These were not normal thoughts for a seventeen-year old and I quickly realised that neither my family nor friends had the answers I so desperately sought to the questions I had. During the weeks that followed I imagined my mother being present in some way and wanted to make contact with her. I was convinced that the physical realm around me was not all that there was to the world and I pondered over and over if there was any way in which I could release my mind to embrace the world beyond the world where people went when they died.
Unfortunately, I attempted to do this through the use of drugs. I began experimenting with all kinds of substances, especially socalled mind expanding drugs. I had used both drugs and alcohol recreationally in the past to have a good time, but now I was using them to relieve the pain of losing my mother, to numb the overwhelming grief which overtook me. I also found that I was now able to induce an altered state of being through drugs. This marked a major turning point in my life and I was plunged into a very dark world. He would leave his body and go to people, bringing healing by removing diseased organs from their body.
I shared a house with him and he would spend time relating these experiences, offering to impart this ability to me. Although I carried a deep longing to know and experience this spiritual realm, I somehow knew that if I experienced what this man was offering it would lead me into an even darker place than I had already known and something or someone was drawing me away from that path. I knew I had to move out of this persons home. At the same time I was getting more involved in drugs.
I was twenty-one years old, addicted to drugs and still with no real answers to my searching questions. I registered at an addiction clinic; I knew something had to change. I could not go on living this life where I was so desperate for some spiritual encounter that I could not access.
Things came to a head when on 13th July, the day before my twenty-first birthday, I was charged and sentenced to six months in prison for possession of drugs and allowing my premises to be used for taking drugs. Finding myself incarcerated, separated from family and friends, and withdrawing from drugs, I began to cry out for help. I had begun reading a New Testament which Id been given in prison, so I began calling on God to help me. I soon noticed that every time I prayed, a Presence would enter my cell and I would be overwhelmed with a sense of peace.
I had appealed against my sentence and I was waiting to go to Crown Court in order for my case to be heard. It was while I was in the holding cells that somebody gave me a brochure. I remember praying and asking God to do the same for me. I told God that if I got my prison sentence overturned then I would go to the same place this young man had gone to a Christian-run drug rehabilitation centre in the Cotswolds called Life for the World.
When the day of my appeal came, I stood before the judge and awaited his verdict. He told me that the sentence was just, but nevertheless he was going to commute my sentence to run concurrently instead of consecutively. This had the effect of turning my two three-month sentences into one three-month sentence and meant I would be released within days. I am still amazed today at the power that a persons words can have upon someone elses life. Two weeks later I was admitted to this Christian rehabilitation centre, on 2nd October, I remember going to a meeting that evening with all the young men who were at the centre.
This was the first Christian meeting Id ever been in and it seemed so real, like the people truly believed what they were saying and sharing. Together they began to sing the words of the song: Breathe on me breath of God, fill me with life anew, so I may love what thou doest love and do what thou would do. Breathe on me breath of God, so shall I never die, but live with Thee the perfect life for all eternity. Breathe on me breath of God, till I am only thine, till all this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.
As I sang this song along with them, I realised for the first time. He then told me what Jesus Christ had done on the cross. I finally had an answer to all my searching: all of my former life had been forgiven and I could enter into a new life. I could know God and my spirit would be made alive. He then led me through a prayer and I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour and the One who could give me life, a real, spiritual life. In the days that followed I sensed that at long last I had entered into a new realm the invisible spiritual realm.
This time, however, I didnt have to be afraid or run away from it; I could embrace it and allow the Holy Spirit to embrace me.
I was beginning to see the world in a way I had never seen it before. Everything looked so clear and the colours looked so radiant. It was during one of these days that I happened to be out walking in the countryside near the rehabilitation centre. It was a glorious autumn day and a golden sunset was enveloping the early evening sky. I had an overwhelming sense that finally I had been filled full of life and had found my place in this world that God had created. The more I thought about this, the more overwhelmed I seemed to become.
I felt as though my heart was expanding within me. I could sense the presence of God so tangibly; it felt as though someone was following me. I turned half expecting to see someone, but instead I saw a wonderful amber and golden ball of light hovering on the opposite side of the woods where the sun was setting. Its hard to describe, but this wasnt sun, but a physical manifestation of Gods glory and His presence.
I was overwhelmed with fear, but not a terror-filled. I was encountering another world, a world I had been created for and which had lain dormant, longing for me to wake up and experience it. There was a life God had prepared for me that wouldnt end with death. There were answers to the questions Id had ever since my mother died. Now as I turned, the glorious ball of light, shining with all its beauty, began to speak to me. The words seemed to echo and reverberate through my whole being.
It was like something had opened up within me and as it opened a light shone in and I was given a vision that seemed to impose itself on my spirit, telling me what God was calling me to do. The only way I can explain this is to say that it was like a camera: as a picture is taken the shutter opens and light enters; what the lens is focused on becomes imposed upon the film. This is what happened in me my spirit had been opened by God and His purpose for me imprinted on it. After this amazing experience I rushed back to the centre, eager to tell the centre Director what had happened.
Sadly, he told me that this vivid encounter was demonic in origin and that I should never seek this kind of experience again.
These words had such an impact on me. I was both devastated and confused, but assumed that this man, an experienced Christian, must know more than me. The awareness of the spiritual realm that had been awakened in me was shut down and it would remain closed for many years to come. I am aware that for many people this has also been their experience. Too many have remained ignorant of the dynamic power available to them because they have not understood how to access the spiritual realm. Perhaps they have shared.
Often those in leadership, due to their own lack of understanding and inability to access spiritual power, have either deliberately or inadvertently shut down others, labelling their experiences demonic. In so doing they have closed the door to the supernatural power of God and prevented His light from pouring into the darkness. Once this happens, vision and revelation begin to fade as the spiritual shutters remain closed. I believe, however, that these are days when God wants to restore our awareness of the spiritual dimension.
He is giving us back our spiritual eyes to see into the realm of the Spirit and witness what God is doing.
Just as Jesus prayed, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, we too are beginning to see the reality of heaven manifest on earth, so that we can be conduits through which Gods glory is displayed on the earth. I can remember so clearly the day when, after twenty years had passed with this realm being closed to me, God suddenly revealed Himself to me and restored all I had lost. By this time I was a minister and I was waiting on God to hear what I should share at our Friday evening renewal meeting where I would be speaking.
As I lay in Gods presence, I became aware of a small blue light. It was like the flash of an arc welding light, and yet it was constant. I leaned towards the light and as I did so it got bigger until it enveloped me. Then I heard these words: The seal is broken. Now tell them the things that you have seen. This experience lasted for about twenty seconds.
It was as though the spiritual shutter had been opened again and revelation flowed in. It was as if heaven had been opened up to me and the presence of Jesus became so real. I remember going into the meeting and saying to my wife, Sharon, that we should be prepared for heaven to enter our meeting that night and as we began to worship there was a wonderful sense of His glorious presence breaking into our lives afresh. After a full three hours of worship, I spoke about the experience that Id had before the meeting and as I did so, heaven descended; there was a convergence of heaven and earth.
People throughout the meeting were taken into waking visions and began to prophesy, sharing the things that they were now seeing. A door had been opened into heaven and we were being invited into these heavenly places to experience the fullness of the spiritual blessings which had been stored up for us. This book is the culmination of the years of seeking to continue to walk in the realm of the Spirit that followed. I invite you to embark on a journey to receive the blueprints of heaven and see heaven established on earth. This is what Jesus opened up when He walked on the earth and taught us to pray into being.
Chapter 2 The Resources of Heaven Gods purpose in Creation Isaiah tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth, He formed the earth to be inhabited. At one time the earth was formless and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, Genesis informs us. It seems that something cataclysmic had happened. This was, perhaps, the time of Satans rebellion in heaven.
But God fulfilled His purpose, speaking light into existence and then filling the earth with good things. The culmination of Gods creation was man, made in Gods image and charged with ruling the earth on His behalf. God planted a pleasant garden in the east and took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it Genesis But this garden was not simply where man was to live and work it was also where God walked, a place. It was a place where the rule and reign of heaven would be extended as Adam received and implemented Gods will. To enjoy fellowship with a people who would rule the earth in accordance with His wishes had always been Gods desire and still is today.
But man sinned by eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had already decreed that this act of disobedience would lead to death. Now Gods justice demanded that Adam be banished from the garden and denied access to the tree of life. No longer would Adam live in the place where heaven and earth converged.
God continued to show His concern for Adam and Eve, sacrificing an animal to make garments of skin for them, but man had lost the supreme privilege of fellowship with his Creator. Bethel, the house of God You can read about the convergence of heaven and earth in Genesis Chapter In a dream Jacob sees a stairway resting on the earth with its top reaching to heaven and angels ascending and descending on it. Above the stairway he sees the Lord, who promises to bless him and his descendants.
Jacobs spiritual experience stays with him after he awakes. Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it, he says Genesis Jacob had witnessed how heaven is waiting to burst upon the earth, allowing Gods power to be manifest in the lives of ordinary men and women. This experience of the. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven Genesis From that time on, Luz, the city where heaven and earth converged for a time, became known as Bethel, meaning the House of God.
The tabernacle and the temple Later God gave instructions for the building of a tabernacle, and subsequently a temple, where He could live among men, His presence manifest on the earth. When Moses had completed the tabernacle it became a place of habitation for His presence: the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Exodus Later, when Solomon completed the temple, we read in 1 Kings how heaven invaded earth once again: When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord.
And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. So God once again had a geographical dwelling place among mankind. But mans access to this special place of His presence. The place of meeting was above the mercy seat, the cover of the ark of the covenant, which was placed in the Most Holy Place the Holy of Holies , the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle and temple. The only time recorded in Scripture that man went into the Most Holy Place was when the high priest entered on the Day of Atonement, when sacrifices were made to atone for the nations sins.
So just once per year a single human experienced the manifest presence of God. A single geographical place of meeting is very vulnerable. The Lord became so angry with Israels continued sin that He eventually withdrew from the temple and, lacking Gods protection, Israel was soon conquered and the temple destroyed. Although the temple was subsequently rebuilt by the returning exiles, there is no record of it becoming Gods dwelling place again. So we understand that in the generations between the Fall of Adam and the Birth of Jesus, God dwelt with man for a limited time only and under restricted circumstances.
We could express this by saying that heaven was open only partially and intermittently. But this was all to change with the coming of Jesus. Jesus birth and baptism Jesus birth was announced by angelic beings, messengers from heaven and the realm of heaven burst upon the earth once again. Years later, at His baptism, heaven was opened again. As He was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came.
Luke Through Jesus presence on the earth and His infilling with the Holy Spirit the house of God no longer resided in a city. It was no longer tied to a structure, a building or a geographical location, such as Bethel it now resided in a person, Jesus. God no longer dwelt in a man-made tabernacle or temple, but in the temple of Jesus body. Jesus foresaw a renewing of the angelic activity revealed to Jacob. He promised Nathanael, You shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
John Jesus went about expressing the power of Gods kingdom as, by the power of the Spirit, He saw into heaven and enacted Gods will on the earth. He modelled an entirely new way of Gods presence being manifest on the earth. Jesus ushered in a new season in which man would again be able to bring to earth Gods Kingdom, Gods rule and Gods will.
Matthew and 24 express this well: From that time on Jesus began to preach: Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near or as I prefer to say, it is within our reach! And, Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. God does not want anyone to perish and through Jesus sacrifice and death on the cross, our sins can be forgiven and our fallen state restored.
The first Adam was banished from Gods presence. Now, through the work of the last Adam, Jesus, we are welcomed into the presence of our loving, merciful Father. Paul reminds us that we, as individuals and corporately together, are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Heaven was opened with the coming of Jesus.
It remains open and will never be closed. This is a key truth for us to grasp and understand. The Church can and must enter into the inheritance planned by God before the foundation of the world. We can walk with God in unhindered fellowship in the cool of the day, and we can call on the resources of heaven in helping to bring Gods Kingdom on earth. Each of us needs to rise up and embrace this reality. Chapter 3 Your Restored Inheritance How do you see things? There is a phrase that says, Perspective is everything.
Im sure many will have seen the optical illusion image that either looks like a vase or the outline of two faces looking at each other. Which you see is determined by your perspective. There are times when the Churchs perspective its core view of itself is very different from Gods perspective. Often we can be so wrapped up in ourselves and busy with our lives that we gradually drift from Gods will for us. This is not a new problem. We see recorded in the book of Revelation, Jesus views on a number of churches. Look at His comments regarding the church at Laodicea: You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a.
But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Revelation This churchs view of itself was one of self-sufficiency. It had acquired material wealth and no doubt felt very prosperous. The church probably thought it had come into its inheritance, but Jesus saw otherwise. He saw that it was spiritually poor. Today, we can have our programs, services, outpouring meetings and revivals with a small r and yet not realise just how insufficient we are.
We can give the appearance of an incredible amount of activity that looks spiritual on the surface, but is actually operating independently from Gods will because He never sanctioned it.
We are truly effective on the earth when we listen carefully to what God is saying and doing and then say and do the same things. That is when we begin to realise the fullness of our divine inheritance as God empowers our actions in accordance with His will. The same that is true of the Church is also true for us as individuals.
Many have committed their lives to Christ and look forward to being with Him in heaven after they die. This is an amazing part of our inheritance in Him. But what about our lives on earth right now? How is that inheritance being manifest now? In the book of Ephesians the apostle Paul writes of a twofold inheritance that is ours, right now: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
Ephesians NKJV. Ephesians NKJV It is clear from these scriptures that the blessing of God is not just for the future that we will be spiritually blessed when we enter heaven but it is powerfully present and active now, as we live here on earth. If then, we have been promised these blessings, it begs the question: are we receiving the fullness of them? And if not, why not? I am certain that one reason many believers do not live in the full blessing of God is that they are unaware of the full scope of that blessing.
They are unsure exactly what they have inherited as co-heirs with Christ and as such are failing to experience more of His dynamic life and power. It is recorded that when slavery was abolished in the United States some slave owners continued to secure the services of their slaves by means of a very simple deception they just didnt tell the slaves that they were free.
Because the slaves knew no better, they accepted the status quo and continued with their labour. The most effective means of keeping someone from something is simply to avoid telling them about it. This is why Satan expends so much effort trying to darken peoples minds and obscure the truth.
It prevents the light of revelation from entering and greatly minimises our expectation of the supernatural. What aspects of our inheritance then, should we remind ourselves of? I offer a few keys:. Inheritance is through relationship Gods desire has always been to enjoy fellowship with a people who would rule His creation in accordance with His heart.
We could say that this desire and intention of God is the big picture of our inheritance. The more time we spend alone with God, simply being with Him and enjoying His presence, the more we will absorb and understand how He has empowered us to do what He desires us to do. The more time we spend in Gods presence the more we receive our Fathers affirmation of our sonship and identity and the less we strive for the affirmation of man. David said that the one thing that he sought was to dwell in the house of the Lord and gaze upon His beauty Psalm He was aware that as he did so he would again know the Lords affirmation.
His discovery of a technique on the turntables which set aflame an entire culture… I find inspiration in stories. The verbal, written, visual or musical accounts of adventures, refusals and trials, failures and triumphs, of heroes and foes, of troubles and woes, of exuberance, of laments. Cantrill, my freshmen year organic chemistry professor at UCLA. In fact, I took that piece of advice by heart and switched my major three times to find my own true interest. Another 6 months interning at the Huntington Memorial Hospital changed my mind and I then decided to major in in Biophysics.
Eventually I settled with Biochemistry and Molecular Biology after enjoying doing research in a biochemistry lab where I went on to do my PhD study. What is one piece of advice you have for students preparing for college in the US? Be yourself. Trust the process. I think this is the biggest mistake prospective college students can make.
I view the college preparation process as one of the most important moments of personal growth in your life it certainly was for me! To that end, trust the process! Even when it may seen overwhelming, or you may feel completely lost, trust that, if you remain honest with yourself, you will come out on the other side happier and with more clarity about your future.
So, stay true to who you are and the rest will take care of itself. As a result, I made a lot of mistakes in my college preparation process, like waiting to the last minute to write my essays and assuming I could rely on my SAT score. I want to make sure that every student is aware of all the possible options they have at their disposal and that they are approaching the process in the right way.
The University of Chicago prides itself on its eclectic essay writing prompts, many provided by alumni of the school. Dalloway as a response. Then spent so much time with Jesus, but then were sent out to preach. Their time with Him was designed to lead to a time of serving others. We too share in this responsibility. We are called to proclaim the name of Christ. When is comes to a life of discipleship, this only makes sense.
Being a disciple means we follow after the teacher, learning to think how he thinks so we can speak how he speaks. When a Rabbi taught a learner, he did not expect that learner to remain in his physical presence for forever, but intended that learner to go out and teach others. We spend time with Jesus in Prayer and Bible study, but then go out and teach others. This is so important that Jesus not only commissioned the Apostles here for this task, but when he first called his disciples he called them to be fishers of men back in chapter one, and calls us all to the great commission of making disciples of all nations and teaching them all things he has commanded.
We learn and we go we learn and we go. This pattern is followed in the gospels as well. The disciples spend some time learning from Jesus, they go out preaching in various places, then they report back to Jesus what happened, and they are sent out again. We learn this from the book of Matthew in particular.
This is the pattern. Learn and go. You do have more to learn. We all do! But remember with me who Jesus chose as his initial crop of disciples. Not exactly an all-star cast of characters. Jesus has to continually correct their understanding of his teachings. We are going to run into that in the next couple of chapters of Mark.
But did that stop Jesus from choosing these men for the task? But this is why spending time with hi is so very crucial. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we understand his word and are able to communicate it to others. There are many that would try to preach without having spent time with Jesus, and some manage to be quite successful at it from the worldly point of view. They might have been out doing the things, but they never spent time with Jesus, they never actually knew him.
But once that time is spent, we go out and share with others. I have more to learn. In the land of Israel there are two seas, two large bodies of water. The first is the sea of Galilee, the second is the dead sea. The sea of Galilee is teaming with life. The dead sea on the other hand has no fish whatsoever. It does not support animal life, plant life, or human life.
The water is considered toxic to drink. Both of these seas are fed by the same river; the Jordan river flows into both. Why are they so different? Here is the difference: The Sea of Galilee has an input and an output.
The Jordan river flows in, and the Jordan river flows out. This keeps the water fresh and provides the rich environment for vibrant life. The dead sea has an input, but no output. The Jordan river flows in, but there is nothing that flows out. The water stagnates and simply evaporates, leaving behind a high concentration of salt and minerals. Throughout this book they constantly fail to understand Jesus, yet they are the ones chosen to herald his message. This is why it is important to be with Jesus in the first place. But if we receive and then give, there is life! We must share with others what we learn.
Another way to produce output is through serving others.
Now tell me, which blueprint would be better? I love this book and this is one book that I according to me, should be read at least once in a lifetime! Never in my life had I experienced anything like this. He was aware that as he did so he would again know the Lords affirmation. Discuss with family members the process of building a house. A Blueprint for America.
They also were sent to serve others. He appointed twelve to be with him, to send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Hold on. There are a few things to understand here. When Jesus gives the Apostles here authority to cast out demons, but we know from the parallel passage in Matthew that he also gave them authority to heal sickness and diseases. Jesus was going around preaching and healing and driving out demons. He passes this on to the Apostles but Mark summarizes all that various ministry activity in one phrase: driving out demons. First of all, we know that this is not all that.
Again, disciples are to emulate the teacher in every way possible. Jesus preached and healed and drove out demons. His disciples were to do the same. And later on we will have accounts of the disciples doing exactly that. They preach, they heal, they drive out demons. First and foremost, they authenticated the message. Jesus claimed to be God in human flesh. The Apostles proclaimed that entrance into the Kingdom was through repentance and faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
To authenticate that message there were signs of authority that were done to demonstrate that this message was true. The second purpose is that is puts the love and compassion of Jesus on display. Many times Jesus is said to have compassion on the crowds and the Scriptures speak of how Jesus loved and cared for those he served. Part of how this love and compassion was demonstrated was through alleviating people of their pain and suffering by performing these miracles. Now, here we are today and we are called to be disciples of Christ.
Be with him, we can do that. Prayer and Bible Study.
Proclaim the message of Christ, that is doable as well. What are we to do about the miracles? Here at JBC we believe that the sign gifts have ceased, so what are to do with that? Though we may not have been granted authority to perform miracles and cast out demons, we are still called to emulate Jesus and follow his example.
The signs and miracles are no longer necessary because the message has already been authenticated, but we can still have compassion for those around us. We can still love, care, and serve those around us. Not only can we do these things but we must do these things. Jesus gives a summary of his ministry later in the book, take a look:. They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them.