Okay, so the title for this post is a little misleading. I’m not actually going to tell you what’s on my playlist, other than saying I really can’t get enough of everything from Luciano Pavarotti‘s operatic awesomeness to Parov Stelar‘s crazy electroswing (samples), from Wavedude and Josiah Kramer‘s explorations into worship dubstep that I know are gonna blast church sanctuaries one day to the haunting and exotic sound of the Alash Ensemble, from The Tallest Man on Earth and Doug Burr‘s down-to-earth folk that speaks straight to my heart to the music of Tommy Emmanuel, who can somehow do on a guitar things no man with only ten fingers should be able to do. (Hmmm… I feel kinda guilty that no Hillsong, Jesus Culture, or IHOP musicians appeared on that quick list… but… sucks to be them.)
But I’m not gonna talk about that.
I want to share some of the places I go to for great messages of biblical truth that will strengthen you, challenge you, and confront the laziness, timidity, faithlessness, and selfishness in you. In no particular order, I offer you my top ten places for preaching that’ll strengthen your inner man (Ephesians 3:16), in both Romanian and English.
1) Cornerstone Church Milwaukee (English) – Michael Fisher, the leader of Cornerstone Churches International and a man who has imparted much into my own life, is currently pastoring our local congregation of young radicals at UW Milwaukee along with a team of Jesus-loving world-changers. Anything from this group is sure to challenge you to live with boldness, walking in the power and freedom of the gospel. Michael’s got an anointing to raise up and send forth leaders who will change the world for the glory of Jesus, so get ready for some Holy Spirit impartation. You can check out the latest sermons at their podcast, or you can do what I do, and dig through all the old messages here. Currently, I’m working through Michael Fisher’s “Our Genetic Code” series. It’s awesome!
2) Cornerstone Church of Spring Green (English) – Derek Miller–pastor/worship leader/employee/father/husband/EMT–leads our church in the rural town of Spring Green, where the cows outnumber the people. I owe a lot to Derek for his eight years of speaking into my life and encouraging a love for God in my heart as I worked alongside him in Spring Green. You can easily find the old sermons (from all the way back to 2003!), but if you want anything recent, you’ll have to dig. (Since I moved to Romania, the website has, sadly, not received the attention it should.) You can find the index file here, but it’s not user-friendly, so don’t blame me if it doesn’t help you. I’m currently listening to one of his most practical series, “Building the Church,” and it’s been so helpful for me as we work to build Piatra Vie here in Bucharest.
3) IHOP-KC (English) – Ever since I first walked into the OneThing Conference in Kansas City 15 years ago, I was hooked on what God is doing through this ministry. They have too much of a focus on the end-times for my tastes, but I know of no other ministry that stirs my heart to love Jesus as well as the people from the International House of Prayer (no, not the pancake place) in Kansas City. If the Bible doesn’t stir your heart, if prayer seems dry and dead, if you want to re-awaken your love for Jesus, you’ll find some good resources here in this ministry of worshipers. (Plus, check out their webstream for a direct link to the 24/7 prayer room, where you can connect with them in worship wherever there’s an internet connection.)
4) Bethel Church (English) – The spiritual wisdom and integrity of Bill Johnson and the team from Bethel Church in Redding, CA, is a real treasure trove. These guys really understand the concept of the freedom, joy, and power of living in right relationship with God, and I often turn here to be reminded to live not from what my eyes can see but rather from the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven. When I need my faith for the impossible, I turn here! I love what these guys are doing to raise up a generation who walks in the power of heaven’s signs and wonders, bringing restoration to the earth. Check them out and receive some of the anointing for revival! Their most recent messages are available for free download, and you can get them all if you simply check back every few weeks.
5) Mike Bickle (English) – Mike Bickle has been leading the ministry of the International House of Prayer for nearly two decades and has been pastoring for over four. He literally has decades of wisdom to impart. So take advantage of his copyright (“Our copyright is your right to copy.”), and download all you can from his website. Mike has an anointing to stir fascination with Jesus, and you won’t be disappointed. (I do need to point out, though, that I believe he is too heavily focused on the end-times, but to each his own.)
6) Dunamis (Romanian) – Dunamis is one of less than a dozen of us independent/non-denominational/charismatic churches in Bucharest, and I am so encouraged by their presence and ministry here with us in the capital city of Romania. I have not actually made it to any of their meetings, and I’ve only spoken briefly with the pastor (Aurelian), but I regularly download these messages. With the teaching at Dunamis, I know I’m going to get something powerful and supernatural that strengthens me to walk in holiness and love for Jesus. You can download the messages here, but if you don’t understand Romanian, they won’t be much use to you.
7) Cristos Pentru Romania (Romanian) – When I first heard about the ministry of Cristos Pentru Romania, I immediately loved them. With stories of young men on the streets coming to find Jesus then being discipled, trained, and sent out full of the Holy Spirit, I was hooked. Cornel Bistrian and his wife lead this ministry that promises “you can be free” to their students. I have not yet visited this ministry from Cluj, but I look forward to stopping in the next time I want to make a 12-hour train ride. In the meanwhile, though, I will keep downloading their biblical, powerful messages. You can listen to them here, but you’ve gotta be sneaky if you want to download them; click here if you want to give it a try.
8) Biserica Filadelfia (Romanian) – I was amazed when I first learned that churches like this existed in Romania. Amazing worship, spirit-filled preaching… I love it! There’s still a need for Piatra Vie in Romania, but I love what God’s doing through this church body; my spirit is so encouraged and built up by them. I regularly download and listen to the sermons, and I highly recommend them. Check ’em out! (While you’re at it, visit youtube for some videos from the “Liber Prin Har” conference with worship led by Sunny Tranca. Awesome stuff!)
9) IHOP Timisoara (Romanian) – IHOP in Romania?!?! Yes, you heard me right. There is indeed an International House of Prayer here in Romania, and they’re getting the job done in prayer. The UnLucru conference may be smaller in size than OneThing, but I tell you, that place was packed with power. If the conference is any indicator of what goes on in the prayer room (and I’m sure, just like in America, the conference is always way more awesome), then these guys are going to be worth a trip. Although I spent some time at the UnLucru conference in Timisoara and met a bunch of the IHOP crew, I have not yet made it to the prayer room for a regular day. I’m sure I’ll make it there some time, but in the meanwhile, I’ll let their online archive of messages and videos stir on my heart to love Jesus with reckless abandon. (P.S. Any place that worships Jesus with a song whose lyrics are translated “Throw a party in the Lord’s honor!” gets kudos from me.)
10) Worship Leader Online (English) – When I first discovered this team of worship leaders (Darin, Erick, Sue, Christian, and Roman) and their weekly podcast, I was thrilled. I needed to learn how to lead worship, and I needed to learn yesterday. I immediately began downloading everything I could from their 3 years’ of shows and decades of combined experience. The team from Worship Leader Online certainly helped me with leading, but, even more so, their humor and simple joy of the Lord has kept me encouraged and willing to keep going through it all. After listening to about 150 shows in just a couple months, the team feels like family. Sadly, though, I’ve just downloaded the most recent podcast, and so now I’ll have to wait an entire week between visits with these hilarious Aussies. You can download the podcasts here, but search around for all sorts of other useful resources, like books, blogs, and more. (P.S. If you enjoy the podcast, download the package of books just to support the guys. I did it!)
Well, there you have it. My top ten sources for great preaching to build up your spirit, encourage you, challenge you, and train you to do all that God’s called you to do. Check out the links, and download some of the messages. And let me know where you find messages to stir up your spirit.