First Hand Revelation!

machine city“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim.” (1 John 1:3)

John the Apostle speaks and tells us that he doesn’t borrow someone else’s testimony to inform his proclamation but he preaches from a first-hand eyewitness account of encounter with God. John, along with the other disciples were ministering out of their personal experience of Jesus and we should do so as well. I can’t be effective in someone else’s revelation but I can be authentic and effective if I am speaking out of something that I have personally encountered along the journey of my relationship with Jesus. Power is imparted to people when it flows from a first hand revelation, not second or third hand. Hearing other’s stories is inspirational and helpful but living an adventure and telling others your story is powerful. First hand revelation requires us to grow in awareness of what God’s saying to us and what we are learning along the way. We are called to be a witness of what God has worked into our lives so that others may come into their own personal encounter with God!

Follow the Leader!

John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”

I don’t know if you have ever played follow the leader but when I was in the Police Academy in 2000, I was in a physical training session where for 2.5hrs my entire squad had to play follow the leader. The instructor took us through a series of gruelling exercises and drills that we were required to follow. The only way we could follow his lead was if we watched closely and heard attentively.

This is a great practical insight into leadership. Followers take their cue from the leader. As goes the leader, so goes the followers. You reproduce who you are. It’s a law built into creation (Genesis 1). You can only reproduce after your own kind. This should cause you to take your example in leadership more seriously but it should also challenge you to ask the question, ‘Am I following THE leader?’

I’m not talking about your boss, pastor, parent or spouse. I’m talking about Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:15-20 gives us one of the most exhaustive and exalting reflections on Jesus Christ, that exists in the entire bible. V18 reads, ‘He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.’

As we consider the life of Jesus, we read in John 5:19, that he played follow the leader for 3.5 years of his ministry. Jesus said, ‘I only ever do that which I see my Father doing.’ Jesus knew that it’s not what you do that matters but what you do out of what the Father reveals to you to do. Most people I know are very busy doing a number of things that seem very important to them and possibly to others but I often wonder how much of what we do is really fuelled by a revelation from Gods heart and mind, rather than something that’s just culturally expected of us?

Even the Son of God recognised that by himself, he could do nothing. Jesus was completely reliant on his relationship with his Father and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in him and through him. Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing, which means, he had a close and intimate relationship with his Father, to actually observe and hear what his Father desired. As a result, Jesus could actually mirror his Father and authentically reflect the Father’s mind, will and intention for any given situation. Jesus took the game of follow the leader to a whole new level.

One of the most important questions you could ever ask God every moment of each day is, ‘Father, what are you saying and doing right now?’ God’s heart, mind, will and intention will be revealed to those who knock on the door of his heart and ask this simple, yet profound question.. continually. It’s time to start following the leader of our souls, Jesus Christ.

Grace & Truth

I’m not who I used to be…

2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come.”

I have been a Christian for nearly 30 years. At 4 years of age I can remember confessing my sin and believing in Jesus Christ, as I was led to God through the influence of my parents and other older believers. I’m so grateful to God for his sovereign grace at work in my life and it has been an amazing adventure of discovery and growth, albeit painful at times.

Truth is, I cannot believe how far God has brought me in my own spiritual journey. Even as a Christian and pastor, just a few years ago, there were things I wrestled with in my heart, which manifested in my marriage and relationships with others. Now by God’s grace those same struggles are no longer on the dashboard of my life. Granted, there are other challenges that I must run to the Gospel with but God’s empowering grace has rescued me already. I think this is how it should be, if we are working out what God has already worked into our hearts. It does seem, though, that the closer you get to God, the more aware of our sinfulness we become. 

Sanctification is a key theological term which describes the process of a believer becoming more and more like Jesus. Regeneration is the initial act that gives birth to our spirit and begins the sanctification process, whereby the indwelling Holy Spirit transforms us to reflect the character of Christ. This is both a joyful privilege and painful process.

When Jesus saves us, he transforms what we find joy in. Our flesh finds joy in self but our regenerated spirit finds joy in Christ and others. Our flesh finds joy in lust but our regenerated spirit finds joy in purity. Our flesh finds joy in revenge but our regenerated spirit finds joy in forgiveness.

The cross where Jesus died to atone for our sin, is the place of the great exchange – our sin for God’s righteousness. The process of sanctification is the process of dying to self and coming alive to Christ. It’s the process of finding joy in a cross -centered life, rather than finding joy in a self-serving life.

As a Christ-follower, you should be changing. You cannot taste of the eternal gift and not be changed by it. Jesus does something in you by the work of the Holy Spirit and you too will wake up one day and say, “I’m not who I used to be…”

Grace!

Stick to your Call!

Jesus is our supreme example for life and faith. Jesus stuck to his call and he did not deviate from it. An ancient proverb says, “If you want to defeat them, distract them.”. In the wilderness Jesus was given several lucrative opportunities to use his talents in a way that did not relate to his mission.

However, Jesus resisted them because none of these opportunities fit with his mission statement. Just stop for a moment and think about what Jesus did not do. After all, he was the Son of God and could have done anything he wanted, with guaranteed success. He was endowed with limitless power from on high and yet he did not build a temple or a synagogue. He did not write or distribute books and yet the Gospel of John records that if everything he said and did were recorded, all the books in the world could not contain them. Jesus did not even heal all the sick people in the world. He did not go down to the graveyards and raise everyone from the dead.

Jesus call was very specific and he stuck to it. He said, “I have come to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Can you summarize your call as specifically as Jesus did? Can you identify a current list of opportunities that might really be distractions. What are they?

Insight!

Prophecy and the Call!

To be prophetic is to reveal the mind, will and intention of God. Prophecy is really important in the call process because it reveals the mind, will and intention of God for your unique call and gifting. Prophecy has a way of activating all the other spiritual gifts and helping you recognize the call of God in your life.

What you need to understand about prophecy is that it is God’s intention for you, not an official declared outcome that will come to pass regardless of how you respond to it. You must position yourself to possess the word you have received.

Positioning yourself to walk in your call means testing the word you have received (not putting it on the shelf to just sit there). It also means assuming a posture of learning about your call and gifting that the word is pointing you to. Reading books, seeking out a mentor and attending a conference or a seminar all help towards walking in God’s intention for you.

Respond to the prophetic word in faith and watch God work powerfully in your life as your call begins to take shape. Prophecy can quicken and multiply your insight into the call and gift of God, as well as activate the grace needed to move powerfully in your call.

Insight!