Friday, February 26, 2010

Leadership principle: releasing resources

Leadership principle:  releasing resources
S-  Mark 5:16-20 (NASB)
  Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine.
 17And they began to implore Him to leave their region.
 18As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him.
 19And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to themwhat great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
 20And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
O -  What a great leader Jesus was.   He was strategic thinker and not a resource hoarder.  What I see in this situation where he had ministered to the man with the legion demons in him, and the man out of pure thankfulness and love for Jesus wanted to follow him and serve  Him.  As a leader there is no one greater you could look for to have on your team than someone with this kind of enthusiasm and dedication.  If it were me, I would have been tempted to take the man on my team, knowing how committed he would be, and what a great help to me and my mission would be.  But Jesus being the strategic thinker He was, knew He personally couldn't go everywhere and stay for along time.  He needed to be planting the seeds like this man, in various communities who will proclaim the testimony and point people to Him.   Rather than have His ministry limited by how much He physically could do, and travel to, he began spreading the roots throughout various communities through the individual life's he affected.
A - There are many lessons to gather from this story relative to leadership and ministry.
1.  First - if you want to see your ministry grow,  you need to be able to discern where the Father wants you to work, and whose life you want to impact.  Ultimately God is and can be far more strategic than you can, He simply has the bigger picture that we will never get our heads around.
2. Second - be a strategic thinker -  many times we invest in people and minister to them with the hope of bringing them on to our team.  When there is break through in there lives our tendency is to want to bring them up in our ministry and have them join in.  The model we have to understand and follow is Jesus' model for ministry, build up and out.  First build up your own ministry to where it is effective, then send out to extend your ministry beyond the boundaries of what you can reach on your own.
P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's message, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would help me to discern where it is I should keep working, and what area's I should stop so that I might be an effective ministry leader.   I pray Lord also that you help me to know when to strategically release people to the calling on their lives in order to spread out the ministry you have called me and them to.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Living out God’s plan for the Sabbath year

Living out God’s plan for the Sabbath year
S – Lev 25:6,20-21 (NASB)

O – The Sabbath, my good friend and a mystery to me of God’s creation and design for us. In Leviticus we see the Lord stretching the people of Israel’s understanding and faith in the Sabbath even more through the command to allow a Sabbath year in the land. That must have taken real courage for the people to trust in the Lord, as their daily food and substance had to be worked hard for in comparison for what we have to do today. The analogy for today would be simply to work for 6 years, and take a full year off work and trust in God’s provision for your life. This is not so far off possible, in fact I think quite possible outside the realm of the social norm today. What this would force us to do is recognize what is God’s provision and what is excess to be saved for the future. Our consumer mentality today tells us to use all we have today, tomorrow is a different issue. This goes either way whether we hoard and never spend our provision, and therefore never stop working to earn more and then life is over. The other path is to spend all you have, never saving for the 7th year Sabbath; this is equally disobedient as the first.
A – The application for me is to understand that it is possible to operate in accordance with God’s design when it comes to the Sabbath. It is a manner of planning and trust in God’s ways over the ways of society. Here is my challenge to myself:
1. Be obedient to the weekly Sabbath rest.
2. Plan for a 7th year Sabbath, in which I rely on God’s provision from the past and don’t strive to earn but simply live off the fruit of the previous 6 years. This will require me paying attention to God’s provision for my life by understanding what is sufficient for today, and what is for the years to come. Setting aside what is for the future provision, and then for that 7th year, living solely off that provision. This scripture will be the foundation of the understanding of and trust in the promises from God.
P – Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today’s lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you give me the faith, wisdom, and discipline to live according to your design. Thank you for how you created me, unique, but with purpose, designed to love you, and follow your ways.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who is in the family of God?

Who is in the family of God?
S - Mark 3:35 (NASB)
"For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."

O - The family of God is quite simply defined as those who do the will of God. That should come as no surprise since God designed us to all be part of his family, but it was through our own rebellion that we separated ourselves from Him. Christ is pointing out in this verse, that being apart of his family simply requires commitment to do the will of the Father.

A - The application for me is to realize that God is calling us all back to His family, the call is defined by His will for our life. His will is that we would no longer separate ourselves from Him, and that by recognizing our own rebellion and need to recommit our lives to his leadership we can gain membership in the family of God.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's message, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would help me deliver your message, to all those you would have hear it, and whose heart's are ready to receive it. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The sabbath is for us, not to serve God

The sabbath is for us, not to serve God

S - Mark 2:27-28 (NASB)

"The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

28"So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

O - What a great reminder that we are not to serve the Sabbath, on the contrary the sabbath's true design was to serve us. Those who try and maintain obedience to the Sabbath as an obedient act to please God miss the point of the sabbath. It would be like a child who receives a toy for their birthday, and then begrudgingly plays with it to please their mom and dad. I believe God wants us to be refreshed and restored in the Sabbath, and that by submitting to the Sabbath, we are choosing to receive the gift of rest that God has given us.

A - I must choose to receive the gift of rest that God has given me in the Sabbath, not just being obedient in the sabbath, but willingly receiving, and being refreshed in it.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord for continued revelation, and rest in the Sabbath. I pray that you would use me to help bring the message of the sabbath to your people and to the world.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Holy Spirits role in Prophesy

The Holy Spirits role in Prophesy

S - Numbers 11:25 (NASB)
25Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.

O - We see the Holy Spirit active and distributed here from Moses to the 70 elders, as the spirit came upon them, they prophesied. I think I am understanding that God's plan for us as Christians was real and in the design from the beginning. Moses was the first to have that genuine relationship with God, seeing him face to face, and having the Holy Spirit rest upon him. But despite that it wasn't enough and the Lord saw fit to distribute amongst 70 more to help Moses lead the people. For us today we are to simply genuinely seek His Holy Spirit would come upon us, and dwell in us, and we too will prophesy. This is the reality and availability for each and every Christian.

A - The take away for me is to genuinely seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit, to be filled in such a way that His spirit overflows in me, and that I too might prophesy for the Lord.

P - Dear heavenly Father thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The shift from Kingdom rule to man rule

The shift from Kingdom rule to man rule

S - Acts 15: 28-30 (NASB)

James's Judgment

13After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, "Brethren, listen to me.
28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:

29that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell."

30So when they were sent away, they went down to Antioch; and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter.

O - This scripture was highlighted to me as the point in which the church began the decline from being God led to being man led. You see, in the purity of the design if everyone would lead by the holy spirit, and as Jesus as their Lord, there would be no need for a single leader in the Church to make a judgment call like James was forced to make here. The spirit in the Church would lead. But this is not the reality of the world and we must recognize the need for spirit led leadership.

A- Beware of the yeast of the Pharisee's. The yeast is when men take God's command's and strictly adhere to them without considering God's nature, God's spirit, God's love, and God's grace.

P - Thank you Lord for this message, may it be sealed to my heart.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Handling trials in the Church

Handling trials in the Church
S - Acts  12:4-7 (NASB)
When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people.
 5So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.
 6On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.
 7And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly " And his chains fell off his hands.
O - Thank God for His perfect timing.  We see here, that Peter, who was arrested by Herod, after he saw how it pleased the Jews when he executed James, John's brother.  So here Peter is in Prison, the day before his planned execution, and what do we observe:   The church fervently praying for him,  and him sleeping in peace, and the Lord moving to his aide.   What a great model for all of us to view and experience, and hopefully walk in ourselves.
A -  The application for me is to recognize the various phases of trials I may experience and respond how the early church did by doing the following:
1.  Praying fervently during times of trials:  I must recognize the power of corporate and individual prayer, not just for me , but for others who may be facing trials in the church.  We are called to be people of prayer; trials will come, and our response needs to be to run to Him.
2.  Waiting patiently, in peace:   The next phase is my personal challenge.  To be able to wait patiently, and in peace and faith of the Lord's covering.  We see Peter sleeping between two of his captors the night before his planned execution.  This is the peace that goes beyond all understanding, that Paul talks about that comes from "being anxious about nothing, but in everything through, prayer, petition, and supplication, present your request to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard you heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
3.  The last move is the Lords.  Recognize that the Lord's promises are real, but often he takes the last and decisive move.  We must be careful not to take control out of fear, before the Lord makes his move.  Just like with salvation the move the Lord's to send Christ as our savior, and in the end, we cannot influence when the Kingdom of Heaven will be restored on Earth, it is all in God's timing not ours.

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord, that you would help me to follow these three basic principles during trials in my own life.  I especially need to learn to pray fervently for others, and wait patiently for your move. I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.