Monday, August 30, 2010

Spiritual War

There is a spiritual war. We need to be prepared to fight the devil. It is his servants that will trip us, confuse us and knock us over if they can. It is his servants who want us to be miserable, discouraged and focused on all that is bad. If we are focused on the bad, we are not ready to serve.
  • We must understand the truth and have it ready.
  • We must stand in our position of favor, having been reconciled, living at peace with God and his family.
  • We must be ready to take action. We have peace with God. We do not have to fear moving to serve, to encourage, to share. God has already forgiven us for all we have done. Will he be angry if we step out to act in love?
  • We must hold onto God’s promises. Satan will work to distort God’s word in our hearts. We will remember God’s word, but Satan will say it is all a lie. We must remember to believe God, because he does not lie.
  • We must keep God’s words and promises in our thinking and acting. It is the Truth that brings Satan down.
  • We must be given to prayer. Pray for people to stand, to obey God, nd for the gospel break through barriers.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's the Heart that Matters

If you are a follower of Jesus, it does not matter whether your bank account looks like Bill Gate’s or the national debt. God does not evaluate your life by whether you drive a jaguar or a 10 year-old Chevy Malibu. Nor whether your wardrobe is on the razor’s edge of fashion or you are hopelessly out of date. God is not pleased with you based on the number of piercings and tattoos you have, or the lack thereof. God evaluates a person’s life based on an entirely different set of criteria, involving the condition of your heart.

People are all born with heart-poverty. Sin robs us. Yet, some people recognize that poverty and inherit the Kingdom. They seek for God, recognize the Spirit’s work and mature as they interact with the Spirit, scriptures and other people. They give a sound, but humble evaluation of themselves, realizing they are not perfect, but neither are they second-rate.

Others dwell in that poverty. They may go to church, but they never find God. They never see God work, though he ignites fireworks and blasts sirens and air horns right in front of them. They never mature. The Scripture is just words. They are consumed with what they don’t have and how to get it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Life New Conduct

We have chosen to follow Jesus. But that decision leads to other decisions every day. As we learn to live like Jesus, we are confronted with a multitude of habits, actions and choices which are not obedient to Christ. We must learn to refuse the urging of those choices. We must develop new patterns of thinking. We must make new decisions that result in a new lifestyle.

We choose to speak truth, because we have a new unity with other Jesus followers. Lies divide. A divided body cannot survive. Anger also divides. Do not let anger control a situation. Repair the relationship, so Satan will not have room to work. God’s nature is giving and generous. So, put yourself in a position to be generous.

Do not speak in a way that tears. Speak to encourage, build and bless.

The Spirit of God is given as a seal and pledge of continued relationship with God. The Spirit is our link into God, the body and new life. Actions that practice the flesh and disunity grieve Him. Actions that practice new life please Him. Things like kindness, forgiveness, compassion and patience.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Not Just the Pastor

God gave grace to each one. And He gave leaders to train God’s people so God’s people can serve. God’s people serve and the body is built. Growth is a result of service.

Does growth result from receiving service? Or does growth result from giving service?)

The leaders prepare. The people serve. Growth happens. It creates a spiraling upward situation. It spirals up until we achieve unity. We build confidence in Jesus in each other, until we can all walk on water. We open the eyes of each other, until we can all see Jesus clearly in HD. We mold the character of each other, transform the thinking of each other until we all become Jesus clones, until Jesus’ DNA becomes our DNA.

Then, our lives with be founded on the rock. Circumstances will not control us. Fads and glitz will not captivate us. People will not persuade us to follow deceptions, distractions us with pretty toys or bright lights.

We will focus on truth as scripture reveals it, as the Holy spirit highlights it and as Jesus live it. And we will speak that truth in love.

God’s desire: Every part of the body of Christ matures. Every part of the body builds into every other part. Every part of the body remains connected and supported by every other of the body. And every part of the body actively pursues the completion of his role. This building, connection, supporting and pursuing is plaint by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, when He took up residence there.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


God created a community among men. The community was created to show God’s nature to the world, to live in a love relationship with God and to rule the world. God gave control of the world to man, intending that man, in cooperation with God, would create an environment of increasing beauty, harmony and bounty.

When Adam sinned, the world fell under the control of Satan. Increasing misery, pain and destruction were the result.

However, God’s purpose has not changed. He continues to invites men to form a community with Him as a partner. He continues to promote the creation of beauty, harmony and bounty in the world. So, we are His partners in winning back rule of the world, and establishing God’s rule … one place at a time.

People tend to view God’s work in an either\or context. Either establish God’s Kingdom through a spiritual transformation, or through a physical transformation. But, in reality, they cannot be separated.

Spiritual transformation has priority for a couple of reason. (1) It affects the eternity of people. One of the problems with a number of business practices today revolves around the fact that businesses too often focus on the bottom line for the short term. And business practices (and attitudes) have crept into the church.

(2) Spiritual transformation has priority because it forms the foundation for physical transformation. The essence of spiritual transformation is a renewal of the human heart. When a person perceives truth about Jesus, and it affects them, they can choose to alter their allegiance from themselves, their company, their country, their tribe, their group to Jesus. This change of paradigm is so powerful that it can only be compared to living a new life. (Spiritual realities are also activated. So, it is more than a mental change. But the change in thinking is extremely powerful.) It is this re-ordering of values, purpose and allegiance that lay the ground work for real physical transformation.

Physical works can move situations toward God’s ideal of the world. There are multiple factors that produce the complex phenomena know a poverty. It requires more than economic stimulus and jobs to overcome it. There are educational, health, political, psychological and cultural factors that contribute to and perpetuate the cycle of poverty. Building schools and hospitals correct part of it. Ensuring a fair and honest government is part of a solution. Giving people hope of a better future contributes. So, works that lead to physical transformation can lead to spiritual transformation. Acts that further the renewal of beauty, harmony and bounty of God’s creation can create an environment of openness to the good new of God’s love. But they may not.

We often underestimate the power of God’s message. We often underestimate the density of Satan’s fog of deception. We often underestimate the power of acts of charity to disrupt someone’s world view. There is a tension between the physical and the spiritual that we need to learn to live with, to utilize and to feed off of. We need to use this tension to stimulate creativity to plant transformation in whatever soil we are currently working.

Representing God

We have been invited to live with God and to live for God. We have been invited to be His representatives, His ambassadors. There is a way we ought to live. It should represent Him in the best light. It should draw attention to Him in the most positive way.

We have accepted this invitation because of certain convictions we have come to. Convictions we think others should have. So, how do we live so people will look at us and conclude, “There goes a happy, delightful soul. I wonder how I can become like that?” Or if the person knows we are a follower of Jesus, “No that’s what a Christian is supposed to be like.”

Monday, August 09, 2010

Good Works

The Bible calls the result of a person’s life “fruit.” It is what is produced from the life of a person, like apples are produced form the life of an apple tree. If the heart is bad, it will produce bad fruit. If the heart is good, it will produce good fruit.

Water, nutrients and oxygen pass through the tree. As they pass, they absorb from the life of tree; and the life of the tree passes into the fruit. If the life that the fruit receives is bad, the fruit will be bad. If the life that the fruit receives is good, the fruit will be good.

Fruit can never be good if it grows out of a heart that is bad.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Good Works

Jesus totally pleased the Father. He exerted His power to raise Jesus, not only from the dead, but to a position of ultimate authority.

We, on the other hand, lived in agreement with the world, the flesh and the devil. We deserved wrath and condemnation. But God expressed His love by extending grace and giving us new life in Jesus. We are given a new position with Jesus.

Doing good things have nothing to do with pleasing God to gain salvation. Not that God is unconcerned with the actions people take. He has given new life. New life has the effect of producing good actions.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

God's Plan

God created man to demonstrate His nature to all witnesses – spiritual and physical. God is Father, Son and Spirit. God is a community of love.

God created man to become part of His community, to rule over the world – not gut it greed, but cultivate it like a garden – and to create a community on earth that reflects God’s community in heaven.

Sin caused a change in the basic fabric of creation. Man is alienated from God, from other people, from himself and from nature. His heart and spirit are dead. And his natural tendency and focus is to himself and his needs and desires. The result is an ongoing cycle of evil.

God’s plan has not changed. God still wants men to demonstrate His nature, to become part of His community, to create a community of men, and to rule the world. And God wants these things done in a spirit of love, righteousness and holiness.

Jesus dies to remove the barriers that alienate God from men. Once the barriers are removed, God can begin a work that establishes God-centered, God-breathed rule over the world.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Revelation ... and Wisdom

It is obvious we need revelation to know God. He transcends us. We have no way to get to Him. We cannot measure Him, listen to His heart beat or flash an ink blot in from of Him. In some ways, He is totally alien from us. In some ways, we are completely alike. If we cannot get to Him, for there to be a relationship, He has to get to us.

We also need wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge of what is true and right, combined with judgment of what action to take. When we receive revelation, God speaks to us. Satan also speaks to us. And we speak to ourselves in our hearts. Out of these that speak to us, only one is completely trustworthy. One is sometimes trustworthy. One is never trustworthy. Our Father wants our good, so he will speak truly and righteously. Satan only wants our misery. And we are just limited. We are not big enough or know enough. But we need to know enough to see each word clearly, and to decide what we need to do about it. Wisdom resides with God. He gives wisdom, and trains us in wisdom, so we can discern words from Him, word from other voices, and obey Him confidently.