From revelation to dedication!

Acts 17:21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

Our culture loves new. Our economy thrives on us consuming the new gadget and product that is coming next. What was cool yesterday is obsolete today and what’s relevant today is being replaced by something new tomorrow. We are much like the Athenians who reveled in what was new but never actually embraced what was true. We can bring that same sort of consumer mentality into our relationship with God. We can delight in hearing and revelling in the new insight we’ve heard but never actually do something with it and outwork it in our everyday lives. Every fresh revelation requires a new dedication. It’s not enough to get a new revelation, if we’re not going to dedicate ourselves to its truthfulness in our lives. Are you being obedient to what God has already revealed to you? Some of us are more educated than we are obedient and we hear more than we are putting into action. Dedicate yourself to the revelations Gods showing you and the fruit of your life will speak for itself. 

How bad do you want it?

goal-setting-the-90-day-challengeMany people talk a lot about wanting something in life but very few of us actually go out and pay a price to possess what we want. Too many people live in quiet desperation brooding over their problems and secretly coveting the life someone else is currently living. I encourage you to stop comparing and fantasising  in vain and actually go after what you want. One of the most powerful questions Jesus ever asked someone in the Gospels was, “What do you want me to do for you?” You would think that for blind Bartimaeus that it was obvious what he wanted = sight but Jesus still asked him anyway. We hear so many preachers telling us to deny ones self to follow Jesus and yet I think we would be surprised to know that Jesus is interested in finding out what exactly it is you want from him. Once you get clear on your answer, the next question is, how bad do you want it? Or, put another way, what price are you willing to pay for it? Stop wishing and start doing. You’ll be surprised at the outcome!

The 2nd Mile!

ClinicalTrialsInProgressRoadIf someone forces you to go one mile, go with them two. (Matthew 5:41)

Too easily we look at the problems in the world and throw our arms in the air, exclaiming, ‘What difference can I make?’ Its the 2nd mile that makes the biggest difference. Whats the 2nd mile? In Jesus day the Romans legislated a practice they borrowed off the Persians to subjugate the people they had conquered. If a Roman soldier saw a Jewish person, he could command them to carry their burden for up to a mile. Most Jews wouldn’t carry a Romans burden 1 inch further than the law required. Jesus said, ‘Go the 2nd mile’. Do more than what is expected of you. Give people more than they expect to receive and God will bless you with more than you expect to receive. The 1st mile is the legalism mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the love mile. The 1st mile is duty mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the devotion mile. The 1st mile is the service mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the intimacy mile. The 1st mile is the convenience mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the sacrifice mile. The 1st mile is the performance mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the worship mile. The 1st mile is the mundane mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the miraculous mile. Jesus went the 2nd mile on the cross and called us to go the 2nd mile for others.

Confronting Complacent Christianity!

2 Tim 3:1-7 But understand this that in the last days.. people will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.. always learning but never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Life is difficult on its own let alone life in the last days. We are living in the last days described of in Paul’s words to Timothy. The issues outlined here are marks of complacent Christianity.

Complacency loves pleasure more than it loves God. Complacent believers make church more about them than about God. Its characterised more by apathy, passivity and selfishness than by action, passion and sacrifice. In a cultural climate of self-help, self-talk and self-love, complacent Christianity thrives. Complacent Christianity attempts to bring God down to the lowest level of non-commitment possible.

Complacency has the form but not the power. Complacency engages in the ritual but lacks the power. It appears godly but it never lives up to what it looks like. Complacent Christianity is religious but lacks substance to change people’s lives. Complacency leaves you wondering, there’s got to be more to following God than attending endless events but not seeing heaven break into the earthly realm.

Complacency always hears but never obeys. The western church is more educated than we are obedient. We’ve heard sermon after sermon, read book after book but seen very little change. We’ve got to move from hearing only to obeying promptly. Jesus said, ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I tell you to do?’ Love for God is marked by obedience.

The Oracle!  

Will the Real Leader Please Stand Up!

There is a lack of strong, healthy and Christ-centered leadership across the church, let alone across society. Romans 12:6,8 says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: the one who leads, with zeal.”

I don’t think there is a lack of strong, healthy, Christ-centered leaders because God has stopped gifting or calling people to lead but I think that there is a lack of intentionality in our church culture’s and in existing leaders to embrace, strong, healthy and Christ-centered leadership.

We need existing leaders to step up and take responsibility not only for their own leadership but for the development of future leaders. If you aren’t investing into anyone as a leader, quite simply, you’re not a leader. Leadership by position, knowledge or talent alone doesn’t imply leadership is being exercised. There is a leadership vacuum in our society because people have equated leadership with position, perks and power rather than humility, capacity and sacrifice. Leaders move people from where they are to where they need to be or in a Christian sense, “where God wants them to be.”

Let me tell you, if anything significant happens anywhere in any tribe, it will be because of a catalytic change agent who leads the charge and makes something happen. Leaders, get clear on what you want and more importantly what God wants and start to lead the church, ministry or organization accordingly. Leaders, we need you!

Grace!

I was always on my mind!

If we only live with ourselves in mind, we will miss what God has in mind for us!

Too many of us are caught up with ourselves always on our mind. When you are pre-occupied with yourself, you have no room to be interested in others. The bible exhorts us to, “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4). When you are always on your mind, you only ever see life from your limited perspective. Your world becomes bigger when you start to seek first to understand rather than trying to always be understood. God has plans for you that are about your well-being and success (Jer 29:11) but as long as you are always on your mind, you will never understand or embrace the plans that he longs to reveal and outwork in your life.

If we want to follow Christ we must deny ourselves – Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If you want to come after me, you must deny yourself…” This is a hard saying because it is difficult in our day and age to swim upstream and not be on about your agenda. Everything we are taught at school, in the media and in the culture around us promotes the idea that we are the centre of the universe. But Jesus calls us to live with the spirit of the kingdom of God in our minds and hearts, not the spirit of the world = self! You’ve got to leave yourself behind.

Leaving yourself behind looks like Sacrificing yourself for the Call – Jesus said, “Take up your cross daily and follow me.” You can’t follow Jesus and follow yourself at the same time. You have to choose. No one can serve 2 masters, you either follow one or follow the other. When Jesus took up his cross he sacrificed himself for others. Jesus said, “No servant is greater than his master.” If Jesus is our master and he is our ultimate example, then who are we to think we can follow Jesus and excuse ourselves out of the cost of discipleship. Everyday we have a choice – live for ourselves or live for Christ. Jesus said, “Not my will, but yours be done” and he has been exalted to the right hand of the Father. Satan said, “I will be like God” and the bible says, “He fell like lightning from heaven.” Who you sacrifice for will determine your ultimate destiny.

The Kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom – The spirit of the world says, “Live for yourself and you will have true life.” but Jesus says, “Die to yourself and you will have true life.” We are not to be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds to think like Jesus thinks and order our lives after the pattern of the kingdom of God. One of the reasons why the world looks at the church and thinks that we’re weird is because we operate by a different law. The law of the Spirit of God is now in effect and what people perceive as normal, God perceives as weird and what the world perceives as weird, God perceives as normal. Living for God and others will be seen as weird but go ahead and live with others on your mind anyway.

It’s dangerous to live for yourself and achieve your goal – Jesus said, “What will it profit you, if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul?” The answer = nothing. You could live completely for yourself and even achieve your goal but be completely miserable because you are the only in your small little world. A Day is coming called the Day of Judgment when your work will be tested by fire and if it survives the test, you will be rewarded but if it is burned up, you will suffer loss (1 Cor 3:13-14). What profit are living for – Temporary or Eternal?

Insight!