Category Archives: Ministry

Back in the Battle

“Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. In past generations He allowed all the nations to go their own way, although He did not leave Himself without a witness, since He did good: giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and satisfying your hearts with food and happiness.” Even though they said these things, they barely stopped the crowds from sacrificing to them.

Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the hearts of the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith, and by telling them, “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God.”
(Acts 14:15-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Paul and Barnabas were mistaken for the “gods” Zeus and Hermes citizens of Lystra after they healed a man. The next mistake the mob made was to listen to some people from Antioch and Iconium and to believe that Paul and Barnabas should be murdered with stones. They therefore tried to murder them with stones. They did such a good job at it they thought that they had succeeded.

Paul and Barnabas thought it was ordinary Kingdom work. They went back to check on the converts on their way back through the area.

Cast Demons Out

During their Kingdom missions, and as a prophetic picture of their futures after Jesus ascended to Heaven, Jesus instructed His people to throw demons out of people (Mark 6:7-13; Mark 16:14-18).

During the “Dark Ages,” the Roman Church performed exorcisms of demons with the same vigor they performed executions of dissenters. After the “Age of Enlightenment,” scientists taught people that demons were nonexistent, and that everything previously attributed to them was really explainable with science and reason.

When the Church experienced the Pentecostal movement, some people started to perform miracles and cast demons out of people. Both became religious formulas that lost their power in many cases, because people were using mantras they had heard gifted people use, but without gifts. A similar story appears in Acts 19:13-20, when seven would-be exorcists were cast out by a demon.

Somewhere between the mistake that every bad habit or sickness plaguing humans is a “spirit” and the mistake that demons were a pre-science explanation for things that went wrong around humans, there is the truth that unclean spirits are causing problems in the earth and need to be overpowered and dislodged from their positions of influence.

We have authority and responsibility to be dealing with them. If you don’t have ideas yet about your involvement, ask the Spirit what He would like to teach you about the matter.

 

Raising Up Leaders

On a playground, a sandbox is a place where the dirt is cleaner than the dirt that is found naturally around it. No roots, no weeds, less dangers. It is a created space, where the environment is different.

One method of creating leadership is to create space in front of a younger generation in which they can sandbox, to learn and create and fail and learn. Trusting them with things that would be beyond their reach without the help of the Holy Spirit can teach them to listen to Him. Trusting them in a space where the current leaders are present for advice and repair is a safe place for them to learn to make decisions and to follow through with them to discover the outcomes they produce.

Frequently the narratives about the ministries of Jesus imply that He sent disciples out to fulfill assignments and taught them how to do it when they returned with questions their experiences had prompted them to ask. Our methods are usually to give classroom instructions, written exams, and then exercises in labs before we trust anyone with real work. They have to prove something before we trust them with responsibility.

His plan seems to be to teach them to listen to Him.

     In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure. All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.”
     Then turning to His disciples He said privately, “The eyes that see the things you see are blessed! For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things you see yet didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear yet didn’t hear them.”                       (Luke 10:21-24 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Saying Important Stuff

…If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man who is also able to control his whole body.

Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. And consider ships: though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among the parts of our bodies; it pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is set on fire by hell.

For every creature—animal or bird, reptile or fish—is tamed and has been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.
(James 3:2b-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

We should be very intentional about speaking life and freshness and very cautious about speaking death and rottenness. Some of the things that we say are going to be used by Yahweh to reveal Himself to people, or to draw some people to Himself. The ministry of condemnation is over. We bring the ministry of life: “For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory.”

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced shameful secret things, not walking in deceit or distorting God’s message, but in God’s sight we commend ourselves to every person’s conscience by an open display of the truth.”
(2 Corinthians 3:9;4:1-2 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Other People

Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly, it will never harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.”

Then after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the accompanying signs.
(Mark 16:15-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

How patient are we with people who are different from us, and therefore, do not trust us? What lengths are we willing to go to in order to develop a relationship with someone who is different? How easily offended are we when someone doesn’t trust us or believe our testimony?

What is the contrast in the way Jesus responded to these challenges? What about believers after Pentecost?

Anointed Light of the World

In the tabernacle, oil was used for anointing furniture and utensils and people, and for giving light by being burned in the lampstand. These two benefits were symbolic of what Paul said was the presence of the Rock – the Christ – with Israel as they traveled in the desert (1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

By His Spirit, He is still wanting to anoint us and give us light. He is the Anointed One (Christ), and He is the Light of the world. His presence with us in our deserts imparts His anointing and His light to us. He wants to use our presence in others’ lives to manifest His anointing and light to them.

Be filled. Be anointed. Be awesome!

 

 

 

Consuming the Lord

“I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate—and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”
(John 6:47-58 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

If you want Life, you are qualified to partake of the body and the blood of Jesus. Everyone is welcome, or Jesus would not have served the bread and the wine to Judas and Peter. Even unbelievers are invited, or I would not have been born again while eating His body and drinking His blood.

You are also qualified to serve the body and the blood at any meal you want to bring Life to. Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers that they were making a serious mistake by not discerning the body of Jesus in each other, so receive Him in the bread, the wine/juice, and the rest of the people who are with you.

Harvest Time

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a large net thrown into the sea. It collected every kind of fish, and when it was full, they dragged it ashore, sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but threw out the worthless ones. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out, separate the evil people from the righteous, and throw them into the blazing furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 13:47-50 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

At the end of the age, there will be a huge harvest. A fishing net that one person can manage has a set of ropes in the middle that attach to the main rope, which pull the net closed around any fish that were under the net when it was cast in the water over them. In clear water, the person can pick the fish to cast the net over.

A drag net is sometimes large enough that it is drawn along between two boats, and anything in the area is caught up in the sweep. It is a bigger operation. The end of the age will have a harvest process like it – everything will be drawn up by the messengers of God to be judged. Their value is based on their natures: righteous or evil.

All the earth is growing, maturing, producing the fruit from the seeds that humanity has sown in it. Some of it is righteous, some is evil, but all is coming to maturity. The good will get better, and the evil will get worse.

Part of the good news is that many of the evil will become righteous! The conversions will be partly the result of our righteousness bringing Life and Light and Love to them, revealing Jesus to them.

Go be awesome!

Offending and Defending

Fencing is a sport using swords. The words defense and offense are related to the same type of activities: fending off a foe or being fended off by a foe.

Every sin is against Jesus on the cross, because He paid for all of it there. Mine against Him, and mine against you. To allow my failures to offend you is inappropriate, because He paid for the offense.

All of the liberty that I enjoy was purchased by Jesus on the cross, because my sin and failure provoked condemnation over my life and my future, but He set me free by suffering that condemnation for me. To enjoy my freedom without consideration for others He suffered for is inappropriate, because He paid for the liberty.

All of us are servants of the Living God. The advice Paul gave the servants in the congregations in Corinth is good advice for us:

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person.

Eat everything that is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake, for the earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it. If one of the unbelievers invites you over and you want to go, eat everything that is set before you, without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This is food offered to an idol,” do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake. I do not mean your own conscience, but the other person’s. For why is my freedom judged by another person’s conscience? If I partake with thanks, why am I slandered because of something for which I give thanks?

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory. Give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God, just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Love and Judgement

We are blessed to have found the mercy of Yahweh through the cross of Jesus His Son. He has received us and shown us Love that we still cannot understand. Even though we can’t understand it, we are still responsible for giving the same Love to the people we encounter. The good ones, the bad ones, the nice ones and the nasty ones. We must pass on freely the blessing that we have freely received.

If you really carry out the royal law prescribed in Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all. For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.

Speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
(James 2:8-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)