The Church as a Movement of God

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An LEC intern praying for a wounded homeless man in San Francisco. Kingdom Come!

I’m frustrated but not without hope with regard to the shape of the Church in my generation. God is clearly moving across the world with fresh expressions of Church and the mission of God that is actually producing obedient disciples of Jesus who love God and the advance of the Kingdom more than their own comfort. But an incessant problem must be addressed.

Believers have not been called to mark time on the planet till the Second Coming. No—we have been called to co-labor with God in the power of the Holy Spirit to advance the Kingdom by saying what Jesus wants said and doing what Jesus wants done. This is the mandate of the Great Commission for every believer—everywhere—all of the time. The Church that Jesus commissioned is not a building or a collection of religious programs (that primarily take place on Sunday). The Church that Jesus commissioned is the Body of Christ carrying on the mission of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit wherever a believer happens to be doing life. The members of this Body flesh out the feet, hands and mouth of Jesus in a broken and oppressed world. The Church is intended to be a movement of God, not a monument of programs, “right” beliefs and “correct” behaviors that tend to form a huge disconnect with a lost and broken world. Countless leaders and churchgoers have conveyed with me that they know something is desperately wrong with the “sit and split”, consumeristic form of western Christianity that is the norm for most, but few are willing to be courageously obedient to follow God’s leading through his Word or the nudges of his Spirit to recalibrate what is being done.

God have mercy on your Bride and help her to wake up to her true destiny to make obedient disciples of Jesus and to partner with you to transform cities through authentic movements of the gospel.

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A Mystic and a Missionary

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life.”
                                             – Psalm 143:8

Every day I need a fresh revelation of God’s love that I can fully put my trust in. I also am dependent on God revealing “the way I should go.” God’s love and God’s leadership essentially go hand in hand if I’m to live an abiding and fruitful life.

God’s love drives out any fear that can be associated with following God’s lead into whatever God-sized assignments He may have for me. And the love must be the motive and operating environment of fulfilling the directives God gives. Ministry without love is a dreadful and dangerous thing.

But I must also remain aware that God’s love does indeed tie me missionally in some measure to all that God loves. God’s love—supposedly in place and at work in a person’s life—yet without a connection to God’s mission to tangibly touch the world in expressions of the good news, is a form of love far less God-like than what is intended.

A missionary without love is a machine.
A mystic without mission is a delusion.

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With you is the fountain of life!

Waterfall

While God is always with me (cf., Mt. 28:20), I am not always awake to that reality. Yet God has given me the capacity to live and abide in this awareness. This might be described as a “with You” kind of life. While living this grace enabled “with You” quality of life, there are tangible symptoms of its reality. “For with you is the fountain of life” (Psalm 37:9). As I abide…as I live aware of God’s loving presence, I experience heavenly droplets of love, joy, peace, security, faith and hope. The boundary lines of the abiding life are not drawn in concrete, but rather are kept in the spiritual realm of discernment. If/when I wander too far from this fountain of life, I should begin to discern a lessening of the heavenly droplets. Such discernment is meant to nudge me back to God’s fountain. Yet if I continue to venture still further away, I can find myself living completely in the flesh. When in the flesh I exist without the awareness of God’s presence. I have forgotten God. In this state my instinctive desire to experience God’s heavenly droplets from his fountain of life is still fully functional, but my desires become very vulnerable to reorienting themselves to the various worldly substitutes so easily accessible outside God’s reign and rule. These pretentious droplets, once embraced, quickly become an idol and an addiction.

Thank you God that “with you is the fountain of life.” Home for me is living within reach of this shower of love. While even a single drop is precious to me, Lord, I want to live each moment soaking wet from your fountain of life!

I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment!

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Needed: Apostolic Mothers & Fathers

Our Life Equipping Community interns (minus one who arrived a week late). These young adults are committed to growing as courageous, faithful servants of Jesus. What an honor to do life with them for at least a year!

Our Life Equipping Community interns (minus one who arrived a week late). These young adults are committed to growing as courageous, faithful servants of Jesus. What an honor to do life with them for at least a year!

One of the critical roles of apostolic ministry is that of serving as a spiritual mother/father to an emerging generation of Christ followers. While this has always been the case since the founding of the Church, it seems more critical than ever in this current season. Jill and I witness the detrimental impact of a generation being “fatherless” more and more each year. Even if a young adult’s parents are still in the picture, they are often AWOL in terms of being a consistent presence and voice beckoning their children to dream big and follow Jesus courageously into their God ordained Kingdom adventures. Christian parents today tend to outsource their discipleship privilege and responsibility to their churches youth programs. And this hasn’t proven to be a good choice.

No wonder the vast majority of churched teens choose to no longer participate in a local church once their programmatic youth group days are over. What they needed (and need) is a FATHER, not a PROGRAM!

May the authentic fathers and mothers of the Kingdom life rise up and step into their apostolic role of sharing not only the gospel, but their very lives, and discover consistent ways to encourage, comfort and urge the future generation of Kingdom servants within their reach to live the life that Jesus has made possible in the power of the Holy Spirit.

“As apostles of Christ…we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our very lives as well” (1 Thess. 2:6-8).

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his Kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:11,12).

“For this is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes. Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess. 2:19,20).

Check out the LEC (Life Equipping Community website at: http://www.LifeEquipping.org

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about this theme!

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The Power of Prophetic Encouragement

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Equipping the saints on our recent trip to Boston. What an awesome evening!

 “All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

 “But everyone who prophesies speaks to others for their
strengthening, encouragement and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3).

      God has a preferred future planned for each of us who walk with God. God has recorded it. It is called our prophetic destiny. And for what could remain a mystery, God has provided the supernatural means for it to be revealed, and that is through the ministry of prophetic encouragement. When I am prophetically encouraged by a brother or sister in Christ, I am strengthened, made courageous and comforted in the revelation of who I am, Who I belong to, and where my life is heading under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

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Repentance and the Kingdom of God

            So what is the motivation for and outcome of choosing into this life that Jesus has made possible?  Jesus simply puts it this way as recorded in Matthew 4:17; “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near.”  In other words, we repent in order to position ourselves to experience more and more of the life that Jesus has made possible. There is nothing like a life being lived out under the functional reign and rule of God, a life where God is fully having his way in every arena of our existence.  Like Dave Ferguson of Community Christian Church, I like to call this kind of person who is focused and moving in this direction a “3C Disciple.”  This is a person who is Centered on Jesus, Connected to supportive friends and Cooperating in the mission of God.  Centered.  Connected.  Cooperating.  A tangible commitment to these three realities is bound to produce a fruitful life.  It is a life that is focused on God, on one another and on what God is doing in the world today.  I believe the testimony of Scripture reveals that engaging a 3C Disciple lifestyle is what every follower of Jesus really needs in order to live the life that Jesus has made possible.  To this end I often pray for my church family, “Lord, make what we really need become what we want, and what we want what we really need.”

            Immediately after Jesus reveals that we should repent because of the Kingdom that he has placed within our reach (Matthew 4:17), Jesus begins calling people into that 3C Disciple lifestyle that will position them to experience all that God has made possible under his reign and rule.

First, Jesus calls us to Center our lives on HimAs Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him (Matthew 4:18-20).

To experience the life that Jesus made possible we are going to need to center our lives on Jesus.  And to have our lives centered on Jesus, we will need to cultivate a lifestyle of repentance, of turning and returning to God and living life under his reign and rule. We were created for a life where Jesus is at the center, where we do not merely visit his presence every once in a while, but we live in a constant awareness of his love, truth, presence and power.  This is a life where we abide with God (John 15:5), where we “practice his presence” as the famed monastic Brother Lawrence coined it.  For this to be a functional reality we must create space in our daily routines where we can “turn to God” for the sake of gaining and maintaining spiritual focus and renewal. In these precious times of solitude we can converse with God in prayer, reflect on Scripture and experience his presence. But we must also learn to carry the richness of our solitude into the predictable rhythms as well as the unexpected interruptions of our daily life.  More on this in a later chapter on making space for God.

Secondly, Jesus calls us to Connect with supportive friendsGoing on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him (Matthew 4:21, 22).

One thing for sure, to be a disciple who fruitfully abides with Jesus you must commit to doing so with others committed to doing the same.  If asked, I believe most people would say that they would like to center their lives on Jesus as a sustained reality. But because of our weaknesses and the many distractions in this life, this is far from a simple matter. To remain centered on Jesus we need others to encourage us and hold us accountable in very practical and consistent ways. And for this to happen there has got be some people in our lives with whom we are tangibly available and vulnerable. The writer to the Hebrews stresses this point when he writes; “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” Every disciple of Jesus needs friends where this verse is lived out if we really want to live the life that Jesus has made possible. That is why Jesus calls us to repent, to intentionally make space in our busy lives where we can authentically and unhurriedly connect with supportive friends. We must gather and connect with others in order to encourage (put courage in) one another to keep believing even when it is hard to believe, to keep showing up even when it would be easier to quit, and to keep deciding to obey even after feeling ashamed for failing somehow. Again, there will be a later chapter dedicated to the critical subject of connecting in community.

Thirdly, Jesus calls us to Cooperate in the mission of GodJesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people (Matthew 4:23).

Not only does Jesus invite us to follow him, and to do so with others following him, he also invites us to join him in what he is saying and doing in the world today. Like Jesus’ first followers, Jesus has invited us to repent, to reposition our lives so as to be in the middle of what he is doing.  As I remember Dallas Willard saying, “A disciple is one who is learning to say and do what Jesus would if he were in our place.”  The journey of following Jesus with others includes the adventure of participating in the mission of God. The moment that we were forgiven of our sins and then filled with his Holy Spirit, we became members of his Body on earth commissioned to say and do what Jesus desires to be said and done in the world in which we live. And until the believer both appreciates and embraces this reality, he or she will not be fully experiencing the life that Jesus has made possible.  We certainly are not all shaped for the same role in God’s mission, but every true believer has been uniquely made on purpose for a purpose that contributes to the advance God’s Kingdom.  The sad fact is that if we don’t repent and turn to Jesus to have this God-shaped need in our life for adventure filled by cooperating in the mission of God, we will seek to fill the void with something else.  This heart felt void will not go unattended!  When someone does not feel alive on the inside, engaging in crazy and even dangerous things can begin to make sense.  But rather than embracing some risky adventure like a marital affair, Jesus invites us to join him in his epic campaign to announce and demonstrate that his Kingdom has been placed within our reach.  Nothing is more exciting than seeing a friend you have ministered to enter into relationship with Jesus, or receive divine healing or freedom from demonic captivity.

This is the life that Jesus has made possible, a life that is centered on Jesus, connected to supportive friends, and cooperating in the mission of God.  It is a fruitful and fulfilling life lived under the functional rule of God.  It is a life that Jesus has placed within our reach. Therefore, it only makes sense to repent and believe this good news!

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about this post!

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New book on the way!

New book on the way!

I want to invite you to read my blog over the next few months and connect with the gist of my book that I hope to finish up this year.  I am currently preaching a series that will touch on each of the ten chapters, and will be providing readers with a sampling of the heart of each chapter in my blog.  I would love it if you would listen to the sermons and read the blog entry, and if possible, offer some feedback.  Seriously, it would be much appreciated!  The following is my book title along with the chapter titles. The sermon series may not follow the book chapter outline exactly, but the blog and sermons will be provided in sync with each other. I want to thank you ahead of time for any feedback you can offer!

The Life Jesus Has Made Possible
Reactivating the supernatural in the formation of Christ followers!

Chapter 1 – A Life Where You Can Embrace the Kingdom

Chapter 2 – A Life Where You Can Become More Like Jesus

Chapter 3 – A Life Where You Can Practice the Presence of God

Chapter 4 – A Life Where You Can Connect With Supportive Friends

Chapter 5 – A Life Where You Can Live In the Truth and Power of God

Chapter 6 – A Life Where You Can Live In But Not Of The World

Chapter 7 – A Life Where You Can Experience the Healing Power of God

Chapter 8 – A Life Where You Can Be Healed of Your Past Pain

Chapter 9 – A Life Where You Can Experience Hope In the Midst of Suffering

Chapter 10 – A Life Where You Can Overcome the Power of Darkness

Why another book?

While many believers would likely profess that they know something of the Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed and brought within our reach, it seems few are experiencing it in their daily lives. While the Kingdom of God is a matter of “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17), many have simply settled for less than what’s promised and provided for according to the Word of God. I believe that a major factor contributing to this situation is that many professing believers have embraced a truncated view of the gospel combined with an unintentional discipleship lifestyle that prevents them from living the supernaturally informed life Jesus made possible. This book will address this dilemma and present a holistic approach to disciple making for Kingdom impact. The following is a sampling of part of chapter 1.

A Life Where You Can Embrace the Kingdom!

 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15).

The spiritual life is not a life then and there, but a life here and now.  It is a life in which the Spirit of God is revealed in the ordinary encounters of everyday.[1]

During my third year of college I had a theology paper due that I just couldn’t get organized in a way that made sense even to me.  I knew that true theology ought to satisfy both the mind and the heart, but my paper wasn’t offering much to either.  After researching and writing with ongoing frustration, I finally gave a call to my mentor and friend, Don Williams.  He and I were working together at a local Presbyterian church where I was leading worship and heading up the youth ministry.  Don had his PhD in New Testament and was anchored strongly in the theology of the Kingdom. It was an amazing blessing to have him preaching and leading our little church on the hill, which not surprisingly grew like crazy under Don’s influence.  Don and I got together one afternoon and talked about my paper.  He asked me to consider what theme could hold the whole thing together.  After some discussion he introduced me to what now I understand to be the unifying theme of the bible, that is, the Kingdom of God.  This paradigm was a theological awakening for me, and it forever shaped my thinking.  Though not immediately, I soon realized that appreciating the Kingdom of God was meant to impact far more than my theological sensibilities.  It had everything to do with everything!

What is the Good News of the Kingdom?

The meaning of the Greek word translated gospel is “good news.” Jesus reveals that the gospel is the good news that the Kingdom has been made accessible to all through Jesus Christ.  The ministry of Jesus has opened the way for everyone to experience God’s reigning presence in the here and now.  The “good news” was not the introduction of the Kingdom, or the fact that one day the Kingdom would be consummated at the Second Coming of Christ. The concept of the Kingdom itself was not new, but in fact provides one of the clearest unifying factors of the entire bible. Derek Morphew underscores this in his excellent book entitled, Breakthrough:

When we look at the Word of God from the perspective of the centrality of Christ, we realize that the message, ministry and self-understanding of Jesus are inseparably linked to the kingdom. Jesus came announcing the kingdom. His parables explained the kingdom, and his miracles bore witness to its presence. In fact, the theme of the kingdom as preached by Jesus Christ unites the whole flow of biblical truth, from Moses, through the Prophets, the Writings, the Gospels, the Epistles and the Revelation of John.[2]

What in fact was new was Jesus’ unprecedented message that through him the Kingdom of God had been placed within our reach!  Dallas Willard makes this point when he writes;

Jesus’ own Gospel of the Kingdom was not that the Kingdom was about to come, or had recently come, into existence.  If we attend to what he actually said, it becomes clear that his Gospel concerned only the new accessibility of the Kingdom to humanity through himself.[3]

In Mark 1:14 we are told that, “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.”  Immediately following this, Mark quotes Jesus as he reveals the substance of that good news.  “The time has come,” he said.  “The Kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).  Let’s examine this announcement of the good news more closely.

The time has come.  This is the first thing Jesus says as he proclaims the good news.  This would have been a revolutionary revelation for his Jewish audience who had been waiting for many generations for their Messiah to come who would bring a Kingdom breakthrough.  Obviously, Jesus wouldn’t have said this if the time had already come.  Through Jesus, the epic event of all eternity had broken in upon humanity.  Truly the world has never been the same.  In the Greek language in which the New Testament was written there are two words that are translated “time.”  One is chronos (sequential time) and the other is kairos (opportune moment).  Chronos time is what the nurse wrote in her report pertaining to the moment my first son was born – “Andrew John Randall born at 7:27pm on January 6, 1985.”  But for me another kind of time had broken into that present moment.  It is this kairos moment that invades chronos and interrupts time as we know it.  Time stood still as I watched my boy come into the world, and from that time on Jill’s and my life would never be the same.  Jesus’ startling Good News begins with the announcement that, “The time has come.”  Next Jesus tells us what is so epic about this kairos revelation.

The Kingdom of God is near.  The word “near” in this context does not mean that the Kingdom is almost here. The Greek word translated in Mark 1:15 can be properly translated, “at hand, to make near, to draw close, to put within reach.”  And so the Good News that had broken into the world through the ministry of Jesus is that the Kingdom of God was now within our reach!

The Kingdom of God can be defined as the functional reign and rule of God, and is present wherever God is having his way in a person’s life or situation.  “The reign of God is not a place but an event.”[4]  The Kingdom, as put forth in Scripture, “is not viewed spatially nor institutionally, but rather as the dynamic, active rule of God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.”[5] Where there’s sickness and the Kingdom comes, there’s healing.  When somebody’s bound up demonically and the Kingdom comes, somebody is set free.  When a relationship is spinning out of control and the Kingdom comes, there’s reconciliation.  When a person wants to give up and they’re living on the edge of despair and hope invades their heart, the Kingdom has come.

What the Old Testament saints anticipated, Jesus ushered in with his first coming.  With his words, Jesus proclaimed the message of the Kingdom, “The rule of God has come to earth and has been brought within your reach!”  With his works (i.e., healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead), he demonstrated the reality of the message.  It’s important to note that the “good news” of the Kingdom essentially includes both the words and the works of Jesus.

Today we live in the tension between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ.  During this “age” we enjoy many of the benefits of the future age.  God by his Spirit provides us with many foretastes of heaven, such as the experience of supernatural love, joy, peace and power, along with occasions of physical, emotional and spiritual healing.  In heaven there will be no deception, hatred, depression, anxiety, sickness, or bondage.  There, the Enemy will not be present to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10).  And so the Church often prays as Jesus taught, “Your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

While Jesus has truly inaugurated the Kingdom of God at the time of his first coming, the Kingdom will not be consummated until his return.  This situation of “fulfillment without consummation”[6] translates into a certain eschatological tension that cannot be avoided in this present age without misrepresenting what Jesus reveals.  We are already experiencing the reality of the Kingdom of God, but we are not yet experiencing it perfectly.  “The church lives ‘between the times’; the old age goes on, but the powers of the new age have irrupted into the old age.”[7]  This mysterious mix means that until the second coming of Christ we can experience healing and sickness.  Pain and joy.  Freedom and difficulty.

The existence of this tension helps us understand why there is such a struggle for believers to live consistently in light of what God has made possible, and why, for example, the sick are often healed when prayed for while at other times they are not. The simple fact is that Christians live in a world that stands in opposition to God and his right to rule.  The dark powers of this world are both powerful and strategic.  Yet the barriers of this present darkness are such that they can be overcome through the means of grace that God has richly provided.  This would include such things as applying the Gospel to the spiritual and physical needs of our life, being prepared for spiritual conflict, employing the spiritual disciplines, and connecting with other Christians who intend to obey and abide with God.  It is possible to consistently remain under God’s reign and rule in the very place where we live our daily lives.  Disciples of Jesus Christ can change and grow increasingly into the likeness of their Master.  Because of the Father’s love, the work of Christ, and the power of the manifest presence of God through the Holy Spirit, disciples of Jesus can enter, abide in, and advance the Kingdom of God.  This is the good news that Jesus announced and ushered into our world.

Repent and believe the good news.  Now that the Kingdom of God is at hand we are called to embrace it through repentance and faith.  Here Jesus was basically saying; “In light of what I’ve made available to you, it’s time to create space for what you can now access freely by grace.  To embrace my Kingdom you must repent to position yourself to experience the life I have made possible.”  And so we must say “no” to some things, things that previously made sense before the Kingdom was within our reach.  For Jesus’ first disciples this would literally mean saying “no” to their occupations and even their families in order to say “yes” to following Jesus. Many believers today may need to repent (say “no”) to any number idolatrous attachments, as well as the negative influences of fear and the need to maintain control.  Doing so opens the way to sincerely believe (say “yes”) with regard to the benefits of humble faith and surrender to the rule of God.

Through repentance, we make room for a supernatural life under the reign and rule of God.  And Jesus has continued making this invitation for 2,000 years.  And though this amazing possibility has been brought within our reach, abiding in the Kingdom is not an automatic reality for those following Jesus.  The believer must choose to continually cooperate with God, to continually align his or her thinking and living to that which God has made accessible.  By doing so, ordinary humans may enter the extraordinary life in the Kingdom of God!

Well, there you have a sample of part of chapter one.  I am planning to send something new each week to give you a feel of the book.  Again, I would love to hear what you think, things you especially appreciated, things that were not clear to you, and questions the content left you with.  So please leave a comment!


[1] Henri J.M. Nouwen. Here and Now  (New York: Crossroad, 1997), from the cover.

[2] Derek Morphew, Breakthrough (Cape Town, South Africa: Vineyard International Publishing, 1991), 8.

[3] Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1998), 26.

[4] Morphew, 20

[5] Charles Van Engen, God’s Missionary People  (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1991), 108, 109.

[6] Cf., George Eldon Ladd.  The Presence of the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 105ff.

 [7] Ladd, Theology of the New Testament. Revised Ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 66,67.

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What would you like Jesus to do for you?

There is an amazing lesson on faith in Luke 15 with the healing of a blind man.  Before Jesus healed the man he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The man answered, “Lord, I want to see.”  At this Jesus healed the man, and told him that it was in fact his faith that healed him.

It seems that Jesus’ question opened to way for the man to express faith in Jesus.  Apparently it doesn’t take a lot of faith in a lot of things to move the heart of God toward the broken who humbly look to Jesus.  We still can use this simple question in ministering today.  “What would you like Jesus to do for you?”  As with the blind man, this question can move the focus of the person in need to Jesus.  It is a simple way to help others confess their hope and faith in Jesus. While some might require faith to have a more robust and theologically savvy quality to merit the compassion of Jesus, that doesn’t seem to be the requirement of God!

And I love the result of the healing.  The guy starts following Jesus.  No doubt that is the best context for the man to learn and experience much more in the realm of having faith in God.  The wisdom of Jesus is to have people learn what they really need to know and experience by living close to him.  With Jesus we don’t have to believe and behave correctly by religious standards in order to belong.  Grace triumphs again!

And such gracious undertakings are contagious.  “When all the people saw it (the healed man following Jesus and praising God), they also praised God.”  A Kingdom moment can turn into a Kingdom momentum!

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Your Attachments Define You!

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
                                           –       Psalm 63:8

As I cling to God, he faithfully upholds me!  What an amazing provision.  God upholds my life.  Now I do have a part to play for this to functionally be a reality, and it is to be careful and intentional with regard to what I cling to.  And the most significant way one clings to things is that which is held onto from deep within.  What our soul is attached to has a profound way of defining us.  Some become clingy with people, which can be characterized by control or co-dependency.  Some become unhealthily attached to material possessions.  The bible calls that idolatry.  Others may strive for some position or title, letting go of all else.  Such are the deceived, lonely and unfulfilled.  I want my deepest being to be attached to God alone so that his presence in my life is what defines me…what explains me.  May I not be explainable apart from the fact that God’s right hand upholds me!

 Please search me O God and try my anxious thoughts.  See if there be any unholy attachments in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

Leave a comment!


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God is always with me everywhere…and that changes everything!

“God is my refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.
Therefore I will not fear…Be still and know that I am God” 
(Psalm 46:1,2,10)

As my “refuge” God protects me from external dangers.  As my “strength” God provides the way for me to persevere and overcome.  As my “ever present help in times of trouble,” God encourages and empowers me with the truth that he is always with me everywhere.  “Therefore I will not fear.”

This is who God is and what it means to me.  My part is to live moment by moment in the awareness of this revelation, provision and promise.  This requires that I begin each day with an unhurried focus that centers my heart and mind on who God is and that he is with me.  This also requires that I cultivate the habit of taking as many renewal breaks as it might require through the day to abide in this awareness.  A renewal break is the occasion through my distractful day where I obey God’s command to, “Be still and know that I am God” (v. 10).  A renewal break renews me in the revelation.

And so I must give consistent intention and effort to this discipline of becoming still in God’s presence.  Again, by necessity, this must include a ceasing from the normal activity and noise of my day for the purpose of making space for the renewing revelation that God is indeed God!  I must continue to “know” this.  This speaks of an episodic encounter with the presence of God who is my refuge and strength, and my ever-present help.

Doing what God has made possible for me to do positions me for this supernatural encounter.  In Psalm 131:2 David writes; “I have stilled and quieted my soul.”  This is something I can do by God’s grace.  Doing so positions me to live a life that is unexplainable apart from the reality that God is always with me everywhere.  And a life lived with such a consistent awareness of God’s intimate, empowering presence changes everything!

How is your experience going with regard to living throughout each day in the awareness of who God is and that he is always with you?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!


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