Calling us to adjust…

The prophetic is a constant reminder of the transforming power of the living word of the Lord. It is similar to but not the same as learned behavior based on the written word. The written word is indispensable and we must consume it. But, the transforming power is in what God is saying. Asking for his living word and positioning ourselves to receive it is wise.

The Lord is calling us to adjust our expectations as it relates to receiving his word. His word will challenge you to adjust your behaviors and lifestyle. But, those adjustments are mostly about preparing the way for the Lord to increase the flow of his living word in you and empower you to declare it into all of your earthly situations and relationships.

You are a blessing!

Hungry for the word of the Lord and the signs of heaven?

Samuel was a prophet to Israel in the Old Testament. He had an amazing track record with the people of God. It was written of him, “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 3:19-20)

I love the story of how Samuel was introduced to the prophetic while he was a boy. You can read it in 1 Samuel 3. There is so much to learn from the interaction between Eli, Samuel, and the Lord. It speaks loudly to us about the need for spiritual mothers and fathers to step up and own what has been entrusted to us.

However, I want to focus on the first verse in the chapter. “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” (1 Samuel 3:1) Take a moment and think about that. What would it be like to live in a time when you almost never perceived the word of the Lord and almost no one saw visions? Maybe we know about that far too well.

I don’t believe that the living word of the Lord was scarce or unavailable. It is usually the case that engaging with it is rare and unusual. God is not honored or pleased to make his amazing Presence known anywhere his living word is not welcomed and embraced. Oh, He is there, but the manifestation of the Holy Spirit won’t be experienced.

The voice of the Lord is speaking today. We will hear it if we long for it. If the church will set our hearts on being with him by faith in King Jesus, and surrender to whatever he needs to do in us, we will hear his voice. (see Isaiah 6:1-8)

There is an unprecedented move of God rising up in the world. It is marked by a hunger and thirst for the living words of the Lord. Will we be a generation who won’t stop until it is said, “the word of the Lord was overflowing and the signs of heaven were everywhere”? THAT would be amazing. By the grace of God, that is what we are going after.

You are a blessing!

God’s voice… through His Bride

Good morning from Saint John, NB, Canada. Last night, as I was worshipping with a room full of brothers and sisters in Jesus, I became aware of the presence of God. As we were singing with passion, there was another force coming upon us. I began to see, in the spirit, that the Lord was not waiting for us to pursue Him. He was actually coming toward us in waves. His love and glory, which were coming to us, were overwhelming our love and desire for him.

I began to understand that IT IS TIME to lay down any confidence we have placed in our ability to journey or climb up to God. Any awakening of HIS glory in the nations is happening because of his amazing grace and initiative. We have the honour and privilege in Christ of responding in extravagant worship.

Once again, I was so blessed and encouraged as I sensed the overwhelming intensity of His love for all of creation. I submit to you that

The fruit of Jesus’s prayer in John 17:20-26 will be seen and experienced around the world! How amazing is it to be alive at this time on the earth?!?

What about your vineyard?

When it comes to being a solid, life-giving Christian or Jesus Follower, we are really talking about being a faithful son or daughter. One of my favourite Father/Child stories in the Bible is the one found in Matthew 21:28-31. Jesus posed this question to some religious experts; “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted? ‘The first,’ they answered.”

For Jesus, the faithful son was the one who understood the importance of getting his father’s work done. 

I see myself in this story. I have prayed hundreds of times that our Father in heaven would keep me awake to the “vineyard” he sends me to every day. I have learned to perceive my ordinary life and responsibilities as His vineyard for me to work. 

God did not create you to simply behave yourself and measure up to a moral code. He designed you to work in His vineyard. The place where you live and the circumstances you are in stand ready for you to be a creative force for the kingdom of God, on earth as in heaven. 

Will you say yes to your father’s call to go and work in His vineyard? It is what you were created for. Your vineyard will look different than mine. But, you are designed perfectly for it. 

So, don’t lose heart! Every new sunrise brings a new call from the Father. He’s not listening for the right answer. He’s looking for you and me to step into the mundane and/or daunting day that lies before us and look for Him there. 

KV Church Teaching Vid: “You Don’t Owe Me”

Kings Valley Church Youth Pastor Andy Broad brought a super helpful teaching on forgiveness in our weekend worship gathering. I’m stoked for you as I believe Andy will challenge you to dig in and make the most of your story with Jesus!

You Don’t Owe Me 

 

Thanks for stopping in! I’d love to have you leave a comment. If you found this helpful, please share it with a friend.

Live THIS Day! 

“The Real”: Becoming more of who you really are

When I hear, “It’s easy, just be yourself” I have to laugh. It’s costly to be yourself. To be real in this world demands a grace that is beyond us. You were created to reflect the character of God into your world every day. But like the rest of us you need help. Before we go on, you need to be reminded that you have been “fearfully and wonderfully made”.   

Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I had always been part of a church family. That also meant that I had to endure the pressures of religion and especially misguided religious people who put my dad and our family on a pedestal.  As a result I learned very young to pretend and present the right image at the right time to keep the crowd happy. Hiding became a lifestyle for me.

By the time I was eighteen I was torn and imprisoned by the lie that I could manage my life by myself. I couldn’t. In the Fall of 1980 I finally surrendered to Jesus with this prayer; “Jesus, Whether you are happy about this or not, you are stuck with me. Because I am not going to let go of you.”  What I didn’t see was that He had never let go of me. Thus a journey began. It has been a tough journey of surrender. But, I have always been sure of His presence with me.

Maybe you get my struggle. You know what it is like to feel that you can’t be yourself and follow Jesus. There is hope!

How can you discover “The Real”?

When you embrace faith in Jesus Christ, you receive something the Bible calls “eternal life”. Another way to think of it is life the way God designed it. You become part of the culture of heaven. You still live your ordinary life but your eyes open to a brand new dynamic in the world that Jesus called the “kingdom of heaven”.

Tucked into the package of eternal life is a promise. As you trust God’s agenda in your life you will grow into who you really are. The real you will actually break through the surface and shine for God’s glory.

I want to share a couple of scriptures and personal habits that have helped me break through to more authenticity.

A few life hacks on Realness:

1. Focus on the One you can trust

In Colossians 3, the Apostle Paul wrote: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Jesus Christ entered into our world as God in the flesh. If you study his life you will find that he won the war against all that is fake, toxic and dark in this world. He even faced death and came back to life in order to free you and me from the prison of counterfeit, dead existence.

In this letter to the Colossians Paul reminds his friends that their true identity is secure and hidden with Christ. He is with us and we are with Him as we face every day. If you will trust in Him you will know it for yourself.

But don’t miss what Paul said next. You can be confident that when Christ appears for everyone to see, you won’t be revealed as an imposter. Instead, because you have learned to surrender by God’s grace, the “real” you will be known and appreciated because you will shine with His glory.

Remind yourself every day that no matter how things seem, if you put your trust, faith and dependence in Jesus, He is bringing the real amazing you out into the open for all of us to appreciate. In the end the real you will be a testimony to God’s glory.

2. Encourage yourself that the best is always yet to come

In 1 John 3, while in exile, John wrote: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

The second tip is… don’t dig around in the past to try and find the real you. Following Jesus today means always believing that the best is yet to come.

John wrote to his friends and followers that who we really are is not fully known yet. But something miraculous and powerful will happen when Jesus appears to all of creation.

We will discover that we will actually be like him. The real you will be just like Jesus. You will even have a new heavenly body. You won’t be someone else. You will be yourself but even better.

The most authentic you isn’t in the past as someone to be unearthed and retrieved somewhere back there. The person you are looking for is growing right in this moment as you trust Jesus.

Make it a regular habit to remind yourself that as a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is guiding you through a process of becoming who you really are. All of the ups and downs of this life are bringing the real you out into the open. The best is always yet to come!

So glad you took the time to read this today. If you have found it helpful, I’d love it if you would leave a comment. Also, please share it with a friend who could use some encouragement in living today with Jesus.

Live THIS Day!

5 Tips for Paying Attention to God’s Leadership in Your Day

As a follower of Jesus, you know you have been called to be a light in the world. You may also know that God has invited you to see the world with compassionate eyes. To dig deeper into why we need to “see” our world the way Jesus did, check out “Don’t miss the Spirit’s strategic move!“.

Wrestle with “how” to see the world the way Jesus did?

When he looked at the crowds in his day, his streets, his village, his workplace, etc… He had compassion on them and he longed to see them come alive to God’s new creation and to find their purpose in his mission.

Part of the adventure of following Jesus is…

developing an authentic love for the people we do life with every day.

Sometimes that is easier said than done! There is no way any of us are just going to magically learn to see our world the way God does without being intentional about it.

How can you pay better attention to God’s leadership in your everyday life? The following 5 habits have been huge for me.  But first I want to say:

You are here for a reason and God intends for you to make a difference for his kingdom here and now!

Habits you can start today:

1. Invite God into each day

In the morning invite God into the flow and events of your day. click to tweet Tell him that it is ok with you if he rearranges or interrupts some things if necessary. It has been said that most of our authentic ministry happens in the middle of interruptions. So, don’t be surprised and always be flexible. The blessing will be worth it!

2. Ask God to involve you in what He is doing to reach people

Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit would continue to testify to the world about him and that we as His followers should do the same. It is powerful to remind yourself that God is going ahead of you and tirelessly working all around you to reach people in the transforming name of Jesus. Your part in this is to make yourself available. You can pray a simple daily prayer like this:

“Lord, I know you are working hard to reach people all around me. I would love to be involved however you want me to help. This is not about doing things my way. Involve me in reaching people the way you choose.” – Amen

3. Expect that God is attracting people around you to His family 

God’s desire is not only to make people aware of His presence in the world. He actually wants every person to embrace faith in Jesus and to become a son or daughter in his family. Remind yourself daily that His unconditional love is compelling every person you encounter in your day.

4. Remember the 2:1 ratio

Choosing to take the time to really “see” people in your world is a powerful way to pay more attention to God’s leadership. The kind of seeing that picks up on what God is doing to reach people includes listening as well. click to tweet Good listening includes seeking to really understand and a willingness to engage in what others want to talk about more than pressing forward on the point you want to make.  The 2:1 ratio is so helpful in remembering God’s heart for people. You have two eyes, two ears but only one mouth. Watch and listen twice as much as you speak. It will surprise you how much more aware you will become.

5. Pray onsite with insight

As Christians we learn to pray in every place on all occasions. But remember, prayer is not always spoken aloud. Many prayers are quiet or even silent. As you go through your day, develop the habit of silently or quietly praying for those you notice around you. If you keep a journal you can even write your prayers for them. Praying that God would bless them and that His will would be done in their lives is powerful and effective. This will also have a restoring effect on your love for people who show up in your everyday places.

I’m praying that you grow in your ability to watch for God’s leadership in your day. If this has been an encouragement to you please take a minute to leave a comment. It means a lot!

Live THIS day!

 

The OTHER story about the two sons… “First son” followers

One of Jesus’s best stories is a story about two sons. But, I bet it’s not the story you are thinking about. It’s the other one. Not the story about the “prodigal” but the one about a vineyard and a Dad and work he assigned to his sons. You can read the story for yourself in Matthew 21:28-32

The son who eventually does what his father wants is the “first son”. Even though he actually flat out disobeyed in the beginning, as the story goes, he changed his mind and went to do the work. Jesus explains that a life that taps into heaven looks a lot like that. The second son DID NOT do what his father wanted even though he gave the right reply in the beginning. He lost connection with his father’s agenda when he never went to the vineyard.

HUGE picture of life!!

THE VINEYARD = engaging in the life you have been given here through faith in Jesus.

ENTERING GOD”S KINGDOM = looking for the culture of heaven in the life you have been given

here and now. Eternal life isn’t just about what happens after you die.

It is available in this moment we are in right now.

I have been drawn into this story many times as a way to remind me that being truly ALIVE is about letting wishful daydreams blow away in the reality of the life right in front of me. This life regularly requires  me to “change my mind” and to actually roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty in the work of “the vineyard” my Father in heaven has given me to do here in this day. I have learned that is where the Holy Spirit meets me… in the vineyard of my ordinary stuff!

There is a powerful fresh “Aliveness” in living like the “first son”. How would things look and feel different in our lives, friendships, families & communities if we followed Jesus like “first sons”?

Breathe fresh fire into your praying!

Many of us have memories of praying “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The Our Father” in our childhood years. It may or may not have meant very much to you. Often it is used to make an emotional/sentimental journey of comfort for people at a time of great need in their lives. I get that! But, we all know even at an intuitive level that there is much more to what Jesus had in mind as He taught his followers how to pray! The prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 is designed as a resource to help us commune with our Father in heaven who is within us and all around us by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus.

The phrase that echoes in our minds… “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as in heaven” is a treasure of wisdom and empowerment.

Try praying it this way:

Father, Let the culture of heaven invade & surround my life today.”

In this prayer I am inviting you to substitute the phrase “culture of heaven” for the word “kingdom” and the phrase “my life today” for “on earth”.

In order to engage with the LIFE God has blessed us with as part of His family we need to desire to experience life according to His house rules! What’s it like in The Father’s house? That’s the way it should be in and around our relationships with friends & enemies here and now in THIS day.

So breathe some fresh fire into your praying and invite the culture of heaven to invade you and this moment right here and right now!

A “breakthrough” in your mind

As I sat and listened to the sermon in our worship gathering yesterday, a light really came on for me on the inside. This was the latest message in the sermon series called “Hidden Treasure”. The focus of the truth being delivered was that we all have walls of limitation that we run into when it comes to fulfilling life goals and/or running after the dreams we believe in for ourselves. Our pastor was challenging the powerful mantra of our culture which says; “If you can dream it then you can do it!”. He was provoking us to face reality. It’s just not true… we can’t accomplish everything we set our mind to and our dreams don’t all come true. We run into walls of limitation.

Somewhere in the middle of his talk a bolt of spiritual wisdom from the Lord nailed me. He was talking about our need not only to believe in Jesus and be baptized with water but to also to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and power. My heart was already stirred up when he got me right in his sites and said: “You need a breakthrough in your mind to change your life”!

That was a good 24 hours ago and yet the Holy Spirit is continuing to work away on me. It dawned on me that many years ago I came to the end of myself in what I was able to conceive of and piece together philosophically about my beliefs, my life, my worldview. I am so grateful for that season in my life when I surrendered (even daily for a few years) to the Lord in prayer turning away from my self sufficiency and asking the Holy Spirit to come fill me with His love, power and gifts so that I could flow with what He is doing in the world. I can testify that over the years He has empowered me over and over again  to break through and tear down stubborn walls of limitation in my mind based on human thinking that is completely preoccupied  with the earthly realm. He has changed my life by renewing my mind with the realm of his kingdom which by the way has come and is all around us. I am convinced that His will for your life and mine is to be a place where the realm of heaven and earth meet and He is allowed to shine freely through our ordinary lives that Jesus truly is Lord. He wants His kingdom to come and His will to be done in and around us in our sometimes nasty earthly challenges as it is in heaven.

In one of Paul’s letters to his friends who were learning to follow Jesus in their very earthly lives, he coached them this way: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

It matters that you ask the Holy Spirit to bring a breakthrough in your mind so that the walls of limitation that keep you imprisoned can be demolished! He is faithful and if we will surrender our mind to him, meditate on His word as greater than our thoughts and emotions, He will set us free and we will experience His glory in increasingly practical and tangible ways. Baptize us Lord!!