The Essential Conversation

Prayer is such a beautiful gift and evidence of God's genuine love for his greatest creations. That God would give us speech to share our fears, dreams, and questions with him is amazing. And the promises of God to get us aligned with our deepest desires as we delight in him is almost unbelievable.

Isn't that the tactic of evil? To plant such doubts in our minds about God's true intentions that we neglect the simplest and sweetest conversations?

Isn't it the moments of utter silence after a prayer from our heart that deludes us to question whether God could possibly care? And aren't the daily conversations we have forgotten that we had with others, the very thing that causes us to think that God will soon forget our needs?

But our human experiences with conversation should never keep us from a conversation with the one who gave us breath, voice, and language. He spoke the world into orbit. He spoke promises beyond compare. In the presence of God is a steady stream of wisdom and love. God wants to talk with words both spoken and our words responded to...join the conversation.

Ps. 37:4, Gen. 1:3, Is. 65:24

Revitalize Your Life with Prayer and Fasting – by Ronnie Floyd

When times are desperate, fasting can help us focus on the Father.

There is a story in 2 Chronicles 20 that illustrates the attitude we must bring to prayer and fasting.

Jehoshaphat's Powerful Declaration to God

The people of Judah were in trouble. It looked as if it was going to be total devastation for God's anointed. Even Jehoshaphat, the warrior king, was afraid. He became so fearful that he turned all his attention toward seeking the Lord in his life as he began to pursue God more intently than he'd ever done before.

In his terror at the prospect of massive defeat, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. He asked the people to stop eating until God prevailed in their situation. He understood the spiritual practices of fasting and praying, and he knew that to fast before God was the best way to show his complete helplessness and humility before God.

In verse 12, he makes this powerful declaration: "Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast multitude that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You."

The Revival Principle 

Jehoshaphat learned something you and I must never forget: we must renounce the natural and invoke the supernatural.

He declared, "God, I don't want food; I want You. You are more important than food." This is a revival principle, a resurrection principle; and a resurrection always is most credible in a graveyard.

Worldly counsel teaches us that whoever ends up with the most toys wins. We want our cars, our bank accounts, our stocks and bonds, our toys, our recreation, our steaks, and our mashed potatoes with gobs of gravy. Sometimes we want these things more than the bountiful riches and promises found in the Word of God.

But when we're desperate, we cannot have it both ways.

The Truth About Idols and Fasting

Whatever stands in the way or is idolized in our lives has to go and take its rightful place.The truth is this: We are powerless in and of ourselves. And because physical food is not our ultimate source of nourishment, then physical food must be seen in its physical perspective: we must be willing to renounce the natural to invoke the supernatural.

Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast for his people so they could once again see the face of God. He said that they sought Him and kept their eyes on Him. When they became desperate, they shifted their focus to God and away from their hopeless, degenerate, discouraging, depraved situation.

It was their choice and it's also ours.

It's Time for a Spiritual Breakthrough 

I define fasting as "the abstinence from food with a spiritual goal in mind." It is when we deny ourselves the most natural thing in order to pursue the God of heaven to do something powerful and supernatural in and through our lives. When a person engages this age-old biblical principle, he or she will wake up and experience revival personally.

Like Jehoshaphat, when we become desperate enough, we, too, will drop to our knees, seek the Father, and keep our eyes fixed on Him. We will experience spiritual breakthrough when we understand that one of the gateways to His supernatural intervention in our lives is through fasting and prayer.

God wants to give us hope for the present and confidence in our future. He wants to do something mighty in our lives, and that's why He provides us with moments of desperation—to push us toward Him.

Today We Pray

When we realize our need for wisdom...our potential for learning is off the charts. When we recognize our lack of strength...our potential for increased power is without measure.

Have you ever felt like your passion to do something had to be matched by your personal expertise and unmatched energy? We all have, but God's economy is different. When God places a passion within us, and it's confirmed by scripture/counsel...it's time to pray, not act!

Today we pray. God has placed within us a passion to join God in reaching people with good news – to launch a church in downtown Chicago. This passion requires prayer. The city is huge, the need is great, the time is now – but where, when, and how?

Today we pray. Junanne and I are going downtown with one other friend to pray and listen to God. Yes, he speaks! When we need wisdom and lack strength, we're strategically positioned for something great to happen.

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." I Corinthians 1:25

(If you'd like to join us in this new vision, and pray with us...email me at Karl@KarlClauson.com)

A Personal Note...For Prayer

A big day for us. For over 3 years Junanne and I have been part of the family at The Bridge Community Church. Today the elders prayed for us as we were officially commissioned to launch a church in downtown Chicago.

I want to thank the sweet folks of The Bridge for being so gracious and affirming. It gives us great confidence to know that prayers will surround us as we aim to share the good news of Jesus and help people win in every way - God Changing Lives.

I'll be continuing in morning radio on WMBI 90.1 fm. The team is stronger than ever and our reach is increasing by the day. The South Side mentoring efforts are going well and we're looking to add a director very soon, God willing.

Please pray for us. We've tasted and seen two significant spiritual movements, in the past, and they were directly linked to humble, prayer-birthed ministry that began on our knees. We're ready and waiting to witness this yet again.

Many blessings and thanks for being our friends on the journey!

Karl

The Essential Conversation

Prayer is such a beautiful gift and evidence of God's genuine love for his greatest creations. That God would give us speech to share our fears, dreams, and questions with him is amazing. And the promises of God to get us aligned with our deepest desires as we delight in him is almost unbelievable.

Isn't that the tactic of evil? To plant such doubts in our minds about God's true intentions that we neglect the simplest and sweetest conversations?

Isn't it the moments of utter silence after a prayer from our heart that deludes us to question whether God could possibly care?

And aren't the daily conversations we have forgotten the very thing that causes us to think that God will soon forget our needs?

But our human experiences with speech should never keep us from conversation with the one who gave us breath, voice, and language. He spoke the world into orbit. He spoke promises beyond compare. In the presence of God is a steady stream of precious words both spoken and responded to...join the conversation.

Ps. 37:4, Gen. 1:3, Is. 65:24

Turn Lemons (Trials) Into Lemonade

Last weekend I delivered this message. I hope you find it massively encouraging and that peace guards your heart. The trials you face today are leveraged by God to do something extraordinary in your life. Believe it! 

I'm taking a weeklong break from broadcasting and blogging. I'll be back, fresh, recharged, and ready to rumble. God speed...

Three Questions To Ask When In A Trial

Trials are coming and we need to know what to look for when asking God for wisdom. Here's three questions and I believe they're biblically prioritized.

What do you want to change in me? This is the first and most courageous question we can ask. It's not natural and quite honestly it the most painful. Could it be that the pain of looking at ourselves is the most rewarded by God? The most natural thing to do is to be so fixated on the person behind the trial that we actually get stuck in a blame game. But the richest among us say with David, "Search me Oh Lord, try me and see if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way". 

What do you want to take from me? Here's the tough news that we all know intuitively but it's tough to see it clearly when in a trial...God uses trials to pry things from our lives that we actually love. Not everything we fall head over heals for is good for us and God knows best. The only question is, will we trust him. That person we're dating, the job we're hanging onto, just fill in the blank...it may be that God is trying to take it from you. Please note: God does some of his best addition through subtraction.

What do you want to give to me? Yes, every good and perfect gift comes from God and this wisdom is a promise. When we ask the first two questions we'll have eyes to see number three! Hang on, because the prayer offered in faith will be rewarded.

Trials will come our way. We can't avoid them but we can deal with them in a way that will "make us mature and complete, lacking nothing".

James 1:2-8, Psalm 139

From Segregation To Love...

We have a challenge in Chicagoland. Nothing could do more for the credibility of our witness than the unity among Christ followers across all ethnic lines. Jesus prayed for radical oneness and unity. The reason is clear..."that the world will believe that you sent me" (John 17:21). 

Let's go Christ followers of Chicago! We have a leg up on the rest of the world. Our heart has been humbled by God and he allowed us to see our need for grace. This positions us to be the catalyst for lasting change. This won't be a battle that's won overnight but we can make huge strides and even small strides can communicate the heart of "Christ in us"!

 



Prayer: Essential Conversation With God

God can do in us what we can never do alone! But we can't live another day measuring our lives against sub-standard comparisons. We must stop setting goals that are attainable by human effort because when we hit them they ring hollow. We can no longer undershoot God's promises, undervalue our worth, and underestimated our resources. The only way forward is conversation with God. Prayer is conversation with the one who can take us beyond our whims and our wants.

If you suspect you're leaving too much potential on the table, prayer is for you. If you're tired of rationalizing your mediocrity, prayer is for you. If you're stuck and can't seem to get going, prayer is for you. If you feel like life has passed you by but are willing to give it another shot, prayer is for you. If you know there's more inside you but can't seem to dig it out, prayer is for you. If you've been pounded and left for dead by a barrage of condemnation, prayer is for you. If you've tasted the richer life in Christ but slowly turned away, prayer is for you. If you're ready to chase a dream God gave you, prayer is for you. If you are tired of blaming circumstances and are ready to take personal responsibility, prayer is for you. If you've been trying everything in your power and can't make life work, prayer is for you. If you desire sustained victory, prayer is for you.

The God who holds the universe in his hands is waiting to talk with you...let us pray!

 

Travel Light

When I signed up for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race it was in it's infancy. Back in 1979, mushers were still figuring out the basics of how to get a dog team 1,100 miles from Anchorage to Nome. But one thing was certain: The price we paid to get into the race gave us the right to gather up thousands of pounds of supplies and ship it on ahead to checkpoints so we didn't have to carry it all in the sled. To have not taken advantage of this would have been more than foolish, it could have been fatal, but it would have resulted in failure to finish. 

The price that God paid is not just to get us into the race, it's to get us to the finish. We don't have to pile everything for the journey onto our shoulders. We can't fully anticipate the supplies we need anyway, so leave it unless God says take it. God never asks us to anticipate what the last hundred miles of our spiritual journey will look like, he asks us to trust him that when we get to that stretch, he'll have everything we need. The awesome thing about the walk of faith is that it began by God's grace alone and it will continue by God's grace alone. No one is more passionate that we travel light than God. So here's a few quick travel reminders:

  • What God starts in a person, he will take to the finish line. Philippians 1:6
  • Never carry the junk that can only weigh us down and hold us back. Hebrews 12:1-2
  • The Word of God is mandatory equipment. It's the only way to see where to go. Psalm 119:105
  • Anxiety is an emotional killer. Throw that on God as well. I Peter 5:7
  • Conversation with God will guard our heart from enemies on the trail. Philippians 4:6-7
  • Keep envisioning the finish line, it's gonna be awesome! Revelation 21

Travel light...

 

Chivalry: Part 5 - First Doesn't Mean Best

Some of us men get stuck in marital paralysis. We know in the core of our being that passivity is something we must reject, but we resist stepping out for fear of failure. Somewhere we bought the lie that we have to master something before we can try something. We think that going first means we need to be the best. But sometimes just being first is the best. Let me give you a classic example.

Women love men who pray with them. It’s powerfully intimate for a man to slide alongside his wife and say “Hey babe, let me pray for us today.” But even the thought of that can cause most men to go weak in the knees. We’d rather kill an entire “honey do” list, or not watch sports for a year, than lead in prayer. And there’s good reasons: We know that she knows our underbelly so this prayer could open the door for her to put my failings in my face. And there’s also a good chance I'll run out of words before a complete sentence is formed. All of that could be happen, but there’s a greater likelihood something amazing will occur. Here’s what we can never forget. A little chivalry covers a multitude of sins. There is more grace from a godly woman who sees her man being courageous than there are sins in our heart. Chivalry scores with a godly woman every time.

Men, we don’t have to be the best. But make an effort to go first and you may well be shocked where this all lands. There’s no rule that we have to initiate in prayer. But the law of love can pull us out of our passivity and the reward will be great. So we may start with a fragmented sentence that is barely intelligible. And she may follow with something that sounds like a sound bite from an epic love story. It just doesn’t matter. First doesn’t mean the best, but when we go first, we’re at our best.