Wednesday, August 31, 2011

God's fractal

God's fractal

 S - Rev 4:2-4 (NASB)
 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.3 And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.

O -  At the risk of biblically misinterpreting this scripture, I am convinced God gave me a glimpse of what His fractal is through this scripture.  You see God has spent history building his fractal.   He started with Jesus as his fractal leader.  Jesus knew God's  vision and mission from the beginning so who better to lead the fractal.   Over time God drew leaders to his service, leaders like Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel  Isaiah, Paul, Peter, John, etc.  These are the spiritual giants which God invested years of development and mentoring.   God knew through these leaders he could impact all of humanity.   Though he loves us all, he held deep intimate, relationship with these individuals who were kingdom builders.   In the end, in heaven these are who God has chosen to be the elders of His Church.  

A - The lesson, is one for for me as a fractal leader, from the One who knows leadership of people better than anyone.  I am to build fractal teams like God has built his.  By first finding faithful men and women, who are seeking more of God, and willing to be led, molded and shaped for a purpose much bigger than themselves.   Fractals are built by investing time in people.   I need to deeply invest in peoples growth, development, much as God did with Moses and David.  This includes walking with them through valleys and mountain tops, taking time to coach them on navigating the terrain of ministry and life.  Ultimately in the end we may develop relationships with many, and help them on their journey of spiritual growth and transformation, but I believe God will reveal who our fractal leadrs are.  Fractal leaders are those committed to God,  committed to you as a leader, committed to one another, committed to the mission of the team.  As  a fractal leader my role is to seek God and his wisdom in selecting, coaching, and leading those he brings into my life. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.   I pray Lord that you would continue to coach and mentor me at leading teams of your people for your purposes.  I pray Lord that my own pride might not get in the way of allowing you to lead others through me.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Neither hot nor cold

Neither hot nor cold

 S - Rev 3:15-22 (NASB)
15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.19 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.20 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.21 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.22 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' "
O -   This  portion of the book of revelations is to the seven church's,   this particular church Laodicea was the last of the seven, and the only church not to be given some positive feedback, but instead is subltly and harshly rebuked for being lukewarm.   Likely this meant they were passive Christians in there community and of little influence on other people's lives.  They neither stood fast against the evil or false teaching (hot), nor did they preach truth where ever they went (i.e. not cold),  This Christ warns us is a dangerously ineffective church.  But thankfully we have a loving, merciful God , full of grace, that allows us to the learn through scripture what we are to do if we are lukewarm.   Jesus basically say first come back to Him,  be refined through the His spirit, so that you may become kingdom of heaven rich,  clean off past sins,  and free of shame.    He stands ready to give us all things neccessary to be both hot and cold.

A - The application for me is to recognize that  I am the church, and I can become lukewarm if I allow myself to get comfortable in my own salvation to the point where God's truth and God's mission seems somehow less required for me to have a good life.  I know for me, in my season after Iraq, I hit a valley, and was surely Luke warm for many months.  I lacked energy and passion for anything except getting myself out of the valley.   My testimony is that as I sought Christ in that period, he was faithful to answer, through prayer and whispers of the holy spirit I was able to find my way back to a passionate pursuance of his truth and purpose for me in the local church.  Once I was realigned and began to passionately pursue this purpose I found the fire and the ice in me to continue to serve the lord with more abandonment.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for todays message, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you help me not to become luke warm again, that you can use me in this world to speak your truth, rebuke that which is not of you, and encourage those around me to submit to your holy authority.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Correction back to the heart of our first love

Correction back to the heart of our first love

S - Rev 2:2-5 (NASB)
2 'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance , and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary.4 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.5 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

O -  This portion of the Revelations letter was to the church at Ephesus. It was Christ, via John, sending message of correction. The correction was one of recognition of their hard work,  affirmation of what they were doing correctly, and correction of that which they were not.   What Christ points out that they are doing correctly was not tolerating evil men.  They were testing so called apostles in their midst to ensuring they didn't have false leaders among them.  This is critical in a young immature church as well as a established and thriving church.   False teachers are rarely obvious, they are subtle in the way they infiltrate the congregation and lead people astray.   The correction is one of a "heart check" or pruning back to the heart of Christ.   Christ is telling the church to remember their first love, and passion as they received their salvation and calling to be a beacon to the community,  to spread the Gospel,  to be examples of God's love in how they love one another and their passion for the lost.  The warning comes along with the correction, failure to correct will cause the lamp stand (the church itself)  to be removed.

A -   The application is for  me to understand and live God's heart for his local church's to always remember who they are and to be continually pruning back to the heart of the calling of the local church, to be a place where people can come broken and separated from God, and to find Him, worship Him, and be healed by Him.   This is done by following two basic principles pointed out here in the scripture:
1.   Put to test those who are leading the disciples -    This is a critical thing to understand and do continuously in being the church.  Often times people are allowed to lead before they are ready  ("under developed leaders") .  These you can correct and equip when they begin to stray off the core values of the church.   The scripture is not speaking of these, but rather leaders who have false doctrine in which they operate under that, subtly they are  "selling" to the congregation.  The key for the shepherd leaders in the congregation is to collectively confront, and challenge those who directly or indirectly are violating kingdom principles and/or core values of the church.
2.  Correct/prune back to the heart -  The outgrowing the original heart seems to be a natural tendency of either growing  church's or long standing stagnant church's.   Over time, we are making subtle adjustments to deal with our changing circumstances, or even out of a heart to improve we are making many changes over time.  If we stepped back periodically at took a look we might see things as Christ see's things,  we have lost our first love.  For the local church, that might look like when we begin to worry more about our church service problems, and less about the problems of the people in the community in which we serve.   Pruning back to our first love, the call, the vision and the mission of the church periodically helps us keep our calling, before Christ removes His anointing on the church.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, through your apostle John.   I pray Lord that you would help me to apply in my life, wherever you would send me, so that I may remember your calling on my life, and help the local church remember who she is.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dealing with wounds and danger in the flock

Dealing with wounds and danger in the flock

S - 3 John 1:9-13 (NASB)
9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
 11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. 12Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

 13 I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink; 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face. 

O - Wow, John almost sounds like Paul in this letter, which is definitely a letter of encouragement and a letter of rebuke.  I say he sounds like Paul because in many of Paul's letter to the church's he planted there was a hint of a strong correction, coupled with words of encouragement, and guidance on how to navigate the circumstances, followed by the promise (threat even) of an in person appearance.  There are great leadership and shepherding gems to be mined from these verses.  First off we can see examples of whom we might see in our own church or ministry.  The Diotrephes' are present in our church today, those who love to be first, and are not teachable or correctable.  John points out these deeds are to be called attention to by leaders, and the rest of the sheep are to be reminded not to imitate such behavior.   John points all of this out in a short letter, and doesn't get into the details of the situation, either because the recipients of letter will know what and whom he is speaking of, but I believe it is also because John is a wise leader, in that he knows some matters need to be handled face to face, a letter (or email) will not be effective.

A -  The application for me is as a shepherd leader I can pick up some good tools for my shepherding tool bag to be carried around and used when appropriate.   First off as shepherds we must realize that among the sheep their may be those sheep who are sick and wounded and as a result they affect the rest of the sheep.    As shepherds we are to know our flock and when we see someone who may be wounded and out of this woundedness, wounds others in their path.   We should do what all good shepherds would do,  protect the sheep, and go after the one who is wounded with love, kindness, and correction if necessary.  The correlary to this is that at times their may be wolves in sheep clothing among your flock, these are even more dangerous and need to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.   Secondly, John gives us a great shepherding gem,  we are to use discernment to the situation and in cases where the flock is at risk you must deal with situations face to face,  an email, or a subtle comment in a group meeting just won't do.  In face to face, we can directly address issues, bring them to forefront, and often time the corrections neccesary will be more effective when a person to person contact is made.  In a time when email, text, and Facebook communications are available, we must be careful to handle communications and correction in an appropriate forum for the situation,  as shepherds our job is to use the correct tools for the job.  

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would teach me and give me wise discernment of when to apply these new shepherding tools that you have revealed through scripture.  I  pray that my eyes would be open to see those wounded and in need of care, and I would be able to see the wolves amongst the flock.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eternal commandment revived - Love one another

Eternal commandment revived - Love one another

S - 2 John 1:4-6 (NASB)
 4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.

O - Why don't I remember John speaking so simply and profoundly this common and simple commandment.  Perhaps I was not ready to receive the truth in its entirety.  I am sometimes so intensely seeking the profound and complicated truth that the simple truth can pass me by.  The simple truth is not revealed here but reaffirmed by John that from the beginning God commanded us to love one another.  And the love he speaks of walks according to His ways, which He has spelled out since the beginning.   The only difference from the beginning is  that through Christ restoration has been given so we may eternally walk in His commandments and love one another.

A -  The application for me is painstakingly simple, I must love others as God loves, them, according to His commandments.  I am called to love them like God is loving me; with grace, with righteousness, and with compassion.  I am to love them with they eyes and heart of a Father willingly to sacrifice all for the sake of restored relationship, and a heart so pure it can't stand to tolerate rebellion and independence,  but rather values committed relationship, and dependence.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's devotion, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to grow my heart to love like you love, to see what you see, and to do what you are doing.  I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Two sins unwrapped (unrighteousness, and sin leading to death)

Two sins unwrapped (unrighteousness, and sin leading to death)

 S - 1 John 5:16-20 (NASB)
 16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
 18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
O -  I am always amazed that each time I read books in the bible I am renewed in a new way.  John is one of my favorite authors in the bible, his purity of thought and heart always is deep and meaningful.   Here we see him tackling what I believe to be the issue of sin among believers.   It is a complicated matter that only the spirit of God can help us truly understand.  John here does a good job of making some subtle distinctions.  First, we may actually see our brothers committing sins, and these sins may not lead to death.  When we do we are to seek God.  We are to seek God because the distinction is perhaps hard for us to understand, the sin that leads to death vice the sin that comes from unrighteousness.  One we can pray for , the other is out of our hands completely.  Second,  that one who is born of God does not sin, and is separated from the devil.  So wrapping it all together into who we are in Christ, and what we can expect in our community of believers is the challenge for me.

A - I believe the application to me to be and understanding from the perspective of a maturity spectrum.   I believe that when I was first saved, my sins were forgiven, and grace washed over me, not for what I deserved but for the decision Christ made.  I became born new and began walking with Christ (more like crawling).   I forgiven for the past, but continued to stumble at times with unrighteous moments in my life.  Not necessarily sin that leads to death (I believe that to be to reject what I have already accepted, Christ, and His spirit in me), but rather moments of being less than God has created me to be, and even to some level immature ignorance of the spirits prompting.    But as I have grown in Christ, the distance between me and sin that causes death grows, and the sensitivity to the spirits leadership in my life, lessens the instances of unrighteousness, until one day I look forward to being cleansed of all unrighteous behavior.   Thankfully, for now I can lean on repentance and correction from the Father to guide me in my walk towards righteousness.   

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this incredible lesson today, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to grow me and guide me in my understanding and obedience to your ways, and your spirits leadership of my life.  I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Covenant proclaimed by Jeremiah

New Covenant proclaimed by Jeremiah

 S - Jer 31: 33-34  (NASB)
 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

O - Have you ever thought that God just might be winging it.  It seems unimaginable that he can have a full plan for each and everyone of us.  In Jer 29:11 we learn he has a plan not for our calamity but for a hopeful future.   As I read Jeremiah and recognize the time frame in which it was written (some 600 years before Christ),  I recognize what a plan God has for us, for our salvation and restoration.  That plan went in to effect as soon as Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and became separated from God.  This scripture reveals the part of the plan that is so significant compared to the old covenant.   In the old convenant God gave Moses the law on stone tablets, and asked Moses to lead God's people, in obedience to the law.   In this new covenant the law will be written on their hearts, within each person, so that they won't wander from it, or misinterpret it, like I had been the case of the people of the old covenant.

A -  The application for me is to walk in the truth that I am not an old covenant follower of God but rather a new covenant creation,  reborn with a new spirit, and the law of God written on my heart,  and I know the living God who leads me.   I can still relate to the struggles of the old testament Israelites, in that my flesh can wander from God's law, but I know the truth that I have God's spirit and law within me and that I can overcome this old nature in me and represent God and His people well, despite my old nature.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to dwell in me and that your law would be a daily reminder of your will for me and your people.  Thank you Lord for the transformative power of your spirit, and the sacrifice of your son for my sins, so that I may walk in freedom from my old self and be a new creation in Christ.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The universal commandment

The universal commandment

 S -  1 John 3:23-24 (NASB)
23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us

O - Not much observation other than the simplicity and consistency of the calling and message of Christ , to us , His followers, and to the world.  First we are called to believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God, who died for our sins, so that we might not face the consequences, which is death, and so that we may no longer be separated from God the father.   Secondly He commanded us to love one another.  Now the fact that He had to command us to do so, is a likely hint that our nature is not to do so, but that it is a vital principle in us reaching the world is to show our love for another.   Now part of the plan is that if we dwell in these promises, and the Holy Spirit He has given dwells in us, then Christ is faithful to lead us and help us be faithful to His commandments.

A - The application for me is strive to connect in simplicity of His commandments in the many  and varied points of application in my life.   Daily I am to recommit my life to Christ, and believing in who He is.  Daily I am to love my brothers (those Christian brothers and sisters in Christ) as well as abide in Him, so that those around me can witness His love for them, so they too might one day become a brother in Christ.  

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would be in me, and that I would be in you.  I pray Lord that you help me to practice and live the commandment of loving my brothers.  I also pray Lord that your Holy Spirit would continue to dwell in me and lead me to where you are working in the Harvest field.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who we are in Christ

Who we are in Christ

 S - 1 John 1:5-10 (NASB)
 God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

O - This scripture is a very compact, simple, yet truly deep description of who God is, and who we are in Christ.    It is revelationary that we now understand that we are to be in God's true light if we are fully to be in His will for our life.   As Christians it can be hard to remember this, "to walk in his light" is not possible if we do not practice his truth's.  Jesus Christ is the truth, and when we walk in His ways and practice what Christ is teaching us, then we will be walking in the light.    Of course the beginning of this walking in truth comes by being cleansed of a the effects of sin on our life, by confessing our sins, we begin to walk in the light and are free to follow the truth.

A -  The application for me is to recognize that I am in Christ, and Christ is in me.   It is when I am practicing what Christ in me is teaching me and showing me that I am walking in the light, and that there is no darkness in God's light.   What freedom and peace this brings to be a follower of Christ who simply walks in the footsteps that He has shown us and is showing us. 

P -  Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to shine your light on the path you have for me.  Help me Lord to practice your truth's , I want your way and not my way.  I confess Father I have fallen short, in obedience and in faith of your promises, help me Lord to increase my faith.  I pray all these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Following Jesus in ministry

Following Jesus in ministry

S -  John 21:6-7 (NASB)

“Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved *said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 

O -  This scripture is rich in meaning and full of gems to live, learn, and grow by.    In this moment I see this scripture as a parable for ministry.  In context of this scripture we find some of the disciples fishing, their old occupation.   Now they had finished 3 incredible years of following Jesus daily, and learning who He really was , and how to serve God.   This is after His death and resurrection, and the scattering of the disciples, they did not immediately continue Jesus' ministry, despite Him already having revealed His resurrected self to them.   So Jesus meets them where they are, on a fishing excursion and points out to them the obvious, that they have caught no fish, or in parable talk - they have been fruitless in their labor.   So now Jesus directs them what to do, they obeyed, and miracles occurred, and then they recognized it was Jesus.   The model for us is to seek to recognize Jesus today, and obey, and fruit will come.

A - The application for me is to remember to constantly being seeking Jesus and his will in circumstances.   When I fall back to what the world has shown me I am, and Naval officer, an Engineer, and and project manager, I can get discouraged, and start trusting in my own skills and my own ways.  My lessons from the disciples, is to trust in all the Christ has done in my life, all that He has already promised for my life, and simply seek out and follow Jesus. 

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would be in my life in a significant way.  Thank you for answered prayers and delivered promises for orders to Monterey.  Please guide me to see what you would have me do during my time in Monterey.  I pray your will would be clear, and that my ideas that are not of you, I would quickly die to.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shepherding God's people

Shepherding God's people

S - Jer 23:1-4 (NASB)

 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD. 3 “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

O  -   The context of this scripture is speaking of the leaders of Israel and Judah at this time, but it is very applicable to us to day.   Jeremiah's prophecy was likely speaking of how the kings, and levitical leaders had not shepherded God's people well, and as a result God's people have wandered far from God.  The further they wandered, the more evil their deeds became.    We see this all the way up to when Jesus comes and shakes things up, and restores a good shepherd in place of leadership over God's people.   The truth is this principle of being a good shepherd apply's to all leaders of God's people, up to today.    Shepherds of God's people are required to tend to, gather, and lead them well so they feel cared for, not lost, hurt, and seperated.  The principle is good for the sheep and in the best interest of the shepherd.  The sheep are what bear fruit.  Without the sheep the shepherds livelihood are at risk.   Healthy sheep reproduce them self and the flock grows.  If they are cared for well they will be fruitful and multiply.  If they are stressed and scattered, little fruit will be yielded.

A -  The application for me is as leader and a mentor to up and coming leaders is to better understand and apply the good shepherd model for leading people.  The goal is to be a shepherd leader like Jesus, whose sheep know his voice, and follow him, and he will not let them down.   Practically we can accomplish this by following Jesus' example of good shepherding:

1.  Build relationships first  -  the sheep must know your voice, and they get to know your voice, when you spend time with them.  Without this, they may know you title, but not know your voice, and how to discern it from other voices in the wind.

2.   Lead them to green pasture -   the leader needs to be focused on where to go so that the flock may thrive.  If the leader is vision-less and directionless the sheep will begin to wander.

3.  Tend to the sheep -  in the process of being in the pasture, you will have injured sheep who step in holes, get sick, or are even trampled on by a few other sheep.  The good shepherd goes after and cares for these injured within the flock.  As leaders we are to know the condition of our flock, and tend to those injured, weak, or weary.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.  I pray Lord that you would continue to train and and equip me in what it means to be a good shepherd.   I may never arrive at being the shepherd Jesus is to all of us, but help me Lord to be a sheperd who builds relations, has vision and direction, and knows the condition of those who follow, ministering to their needs.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.     


Monday, August 15, 2011

God's plan for building ministry teams

God's plan for building ministry teams

S - John 17:6...21
  6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours;
11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.
13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes Isanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
   20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

O -  What rich scripture as we read of Jesus prayer to the Father, regarding His disciples.  He was truly preparing for His new role and their new role in the salvation of the entire world.   Jesus came, and became an example of how to have relationship.   Relationship with God the Father, those that would follow Him, and even to those who do not yet believe, but need to receive Him as Lord and Savior to be reconciled with God the Father. I see so much in the ministry model Jesus' was revealing.  First off that God had given Jesus out of the world the disciples, hand selected by God the Father himself, and revealed to Jesus after a long night of solitude prayer.  He then spent years teaching them about His relationship with the Father, and how to go about effectively ministering to people.  In preparation for the last phase of His earthly relationship with the disciples, He prayed for them, asking God to protect them, and sanctify them in the ministry in the World.   Lastly He prays for unity in the body with one another, and with himself, and finally with God the Father.

A -  The application for me is a firm affirmation of true discipleship in Christ.   It comes out of a relationship with God, in which I am simply genuinely seeking His will and provision for the ministry I am called to.   Prayer and discernment of the "who" is critical, because God has an excellent plan that may not be as obvious by worldly standards.   When we trust who he has given us, by pouring into them the things of the kingdom, the how's of Godly relationships, and ministry lead by the spirit of God we begin to see His building blocks for ministry.  Like Jesus, we are called to edify and equip the saints for God's work.  When we have done that all we have left to do is intercede for them in prayer with God, and watch what He can do through them.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart.   I pray Lord that you would continue to disciple me through your word.    Help me to remember today's lesson, and apply it to myself, and help others understand and apply for themselves your design for kingdom building ministry habits we are to have.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Count on these promises of Christ

Count on these promises of Christ

S -  John 16:5-15, 23 (NASB)
The Holy Spirit Promised
    5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.   12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
 23 In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
O -  Jesus is in his final words to his disciples.  Words that at the moment held no real power, they were promises for the future.  What is so amazing is though the disciples witnessed many great miracles, were taught by the master himself, and walked with God amongst them (Emmanuel), the promises Christ was making was even more than they had already experienced.   The promises were for the Holy Spirit to come to do many things, first externally he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement, next He will guide us in all truth,  disclosing what is of God and from God.  The last promise of this excerpt of scripture is that we are then to ask for things in Jesus name, and we will receive them.    The interconnection of the Holy Spirit of Truth and this promise to ask and you shall receive are highly connected.  When we have the great counselor, he can reveal to us what God is doing, what is righteous, and what is true.  So as Christians, as we operate in relationship with the Holy Spirit our hearts desires will be of God, and therefore when we ask, we will be asking for what the Father is happy to give us, what is true and righteous. 

A -  The application for me is to begin strengthening my operation in these two promises:
1.  Receive the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit -  this is the ultimate game changer in my life and in the world, that I not operate on my own, but from an actual spiritual guide, directly connected to Christ, and God the Father.  The more I can operate here the more I can walk in confidence I am aligned with God, who is the ultimate strategist,  operations boss, project supt,  Pastor, etc.   No one's plan's are better than His.  I want to be a player on his team, not the coach. So my heart must be coachable by the spirit.2.  Ask in His name -  God wants to partner with me,  if I am aligned with Him, He can use me to impact the world.  When I am aligned with Him, I can have confidence to ask in Jesus name, and I will receive everything needed to win in His will for my life, and those around me.

P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my life.  I pray Lord that you would continue to teach and mentor me through your Holy Spirit. Help me to fully receive your Holy Spirit, so tha tI might not miss any part of what you have for my life. Help me Lord to ask for in Jesus name, things that are from and for you.   I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.