Tag Archives: PERSONAL GROWTH

watch and wait

I am persuaded that much of what we believe we have come by wrote and not by reasoning. Let us take for instance the love of God. How do I know that God love me? Most of us if we were honest with ourselves would say “because I was told He does”. Have we examined the scriptures to verify this and experienced the joy of this divine love? The analogy does not stop there. Most of our theology comes from sources that we have not verified nor have we examined the facts for ourselves. Matthew 25 is an example of this same analogy. We see 10 virgins waiting on the Groom and when he returns 5 are ready and 5 are left. Now I have heard theologians and those who consider themselves learned in the scriptures speculate on this passage. However most will only regurgitate the last person they read or studied under. Why? we are not habitually called studied people. We give our references from an authority rather than consulting the real authority and that is the Holy Spirit. The end of the passage states….Watch! So does this mean I am never to sleep until Christ return? Of course not. However this has been explained away by those who would say that Christ is not meaning literally watching rather, expectation and attitude. Though I may agree with this the question is not answered and only those awake and watching went with Christ.

Our understanding of this passage truly eludes to maturity and understanding of believers. Jesus was talking to the Jews at the time of this discourse and they understood the idea of appointed times and seasons. the result? Christ will reveal to those who are mature the season and timing and they will be watching and waiting. Scripture is filled with doing the right thing for the right reason at the right time in the right place. We call this righteousness. The pharisees were great about most of the right except for the reasons. Their lack of maturity made them blind and deaf to the words of Christ.

Some things really never change. We as americans are so full of our own righteousness that we have very little room for Christ in our lives. We lack discipline and maturity therefore we have blindness and deafness to the words of Christ. It is time to awake from our laziness and study to show our selves approved before God and man. Maturity is needed for revival and necessary for the return of Christ.

If Christ were to return today, what would he find you doing? Hopefully what he has called you to do.

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See Yourself As God Sees You

God didn’t make a mistake when He made you. You need to see yourself as God sees you.”

Most of us don’t believe we have an important job or that we have a local position that has little impact worldwide and most importantly a position that has eternal meaning. J. John gave a great response to how he sees himself as a pastor/evangelist. I believe we short change our importance to God and consequently we deny His design and purpose for our lives. Tragically this is dishonoring to ourselves, to our loved ones and most importantly dishonoring to God. Read this transcript and enjoy, but most importantly know that God has a special plan and purpose for you. You were #designedwithpurpose

Whenever I get asked, “J.John, what do you do?” it’s always very difficult to know what to say, because if I say to them that I’m a Reverend, which I am, that conjures up certain images in people’s minds. So, I often like to be a little bit creative in telling people what I do. I sat next to this woman on an airplane at Heathrow Airport in London and I said, “Hello.” And she said, “Oh, hello.” I said, “Where are you going?” She says, “I’m going to Singapore.” She said to me, “Where are you going?” I said, “I’m going to Australia.” I said, “What do you do?” And she told me.
Then she said, “What do you do?” and I said, “Well, I work for a global enterprise.” She said, “Do you?” I said, “Yes, I do. We’ve got outlets in nearly every country of the world.”
She said, “Have you?” I said, “Yes, we have. We’ve got hospitals. We’ve got hospices. We’ve got homeless shelters. We’ve got orphanages. We do marriage work. We’ve got feeding programs. We do justice work. Basically, we look after people from birth to death and we deal in the area of behavioral alteration.” She went, “Wow!” like really loud. People all turned round and look at us. She said, “What’s it called?” I said, “It’s called ‘The Church.’ Have you heard of it?”

THE GREATEST SCRIPT WRITER OF ALL TIME
I don’t know of any greater story teller than God. what makes “He who sits on the throne of heaven and whose footstool is the earth the greatest story teller? He is the greatest writer. Who can write a story of a monarch butterfly better than God? Who can write the story of a rose from seed to vibrant brilliant color? Who can write the story of the developing fetus in the belly of a woman better than God? God writes stories? Ahhh and oh how He writes the story. From the ground He formed and Adam and breathed into him the breath of life. Every detail carefully thought out and Spoken. Genesis chapter one is only the cliff notes version of the greatest script writer the world has ever or will ever know! Who can write a story like a hurricane in all its power, glory and fury like God and for that story like all those just mentioned become REAL! Who can write a story of a Garden, a dragon, a man, a woman, a tragedy, mercy, grace, wrath, and a plan for you and I better than God? Who can write a story of an Ark and a Flood better than God? Amazing is all the characters including the bystanders are cast in advance. For too long we have a skewed notion that everything on earth is a matter of life and death. Though this view is fact it is not the whole truth. time is not a matter of life and death. It is a matter of time or more properly said we are matter in time. Putting aside the semantics time is not of the essence due to the fact we are everlasting beings. time therefore is not our end. Figuratively speaking time is not our beginning either. Scripturally I am in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). This changes everything! If the Book, The Life of the Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World (Rev 13:8) was written before the foundation of the world and I am written in the book because I was chosen before the foundation of the world then the events of every person who is IN Christ has been carefully cast and scripted “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Time is not the essence, Christ is the essence. Further the screen writer would most certainly write in the setting, mood, characters and the plot applicable to the story being told. Every good story has these elements and more! no character appears before it is time: enter left stage; and no character leaves until it is time: exit right stage. Time is the appearance in the story. our life story is told in chronology as it pertains to the Alpha and the Omega, the opening and closing of the curtain. And because we are not the main Character we play a supporting role not a role that we support the Main Character but rather we magnify the Main Character. The Master Screen Writer spins a yarn of a host of villains and ONE HERO. The story begins with a world perfect in peace and harmony that is shattered in mutiny. The Host of villains seek out the bride to steal her away and place her in chains forever. Enter our HERO King Jesus and the scene in the Garden of Eden is the Glory of Grace and the Glory of Wrath. The clock begins to tick and the hour glass of sand slips away Alpha and Omega has a plan the great Plot of the ages places out on the Great fabric of time. In the fullness of time we appear and we witness the Glory of Grace and our role is to magnify and praise the Glory of Grace now and forever (Eph 1:6). This is the “why here and why now”!

We get caught up in the moment, the story line, the background believing the mundane things of life are not extraordinary. The fact is that the setting is nothing short of extraordinary. the fact that the setting is designed to be the Praise of the Glory of Grace makes the a tree bearing fruit and the process of cleaning dirty laundry supernatural and extraordinary. Every play write and every screen writer would love to have the background and resources to cast and create a realistic production like Christ has so eloquently done here. Every detail is carefully written and every event goes off without a hitch. The production is flawless, perfect: though the play is about imperfection. The world is messy and yet the end of the show or the end of time the world is perfect. Allegorically we are living a Cinderella in a story of a bride that waits with great anticipation for the groom to return and take her to the castle to live happily ever after. Day after day our time is filled with extraordinary events we pass by as ordinary. Mundane? maybe however as mundane and messy time is the Apostle Paul said it best concerning the role we play in this GRAND DIGITAL PRODUCTION :

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8: 18-31

Now is the time! Right here, right now. How well are you playing your Role?

Wrestling the spirit in a physical world

Read

Eph 6:12 KJV  ForG3754 weG2254 wrestleG2076 G3823 notG3756 againstG4314 fleshG4561 andG2532 blood,G129 butG235 againstG4314 principalities,G746 againstG4314 powers,G1849 againstG4314 theG3588 rulersG2888 of theG3588 darknessG4655 of thisG5127 world,G165 againstG4314 spiritualG4152 wickednessG4189 inG1722 highG2032 places.

(Strong’s numbering system to provide the background study for language)

Reflect

Most commentators I have read make the assumption we are dealing with a force that visits earth to torment us seeking to somehow possess our bodies to escape the disembodied world they are forced to exist. The assumption though unstated, leads one to believe that all human persons are human beings some dead and some alive. (Most theologians at this point debate the questions of oppression and possession. I contend not with those positions. However I raise a question of textual integrity concerning this text.)

I ask the question: “What if Paul meant what he said?” Not what we assume he said or what we think he inferred with his statement.

Paul first tells us that though we see flesh and blood and the matter of our contention is not the flesh and blood. To put this in perspective: anyone who must lead and train animals understands this expression. Try to herd unruly sheep or cattle. You have to wrestle with them to get them to move. Say the word mule or donkey and you get a mental picture. Animals that don’t want to move must be persuaded to move. Paul says that people who resist, fight and even seek you harm are not like the animals. The conflict is not a matter of dominion rather a matter of rebellion.

Paul further reveals the nature of the conflict and the relationship to the flesh and blood (physical manifestation or what can be seen, heard and felt).

First Paul makes no assumptions so he spells out all the information needed for comprehending the precarious situation we all face. We believe that the curse of sin is the cause of the conflict and therefore flesh and blood is the issue at hand. However Paul says that what you see is not your conflict, rather the being that is encased in the flesh. Paul reveals to us that we as human beings in the flesh are at odds with the fallen angelic beings in the flesh.

Second Paul wants to make clear that these fallen angelic beings in the flesh are of a higher order. He gives us great insight in the created order and their hierarchy. We say we are in a spiritual battle and though that is true we are in a physical battle or conflict with a higher spiritual order.

How we view our world and how we view God is expedient. Further how we use language to describe these truths is vital to our view and our understanding. Paul was not being mystique in his language. His words are straight and clear. Human beings are at war in the flesh with fallen angelic beings in the flesh. The conflict is as much physical as it is spiritual. We are not dealing with equal spiritual beings!

For this cause Christ who came to this world in a flesh and blood body was not subject to the angelic orders rather He is creator and LORD of those orders. Paul says if we are to fair well in our conflict with the flesh and blood we must recognize that they are fallen angels and that He won this war that they are waging. We can employ the armor of our spirit through the Holy Spirit to contend against the conflict we face in a physical world. Use the staff and rod with sheep use the Gospel Armor with fallen angels.

Worship

Worship

Read

Psalm 29: 2

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness

Psalm  66: 1-5 (whole chapter when you have time)

Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; Make His praise glorious. 

Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.”  

Come and see the works of God;

Reflect

Worship comes from to root words “worth” and “to assign”. Just like we assign to people close to us as a friendship meaning we assign them as friends, worship is to assign worth to something or someone.

God created us to live our lives in a way that reveals His Greatness, His Love, His Mercy, the Power of His Grace, Awesome Beauty and Infinite worth. This is what worship looks like.

Worship the verb is an action, it’s an action that we choose to engage or take part in.

 Anything that reminds me that God is God, and I am not!  Anything that puts God where he belongs and removes anything that I may have put there.  Work, $$$, family, ME. — Pastor Drew

  1. Worship allows to us refocus & put our lives in the proper perspective:

C.S Lewis once said “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”

The chief end of the Gospel of Christ is seeing and savoring the beauty and value of God. Worship places into focus who we are and why we are here. God is worthy of our praise and therefore worth our worship. The danger is we can get our value system off track and give praise and ultimately our worship to something or someone other than God.

We can go to a worship service and fail to worship.  Simply going to a worship service doesn’t mean I worshiped any more than going to McDonalds makes me a hamburger, sleeping in a garage makes me a car.—Pastor Drew

The question is not what we enjoy but where is the source of our joy. We have many joys in life however they are not sources. For example: To say I enjoy steak I must praise the creator of the steer which is created by God for the provision of meat. My praise and consequently my worship is due to God therefore I enjoy the steak and His provision.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.—Hebrews 12:1-2

  1. Worship is something we should measure daily not weekly:

“All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and His Son among all the peoples of the earth.” –John Piper

Worship is not a feeling, a song or an event. We can however worship with great feeling, and in song anywhere, anytime. Going to Christ for everything is our worship every day. Singing songs and giving offerings of time, talents and treasure are secondary and often measured by events like Weekend Church services.

“It’s going to God for the things we need to live the life he has marked out for us.”

“An hour on the weekend is simply not enough Jesus to carry us thru the week.”  –Pastor Drew

Worship is experienced everyday through our focus on Christ for all things.

  • Lord give us our daily bread (Matthew 6:11)
  • Life (Galatians 2:20)
  • Success (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Godliness (2 Peter 1:3)
  • Goals, Plans and Career paths (Psalm 37:4)

Respond

  1. What are you doing throughout the week to find the picture of Jesus in your life?
  2. Did I come to a worship service this week, or did I worship at service this week?
  3. How different would your view of worship be if you were to “bring your worship to service this week”?
  4. What are ways this week that you can refocus and refill your spiritual tanks?
  5. Read Hebrews 12:1-2. What does it mean to “fix your eyes upon Jesus”?
  6. Read Psalm 37:4. David the Psalmist is singing a song of worship to God. What does it mean to “Take delight in the LORD”? Why would God give us “desires of our heart” because of this action? What does this tell us about worship?

Prayer:

Lord give us a heart of worship. Give us grace through faith that we would come to you for all our needs and desires.  Fix our eyes on you the Author and Finisher of our faith that we may Worship you who are worthy above all to receive our love and devotion. Keep us close to you, clean before you and safe in you.

TRUSTING GOD DESPITE THE STORM

READ
Mark 4:35-41(NIV)
Jesus Calms the Storm
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

REFLECT
A number of years ago song writer Scott Krippayne wrote this chorus:

Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered “peace be still”
He can settle any sea
But it doesn’t mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child.

Jesus always directed and focused the disciple’s attention to a greater design and plan teaching eternal purposes to all experiences in life. The disciples were concerned about dying and Jesus is more concerned with how we are living. This becomes a clash between the eternal and the temporal. Jesus viewed the storm as a mundane event that occurs when you cross the sea; one ministry location to another; one job to another. However the disciples viewed the storm as a threat by uncertainty and ignorance. Uncertainty because they did not know the words of God to Jeremiah: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). Ignorance because they were not convinced that Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

Jesus orchestrated this event for the purpose of opening their understanding and increasing their faith. This was their schooling to trust and believe that he has designed them for purpose. Jesus responds to us in every storm to “hold on” but not for dear life. “Hold on” I am about to something great. He whispers to us “peace” because He is the Prince of Peace, if we are to have peace it will only be by His hand. He commands “be still” so that we are focused on Him not on the world around us. He brings calm in our lives either by calming the storm or calming our heart. Then he asks us “do you trust me?” Peter wrote many years later “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3 NIV) Peter was on that boat and he learned that day WHO has the power to command even the sea and the waves.

RESPOND
1. How do you respond when God is on “Mute”?
2. Do you respond like the Disciples: God are you asleep? Don’t you care if we drown?
3. How do you respond to Jesus’ questions? He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

PRAYER
Jesus open my eyes so I can see that the storm in my life is not here to destroy me rather strengthen me. give me faith and grace to trust you in the good of life and in the storms of life. Calm me in the midst of the storm and bring calm to the storm when the storm is too loud and fierce to see and hear your voice. Keep me close to you, clean before you and safe in you, amen.