Mar 19 2020

Corona Antivirus

Here’s a quick encouragement for you to help you focus on Jesus over the next few weeks:

Hope is the best antivirus in this season!

Feb 13 2020

Anything is Permissible?

Way back in the mid-50’s (not 1950’s) when Paul wrote his first letter to Corinth, there was a common phrase among some followers of Jesus that they used to explain away their sinful activities. They adopted a perspective that “everything is permissible” and would use that as justification for their actions. I compare this perspective to that of a young adult who grew up in a strict home, but then goes wild doing anything they want during their early college years because they are no longer subject to the rules of their parents. Some early believers, who had the revelation that they were free from the law, began to believe that they could do anything they wanted because anything was permissible.

In his first letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul challenges this way of thinking, but even to this day, some believers continue to live from the same perspective of the Corinthians and misinterpret 1 Cor. 6:12 and 1 Cor 10:23 to mean that they have the freedom to do anything that they want. When read by itself, out of context, this verse appears to say that followers of Jesus are permitted to do anything, but that is not what the passage actually means. So, let’s dig a little deeper and get to the truth of what Holy Spirit was revealing through Paul’s letter.

Paul starts out chapter six admonishing the Corinthian believers to stop taking each other to court and to instead lean on the wisdom of other believers to solve their disputes. He continues by providing a list of other sinful activities (idolatry, theft, greed, etc.), which were likely other issues the Corinthian believers were involved in, that will keep a person from inheriting the Kingdom of God, and later hits on the specific topic of sexual immorality. Sandwiched in the middle of this conversation is the phrase in question. Some translations render this verse in a way that makes it appear that Paul is simply making a statement. Other translations more accurately render it in a way to show that Paul is quoting this common Corinthian phrase and then following it up with his own challenge that “everything is not beneficial.”

When read in the context of the entire chapter, we can clearly see that Paul is actually challenging the perspective of the believers who have fallen into the trap of thinking that their freedom in Christ gives them the permission to participate in these types of activities. Paul discusses a few other topics in the following chapters and then brings up this same phrase again in chapter 10, challenging this way of thinking a second time. As it turns out, anything is not actually permissible. If it was, Paul would be contradicting himself since he listed nine things a believer shouldn’t do a few verses earlier.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us while we study the word of God, we will often find revelation for things we did not previously consider. Paul touches on issues that commonly entrapped believers in Corinth, and since the same “do anything you want” mindset still exists in today’s culture, we have to consider what common things believers are being entrapped by, and find ways to eliminate that activity. As followers of Jesus, our first allegiance is to our King. Jesus is truth! Anything that disagrees with his perspective is automatically a lie and needs to be eliminated from our lives. This isn’t legalism, it’s obedience. Legalism says you have to follow a certain set of rules in order to receive salvation. Obedience says you follow the commands of your King because you love Him, just as Jesus stated in John 14:15.

As followers of Jesus, we need to be cognizant of what we participate in, and what we allow into our lives, because certain activities can give the enemy an influence over us that affects our ability to fully live out our purpose on the earth. What we see today is that many believers are getting involved in ungodly activities that come from popular culture and other religious belief systems, and then inaccurately use these same scriptures to justify their actions when someone points out the dangers in what they are doing. We have watched demons flee from people after renouncing these types of activities, and we have seen people continue to live in bondage when they refuse to listen to the truth.

There are commonly two different reactions when I teach on this topic. Some people recognize that they need to change their perspective and others are offended that I would even mention the possibility that a change is needed. Honestly, it’s usually the leaders who are the most offended. I imagine Paul encountered similar responses in Corinth.

Regardless of your reaction, who you are, or the position you hold, my challenge to you today is to ask Holy Spirit if there is anything you need to stop doing and follow his direction.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Jan 10 2020

The Power of Agreement

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You empower what you agree with”? This phrase may seem like a foreign perspective if you don’t understand what happens in the spiritual realm, but when we learn how powerful agreement can be, we can turn around many of the negative cycles we encounter in life. Life has plenty of difficult situations, and sometimes we get thrown a curve ball that has the potential to knock us off of our feet if we allow ourselves to agree with the negative situation instead of agreeing with God.

The concept is simple: when we agree with a thought, idea, or perspective, we give it power in our lives.

If we agree with fear, fear is given a little bit of control, and we become more and more afraid as we go through life. If we agree with anger, anger is given a little bit of control, and we become more and more angry as we go through life. And the opposite is also true. If we agree with love, love flows out of us to everyone we meet. I could continue with many more examples here, but I’m sure you get the point. The second part to this is that, if we agree with something long enough, we will eventually see it as truth.

What we believe to be true will determine how we respond in any situation.

If we believe that God is good, and we come into a difficult season of life, we can view that season through the lens of the truth that God is good and have hope that he will bring us through it. But if we think that God is out to get us, or that he doesn’t really care about us, difficult seasons will be full of despair instead of hope, and we will have trouble finding our way through to a better place. So how do we empower the reality of who God is and what he says about us instead of empowering perspectives that can keep us from achieving everything God has for us?  

This concept is also simple: we believe that what he says is true. No matter what. OK, maybe that doesn’t sound so simple. So, think about this: God is truth. Everything he says is truth. Everything he does represents his truth. Anything that disagrees with him is automatically a lie! Everything he speaks to us in the bible is truth. If we get that truth inside of us by regularly studying what he said, it will ground us in the truth, and make it SO, SO, SO, much more difficult to get sucked into empowering a lie.

The church has had a tendency in the past to make the gospel seem difficult. It’s actually quite simple. Believe that what God says is true, no matter what, and watch how quickly your faith will soar to new heights.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Jan 3 2020

Be Resolved

Many people create a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of each year with a desire to start doing something new, change a lifestyle habit, or to refocus their attention in a way that is more beneficial to their lives. There are a lot of great reasons to do this, and I would like to suggest that there is one thing all of us can do better that will benefit every area of our lives. Something I often find among followers of Jesus is a compartmentalization of faith where following Jesus is in a separate category of life instead of allowing our relationship with Jesus to infuse every area of our lives. It’s the idea of private faith vs public faith, and it’s a practice that I think keeps many believers from ever fulfilling their full potential. But there is an easy way to correct this problem.

There’s a great piece of advice in Colossians 3:2 that instructs us to focus on things above (what is happening in the kingdom of heaven) instead of focusing on what is happening around us. When we intentionally and regularly focus on what God is up to, it shifts our perspective to see everything from his perspective. This was the regular practice of Jesus. On at least two different occasions, Jesus shared a revelation that he only did what he saw his Father doing and only spoke what he heard his Father speaking (see John 5:19 & John 12:49). When we have God’s perspective, every other perspective becomes irrelevant.  

I came across an idea several years ago that has helped me tremendously with maintaining a focus on things above and it is a simple practice anyone start right away. Here’s how it works: Set an alarm on your watch, phone, computer, or whatever device you choose to use that will prompt you at regular intervals to pause everything you are doing and spend a few seconds focusing on God. Make this time about praise, thankfulness, and asking God to give you his perspective. You might think this will be a distraction from what you need to accomplish, but it is actually the exact opposite, because you are actively inviting God to spend time with you all day long. I have my alarm set for every 15 minutes and I have found that I am able to consistently focus on the things of God throughout the day which gives the enemy no room to distract me.

Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you!

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Dec 20 2019

Audience of One

Have you noticed that popular culture today is a little too wrapped up in the opinions of others, what other people think, how many likes we get on a social media post, and this weird anxiety about having to participate in the latest online trend. It’s sad to me that our society has ended up in this place where we are constantly striving for someone else’s approval. I get it. We all want to be liked and feel like we belong. But do we really need to focus on comments, likes, and happy faces from people we don’t even know in order to feel liked or accepted? Galatians 1:10 asks us a very pointed question on this topic: are we seeking the approval of people, or the approval of God?

I would like to suggest that our perspectives need to change. When we focus on the ideas of the world, our perspectives become skewed, and we fall into these traps of seeking false approval. What we need to do instead, is focus on what God is focused on, and on his opinions about us. I live for an audience of one. I decided at some point in my life that I really don’t care what other people think. The only opinion that matters to me is the opinion of my Father. Any idea that disagrees with him is an idea that isn’t worth my time. His approval is unequaled by anything or anyone else. The approval of others should never determine our value or self worth. His approval is all that really matters.

Here’s the great thing. When we stop caring about what other people think, we become less susceptible to being offended by people’s actions, being “triggered” by some event, or living in a place of unforgiveness towards others. There is only One whose opinion matters. Focus on His opinions and you’ll find that everything else will become less important. Live for an audience of one!

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Dec 13 2019

Season of Hope

We are in the midst of the season of celebrating hope coming to the world. Actually, it’s a celebration that has continued for followers of Jesus every day for more than two thousand years, and the rest of the world simply joins in on the celebration at this time each year. But there are many people who have not yet experienced what true hope feels like, which can easily make this season feel like a time of hopelessness. It doesn’t have to feel that way. One breath from the King of Kings can cause all hopelessness to disappear.

Hope covers the mistakes of the past.

Hope reveals our true identity.

Hope gives us a future.

Hope destroys the devil’s kingdom.

Jesus is hope.

Jesus is the hope of the world.

When we stare into the eyes of the one who embodies all hope, the hopelessness melts away. It cannot exist around him. The closer we are to Jesus, the more intentional we are about being in his presence, the less all the things of the world can impact us because he becomes the greatest impact in our lives. There is no better hope than that which comes through following the creator of hope. Stare into his eyes for just a few seconds and you will forever be caught up in his hope.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Nov 29 2019

It’s all for you

Did you know that everything Jesus promised is for you? Did you know that you have access to everything in his kingdom? It’s hard to keep track of every word Jesus has spoken, everything that he has promised and everything that has been made available to us. It’s a really long list! As I ponder what I am most thankful for in this season, the promises of Jesus easily are in a category all by themselves at the top of my list. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” – John 14:12
  • “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” – John 14:13
  • “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” – Acts 1:8
  • “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” – Mark 11:24
  • “your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” – Luke 12:32

It’s important for all of us to constantly remember what has been promised to us and to live with the realization that these promises are not just for a few chosen people, but for everyone who chooses to follow Jesus. Everything in his kingdom is available to us right now. You don’t have to wait to get to heaven to have joy. You don’t have to wait until eternity to receive peace.

It’s all for you! It’s all part of your inheritance! You don’t have to wait until heaven to experience all the goodness of God. It’s for now. Right now!

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Nov 22 2019

Shiny Distractions

The world is full of shiny distractions. Everywhere you look, there is another thing, idea, or perspective that can distract us from where we should be focusing our attention. We have found that in today’s environment of having everything at our fingertips, it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking for quick fix solutions instead of going to Jesus–but he is the best one we can ever go to for advice. We meet with different people every week who have questions about their faith, questions about how to navigate current culturally popular topics, and questions about what they should or shouldn’t allow in their lives. These are all important questions and sometimes, we as believers, need someone else to confirm that we are headed in the right direction, or help to point us in the right direction. Often times the only advice we need to give comes in the form of a simple question: Why is Jesus not enough?

Sometimes we get distracted by the systems of the world which can cause us to look to those things to discover who we are, to find solutions for problems, or to receive advice. But why isn’t Jesus enough? I have found the simple answer to this question is that it is easy to be distracted when our focus is not on Jesus. But the more we focus on him, the more we focus on who he is, the more we focus on who he says we are, the more we realize that everything we need is in him.

I had a conversation with Jesus earlier this year about his attributes and I asked him to reveal his different attributes to me in a way I haven’t experienced in the past. His answer was simple and straightforward. He told me to read the book of John; so, I did. As I read through each chapter, I intentionally looked for anything that stood out as one of his attributes and wrote each one down. My list quickly grew to almost 100 different attributes that are revealed in this single book! Here’s just a few of the ones I found:

  • He doesn’t apologize for the truth
  • His truth sets people free
  • His words are eternal life
  • He desires for us to be with him
  • His words bring peace
  • His questions pierce our hearts

The more I learn about him, the more I am attracted to him! Have you ever thought about what it is that attracts you to Jesus? Have you wondered what is it about Jesus that makes you want to follow him?

I encourage you this week to think about these questions and go on your own journey through the scriptures to discover the attributes of Jesus. He really is enough for us!

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Nov 15 2019

Intense Focus

Throughout our lives, we tend to focus on the things that are most important to us in any given season. Sometimes we are focused on getting through school. Other times we may be focused on finishing up a project at work. We focus on relationships, we focus on life goals, and sometimes we just we focus on survival; focus is a great because our focus helps us to achieve our goals. But what happens if we shift our focus to view things through the eyes of Jesus? What happens if we ask our King what he is intensely focused on, and reorder our priorities to have the same intense focus on what our King wants accomplished in this season of our life? Of course, this will be different for everyone because our roles in the body of Christ are different, but when our focus is in alignment with His focus, our impact increases exponentially. It’s easy to get sidetracked on the current popular thing or the shiny new idea we see in the culture around us, but we need to remember that focusing on the systems of the world takes our eyes off our King. I am confident that there is a supernatural solution to every problem on earth, and those solutions are in the heart of our King. Part of our job as followers of Jesus is to align our perspectives, ideas, and focus with what he is doing, so that we can partner with Him to accomplish the work of His Kingdom being established on the earth. Because when His Kingdom shows up, everything else immediately bows before the King of all Kings. I want nothing more than to see the Kingdom of God firmly established on the earth. That should be our primary focus, because it is His primary focus.  

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!


Nov 8 2019

Inheritance

I tend to put followers of Jesus into two categories. One is the everyday Christian who lives a good life, goes to church, and volunteers in different capacities, but never fully realizes who they are in Christ. The other is the Christian who does all of these things, but also goes after everything that God has for their life and refuses to settle for mediocrity because they recognize the only thing that can transform the world is the power of God working through believers. Have you ever thought about the inheritance available to you as a follower of Jesus? Ephesians 1:11 tells us that we have obtained an inheritance; some people think that is just talking about heaven, but let me tell you, it is so much more that what you receive after you die. Romans 8:17 tells us that we are co-heirs with Christ. Heirs receive something after someone dies. When Christ died, something amazing became available to all who chose (or will choose) to follow him. Salvation is the major component of what we receive, but there is so much more. We become ambassadors of Christ. We step into the role of representing our King to everyone we meet. When Jesus told us in John 14 that those of us who believe in him would do greater works than he had done, he was talking about us! Our inheritance is more than heaven. Our inheritance is a new identity that only God can give to us. It is an identity that, if we fully grab hold of it, positions us to heal the sick, raise the dead, free people held in captivity by demons, release the goodness of God, and the list goes on. There is no such thing as a mediocre Christian life in the mind of God. We were created and destined for so much more. Many viewpoints have stifled the work of God through believers in the name of good theology. Well, some theology is actually bad and should be thrown away. Especially the pieces that lie to believers about their true identity in Christ. The body of Christ has the answer the world needs. We need to stop allowing the systems of the world to influence us, and instead, take the systems of the Kingdom of God into the world to influence and transform everyone else’s way of thinking. The Kingdom of God will not stop advancing. We can choose to play an active role or passively sit on the sidelines. I choose to be active. Come join me. Let’s change the world together.  

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Sign up for monthly updates
Pick up a copy of Gene’s latest book here!