Offended People

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One of the hardest things I get to deal with in my line of work is offended people.

The person in pain, who is offended and scared and angry, is actually in the lower seat; they are the one with the disadvantage. They are less in control of themselves than I am of me. If I get angry at them and “put them in their place,” call them to an accountability they don’t know how to manage, I end up adding to their pain and tightening their connection to the spirit of offense. This has been one of the most painful surrenders I’ve been privileged to give to love. When someone comes at you with a knife, it’s easy to want to pull your sword out.

But the King, the One who cannot be wrong and cannot be evil, doesn’t touch His sword. To their offense and aggression, He offers gentleness and humility.

If we can get past the temptation of pride and offense, we can hear the song in their scream. We can see the child in their eyes, we can feel the pain in their heart. How can we know them like this? Because they are us. Their pain is our own, it’s easier to reject them than to feel it.

Love is unconcerned with deficit, He’s unafraid of running out of Himself. He is endless in His supply but even if He wasn’t, by His very nature, He would still spill all of His blood to spare them. If I attack while He surrenders, I attack myself. If harm them while He bows, I harm myself.

Offense is evil but offended people are not, they are sick and the sick need a doctor, not a judge.

It’s when we have the power to discern between good and evil, the power to be correct, and we choose mercy that we have allowed love to be our sword.

 

You Want Attention

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Children have no problem demanding attention and exposing their shameless desire for it. Did our appetites change or did we just learn how to hide them better?

Attention is such a hot commodity we’re taught to pretend we don’t want. We’re told that maturity means we’re content to live in the shadows.

But there’s a problem...

We want people to notice us.

We want to be seen.

We want to be recognized and acknowledged.

We want to be celebrated.

We’re not allowed to admit we want these things?

Well, I disagree.

On my journey, I’ve found that my desire for attention hasn’t increased from getting it, it has matured. I recovered from being ashamed or embarrassed for harboring a deep longing for the spotlight. Having received plenty of attention throughout my life, from speaking on stages all around the world to having a social media following of hundreds of people responding to my daily activities, I’m grateful to have discovered that I never actually craved attention; I craved the light. I craved being known and understood, both in intimate relationships and in the world I lived in. I didn’t want to be noticed for my own glory, I wanted to be acknowledged as a legitimate contributor to the conversation. Once that desire was validated, it’s amazing how little I cared about whether people noticed me or not. The irony of this journey is the less we need to be seen, the more seen we become.

Everyone wants to be seen, to whatever degree. Maturity isn’t disguising this desire but admitting it and allowing ourselves to be seen in that place. We let the light touch us and as we acclimate to the warmth and applause, we discover within ourselves the desire to expand the light and warm our brothers.

 

There’s a clash that happens when we accept being seen. It’s the relinquish of the illusion that we have some control over how we’re perceived. The truth is, we’re not as in control of other’s perception of us as we like to think, we simply rest comfortably in the delusion that they can’t see us if we hide.
Being seen isn’t as much a natural state as it is a spiritual one. It’s an internal struggle of accepting who we are, glory and faults alike, regardless of whether other people follow suit or not.

When we embrace the light, we defy the lie that hiding is acceptable. We expose the drudgery of cowardice in the dark. We become the object of offense to those who are still hiding whilst simultaneously becoming the beacon of hope to those who want to come out.

God didn’t create a glorious people to hide them but to put them on display. Maturity looks like embracing the light, whatever our platform, and standing tall regardless of who’s watching. It’s time to grow, it’s time to be seen. It’s time to admit you want it and that it’s okay that you desire for your traits and feats to be recognized. Go ahead, admit it. You were born of love, it’s only natural that you should celebrate what you are and what you do, that’s definitely what love is doing.

 

Money On My Mind

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Hello reader! My name is Joshua Griggs. I am the head of Social Media on Mike’s amazing team for the school year. One beautiful thing about working under Mike is that he never lets a conversation pass without drawing out the real you while in the midst. In only a month, Mike has changed my life, for the good, and forever. 

Day by day we are challenged by new truths that were never taught to us, as a group, and even believing the opposite. Everyday we are together, one of us has a beautiful breakdown in truth, breaking off lies and spirits that have been there for some time. And yesterday was my day.

Mike was talking to us about finances and what it actually looks like to be wealthy, not just rich but wealthy. Mike said something that made all of my insides shift into a place of defense, so I thought. He said “Your bank account is a reflection of your beliefs. NOT what kind of job you have or how hard you work.” For me, I grew up believing that if I work hard, I would get better jobs and more money, but never actually seeing those fruits as a result of my hard work. When he said this, something inside of me said “talk back, retaliate. He’s wrong.”

Fighting this truth for longer than 30 minutes, I finally breathed. Mike said something that has changed my life and helped me to consider. He said two things. The first, “I can only show you the door, Neo…” is from the Matrix movie, meaning that an opportunity can only be presented to you; you need to be the one to take it, I can not do it for you. And the second thing was a story. The story was about him going through this same thing, but opening his spirit up to a different source: truth. He considered.

Sitting there I realized, something had to change inside of me. I needed to change. I needed to consider. “I can only show you the door, Neo…”. Sometimes all we truly need is a direction in which to go. Mike showed me the door. Mike said “Here is truth. How far will you go?” So I stepped into the doorway. I considered “what if this is truth”. Everything inside of me stopped freaking out, because I finally let go of the spirit that has been ruining my life since I was a kid. I’m not fully out yet, but I choose to start walking through the door. I am believing that I will never live the rest of my life working for money.

I'm not weird!

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Hey everyone! My name is Marcus Yau and I’m also on Mike’s team this year as Project Manager. I’m excited to share about an experience with discernment and freedom with you all!

A bit about myself: I have never considered myself a “feeler” or had any idea of what discerning of spirits looked like. I did, however, know that I have always been very aware of my surroundings and people, more specifically, their body language/nuances such as posture, the way they sneeze, catching when people talk to themselves, different ways of laughter, things like that.

I’ve been around Mike for about 6 months now, being part of his Discerning Spirits class at BSSM and going on missions with him in April. In my time with him, a phrase I have heard often from people who hear his teaching is “you’re totally describing my whole life!” I always chuckle at that because it has become so common to hear and because I have never felt something described so powerfully enough to use that language. 

Now, Mike and a few of us on his team were debriefing after one of his evening teaching sessions and a student was sharing her thoughts. Mike was trying to press through a bad agreement she had. He eventually asked for my thoughts and experience of her; this is where I had one of the greatest revelations about myself.

I began to share my observations of her interactions with our team and focused in on the way she laughs. Reluctantly, I continued to talk about how there are 2 distinctive “laughs” that she has - one that is full of life, energy, and genuine humor that lights up a room and the other laugh which I described as puny, weak, and fake. I wanted to have an authentic expression of her, which meant not laughing if something wasn’t funny to her, but also letting her genuine laughter fly because it brings such wonderful energy into the room.

Mike asked this person what she thought about my thoughts on her laugh. She confirmed, "Sometimes I laugh even when if I don't get the joke or if I don't think it's funny..." 
    My parents are Chinese and, if you know anything about Chinese culture, I was raised to be polite, respectful, and mindful of others. Sharing my “insight” on how my friend laughed was nearly unbearable because I felt I was violating politeness and respect by saying this. In the meantime, she was receiving what I was saying and eventually responded by validating my thoughts on her laughter. My observation of her laughter and the insight I learned about her from it was legitimate. What I felt was real! Despite being uncomfortable, I realized that speaking up about what I notice can bring freedom to people to come into the light and be themselves.

To make matters worse, another friend piped up and confirmed that I also had pointed out facial expressions she made, but that she wasn’t aware of what she was doing or that she was releasing something that I was sensing. “I’m totally weird and creepy for noticing these things, right?” I admitted to myself. Instead, the feedback was that it helped them both recover and choose to become present in the moment instead of pulling away.

Mike interjected and said something that surprised me about how I notice those little things. "What you're observing, the fact that you know those little things are connected to something greater, not everyone knows that stuff. It's your gift that interprets the nuances as insightful data to consider."

I felt God bring up multiple memories of times where I noticed something interesting in the way people moved or heard someone whisper something to themselves that I heard clearly. Honestly, they were just “weird” moments for me because I’ve always found myself noticing things about people that weren’t meant to exactly be public. Then the bomb dropped on me. Oh my gosh. That thing is the gift of discerning of spirits.

I couldn’t help but burst out laughing in the midst of talking about my experience to the group because I realized that I totally just had my “you’re totally describing my life moment” in front of everyone. I’M THAT PERSON! It’s so funny to me that something I felt so detached from was actually my experience, just in a different expression. There was so much freedom for me in that moment

Recognizing that this gift of discerning of spirits is active and alive in my life has changed my interactions with people and God for the better. I have a responsibility to use my gift for the good of others and to be a steward of the information that I get because of the gift to bring people closer to how God sees them.

I hope you all enjoyed this snapshot of my breakthrough and revelation of a spiritual gift in motion!

- Marcus Yau

Saying Yes to Intimacy

Hi everyone! My name is Laurel Hastings. I am serving in the administrative role on Mike’s team this year. In these first 3 weeks of being part of this 3rd year team, I’ve quickly learned that Mike is someone who turns every conversation into an opportunity to go deep, to pursue vulnerability, to discover things about yourself you never knew before. I’m going to share with you one of those experiences!  

Last week, 3 of the people on my team and I sat in on a skype meeting Mike had with a group from Expression 58 church. After he finished, Mike asked us if we had any questions. The discussion which followed was one of those powerful, divine experiences. One where you don’t know exactly what is happening, all you know is that it is incredibly significant, you are being changed, and the way you live will be different now.

    During our conversation we got onto the subject of spiritual discernment, the ability to distinguish between good and evil. There had been a moment the day before when Mike felt that one person on our team was feeling sad, even though she wasn’t showing it outwardly. Sadness isn’t a spirit, it is an emotion, neither good nor bad. But Mike was able to discern what she was feeling because the emotion was coming from agreement with a spirit. In this case it was the spirit of isolation. Isolation told her she was alone and disconnected from people here. She chose to listen to that voice, shutting out the voice of Truth. She felt alone because she believed that no one here really knew, or could know her. There were so many excuses for why we couldn’t know her; we hadn’t had enough time together, she hadn’t shared all of her story yet, etc. As Mike was talking to her, he said one thing that hit me harder than anything else he said:

Love doesn’t put requirements on intimacy.

    What!?! I could feel the truth of that statement, but I realized I’ve lived my life doing the opposite... In order for me to share all of who I am with people, they would have to earn it, prove they were trustworthy, safe. “I’ll only be vulnerable with you if you can convince me I won’t get hurt.” But in reality, that’s not vulnerability at all. Vulnerability isn’t possible if there’s no risk involved. And it’s not my job to protect myself anyway. When I try to do that, I partner with fear and isolation. That desperate need to protect myself just shows a lack of trust in God to take care of me. If all of this is true, then that means I could know and be known by any random person I meet. That is completely different than how I’ve thought all my life. But it’s so right. Knowing someone doesn’t just mean you know their story, or have spent enough time with them that you know their personality, likes/dislikes, etc. It’s just about knowing who they are. Knowing the truth about who God says they are.

    I have seen this playing out in our team already. We’ve only been together three weeks, but we have already gone to such a deep level in our relationships with each other. Each of us started this year making the decision to say yes to each other, to say yes to uncomfortable and scary vulnerability. We came into this knowing that there is a form of community and intimacy with people available to us, that is deeper and more powerful than anything we’ve ever experienced. And that was something we were all hungry for. We decided to risk being hurt, rejected, and having people think less of us for the sake of something better. Every time we are with each other, we have the choice to listen to fear and isolation, to withdraw and hide, or we can choose to follow the voice of Love and step into intimacy and connection, to come into the light and be fully known. There have been so many times already when one of us made that choice, and then got to experience our complete love and acceptance. You’ve never fully experienced love until you experience it in the middle of your mess. And you’ll never know what a wonderful, life-changing thing that is until you let people see the real, authentic, messy, beautiful you.

- Laurel Hastings

Waking up to the Spirits

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Hi guys! My name is Vera. I’m interning for Mike Maeshiro. I’m so excited to be part of his world and also be able to share my insights from my first hand experiences! Mike and I will be working together this year to get more content out in written form and I’m really excited for some projects we have coming up!

To give you an idea of how I got plugged into Mike’s world, I have a funny story to tell you. Well, it’s funny now but at the time...well, you’ll see.

Attending Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in the 2nd year program, I was choosing my Advanced Ministry Training classes when I saw “Discerning Spirits” by Mike Maeshiro on the list.

I thought to myself “Yes, that’s for me. I’m a feeler.”

In the first class Mike talked about what a spirit is and he explained how they operate. He described in a situation what it looks like when a spirit is trying you to agree with it. I found myself sitting there with my mouth wide open. All of a sudden my life made sense. All of a sudden I understood myself so much more. I could relate to what Mike was talking about because I experienced the exact same things he was describing. In that moment, “discerning spirits” made so much more sense.

The day before class, I was watching a movie with my friends. There was a scene in the movie that I didn’t understand. I was confused and I asked one of my friends what had just happened. It was not a complicated scene in the film and it was actually easy to get. When I realized what I couldn’t understand I started feeling bad about myself. I honestly felt dumb. I thought to myself, “How could I not get that?” and “Why are there so many other movies where I don’t get what is happening? Something must be wrong with me. Movies are not designed to be hard to follow, they’re made for any audience. It can’t be the movies - so it obviously MUST be me!”

Mike explained that spirits have access to our memory when we agree with them. Right then, I knew what was up!

I started to believe that I was dumb FIRST because I didn’t understand something. THEN I remembered all of the other moments when I didn’t understand scenes in movies.

I could see the difference between what I always thought was me and what was actually a spirit trying to invade my life. I realized that I had been discerning spirits before but I didn’t know that I was doing it.

Mike had a lot of answers and he seemed to have it all together. I was amazed at his knowledge and his gifting. Here’s where things get weird. Mike was very confident and authoritative in the way he taught. It was intriguing and inspiring.
All of a sudden Mike seemed very confident to me – maybe a little too confident.

“Who does he think he is? He’s just a human. He’s not allowed to be that sure of himself.”

“People often think I’m full of myself.” Mike said.

Right then I realized that I thought the same thing. I thought, “How can he be so convinced about what he is teaching and how in the world is he so confident?” I noticed how I started looking for flaws in Mike. I got offended by his maturity.

I knew that that was not right but it made my pain dissolve. In that moment, I realized what I was doing. I chose to diminish Mike in order to feel better about myself. That was an agreement with a spirit. When I came to that awareness, I chose to disagree with it. I said to myself “No, I’m going to let it hurt.” I chose truth and not denial.

I woke up to a different realization of reality in that class, my life was changed forever. Not because I learned something I’ve never heard before but because I learned to communicate in a language that I’ve always been speaking.

I’m so passionate about helping people wake up to what’s really going on in and around them and I’m honored to be on Mike’s team. The work he is doing is valuable and necessary for people. There’s so much for us to learn and I’m excited to be right in the thick of it!

-Vera Danzeisen

Dear Non-Christians...

Dear non - Christians,

I have a confession to make on behalf of Christianity and The Church.

We owe you an apology.

We don't have the corner market on salvation. We aren't the gatekeepers of heaven. It's not up to us who is in right standing with God and who isn't.

Don't get me wrong, we'd sure like it to be. And I think we want to believe that ourselves even more than we want you to believe it.

But the truth is...we don't have control over any of this.

In our attempt to control things beyond our power, we've actually lost control of ourselves.

We accidentally chose religion over love. We chose rules over relationship. We turned you from our neighbor, a person we share this world with, to our enemy, someone we have to defeat or overcome.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying other pathways lead to life and freedom. They don't. There is only one way for any of us to access freedom and life, to live without shame or guilt or fear. A lot of us aren't even sure that's possible. But some of us know it is. And the only way there is through Jesus.

Those of you who agreed with our rules and practices, we wanted to guarantee you admittance into our club. So we franchised prayer and created a toll booth on the road to freedom. If you "pray these words," you're in, you can pass. We so wanted to be able to offer this to you! The problem is...that's actually not up to us. We don't own the rights to that road, to that prayer.

Those of you who don't agree with our rules and practices, we wanted to keep you out. We wanted to punish you and make you pay for attacking our superstitions and exposing our insecurities. We know we're supposed to be better than you so this internal conflict has proven difficult to manage. Some of you are unruly and unpredictable. We don't trust things we don't have control over so we had to find a way to protect ourselves from your wildness.

But we actually have a bigger problem than you. Our biggest problem is Jesus. He's our Lord and Savior but He's also the biggest wild card in our whole operation. 

The truth is...we don't have control over Jesus.

He's pesky and merciful. He's gracious and compassionate. He breaks the rules constantly, which, for the record, is confusing. So we've made up some weird stuff to explain away His unpredictability. But I can't keep doing this, we gotta come clean.

So...I'm sorry. 

I'm sorry for making you feel like you were less than us. I'm sorry for making you feel like you didn't belong, like you weren't good enough, like you weren't enlightened enough or pure enough. The truth is, that's none of our business. In assuming the seat of the judge of you, we have condemned ourselves and distorted our perception of the truth. 

I'd like to propose that we start over. Can we forget the centuries and generations of discord and condemnation? Can you forgive us for our arrogance and manipulation? Can you pardon us from being so wrong and so emphatic about it? 

The truth is, we actually want to love you. Not the fake, religious love you've been sold, I mean that unconditional, altruistic love that comes from Jesus. He's the only one Who can love you like that and we'd like to humble ourselves and let Him show us what it's like to go that low for you. 

I don't expect you to just forget right away. But, for what it's worth, we'd like to rebuild. We'd like to hold your hand in our walk toward the future, care for you and serve you even if it means losing our security and control. 

The truth is, you're beautiful. We're so sorry for treating you otherwise and we'd like to make it up to you. 

With love,

The Christians

PS Thanks for rejecting the poison of religion, that was really cool of you. 

Manifestations Are For the Good of All

This was my face after reading what I'm about to share with you...

A man named Dallas attended the Discerning Spirits Conference my team and I just hosted. I've read his testimony four times. He sent me his story and I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with you guys. Here it is, enjoy!

"I was saved 4 years ago into a very religious community. The first time I read Acts, I knew that the people around me were all missing something. I found a conservative, Spirit-filled church and finally began to experience life in the Spirit and many of the other things I always longed for and searched for via the use of drugs, especially psychedelics.

"Some of our staff decided to come to Redding to be sozoed and visit Bethel. We stumbled on the Discernment Conference by happenstance.

"I did not grow up in the church. I was saved 4 years ago. The first time I ever took a spiritual gifts test, my number 1 result was discernment. I had no clue what it was. From the time I was a child, I always knew good people from bad people. I always just thought I was just a very strong judge of character. I have always been anti social and extremely empathetic. I always know what people think and how they feel. For most of my life, I had to hide, attack others, and also control people around me to feel safe.

"I was a manic depressive alcoholic/addict. After a lot of deliverance, inner healing, maturity, and time, I reached a place where I knew that I was generally mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthy and whole.

"While reading about the conference, I found myself intrigued by language that was being used. Over the next 6 weeks before the conference, I went on a short journey asking God what it means to be afflicted by my gift and asking about discernment in general. The revelation I received just from reading about the discerning spirits conference brought me so much freedom. It was also the first time that all the emotions and feelings I felt my entire life were finally validated. Not only that, I learned that not all the things I have always felt were actually because something was wrong with me.

"Coming into the conference, I had experienced being slain in the spirit and I have a prayer language. I had never been what people have always referred to as "drunk" in the spirit. Much of what I have seen has offended me because of my discernment. I didn't doubt that it was real but much of what I have seen has been questionable and distracting, in my opinion.

"On the 2nd day of the conference, Deborah started things off with a bang. As she was being introduced, she was sitting on a lady in the back of the room who was laughing uncontrollably. I don't remember much about what she shared other than I was intrigued by her stuffed animals.


About halfway through, a woman broke out into laughter and Deborah stopped speaking and went to pray for her. Or something. Then all of heaven broke loose and the ministry team was sent out. It started on the other side of the room and I was able to witness something I had only ever heard of. Many of the things I saw were offending my eyes and my mind. Then Mike asked for us to posture ourselves in a way that was open to receive. So I did. Because I really did want to receive it, I was just extremely fearful of what I did not know.

"Then a guy came crawling over the chairs from behind us and as soon as he stepped onto our row, I was filled with laughter. Then when he put his hand on me, I began to laugh uncontrollably to the point that I felt like I was going to fall out of my chair. And so I did. Then I laid on the ground and laughed until my stomach hurt and then I laughed some more. I somehow ended up holding a large, rubber duck.

"As I lay on the ground, I was very aware that I had control of what was going on, but I surrendered it for the joy. I also knew that I probably looked like an idiot. But I was willing to trade my dignity for what I was experiencing. I have a 3 month old daughter. The weird thing is, as I was laying on the floor, I knew I was somehow experiencing life the way she did. I felt like I was all spirit. It was the most spiritual thing I have ever done. Not in a religious sense, but that it was like the first time I ever prayed in tongues. I had to completely shut off my mind and just be open to what was happening to my spirit.

"Something happened there and things were broken off of me that I can't quite explain. I feel liberated in a way that I have never felt before. I even started dancing in worship. I kicked fear in the face and it felt incredible.

"I have always been a person of great peace. I carry peace and I have the ability to release it over people. God showed me that joy should be no different."

The end.

The reason I was in tears after reading Dallas' story is God radically touched this guy who wasn't even planning on being at the event. I could not have convinced Dallas to open up to joy like that, to open up to trust. I felt so affirmed by God reading Dallas' story. He was ushered into freedom and will never be the same and I don't have the ability to get him there. I do my best to paint arrows and describe the door but people ultimately have to choose to walk through it themselves. The level of impact and freedom Dallas fell into was divine; the touch of God.

May you receive an impartation from his story for God to take you into a deeper place of trust and delight in Him as you step into the future. Life is designed to be enjoyed! Grab your rubber ducky and let the river of God take you into the joy that comes from a loving Father. :)