Pray like Jesus!

Matthew 6:9-13 “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive this who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.”

The one thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to do was to pray. Traditionally, this has become known as the “Lord’s Prayer”. In fact, it should be renamed the “Disciples Prayer” because it was for our benefit, not Jesus. Jesus never committed any sin, so Jesus never had to pray for forgiveness but in the prayer taught by Jesus, he taught the disciples to ask for forgiveness. In addition, this prayer contains within it all the key ingredients needed for a powerful breakthrough in every area of your life.

Prayer is WORSHIP: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Begin with praise and worship of God’s goodness every time you enter into God’s presence. Worship lifts your focus off of yourself and magnifies God’s greatness over your life.

Prayer establishes GOD’S RULE: Your kingdom come means for the authority of God’s kingdom to be present in your daily life.

Prayer aligns with GOD’S WILL: Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Prayer releases the abundant resource of heaven into the earthly realm so that more and more of our natural reality looks more and more like the kingdom of heaven.

Prayer PETITIONS and RECEIVES by faith: Give us this day our daily bread. Prayer deals with the practical areas of our lives. God delights to give good things to those who ask in faith.

Prayer is REPENTANCE: And forgive us our trespasses. Repentance is turning away from self and turning towards God. In prayer God gives us the strength to overcome sin.

Prayer releases GRACE for RELATIONSHIPS: As we also forgive those who trespass against us. Because of the fall of humanity, our relational worlds are under the stress of brokenness. In prayer we receive grace to reconcile and engage in healthy relationships.

Prayer builds CHARACTER: Lead us not into temptation. In prayer we find the strength to become more like Jesus and resist the temptation of the enemy and our flesh.

Prayer is SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Deliver us from evil. One of the primary weapons to fight against Satan is prayer. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions and you’ll discover grace and power to be victorious over all the attacks of the enemy against you.

Prayer is DECLARATION: For yours is the kingdom. Prayer partners with the primary message of Jesus, the gospel of the kingdom. Prayer isn’t passive, it’s forceful declaration of God’s heart for his kingdom to be established in the earthly realm.

Prayer releases God’s POWER and PRESENCE: The power and the glory forever and ever, Amen. Without prayer, we have no access to God’s power. We need power top effect change in our lives and in the earth. In prayer we become aware of God’s glorious presence. Prayer manifests the glory of God. Selah!

Take Responsibility for your Breakthrough!

breakthrough-project-111 Chronicles 14:11 ‘And he went up to Baal-perazim, and David struck them down there. And David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like a bursting flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.’

Breakthrough is a power word. It conjures up images in my head of smashing through walls, storming across the finish line and bursting through barriers. It’s talked about a lot and yet to be honest it doesn’t seem like many of us actually do breakthrough. Why is that?

I think it’s partly because we are waiting and hoping for someone else to come and do it for us and as a result we are lulled into a life of quiet, desperate excuses. Sometimes, we do face things in our lives where we feel powerless to do anything. However, God calls each of us into partnership with him to see the needed breakthrough happen.

God’s sovereignty doesn’t eliminate our responsibility to believe and act according to our faith. Faith apart from works is dead. What breakthrough are you believing for in your life? Are you actively pursuing it or are you waiting for someone else to come and do all the heavy lifting?

We can depend upon God to be faithful to his word in our lives but we must step up and play an active role in believing for God’s breakthrough power to work in our lives.

The Oracle! 

Breakthrough doesn’t come at Bargain Prices!

Numbers 13:30-31 ‘Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are”.’

Fashion is one of my hobbies and I don’t mind the odd shop for some quality clothes. I’ve observed the higher quality the product, the higher price you must be willing to pay for it. You can’t have a BMW experience with a Ford Escort mentality.

Breakthrough in life and ministry operates the same way. The bigger the breakthrough you need, the bigger the price you must be willing to pay for it. Breakthroughs don’t come at bargain prices.

Problem is breakthrough is often disguised as hard work. The 10 spies who reported to Moses the state of the Promised Land looked at the giants, fortified cities and obstacles in the way and said, ‘Too Hard’. Most people want breakthrough, they’re just not willing to embrace the hard work required to get it. There’s a difference between a desire and a conviction. A desire is a surface level feeling that disappears when hard work is required but a conviction is a revelation in your heart that you will possess what you are believing for regardless of the hard work involved.

Breakthrough is inhibited by a bad report. 10 out of 12 spies brought back a bad report and it stopped nearly 3 million people from entering into their Promised Land. I’ve discovered, you can hear 100 words of encouragement but one negative report will be the thing you take away with you. I bad egg can mess it up for everyone else. We’ve got to guard our hearts and watch the report coming out of our mouths.

Breakthrough requires you to see through obstacles. 10 spies couldn’t see past the obstacle and they got intimidated by it to the point that they saw themselves as grasshoppers. When you see yourself as a grasshopper, you don’t see yourself as capable of overcoming great obstacles. When you can’t see through the obstacle you compare yourself to it and get intimidated by it. Get your eyes back onto Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith. When you get a revelation of whom God is, He will give you a revelation of whom you are.

Joshua and Caleb modeled 4 key actions (V30) that we need to take note of as we head towards our own breakthrough:

  1. Unity – We are stronger together than we are alone
  2. Urgency – Seize the opportunity before you
  3. Faith – God was their source of strength
  4. Sacrifice – You can’t go up, if you don’t give up

God wants you to breakthrough but there’s a few hard questions you need to ask yourself. What hard work is in front of me that I am trying to avoid? What bad report have I brought to the table that I need to repent of? What obstacles in front of me intimidate me?

The Oracle!

Building a Team for Breakthrough!

People aren’t your greatest asset, the right people are!

One of the great metaphors for a church or ministry team is a bus. On a bus you have a driver and a whole lot of passengers, with hopefully some key people in the seats closest to the driver. Depending on who you have in the key seats, will determine the trip you take.

Research has shown (Jim Collins – Good to Great) that the first thing you must do before you want to build a team for breakthrough is get the wrong people off the bus, the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats. Before you work out where you want to go or what you want to achieve, you must focus on who you are going to take the journey with.

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.

Whoever is on your bus should be there because of who is on it, not just where it is going. When you have the right people on the bus, you eliminate the need to constantly micro-manage and drive them to get results. The right people are self-starters and are led, not driven to make things happen.

“We focused year after year on injecting endless stream of talent and building them into the best managers in the industry. That’s how you build the future.” (CEO Dick Cooley, Wells Fargo)

Are you trying to be the genius with a thousand helpers or are you trying to build a team of great strength and depth? A genius leader doesn’t need a team, just a bunch of soldiers that will implement their ideas. The problem is, it’s unsustainable. Don’t settle for being a genius on WHAT to do in ministry. Aim to be a genius in WHO you pick for your team. Great leaders build a team for breakthrough, not a platform for their talents.

Look for the 4 C’s in recruiting people – Character, Chemistry, Competence and Calling. Recruit people to your team, even if you don’t have a vacancy for them as yet. Great people will start to contribute because they are initiator’s. It takes rigorous discipline, not a ruthless dictatorship to build a team for breakthrough. A rigorous team environment is disciplined, whereas, a ruthless dictatorship is ego-centric and fear mongering.

Practice the 3 essential disciplines of a rigorous environment:

  1. When in doubt, keep looking – better to have an unfilled position, then fill it with the wrong person.
  2. When you need to change, act quickly – Don’t delay but be decisive.
  3. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems – Your best result on your biggest problem will be average. Your best result on your biggest opportunity could be world-changing.

The human component in bottle-necking church / ministry growth isn’t location, circumstances or marketing but the ability to get and keep enough of the right people. Walter Bruckart was once asked to name the top 5 factors in his companies breakthrough. He responded with, “Factor 1 – right people. Factor 2 – right people. Factor 3 – right people…” You get it!

Grace!