Not Will Power but Spirit Power

Romans 7:18 “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

There’s no such thing as self-help in God’s kingdom. If self-help was as effective as its promoted to be, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus Christ to die in our place and rise again conquering sin, Satan and death. We all can identify things in our minds, hearts and lives that we’d like to change. Many of us search for answers in the strategies of human reason than the power of the Holy Spirit. The reality is our will is limited in its ability to bring sustainable and permanent change to our hearts. Stop trying to change yourself by your own will and just start following Jesus. When you surrender to Jesus as your Lord, and you start to follow him out of relationship, transformation is a natural byproduct of the work of the Spirit’s power in your life. Paul said to the Romans, “If you live according to the flesh you will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (and daughters) of God.” Selah!

Do All God Asks Of You!

Genesis 6:22 “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.”

Life is complex! Complexity seems to grow the longer one lives. Everyone at some point in their life feels overwhelmed by the complexity that exists, not only in our culture but in our personal lives. Noah, the great patriarch, found himself alive at a time when the complexity of man’s wickedness was at an all time high. Every intention of man’s heart was perpetually evil and God decided to hit the reset button of humanity and start again. However, Noah was an exception. Noah found favour with God and walked with him all the days of his life. Noah became the patriarch of a remnant that would begin the re-genesis of humanity but it required uncompromising obedience. God asked Noah to build a huge boat to preserve a remnant of humanity and the animal kingdom for the rebirth of the planet. Without any evidence of weather patterns pointing to rain or any historical context to aid his boat building directive, Noah did everything God asked of him and ended up saving the future of the world. Noah is the original superhero. The complexity of your life will only be eased when you settle firmly in your heart the Lordship question. Who is Lord over my life? Am I Lord or is God my Lord? When you surrender your heart to God and live for the audience of one, you resolve 10,000 problems all at once. Why? Because your hearts affections and directions are shaped solely around one primary thing, obeying God without reservation. Selah!

Leave Your Nets Behind!

Matthew 4:19-20 And he said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

We live in a culture where many people are trying to be first but Jesus call to follow him is an invitation to be second. Answering this call requires humility and a willingness to leave our safety nets behind. Before Jesus disciples could follow him, they had to let go of their nets. Some of Jesus disciples were professional fisherman, they earned their living from catching fish. Their nets represented their jobs and income. Jesus was asking them to put it all on the line because you can’t follow Jesus and still hold onto your nets. Everyone of us have have nets in our lives. They range from reputation to relationships to remuneration. What are the nets in your life, you need to let go of to answer Jesus’ call to follow him? Selah!

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!