You’re Built For . . .

“I saw a snake (that’s Satan) and a giant sword came down cut the snake into a bunch of pieces (that’s the Word of God)!” When my boy Jaren (10 yrs old), gets pictures from God they’re most often violent. They often involve intense struggle, and God winning! It’s easy to think,” oh he’s 10 he’ll grow out of it,” and I’m sure he’ll get more varied pictures from God someday, but I’m 37 and I still haven’t grown out of the rhythm of struggle and the need for God to gain victory in my life!

Truth – you’re built for struggle! AND you’re built to lean on God’s power and win! You were PROMISED struggle by Jesus, “In this world you will have trouble.” (Not one of my favorite promises to “Amen” to) And you were promised ultimate victory, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33 NIV) You were given weapons (Eph. 6:10-18), and you were told they’re different BUT they win (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

God is declaring to everyone in a struggle today – Use your other-worldly weapons – God’s truth, righteousness, peace, faith, God’s Word, prayer, the blood of the lamb, declaring testimony. God has already declared ultimate victory. Partner with God’s kingdom, knowing that any defeat is temporaryGod can’t lose in you!

This Surprising Truth about Jesus is in Almost Every Story in the Book of Mark

Laying on the floor, eyes closed, incapable of movement – I heard a symphony of noises all around the room: loud praying, yelling, singing, “More, Lord” repeatedly (the same prayer that sent me to the floor without anyone touching me), BUT ALSO WEIRD ONES – someone roaring like a lion in one corner, someone else acting like they’re giving birth behind me, someone barking like a dog in the other corner, and laughter not like someone told a good joke laughter – but rather embarrassing, uncontrollable laughter – loud and awkward. Those sounds were accompanied by abnormal movement – shaking, jerking, doubling over, gyrating like electrocution happened. And ALL OF THAT would have freaked me right out and caused me to scream “fakers”, except for the UNDENIABLE work that God was doing in me . . .

As I laid paralyzed, God began to speak to me and confirm in specific and unavoidable ways many things He’d been telling me about my future and ministry. On the screen of my imagination, He flashed vision after vision of things He had for me and I would do for Him. Those things ALL HAPPENED, His words ALL came true. 25 years later I still remember many of those words, visions and fulfillment.

If you want to call it emotionalism or excessive – you’re entitled to that opinion. You’d be wrong though. Were there people who embellished a little – maybe – but when God shows up undeniably in your life you might freak out too! There’s excess in every Gathering of believers from the beginning, but in a move of God, we get our excesses out IN THE OPEN so we can grow from them and learn, rather than all the private sin of other believers

Also in a move of God those excesses are the exceptions that prove the authentic work of God in people’s lives. I know God was moving and HE was aggressively and consistently pushing me OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE and that’s what brings us to Jesus (sorry it took me a minute to get there – haha) . . .

Throughout His life, Jesus aggressively and consistently pushes people out of their comfort zone. As we’ve studied Mark (and throughout the rest of it – I’ve read ahead – hehe) this is one thread that’s not going away. Jesus was a pusher. Jesus militantly crushes barriers in which people were personally and spiritually comfortable. He only and always broke down the barriers that who would separate people from God. Personal space – crushed. Self-righteousness – crushed. Earthly thinking – crushed. Doubt in His power and goodness – crushed. Every time. He aggressively pushed people into a place of encounter with God!!!

Jesus is STILL aggressively pushing people out of their comfort zone and into authentic encounter with God!!! Ask Him, HOW AM I TOO COMFORTABLE? When I come to church, what are my next steps toward encounter with You? In my prayer time right now, Holy Spirit please invade my comfort zone and bring me into Your growth!!!

What if Water Baptism Means Resurrection?

When you come up out of the water, all you might FEEL is wet. That’s ok. You don’t need to feel this, you simply need to walk in obedience. Water Baptism is symbolic AND supernatural! The need to make it one or the other is a false division. Every baptism in the Bible is tied directly to supernatural encounter with God . . .

  • John’s for repentance – Mark 1:4-5
  • Jesus’ for identity – Mark 1:9-11
  • Day of Pentecost (Holy Spirit encounter AND water baptism) – Acts 2:37-41)
  • Philip’s miracles & baptisms in Samaria (Acts 8:5-13)
  • Ethiopian Eunuch’s supernatural encounter & baptism (Acts 8:36-38)
  • Paul’s encounter with Christ & baptism (Acts 9:1-19)
  • Gentiles speaking in tongues & water baptism (Acts 10:47-48)
  • Jailor’s supernatural deliverance & baptism (Acts 16:27-34)

Bottom line – when you get water baptized you’re going to encounter God! It’s God’s will for every believer to have a meaningful baptism. But I have to go one step further, the significance of water baptism is no less than the death and resurrection of Jesus Himself that YOU NOW PARTICIPATE IN! . . . We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  (Rom. 6:4 NIV) What does that mean? The resurrection power of Jesus lives in you! What does THAT mean fully? I think it will take us way into eternity to unpack it, but I know it’s good, so good.

If you haven’t been water baptized, this is your next step – this Sunday is your day! Come and celebrate with others this Sunday, the worship, the teaching, the Gathering & the water baptisms – it’s going to be a party!

A Joyful Whirlwind

Pound, pound, p-p-pound, pou-p-pound pound – the stomping of 6 little feet throughout my house for 30 minutes after my kids got home from school yesterday got my adrenaline going! Why now? They’ve been sitting, storing up energy for 2+ weeks over the break and now they have this HUGE, ALL-ENCOMPASSING DAY – with school and piano lessons afterward and now it’s time to GO NUTS! They should have been less rested because of that day, but they were more energized instead.

Here’s the point . . . a break from your normal routine doesn’t always mean rest AND a huge season of activity doesn’t mean you have to feel overwhelmed. What’s the difference between tons of activity meaning exhaustion, and tons of activity being energizing – one word – JOY!!! Joy represents the difference between a whirlwind that drains and a whirlwind that feeds! My kids were having a blast! They were so pumped up! And that joy did NOT lead to a crash. What if there’s joy that doesn’t lead to a crash?

Hebrews describes this scene in heaven . . . You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (Heb. 12:22 NIV) That is particularly the kind of joy that God is calling you to. Joyful activity. There will be seasons of rest, but your reset in 2020 means that activity can be joyful! Lean into God’s joy today!

Frightful

Is that snowy scene frightful? Is seems rather soothing to me? Don’t get me wrong – the cold chill in the bones is well . . . chilling. But what if the cold is a reminder . . . not of the beach parties you missed or the palm trees that aren’t swaying, but of the cleansing power of God in your life. Snow was just that reminder for Isaiah . . .

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

Sin is frightful. God hates it. He hated it so much He sent Jesus to the cross to cover and wash it in His blood for you and me. Your choice to surrender completely to Jesus washes your sin, and all that’s left is thanks and praise! So see the snow, remember exactly how clean your clean is, and take a moment to be thankful and praise God right now! He’s so good!

A Little Lower

Sittin’ on the couch, it is often a matter of time before one of my kids (3 to 11 yr olds) plop down next to me and cuddle in. BUT if I’m laying on the floor, it’s typically a matter of seconds before one or more of kids start to pile on. As a daddy, if my little ones don’t naturally come over to hang out with me or crawl on me, there is one tried and true strategy – get a little lower. When daddy gets lower, the kids come around.

This is why Jesus came at Christmas. He longed to embrace His kids, and He was willing to go lower to do it! How amazing He is!?! “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:9 NIV).

Here’s the truth – Jesus is still going lower for you today! Paul says it this way,Christ Jesus … is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us”. (Rom. 8:34 NIV) 

See Jesus on the floor, ready for you pile on and play. Take a moment with the God who is lower still for you right now.

If you missed the kickoff of the Lower Still series catch it today – you need thishttps://www.facebook.com/124728734266058/videos/540097603505192/ or on youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-avf5zXcYU.

How to Pass on Spiritual Heritage?

After a few days of “man retreat” with my dad and brothers, I was fueled up. I had greater perspective on my issues, less stress for them, and more joy in them. Some of the greatest people in the Scripture failed on one major count – passing on spiritual heritage. Moses and Elijah passed on spiritual heritage, Jesus multiplied spiritual heritage, as did His followers, but most of the others in Scripture lost the battle at this point.

Formerly, as a kids pastor I would have parents show up at church for the first time with their 6 year old, shocked that they had no clue who Noah and the Ark was! If you haven’t had them in church their whole life, this should not be surprising to you. It should also not be surprising when they have no moral compass, and make spiritually damning decisions, because they have never been led into a real encounter with the living God.

3 Essentials to Passing on Spiritual Heritage

  1. Be in church (every time the doors are open). There is no substitute for this consistent ENCOUNTER with other believers and with God Himself!
  2. Own Your Family Devotions – pray, read the Bible, worship. Doesn’t have to be long, just consistent – For more ideas on this – watch the Family Devo Challenge Videos – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5caEavLMjZ4&list=PLMyAgnKuNIqp5r9VCXUWV2EuM7hySnqWG
  3. Model a growing relationship with God – your kids don’t need to know you’re perfect, but they do need to see you’re growing. They need to see you hungry for God, walk in on you praying sometimes, watch you worshipping.

This is the kind of effort it is worth a lifetime of getting back up, and getting after it again. No matter how many times you restart. Restart again! Even if your kids are grown!

2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. (2 Tim. 2:2 NRS)

So Thankful

Just read the Psalm, let it wash over you. Then read it over and again, until your mind wanders to specifically what God has done for you, and who God is to you right now . . .

Psalm 100:1 A psalm. For giving grateful praise. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Happy Thanksgiving! I am sooooo grateful for each of you, and give God thanks and praise for who He is to you, and what He’s done in you!

Ramping Up

What if Holy Spirit isn’t dependent on your energy level? What if He’s not limited by your abilities? What if your soundness of mind or spirals of thought can’t ruin His day? What if your level of momentum at this present moment cannot stall out His unstoppable forward movement? What if He’s not as impressed with your shortcomings as you are? What if you became more impressed with His ability than your inability? And . . .

What if Holy Spirit is RAMPING UP His work in your life and your world? I could answer all those questions for you, but you know the answer. I want to challenge you to KNOW the answer (so deep in your soul that’s it’s unshakeable in your heart, words and actions). How do you get there? Meditate on God’s ability in you and your world. You may feel like you’re stuck, or drowning, or moving backwards, but know this – Jesus completely understands AND He is, in NO way, stuck or drowning, or moving backwards! Every real transformation, real breakthrough, every miracle – Holy Spirit did it AND He remembers how to do it. He doesn’t have amnesia and He’s ramping up His work in your life and in your world. That’s God’s word for you.

One challenge – read back through the above questions and statements as many times as it takes to get them deep in your spirit! “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6 NIV)

To All the Dreamers

I rarely ever remember my dreams, but 2 nights ago I did. God spoke through it even! Here’s the secret as to why . . .

All of you are dreamers. You spend about 1/3 of your life sleeping, and have an average of 200 dreams per night – whether you like it or not, whether you remember them or not. You may not remember your dreams, but someone in your life does. And you have a voice in their life when you invite God to interpret.

Some dreams are from YOU – free falling, teeth dropping out, no pants at a speech, etc. Some dreams are from the ENEMY – nightmares, dead things, etc. But some dreams are definitively from GOD. God can redeem 1/3 of your time, when you allow Him to speak in and through your dreams.

So here’s the secret – 2 nights ago as I was falling asleep, I asked God to speak to me in my dreams. And sure enough, He did. It was the middle of the night, I didn’t even get up to write it down, but I asked God to help me remember in the morning – and He did! So I wrote it down and asked Him what it meant, and IT WAS AWESOME! So here’s the challenge – ask God to speak to you in your dreams tonight.