Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christian identity

I discovered to my surprise today that there is a right wing extremist group with the name Christian identity. What a shocker - and yet, this group does not espouse any of the 'love' that is fundamental to the christian identity. What identifies Christians? What is out identity? Its in our mindset. (Romans 12:2) take on a new mindset, a successful mindset, is characterized by a serving of one another approach.

In this 'Identity', Christians are not called to judge each other, or condemn each other, but rather to a outward and inward demonstration of love towards each other, and especially the sinner and outcast! Jesus did not condemn the Samaritan woman at the well as an outcast, or someone of a different tribe (race), but rather embraced her with the truth of her actions. he did speak to her about her lifestyle, but in such love that she felt 'loved' and not condemned!

Why do we condemn homosexuals? Is it perhaps because we are afraid? A true christian approach would be to 'love' people of all walks of life and persuasions. Now, I am not suggesting we condone their actions in anyway, but the person should still be 'loved' as a creature made by God, in God's image. While we disagree on their lifestyle choices, we should not judge the person. I am all for preaching a hard core message on sin, but lets not walk around with a self righteous attitude and start judging people just because we have our truth.

God never told us to judge people! He did say "...love your neighbor as yourself". Perhaps that is the key - we do not love ourselves? This is not some sloppy agape. We do judge the fruit, and the sin is not acceptable, but to have an attitude of superiority towards a sinner is not showing the love of God towards our fellow man.

Be loved this day!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nature of man

In Gen 2:7 God formed man out of the dust. God then breathed His very essence/nature into man and man's soul came alive.


" God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul!"



Man was created a physical body, with a soul within the physical body and a spirit within the same confines as the soul. Man was created a triune being, a three part being. All three parts are confined within a physical body. That means that the spirit realm is subject to space and time constraints as the physical body is. We see this theme again in Job 1 when the sons of God come before God. The sons of God are confined to time and space constraints, but God on the other hand is not confined by space and time, or volume for the matter. The bible records that the earth is not big enough to contain God.


Isaiah 66:1 “Heaven’s my throne, 
earth is my footstool. 
What sort of house could you build for me? 
What holiday spot reserve for me?

That means that the spirit breathed into Adam was only a portion of God, a very small portion. We see that God breathed out a larger portion upon the earth in Acts 2. This larger portion of God's essence led to some strange behaviors on the part of man. We see that Adam lived a whole lot longer than modern man, but then Adam had more of God's essence than we have today. Adam was closer to God, more intimate with God than we are today. Adam walked with God, talked face to face with God. Enoch walked with God and he too experienced an unusual lifestyle.

In short, the more intimate we are with God the more essence of God we will have, the more of God's presence we will experience and the more unusual our lifestyles will be. In Joel 2:28, God speaks about another outpouring that is coming, to a generation of believers that walk in a closer intimacy with God than we do at present.

Revival

I have been studying revivals through the ages and have found some interesting points.

1. In all the revivals - some one missed it. Someone was offended and someone criticized it as a demonic act and not a true move of God.
2. In all the revivals I studied, they all began with repentance and ended with confidence. The result was just another denomination.
3. The administrators took over and the Spirit of God was programmed out of the move. By programmed, I mean, really good programs were started that God had not ordained, but man thought was a good idea. Something like David's idea to build a temple.

I have been hearing about this next upcoming revival that will sweep the nation, and the world. I must wonder, if this is a God inspired idea, or just man thinking its time for the next revival to begin? I am not seeing mass repentance moves afoot, and yet despite that I 'hear' talk of revival breaking out. I am not seeing people en mass, gathering to just wait upon the Lord, or to hear from heaven, yet, the rumors persist that revival is on hand.

I wonder - maybe I am the one missing it this time?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Change?

Change requires two major elements to work. Number 1 you need to have a direction, or else you will simply go around in circles. Change, for change sake is not going to get you anywhere. You need to have a change in direction to really change anything.

Change also requires motion. Without motion, change is simply stasis. The problem with motion is that your geography will change, your friend set will change and all of this amounts to sacrifice. Most people want change, but few are willing to pay the price of change, and that is simply this - to change you need to give up something, to gain some thing.

Many people like to talk about change, but without direction and without motion, all it amounts to is 'talk'. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dreams - a subconscious purging or a directive from heaven?

Dream symbols are a fascinating subject, but most churches tend to stay far away from the subject matter. Strangely enough, God speaks to people in their dreams often in the bible. We all celebrate Christmas or the birth of Jesus without blinking any eye (or making any comment) when it comes to the passages of Joseph hearing from heaven in a dream. It was in a dream that Joseph received instruction to marry Mary (Matthew 1:20) and again to go to Egypt (Matthew 2:13) as if that was normal?

If I were to leave my country and fly to a another continent with family in tow as a result of a dream, then I would be labelled a crank. (hang on, thats what I did do). Strange that it was acceptable for Joseph to take his family to Egypt from a dream, but today we are too sophisticated?

Perhaps we should reconsider this whole dream thing. It might be that we need to re look at dreams...and attempt to gain some understanding of our dreams rather than writing them off as just a subconscious purging exercise!

In my opinion, coming to Kentucky was an excellent dream directive. We have since planted several churches, and are very happy with our decision to relocate. Its been 8 years, and we do not regret this decision one bit. I wonder how many have regretted not following their dreams, or is this a case of ignorance is bliss?

Time for a change

Time change was yesterday. Is it time for a change? The obvious answer would be 'yes'...but change without a direction is what?

While the phrase 'change' sounds so appealing to our media saturated ears, change without a direction is not going to give us anything. We need an original destination from which we are going to change from. If any 'change' is to be successful, there needs to be a destination or direction, which you are going to change from. (Terrible sentence structure - but it illustrates my point).

We are all so ready for 'change', but that requires us to change direction. If you have no direction to begin with, what change are you going to effect? Without direction, you are stagnant, so change in this situation simply results in 'motion'. Motion is good, but without any direction, you will go around in one large circle, accomplishing nothing, going no where!

Change, by it very nature requires sacrifice. You need to be prepared to sacrifice the scenery for one. Change consists of motion, and motion takes you out of your present situation (scenery) and moves you to another situation (scenery). Change i not always good. Sometimes, you prefer your original location/situation. Change therefore requires thought, careful planning and an objective weighing of the costs and rewards associated with the new direction.

Most people run off with a concept (change) and never analyze the costs, implications and sacrifice required to effect this change. We are a buzz word generation. The media shouts out a new phrase, and we all latch on to the new concept like its a raft in the tossing waves of society, and now we are all aboard the media generated buzz word of that season.

Effectively, no one is in reality changing anything. We are just been tossed around in an ocean of sensory overload, cell phones buzzing, txt messages, face book posts and status updates on twitter. Does anyone have a face to face conversation anymore?

Says I, writing yet another blog, adding to the endless blogosphere of so called 'wisdom'...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pioneers

Pioneers by their very nature have to be thick skinned, or get a new line of work. If you want to pioneer a new business venture, get used to opposition. People generally do not like to forge new paths because of the opposition. Pioneers by their very nature forge new paths, despite opposition, despite all the obstacles and unknowns. Its this tenacious requirement that causes so many to stop before they actually accomplish their dreams.

I love reading about the mavericks who pioneered new businesses when existing corporations mocked their concepts and ideas. Col Saunders, the man who invented Kentucky Fried Chicken and changed the way the world views fast food (or deep fried chicken) faced many obstacles in the beginning. I wonder how many times, he wanted to quit and just walk away from the whole process?

We all love the successful outcome, but shy away from the failures, the loneness and the obstacles that we will face when we start to pioneer a new project. The few that succeed are the few that are sold out to their vision, and have no alternatives left.

Have you ever noticed that turkeys flock but eagles soar? Mediocrity loves company, where as high flyers prefer the silence, and the warmth of their dreams...a place where most turkey can never get to.

Define prosperity

How do you define prosperity? I define it with simple terms, joy, happiness, peace and most importantly the absence of strife. I hate strife with a passion. I realize that strife is a part of life. People have strong opinions on many subjects, and when their opinion differs from mine, there is bound to be strife.

Imagine if you will a church that welcomes everybody, just as they are. Dress code is : 'wear clothes', and the 'what do we believe - we love you. Wonderful concept. Will it work? I really don't know, I can't see why it would not.

I do not expect you to believe the same way I do, but I am willing to listen to your point of view, if you would give me the same courtesy. Our church has a vision - its a simple vision really, a vision to love you, not change you. Imagine that - we love you, no matter what you believe. I may not agree with your point of view, but that will not stop me from loving you. I may not agree with your actions, and or your life style choices, but I still love you. Is that not what Christ taught us?

I wonder where the true prosperity of the church has gone too?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dreams are for the matured believer

In Joel 2:1 it instructs us to sound the trumpet, let all the inhabitants tremble. Well, the year 2010 can be the year that the earth has indeed trembled, and more than once too. The earth has been shaken so badly this year that it has actually gone off its axis! Now thats some shaking.

I would hazard a guess that God is trying really hard to get our attention this season, and yet most believers carry on as if nothing is happening at all. How wild is that? Seems to me the same thing happened with Noah. believers went on their daily business as if nothing was ever going to change, and then suddenly, a drastic change took place and the whole earth was never the same again.

Joel 2:10 talks about the earth quaking once again. I do believe that we are really in a very exciting time period - one where dreams will once again abound. Joel :28 says that in the last days, God will pour out His spirit upon ALL flesh, and they will see visions and have dreams.

1 Corinthians 2:10-12 that the deep things of God are unveiled by the spirit of God and not of flesh. It stands to reason that as we are closer to the end times, so there will be more dreams coming forth and these dreams will be interpreted by the Spirit of God upon the believer.

Its a season of dreams and the dreamer. Now is the time to dream. I suspect that you are expecting me to say the world is going to end - next week. Well, sorry and all that. Its not going to end next week. Ie xpect this will take a whole lot longer, but we do need to hurry up and get with God's program though. Dreams are going to come forth and dream interpretation is a vital element in this process.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Total Life Change



 23-25"From out of David's descendants God produced a Savior for Israel, Jesus, exactly as he promised—but only after John had thoroughly alerted the people to his arrival by preparing them for a total life-change. As John was finishing up his work, he said, 'Did you think I was the One? No, I'm not the One. But the One you've been waiting for all these years is just around the corner, about to appear. And I'm about to disappear.' (Acts 13:23-25, The Message)



This verse is out of the message translation - what's a truly wonderful paraphrase are the words - total life change. The spirit of Elijah was said to have rested upon the prophet John the baptist. A new testament prophet...and thus providing us a clear picture of the role of the new testament prophet.


The new testament prophet brings people to a 'total life change' moment. To start on the path of a successful mindset, one must first come to the conclusion that one existing life has not been a recipe of successful decisions and choices. The next obvious step then is to do a complete over haul of all your priorities of the past and face the future with a totally overhauled mindset.


The biggest challenge is that most people fall back into their old decision making routines and never effect any lasting changes on their future. The trap then is to 'seek God' through intense fasting and prayer, without a total mindset renewal..


The new testament prophet is more of a catalyst for change. The prophet will generally act as a stimulant - the side effect is that these people cause very strong emotions within people. people generally do not feel indifferent to the prophet. Prophets tend to cause people to feel threatened, because the very work of the prophet is to challenge your paradigm. No one likes to have their boat rocked...and yet thats exactly what prophets do. The make waves...

Choice

Choice is a wonderful word we take for granted. Your decisions of yesterday result in where you are positioned today. Your decisions of today will in turn impact your future position. Everyday we make decisions, we choose based upon a variety of factors, most importantly we base our decisions upon our perceptions.

In the book of Jonah, Jonah was faced with an all too human decision. Obeying God would be life threatening and lead to a possible harming of his body. Choosing to run away seemed like the best option at the time. Everyday, people are faced with similar decisions, minus the death threat, of course.

We are faced with choices - attend a sports event, or church. A sports event appeals to me on so many different levels, where as church most certainly does not offer the excitement, or the stimulation of a sports event. Most will ultimately choose the sports event. Business opportunities will always win over church events. These choices are simple enough. We all make them everyday, and everyday people choose something over the church event - and rationalize it with "God will understand", or this is God's will.

Despite the very obvious verse that says :"Do not forsake the gathering of believers one to another as is the case of some", people will still make the wrong choice and then wonder why their lives are heading towards a Jonah experience.

Jonah made a hard choice too. Nineveh (certain death) or run away (life). Paul made some 'fun' choices too. Rome, captivity or obedience and eternal rewards. The enemy knows you so well. He will always bring about circumstances that place you in a predicament of choosing between God's will and making your life less difficult. I had an elderly gentleman in my church. He was faced with the choice of either working on a Sunday or losing his job. We prayed together, and he choose to loose his job. Strange thing happened, he never lost his job, his supervisor was fired, the elderly gentleman kept his job and was never asked to work on Sunday's again. 

Now, I am not suggesting that Sunday is a 'holy day' by any means. However, this elderly gentleman had made God a promise many years ago. He had decreed that he would never work on the day that there was a church service. God honored his commitment to His word with promotion and debt free living. On face value, the decision at the time, seemed to fly in the face of logic. Is that not truly the point of the gospel? In Romans 12:2 we are told to change our thinking, and be not conformed to the world's thinking.

I wonder how many believers base their decisions upon logic and not what their spirit man is telling them

Keys to prosperity

One of the fundamental keys to prosperity lies in our obedience. Man, by our very nature, strive to be rebellious against the word of God. We rationalize the word into 'old covenants' and 'new covenants', trying to explain what aspect of the word we do not have to follow anymore, thus reducing the word of God to a choice.

Obedience to the word is not based upon your choice, but rather upon your submission. Submission to every aspect of the word lends itself to a blessed state of existence. Choice often carries the opposite of a blessing as we see very clearly in the book of Jonah. Jonah had a choice. He could choose to do what God had requested, even though that request seemed unreasonable by man's standards and thus was less appealing.

If we make choices based upon 'man's standards and human logic, we will always make the incorrect choices and then wonder why storms hit us, shipwrecks happen and it appears that we are lost in a raging sea.

No amount of fasting, prayer and offering can make up for a lack of obedience to the word of God. Instead of waiting until you hit the shipwreck stage, why not just submit upfront? I guess the answer lies in the word 'choice'. We make choices based upon our human understanding. We choose an option that is more appealing over an instruction from God...and then wonder why God is not blessing us with over flowing success and prosperity. Prosperity is based upon obedience, especially in the face of opposition and what appears to be better choices.

Jonah chose the option that was more appealing than going to Nineveh.  I understand his choice. Nineveh was not a city known for its good treatment of missionaries. Ninveh had a reputation for cutting open the entrails of its captives and dragging them by said entrails through the city until death! Not a city that I would want to go to with the message of 'repent'. If I had the choices of Jonah, I would probably have made the same choices...and ended up in the whales belly too!

You see, the humanness of Jonah is evident within all of us and our everyday decisions. Everyday we are faced with decisions that will either be inline with God's word, or inline with our comfort zone. To fully embrace God, is to embrace the uncomfortable, and be ready to make hard choices that may not bring you much popularity with man, but will ensure the blessing of God!

Despite this simply instruction, many will still choose to please man and then fast and pray for God's blessing...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One slingshot, one giant and your destiny is changed

David used a slingshot (his idea) one day (right season) to bring down a giant (his challenge) and ultimately change his destiny (his environment from shepherd to prince in Saul's court) in one afternoon.

David ran at his giant, knowing full well that this act of madness would slingshot him into a changed environment, and ultimately a destiny that would shake the nation of Israel. The key ingredients here were in no apparent order of importance :

1. a giant obstacle/challenge
2. an idea that seems impossible to accomplish anything
3. correct season
4. run headlong at the challenger

In one afternoon, David's slingshot idea catapulted him into a new destiny, changed the nation and his situation. David ran at the challenge...most people would cower at the giant and thus never change either their environment or their nation.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Successful thinking requires new paradigms

Successful thinking requires new paradigms. In simple terms that means thinking outside the box, but I prefer to break the box wide open. That way, you can never get back into the box. In the box thinking limits you and your mind to hidden fences. Fences, by their very nature, limit where you can go.

Fences within your mind, limit where you can go, and into what area you can venture. That is limiting. Successful thinking requires a new perspective completely. Sometimes, the grass is indeed greener outside the fence.

Successful thinking starts with a new paradigm and ends with the ability to accept criticism without taking it personally. Its not personal. Critics judge your production, not you. If you mess up on the product, then change the way you produce. Learn from the critics, change the way you produce.

As a pastor, when I notice that my attendance is dwindling, I ask the simple question :"What's going wrong?" If attendance is up, I ask the same question, what's going right? If I am afraid to acknowledge the signs of growth of loss, then I can never adapt and thrive.

Not all loss is bad. Some loss is a blessing...but how would I know if I ignore the symptoms? Sometimes, faith teaches us to continue blindly on, regardless of the obvious signs of death. If there is a pruning going on, thats one thing, but if my church is dying because of a lack of love on my part, the thats not something my faith will change!

When I ask the right questions, I am forcing myself to critically look at what's happening and make the changes required to keep my focus on God and His people. This requires a dynamic mindset, ready to change course if my present course is aimed at a iceberg. Ignoring the symptoms of growth is as stupid as ignoring the radar on a ship!

Its time for a new paradigm in our businesses and churches.  Break the box open, wide open. Listen to your clients. Adsapt to the new generation of clients and think outside the box.