2023 Year of Control Shift

2023 Prophecy, “The Year of Control Shift.”

I heard the Holy Spirit say, “2023 is the year of Control Shift, and you will see patterns of 1) Confirmation, 2) Closure, and 3) Clarity in your life journey throughout the next four seasons.”

Control Shift Passage

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding.Agree with the LORD in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD and turn away from what is sinful.It will be healing to your body and medicine to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8 NLV)

Control Shift is all about recognizing my own worldly tendencies towards a self-centered lifestyle and learning through the Holy Spirit how to surrender my whole life, holding nothing back, into Abba Father’s heart and hands. 

Control Shift is a three-step process. First, the Holy Spirit gives confirmation of parts of my life that are incompatible with the Gospel and the Kingdom of Heaven. I can trust that whatever he revealed is wrong must go. Second, the Holy Spirit guides me in closure with whatever I believed or practiced. He gives me strength to say farewell to whatever I used to think or do. Third, the Holy Spirit purifies me to be more like Jesus, which means I am able to receive more and more from God’s heart for my life, family, and future. He provides clarity to see myself and my life from his perspective, and he shows me each next step to take to be more like my Redeemer & Teacher.

Confirmation Passage

Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice: the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 NLT)

Confirmation means the verification or authentication of revelation that has crossed my path. Once confirmed, the information becomes dependable Truth. After confirmation, I can embrace the Truth and put it into practice.

I live in an age of multiplying deception. Every day, I hear ten thousand voices competing for my attention and allegiance. The Bible says that God’s Word is complete, containing everything I need to follow Jesus and go to heaven. The Holy Spirit also speaks directly to my mind, and the Holy Spirit can speak to me through other trustworthy people.

I need confirmation. I need a decisive shift from studying to knowing. I can’t make that shift on my own, because I’m not a worthy judge of Truth. I need the Holy Spirit to be my Counselor, Teacher, and Helper. He helps me to know God’s Truth, and he confirms when I’m hearing lies and when I’m hearing Truth.

In 2023, the Holy Spirit will bring confirmation to the beliefs and habits of Jesus’ disciples worldwide. The Holy Spirit will unveil lies that disciples believe to be true. He will confirm what is True and confirm what is a lie. He will establish the Truth in our generation so we can live it and act upon it.

Closure Passage

My dear friends, we must not live to satisfy our desires.If you do, you will die. But you will live, if by the help of God’s Spirit you say “No” to your desires.Only those people who are led by God’s Spirit are his children. God’s Spirit doesn’t make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father. (Romans 8:12-15 CEV)

Closure means the end of something in my life. Closure can be the peaceful end of a toxic relationship. Closure can be laughing for the first time after an endless season of trauma and pain. Closure can be deliverance and freedom from the presence and influence of evil in my heart and life.

One of the greatest mysteries of following Jesus is continuing to sin after I’m saved. While Jesus saves my soul and fills me with his Spirit, I still continue to sin, battle temptation, and fail to live up to the new, eternal life he gave to me as a free gift. 

I need to practice a culture of closure in my life. As the Holy Spirit reveals unseen idols, lies, temptations, and bad habits within me, it’s not enough to acknowledge they are real. I need closure with those influences in my life. I need to hold a spiritual funeral, say farewell, burn them in holy fire, bury the ashes deep in the earth, and walk in the new life and freedom Jesus gave to me through his death on the cross.

In 2023, we will see a lot of closure in the body of Christ. For too long, we have held on to false beliefs and seductive idols and tried to serve both Jesus and ourselves. We can’t. John Baptizer said, “I must decrease; the Messiah must increase.” The decrease is closure; the increase is awakening. The Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of countless disciples next year to bring closure to hidden covenants we made with hell, and shepherd us to walk in new heavenly covenants of righteousness, freedom, and wisdom.

Clarity Passage

Because the Lord is righteous and good, he teaches sinners the path they should follow.He leads the humble in the right way and teaches them his will. (Psalm 25:8-9 GNT)

Clarity is the supernatural ability to see someone or something through the eyes of Jesus Christ. I struggle with confusion, doubt, frustration, fear, worry, and rebellion. The Holy Spirit helps me to walk in the Truth, in the Light, and in freedom, victory, hope, peace, wisdom, joy, and blessing.

I am a disciple; I’m not and will never be a god. Jesus invited me into divine royalty as an adopted son or daughter of God, but I am not God. I need to be told what to do. I need special revelation for my desires and decisions. I need God to shepherd my soul. I need the Holy Spirit to show me each step to take. And I must posture myself to be led and let go of my addiction to control.

In 2023, we will see many disciples who have prayed for understanding, clarity, and discernment receive this clarity from the Word and the Holy Spirit. Questions will be answered. The light will shine in the darkness. The Holy Spirit will baptize confusion with wisdom. The Holy Spirit will change hesitancy to confidence. We will know what to do, where to go, and what to say. We will do it all through the Holy Spirit as we rest in his presence,  listen to his trustworthy voice, and humbly follow his leadership.

2023 Control Shift Prayer

Abba Father, we praise and worship you. Almighty God, Ancient of Days, Great I AM, Beloved King of our hearts, the One who knows us better than we’ll ever know ourselves, we worship you. We want the whole world to know you and believe. We desire all the nations, every people group and culture, language and tribe worldwide to meet you, listen to your stories, embrace your Truth, receive your Holy Spirit, and join us wholeheartedly in Jesus’ Great Commission.

For too long, Lord, we have kept back doors open to the devil in our lives. It’s just a part of being human: we get comfortable, relaxed, established in a routine, and we don’t want to change. We only want to learn for a season, and then we want to be called “masters” and “teachers.” We want the seat of reputation, we want the titles of honor, we want to be celebrated by others for what we say and what we have done. Help us, Lord, we ask for a fresh release of humility and grace over our generation today in your name.

Father, let control shift from us to you in 2023. We pray for the body of Christ around the world: let your glory baptize us every day. Immerse us in the beauty, wonder, majesty, and splendor of your awesome love. Transform us from the self-centered, self-exalting rebels we are to the true disciples you’ve called us, created us to become since the beginning of time. Forgive us for getting comfortable, and forgive us for caring more about our own lives than your mission to restore all nations and tribes to yourself.

Father, show us your will; make it crystal clear so that we have no doubts. Cultivate unity in the body of Christ, because we live in a time of severe division and severing of ties that used to be strong enough to bind us together. Show us where we are distracted or deceived and lead us in your everlasting way. We will know the Way you want us to go because the fruit will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, righteousness, faithfulness, gentleness, discipline, courage, compassion, comfort, holiness, mercy, grace, empathy, forgiveness, freedom, friendship, and hope. 

Father, we need clarity and discernment to move forward. We need you to show us what to do and where to go; what to keep and what to discard; what to believe and what to say. Help us, Father, because we are a corrupt generation that focuses only on what benefits us from a self-centered heart. We need a new heart, we need a new spirit. You are the Potter; we are the clay. Mold us and make us according to your perfect will every day.

Father, we entrust this next year into your care. We don’t want to live for ourselves, and we don’t want to make any decisions on our own. More than anything, we don’t want to show up on Judgment Day and discover we missed you and spent our time and passions on all the wrong pursuits. We need you first to change our hearts, and then transform our thoughts as we rest in your presence and listen to your voice. As you reveal yourself to us, we will hear you clearly, and your Spirit will confirm what we need to believe, understand, and practice. We posture ourselves to always be disciples; never masters.

We love you Lord. We give you this next year as an offering of worship and trust. We stand ready to be wrong. We stand ready to be changed. We stand ready to follow you Lord Jesus wherever you call. We choose today to be a people who depend fully on you. We first determine where you are working, and only then do we get involved. It’s in the mighty, matchless, marvelous name of Jesus Messiah we pray, trust, and believe, Amen, Shalom, Maranatha, Hallelujah!


+> Prophecy by James Harvey, Blazing Trees CEO/Founder.

James Harvey is passionate about freedom in the Holy Spirit and creates resources focused on helping every day disciples cultivate their passions and flourish in their spiritual gifts.

Perks & Possibilities

+> Book James for a free leadership consultation > info@blazingtrees.org

+> Subscribe to our Blazing Trees newsfeed @ blazingtrees.org/news

+> Invest in our team by purchasing our prayer handbook > amazon.com

+> Free 12-Week Holy Spirit Freedom Training Course, “Wild Frontier” @ youtube.com

+> Visit James’ personal ministry page > blazingtrees.org/maranatha

#Jesus #hope #freedom #friendship #pray #generosity #maranatha

Depths Prayer – Colossians 2

Depths Message (Colossians 2)

Here’s what I’ve heard the Holy Spirit say to me lately, “Deep calls to deep.” “Dive deeply into the glory, majesty, beauty, and mystery of Abba Father Yahweh’s heart.” “Let your Faithful Father minister his love, peace, and wisdom to your troubled soul.” “God doesn’t love you because you work hard or achieve great things; he loves you because he made you, and because you said ‘yes’ to Jesus.”

So much of life & leadership is filled with a thousand distractions and ten thousand options every day. Just making it through one day can sometimes feel overwhelming, suffocating, and by day’s end, defeating.

Jesus meant what he said, “Seek me first, my kingdom & righteousness, and then all else that you desire will be added to you.” I can tell you after 27 years of following Jesus and 13 years of attempting to make disciples, I still experience mornings where I don’t want to get in the Word, and where I just want to make it through that day without giving up on life.

The Holy Spirit’s remedy, his divine daily dose of soul medicine, is to abide in Jesus’ presence and dive deeply into who God is. Our time with the Lord tends to be contractual. We confess our sins so he forgives us, and then he’s supposed to answer our prayers and bless us because we did the right thing according to the Bible.

The more I follow Jesus, the less daily abiding feels like what I was told it’s supposed to be like. Abiding in Jesus is really about friendship and rest, not getting the day’s marching orders as devoted soldier in a king’s army.

To know God more, to experience him consistently through changing seasons and on bad days, we’ve got to keep diving deeper into who he is and let him be in charge. He’s the One who needs to speak; he’s the One who needs to move in us. We desperately need him, and we don’t ever need to move on from that Truth that we will always need him to help us.

Depths Passages

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your billows have swept over me. The LORD will send his faithful love by day; his song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of My Life.

Psalm 42:7-8 CSB

My prayer is to You, O LORD, in the acceptable time. O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the Truth of Your salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the floodwaters overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up; and let not the pit shut its mouth on me.

Psalm 69:13-15 NKJV

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your livesLet your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a Firm Foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7 VOICE

Depths Prayer

Abba Father, thank you so much for teaching me how to dive deeply into your heart. I want more of you God, and I want less of me in my life. John Baptizer said it best, “I must decrease; He must increase.” Increase in me Holy Spirit; have your way in all that I am.

Keep burning away within me whatever doesn’t belong, whatever can never bring you glory. Align my desires with your ways & wisdom. Change my heart and direct my thoughts so that I can live in the beautiful freedom you paid for me to enjoy right now and forever through your suffering & death on Golgotha’s cross.

Take me to deeper places than I’ve ever been. Increase my stamina and cultivate my endurance. Help me to see my self, family, future, struggles, and generation the way that you do. I don’t want you to help me only when I’m aware that I need it; I want you to help me all the time. I want to remain in a place of humility, surrender, and dependence upon you Holy Spirit.

In the depths of your heart, there’s grace, mercy, abundant life, unquenchable hope, and a forgiveness that enables to me to do the impossible: reconcile with those who hurt me. In the depths of your mind, there’s understanding on how to live my life, serve my family, and bless my neighbors and all nations. In the depths of your presence is a peace beyond measure or comprehension, a peace that baptizes every problem & fear in my life and restores my soul to a place of total trust in you.

Father, I don’t know when you’re sending Jesus back to get us. It could be tonight or in a thousand years. When I watch the news today, it feels like the firstfruits of Armageddon, but I can’t predict the future, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. What I do know is that you’ve already given me and my generation a clear mission:

Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

So Father, I praise you for your presence. I treasure your love, and cherish your faithfulness. I’m following your Son Jesus every day the best I can. Help me Father to see the nations; really see and love them the way that you do. Help me to do whatever I can to help them find their way into our eternal, global family of all nations, tribes, peoples, languages, and cultures. Help me to be an advocate for the nations rather than an accuser or adversary. Help me to be generous with my potential for love, grace, mercy, compassion, and empathy.

It’s in the mighty, matchless, marvelous name of Jesus I pray, trust, and believe, Amen, Shalom, Maranatha, Hallelujah.

Open Wide Prayer

Open Wide Prayer

Abba Father, thank you for all that you revealed to us this year about yourself and your heavenly Kingdom. We want more of you, Lord. We choose to always be disciples; never masters. We will follow you wherever you ask us to go. And, we will need your help often along the journey to remain faithful. Help us return to you if we begin to wander away.

Jesus answered, “Those who drink this water will get thirsty again, but those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 GNT)

Thank you Lord Jesus for giving us the life-giving water of your Holy Spirit. Thank you for rescuing our souls so that we may abide with you forever. Father, help us to flow in this life-purifying river, and protect us from trying to control the work of your Kingdom through us. May our hearts open wide to the fullness of your will.

“Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the LORD will shine from you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see the glory of the LORD upon you.” (Isaiah 60:2-3 TLB)

Father, opening up fully to your will is worth it. We know that Jesus said all of his true disciples will experience persecution, suffering, and sorrow, but all these trials and challenges are completely worthwhile, because by your grace you’ve found us worthy to share in the sufferings of our Savior & King so that we may also share in your glory. When we rest in you and open our hearts fully to your revelation, the nations see how different we are, and you promise they will both believe and receive you!

Thank you Father for the Good News today that Firstfruits is not an occasional season, but a daily experience for all who remain in you. Forgive us when we walk away from you, or when we get busy and forget about you. Guide us Holy Spirit every day to be more like Jesus, and help us to live in the wonderful ways and wisdom of your Kingdom, amen. 

2022 Firstfruits Year – Open Wide Season

2022 Autumn > “Open Wide” Letter

When I established Blazing Trees as a new ministry back in 2016, my focus was not sustainability. I was in a dark place spiritually, and I needed a major change in my career. I was exhausted emotionally, and I even considered leaving Gospel ministry altogether. I remember crying out to God every day for help, direction, and answers. I knew he called me to make disciples, but I lost my confidence in what I was doing. I needed a miracle. At this vulnerable crossroads moment, the Holy Spirit gave me a vision for our ministry and asked me to believe in him and take my first steps to begin something brand new.

I desperately needed to learn sustainability in this hard time. I tried various ministry roles in over a dozen organizations, and nothing seemed to fit right; nothing lasted for more than a few years. Looking back, I realized all of those experiences were really important, because God gave me a treasure chest of personal lessons about how a Christian family can become sustainable in the unpredictable adventures of Jesus’ Great Commission. 

I know that God is our Sustainer. He says so in Isaiah 41:10, “So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV) God is our Helper & Sustainer in Psalm 54:4, “God is my Helper; the LORD is the Sustainer of my life.” (CSB) Yet, in my experience, these verses do not mean that I sit around and do nothing while waiting for angels to provide my food and drink and build me a house to live in. Following Jesus still requires our participation, and as we listen to the Holy Spirit every day, he helps us to discern God’s will. The Spirit guides our thoughts to know each step he wants us to take.

Fast forward to today. For the first time in our organization’s history, I feel sustainable. Over seven years of hard work through prayer, cultivating strong friendships, and fundraising, Blazing Trees has what she needs to keep going. And just like many things in life, I was not aware during this seven-year adventure that God was using the experiences of what I didn’t know or understand yet to prepare me for nurturing health and sustainability in the lives and ministries of others.

I’ve observed hundreds of missionaries facing the same uphill battle to cultivate long-term sustainability in their ministries. And of course, we can’t predict the future. So, even as we nurture sustainability, storms will come, suffering will happen, and we can’t ever depend on what we have here on earth. At the same time, if we will seek God first every day, he will establish us. He has established Blazing Trees, and I know this firm foundation will mean our team can focus and flourish. Furthermore, I’m so blessed to have weekly Kingdom conversations with leaders all over the world focused on the sustainability of our faith, families, finances, and fruitfulness. I now know that one reason God created Blazing Trees is to cultivate spiritual sustainability in our companions’ lives.

Open Wide = Surrender & Trust

The word now for Autumn is Open Wide. In this season, we will focus on surrendering fully to whatever the Holy Spirit reveals, practicing total dependence upon him, and making sure there are no hidden areas of our hearts where we may be holding something back from our Father, Savior, Friend, and Shepherd. God must be more than enough for us.

I’ve been meditating on the word Firstfruits since last Autumn when the Holy Spirit gave me this prophetic word for 2022. I’ve spent a lot of time paying attention to the Kingdom culture of Firstfruits, and here are two of my takeaways:

“The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing stream.” (Isaiah 58:11 NLT) Our culture tells us to be strong on our own. We must rise up in our own knowledge, work hard, and do our best to prove or achieve something. The Kingdom of heaven is not like that. The LORD is our strength, and he sustains us as we remain in relationship with him. If we want to be faithful and fruitful, we don’t need more time to work and produce; instead, we need more time alone with Jesus to rest and be filled with his Holy Spirit.

“Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding fresh fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2 TLV) Do you see it? Healing flows from the presence of the Father and the Lamb. What is the Great Commission but the healing of the nations? And in the context of the Great Commission, we see Firstfruits, “bearing twelve kinds of fruit; yielding fresh fruit each month.” 

The main Truth I discovered this year is that Firstfruits in heaven is nothing like firstfruits here on earth. Here, we experience firstfruits sometime in late summer or early autumn, but most of the year, we don’t have firstfruits. In heaven, Firstfruits is a culture of the heart, a way of life, a Life Renewal River that flows through our souls to produce fruit that heals all nations. What’s the key? It’s not hard work, intelligent strategies, or great sacrifices. The key to Firstfruits is abiding in Jesus and letting the Spirit flow through us.

Let us open wide our hearts to the fullness of all God wants to pour into us through his Word & Spirit, and let’s remain in this space of trust and surrender for the rest of our days.


+> Article by James Harvey, Blazing Trees CEO/Founder.

James Harvey is passionate about freedom in the Holy Spirit and creates resources focused on helping every day disciples cultivate their passions and flourish in their spiritual gifts.

Perks & Possibilities

+> Book James for a free leadership consultation > info@blazingtrees.org

+> Subscribe to our Blazing Trees newsfeed @ blazingtrees.org/news

+> Invest in our team by purchasing our prayer handbook > amazon.com

+> Free 12-Week Holy Spirit Freedom Training Course, “Wild Frontier” @ youtube.com

+> Visit James’ personal ministry page > blazingtrees.org/maranatha

#Jesus #hope #freedom #friendship #pray #generosity #maranatha

Acts Stories List – Draw Bible Stories Project

Acts Stories

We are creating our own list of story names for every book of the Bible to include in our future publication: Draw Bible Stories.

By the time we finish, we will have a master list of every passage of the whole Bible.

We’d love your feedback as we develop these lists. We just completed the rough draft of our Acts Stories list. Take a look, and let us know if you think there’s a better name for any of these stories.

The only requirement is that each story can only have two words. Leave a comment with your ideas. Thanks for all your prayers, generosity, collaboration, and advocacy.

Acts: Great Commission

Jesus’ Ascension 1:1-11

Replacing Judas 1:12-26

Pentecost Baptism 2:1-13

Pentecost Message 2:14-36

First Church 2:37-47

Beautiful Gate 3:1-10

Life Source 3:11-26

Forbidden Message 4:1-22

Boldness Request 4:23-31

Generous Church 4:32-37

Powerful Signs 5:1-21)

Fighting God 5:21-42

Apostles & Deacons 6:1-7

Stephen’s Blasphemy 6:8-7:1

Stephen’s Message 7:2-50

First Martyr 7:51-8:3

Simon’s Sorcery 8:4-25

Ethiopian’s Baptism 8:26-40

Saul’s Vision 9:1-9

Saul’s Baptism 9:10-19

Saul’s Transformation 9:20-31

Healing & Resurrection 9:32-43

Peter & Cornelius 10:1-33

Gentile Pentecost 10:34-48

Gentile Adoption 11:1-18

Antioch Church 11:19-30

Jailbreak Miracle 12:1-19

Herod’s Blasphemy 12:20-25

Blind Sorcerer 13:1-12

Antioch Message 13:13-41

Antioch Movement 13:42-52

Iconium Persecution 14:1-7

Lycaonia Chaos 14:8-20

Planting Churches 14:21-28

Circumcision Heresy 15:1-21

Correction Letter 15:22-35

Apostolic Division 15:36-41

Recruiting Timothy 16:1-5

Macedonia Vision 16:6-10

Lydia’s Church 16:11-15

Oracle Exorcism 16:16-24

Prison Church 16:25-40

Thessalonian Riot 17:1-9

Devoted Bereans 17:10-15

Unknown God 17:16-34

Corinthian Church 18:1-17

Cultivating Maturity 18:18-28

Spirit Baptism 19:1-10

Ephesus Revival 19:11-20

Ephesus Riot 19:21-41

Paul’s Travels 20:1-16

Paul’s Farewell 20:17-38

Jerusalem Journey 21:1-16

Purity Rituals 21:17-26

Jerusalem Riot 21:27-36

Jerusalem Testimony 21:37-22:21

Roman Citizen 22:22-29

Sanhedrin Division 22:30-23:10

Sanhedrin Conspiracy 23:11-22

Paul’s Escape 23:23-35

Felix’s Trials 24:1-27

Caesar Appeal 25:1-12

Agrippa’s Visit 25:13-27

Caesarea Testimony 26:1-23

Paul’s Vindication 26:24-32

Rome Bound 27:1-12

Storm & Shipwreck 27:13-44

Island Miracles 28:1-10

Rome Arrival 28:11-22

Rome Mission 28:23-31

Suffering Supper – Mark 14 – Draw Bible Stories Project

Suffering Supper Story (Mark 14)

Passover Purpose – Jesus, table, bread, cup – Jesus shared a Passover meal with his disciples before his crucifixion. This meal symbolized Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, when God delivered his people out of slavery.

Broken Body – Jesus, broken bread, cross – Jesus broke bread into pieces and handed them out to eat. This bread symbolized his body broken on the cross.

Blood Sacrifice – grapevine, nail, hammer – Jesus and his disciples drank wine from the same cup, which symbolized both his blood sacrifice to save the nations and the persecution they would experience very soon.

Worship Response – mountain, disciple, flag – Jesus said he would not drink wine again until his return to heaven. They sang a hymn and went to the mountain.

Storytellers Sight

  • Read the Passover Meal story in Exodus 12. What does the Exodus Passover have to do with us today?
  • How does broken bread symbolize Jesus’ sacrifice?
  • How does drinking wine symbolize Jesus’ salvation?
  • How did Jesus transform the meaning of Passover?
  • Why is the Lord’s Supper confusing to unbelievers?
  • What part of Communion means the most to you?

Storytellers Discipleship

The following activities will help you remember the story, apply wisdom to your own life, and tell the story to others.

  • Pray. Listen to the story. Draw the story.
  • Tell the story with the drawings.
  • Draw your own pictures to illustrate the story.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal wisdom in the story.
  • Pray. What is the Holy Spirit asking you to do next?
  • Go and tell the story to someone. Discuss the story.
  • Disciple others to become Spirit-filled storytellers.

Download this lesson > Click here

Want more stories? Visit blazingtrees.org/storytellers

Ask James a question > info@blazingtrees.org

Feeling generous today? Click to give

Firstfruits Spring Letter: Breakthrough

2022 Firstfruits Year > Breakthrough (Spring)

Dear brothers & sisters, friends & teammates, fellow pilgrims & companions,

I’ve had a mysterious beginning to my new year.

For the first time in my career, I have begun to enjoy my dream salary. After twelve years of exploring different ministry careers and five years of fundraising for my dream job, I finally achieved my goals by God’s grace and because of your prayers and generosity.

I wrote to you in December about God’s special word for me in 2022: Firstfruits. He said that all year, I will personally experience and witness in the lives of others the firstfruits blessing of his heavenly kingdom. And I have. Already, over and over again, I’ve seen whispers and glimpses of firstfruits in my own life and in the lives of my friends. I’ve also seen a lot of my friends and companions deeply longing to receive a firstfruits blessing.

Because I have been so focused on fundraising to achieve my financial goals, I was shocked when I realized that we had the funds at Blazing Trees for me to begin paying myself the full salary I’ve desired for many years, starting in the new year. And when it happened, I was confused and unprepared for what it would feel like to experience the fullness of God’s provision for me. It felt foreign, and I was detached from it for the first few months. It felt like it was happening to someone else, and I was just watching.

What has God been teaching me about Firstfruits? I have a friend named Jake who also receives a “word for the year” every December from the Holy Spirit. God spoke the words Seek First to Jake, and that’s his prayer focus for the year. We share the word “first” in our revelations from God. Our Heavenly Father has confirmed over and over, every moment and every day, that his heart for all of his sons and daughters is for us to seek him first and always: to abide, rest, listen, hear, receive, believe, enjoy, and trust.

What I’ve enjoyed more than anything else this year is the freedom to be with our Lord Jesus: resting in his presence, listening to his Word, discerning his plans for our mission team, filling up with his power and wisdom, and serving many broken and hurting leaders around the world who need compassion and trustworthy advice from a faithful friend.

For me to be a vessel of God’s heavenly fruit here on earth, I must seek him first and abide in him always. As you know, there’s so many distractions and temptations to slowly seduce us away from the Holy Spirit and live as hypocrites in a self-idolizing society.

I can summarize what I’ve learned so far this year in this way: every day of our lives will be a constant battle to abide with the Holy Spirit and trust in our Father’s will. We dwell in an environment of incessant spiritual warfare; however, the Holy Spirit within us is greater than our enemies. We will overcome. I’m blessed to fight at your side in this great battle.

Spring Season: Breakthrough

Last year, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that Firstfruits would take three forms this year: 1) break through, 2) rise up, and 3) open wide. The vision God gave me was a seed planted in good soil. As the rains come, the seed breaks open and the roots dig down. Next, the stalk rises up through the soil into the air. Finally, the flower opens wide preparing to reproduce. He told me that I would witness this firstfruits pattern all year long.

I want you to think for a moment about areas of your life and the lives of those around you that need breakthrough. Here’s my personal definition of breakthrough: the extraordinary joy of watching God do something miraculous and unexpected in a situation where I’ve prayed and waited for an answer for a long time, but grown weary with the waiting and almost given up hope that anything will ever happen. 

That old rugged cross we carry seems to be heavier and more of a burden at various times throughout our lifelong pilgrimage to Zion City. Consider the persistent widow who never gave up asking for justice from someone unlikely to ever grant her request: 

The Lord Jesus said, “Listen to what the unfair judge said. God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them. I tell you, God will help his people quickly. But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find those on earth who believe in him?” (Luke 18:6-8 NCV)

If this judge who despised God and withheld justice from everyone in his community finally relented and gave the widow what she asked for, how much more will our Heavenly Father who loves justice and cares deeply for his people give us what we ask for in his perfect timing? God is not unjust or slow to act; he will move when he is ready.

If you’re like me, the greatest struggle of following Jesus is in the waiting and trusting: waiting on God in a situation where you desire breakthrough right now, and trusting him when his answer is different than what you requested. Sometimes we labor hard in prayer for something specific only to discover that we were praying for our will to be done rather than desiring for his will to be done. Sometimes we want God to do something right now, but he waits, and we are left wondering if he still cares about us.

My prayer for our Blazing Trees tribe is that our Heavenly Father will unleash breakthrough in each of our lives during this Spring season. I pray that we will continually rest in the glory and beauty of who God is, and surrender fully to his plans for our future.

In the end, let’s trust our Abba Father, knowing his will is best. Let’s keep presenting our petitions to God; then, release any burdens we carry, so we may receive and embrace his peace that surpasses all understanding as he guards our hearts in Christ Jesus. Amen.

+> Article by James Harvey, Blazing Trees CEO/Founder.

Book James for a free consultation > info@blazingtrees.org

Have you heard? Anyone can experience Jesus’ Holy Spirit right now, today! Also, anyone can make disciples anywhere with anyone, anytime. That’s some Good News.

Free Discipleship Resources @ blazingtrees.org/storytellers

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Salvation Stronghold – Psalm 62 – Draw Bible Stories Project

Salvation Stronghold Song (Psalm 62)

Freedom Fortress – tower, cross, crown – King David sang about the power of salvation. He described God as his Strong Tower, Salvation, Refuge, and Defender.

Dangerous Battles – enemy, knife, praying man, flame – David sang about how his enemies curse him and lie about him. They want to deceive and destroy the king.

Safe Refuge – house, woman, cloud, crown – The Holy Spirit is with all those who desire God. He lives in us, teaching us how to trust in him and pray with courage.

Generous Lifestyle – money bag, dividing line, pouring cup – Trusting in God leads to generosity. Our hope is in God not wealth. Our true reward is his unfailing love.

Storytellers Sight

  • David sounds like he is in great danger. What are some of his emotions that influence these words?
  • What is it like to hear a song from a warrior’s heart?
  • What does someone who is afraid hear in this song?
  • How does this song help us overcome our fears?
  • What are David’s thoughts about power and wealth? 
  • What is your salvation story? Has God ever rescued you from danger? Have you told anyone your story?
  • How do you respond when you’re asked for help?

Storytellers Discipleship

The following activities will help you remember the story, apply wisdom to your own life, and tell the story to others.

  • Pray. Listen to the story. Draw the story.
  • Tell the story with the drawings.
  • Draw your own pictures to illustrate the story.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal wisdom in the story.
  • Pray. What is the Holy Spirit asking you to do next?
  • Go and tell the story to someone. Discuss the story.
  • Disciple others to become Spirit-filled storytellers.

Download this lesson > Click here

Want more stories? Visit blazingtrees.org/storytellers

Ask James a question > info@blazingtrees.org

Feeling generous today? Click to give

Water Walkers – Matthew 14 – Draw Bible Stories Project

Water Walkers Story (Matthew 14)

Refreshing Prayer – mountain, flame, Jesus – Jesus was tired after feeding the great crowd. He dismissed the people, sent off his disciples, and went alone to pray.

Drowning Danger – rough seas, wind, boat – As the disciples sailed across the lake, a great wind arose. The disciples struggled to keep the sailboat upright.

Water Walking – waves, Jesus, Peter – Jesus came to them at 3am, walking on the water. They thought he was a ghost. Jesus gave Peter power to walk on water.

Peter’s Rescue – waves, Jesus, Peter – Standing on the seas, Peter became afraid and sank. Jesus rescued him, returned to the boat, and calmed the storm. The disciples worshipped Jesus as the Mighty Son of God.

Storytellers Sight

  • Why did Jesus, God’s Son, need to be refreshed?
  • Imagine yourself on the boat with the disciples. What do you see, hear, and feel? Look at Jesus on the sea.
  • Why did the disciples think Jesus was a ghost?
  • Why did Jesus let Peter join him on the water? How would it feel to walk on water in the midst of a storm?
  • How did this experience impact the disciples’ faith?
  • Why is faith so fragile? What strengthens our faith?

Storytellers Discipleship

The following activities will help you remember the story, apply wisdom to your own life, and tell the story to others.

  • Pray. Listen to the story. Draw the story.
  • Tell the story with the drawings.
  • Draw your own pictures to illustrate the story.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal wisdom in the story.
  • Pray. What is the Holy Spirit asking you to do next?
  • Go and tell the story to someone. Discuss the story.
  • Disciple others to become Spirit-filled storytellers.

Download this lesson > Click here

Want more stories? Visit blazingtrees.org/storytellers

Ask James a question > info@blazingtrees.org

Feeling generous today? Click to give

Noah’s Life Story – Draw Bible Stories Project

Noah’s Life Stories

As we complete a series of stories about different leaders throughout the Bible, we’ll create separate posts showing the series of their life stories altogether, like Abraham, David, Solomon, Elijah, etc.

Enjoy studying through these stories on your own or with a friend or small group to investigate God’s Amazing Word and develop your storytelling & disciplemaking skills.

  • Noah’s Generation – Genesis 6:1-8
  • Noah’s Ark – Genesis 6:9-22
  • Noah’s Flood – Genesis 7-8
  • Noah’s Covenant – Genesis 9:1-17
  • Noah’s Sons – Genesis 9:18-29

Storytellers Discipleship

The following activities will help you remember each story, apply wisdom to your own life, and tell these stories to others.

  • Pray. Listen to the story. Draw the story.
  • Tell the story with the drawings.
  • Draw your own pictures to illustrate the story.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal wisdom in the story.
  • Pray. What is the Holy Spirit asking you to do next?
  • Go and tell the story to someone. Discuss the story.
  • Disciple others to become Spirit-filled storytellers.

Many Wives – man & pregnant wives – In Noah’s generation, humanity exploded with growth. Each man married many wives and produced dozens of children.

Breeding Giants – serpent & pregnant woman – God saw that the longer people lived, the more evil they became. He limited man’s life to 120 years. During this time, demons bred giants through human women.

Heartbroken God – king, earth, stars – God witnessed all humanity become exceedingly wicked. He grieved over his creation and decided to cleanse the planet.

Hope’s Flame – praying man, flame, heart, crown – One faithful man remained: Noah. He loved God and walked in the Holy Spirit. God would preserve his life.

Grieving God – king, earth, stars, tears – God saw that all humanity became corrupt. He grieved, because he created mankind for worship, but they chose violence.

Catastrophic Flood – cities, corpse, ocean, raincloud – God judged Noah’s generation. God told Noah about his plan to send a flood that would drown all creation.

Rescued Remnant – God decided to save Noah and his family from the destruction. He taught Noah how to build a giant ark to protect his family from annihilation.

Creation Caretakers – God sent pairs of every beast and bird to the ark. Noah and his family would feed and care for God’s creation through the great disaster.

Final Preparations – ark & storm – Noah’s family made final preparations for the flood. They collected all the animals and food on board; then, God sent the storm.

Baptized Mountains – mountain, ocean, ark – God protected the ark as he sent the flood that covered the earth. The oceans rose above the highest mountains.

New Growth – dove & branch – The flood waters slowly receded, and the ark returned to land. As the earth dried, Noah sent birds to search for fresh vegetation.

Fresh Covenant – altar, beast, fire, smoke – God told Noah’s family to leave the ark and release all the animals. Noah built a worship altar and sacrificed burnt offerings. God promised never to send another flood.

Eden Covenant – fruit tree, king, flag – Yahweh renewed his Eden covenant with Noah’s family. Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and take care of creation.

Power & Provision – bird, water, fish, beast – God made all creation fear humans. God said people can now eat meat, except bloody meat, for blood is the sign of life.

Cherish Life – king, cloud, man, flame, sword – Yahweh made life precious. Any beast or human that takes a person’s life must die, for God made us in his image.

Rainbow Sign – rainbow & raincloud – Yahweh made a new covenant: to never again destroy the earth by flood. The covenant sign is a rainbow in the clouds.

Sin Remains – grapevine, cup, wine – Noah and his family were the only people left on earth after the flood. Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk.

Shame & Honor – tent & sons – Noah passed out in his tent naked and asleep. Ham saw his father and told his brothers. Shem & Japheth covered Noah to honor him.

Slavery Curse – pit, slave, chains – Noah was furious when he awoke. His youngest son had shamed him. He declared a slavery curse on Ham’s descendants.

Wealth Blessing – house, table, bread, cup, flame – Noah declared wealth, prosperity, and God’s blessings over his two older sons. After 950 years, Noah died.