2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.
The other day I was searching the web and came across this amazing map of the Global Status of Evangelical Christianity by Send International. It's a really insightful tool because you can see the areas of the world where evangelicals live, and also areas that are closed to the gospel. Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned was that 65% of the world's population lives in countries that do not allow religious workers. It reminds me how important it is to pray for workers that are out there, and to pray to the Lord to send more workers into the harvest (Matthew 9:38). I invite you to explore this map and share it with others.
Missions Resource Section Added
I'm always looking to add new content to this site, and one section I really have been meaning to add is a section on Missions. This is a centerpiece to any believer - we're called to live missionally and to love like Jesus wherever we go. And when we step out in faith, the Lord responds in ways we can't even begin to imagine.
For me, I've lived as a missionary abroad since November 2019, and have seen so many amazing things - healings, miracles, open doors, and more. One thing that I've experienced is that when I make myself available to the Lord by shifting my attention to Him and what He wants to do in any situation, He will use me. I personally believe that the Lord wants to move in every situation and circumstance, and we owe it to Him to continually be aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
I think it's a lot like the classic American football saying - the best ability is availability. I think often times believers think that they need to be in a certain circumstance, at a certain time, and with the right environment in order for God to move. But, that's now how it works. Living missionally is a partnership, whereby we show our open hands to the Lord and He guides us into the good works He's prepared for us. While at first that might sound too simple, it's honestly how it it works. Jesus Himself said He didn't do anything unless He saw the Father doing it (John 5:19) - meaning that He abided and was connected to the will of the Father at all times. In other words, Jesus made Himself available in the service of the Father, and as He did, extraordinary things happened.
The amazing thing is that this same experience is available to you through a relationship with Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that we would do "greater works than these" (John 14:12-14), meaning that the things that He did, believers will do greater things. And this is true whether you travel to a new country or go into work everyday. God wants to use you wherever you are to showcase His love, power, grace, and mercy.
I hope you'll reflect on these things, and check out the new Missions section. While this new section isn't too robust yet, I have a couple excellent resources you should check out. I'll continue to add other resources over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, I challenge you to turn your attention towards the Lord, and ask Him what He wants you to do in any given situation. You may just be surprised.
The Word of God is amazing, and speaks to us about every single situation in our lives. Countless leaders and individuals have sought its guidance for centuries, using the Bible as a tool for discernment, wisdom, and knowledge about everything that life confronts us with.
Of course, for many new believers, understanding the entirety of the Bible can be difficult, especially when you don't know about the historical context, or how things fit together. I know for me, when I first became a believer, I devoured the word of God, and the Holy Spirit ministered to me greatly during those days. At the same time, I didn't understand the larger Biblical narrative, and how one book connected to the next. Enter the study Bible.
Study Bibles are amazing tools that every believer should have. They provide in depth commentary, historical context, cross references, maps, and literary analysis that is critical for developing an authoritative understanding of the Word of God. And developing that skill is paramount in the walk of every believer, and should be a top priority.
I'm reminded of a story one day where I was walking with a brother in Christ, and he felt led to talk to a Muslim woman who was walking in the park with her son. I kept walking, and waited for him as he spoke to her briefly. When he returned, he told me that she at one time was a believer, a Christian, but when she had questions about the Bible, none of her Christian friends could answer her questions, so she converted to Islam. I found this shocking, and tragic.
It is imperative that every believer knows the word of God, what it says, and how it is connected. Luckily, study Bibles help you gain this understanding, and give you insights that are valuable in your walk.
I did some digging on the web, and found a nice post from Addall, which did a review of different study Bibles for 2021. It has some great observations, and lists 10 different study Bibles. Check it out, and if you don't already have a study Bible, you should totally get one. I personally use the ESV study Bible, and it has been tremendously helpful in my walk in understanding the living word of God.
Enduring Word Bible Commentary
I've been meaning to write a short post on this amazing resource that you should know about if you don't already. Enduring Word Bible Commentary is an incredible website that has an in-depth commentary on every verse in the Bible. The website describes the commentary like this:
"For over twenty years Pastor David Guzik has been researching each Bible Passage and creating what Thousands of people have come to know as The Enduring Word Bible Commentary."
In my personal study, I frequently go to this resource to glean new insights and understanding. Along with the ESV Study Bible, this is an excellent supplemental resource to better help you comprehend the context and meaning behind scripture.
If you haven't looked at this, I encourage you to do so. It will add to your understanding of different Bible chapters, and the commentary that Pastor Guzik integrates from other leading Biblical scholars is pure gold.
Streetlights / Prism new album
I feel like I should ask for forgiveness. I somehow overlooked the area of music on this blog/website. Doh! When I first became a believer, I thought I was doomed for the rest of my life to listen to uptight, traditional hymns (not that there's anything wrong with those but....). Luckily I found that there is an incredible treasure trove of musical talent in the body of Christ. At a later point I'll share some more with you, but for now I want to HIGHLY recommend the new album by Streetlights / Prisms.
“Prisims” is Streetlights’ eclectic Hip Hop trio formed by Esteban Shedd, Aaron Lopez & Loren La Luz and focuses on making music that pens and expresses God’s Word through the lens of the times.” Their new album is exceptionally heartfelt, with powerful lyrics, amazing beats, and an epic feel that reminds you of the perfect summer day blended with the refreshed revelation that you will be with the Lord forever. It's truly amazing, and I suggest you download it straight from their website, and throw them some love as you do..
Resources section revised
Earlier this week, the Lord told me to revise my website this weekend, so I spent some time today revising, reformatting, editing, adding, subtracting, and all the other things that go along with managing a website.
One of the biggest changes is in the Resources section, which is a major focus of this website. There you will find a ton of great materials to help you grow in your walk with the Lord. Below are some of the major sections that I have now, and will certainly be adding to it as well. Take some time to explore these great resources and share them with others.
Based on my last post, I decided to create a short overview of the different areas of personal renewal that the Lord shared with me a few days ago. These areas touch different mindsets that we might have, and may help you catalyze growth and change in your life. Feel free to explore this publication as well as check out the other publications I have on this website. God bless you.
Areas of Person Renewal
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The other day in my quiet time the Lord was speaking to me about five distinct areas of personal renewal. I wrote them down, and went about my day. However, over the past few days, the Lord has brought them to mind, and I felt led to write this blog post and to share these with you.
1) Earn It
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The Lord was speaking to me about passivity, which is rampant throughout the church. Often people have giftings and talents that lay dormant because they are waiting for the right time or situation or circumstance or whatever to begin to act on them. What's more, is that God has placed a dream within each of our hearts, and it takes time and grit to fully pursue the calling that God has for each of us. When we're passive about such things, we don't really walk in partnership with God the way He wants us to. The essence of this area of personal renewal is to invest yourself fully in what God has placed in your heart - your dreams, your calling, your talents and giftings. As you do, you'll come alongside what God has for you and overcome the stronghold of passivity. Think about what your calling and gifts are, and if you don't know, ask the Lord. Then, pursue them with everything you have, fully investing yourself and reaping eternal rewards.
2) Change It
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Of course, fully investing our time and focus on what God's called us to can be difficult, especially when there's other things that compete for our attention, and habits and patterns that we've haphazardly created. What this means is that we need to change things to allow for the space to be available in our lives to walk as God has called us to. This may mean laying down small things like time on social media or watching TV, or it may mean larger things like laying down a relationship, a job, or a hobby. My suggestion is to pray and seek the Lord's guidance on what needs to change. He wants to partner with you on everything, so going to Him and asking "What in my life needs to change, Lord?" is a great question that God loves to answer. As He does, be bold and courageous in following His prompting, and see how things in your life will change.
3) Be It
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Sometimes we believe that we need to "arrive" at a certain point in our development to ultimately fully embody who God has designed us to be. What happens is that this leads to striving rather than being comfortable in your own skin and knowing that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made." As we accept our original design God has for our life and walk in it, we can be who are meant to be. We don't have to cater our personalities, characteristics, or habits to anyone else - let God be the guide in your life and fully embrace who you are. In other words, be who you are, and know that it's how God's made you to be. It's a beautiful thing to know that you are loved for who you are.
4) Charge It
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
As we walk in the way that God has made us, and pursue our dreams and callings, the enemy will come against you. This is for a couple key reasons. First, God's plan for your life includes some element of advancing His kingdom, whether through evangelism, teaching, or an array of other areas. It's our duty as Christians to know God and to make Him known to the world. As we do that, we directly attack the plans the enemy has for others. Of course, he doesn't like that and pushes back. In all honesty, the enemy is defeated, but can still wreak havoc in our lives if we don't guard ourselves.
Second, as you walk in your design, you align with God's purposes for your life, and His perfect plan for your life, meaning that you are walking in your authority, and walking in the power of the Spirit. This means your ministry will flourish, which too is a direct assault of the enemy. Be prepared for the enemy to push back as you walk out your calling. It may be through inconveniences, through disturbances, or through others in your life. When that happens, that's when we lean into prayer, trust in God's word, and worship the Lord with our whole hearts, knowing that He is all good and has overcome every obstacle.
5) Become It
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
As we fully walk in our design, embodying our calling and pursuing our dreams, we become more and more conformed to the image of Jesus. Remember that we all, "with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18). What this means is that as we walk as we're made, and are guided by the Spirit, we are being transformed into the image of Jesus. There is no more exciting thing to think about becoming conformed to the image of our Savior. As we become this reality, we see circumstances and perspectives change, as God is able to work through us to do the impossible. The question is - what are you waiting for?
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Ultimately, only you can decide to be who God made you to be. These are a few areas that the Lord showed me. They're not necessarily sequential, but instead represent a mindset and posture for pursuing your calling and walking in your original design. I encourage you to explore these areas, take them to the Lord yourself, and see what God has to say for your life about each area.
God bless you!
5 Bizarre French Expressions
In this episode of Quarantine Kids, Quarantine Man shares five bizarre French expressions for those who are learning French. As you'll see, many of these expressions are challenging to understand, but luckily, Quarantine Kids are here to help you master these expressions. I hope you enjoy, and please share. God bless you!
Happy new year! Let's all pray that this year is better than last year.
For me, the year has started out great. This morning I was in my quiet time and the Lord gave me a few words that I felt led to share. Please excuse the first few seconds, where there was a little static. Tech issues even happen to bloggers. Yup.
Anyway, in this video I read the words that I felt the Lord gave me, and talk a little bit about what I feel like the Lord is saying in terms of what believers and non-believers should be doing right now. I hope you enjoy it. May God bless you and your family this year.
Faith and Grace
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Faith is a measure of trust in the One true God. Faith is a gift; it is given to us by the Father of Lights in heaven to us so that we might be able to know Him more. He gave us faith to assure us that He exists, but also so that we can do the works that He has prepared for each of us.
Hebrews 11 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. God gives us faith to act upon, and He knows just how much faith we have, so when He asks us to do something, He knows firsthand that we have the faith to do it. It isn’t something impossible, and in fact, it is something that we are uniquely qualified to do. Whether that is talking to a friend, a stranger, going on a mission trip, or creating a blog, whatever God asks us to do, He has qualified us to do it. That means there are no excuses.
The great thing is that there’s grace as well. We aren’t able to do anything unless we abide in Christ, and when He asks us to do something, sometimes we get afraid of what others will think, or how we will look, or what the ramifications will be, and we act cowardly. It is then when regret takes root, and yet, because God is so kind and generous, He receives us back, forgives us, and gives us more opportunities.
And these opportunities are not just opportunities to serve, which they certainly are. They are so much more in fact. They are eternal destiny changing tasks. If God tells us to talk to someone, He has a plan on what to do with that interaction. He’ll even give you the words to say if you ask Him. But there’s more, the Bible talks about eternal rewards that believers will get on Judgement Day if we are faithful with what He has given us, including our faith.
So, each time God asks you to do something, be sure to remember that you are uniquely qualified, that God has given you the faith to do whatever He asks, and that He has a plan that is perfect and involves you. And as you listen and obey, you will be blessed with eternal rewards for ages to come.
The Gospel Imperative
and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
One of the things I completely love about the Word of God is that you can read the same section repeatedly, and the Lord will speak to you in different ways as you mature in Christ. I'm sure you, like me, have had many such moments where you've read a Scripture in a new way, or a familiar verse takes on a new angle depending on where you are in your walk. Isn't it just amazing?
The reason I'm writing this post is because this happened for me a few weeks, and it was related to the power and imperative of preaching the gospel. I feel like it's a timely message for everyone in the body of Christ.
A few weeks ago the Lord prompted me to revisit the Book of Acts, which I had studied a bit through BSF last year. During the BSF course, much of the conversation centered on the fact that the book should have been called the Acts of the Holy Spirit, which is certainly true, as the Holy Spirit's presence is so amazing throughout this outstanding book. As I revisited this book recently, however, I took note of the order in which the Holy Spirit worked, in other words, when the Holy Spirit showed up. As I re-read this amazing book, I was struck by something:
The Holy Spirit always showed up after the Word of God was preached.
At first, I didn't think it was much of a pattern. I thought it was just a time or two. But then I took my yellow highlighter out and decided to highlight all the times that the apostles preached the gospel, and I was surprised. Not only was it the sole focus of their lives, but it was only after they preached that the manifestation of the Spirit came. This, of course, got me thinking.
How many believers are hungry to experience the power and fullness of God in their lives? How many desire to see miracles, healings, and the gifts of the Spirit? And, how many believers are actually preaching the gospel?
Sure, many believers have great conversations with unbelievers and pray for people, which is a necessary thing as it leads people one step closer to knowing Jesus. But, what would change if we took on the same attitude that the early church had, and focused on exclusively sharing the gospel from a place of being on fire to see God's kingdom come. What if we had the drive to preach the gospel every day, from a place of love of urgency?
I know as I read and highlighted in yellow all the times that the Book of Acts said that one of the apostles preached the gospel, I felt insight bubbling up inside of me. You see, the gospel is what it's ALL about. The gospel, or good news, is much more than a simple story that we repeat to make sure we're on the right side of our faith. In fact, it's infinitely more than that. It is the embodiment of our faith. It is the reason that so many millions of people have died throughout the centuries. It is the power to set people free and bring them into God's beautiful presence for all of eternity. It is the story of God's redemptive love for each and every single person who has and will ever live.
The gospel is the demonstration of God's earnest desire to reconcile us to Himself for all eternity. And it is the most exciting and beautiful and compelling thing that exists.
This thread of our collective history is what captured the imaginations and hearts of every single apostle and evangelist that ever took the step of leaving everything to partner with God on this amazing redemptive story. It's also the single most targeted activity of spiritual warfare by the enemy, and perhaps that's why so few believers actually intentionally go out to share the gospel.
Isn't it remarkable that at the end of Ephesians 6, as Paul writes about the nature of spiritual warfare, that he asks the readers of the epistle to pray for him to preach the gospel with boldness. He recognizes that much of the spiritual warfare directed against him (and, in actuality, against us as well) was because of his calling to preach the gospel. In fact, for every believer with that inkling, it's exactly what the enemy wants - to distract us, to install a fear of man within us, to cause us to shriek back when opportunities to preach the truth come into our path. This is the constantly shifting, yet single most important strategic location in the spiritual war: the conversation about the gospel.
So, like Paul, we should all be asking for others to pray for us to boldly declare the gospel. It is the power to save. And for those that don't make preaching the gospel a high priority in their evangelism or ministries, I suggest pausing and evaluating why. It's time to reflect on these things, invite the Holy Spirit to teach us how to do better, and get out there and watch God work in amazing ways.
In these crazy and uncertain times, I believe that the Lord wants to bless us and show us His power through the Holy Spirit. He wants to do this in partnership with us, and it's only through our preaching of the gospel that people this partnership can be complete in its fullness.
I invite you to seriously ask yourself these questions and reflect on what you can do to change:
Am I going far enough in sharing the gospel with others? If not, why not?
What do I have to surrender to go further to meet the will of God?
What is stopping me from sharing the gospel, and what do I have to do to move beyond that?
Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.
It's been a little while since I've posted anything, but I assure you that the Lord has been working in mighty ways. I just finished a three day fast, where I prayed for over 1,400 people. Yesterday was the last day of my fast, and I had an intense dream last night. I woke up just after 4am, and then I entered into my quiet time. The Lord showed a picture of me swimming, and with each stroke, there were two joined visions. This happened three times for a total of six visions. I feel like the Lord wanted me to share this today, and hence, I created this video below to detail the visions for you. Please feel free to share. God bless you.
Quarantine Kids: Vegetable Puns
I guess since people are still in quarantine I should probably keep making these Quarantine Kids episodes. Sooooo, here's the latest episode, which is all about vegetable puns. I think you'll enjoy it. Please share this online, and tell your friends. And follow us on Facebook @TheRealQKids - thanks so much!
Quarantine Kids: Fruit Puns
Some people like fruit. Some people like puns. The Quarantine Kids like fruit puns. Explore this exotic and sometimes unusual world of puppetry that aims to inspire laughs and share the truth about Jesus: He's real and He loves you.
This episode looks at fruit puns. And, I must say, there's quite a few good ones. Enjoy!
Battle Plan for these times
Last month the Lord gave me a dream and some words of encouragement for this time. I believe it is a time of preparation, and in this video, I talked about three simple things we can all do as believers during this time to prepare. God bless you.
As you likely know, cats get hairballs. And yet, the process by which they get hairballs is a mystery, right? Well, in this latest episode of the Quarantine Kids, we explore how cats get hairballs and share the animal known for having the largest hairball ever. Hmmm. I hope you enjoy it.
In our latest installment of Quarantine Kids, we look back at a very important holiday: National Help A Horse Day, which was on April 26. In this video you'll learn about the unique origin of National Help A Horse Day, and witness some of the truly bizarre reasons why horses need our help. Follow us on Facebook: @therealQKids
Quarantine Kids: Shrimp Jokes
Have you ever heard a good shrimp joke? Me neither. Well, when a puppet tells a shrimp joke, something amazing happens: the jokes are actually funny. That's the premise of the latest episode of Quarantine Kids - it's all about shrimp jokes.
In a cruel and uncertain world, an intrepid group of puppets brings forth humor, inspired social commentary, and a celebration of obscure holidays. This is the one and only Quarantine Kids.
In this premiere episode, we take advantage of schools being out to do uncomfortable chair reviews from around the world.
Home Is _____
One of my new friends in Paris is doing an art project called Home Is ___. It is an invitation to ponder what home means to you and to express that in some artistic form. I felt led to do a poem and create this video. I hope you enjoy.
Wonder - Hillsong United (video)
In celebration of Earth Day, I opted to create this worship video of an amazing song by Hillsong United, 'Wonder.' As we look at the beauty of God's creation, may we all recognize the true creative genius of the Lord, and the ways that He has blessed us with nature and beauty in His creation. God bless you today, and feel free to share this video.
So I'm starting to really dig the idea of worship videos that truly glorify God and His infinite creative genius. Here's my second in a series of worship videos that showcase His glory, the beauty of His creation, and the power of the Word of God. Oh, and this is one of my favorite songs. Enjoy, please share on social media, and subscribe! God bless you.
I think all those years of doing collages are starting to pay off! I'm really excited to share this worship video with you, the first of many more to come. Share it on your social media. God bless you and happy Easter. He has risen!
Here's a short poem the Lord gave me this morning called Testimony. Given the Easter season, it's good to reflect on the story of Jesus, and all that He's done for you, especially taking your place at your trial to see where your eternal destination will be. The only question is: Will you accept His standing in for you?
Derrick Rhayn is a new Christian and seeks the will and Word of the Lord.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.