Buried Blessing!

new-life“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7)

Everything in God’s creation, He created by the words of his mouth with the only exception being us. He created us by reaching down into the dirt of the earth and forming us in his image. Thus, every one of us have God’s fingerprints all over us. Dirt doesn’t seem very appealing but when you plant a seed in it, that seed will eventually produce life. God has planted seeds of blessing in every one of us. You may not be able to see the blessings God has planted on the inside of you but the seed within you has potential within it to produce life. It’s just buried at the moment. You need to water it, nurture it and have the courage to let God bring the seed forth out of the dirt of your life.

Communication Carries Anointing!

IMG_1240Your communication carries your anointing. Every believer is anointed but not every believer can carry their anointing through their communication. (God)

This is a really important insight. John Maxwell would articulate the insight above with the words, ‘Everyone communicates, few connect’. I’ve observed many anointed people over my lifetime but what separates those who hit the bullseye of people’s hearts and those who don’t is their ability to communicate what that anointing is. Your communication carries your anointing into people’s hearts. You maybe greatly anointed but if you are unable to articulate to others in an effective way, your anointing is inhibited. The anointing is the person and power of the Holy Spirit on you and in you for the purpose to which he has called and gifted you. The anointing is linked to your calling, gifting and purpose. Develop your capacity to communicate cause it will either help or hinder the potential of your anointing to minister to people’s lives effectively.

Growing your Gift!

Proverbs ‘A mans gift makes room for him.’

Your calling is about your identity. I hear people say they don’t want to build their identity upon their calling but I actually think God does exactly this. Tell me, where does one start and the other end? Calling is inextricably linked to who you are. Jesus was called by his Father to be the messiah and lay down his life on the cross. His identity was completely wrapped up in his relationship with his Father and the course of life the Father destined him to fulfill. My identity is established in my relationship with Father God but his calling on me is fundamentally apart of my relationship with him that I don’t know where one ends and the other begins.

Your anointing is about your purpose. God has created everyone of us fearfully and wonderfully (Ps 139). I believe every person on the planet has received an anointing because we have been made in the image of God but the power and potency of this anointing is determined by our relationship with the Holy Spirit. The anointing on your life will ebb and flow according to your relationship with God. The anointing is the expression of the person and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Whilst all humans are made in the image of God with a deposit of Gods anointing in their DNA, the anointing is actually fully alive in the person surrendered to God and filled with his Spirit. God anoints you for a specific purpose. You are clearly anointed for some things and not for others. A key to success in life is to discern early what it is you are anointed for and run hard in that very purpose. Remember, it’s never too late to start today.

Your gifting is about your ability. The gifts and call of God are irrevocable, meaning without repentance. God’s not going to call them back from you but they can be undeveloped and underutilized. We are all responsible to develop our gifting. God will give you the raw material but you need to develop what has been given freely as a good deposit into your life. Your gift will bring you before prominent people in your field. Your character will sustain you in the space, your gifting creates for you. Spiritual gifts are evidence of Gods grace. Spiritual fruit is evidence of Gods sanctifying work in us. The Holy Spirit distributes as he wills (1 Cor 12:11). You and I are to enjoy using the gifts God has given to us, whilst earnestly seeking after the higher gifts (higher gifts are those that are in greater need in our lives than others depending upon the circumstances we are facing).

Growing your gift most commonly takes place in 5 key ways:

1. Use it – Start serving someone or something or somewhere today and your gift will automatically grow.
2. Mentor it – Seek out a mentor already established in your specific gift and learn from them.
3. Read it – Read everything you can on your gift and your knowledge will inform your use of it.
4. Pray it – Prayer will partner with the Holy Spirit to inflame the gift within you to be powerful and effective.
5. Focus it – There comes a point in your life when you must stop dilly dallying around and start to focus on doing what only you do best. There’s a time for doing secondary tasks but as you go on, you must focus on your key area of gifting or stay frustrated for the rest of your life.

The Oracle!

Determining the Strength of your Gift!

Romans 12:6 ‘Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.’

Through grace we receive the abilities of the Holy Spirit. These abilities equip us to work in the harvest. Grace is not just undeserved favour; it is also the operational power of God.

Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

I think we underestimate the power of impartation through the laying on of hands. Paul said to Timothy by way of reminder to ‘stir up the gift within you, which you received through the laying on of hands.’ Although the gifts are imparted through the laying on of hands, you still must receive them from the one who imparts them to you by faith. 2 key things will determine the strength and flavour of your gifts:

  1. The proportion of your faith determines how much grace you receive to operate in the gifts. The greater amount of faith you have inside you, the stronger the gifts will operate through you.
  2. The type and level of grace that is resident in the one who is imparting the gift to you will determine what gift is given to you.

Kris Vallotton shares, ‘Grace and faith works like bringing an empty cup to a coke machine. The coke machine determines the flavour of the drink, just as the grace on a person’s life who imparts the gift to us determines the grace we receive. The amount of the drink we are able to receive is determined by the size of the cup that we bring to the coke machine (our faith). ‘ (Basic Training for Prophetic Ministry)

It’s imperative that we stay within the boundaries of our own faith and not try to copy another person’s faith. When Peter stepped out of the boat, he operated in faith. If the other disciples attempted the same action based on presumption of Peter’s faith, then they would have sunk into the water immediately. Think soberly of yourself, according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned to you.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not awards! We cannot earn them. Because the gifts are not a mark of maturity, we do not have to wait for our lives to be in perfect order to receive them. Nonetheless, we are instructed to earnestly desire which means, to passionately and intentionally pursue them.

The Oracle!

In the Gift Zone!

1 Thessalonians 5:19 ‘Do not quench the Spirit.’

You have been given a charisma gift(s) of the Spirit and it’s time you used them to their full capacity. You didn’t do anything to earn them but the Spirit of God has distributed to you freely as he wills (1 Cor 12:11). If you lack knowledge of your gifting or despise your gifting or resist your gifting, you won’t operate in the gift zone as God has graced you for.

You aren’t to be afraid of using your gifts to their full extent, after all, the apostle exhorts all of us to ‘earnestly desire the higher gifts’ (1 Cor 12:31). Embrace who God created you to be and how he has wired you up. Until you become comfortable in your own skin, you won’t be able to flow in the gift zone, as God wants you to. Too often we are looking over the fence at how fruitful someone else’s ministry gifting is, while our own gifting is staring us in the face, waiting for us to pick it up and use it.

I know in the past I have been guilty of insecurity in my gifting, lacking awareness and confidence of what I am called to do but I have had to stare the bear in the face and run at it, instead of being chased by it. You might need to as well. Arise in what God has called and gifted you to do. You might be in a season of preparation more than a season of impartation but whatever season you’re in, recognize it, enjoy it and run towards Gods assignment for you.

Being in the gift zone is fun and exhilarating. For me, there’s nothing better than bringing Gods word to a church and them asking, ‘Have you been listening to our board meetings?’ Or someone walking to my office door to tell me something and God has already told me what they are coming to tell me. I’m as blown away as anybody at the amazing grace God gives fallen yet redeemed people to demonstrate and manifest his love, grace and power to the world.

Get in the gift zone. Don’t quench the Spirit. Enjoy being the person God created you to be. Enjoy walking in the calling Gods given to you.

Grace & Truth

5 Reasons to Preach the Tough Texts of Scripture

As a preacher, I’m called to proclaim the whole counsel of God, not just the bits that will attract a crowd or keep the polls heading north in my congregation.

In the last 12 months I’ve committed to preaching through books of the bible as the norm, rather than the exception. Many pulpits are filled with life-application, therapy sermons that avoid the tough texts of Scripture. However, my authority for preaching must come from the Scriptures alone (not my personality or influence) and all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuke, correction and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent and equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16). I am an expository preacher committed to letting the text speak for itself.

The more I preach the bible, the more my congregation take the bible seriously and the more they listen, weighing the ramifications of what God’s Word is commanding. Preacher, whatever you are excited about, the people will get excited about.

Preaching through books of the bible follows the story of the Scriptures but it also forces you to deal with issues in the text that you would never have dealt with, had you adopted a pick and choose method of reading and preaching. Some of the tough texts of Scripture include: Romans 9; Phil 1:12-30; Ephesians 4:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Cor 6:12-20; 1 Cor 9:1-14; 1 Cor 11:1-16; 1 Cor 14:26-40; 2 Cor 8-9; Revelation (all of it)… to name a few.

I make no attempt to convince you that I’ve got all these texts covered or neatly packed away in my theological tool box but these have been some of the key texts that I have wrestled with over the years in my ministry and I’ve observed others doing so as well.

Here are 5 reasons you should preach the tough texts of Scripture:

  1. People are curious about what ‘that’ text really means
  2. People need help understanding how to apply the tough texts
  3. People need assurance that the bible is God’s truth to us in this age
  4. People need to hear what God says about things that displease him
  5. People need to wrestle with the mystery of God
Grace!

Power of the Spirit!

Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

When I was 6 years old I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed my life. Since then I’ve had several supernatural encounters that have been eye-opening and life transforming, both for me and for others. One thing I’ve observed in our culture is the deep spiritual hunger people have. This is seen particularly in the rise of movies and TV shows centered on supernatural themes. I read a survey recently that said more people believe in aliens and ghosts than God. This is an unfortunate reality check for the church because as a believer I think we are called to manifest God’s power in a tangible way in our daily lives, and clearly there is a misrepresentation of God taking place.

One of the most important things to understand about the Holy Spirit is that the core manifestation of his presence is POWER. Jesus could have said, ‘You shall receive PEACE when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.’ Peace is a fruit of the Spirit and the Spirit works this character quality into our lives but Jesus didn’t emphasize the role of peace when he talked about what we would receive when he came upon us. Jesus could have said, ‘You shall receive TRUTH when…’ But he didn’t, he said, ‘You shall receive POWER’. You get the idea!

YOU can receive the power of God. God’s power isn’t just for so called ‘Holy’ people or ‘Preachers’ only. If you are a believer in Jesus, you have received an anointing that abides in you (1 John 2:27). God’s power is supernatural strength, ability and capacity to affect something or someone for the glory of God. God’s power manifests as boldness to proclaim the Gospel. It also manifests as spiritual gifts to meet needs in people’s lives and in the church.

The power of the Spirit is given for a PURPOSE. God never does anything without purpose. He is incredibly intentional, especially when it comes to giving us his power. To be honest, I think most believers have all the power they need. What they lack is purpose. Make sure you are directing the power of God towards the purpose for which it was given in the first place. To be a witness of Jesus Christ in the earth. You can only witness to what you’ve personally experienced. Do you have a vital and growing personal relationship with Christ or are you distant and aloof to the things of God. Maybe there is a lack of witnessing because there is a lack of personal first hand revelation to actually knowing God.

PRAYER gives birth to God’s power. Devotion to prayer always precedes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is 2 way communication with God and God’s power was never meant to be used separate to a personal relationship with God. Power is a byproduct of intimacy with God. In particular, speaking in TONGUES releases God’s power in a our lives very effectively. Tongues has been under assault from both within and outside the church over the years but the bible clearly states that, ‘The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself’ (1 Cor 14:4). The Apostle Paul went even so far as to say, ‘I wish that you all would speak in tongues’ (1 Cor 14:5). Regularly speaking in tongues releases revelation knowledge into our Spirit and empowers our witness to the world. I’ve personally experienced an impartation of supernatural knowledge about people, churches and events that came directly out of time spent praying in the Spirit.

God’s power is available for you because His Spirit dwells on the inside of you, if you belong to Christ. Author and Evangelist Dave Roberson once said, “The very measure of God’s power in a believers life is dependent on how much of his life is ordered by the Holy Ghost.”

Insight!