Apr 9 2021

Everything starts as a seed

Seeds grow into plants and eventually bear fruit, if they are planted in good soil. Have you wondered why you haven’t seen fruit in some seasons of your life? The seeds God gave to you may have been stolen, or may have died–but they can be replaced! Watch this week’s video to see what happens to the seeds of God’s kingdom.


Apr 2 2021

God Encounters

When is the last time you had an amazing encounter with God? When is the last time you asked Him to encounter you? There is nothing more exciting than being in His presence. Watch this week’s video to learn how easy it is to begin having encounters with the creator of the universe today!


Mar 26 2021

Total Surrender

Jesus wants 100% of you, and when you give him 100%, you will find yourself in the deepest and most meaningful relationship of your life. Surrender, in the kingdom of God, is not just an idea, it’s an expectation. Take a few minutes to get some practical application on this important topic.


Oct 15 2020

Your life is not your own

 

There’s this paradox in the Christian life, one that many followers of Jesus have never fully grasped, that when we say yes to Jesus, we give up every one of our rights, and at the same time retain free will.

 

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” – 1 Cor. 6:19-20

We were bought with a price! Jesus owns us! He paid for us! When we give our life to Jesus, it ceases to be our life, it ceases to belong to us. This is why there are so many scriptures that talk about having the mind of Christ, living by the spirit, not thinking from a natural (worldly) perspective, and being a slave to Jesus (Phil. 2:5, Gal. 5:25, 1 Cor. 2:14, 7:22). Your life is not your own. At the end of the day, Jesus’ opinion is the only one that really matters. Think about that for a moment. If your life is fully committed to him, his opinion is the only one that counts.

That’s a perspective that goes against human logic, but it is in the place of total surrender that we begin to realize how great he really is, and how worthy he is to receive ALL glory, honor, praise, and obedience. What do the living creatures around the throne of God who continuously cry out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” understand that we do not? They understand how worthy he really is to receive our total surrender and adoration. We have to set aside that human nature, stare into the eyes of Jesus, and ask him for his perspective on all things. We have to be willing to set aside every idea we have ever had, regardless of how important we think it is, and replace it with his idea.

Many times, his ideas don’t immediately make any sense to us. It seemed senseless to have the Israelites march around Jericho for a week. It seemed senseless for the worship team to be on the front line of Israeli military battles. It seemed senseless for William Seymour to wear a box on his head while he waited for revelation from the Lord. And the list goes on. But in every situation where humans have been obedient to God, his purpose was fulfilled in that situation. We follow his lead in all things, that’s the primary role of anyone who follows Jesus.    

I encourage you to take some time today and lay everything you are holding onto at his feet. Every perspective—church perspectives, political perspectives, family perspectives, social perspectives, educational perspectives—lay every perspective at his feet and trade them in for his perspective. It’s not an easy thing to do, but when the one who knows everything replaces your thought with his thoughts, it’s the best place to be.


May 14 2020

Spiritual Spoon Feeding

In the midst of this season, a lot of people have moved to attending online church services, which I think is great, except for this underlying idea that so many of those transitions have been made with the notion that believers will go unfed if they cannot attend a weekend service. That’s a bit intense, I know, but stick with me here for a minute. Followers of Jesus cannot survive off a 1-hour service each week. We need to be trained to receive directly from the source—Jesus! In John 15, Jesus teaches us that we can do nothing without him. He does not say we can do nothing without the church, he says we can do nothing without him. That is an important distinction. He is our source. He is the one we go to for our spiritual feeding. Unfortunately, too many believers have fallen into a trap of believing that they go to a church service as the primary place to be fed. And if we are completely honest with ourselves, pastors carry part of the blame for allowing members of the body to continue in this mindset. Jesus is the vine that we need to stay connected to, and our spiritual nourishment should flow directly from him. The body of Christ certainly has a role, but it may not be the role that you think it is.

Ephesians chapter four teaches us that Jesus gave Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers (commonly called the 5-fold ministry) as gifts to the church “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” The role of the 5-fold ministry is to equip the saints to become mature enough that they are able to feed directly from Jesus. Small children have to be spoon fed, but eventually they learn how to feed themselves, and eventually they learn how to find and prepare their own food. They don’t depend on, or demand, spoon feeding for their entire life. Sadly, this is not common in the body of Christ.

What we see all too often is that followers of Jesus are content to be spiritually spoon fed each week instead of digging into the bible, pursuing deeper intimacy with Jesus, and actually being equipped to fulfill their life’s purpose. Spoon feeding is easy. It requires no effort on the part of the receiver. This is why so many practices that don’t require any effort have become so popular. This is why people search for their identity in a test instead of in Jesus. This is why we have so many spiritually emaciated and powerless Christians. And this is why the world does not see the church as the answer. Some have even become so accustomed to being spoon fed that they will stop attending a church service when they feel like they are not being fed. But I would like to suggest that the spiritual feeding role within the church is primarily for young believers who need to be properly discipled. Once that is accomplished, they can function healthily within the body of Christ. This requires a major shift by the 5-fold ministry away from the current model of feel good sermons. We need to be training, equipping, and releasing believers into the call God has for their life.

The spoon feeding has to stop!!!

My advice for pastors is this: focus on equipping, so the people you pastor can fulfill the purpose and mission given to them by Jesus. This may require a major shift in the way your local church body functions and in the way you minister. But consider that if your model hasn’t been effective in actually advancing the Kingdom of God, it may be time to ask Jesus for a new model.

My advice for all believers is this: focus on being equipped, so you can go out and fulfill the purpose and mission given to you by Jesus. Consume the word of God. Sit at the feet of Jesus and learn to hear his voice. You were made to be in relationship with your creator.

If anything you just read hit a nerve in you, I suggest you pause and listen to what Jesus wants to speak to you right now. Because here’s the reality: unequipped believers will never be able to fulfill the purpose, role, and destiny that God created them to fulfill. The gospel is simple. Let’s not complicate it. Make disciples, train them to make more disciples, and represent the fullness of Jesus to the world.

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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.

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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.

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Feb 24 2016

Buckle up and enjoy the ride

I would describe myself as adventurous.  I like roller coaster rides, especially those that go in loops.  I used to be afraid of them until I was in middle school and a friend talked me into riding one.  I was hooked after that first ride.  I was terrified and then the feeling of the adrenaline hit and it was so much fun.  I immediately wanted to ride again.  thus began my love affair with amusement parks and roller coasters.

Now, as much as I love roller coasters, I do not like ups and downs of life.  Well, at least I didn’t when I thought that I had to be in control of every aspect of my life.  Let me be clear- I like a certain amount of control, but I have definitely learned that life is more fun if you just buckle up and embrace the ride. Life is more fun if you just buckle up and embrace the ride.

God is the ultimate adventurer.  In order for us to see His creativity, just look at the aardvark and the diversity of the fish in the sea.  I think that God wants us to enjoy life and have a great adventure.  Following God and living while listening for His voice and obeying is definitely an adventure.  Once you know that you hear His voice and then do what He is asking you to do is just as exhilarating as that first roller coaster ride- terrifying and exciting at the same time. Hearing God’s voice & obeying, is like a roller coaster ride- terrifying & exciting. He didn’t create us to live a mundane existence.

The ups are exactly like the best times of your life and then the downs are the parts when you throw your hands up and scream!  You’re screaming because you are terrified, but it releases all of your emotions and it brings that adrenaline that you need to get to the next climb.  If we look at those downs as a way to regain momentum to get back to the top, then that changes our perspectives.  So the next time you feel like you are barreling down hill, take a moment to ask God what He is preparing you for as you are re-charging for the next mountaintop.  It’s even ok to scream a little and throw your hands up 🙂

 

 


Feb 10 2016

A healthier me

I am reading a few books right now, 3 to be exact.  One of them is Beni Johnson’s newest book Healthy and Free: A Journey To Wellness For Your Body, Soul and Spirit.  It awakened something in me.  It made me realize that I can feel free in one area of my life, but not in others and that as I might have more confidence in one area, I might feel so inadequate in another.  It also helped me to realize that I am not getting any younger and I really want to be the healthiest version of me that I can.  Not just spiritually, but physically as well. I want to be healthy, not just spiritually, but physically as well. #fitforme

So, an amazing woman in my small group, Emily Attwood, asked me if I wanted to join a group of women in getting healthy and learning to make some lifestyle changes.  I am happy to say that I have found that I am stronger than I thought and that with a group people to share with, I have been able to begin and maintain a regular workout schedule for over one month!!!  This is huge for me, pun intended.  I never thought that I was strong enough to do this.  When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes more than 10 years ago, I thought that there were things that I would have to give up, that I was doomed for life and that I would forever be on a constant rollercoaster of meds, out of control emotions and neverending doctor appointments.  Yes, there have been so many times when I would just yell at God and say, ” Can I just feel normal for ONE day?!!!”  I would feel like King David in his bipolar expression of love for God and then immediate anger and large pity parties.  I would try really hard to remember that God told me that I would be healed and then I would forget just as quickly.

I’m sure this happens to all of us every once in a while and I feel like God is saying,”It’s ok.”  It’s ok to get angry, ok to have a pity party, even ok to yell at God, but the important thing is to not dwell there. It’s ok to get angry,have a pity party, even yell at God, but don’t dwell there. God knows how we feel, more importantly He knows our hearts and our desires.  I believe that His heart hurts to see us go through our rollercoasters and I love it when He goes out of His way to show us how much He loves us and is cheering us on.

I know that I can cry my eyes out to Him and He is there.  Even if I don’t feel Him, He’s there.  I also know that I He created me to be a warrior, strong and able to accomplish most anything I put my mind to. I know God created me to be a warrior, strong & able to accomplish most anything I want to. I know this because I can now hold a plank for an ENTIRE minute.  I never knew a minute could feel like such a long time, but it can.  I can complete a Plyo workout and walk the next day.  For the record, those of you who saw me after day 1 & 2 of the beginning of my new lifestyle change, you know how I could barely walk, well, I’ve added weights to those workouts 🙂

So, I am now finally stable in my workout routines, daily nutrition, and even my diabetes is “controlled”.  At this rate, I hope to be fully healed soon!  I have lost 13 pounds and almost 11 inches since I began this journey and I am so looking forward to getting my physical health up to speed with my spiritual and mental health!!! I say all of this to hopefully be an encouragement to someone out there who doesn’t feel strong enough or disciplined enough to make a change.  You can do it and God and I are both cheering you on!!!