CONNECTED! – A Sermon by Mark Becerra

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(Preached at AMP Maui on Sunday, January 8, 2017.)

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE IN RELATIONAL GRIDLOCK?

IS YOUR FUTURE FILLED WITH SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE ROADBLOCKS?

DOES EVERY DOOR YOU TOUCH SEEM CLOSED WITH PADLOCKS?

Gridlocks, roadblocks, padlocks – these are the things that face all people everywhere, right? God doesn’t leave us facing these things without already having sent the answers. We’re going to take a look at a key eliminating gridlock, going through roadblocks, and opening up the padlocks holding shut the doors of our destiny. Be warned, though – this key may not be what you think!

God got so worried about the possibilities posed by His unregenerate children who were still able to function as one man in Genesis 11 that He disunited them in a way not to be undone until the Day of Pentecost. We read this:

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.  (Genesis 11:1-8)

So this matter of connection and oneness of heart and mind has great power in it. The operative phrase is this: “COME, LET US…” That’s how they did it! They decided on something together, and then they said “COME, LET US.” Truly, their unified communication and single heartedness contained within it the power of eternity itself. The very power of creation. God created man by saying, “Let us make man in our image…” This is a performative declaration. What they said, happened. Here, at Babel, God got in agreement with Himself (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) about disabling mankind’s unrestrained capability to do whatever they put their single mindedness, and together the Trinity said, “COME, LET US GO DOWN”, they went down and confused the language of men, and that was that – mankind was scattered – disunified – at odds with each other – in non-stop relational drama – till Pentecost.

Let me ask y’all a question. Wasn’t that a tremendous season of worship we just had? Can I see how many of you just experienced a real, living connection with Jesus in the Spirit? How many of you sensed His face to face Presence, right here, right now? Did you connect with Him? It’s all He wants, after all –  all He wants is a vital and living connection with us. “I am the Vine, and you are the branches…”

My dear, dear friends, CONNECTION is the goal of creation. In Ephesians 1 we read:

…that…He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Ephesians 1:10)

Gather TOGETHER. Gather TOGETHER. ALL – TOGETHER – NOW! ALL TOGETHER NOW! (chorus from an old Beatles song)

He wants everything gathered together in him. His heart is gathering His beloved ones together, under His loving arms. Look at Him expose His tender and vulnerable heart here in Matthew 23:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”  (Matthew 23:37)

You see His heart? He WANTS to gather His beloved ones – together. It is His WILL that His people be gathered together, in the unassailable fortress called the arms of His love – His wings. It’s from this place of safety – being held close to Jesus’ very heart – that power, dominion, and advance – the assault on the gates of hell – comes forth.

Going on now: He Himself prayed in John 17:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)

So then, what does Oneness look like?

First of all, there is an atmosphere, a distinct feeling, of peace that results from oneness, from connection. When Michelle and I are in disagreement about something, you know, there is a sense of unease, there’s a feeling of fracture, of disharmony. Have you ever felt that? It’s like a bad note coming out of a singer’s mouth. It’s like, UGH, ouch! HAND ON EARS. It’s very uncomfortable, it grates on the spirit. Do you know what I mean?

But when we are one on –  whatever thing it is we are one on – when things are clear, and bright, and beautiful between us – we experience a distinct and tangible feeling of rest and peace, and settledness. NOD MY HEAD.

When there is oneness, when we are connected, well-connected with those whom God has placed in our lives, and with whom we have voluntarily associated ourselves, there is focus. We are clear about what we are about. AMP is great example. We here at AMP are focused on experiencing the life-transforming Presence of God, the advance of the Gospel of Jesus, the prophetic flow in our day, and we are focused on discipling this island.

Why else is connectedness important? Because the power of prayer is locked up in it. Look at this passage from First Peter:

Husbands, likewise, dwell with your wives with understanding, giving them honor, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

You see what Peter says here? Heirs TOGETHER. Your prayer–ZZZ. Plural. How many of us want a prayer life that works? A prayer life where we see our prayers get answered? Then dwell with your spouse in peace and in harmony, without fighting or fussing or complaining or any kind of discord. CHASE OUT any seeds of disruption in the flow of a united mind together, the one heart together.

Look at this too, in the gospel of Mark:

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20)

Now, you know, we often use this passage to justify our meeting together. You know. We say, hey, we’re together, and so Jesus is here, in our midst. YAY! And there is, you know, truth to that. We are after all the tabernacle of His Presence, the very temple of the living God. But a more careful examination of Jesus’ words in this passage shows this: The context of His being “in our midst,” of Him manifesting Himself among us, is based on two facts…two preconditions:

FIRST, we are in possession of the keys of the Kingdom, to bind and to loose. This comes from this passage a couple of chapters earlier in the Gospel of Matthew:

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

SECOND, we are agreeing together. Together. Together we agree.

You see? The context for Jesus being together is for us to be in agreement, and, for us to be leading active prayer lives together. This passage is really the impetus for group, intercessory prayer. If you read the Rees Howell book, INTERCESSOR, you will learn this was the point. Their greatest effects took place in the context of group intercessory prayer.

The very outpouring of the Holy Spirit is based on our being in one accord with one another. We can’t ignore this precursor to His coming down in glory, Presence, and demonstrated power. In Acts 2 we read:

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:1-2)

This phrase in English that we use –  “one accord” – is actually the translation of a single Greek word:

Homothumadon hom-oth-oo-mad-on’ unanimously: – with one accord (mind). Complete agreement. Acting as one person. Being of one mind about a thing, or just having the state of being of one purpose.

How many of us want to see Heaven set loose in our lives? PUT YOUR HAND UP. How many of us want to see the gridlock of status quo and the dreariness of the “NO MOVING FORWARD” doldrums erased from our existence? How many of us are willing to agree together and push out the roadblocks which hold up our progress in Christ? And how many of us are ready to use the keys of the Kingdom to bind and to loose, to unlock heaven’s influence, and lock up the devil from his doing destructive, deceptive works?

We cannot take the matter of disconnection lightly. We cannot let it have any place in our lives. I must move towards others in love and affection, in demonstrating my willingness to choose the relationship. I must make the first move. I choose my relationships. I am here on purpose, and I am here with purpose.

I’m going to ask DJ to come up and play some music for us now.

So then, what do we do?

Who wants to join me in this quest for connectedness? Who wants to see the effectiveness of their prayer life accelerate this coming year? If you want this, if this is who are, and who you want to become even more, come up on here. We are going to prophesy over one another. Come on up –

OK, we are going to enter the spirit of prophecy right now deliberately. Paul said this:

For you can all prophesy one by one…  (1 Corinthians 14:31)

This is not so hard! First, let’s prophesy over ourselves. Look up the verses on the screen and just start to speak these truths over yourself in a personal way. Put in the first person.

I am my Beloved’s, and He is mine; His banner over me is love. (Song of Songs)

“And He has made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

…you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Christ… (Colossians 3:9-10)

“As the Father loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Next, as you are led, begin prophesying over one another. You can use the verses, or whatever Holy Spirit gives you.

Did you know there is power in the prophetic utterance of His people, His beautiful, YOU? Did you know that you can speak blessing and transformation and course change into existence with words you speak?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.  (Proverbs 18:21)

Do you love life? Then let’s speak it!

CLOSE

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What is Intercessory Prayer?

My church (http://www.ampchurch.org/) offers 2 opportunities per week for intercessory prayer; one on Wednesday mornings from 8:30-11:00am, and the other before service on Saturdays at 5:30pm. Since we are adding a third opportunity on the last Wednesday evening of every month I thought it would be good to brainstorm a bit from Scripture on the subject of intercession, also known as intercessory prayer. This blog post is not meant to be definitive, nor comprehensive, it’s simply an introduction to the subject as I have come to know and understand and practice it at this point in my life, and in the prayer life here at AMP Church.

I’m hoping to answer questions like these: Why do you do this? What exactly is it that you do? What’s the agenda? Is this for me? What are the qualifications for an intercessor? What are the results? Etc.

What I will so is first ask the question, then set the appropriate Scripture in place, and finish up with some explanatory notes.

The first question to answer is, Why do we do this?:

“I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:7-14

And the one thing that motivates me most strongly in this work of devotion I find in the Philippians passage mentioned above: I WANT MORE OF JESUS. And I’ll do whatever I can to get more of Him, to get closer to Him, to hear Him more clearly, to see Him by faith more completely, to enjoy Him more thoroughly, and to represent Him better and better, every day. I just want more of Him.

You know, it turns out there is no proven formula, no 1-2-3 cookbook approach, no “30 days to Glory” process I can employ to fulfill this quest of mine. I simply need to spend more time with Him directly, and leave the results to Him. I do that by worshipping Him (through songs of praise and worship, both set and spontaneous), allowing Him to fill me with Himself more and more over time. I do that by spending concentrated, set apart times in His Word.

Now then, the math is simple here. If I want to be a good husband I need to devote all kinds of hours of spending time with my beautiful bride, getting to know her, serving her, listening to her, and then serving her better with the things that I learn about her. If I want to be a better golfer, I need to play more golf, get some lessons, and then go practice what I learn. If I want to play guitar well I’m going to have to practice and learn new techniques, and then practice the things that I learn. There’s no magic involved in any of this.

So it is with the relationship I treasure most highly, my relationship with Jesus Christ, Papa, and Holy Ghost. I have to spend concentrated, devoted time with them, in exuberant, all-out worship and prayer, careful Scripture study, etc., if I want to grow and excel in my relationship with Him.

So then, we are just looking for more of Jesus in our times of intercession together.

​Next comes the question, What exactly is it that we do?:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.  Ephesians 5:17-21

We go after Him, we press into Him, very deliberately and with all we’ve got. We don’t hold back, and we are not going to be indifferent and unmoved in the Presence of God. We are going to cut loose and give Him our best, forcing ourselves at times to offer Him a true sacrifice of worship and praise.

(Sometimes we just don’t feel it, you know? It’s these very times when we can offer Him one of the richest offerings we have to give Him, a true sacrifice of praise not contingent on how we are feeling at a particular point in time!: Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15)

We go after Him by spending a lot of time simply worshipping Him with songs of praise, adoration, contrition, deliverance, proclamation, triumph, quiet meditation, intimate spiritual embrace, etc. The range of songs we employ runs the entire gamut of interaction we find in the book of the Psalms. (The Psalms are an excellent place to start and continue building a personal life of Scripture-soaked worship and prayer with the Lord. More on that in another post.)

We also give opportunity for those who are feeling it to lead all of us in intercession for one thing or another; situations like Israel, the Mideast crisis, the families of Maui, human trafficking, the outpouring of God’s Spirit on our Islands, the finances of the church’s families, someone with a particular affliction, etc. And what we often find is really cool! For we discover we are often praying about and thinking along the same lines, evidence that our prayer time is being led by Holy Spirit, which is really, really awesome! Or we will come to intercession with some particular burden and find that others are already sharing in that burden, carrying inside themselves the laboring of the groaning intercessory prayer ministry of the Holy Spirit Himself (see the Romans 8 passage just below). Let me tell you it is a shocking and incredible feeling to find you are knit together with others of like mind, being lead by the Spirit at the same time and in the same way – it is AWESOME!!

So then a person will take the lead, letting us know they have something for us all to agree on, and we will stand together with them in vocal agreement, sometimes joining in to second and confirm what’s being prayed.

Next up, answering the question, What is the agenda?:

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.” Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 2 Chron. 20:21-22

We don’t have set times and predefined sections for these times together. (And yes, there is a good bit of Spirit language praying, in accordance with the Romans passage above.) We have (so far) found it best to just let Papa lead us how He wants. (We do appoint one person to take the lead for the session on an overall basis, but their job is to simply respect the time commitments and constraints of everyone involved, and facilitate smooth beginnings, transitions, and endings.)

Another question we might answer is this: Is this for me?:

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8

My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. Psalms 63:1-4

This is for you if you want to get closer to Jesus, and are willing to open your heart up to His Presence and His ministry to your life through worship and prayer. This is for you if you are hungry for more of Him, and for more of the things of God. This is for you if you find yourself longing to see change in your life, in your relationships, in your family, in your community, in your vocation, and in your world, and you know that only God make these changes happen. This is for you if you want to learn how to get prayers answered, and you want to see God move in supernatural, miraculous ways. This is for you if you’ve ever been touched by the Lord, and simply want to feel His touch more and more deeply in your life.

You might also ask, What are the qualifications?:

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 1 Corinthians 1:26

These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Revelation 14:4

Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 1 Timothy 4:15

The only qualifications are: you know you are called by God to be His, and you are willing to be led by Jesus. There are no prerequisites here. You don’t have to have a certain spiritual gift, or have attained a certain level of holiness, or have your halo brightly shined to a particular hue of gold. No, none of that at all! You just need to be willing to come, to give yourself to prayer, and to seek His face. And I would also say, you need to be willing to give yourself time to grow in this service to Jesus. Nothing happens overnight, and the prize goes to the patient ones who endure and persist and continue. You should absolutely have a desire and a need to move on and move up in your relationship with God!!!

What kind of results can you expect?:

He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:17-18

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matt. 21:21-22

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4

So then, how about it? Try these on for size:

  • Getting touched by Him.
  • Gaining a renewed sense of purpose and destiny.
  • Seeing God act as a result of prayer.
  • Learning how to pray effectively from Holy Spirit alongside others who are doing the same.
  • Receiving clarity in situations requiring God’s wisdom.
  • Finding provision in the face of the impossible.
  • Experiencing a growing ability to walk in His manifest Presence.
  • Feasting on the great joy that is intimacy with God.
  • Seeing heaven come to earth – your earth!

Yeah!

I’d like to close with a word of testimony. The year 2004 found my life in complete shambles. I was getting divorced, my children no longer spoke with me, I had shipwrecked my career, I was broke, and I was devoid of any kind of sense of purpose in life whatsoever. My conscience was a disaster area, I had several life-dominating addictions, and I “kneweth not GOD.” My heavenly Prince of Peace saw to it that I ended up one Friday night in a Foursquare church in Houston, Texas (Victory Christian Center, Pastor Tony Krishack) where I learned about both preservice “soaking” prayer and weekly “intercession” prayer meetings. Now, that church absolutely majors in the Presence of God, and I observed that the people most affected by His Presence, whose joy and peace were both contagious and consistent, were the intercessory crew. So I started going. And I loved these times so much! I felt His Presence all around me and inside of me! And I received ministry, both from the Lord and from my new-found Jesus-hungry friends. (Thanks Ken Spaugh, Becky Wiley, Glen and Betty Ann Hurley, Robert Wood, Mark and Deborah Tusinski, Jeff and Dorothy Kelso, Terry Gilbert, Tina Tyson, and many others.) The result was that God, by His Word and His Presence, “re-harvested” my soul, and restored so many important things to me, starting with a renewed conscience and a “new creation” life of true, inner holiness (thanks to the accurate preaching of the Cross, just like we hear at my home church (AMP) here on Maui). I also regained my kids, my career, and my sense of purpose, destiny, and calling. And in this new place of restoration and renewal I happily walk, and grow in on a daily basis…thanks, God!

Consistent devotion to intercession and preservice prayer has played a major role in this very welcome setting of my life on fire – the water’s great. Come on in!Prayer_Shadows_by_FrankieAlton

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The Father seeks WORSHIPERS, not WORSHIP!

Jesus said:

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

Sometimes we get the idea that Father God is craving worship, that He has some kind of void in His being that only our worship can fill, that He needs worship, if you will.

What a distorted view of God, and also of ourselves, and of our relationship to God and with God! God doesn’t need us for anything, and He does not need anything from us. He is content within Himself with Who He is, and does not need an ego boost of praise from we His image bearers to prop up His opinion of Himself and validate His existence. It’s not like God is sitting around saying, “Oh, I wish someone would just worship Me! Can’t I get just one person to utter a few words of praise, of adoration, of thanksgiving to Me? Aren’t I lovely and adorable?” How crazy is that?!? Since the God we’re talking about is infinite, wouldn’t that mean His capacity to consume, and His hunger for, worship would also have to be infinite and without end? How many of us would it take over how many years to get that job done? What a crazy thought! So what exactly is God seeking?

Jesus says here that true worshipers worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and that the Father seeks “such” people demonstrating these qualities. So then, what do these qualities signify?

IN SPIRIT – in the very core of my being – we’re talking about my very essence, my motive principle, the thing that defines the very reason for my being – I am a worshiper. I am one who adores. I am one whose focus is on Another. I am one who, with complete abandon, expresses unbridled affection and spellbound delight in the beauty of Another. It is what I do. It is who I am. I am a WORSHIPER.

Let me contrast to clarify: NASCAR does not define me. It is not my focus, the thing the eyes of my heart magnify and look at with intense emotion and fiery intensity. Is there anything wrong with being a NASCAR follower? Heck no! But, when you meet me, and spend time with me, you soon detect what’s really on my heart, the Thing that dominates my mind, the Object of my affection. You find out where my heart wanders when left to its own devices.

What is worship? Worship is the unrehearsed heart-response I experience and enjoy when I see the love and passion of the One Who loved me first, when I see His pouring out of Himself, when I see this: HE LOVED ME FIRST! HE LOVES ME ALWAYS! HE LOVES ME WITHOUT QUALIFICATION, and WITHOUT LIMITATION. Worship is the normal state of the unshackled, Christ-liberated soul. Worship is the very air breathed by those caught up and set free by this truth: I WAS CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST, AND IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME. Worship is not my duty, it is not an agenda item in my Daytimer, worship is the very thing that I am. My body and my existence are living sacrifices for Him, Who unashamedly became the Fool on the Cross for my sake, caring not one whit about the opinions of others, the One Who could do nothing BUT die for me! And His dying for me was not a burden nor a big drag on the Godhead: It perfectly expressed His being. The Cross demonstrates the very core of God’s peronsality: I live for others. My life I give up for the sake of others. I give of Myself so that others might live, and have the God life in them. I do not live for My own pleasure, but that others might experience the pleasure of God’s unique, life-changingly powerful, addictively sweet and intoxicating Presence.

IN TRUTH – I live in a state of freedom, free from the personality-distorting, demonizing shadows lurking in my soul because of Adam’s tomfoolery. As a worshiper I “take the cure” of Christ’s once-for-all, sin-eradicating work on the Cross, and find a new host of hilariously wonderful things living within me! I find my inner man quietly, smilingly, and effortlessly choosing the right way, the holy way, without compulsion, without anyone telling me to, and, most delightfully, oftentimes when no one else is looking! There is TRUTH living in me, in the deepest part of my being, the TRUTH of inner integrity from stem to stern, from top to bottom, and all the way around! That horrible, former existence of mine – a life veneered with Christian jargon, juggling lies and dodging discovery, and on the inside, always guiltily and shamefully on the run from the very traps I myself have set to fall into – that hypocritical, whitewashed tomb, that Pharisaical farce of a lie called my life – I quietly and contentedly say “Goodbye and good riddance!” to. And I see that guy just sort of…fade out on the Cross. He just goes dim, then blanks out. The liar. The cheater. The manipulator. The hypocrite. And I see my Lord and my God absorbing all that rottenness into Himself. With that unique smile of His. Only He is able to do that! – I bring nothing to this party. And when He opens the eyes of my heart, I see living in me… Truth… Fidelity… Holiness… Righteousness… Peace… without any effort at all. You see, He did it all for me on the Cross of His great love. He did all the work Himself, I had nothing to do with it, I added not one erg of effort to the Great Liberation, He did it all for me, including the giving of the gift of faith needed to activate the Free Gift of eternal life – the God life – the life of a worshiper!

So… what can I do but worship? What else is left but to love and adore this poured-out One? What can I do but dance and sing and rejoice in the God Who has set me free from the inside out? Worship is my nature. Worship is my existence. Worship is my being.  Worship is my pleasure!

And thus I reflect Him most perfectly in this God life, my life as one who worships. This then is the companionship He seeks: friends and lovers who share with Him this same mind and spirit: a life poured-out, a self-giving life, an other-benefitting life. It is the Christ life, in other words, the very Person of Jesus living out His life through me. This I am, and these we are, the worshipers the Father SEEKS.

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Papa Says, “You Can’t Go To Your Wedding Party Till You Clean Your Room!”

Will Jesus return in our generation? I don’t know, but I don’t think so. Why? At least these two verses are why:

Matt. 5:17  “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

Mark 13:10  “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”

The Joshua Project (http://www.faimission.org/isaacandishmael) reports roughly just over 40% of the world’s people have not even heard the gospel. That is, say, 2.4 BILLION people that need to hear the Gospel before Christ returns.

So, He will not break His word; if he says the Gospel must be preached to all the nations, He means it.

Having said that, on top of these two verses there remains quite a large body of related prophecy from Genesis to Revelation that remains unfulfilled, and that is the focus of this “Scripture only” study.

So then, come with me as we take an uninterpreted look at what the Spirit says, comparing Scripture with Scripture, letting Him interpret His words with His words.

Let me ask you to please set aside all learned doctrine and preconceived notions about the end times, the rapture, Israel, the Beast, etc. Just let the Bible speak to you in its own language: the language of comparing Scripture with Scripture.

šGen. 1:28  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Gen. 22:18  “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Rom. 2:28-29  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Matt. 3:8-9  “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.”

Gal. 3:7-9  Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

Gal. 6:15-16  For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Matt. 28:18-20  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Num. 14:20-21  So the LORD said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.”

Hab. 2:14  “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

II Cor. 4:3-6  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Ex. 33:18  Then Moses said, “Please, I pray You, show me Your glory!”

II Cor. 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Ps. 72:17-19  May His name endure forever; may His name increase as long as the sun shines; and let men bless themselves by him; let all nations call Him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.

Dan. 2:44  “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”

Luke 12:32  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”

Matt. 12:28  “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Heb. 12:28-29  Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

Matt. 13:31-32  He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.”

Ezek. 17:22-24  Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will also take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and set it out; I will pluck from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one and I will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will know that I am the LORD; I bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will perform it.

Matt. 13:33  He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

Ps. 22:27-28  All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’S and He rules over the nations.

Ps. 86:9  All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.

Ps. 102:15  So the nations will fear the name of the LORD and all the kings of the earth Your glory.

Ps. 145:9-13  The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, and Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

Dan. 7:13-14  “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.”

Ps. 115:16  The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.

Deut. 7:22-25  “The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed. He will deliver their kings into your hand so that you will make their name perish from under heaven; no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them. The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.”

Dan. 7:18  “But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.”

Rev. 11:15  Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

Acts 2:36  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Luke 17:20-21  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Is. 2:2  “Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.”

Heb. 12:18-24  For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

Is. 60:1-3  “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

Is. 62:2  “The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the LORD will designate.”

Is. 60:11-12  “Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession. For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, and the nations will be utterly ruined.”

Ps. 118:19-20  Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous will enter through it.

Is. 60:18  “Violence will not be heard again in your land, nor devastation or destruction within your borders; but you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.”

Rev. 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

Is. 65:17-25  “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness. I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed. They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit, they will not plant and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, and their descendants with them. It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.  The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.

II Cor. 5:17  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Is. 61:3  To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

Rev. 21:1-5  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

So then, I believe prior to Christ’s coming the whole earth will be filled largely with believing people who worship the Father in the Spirit and in the Truth (and not at Jerusalem as the Jews say, John 4:20-24). I believe people will leave their false gods and false religions behind like a child does his toys in the yard, embracing the nail-scarred arms of Jesus’ love and heart-rule willingly and happily, and not with any violence or compulsion. I believe the result of this worldwide, Church-centric, Jesus-glorifying, Spirit-powered worship movement will result in vast reformations: of governments, law, industry, the arts, etc. Mind you, I believe those reforms are only and always the result of TRUE, UNBRIDLED, JESUS-CENTERED, HOLY GHOST, “POWER-DEMONSTRATING” WORSHIP, glorious worship performed by vast throngs in stadiums and other venues all over the world. Societal reformations are not the AIM, they are merely the FRUIT of good, regular, powerful, miraculous worship in the Presence of God as it spreads in practice throughout the lives of individuals, families, and churches, and then up the chain to local, regional, and national governments. It can happen and it will happen because GOD SAYS SO.

Further, I believe the Kingdom has already come in all its prophesied fullness and we are now charged to bring that Kingdom to earth. I don’t think we need to wait for anything. I believe we have been given EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness (II Pet. 1:3).

I will describe how this all works out in time in the next installment. Hint: the secret is WORK, both His and ours.

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On Becoming a WORSHIPER of Jesus

My life has taken a great swing upwards in recent years. I find myself living in a state of nearly continuous, ecstatic bliss. I have this smile on my face that I can’t wipe off. (Why would I want to?) Now, is it because of the wonderful, beautiful new wife God has brought into my life? No, but living with her and enjoying her company is FANTAImageSTIC!  Could it be because of restored, renewed, and growingly cool relationships I’m sharing with my children and grandchildren? Without a doubt this is exceptionally satisfying and smile-generating, but it’s still not the reason. Or could it be because of my resurging career in software sales? No, as much as I enjoy my work and relish every aspect of it, consistently finding profit and increase from it financially, this is not it, either.

So then, I look over my life, and search for the source of my bliss, my ecstasy, and my deep-sighing state of repose and relaxation, and I find one place, and one place alone, serving as the Fount of my wellsprings of delight: my ever-growing desperation to simply be in the Presence of God, to enjoy Him, and pour out my love and adoration on Jesus, in many-fold expressions of worship. I am a worshiper of Christ, and all my fountains are in this – I live to love and serve the living God, in regular times of devotion, in continuously evolving expressions of song, dance, and silence, coupled with Bible study and meditation, and in corporate gatherings with His wonderful Bride. (Plus, and this has to be said, I pray and sing all the time in tongues, yes!)

I’ve made worshiping Him the object and point of my life. I’ve done this in obedience to Pastor Tony Krishack’s teaching: worship is the only way out of all of life’s difficulties. All of blessing and increase and favor flows out of a life lived in the worship of Christ. (Maybe it’s better to say, a life spent worshiping Jesus is IN ITSELF a life of blessing and increase and favor!) My reward in life from Him is this: an ever-increasing softness in my heart towards Him (and towards all others, as a result), easier “access” to His Presence, and (this is the really cool part!), the nearly complete fade-out of the world’s lures and tugs on the strings of my heart. (Say wha…?)

Let me explain. What was once a continual struggle on the inside of me – the struggle to simply think, and feel, and act, with good clean thoughts, and pure, humble motives – has become easy and effortless. And I know why this is. You see, I’ve yielded my life, by faith, to the the Gospel of the finished work of Christ, which says: Not only were all my sins washed away in the blood spilled by that faultless, innocent Man, and not only was all of Father God’s wrath spent in its full fury upon that thorn-crowned Head, making me 100% acceptable by a Holy God, but (and this is so incredible!), He also took out of me, completely, and into Himself, my root, sinful, Adam-bequeathed nature, and He did away with it FOR GOOD, ONCE AND FOR ALL, Amen!!! He yanked out by the root the inner workings of my heart, received by DNA inheritance from a long line of fist-shaking sinners going all the way back to Adam, and replaced them with His very own perfect, humble, loving, joyful, faith-filled nature. This is what I find on the inside of me IN ACTUALITY and in my day to day experience. It is phenomenally cool to see this going on from the inside out! It is like flying in a completely different airplane or something! I just don’t think or feel or want to respond to things the way I used. I have these thought-life responses and interpretations of events that are radically different (BETTER) than my old way of running. Radically, really, wonderfully NEW and DIFFERENT and COOL and CLEAN.

So then, what can my reaction possibly be to this life-giving Presence and brand new sparkling clean nature on the deep inside of me possibly but to LET IT OUT with crazy, exuberant worship? I mean, how can I but sing? What’s left to do but dance? Where am I going to go except straight into the arms of the One I love, the One who set me free, the One who granted me life and peace and salvation for my once-sin-weary soul? I find this life of God in me welling up to bursting, and the only way I can contain myself is to break open the alabaster box of my soul and pour it out upon Him! I find refuge in release, I find solace in ecstasy, I find my life’s meaning by losing myself in His worship. I no longer struggle to escape the inner, wicked spider web tendrils and viny, thorny grip of that shame-filled blackness that once filled the cave of my inner man. I now find Him there, smiling, positively beaming, the preeminent One, He Who is the Light of the world, He Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, He Who is the Resurrection, He Who is the radiant, exact Expression of His nature, He Who is the Great Shepherd and Captain of my soul, and He gives me joy and peace and a real experience of sanctification in the day to day, mundane activities of a very ordinary life!

So, what worshiping Him does, is this: it gives Him first place there, on the inside, and everything else flows out of that face to face, cheek to cheek, arm in arm experience of loving Jesus, the Christ, in an intimate and eminently soul-satisfying way.

What time is it? It’s time to WORSHIP HIM!

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Five Points of Focus for 2013, Part II

Passions, Virtues, Values, Relationships

I am going to let whatever the Spirit brings to mind just sort of roll off of my fingertips and onto this document as I work my way down my Five Big Things for 2013. So, what am I looking for? I want to associate them with things I feel and believe to be their attending passions, virtues, values, and also, look at how my relationships are either affected or defined by these things.

CHARGING INTO GOD’S PRESENCE: Devotion, devout, unashamed lover, hunger, thirst, craving, relentless pursuit. Having a single, intense, jealously clear eye. The white-hot, proven integrity of decisions made in quiet, alone, hidden from view in the secret place. The all-consuming joy of being near to Christ – very near, touchably near, overwhelmingly near. Sold out to prayer, worship, intercession and Bible reading / meditation. Reflecting with unshakeable confidence on the finished work of Christ’s Cross finishing up the sanctification of my very own soul. Mastering the Song of Songs. I am free to dance and whirl about, just like Jesus, David, and the angels do. I bring His presence into everything I do, all that I am, all that I touch, everywhere that I go. I am always, first and foremost, a worshiper.

LOVE DEMONSTRATED THROUGH ACTS OF SERVICE: Humility, subtlety, discretion, selfless, prophetic, servant. Talking with my church family frequently to learn where I might serve them. Same with my kids. Fanatical on the follow-through. Mindful of the blessing I’ve seen flow through me to people looking for career help, a job, a new job, etc. Speaking positive words of encouragement and prophetic destiny for the Spirit to act upon. Tirelessly laboring in my own software sales work to make my owners successful, profitable, and better off for having had me on board.

HEALING IN THE NAME OF JESUS: Expectation, confidence, boldness, joy, faith. Resolving to glorify the risen Christ any time a miracle is seen. Asking for and looking for opportunities to pray – and being quickly responsive when such opportunities arise. Never giving credence to satan’s lies about incurable diseases, etc. Watching videos of faith healer preachers and revivalists to gain insight, lift up my faith, and challenge me to greater boldness and confident expectation. Reading books on the supernatural presence and gifts of our Gracious God. Sharing with my beautiful wife and church family what the Lord is saying and doing through me in this regard. Sharing with my kids fresh testimony of His healing power.

DECLARING CHRIST’S REMARKABLY GOOD NEWS: Boldness, sensitivity to the Spirit, compassionate, patient, prepared.  Praying the Lord of the harvest to send me forth into His harvest, really letting Him know how badly I want to be used by Him. Wanting to see all the nations discipled, one person at a time. Clinging to the Cross, teaching others the same. Learning approaches, opening lines, conversation-stimulating questions, other methods of connecting with people. Studying the thoughts, methods, and preparation of others. Sharing with others through this blog what Christ has done for me, and what He is teaching me.

BUILDING HIS CHURCH: Laborer. Worker. Preacher / teacher. “In season and out.” Evangelist. Gentle. Kind. Working with Him to build others up. Being bold and ready to prophesy when the Spirit is speaking. Earnestly desiring unity of action in the local expression of His Body, to see us actually doing things together. Thinking hard on the next step of ministry – into church planting.

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Always working on adequately answering Francis Schaeffer’s question, “How Should We Then Live?” ( http://bit.ly/VGoRmJ, http://amzn.to/Uhcezq), in my next installment I will translate these values, passions, and virtues into specific goals and relationship-building projects, which I can then start loading into my Daytimer.

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Five Points of Focus for 2013

Coming into the last month of 2012 brings about anticipation for a new year in Christ’s wonderful Kingdom, a year chock full of opportunity, challenge, and, also,  DISTRACTIONS! Distractions aimed at taking my eyes off my one Goal, the Person of my Lord Jesus Christ, the all-consuming Fire of my heart’s passion, the quest of my insatiably hungry soul, the Content and the Meaning and the very Framework of my life. He defines me, He redeems me, He captivates me, He delights me, He makes me laugh, He cares for me, He is my all and all, YEAH!

His holy Word engages me to keep distractions at bay:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)

So, keeping a tight, laser beam focus on the Prize is the sine qua non (without which there is nothing) of my life. And, I can break down this focus into practical pieces looking like this: the values which control my daily life of thought and action, the goals I set for myself, and the schedule I put down in writing, sequencing and prioritizing each day’s activities.

Allow me to recast this glob of words into something a bit more organized:

  1. I want Him, I will run after Him, I want to know Him more and more, day by day.
  2. This Desire for Him results in my necessarily valuing some things more highly than others; these things take the form of virtues and passions. This Desire also brings with it a happy and willing and effective rejection of certain character traits and passions altogether. This rejection is no big deal formy now-tamed, now-compliant, now-transformed soul.
  3. I set goals aimed at fulfilling my one Desire in blessed harmony with and expressive of my overarching virtues and passions.
  4. I translate these goals into schedulable, measurable steps, complete with dates for their start and completionm

So then, how does my 2013 look? I am going to skip straight to the Five Big Things I am running after, and will circle back around with additional content related to the associated virtues and passions, along with some considered action items I will schedule into my Daytimer to fulfill my goals. The Five Big Things consist of a mixture of things that I do, and things that I am.

Here they are:

CHARGING INTO GOD’S PRESENCE – in every and any legitimate way I can. In personal devotions, in various church meetings and conferences, in prayer time with my beautiful wife Michelle – I want to be bathed, soaked, saturated, filled, and overflowing with the wonderful, warm, awe-inspiring loving Presence of the Lord. I worship my God with fervor, delight, consistency, and joy. I know He lives in my praises, so, all the day long, I’m praising my Savior.

LOVE DEMONSTRATED THROUGH ACTS OF SERVICE – first and foremost in my marriage to my darling wife Michelle, then to my kids, my church, the church in my area, my neighbors, my country. I look for opportunities to serve, and to join with others in acts of love and service. I don’t think about my own needs only, but also for the needs, the hopes, and the dreams of others.

HEALING IN THE NAME OF JESUS – I want to see God’s glory revealed through supernatural acts of healing. I want to be released in this gift. I’ve seen Him do this through me in times past, and I want to see more! I want to be a part of a team of people who can pray for healing, see it happen, then bring people to Christ as a result.

DECLARING CHRIST’S REMARKABLY GOOD NEWS – Experiencing the power of the Cross through faith, and preaching the same. Set free from sin’s stranglehold, I boldly proclaim Release! in Jesus’ mighty Name! All things are new, the old is passed away; I have crossed the chasm from death into life. I am a new creature in Christ. I am no longer of this world. I live in heavenly places. And I invite others to join me!

BUILDING HIS CHURCH – the work He said He must be about, the thing He saw the Father doing, I now do in imitation. I am a multiplier, a persuader, an equipper, an encourager, a team builder, a leader by example, and I am connected with others following in the same Way.

NEXT POST: Breaking this down, and making it doable!

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THE THREEFOLD MAUI BLESSING

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My beautiful bride and I were blessed by God to celebrate our anniversary this past June on the island of our nuptials, Maui. And as we were blessed by Him in our union there on that beautiful gold and green gem set so perfectly in the ultramarine blue Pacific, so, again, were we blessed on this latest adventure of ours in Paradise.

Our blessing was threefold, as follows:

One, we were blessed with the wonderful companionship and camaraderie of my sister Beba, who carries such a wonderful aloha with her wherever she goes. This, coupled with the very cool new friends we made at AMP Church (thank you Sean Feucht for the recommendation!), adds up to what I call THE FELLOWSHIP BLESSING. We were not alone. We had friends and family all around us. We had great preaching. We participated in some extraordinary worship. And all of this was very, very cool. 

Two, I found I had caught a healing, which I call the EMBEDDED EXCEDRIN BLESSING. For years now, since diagnosed with hypertension (my wife might say, hyper-everything), I have taken aspirin… then Excedrin… in increasing doses… till I found myself taking 8-10 Excedrin per day, day in and day out. And one morning in Maui I told my beautiful bride, “Honey, I am not taking Excedrin any more, did you notice that?” I have not, and I do not, feel the need for it. My headaches are GONE. Hallelujah! And so this healing persists to this day.

And finally, three, I experienced what I call THE RUSTOLEUM BLESSING. I told my company I would continue pounding away at my deals while blessedly ensconced on those shimmering shores. And there were two deals on my forecast that kept moving to the next month, then the next month, then the next month, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. They were just STUCK, LIKE RUSTY WHEELS… till I got to Maui. Then both deals got unstuck; the wheels turned, and I closed the business.

In fact, June turned out to be my best month of sales ever! So going away for a bit did not TAKE AWAY the Lord’s blessing on my work, No, rather, it INCREASED IT, thank You God!

And the experience brought to mind a word the Lord gave me earlier this year: “If you will take care of My business, I will take care of yours.” And He is making good on His promise! So I continue to make worship, the Word, fellowship, and service to His church my priority (and loving my darling Meeshi, of course!), and I leave the material blessing to God. He’s really good at taking care of this area of my life, He’s had a lot of experience in this line of work!!!

(As I was writing this piece, this verse came to mind: Gen. 2:12, “And the gold of that land is good…”… maybe the Lord is speaking to me?”)

And so I say to you, my dear friend: TAKE THESE BLESSINGS TOO, they are yours, TAKE THEM BY FAITH, I release His blessings on us to YOU! Be blessed in CHRIST JESUS, the “Lord of the Islands”! AMEN

(p.s. What is that man looking for at the blowhole near La Perouse Bay? Is he looking for the favor and blessing and God, perhaps?)

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