You can’t give what you don’t own!

Acts 3:6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

The context of this event in Scripture is the profound momentum of the early church. Souls are being saved, lives are being changed and miracles are a common occurrence. Two key church leaders, Peter and John are walking to the temple at the hour of prayer when they encounter a lame beggar, asking for money. Peter responds, (paraphrase) “I don’t have any money on me but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.” Peter acknowledges what he doesn’t have but simply gives out of the 4 things he does have: 1) A revelation of the name of Jesus Christ; 2) The anointing of the Holy Spirit; 3) Faith for healing; 4) A love for people. Peter possessed something far more valuable than riches, he owned a tangible faith in Jesus Christ. Money would have sustained the beggar temporarily but what Peter passed on transformed this man’s life forever. You can only pass onto others what you own for yourself. Frustration arises when we try to pass on what we haven’t cultivated in our lives. Too often we see needs around us but lack the resource material or spiritual to help the situation. Rather than letting these moments go by passively, we need to adopt a posture of personal growth in God to become a solution to someone else’s problem. You can’t lead others where you haven’t gone and you can’t help bring transformation in others where you haven’t grown in authority to do so. I encourage you to grow in a revelation of who Jesus is and what his name can do in people’s lives. Spend time in prayer and grow in a greater measure of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Increase your faith through hearing God’s Word and be ready and willing to reach out to others through practical demonstrations of God’s love. Explosive Insights!

An Upside Down Kingdom!

John 12:24-25 “Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Jesus words are both compelling and convicting. His kingdom is an upside down kingdom to the popular voice of self-centeredness and self-absorption that we are saturated with in our culture. Jesus says that in order to truly live, you must love this temporary world less for the sake of others eternities. A life surrendered to Christ doesn’t exist for ones self but for the benefit of others. Following Jesus isn’t “me first” but “Christ first” and the application of that is in the way we relate to and treat others. 

Your Future is in your Mouth!

images-15When you pray, whatever you desire, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. Mk 11:24

Too many of us “pray the problem” when we should be “prophesying the solution”. Jesus didn’t say ‘pray the problem’, he said, ‘pray your desire’ and believe that you have received it. Your prayer life may need a renovation. You may be guilty of praying too much, ‘Houston, we have a problem’, rather than, ‘Heaven has a solution’. It’s too easy to become pre-occupied with our problems than to pay attention to our words. If you become more word-conscious and less problem conscious, your problems will lose their power in your life. Magnify your words and you will minimise your problems. Words are powerful, they have creative power in them. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Jesus said, ‘If you speak to the mountain to be removed, it will be’. Too often we complain about the mountain, we spend inordinate time defining the mountain, we take pictures of the mountain to show our friends but Jesus said, ‘Speak to the mountain’. Nothing moves until you speak to it. Your future is in your mouth!

The Goal of Ministry!

Over a decade ago I began the journey of full-time ministry, failing to realise that as a follower of Christ, I was already in full-time ministry. Every single Christian is called to Ministry (Eph 4:11-16), every single Christian is gifted for ministry (1 Cor 12:7) and every single Christian can find enjoyment in their ministry (Ecc 2:24). However, unless you understand the goal and purpose of your ministry, you will never fulfill the point of it.

Colossians 1:24-29 is a key passage that points us to the goal of our ministry. Some of the key themes found within it are:

  1. God uses suffering as a means to advance the goal of ministry (v24)
  2. God’s called you to be a steward of the ministry he’s entrusted to you (v25)
  3. The mystery is fulfilled in Jesus Christ in us, the hope of glory (v26-27)
Paul brings us to verse 28 which is the crescendo of the text and outlines to us the GOAL of Ministry:
“Him, we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone, with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”
The GOAL of ministry is to present everyone mature in Christ. In between justification and glorification, there is this precious labor of love called sanctification. Some pastors and believers are only focused on the justification of the saints or even the glorification of the saints but Paul says, the goal of ministry is presenting everyone mature in Christ. This is discipleship 101.
The problem with some of our current approach to ministry is that we feel so overwhelmed by secularism, that we want to make Jesus look so cool, so badly and be liked by everyone that instead of aiming our ministry at presenting everyone mature in Christ, we get distracted by party tricks to get people in the door and once we get them in the door, we have no idea what we’re going to do with them.
If the goal of ministry is attracting a crowd only and getting a temporary bunch of decisions, then party tricks will work in the short-term but Jesus didn’t say GO and make converts, he said, GO and make disciples… this is the process of maturation in Christ and where there is no maturing in Christ, something is wrong in our approach to ministry.
Paul outlines to us how we are to go about the GOAL of presenting everyone mature in Christ: There are 3 key actions emphasized in this passage:
  1. Our ministry must be Christ-centered – It’s Jesus we proclaim because Jesus is the hero of the story from Genesis to Revelation.
  2. Our ministry must warn people of the consequences of sin – Romans 6:23 reminds us that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. If our ministry removes the doctrine of sin then what need has anyone to be saved.
  3. Our ministry must teach people to grow in Christ – We must be an example in our teaching and lifestyle of the re-prioritizing of kingdom values instead of worldly values.
I encourage you to not serve up a diet of candy, pizza, coke and cheeseburgers to attract a listening. This won’t truly serve them but instead nourish people’s souls with what will produce the full measure and stature of Christ in their lives.
Grace! 

Cross the Line!

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

There comes a point in every Christians journey when they need to decide what sort of Christian they want to be. What am I talking about? Jesus said, “Which of you desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man who began to build was not able to finish.”

There is a cost and a call involved in following Christ. You can decide to play it safe and be a nominal Christian who attends Church but doesn’t actively live out their faith and evangelize others in the gospel or you can choose to CROSS THE LINE and be the real deal and embrace the cost and reach out to people who don’t know Jesus.

The cost of following Christ can look like persecution and criticism from others, both close and far to you and the call looks like laying your life down to make disciples of others. I have experienced the reality of both of these in my walk with God.

As a full time pastor of a local church I could very easily hide behind the facade of the pulpit and not venture out past my own office to reach out to people far away from Jesus but the truth is, everyday I have a choice to make regarding the thousands of people that walk past Activate Church in our local shopping centre. Not only that but I could choose to not embrace all of Jesus teachings and develop a safe reputation within my local community or I could choose to cross the line and lay my life down for Jesus regardless of what people may say.

You can’t truly follow Jesus and do it half-heartedly. You are either all in or all out. One of the blessings of my life is being raised in a strong Christian home but at the same time one of the challenges of my life is being raised in a strong Christian home because I can easily forget the reality of being completely separated from God and what that feeling must be like.

I was sitting in a staff prayer meeting the other day and my eyes were opened again to the full realisation of the life Jesus has called me to. In my spirit, all I could hear was, “Cross the line… cross the line… cross the line…” I had a choice to make, Was I going to play it safe in my office or venture out and talk to someone about Jesus? Was I going to preach what God really wanted me to preach on Sunday or tone it down so that it was more tasteful from a religious perspective?

I can’t play it safe. I’m either all in or all out. I’ve crossed the line. How about you?

Insight!

Do what God asks you to do!

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

I could talk about this subject all day, not just because there is so much teaching in the Scriptures on it but because I am a walking illustration of both the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience. You need to understand something really critical to your walk with God. Obedience does bring a blessing and disobedience does bring a curse upon your life.

The Holy Spirit spoke into my Spirit one day, “I will not bless you at the expense of disobedience.” In other words God’s blessing isn’t cheap. God also said to me one day, “If I ask you to do something, it isn’t law, it’s my will for you that I want you to obey me in”.  

Don’t call Jesus your Lord, if you aren’t going to do what he tells you to do. I think we are kidding ourselves if we think we can follow Jesus but not do some of the things he asks us to do. The chief indicator of Christ’s Lordship in our lives is our obedience to his commandments. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments”. Even the Great Commission outlines the process of making disciples includes, ‘teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you’.

For several years God has asked me to get up at 5am every day and spend quality time with him. While I’m a morning person, I have never taken this seriously enough to warrant a change in my lifestyle to action what the Spirit of God is asking me to do. I saw this as ‘Law’ rather than obedience and so procrastinated on it and dismissed it . However, God has repeatedly asked me to obey him in this area and went so far as to inform me that my disobedience was bringing a curse upon me and my ministry. I can tell you that when I began to hear the word of the Lord, a healthy fear of God came upon me. I asked God, “Why are you so intense about me getting up at 5am?” He said to me, “I want you to know that apart from me, you can do nothing. I want you to know that the blessing and success I give to you hasn’t got anything to do with you but comes from me and my grace in your life. If you are going to bear much fruit, you are going to do it my way, not your way.” Needless to say, I’m now a regular riser at 5am because I know the issue isn’t about 5am, it’s about my obedience in the context of my relationship with Jesus.

Too many of us are concerned about the outcome of our lives (results, fruit, success) rather than our obedience to Jesus. God said to me, “Obey me and the results will take care of themselves.”

What has God asked you to do that you have been procrastinating on? Stop bringing a curse against yourself and just do it. The blessing of God follows obedience. This isn’t a teaching of ‘law’ but a fundamental part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Either Jesus is Lord of your life or he isn’t.

Insight!