Fathering Into Maturity

Fathering Into Maturity

For the past 11 years, I have been fixated on the idea of deep, healthy discipleship. My life’s mission has been to bring a systematic approach to growth and spiritual maturity to the nations. I remember one day when I was running in the sweltering Texas heat, how the Lord spoke very clearly to me about my future. While He may not have given me all the nitty-gritty details, He did make a few things very clear to me.



A taproot.

It is the strength of many plants and where a lot of the nutrients come from. You can break the plant at the top, but if you don’t get the taproot, it will always come back. You can even pull the plant, get many of the off shoot roots, but if you don’t get the taproot, it will come back – even if you pull the taproot. If you don’t get it all… Yup. You guessed it! The plant will come back.

When Jesus came, with Paul teaching after Him, the concepts taught took spiritual Round-Up to many obvious weeds that had been planted by the Enemy to choke out humanity. The obvious ones were the first to die.  Salvation without works was provided to everyone through the cross and the work of Jesus. Salvation of our soul was complete through our faith in Christ, not by anything we could do. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Even that took a long time for the taproot to fully be laid bare. 

(Thank you, Luther! I’d nail letters to doors any day with you.)

Some of those taproots – they have taken a LOT of work to unroot. To dig up. To come to the realization of just what Jesus and His follower, Paul, laid the foundation for. For centuries, people used the Bible out of context –  culturally, biblically, and historically – to justify slavery.  One of the main Scriptures they quoted was Ephesians 6:5-8, which tells slaves to obey their masters. However, they stopped there. The very next verse was the biblical poison to the taproot of slavery. Ephesians 6:9 calls masters to treat their slaves as unto the Lord. When applied, it is spiritual Round-Up to the whole thought of owning slaves. Slavery lives on today, but thankfully people no longer use the Bible to justify it like they did – not even that long ago. The Church is on the frontlines of battling this stain in our broken world, bringing life and hope to those in captivity.

There is at least one big taproot remaining.

Today, the taproot lives on as approximately 60% of the Church is told they do not have equal standing to serve God in certain ways due to their genitalia. Just like in times of slavery, the Bible is being abused and used out of cultural, biblical, and historical context. What is the scriptural Round-up? Honestly, there is a lot of biblical poison for this taproot – more than I can cover in a blog. However, recently the Holy Spirit pointed out a new one to me.

Let’s look at it quickly together:

Ephesians 5:25-33 commands, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’  This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, [so that the wife will respect]* her husband.”

What is the biblical taproot poison?

God is calling men to treat their wives, their daughters, their sisters in Christ as Jesus did His church. How did Jesus treat His ‘church’? Who was His ‘church’ while He was on Earth? It was the disciples – the 12, the 70, the 120. He called them, He equipped them, He entrusted them, He empowered them, and then He expected them to minister – male and female released in their calling. He instilled in them the realization of their true identity as children of the King! He told them to be filled with the Holy Spirit and called them to preach – male and female.

The Heavenly Father wants to see His sons and daughters worshipping and ministering in Spirit and in Truth – TOGETHER! I am so grateful I had an earthly father who told me to “fly with the eagles.” That I am married to man who is secure enough in our relationship and his relationship with Christ to speak life into the ministry God is calling me to.

The weed of hierarchy threatens the Church. We must be unified on an even field – men and women – to see the taproot killed for good. Just like Christ, do not let pride, fear of being surpassed, or your misunderstanding due to cultural teachings, allow the devil to keep resurfacing this weed that threatens to choke the growing church. God has been calling us to better – and He has already provided the way to deal with this taproot. Let’s get digging!

*I used the correct grammatical meaning of this Scripture. There is a lot of research that has been done on this which can be found online and in written theological books on the original Greek.

Discipleship and Leadership

Discipleship and Leadership

The state of the Church today in many nations provides us with a clear indication that the Church as a whole needs to refocus efforts towards healthy discipleship and the proper development of new leaders. Before we take a deep dive, let’s approach this with a bit of context.

My good friend and Vice President of Joshua Nations shared with me his perception of the African continent. He said, “The African Church is a mile wide and an inch deep.” Over the past hundred years or so, many nations in Africa have been evangelized thoroughly, again and again. Millions upon millions have raised their hands to receive Jesus. Yet, overall, the African Church lacks depth and maturity.

Rev. Sarfraz William, our Director of South Asia, has expressed the ongoing need for holistic outreach to come alongside and partner with the evangelistic work and discipleship training taking place in South Asia. Over the course of numerous conversations, he has explained that for as long as memory serves, Christians have set out to approach his nation of Pakistan and other South Asian nations due to the sheer masses of unsaved people. I have personally partnered with Sarfraz and several of our other partners to preach at many large, evangelistic crusade-style events. At these events, we have seen tens of thousands raise their hands, come forward, and pray a “Sinner’s Prayer.” Did all these people remain committed to Christ? Unfortunately, a sizeable percentage ultimately returned to their former religions.

In Cuba, where Joshua Nations launched its first international work, we see a different scenario. The island is decimated due to its Communist leaders. The average Cuban makes only $10-$15 USD per month. Doctors and highly skilled professionals only make $22-$28 per month! One could assume that the church in Cuba would be equally dysfunctional. However, due to healthy discipleship the Church in Cuba is quite mature and healthy. Despite their extreme challenges, the Church sends church planters and missionaries all over the world. Missionaries are primarily sent to Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations, but some have been known to be sent to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Our teams have run across Cuban missionaries in more than a dozen nations!

Here, in the United States, we have seen the Church struggle for decades. Sadly, thousands of churches have closed their doors over the past twenty years. Mega churches have sprung up and swallowed some smaller and mid-sized churches with the promise of bigger and better resources, healthier programs for children, and professional services that are often beyond the offering of a small or mid-sized church. Despite the fact that many of the mega churches are truly phenomenal, the state of our nation has not improved. The American Church has lost ground and lost influence.

Recently, we have seen the Lord begin something truly magnificent, something that often only happens once in a lifetime. Catching fire in Filmore, Kentucky, at Asbury Theological Seminary and now igniting in dozens of places around the world, a flame of revival is being lit. And it is turning the hearts of young and old back to the Father! With fresh outpourings of the Holy Spirit, we are witnessing something unique that could lead to a Third Great Awakening. Only time will tell…

Yet, no matter what happens in the coming months and years with this spark of revival, we will still have to work through the nuances of sustaining the growth of the Church. Together, we must grapple with building proper leadership and maturity so that however the Lord moves supernaturally through outpourings, signs, and wonders, we can look back on it and say, “Yes, Lord, we maintained Your harvest and built upon Your momentum.”

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We are to go and make disciples – not pew sitters, not hand raisers, not church members, and not just another number of another hand raised – but disciples. A disciple is a disciplined follower of Christ. This person loves to obey Jesus, makes every effort to conform to His Word, and to look more and more like Him every day.

Disciples are the kind of people that radiate Jesus and just seem to overflow with God’s love and goodness on a daily basis. Disciples are people that put Jesus first, others second, and themselves last. I could go on and on about what a disciple is and should be, but I am sure you get the picture! It is a great regret that many churches are not filled with disciples but are filled with Sunday morning bench warmers.


Of course, this is not all churches. And this is not all people!

This is not endemic to a particular size or style of church. The truth of the matter is that many people have not been discipled and many people do not know what it means to be a disciple.

This needs to change!


But how do we change the trajectory of the American Church or even the Global Church?

And how do we address the issues of promoting numbers and size instead of depth and maturity?

Leadership. The key to making a radical and rapid shift in the Global Church is addressing the issue of leadership, or the lack thereof.

1 Corinthians 4:15

“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the Gospel.”

We lack leaders.

We lack fathers.

We lack people who are willing to take the time to invest in others.

The key difference between a teacher and a father is presence. A teacher shows up for a specified amount of time to instruct in some form or manner. Yet, when the time is over, the teacher often is unavailable. I know this is not supposed to be the norm and was not what a teacher/rabbi was like in Biblical times, but today teachers often disconnect from their student(s) when the specified time of instruction is complete.

Fathers, however, are those who not only offer instruction but also offer presence. They are involved in life decisions, surprises, tragedies, difficulties, and more. Fathers are there when you want them, when you need them, and even when you don’t realize that you need them. The Apostle Paul shared a powerful principle that is timeless. We need more fathers!




I thought you just stated that the key of making a radical shift to the Global Church hinged on leadership!?

Yes, it does. However, leaders must recognize and release fathers as they are the ones who invest in true discipleship. Teachers play a role. Preachers play a role. Programs play a role. But true discipleship comes through relationships, and through relationships, new leaders and new disciples are cultivated.

Concluding thoughts –

  1. Recognize that programs are not discipleship. Programs can contribute to and help facilitate discipleship, but programs in themselves are not
  2. Teachers are not always disciple-makers.
    Teachers are also not always fathers.
  3. Fathers are not always traditional or conventional teachers.
    • Fathers are people who will be present and teach along the way.
    • They love, care, and correct, as needed.
  4. Leaders are often recognized by office or position.
    This does not make them a father or a disciple-maker.

    • Positional leaders should recognize their giftings and limitations.
    • Additionally, they should seek to mobilize and release people who are fathers, mentors, coaches, and disciple-makers.
  5. To see a rapid shift in your church culture, your leaders should identify, train, and release fathers.
  6. These concepts are not specific or limited to men only.
    • Women are called and anointed to raise up others as well.
    • For the sake of safety and integrity, I recommend that men mentor men and women mentor women.

Let us strive to raise up and release fathers.
Let us establish proper leadership.
And let us return to our mandate to make disciples!

His Love for the Nations

His Love for the Nations

And they sang a new song, saying:

You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain,

And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

Revelation 5:9

Worthy, worthy, worthy! These will be the shouts of praise and songs of worship that erupt from around the throne of God. The heavens will roar with all the adoration that is due Him. Languages from every tribe, village, and nation will be present because He is worthy. The Lord Most High desires and deserves complete and perfect love from those whom He loved.

This begs the question for us to discuss –

Whom did He love?

The simple answer is –

He loves you, He loves me, and He loves all that still do not know Him.

But what about the bigger picture of His love?

Unfortunately, over the past two thousand years, there have been quarrels and arguments amongst Christians and non-Christians alike about the sacrificial love of our God. Some have made arguments that indicate God has pre-selected only some to be saved and those are the people that He has truly loved. Others have contended that God’s love and sacrifice was, and is, so complete that all people (past, present, and future) will be saved even if they never surrender to Jesus. Personally, I do not align or agree with either of these arguments!

God’s love is unconditional, uncompromising, and without any fault! His love is so perfect that any person can be saved no matter how atrocious they may have sinned. His love is so unfathomable that it cannot be contained to just one people, one generation, or one geographical location. While the beginning of God’s story focused on a single, specific group of people, through the sacrifice of Jesus, the Kingdom of God is now available to ALL!

Our loving Father extended some incredible promises to His people throughout the generations. Let’s take a quick look and be reminded of His expansive love.

In Genesis 12, we find the Abrahamic Covenant. The Lord makes a covenant with Abram and promises that all families (all nations) on earth will be blessed. This blessing will come through the family line of Abram (Abraham), onward through Israel, and ultimately through Jesus the Messiah.

The prophet Habakuk declares in chapter 2 verse 14, “For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea
.” A promise is given that God’s presence, glory, knowledge, and salvation will be accessible and present across the entire earth.

On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit is poured out and people begin to speak in new languages. Those looking in on the scene were able to identify a number of these languages as being from foreign lands. In God’s mercy and demonstration of power, His Holy Spirit was equipping those in the upper room for international ministry.

In Galatians 3:26-29, the Apostle Paul addresses the contentious beliefs of preferring one nationality over another. He also chooses to address the false and demeaning belief that men are better or should be preferred over women.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

We could enumerate many more examples that display the Lord’s love and mercy for ALL nations and ALL people. Hopefully, through these few examples, and the others that the Holy Spirit may have brought to your mind, you are embracing the idea that God makes no preference and doesn’t play favorites.

One concluding thought to consider.

For those who live in the United States or other Western nations, there has been an overly patriotic sentiment that jades our Christianity. In the first Gulf War in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I recall hearing self-proclaimed Christians calling for the utter annihilation of Iraq and its allies. This continued on through the Desert Storm, the War on Terror in Afghanistan, and other wars/conflicts in various parts of the world. People would worship Jesus on Sunday, but practically endorse genocide the other six days of the week. I am certain that this is not the character becoming of a person who is truly in love with Jesus. While war is inevitable, our hearts should be in-tuned and aligned with God’s love for ALL people and ALL nations.

Gratitude. Often overlooked and forgotten…

Gratitude. Often overlooked and forgotten…

I am sure you have heard statements like “an attitude of gratitude is very important for you to be a successful person.” I do agree with this statement, but sometimes we don’t have the ability to recall reasons to truly be grateful.

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you know somewhere in the back of your mind that you should be thankful or grateful for what is taking place around you? But, for the life of you, it just does not seem possible to remember any valid reason why you should be grateful? I have found myself in positions where I have become very grumpy, discouraged, or even disillusioned. Trust me. You are not alone! I am sure that this is a particular tactic of the enemy – one that we cannot just blame on getting older. I’m sure that the devil would love to use our own flesh against us. Sometimes we give him too much credit though.

Let me share with you a few tips, so that you can learn to be more grateful than ever before.

1. Grab a pen and some paper. Better yet, grab a journal that you can use for more than one prayer time! Open it up and get ready to write.

2. Spend some time in prayer and ask the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, to bring to your mind all of His goodness, mercy, and provision that has been extended to you in the recent weeks and months.

3. As the Holy Spirit brings things to your memory, begin to write down all of the different things that God has done for you. Here’s a couple examples as a primer.

a. He has given you food to eat.

b. You have been able to pay bills.

c. You have a written copy of the Bible, unlike millions around the world.

d. You have experienced salvation, which has been made available by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

e. If you are reading this, you have the ability to see.

f. Also, if you are reading this, most likely you are doing so from a smart phone or a computer of some sort.

4. After you have spent some time writing a number of things down in your journal, let me encourage you to go get a highlighter. Now, use your highlighter to differentiate the different kinds of things that the Lord has done for you. Use one color for spiritual blessings. Use another color for answered prayers. Use another color for basic provisions. I’m sure you’re getting the idea now!

5. Now, review these things and pray, while thanking God for all that He has done for you.

6. Next, rejoice in these provisions and blessings that have been given to you by our incredible God!

7. Lastly, repent if you have been ungrateful for all that the Lord has done for you.

Journaling helps get one’s feelings to surface as words are put on a page. Knowing what you are feeling will better allow you to ask God to meet you where you are and to help you identify the proven track record of faithfulness of our God. This process will help us gain perspective. Also, this will help us battle discouragement which comes from the lies of the enemy.

Let me give a few other tips for remaining grateful.

Just as you made a list in your journal and spent some time with the Lord in prayer, you can use a similar tactic to write down the various things that you are grateful about when it comes to your family, friends, coworkers, and other people. Then, you can use this list as a reminder so you can bless others while you are in conversation with them.

Here’s an example. I’m grateful that my son mowed the lawn and took care of the trash without me asking. Although this should be a chore that is completed without me asking, I am grateful for him taking the initiative to do it without me having to remind him. Now that this is at the top of my mind, I can mention it to him in a conversation in the coming days – how I am grateful for him growing as a responsible, young man. This will enforce his mindset of responsibility and show him that he is loved and valued.

Gratefulness becomes a testimony of the faithfulness of God in our lives. Those who can live an exemplary, invisible life of gratitude and thankfulness for others to see will be a testimony for friends, family, and others around them. Everyone remembers grumpy people. However, nobody wants to be around those who are grumpy and ungrateful. But even more so, people remember those who are bubbling over with thankfulness and gratitude! These are the kind of people that attract friends in relationships. Everyone wants to be around someone who is filled with joy, gratitude, and thankfulness!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not remind you that Scripture tells us that we must enter the gates with Thanksgiving. Before we even make it to the presence of God, we are to approach His gates with a thankful heart and attitude. If you have found that it seems you are distant from God’s presence lately, then it is quite possible that you need to adjust your attitude as you approach Him. Start with thankfulness and gratitude and see if the gates to God’s presence seem to be opened wide for you!