• Church
  • What to do with a Prophetic Word


    Last weekend we had the privilege of hosting Pastor Jonathan Wilkins at Sun City Church.  It’s been so great getting to know him over the years and coming to realize that one of his spiritual gifts to the body of Christ is the gift of prophecy.  What I especially appreciate about Jon Jon is that he’s not a freaky deaky prophet if you know what I mean.  His ministry style is grounded in reality.  He’s a normal guy that loves his wife, kids, and the Warriors.  He loves Jesus and can move in the supernatural in a very natural way that appeals to people that are in different places in their walk with Christ.  

    During our Vision Night, Jonathan ministered to several of our leaders with his gift and I thought it would be helpful to lay out some pastoral thoughts about what to do after you receive a prophetic word.  Whether you are receiving a word from a friend, an established minister or a stranger you have never met, here’s some action steps to take to help you stay on target for what God wants for your life.

    1. Be encouraged by it

    1 Corinthians 14:3 – But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them.

    Prophecy is primarily given to encourage you in your journey with God.  Receive it that way!  It’s not a time to get stressed or frantic.  A prophetic word is a confirmation of Psalm 139:71-18.  God’s thoughts towards you are beyond number…and he decided to let you in on a few of them.

    God is thinking about you a lot.  And sometimes He’ll use another one of his kids to let you know some of the things he’s thinking and has in store.  If you receive a prophetic word that feels judgmental, controlling or manipulative, I’d encourage you to shake it off and put it in the freaky deaky category.  This doesn’t mean that you’ll never receive a challenging word, but a prophecy is meant to build you up not make you feel bad or guilty.  

    2. Replay it

    The best case scenario is getting a recording of what’s been spoken.  If this isn’t possible, quickly try to write down everything you can remember and ask others if they recall any specifics about what has been spoken.  Often times prophetic ministry draws up so many emotions that it can be difficult to keep your mind on track with what God is actually trying to say.  I’m a huge fan of listening to a word again after things calm down emotionally.  

    3. Hold it up to scripture

    One thing you need to understand about a prophetic word is that it’s God speaking to you…but speaking to you through an imperfect person.  Many people that deliver prophetic words are learning to hear from God and are in all kinds of stages of developing their gift.  And even the most seasoned ministers get it wrong.  This isn’t a reason to just give up on the ministry of prophecy.  It simply highlights the importance of running all prophetic words through the filter of the Word of God.  

    If a prophetic word has directions or themes that run contrary to scripture, the Bible always wins.  The prophetic can be wrong…the Bible isn’t.  So think through what’s been spoken  and ask questions like “Does the Bible support this idea?”  If a prophetic word was a district court, the Bible would be the Supreme Court.  It’s ruling trumps anything said at the lower level.  

    On a practical note, the only way to do this is to know your Bible.  It’s hard to answer the “Is it biblical?” Question unless you have a pretty good handle on the Bible’s themes and teachings.  If you need help getting acquainted with the Bible, I did a post on my personal time with God in the mornings that talks about my personal bible reading plan.  

    4. Connect with your pastor on it

    I know…this is coming from a pastor.  But I’ve practiced this long before I was a pastor.  And it’s been so helpful.  You need to understand the authority structure in the church starts with the pastors and elders in a local congregation, not a traveling prophetic voice or someone that felt they’ve heard from God for you.  

    Your pastoral leadership should be familiar with the details of your life and be helping you walk towards God’s plan and calling.  And while the prophet has a window of insight into some of the things God has in store for you, your pastor should know a lot more of the practical details of what’s actually going on in your life and the current state of your character.  

    Normally when I’m listening to someone in my congregation receive a prophetic word, my mind is filling up with things that I would like to say to them.  Often times, there are things I’ve been wanting to bring up with a person but I’ve been waiting for the right timing and the prophetic word is a perfect platform for conversations that God wants to take place.  You can use a prophetic word as a way to build a deeper relationship with your pastor.  I know there may be some fears about his response or resistance to the word.  But a true shepherd will love you and want God’s best for your life which is what the prophetic word was likely about.  

    5. Take it to prayer

    1 Timothy 1:18 – This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare…

    The prophetic word is often a window into the things that God wants to bring about and not part of your current reality.  And the road to that preferred reality is prayer.  God is showing you some of the things that He’d like for you but one of your responsibilities is to pray those things into existence.  I’d encourage you to develop a system of revisiting key prophetic words in your life and praying through them with God.  

    6. Be open-minded and open-handed about its fulfillment

    One of the things that can cause disillusionment with the prophetic is when someone forms a picture of exactly how this is all going to play out.  Our idea of the journey to prophetic fulfillment is just so different from the journey that God knows we will need to take.  Think about Joseph’s road to the fulfillment of his dreams.  Think of David’s journey towards the palace and the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophetic word over his life.  I don’t think these heroes of faith had every step in the journey figured out.  

    I get a little nervous when I hear people pridefully declaring that they “know what that word means.”  The Bible makes it clear that we know in part and prophesy in part.  We don’t have it all figured out.  So I’d recommend receiving the encouragement and taking the word seriously…but also staying humble and open to all the different ways that God might choose to fulfill His promises.  

    7. Focus on your part of it

    Every prophetic word has 2 different types of content within it.  There are the things that God says He will do.  Then there are the things that God is asking you to do.  It’s really important to distinguish between these 2 categories.  People tend to focus on what God said He will do.  This might be the part of the word that gives you goose bumps.  But when a prophetic word doesn’t come to pass, often times it’s because people didn’t do their part in walking in their prophetic destiny.  

    Think through what God said he will do and take those things to prayer.  But focus on what God wants you to do.  Make an action plan for how you are going to live differently or adopt new habits based on what God is speaking to you.  God’s going to be faithful to His end…I’m the one I need to worry about.  

    One other note – 

    Often times I hear of people that leave a prophetic meeting disappointed that they didn’t get picked out to receive a word.  I can so identify with this!  In my early days being around this stuff it just seemed like it was never me.  I started telling my friends that I must be called to martyrdom as God must have no real big plans for my life.  If you are feeling like you missed out here’s my thoughts for you:

    1. Rejoice in what your brothers and sisters are receiving.  They are a part of the body and cannot be blessed without you receiving from it.  Think of the way we teach our kids to celebrate others when it’s not their birthday.  We have to learn to be happy that God is blessing others, instead of being jealous or envious.
    2. Keep showing up to prayer times, special gatherings and mountain top events.  God will keep showing up in powerful ways.  I’ve noticed that God fills the hungry with good things.  Don’t let “not getting picked” get you down…just let it drive you to be hungry for His word.
    3. Most importantly, you don’t need a prophecy to hear from God.  You’ve got the Holy Spirit and the Bible!  He can and will speak to your heart individually and this is a greater thrill than receiving a word from another person.  Whenever I leave a meeting feeling like I missed out on receiving a word, I just decide to go home and get my own straight from heaven.  Jamie wrote a great post that is very helpful on How to Hear the Voice of God.

    Hope this helps!  If you have questions or comments on the prophetic feel free to reach out.

  • Home Life
  • 7 Rhythms You Can Use to Build a Great Relationship with Your Kids


    Every parent that I know wants a great relationship with their kids.  But just like a great marriage, great relationships with your kids don’t just happen.  It’s not as easy as feeding them and trying not to get too frustrated most days.  Relationships won’t grow deep and strong because you buy them the toys they want or take memorable vacations.

    I recently attended a workshop where the speaker made this statement – “If the conversations with your kids have stopped, you are losing.”

    So true!  Relationships are largely built through the words and experiences we share with each other.  But the busyness of life will crowd out those conversations from happening if you aren’t intentional about finding ways to keep them going.

    I’ve heard parents say that even though they don’t have a lot of time with their kids, they make up for it with “quality time”.  Honestly, I don’t believe it works that way.  Quality time only occurs as you consistently spend a good quantity of time together.  In order to do this, you need a strategy because your days (like mine) are packed.

    Here are 7 rhythms I’m using to keep the conversations going with my kids.  Maybe you can steal 1 or 2:

    1. Dinner Time

    Here’s a secret: dinner is not for eating.  It’s for talking.  There’s been a movement taking place for a long time that is leading people away from a dinner table towards eating on the run, in front of the TV, in separate rooms or distracted by their phones & tablets.  There’s a lot of research that suggests that the habit of eating together around a dinner table can do massive good for your kids.

    I’m really thankful for Jamie’s commitment to cooking and eating together as a family.   We eat a meal together at home as a family 6 or 7 times a week.  This creates one of our best opportunities for intentional conversations that build relationship.  During family dinner, there’s no phones or tablets at the table.  We also keep everyone at the table until dinner is over.  No slamming a meal and then running back out to play.  This is family time and there’s nothing more important during dinner.

    2. Bed Time

    Bed time is another key opportunity to build relationship with my kids.  It might be that they just don’t want to go to sleep, but they always find lots of things they want to talk about when it’s bed time.  And you know what?  We let them talk.  If we’re trading a few more minutes of sleep for another connection with our kids, the trade is worth it.  Our routine is to gather as a family on our stairs (stole this from Andy Stanley) to pray and talk together before we head to bed.  Each night it looks different, but there are things that come up during this time that don’t surface at other times.

    Regardless of how you do it, don’t ever just “send your kids to bed”.  Actually engage with them and “put them to bed”.  I know this is a time where you are tired and ready for bed yourself, but this window of time into your kid’s heart is too important to miss.

    3. Car Time

    I find that car time is great for casual conversations.  Some of the funniest things get said in the car while we are driving.  It doesn’t tend to be the best time for deep or serious talks…but if all we do with our kids is deep and serious we’ve got a problem.  Car time is perfect for regular conversations.  I resist the temptation to turn on another podcast or talk on the phone and instead, give them my attention.  Often times this is the place I’ll ask about friendships, stuff at school, talk sports or music, etc.

    4. Family Nights

    I think blocking out an evening to spend together as a family is a great practice.  What makes it especially great is when someone is intentional about planning it.  The same way my wife likes a well-planned date, my kids enjoy a well-planned family night that is thought about ahead of time.

    One habit we’re adopting these days is giving each member of the family the privilege/responsibility of planning our family night on a rotating basis.  They get to pick the meal and help prepare it.  Then they get to choose an activity that we all do together.  It’s got to be something that everyone can participate in and can’t cost more than $5 for the whole family.  Last week was David’s turn and we eat tacos before we went out for a family game of wiffle ball.  We had tons of fun and laughed a lot.  We took pictures to put on Instagram to preserve the memories for years to come.  When the kids get to be a part of designing the evening, their engagement in it goes way up.

    5. Individual Time

    We’ve got three kids.  The older they get, the more I realize how important it is that I give individual attention to each one.  A rhythm that I’ve used for years is a rotation of taking 1 of them with me to shop for groceries on Saturdays.  We call it the Daddy Date.  Sometimes we’ll actually eat out at a restaurant together, but most of the time it’s just shopping at Winco.  But they love it!  I let them talk about everything going on in their world and let them have an influence over what food comes home for the week.  Your kids need to know that you love and cherish them as an individual – not just as a part of the family.  These simple shopping trips give me time to affirm them individually and give them undivided attention.

    6. Play Time

    I pay attention to our hobbies.  One mistake I see parents make is not sharing hobbies with their kids.  Problem is that once the kids grow up, they aren’t interested in the same things as their parents and find it harder to spend time together.  I’m consciously spending time doing what my kids love to do and also inviting them into what I love to do.  We play video games because they love it.  Then they help with the garden.  I play basketball with them and their friends (and take every opportunity to dunk on them).  I color with them.  And then we read together and play piano.  Playing together is so important for bonding with your kids.  We create an atmosphere where we’re learning and trying new things together.  Long term, this is a going to pay huge dividends.

    7. Ministry Time

    The last rhythm that we use is serving together.  This started for us since planting Sun City Church.  One of the most important things for us in this season was a desire for our kids to be vitally involved in the church plant process.  And it has gone so much better than I could have hoped.  I wake our kids up around 5:45am on Sunday mornings to get ready and be at the school by 6:30.  They set up kids classrooms, chairs and musical instruments.  They greet and hold signs and help check kids into the kids ministry.  And after it’s all over, they are tearing it all down to load back into the truck.  They love being a part of something that is bigger than they are.

    This Sunday, Jamie caught David talking with another boy at church saying “What do you think about taking over this place someday? I mean, we could do the worship…and the teaching…”.  I laughed and then realized how happy this makes me.  I love that he’s dreaming about church leadership.  We talk about, pray about, explain and foster a hunger for the things of God.  We’re in it together.  And it makes serving one of the best times of our week.

    I’m far from being a perfect parent.  And my kids are definitely not perfect kids.  But we love each other and are intentional about developing a relationship that is going to last a lifetime.  There are few things that are as important to me as my kids.  I’m praying that you go to new places of depth in your relationship with your kids and encourage you to be intentional with every day.  God bless!