If you listen for the knock you’ll hear his voice

To be prophetic is to synchronize through surrender. It is recognizing that Jesus is knocking at your door in everything. By faith, his knocking is transformed into his voice. You hear it because you are listening for… Him. Just open the door.

“Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come in to you and feast with you, and you will feast with me. And to the one who conquers I will give the privilege of sitting with me on my throne, just as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. The one whose heart is open let him listen carefully to what the Spirit is saying now to the churches.” Rev 3 – The Passion Translation

Video: Be Great Soil for God’s truth to grow!

Loved teaching this message to our church family at Kings Valley Church.

If you are a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, It is “Normal” for you to be productive… for your heart to be good soil for God’s life to grow.

The Parable of the Sower.

Many great & small in importance chose to harden their hearts. Therefore they could not see or hear what these simple ordinary disciples saw heard & understood.

It is God’s design that the “normal” heart for us is good soil.  Just the basic…

How can we partner with God so that our hearts become good soil?

Remember the gardener is actually our Father.

1. Surrender Our Hearts

2. Engage With God’s Word

3. Trust the Gardener

Our currency with God is our humble surrender.  

Thanks for dropping in! I would love it if you leave a reply with your thoughts. If this has been helpful to you, please share it with a friend.

Live THIS day!

Life Hacks for Becoming “authentically” YOU

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine. She was having a rough time and needed to talk.  “I just feel distant from God”, she said. It was a just a quick comment made in the middle of sharing her heart over some confusing dilemmas in her life. When a friend tells you they feel distant from God, it hits a nerve, doesn’t it? You likely know that feeling! Our mind sometimes is our worst enemy.

The Accuser (Satan) loves to intimidate us with doubt-filled questions about our connection with God.

He tried to do the same to Jesus when he said, “If you are the Son of God, then…”. We all need friends to listen when those clouds start to roll in. Much of our emotional health comes from being close to our Creator, our Father in heaven.

It seemed to me that my friend was quickly losing her peace. Something had shifted in her perspective. I wanted to help her get back to feeling confident to face her day. I said, “Maybe you aren’t distant from God. I know you and that your faith is strong that He is with you and He has promised to never leave. I think you feel distant from yourself. It’s like you aren’t really sure how to understand this moment and how to move forward as the real you.”

In a beautiful way, from that point on in our conversation it was like the sun broke in. Warmth and clarity seemed to move in on her and she left with a smile. Later she thanked me for the reminder and was feeling so much more hopeful and positive about where she was going in her life.

How are YOU feeling about today?

There is hope for this moment right now. In fact Jesus was very clear that today… THIS day demands your focus. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt 6:34

You don’t need to go on feeling distant from God. But, you may need to learn to see your life from a different perspective. One of my favourite motivational quotes by the Apostle Paul is “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” As a Jesus follower you have received a calling and it starts with truly being yourself as God’s son or daughter.

There is a devastating lie in our culture that says you can’t truly be yourself and follow Jesus. Those who believe that deception have confused being religious for the freedom of being a child of God by faith in His Son. The reality is you will never discover more about yourself than when you embrace life in God’s family.

John Mark Comer writes in his book “Loveology” that as a Christian you live “in the process of becoming who you really are.” In other words with every step forward you take the Holy Spirit is helping you grow into the real you.

Don’t kid yourself however. Even though it is truly amazing to discover the true you that God designed some days it will still demand all you have. But it is GOOD.

I love this section from “The Message” by Eugene Peterson talking about Jesus. Peterson refers to him as “The Life-Light”:

The Life-Light was the real thing:
    Every person entering Life
    he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
    the world was there through him,
    and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
    but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten. John 1:9-13 

What a powerful way to describe what it means to know and love Jesus. You get to be your true self, your “child-of-God” self.

Here are some powerful life hacks for becoming the real you:

Becoming the real YOU:

1. Receive your adoption into God’s family

When you aren’t sure of who you really are you will often feel stuck. One of the most important things for you to know is that God has not and will not abandon you. The Bible is clear that God’s message to you is that He is offering to adopt you into his family. You receive that offer by praying a simple prayer. You can pray something like this right now; “God I believe Jesus did everything that was needed for me to become your child forever. By faith I receive my place in your family. I don’t take credit for this myself. Jesus deserves all the credit for my adoption today. Thank you for saving me.” – Amen.

2. Engage with God’s mission for the world

When the Bible talks about God “saving” us it includes rescuing us from a meaningless life of serving ourselves and our desires. Following Jesus is the craziest adventure around. Since you are already wired to do good things and make a difference in the world, it makes sense that the Apostle Paul would write the following in “Ephesians”: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

Remind yourself often that the good things you do for others to show them Jesus’s love aren’t about you gaining a place in God’s family. You do good works to restore things back to what they should be as part of God’s plan for all creation. In other words, you aren’t trying to prove that you are worth something. Instead you are showing how awesome it is to be at peace with God and to be partnering with him and his good plan.

3. Welcome the chance to stretch and grow 

In his book, “Failing Forward” John Maxwell wrote, “Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.”

God’s goal for you is to become more of who you really are. Don’t be intimidated by the challenges of this day.

Don’t be ashamed of failing. Mark down what you learn and be grateful that you have eliminated one more way not to do it next time.

Whether you succeed or fail in this day, God is forming you into the real you!

Live THIS day!

 

Lessons from My Inappropriate Hero! Living For What Matters

There is a story I have been pulled back into repeatedly in my life. It’s a story about a woman who committed a beautifully inappropriate act because she loved Jesus too much. At least that was the opinion of everyone who was there that day. Everyone except Jesus.

Do you ever wonder what it looks like to “love” God? You may have heard that the most important call or command in all of life is to love God and to love your neighbour as yourself. But, giving love or showing love can be vague and confusing sometimes. How can you know when your heart is in the right place in your claim to be someone who loves Jesus?

This woman who stirred up anger from the haters & warm acceptance from Jesus for her awkward act is a great example of how it’s done!

Here is her story:

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Mark 14:1-11

There is something about her story that pulls me in. Her love for Jesus created a path and an open door into His affection. (click to tweet)  She did a beautiful thing “to” Jesus. When you know that what you are doing means something wonderful to Jesus, it changes you. (click to tweet)

On that day she packed up her most valuable possession (worth a year’s salary) and was determined to find Jesus. And find him she did! Making a scene, she broke open this alabaster (clay like) jar of costly perfume made of burial spices and proceeded to anoint Jesus with it… the WHOLE jar! In one amazing provoking act she captured a picture of the sacrifice Jesus would make within the next week. His blood would be poured out for them and all of us. Jesus would explain that to his disciples as they gathered for the passover feast with bread and wine.

But she also painted a powerful picture of what it looks like to follow Jesus and love him in our everyday lives. In the teachings of the Bible we learn that as Christians we carry in us the treasure of Christ’s presence. Our bodies are referred to as jars of clay. We are fragile and easily broken. But we don’t need to be discouraged or to beat ourselves up over our condition. It is actually for the best.

As very human, well meaning but broken people we are filled and surrounded by the  presence of God through faith in Jesus. This is so that the aroma we give off to our world is awesome (surpassingly great) and all can see that it comes from God not from us.

Back to our story… Our “inappropriate” hero who couldn’t help herself in love received the smile and deep affection of Jesus for her “over the top” sacrifice. He defended her, put the rest of the dinner party in their place and then announced the most incredible thing.

Jesus leaked it to the press… actually held a “press conference” and announced that wherever His story was told she would be spoken of. Her story was now officially part of His. The same gift Jesus gratefully received was ridiculed by the religious crowd when they asked, “Why this ‘waste’ of perfume?”

If you are stirred up with desire to love Jesus more deeply in radical ways, you are in great company! Church at it’s best is a passionate community who “waste” their most valuable treasure on Jesus. (click to tweet)

Why did this unnamed woman  waste her valuable perfume on Jesus instead of doing something “practical” with it? Because doing something beautiful to Jesus was worth everything.

When you pour out your best on Jesus it releases a fragrance of His presence to those around you.

What can you learn from our inappropriate hero?

1. Start each day by asking God to fill you with His love.

You can start each day with this powerfully simple prayer based on John 17:26: “O Father please do a work of the Holy Spirit in my life so that I will love Jesus with the love you have for him. Thank you that you are in me and I am in your family.” – Amen

2. Pour yourself out in service as a gift back to God.

Look for opportunities in your day to serve ALL people (including difficult people) with the love of Jesus. In this way you will be pouring yourself out in love for God. 1 John 3:16 says it so well, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Sacrificially loving others in Jesus Name reaches the heart of God! (click to tweet)

3. Trust God with your name & your honour.

If others don’t understand and the haters start hating, don’t be surprised. But be wise and don’t allow yourself to get bitter or resentful so that you lash back. Instead let it teach you to trust God to defend your honour. Just like Jesus did in the case of our hero on her day he will include you in His story today and forever.

Live THIS day!

If this has been helpful to you, please share it with someone else who could use the encouragement. Also, I would love to have you leave a comment below. Always love hearing from you.

 

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!

Does Jesus know you?

Anyone who takes the time to read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John will see Jesus calling people out to authenticity. Realness, legitimacy, being genuine… these are often way undervalued in our lives.

Jesus was and is controversial! He is revolutionary and life altering. Dealing with him will change you at the deepest levels. The good news is that the transformation is actually a metamorphosis. The real you will emerge.

What happens when you encounter Jesus? You may not want to be aware of it, but the Holy Spirit is constantly drawing you to meet up with Jesus in a million different ways in your everyday life. He is where you least expect him to be.

When I encounter Jesus I can’t pretend. All of my “Imposter” ways are exposed and I am struck by the fact that He only wants the real me. In fact Jesus sees all of my pretending as evil and dangerous. He invites me to grow up into full maturity as the man I was created to be by putting my trust in Him.

There is a key teaching from Jesus recorded in Matt 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

When I encounter Jesus today I want Him to be able to say, “I know you”. He does in fact complete know me. But I have learned that he isn’t going to allow me to fake it. The “Imposter” me won’t survive in the glory of who Jesus is. He is going to draw authenticity to the surface of my life every time! And I know that He will use whatever means needed to shape my identity through His knowledge of me.

May you be blessed today by Jesus full awareness and knowledge of you and may you have the courage by His grace to surrender to it!

HOME #12 (My Story)

In the past several days I have been revisiting a conversation with God that I haven’t had for while. It involves asking Him to come and make His Presence known in and around my life. It has taken me back to read Exodus 32 & 33. I love the sense about Moses that success or failure weren’t the most important issues to him… He loved God’s Presence and would not budge until God promised to go with him and the tribes of Israel.

In the midst of this conversation I came across a video and a poem that I want to share with you. I shared a link below to the vid; “Lost Generation” and “The Vision” by Wendell Berry. Hope they stir you up!

There is a hunger rising in many hearts to cry out to God with the same heart… “More than anything, God show us your glory and don’t send us any where unless your Presence goes with us.” If there is a fire in you for God’s presence, fan it into a blaze! You are needed in this time!! There is hope!

Lost Generation by Jonathan Reed http://youtu.be/42E2fAWM6rA

“A Vision”

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
if we will make our seasons welcome here,
asking not too much of earth or heaven,
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
there, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be
green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music
risen out of the ground. They will take
nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting. Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility

HOME #11 (My Story)

This morning I found myself tweeting this message, “Friendship with Jesus Christ is the key  to unlock every prison”.  Then I went back to the task in front of me which was getting dressed and ready for the day.

I began to think that if friendship with Jesus is the key that unlocks all of my prison doors then friendship with me is the key to do the same for people who connect with me today and every day.

When I look at the story of my life, I can see that living as a person who can’t be held under lock and key anymore has been quite a learning process.  I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t believe in God and all that my church taught about Jesus.

My struggle has always been with the pressure to behave in certain ways and to say or not say certain things in the course of relating to my world and my Christian community. And it wasn’t just about my conversation. There were things that a Christian shouldn’t and/or couldn’t do or places I couldn’t go because I was a Christian.

From an early age I took on a ton of guilt and shame because my heart and the real me didn’t match up with the behaviour that was expected of me by my church. So, like most of the kids in our church youth group I learned to hide who I really was in religious situations.  Tragically I had no real grasp on the reality that I had an original voice that God had woven into the fabric of who I was… even as a child.

I had an incredibly supportive family and a great school system to explore and make the most of… but I hated myself because I couldn’t seem to find whatever it took on the inside of myself to measure up to my religion.  The saddest part of those years is that I pretty much completely missed the amazing life I could have been enjoying.  What if I could have found my real voice and been activated into a life of reflecting His image into my world by just being myself before my Creator?

So, I lived a lie. My high school experience was lived as two different people. One of them was a well behaved church (religious) kid and the other was what I understood to be the real me.

It wasn’t until I landed at a Christian college that I got real with God and myself. There are two things that I remember saying to God as I left home as a 17 year old to enroll in Bible College. The first was “God, I know this might just land me in hell, but if I can’t discover something real for me in following Jesus during this school year, then I am done with the Church and Christianity for good. I’m sure hell will be awful. But, if all there is to being a Christian is what I have been part of so far, forget it!”

And, the second conversation came about half way through that school year as I cried out to God through tears and from my heart, “God, whether you are glad about this or not, you are stuck with me, failures and everything, because of how much you have loved me and set me from through Jesus, you are gonna have to reject me to get rid of me!” And, he hasn’t sent me away yet 🙂

He has set me free from prisons in my emotions, my sense of self and my life purpose. I want to offer up this prayer:

Jesus, knowing you is the key to unlocking the door to every prison I might find myself in whether it’s one of my own making or imposed by someone else. Words can never express how grateful I am for what you have done by setting me free to actually live. But, I pray that you will fill me and express your heart through me so that people will find that knowing your Spirit through me is the key that unlocks the chains and the bars that hold them captive. Use me to help them find the key for themselves.  Amen

Birthday wish

There is a huge statement recorded in the Bible:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms

with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” 

… every spiritual blessing?

Today is my birthday. I am sure considering the population of the world, there are thousands of us who share this date set aside as our DOB.

What do I wish for on my birthday? 

Well, I woke up very early this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I was thinking about my life and honestly worrying about some things. Then I began to connect with my heart, the things that matter most… and I thought about what I wish for. So, here on my birthday I thought I would post this as a prayer:

Father God,

Thank you for blessing me and all of creation in and through Jesus Christ. The indescribable gift of the kingdom You ushered in through him is everything we will ever need. Today is the day on the calendar when me and my friends and family will celebrate the fact that I was born and get to have a life. I am so grateful for them. Thank you for them and thank you for life. I don’t know if “wishing” is okay with you or not, but in this prayer I want to express my wish to you. I do wish that we would experience an era of time when all of creation would love you and the dwelling place and the family you have welcomed us back to and blessed us with more than we love ourselves. I wish that the prayer Jesus prayed for all of his followers would be our pilgrimage and chosen destiny:

 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

It would be so amazing to live in a time where that prayer became the heart cry of enough of us on the planet that we reached the tipping point and your glory would be clearly seen and known in all the earth. When I pause to think deeply about all of this I know a day  like that is coming and it motivates me to pray and live for a world like that. So, as I give and receive love today with my friends and family, I just want you to know, God that I thank you for it all and for welcoming me back home in and through Jesus.

Amen

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!!