October 22, 2012

Dreams.






A dream is a wispy, fleeting thing that must be caught before it grows.

Upon capture, a tiny seed of a dream becomes a flourishing, fiery beast that gnaws at the center of your heart until it's fulfilled.

It's a vision.
              A hope.

Something that sneaks inside of you before you even realize it's there.

 A dream is even with you-sometimes with baited breath-waiting to be unclenched.
Other times with raging screams as it tears through your world like a wild beast.

Steady now.....I see one flying near. Will you catch it?

June 13, 2012

Onward

You know that time period in between seasons where it's not quite one season and it's not quite the other...it's just sort of stuck in transition? When you're stuck in between seasons you don't really know what to clothe yourself in because the weather is unpredictable. You go outside in shorts and a t-shirt and have to run back inside for a sweater and blue jeans. You aren't sure if you can drink the apple cider yet or if it's still lemonade time. You get the picture. And if we're speaking about weather, it's still very much summer, but if you're talking about Jessica Harwood, it's transition time. It's a bit mushy, fairly uncomfortable, and pretty awkward here in between two seasons.
I can clearly see where I came from (an exciting time of dreaming and preparing for glory through stewardship) and I can see brief snatches of where I'm going ("deeper still" in consecration and intimacy), yet I'm not sure of where I am now. I'm walking from Moab to Bethlehem, but I don't know these cities in between. I have tons of ideas, plans, and strategies, but only the Lord knows which I'm to focus on right now. I can tell something is shifting because suddenly I have long lists, but short time, which means something is about to give. I have peace and stillness in my soul, but everything around me is blurry and unset. 

Well, there's nothing I can do, but keep walking, keep listening, and keep watching. Come August, I feel I'll be setting foot into the new season before me, but until then I will be the wanderlust traveler who presses on, poised for direction. 

Speak Lord, I'm listening.

P.S. Another sign of transition? I've moved beyond that "All the Way In" song by Etiene and into the instrumental album "The Fragile World" by Avox. Heavy presence fills my room every time. Check 'em out.

May 24, 2012

A Knowing


There are no words, but I’ll try.

This is what I feel: I don’t even know Him. I barely know Him. 
I may know Him more than "the majority", 
but that is not enough.
I have to know Him.

This hunger outweighs everything.
The world, and all its lusts, is growing dim.

There’s a place. There’s a place. There’s a place.
A hiding place.
A shhhhh place.
A under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight place with God.

Oh, to know Him.
It weighs even more than souls.
To know Him.

I will never learn to do ministry.
I refuse.
Instead, I will be like Moses who goes in the tent.
And when I come out my face will shine and lives will be changed.
There really is no other way to live….not anymore.

I’ve been ruined, stained with His Presence.
The depths I’ve known aren’t even in the deep end.
I’ve been fooled.

I thought I was swimming,
But this is only ankle-deep still.

Oh, Heavens, what is this place?

May 20, 2012

Untrodden Territory

I'm at a place with God that I've never been before. I've crossed into a realm that has sealed me in with no passport back to where I came from. I’m in a state of desperation and heightened perception that I never knew existed. What is this land? It is neither sky nor sea. Perhaps it’s depth and height both. Regardless, I don’t know how to charter these waters nor do I know the layout of this land. It’s so…new. I’ve always been in a state of growing in my walk with Christ, but I’ve seemed to have stepped into something entirely untrodden and otherworldy. I’m finding myself consistently undone, unglued. It’s not uncommon for me to burst into laughter for no apparent reason or, likewise, into sobs and supplications. And there’s this stirring, stirring, stirring in me. And it’s nearing a gnawing: a raging fire in my veins and bones. I don’t know much, but whatever place this is, it is holy. It is irreplaceable. It is good, but it is fearsome. I couldn't go back, even if I wanted to. 


This place. The air here is weighty. It presses on my chest and sinks me to my knees. The taste is of salt, trailing in on the wind, leaving my lips chapped like an adventurers. And the earth…(is this earth beneath me?) it’s ready. It’s ready to be tossed into fertile soil. Most peculiar in this country though are its sounds. There are so many. And they are of so vast a variety that it’s hard to define. There’s the sounds of chains snapping, but also of giants writhing. There’s the sound of ocean-depths. And orphan cries. And billowing whirlwinds. And clanking armor. And love-intoxicated melodies. What is this place? What can it be? And what is this in me? There's treasure in my depths that I knew nothing of.  Believe me, I'm not boasting in the jar of clay, but in the immeasurable Being I found that dwells in the encasement of me. 


There are heads rolling of beasts I never thought could be conquered, and color bursting forth from places where only darkness was. And a door, as old as time-suspended in nothingness-unlocks a universe of wonder, spectacles, and foolish, lavish love for a King whose face is etched with laugh-lines. Everything in me seems to have snapped at once to make room for this Foreign Something. It's as if I swallowed the whole ocean in one sitting and now the weight of it, and all the life that teems within it, is within me. What has happened? And what have I done to deserve such goodness?


There's no precedent to this. There was no preparation for this. It's like waking up to find yourself positioned directly beneath the waters of Niagara Falls. Except it doesn't break or drown; it builds and breathes. I've been to places in You, Lord, I never knew, but never other worlds! What is this place? What is it?

May 15, 2012

The Price of Revival

I'm done running only as fast as the fastest person I can see. I'm setting my sights on the impossibilities that are wrapped inside of such real revival and I'm doing whatever it takes to get there. We call ourselves the remnant, the revivalists, but we are yet to pay the price of one.

Our price won't look like the price our forefathers paid. This isn't a replay, it's a new move. They did their part. Our forefathers restored the prophetic voice to the church. They brought prophetic singing and dance to our culture. They instilled holiness and security of salvation. They released the faith to see signs, miracles, and wonders. They showed us the disciplines necessary for a revival lifestyle. They paved the road to where we are now. And although we've only scratched the surface, we don't have to pay the price for those things anymore because their "ceiling has become our floor," as Bethel puts it. So what's our price? And what are we paying for exactly? What does revival look like for this generation? If we really are the generation to bring in the King of Kings then would not this revival be FAR greater than what's already been seen? I honor the men and women of the past and believe there are some things we need to recover (hunger, expectancy, prayer, fasting, etc.) before we plow forward, but there's a new price for this new breed! This is where most people give up. They get so close to the edge of the edge, but they never jump off. All I can hear though is, "we're going off the deep end, we're going off the deep end, we're going off the deep end." I have a feeling people will begin to look at our lives and really think we did go off the deep end!

There is a price for revival. There can be no corporate revival without personal revival and there can be no personal revival without corporate revival. Both are necessary and both have a price. I cannot deem what is an appropriate wage for your personal price other than it must bear the fruit of sacrifice, but I do believe there are some points of the corporate price that are identifiable. First off, when I speak of "price" I simply mean the sum offered for obtaining revival. Although every price depicts a cost, not all are entirely costly. Oh yes, revival is costly, but what I mean is that some of the components necessary to bringing revival are less about your actions and more about posture and attitudes of heart. 

The first of these attitudes is piety. Defined as "reverence, fear of God, or devoutness," it is the first step into the deeper levels of glory that God wants to guide us into. This is something our forefathers had found and needs to be re-introduced to the body of Christ, for the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. His angels encamp around those who fear Him. His eyes are on those who fear Him. It is the fear of God that keeps us from flattering ourselves. It's the fear of God that keeps us from sin for it is directly linked to obedience. The fear of God keeps you above reproach. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him and they are blessed. He delights in those that fear Him. To fear the Lord is to hate evil and He alone is to be feared!! And the fear of God is something you have to learn: Deuteronomy 31:12. And that's just a handful of scriptures! If we want to see revival we need piety.

"In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One who is able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety." Hebrews 5:7

When you're hungry for revival, those prayers and supplications come out with loud crying and tears. He alone can save this generation from death. He alone can save. And we will be heard if we revere the Lord and fear Him. Yes, He is a God of joy and laughter, but He is also holy. He is separate and lofty. You don't play games with the Presence. You don't just partake in His gifts and goodness without caring to use them to advance His name. You don't toss His name around like a magic word to grant your wishes. He is God. Properly identifying that He alone is on the throne and that He alone should be feared (not man nor self nor any other God) will be our first step in aligning ourselves to advance into revival glory.

[Further Reading: Proverbs 9:10, Psalms 34:7-11, Psalms 33:18-19, Psalms 76:7-8, Psalm 145:19-20, Proverbs 8:13, Psalm 147:11, Psalm 128:1-4]

May 13, 2012

Revival or We Die

I remember, just a few years back, when revival was such a buzzword. It laced every conversation, service, and meeting in which I took part. It was heard everywhere as people began to get sick of normal church and hungry for the real thing. It was so much more than a vision statement then; it was our desperate plea. Now, it seems to be little more than a casual sprinkling on top of our ministry missions. But that one word, revival, was what rooted me here in Cleveland. I could see it. I could feel it churning in me. It was at the forefront of my mind and in the highlights of all my prayers. It was my sole purpose. But somehow, amidst life and ministry details, it slipped into a lower priority. Don't get me wrong, revival hasn't strayed far from my mind, but far enough for God to have to get my attention again. 

The cry for revival has shot back into me like a bullet. It began with hearing the cries of forefathers who believed for something greater to come than they had seen in their day. Generals, both living and dead, who were so enraptured with revival that it had become their one pulsing cry. Above all else, this is why they lived. It was this cry of the forefathers that broke me, and I've been broken ever since. I've found my daily life interrupted as I double-over or fall to my knees in desperation for "the more." Every thing has shone with new purpose and passion. What once seemed a lofty task seems surmountable in the face of this newfound glory. This hunger surpasses any hunger I have ever had before. I feel that I'm scrambling in this moment to even find words to even remotely describe it to you. The only words that come close are desperation and hunger. Over and over those words sift through my soul. I'm hungry, but I need to be more hungry. I'm desperate, but I'm even more desperate to be more desperate.

He's ready to come! Oh, that you would feel His urgency! It's as if I'm staring at a huge tsunami wave as the fear of God wells up in my chest. But it's not the wave I revere, but what is coming behind that wave. My bones ache with anticipation. My spirit longs. I am set on seeing it come in my day. To see Branham's prophecy come to pass in my hour. It must come. It has to come. I can't live unless I see it come! I will push, press, and tear forward with every ounce of me. And if I don't see it, my life will have been well-spent as the seed of me dies for the generation I pioneer it for. I'm so hungry. I'm so desperate.

God, give me souls! God, give me souls! God, give me all of Cleveland! Lord! May it come! May I be ready! Make it more alive in me! My vision is obscured by the harvest. It's all I can see. It's all I want. I can't live outside of revival anymore! I have become revival, and I have no way of dousing out this fire that blazes in me. Oh, Lord of the Harvest, give me souls. Show me the price to pay and I will pay it.

May 12, 2012

Stewardship: A Closer Look

Since stewardship seems to be on the Lord's mind so much these days, I thought it would be best for us to know His definition of stewardship; especially if we have to give an account of ourselves and all that we think, speak, and do. I found that many people look at stewardship much more passively than the Lord does. In fact, the dictionary definition shows it as simply maintaining or protecting what you already have. However, if we take a look at the Parable of the Talents, we see quite a different picture.


I'm sure you've heard the story, but here's the breakdown: Three dudes get varying amounts of monies from a man according to their ability. Sidenote: If Jesus is no respecter of persons then why is it according to ability? Because God is a good steward!! He's not going to lavish onto you things that you aren't ready for yet! The Lord is not wasteful! Anyway, so one guy gets, like, five dollars, another gets two, and the last one gets one dollar. The five-dollar-guy and the two-dollar-guy are awesome and double their money. And then there's that one-dollar-guy. Poor one-dollar-guy. He was all like, "Here's your dollar back!," and Master Jesus got a bit steamed and called him a "wicked and lazy servant."


I guess stewardship is not just maintaining and protecting what you have. Stewardship via the Jesus dictionary would mean to cultivate and multiply what you do have! That would mean we need to be doing something with the resources we have right now.  Maybe the wicked guy thought he would be smart and save his energy to multiply later once he got more money. No point in working hard over a dollar, right? Wrong. Except more people think that way than one might assume.


I once read that a millionaire isn't just someone who handles money well and budgets wisely. Instead, they look at the money they have and say, "How can I invest this so that I can get more money?" That principle is godly, and it reaches so far beyond finances and finite things. What are you doing with the level of Presence you've been given? What about the level of influence you have? The revelation He's shown you?  Don't wait until you have a big-paying job to work with excellence and seek promotion. Don't wait until you have more connections and confidence to see what you can do with your calling now. Don't wait until you have some lightning-bolt word from Heaven to witness to those around you. Don't just look at your one dollar as one dollar!! Look at it as potential to change the world!! Plant it in good soil, nurture it, and wait for the rain that comes in due season. Because that rain will come.


You serve a God of multiplication and increase, and if you will set your heart to do all things with excellence, He'll co-labor with you until you, little one, become a thousand. He stewards over you with all His might. He uproots you, plants you, prunes you, and waters you until you become like a tree that bears fruit in every season. Be a good steward, as He is a good steward. Come on! Let's do all things to give glory to Him who so deserves and to reap a harvest of souls this world has never seen!



May 5, 2012

Stewardship, Cultivation, and Multiplication

For all my seers out there, these words most likely aren't new to you for the month of May. While April 2012 was a month of positioning, May 2012 is about taking care of what we are already positioned in before He brings increase. We're in a season of preparing our fields for the rains to come. Have you noticed how spiritually charged the atmosphere has been!? There's a tension and an urgency to be in alignment, and proper alignment comes from proper stewardship. In short, there's no time to play games.


Stewardship, cultivation, and multiplication are three words that work together to bring about a harvest.  The harvest is our life goal, right? Why else are you on earth unless it's to know Him and make Him known? But His laborers have been weary; their focus strained and their schedules busy. However, right now there's a grace available for those who will simply position themselves to till the ground. So, what does that mean? Well, Micah Wood has this quote that puts it all into perspective:


“God is infinite, but [we] live in a finite world….If we try to be limitless in our endeavors then we’re going to run out of steam. But what’s so fascinating about God is that when we recognize how finite we are, when we recognize how limited we are, and we create boundaries on our own focus, then within our boundaries, His infinite resources come into play.”


Basically, we have a finite amount of resources (money, time, energy, connections, etc.) because we live in a finite world. However, when we recognize our limits and begin to steward over these areas with all our being, then that's where the supernatural multiplication comes. When we're faithful over these little, simple things, then He will make us rulers over much (Matthew 25:23).


It's that "much" that I'm looking forward to ruling over. I want a HUGE harvest! I want my vineyard to be BURSTING with colorful fruit and souls! But the size of my vineyard, and the size of the rain that comes, is dependent on my preparation. Let urgency be released to you:


 "If you're in the middle of preparation when He comes, you're too late." - Jason Armstrong


It's up to you! Will you heed the word and prepare for the rain to come? Or will the weight of the glory that's coming crush you in a flood because of your poor stewardship? He's coming in greater measure to those who will prepare.


[Further Reading: Hebrews 6:7-8, Psalm 72:6, Psalm 68:9, Ezekiel 34:26-27]