Gunshots every night was not the generally advisable environment to keep 40+ teenagers! Yet there we were, in San Quintin, Mexico on the Baja California Peninsula, sleeping in little places beside migrant worker camps that were revolting. Thank God, I had youth pastors who were willing to take us TOWARD the danger rather than away! Each day we would split into 4 groups, divvy up food (like a yummy oatmeal) for about 100 kids, split up and drive to different migrant worker camps to feed hungry kids. My group pulled up to a large, ominous fenced in area that day. No one in sight. We thought it was a dud. But no sooner had the gate been opened for us, that kids started pouring out of shanty houses, it seemed like they were just spawning out of the desert sand itself. There was a sea of kids there. We had 100 servings of food, their parents were the ones shooting and revolting the night before – this was NOT GOOD!
As a 14 year old, I still knew what to do – we prayed, “God, you see these kids, multiply this food so THEY can be blessed … ANDwe don’t die.” Then a 15 year girl and I (who I might or might not have had a crush on), began to spoon out the food into the cups. We both felt in our heart, and agreed to give out the same amount of food we would have for 100 kids. So we did generous servings, and went through 700 cups that day (cups don’t go bad, we had lots of those). Every child ate and was satisfied, and we even had food left over. The exhilaration of that moment obscured my hand cramps, as we powered through. That girl and I KNEW what God had done, every one there was witness to it. God loved those kids so much that He wanted to bless them, He loved us so much that He wanted us not to die, and He loved His reputation so much that He wanted these kids to have a good first experience with Christians!
Some of us are too far from danger to be a threat to the enemy, to be a rescue for the world, or to invite undeniable encounters with God in our life. So when you feel the nudges of the Holy Spirit to step closer to someone in need, maybe the danger filter needs to lose. Who can you reach out to today? How does God want to crush your comfort zone?
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)
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 Himselfthat 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!
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 impressedwith 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)
I hear the word “Scarlet” and almost immediately think of “The Scarlet Letter” the famous book by Nathaniel Hawthorne that used a bright, red, letter “A” to brand someone’s sin. Yikes! That color needs redeemed for sure, and Rahab’s story goes a long way to exactly that . . .
Rahab’s scarlet cord out of the window of her house on the wall of Jericho was a statement of faith in God and faith that God’s people Israel would keep their word. It meant salvation not just for her, but for her whole family! It parallels the red blood of the lamb that was on the doorposts of houses so that the angel of death would Passover the houses. Because of her scarlet cord the army passed by her house, and what’s more God Himself designated her for salvation, even preserving her house in destruction of the wall. The scarlet cord parallels the blood of Jesus, which now washes your sin and my sin so that eternal death passes us over and instead we’re marked for salvation. This is why this matters for you . . .
The blood of Jesus that washes sin is NOT a disgrace for you – it is your source of hope, cleansing and salvation. Just like Rahab’s cord, the scarlet blood of Jesus is a symbol of God’s goodness in your life. When spiritual death looks at you, it sees His blood and has to pass over!
When you demonstrate your faith, by carrying a Bible, marking your house with Scripture, wearing Christian shirts, listening to the Bible and Christian music, talking about God’s goodness to you – you are telling the enemy he has no claim on you and inviting thework of God in your life!
So redeem the imageof the blood of Jesus in your heart right now. RealizeHishope, cleansing and salvation again. Also, boldly make plans to demonstrateyourfaith today.
Just so no one misses – I have ATTACHED my Doctoral Project “Making the Supernatural Normal: Mobilizing the Local Church to Move in the Power of God Outside its Doors” – Instructions for reading this are at the end.
I’m glad you asked – haha. I don’t know why ANYONE would get their doctorate, I’m sure there are lots of nerdy motivations. I do know WHY I DID, and I think it might help you sift through your own motivations.
I did NOT pursue this because . . .
I need to be called Doctor
My dad did
There’s a pay raise involved (there’s not in ministry, plus doctorates are expensive, so no, not a factor)
I want to run for political office (yeah, no)
I need more letters behind my name – the letters for my degree are Dmin (Doctor of Ministry) – say the phrase “Pastor Jared has a Dmin” out loud you’ll get why this isn’t a factor – haha.
I chose to get my Doctorate BECAUSE . . .
God led me to
I knew I had gaps in my knowledge
I love to learn, I’m a lifelong learner, even though this is a “terminal” degree (sounds morbid), this is not the end for me.
I knew our church would benefit from this
Being called “Dr. J” sometimes is a perk – haha.
Now, here’s a little bit of the HOW of getting a Doctorate . . .
Full support from my amazing wife Jessica!
I’m a nerd – consuming and giving knowledge of God energizes me
Support/understanding from my kids, and also extended family
Support from Journey Life Church staff, board & church family
Perseverance – LOTS of perseverance
Finally, attached is my Doctoral Project “Making the Supernatural Normal: Mobilizing the Local Church to Move in the Power of God Outside its Doors”. Let me set expectations for reading this (if you’d like to) . . .
It’s academic – after 52 stages of editing (no joke), my voice is not clearly in the text. It’s ok. The content is great, it’s all there, but it has an academic voice. This also means it’s not meant to grab you or necessarily be an interesting read. It’s an informative read, with lots of research and documentation.
Some people you may know are in it. Names are named, testimonies are cited – it’s fun! Find the Easter Eggs!
Chapter 2 (tracing redemptive supernatural events through the Bible) is partially in my appendix (apparently 90 pages is too long for a chapter – haha). So to trace the entire thought there are times where the appendix is referenced and you might want to jump there, then jump back.
Pay attention to the bibliography. It’s a veritable who’s who of people who are writing on the supernatural right now.
I’m writing this in an interesting book form also. I’m UNDER CONTRACT through Supernatural Truth Publishing to write the book of the same name that will be story based, gripping, inspiring and practical (with discussion/refection questions and supernatural exercises after each chapter). My goal with this book is to write something my wife would WANT to read – haha! This book will have my voice thoroughly throughout.