Category Archives: Church

Right Living

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. But

If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

(Romans 12:9-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Growth and Impact

Jeff Christopherson, in his book, “The Kingdom Matrix” lists these four marks of a Kingdomcentric church:

  1. New Believers
  2. New Disciplemakers
  3. New Communities of Faith
  4. Transforming Communities

Knowing both the differences between and the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom changes the way we think and do and interact and can give us greater understanding of our identities and our purposes.

The book is available by clicking here if you would like to read it.

The Author’s Voice

One of my heroes passed from this life last year. I picked up a couple of his books to give him fresh opportunities to influence me. I knew his voice from hours of listening to him teach in large groups, small groups, and in conversations that he and I had. As I read what he wrote, I don’t hear my voice in my head. I hear his.

As we read the Scriptures, we should come to a maturity of knowing our Shepherd’s voice. We should hear His voice in our heads, maybe. It was costly for Yahweh to gain your life. He doesn’t intend to neglect your preparation or your inform-ation with regard to your presence and work in the earth.

The preparation and information become transformation when we let them. When we add our part of the revelation that He is giving to the church to the parts that other believers bring into the relationships we allow, the transformation multiplies for each of us.

However, among the mature we do speak a wisdom, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew it, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written:

What no eye has seen and no ear has heard,
and what has never come into a man’s heart,
is what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For:

who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

The Priesthood

Moses went up the mountain to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob, and explain to the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine, and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation. These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”
(Exodus 19:3-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
(1 Peter 2:9-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

We are the only authentic priests on the planet. How should that influence our lives and our work? Ask the Spirit.

The Slain Lamb

Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world.

Time and space are limitations that we are not naturally able to step out from under the control of. Not so with Jesus. Before Abraham was, He still is.

All the intentions Yahweh has had toward humanity for blessing and Life were accomplished outside of time, and poured into the earth through Jesus while He was on the cross. All His Father had intended and promised to His faithful in the earth became “Yes” and “Amen” through Jesus in a moment on the timeline, and Jesus declared them “finished” when they were manifested in time.

Revelation 13:8 / 2 Corinthians 1:20 / John 19:30

The Cost of Fullness

In events recorded in what we call the Old Testament, men and women were moved by the Spirit of God for supernatural strength or revelation that were temporary manifestations of being filled by Him or having Him fall on them. It resembled His hand in the earth donning a glove for a job.

Jesus purchased a new way of sending His Spirit on the cross. He then fulfilled “the Promise of the Father” (Luke 24:45-49) by sending the Holy Spirit to fill His brothers and sisters, making us powerful. That power includes making us able to manifest some ability that God has and wants to use through us in the earth to do works. These are individual works, and things that we do together.

It also includes the power to manifest His character. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fullness of faith, gentleness, and self-control.

As we learn to give the Holy Spirit the master bedroom in our hearts, or the steering wheel and gas pedal in our lives, it is costly. It isn’t just when ministry needs to happen because someone near us has a need. It is all the time. It is costly: our entire lives. It is broad – every dimension of our lives. It is long – the rest of our lives.

What could be more awesome?

Fertilizer & Prayer

Leonard Ravenhill made some challenging comments about our preparation for Sunday morning meetings.

The idea he presented was that if we spent at least as much time getting spiritually ready as we did getting dressed up and made up, we would have different meetings, and we would be different after we had them.

If we have a garden, we put fertilizer in it if we want it to do well at producing flowers or fruit. Prayer impacts our lives and our work and our relationships that way too. The more we apply the better the garden grows.

About to Boil

In his first letter to the churches in Corinth, Paul suggested three times that they should do something, and one time that they shouldn’t. The root of the word he was using means to heat up, or to boil. The times he suggested they should do it are in 12:31, 14:1, & 14:39. There, he suggested that they should do it to things that belong to the Spirit of God.

The time he suggested that they should not do it, he was saying not to do it over things that belong to each other (13:4). It means something like being envious, or jealous, or moved with desire. What he said they should want was gifts of the Spirit.

Covet the best gifts“; “desire spiritual gifts“; “covet prophecy“. Be wishing you had a powerful spiritual gift if you don’t already have one.

Built Together

When Christ came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:17-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible ® ©)

The assembling that the writer to the Hebrews mentioned in 10:25 was like this, I believe – being built together; not just going to meetings. Being joined in relationships. Loving one another.

Red Ink

When Jim Bakker was imprisoned for participating in the abuse of funds that were received for the PTL ministry, he had been preaching what is called a “prosperity gospel” for many years. He had promised riches to people who invested heavily in ministries that preached the proper message.

While he was in jail, he says that he was led to read the Bible a few times. He could tell that something was not right in what he had been preaching, but it was not immediately clear what was wrong. At one point, he felt led to read the words that Jesus was quoted as having said, and to see how much of his previous doctrines were left unspoken by Jesus. He read the red ink. He had a new story to tell when he got done.

We frequently get two things backwards and are then confused. One is that we try to understand Jesus by looking at the Church, instead of trying to understand the Church by getting to know Jesus better. The other is trying to understand the words of Jesus by looking at the rest of the New Testament.

Many unbelievers don’t want Jesus because they don’t like us. Many theologians don’t understand the Kingdom because they won’t read the words of Jesus without separating teaching about the church from teaching about the Kingdom.