Excellence and Passion

To do things with excellence requires passion. To love well, run our race with an enduring strength and pursue a life with no regrets, requires something bigger than ourselves… something we are passionate about. Doing things well is part of living the abundant life and should be the standard for Kingdom People. We are called to walk in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. An excellent heart comes from who we are in God and who God is in us.

The Counterfeit:

Excellence is not the same as perfectionism. In fact, it comes out of a totally different motivation. Perfectionism is a desire for approval that flows from a religious spirit. There is no creative flow to perfectionism, because it relies upon human reasoning as its standard rather than passion and love. People who come from this motivation are often judgemental and find fault in almost anything they see accomplished.

A good example of this is when Mary pours out an expensive ointment on the feet of Jesus and Judas speaks up with a contentious attitude. To Jesus this expression was an excellent display of affection, but to Judas it was a terrible waste of money (Jn 12:3-6). Although the room was filled with the fragrance of worship, the heart of Judas was filled with criticism and judgement. Interestingly the Scripture gives us a hint of what motivated Judas. He had no concern for the poor, but was taking money from the money box, because he was a thief.

Power to Excel:

Dunamis is the Greek word for power that described the Holy Spirit’s outpouring on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is poured out and you shall be witnesses to Me… in all the world” (Acts 1:8). Notice that this power would become the motivator for the witness they carried out in the world. The Holy Spirit would release such passion that they would bear evidence of a lifestyle from another world… Heaven.

Heaven’s Purpose:

Now there is some excellence in Heaven. There are some creative ideas in Heaven. There are things yet to be accomplished through Heaven’s creativity and purpose in the Earth. Jesus wanted us to accomplish the things of Earth with Heaven’s resources. Passion, creativity, wisdom and ability are designed to be released through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Its part of our delegated authority in the natural world to be a witness of Heavenly standards. “Gold, silver and precious stones rather than wood, hay and stubble” as the Apostle Paul would say. Your work will be tested by fire and the only thing that will endure will be that which had an eternal quality (1 Cor 3:12-15).

Be Creative:

Being creative does not mean everything has to be original or amazing, it just needs to carry our unique flow of expression, passion and gifting. You and I are the Children of God that the creation has been waiting to see, waiting with groaning and birth pains (Rom 8:18-23). We carry a glory that must have expression!

  • There are songs, yet to be written and sounds, yet to be heard!
  • There are inventions, yet to be seen and businesses, yet to be created!
  • There are cures for diseases, resources for the poor and justice for the downtrodden that must break forth!
  • There are revelations to be discovered and dreams to be dreamed!

All because of the Holy Spirit’s anointing… we have been blessed with the glorious liberty of excellence and passion.

Baptism of Fire

Wreckless Abandon

The Bible says: In the Presence of God there is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps 16:11)

That could make you wanna shout! Not only is it an amazing reality, but it strikes at the very heart of our sense of destiny and faith. Many Christians want to be in the Presence of God and want to learn the practice of living in the Glory Realm. It’s a natural desire, especially for those who have experienced it and tasted the goodness of God’s Presence. We all want to live in the reality of unspeakable joy (1 Pe 1:8). The sense of well-being and complete acceptance that comes with being in His Presence is more intoxicating than all that this world has to offer.

Complete Surrender:

Hear the call of John the Baptist, as he tells of the Baptism that Jesus will immerse us in when the Holy Spirit is poured out in Jerusalem. “I indeed baptize you with water, but One mightier than I is coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire“ (Lk 3:16). God is a consuming fire, and He burns up all of our impure thoughts, habits and behaviors (Heb 12:29). Sin and rebellion in us is consumed in His flaming hot Presence. For us to walk deeper into Glory, we must be willing for unclean things to be burned up. We must surrender them completely in His Presence.

Giving Up Control:

Everyone seems to be so eager to run into God’s Presence, because they want the overwhelming sense of joy and freedom, but very few desire the unpleasant feeling of giving up control. This process of giving up sinful parts of our soul causes us fearful expectations of being left with nothing to hold onto. Yet that is the point of the fire! Its designed to break us free of those things, so that we grab hold of His truth and live by faith in Him personally and intentionally.

Proximity Matters:

If we want to grow closer to Him, we must be willing for God to burn those things up in us. The closer we live to the fire, the hotter it gets. The nice thing about the Presence is that we don’t have to do it ourselves. We just have to be willing to stay in the fire long enough.

It’s like when you put wood in a fire. You really are not the one burning up the wood, but you need to be willing to keep it in the coals, for it to burn. If we surrender all we have grown to trust to this Baptism of Fire, everything will emerge changed. That which is unholy will burn like the wood burns in a fire. As we come closer to Him, we sense our lives being touched by fire.

Fire Transforms Living:

We see the fire in His eyes (2 Cor 4:6) and we are consumed by His loving embrace (Eph 1:6). His immersion of pure, holy, flaming love captures the heart, transforms our vision and makes all things new, dependent and fruitful.

Its amazing and impossible, yet its also… just like God.

Glory and Hidden Treasure

“In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:3)

HIDDEN IN CHRIST: Its not that we have no access to wisdom and knowledge, but God’s spiritual treasures are hidden on purpose (Prov. 25:2)(1 Cor. 2:7-10). So that in our search and discovery we begin to value the eternal significance, experience carries with it an eternal weight of Glory. An intellectual gospel is always inferior, and in danger of limiting “God” so that He looks or acts like us. If our search leads us to believe in a god that is our size and our strength, then we need a new focus. Our diligent search is a royal privilege, a kingly duty that unlocks keys and mysteries of Kingdom reality. Amazingly, God has given us His only begotten Son to offer access to every revelation of the Father’s heart.

Real Answers:

Problems need more than natural answers. Barriers in life need the voice of the Creator of Life. Our story is to be written by a Spiritual Author not lived at the whim of a worldly system. Think about how you pray… do you ask for wisdom and knowledge or do you ask for Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge? Christ is our access, our Advocate with the Father, our intercessor who continually intercedes for us… before the Father. He will get those treasures into your hands, heart and mind if we will dig for them as for gold or silver.

The Logos:

Jesus walked the Earth and lived with humanity as the “logos” or logic of the Father (Jn. 1:1-13). Jesus was the sum total of the collective thoughts of His Father funneled down into human flesh and blood. He really was Immanuel – God with us! We are not on an adventure to gain all the information about religion, Christianity or even the patterns of spiritual living! We are on a quest to gain Christ – to be found in Him.

My belief is that we must become more invested in our personal knowledge of Christ, than in the traditional doctrines of the Church.

This faith journey requires that we become acquainted with the voice of God as experienced in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The things we so often call treasure are not of value in the Kingdom of God. God’s spiritual activities are found working in the invisible dimension that goes beyond our understanding. They come as spiritually revealed truths and relationally experienced manifestations. Our fellowship in Christ through worship, prayer and meditating upon the Word of God, unlocks the prophetic flow of hidden reality… its life in the spirit.

Experiencing Glory in Spiritual Fellowship:

Notice the Apostle Peter remembering the experience of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain top (2 Pet. 1:17-21). “We heard the voice that came to Jesus, while we were on the mountain - God, as Father spoke from out of the Glory”. As much as that voice was a powerful experience… it was only given, because of the fellowship in Christ. What Peter wants us to know is not the tone of the voice, but the testimony of a fellowship. The treasure of wisdom and knowledge became available in the Glory of God.

Remember the time when Jesus began to set His eyes toward the cross and He says “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again” (Jn. 12:27-30). Amazingly we see that those who stood by and heard the voice, perceived it as a natural sound… thunder. Others heard it as an angel, but not directed toward them. Jesus speaks up and said, “This voice did not come because of Me – but for your sake.” Jesus was telling them that a door was open for a moment if they desired to step through and know the secrets that would follow.

The experiences by themselves really do not matter, as much as the position those experiences put us in. They give us incredible opportunity to understand God’s Glory Realm.

  • “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:27)

God has placed the treasures of wisdom and knowledge within Christ and reveals Christ to us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Scripture. Remember that Christ is the very Glory of the Father (Heb. 1:3). God will not reveal anything apart from the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter says to us, “We saw Christ in a way that we never had before! We will never be the same, because we now have an expanded wisdom and knowledge base to draw from!”

Apprehending Christ:

To possess the Son is to possess all that pertains to the Son, for the Scriptures declare, “He that has the Son has life, but He that does not have the Son of God, has not life” (1 Jn. 5:12). It is not that God desires to stay hidden, His goal is to give us the full revelation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Yet by apprehending Him, we will subsequently gain insight into everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4).

Christ is the Door:

Christ is our door of revelation (Jn. 14:6). We can have the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:16). To seek revelation into the mysteries of God apart from the revelation of Christ Himself, fails to give Christ the pre-eminence. We dare not circumvent the Kingdom’s doorway in the pursuit of the Kingdom’s treasure.

Spiritual treasure is hidden in Christ! When we gain Christ – we gain it all! (Phil 3:7-8)

Receiving the Prophetic Voice

“Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” (2 Chron 20:20)

I take you back to the time when Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, was king of Judah and Jerusalem. It was a season of terrible anxiety. The Ammonites and the Moabites had declared war on the people of Judah. Those of Judah were vastly outnumbered and their cause appeared hopeless. Jehoshaphat gathered his people together to plead with the Lord for help. He cried out in prayer:

“O our God, … we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do: but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chron 20:12)

Then the Prophet Jahaziel spoke into the situation:

“Thus says the Lord to you: Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not need to fight in this battle: Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you…” (2 Chron 20:15 & 17)

The Prophetic Voice:

These are not just words of encouragement that can make an anxious situation go away. The prophetic activates and releases a platform to position yourself, stand firm and see the supernatural demonstration of God’s hand upon your life. The need to believe God is obvious, but the activity of believing comes from the prophetic voice! Its the strategy for success. Jehoshaphat understood the dilemma, but it was the voice of the prophet that would release the strategies of God’s thought process.

How do we trust when the enemy outnumbers us? How do we respond when the storm outmaneuvers us? How do we know what to do? Believe the voice of the Prophet… for the battle is not yours, the battle is the Lord’s!

Enabled to Prosper:

In this context, God is not speaking about money or wealth, He is speaking about peace or the path that brings us into victory. When we receive the prophetic voice we are enabled to prosper. The word prosper in the Old Testament is the same word as peace or success. Recently I heard someone describe it as a “smooth road”. When in the midst of anxiety and strife; it feels like a rough road, but along the journey of leaning on God’s Will there is a “smooth” road made visible.

Receiving is like Eating:

Jesus said we will enjoy the reward of the prophet, when we receive the voice of the prophet (Mt 10:41). The Greek word “receive” means to take hold of something with the hand, or lay hold of a person or thing in order to use it. It is not passive at all, but active. The starving man who suddenly finds himself receiving a banquet does not sit and wait for the food to jump into his mouth! At the mere mention of the Father’s thoughts; as spoken by the prophet, we are to respond like the starving man… the prophetic is our food and prosperity. We must receive the prophetic voice by taking hold of it and “eating” it (Ezek 3:3)(Rev 10:9). We boldly and aggressively embrace the prophetic, because it will activate faith in the Will of God and cause us to navigate safely through any difficult situation.

“Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7)

The Glory Zone

One of the most incredible stories in the Bible is about God’s Glory touching a uniquely chosen servant, Moses. All could see the impact on Moses! All could watch the incredible sight of supernatural activity as God met daily for conversation with His friend. To experience God’s Glory takes only a surrendered heart. Yet with any encounter comes the risk of being captured and falling in love with Him. Consider the moment…

“…when Moses entered the tabernacle, the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle and the Lord talked with Moses.” (Exod. 33:9)

God Talks With Moses:

Moses came into the actual Presence of God and experienced His Glory. God talked with Moses “as a man speaks to a friend” (Exod. 33:11)… exposing His heart and explaining His motives. These were not idle conversations, but intimate opportunities for expression. You might call it “fellowship” and I would call it fellowship in the Glory Zone. It’s important to remember that Moses wasn’t even “born again”… at least not in a New Covenant way.

If dwelling in the Glory of God was available to him, how much more by the blood of Jesus would God make this available to us?

Thirst:

The psalmist says, “as the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, oh God. My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. When shall I come an appear before God?” (Ps. 42:1) There is a soul hunger and a soul thirst that can only be satisfied in the Glory Zone.

Every man must appear before God, but some; those who love His Glory, will long for the experience… because it brings renewal. It replenishes the soul as no natural experience can and unlocks the hope of true revival. Face to face encounters with God are “life” to the man who loves the Glory. In fact, the Apostle Paul encourages us to go to God, who will meet all of our needs by soaking in the rich atmosphere of the Glory in Christ (Phil. 4:19).

Christ Inside is the Glory Zone:

Moses was a lover of the Glory and no matter how we view his experience it is veiled compared to the relationship we have in Christ. The Apostle Paul says, “Christ inside you is the hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27). Your heart is a throne of authority where you choose who or what is seated inside. You will become what you worship and when your eyes are fixed upon the Glory revealed in Christ, then He illumines your soul. Light is released when you and I become lovers of the Glory.

Today – you can shift the atmosphere that has surrounded you… simply stop and look into the eyes of Christ and ask for a taste of His Glory! You will find the Glory Zone (2 Cor. 4:6).