Monthly Archives: November 2015

CALLED TO LEAD

“We are not called to reflect our culture; we are commissioned to transform it…Christians are not subservient to the world because God has assigned us the highest level of authority.”  From “Developing a Supernatural Lifestyle,” by Kris Vallotton, copyright 2007.

 

I have often heard believers talk about cultural relevance.  They strive to tone down their presentation of the Gospel, so that it is “seeker

friendly.”  You don’t have to visit very many congregations at all to find compromise, often to the point that God’s word is nothing more than generalities and “religibabble.”

 

This troubles me.  I absolutely agree that we need to express God’s heart of love and acceptance to everybody.  I also believe that Jesus

Himself is “culturally relevant,” regardless of the era or place.

 

He calls his people to be leaders, not followers.  He has given us power to be his witnesses; to proclaim good news, heal, deliver and bring freedom.  We carry his presence:  The Light of the World.  When people meet us, they should have an encounter with the Holy One himself.

 

This is by no means something we do in our own strength; in fact, apart from God, we can do nothing.  “Witnessing” is probably one of the most injurious examples of how many of us have been taught to “do for God,” instead of living in him to the point that we mimick him.

 

Grace is the key.  It is the empowering presence and work of God that makes it possible for us to be who he has called us to be and do what he has commissioned us to do.  It is a gift that can never be earned that causes our hearts to respond with gratitude.
Then there is this matter of authority:  The power or right to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience.  Appropriate synonyms might be: Power, control, charge, rule or supremacy.

 

Have you thought of yourself this way?  Why not?  We are princes and princesses:  Sons and daughters of the King of kings.  WE receive power when the Holy Spirit fills us; we are given charge over the earth; when we forgive, it is a done deal; when we tell a demon to go, it has to obey;  when we declare truth, it is reality.

 

We have everything we need to live as God’s chosen people, dearly loved; as the roayl priesthood to which we belong.  WE lack absolutely nothing.

 

So I say, let’s step up to the plate!  Let’s take our rightful places and walk in all of the power and authority God gives us!

 

Watch out world, we are here to bring Heaven to earth as we make disciples of all nations by carrying God’s transforming presence everywhere we go!

Advertisements

GOD’S PRESENCE

I need God most;
I experience him best
With others or alone;
At work or at rest.
In the valleys and canyons,
Where shadows grow long;
High on a mountain
When I’m filled with a song.
And on the plateau,
Where boredom seems to reign;
I need God’s presence
in joy and in pain.

 

I call on God’s name
Any time, day or night;
In moments of peace;
If I’ve had a great fright.
As I celebrate victory;
If I’m feeling deep loss;
When I make new plans,
And am counting the cost.
In the darkest of hours;
The happiest times.
Living in God’s presence
Makes my soul shine.

DRAWN BY HIS LOVING PRESENCE

For a while now, I have been thinking that I want to share the story of my salvation.  It is different from so many testimonies that I have heard.
I grew up in a tradition that baptizes infants.  The belief is, the baby is reborn at that point.  While I have come to disagree with this, I do think God does something when a little one is presented to him.
The point of my conversion happened when I was four:  I was playing in my yard when I had an encounter with Jesus.  I knew him:  He felt so familiar and loving; his voice was immediately recognizable.  He asked me if I wanted him to live in my heart.  I said, “Yes!”
I had an insatiable hunger for Scripture.  As soon as I could read well enough, I devoured it.  I loved to worship, spent plenty of private time with the Lord and eagerly attended Church.  I said from very young that I wanted to be a pastor, even though my tradition did not ordain women at that time.

Oh, I still learned plenty of lies about who God is and what sort of person I am; God had to heal me from trauma and dysfunction:  Christians are not exempt from the things of life in this fallen world.
The thing that makes my story unique is, I didn’t have to “get to rock botttom” in order to discover my need for God.  Instead, I came to him as a result of his loving presence.

Actually, I am not at all convinced that people “have to get to rock bottom” before they come to Jesus; in fact, I consider that to be a lie. We have been created with the power and freedom to choose.  WE can turn around and go in a new direction, any time we decide to.  My biggest objection to this “truism” is that it makes hardship into an idol.  Jesus saves, not tragedy, devistation or deprivation.  We can respond to his loving call, even when life is going very well.

When and how do you hear God?  How does he express his love and affection to you?

CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE

So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. (Genesis 1:27 GW)

 

What does it mean to be created in God’s image?  Why is this important?

 

First, God created humans; humans did not create him.  That means he is greater – Stronger, wiser, more capable…He does way more than we can

think, ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)  We cannot fit him into our tiny boxes.

 

It means that people encounter God when they meet us, especially if we have given our lives to Jesus, because he lives in us:  Big

responsibility; carried out in God’s strength. “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

 

Being created in God’s image is so because we are his dearly loved children, chosen and blessed by him.  We get our inheritance from him.  Each

person is precious; he knows us fully and loves us completely; he responds to our slightest cry with his whole being.

 

Because we are created in the image of our loving God, we need to be careful with our words.  “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father,

and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and

sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10 NIV)

 

When we take care of the weakest and most vulnerable among us, we take care of God; when we honor another person, we honor him.  I would go so

far as to apply this to carrying babies to term instead of aborting them.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:40 NIV)

 

Because God knows us and the whole universe, which he created, we do well to trust and obey him.  He knows how things work; he wants us to have

long, happy, healthy lives.

 

“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”  (Romans 8:29 NLT)

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)

WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?

Who do you say I am?
In the midst of a stormy sea;
When the winds of conflict blow;
When I try to understand;
But find I simply don’t know,
You are my Prince of Peace.

 

Who do you say I am?
In the cavern of fear and pain,
And sorrow captures my soul;
In the place of great darkness,
Where I long to be made whole,
You’re my faithful healer.

 

Who do you say I am?
When troubles seem to fade away,
In joyful celebration;
When songs of victory are raised;
My heart fills with elation,
You are the Lord of life.

 

Who do you say I am?
While others only say teacher,
Model of man at his best;
Or just a useful swear word,
As they put you to the test,
You are Jesus, the Christ.

RECORD KEEPING

Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV)

 

I was watching a vid by Bill Johnson recently.  One of the points he made was a firm warning:
“Do not keep a record of the things that you’ve prayed for for years without seeing results.”
He went on to say that, when we do this, we create “intellectual offense.”  We build a case against God.  I would add, it breeds mistrust:  It’s difficult to believe and receive from someone who supposedly has not answered us.

 

Instead, keep a record of what God has done.  The Psalms are full of verses that admonish us to remember:
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. …

Ps 20:7

Make music to praise the LORD, you faithful people who belong to him. Remember his holiness by giving thanks. … Ps 30:4

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. … PS 77:11

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced … Ps 105:5

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. … I remember the days of old. … Ps 143:5

They will announce what they remember of your great goodness, and they will joyfully sing about your righteousness. … Ps 145:7
I think there is one giant reason to remember what God has done:  We love Him.  I started this post with 1 Cor. 13:5.  If we honor, serve others, forgive and keep record of good things when it comes to people, would it not be even more desirable to do so when it comes to God, the One who made and loves us so profoundly!

As we express our love and affection for Him in this way, we open the doors of blessing, not because He has been stingy; but instead, because we are in a much better position to receive from Him.

 

What have you asked for that has not yet come?  Would you lay that thing and the time you have waited down as an offering to God today?

 

WHY?

I have dedicated this site to declaring God’s absolute and intimate love for each person.  This message has become my passion.
So here’s a question:
Why is this so important?
God loves you; so what?  How has knowing His complete and profound love for you made a difference in your life?

 

I can think of at least a few ways in which I have been impacted by this knowledge:
*I strive much less now:  I act and serve BECAUSE I am loved; not in order to earn God’s approval or affection.

 

*Knowing that Papa God loves me; that I am precious to him gives me security:  Things can happen that normally might upset me; people can say things that are less than complimentary:  I’m okay because Daddy loves me.

 

*I have more to give:  I get filled up first; then share what I have.  This way beats the religious approach of trying to come up with answers or “ministry” on my own!

 

*I expect more from God:  His goodness is far greater than anything I could ever imagine.  Trusting His regard for me has opened my heart to Him.

 

Now it’s your turn.  I am hoping to hear from you!