Hungry for the word of the Lord and the signs of heaven?

Samuel was a prophet to Israel in the Old Testament. He had an amazing track record with the people of God. It was written of him, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 3:19-20)

I love the story of how Samuel was introduced to the prophetic while he was a boy. You can read it in 1 Samuel 3. There is so much to learn from the interaction between Eli, Samuel, and the Lord. It speaks loudly to us about the need for spiritual mothers and fathers to step up and own what has been entrusted to us.

However, I want to focus on the first verse in the chapter. “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” (1 Samuel 3:1) Take a moment and think about that. What would it be like to live in a time when you almost never perceived the word of the Lord and almost no one saw visions? Maybe we know about that far too well.

I don’t believe that the living word of the Lord was scarce or unavailable. It is usually the case that engaging with it is rare and unusual. God is not honored or pleased to make his amazing Presence known anywhere his living word is not welcomed and embraced. Oh, He is there, but the manifestation of the Holy Spirit won’t be experienced.

The voice of the Lord is speaking today. We will hear it if we long for it. If the church will set our hearts on being with him by faith in King Jesus, and surrender to whatever he needs to do in us, we will hear his voice. (see Isaiah 6:1-8)

There is an unprecedented move of God rising up in the world. It is marked by a hunger and thirst for the living words of the Lord. Will we be a generation who won’t stop until it is said, “the word of the Lord was overflowing and the signs of heaven were everywhere”? THAT would be amazing. By the grace of God, that is what we are going after.

You are a blessing!

Don’t miss the Spirit’s strategic move!

The massive heartbeat of the Father is to be up close with every person we will see today…

Every day we mingle with crowds of people. Instinctively we know that every person is dealing with their own set of challenges. And we are painfully aware sometimes that we are in the midst of the fight ourselves. But, how often do we forget that the Holy Spirit is right in the messiness & chaos with us every day?

In Matt 9:35-38, we read that Jesus was walking in the middle of the same streets and the same crowds as everyone else. BUT… He saw things differently. While everyone else just saw the usual things, Jesus saw the crowds in a unique way and felt deeply for them. He saw that they were lost, directionless, wandering around like sheep with no shepherd!

The lack of meaning and mission in his homeland and his nation provoked Jesus. His heart burned with urgency and deep compassion for this nation that had been chosen by God to bless all of the other nations of the world. They had only managed after hundreds of generations to find themselves in bitterness and misery held captive under the boot of the Roman Empire. In that moment on that day, he launched into action. His strategic move was to call his followers to open their eyes to see things from His perspective. Then He told them to pray for laborers.

Did you know that Jesus expects you and me to hear his call in THIS day? Our eyes miss so much. He is saying to anyone who will listen, “OPEN YOUR EYES”! If we listen and follow the Holy Spirit today our first priority will be to love God by actually seeing people through His eyes. He wants to radically shift the way we see them.

As we allow Him to get our attention, we will be overwhelmed by what is “really” going on around us. We will begin to sense that He is actually saying something and He wants us to listen. The massive heartbeat of the Father is to be up close with every person we will see today.

It reminds me of the prophet Isaiah. You can read about his encounter with God in Isaiah 6:1-13. As he was going through his daily routine of service as a priest in God’s temple, the Holy Spirit grabbed his attention and Isaiah had an intense vision of the glory of the Lord.

Isaiah was traumatized and could only cry out for mercy. God in his mercy sent an angel to purify his lips (with a HOT coal) so that he would be clean. Next, something revolutionary happened at the core of Isaiah’s being.

In Isaiah 6:8 it says;

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

How long had God been saying this? Isaiah began to hear the passionate heartbeat of God in a way that he had never heard it before!

What about you? As you get up out of bed and live out that same old daily grind, God is trying to get your attention. Whatever you do, don’t turn away from Him because you feel unworthy and afraid. Isaiah felt the same way. But he stayed in God’s presence. He experienced the Fathers heart for people as he heard what the Spirit was saying.

What do you hear the voice of the Lord saying in THIS day? When you experience His burning heart for all of us your own heart will be swept up in His mission.

You will be surprised what will happen if you ask the Spirit of the Lord to open your eyes in THIS day!

Top 5 Reasons Why I Would Love Your Help @ KV East Saint John

I am LOVING this season of my life serving on the lead staff of Kings Valley Church! We are; “One Church meeting in Two locations”. I have the privilege of serving as Lead Pastor of our East Saint John campus, KV East SJ.

It is definitely a dream come true to work with our awesome KV East staff and volunteer lead team. Though God has provided many amazing ministry adventures in the past, THIS by far feels like the BEST opportunity of my life.

This morning I woke up wanting to let you know that I would LOVE your help!

Specifically, if you attend Kings Valley Church or have a fire in your heart to see God’s glory and followers of Jesus raised up in the Saint John region I have written this for YOU.

I believe with all of my heart & soul that God is breathing new life into our city. Kings Valley Church gets to be part of planting, growing, building in Jesus Name here! In my heart I can see so many results and so much fruit over the next 5-10 years if we will trust the Spirit and give our lives to God’s vision for this beautiful place.

But, it won’t happen without His hands & feet… that’s You and me. I seriously don’t want you to miss out on what could be the greatest adventure of your life!

So, here are my “Top Five” reasons why I need and would love your help:

1. People need their confidence restored in authentic church community. We all know so many “Saint  Johners” who have a church background but church life has no real place in their everyday lives. You can help us show them what that looks like and welcome them to join us. We need you!

2. I need people like you to lead the way in helping the people of KV Church accomplish God’s mission for us in Saint John. KV East Saint John is a top priority project for Kings Valley. If you and others aren’t intentional, we could forget that our mission will be carried forward only as people roll up their sleeves and make it their own! You are needed to lead others by your example! We need you!

3. SO MANY people need to be reached. Only 10% of the population of Saint John regularly attend a local church! The thousands needing to experience Jesus’ presence in the midst of a church community cannot be reached by just a small team of us! We need you!

4. It will take significant investment to build KV East. Over the next decade and beyond I am by the grace of God going to invest my life & resources in what God is planning to do through KV East, I am asking you to do the same. It’s going to cost us but the benefits & blessings in Jesus Name and for His fame are beyond worth! We need you!

5. Probably my favorite reason is this: Jesus is building KV East with people like you! Many years ago I said “YES” to a call from God to pray & partner with Him to see workers sent into the harvest. What that means to you is that I love love love to help people get activated in their gifts and calling to help others experience the Father’s blessing through faith in Jesus Christ. We need you! 

So, there you have it! I would LOVE to talk with you and help you get involved. Reply here, call or text me at 506-650-2600, pm me on facebook or email danclamos@gmail.com. Come on out and join us at Cineplex 10:30 am on Sunday and/or Glen Falls School on Rothesay Avenue each Wednesday 6:30 pm. KV Kidz program is offered at both times & locations.

The OTHER story about the two sons… “First son” followers

One of Jesus’s best stories is a story about two sons. But, I bet it’s not the story you are thinking about. It’s the other one. Not the story about the “prodigal” but the one about a vineyard and a Dad and work he assigned to his sons. You can read the story for yourself in Matthew 21:28-32

The son who eventually does what his father wants is the “first son”. Even though he actually flat out disobeyed in the beginning, as the story goes, he changed his mind and went to do the work. Jesus explains that a life that taps into heaven looks a lot like that. The second son DID NOT do what his father wanted even though he gave the right reply in the beginning. He lost connection with his father’s agenda when he never went to the vineyard.

HUGE picture of life!!

THE VINEYARD = engaging in the life you have been given here through faith in Jesus.

ENTERING GOD”S KINGDOM = looking for the culture of heaven in the life you have been given

here and now. Eternal life isn’t just about what happens after you die.

It is available in this moment we are in right now.

I have been drawn into this story many times as a way to remind me that being truly ALIVE is about letting wishful daydreams blow away in the reality of the life right in front of me. This life regularly requires  me to “change my mind” and to actually roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty in the work of “the vineyard” my Father in heaven has given me to do here in this day. I have learned that is where the Holy Spirit meets me… in the vineyard of my ordinary stuff!

There is a powerful fresh “Aliveness” in living like the “first son”. How would things look and feel different in our lives, friendships, families & communities if we followed Jesus like “first sons”?

Does Jesus know you?

Anyone who takes the time to read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John will see Jesus calling people out to authenticity. Realness, legitimacy, being genuine… these are often way undervalued in our lives.

Jesus was and is controversial! He is revolutionary and life altering. Dealing with him will change you at the deepest levels. The good news is that the transformation is actually a metamorphosis. The real you will emerge.

What happens when you encounter Jesus? You may not want to be aware of it, but the Holy Spirit is constantly drawing you to meet up with Jesus in a million different ways in your everyday life. He is where you least expect him to be.

When I encounter Jesus I can’t pretend. All of my “Imposter” ways are exposed and I am struck by the fact that He only wants the real me. In fact Jesus sees all of my pretending as evil and dangerous. He invites me to grow up into full maturity as the man I was created to be by putting my trust in Him.

There is a key teaching from Jesus recorded in Matt 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

When I encounter Jesus today I want Him to be able to say, “I know you”. He does in fact complete know me. But I have learned that he isn’t going to allow me to fake it. The “Imposter” me won’t survive in the glory of who Jesus is. He is going to draw authenticity to the surface of my life every time! And I know that He will use whatever means needed to shape my identity through His knowledge of me.

May you be blessed today by Jesus full awareness and knowledge of you and may you have the courage by His grace to surrender to it!

HOME #12 (My Story)

In the past several days I have been revisiting a conversation with God that I haven’t had for while. It involves asking Him to come and make His Presence known in and around my life. It has taken me back to read Exodus 32 & 33. I love the sense about Moses that success or failure weren’t the most important issues to him… He loved God’s Presence and would not budge until God promised to go with him and the tribes of Israel.

In the midst of this conversation I came across a video and a poem that I want to share with you. I shared a link below to the vid; “Lost Generation” and “The Vision” by Wendell Berry. Hope they stir you up!

There is a hunger rising in many hearts to cry out to God with the same heart… “More than anything, God show us your glory and don’t send us any where unless your Presence goes with us.” If there is a fire in you for God’s presence, fan it into a blaze! You are needed in this time!! There is hope!

Lost Generation by Jonathan Reed http://youtu.be/42E2fAWM6rA

“A Vision”

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
if we will make our seasons welcome here,
asking not too much of earth or heaven,
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
there, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be
green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music
risen out of the ground. They will take
nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting. Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility

HOME #11 (My Story)

This morning I found myself tweeting this message, “Friendship with Jesus Christ is the key  to unlock every prison”.  Then I went back to the task in front of me which was getting dressed and ready for the day.

I began to think that if friendship with Jesus is the key that unlocks all of my prison doors then friendship with me is the key to do the same for people who connect with me today and every day.

When I look at the story of my life, I can see that living as a person who can’t be held under lock and key anymore has been quite a learning process.  I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t believe in God and all that my church taught about Jesus.

My struggle has always been with the pressure to behave in certain ways and to say or not say certain things in the course of relating to my world and my Christian community. And it wasn’t just about my conversation. There were things that a Christian shouldn’t and/or couldn’t do or places I couldn’t go because I was a Christian.

From an early age I took on a ton of guilt and shame because my heart and the real me didn’t match up with the behaviour that was expected of me by my church. So, like most of the kids in our church youth group I learned to hide who I really was in religious situations.  Tragically I had no real grasp on the reality that I had an original voice that God had woven into the fabric of who I was… even as a child.

I had an incredibly supportive family and a great school system to explore and make the most of… but I hated myself because I couldn’t seem to find whatever it took on the inside of myself to measure up to my religion.  The saddest part of those years is that I pretty much completely missed the amazing life I could have been enjoying.  What if I could have found my real voice and been activated into a life of reflecting His image into my world by just being myself before my Creator?

So, I lived a lie. My high school experience was lived as two different people. One of them was a well behaved church (religious) kid and the other was what I understood to be the real me.

It wasn’t until I landed at a Christian college that I got real with God and myself. There are two things that I remember saying to God as I left home as a 17 year old to enroll in Bible College. The first was “God, I know this might just land me in hell, but if I can’t discover something real for me in following Jesus during this school year, then I am done with the Church and Christianity for good. I’m sure hell will be awful. But, if all there is to being a Christian is what I have been part of so far, forget it!”

And, the second conversation came about half way through that school year as I cried out to God through tears and from my heart, “God, whether you are glad about this or not, you are stuck with me, failures and everything, because of how much you have loved me and set me from through Jesus, you are gonna have to reject me to get rid of me!” And, he hasn’t sent me away yet 🙂

He has set me free from prisons in my emotions, my sense of self and my life purpose. I want to offer up this prayer:

Jesus, knowing you is the key to unlocking the door to every prison I might find myself in whether it’s one of my own making or imposed by someone else. Words can never express how grateful I am for what you have done by setting me free to actually live. But, I pray that you will fill me and express your heart through me so that people will find that knowing your Spirit through me is the key that unlocks the chains and the bars that hold them captive. Use me to help them find the key for themselves.  Amen

My story #8

The Loft Sessions – Walk in the Promise

I grew up at 82 White Street. I was given beautiful gifts by my dad and mom. One was their determination to take me into consideration in the late ’70s as I approached my high school graduation in 1980. My dad had received many opportunities to pastor churches in “better” places but we stayed there on White Street allowing me to finish high school years in the school system where I was at home. What a huge benefit that was to me. Thank you!!

Another gift was showing me the world of art. This is the dimension… the reality where I am at home and at peace. My mom was in love with music. It was most definitely her happy place. She meshed that into the way she raised me and nurtured the same love in me.

As I sit here this morning and write while listening to beautiful music by Jeremy Riddle of Bethel Music   I am being swept away into the realm where it all comes alive and the grave clothes unravel and fall off of me… music… art… creating with The Creator.

Will you come with me into this place? Will you let yourself go and free fall to soar on the breath of the Spirit on the wings of the art woven in to your very being?

Our Creator has knit creativity into us. At our response to His invitation it sparks to life and lights the world in a million expressions.

There is a growing congregation of us who have gathered around the world unknown to each other and yet we are waiting for you to express your art as you fall in love with the Son and His kingdom again.

I can’t wait!!

 

My story #7 “Awesomeness”

I know that God the Creator has been having a private conversation with me my whole life. I didn’t always know it. But, I understand now that I have never been alone.

I have been misunderstood many times. I have felt disappointed, bruised, broken, guilty, sad, angry, rejected, etc…

In my life I have also been celebrated, loved, hugged, kissed, thrilled out of my mind, accepted, promoted, honoured and respected as well.

But, I have never been alone.

If I take the most honest look at myself, I have to admit that I have even been more ready to condemn and reject myself than my Father God has been willing to walk away from me. It has been His patience and kindness toward me that has given me the strength to always try again.

Many of us are waking up to God’s appointment of us through a burning love

for  Jesus and His way of living (His kingdom).

He has designed us and given us life so that we will be walking signs of His awesomeness. 

But, the way of entering that awesomeness is not what I expected. Much of the journey that I have taken would probably have been labeled a “waste” by many people. The question the “friends” of Jesus asked on that day when the woman broke open her treasure and poured it out on Jesus was “Why this waste…?”

I used to care about that question. But, I don’t anymore. In order for a plant to grow, the seed must die

In order for me to live in the awesomeness of my 

destiny, I must smash my treasure (dreams, hopes, agenda, ambitions, etc…)

and pour it out in love on Jesus.

That is “why this waste…” 🙂  

Do you honestly think that your Creator and lover will abandon you? You are his artistry.