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Jennifer LeClaire

No Female Preachers? No Tongues? No Denominational Stereotypes!

Addressing a congregation with long-held beliefs that it’s shameful for a woman to speak in church isn’t the most comfortable assignment.

That's especially true when it’s in a church that’s more than 120 years old and where most in the audience are near-Centenarians. But that was my task last Saturday afternoon.

I wouldn’t have accepted the invitation to speak in a historic denominational setting that doesn’t approve of women with short hair who wear pants to church and pray in tongues—all three of those characteristics describe me well—but it was my grandfather’s memorial service.

To be sure, if my mother hadn’t asked me to speak after an old gospel hymn and in between two mature male pastors, this big city girl would have never invaded that small country town with the gospel of Christ. I expected weeping, but I hoped against gnashing of teeth as I waited for the hymns to end. In other words, I wasn’t expecting the best. (Read: lion’s den.) I decided to trust God. And the righteous are as bold as a lion. I stood behind that old pulpit and preached to those old pews. And I am glad I did. read more

Iron Versus Iron: Staying Sharp in the Midst of the Battle

Living the Christian life is a journey toward maturity in Christ. That’s why Jesus gave His Church a handful of equipping gifts. But the practical aspect of being trained as a skilled servant that moves in rhythm with Christian brothers and sisters, (and husbands, wives, daughters and sons) is not always a textbook experience.

Let’s get real for a moment. Silly putty doesn’t sharpen iron. Plastic doesn’t sharpen iron. Not even sandpaper sharpens iron, although at times you may feel like a fellow believer is aggressively rubbing your soul with sandpaper. No, Solomon in his wisdom tells us that it takes iron to sharpen iron. “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov. 27:17 NASB). That implies pressure, abrasion, pressure, abrasion, pressure, abrasion, and so on until the knife is sharp.

You may be saying, “I don’t need to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.” Consider the alternative. Any five-star chef, or even a first-year fry cook, will testify to the fact that a knife is useless if it is not sharp. A sharp knife can cut a vine ripe tomato into thin slices suitable for gourmet salads. A dull knife, on the other hand, will simply crush the tomato and ruin your recipe. read more

A Prophetic Call to the Valley of Shechem

If you are reading these words, then you’ve probably already chosen this day whom you will serve. But could it be possible that there are yet things you need to put away in order to truly worship the Lord in spirit and in truth and love Him with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind? I submit to you that it is possible, and for many of us even probable.

Today, the Lord is calling you to the Valley of Shechem.

Until recently, I hadn’t spent much time studying the rich biblical history of the Valley of Shechem, the place where Abraham first built an altar to the Lord on his migration out of an idolatrous land. I had never done an intense analysis of this valley between mounts Ebal and Gerizim, where Jacob built his well and Jesus would later tell a woman there everything she ever did (John 4).

No, I didn’t know too much about this significant valley. But it only took three words from the Lord to pique my curiosity. He said to me, “Valley of Shechem.” Those three words set me off on a prophetic investigation for what the Lord is saying to the church in this hour. I studied the geographical and historical significance of Shechem, but it is the spiritual significance on which the Lord shined a bright light. read more

A Word of Knowledge: Don’t Look Back

Don’t look back: Three words that together make up what I believe is a timely prophetic utterance for the Body of Christ in this hour. Let me write them again: Don’t look back.

Many are carrying hurts and wounds from the past. We don’t shake them off and come up higher because we keep looking back to the people and circumstances that crushed our hearts. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to use the injustice to propel us to places of greater authority in the kingdom like Joseph did, we rehearse our past in our own minds like a scratched CD. Out of the abundance of the bitterness and resentment in our hearts, our mouth speaks poison that defiles us. And we remain less-than-effective in proclaiming the kingdom of God because we won’t bury the dead and say farewell to the past. The good news is, Jesus is our past, present and future healer. read more

Maintaining a Pure Prophetic Flow With Prayer

Are you building walls of religion or towers of prayer? Your answer could denote the difference between a woe-filled fate and a fulfilled destiny.

Prophets obsessed by the fear of man or unholy desires will not fulfill God’s ultimate plan. We must be careful, then, not to prophesy according to the party line in order to establish and preserve popularity in ministry circuits. If we fall into this trap we find ourselves in danger of perverting the gift of God by building walls of religion.

True prophets are not always the most popular five-fold ministry gift on the block because they are bold enough to release a word of the Lord that deals with sin or that warns the local church of potentially unpleasant circumstances coming down the proverbial pike. In order to properly carry this mantle, genuine prophets must build towers of prayer. read more

Taking a Prophetic Perspective on Life’s Trials

If perception is reality, then a godly perspective of your trials and tribulations can deliver you from your worst enemy: your own unrenewed mind.

I can’t tell you—and, in fact, I’d probably be embarrassed to admit—just how many times I’ve allowed the perspective of my unrenewed mind to dictate my thoughts, feelings and emotions in the midst of what I perceived as overwhelming pressure. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t think I could take another step; how many times I felt like giving up, calling it quits, throwing in the towel—and moving to some remote tropical island where the devil was less likely to find me.

Then after completely discouraging myself (instead of doing what David did and encouraging myself in the Lord), I discover that the pressure isn’t as pressing as my perception of reality made it out to be. I was foiled by the enemy that is my unrenewed mind. I took the bait—hook, line and sinker—by looking at the smoke and mirrors of circumstantial evidence through eyes weary from the spiritual battle. (Can I get a witness? Surely, I’m not the only one.) read more

Weeping With Wilkerson (or These Strange Manifestations Are Not the Holy Ghost)

People will remember David Wilkerson, who was killed in a head-on collision in Tyler, Texas on Wednesday, for many different things.

Some will remember him for his books, like The Cross and the Switchblade, which became a best-selling phenomenon with more than 15 million copies sold in over 30 languages. Others will remember him for launching Teen Challenge, a nationwide ministry to reach out to people with life controlling habits. Still others will remember Wilkerson for his sometimes controversial prophetic words.

I will remember Wilkerson for all of that and more, but there is one particular message this general of the faith preached more than a decade ago that I believe needs to be shouted from the rooftops in these last days. (Indeed, many of Wilkerson’s uncompromising messages need to be trumpeted in this hour, but a particular sermon he preached in Moscow in 2000 has weighed heavy on my heart since I first saw it a few years ago.) As was often the case with Wilkerson’s sermons, it was relevant when he preached it but it grew even more relevant as time went on. read more

Why I Refuse to Apologize for Speaking Boldly

“Mommy, can I take my Bible to school today?” Nine words that brought both delight and concern to my heart. Delight that my then 10-year-old darling would love Jesus enough to take Him to school with her in leather-bound form. Concern because I knew that love would breed persecution I wasn’t sure she was yet ready to fully understand.

So I did what any good parent would do. I said, “Of course you can take your Bible to school. Remember, Jesus’ words are in red.” Then I prayed for the prophetic youngster and sent her off to the public school system with a homemade lunch in one hand and the Word of God in the other. Knowing I wouldn’t be there to protect her—and not knowing what devil she might face when she opened the good book during the after school care program—I committed her to the Lord’s covering and believed the best.

Do you know what happened? (This is the cool part.) Within 15 minutes of the school bell ringing she had assembled a small youth group that was quite intent on hearing her declare what Jesus had to say about attitudes, money and other issues they deal with on an every day basis. One little boy, she later told me, was even taking notes. It was a bona fide Bible study—and then it happened. One of the teenaged counselors barged in on the peaceful gathering, shrieking, “Put that book away! You might offend somebody!” read more

Removing the Religious Robes of Judgment

There’s plenty of talk about how technology aids evangelism, but 21st century technology also opens the door to a myriad of creative ways to judge, criticize and condemn people.

You can jot judgmental remarks on a blog. You can e-mail critical comments. You can compose condemning words on Twitter (so long as you don’t use more than 140 characters). You can relay your rebuke via text message. Or you can put them on blast by way of Facebook.

Of course, most of us are too sophisticated to launch outright public attacks against our brothers and sisters in Christ, even behind the cloak of technological tools that guarantee anonymity. More likely, we keep our disapproval of a friend’s choice, the disparaging analysis of our pastor’s message, or the dislike of our daughter’s wardrobe in our thought life—or maybe we share it in confidence with our prayer partner so they can “touch and agree” on the thing with us.

Whether we judge, criticize and condemn publicly or keep the matter in our own hearts, God sees and hears it all. And every drop of scorn we pour on another is collecting in a bucket of belittlement that will one day tip over and drench us with detraction. In other words, as the Message Bible says, that critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. read more

Birthing Your Prophetic Dreams and Visions

A few years ago I had a somewhat perplexing dream. In this dream I was about five months pregnant. Now, for starters, I’m not married and had no reason to be pregnant. I was trying to deny it, but my mid-section was clearly swelling—and it wasn’t from eating too many tasty empanadas from the corner Cuban café. In my dream I asked a trusted friend what she thought. To my dismay, she said, “You’re definitely pregnant!”

To say I was none too happy would be a monumental understatement. A flood of thoughts rushed at me in my dream state. “How will I get all my work done with a newborn baby to care for? I’m too busy for this! My life is challenging enough as it is. This is certainly no time to complicate things with a baby!” Even still, I knew there was no way of escape on this one. I had a sense that I really didn’t have a choice in the matter. This baby was coming into the world in about four months whether I liked it or not.

Then I woke up…perplexed. read more

Are You a Sheep or a Goat in the Imperfect Church?

You know the drill. It was the end of a long workday. I was racing from one errand to another before it was time to pick up my daughter for our dinner date. I didn’t have a moment to spare…

So when Richard, a disheveled character with enough sand on his face to nearly disguise the scar on his cheek, approached me asking for money to buy food, it took me a minute to catch on to what the Lord was doing. I honestly didn’t have as much as a penny in my pocket and apologetically told him so. After Richard walked on by, it suddenly dawned on me that I was standing in front of an ATM machine!

“Hey mister!” I cried out after him.

Richard turned around slowly as I raced up to him with my debit card in hand. We were standing in front of a Subway, so I invited him inside for a meal. Richard had a grateful heart, but also an aching one. He hugged and kissed me and thanked me profusely for the double meatball and tuna fish footlong sub—then he dropped the “S” bomb. Richard told me he wanted to kill himself.

“Brother, do you know where you’ll go when you die?” read more

Why Even Bother Praying Anymore?

When I recently heard Christians suggesting that a prayer initiative for America was useless I was struck to the core with the realization that the Body of Christ is far from unified. I mean, if we can’t unify around prayer, what can we unify around?

For all the impactful prayer movements in the Body, I still run into some believers who seem embittered by the efforts. They throw up their arms and ask, “Why even bother praying anymore?” because they don’t see the fruit of their supplications. Yet faith is the evidence of things not seen (see Heb. 11:1). I shudder to think what would happen if we stopped praying for America.

What’s the solution to this disunity? More intercession, more equipping, and more love. read more

Not Your Ordinary Faith Message

We've all heard our fair share of faith messages. We walk by faith. We speak by faith. We live by faith. We prophesy according to our faith. We inherit the promises of God through faith (and patience). You've probably memorized all those Scriptures, too.

We've all marveled at the heroes in the Hebrews 11 "Hall of Faith." There we are edified by accounts of God's faithfulness to His people throughout the Old Testament. There we learn the practical elements of how faith works in the New Testament. Your Bible is probably colored and underlined on those pages just like mine.

Indeed, we've all learned that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We are convinced that acting on the Word brings results (see Rom. 10:17). We know (that we know that we know) that if we don't doubt in our heart but believe those things that we say will come to pass we will surely have whatsoever we say (see Mark 11:23). We've learned well.

Ultimately, whatever we receive from God, it comes by faith. I'm oversimplifying, but that's the anatomy of faith in a nutshell. Now what about the other side of the coin? read more

Why Are So Many Christians So Stressed Out?

Stress. There have been so many books written on the topic you could literally fill a library—Amazon offers more than 32,000 books on the sore subject!

There are Christian books, secular self-help books, stress-reduction workbooks—even a Stress Management for Dummies book—all written by the “experts” from just about every angle under the sun.

I’ve read enough of those 32,000-plus books on stress to tell you about what anxiety does to the body. I know the common stress reduction techniques 10 ways from Sunday. I’ve taught on stress from the pulpit. I can parrot the Scriptures we’re supposed to confess when stress comes knocking on our doors. I get it.

And guess what? I still get stressed out some days. read more

Stop Trying So Hard to Humble Yourself!

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”—1 Peter 5:6-7

We’ve tried as we might to humble ourselves by responding the right way when folks treat us the wrong way—but if we’re honest we’ll admit that it hasn’t always worked. Indeed, we’ve often left the scene of the offense with a bad attitude, complaining to God about how Sister So and So got it all wrong.

We’ve tried as we might to cast our cares upon the Lord—but if we’re honest we’ll admit that we’ve often attempted the task in our own strength. Indeed, we’ve often cast our cares (or our complaints, in many cases) onto a friend instead of the Lord and walked away still trying to carry the oppressive bundle on our already-aching backs.

What’s the problem? Sometimes we take Scriptures out of context. In doing so we lose the fuller meaning. First Peter 5:6-7 offers a strong case in point. Here, the apostle is exhorting us to humble ourselves. But that exhortation comes with a practical how-to instruction that we often forget to employ because we have memorized verse 6 as an individual command and verse 7 as a separate individual command. But the reality is that we humble ourselves in this context by casting our cares on the Lord. read more

Seeking Egypt’s Prophetic Warfare Strategy

It’s time for the Davids to arise with prophetic warfare strategies that bring God’s will to the land. That’s what rings in my spirit as I continue my news coverage about the crisis in Egypt from a natural and biblical perspective.

A recent article called for the prophets in the land to step forth and questioned why prophets in Egypt were so silent in such a critical hour. There could be any number of reasons why we’re not hearing much from prophets in Egypt. Maybe they are crying out in travail even now. Maybe fear has gripped their hearts. Or maybe their prophetic utterances just aren’t making it beyond the borders of the nation. 

Whatever the case may be, I believe we should take the crisis in Egypt as a wake-up call. I believe God is more apt to speak to the prophets in the land who are actively praying for their nation in good times and bad. I believe in patriotic prophets who will stand in the gap for their nation and speak forth a prophetic word boldly whether it’s popular or not. read more

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