You can’t swim in shallow water
Your can’t fly above the ground
You have to fan the flame to fire
Don’t settle for the easy round

Who will go with you to deeper waters
Or are there those that wait beyond?
Who will brave with you to higher places
They must let go of safety’s sound

Don’t hang around with heavy travelers
Who hate the burning heat of sun
Who say but, “Hush don’t start a fire.”
“Mellow down, please mellow down!”

You don’t belong to shores
But down the ocean
Where waters roar and spirits soar
You have to fuel fire and be burning
Let it burn, don’t let the vision drown



the blueprint prophetic art

A couple of months ago, right after a few weeks of storm, a young person in a special inter-church prayer meeting gave me this thing they call “prophetic art.”

I know it’s not exactly Da Vincci masterpiece kind of artwork, but tell you what, it was truly and powerfully prophetic.

More than a year ago, I read this book entitled “The Blueprint” by Jaeson Ma and it ruined my life in an unprecedented way. I never thought a book (other than the Bible) had the power to alter my decisions and philosophies in an absolute way. Until ‘The Blueprint.’

More than a year later (I think), I have been through seasons that should have washed away my determination to see a certain kind of revolution take place in the Philippine campuses. Well, it just wouldn’t go away. And though life today feels like a series of cycles that always  has a funeral somewhere in the cycle, I am surprised to find myself still kicking, not just alive, but kicking.

Thanks to sudden artworks that prophesy to you when you go to a meeting 2 hours away from where you live.

Some Anti-Religious Realizations About Prayer

Now I’m starting to get it. It is the reason why I kept getting that nudge in my spirit to get out and preach Jesus every time prayer gets intense in our little meetings. But then I would always reason that “there’s a time for everything”… that “now, it’s time for prayer, and not evangelism” and so we must remain faithfully focused on intercession right there on our seats. But yes, I am saying that I am beginning to realize that I had been missing something. And that something is the same reason why there were worship times when I almost was convinced that we should go right out of the prayer room after our session and start looking for someone to pray for, or someone to lonely to talk to, or someone out there who is just waiting for God (or some miracle) to show up. Somewhere in the midst of an apathetic crowd of busy kids intent -or pretending to be intent- in their book reading, there is at least one (but I doubt if there is but one, I’ll bet there’s more) waiting to be seen, heard, felt, and then perhaps be saved, by a love message that will wash his or her empty insides with acceptance, healing and renewed purpose.

I think I am starting to get it. And I feel like I should begin shedding tears. I have become too religious. Too religious that I have placed ministry inside a box, and made the act of loving others fit inside a schedule. Since when has the ministry of caring for people become a task that we schedule within a 3-hour window only if our schedule would allow it?

I think of that “prayer evangelism” or “treasure hunt” activity that I had kept on postponing because we still could not make our prayer time more consistent. If we never find ourselves able to be more faithful in prayer, will we never find ourselves sharing the love of God? If our hearts burn with a desire to preach Jesus, must we put it off for the sake of finishing our one hour in the prayer set? And when we finally find ourselves disciplined, shall we go out and preach the Word out of an obligation that must soon take us to the next level, which is starting a church?

I hope I am getting this right, God.

I think that this is what you want:  That our prayer times will break out into preaching times where we begin to be the very answers to the cries we have been pounding on the doors of heaven. That from this God-yearning inside us, would explode in a matter of seconds (and not a year), a hunger for the lost and broken. That from a place of planning for a missions agenda whose explosion we expect to come some months from now, our feet would itch and our spiritual tummies grumble for an uprising that could not be contained one second more, and that could not wait another day or week because the heart of God is swelling within our chests.

It is a heart that erupts with an all-embracing love inclusion. (Everyone should be and is loved and no one is not included.) It’s message cannot afford to wait for next Sunday because a grief-stricken soul is at stake and the truth of a compassionate God is longing to be revealed as one who does not squeeze us in for counseling schedule in an almost full itinerary, but it is a heart that blasts silent love songs in our ears, at every moment! “I am embracing you now!” “I am sending one of my loves to embrace you now.”

Oh God, we are sorry for being too busy to embrace that one! Because we’re caught up with an agenda! You’re passion and exploding compassion is not confined to nitty-gritty well-crafted itineraries like ours! Your heart burns beyond our imagination. And so when we pray, you say “At last! I can speak!” But then we shut up the very fire that you cause to run through our veins by saying we are not ready to risk it for the sake of abandoned love.

THAT we would hear the voice of the Spirit saying to us, “Go! Go out because the answer to your prayer is right outside this door waiting for you to embrace him with my true love.” God, that we would pray boldness into our lives, rather than security. That we would pray abandon rather than recognition. That we would pray risk, influence and opportunity, rather than comfort, popularity or reward.

God, that we would GO. It has always been your heart for us to “go.” If not now, I am at a loss really what it is that we are still waiting for.

Love Wars

This reminds me of a spy movie. It’s the part wherein you, the normal civilian, suddenly becomes in possession of a sought after article. Just yesterday, you can come out of your front door anytime of the day. Now, you have to use the back door to escape the enemy lurking outside your house. Overnight you’ve turned from status quo into most wanted. You don’t know when it is that someone might fire a bullet targeted towards you. Before you could leave any building, you make sure you’re covered and safe.

What did you do to make you deserve so much attention? Or perhaps the right question would be: what are you capable of doing that made these people want to take you down?

I love peace. I don’t like fighting. Although I’m competitive, I’m peace loving. But I would not avoid a fight if shying away also meant compromising my principles. I will fight until all my strength is gone.

“Why am I here?” I’ve been asking God almost the whole day, “What in the world is going on?!” For perhaps the hundredth time now, I thought of resigning. I’ve been having these “episodes of contemplating resignation” since I entered my company almost a year ago. And no, I don’t hate my job nor am I having trouble getting along with my officemates. In fact, I feel so blessed and privileged to be in such a position of influence. But there are a few things that are making it so difficult to stay sane and sober in it.

First, I feel that 48 hours a week of work is draining the life out of me. I miss staring at the sky without time limit. I miss strumming my guitar until I run out of melodies. I miss poetry that wakes me up in the middle of the night to write it.

Second is, I always get sick nowadays since I started working! Sometimes I feel that not even much sleep can offset the emotional and mental tiredness that goes with this position. And I really think that I need to stay healthy and ALIVE if I were to fulfill my purpose in life, right?

And the hardest question for me today was: Do I really need to resign in order to get my “life” back? Or is there some other way?

I really just started with a dream and an open door. After four years of waiting, this was the door that God opened, my current job. Today, I felt like I am being vomited out of the company. The late work hours, the workaholic culture, the tolerance towards religiosity, the intimidation, the burden of intercession, the challenge of casting a new vision, the grueling task of coming against a culture… Many times, it feels like I will get swallowed alive and carried away by a tsunamis of tradition. And then at times, I’m swimming against the tide, I’m warring and making progress, trying my words against the mountain. And other times, just like the past few days, searching for a way out, hoping I could find a portion of the sea where there’s less religiosity to clash swords against.

Many times, I get disoriented. Is this still my battle or is it time to “pull out”?

But one thing I realized. The enemy sure is after me. I decreed that mountains will move and atmospheres will shift. I have determined to make it my non-negotioable to live under open heaven. Either the heavens shift or I go some place else where God is calling me. I cannot accept a scarcity of the presence of God. I would die. And perhaps, this is why the devil hated me.

Perhaps, I dreamed what meant the destruction of age old strongholds. I am fragile. I prefer a quiet life, but for sure, not a life without the overflow of the love of God. And so I woke up and all of a sudden, just because I love God and His presence more than anything, I must go to war. No not for a day. But who knows how long? Do they really tell you when a war would end?

So the culture here seems to be trying to take me down, that’s one way of looking at it. But what if, I’m the one who’s taking them down — with all the things that hinder love? Shaking it up!  Besides, what ‘s so scary about a quiet girl? Or maybe it’s because they know I won’t ever give up until them all exposed.

So what are you fighting for? Are you just like me? I admit I get scared at times. And at times, I just wanna go on vacation for a two whole weeks. But until God says war is over, this we must make sure: Your enemy is the one scared of you and not the other way around. Remember, why would he try to take you down if you’re not downright threatening his territory?

To Write Love On Her Arms

By Jamie Tworkowski

(via http://www.twloha.com/vision/)

to write love on her arms

Pedro the Lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she won’t see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and I ask what she’d say if her story had an audience. She smiles. “Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars.”

I would rather write her a song, because songs don’t wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her. Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her.

Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn’t slept in 36 hours and she won’t for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she’ll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn’t ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of “friends” offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write “FUCK UP” large across her left forearm.

The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.

She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone I’ve known, like a Johnny Cash song or some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares. Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, I watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that she’s beautiful. I think it’s God reminding her.

I’ve never walked this road, but I decide that if we’re going to run a five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes

Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, Orlando’s finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the A&R man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show.

She is in good seats when the Magic beat the Sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue Like Jazz and (Anne Lamott’s) Travelling Mercies.

On Saturday, the Taste of Chaos tour is in town and I’m not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage. It feels like healing. It is certainly hope.

Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. We’re talking to God but I think as much, we’re talking to her, telling her she’s loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs she’s inspired.

After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye. Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could be. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff.

She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. She’s had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldn’t have it. I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with me. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life.

As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: “The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”

I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we’re called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly.

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she’s known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don’t get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won’t solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we’re called home.

I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that He meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember.

Gasping for Glory

I dream of heaven following us around. I don’t want to call forth God’s glory to a place that I go to. I wanna walk a carrier of His glory. That when I get there, so has His glory arrived. I want His glory to surround me and to go with me wherever I go, like a sphere or like a trail or like an atmosphere. I wanna walk in His presence. I want every step to be by His grace. I want to abide not daily but by every breath, abiding by my Jesus. I want to hunger for Him wherever I go. To breath His presence, be desperate for it like fish is desperate for water. I want to be desperate for His glory. I don’t want to walk in a desperate place and just suck it all in. That’s what we usually do when we see someone suffering or someone in sin. We suck it all in. Because we lack a revelation of God’s glory. I don’t want to suck it all in anymore. I am wretched, poor and needy, no not before my salvation, but even now that I am not yet walking in the fullness of His glory. We need more. We need to admit that we need more. And we need to walk (eat, read, teach, work, love, and pray pray pray pray pray) with that awareness that we need more of Him. Jesus never sucked it all in. He stooped down, healed, casted out demons, comforted people, forgave sins, brought real hope and not just flowery promises.

As one man of God said, “The world does not need our opinion of worship, the world does not need our songs, the world does not need our music. The world needs worship. The world needs Jesus.” I dream of us, his children, being Jesus to every person and every place. I dream of worship as a breath by breath lifestyle. Because the world is waiting (hungry, desperate, gasping) for His glory.