Friday, December 20, 2013

The tension between grace and absolute truth

“…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John Chapter 1 verse 17) Notice two things that came to us through Jesus Christ: 1) Grace and 2) Truth There is a tension between grace and absolute truth. Being a follower of Jesus is being rebranded in our culture as, “Haters of people, those who are judgmental and intolerant of others, those who will only be kind to you if you believe what they believe.” I can’t speak for anyone else, I will speak for myself, I am a follower of Jesus, I don’t hate people…. any people. I love all people, even those who don’t like me. I show God my love of Him by how I honor, serve and speak well of the people I see everyday. So, I just want to repeat what Scripture says, it says, “God is love.” So why is this message that God is love so upsetting? Because with the mercies of God come the absolute truths of God. When God’s absolute truth flies in the face of the longings of the hearer it can be upsetting. People can be as upset as they want about the truths of God but it does not negate the love of God.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Holy Spirit Baptism is not a reward for many years of faithful Christian service, nor is it the pinnacle of Christian experience. Many have adopted the idea that to have received the Baptism with the Holy Spirit marks them as superior in spirituality, and worthy of some special consideration from God. On the contrary, the fullness of the Spirit is for every single person immediately after conversion and water baptism.

“…turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NLT)

In other words, the Baptism with the Spirit is available to new-born babes in Christ. It is not the height of spiritual experience, but rather one of the tremendously essential foundations for further development and service.

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is for all, in all ages, who believe upon Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It is intended to be the normal Divine provision for all believers of all stations, all times, all races, and all callings.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What is spiritual warfare?

What is true “spiritual warfare”? When I love others the same way I love God then darkness disappears and God’s glory shines ever brighter. (1 John 2:8 John 13:35) I am not interested in pushing back the darkness of this world by my words. Wars of words produce little success. Victory comes from God’s love poured into me for others. Love is a bright light and it ALWAYS wins the battle. Darkness will never overtake light and it will never overtake love. Love is more than words. Love is proven out by its action. Fall to your knees and pray and then actually get up and put love into motion. There are battles to win.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Next Person

God's will for my life....

Love the next person in front of me.

The New Normal

The new Christian “normal” is

radical obedience to Christ.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What comes first?

"Passion for the Kingdom of God is healthy when it's first centered from a place of passion for the King." - John Wiley

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It is that simple

It's the simple things right in front of me every day that God holds me accountable. When I personally or if the religious system which I have influence upon makes the simple and obvious things complex it does not remove accountability. I cannot use complexity as a cloak to hide behind. I am personally accountable to Him for the simple things that are obvious. There will be no excuses. I show my love for Him by how much or how little I love the people around me who I see every day. It is that simple.

“I was hungry and you did not trouble yourself to feed me.” - Jesus

Monday, May 10, 2010

Row your boat ashore

Just like it takes two paddles to row a boat. So it takes faith (prayer) and action (good works) to live as a follower of Jesus.

We pray and we row. We roe and we pray. One without the other causes life to go in a circle.

I don’t want my life as a follower of Jesus to be lopsided. I don’t want to simply go in circles by using only the “good works” paddle and have no intimacy with Christ.

I don’t want my life to be only about using the “faith & prayer” paddle while I circle around Widows, Orphans and the downtrodden. In the end I will find that I did not feed and clothed the Lord himself.

As I use both paddles He keeps me going in a straight line toward His will being done on Earth.

Lord, forgive us. We like to hit each other over the head with our favorite paddles of choice. We tend to have a leaning toward a certain paddle that we like better than the other. For some reason we like to stop rowing and use our paddle as a weapon against those who like the other paddle better.

Denominations, Movements and church groups are often formed into clusters based on those of “like minded paddles”. Meanwhile we stop growing spiritually and the needs of the world go unmet.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Naysayers

Lately I have been relating my life with Nehemiah as he faced Naysayers.

Nehemiah 2:19 … "they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing?"

Some general observations

Today the “naysayers” come in two forms. Some are in the Church others are not. Based on which of the two worlds they live in determines what they “say”. Both groups are used by God’s enemy to distract me those who walk with me from our specific calling. They often assert misaligned motives of me and those around me. The details of what they say matters little. I try to always keep before me the fact that I fight against in unseen world and not flesh and blood. This is easy to say but much harder to always remember. I am however getting better at remembering it these days.

Naysayers Within the Church

The enemy uses them to try and distract me off course with fine sounding arguments about how my time, money and talents would be better spent doing “other more meaningful and productive Kingdom work”. They are unaware that they can be pawns of the enemy as they publicly pick apart my calling. I have also learned that the more fruitful I become in my Kingdom task the louder they can become. I love them dearly for they are well intended, just misguided. I truly deeply love them.

Naysayers Outside the Church

Others are “naysayers” from outside of the church. They don’t think Christians belong in the middle of the world’s problems. They want the Government to fix broken lives. They often have judgments and bitterness against the church because the church has failed them some time in the past. They oppose me using worldly politics and backroom deals to try and shut me out. I love them dearly for they are well intended, just misguided. I truly deeply love them as well.

How is it all going to look when my task is done?

Nehemiah 6:15-16 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.


Like Nehemiah I will not cease from my God assigned work. Above all of things love wins.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Travesty of Much Learning

In John 17:3 (NKJV) Jesus praying to the Father said, “...this is eternal life, that they (us) may know You (the Father) …”

According to Jesus my “knowing” God the Father is my highest portion and reward. It is my “eternal life”. It is my great reward.

This description of eternal life would be rather disappointing if it were simply describing “knowing God” as simply knowing facts about the Father.
The Bible makes it clear that even demons have knowledge about God. Knowing facts about God is not eternal life. Jesus is speaking of a “knowing” that far surpasses knowing facts about God.

It is one thing to have a general knowledge about marriage. It is an entirely different matter to experience marriage. To know in intimacy the person you are wedded to goes far past a mental knowledge of facts. So it is (or should be) with God the Father.

Today there is no lack of people filling church buildings who are satisfied to know a few fundamental facts about God. Year after year they come and “attend church” all the while unaware that in their lives there is no manifest Presence of God. There is no intimacy of union with Him and it does not seem strange to them that it is so. This is a travesty! Much learning won’t produce the fruit of a loving companionship with God.

Correct facts and opinions may exist without a right heart toward God. One may have right opinions about God and be without love for Him. Satan is proof of this.
Time spent in quietness with Him is the secret to knowing Him.

I long to discover more about Him each and every day and it is my reward to be able to do this for all eternity. I am confident that I will never find the end of God but it will be fun attempting to do so.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Than a One Time Thing

Just like the full knowledge of one person by another cannot be achieved in one single encounter. So it is with God. Only after a lifetime of many long and loving encounters can the full potential of knowing Him be explored. Are our hearts open to investing the time necessary to cultivate the encounters?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Bible

The Bible is not an end to itself. But is a means to bring me to a deep-seated rewarding relationship with God. The Bible points the way so that with time spent I come to know God’s nature and character.

Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Deeply Troubled

I don't often write notes like this but I woke up this morning deeply troubled. As I prayed for our City, the River and the Church at large I became more alarmed in my spirit! Join me in prayer and repentance that the Lord will have mercy on us. I wrote the follow from a place of brokenness.

Time to Weed the Garden - Uprooting Spiritual Pride

Spiritual pride is prone to suspecting others; whereas a humble saint is most suspicious of nothing in the world as much as he is of his own heart.

The spiritually proud person is apt to find fault with other saints. They are low in grace; and are quick to discern and take notice of others deficiencies.

Lord, help me and those around me. We need deliverance from spiritual pride. My own heart, the hearts of my friends and my City is overrun with spiritual pride and it is being done in your name!

Love covers a multitude of sin. Spiritual pride wants to expose and separate itself away from the always present weakness in others. Lord, for your name sake humble your church. I choose to humble myself willingly. If I don't love my brother whom I can see, how can I say that I love the Lord whom I can't yet see? What are the marks of a true revival?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is it possilbe to budget a revival?

Jesus, save me from the delusion that I can budget the organic, edgy and raw ministry of the Holy Spirit.

There is a great challenge with "planning" ministry. How do I put a God led revival on a budget?

If I actually attempt to restrict God's freedom to move in my City to only be within "my budget" what will the cost be?

The truth is I can't budget a revival. Better to respond to what's happening than to live within a "budget box" I preconceived.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Faith can see Through a Brick Wall

When God speaks it will be as He says. Unbelief can be very blinding, but faith can see through a brick wall.

The more clarity I have about what He has spoken the more fear moves away from my heart.

To know God is to be in the place of triumph. To know Him is to be in the place of rest. To know Him is to be in the place of victory.

God knows how to deliver out of trouble; He knows how to be with you in the dark hour. He has a way of arranging His plans.

There is a huge distinction between living in Christ and living in speculation and optimism. There is something better than optimism; something better than speculation. “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action,” (Daniel 11:32) and God would have us to know Him. God would have us to follow through with action.

Take action based on what God has said. The mountain will move!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What does it mean for the Church to be missional?

Being "missional" is one of the newest buzzwords in the church leadership circles I run in. Recently I participated as denominational leaders from around the country gathered in a conference room trying to hammer out just it means for the church to be "missional".

A month ago I was interviewed by a national magazine asking me the question, "What does it mean for the River ChristianFellowship to be missional?" Below is my reply.

"Being missional is as easy as seeing a need in your community and doing something about it. Radical missional thinking never allows for the, 'Somebody ought to do something about that' statement to go unchallenged."

"The assumption is that if we are in fact His representatives on the face of the earth and we see a need, our knowledge of that need thrusts upon us the responsibility of addressing the need. Missional thinking always keeps in mind the verse, 'He who knows what to do and does it not to him it is sin.' Jesus has in fact equipped us with all power to address every human need we could ever come in contact with."

"Radical missional thinking operates from the assumption that if I talk to God about what I see in my community, He will supply what I need to meet that very need. Missional thinking never forgets that the church is a prophecy, a future picture of His coming Kingdom. A Kingdom where all are healed and every need is met."

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Neighborhood

I love the way John 1:14 is written in The Message. It says Jesus “became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.”

Wow! God moved into our neighborhood. He came to us and met us where we were. Jesus’ neighborhood was a rural agricultural society. He immersed himself in that culture. He wore the clothes, used the common language. He illustrated his stories in a way that anyone could follow. If I do the same I will reach more people and be more effective.

He didn’t wear special God-clothes or speak special encrypted God-words that only insiders could understand. He didn’t spend years learning big words so he could impress others with his piety.

For the sake of my neighbors I will follow Jesus’ methods. Like Jesus, I must be immersed in the culture of my neighborhood. While the populace of the Church tries hard to withdraw from the neighborhood (the excuse for the withdrawing is “for holiness”) the neighbors in the neighborhood are at risk of ending up in hell. Lord, forgive us and help us with the courage to break out of our self imposed cocoons.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gut Check

This week I find myself thinking about the paralyzed man in Mark chapter 2. I keep thinking about the paralyzed man's friends themselves. It hit my heart that some people will not be touched by Jesus unless someone brings them. Someone had to be willing to carry him. Someone had to be willing to press through the crowd. It took quite a bit of effort I'm sure to get him on top of the roof. In order to get him to Jesus it took four people to lower him through the roof. The paralyzed man had his sins forgiven and his body healed but it took others to get him there. I must remind myself regularly that I am my brother's keeper. Sometimes it's a matter of bringing Jesus to them.

Recently 15 or so people from one of the River's House Churches made homemade sandwiches for the homeless. They call it PB&J Day. (peanut butter & jelly day) The s
andwiches were accompanied by a host of other delicious items. Each sack lunch carefully assembled and lovingly prayed over. Fifty lunch sacks were handed out that day. I have heard it said many times that a picture is worth One-Thousand words. The two pictures below are worth more than Two-Thousand words. The first picture shows a man waiting to receive his sack lunch. You can see the hardness of life in his face. Within seconds after receiving his sack lunch his countenance changes. The second picture says it all.

I must be willing to bring my brother to Jesus. In order to bring someone to Jesus I first must care that they get to Jesus.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Unbelief Dethroned

When I know God’s nature and character, there are any number of His promises I can take hold of. It is at that point there is no struggle; only rest in His promise.

As I am in this lifelong transition of knowing Him better and better, the Holy Spirit of God is all the while working in my heart. He is ever bringing me to a place where all unbelief is dethroned. When there is imperfect faith in me (the kind which is full of doubt and wavering) it comes from imperfect knowledge of what God wants.

Increasingly I understand that when I see anything within my circle of influence that does not line up with God’s nature and character I am expected to address it with the authority of His promise. As I grow in my understanding of God’s nature and character I can more easily discern what He wants. From this place on I know I am good to go. I am ready to jump!

From this place of “the knowledge of what God wants” I speak with boldness and authority into the things that must change. To others it may look like presumption, but I remind myself that God is with a person who dares to stand upon is Word. Mountains get out of my way.

Jesus said in John 16:24: “Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What does it mean to walk with Jesus?

Scripture asks, "Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction"?

Jesus, two people cannot walk together unless they agree on which direction they're going. I have seen what my plans and choices produce. I am not impressed nor do I want the fruit of my selfish self-centered heart. Rather, I choose to walk with you. I want you Jesus to chart the course of our direction.

I know that Scripture says that "...flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." I also remember the passage that states, "There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." My earthly thinking which is centered on self-reliance will not lead me to my Kingdom inheritance. Jesus, save me from the path that seems right in my own mind.

I cannot find the sweet spot of consistently walking with You unless I daily free myself of my worldly ideas and ways. I need to and I long to enthrone you as Lord Jesus in my heart every day.

Lord you said, "For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Lead me to your thoughts. Change me into a man who looks like Your Kingdom. I want to be moved by what moves you. For your sake I long to be found useful to you in my short time here on earth. I want my eyes to see what you see and ears to hear what you hear.

Truthfully it really isn't that hard to lay down my life and exchange my opinion will and desires for yours. Your ways are so much better than mine. The fruit that your Kingdom produces is everlasting. Your love wins and this is how I want to roll. Let your love roll-on in me and through me. Let the love of Jesus reign in me and in my City.

When my time here is done may it be said of me, "His time was spent for the Kingdom of God". May my City be changed and Jesus seen for who He really is.