Jul 31 2015

Atmosphere of hope

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There have been a lot of tragedies in the news lately with stories about lone gunmen shooting up churches, movie theaters, and military buildings in different parts of the country. It’s real easy when a string of violence happens for people to lose hope and begin to think that the world has changed for the worse. Yes, there are a lot of problems but I tend to think that we can easily shift those problems and restore hope by living with the expectation that atmospheres will shift when we show up. Christians have a great opportunity to positively impact society simply by being who God created us to be. People lined up to hear Solomon teach or to have him provide wisdom for a particular situation; even famous people came to hear what he had to say. God gave him this great gift of wisdom and he used it to bless not only Israel but the surrounding nations as well. Imagine people forming lines outside of a church, or a house, or a coffee shop, to speak to someone who can actually provide help. The church needs to be known as a place people can come to have their hope restored. We carry the hope of the world, start sharing it with everyone you know. #restorehope

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Jul 24 2015

Hand over face

We can pursue God with a passion and a desire to be used by him in great ways. But some people actually have a problem with this and I have heard people ask about chasing the hand of God instead of the face of God; it’s this idea that those who pursue the miraculous are more interested in God’s power than they are in having a relationship with him. Can we really pursue a relationship with God without also pursuing everything he stands for and everything he has for us? We don’t do this in other relationships. We don’t form friendships and then tell the other person not to be themselves around us. We form relationships to get to know other people, to share in their passions, to hear about their dreams, and to participate in their lives. So as we cultivate a relationship with God we should expect him to share his desires with us. We should expect him to tell us what he is passionate about and to invite us to participate with him in what he is doing. All throughout the Bible we see God weaving his passions and desires into and through the lives of his servants. He wants us to passionately pursue his presence. And he also wants us to passionately pursue a lifestyle that releases what he has for others. You can’t seek the face of God and not get the hand of God as well. God is not fractured and he is not looking for surface relationships with his people. It has to be all or nothing. Any pursuit that is less than that robs you of the purpose for which you were created.
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Jul 17 2015

World changers

Did you know that we are all incredibly valuable to God and that he doesn’t want any of us to live outside of the role he has called us to? He wants everyone of us to partner with and participate with him. It’s an incredible plan and we all play an important part. I hear so many people say things like “I’m not worthy to be used” because of something in their past but I’ll tell you right now to get that notion out of your head. You are so incredibly valuable. Jesus would not have died for you if you were not worth it. You are valuable, you are royalty, you are special to God. He died because you are worthy. It’s important to understand this because you cannot fulfill God’s plan for your life if you aren’t walking in true identity. We have to know and we have to understand how God sees us, what he thinks about us, and that he does have a plan for us. And it isn’t a little plan either. We have to get this if we are ever going to fulfill the role he has called us to. And this isn’t just about the miraculous either. Not everyone is called to full time ministry in a church. Some are called to be in the government arena, or in the entertainment arena, and no matter where we are called God will give us the wisdom and ability to be the best at that job. We need to be seen; Christians need to be seen as the best of the best so that everyone else will come to us to know why we are so different. We have to stand out from the crowd at least enough to pique people’s interest so that they come to us. And that’s what gives us the opportunity to speak into their lives. But we can never arrive at that point if we don’t first know how much God values us and want to use us. Walk in the fullness of your identity and you will change the world.

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Jul 10 2015

One hundred percent

While reading through the book of Acts recently I noticed something new that I hadn’t picked up on before. It’s funny how that works; you can read the same passage of scripture hundreds of times and then BAM, something jumps off the page that you never noticed before. Throughout the gospels we see several references to Jesus healing everyone who came to him. I generally accept, and teach, that Jesus had a 100% healing rate. But we often get trapped in this notion that because he is the Son of God he fell into a different category when it came to miracles. If only we had some evidence of someone else performing miracles at the same level of Jesus, then we could say there is a chance that we too can operate at that same level. Here comes the BAM I mentioned a second ago. In Acts 5:15-16 we have this:

“As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.”

Did you catch that last part? “All of them were healed.” That sounds like a 100% success rate to me! Now this isn’t about keeping stats or comparing results because that’s just silly. But it is about recognizing the authority all of us carry as sons and daughters of God and that we too can lay hands on the sick and expect every one of them to be healed. No one has to walk away and remain sick. Jesus did it, Peter and the other disciples did it, and we can do it too! And just to be clear, I don’t think we need this verse in Acts to tell us this but it should be a great boost of faith and give us even more expectation to see people fully restored.

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Jul 3 2015

Hope restored

What does hope look like? How can we, as the representatives of Jesus, bring hope to the people in our communities? To the disciples in the book of Acts hope looked like this:

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk.” (Acts 3:1-8)

Later we learn that this crippled man was 40 years old. You know what, age is not a factor in the miraculous and neither is the type of sickness. A 95 year old woman who is terminally ill with cancer can be healed just as easily as a 20 year old man with a twisted ankle. But how many people do we pass up every day without giving them what we have? Our position as God’s representatives gives us this amazing opportunity to deliver hope to any person in need. Hopelessness tends to settle in during long times of illness and healing the sick not only restores the body but also restores hope. And love always hopes!

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