Stay Focused!

Philippians 3:13-14 But this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

About this time of year, the passion of New Year’s resolutions and goals begin to wane, as the rush of everyday responsibilities consume us. I want to encourage you to not let the busyness and routine of everyday life crush your hopes and dreams for 2018. 2018 can and should be your best year yet, regardless of what circumstances may be threatening to steal your peace. Having the best year of your life doesn’t mean you’ll never have to face challenges or difficulties. It comes back to your focus on what God has spoken into your heart, as well as sticking to your core convictions. What you choose to focus on is what will impact your life in 2018 more than anything else. There are some things in life we cannot control. There is no point allowing your focus or peace to be distracted by these things. What you must focus on are those things you’ve been entrusted with and can take responsibility for. I’ve learnt that if I will play my part and give 100% to what I’ve been called to do, the rest of my life takes care of itself. Take heart, God is for you and he has anointed you with talents, abilities and responsibilities that require your attention. The arena you will see the most reward from is connected to you focusing on those very gifts and strengths that God has entrusted you with. Stay focused. Explosive Insights!

Live with Confidence!

images-8All of us at some point lose our confidence. It could be through a hurtful comment, unwarranted criticism, unrealised dreams, disappointing performance or overwhelming circumstances.

Truth is, we don’t have to stay in that place of insecurity and doubt. We can live with confidence in every arena of life regardless of how life may look right now. It comes back to our convictions in God and his Word in our lives.

I find such confidence from knowing that God has spoken into my heart specific things for the details of my life. I can live with a fresh and joyful outlook on life because I know that God is for me and not against me. I can enjoy each day knowing that God has already gone before me and made a way even if I can’t see it nor understand it all.

Confidence comes from knowing God and who you are in Him! Leonard Ravenhill once said, ‘He who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by man.’ How can man or circumstance be intimidating when we come into a deep realisation of who our Father really is.

My prayer for you is that you would know the hope to which God has called you and you would encounter the reality of who God is at the core of your being. Out of that place of revelation you can live with an abundance of humble confidence.

The Oracle!

Intimacy and Identity!

identity-manGrowing up I based my identity on what I achieved not on whom I was in relationship with. Whether it be in the sporting arena, the police academy or in the early years of my ministry, I valued myself on how I performed rather than who Christ said I was.

We live in a culture that’s obsessed with accomplishment and image because western society works on a functional paradigm rather than a relational paradigm. A functional paradigm is task oriented and purpose driven. We function together and what little time we have left over we connect and often very surface level.

Living in this functional paradigm can lead to tension and frustration. When we make life about something other than what God intended it to be, chaos is the end result. God intended us to live from a relational paradigm first, a functional paradigm second.

The kingdom of God operates on a relational paradigm. When Jesus was tested as to what the greatest commandment in the law was, he pointed to a relational paradigm, not a functional one (Matt 22:34-40). He said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and… love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ God’s will is first relational, second functional. We get saved through a person, not a task. Jesus said, ‘I am the way’, not ‘This is the way’. Everything God teaches us about life begins and ends with relationship.

Our identity flows out of our intimacy. Jesus is so attractive because he’s so secure in his relationship with his Father. Before Jesus ever healed the sick, preached a sermon, raised the dead or cast out a demon, he had his Fathers approval over his life (Matthew 3). Father God said, ‘This is my son, in whom I’m well pleased.’

We don’t attract God’s presence through performance, we are already attractive to him and he calls us into deeper levels of relationship with him. Intimacy is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. Out of intimacy God shapes our identity and it’s through our identity, that God shapes our destiny. What we ultimately possess in life is determined by who we become.

The more rooted our identity in Christ is, the healthier our relationships will be. The vertical relationship with God precedes the horizontal relationship with others. If there is conflict in our relationships with others, its possibly because there’s conflict within our own identity.

Your identity is inextricably connected to your identity. What do you value yourself by, achievement or relationship?

The Oracle!

Discerning Gods Will!

Colossians 3:15 ‘And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.’

I’ve found discerning the will of God to be one of the most challenging issues to work through. Most people I talk to have shared the same sentiment. Life presents us with a plethora of options and opportunities that can leave us feeling confused and exhausted. In the process of having to make a decision, we can feel like we are going crazy. The pain in the process comes from not wanting to make a bad decision that leaves us disconnected from God’s purpose and the desires in our hearts.

Even though it may feel like God is playing hide and seek with you, God delights in revealing his heart to you and giving you the direction you need to move forward with faith into the future. One of the key mechanisms in discerning God’s will is the peace of God ruling in our hearts.

The language of God is multiple and varied: visions, dreams, still small voice, angels, creation, scriptures, tongues, impressions, prophetic acts, signs and wonders, word of knowledge, circumstances, spiritual encounters and an overwhelming sense of his peace.

It takes real skill, testing and experience to interpret what God is saying to us at any one time. Why? God’s not human, He’s Spirit. His primary language isn’t english or russian or mandarin, its spirit. As we grow in our relationship with him, we learn to discern how God speaks to us and what the content of his messages to us are.

Throughout the bible we read of God asking Abraham, Moses, Gideon and Esther, to do things that their flesh wouldn’t have felt a peace about but because they learnt to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh, the peace of God ruled in their hearts and empowered them with confidence to obey God. Don’t underestimate the power of God’s peace to propel you forward in discerning God’s will for your life.

While God’s ultimate will is for us to have a relationship with him and to become more like him, his will does need to be discerned and applied in more specific areas of our lives. Gods peace ruling in our hearts is one of the master keys to moving forward. Don’t judge by circumstances alone but by the peace of God.

The Oracle!

Connect your Vision to your Diary!

I define vision to be a clear and compelling God-given picture of the future (as per my Vision book 2006). I think it’s also more than that but we have to define it in some way.

I was speaking to Steve Addison last week and he feels that the word ‘vision’ has been over-used and that it doesn’t mean a whole lot  anymore. He prefers to use the word ‘Need’ and suggests that when God gets a hold of a leader, he re-defines their character with his character and opens their eyes to a particular need and gives that leader energy and ideas to resolve the need. Not bad at all, I like!

Whether you call it a need, or a big cause or the big idea, I don’t care. What I care about is that you connect your big vision to your daily schedule = Diary! If you don’t, you’ll be like me sometimes and get totally frustrated with feelings of not accomplishing what God put me here on the planet to do. Can you identify with this?

When I have felt frustrated for longer than a few days, I ask myself, why? Invariably, it generally comes down to a disconnection between the great cause God’s put in my heart and my own daily schedule. It’s really simple, if you want to see your vision come to pass and avoid feeling like you are wasting your time, then you need to know what jump starts your heart and you need to actively schedule the right activities in your diary around the big idea.

One of the best bits of advice from all the books on time management I’ve read is simply this, “Organize and Execute around your priorities”.

When I feel frustrated with vision output vs time spent I return to the prayer closet and ask God to speak to me about what he has called me to do and what his vision for my life’s work is. When I do this, he always, always, always says the same things but the whole process distills life into its rawest and simplest form. I’ve found that after 2-4 weeks of living post this encounter, life gets complicated in the minutia and demands and expectations of others. I have a real problem with people approval and I have OCD expectations of myself. This makes for an intense feeling of drivenness that I like when sanctified but I hate when not. We are to love people but worship God, not people. We are to love results but worship God, not results.

Your diary should reflect the vision you are seeking to fulfill. If it doesn’t, your kidding yourself. The big rock activities of your week should be spent on the big rocks of your vision. My vision for Activate Church is:

  • Disciple thousands of people
  • Transform the community we are apart of
  • Plant churches across the globe
  • Produce resources to help people grow in their ministry

While there are things I do that don’t fit into anyone of these big rock categories, If I don’t get intentional about aligning my diary with these goals, I get frustrated and my family feels like they’re living with a bear who has a sore head. You get the idea? Make it work.


Boundaries around the will of God!

Colossians 3:15 says “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”

One of the boundaries God has given to us in our lives is PEACE! Peace is our umpire in the game of life. Peace lets us know when we are in danger of falling off the edge and when we have hit a home run.

Using peace as an umpire in our life makes perfect sense when we consider that the foundation of our relationship with God is peace and rest. Christians should be the most peaceful people on planet earth because we are ultimately connected to the Prince of peace. Peace, therefore, should be a byproduct of our lives. Peace empowers our sensitivity, it enables us to wait patiently and listen.

We can mature to a place in God where it is impossible to worry. When we rest in Him completely, we frustrate the enemy. The kingdom of darkness cannot find us when we are in our secret place of rest in God. We need to learn how to allow peace to be our umpire. A referee only stops a game when things get out of hand or when a rule is broken. Great referees let the rest of the game proceed naturally. When we discover that living in peace is God’s absolute design for our life, we can trust him to shake us up when we move out of his will. As long as we are fulfilling the conditions of a right relationship with God, we are at peace. If we begin to move away from God’s purposes, He will blow the whistle on us by lifting our peace.

God wants us to choose what we do with our lives. If he doesn’t like our choice, he will make that clear. God is in the business of producing mature sons and daughters who can think with the mind of Christ, not a bunch of spiritual babies who need a word just to brush their teeth in the morning. In your choosing, pursue peace because the path of peace is to become spiritually minded (Rom 8:6) and mature in God.


Count the Cost!

You can’t go up if you don’t give up something that’s holding you back!

1 Timothy 6:6 “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment.”

Contentment with Godliness is cool because it’s relational. It represents an upgrade in our relationship with the Father and says we are happy with him but still want more of him at the same time. It means we are exploring our future relationship with him while enjoying our current relationship with him. However, contentment outside of this context can lead us into complacency. Complacency is not on Gods agenda for any of us.

An athlete called up to the Olympic team must make decisions about lifestyle, health and fitness that are in agreement with a vision to win the Gold medal. Vision releases freedom but also brings restraint. The same applies to our spiritual lives and life calling. We all must choose to live in a way that is aligned with God’s purpose and permission. in order to generate accomplishments in some areas, i will have to curtail my involvement in areas that are dubious or unhelpful.

Examine your heart today, is your high calling in God matched by a high commitment or a low commitment? If it’s low, then evaluate everything and begin to change . you only have one life and it’s not a dress rehearsal. We are on stage now and the curtain is up. Your relationships might change, your study habits, your time with God, your conversations and how you use your income might have to all change to match the high calling God has given you.

When you launch out in the beginning of your journey, you may count the cost initially but never really understand the actual cost involved. As we journey we pay the price in installments, which makes it bearable. Every time we pay the next portion, we receive the next measure of God’s allowance to us and we continue to grow up in Christ. It’s only when we are shaken to our very core that we start to discover the hunger to overturn everything contrary to the life God has ordained for us.