July 7, 2010

Cornerstone 2010

Where do I start in trying to place God’s actions over the past week at Cornerstone into words? I’m finding it extremely hard to explain ALL that happened. I think the following adjectives would serve well, at least in an effort to summarize, what we experienced God doing: surprised, overwhelmed, joy-filled, unprepared and yet deeply grateful, reassured, challenged, moved, convicted, and faith & love increased.

I can’t speak for all of us, but I know that I went into this festival with a certain measure of feeling incompetent or unworthy. Waves of inadequacy were hitting me, to say the least. All of these, on one level, are what any of us Christ-followers should experience apart from the reassurance of His grace in our times of need. In my case, all of these feelings were coming from a spirit of condemnation, not of son-ship. I was heeding the voice of the enemy, not the voice of love everlasting. God had prepared me on Monday morning (the morning we left) through His still small voice during my quiet time with Him and through a scripture passage He had drawn my wife to (1 Corinthians 2: 1-5).

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Though I felt greatly encouraged by God’s Spirit and by this passage, I still wasn’t fully expecting what God was preparing to unveil. A part of me was still wrestling with whether God would truly accomplish anything through me/us.

Read the full review at Http://comeandlive.com

May 20, 2010

Noble Character

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5: 3-5)

Is it possible, and even likely, that God allows us to face trials, temptations, hardships, tribulations, storms, and all the like, strictly because He desires that we be true men (and women) of Godly character? The passage in Romans 5 implies that without tribulation (Webster defines it as distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution; also: a trying experience) we will not yield the greater promise of hope.

God has been revealing so much to me lately about just how serious He is concerning my character. I've wondered and questioned countless times as to why life has been so challenging over the past 16 months. Why, at the very time that I chose to deny my flesh and follow Christ in faith, did I find myself struggling so helplessly to find His hope? I've gone through great bouts of doubt and unbelief as God has allowed tribulation to shape my inner man. God has repeatedly subjected me to the same lessons of trust because I have yet to learn His undeniable faithfulness. The author of Hebrews said it this way;

"The Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (Hebrews 12:6-8)

I should not find myself caught off-guard when Christ Himself - the same loving, caring, kindhearted friend, drives me to my knees in frustration over unchanging circumstances. It's in these times that I question where God's presence resides. Where has He gone? Why does it seem that He is no longer speaking to me? Did I do something wrong? Likely my pride is what prevents me from seeing that He is desperately wanting me to endure so that I would attain a hope that would not disappoint.

You should know that God cares far more for your depth of character than for the success of your ministry or calling. We should never measure ministry apart from character because the two are mutually inclusive. They are meant to go hand in hand. The greater the character, the greater the ministry.....or so we hope. No matter how much it might appear that we are fulfilling some eternal favor towards God, let this be a reminder that He is going about the business of training men willing to obey His voice. I'm not convinced it's possible to properly hear His voice apart from the tribulations and discipline that cause us to run quickly into arms always held open for us. No matter how hard your life's situation might be right now, ask God to give you the strength to "glory" in your tribulation. It's in these times that He can develop you into a useful object of His affections. Fear not, you are dearly loved. Loved so much that this Father will not allow you to run off into the glamor of church, ministry, a lifestyle of worship, or even servant of all. His plan is to first protect you from yourself. His plan is to first protect me from myself. I believe that I'm personally capable of doing deeper damage to myself over any nasty work the Devil could unleash on me.

I'm slowly learning how much God loves to develop each of us into the proper cities set-apart on high hills for the world to see. He wants to show off a finished product that clearly reflects His perfection. I wonder how many of us rush off into Kingdom war before we've been properly trained. I write all of this to tell you that I am finally finding myself exceedingly grateful for every ounce of hardship God has allowed me to endure along this road (which, by comparison to many, is not much to write about). My prayer is that God would give us grace to endure. I need more grace. You need it too.

Lord, please prepare us for the positions of tribulation designed by Your hands to release us into the glorious future as Your children. Help us to desire a ministry of noble character the way you do.

March 9, 2010

India Revived

Note: This story is passed along from my Sister and family who run a ministry (Kingdom Foundations) to orphans and widows in Bangalore, India. My prayer is that these stories would encourage your hearts as they've encouraged mine. Please consider praying for and financially encouraging these brothers and sisters. Visit them on the web at http://kingdomfoundations.org.


These past few weeks have been a whirlwind for us. Finally life has become a little more normal and we are able to process all that the Lord has done and is continuing to do through the conferences and crusades with Randy Clark and team (http://globalawakening.com/). My husband Ravi and I have watched as people we know and love have been radically changed. People who have never before encountered the Holy Spirit are experiencing His touch in deep ways. Over and over again we have heard statements like, "I don't know what is happening to me. I cannot stop these tears from falling. I feel this incredible warmth all over my body and this amazing peace is sweeping over me." Isn't that who our Jesus is? How He loves to tenderly touch the depths of our hearts with His gentle yet all consuming love.

The first two days with Randy were spent here in Bangalore at a large pastor's conference. There was a time of waiting on the Lord and after there was such a strong sense of His presence. The Lord started imparting on people's lives in such a way that they were not able to stand, literally as the Lord's presence came. Randy focused much on healing and spent a great deal of time waiting on the Lord and asking people with different physical problems to stand and receive healing from the Lord. What was so beautiful about this, is that no one was standing with them praying for them, it was just Jesus alone, the Healer, who came and healed. In India there is such a tendency in the culture to praise men rather than God when a miracle takes place. But in this case....people experienced first hand that it had nothing to do with man, but it was completely the Lord. This was something I had really cried out for before the conferences took place; that the King of Kings would be glorified, not man. Thank you Jesus!! Ravi and I and the people of India were so touched by the humility of Randy Clark. What a breath of fresh air to have this man of God in our city.

Some of the miracles which took place during the Bangalore conference were years of chronic back problems instantly gone. There were people with iron rods in different parts of their bodies (because of car accidents/surgeries) who could not bend or move because of the iron rods. There were a handful of people who could completely bend and move those body parts again. One of our staff had an iron rod in his knee and was not able to bend his knee for years and he was completely able to bend his knee. Talk about crazy!! There were some who had been possessed by demons who came or who were brought. One woman in her 40's was brought by car to the meetings. She had been possessed for 5 years. When she reached the meetings she refused to step out of the car and enter the church building. The people dragged her out of the car and as soon as she entered the church, she screamed and fell. She sat up and was totally healed! No one prayed for her or laid hands on her....just the sweet presence of Jesus who loves to set the captives free, freed her. There was such an impartation given to the pastors and a refreshing. We are still seeing the fruit of this conference in Bangalore. Pastors are calling and coming to our home saying they are not satisfied where they are and are hungry for more! They ask Ravi to help them go deeper. This is what we have been praying for! Fruit that is lasting and changing. Lives that are not the same and cannot go back to their old ways because the God of the universe came and reached His hand down from on high and touched their core.

Really the greatest outpouring that we witnessed was in another city called Krishnagiri. There we hosted a three day pastors conference during the day and 3 nights of open air crusades. Randy Clark and Ravi both spoke during the pastors conference. The Lord led Ravi to communicate to the people that there is no difference between these precious pastors who are poor and this man from America. Ravi's heart was to express to his people the same God who leads Randy and works through him is the same God who leads them and works through them. It was very powerful as the Lord gave Ravi specific names of different pastors and spoke specific things about their lives. The pastors were greatly encouraged to see one of their own being used by Jesus to speak into their lives. There are too many incredible stories for me to share with you in this letter of all that happened during their time there. I am going to highlight some of them. We saw an incredible amount of deaf and dumb people completely healed. Many were precious little children who had never been able to hear or speak since birth. Can you imagine their excitement as they heard sounds for the first time? There were also many healed who had either been blind from birth or who had become blind. On the 2nd night there was a muslim woman and her daughter who came to the crusade. They came secretly to the meeting. That night the mother was touched and healed and went home to her husband and shared what had happened to her. The next night the whole family came with the father leading them and all were saved and touch by God! Thank you Jesus!!

There was a man and a woman who has been possessed by demons for 15 years who came and both radically delivered. One member of the team prayed for a woman with a lump in her throat and it disappeared right then. There were people who could not walk, who stood and walked. There were some instances of people who had short limbs who could not walk, who actually had their limbs grow out and become normal so they could walk normally. Incredible!! Really there are too many miracles to share! The incredible thing, is that the healing and outpouring of the Lord did not stop there after the three days were over. We continue to hear of people who are being healed. Pastors who have had revelation that this was meant for them to walk out on this earth are going to the sick and praying for them and watching them be healed. The following day after the conference and crusade was over one pastor decided he was going to see if the Lord would heal through him praying for the sick. So he went to a hospital and prayed for a woman who had been in a coma and she immediately woke up and came out of her coma!! Yeah Jesus!!

Perhaps for me one of the most precious things about the time Randy and his team were here, was that several of our kids (orphans) were able to be a part of the meetings. In particular 4 of our boys were incredibly touched. Each of them had encounters with the Father and felt His incredible and deep love for them. Two of them heard the Lord call their names and saw an incredible bright light as they were in His presence. They were so touched and have been so hungry for the Lord ever since. I could not ask for more, to watch them bask in His love and receive healing from past wounds. They have a renewed sense of who they are and what God has for them.

Well, honestly I could go on and on. So much has happened and is continuing to happen. We are overwhelmed by the kindness of our Savior. We want to thank all of you who stood with us in prayer for God to move….thank you for investing into lives here through prayer and intercession. Thank you for lifting us up as a family. It was challenging for us as a family as we did not have much time together and as Ravi and I were so exhausted. But there was grace. We love you guys. Thank you for loving us….you are such a gift to us!!

All our love…
The Kandal family

February 17, 2010

The Trouble With Redemption

Redemption, by vague definition, is something that most of us struggle with. The literal definition of the word implies, “the act, process, or an instance of redeeming.” Redemption is also the literal birthplace of the word, “ransom,” which is “a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity.” The reason we all struggle with redemption is that none of us are very good at it, much less recognizing our absolute need for it. We rarely find ourselves in a position that requires our being set free from captivity (or so, in our ignorance, we may think).

I volunteered with a prison ministry back when I was in college. My involvement included serving as a co-leader for taking groups from our school on weekend trips into prisons, mostly throughout Texas. I always loved prison ministry because it reminded me of my past, growing up as a missionary kid in South America. I visited four prisons down south as part of a drug rehabilitation program I was required to take part in. I can clearly tell you of the incredibly humble, and usually honest definition, that these inmates would give for their ransom. I still don’t think I’ve ever met Jesus-followers living such humility and peace as some of the prisoners I’ve met over the years. The vast majority didn’t just need someone to redeem them from the captivity of barbed-wire fences, patrol outposts, prison guards, mess hall fights, prison gangs, and black-iron bars. They required a heart redemption that would release them from years of soul darkness into the beautiful mercies only found in Christ Jesus.

Finish reading the full blog on the Ransom site.

February 8, 2010

We have lift off.......

Please stop whatever you might be doing and take a second to celebrate with us! Check out our new and highly improved comeandlive.com. While you're there, be sure to listen to (and download) any of the first Five releases along with our first sampler, "I Am Living!, Vol. One" (new releases coming weekly!), get a better idea of who we are and please check out our new friends at The Jonah Project, ministering to the down and out on Skidrow in downtown LA!

We are celebrating today because the Lord has treated us with great kindness. Our dream has been to tastefully explain the heart behind Come&Live! as well as to begin providing music as a digital gift. As of today, both of these things are reality. Not only are we beginning to see part one of our dream realized, but this website was 100% funded by the generosity of individuals like yourself. We could not have done this without you! For each of you who have prayed for us, donated cheerfully and willingly, pledged via Kickstarter, or simply encouraged a friend to check us out, THANK YOU!

The completion of this website is one of many things that we praise God and His perfect timing for. The site will serve as the global web foundation for the work He has called us to do, mainly to "establish the kingdom of God within a community of musicians." That's how one of our band members described this mission and we couldn't agree more.

Would you please help us in establishing God's kingdom amongst musicians?

Here are four ways you can help us:

1. Commit to pray for us.
2. Spread the word about Come&Live!
3. Donate. Join our growing Support Team. We need your help.
4. Support our artists. You can do this by praying for them, going to their shows, buying their merchandise, opening your home to them, or even by bringing them cookies on the road.

Would we all be examples of God's generosity to all men, in all places, for all time.


P.S. Be sure to check out the latest promotional video here.

January 6, 2010

Year One as a Weak Fighter

It was exactly a year ago that I chose the path of foolishness. Only by God’s grace are my family and I, who naively agreed to accompany me, still alive on this same path. The decision the Lord lead us to was one requiring obedience of the sort which is “greater than sacrifice,” though in this case, the two seem to have tangled. Obedience required a new-found trust in God, and we have found ourselves uprooted from what seemed to be a near-perfect life in the Pacific Northwest to what has felt more like a rocky, narrow road, lined with thorns, here in the South. Obedience was required in laying aside a wonderful job, consistent paychecks, a solid career path, and of course, the much sought-after financial security. Obedience required in believing that I actually was hearing the whisper of God and not the voice of the devil. There have been days where I question. Days where my wife questions the fact that I question. Days where I have wondered if God altogether left me for a more gifted prospect, one that might require less time, less effort, and less refining. Thankfully, God has proven Himself as a patient friend to this weary straggler on the journey of faith.

Many have come before, many will come after. Many make this journey we are on seem like a short walk in the park on a brisk spring day. The examples I read of “men of faith,” which I read regularly as a double-shot of inspiration and as a glimpse of hope, remind me that I’m but a boy at heart with years of trials still to be discovered, still to shaped by, and yet to overcome. I have found wonderful companions in my mind as I daydream on what it would have been like to have watched Peter step off the boat, and consequently take his eyes off the Savior and begin his quick descent. To have witnessed Jesus, in a perfectly timed extension, reach down His hand to hoist the sputtering church back to life. Peter was called the rock upon which Christ would build His church. But before the church was birthed, it nearly drowned....and then denied Christ three times before it really started showing any true potential. I’m far from a theologian but that seems like sheer unexplainable mercy. I’ve read countless stories over the past year of simple faith stirred into bold action by men who have suffered imprisonments, beatings, near death experiences, betrayals, financial hardships, and every sort of trial known unto man. Yet, there is always a recurring theme throughout each story, in that the Divine hand of grace prompted, and kept them all, moving forward. Of most inspiration to me have been the life and times of men such as George Muller, Smith Wigglesworth, George Whitefield, D.L. Moody, the Apostle Paul, Joseph and his dream, not to mention modern day instruments of God’s heart such as Francis Chan, Bill Johnson, Brother Yun, and John Piper.

At this point, you may be under the impression that I’m about to compare myself to these great men of God, who overcame, through faith, the impossibilities that surrounded them. There once was a time when I may have been so prideful to consider the idea. Thankfully, God has humbled me so (as suggested in 1 Peter 5:6-7) that any early notion of being recognized as a “man of faith” seems to escape me as I am daily reminded of just how insignificant and weak my faith is. On the other hand, don’t think that I’m trying to throw, and attend, my own pity party. There should be no pity for the man who leaves everything behind to follow God, and then wonders why the road is so difficult or narrow. Nor should there be a party. What there should be, and what I feel I can honestly say, is that there should be a change. There should be progress on some level. I used to say that this experience would be worth the while if only one life was encouraged to discover Jesus for the first time or at least to seek Christ with greater diligence. By God’s kindness, this has happened in countless lives this year already! Little did I know, though, that I was referencing myself. I was that one person that needed Jesus. Did I (or do any of us) really think that our mustard seed of faith would accomplish the relocation of mountains? Probably not, at least not for very long. What Jesus was getting at in this well-known parable was that it took such an insignificant morsel of OUR own faith, by comparison, to the colossal depths of God’s faith in His own ways, His own abilities. The mountains will throw themselves into the sea, not because you or I give the command, but because God is able to match our tiny seed with His unending forest, and then, and only then, is anything possible. All forests are birthed first by planting helpless seeds that require ingredients only God can provide. We are saved by grace, through faith, because faith is the seed that God uses to implant His eternal power of grace into our lives.

God has stretched my family and I, along with all those who have joined me on this mission. I think when we’re really honest with each other, He’s stretched us way beyond where we thought He would. Way beyond our comfort, anyway. I once had childish faith that God would just drop a check of abundance out of the sky on us, giving us every penny (in one lump sum) needed to run a ministry focused on turning heads and hearts towards His Son. It’s taken nearly a year to realize that my priority was entirely misguided. Our greatest need to deliver us out of every fiery trouble has not been, nor will be, money. We don’t need a financial bailout package; the slowing growth of wealthy western Christian church can show quite clearly that money does not equal permanent solution for the soul. We need a real Savior who has been down these dirty roads before, someone who can guide us, regardless of the circumstances. Someone who knows that the roads aren’t always dirty and knows that we will suffer for a short while, only to spend all eternity sharing the intimacy of the bride with the glory of the groom. Jesus said it like this, “man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).” If all we needed were money, we wouldn’t truly need God. This has been huge revelation for me. Maybe it will provide the same enlightenment for you. Of course we need provision, but won’t He who knows every hair on our heads, who knows our needs before we even pray them, also prove faithful, and provide in His perfect timing?

I don’t want you to get the impression that I’ve grown bitter or jaded, quite the contrary actually. I’ve grown more steadily mature and fearfully passionate. I am learning to trust God like never before, because I’ve been forced to. When I felt the Lord first whisper the instruction to go start a ministry to raise disciples out of artists, I didn’t fully understand that it would cost me as much as it has. As is the story for many, I have questioned this calling, doubted God’s provision, and even wondered whether He even existed. The reality is that financial provision has been sparse, especially to someone who was still measuring his success based on worldly standards. We sent out “support” letters, prayed a lot, and then waited. I still daily look forward to what the mailbox might supply, in faith that maybe that check of abundance will yet show up, and shock me. My family has been supported, not by a husband who has supplied for their every need, nor by a strong base of monthly supporters or churches hungry to help an inspired “visionary,” but by a strange combination of supernatural provision. Random “gifts” that always arrive at the perfect time, and that often come from people who don’t seem positioned to act with such generosity. A retirement plan cashed in for groceries and to help cover bills, a totally unexpected inheritance check from a Great Aunt, food stamps and health insurance generously offered by Uncle Sam. No, I’m not exactly proud to share how we’ve managed for these last twelve months, but I can tell you that God has been faithful to provide - even in ways I never would have considered. This has been a year of struggle for us all, and yet God is constantly working all things together for good.

The point, and the main reason I write this, is to tell you that God is love! He is just, He is faithful, He is friend, He is hope, He is joy, He is peace, He is bread of life. I have never had so much peace in my heart as I have now. Though there is not an ounce of natural probability of Come&Live!’s success, my family ever landing back on their feet, or any of these “musicianaries” actually surviving through the winter; I find myself holding firmer than ever to the God of the impossible. Without a “real” job my mortgage has, unbelievably, been paid every month for the past twelve. Every bill, other than three credit cards that I haven’t been able to pay for months, has been met. The Lord knows I desire, more than just about anything else, to be free from debt, free from the burden and the guilt of having trusted earthly plastic, for years, over God’s gold. But, as much as my pride and personal credit may suffer, there is no price that anyone could offer me for the lessons God has taught this year. Nor am I suggesting this is the end. It is only the beginning. And it’s only the beginning for many of you. I felt led to share, in vulnerable transparency, some of my own struggles, because I know that I am not alone. I know that many of you are questioning everything many things in life and I want to serve as a reminder to you that God will never leave you nor will He forsake you - even when everything around you is screaming otherwise. His will and His plans are to constantly grow us into the examples of Christ-like faith that will change the world. Not just because it sounds good on paper, but because it’s how He saw fit to prove His existence, through people, like us, that stumble around as much as Peter (and likely every other man of faith) did.

My prayers are no longer so centered on God’s provision, as I am fully convinced (save for a few really bad days where throwing in the towel seems the best move) that provision will come (as, in many ways, it has already) the very second God intends for it to arrive. My prayer has become centered along the lines of, “God, please grow my love for You and for others. Please increase my faith to believe You for the impossible. Please increase my joy and increase my peace. If you would just increase these areas, I don’t think anything could ever stop You from working through me.” I would love it if you would join with me, and the many already standing by my side, to pray, not just for us, but for the entire global church, that Christ would increase her love, her faith, her joy, and her peace.

For those of you who read this far, Thank You. For those of you who did not, Thank You.

May our lights shine before men so that they are compelled to cry out to Him.
He will hear. He will answer.