Archive for August, 2011

The Will to Follow

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit… was led by the Spirit…” (Lk 4:1)

When you decide to disciple another person, you are basically saying, “Follow me as I follow the Spirit”. You are stepping forward to show other’s the way in which they should be led. So the question begs to be asked, “Who is leading you?” Who are you following? Are you demonstrating a willingness to follow the Holy Spirit. Jesus wisely said, “…if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Led by the Spirit:

One of the marks of a person who is full of the Holy Spirit is that they are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit. They are involved in receiving the Holy Spirit’s correction, direction and instruction. This cannot be overstated. Being available to go wherever the Spirit leads and do whatever He asks is the model Jesus gave His disciples. Everything in their lives had that undeniable mark of Spirit inspired leadership upon it… this is the anointing.

The Mark of Leadership: 

God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38). He affirmed His Father’s priorities and did nothing except what His Father told Him to do. His life was the visible expression of the Father’s Will and the model for true Holy Spirit leadership!

Authentic and Visible: 

Being anointed meant Jesus was carrying an active, visible favor in His ministry that demonstrated His Father’s heart in full view of the disciples. Jesus did not fake it, make it up or ask for help from the crowds. He was the real, Good Shepherd. He knew how to live in the secret place of the Holy Spirit’s Presence and release a flowing expression of the Father’s heart. He had no need of a worship team, love offering or altar call to stir the faith of crowds or critics.

Why did so Many Follow? 

People wanted to follow Jesus, because He was the greatest example of sonship ever seen. The Apostle John says it best when he opens his letter to the churches. “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship (follower-ship) with us; and truly our fellowship (follower-ship) is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1 Jn 1:3-4)

Talk Matters

Don’t be fooled – talk matters.

These days, people spout off about all kinds of stuff. Whether it’s an opinion on politics or the latest story from Oprah, we can’t keep quiet about all the juicy details. Somebody told me that the average person uses over twenty thousand words a day. Obviously I haven’t used all of mine today. We are a talkative people; yet I wonder whether we consider the implications of our words? While we often argue for our freedom of expression, Scripture actually warns us to be careful with our tongues.

Talk Exposes:

Yeah, we enjoy speaking our mind, but the ancient world understood the purpose of speech quite differently. For them, “speaking” was a unique reflection of one’s position within in the tribe. It was not only a reflection of a person’s character, but of status and honor. They believed that honorable people would speak honorably. Now that would be a neat trick for our politicians, don’t you think.

Solomon’s Thoughts:

  • “Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning” (Prov 10:13)
  • “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his lips” (Eccl 10:12).
  • “Wicked men… whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways” (Prov 2:12-14).

Jesus said:

  • “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks…men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mt 12:34-37)

Drawing from the same tradition as Solomon, Jesus reiterates that the tongue directly reflects the heart. Essentially He’s telling us that people are the sum of their words. The manner and content of their speech mirrors the essence of their life.

Perhaps the wisdom of James should be considered at this point…”Therefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak.”  (Jms 1:19). I know its something I have to remind myself often. My dad used to tell me, “Son, a fool is never discovered, until he opens his mouth.”

View from Inside

A friend of mine keeps a gold fish in an aquarium in his office. The fish is over 10 years old, but is only about 4 inches long. A gold fish in the wild can reach 2 feet in length, because it is a type of carp. The point is that a fish will only grow as big as its surroundings allow.

Church Culture: 

So much of “church culture” has insulated people from real ministry and like those gold fish, there is no incentive toward growth or spiritual health. The comfortable messages and limited challenge leaves them feeling good about their tank, but unaware of the ocean outside. If we create small tanks, we can’t expect to grow large fish. Small or large spiritually is never really defined by the size of the tank, however; its defined by the vision it gets exposed to.

Part of this is simply human nature, some people are leaders and some are followers; but, we must not allow that to be an excuse for apathy. There should be a voice inside of every Christian leader that breaks the cycle of indifference in their ministries. We are not merely preaching to get our people to agree with our ideas and compliment our pulpit skills. We are called to be spiritual fore-runners, looking ahead into uncharted territory. I believe we are in trouble in our little fish tanks, because we are consistently limited by our view from inside.

Living By Faith!

A healthy ministry is engaged in changing the world. Its not content in entertainment or just edifying itself. The view from inside is way too limiting and  never creates enough challenge to cause its participants to live by faith. The Bible’s most vital truth is its unrelenting definition of its adherents: “The Righteous shall live by faith.” (Hab 2:4)(Rom 1:17)(Gal 3:11)

Fresh Vision:

We have a mentality that keeps trying to grow a bigger tank, when in reality our many “Mega-churches” show us what we really need is to smash the tanks altogether and allow the fish to get their gills into some fresh water. Vision is transformed by what we breathe.  

Rivers of Living Water are poured out from God’s throne (Rev 22:1) and have their resource made available through pulling upon His heart (Jn 4:10). To become a ministry that releases the kind of power that awakens the nations, means our living must be done in the midst of the ocean we call humanity. It’s only there that faith will begin to grow, because it puts a demand upon our character, our heart and our anointing. If we never feel a demand upon our faith, we will never pull upon God’s heart for more resource.

The Adventure of the Ages:

So, position your life in such a way that you feel the current hitting you in the face. The Holy Spirit will begin to enlarge your heart and your spirit will begin to soar. Its the adventure of the ages; Christ inside of you, living His life through you. You will find yourself reaching, touching and healing those who were only visible by your view from inside.

Controlling Patterns

In regards to spiritual warfare, we are admonished by the Apostle Paul to be wise in who we find ourselves wrestling against. He flat out tells us that we must not wrestle with flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), that our battle is not with people or even ourselves, but with principalities and powers in heavenly places. We wrestle against demonic forces that use our thoughts and control our actions by way of deception and fear. We must come to grips with this if we want to win our battles in the spirit.

Evil Forces:

The forces of evil defy the Truths of God by subliminal and subversive tactics that have their influence in our brokenness. Admittedly we have sinful residue still hanging around in our lives. Although our sin is forgiven and this residue does not make us evil, it does still leave us susceptible to deception. Evil is a perversion of reality that is orchestrated and controlled by Satan, himself. His aim is to construct networks of shame and guilt within our lives based on f-e-a-r… “false evidence appearing real”. When evil forces, like hatred or lust are visible in the human heart it is not by way of personal choices; well thought out and reasonable, but entanglements in our emotions and feelings. Feelings of fear are often more real than feelings of peace, because we are “tuned-in” to them through natural perception, by way of our five senses. These senses rule us and rob us of our ability to see spiritually, when they are controlled by wicked authorities in heavenly places. I am reminded often by the Holy Spirit, that there are forces I cannot see, standing behind what I cannot seem to break through. Our real enemies are not in the natural realm.

Example:

  • Something calls up fears of distrust in us and we protect ourselves from being hurt or embarrassed… this is pride at work, inside.
  • Someone gets a promotion that we believe we were more qualified for and we feel anger or resentment… this is jealousy at work.

We are not evil when we have such emotional triggers inside, but Satan targets our sinful desires by watching our behavior, setting traps and establishing strongholds of emotional bondage. His goal is to lead us astray, into darkness and captivity. Jesus called him a “thief”, whose only goal is to steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10).

Evil Works:

These types of works are of the devil and are what Jesus came into the world to destroy through His cross and resurrection (1 Jn 3:8). The Apostle John makes it clear that to practice sin is to be a slave to sin, but that Christ offered us real hope to break controlling patterns of evil.

A Clean Slate:

Our freedom from the sinful residue of brokenness comes through knowing God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean. Living continually with a clean heart allows us to stop wrestling to achieve acceptance with God, but freely practice righteousness (1 Jn 3:4-9). God has accepted us through the blood of Christ and our life is now hidden in Him who has made us acceptable.

Grace is Supernatural: 

Its amazing to come into the knowledge of God’s freedom, because we get the power to succeed by faith in His supernatural grace. This grace is the work of God that transforms our carnal perceptions of reality and allows the Holy Spirit to govern our understanding. The Holy Spirit guides us into all Truth (Jn 16:13), beyond the wrestling and into the peace of God (Phil 4:7).

Living Sacrifices:

Knowing these demonic controlling patterns that war against our thoughts can help us become more aware of how our lives can be governed by the Holy Spirit. When we see evil desires coming up inside us, we can shift our focus by allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the Father’s heart to us. We are to become living sacrifices, surrendered to the tranforming power that comes as we offer our whole being to God (Rom 12:2). The Holy Spirit wants to lead us. He wants to help us live according to God’s original design, rather than our fears. Renewing our thoughts is the primary way God breaks us free from the strongholds that once governed our behavior. That is why the Apostle Paul said, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17).

“Paga” is Impact!

Impact happens when two things collide. The Hebrew word “Paga” means to meet or make an impact. It can be violent as on a battlefield (Judges 8:21) or simple as the intersecting of two roads (Gen 28:11). From a Biblical perspective, it helps describe our posture in prayer… we pray in order to make a spiritual impact upon the realities around us. This word often is used when we see the word “intercession” (Isa 53:12). Intercessory prayer or prayer that creates opportunity for impact, is our way of allowing God access to the things that need to change in our life or the lives of others. It works, because God loves us and has given us power to influence and align the stuff of earth with the Culture of Heaven.

Prayer is Supernatural Impact: 

When we pray, we are asking for the Kingdom of Heaven to impact the natural realm around us. A good spiritual example might be when someone prays for you about a particular situation and the anointing creates a shift in the atmosphere. That encounter makes an impact and KABOOM! – two forces come together with a momentum that causes something to move. It could be a mountain, an obstacle, a hindrance or an evil spirit; yet through the effective fervant prayer of a righteous man (Jas 5:16), the things that stand in opposition to God’s purposes in our lives begin to move.

Dynamic Impact:

The anointing is God’s great power (dynamite- Gk. “dunamis” Acts 1:8) released by the Holy Spirit to destroy yokes and remove burdens that would otherwise hold us in impossible situations. The anointing, which is a tangible substance, impacts the person or situation like a truck hitting a wall at high speed. This power of God directed into an area of need breaks through and enforces the victory Jesus has already won for us. Whether it is for healing, needed provision, broken relationships or major obstacles… whatever the need, God has an answer that makes an impact.

The Anointing Breaks Yokes (Isa 10:27):

As the anointing flows through a person’s prayer life or worship, I’ve seen it break open the atmosphere and restore entire families within a few simple moments! Imagine this anointing coming into your life and flooding the atmosphere where you live, work or meet with friends. The Bible says that when we resist the Devil, he flees like a puppy with his tail tucked between his legs.

Release the Anointing for Impact: 

God is interested in impact through you, so life is filled with more peace, releases more joy and advances the Kingdom of Heaven around you. Like a caring Father; interested in providing for you, God’s purpose is for your good. The impact He makes is not designed to control you, but to give you the opportunity to have an abundant life… a blessed life.

Archives