Archive for May, 2017

Go After Joy

“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)

“Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:11)

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.” (Psalm 45:7)

We speak of the joy of the Lord quite often as a strength in trouble or a fruit of the Spirit… but I truly believe it is a great weapon for spiritual breakthrough and freedom.

God is completely faithful, He is generous as our Provider and sensitive as our Healer. When we are in need, He wants us to recognize His love and allow joy to lead us to our breakthrough. The psalms remind us that God’s loving kindness is new every morning (Ps. 30:5). His mercies are like the rains that fall upon the fertile soil of the heart to bring forth the seeds of spiritual strength (Lam. 3:22-24). No question, God is the instigator of our breakthroughs; yet we are all called to walk in step with Him for the achieving of spiritual victory.

We are co-laborers in the Kingdom of Heaven for our breaking forth.

As Kingdom Agents, we can and must see the joy of the Lord as a spiritually anointed tool that releases us from the chains of oppression. Joy is a great weapon against fear and depression.

I still remember…

In Sunday School years ago, we used to sing about the power joy had to bring great freedom in the Spirit. We would sing “if you want joy you must laugh for it” and off we’d go with, “ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha”. Pretty soon we would all experience laughter that would cause us to see differently the rest of the day. Those little songs were a point of release, setting the atmosphere of joy that influenced our dispositions and changed our heart attitudes. In one sense we were taking our thoughts captive without even realizing we were having moments of breakthrough.

I truly believe that the supernatural life of the Spirit is more natural than we think… try it – laugh a little and see if it doesn’t lighten the load. The Joy of the Lord can be your strength for breakthrough! (Neh 8:10)

Leaders Believe

What is your definition of a leader? Many people talk about this topic today, but few clearly state what they mean when they use the terms leader and leadership. When I speak about leadership, I often think in terms of growing Kingdom Ambassadors. People with a passion for God and a heart that believes in God’s answer for humanity. I am talking about redemptive people, who see the way God sees and commit their lives to burn for more than a ministry title or a desk to sit behind. It feels wrong to me to discuss leadership without defining what we are attempting to develop. So, here are some of the most important values I feel we need to uncover and release in godly leaders.

1st) Christian Leaders are Servants:

Jesus specifically addresses servant leadership in Matthew 20:25-26 and John 13:1–17. He defines a servant leader as one who humbly pours out their life on others, based on their love for them. Its not a natural love, but something supernatural that flows from heaven… a resource of the Holy Spirit. In the Apostle Paul’s teaching about the 5-fold ministry model, he tells of a grace that has been given to each of us for the purpose of leading (Eph. 4:7). A grace that empowers leadership and causes the leader to equip the saints for the work of the ministry… is by nature supernatural. Its impossible for a person to give what he does not have; but Christ has given us grace and power to fulfil all that has been asked of us as yielded vessels. Leaders understand how to receive from God and release that power to flow through their influence in other people’s lives.

2nd) Christian Leaders are Godly Servants:

This is in reference to Christ-like character. I try to encourage leaders that although their gifts might make room for them and give them a voice for a season, it will only be their character that will offer them a platform of influence for a lifetime. Teachability, integrity and transparency are real platforms that inspire and train our hearts as well as the minds, hands and hearts of those in our sphere of influence.  Though many in the business world acknowledge the importance of character, the goal seems to be about pleasing a boss or corporation. Leadership that offers real influence is accountable to God and becomes transformational as the leader is bearing the evidence of their own character changing and growing.

3rd) Believing Leaders Know Where They are Going:

This involves the leader’s direction. Leaders need both a ministry mission and a ministry vision. The ministry mission is “the goal”, which for every leader is the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20). The ministry vision is the personal picture on the inside of what they will look like as they effectively accomplish the Great Commission.

It is important to note, that the Great Commission is about a delegated authority to disciple nations, emersing followers in experiences with God and teaching them how to obey all that Jesus taught and modeled. Its not buildings and programs… its people and Kingdom influence that shapes the nations. Its more than what we believe, its the opportunity to experience the supernatural life of the Spirit and model it for the next generation of believers.

Finally, Christian Leaders have Followers:

Leadership implies followers. If a person has no followers, he is not a leader. Followers are not just those who mimmick our words, study our theory or obey our commands. Jesus called His servants up into friendship so they could hear more keenly the secrets of His heart (Jn. 15:9-17). A friend is offered access and knows the motivation of the heart. Good leaders know how to train their followers to step into new levels of authority. Those willing, chosen and appointed followers bear fruit that remains as a pleasing and joyful expression of Kingdom influence… God’s influence ruling in the life of the leader.

Heavenly Solutions

The most incredible moments in life are often those that come by surprise. Its not so much that I find myself unprepared as much as… some moments just sneak up on me as new information.

I like the Bible story about the man who comes to Jesus for the healing of his son. His son had dealt with an issue of epilepsy for many years and it had often caused enormous trauma to the whole family. Unfortunately the father had to settle for the ministry of some of Jesus’ faithless disciples. Jesus was up a mountain being transfigured before Peter, James and John (Mk 9:2-13). As the mountain top experience comes to an end; the three disciples, with Jesus come down the mountain to find an argument over the healing of this boy. Those remaining 9 disciples hadn’t accomplished much, so they began to argue about theology with some local scribes.

Isn’t that just like so many of the church services we have been to… we are prepared to meet with God and all we find are the empty words of men who hold onto faithless theological discussions. Jesus made the most accurate statement, “Oh faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Life problems must be answered… with heavenly solutions!

Life problems must be answered… with heavenly solutions!

We must never settle for talking about solutions… How often we explain the “stuff” of God, (the miracles, the healing of sickness and the authority to cast out demons) rather than host an invasion of the Spirit into the impossible situation?

Jesus now has the father in front of Him with a question… a question that I believe was not in his mind until he was presented with the frailty of human reasoning. He asks Jesus, “If You can do anything – have compassion on us and help us?” Without hesitation Jesus addresses the impossible situation with the touch of Heaven and the boy is made whole. But there is a surprise for the disciples and for us as we peer into this story from the outside.

Solutions require us to carry something! Note: Some things can only be accomplished through prayer and fasting (Mk 9:29).

  • First: We all need a fresh spiritual revelation that helps us see our situation with discernment… notice this was an unclean spirit and Jesus called it “a deaf and dumb spirit” as He rebuked it and cast it out (Mk 9:25). The revelation leads to the correct response. We know that revelation is given as we tune into Heaven… thus the need for prayer and fasting.
  • Secondly: When faced with life issues, we are always called upon to rise to the occasion and believe for God’s perfect solution to the problem. Although we may have a great amount of knowledge about how it all works; God is looking for those who can carry the glory and release it into the impossible.

The “Faithless”:

What we forget sometimes is that we carry heavenly solutions to life’s biggest problems. To rid ourselves of the harsh label as the “faithless generation” requires that we become a people who release what we carry. Earthly problems offer us an invitation to move with God’s supernatural compassion, authority and power… Heavenly solutions! God wants to bring freedom, but has given authority and power to us to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy (Lk. 10:19). We must shake ourselves free of faithlessness, so that we experience more of the solutions Heaven offers to human frailty. Its the Promise of God’s Heart…

“On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

Reign in Grace

“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)

Great Power & Great Grace… these are the keys to Great Christian Character! God’s Word promotes the idea that grace is more powerful than sin or test. We should never, never, never allow our perceptions of reality to diminish the flow of God’s power. “For if by the one man’s offense, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

We have been made kings and priests to our God (Rev. 1:5) and grace is necessary to rule and reign in spiritual life. Grace is necessary to exercise authority in the way that God desires. God rules, but not harshly. He rules and releases His power by grace, justice, mercy and truth. In order to exercise authority in every situation, we need to receive more and more of God’s grace. This grace gives us power not only to use authority over negative situations in life, but also to testify in a way that will build strength into our faith and service for the Body of Christ.

Grace inspires us to…

1. Believe:

The Scripture tells us that Apollos helped those who had “believed through grace” (Acts 18:27). Even the faith which saves us comes through God’s grace. We don’t produce faith – we receive it as a gift from God. “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8). Grace is favor that inspires us to exercise the faith which God has given us (Rom. 12:3).

  • By the grace we have, we must believe God… His Word, His promises, His commandments, His judgments.

2. Receive:

God’s Word says, “much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17). The Apostle Paul speaks emphatically that grace was a precursor to walking out Kingdom lifestyles and anointing for ministry…  “We have received grace and apostleship” (Rom. 1:5). God does give grace, and it should inspire our bold Christian witness. We must be willing to receive it.

Also, grace must be received as grace. It cannot be received as payment for good behavior or good works. If we are thinking we receive grace from God on the basis of our good behavior, we will not be able to receive it as grace. Grace is given to the humble heart (Jms. 4:6). This is why God many times seems to greatly bless a sinner who has recently turned to Him, while seemingly ignoring many “good church people” who have been struggling faithfully for years with pride and selfish ambitions. Many have a wrong mentality concerning grace.

3. Continue:

“Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43).

It is vitally important that all of us, especially those who have recently turned to God and trusted in His grace, continue in the grace of God. God gives more grace, so that we are inspired to flow with gracious words and activities. Jesus shocked the people of Nazareth who knew Him as a carpenter’s son, because of His gracious words (Lk. 4:22) and activity. We need to allow God to keep guiding our hearts to the place where He can continue to work in us by His grace. In the moment when we cease to allow God’s grace to work in us, we start to dry up as Christians and that life of God in us begins to lose its effectiveness. God will not force us to remain in His grace. It is something He gives us the power to do, but we must choose to go on. Don’t give up!

4. Discover & Manage:

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Pet. 4:10).

Every born-again Christian has a ministry, through receiving a spiritual gift and using it for the glory of God. We have all been given grace to serve somewhere. God’s grace takes many forms, as many as there are people in Christ; every anointing is unique and special. A steward or manager must use what has been entrusted to him and multiply it, otherwise; he is not being a good and faithful steward. God’s grace and blessings were not given simply for us to sit in “services” and feel good. Rather, they were given that we might not only be blessed, but also be a blessing. Greater works (Jn. 14:12) require fresh grace!

5. Multiply & Spread It:

“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15).

Grace and peace do multiply… as more and more people spread it. We can spread God’s grace through giving, through preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and by “speaking such a word as is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29 & 5:18-21). It is the privilege of every true Christian, not just a special few; to spread God’s grace to as many as possible. When we to this, more and more people will bring pleasure to the heart of God (Ps. 133).

Grace is our Prophetic Destiny:

“Arise, shine; For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isa. 60:1-3)

Valiant Laborers

“And the Word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.” (Acts 13:49)

“Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand.” (Ps. 149:5-6)

We mount our assault on the portals of hell and against us they shall not stand! The valiant of heart are those whose laborers are noted by courage, passion and alignment to the Word of God. These marks are the standard where soldiers emerge and warriors take shape. Indeed, the character of heaven is revealed in no better way than when God’s Saints are clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit and accompanied by angels. The advancement of the Kingdom of God is a violent overthrow of the works of the devil! It requires God’s anointing and the character to follow His heart!

No matter how we define a move of God in our day or in the days of the Early Church… we must not miss the prophetic reality of following God’s heart. One of Luke’s purposes in writing the Book of Acts was to tell the real story of the remarkable growth of God’s Kingdom. Amazing things took place in the years that followed the birth of the Church. An outpouring of the Holy Spirit clothed the Apostles with power to become witnesses in the world (Acts 1:8). Although, persecution and struggle shaped their character, never do we hear the cry of retreat. This was the work of God! Humanity’s greatest discovery was how to be filled with the Holy Spirit… and walk as carriers of the Glory of God!

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel (or any servant of God):
“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,”

Says the Lord of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

A Valiant Vision:

To see entire regions waiting, cultures and people groups ready to be reached with the love and power of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Our call, requires a company of valiant laborers with fresh eyes… with a vision to disciple the nations (Mt. 28:18-20). We must be found teaching and building bridges of opportunity for generations to walk in God’s destiny for their lives. Should we not stand willing and ready to risk it all for the purposes of God’s heart? Yet in order to risk it all, it will require a vision of how God sees and what God wants to accomplish.

The Prophet Habakkuk said it this way: “For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

God is Speaking!

These are New Days in almost every culture of the world, and the sound of a spiritual trumpet has gone forth. Many with an ear to hear have already begun to assemble. To some its a whisper and to others a shout, yet there is no mistaking its purpose in this season. Its God’s invitation that is being proclaimed on the battle field and in the vineyard. Our Father has a voice that echoes on every high place… causing the nations to give birth. He is calling the weary, the lost and forsaken. His sound summons the alien to come sit at His Throne (Heb. 4:16). And from this motley, misguided lot; He will redeem and restore and revive. This is the day of the harvest, a season of in-gathering as in the time of first fruits. And the valiant rejoice in the pleasure of God. They celebrate with heaven in what is witnessed in their generation, because it was birthed in the Father’s heart long ago! (1 Pe 2:9-10)

Father, Your Valiant Laborers Stand Willing & Ready!

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