Archive for December, 2012

I Declare

Choices are the keys that open up the doors of future opportunity. Choices are shaped by our thinking and believing…

I am constantly reminded of the man at the pool of Bethesda… Jesus asks the man a simple question, but it changed his life forever…

“Do you want to be made well?” (Jn. 5:6)

Come Emmanuel

Scripture is full of the anticipation of Christ’s coming. Prophets proclaimed it. Songs announced it. Sacrifices foreshadowed it. Sin required it. God promised it. And then it happened; God came to Earth, fulfilling prophecies and responding to the sighs, groans, tears, and cries of humanity since the fall.

When our family first started celebrating Christmas, we would light Advent candles every Sunday evening, read an appropriate Scripture, pray, and sing. On one of those special nights we would sing this song… it still remains a favorite of mine.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Each of the five stanzas begins with the plea, “O come, O come, Emmanuel”. Each ends with the refrain, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel – Shall come to thee, O Israel”. From the plea that seemed so desperate, to the praise that felt so passionate; I found my heart impacted by its sound. Every Christmas now becomes complete when this song has reached my ears, because it pulls me back into the richest application of the season… Jesus coming to a waiting people!

A Waiting People:

What an amazing sight… it causes God to lean forward. His eyes are still upon the Earth. Should He not find us still waiting for His return?

Immanuel, Glory Revealed

Hearing how Jesus responded to human need is perhaps the most revealing picture throughout the New Testament.

  • To the leper, in need of cleansing… Jesus said “I am willing” (Mk 1:41).
  • To the woman with the flow of blood, reaching for the hem of His garment… Jesus said “Daughter your faith has made you well, go in peace and be healed of your affliction” (Mk 5:34).
  • To the deaf man… Jesus looked into heaven and said “Be opened” (Mk 7:34).

In all of these cases and more, we see the Glory of God manifest and revealed in Jesus Christ. He said of Himself, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19). The Anointed One was Jesus – the Christ, come to reveal the Glory of God… “Immanuel” (Mt 1:23).

Moving Toward Human Need:

God was in Christ, making His Glory known, moving toward human need and revealing the character of “The Father”. The best way to truly know what God is like is to hear and see how Jesus revealed Him. Jesus was called Immanuel which means “God with us”, walking among us and reaching out to us. 

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14)

His name is Immanuel… even when the doctor says, “Cancer.”
His name is Immanuel… even in the darkest night.
His name is Immanuel… even when she says, “I don’t love you anymore.”
His name is Immanuel… even when your heart is breaking.
His name is Immanuel… even as you walk away from the grave.
His name is Immanuel… even in the midst of grief.
His name is Immanuel… even when you feel alone.
His name is Immanuel… even when the job goes away.
His name is Immanuel… even when your son won’t come home.

His Name will always be Immanuel!

“The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zeph 3:17)

Consider the following thoughts expressed in these verses: 

  1. “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (Jn 1:18)
  2. “And He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.” (Jn 12:45) 
  3. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor 5:19)
  4. “I and My Father are one.” (Jn 10:30)
  5. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  (Jn 14:9)
  6. Jesus said to Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus, “Did I not say to you that if you believe you would see the Glory of God?” (Jn 11:40)
  7. It is God who ”…has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6)

 Immanuel – Truly is the Glory of God Revealed to Us!

Anointed Ones

Anointed with Power to Love

Anointed: Power to Love

That word, “Christ” is a significant title that means “Anointed One”. It points to more than just a person named Jesus. Jesus carried something with Him everywhere He went… the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:18)(Acts 10:38). By calling His followers “Christians”, all the world should see that we too are “little anointed ones” that carry something significant everywhere we go.

Carrying the Anointing:

There were some radical faith words that Jesus spoke that shaped how His followers perceived what they carried. Christ would not be welcomed in many Christian circles today, because He was so dependant upon the anointing of God. He would have been criticized as an extreme faith preacher. But His words are nevertheless the words from the Father and 100% true for all time.

  • “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk 11:23-24).
  • “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My Name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mk 16:15-18).
  • “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My Name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My Name, and I will do it” (Jn 14:12-14).

These are just some of the faith words that Christ spoke in the New Testament. Is this reliable? Does He tell the truth? Can you believe Him?

…because it will make a difference in how you carry the anointing!

We must carry His anointing everywhere we go (2 Cor 1:21)! It is the Holy Spirit’s power poured out (Acts 1:8) and kept fresh (Acts 4:29-31) that breaks yokes (Isa 10:27) and destroys the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8). Our lives must be lived with passion and power. Walking uprightly before God means more than just observing all that Jesus taught and left us as an example. We are anointed to carry something that makes an impact on the world around us. This requires power from heaven!

Anointed: Power to Serve

Anointed: Power to Serve

The Anointing is Power!

The anointing requires a lifestyle of reaching forward for more of Christ’s power. Its not just information; but spiritual knowledge and faith, that shapes the way we think and act toward the issues we face in life. God still does miracles with simple people like fishermen and housewives. Those who make the decision to trust God’s power rather than become desperate, are people He demonstrates His power through. We are not working out our religious duty, but carrying the same substance that rested upon Jesus, so we can approach problems the same way He approached them.

Firsts

   When you begin to study or research different topics in the Bible there is a common term called the “Law of First Mention”.  What this means is that if you are studying a topic in the Bible, you look for where it is first mentioned in the Bible and that should have some significance.

Upon arriving in Uganda we began to see a whole lot of “firsts”.

Ready for a Celebration

   It began with our first trip into the “bush”.  We traveled on roads barely wider than our vehicle to an opening where large tents were set up to prepare for a celebration. Pastor Jimmy was meeting with the students and the air was permeated with the expectation of what this celebration was bringing to the region.  You see the Busia District is very remote and there has never been a school of this kind in that region – a first.  There were over 1,200 villagers, which included relatives of the students, to watch the ceremony.  There were members of the local government as well as a member of Parliament set to address the crowd.  They each took turns speaking of the impact of this day. 

The team began to mention some of the firsts.  It was the first time for most of us to be in Africa.  These students were finishing their first year of the first Apostolic Training Center.  This is the first school of its kind and the first celebration in the Busia District. It was also, the first time in the history of the area that church leaders from different theological backgrounds and denominations have united to experience anything like this spiritual journey. 

120 1st Year Students

Throughout the day all we could do is look at one another in awe. For one it was the culmination of 12 years of praying to get to Africa, for another it was the thrill of experiencing a new culture. We were seeing firsthand the fruit of seeds sown. I wept as joy radiated from the faces of the 120 students that we have spoken about, prayed for and fed monthly. 

In Awe of God’s Handiwork!

We kept telling each other, “Oh we need this on video or we need more pictures”, and then realizing that there are some things that touch your heart so deeply that you can’t describe them and a picture just won’t capture it all. God was shaping the hearts of these students and as we watched, He was shaping our hearts as well!

Archives