Chapter 19: Peace

Chapter 19: Peace

God has a lot of things to say about peace:

“Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:11 ESV

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  Matthew 5:9 ESV

“A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  James 3:18 ESV

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 ESV

Our peace comes from God:

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.  The Lord be with you all.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 ESV

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 ESV 

And He commands us to walk in HIs peace:

“Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.  For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”  1 Peter 3:9-11 ESV

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.”  Colossians 3:15 ESV

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”  Romans 14:19 ESV

Peace is a gauge by which we assess our hearts before and within the Lord.  Peace is not something that we impose on others from without, rather, peace is something that flows from the heart of God, through our hearts as we are surrendered to Him, and then out to others.

Yet the peace of the God pouring through our lives is not something that happens automatically. In our flesh-selves we find ourselves striving with each other, demanding of each other, condemning each other. Chaos and strife are our natural bent.

“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28 ESV

“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”  James 3:14-16 ESV

“For you are still of the flesh.  For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 1 Corinthians 3:3 ESV

As in all things there is a process in becoming men and women of peace.  To be conduits of peace there are a few things that must be accomplished in our own hearts and minds.

1.  First, we come to understand that we do not really know His peace.  We recognize that there is much to learn about the peace of God and we admit our need and confess the lack of peace in our own hearts and minds.  We allow the revelation of the Lord to show us our jealousies and to highlight our contentions and then we confess these things to God.  Bringing our lack of peace out into the light makes a space by which God’s peace can begin to change and inhabit our lives.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ESV

2.  Second, we must bring our ego needs to the Lord.  Where we are insecure we must rest in God and what He declares about us.  We do not take our sense of self from our outward lives, but rather we settle into self that is settled in the Lord.  We come to Him and He wraps us in His peace.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10 ESV

In this, we loose off our demanding of others.  The way of peace is the way of walking in forgiveness and understanding.

  • Are we contentious in our spirits? We need the peace of the Lord.
  • Are we unsettled in joy and faith? We need the peace of the Lord.
  • Are we unwilling to set things right with others? We need the peace of the Lord

“For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20 ESV

Peace is powerful and active.  Sometimes we believe peace is passive and lays down at the first hint of trouble.  But peace is far more than just refusing to engage chaos or give voice to dissension, peace is the heart of our Father God and when our hearts are transformed by his peace, our hearts become a conduit of His peace.

Out of this work of the Lord in our own lives, peace flows out of our person to others around us.  And when we walk in the peace of the Lord the darkness around us must submit to this spirit of peace carried in the love of the Lord.  Peace enters in the kingdom of God just as light illuminates a dark room.

Where there are spirits of chaos and destruction, we ignore the spirits of the enemy and instead we pray peace, “God we declare your peace in this place.” Rather than focussing on evil, we focus on God.  Instead of going after the enemy, we bring God himself.  In this way God’s ways take preeminence – peace does this.

“God, we say yes and amen to your peace over this community.”

“Jesus, we agree with your peace this day over this home.”

“Holy Spirit, bring your peace to our hearts and minds.”

“God, we enter into your peace.”

The enemy cannot stand against peace, for peace is the exact opposite of the nature of the enemy, peace is wholly the nature of God.  Most particularly, our own sin nature loses it’s power when brought into the peace of God.

 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 ESV

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.”  Jeremiah 17:14 ESV

“Creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:19  ESV

Where the enemy seeks to destroy, peace seeks to heal.  Where our hearts wish to condemn, peace forgives.  Where communities are embroiled in dissension, peace brings a balm of the Lord and tensions ease and life increases.

The peace of God changes our lives, transforming our communities.  The peace of the Lord begins in our own hearts and spreads from there.  May we become people of peace.  And as we do this may we enter in the Kingdom of God on earth.

“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.   The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”  Psalm 147:1-5 ESV (read all of Psalm 147:1-20) 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,”  Psalm 103:2-4  ESV


I want you to try an experiment:  For one month’s time I want you to stop praying against or mentioning Satan.  Instead, I want you to:

  1. Pray peace
  2. Be the light of Christ 

Here is how you pray peace: 

“God, we lift ourselves, this home, this place, this village (a person even, whatever needs the peace of the Lord) to you.  I declare your peace over them today.  I pour your peace into this place today. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we say, “Peace be upon us.” Amen.” 

Here is how you can be the light of Christ: 

At the end of the book of Matthew we read Jesus last instructions to his disciples, 

“ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the command I have given you.  And be sure of this, I am with you always and even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20 NLT 

Some time back I was reading this verse and I noted that Jesus tells us to obey the commands he has given us.  And I had to think, ‘What are the commands that Jesus gave?’ 

So, I went through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and made note of the general instructions that he gave.  Here is what I came up with: 

  1. Know your heart poverty and need for Christ (5:3)
  2. Make sure to mourn when needed (5:4)
  3. Walk in humility (5:5)
  4. Be and do justice for others (5:6)
  5. Be merciful (5:7)
  6. Open your heart for the Lord’s purity (5:18)
  7. Go after peace in all things (5:9)
  8. Don’t concern yourself if you are persecuted (5:10)
  9. Thank God for your persecution (5:11-12)
  10. Be wise as you interact with the world (5:13)
  11. and be a healer and be holiness for those in the world (5:13)
  12. Be light, do not shrink back from influence (5:15)
  13. Do good deeds for others (5:16)
  14. Be aware of the nature of sin (5:17-20)
  15. Refuse to curse others in any form (5:22)
  16. Reconcile with people before coming to church service (5:23-24)
  17. Be serious about sins of the heart (5:27-30)
  18. Take sexual unity seriously, not flippantly (5:31-32)
  19. Do not make vows, just say yes or no (5:33-37)
  20. Be generous without retribution, hatred, being exacting or stingy (5:38-42)
  21. Overcome evil with Sulha, expansive forgiveness (5:43-48) (footnote below)
  22. Don’t make a big deal about your service (6:1-4) 
  23. Pray in secret, with few words, without show (6:5-13)
  24. Forgive everyone (6:14-15)
  25. Fast unto the Lord only (6:16-18)
  26. Do not store up possessions or money on earth (6:19)
  27. Invest in treasures (people) for heaven (6:20)
  28. Take care with what you view (6:22)
  29. Do not make ministry into a business (6:24)
  30. Do not be concerned with your own care and comfort (6:25-34)
  31. Do not be judgmental of others in your spirit (7:1-3)
  32. Attend to your own heart, spirit, and sin (7:4-5)
  33. Be prudent with you share the glory of God (7:6)
  34. Remain in a position of asking and receiving from the Lord (7:7-11)
  35. Be aware of how you treat others (7:12)
  36. Know what is the narrow gate versus the wide gate (7:13-14)
  37. Pay attention to the fruit of people’s lives (7:15-20)
  38. Do the will of God (7:21-23)
  39. Follow these teachings (7:24-27) 

What is interesting of course, is that Jesus did not give any commands about church or crusades, about evangelism or about being pastors or building church buildings.  Rather, he drew our attention to the kind of people we are. 

To bring the light of Christ, to be the light of Christ, we merely live out his teachings. 

I encourage you to keep this list handy.  Refer to it each day.  Let the teachings of Jesus soak deeply into your soul and life.  Focus on him and his ways.  Follow in his foot steps. 

After a time of this, stop and take note of your life.  Have there been changes?  And if so, how has it changed? 

Then, continue on in the strength of the Lord.  Find him as light in your life, then live him out to others. Be blessed in him. 

Summary – peace

God brings us peace.  2 Thessalonians 3:16

We are to walk in the peace of Christ.  Colossians 3:15

We confess our fear and worry.  Isaiah 41:10

We declare peace.  Isaiah 57:19


Footnote:  You will learn more about Sulha later in this course. 

Chapter 10. Difficulty

Chapter 10.  Difficulty

per — Capturing God’s Heart Volume #10

Today I am sharing about Difficulty, and some of what I have come to find about the Lord through the hard things of our lives.

We all have trouble in this life. Each of us experience things that are simply difficult. In fact the Bible speaks quite a bit to difficulty. Jesus said this:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 NLT 

I used to think that God was going to fix all my difficulty and that the overcoming that Christ spoke of was to do with the stuff of this world.  That perhaps God was simply magic applied to my life and that I could pray and all of a sudden the hard stuff would go away.

I have found that this is not so.  I have learned that God does not fix our lives so much as He wants to walk alongside us in our lives.

The overcoming of the world that Christ speaks of is the process of finding God in the midst of the worst things, and in turn finding our strength from the inside out.

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9 NLT

Will our lives get better and better with God in the mix, for sure.

Will all our troubles go away? No, they won’t.

Difficulties are the refining fire that proves our love for God, proves our walk alongside Him, and establishes us as trustworthy in His kingdom.

The pressures of life test and prove what we have inside us.

“He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.” Malachi 3:3 NLT 

Are we interested in God because he is going to help us, or are we interested in God because we love him and want to be in his company and to serve in His kingdom?

The Levites were the priests of the Lord. Chosen by Him to serve Him in the temple. 

Today we are all priests. Chosen by God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and it is the difficulties that purify us.

Difficulty purifies our motives.

Difficulty also strengthens us.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”  Romans 5:3-5 NLT

Like carrying a load of wood or jugs of water, we start off with our small muscles and can only carry so much.

But then we are able to carry more.  Our muscles are stronger.  Our strength is increased.

This is what difficulties do for us.  They grow our inner muscles.  Difficulties grow our character and our wisdom and our resilience.

Difficulties are not something that happens to us, but rather they are for us.

“Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.” Ecclesiastes 7:3 NLT 

God uses difficulties to prepare you and I for the assignments in His kingdom.

There is no way around difficulty.

Each of us must travel through the various difficulties that have come to us.

Certainly, many of our troubles are our own doing, but many of them are not.  And it doesn’t even matter as much as we think, for God will use the difficulties to do a work in our life.

“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.” Psalm 71:20 NLT 

Once we have faced difficulties we are stronger.  Once we have faced the worst things and found God in the midst of it all, we are not so afraid of difficulties anymore.

The thing is, difficulties never go away.  Even when we reach success, success brings its own set of difficulty.

There will always be hard things.  And we have a choice to either fight God in the midst of our trouble or to grow and mature under the hard things.

“In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.  We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.” 2 Corinthians 6:4 NLT 

Unfortunately some of us take our difficulties to others.  We want someone to save us and to make it better.

Or we take our frustration and anger out on those closest to us, hurting others as a result.

None of this grows the fruit that we want.  We want inner strength, not destroyed relationships. We want maturity and integrity, not child-like frustrations thrown on other people.

Each of us are responsible for our own lives and this starts in the inner place between ourselves and God, that place where we take the difficulties and we work them through with God.

We find His strength in the midst of our weakness.

“So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” 1 Peter 4:19 NLT 

Once we stop fighting difficulty, we become better equipped to deal with them well, to grow in wisdom and knowledge, to add to our faith with understanding and a bigger perspective.

Most important we find God in new and fresh ways when in the midst of difficulty.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”  Isaiah 43:2 NLT

Will life get better and better as we walk with Him? Yes it will.

But not because life changes necessarily (although it will by and by), but more importantly because we change.  And when we change, everything changes.

Thanking God for our difficulties is the starting place.  Where we give a sacrifice of praise even in the difficulty, we are most blessed.

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”  Colossians 2:7 NLT 

God responds to this kind of faith and heart.  Our lives will not be the same.


“Thank-you God for our troubles.  Thank-you for bringing us difficulty that refines us and purifies our hearts before you.  We are glad that you have trusted us with hard things, knowing that we are equipped and strengthened in this.  We trust you with the hardships of our lives.  We invite your hand into our troubles, but just as much we ask that you would teach us everything we need to know as we face our difficulties.  May we see the hard stuff as opportunities to come to know you more.  Thank-you Father that you walk alongside us through the middle of all our trouble. We bless your name today.  Amen”

Troubles in one shape or another will always be with us.  Today let us dedicate our lives to God regardless of our circumstances and difficulty. Regardless of the trouble we praise you Lord!


As a prayer minister and as I work with my clients toward inner healing I have found it very powerful for us to take our difficulties and troubles and claim them for the glory of God. 

For instance, “God I take this accident I was involved in and I declare it for your glory and honour. 

I remove from it any authority of the enemy and I state in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ that even this circumstance can be used by God for his glory and for my future.” 

When we claim every part of our lives for the glory of God we declare in the spirit realm that God is Lord over our life, and that even though the enemy might be sending trouble our way we will not be overcome by it, but rather we will overcome it by the power of the cross. 

And in this, our hearts and minds are changed as well.  We move from blaming and accusation (even against the enemy) and we begin to hold a space that declares that God can use everything in our lives and we are glad to have him do so.  We do not need to be angry with the enemy for we are confident that God can use our current circumstances for his glory and for our future. 

When we change our hearts and minds in this way we remove from that trouble its authority or ‘say’ to upset our lives.  We firmly declare that God is in control of everything and we begin to give thanks for each thing in our lives whether they are good or bad. 

As we give God the glory for everything in our lives the grip of the enemy loosens for he simply cannot stay where God is glorified.  And in it’s place we see the powerful outworking of the Lord beginning to inhabit and move through the very things we think are the worst. 

Our faith is built.  Our trust is established.  Our perspective is broadened.  We are made more glad in all things.  Our Joy increases. 

1.  Today, make a list of all the circumstances of your life that you would consider to be trouble and great difficulty.  Write each thing down.  Leave nothing out. 

2.  Gather with another person (or the entire group) that is taking this course with you. 

3.  Then, each person, one by one, declare each thing for God’s glory. 

4.  Then, stand in agreement with each other.  Pray and declare that the trouble of the person beside you, is also for the glory of the Lord. 

5.  Use a prayer like this: 

“God I come before you today in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. God I have a lot of trouble and many difficulties but today Lord I claim each of these difficulties and trouble for your glory. 

My (speak out your first trouble) I declare for the glory and honour of my Lord and God. My (second trouble) I declare for the glory and honour of my Lord and God. My (third trouble) I declare for the glory and honour of my Lord and God. (Continue in this same way until you have read through your entire list). Every single part of my life I claim 100% for the glory of the one true God.”

Summary – difficulty 

We can have peace in Christ.  John 16:33

Difficulty purifies our motives and heart.  Romans 5:3-5

God is with us in our difficulty.  Isaiah 43:2 

The Priority of God

We are finding the work of the Lord powerful and strong in our midst. God seems to have a very big plan. A big dream. That dream is to equip pastors and lay-leaders in practical heart-transformational strengths.

CCIM is currently in Uganda and in the dozen or so churches we have been to in the past three weeks, we are finding a readiness for the pure gospel message.

We have been sharing about Sulha. Taking our cue from Jesus’ telling of the story of the lost son found in Luke 15 beginning with verse 11.

We find in this story secrets of the Kingdom of heaven, made plain to us by Jesus himself. He tells us of a young man who goes to the lowest of the low, unable to stoop or fall any farther, a young man who ultimately turns toward his father and takes himself home.

We are then introduced to the father. A man who longs for his son to come home. That no matter the hurt or betrayal or immense offence and insult of the son, the father’s priority always was and is peace and reconciliation.

The father demonstrates this love by running toward the son the moment he is seen coming down the road. We are told the father saw him from a long way off. And he begins to run.

It is interesting to note that in middle-eastern culture important men do not run. But this father ran, throwing off his importance to head toward his son. It is also interesting to note that in order to run the father would have had to lift his skirts, revealing his ankles, a no-no in the culture. And so we see that the father also threw off his dignity in order to run toward his son.

Thirdly, a study of the culture would suggest that due to the great offence of the son, it would have been considered appropriate and just even, for the villagers to stone the son before he reached home, by way of retributive justice. But we see the father running toward the son to intercept the stones and to take them upon himself.

Of course, we realize that Jesus is painting a picture of Father God. And we know that the living out of this heart of The Father was accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross where he threw off both his importance and his dignity to take on the stones meant for us.

We see, that God has always been about peace and reconciliation.

“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. Se we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 2 Corinthians 5:19-20

Reports Back from CCIM College Students

I have just been to Uganda where I was able to meet some of our CCIM College Students and hear from them how the course is impacting them. I took a ton of notes as fast as I could manage as they excitedly shared.

Here is some of what they said:

“I learned how to touch the heart of God.”  Justin 

“These classes have enabled us to really know the word of God. We learned the word of God deeper and can now teach the word of God to others. You have equipped us as disciples and we are now able to disciple others.” Antony 

“These lessons have lifted me up in my pastoral work. I have learned through these lessons that we need to prepare (for sermons), that we must not be a person who divides but unites people, providing solutions. I have learned how to disciple others and that when the peace of Christ is extended to our hearts we are strong in him.” Pastor David

“I was a very stubborn man but with the teachings God started changing this — from then I have changed.” John 

“We have been learning that God wants the heart that repents. Humility and obedience to God attracts people to God.” Mary 

“My heart rejoiced when God brought this teaching. It is not a teaching that is segregating or dividing the body of Christ, but is bringing unity.” Owena 


“My wife joined the classes and she said, ‘Come and see’, I found the classes too. I learned about loving my enemy and when I attended I went home in peace and slept well. Another person was at these classes, one who has been my enemy. Now, we are reconciled through these classes, once we were enemies but now we are friends.” Ezekiel 

“Many people are teaching in their own interests but not for the redemption of all humans. CCIM is bringing back people’s attention to look at God’s word critically and very carefully. In today’s world people are serving God like they are in different political parties, claiming to be serving God. CCIM is a blessing and opportunity to bring a transformation on how to serve and read the word of God.” (didn’t get his name)

“The lessons have touched my life. Those days I had a different picture about God. The way I used to take God to be — I knew a man who hated sinners and if there was sin we do not dare to appear before God. Our backgrounds are not very appetizing, many wounds, hearts are scattered beyond repair, and we find the picture of self and the picture that the community has of self not promising of anything good. But actually, God has a different picture of me and I got a different picture of God when I looked at Jesus ministry. To serve I don’t need to be perfect. God sees the broader picture of me and he will get the best out of me.”  Beatrice 

“The CCIM College Course has been a work for me. I became strengthened and took courage – it has done a great work for me. Before I would feel tired and weakened, but after this course, trials come but I would not be touched. I stand strengthened with courage and this course has made me very well and it has helped me greatly, it has also helped me as I counsel others in my church.”  Pastor Christopher 

“CCIM is a Spirit-inspired, practical ministry. This is Biblical ministry which causes our heart’s to set right with God. We are leaders and we must have transformation. Character must be above gifting. Wherever gifting is above character it will be a mess. Theology gives knowledge but does not prepare a person to be equipped in the things of God. Theology does not change the person – we must have practical training that touches the inner man – CCIM training does this. We are not remaining the same.” Pastor Evans 

“I’ve benefitted a lot in how to read the Bible. The Bible is a difficult book to read and I started reading it because I had an exam. I have been caught up reading it and I have received revelations from this study by reading the Bible. I wouldn’t have learned how to read the Bible without this course. I thought to work for God I must be good, blameless but I realized as Paul said, even though as a sinner I acted out of ignorance, and God considers me faithful as I come to him. To serve God I thought I needed much, but I realize that the little I have God can use. The little money, things, faith, is exactly what God wants to use, and I must be faithful with a little.” Benjamin

Amen and amen, we give all the glory to our Lord.

Find out more about the college course HERE

We Run Toward the World

I am in a lot of communities. As a visiting preacher and revivalist I visit many, many churches, many, many communities. At each of these places, with each of these churches, I find folks intent on sharing the love of God and bringing to the area where they live light and hope to a dying world.

This last weekend I was in an area of India where there is rampant unemployment due to the closure of a local mine. In the years since the husbands and brothers have been pimping out their wives and sisters in prostitution. They head into the city for a days work, returning home each evening. For years.

I was told this information a few days before I was to be the main speaker at a one day missions conference with pastors and their wives. Upon receiving this information I queried, ‘What do I bring in this context?!’

As I prayed and prepared I became even more convinced that I preach the same thing I preach everywhere else, Jesus.

And I preach the same message I’ve been giving out elsewhere, Repentance.

I learned last year that there are three keys to Revival, 1. A hunger for more of God, 2. Repentance, 3. That religious strongholds are broken.

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Capturing God’s Heart – Peace – Volume 39

God has a lot of things to say about peace:

“Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:11

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

“A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7

Our peace comes from God:

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

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Are We Theorists or Practitioners of Unity – The Proof is in the Pudding

We must be practitioners of unity rather than preachers of unity. This of course holds true of anything we might relay. The question must always be asked, “Am I a theorist of this or am I a practitioner of this?”

Theorists have knowledge and information and often a very strong desire toward something but they do not have an appreciable personal experience of what they teach; they have not yet personally succeeded towards the actual thing they so desire.

In the coaching world this is often the dilemma at hand. When coaches are working from theory they are incapable of taking their clients all the way through, so to speak. In contrast to this, when coaches are working from the perspective of a practitioner, one who has his or her own mastery of which they coach, they have the fine-tuned insights and wisdoms of those who have been there.

And this makes all the difference in the world. As a coach I have coached from both places. When I coached as a theorist I put all sorts of pressure on my clients to get what I vaguely alluded to. The undercurrent to my coaching was a sort of desperation for them to move forward so that I might be validated. This is awful, crazy kind of pressure to put on people.

When I coach as a practitioner I bring to the table and create a space of ease and confidence that encourages and empowers others. I know they can progress this same way, I know the inner workings, I know the path from beginning to end, and it makes all the difference. As practitioner my coaching is not heavy or combative but light and refreshing.

In translation and in regards to pleas of unity coming from within our churches and from our pulpits it is imperative that we look beneath the words of those who are preaching unity and perceive whether they are speaking from theory or from practice.

Theorists of unity are marked by a burning desire to see unity and they speak of it often. Yet theorists of unity often demand unity and there is an underlying pressure for the ‘people’ to get it. What is not understood by theorists of unity is that the moment one demands unity, unity is in fact broken.

Practitioners of unity are also marked by a burning desire to see unity but they speak of it rarely for they are too busy taking on 100% responsibility for the environment of unity around them. They are learning to be nurturers of unity and in turn become master growers of unity as do their people.

It is akin to parents with their toddlers. Imagine as a parent of a young child berating them to talk, “Talk damn it.”

Does the child in this kind of environment learn to talk sooner or later? Put under emotional pressure and under the fears of the parent that, “this child may never talk” the child regresses. Talking, this natural growth process, is hindered by the over-bearing and insecure admonitions of the parent.

The same goes for demands (or pleas or well-crafted arguments) of unity. Instead of nurturing unity these demands merely inculcate underlying fear, apprehension, anxiety, and a pervasive sense of failure. Unity cannot grow in this environment.

The ones pleading for unity in this way are often those ill-equipped to dispense it.

I write this today so that we may all take heed of theorists of unity. They will make you feel very bad. And it will be your fault. Avoid this at all costs.

In contrast practitioners of unity nurture respect, give honour, and invite differences. Consider the following.

Practitioners of Unity Refuse: 

  1. To set people up against each other
  2. To keep people small
  3. To be great (and don’t make a point of talking about not being great)
  4. To have secret conversations
  5. To have things their way
  6. To discount the opinions and experiences of others
  7. To humiliate and discredit others
  8. To put others on the spot
  9. To make excuses or cast blame

Practitioners of Unity Do:

  1. Listen well and with an intent of understanding rather than responding
  2. Invite varied opinions with an eye to strength found only in diversity
  3. Welcome tension as that creative space where humans thrive and grow
  4. Receive from what others are bringing to the table
  5. Work to establish safe spaces gauged by answers to this simple question, “Do you feel safe?”
  6. Determine their effectiveness based on the fruit – the proof is in the pudding, how good does the pudding taste?
  7. Continually work to increase gladness of heart in all interactions and situations
  8. Give and act in dignity and honor to all people
  9. Take 100% responsibility for the state of unity about them

I write this because I am concerned, as I work with pastors and churches in many places, that unity is an oft misunderstood Biblical command.

Within the church we too often seem to focus on the outer signs, and in some cases bully, to ensure veneers of unity rather than doing the hard work in ourselves as leaders to become agents of unity. And the difference is found in the fruit. God never said, “Make others be in unity with you.” Simply put we would hate to be preaching unity when we haven’t yet found it ourselves.

As leaders, no matter where or what we are leading, we must lead as practitioners. If something that you are working at is not working for you, is not ‘coming round’, then you are probably leading as a theorist. Stop and take the time, as much time as it takes, to become a practitioner. The change and resulting impact will prove to be profound.

Pastor Irene

As I’m thinking ahead to another ministry trip to Uganda I am remembering Pastor Irene in Iganga. She is a beautiful and powerful woman of God. Her heart and ministry have been forged through the toughest of circumstances and testings (as do most great things).

In the early days of her ministry, after the Lord had clearly directed her to Iganga, she tells of inquiring of God what was to be her influence and gifting. And the Lord gave her Jordan.

Jordan as we know it from the scriptures is the river that Nahum washed himself in seven times to be healed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14). Jordan as Pastor Irene knows it is a small pond of water about five minutes walk from her home and the church that she pastors.

I was told story after story from others that had gathered the same time I was there about how they themselves had come and dipped themselves seven times in this Jordan and had found healing. One woman had breast cancer and came and dipped and the cancer disappeared.

I’ve been to Pastor Irene’s place twice now. The first time was just for a Sunday service and lunch afterwards (along with this visit to Jordan as you see here). The second time I stayed a couple of nights and days.

While Pastor Irene moves powerfully in the Spirit the area in which she lives is darkened by oppressive spirits. It is hard to be there, and yet she by her faith and obedience in the Lord knows it is her work to declare his presence in that place.

The last afternoon of my ministry time alongside her there had been much worship and celebration and prayers in the Lord. Pastor Irene herself was spent as God poured through her and onto others. She then got down on her knees and with arms raised cried out, “If only someone would come and pray over me.”

I know how she felt. I’ve been there. Pouring out to others, giving and giving some more and then wondering how might I be encouraged as a leader.

Within a seconds time I realized that I was the one to pray over her. So I went and put some olive oil on my hands, the same they had been using for everyone else, and I went to her and touched my hands to hers.

There was all sorts of rolicking in the spirit then. I cannot describe the incredible privilege of anointing and praying over this amazing woman of God.

(did I mention that every time I am there she washes my feet and blesses on me too – this receiving from each other is called mutual submission and is the hallmark by which unity in the body happens)

Now, when I pray over someone the Lord gives me the words to say and an image in my mind’s eye of what to declare for him or her. Here on this warm afternoon in Iganga it was the same. There had been something over her since childhood, darts of some kind in the spirit realm, and so in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ is simply spoke these away and soothed her wounds with the oil of the lamb.

In clear terms, I spoke against the bad stuff against her, and I spoke God’s peace and healing and refreshment for her (Matthew 18:19). It was a lovely time. We ended up on our knees together on the dirt floor and simply fellowshipped in the Spirit together and as a witness to all those in attendance.

When I think of returning once more to Uganda, this time to many more places than I’ve yet been, alongside many other leaders, I recall this simple ministry to Pastor Irene. In many ways this sums up the work that I do. Leaders, no matter what country, are giving out in enourmous measures.

They are the communities healers, wisdoms, teachers, preachers, prayer warriors, and encouragers, and who is to encourage them? Who is to lift them up and refresh them in the Spirit of our Lord?

At CCI we are bringing spiritual refreshment first to leaders and then to their congregations. It is a work that touches beyond our minds and into the depths of our hearts. God, in his mercy, delights to refresh us and I am simply honored to stand alongside agreeing in the Lord to this work over his many servants.

In this same vein, many blessings to each of you today. May the power of our Lord, His peace and grace and touch of life and wisdom break in upon your days in increasing measure. We simply agree together saying yes and amen to the touch of God in all of our lives.

Come Lord Jesus Come.

It’s Not Our Work

“I was somewhere with you, a place I did not know…..there was people around  big ugly people that were chasing people and when they caught them …they would throw them in this muddy river…

You Cyndy  were standing on the shore and I was  standing beside you watching …..Then Cyndy you bent down and reached and caught one of people in the river and pulled him/her up. I could not tell if men or women or child was being pulled up with only one hand, so strong you looked, so strong you were.

I was afraid for you Cyndy you just kept pulling and pulling crying out “I can’t let go” over and over. and when you pulled we saw that the people were all attached to each other so that that there was a long line of them  coming up …how many we did not know .? It seems like never ending….

Then we heard a loud noise coming from where the ugly big people were, and then everything got quiet, and they had disappeared….we saw the water become clearer and all the people you had pulled out started to walk away from you and I. they were singing….loud singing and walking away.

You turn to me and said, “You must go home now” and then I woke up.

The depths of work done on this last ministry trip to Mozambique are slowly coming out of the depths of myself. The entire time I was away I kept thinking, “How am I going to share this trip? How do I summarize this in words?!”

Slowly, bit by bit, I’m finding words for it all. This prophetic dream (just above) was given to one of our prayer partners and it summarizes perfectly the work in the spirit realm and the impact in people’s lives.

I am glad for a dream that helps to explain the work, for I’m finding it difficult to put words to what was deep and under the surface. The trip, on the surface, carried no drama and held little spectacle.

There was merely four of us (and one little one) traipsing across many kilometres by train and bus, truck and motorbike, and by foot, to visit ten churches, their pastors, and congregations, and then these profound conversations.

It began in Chupanga. Our first real stop. We had arrived in the morning and the first service was that evening. I cannot even remember what I spoke on but at the end of the service I was asked to pray for the people.

Now I have a bit of a rebellious streak to me, and over the course of the trips I’ve taken I’ve become really tired of being brought out as the circus performer who will now work wonders on you through her prayers. blah…

So that night I refused. I said, “No, I won’t be praying for you. Rather, I am going to teach you to pray for each other.”

And so this is what I, and my translator Whisky, tried to do. Once I was done teaching Whisky went on with much encouragement’s. All to no avail. It was a bit of a dismal failure from what I could tell.

But the evening concluded and back we all went to the house we were staying in. Upon our arrival we found the Pastor and his right hand man already there. How they got there so fast I’ve no idea!

And I realized that I just might need to explain why I had refused to pray for their people. So I shared what I had been learning the last few months.

I shared the bigger thinking the Lord had been giving me, the conviction to teach the people to do the work of the Kingdom (it doesn’t just belong to a few), how churches grow when people are empowered, what I’ve been learning from the house-church movement in India, and I also shared a prophetic word from one of our pastors in Kenya.

It was a bit of a long explanation, really a laying out of my heart and how the Lord was leading us at Capturing Courage, and once I’d finished their immediate question was, “You mean people can pray for each other?”

I was stunned. Struck. Saddened. In disbelief.

“Yes, people can pray for each other.”

And there began hours of conversation, late into the night, about life in Christ, about prophecy, about prayer, about leadership, about marriage, about men and women in the church, about so much.

Question after question was directed at me accompanied by a hunger for wisdom and clarity. Long past bedtime we finally broke up our gathering. And then picked it up the next day.

That next evening I didn’t preach, we simply held a forum. With Pastor Daniel, Whisky, and myself on chairs at the front of the church Daniel presented question after question, Whisky translated, I answered the question, Whisky translated, and on we went.

Life changing conversation that will not fade away.

And I still don’t have words for it all. But I’ll keep sharing it a layer at a time. So many dimensions.

The Lord is simply at work. This I know. My bag had been packed for Mozambique for an entire year. Literally. Packed and ready to go. For a year’s time.

The timing of the work of God is critical to any ministry. It is why we move in sync with the exact leading and timing of the Holy Spirit. Not before, not after.

For these works are not of us. In any way. We are simply conduits of God’s heart over people and areas. There are so many things that must align in realms that we do not see, that it is best to simply trust and wait, and then when we hear the ‘go’ we go. Quickly, efficiently, simply.

This is God’s work, not ours.


Capturing God’s Heart – Agreement – Volume 29

The basis for all of our spiritual work and authority is the principle of agreement.

The foundation of all our spiritual work and authority is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

In his death, burial, and resurrection, we have been given the keys to life in Christ, relationship with Father God, and the Kingdom of God on earth.

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The Gift of Hope

calendar 7In my readings this past month I came across a comment from decades ago, stating that the poor and the outcast “have no right to hope.”

It was a shocking statement to read. Really? Who believes this?

It was a bird’s eye view into another time and way of thinking. But even as I read it I could see that this same thinking just might be a large part of the undercurrent that keeps modern poverty and slavery alive.

Do we have this same thinking as an undercurrent of our thinking. Does it have impact on our justice and aid work. Do we believe that those less fortunate ‘deserve’ what they get.

A few years back I wrote a blog post about grace experienced and passed out. I relayed a situation that was less than ideal and how the grace of God broke in and pressed down.

And some of the responses were so angry. One woman responded with, “If only I had experienced that grace.” Another could hardly stomach the grace, for she had slogged through her own failures, thank-you very much.

It seems that grace makes us angry. If we have not known it we certainly don’t want to give it. And once we’ve spent years trying to fix our lives, make everything right, slogged through our ‘lot in life’ we certainly don’t want to see someone get off scot-free.

Grace, the hope of God, does this.

It covers over. It breaks through. Regardless of class or past or present or circumstance God delights to pour in and make things new.

Thus the anger. Thus the rage. The sense of justice thwarted. How dare ‘they’ hope.

For some time now the impact of Capturing Courage has eluded me a bit. I’ve been working to understand the core gift that we are giving out to those in rural third-world countries. I think it is hope.

And I’ve come to conviction and conclusion. Everyone deserves to hope. Everyone is entitled to grace. Because God said so.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11