Posts Tagged ‘identity’

Reviving our Culture

Reviving our culture with the Gospel of the Kingdom can feel like a task for the super Christians of our world. We have been given the authority and power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, but our confidence often gets shaken when we see the faces of our neighbors. It seems like we talk more about reviving our culture than we practice touching those within our reach.

Kingdom Authority:

You and I have been given a mandate to set people free from torment and diseases (Jn 14:12). We are called to do what Jesus did… destroy the works of the devil. Its the authority to move the resources of Heaven into the Earth, where real needs can be met with compassionate love. It does not need to be flashy or charismatic, to be creative and effective. Its the authority to serve.

The Truth is Practical:

As with most Kingdom principles, the truth about our authority is bound to the truth of practical love. Any truth in the wrong hands can become dangerous, but in the hands of a humble servant, the world is radically effected. Love is the great equalizer, because it is what makes the Gospel of the Kingdom carry its effect. Becoming servants to this world and serving in practical ways within its culture, is the key that opens doors of possibility.

Royalty is my Identity – Servanthood is my Assignment:

There it is in a nutshell! You and I are being fashioned for this. We are becoming Kingdom Agents with a real identity bound to the King of Kings, but a practice of washing feet in the world around us. Before God I live my life in intimacy, but before man I live my life in servanthood. Before the powers of hell I am a ruler, with no tolerance for the works of the devil. Before God I stand triumphant, a Son of Righteousness, strong and faithful. Yet before men I stand in compassion, aware that all men are prone to wander, to weakness and to frailty (Mt 9:35-39).

Begin with Invasion:

Today I want to encourage myself… and you as well, if you would like to take this challenge. Walk across the street and serve your neighbor. Just this week I have been challenged with this commission, because our neighbor passed away suddenly. I sat wondering what I could do? I heard the Lord say, “Give your neighbor a cup of cold water”. God was saying to me, “Stop thinking and go revive the culture across the street!” I am realizing that reviving a culture is done one step at a time.

Who is Your Neighbor?”

I like the answer Jesus gives to the rulers of His day (Lk 10:30). “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves.” 1)My neighbor is anyone the thief has robbed. “Who stripped him of his clothing.” 2)My neighbor is anyone who the thief has left naked and shamed. “And wounded him.” 3)My neighbor is anyone the thief has wounded and left bleeding. “And departed, leaving him half dead.” 4)My neighbor is anyone the thief has left half dead.

My culture is mine to revive, so I am challenging myself to stop for the one within reach. As a Kingdom Agent, I have authority to serve!

I Am Sent Me!

Prophetic Commissioning

Limuli, Uganda

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you.’ This is My Name forever, the Name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. (Ex. 3:13-15)

This is what you say, when they ask you – “Who has sent you? Say I Am sent me!”

We see Moses, who had been residing on the backside of the desert for 40 years living in the shadow of the biggest failure of his life. Now he has a personal confrontation with God, who asks him to take on a task that seems way beyond his confidence and abilities. First Moses comes up with excuses and then he asks the question, as if realizing that getting out of this task is a loosing battle. “Suppose I go… what if they ask… who shall I say sent me?”

What a Question:

Asking God who He is? Remember, up to this point, Moses really didn’t know the God of his fathers. He had been raised in the Egyptian Palace and walked in the courts of the Pharaoh. It was like he said, “God I’ll go, but I’ve got to know that You are backing me up here. I’ve got to be able to tell them who told me to do this. Who are You?” Note that the Lord does not rebuke the question, but instead He gives Moses an answer. The answer, that answers all the questions he would ever have again.

What an Answer: “I Am!”

“I AM” …not I was or I will be, but I Am! These two words proclaimed, are more effective than any other two words ever spoken. I AM indicates that God is in the present carrying the authority, right now at this very moment holding all the power in the palm of His hand. “Whatever you need Moses. At the moment you need it – I AM… will be with you!”

An Awesome Promise:

When shacken or rattled by life’s greatest barriers, I Am becomes your answer! God will be with you whenever and for whatever… at the moment we need His helping hand. The God of the Universe, the Everlasting Father, will be exactly what you need when you need Him.

When I feel pressed beyond my ability to endure! When I wonder off track and come to my senses!  When I stand wanting a word in due season! Then I proclaim – “I Am has sent me!” God is here and all is not lost. This very moment I Am is ready with the resources to be everything I require for fruitfulness and success.

God has Sent Me:

So devil, I put you on alert… no weapon formed can prosper. Problems, I will not cast away my confidence. Sin and frailty, you are not my destiny. I Am has sent me and He has become my identity! It is God who works in me both to will and to do His good pleasure. So, I will not tremble nor step back from the assignments of my life… I Am has sent me!

The Warrior’s Focus

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Eph. 6:10-16)

3 Directions of the Warrior’s Focus in Spiritual WarfareFocus is Identity!
* 1st) Focus upon God’s Mighty Power!
* 2nd) Focus upon God’s Mighty Armor!
* 3rd) Focus upon God’s Supreme Authority!

The way you see spiritual warfare matters. I pray that you experience a boost in your faith today, as you meditate on these principles from God’s Word. Your focus will be the determining factor in your outcome… it will define how you fight, how you identify yourself in the midst of spiritual struggles and how you stand!

1. The Enemy Flees Away from You – You are designed to occupy and rule spiritual territory!

  • ‘Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.’ (Lev 26:8)

This is the Biblical direction of spiritual warfare: the enemy is at a disadvantage! He is fleeing before you… so where is your focus? We see it in the Old Testament, when God’s people were walking in obedience to Him, no enemy could stand before them.

  • ‘The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.’ (Deut 28:7)

This is the outcome of the blessed life and the warrior’s focus: as you resist, your enemies will flee. We must recognize our authority over the demonic realm.

  • ‘When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases’ (Luke 9:1)

Jesus has give you power and authority in His Name, over all the power of the enemy. Jesus’ disciples were able to cast out demons because they understood the focus of spiritual warfare and the goal as established in the Words of Jesus. And that was, that the enemy had to flee at their word! Notice this was not limited to the 12 Apostles… it was the unnamed seventy who returned rejoicing from a ministry trip saying amazing things… carrying testimonies of victory!

  • “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17)

2. Spiritual Warfare Comes Against You – It gets personal!

  • ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ (Eph 6:12)

Don’t be surprised at the feelings you get when attacked. Satan wants to intimidate you and to overwhelm you physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is going to get personal and we must recognize that the battle is the Lord’s, not ours. The Greek word translated “wrestle” contains the imagery of a contest between two warriors where each is trying to throw the other and it is won when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck. Ouch, that sounds brutal – and it is! Many times, spiritual warfare gets up close and personal. You may relate to this as you experience a spiritual wrestling match right now… for your life, family, job, ministry or destiny. We must endure hardship as soldiers, warriors and leaders in fellowship with the King of Glory! The Bible does not promise that you will never experience demonic attack, pressure or spiritual warfare. However, Scripture does make clear that you have the ability to resist. In fact, we are commanded by God to oppose the enemy’s attacks.

  • ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…’ (1 Peter 5:8-9a)
  • ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ (James 4:7)

At times, the direction of spiritual warfare will be towards us, in our face and beyond our control; however, this reality is temporary! When the enemy comes against us, we can submit to God, resist the devil… and he must flee! What does it mean to ‘resist’? The Bible gives some clear instructions. Your action can result in a change of direction, for what the enemy means for evil God wants to release His “good” in it. The enemy who comes against you will find himself fleeing from you in seven directions.

  1. Be alert and recognize spiritual warfare when it arises (1 Peter 5:8)
  2. Submit to God (step into intimacy—listen and obey) (James 4:7)
  3. Don’t put up with spiritual warfare, step into an opposing position (James 4:7)
  4. Resisting means speaking—use Jesus’ Name (Luke 10:17)
  5. Have confidence in your authority, knowing that the enemy must flee as you continue to resist (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 4:7)

3. You Are the Victorious One: The Devil is Underneath Your Feet!

The ultimate end of spiritual warfare is for the enemy to be under your feet. The enemy being ‘under your feet’ speaks of defeat and subjugation (Joshua 10:24-25).

  • ‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.’ (Rom 16:20)

No matter what happens, there is hope! The promise of God is that ultimately every work of the enemy will fail (2 Tim 4:18). However, the enemy being ‘under our feet’ (in submission to, and defeated by us) is not something we have to wait for eternity to experience. Jesus said to His disciples: ‘I have given you authority’!

  • ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’ (Luke 10:19, also Psalm 91:13)

The Psalms of David can be your own Heavenly songs of rejoicing!

  • ‘I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.’ (Psalm 18:37-38)

Hold Nothing Back

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:1-2)

Worship is the logical response of the created… toward the Creator! Scripture invites us, as the lovers of God to worship Him with all we are… expressive and without reservation (Mt. 22:37)(Jn. 4:23-24). We find ourselves accepting His invitation to “come up…” and see the worship taking place in Heaven (Rev. 4:1-2). Holding nothing back is the atmosphere around God’s Throne.

The worshiper exists for a purpose… to be a demonstration of “on earth as it is in Heaven…” (Mt. 6:10).

  • Worship is for us a longing and release of the beauty of Heaven through creative flow.
  • Worship is the sounds of Heaven through music and the movement of Heaven through dance.
  • Worship is the harp and the bowl… the tears and the joy of connecting to the Father’s Heart.

It has often been said that the “signature experience” at heavenly gates is the joy of God’s Manifest Presence.

When you come to any spiritual gate, you may notice that worship is different. The Holy Spirit ushers us into new and intimate place under an open Heaven. This is where we are learning to express deep passion to God that He is worthy to receive.

We seek the heavenly experience: to be lead by the Holy Spirit and flow as One with Him in spontaneous motion and sounds.

Our focus in worship is to prefer the Lord, rather than personal needs, desires or musical preferences. Holy Spirit is teaching all of us how to minister to the Lord, as we choose within our hearts to look into the face of Jesus, gazing on the beauty of who He is to each of us. We believe that as we learn to do this, the Lord will release more and more of His Glory on us corporately. As each one of us becomes radically extravagant in our worship, He will become more extravagant in our living. We want to worship as ones who could never give back to God the Glory He deserves.

Exhaust yourself on Him, holding nothing back… reserving no reputation for yourself.

We must choose the worshiper’s identity… becoming known as people who are desperate for God.

Leadership Capacity

I am learning a lot about leadership in this season.

I understand more clearly now that with authority comes much responsibility. The more influence I have in the world, the more wisdom I need to navigate life redemptively so that the purposes of God are fulfilled in my time. Favor amplifies the influence of my life, but favor alone doesn’t help me make good decisions. I have to seek God for His perspectives, and connect with wise people for their insights and counsel. It’s in the abundance of counselors that there is victory.

CAPACITY AND TALENT

When I hire people or ask them to join my team, I look for people with capacity, not just talent. I have hired many very kind, gifted and talented people over the last 30 years, who have no capacity…they can’t carry pressure. The weight of responsibility crushes them.

5 SOURCES OF CAPACITY

Capacity has at least 5 sources:

1. Personality – in other words, some people are just born with more capacity than others. We often use phrases like “Joe has thick skin.” We’re saying that Joe can carry a lot of pressure, or take a lot of criticism without crumbling.

2. Experience – capacity tends to grow with experience. For example, the mother who has her first child tends to worry about everything that happens to him or her. But by the time she gets to child number three, they are playing in the rain with a cold.

3. Influences – great leaders choose who influences them. They surround themselves with people who increase their capacity by giving them great counsel, and at times help carry the load with them.

4. The God factor – people who have a great relationship with God inherently have more capacity. They lean on their their relationship with Him and He helps them through their hard days. He keeps them in perfect peace when they keep their mind on Him.

5. Identity – people who know who they are can weather storms more easily than those who have no confidence in themselves. Tough times only reinforce noble peoples’ identity. Trials forge our character and reveal our godly nature, or they point out cracks in our personhood.

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