’t realize was that the decision to tell the truth, walk away from the house, and start all over again, was part of the breaking process. It broke pride. It broke religion. It broke ungodly expectations. It broke an ungodly vision. It broke up the fallow ground in my heart so that I could receive the promises of God today.

I don’t know who will read these blogs in the future; perhaps my grand children.

I just want them to know, that God is never to blame for the stuff that goes so desperately wrong in our lives. We make decisions based upon secret and sometimes, unknown motivations that are buried deep in our hearts. He lets us make those decisions, and then we live with the consequences of those decisions. That’s when we start praying and asking God to bail us out of the bad decision.

I have found that God won’t do anything until we’re honest about how we got to into that situation. After we are honest about it, He will either bail us out, or He will give us grace to go through it. Only He has the wisdom to know which way He should deliver us. Our position, if we have truly confessed and repented, is to trust whatever way He decides to handle our situation.

When we can trust Him like that, then we have been broken to the point where He can now give us out to a hurting world.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Today I feel like the football coach who has told his team that they are going to win the championship. Then after encouraging everyone, I had to tell them what it's going to take to accomplish that goal.

I saw a lot of sober expressions Saturday night.

I believe God. I believe in my players. Now it's time for us to see what we're really made of. I choose to believe that we will come forth as the champions the Lord has declared that we are to be.

...On Being A Birthing Coach

This morning I found myself thinking back on the days when my wife gave birth to our sons. The memories are still strong of the pressure packed minutes of coaching her through the birth pains.

The Lord reminded me how I had to be stern and gentle at the same time. I still recall the mind altering moment when I realized that I had to do this because her life was on the line. The baby was coming and I had to help her get through this. I could not cuddle her. I could not sugar-coat the moment or ignore the realities. I had to help her get through this pain.

This was especially true when the twins were born. We had no insurance, but it was not time to worry about how we were going to pay for this. We had very little income, but it was not time to worry about how we were going to pay our rent and utilities. We lived in a dangerous neighborhood, but it was not time to talk about that. A family lived in the apartment above us, and the mother would leave her little children at home alone all day, almost everyday. We feared that one day they would start a fire, and that our family would be in danger, but it was not time to deal with that.

Once labor pains begin, and the process of child birth has initiated, the only thing that matters is getting that baby born safely, and for the mother to come through it without losing her life as well.

I don’t know how to explain it, but that’s what I feel in this season for Urban Life Church and Fruitful Life Network. The labor pains have begun and I can’t focus on our bills, deadlines and problems. Something special is being birthed in the Spirit and I have to coach us through it.

Now I see it so clearly, that this is one of the reasons so many things have been aborted, miscarried or still born in this community. When it’s time for a Body of Believers to give birth, the pastors have to stand up and be stern and forthright. But the pregnant Body gets hurt and offended because the leaders seem to be insensitive to what they’re going through. But the reality is that just like when a woman is in child birth, she can’t focus on the problems in her life while she’s trying to give birth. She has to focus on the child that is coming. She can’t focus on her bills, the no good absent boy friend, her selfish siblings, her other children, her interfering mother in law, her nosey co-workers, or her irritating neighbors. All that matter is the birth of this child.

Now I know why so many ministries have never come forth. Many believers want to be cuddled through child birth, stroked through child birth, danced through child birth, or carried through child birth. But every mother can tell you, that there is only one way to get through child birth. There is a life and death determination that she has to make within herself.
After our children were born, I reached a whole new level of respect for my wife. Did I mention that she gave birth to the twins with no anesthia at all? By the time we got to the hospital, she was fully dilated and it was time to push. She didn’t have time to get ready for it. There was no time for me to get her ready for this like I did last time. There was no pep talk, and no gentle hugs and kisses to assure her that she was going to make it.

Suddenly, we were in the delivery room and she had to find it within herself to just do it.

She had to deliver, not once, but twice. Imagine having to push out one baby, and instead of being able to finely relax and take a pain killer, you have to do it all over again.

That’s why she’s such a warrior to this day. Carol doesn’t have much tolerance for people feeling sorry for themselves or being sad and down about what they have to go through. I didn’t say she has no understanding or compassion. She just doesn’t let them settle there. She doesn’t even let me settle there.

I felt so badly about what I had to preach Saturday night that I just went home and went straight to bed. I was quiet all day yesterday and blogged a little bit of my thoughts.

Today it was little clearer. I’m the birthing coach again. I have to do this. I have to be there to help my sons, our church, our staff, and our web viewers to face this aspect of the way God does things.

It’s like this: We ask the Lord for answers, but God always supplies a seed. He impregnates us with the answer. The only way the answer comes into the earth, is by birthing it into our reality.

We recently received a Prophetic Word that we are in our ninth month of pregnancy, and that child birth will begin any day now.

Well we sense the labor pains right now. All other situations in our lives are secondary now. This is the priority. It’s time to begin the process of labor and birth.

One thing we know about the Lord is that after you give birth to the vision, He begins to provide for that vision. After His vision is birth into the earth, He supplies everything that we need. He provides for us, so that we can fulfill our part in the vision.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Even If He Doesn’t

The past few months I’ve been dealing with the aspects of the ministry that involve tremendous sacrifice and demands. As we get closer to fulfillment of prophetic promises, I find myself questioning if whether I can stand up to what is coming.

I’ve watched leader after leader fall to the onslaughts of the enemy. Some battles have resulted in the loss of their marriages, their children and even death of those who are working closely with them.

My family has suffered so much over the years and as I rehearse the word of the Lord regarding the thousands and thousands of people who will be won to the Lord through this ministry that has been given to us, I guess it’s my pessimistic side that comes to the forefront and begins to wonder, what will be the price that has to be paid for thousands of souls.

I recall how the three Hebrew young men refused to bow to the Emperor of the world when he vowed to throw them into a furnace and burn them alive. They told him that they would not bow to him because God was well able to deliver them. However they made the one statement that is the hardest to declare. They said, “Even if God doesn’t deliver us, we will not bow.”

I have heard this message and I have preached this message. I’ve even taken this kind of stand. The reality is that there have been times when God did not deliver me when I took that stand. I was thrown into the furnace and I was burned alive. At least that’s how I saw it for a long time. Then I began to realize that the only thing that was burned was my flesh. Every carnal and infectious desire that was not of God was burned alive.

Through the years we’ve lost two homes, many relationships, and several dreams.
I don’t question God in those losses. I know that everything that we lost was merely things that would prove to hinder us in the future.

I guess it’s just hard to preach this reality to people who are already hurting and going through a lot of pain in this harsh economic and social upheaval in America today.

From our own small staff to the people who are tuning in to our web cast, I find myself struggling to declare this reality.

After 20-30 years of prosperity preaching, how do you begin to preach the gospel, which involves total sacrifice and a whole surrender of everything to God? No one wants to hear that kind of word. Everyone is in a desperate pursuit to have their needs met, not a desperate pursuit of God. The past five years have shown me that I was no different. I thought I wanted this new level until the new level meant letting go our home, our ministry and our dreams.

Now we have a new ministry, we’re living in a place we really don’t care for that much, and we don’t have very many dreams left.

I realize this is the place the Lord brought all of our “heroes of the faith”. We celebrate their accomplishment, but they will tell you, this is not what they wanted for their lives and their families.

Last night I talked from my heart and I could tell that it was a stunning and devastating word. I wanted to talk about the thousand and thousands of souls that will be won to Jesus, but I couldn’t get past the price that must be paid. I found myself struggling with the words that came to Jeremiah when the people did not want to hear the prophecies. They wanted him to only speak the good stuff, but not the “change your life and follow God at all cost” messages.

After last night, I don’t know if we’ll have any more webcast viewers. Many times, I have cleared out a group with this message. We wiped out our first youth group with this kind of preaching. We wiped out our first congregation with this kind of message. I wonder if I’ve just wiped out our current viewers and staff with this kind of message. But I know it’s a part of the walk with God that we cannot ignore.

We all have to come face to face with considering how we will respond to God, Even if He doesn’t deliver us…. the way we thought He would or should.

Changes and Confirmations

A couple of weeks ago, we were honored and humbled to join with believers from across this state in a gathering of prayer and worship called PA Awake. We were profoundly and deeply impacted. Our entire family came away from the day in tears, rejoicing with a renewed sense of connection with this community.

Three months after we started Urban Life Church (formerly Fruitful Life Worship Center), a special word and prayer was spoken over us at Christ Community Church in Camp Hill, PA on June 22, 2005 (mp3). The word was this:

“I know you’re not after a big ministry; you’re after a grass-roots thing. But because your heart’s been right the Lord’s going to put a ministry into your hands like you’ve never seen before. It’s going to be a... I don’t want to say one of these mega things… but God’s going to put a ministry into your hands and it’s going to be some kind of a huge thing here in Harrisburg. I don’t understand it all, but I just know your hearts are right. God’s going to put a ministry into your hands that’s going to be explosive here in the Harrisburg area.

Father, I just pray the blessing of the Lord over this couple and their sons. Father, I ask that you would use them in such a powerful way, you’ll use them is such a powerful way that thousands will come to know Jesus….Thousands, Father… thousands and thousands and thousands will come to know Jesus through this ministry…. in Jesus name.”

“Thank You Lord. Bless them, bless them, bless them with everything they need to fulfill the destiny of God in Harrisburg. Thank you, Lord.”

We have kept these two profound prayers in our hearts, pondering over them like Mary, when she heard the word spoken about Jesus. That night, we were so blessed that God would use this congregation to pray over us. We had only recently met them and they were embracing us. It was amazing and we love them. They are a precious family.

However, over the next four years, as I would replay the audio clip of those prayers, I would secretly ask the Lord, “What kind of ministry can you place in our hands at this stage of our lives?” For a season, I was living under the weight of disappointment.

We've done a lot of things in Harrisburg, but we have never made any effort to try to force those words and prayers to come to pass. There was nothing we could do except wait.

Over the past three years, our ministry has been going through a metamorphosis, like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. We have been inside of a cocoon, as the Lord has changed us. The results of those changes have been translated into amending the church name from Fruitful Life Worship Center, to Urban Life Church. We picked up the Fruitful Life Network of Ministries, which we had laid aside in 2005.

The Lord has been fine tuning us and opening the eyes of our hearts to see the people of South Central Pennsylvania through His Word from Isaiah 61. Through much prayer and fasting we began to understand what God was actually saying to us.

During the PA Awake prayer gathering, some folks from a church called Life Center, politely asked if they could pray for Carol and me, and our sons. As they prayed, they began to speak prophetic confirmations over us. Just like what happened at Christ Community Church, these precious people, who did not know us at all, began to speak about the same things that had been prayed over us at Christ Community Church.

There was no way that they could have known the things they proclaimed. They even confirmed that God was giving us a new ministry and doing a whole new thing. What they could not possibly have known was that God has been uncovering the new ministry that is in our hands.

A few weeks ago, the Lord dropped this little thought into my heart. It was the same simple question He asked Moses in Exodus 4:2, “What is that in your hand?” Of course I wanted to know what the Spirit of God meant by that. For days, this question kept coming to me. “What is that in your hand?”

On many occasions, while describing our mission and vision, I would tell our little church family, “We’re just going to keep doing what we do: God has given us books and songs, we use Internet and websites, and we do video and multimedia. We will webcast lessons for young adults in life's transitions. We will produce more webcast to help couples in their marriages. We will webcast to couples who are already living together and afraid to get married. We will webcast to young men to help them get their lives together. We’re just doing what we do and God is, somehow, using it to touch this generation. God is helping us to reach people who don't or can't come to church right now.”

Sometimes I would read testimonials from people who are receiving the ministry webcast, video clips, emails, website, and Facebook inserts. We would rejoice together and vow to continue doing what we do.

One day, as I was driving to work, the two statements came together in my heart: ‘We’re just doing what we do’ and ‘What is that in your hands?’
Suddenly the prayer from June 22, 2005 (mp3) at Christ Community Church came rushing up in my heart. God was doing it. He said He would place a ministry in our hands.

Our ‘doing what we do’ was the ministry that He had placed in our hands.

Looking back at the season when we were going though our growing pains and trials in the wilderness, one of the visions the Lord would often drop into my heart was the launching of an Internet television channel in which there would be 24/7 worship and teaching, to reach the unchurched urban communities of South Central Pennsylvania.

Now, I realize that at those times, the Lord was pointing to what was in my hand, and just like He did with Moses, the Lord commanded me to lay down the staff (the Fruitful Life Network) on the ground. But just like it happened with Moses, it turned into a snake and I ran from it. However, Moses was commanded to grab the snake by the tail and when he did, it turned back into a staff. It became a tool that God would use.

Like Moses, I ran from the snake and was afraid to pick up that snake (ministry through multimedia) because I didn't want to be bitten by it. What I mean is that I didn't want to appear to be self promoting. I didn't want to look like we were trying to be another Trinity Broadcasting Network. I didn't want to be accused of trying to be another Daystar. I didn't want the last remaining members of Urban Life Church to think their pastor had lost his mind.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Praying for a Miracle

I just prayed with one of my co-workers. She's a wife and grand mother in the final stages of Ovarian Cancer. It was discovered at a late stage and now the doctors have told her that there is nothing else they can do. Her husband was just laid off from his state job of 26 years, one year from retirement. I heard her crying on the phone when he called her this morning.

Before I got to work today, the Lord told me to pray for her today. I didn't know all of this was going to happen, but he had me prepared. I went back to her see her, but she wasn't in her cubicle so I waited.

Finally the moment came and she was alone with no one else around. I asked a few questions and she told me how bad things really are. I asked if she didn't mind if I would pray for her and she said yes.

I prayed as simply as I could and spoke healing over her. I asked the Lord to give their family grace and to open doors for her husband. There were tears in her eyes when I finished.

She said many people have been praying for her and she's on many prayer lists. I told her that she will be included on our church's prayer list, too.

This is the second time since I’ve been working on this job that I’ve found myself in a position to pray for a miracle in the life of a person battling cancer. This is the reason the Lord has us in the market place. This is the reason we are in Harrisburg, PA

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Prophetic Promises

I’ve been looking back at the video from the night we are officially installed as the pastors. The many words of wisdom and council that came to us are proving to be more precious than silver or gold to us.

As I reviewed the recording these are some of the things that have caught my attention this time:

Bishop Raphael Green:
Set us in as the senior pastor and first lady, senior associate pastor. I will start referring to Carol in this way and take the pressure off of her to be a co-pastor. She is primarily, the first lady and then the senior associate pastor. I’ll place that in our brochures and documents.

He also prayed for Grace, Wisdom Favor, Power, Authority and Ability in a multi-generational manner.

Pastor Raleigh Wingfield:
He prayed for Power and Understanding. He also prayed that the Lord would open the eyes of his understanding. Give him gifts of leadership and wisdom to lead your people.

That he would give a good word in due season, because a good word is like well driven nails.

He prayed that I would speak the mysteries… set men free.
He prayed that he would know what to do, the hour to do it, and the time that it is due.

He prayed that I would have perception to understand, comprehend the beginning and end of a thing. (Now I know why we are changing the name of the church and distinguishing the Fruitful Life Network from the church.

He prayed that I would know how to migrate and navigate, and know how to make decisions and appointments. He prayed that I would know how to decide when to go out and when to come in, when to rise up and when to sit down. Finally he prayed that I would understand the timings and seasons of the Lord.

Pastor Dave and Sheri Hess:
He declared that there is a Yes that resounds in the heavens. GOD says yes over our lives; HE says yes over every promise that He has made to us.

Sheri Hess prayed and asked the Lord to expand their capacity to receive from God, Let them partake in that ever increasing thing (Like the Kingdom of God is ever increasing). She spoke of God’s deposit of life, that we would be speaking words of LIFE; that they will LIFE people.

She saw us speaking LIFE into people; hope, salvation, healing over people. She declared that life is in their mouth. She saw a rod of budding coming out of our mouths.

Then she said there’s many in the wake of their foot prints, walking in the path, following them, many are in the trail of their foot prints.

Again she prayed that God would expand our capacity to receive beyond our wildest dreams, beyond what they can ask or think, not just for numbers. She said God sent servants who smell like sheep, willing to go low and minister.

John Shuey:
John prayed a declaration that before the beginning of time God preordained Chris and Carol to good works. We call forth their destiny in the name of Jesus Christ.”
He prayed, “That a faith would rise up within them and within this congregation that would touch heaven and bring that destiny into reality.

That everything God planned for them to accomplish in this city would be fulfilled; That every dream that God dreamed for us in heaven would become a reality on earth.”

First Lady Brenda Green:
“May God expand you, enrich you, empower you, ask for supernatural, double portion anointing, that they might fulfill God’s ordained destiny.”

Kerry Shuey: God is going to bless them exceedingly, abundantly, above all that they can ask or imagine. God is going to bless them beyond their imagination; Beyond anything they have seen or heard. Cause your people throughout this city, and the lost and hurting, the desperate to see God in them. We pray for such a harvest, to see the hope within them.

We pray for the lost to come trickling in and rushing in to this place. That they would expand and burst the seams of this place. Be preparing the next place. Prepare the staff, the audio, visual equipment, finances, everything that they need, called forth according to God’s riches in glory.

We receive these gifts into our city. We covenant to work together.

Bishop Raphael Green: Prophetically he declared, “I would even adjust your pace; I will bring about an accommodation of your spirit to my spirit. You shall discover the ways of the lord, and you shall know my heart, and I would dare to even catapult you if you would be willing and obedient.

For the forces of darkness that have aligned themselves against this region or on alert. The servants of the Lord with whom you stand have heard the clarion call of God

So I will require that you maintain a heart of openness and comradory, and prayer with the elders of this city. For I have made you significant players in that which I have already begun. If you would remain humble you together shall see the hand of God.”

We Know How They Feel

I really didn’t plan to watch the whole thing. I logged on line to catch a brief glimpse of the memorial Service for Michael Jackson. I caught quite a bit of it. Smokie Robinson, Barry Gordy, Brooke Shields, Marlon Jackson and the final words by Michael’s daughter.

I caught enough of it that I was overwhelmed with the pain and grief I have unintentionally suppressed for months and years. The whole situation was so sad and it brought back the death of my brother, along with the death of Chris Jackson, Bishop Gimenez and Bishop Saunders, just to name a few. It brought back the pain of separation from my family and friends. It brought back the tugging on my heart to just give up and quit.

It brought so much because Michael Jackson was just a regular person with an extraordinary gift. He was one of millions of us Black Kids growing up in the 60’s, especially those of us who grew up in talented, musical families in the Midwest. His success and the Jackson’s success, was our triumph and success.

Now, to see them all so vulnerable and in so much pain was beyond what I could take. The images stayed with me all evening. I tossed and turned all night. I interceded for the family because I know how they feel.

No matter how much dirt is in a family and no matter how much we fight, it still comes down to the reality that all we got is each other. No amount of money or fame can take the place of that simple reality. Their mansions will feel emptier from now on. Their Mercedes will just be transportation from here to there. Their clothes will just be garments. Their jewelry will never shine like it did before.

I pray that the emptiness and pain will lead to a new conviction and commitment to God. I pray that this family will not become hardened, but that they will be become tender toward God.

We have never known much about the Jackson family beyond the stage. We don’t know their personalities, their wildness, their angry outburst, their vices or their true values.

But in this brief moment in time, we share something painfully real and we have something in common. We know how they feel.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

From Fruitful Life to Urban Life

I'm glad to be blogging again. I've started a time of fasting and consecration and that always ignites my writing and music. The Lord has given me a couple of new songs already. He's reminding me of many promises that HE gave us before we moved to Pennsylvania. We really need the reminders more than ever.

We're on the brink of breakthrough or disaster. The only thing that will determine the outcome is faith in the Lord Himself. Now that the legislators of this state are in a battle regarding the state budget, I'm one of thousands of state employees who are currently working without pay. If something doesn't happen right away, we'll be facing the inability to pay rent and utilities. The income through Carol's job is not affected, but my income is almost double the amount of hers. Still, our trust is in the Lord.

It's difficult because we want to see breakthrough for mom and for the Carter family as well. They have trusted the Lord and trusted us. Now we are all being challenged as to if whether we are truly following the Lord or if we are following a foolish dream.

If we are to reach the new era as a ministry and start fresh as Urban Life Church, we will make this one last stand. We will hold on to the Lord until the very end. We must know, once and for all, that we are following the voice of the Lord.

If we are to get across this final barrier, this same barrier that has stopped every ministry that has come to this area to bring the truth and the prophetic anointing, we must seek the Lord for His wisdom

Living in A Daze...again

I don't know how to explain it or express it, but things are coming to a close. As the month of June faded out and as we come closer to the anniversary of the day we moved to Harrisburg (July 9, 2004), I feel that a door is closing. I don't know if you can call it a window of opportunity that is closing or if it is a book that is ending. I just feel like something has come to an end.

We've made the decision to change the name of the church from Fruitful Life Worship Center to Urban Life Church. We just know that Fruitful Life Worship Center has come to an end. It's purpose has been served. For everyone we were supposed to reach or connect with, I don't know if you can call it an overall success or a massive failure, but its time is over. We connected with Mom Dennis, the Carter family, and the Fosters and for that we are forever grateful. We are enriched and blessed because of them.

Now we are in transition again. We are looking for a house in the city, even though we have no earthly means of financing it or borrowing money to buy a home. We just know that we are supposed to prepare to move from where we are right now.

We're all saddened by the news that another prospective member is moving on. We tried our best to be loving and understanding, as well as being real and open. We didn't try to hide our flaws or pretend that we had it all together. Sometimes I'm totally confused and dismayed by the response of people in this community.

I also realize that we have really been out of it, these past two years. Since losing our home, we have also lost many dear people: Bishop John Gimenez, Bishop William Saunders, Bishop Val Melendez, Tiffany's mom passed away, and this year we lost Elder Chris Jackson. The past two years have been filled with tragic loss. I honestly don't know how we've been able to keep going. We really haven't taken time to process all of this. Carol and I used to take therapeutic walks after work everyday. We walked until the pain stopped, but that did not mean we were really healing and recovering from all that's been happening.

People here seem to be immune and indifferent to death and loss. They express no sympathy or concern for the losses of others. May be it's because they don't have close families, so they feel nothing when they hear that you've lost a brother or a friend.

We almost lost my baby brother a few months ago. Finally, our brother and Bishop had to be hospitalized with chest pains this past week. We didn't tell the church family because we didn't want to alarm them.

Emotionally and mentally, we feel the same way that we did when my brother Mark died 10 years ago. We were so traumatized that we lived in a daze for almost two years. When we came to ourselves we realized our house was in a mess, the church office was cluttered, our cars we unkept, and we were always crying at the drop of a hat.

As I write this, I realize that we are in the same condition. Once again, our current resident is cluttered and untidy along with our office/ studio area, bedrooms and vehicles. For the most part, we've been trying to keep going, but we're pretty messed up right now with so many losses in such a short amount of time.

So while we are trying to get through this, people are making judgments and evaluations about us and the validity of the calling and ministry. So I can only wish that we had been able to be better examples for them to follow.

This is the kind of thing that makes us wonder why the Lord ever called us. If it weren't for the video clips with the prophecies, we would be wondering if He really called us at all.

So we will press forward, forgetting those things which are behind....